Press Coverage

Arthur Chi'en
12/21/2017
 

coming to the rescue is Council Member Ben Kallos, whose bill has just been passed. The bill seeks to turn down the volume during the off hours that construction sites aren't taking off, whether it be on the Upper East Side or across the East River in Queens or back across to Manhattan's West Side where construction seems never-ending.

 

Zaira Cortes
12/21/2017
 

Los residentes de El Barrio ahora podrán beneficiarse de los programas educativos y servicios comunitarios de la exclusiva escuela Marymount School, situada en el número 20 de la lista de las mejores escuelas privadas de la ciudad de Nueva York de 2018, según el ranking del sitio web Niche.

La educación de un solo estudiante en algunas de las escuelas de ese listado puede costar hasta $50,000 al año; sin embargo, en East Harlem, muchos padres trabajadores no superan los $40, 000 en ingresos anuales, como el mexicano Marcelo Suárez, un empleado de restaurante y residente del vecindario por más de una década.

“Trabajo duro para darles a mis tres hijos educación de calidad. He tenido hasta dos trabajos para comprarles útiles escolares y todo lo que necesitan. Quisiera hacer más por ellos, ayudarlos a que logren sus sueños, aprovechar cualquier oportunidad que los ayude a mejorar”, dijo Suárez, de 43 años.

 

New York Daily News
Erin Durkin
12/20/2017
 

Construction done at odd hours will have to turn down the volume under a bill passed by the City Council on Tuesday.

The legislation sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos places stricter limits on construction within 200 feet of a home before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and any time on weekends.

“New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn’t be because of after-hours construction that wakes you up,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan). “Noise is the top complaint in New York City.”

The construction cacophony will be capped at 80 decibels next year, and dropped to 75 in 2020. The current limit is 85 decibels.

 

Clayton Guse
12/20/2017
 

It’s no secret that New York is an obnoxious place—it’s known as the city that never sleeps for good reason. But any resident here will tell you that they absolutely cherish their beauty sleep. 

On Tuesday, the City Council passed a measure aimed at keeping Gothamites from being woken from their peaceful slumbers. The legislation, dubbed the Noise Complaint Response Act, proposes more strict standards and oversight on construction crews that operate after hours (between 6pm and 7am).

Introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos, the measure would require the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to more thoroughly inspect and respond to late-night noise complaints. Currently, crews working overnight are forbidden from creating noise that exceeds 85 decibels within 200 feet of a residential building. This legislation forces that figure to drop to 75 decibels in 2020 and removes some barriers that prevent the DEP from investigating noise complaints. 

 

Cezary Podkul
12/20/2017
 

Applicants also would be able to track the progress of their applications and see where they are on waiting lists to rent units, which are awarded by lottery. By 2021, residents also would be able to verify with the city that they are being charged a legal rent.

The legislation is meant to make the application and search process more transparent and efficient, said the bill’s lead sponsor, Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

“I want to make it more like StreetEasy or Zillow,” Mr. Kallos said, referring to the popular housing search websites.

The city already runs a website that helps tenants find income-restricted apartments, NYC Housing Connect, but Mr. Kallos said it is “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t do enough to match tenants with available units.

 

Noah Manskar
12/20/2017
 

The bill also cuts in half the amount of noise allowed to come from a construction site when work is being done before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

"New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn't be because of after-hours construction noise waking you up," City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said in a statement. "Our new law will turn down the volume on after hours construction noise in residential neighborhoods."

 

Paula Katinas
12/20/2017
 

On Tuesday, the Council approved Intro 1015-A, a bill sponsored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams, with input from Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, to hold building owners who receive tax abatements accountable to the city.

Starting in 2020, landlords who aren’t providing affordable apartments after they have received financial windfalls in the form of city financing or tax breaks will be required to register their units with the city.

 

Devin Gannon
12/20/2017
 

The goal of the legislation is to make the housing lottery application and search process more efficient and transparent for renters. Applicants would be able to track their application’s progress online and see their place on the waiting lists. By 2021, residents will be able to verify if the rent landlords are charging is legal.

Council Member Benjamin Kallos, who was a lead sponsor on the bill, called Housing Connect “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t match renters with available units. Following the passage of Kallos’ bill, the HPD said it will upgrade and expand the capabilities of their website.

The final version of the bill does help the city enforce rent limits for apartments that are not income-restricted, although Kallos originally hoped to apply it to other rent-regulated units. Aaron Carr of the nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative told the WSJ that renters in rent-stabilized suffer the most under the new bill. “Tens of thousands of units in the buildings receiving those 

 

New York Times
Derek Norman
Alexandra S. Levine
12/19/2017
 

And if you’ve ever had the displeasure of being woken up by the shrill whine of a drill or other construction equipment, some good news: The City Council is expected to pass legislation today to keep things quieter.

“Our new law will turn down the volume on after-hours construction noise in residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, who wrote the bill with the support of the Department of Environmental Protection and who has made the dimming of noise one of his top priorities.

 

 

Gotham Gazette
Ben Weiss
12/19/2017
 

For reformers like Ben Kallos, City Council member for Manhattan’s District 5 and chair of the Council’s government operations committee, the problem is simple. “I don’t believe people should get jobs in government because of who they know,” he said in a phone interview.

He urged anyone with allegations of campaigns inserting supporters into poll sites to speak up, including through the city Department of Investigations. “We’re calling upon them to do their civic duty,” he exhorted.

 

 

Josh Barbanel
12/19/2017
 

Large buildings across New York will have to post letter grades in their lobbies disclosing their energy efficiency, if a measure before the City Council passes.

The new rating system is modeled after the ubiquitous grades for sanitation posted in restaurant windows across New York.

The proposal is part of a package of quality-of-life measures due to be taken up by the City Council on Tuesday, at its final scheduled meeting of the year.

A second measure is designed to limit noisy after-hours construction that has led to complaints in residential neighborhoods, especially on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The report card bill was approved by the council’s environmental protection committee on Monday. It requires both commercial and residential buildings with more than 50,000 square feet to post a notice near each building entrance.

The notice would include the posting of a federal energy efficiency rating already required under existing law, and a simplified letter grade from A-D  (or F for some buildings that fail to file) beginning in 2020.

Council member Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan, the lead sponsor of the bill, said he expected it to pass the council easily. He said it would allow commercial tenants and residential renters and owners to pressure building owners for improvements.

“We think that a market-driven approach here will help encourage more efficient buildings,” said Mr. Garodnick, whose tenure on the council ends this month because of term limits. “We think it will foster a higher level of engagement.”

 

 

Sarina Trangle
12/18/2017
 

A bill empowering the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to quell after-hours construction noise was voted out of a Council committee Monday. Councilman Ben Kallos, who sponsored the measure, expected his colleagues to approve the measure at a scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

“New Yorkers hate getting woken up early or kept up late at night with construction,” Kallos said, noting that noise concerns are the most common complaint logged in the city’s 3-1-1 system. “[The DEP] actually agreed and worked with us on this legislation that makes a huge update to the city’s noise code.”

Kallos noted that the legislation will task the DEP with crafting rules specifying how long inspectors have to respond to complaints about after-hours work and which grievances ought to be prioritized because the noises are expected to continue. A DEP spokesman said the rulemaking process typically takes six months to one year. 

 

 

Mary Frost
12/18/2017
 

Officials, including Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation, and Councilmember Ben Kallos, said the move was all about equity for the outer boroughs.

"We have spent years working to get bike sharing in all five boroughs and although we have made a lot of progress some areas don't have it,” Kallos said in a statement.

 

 

Gotham Gazette
Samar Khurshid
12/17/2017
 

Last month, the New York City Council passed a bill that provides for online voter registration for city residents without requiring DMV-issued identification. With guidance from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office allowing local jurisdictions to pass online registration measures, the bill holds up under state law. But state elections officials can’t agree on the validity of the bill, and city Board of Elections officials have yet to make a decision, portending that the matter may have to eventually be decided in court.

The uncertainty is unfolding as Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to soon sign into law the city bill, Intro. 508, the lead sponsor of which was City Council Member Ben Kallos. The question at hand is whether the city and state Boards of Elections will accept online signatures as valid in registering to vote. As of November 1, per state BOE numbers, there are more than five million registered voters in New York City, but an estimated 700,000-plus eligible voters who are not registered, with more turning 18 years of age each year.

 

Ethan Harp
12/16/2017
 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There will soon be an easier way for people in New York City to register to vote.

As WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp reported, a bill signing Saturday might be the start of an online overhaul.

Until now, if you live in New York State, you could only register to vote online if you had a DMV-issued ID.

But City Councilman Ben Kallos pointed out that since most people in Manhattan don’t have a car, the rules kept many eligible voters from signing up.

“The New York State election law makes it so very difficult,” he told Harp.

 

Our Town
Douglas Feiden
12/12/2017
 

The street, bisecting the site of the long-demolished Jacob Ruppert and Co. Knickerbocker Brewery, has been closed to vehicular traffic for 42 years and serves as an open-air community space.

Officially named James Cagney Place, for the song-and-dance man who grew up on East 96th Street, it is the hill where a 5-year boy named Ben

Kallos once played in the puddles on a rainy day with other local kids.

Now, he’s the 36-year-old City Council member representing the area, and he’s never stopped coming to the block — a “staple of childhood on the Upper East Side,” he calls it — especially for sledding after a snow.

“This portion of East 91st Street has been a closed play street for longer than I have been alive,” Kallos added.

In recent years, that status appeared to be in doubt: A possible threat to the landscaped, red-brick pedestrian plaza-and-walkway suddenly loomed on the horizon — the city’s planned Marine Transfer Station.

 

Kyle Campbell
12/06/2017
 

Gamma Real Estate will challenge the decision in front of the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals, or BSA, a process Kalikow said he believes will be “very objective, very black and white” because of how much progress was made on the site prior to the zoning change.

If the BSA does not grant the appeal, the developer has already taken steps for a potential lawsuit, Kalikow said, including sending a letter to Councilman Ben Kallos, telling him not to delete any emails related to the case.

Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, has championed the re-zoning effort at city hall since a group of his constituents raised the issue in 2015. He said had the proposed change not been stuck in the preapproval stage for more than a year, it would have passed through the council well before construction began on the site.

 

Jessica Borga
12/04/2017
 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Construction on upscale condominiumshas been stopped in its tracks on Manhattan’s east side.

New zoning rules now say the controversial tower is too tall.

It’s known as Sutton 58 — the site of a 62-story condo building under construction.

Last Thursday, a City Council vote to limit the construction of tall towers on side streets in the area, led to a stop-work order.

“New Yorkers are sick and tired of out-of-control, out-of-scale overdevelopment, and for so very long, no one would stand up for real estate,” City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th) said.

 

Kate Roddy
12/04/2017
 

“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is no longer a luxury. In 2017, it is a necessity,” said Ben Kallos, member of the New York City Council. “Whether you are a small business competing for customers or a high school student doing homework, access to broadband could make the difference between landing a big contract or not, or getting an A on a research paper. I applaud this administration's efforts as New York City works toward universal broadband access."

 

 

Josh Barbanel
12/03/2017
 

Mr. Kalikow put much of the blame for the shutdown on the local councilman, Ben Kallos, a Democrat. Mr. Kallos signed the application for the zoning change, along with the East River 50s Alliance, and pressed officials to expedite it.

Mr. Kallos’s support was crucial in the council as other members followed his lead on the issue, a courtesy usually extended on local land-use issues.

“I take full credit for it,” Mr. Kallos said, after hearing of Mr. Kalikow’s complaints. He said the developer is welcome to pursue his rights under the law, but that eventually he might find there already are too many super-tall buildings “intended for billionaires.”

The city rules allow a building to continue construction after a zoning change only if the foundation was complete. Sutton 58’s foundation work was 95% finished, and would have been done in about 10 days, Mr. Kalikow said.

 

Brenden Krisel
12/01/2017
 

The cobblestone-paved road has been a a vital open space in the neighborhood for nearly four decades, City Councilman Ben Kallos said Friday.

"When I got elected four years ago I promised I would protect as much open space as possible," Kallos said Friday. "Everyone here on the Upper East Side knows that we don't have enough open space and we rank among the last in the city for open space." Kallos said Friday.

 

 

Brendan Krisel
11/30/2017
 

City Councilman Ben Kallos hailed Thursday's City Council vote as a win for residents over billionaire developers.

"Today, the City Council voted to stop the march of supertall buildings from commercial districts on 57th Street into residential districts, where they would displace rent-regulated residents to build buildings for billionaires," Kallos said in a statement.

Since the East River Fifties Alliance's creation in 2015, the group has grown to include 45 Sutton Place buildings and 2,600 people from 500 buildings citywide, Kallos said.

 

Our Town
Michael Garofalo
11/29/2017
 

In addition to serving the Spence School’s athletics programs, the new facility would provide gym space for physical education classes from P.S. 151 and P.S. 527 under the terms of a proposed, but yet-to-be-finalized agreement between the schools. The two schools are each located near the proposed site of the new Spence facility and have limited space for physical activities. Students at P.S. 151, located at 421 East 88th St., use two converted classrooms for recreational space, while those at P.S. 527, located at 323 East 91st St., use an auditorium with a sloped floor and low ceiling, said City Council Member Ben Kallos, who described the gym-sharing proposal last week at a public hearing on the project at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

According to Kallos, by the time the new building opens for the 2019-2020 school year, Spence and the Department of Education will enter into an agreement allowing the public schools to use the Spence gymnasium for physical education classes during school hours, at no cost to the schools.

 

Rochel Dovey
11/27/2017
 

Meanwhile, legislation that passed the New York City Council earlier this month aims to hold local landlords accountable for their POPS. The rules — part of a package authored by Council Member Ben Kallos — would require additional signage in all POPS areas detailing amenities and hours of operation, and include a website address where visitors could find out more information and register complaints. Landlords who don’t comply could face fines of between $4,000 and $10,000.

 

James Ford
11/22/2017
 

The DOB statement also puts it in accord with new legislation. Last week, City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick sponsored bills that increase fines for POPS violations and require landlords and developers to post signs that clearly explain what POPS amenities are available in buildings that have them.

The bills passed in City Council, and are expected to be signed in to law by Mayor Bill De Blasio before the end of the year.