Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Concerned Roosevelt Island Residents Attend Town Hall Meeting Last Night Focusing On NYC 911 Emergency Response Time Delays

Concerned Roosevelt Island residents gathered at the Good Shepherd Community Center last evening for a Town Hall meeting focusing on the too frequent NYC 911 emergency response time delays to Roosevelt Island.

The Town Hall was hosted by Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos and NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.

Here's what happened.

Council Member Kallos began the Town Hall and introduced NYPD Inspector Rich Napalitano, Commanding Officer of the NYC 911 Emergency System.

Inspector Napolitano described the 911 call system and confirmed that all 96 Roosevelt Island addresses have been added to the 911 system so that as soon as a Roosevelt Island address is given to a 911 Operator, Roosevelt Island will appear on the Operator's screen. Inspector Napolitano added that the 911 Operators have received refresher training regarding Roosevelt Island.

Following, Inspector Napolitano's presentation, the Town Hall was opened up for questions from residents.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Talks To Residents At Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting Last Night About Gun Violence Protection, Democratic Party Primary, Cornell Tech, FDR Park, Saving Local Post Office, Ferry Service, Breast Cancer Research & More

Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney led a Sit-In this morning at the Upper East Side's Carl Schurz Park to prevent gun violence.

Ms Maloney won her Democratic Party primary last night.
Ms Maloney spoke at last evening's Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting about:
  • Yesterday's Democratic Party Congressional Primary,
  • Upcoming arrival of Cornell Tech,
  • Visiting FDR Four Freedoms Park to witness swearing in of new citizens,
  • Saving Roosevelt Island Post Office,
  • Roosevelt Island Ferry Service,
  • Subway Security Cameras,
  • Gun Violence Protection (No Fly, No Buy)
  • Breast Cancer Research funding with new gold coin and
  • More.
Take a listen.

Congresswoman Maloney was interviewed by Roosevelt Island Gristedes supermarket owner John Catsimatidis on his June 26 Cats Roundtable radio program about the recent Congressional Sit in and gun control.

More information on Congresswoman Maloney available at her web site and Twitter feed.

Results Are In For 2016 RIRA Roosevelt Island Community Polling Survey - Find Out What Your Neighbors Think About Their Buildings, Public Safety, Motorgate Garage, Health Concerns, Transportation, Young Adult And Seniors Services, People In Need & More

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Community Polling Chair

Image From RIRA Survey

Adib Mansour reports:
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA), comprised of elected volunteers from all buildings on the island, would like to thank all the residents for making RIRA’s Survey a success. We ran the survey for 5 months in order to get as many participants as possible. The more than 700 surveys were filled with suggestions and recommendations to ameliorate our lives on this wonderful community we call Roosevelt Island.

* Note that the percentages might be more than 100% as survey takers, in many instances, were offered multiple choices as well as additional areas for notes, suggestions, and remarks.

701 people took the Survey, out of which:
Survey takers’ ages vary as follows: 

less than 18
57  18-29
209 30-44
184 45-59
233 60+ years old.

Building Specifics:
*61% of the respondents did not complain about their buildings.
*27.90% of participants complained about cleanliness and lack of, or slow maintenance (mostly from Roosevelt Landings) including inadequate heating/cooling. This seems to be a general problem for the elderly.
*18% were concerned about security (again, mostly from Roosevelt Landings and the Seniors building)
*10% had issues with vertical patrols (not enough patrols mostly from Island House and Westview)
*10% complained about vandalism (from Roosevelt Landings and the Seniors building)
*6% complained about Unwarranted Evictions (from Roosevelt Landings)

RIRA Survey Committee will communicate with the different buildings’ managements and share the results with them. 

General Island Issues:
*80% (555 people) of island residents that took the survey are unhappy and dismayed regarding the lack of stores and the inconvenience this causes them. They all seem to demand a variety of stores and are unhappy that the hardware store closed down. In particular, the elderly and senior citizens are frustrated about the inconvenience this presents to have to leave the island to get needed things on a daily basis.
*40% (285 people) of the residents were dismayed at the status of Main Street with a lot of construction, dirt, and noise during the day and night. Some made suggestions on making Roosevelt Island a better place to live on and to welcome visitors.
*32% (221 people) of survey takers complained about the traffic with all the construction and what may come when Cornell’s new buildings open.
*27% (186 people) said Main Street has a lot of potholes, street is not flat, and is unfinished.

* 65% (427 people) believe parking on Main Street is Inadequate. They were split on whether street signs are adequate but many complained that the street lines are blurred or have disappeared due to construction. 

* The majority of survey takers believe that accessibility on the island is adequate. 

RIRA’s Planning Committee will meet with RIOC and discuss all the issues some of which have already been tackled by RIOC.

Public Safety:
*35% (243 people) think PSD are always courteous. 25% (171) think they are seldom nice. 7% (46) said they are never nice. Some people thought the PSD vestibule is very intimidating / not friendly with the officers sitting behind a high wall and you cannot see them. A few suggested that the PSD officers should be more helpful on Main Street, and while residents are loading and unloading their cars (specifically in front of Island House and Westview).
* It is a tie at 27% between wanting more NYPD and both NYPD+PSD.

RIRA’s Public Safety Committee will discuss the results of the survey with chief Jack McManus who is always open for dialogue.

* A large percentage of complaints were regarding elevator constant malfunction (56%, 238) and inadequate lighting (52%, 219).
* 20% of people parking at Motorgate complained about its Management, while 15% complained about the lack of service with attendants.
* 41% (172) car owners are unhappy with the cement dripping on their cars. 
* 18% (78 people) believe that accessibility for strollers, bikes, and wheel chairs is inadequate in Motorgate perhaps due to the lack of escalator combined with malfunction of elevators. 
* When asked if they felt safe at Motorgate survey says: 30% (192) said Seldom, 22% (137) said Always, 11% (68) said Never, 37% (239) said this was not an issue.

RIRA will meet with Motorgate management and tackle the issues of elevator malfunction as well as safety in general within the several floors.

Health Concerns:
* 28% (189) are concerned with the air quality due to construction, traffic, and the electric plant.
* 20% (134) of residents, most notably in Roosevelt Landings complained about having brown and yellow water in their kitchen faucets as well as their bathrooms. More investigation is needed to get real numbers and check the facts. I will be meeting with management to address these issues. 
* RIRA’s Social, Culture, and Education Committee, chaired by Lynne Shinozaki will be pleased to know that 376 people showed interest in getting Hands-only CPR training.
RIRA will meet with representatives from Roosevelt Landings and investigate the water cleanliness problem, in order to determine the extent of the issue.

* 48% (315 people) complained about the constant tram elevator malfunction. 
* 22% (146 people) complained about the red bus drivers not responding to people massing at the entrance to the doors rather than asking them to move to the back allowing more accessibility. 
* 23% (154) indicated that the Subway booth clerks were rude and unfriendly.
* 17% (115) suggested concerns about de-icing the tram ramps during winter times.

Young Adults Services:
* 48% (323) or residents believe the community is not doing enough to engage the young adults on the island. An alarming number to ponder.
* 45% had no opinion, and 7% believe there are enough programs to engage them. 

RIRA’s Youth Initiative has already been working with RIOC on an island-wide solution for the youth between the ages of 4 and 25.

Ramp and Bike Safety:
* 61% (425) people believe the current Helix Ramp is not safe for Bikers. 28% had no opinion and 11% thought it was safe.
* 57% (404) believe there no adequate signage on the ramp guiding them to a safer route. 33% had no opinion and 8% believe it was adequate. 
Seniors: (Seniors took ample time to detail their situation at the Senior Center and have made valuable suggestions)
* 135 believe there aren’t enough services for the Seniors (18% of participants), and 
* 75 gave suggestions and additional information (a total of 29% think there aren’t enough services/food)
* 77 people claimed they or people they know do not have enough food on a daily basis (most of which are over 60 years)
* Most of the seniors survey takers complained that the Senior Center does not have programs in the evenings and the weekends. Many of them work during the day and the lack of activities off working hours does not benefit them at all.
* Many complained that the programs they do have are not interesting nor creative enough. Some even said that whatever programs they have are all overcrowded in limited spaces.
* Some entries complain that the food is not varied enough, not healthy; someone even claimed that even though the menu shows a variety, it is always chicken.
* Many seniors asked why Meals on Wheels is not in existence any more. A program that was very beneficial to all.
* Nearly unanimous, the Seniors complained about their living environment:
1- Dirty and filthy hallways
2- Roaches in the hallways and the AVAC rooms
3- Maintenance response to issues is nearly non existent
4- Some complained about no heat in the cold winter days/nights
5- A few claimed they have brown / dirty water coming out of drinking water as well as bathroom faucets

The Seniors Center is currently undergoing major changes and the results from the survey will surely come in handy.

People in Need:
it is sad to report that 77 people know someone on the island who does to have enough food on a regular basis. This is a crucial issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. I will try to find out more specifics; We will be working on a press campaign, and food drive with RIRA’s SCE committee and other agencies such as Meals on Wheels. If you know of anyone or family in need, please contact me at or come to our RIRA meetings at the first Wednesday of every month (our next meeting is September 7th, at 8PM).
Below is the RIRA 2016 Community Survey results.

Click here for a larger sized version of the survey.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Roosevelt Island Parents Ask For More PS/IS 217 Gifted & Talented Seats - School Principal Says Unable To Accommodate Extra Classes At This Time

During the June 1 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Meeting Public Session, a Roosevelt Island mom (did not get her name) asked for help in supporting a joint effort by the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network and PS/IS 217 PTA to increase the number of PS/IS 217 Gifted & Talented kindergarten and 1st grade seats from the current 1 class to 2 classes.

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman provided the following statement on subject yesterday:

Recently there's been significant interest and numerous requests about G&T classes specifically regarding whether 217 will open additional G&T classes in Kindergarten, grades 1,2 and 3. We'd like to acknowledge and thank families for their passion and support.

At this time, G&T classes in all grades are full with waiting lists and we are unable to accommodate extra classes. As seats become available in our G&T program, our staff is making offers based on the prioritized wait lists provided by the NYC Department of Education. The DOE is continually updating these lists, and our staff uses the most recent, updated list when making offers
More information on Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Gifted & Talented program available at this previous post which includes video from December 2015 Manhattan Community Board 8 forum on subject.

WOW -Check Out Fantastic Aerial View From Helicopter Flying Above Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, East River Waterfront & Beautiful NYC Skyline

Click full screen icon for best view.

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting Tonight, June 28, With NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright & NY State Senator Jose Serrano - Come Ask Questions And Share Concerns

Roosevelt Island's elected officials are hosting a Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting 6:30 PM, tonight, June 28 at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street)

Come ask your questions and share your concerns with NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and NY State Senator Jose Serrano.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team And PS/IS 217 PTA Partner Up To Offer Water Safety Tips For Local Students

The Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team report:

The Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA and Roosevelt Island Swim Team partnered up to support NYC Department of Education summer Water Safety initiative. The Marlins hosted three free water safety skills practices at the Sportspark Pool for our neighborhood school's students in June.

For those of you who couldn't attend the classes, here are some tips on how to stay safe:

NYC DOE: "New York City beaches opened on Saturday, May 28, for the summer season, and City pools will open on June 29. The safety of our students is our top priority and we want everyone to stay safe near and in the water. Below are Top 10 Tips to Be Water Safe:

1. Lifeguards Keep Us Safe
Lifeguards are there for your protection, so only swim where lifeguards are present, follow directions, and always swim with a buddy, friend, or parent.

2. Learn to Swim
It’s never too early —or too late— to learn to swim! Learn about free and low-cost swim lessons by visiting the Learn to Swim page ( or call 311 for more information.

3. Never Leave Children Unattended
Teach children the importance of water safety and stay within arm’s reach while swimming. Never leave children unattended near water, even when lifeguards are present.

4. Obey All Posted Signs and Flags
Read all signs and follow the directions of lifeguards. Swimming is only permitted in designated areas and never allowed when a red flag is posted at the beach.

5. Watch for Dangerous Waves and Rip Currents
If you are caught in a rip current, do not panic. Rather, remain calm and begin to swim parallel to shore. Once away from the force of the rip current, swim back to the beach. Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current – even a strong swimmer can become exhausted quickly.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as jetties and piers. All beachgoers should only swim in areas monitored by lifeguards, closely heed the instructions of lifeguards, and pay attention to any flags and posted signs. To learn more about rip currents, read safety tips and information provided by the National Weather Service (

6. Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings
Be careful not to swim tired, cold, or far from safety, and never use alcohol while swimming, boating, or supervising children near water.

7. Wear a Life Jacket when Boating
Even expert swimmers should wear a life jacket while boating. Never use air-filled or foam beach toys instead of a life jacket.

8. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
Never go wading unless swimming is permitted and be cautious of deep water. The first time you enter the water, ease in or walk in — do not jump or dive.

9. Be Safe in the Sun
When at the beach, pool, or park this summer, wear sun screen, drink plenty of fluids, and wear light and loose-fitting clothing to stay cool.

10. Know Before You Go
Check weather conditions and get real-time beach opening and water quality information by visiting the Health Department’s Beaches page ( or call 311."

Thank you!

Order Today And Tomorrow Your Roosevelt Island Fresh Food For Seniors Mixed Bag Of Locally Grown Fruits & Vegetables At The Senior Center - Only $8 A Bag

Wendy Hersh reports that you can order your Fresh Food For Seniors mixed bag of fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables today and tomorrow (June 27 & 28) at the Senior Center (548 Main Street) from 11:30 AM to 1 PM and 6-7 PM. Price is $8.

More information available at this previous post and from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who sponsors the program.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network RI Moms On The Move Two Year Anniversary - Celebratory Picnic And Walk Monday June 27

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:

Dear all,

The RI Parents' Network launched its RI Moms on the Move (RI MoM) program two years ago. Congratulations to all! Every week since June 27 2014 we met at the Tram kiosk,

went for a walk,


had picnics, went to playrooms and enjoyed each others company while watching our children play and grow up together.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank every mom and dad who participated in these fun gatherings and came to RI MoM despite rain, crying babies, unfinished laundry, sleep-deprivation and other challenges of parenting and life. If you never made it, please join us Monday! Pregnant moms, moms of children of all ages, daddies and other caregivers are all welcome.

Special Thank you goes to Paulina Mansz, an Island mom of two who started the exercise part two years ago and made us sweat and laugh every week as our fitness coach. She has now moved to Washington but thanks to many other volunteers the RI MoM program has been continued! Thank you all for your volunteered time and for bringing so much joy and friendship into our group!

To all: Please join us Monday for a celebratory picnic on the occasion of a 2 year anniversary of the RI MoM program. No exercise needed! Just bring yourselves, your little ones, something to eat and drink, a picnic blanket if you have and a few toys to share. We will meet at 9.30 at the Tram kiosk and go for a walk. Afterwards we will meet at the Rivercross lawn near the Meditation Steps for a picnic.  We should be there until around 11.30 am.

Please send me a short e-mail if you are interested in joining us. 
Here's the post announcing the first RI Moms On The Move walk and exercise program.

Happy Anniversary Roosevelt Island Moms On The Move!