Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Memories Of Past Roosevelt Island Bridge Sailboat Collisions - WATCH OUT

Tom Sakmar provided this eyewitness report last Friday of:

A large bi-hull sailboat was de-masted today (September 26, 2014) at about 2:47 p.m. when it hit the Roosevelt Island Bridge. The boat was in the East Channel of the East River heading South propelled by a rapid tidal current...

... The metal mast and all the rigging and struts came came crashing down to the deck within seconds as the two adults on the deck, a man and woman, scrambled to stay clear. Neither of them appeared to be injured,...

Image From William S
which triggered these memories of similar sailing accidents from Roosevelt Island residents.

Christopher Scott Knell remembers a time long ago:
Back in the "early days" (daze?) of Roosevelt Island when the park was brand new (What is now called Cappobianco Park), there was always a huge amount of kids and parents playing with all the new toys....Full Court Basketball games, The Mens RI League Softball, Hippies with Frisbees, New Paddleball courts..

And we all begin to notice a rather large sailboat heading North in the East Channel being carried quite swiftly by the afternoon tidal flow.

Suddenly, we all hear the sounds of a big motor racing it's engines and begin to realize that the huge 30 to 40 foot sailboat is trying it's best to avoid hitting the bridge with it's very tall mast.

They didn't make it.

With what sounded like a huge crack of Lightning, the 40 foot mast came crashing down onto the boat as it's passengers dove into the river.

Collectively, all 200 people in the park said "OH SHIT!!!" all at once and in perfect unison. I think we were all just as surprised at our perfectly shouted and echoing expletive as we were at the boat's demise.
and Al Short has a more recent memory:
I live atop Manhattan Park looking south. One 4th of July, back when the fireworks were down off 34th St, some guests and I were looking down on the 4 hr traffic jam to get out of the Motorgate and also the big flotilla of pleasure boats coming up East Channel afterwards. One sailboat clipped the bridge with its mast. It did not break but it sent the boat into an almost surrealistically slow set of 360's. The boat almost hit the rocks behind the Motorgate but recovered in time.
If I had a boat

I'd make sure not to hit the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Last Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council Meeting Of Current Term Tonight - Are You Interested In Serving Community By Running For RIRA Common Council Member For Next Term Starting In November?

Image Of March 2014 RIRA Meeting

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).

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.

Tonight's Common Council meeting will be the last of this term. A new RIRA Common Council will be elected and seated for the November 2014 meeting.

RIRA President Jeff Escobar invites residents to attend the Common Council meeting and to consider running for the next RIRA Term:
... nominations for a position on the RIRA Common Council and/or as an Executive Officer will open on Wednesday, October 1, and close on October 24 at 9 p.m. Nomination forms can be obtained by email from Nominations Committee Chair Aaron Hamburger (, or in hard copy at either our Public Library or at Public Safety (where there will also be a lock box to drop off your completed forms). As we have been saying in this column, running for an office to represent either your building or RIRA itself is the ultimate form of community service. If you are interested in running and/or have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Aaron at or 212-758-2623. And come to our October 1 Common Council meeting at 8:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center to see the body in action.
Here's RIRA Common Council Candidate Nomination Election Flyer.

Perhaps you can help stop RIRA's dysfunction and make a positive impact on the Roosevelt Island community. Consider running for RIRA Common Council.

UPDATE 5:50 PM - Here's the Agenda for tonight's RIRA Meeting:
Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Time & Place: 8:00 pm, Church of Good Shepard

1. Public Session

2. Roll Call of Common Council Members

3. Adoption of Agenda

4. Adoption of the Minutes
a. Adoption of September 2014 Council Meeting Minutes
b. Adoption of February 2014 Council Meeting Minutes
c. Adoption of January 2014 Council Meeting Minutes

5. President’s Report

6. Treasurer’s Report

7. Island Services Committee Report

8. Nomination Committee Report
a. Motion to Expense Up to $300 for Nomination Materials

9. Old Business
a. Government Relations Committee Report (as laid over from September 2014 Common Council Meeting)
b. Resolution for Joint RIRA Letter by RIRA President, Housing Committee Chair, Planning Committee Chair and Island Services Committee Chair to Hudson Related Request a Town Hall Meeting (as withdrawn from September 2014 Common Council Meeting and resubmitted for consideration)

10. New Business
a. Committee Reports and Resolutions Submitted after deadline of 5PM the Friday preceding present Common Council Session

i. Communications Committee Report

1. Resolution to (y) Re-institute Email
Communications by Groups and (z) Permit Common Council Member Distribution of Informative and Promotion Communications

ii. Elections Committee Report
1. Motion to Seek Resolution of Method of Voting and Expenditure of Funds for RIRA 2014-2016 Term of Elections
b. Resolution to Seek Alternate Storage Space for Non-Archival Corporation Records and Materials

Cornell NYC Tech Demolition Of Roosevelt Island Goldwater Hospital Latest Update - Above Grade Building C Demolition Completed, Hand Demolition Part Of Building F Underway, Interior Demolition Of All Buildings Complete & Rubble Removal Air Quality Response

Image Of Cornell NYC Tech Demolition Of Goldwater Hospital Yesterday

Here's the most recent Cornell NYC Tech Construction Update

Image Of Cornell NYC Tech Demolition Of Goldwater Hospital Yesterday

describing the demolition

Image Of Cornell NYC Tech Demolition Of Goldwater Hospital Yesterday

of Goldwater Hospital.

According to the Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island construction update:
September 26 - October 10 Look Ahead

Structural demolition of Building C is ongoing. The above-grade portion of the building is fully demolished, and work to remove the basement and foundation walls will start shortly. The sorting of the rubble will continue.

Hand demolition of the northern portion of Building F is underway. This demolition method is being used due to the close proximity to the north loop road. Once the northern portion of the building is complete, mechanical means will be employed for the other sides of the building.

Interior demolition is now complete in Building E, marking the end of interior demolition across all buildings on the Cornell site. Interior abatement work is ongoing and focused on the first floor and basement levels.

Test pits have been completed successfully along the north loop road and the southern portion of the west roadway. Underground conditions were verified and steel plates have been used to secure the openings.

The barging operation has been impacted by the limits imposed on marine travel due to United Nations meetings. Once normal operations resume, there will be an increase in barge activity as we work to remove the backlog of containers from the site.
Also, the most recent air quality monitoring data from Cornell NYC Tech at the Goldwater Hospital site.
Image From Cornell Tech

Air Quality Action Levels
Background corrected particulate concentration data from the site is compared to particulate action levels. This correction is calculated by subtracting the upwind concentration from the downwind concentration and provides the concentration of particulates being generated by site activities. The specific action levels and their response are as follows:
  • Between 0.100 mg/m3 and 0.150 mg/m3 – Particulate suppression techniques instituted.
  • Greater than 0.150 mg/m3 – Stop work and reevaluate activities. 
 Electrical Issues
Due to an event in Manhattan involving an electrical feeder (not associated with the Cornell Tech project), the on-site construction trailers did not have electricity from September 19th through September 22nd, making it impossible to charge the batteries for the monitors overnight. Power was restored Monday evening, allowing the equipment to charge and air monitoring to resume on Tuesday, September 23rd.

September 25, 2014

Sorting of the rubble took place in close proximity to the downwind meter resulting in particulate concentration in excess of 0.1. Additional water was used as a particulate suppressant and readings soon returned to normal levels.
More details on Cornell NYC Tech demolition procedures of Roosevelt Island's Goldwater Hospital at this August 25 post.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gorgeous Photo Experiment With Light Shows Roosevelt Island Love - Spectacular Skyline View Of Manhattan East River Waterfront Too

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Picture was taken from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park.

Frank Farance Suspended By Roosevelt Island CERT Team For Not Being Team Player, Farance Says Suspension Retaliation For Reporting Operational Problems And Politically Motivated - What Will NYC OEM Do?

On September 26, I asked Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Chief Howard Polivy:

I understand that Frank Farance was recently suspended from the Roosevelt Island CERT Team.

According to Frank, he was suspended because CERT Team members claim he included Roosevelt Islander in an email thread that had certain critical remarks about the manner in which Howard Polivy is leading the Roosevelt Island CERT Team. Also, CERT team members affiliated with the Wire newspaper were on the email thread but that was not given as a reason for Frank's suspension.

Is Frank's correct regarding the reason he was suspended?

If not, what was the reason for his suspension?...
Mr. Polivy replied later that day:
The following was sent to OEM and the CERT team:
"CERT Frank Farance has been suspended from RI CERT, Mn8.
The team will discuss this ongoing suspension at its next meeting, Monday, October 27."

This is an internal team matter for which I have no other comments at this time.
Mr. Farance sent the following message yesterday to the NYC's Office Of Emergency Management (OEM) in response to his suspension by the Roosevelt Island CERT.
I disagree strongly, Mr. Polivy's actions are inappropriate, and (essentially) this punishes and retaliates against a CERT member who has reported significant operational problems with CERT. I am requesting a full investigation of this team, including its leadership, and the supervisory and oversight practices of the CERT management chain. I am also requesting the NYC DOI Inspectors General to investigate. It should not be the case that CERT member participation is subject to political payback and retaliation....

1. The Roosevelt Island CERT (RI-CERT), originally formed in 2006, has suffered from dysfunction for several years. I can't think of any meeting minutes we've had in a half dozen years. Below, please find a list of the very few meetings in 2011-2013. There were long periods, including over a year, where we received no communication from our team chief Mr. Polivy (or his assistant chief). The meetings were extremely sparse, several members questioned whether or not we (as a CERT team) still exist, and we suffered significant attrition of team membership.

2. The call tree has not been updated in 6 years (see E-mail below). I have requested updated contact information from Mr. Polivy several times. His wife, Ellen Polivy (also a CERT member), has asked for this information to be updated and Mr. Polivy asked me to do it (see E-mails below). Normally, I maintain the E-mail reflector (E-mail list) for the team so we can quickly communicate. However, Mr. Polivy is not providing information, and his blind-copy E-mails prohibit/inhibit communications among the team. With no phone numbers, no call tree, an out-of-date E-mail reflector, and blind-copies ... there is no way for CERT members to communicate in an emergency, which is a serious operational problem for our CERT.

3. In our meeting last week, some CERT members registered complaints that were repeats of the same arguments they made when Mr. Polivy's wife (and others, who are also CERT members) unsuccessfully tried to get me expelled from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) because I was complaining about improper financials, procedures, and such. It seems clear that their complaints in the CERT meeting were, essentially, a repeat of their complaints in RIRA. Also, there are a variety of conflicts of interest that, I believe, operate here, which I will detail further in discussions with NYC DOI and the OEM Commissioner.

4. The purported suspension process, I believe, has no validity. There was no advanced notice that I might be suspended, the meeting seemed driven by local politics. If there has been some infraction, then it is up to the City (e.g., OEM) to determine my official status, not a set of volunteers without procedures and procedural guidance, and conflict-of-interest and whistleblower safeguards.

5. According to Mr. Polivy, he has concerns with the RI Blog receiving a copy of my message. Mr. Polivy has only provided excerpts and not the full context of the E-mail thread, which concerned CERT equipment, unbeknownst to myself and the owner of the building, being kept in a storage room -- these storage rooms were already under scrutiny as a potential fire/theft hazard when the owner, in consultation with NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), who changed the access procedures and started mandating their clean-out/reorganization.

6. Actually, it was Sherie Helstien (also a member of CERT and a staffer at the Main Street WIRE, our local newspaper) who sent the original message to the RI Blog that I responded to, I did not originate that E-mail thread that included the RI Blog. Since last week's CERT meeting, my purported suspension has appeared on the front page of the local newspaper. If Mr. Polivy feels that the RI Blog hearing about CERT issues was improper, then why is it acceptable to publish the purported suspension? Here is the report in the WIRE:
"Another Common Council delegate, Frank Farance of Island House, has been temporarily suspended from meetings of the Island's CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) by its chief Howard Polivy, as a non-team player, pending consultation with the City's Office of Emergency Management."
I was in the Westchester Disaster Simulation yesterday: I was elected to lead one of their teams, and our evaluators noted a strong, cohesive team with good/decisive leadership. I've had similar evaluations in other CERT activities over the years, including actual emergencies. Simply, this charge of "non-team" player is a bunch of baloney and disguises the root cause: local politics.

7. Meanwhile, Gwen Ryals and I did participate in the evacuation shelter staffing, several days each, of Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy (see attached photos).

I have volunteered for much CERT work over the years, and have helped the Roosevelt Island team in many ways, including supporting the recent community outreach and printing large banners for the team. Last fall, I participated in the disaster simulation to help graduate more Roosevelt Island CERT members. The Mayor's office has been interested in Gwen Ryal's and my feedback (After-Action Review) on CERT involvement in emergencies, which have helped CERT teams do better.

8. With Gwen Ryal's and my prior helpful feedback in several actual emergency responses, should CERT members be wary of saying anything (even in an off-hand discussion elsewhere) that is critical of CERT team performance? And should we allow politics to play a role in excluding/suspending members from a team? I thought we were based upon City-wide performance standards, not local politics. And what would the NY Times or Daily News say in their reporting: "Emergency Responder Suspended For Revealing Actual CERT Performance Problems"?

Simply, you must correct this (in multiple ways). Gwen Ryals and I will be requesting a meeting with the OEM Commissioner to discuss this further.
(The emails referenced by Mr. Farance are not included in this post).

What is Roosevelt Island CERT Team?

According to the NYC OEM:
OEM's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members undergo an intensive 10-week training program that raises awareness about emergencies and disasters and provides basic response skills needed for fire safety, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations, and traffic control. After graduating from the 10-week program, CERT members support their communities by assisting with emergency education and response. Emergency services personnel are the best equipped to respond to disasters. NYC CERT volunteers are trained to support the efforts of New York City's first responders.

During non-emergency situations, NYC CERTs educate their communities about emergency preparedness by working with the Ready New York program and building community disaster networks.
Here's some of the emergency training undertaken by the Roosevelt Island CERT Team.

UPDATE 10:15 PM - A Roosevelt Island resident adds:
It's a volunteer position, They can't stop him! The CERT beg for volunteers and when you disagree with them they complain. I was part of the first CERT and they all refused to go to other parts of the city to volunteer when needed. They claimed they only wanted to participate here on the island. I quit couldn't take the excuses. Stop the stupidness.

Roosevelt Island Jobs Available - Deli Workers Wanted For Wholesome Factory & Gristedes Supermarket

Are you looking for a job on Roosevelt Island?

Deli workers are needed for Wholesome Factory (530 Main Street)

and Gristedes Supermarket (686 Main Street)

Go to the stores for more information.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Chain Owner John Catsimatidis Hosts Sunday Radio Talk Show Too - Guests Include National Health Institute Director Anthony Fauci On Ebola Outbreak, Former Ambassador John Negroponte On ISIS And Middle East Crisis & More

 Image Of John Catsimatidis From The Cats Roundtable

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket chain owner, real estate developer, billionaire oilman, former NYC Mayoral candidate and entrepreneur John Catsimatidis is also host of a Sunday morning radio talk show - the Cats Round Table on AM 970.

Yesterday, Sunday September 28, the Cats Roundtable discussed meeting with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, San Gennaro Festival, obtaining a Panda Bear from China for NYC, the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder and hanging out with former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Mr. Catsimatidis then conducted very interesting interviews with:
Here's the Cats Roundtable from September 28,

Mr. Catsimatidis with former Vice President Dick Cheney
and my interview with Mr.Catsimatidis during March 2013 grand re-opening of the Roosevelt Island Gristedes.