Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Roosevelt Island Residents Association VP Rebukes RIOC For Cultural Center Fee Policy - Says NY State Is Not A Friend To Roosevelt Island Community

  Image Of Roosevelt Island Cultural Center Entrance At 548 Main Street

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) plans on charging fees to organizations using the newly renovated and about to be re-opened Cultural Center. Before the renovation, organizations were not charged fees for use of the Cultural Center by RIOC.

During the February 26 RIOC Board of Directors Public Session, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Vice President Sherie Helsien criticized RIOC for instituting any new Cultural Center fees, particularly as it applies to the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance.

According to Ms. Helstien, RIOC should be:
... asking for no more than a Dollar a month compensation if they must have something from this long time community service.
and added:
... RIOC and the State want our money. It seems at almost any cost to this community. Shame on RIOC but they have no shame and they have no backbone to stand up for us.

The State is, and I am not talking necessarily about the RIOC Board members, our neighbors, I am talking about RIOC the corporation. The State is and almost never has been a friend to this community and we all know this well....

... Is there anyone on the RIOC Board or staff looking after the interests of this beleaguered community?...

RIOC Director Margie Smith responded to Ms. Helstien saying:
There was a mandate by the State that has to do with grants and the way we can spend money. We have been knocking ourselves out trying to come up with a way to get everybody back in there for as little as possible....

... You say we don't have your back - believe me we have your back...

... As a group these guys are doing everything they can to get everybody back in the cultural center, all the groups and to make it as fair as possible. And to do it without breaking the law of NY State and without going against the mandate.

The NY State Authorities Budget office issued this January 13, 2015 policy guidance:
...State and local authorities, as defined by Section 2 of the Public Authorities Law, whether created as public benefit corporations or formed as not- for-profit corporations, have only those powers explicitly granted or necessarily implied by statute. Accordingly, state and local authorities may engage in only those activities and exercise those powers which are expressly authorized in law or which are incidental to performing their statutory purposes.

Authorities Budget Office Policy Guidance: This limitation applies to the power of a state or local authority to award its monies in the form of grants and loans to public or private interests. Such financial assistance is prohibited unless expressly authorized in statute.

A state and local authority (other than an industrial development agency) formed as public benefit corporation may not award grants or issue loans of its own funds unless such power is expressly permitted in its enabling statute. The authority to make grants and execute loans is not an implied power of a public benefit corporation....
Apparently, RIOC can no longer subsidize Roosevelt Island organizations with below market rent for space it controls under this new NY State mandate.

More on Cultural Center fee issue from previous post.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) March 2015 Common Council Monthly Meeting Tonight, You're Invited To Attend And Raise Issues Of Concern

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting this evening at 8:00 PM in the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street).

 Image Of December 2014 RIRA Common Council Meeting

As always, prior to the start of each monthly meeting there is a public session in which residents can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern.

All residents are encouraged to attend RIRA meetings.

Below is the full Agenda for tonight's RIRA Common Council meeting.

New York Junior Tennis League President's Week Doubles Tournament Held At Roosevelt Island Racquet Club - RI Resident Coaches Young Tennis Players

The New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) held it's President's Week Doubles Tournament

Image From NYJTL

at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. According to NYJTL:
NYJTL’s mission is to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court. Through tennis, academic enrichment, healthy living, and character development programs, NYJTL teaches life skills to underserved youth in New York City.

The experience and culture of tennis, along with academic support services, have helped hundreds of thousands of young people improve their performance in school and raise their aspirations, inspiring success both on and off the court.
Here's the NYJTL report on the President's Week Doubles Tournament:
The snow that blanketed New York City last Tuesday morning couldn’t stop nearly 50 excited youngsters from trekking to the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club for the first day of NYJTL’s Presidents’ Week Doubles tournament.

Image From NYJTL

A total of 112 boys and girls, ages 9 to 18, from all across the city competed over the course of this three-day event, which was held during schools’ mid-winter break.

Image From NYJTL

Each morning began at 6:30am with registration periods that NYJTL Community Tennis Programs Manager, Scott Daly, called “organized chaos.” After registration kids hit the courts each playing between four and six games in a round robin format. At the end of several hours of fun competition, the pairs who accumulated the most points in their groups were awarded winners’ medals.

Image of Tennis Players And Coach Joyce Short From NYJTL

For Shawn Yon, his son’s enjoyment of the game is the most important thing.

Image From NYJTL

His son, also named Shawn, competed in the 9- and 10-year-old division. “My son loves the NYJTL program,” he said. “The coaches are great and they push him to get better. He’s fallen in love with tennis.”

Waking up early to play tennis is nothing new for these kids. They’re up before dawn every Saturday and Sunday morning to participate in NYJTL’s 20-week Winter Program at indoor venues throughout the city.

Presidents’ Week Doubles is one of 80 special events that the Community Tennis Programs will hold in 2015
Roosevelt Island resident Joyce Short is the NYJTL District Manager for Manhattan and Queens. She

was recently profiled for the NYJTL Coaches Corner. According to NYJTL Coaches Corner:
Few things thrill Joyce Short more than watching the kids she coaches at the Roosevelt Island Community Tennis Program learn and grow. But there’s added significance for her when she sees girls, in particular, excel.

Joyce grew up before the 1972 Title IX legislation created equal opportunities for girls to participate in sports. She played tennis and competed in citywide tournaments as a one- and three-meter springboard diver in her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. She was the City Champion in the 16-and-under category. But her high school had no varsity teams for girls. As a University of Georgia co-ed, she was only allowed to use the diving board in the “men’s pool,” two hours per week.

Today, Joyce relishes the opportunity to be a role model for all young people, but especially girls. “I hope that the fact that I’m here coaching as a female athlete will speak volumes to them about their potential,” she says....

... In 1988, she was coaching a little league team and giving private tennis lessons when a youngster on Roosevelt Island asked her to start a youth program. She agreed, and the next day he came back with 35 of his friends, eager to learn the game.

Two years later, Skip Hartman opened the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club and enlisted her to create a NYJTL program. Every year since, Joyce has directed the club’s NYJTL winter program, and has run the other seasonal programs as often as her other job responsibilities have allowed....
Click here for the full article on NYJTL's Joyce Short.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Roosevelt Island Retail Update - New Ownership Coming For Nonno's Focacceria Says Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related

There will soon be a new owner of the Roosevelt Island Nonno's Focacceria.

I asked Hudson Related Main Street Retail Leaseholder representative Arriana Sacks Rosenberg:
I am told that Nonno's Focacceria is changing ownership. Alphonse is selling to one of the employees. The change in ownership is pending Hudson Related's approval and a lease extension.

Is that true?
Ms Rosenberg replied today:
Yes, Nonno’s is changing ownership, not to one of his employees. The ownership and assignment has been approved and we are finishing up the documents.
I followed up:
Is the new owner of Nonno's an experienced pizza store owner with NYC stores?

I was told the new owner has a store in Philadelphia but not NYC.

Can you tell us anything about the new owner?
Ms Rosenberg said:
They don’t own any stores in New York right now, but the new owner and his partner have experience in this market in New York.
Nonno's first opened on Roosevelt Island January 2, 2008. As reported at the time:
Image Of Nonno's Focacceria Grand Opening

I never in my life thought I would write these words but here goes.

I tried to get into a Roosevelt Island restaurant this afternoon for lunch but it was too crowded. Every seat was occupied and there was a long line at the counter for the opening of the much anticipated and long awaited Nonno's Focacceria at 455 Main Street (212-753-2300 or 2307).

I look forward to going back later today.

A great big WELCOME to Roosevelt Island for Nonno's!!
Regarding the Card & Gift Shop, Ms. Rosenberg noted:
As I mentioned in the meeting at RIOC, we are working on a deal with Island Newsstand for a new lease. Nothing has been finalized yet.
and whether M&D Deli has changed ownership, she added:
It has not changed yet, but we are working with the owners on this. With any assignment, there will be a major renovation of the store.
More information on Roosevelt Island retail from Ms. Rosenberg available at this previous post from the January 29 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.

Help Save A Life - Take A Roosevelt Island Hands Only CPR Training Class

 Hands Only CPR Training During June 2014 Roosevelt Island Day

Roosevelt Island Resident Association (RIRA) Common Council Member Lynn Strong Shinozaki is leading an effort to teach Roosevelt Island residents Hands Only CPR. According to the American Heart Association:
Hands-Only™ CPR Can Save Lives.

Most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location die because they don't receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. As a bystander, don't be afraid. Your actions can only help.

When calling 911, you will be asked for your location. Be specific, especially if you’re calling from a mobile phone as that is not associated with a fixed address. Answering the dispatcher’s questions will not delay the arrival of help.

How to Give Hands-Only CPR
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song "Stayin' Alive." CPR can more than double a person's chances of survival, and "Stayin' Alive" has the right beat for Hands-Only CPR.
Here's a Hands Only CPR demonstration from the American Heart Association

and the upcoming schedule for Roosevelt Island Hands Only CPR training.
Ms. Shinozaki talked about Hands Only CPR Training during September 10 RIRA meeting Public Session.

Kids can save a life with Hands Only CPR training too.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Watch Next To Last Goldwater Hospital Building Demolished - Latest Update From Cornell Tech On Roosevelt Island Campus Construction

Here's the latest on the demolition of Roosevelt Island's Goldwater Hospital to make way for the new Cornell Tech campus.

A video posted by Johnny J (@jipdome10) on

According to the latest Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island construction update:
February 20 - March 6 Look Ahead

Building J’s foundation removal, crushing, and backfill is fully complete. The crews have moved north to Building A, where sorting of the demolition debris is ongoing. Foundation removals have recently begun on Building A.

The Building E façade removal operation continues as the weather permits. Façade brick has been completely stripped from the northern and western faces of the building. The remaining façade removal on the east side and portions of the south side should be complete within the coming two weeks, at which point more structural demolition will resume.

Agency approval for the new water main installation was received. The pipe installation will require temporary closures to the North Road. The work is sensitive to extreme temperatures so the schedule cannot yet be finalized. The contractor has been closely coordinating with Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation staff to minimize impact to bus service and private vehicles that use the North Road.

Mobilization for the First Academic Building has begun and will continue in the coming weeks. The start of excavation is imminent.

Please note: as you know, Cornell Tech has a community space in Gallery RIVAA at 527 Main Street on Roosevelt Island and office hours are normally Wednesdays and Fridays. However, because the gallery is quite chilly in the winter, office hours for the remainder of February and throughout the month of March will be held on Wednesdays only, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Beginning in April, office hours will once again be held two days a week.
Cornell Tech will be providing a project status update to the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Community and Construction Task Force tonight 6 PM at 546 Main Street 12th floor conference room.

Here's December 8, 2014 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Town Hall Meeting presentation by PAL Environmental Services Arik Domozick on the demolition of Goldwater Hospital campus

Roosevelt Island Meditation Steps Lights Repaired Reports Resident, Thanks RIOC - Nice Picture Too

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse: