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Our Town

Community Voices Heard called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase funding for NYCHA out of the city budget and to cease private development on NYCHA land. Councilmember Ben Kallos offered words of support and vowed to stand with Holmes residents.


Meg Baker

“We’re here to stop the parade of super-scrapers across 57th Street,” Kallos said. “Draw the line at a residential neighborhood.”


Brad Aaron

DOT already maps NYPD crash data for all streets citywide, albeit by intersection, so we know the streets where crashes occur. What the public doesn’t know is whether police are concentrating enforcement in areas where it’s most needed to prevent crashes. In 2014 Council Member Ben Kallos introduced a bill to require the city to release and map data on all moving violations — including date, time, and latitude and longitude coordinates — to be published at least once a month. Though Rodriguez is listed as a co-sponsor of the Kallos bill, it went nowhere.


Miranda Neubauer

One of the bills introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos, the committee chair, would require the Department of Education, which is already under a requirement to provide voter registration information to graduating seniors, to receive such material from the Board of Elections in other languages, based on schools' student population.


Giulia Olsson

Kim, a New Jersey native pursuing a degree in economics, interned with New York City Council member Ben Kallos this past summer, and she’s received a number of awards at Barnard, like the Jo Greene Iwabe Prize and the SGA Leadership Award, an award presented to students who display responsibility in building a community at Barnard.


Monica Disare

Where can principals turn if they are not getting the support they need?

Under the old network system, there was an element of competition among the support networks. If principals were not pleased with their support, they could turn to one of the other networks if it was not already overburdened.

Council member Benjamin Kallos noted that under the new system, most schools don’t have a choice about who to turn to for help. He asked officials how they planned to handle principals who felt they are not getting what they need.


Gotham Gazette
Samar Khurshid

The hearing saw a thorough back-and-forth between industry representatives and Council Members Ben Kallos and Daniel Dromm, who refused to accept the opposing arguments being made.


Our Town
Kyle Pope

Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, also has tracked improvement on the issue, thanks to a summer of work to address what he sees as one of the most pressing issues in his district.

Kallos said a renewed focus from officers in the 19th Precinct has resulted in a 52% increase in enforcement actions against bikes and a corresponding 18% drop in bike and vehicle collisions.

Working with his office, the Department of Transportation has given away 10,500 bells and 10,100 lights to bikers.

“This is something we’ve taken very seriously,” Kallos said in an interview. “A lot of this revolves around residents feeling empowered to do something.”

Yet while numbers from police and the new survey show improvement on the issue, it has yet to filter down to how people feel in the street. The September meeting of Wallerstein’s group, for instance, was dominated by the issue, with a number of speakers expressing frustration that bikers who break traffic laws or ride the wrong way seem rarely get punished.

Wallerstein said the emotion surrounding the issue springs from fear, particularly among older New Yorkers, few of whom are riding the bikes that are now crowding the streets.

“It’s very, very frightening,” she said. “The biker knows he can easily get around. But elderly people can’t do that.”

Wallerstein said her group is planning another bike survey in the neighborhood next month.

Kallos welcomed the input. “Unless the community steps up to the plate,” he said, “there will never be an end in sight.”


Our Town

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also came out against the plan, and questioned why prospective market rate tenants would want to live in apartments where garbage trucks will rumbling by on their way to the MTS (the Dept. of Sanitation has not yet revealed the exact route trucks will take on their way to the MTS, but East 92nd Street is a likely route).

“The garbage trucks are going to go by Holmes,” said Brewer. “It’s hard for the residents.”

She also criticized the plan for retroactively engaging with tenants of Holmes Towers after key decisions have already been made. She also wants any residential project at Holmes to be one hundred percent affordable.

“I don’t know that I’d call it a joke, but I’d call it a challenging process,” said Brewer of the city’s forthcoming attempt to win tenants over to the plan. “I would want a hundred percent affordable with much discussion about what affordable is.”

Councilmember Ben Kallos, who is also opposed to the plan, agreed.

“I think we’re going to make it as hard for the mayor to do this as possible,” he said.

Kallos said NYCHA is set to meet with residents to review the plan on Oct. 7.


Stephen Miller

Council Members Ben Kallos and Helen Rosenthal were also at today’s event. Sensing the anti-bike sentiment from local seniors, the Upper East and Upper West Side council members bragged about how their local precincts were cracking down on cyclists.


Miranda Katz

But as Councilman Ben Kallos pointed out, the Ninth Avenue bike lane [PDF] resulted in a 43 percent decrease in collisions since its implementation in 2007.


New York Daily News
Ginger Adams Otis

“We’ve got a second bite at bridging the digital divide in the Big Apple,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan).


Andrew J. Hawkins

Ben Kallos, a city councilman and software developer, introduced a bill last year that would require the city to create a free universal e-hail app. He praised the new apps as "exactly what the city needed," but lamented their late arrival.


Gotham Gazette
Christian Zhang

Council Member Ben Kallos of Manhattan's Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island said making sure the three stations planned for his district are moving forward is a "high priority."


"This is another piece to the puzzle," Kallos said. "Despite initially low projected ridership, when you are speaking about the infrastructure we're building, and the cost of it...This is providing a lot more service to four or five boroughs, and it's improving people's commutes."

EDC representatives are expected to testify Monday and say that the plans for the ferry system are on track. The agency is currently reviewing responses to a request for proposals for a ferry operator and plans to integrate the East River Ferry operator into the new larger ferry system. Officials point to the successes of the East River Ferry as they imagine expansion of ferry service.

Rodriguez said that ferries are also particularly effective when natural disasters hit—a route between Manhattan and the Rockaways was established within days after Hurricane Sandy knocked out subway service to the neighborhood in 2012. He and Kallos also pointed that the ferry system would be completely under the city's control—unlike the MTA, which is state-run.

"Investing in our waterfronts and our ferry system is a way for our city to have strong accountability and control over our infrastructure," Kallos said.
Shaye Weaver

Both Senator Jose Serrano and City Councilman Ben Kallos promised to fight to keep the new high-rise slated to rise at the East 93rd Street public housing complex affordable.


Louie Lazar

The WIRE has led to change, said City Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat, whose district includes Roosevelt Island, by helping hold officials accountable.


Gotham Gazette
Catie Edmondson

Ask any New York City Council member and they'll tell you — there is no set formula that will send an aspiring candidate to City Hall.


Yannic Rack

A bill currently under consideration by the City Council could soon overhaul New York’s landmarks designation process — and potentially hand some historic buildings to developers, according to opponents.
Shaye Weaver

Parents at P.S. 290 are steamed that a new Citi Bike station has been installed outside of the school — creating a safety hazard for their kids who use the street to play during recess.


New York Daily News
Greg B. Smith

Councilman Ben Kallos, whose district includes Holmes, said de Blasio promised to meet personally with residents next month, though Kallos still thinks the plan is wrong.


Evan Bindelglass

Council Member Ben Kallos said he was opposed to the ex post facto nature of what the bill would impose when it comes to items the LPC started considering before this legislation was drafted.


Roosevelt Islander
Roosevelt Islander

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will be conducting a Citywide Ferry Service outreach presentation to the Roosevelt Island community.


Josh Dawsey and Pervaiz Shallwani

Councilman Ben Kallos, an Upper East Side Democrat, said there was more aggressive panhandling, street homelessness and people disobeying traffic laws in his district.


CBS News

City Councilman Ben Kallos called the expansion critical to reducing crowding on the streets and over-packed 4, 5 and 6 subway trains.


New York Daily News
Dan Rivoli



October 2013: Ready for the General Election

I was honored and thrilled to win the Democratic nomination to represent the neighborhood where I grew up in the City Council. As we prepare for the general election on November 5, I am excited to get the chance to discuss with more of you my progressive vision for our neighborhood – and hear from you on the issues you care about, like fighting the Marine Transfer Station, improving our schools and protecting our senior services. 

As the race moves into July, my team and I are meeting community members across the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island – and it’s the best part of this race. Always feel free to email me at Benatkallosforcouncil [dot] com (Benatkallosforcouncil [dot] com) or call (212) 960-3440. I look forward to hearing from you.

As the days get hotter, so does the campaign! We celebrated the start of June with two key endorsements from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the League of Independent Theater, as well as the launch of petitioning to get on the ballot -- not to mention a move to our new office! We're rapidly gaining momentum as we move into summer, and we need supporters like you more than ever:

  • Donate today to help us build a better City.
  • Volunteer to join Team Ben.
  • towsenatkallosforcouncil [dot] com (subject: Host%20a%20House%20Party) (Host a House Party)
  • Attend our Campaign Office Grand Opening on Wednesday, June 26 from 6-9 pm. 

Read on for updates on the latest developments in our campaign:

Our campaign is about results now, not about waiting until Election Day. We’ve been working tirelessly to improve everyday life here on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. Our efforts are already paying off, garnering grassroots support and receiving strong media coverage.


  1. Fighting for Freedom, Safety, and Accessibility for All
  2. Celebrating the Holidays Obama Style
  3. Fair Wages and Elections
  4. Swim and Walk for a Better City

This February our campaign for a better City moved forward by building great momentum with endorsements from national and statewide leaders as well as labor unions, while we fought to make our City safer, technologically accessible, sustainable, and took a break from the campaign to celebrate Black History Month.

Building Momentum:

Community Voice:

Support Our Campaign For A Better City:

Please join former Public Advocate Mark Green at the home of Bill Samuels at 7PM on Monday, March 11, at what we hope will be our final fundraiser. We've already raised $55K and only need another $30K to reach our spending limit in time for the March 11 filing deadline.

Thank you for your financial support that kept us in the lead for 2013.  We've once again outraised all of our opponents combined and could never have done it without your help.  We've made it well past the halfway point for a fully funded City Council campaign by raising almost $50,000, with only $30,000 left to raise.

Happy New Year!  2012 was an amazing year, full of challenges to overcome, super storms and threats of apocolypse, unbridled success like the re-election of Barack Obama, landing the mars rover, discovering the Higgs Boson, and even sky diving faster than the speed of sound from space.  We enter 2013 in a world where more is possible than the year before.  What preconceived norms can we shatter in 2013?  I would love to know your New Year's resolution for how you will make the world a better place in 2013.


Following Sandy it was hard for many to return to normalcy, and some still haven't or never will.  The outpouring of support from the community was both humbling and amazing.  In my own volunteering I was struck by portions of the population displaced by Sandy as well as before by the economy or other factors.  As we celebrate  the Thanksgiving holiday please take a moment to pause and reflect on how lucky we are, give thanks, and lets figure out how to make things better for all of us.