Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) May 2016 Common Council Meeting Tonight - You're Invited To Attend And Raise Issues Of Concern

Image Of September 2015 RIRA Common Council Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will meet this evening, May 4, 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.

Here's the Agenda.

You're invited to come to tonight's RIRA meeting and learn what's happening on Roosevelt Island. 

Update On Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Construction, Partnership With PS/IS 217, Re-Treeing And More At Roosevelt Island Community Coaltion May 5 Meeting - You're Invited To Attend And Find Out What Is Going On

No, the picture below taken last week does not represent the renaming of Roosevelt Island as Cornell Island.

Image From Judy Berdy

"Island" is the name of the company that is fabricating the façade panels for the Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech.

If you would like to learn more about the status of the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech project,

Image From April 25 Cornell Tech Construction & Community Task Force Meeting

you can attend the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) May 5 membership meeting. According to RICC:
The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition invites all to attend:

Thursday, May 5th, 2016
6:30 PM
546 Main Street - Conference Room, 12th Floor

-Update on construction, PS217, trees and more
-Members' remarks
-RICC activities

Public welcome - snacks will be served
RICC Co-Chairs Ellen Polivy and Judy Buck add:
As Cornell Tech continues working toward its August 2017 official “opening,” RICC urges you to attend our upcoming membership meeting, to voice your concerns and to stay engaged. If you haven't sent an RSVP please email as soon as you can, and feel free to send any concerns you may have.

RICC's goal has been vigilance: making certain that Cornell fulfills its written and spoken promises, advocating for our community's health and well being during the long years of construction and sustaining communication with RIOC and stakeholders. Attached is the annual Economic Development Corporation report Cornell Tech is obligated to deliver. The EDC report provides the status on each item Cornell Tech promised to the city and the community in exchange for the 12.5 acres of land to build their corporate campus on Roosevelt Island.

RICC Board members (and RICC members!) continue to participate in quarterly Cornell Community and Construction Task Force Meetings, CB8 Subcommittee Meetings, and actively communication with our elected officials. RICC Board members attend important events like the Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer's State of the Borough, and City Council Member Ben Kallos' State of the District, to keep island issues connected to Cornell Tech top of mind. RICC also welcomed Assembly Member Seawright's new Chief of Staff, Katarina Matic, as she starts her role to serve our community.

Reminder, if you have concerns about construction or vehicles, please note the time, date, location, name on the truck and license plate and contact Jane Swanson at or (646) 632 4907 for immediate action.
Cornell NYC Tech 2016 Report to EDC

During the April 25, 2016 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Construction & Community Task Force meeting, Cornell Tech Director Of Capital Planning Andrew Winters presented a status update. Here's what happened.

Mr. Winters and a colleague described their plan, subject to approval by RIOC, for landscaping and re-treeing the eastern side (facing Queens) of the Cornell Tech campus.

Also, Cornell Tech's Director of K-12 Education Diane Levitt discussed working with PS/IS 217 and the Roosevelt Island Youth/Beacon After School Program.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech project, ask them at the May 5 RICC meeting.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy Interviewed On CB 8 Speaks - Fascinating Story Starting With The Dutch, Prisons, Poor House, Lunatic Asylum, Hospitals, Landmarks, Mae West & More

Image From CB 8 Speaks

According to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS):
Recently, Community Board 8 member and Roosevelt Island resident Ellen Polivy interviewed Judith Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS). The interview is the latest in the 'CB8 Speaks' series. The online series, presented by Community Board 8, features discussions with notable community members.

In this enlightening dialogue, Ms. Berdy recounts the history of Roosevelt Island and the background of the RIHS, as well as the society's advocacy and preservation work. She describes RIHS programs and sheds light on several island landmarks, including the Octagon. Ms. Berdy also notes entertainer Mae West's brief stay in the Workhouse on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island). Ms. Polivy and Ms. Berdy each mention their favorite Roosevelt Island buildings and Ms. Berdy shares her proudest moment as RIHS president.
Enjoy the interview.

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Mother's Day Crafts For Kids Saturday May 7, Children Will Make Mother's Day Bouquet Cards And Paper Muffin Liners, Please RSVP By May 5

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:

Dear RI parents,

We would like to invite you to another event in the free "Crafts with Kids" series by the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network.

Join us for "Mother's Day Craft" next Saturday, May 7, 10-11 AM at the Senior Center, 546 Main Street.

For this Mother's Day we will give Moms a bouquet that they can treasure long past Mother's Day. Children will create bouquet cards by cutting their pictures into circles and adhere them to the inside bottoms of paper muffin liners. We will cut stems and leaves and form them -- with the liners -- into picture blossoms on a card stock background. Inside the card there will be a message " I love my mommy because . . . " and children can write a special message for their moms.

In addition, the children will make a necklace out of colored pasta noodles. The children can string the pasta and then use hearts as stoppers for the noodles.

The children will also be making bouquets for the mothers who will be attending the Mother's Day Brunch in the Senior Center the same day between 11am and 1pm.

Natalia will be leading our Mother's Day Crafts. Thank you Natalia! Another thank you goes to Dolores Green, Barbara Parker, Wendy Hersh and Marylin Atkins from the Senior Center for letting us use their space for the event.

Please RSVP to by Thursday, May 5.

We are looking forward to seeing you,

Natalia, Neha and Eva

"Crafts with Kids" is a free workshop series for children organized by the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network. The monthly events included "Tram art and necklaces", "Matisse for Kids", "Valentine's Craft", "Black History Month Craft", "Spring Craft", "St. Patrick's Craft", "Earth Day Craft", "Easter Craft", "Mothers Day Craft", "Fathers Day Craft", "Summer craft - a lady bug", a "Back to school craft", a "Halloween craft", a "Lantern making workshop", a "Thanksgiving Craft", a "Holiday Craft" and the "On Roosevelt Island We... Craft".

Monday, May 2, 2016

Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team Head Coach Reports On Past Season - Hard Work Results In Medals, Ribbons & Personal Best Times

Image From RI Marlins

Michael Gavrilchin, the Head Coach of the Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team

shares these pictures and reports on the past 2015-16 season. According to Coach Gavrilchin:
Roosevelt Island Swim Team (RIST) finished 2015/16 short course season strong, placing among top teams at all three major Metro Championships.

First, RIST swimmers participated in 2016 Metropolitan Silvers Championship held February 27-28 at Lehman College NY. Among 33 Metro teams (more than 600 swimmers that qualified) Roosevelt Islanders dominated in multiple individual events bringing a full sack of medals and ribbons back home!

We congratulate and applaud:
  • Milos Ciric – personal best times, 100 Fly JO’s q (qualifying for Junior Olympics)!
  • Freddy Coronel – personal best!
  • Matteo Coullare – personal best!
  • Emir Emre – 1st place 50 Fly , club record, personal best, Zone Q (qualifying for Eastern Zone Championship)!
  • Mira Goodman – personal best!
  • Katarina Grozdanic – 1st place 100 Free, 1st place 100 Breast, 3 place 200 Breast, 100 backstroke club record, all personal best times!
  • Nicholas Gusita – personal best!
  • Strahinja Maslo – 1st place 50 Back, 2nd place 50 Breast, 3rd place 100 Back, 1st place 50 Free, multiple Jo’s Q times!
  • Denys Mialkovskyi – personal best times!
  • Erika Nazarova – great performance!
  • Matija Prokic, 3rd Place 200 Breast, club record, personal best times!
  • Sophia Shchuchinov – 5 club records with some Zone Q times in 100 Free - 1st place, 50 Back, 200 Back, 50 Fly – 2nd place, 200 Free – 3rd place!
  • Maksim Tesovic – 1st Place 200IM ZQ time and club record! All personal best!
In March, our 8&Under age group represented Roosevelt Island Swim Team at 2016 8&Under Metropolitan Swimming Championship in West Nyack, NY. Out of 47 participating teams Roosevelt Island Marlins captured 12th place overall scoring in individual races!

Main contributor to this high score is Timur Shchuchinov who won Highest Points Award Trophy becoming Absolute Champion in 6&Under Boys Division!

We congratulate and applaud:
  • Milica Grozdanic – multiple personal best times in 25 Back, 25 Fly, 50 Free
  • Tamara Tesovic – multiple personal best times in 25 Back, 25 Fly, 50 Breast, 100 IM, 50 Back, 50 Freestyle
  • Timur Shchuchinov – Highest Points award trophy, 1st Place in 50 Freestyle, 25 Backstroke, 25 Freestyle, 25 Breaststroke, 2nd place in 50 Backstroke, 4rd place in 50 Breaststroke!
  • Ian Remor – multiple personal best times 25 Back, 50 Breast, 25 Free, 100 IM, 50 Back,
  • Denys Mialkovskyi – 2nd Place in 50 Backstroke with New Club Record! 5th Place in 50 Fly, 6th Place in 25 Backstroke with New Club Record! Multiple personal best in 100 Free, 25 Fly, 50 Free!
By building strong foundation in 8&Under division our team builds the future, “stepping stones to swimming excellence”.

Finally, on March 11-13 at Eisenhower Aquatic Center, East Meadows, NY the biggest events of 2016 - Junior Olympics Swimming Championship - turned out to be successful for Roosevelt Island Swim Team! This year we brought 11 swimmers that qualified in individual or relay disciplines and have competed against swimmers from over 70 Metro Teams.  Our boys and girls demonstrated character and great swim skills, which allowed them to capture top places, set new records and personal best times! Marlins also had very strong relays, Boys 10&Under getting 11th place and girls 29th place respectively from over 40 teams.

We congratulate and applaud:
  • Milos Ciric – best time 50 Free
  • Emir Emre – competed in 9 individual events, set team records, personal best times and was part of the relay 11th place
  • Denys Myalkovskyi – personal best in the relay!
  • Katarina Grozdanic – competed in 2 individual events, set new club record in 50 Free, and was part of the 3 relays
  • Elena Jordan – personal best times in relays
  • Kelsey Long – personal best times in relays
  • Strahinja Maslo – had strong performances in 3 individual events and was part of the relay 11th place
  • Matija Prokic – personal best time in 100 Breast
  • Andrew Zubac – personal best time in 50 Free
  • Maksim Tesovic – competed in 9 events, 9th place in 100 Back, 9th place in 50 free, multiple record breaker, 11th place in relay
  • Sophia Shchuchinov – 2016 Junior Olympics Finalist 11-12 200 Breaststroke 5th place with new club record, 100 Breaststroke Finalist overall 12th place. She also competed in other 7 individual events and 3 relays setting multiple club records.

Again, I congratulate families, swimmers and coaches with amazing results this season. This success is not just given; it was earned through sweaty drylands, rigorous sets in the water and consistent desire to take every opportunity to become better.

I’m very proud and happy of what we have done this season! Special thanks go to Coach Kris who joined us this season and accomplished every task and goal that was envisioned in the beginning. By putting his energy, enthusiasm and mastery of stroke correction he amplified our Juniors group performance and strength, motivating them and showing them path to fast results.

I have no doubts if they continue working hard, success is inevitable in upcoming seasons! Finally I would like to thank every parent for being part of this very time consuming sport, working collaboratively with coaches, attending long hours swim meets, supporting kids, celebrating loud when kids succeed and comforting them when they fail but encourage not to give up, teaching them to be patient. Thank you all!
The Roosevelt Island Marlins train at the Sportspark pool. More information on the Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team, including how you can join, available at their web site.

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Chain Owner John Catsimatidis Hosts Sunday Radio Talk Show Too - Interviewed Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton And NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Yesterday

 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 very interesting Sunday morning radio talk show - the Cats Round Table on AM 970.

Take a listen. Yesterday, Mr. Catsimatidis interviewed Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

and NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton

among others.

Here's Mr. Catsimatidis at the March 2013 Grand Re-Opening of the Roosevelt Island Gristedes and 2012 Roosevelt Island Gristedes Town Hall Meeting.

More NYC Universal Pre Kindergarten Seats Coming To Roosevelt Island For September 2016 Class Says Council Member Ben Kallos - Roosevelt Island Day Nursery Offering At Least 50 New Pre K Seats, Sign Up Now To Take School Tour And Learn More

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos announced today that the NYC Department Of Education has added 90 new Universal Pre Kindergarten seats for Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side.
Approximately 50-51 of those new Universal Pre Kindergarten seats will be at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN).

RIDN Executive Director Pamela Stark reports:
Roosevelt Island Day Nursery, Inc. (RIDN) is thrilled to be able to further meet the needs of the community by offering new full day UPK classes starting September 2016. We thank Council Member Kallos's office and the Department of Education for their support during the approval process.

Dear Families:

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN) will be a full day UPK provider next year. Children with a 2012 date of birth would be eligible to attend school at RIDN 8:40 am-3 pm Monday-Friday for free during the 2016-2017 school year!

The next round of UPK choice is open to families from Monday May 2 through Friday May 20. We expect that as of Monday May 2 the Roosevelt Island UPK offerings in the Department of Educations online registration system will include both RIDN and PS 217.

Please note All current RIDN families with age eligible children who choose RIDN as their first choice UPK program in the DOE’s online registration system will be given priority enrollment to RIDN’s Pre-K Program.

For those of you who have a child with a 2012 birth date and have not yet visited RIDN, to learn more about our school we are pleased to offer three morning tours in May:

Friday May 6, 8:30- 9:30 am
Wednesday May 11, 8:30-9:30 am
Tuesday May 17, 8:30-9:30 am.

Please RSVP for a Q + A tour by emailing

Due to space limitations, tours will be limited to ten adults, and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The NYC Department of Education has more information on the Universal Pre Kindergarten Program.

Below is Press Release announcing the new Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side Universal Pre Kindergarten seats from NYC Council Member Ben Kallos:
Ninety more 4-year-olds will have free pre-kindergarten seats on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island thanks to the efforts of Council Member Ben Kallos who organized parents and children to identify new providers to which parents pledged to send children.

Of the 90 new seats, 54 will be at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery and 36 seats will be at the Manhattan Schoolhouse in the Upper East Side. This is an increase over the 425 seats previously offered on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island for the school year starting in September of 2016 to 515.

Parents can apply for Round 2 of Universal Pre-Kindergarten starting on May 2, 2016, including families who already applied, accepted an offer, or have not yet applied.

“Universal Pre-Kindergarten means having a seat for every four year old in their neighborhood where children can get an education and parents get the help they need in order to afford to live, work and raise a family in the city,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Eva Bosbach of the Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network as well as Ariel Chesler and Jack Moran of P.S. 183 for working with me, parents, children, providers, and the Department of Education to bring Universal Pre-Kindergarten to the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.”

Following reporting by WNYC in 2014 that Yorkville, Lenox Hill and Roosevelt Island had 2,118 four-year-olds and only 123 Pre-Kindergarten seats Council Member Ben Kallos has worked to bring new seats to the district. This included identifying parents with four year olds who pledged to send their children to Universal Pre-Kindergarten, working with schools and providers to become UPK locations, and working with the Department of Education through the application process to open more seats in the 5th Council District on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.

Since taking office Council Member Kallos and organizers in the community have successfully doubled the number of seats at P.S./I.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island. As of 2016 the number of seats in the Upper East Side and on Roosevelt Island has more than quadrupled from 123, a was originally reported by WNYC in 2014, to more than 425 as of the March deadline and as of today 515.

“Pre-K for All is about serving the children and families of New York, and we are doing that by moving the application process up a month, planning to better match seats and family demand, and making the Round 2 admissions process simpler for families. With the partnership of CM Kallos, we've made real progress in expanding options on Roosevelt Island, and the Upper East Side,” said Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack. “We encourage families to pre-register for their seat by May 20, and we'll continue to work tirelessly to ensure every family knows about the benefits of pre-K and is able to apply during the next round of admissions.”

“Roosevelt Island Day Nursery, Inc. (RIDN) is thrilled to be able to further meet the needs of the community by offering new full day UPK classes starting September 2016. We thank Council Member Kallos's office and the Department of Education for their support during the approval process.” said Pamela Stark, Executive Director of the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery.

“Roosevelt Island could not be more thankful for 54 additional universal Pre-K seats for our families! For more than a year members of the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network including Nisha Nihan, Danielle Goldblatt, Josie Chamla, Susy del Campo Perea and Heart Sugiyama teamed up in an effort to get more local UPK seats for our children. We collected lists of names, called and e-mailed our elected officials and requested more seats from the DOE. The mission of the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network is to serve its over 500 member families, keeping them connected through a discussion forum and various activities, and to advocate for their needs. We thank Council Member Ben Kallos and his team for working with us and bringing more local UPK seats to RI! Having a sufficient number of UPK seats on Roosevelt Island strengthens our commitment to the international, diverse, mixed income island neighborhood, a community that is welcoming to all.” said Eva Bosbach of the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network

“As an upper east side parent, I am concerned not only about the chances of my own child obtaining a pre-K spot in the neighborhood but also about the children of my friends and neighbors. That is why I have been speaking out about the insufficient number of seats in the area, spreading the word in the PS 183 Times, and working with Council Member Ben Kallos. I am glad to learn that Council Member Kallos has obtained additional seats for our neighborhood and applaud his efforts on this issue.” - said Ariel Chesler an author and parent at P.S. 183

“As parents my wife and I are thrilled to hear about more pre-k seats being announced for this area of the city we have lived for 15 years. It will mean more options for families of the Upper East Side to have their children grow and thrive in our community.”- said Jack Moran a parent at P.S. 183.

The list of locations with available in the Upper East Side and on Roosevelt Island are:

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN) (NEW)
405 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
4 River Road, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
2016-17 Seats: 54 Full day

Manhattan Schoolhouse (NEW)
1608 First Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10028
2016-17 Seats: 36 Full day

P.S. / I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island
645 Main St, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
2016-17 Seats: 36 Full day

Renanim Manhattan
336 East 61st St, Manhattan, NY 10065
2016-17 Seats: 16 Full day

East Side Elementary School, P.S. 267
213 East 63rd St, Manhattan, NY 10065
2016-17 Seats: 18 Full day

Ella Baker School
317 East 67th St, Manhattan, NY 10065
2016-17 Seats: 54 Full day

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
331 East 70th St, Manhattan, NY 10021
2016-17 Seats: 80 Full day

P.S. 158 Bayard Taylor
1458 York Ave, Manhattan, NY 10075
2016-17 Seats: 72 Full day

Cassidy's Place
419 East 86th St, Manhattan, NY 10028
2016-17 Seats: 36 Full day and Half Day

Eisman Day Nursery
1794 First Ave, Manhattan, NY 10128
2016-17 Seats: 39 Full day

P.S. 198 Isador E Ida Straus
1700 Third Ave, Manhattan, NY 10128
2016-17 Seats: 54 Full day

Lexington Children's Center
115 East 98th St, Manhattan, NY 10029
2016-17 Seats: 20 Full day
UPDATE 12:55 PM - RIDN's Pamela Stark reports that the RIDN Pre K seats are at their 4 River Road location, not 405 Main Street as listed in the Press Release above.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Scenes From 2016 Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival - Japanese Tea Ceremony, Music, Dance, Food & Culture

The Sixth Annual Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival took place yesterday at several locations around the Island.
The 2016 Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival began with a Tea Ceremony at Manhattan Park's Central Park 

Images By Lynn Strong-Shinozaki

and the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Picnic
 Image From Eva Bosbach

followed by Music, Dance and Martial Arts performances at the Manhattan Park Theater Club Plaza
hosted by Master Of Ceremonies Jim Luce.

Here's some of what happened at yesterday's Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival.

A Yosakoi dance by Roosevelt Island kids,

more dance,
A video posted by ScottyP (@scottpiro) on

and Gerald Starlight playing Sakuhachi (Japanese flute) at the Gallery RIVAA.

After the performances, Roosevelt Island kids got a close up view of the Japanese instruments.

Images From Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach

Also, the Roosevelt Island Japanese community

shares these pictures taken at the Manhattan Park Theater Club Plaza and Gallery RIVAA during the 2016 Cherry Blossom Festival.

It was a fun day.

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network RI MoM Walking And Exercise Group Meeting Monday Morning May 2 At Tram Kiosk - Dads Welcome Too

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:

Hi all,

Our next free RI Moms on the Move (RI MoM) walk, exercise, chat and play will take place Monday May 02 2016, at 9:30am at the Tram kiosk.

Please join us for some exercise, chat and play outside.

Since we will be exercising on the grass, bring a blanket/mat for you and the kids and some toys to share to keep them busy.

The walk and exercise will be lead by Saskia. All for free. We hope you can join us!:)

See you there.

Please send me a short e-mail if you are interested in joining us.