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Friday, July 13, 2007

FERRY SERVICE - WHY NOT ROOSEVELT ISLAND?


THE NEW YORK POST HAD A COLUMN YESTERDAY BY ARTHUR E. IMPERATORE, THE PRESIDENT OF NY WATERWAY, DESCRIBING THE BENEFITS OF FERRY SERVICE TO THE NEW YORK TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM. HE WRITES:

Ferries will play a big role in the development of the Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx waterfronts, which will become more attractive because ferry commuting avoids congestion-pricing fees. A ferry takes less than 10 minutes to get from Greenpoint in Brooklyn to Wall Street.

Subsidized ferry fares, paid from some part of the congestion-pricing fee, would encourage even more commuters to leave their cars behind.

Ferry terminals, linked to surrounding neighborhoods by bus, are the fastest and cheapest form of transportation infrastructure.

OF THE FERRY ROUTES HE DESCRIBES IN THE COLUMN, NONE INCLUDE ROOSEVELT ISLAND. MR. IMPERATORE WRITES:

Among the routes we could create:

* West 70th Street to Lower Manhattan, a 15-20 minute trip for residents of Riverside South and the surrounding area, reducing traffic on the West Side and relieving pressure on the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 subway lines.

* Randalls Island to Lower Manhattan, a 25-minute trip for Queens/Long Island commuters who could park in the hundreds of spaces under the Triborough Bridge, taking traffic off the FDR Drive.

* Midland Beach in Staten Island to Lower Manhattan, a 22-minute trip, cutting traffic on the Verazzano Bridge-Gowanus Expressway corridor.

* Jamaica Bay service, with stops in Rockaway and at Floyd Bennett Field or Sheepshead Bay and in Bay Ridge, taking traffic off the Belt Parkway.

I KNOW THAT NEW YORK WATER TAXI WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE A FERRY STOP ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND. NY WATER TAXI HAS HAD DISCUSSIONS WITH ROOSEVELT ISLAND PROPERTY OWNERS TO INCLUDE ROOSEVELT ISLAND ON AN EAST RIVER FERRY ROUTE. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT, IF ANY, INPUT RIOC HAS ON THIS MATTER. DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT ARE THE MAIN OBSTACLES TO FERRY SERVICE ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND AND HOW THEY CAN BE RESOLVED?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

SHOW ME JERRY McGUIRE AT SOUTHPOINT PARK'S OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHT



IT'S OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHT AT SOUTHPOINT PARK ON SATURDAY, JULY 14 STARTING AT APPROXIMATELY 9PM. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE IN NYC TO WATCH AN OUTDOOR MOVIE THAT IS MORE AWESOME AND INSPIRING THAN SOUTHPOINT PARK.

THE VOTING IS IN AND THE WINNING MOVIE IS ... JERRY McGUIRE.

ROOSEVELT ISLAND SCHOOLS

A reader of the Post on potential residential development at Goldwater Hospital, who is considering moving to Roosevelt Island asks what effect such development will have on Island schools. She comments:

My husband and I are considering moving to Roosevelt Island with our two kids. We are a bit concerned about schooling there, particularly with the influx of so many more residential units, and the desire to attract families. Would you know where I can get information about existing schools (size, capacity, etc.)and whhat plans they may have to keep up with this growth? Thank you.
July 12, 2007 7:22 AM
PS 217/IS 217 are the local schools on Roosevelt Island. Here is a link to the school portal.

Also, RIOC President Steve Shane wrote the following in the June 30 column in the Main Street Wire:
PS 217: I met with PTA representatives to talk about developments on the Island and specifically, the impact on the future school population of the expanded housing stock of the Octagon and Southtown developments. A census and projection should be done so that advance planning will be done for the inevitable increase in the school age population
The question posed by this reader is precisely the reason why Roosevelt Islander was created - to utilize the collective knowledge, experience and good will of Roosevelt Islanders to inform and advise others in the community and elsewhere on issues concerning Roosevelt Island. Remember, this reader as well as others, may be our future neighbors.

OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY


ONE OF THE PRIMARY GOALS OF THIS BLOG IS TO HELP PROVIDE CONCERNED CITIZENS EASY ACCESS TO THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF HOW ROOSEVELT ISLAND HAS BEEN GOVERNED IN THE PAST AND TO PROMOTE OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY BY OUR CURRENT GOVERNMENTAL REPRESENTATIVES. TO DATE, THE CURRENT RIOC ADMINISTRATION HAS EXPRESSED BY WORDS AND DEEDS SIMILAR GOALS.

HERE IS A LINK TO THE MINUTES OF THE RIOC BOARD OF DIRECTOR MEETINGS FROM 1997 -2006. PERHAPS, IN THE SPIRIT OF OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY, RIOC CAN MAKE AVAILABLE ON THEIR WEB SITE THE MINUTES TO THE 2007 BOARD OF DIRECTOR MEETINGS AS WELL

ALSO, THE RIOC WEB SITE INCLUDES A LINK TO THEIR 2007 FINANCIAL STATEMENT AND 2007-08 FISCAL YEAR BUDGET. IT WOULD BE VERY HELPFUL IF RIOC COULD POST FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR PRIOR YEARS ON THEIR WEB SITE SO THAT COMPARISONS COULD BE MADE BETWEEN THE VARIOUS ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS.

IT WOULD BE OF GREAT USE TO THE COMMUNITY IF OTHER IMPORTANT ROOSEVELT ISLAND GOVERNING DOCUMENTS SUCH AS THE GENERAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND ALL AMENDMENTS THERETO BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. ANY IDEAS FOR ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS THAT SHOULD BE MADE ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC WOULD BE WELCOME.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

DIALOGUE WITH PRESIDENT OF RIOC, PART 1 OF 4

BELOW IS AN EXCHANGE OF EMAIL MESSAGES I HAD YESTERDAY AND EARLIER THIS MORNING WITH STEPHEN SHANE THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND OPERATING CORPORATION. MR SHANE WAS RECENTLY APPOINTED TO HIS POSITION FOLLOWING THE ELECTION OF GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER. THE MAIN STREET WIRE HAS AN EXCELLENT PROFILE AND INTERVIEW WITH HIM.

I COMMEND MR. SHANE FOR ENGAGING IN THIS DIALOGUE AND ENCOURAGE HIM AND THE RIOC STAFF TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EXCHANGE OF IDEAS THAT I HOPE WILL OCCUR ON ROOSEVELT ISLANDER. I APOLOGIZE FOR THE LENGTH OF THE POST BUT I THINK IT IS WORTHWHILE FOR THE ISSUES ADDRESSED. THE EXCHANGE BEGINS BELOW WITH MY INITIAL MESSAGE TO MR. SHANE:

...I wanted to let of you know, as the President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, that I have just started a blog about Roosevelt Island. It is intended to provide information about Roosevelt Island to residents and visitors alike by linking to news articles, historical web sites and other sources as well as creating a 24/7 forum for those interested to comment, ask questions and engage in an online dialogue about issues facing the Island. Hopefully, the talent and knowledge base of those using Roosevelt Islander will contribute to improving the quality of life here.

My aim to provide links to a variety of information sources on the web and then encourage readers to post their own comments based on their particular knowledge or opinion on the subject. I would hope that Roosevelt Islander becomes an virtual 24/7 town hall for online discussion of any topic of interest to Roosevelt Islanders and a one stop location for online information about the island for anyone interested at any time of the day or night.

For instance, suppose there is an article in the NY TImes, Post, Daily News, Wire, etc that reports on the proposed FDR Memorial at Southpoint Park (or any other issue such as the lack of appropriate retail stores, or the stroller on the red bus issue). I would cite that article with a brief summary, provide a link to the online version of the article, perhaps offer an opinion of my own and then provide a forum for any person who wished to publish their own comments on the article as well as comments on the comments. I hope that you as well as any member of the RIOC staff would offer their comment or responses as well.

Specifically, take a look at my first post about the fireworks at Southpoint Park. That entry generated several comments including inquiries on (1) if RIOC has ever accounted for the financial need to charge $18 for viewing fireworks (2) are private events allowed at Southpoint park and (3) information on the proposed monument at Southpoint Park. These are questions that your constituents are asking. Wouldn't it be great if these questions, as well as many others can be addressed by those in the community, as well as RIOC officials, who have some knowledge on the subject area in a very short period of time. Also, take a look at some of the real estate and neighborhood blogs that I linked to on the right side of the page. These are examples to one extent or another of the type of thing I hope to do.

Neighborhood blogging is not something new. It is very common and when Roosevelt Island is mentioned it is usually not a positive story. Read this story and follow the link to see what I mean. Blogging done right spreads opinion, information and hopefully a little bit of knowledge. Nothing wrong with that is there?

Finally, I hope that Roosevelt Islander becomes an effective communication tool between RIOC and the community so that each of us can work together resolve conflicts, avoid misunderstandings and contribute ideas with the goal of improving the quality of life on Roosevelt Island.

Regards,

...
ROOSEVELTISLANDER@gmail.com

PART 2 OF 4

MR. SHANE RESPONDS BELOW:

Who made the claim: "RIOC CLAIMS THAT, UNLIKE OTHER PUBLIC VIEWING AREAS
FOR FIREWORKS SUCH AS THE FDR DRIVE OR BROOKLYN HEIGHTS PROMENADE WHICH
ARE FREE, SOUTHPOINT PARK IS STATE LAND WHICH DOES NOT RECEIVE ANY MONEY
FROM THE CITY TO PAY FOR THE EXTRA COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH KEEPING THE
AREA OPEN FOR VIEWING THE FIREWORKS."?
Why do I detect a note of sourness in your questions (see examples in
paragraph 3 of your e mail)?
Are there any favorable comments you would care to link to your web
site?
As I have repeatedly published and said, I am open to questions by
phone or e mail or snail mail or in person.
In answer to your specific questions, (1) yes RIOC has and will
continue to account for its income and expenditures, as a public benefit
corporation; (2) private events are permitted at Southpoint, by permit;
and (3) the available information on the proposed monument at Southpoint
is voluminous, going back to the origins of the agreement between the
City and the State in 1969 and the dedication of the Island as
"Roosevelt Island". Public hearings have been held and undoubtedly will
be held some more. See Louis Kahn and Roosevelt Island. See the RI
Historical Society. See the RIVAA exhibit. See the WIRE. See the Cooper
Union exhibition in January-February 2005. For a ton of specifics,
address your inquiries to Gina Pollara, the executive director of the
Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Four Freedoms Park. She has an office at
66 West 35th Street, Suite 656, New York, NY 10001 and may be reached by
phone at 212-615-5340 and her e mail is gpollara@feri.org. Governor
Spitzer has issued his letter of support, but the project is dependant
on the FDR group's raising the funding (presently estimated to be about
$40 million).

I certainly hope that the Roosevelt Islander becomes an effective
communication tool between RIOC and the community, as is the WIRE,
public hearings, town hall meetings, open doors and personal exchange.
The quality of life on the Island is always under review for areas of
improvement within the means and purview of RIOC.


Stephen H. Shane
President & CEO
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.

PART 3 OF 4

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER RESPONDS:

Thanks for the prompt reply.

Please understand that there was no sourness express or implied in any
manner by the question regarding the costs associated with the July 4
fireworks.I personally heard you say at the last public meeting that a
reason for the $18 charge for viewing fireworks at Southpoint Park was
that, unlike those other venues, RIOC did not receive any city funds
for whatever additional costs were associated with keeping the park
open. If I misheard or misunderstood you I will correct and apologize.
In the interest of public openess and transparency, I think it would
be a great idea if RIOC would publish the income and expenditures for
this specific event that you refer to.

I think questioning why their is an $18 fee to attend the fireworks
display at a public venue such as Southpoint Park is quite legitmate.
If you can explain why you think it is an inappropriate question I
would be more than happy to apologize to you and anyone else at RIOC.
Also, the questions in paragraph 3 of my email were questions
submitted by readers of the blog that I was merely making you aware
of. They were not questions composed by me. Rather than being directed
at me, your response is more appropriately directed at those
commentators.

I would love to post favorable comments regarding Roosevelt Island on
the Blog. In fact, earlier today I posted a message regarding the
outdoor movies at Southpoint Park as well as a very favorable reaction
to the Ghostbusters presentation last week. I also posted about the
openning of the visitor kiosk as well as well as links to the
fantastic views afforded by the tram and Roosevelt Island in general.

I am sincere when I tell you that I am very happy that you are open to
questions from the community which is a welcome relief from previous
administrations. The purpose of this blog is to begin a dialogue among
the entire Roosevelt Island community. Perhaps you and/or your staff
might consider responding to readers comments that are posted on this
blog so that the entire community can learn what is going on in
addition to those who ask questions of RIOC.

Further, I can not overemphasize my intent to make this a constructive
blog and not to be used for unproductive business. It takes too much
time to oversee this blog to waste it with meaningless criticism. I
would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your staff to
discuss how ROOSEVELT ISLANDER can contribute to the community in a
positive manner.

I think this is a very useful exchange which I would like to post on
the blog. Do I have your permission to post your email.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER

PART 4 OF 4

MR. SHANE RESPONDS THIS MORNING:
Of course you may post as you wish. Unless labled "off the record",
which I try to avoid, anything I say is for attribution.


AGAIN, I THANK MR. SHANE FOR HIS COMMENTS BUT NOTE THAT THE ISSUE OF PUBLICLY ACCOUNTING FOR THE INCOME AND EXPENDITURES ASSOCIATED WITH CHARGING $18 TO ATTEND THE FIREWORKS DISPLAY AT A PUBLIC VENUE, SOUTHPOINT PARK, WAS NOT SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED. I HOPE RIOC WILL ADDRESS THIS ISSUE BECAUSE IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN ISSUE WITH THE COMMUNITY

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHT AT SOUTHPOINT PARK ROOSEVELT ISLAND 7/14/07



IT'S OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHT AT SOUTHPOINT PARK ON SATURDAY, JULY 14 STARTING AT APPROXIMATELY 9PM. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE IN NYC TO WATCH AN OUTDOOR MOVIE THAT IS MORE AWESOME AND INSPIRING THAN SOUTHPOINT PARK. THOSE WHO ATTENDED LAST WEEK'S FILM, GHOSTBUSTERS, HAD A GREAT TIME. GOOD JOB BY THOSE AT RIOC WHO ORGANIZED EVENT.
THIS WEEK'S MOVIE IS TO BE DETERMINED BY YOUR VOTE AMONG THE FOLLOWING MOVIES:

  1. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
  2. HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE
  3. JERRY MAGUIRE
  4. SPLASH
  5. CROSSING DELANCEY
  6. SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE

Monday, July 9, 2007

VISITOR KIOSK OPEN FOR BUSINESS




CONGRATULATIONS TO JUDY BERDY OF THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY ON THE GRAND OPENING OF THE VISITOR KIOSK CENTER LOCATED ON THE LAWN ADJACENT TO THE TRAMWAY STATION.THIS FOUR YEAR PROJECT, WITH COSTS OF OVER $300,000 IN PUBLIC FUNDS, BRINGS ONE OF THE FIVE ORIGINAL TROLLEY KIOSKS FROM THE 59TH STREET BRIDGE (OR QUEENSBORO BRIDGE IF YOU PREFER) TO ROOSEVELT ISLAND. THE KIOSK WILL OFFER VISITOR INFORMATION, HISTORICAL EXHIBITS AND TOURS OF THE ISLAND. FORMER CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT GIFFORD MILLER, CURRENT CITY COUNCIL WOMAN JESSICA LAPIN AND STATE SENATOR JOSE SERRANO WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN SECURING FUNDING FOR THE KIOSK.THE OPENING OF THE VISITOR KIOSK WAS REPORTED BY BOTH THE NEW YORK SUN AND MAIN STREET WIRE.

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