New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos
This website is maintained for historical purposes.
Ben Kallos is no longer a candidate for Manhattan Borough President or any other office.

Quality of Life & Cleaning Up

Council Member Ben Kallos Cleaning Up New Trash Cans

Cleaning up doesn’t just mean corruption in government, it also applies to the neighborhood. We wrote the law to lower the volume on after hours construction. We’re fighting hundreds of miles of scaffolding, some of it almost old enough to vote, with legislation to force repairs so it comes down quickly. We even put a new, covered trash can on every corner and are working with Wildcat to keep streets clean.

As Borough President, Ben will clean up Manhattan:

  • Take scaffolding and sidewalk sheds down around Manhattan.
  • Solar compactors on every corner that are not only rat proof but can hold 5 times more trash.
  • Enforce quality of life laws by holding absentee landlords accountable.
  • Help the homeless.

Fresh Ideas: Quality of Life & Cleaning Up

Ben Kallos Scaffolding Sidewalk Shed

Scaffolding and sidewalk sheds are everywhere in Manhattan and everyone hates them. They go up and never come down, with some of them almost old enough to vote. Ben Kallos has been leading the charge to get these scaffolds down in the Council, with legislation to require work to start immediately, get done, or have the city step in to do it and make bad landlords pay. Since the legislation was introduced the Department of Buildings has begun to implement it in part, but Ben is committed to passing the law so they have to do it. As Borough President, Ben will finally get all the scaffolding down.

More Fresh Ideas: Quality of Life & Cleaning Up

A Solar Compactor on Every Corner

Ben made a name for himself by putting a new large covered trash can on every corner to clean up the neighborhood. Now Ben wants to take on rats and clean up the entire borough by putting a solar compactor on every corner, starting with the busiest 1,000 corners then going from there. That's why Ben introduced legislation to do just that. If he can't pass the legislation as a Council Member, he'll get it done as Borough President, or even by them for the borough on day one.

Accessible Sidewalks Rally with Council Member Ben Kallos

Growing up living with two grandparents who had Parkinson's Disease, Ben knows what it is like pushing his grandparents in wheelchairs as a child on streets where corners have no ramp down to the street. New Yorkers in wheel chairs are left with the options of possibly tipping over, using a traffic with cars to find an accessible corner, or in most cases learning the corners to avoid, and taking out of the way but accessible routes to get places. That's why as a Council Member Ben Kallos introduced legislation that would mandate property owners to install and maintain sidewalk ramps or have the city step in and do it. The legislation is specifically focused on the ramps that connect crosswalks to sidewalks, many of which have fallen into a state of disrepair. In a study, the Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York has found that 75% out of 1,000 curbs in lower Manhattan were hazardous for disabled residents.

As Borough President, Ben will work with New Yorkers with disabilities to make sure every corner in Manhattan is accessible.

Learn more about Accessible Sidewalks.
Drone Inspections of Buildings

Scaffolding covers 386 miles of sidewalk in New York City, equal to the distance from here to Canada. While it’s hard to imagine that the City’s scaffolding problem could get any worse, 7,342 sidewalks sheds have been added since April 2018 with each remaining erect for 1,514 days on average—that’s more than 4 years. As Ben told NY1, we need building owners and landlords to take care of their buildings, rather than putting up scaffolding for a loose brick and leaving it up for years. The good news is that a bill Ben co-sponsored with Housing and Buildings Chair Robert Cornegy became law to require the Department of Buildings to study the use of drones for inspecting building façades.

As Borough President, Ben will pass a law to allow facade inspections using drones so building owners can save time and money and most importantly avoid putting up sidewalk sheds and scaffolding for no reason.

Fill Empty Store Fronts

Empty storefronts were a blight on Manhattan, even before the pandemic and have only gotten worse.

As a Council Member Ben Kallos authored a letter with Manhattan Borough President calling to implement outdoor dining at the beginning of the pandemic, then co-prime sponsored the law to make it permanent.

Ben has supported legislation to help our small businesses, including sponsoring the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and Commercial Rent Control.

Ben authored legislation to fund improvements to businesses for accessibility and public health with the promise of rent reductions and the right to renew for those who participate. He's also gone further with legislation to force absentee landlords to reveal their names.

As the next Borough President, Ben will follow Gale Brewer's lead, by taking on this issue, and working block by block and storefront by storefront until they are all filled.


Learn more about Fill Empty Store Fronts.
House Homeless Families in Vacant Apartments Now

More than 16,000 children wake up in a city shelter every day. Just over 10,000 families account for a 30,000 person majority of those living in shelters. With over 15,000 vacant Manhattan rentals and 4,100 vacant condominiums dating back before the pandemic, we now have more vacant apartments than homeless families. Ben has a bold proposal to use vacant apartments to house the homeless now by having the city to buy these vacant condominiums and secure long-term leases on vacant rental apartments to provide transitional and permanent housing for the homeless.

ADA Ramp for Storefront

As the Wall Street Journal reported, Ben introduced two bills to help small businesses stay open and keep them afloat as New York City fights through the economic fallout of Covid-19. The first bill creates a low-interest small grants and loans program that would provide restaurants with up to $250,000 in funding to make restaurants compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The funding could be used for infrastructure changes, ventilation improvements, as well as other public health upgrades to assist those who are at greater risk for developing serious complications from the coronavirus. Not to mention, making entrances and facilities accessible. In exchange for accepting these funds, landlords would have to allow renewals or lower rents. This is a win-win-win, for landlords who buildings will get free and low-cost retrofits, for the 10% of New Yorkers and tourists who are disabled and will have access to more storefronts, and finally for small businesses welcoming new customers and seeing rents lowered.

Daily News Ben Kallos Smart City Headline

Smart City technology can prevent gas explosions, improve lighting, and even make it easier to find parking. As a software developer and as the next Borough President, Ben wants to work smarter using smart city technology and the Internet of Things to fix problems that bother every New Yorker and even save lives.

Learn more about Smart City.