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Saturday, March 8, 2008

News Links

Taxing Homeowners, How the Alternative Minimum Tax Works. (NY Times)
Changing Sleep Patterns - Learning to live like an early riser. ( Wall Street Journal)
Home Gadget to Study Sleep Patterns. (CNET News)
What Type of Experience Matters in a President? (Time)
Senator John McCain, Straight Talk Express or Flip Flopper? (NY Times)
Devoted Workers, Does Religion Belong in the Workplace? (NY Post)
Orderly Universe: Evidence of God? No, not really. (ABC News)
NASA Baffled by Unexplained Force Acting on Spacecraft. (Space.com)
Inside Trip, new Web site redefines online Airline Travel evaluations. (NY Times)

Friday, March 7, 2008

What do Pink Elephants, Laptops for Lankans & Diplomatic Dinners have to do with Roosevelt Island? - Orphan's International Open House on Sunday

Image from article below of Councilman Mathieu Eugene, M.D., U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Jim Luce, and Donald Hoskins, M.D.

Here's a message and invitation from Roosevelt Island resident and Orphan's International Founder Jim Luce:


Dear Roosevelt Island Neighbors & Misc. Friends!
Join us this Sunday afternoon from 1-5 for our monthly Open House.
Come hear exciting volunteer activities at:
Linda Stanley’s Pink Elephant fundraiser on March 26
Our 24 Interns coming to R.I. this summer
Kim Andino’s (Manhattan Park) successful campaign to collect computers for Sri Lanka – she takes them there in three weeks!
Toni Cela’s report from Jacmel, Haiti – the new house and fresh start for our kids there
Amin’s work on the beautiful and exciting diplomatic dinner in June
Hope to see you on Sunday! Could you bring a bottle or bag of goodies – we try our hardest to keep expenses down! If you can’t make it, I’m sure I’ll see you on the tram or at Trellis. Cheers, Jim

Warm regards,
clip_image002
Jim Luce, Founder

Orphans International Worldwide
Associated with the U.N. Dept. of Public Information
540 Main Street #418 ♦ New York, N.Y. 10044 U.S.A.
O: 212/755-7285 ♦ F: 212/755-7302
And here's more about the work that Orphan's International does around the world:

Augmenting Small Homes
OI Rolls Out ‘Family Care’

By Linda Stanley

Just before New Year’s Day, Jim Luce presented “Vision 2008: OI Family Care” at an Orphans International fundraising dinner on Sutton Place, in honor of Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, who was presented OI’s Certificate of Distinguished Honor.

Luce, a Roosevelt Island resident, founded Orphans International Worldwide, incorporated in New York as OI America in 2001. Congresswoman Maloney represents our community in Washington.

In his remarks, Luce described OI’s expanded vision for 2008. “Over the years we have been able to house 36 children around the world, offering them love and nutrition, surrogate parents, proper medical care and education, clothing and housing,” Luce told the audience. “We are raising global citizens.”

“Ten years ago I envisioned assisting orphans in the developing world by building small homes and hiring houseparents. Instinctively, I felt that the key to proper care for orphaned children anywhere was a strong substitute family. My vision was a good starting place. We have now figured out how to be four times more effective with your contributions.

“In the last year we have partnered with an existing program in Sri Lanka that does not have custody of its children—Tsunami orphans—but rather assists the extended family members of those children to care for them. I have seen how this program works. It is impressive.

“At the same time,” Luce admitted, “I have been frustrated by the sheer number of orphans. There are 12 million AIDS orphans alone, nearly all unaffected, but whose parents have died from the virus.” “What can I do—what can OI as an organization do—to meet the needs of 12 million children?,” Luce turned to the diners.

“As much as we would like, we cannot build millions of small homes.” Yet, he pointed out, there are millions of homes in the developing world.

“The key to reaching out to more and more children in need—to expanding our vision— is to use existing housing,” Luce told those gathered. “The original model we have developed, with four children to each small home, is one of the best in the world, but it is expensive. It is too expensive for grassroots groups in developing nations to be able to readily duplicate.

“But through OI Family Care, we can reach out to hundreds more children and make it possible for others to join our efforts, helping potentially thousands of children in need.

“The new paradigm will be a community center serving as the nexus for each village where our new OI Family Care children will meet once a week for English, computer and arts education, and medical attention.” All current OI Child Sponsors will continue to sponsor their existing children. OI now has 102 child sponsors. Each child has four sponsors apiece.

The evening set the tone for 2008. Both Fentonie “Toni” Cela, M.A., OI Worldwide’s new Executive Officer, and myself, OI America new Executive Director. Island resident Donald W. Hoskins, M.D. from Riverwalk has been OI America’s Board president in 2007.

Rivercross resident and OI America Ambassador-at-Large Ethel Grodzins Romm received OI’s Special Recognition Award for her tireless efforts on behalf of OI children around the world, especially in Indonesia. The new OI Chinese-American Chapter was also recognized.

The event was hosted by renowned child advocate Regina Skyer, Esq., and OI America Advisory Board member Alisa Chazani, Psychoanalyst.

New York State Representative Micah Kellner and Haitian-American New York City Councilman Mathieu Eugene, M.D. also attended the year-end event and pledged their support to OI’s ongoing international efforts. Rep. Maloney, fortuitously, is an expert on family care.

Beginning this month, OI will start to assist fifty children orphaned by the Tsunami in the village of Kathaluwa, Sri Lanka as part of the new OI Family Care. This is more than all of the children OI has been able to assist in its short history.

In 2007, OI raised approximately $250,000 to help children around the world. About 16% of these contributions were given on Roosevelt Island, with 28% donated from Manhattan. The average contribution was slightly over $600.

OI has opened four projects to date, and is on the ground working towards opening in the many other countries. Due to stringent local rules and regulations, it takes OI about three years on average to open a project in a developing nation.

Orphans International Worldwide, founded on Roosevelt Island, is associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information and is one of only two networks of interfaith orphanages associated with the U.N. The other is SOS Kinderdorf, also moving towards a family care model.

No F Train Service To Roosevelt Island from Manhattan This Weekend and No Help Coming From the MTA

Image from nycsubway.org via reader Craig

No F train to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan this weekend and help will not be coming from the MTA in the future to alleviate Roosevelt Island F train problems either. Several weeks ago Roosevelt Island elected officials Kellner, Serrano, Lappin and Maloney wrote a letter to MTA President Howard Roberts urging Roberts and the MTA to:
consider means of improving subway service to Roosevelt Island, including the possibility of extending the Q line from the 57th Street/7th Avenue station in Manhattan to the 21st Street/Queensbridge station in Queens, thus increasing the number of trains able to serve Roosevelt Island. Councilmember Lappin wrote to you again on June 25, 2007, reiterating her concerns about rush hour service levels on the F line. In your response to Councilmember Lappin, dated July 27, you made no mention of the proposal to extend the Q line, instead focusing on the impossibility of adding additional F trains, due to the fact that “AM and PM F service is operating at full track and signal capacity along the Queens Blvd line.”
In response, MTA President Roberts says of extending the Q line through Roosevelt Island:
Unfortunantely, this proposal is not operationally feasible due to heavy train traffic in both directions at this location.
And that in regard to the F Train:
We closely monitor ridership on the F line, and recent data indicates that while some trains are overcrowded, on average, the F line operates within MTA passenger loading guidelines and has sufficient capacity during peak hours. We will continue to monitor ridership and conditions on the F at the Roosevelt Island Station, and make schedule adjustments where feasible for the benefit of all of our customers.
It looks like no help is forthcoming from the MTA on Roosevelt Island's subway problems and the zip line across the East River may be our only hope.

Then again, maybe not. The purpose is for Roosevelt Islanders not to fall in the East River! Here is full text of MTA President Howard Roberts letter.
Re: Roosevelt Island Transportation Issues
Dear Honorables Maloney, Serrano, Kellner and Lappin: I am in receipt of your January 22nd letter regarding transportation on Roosevelt Island and the amount of subway service there. In addition, you suggested an extension of the Q line to the 21st Street/Queensbridge Station. Unfortunantely, this proposal is not operationally feasible due to heavy train traffic in both directions at this location. MTA NYC Transit makes every effort to run its trains according to schedule but delays can occur for various reasons such as mechanical problems, sick customers, switch and signal problems. Delays, especially during the AM peak hours on the heavily traveled Queens Boulevard Line may result in some trains being overcrowded. We closely monitor ridership on the F line, and recent data indicates that while some trains are overcrowded, on average, the F line operates within MTA passenger loading guidelines and has sufficient capacity during peak hours. We will continue to monitor ridership and conditions on the F at the Roosevelt Island Station, and make schedule adjustments where feasible for the benefit of all of our customers. As noted in your letter, in the past trains were able to terminate at the 21st Street/Queensbridge Station. At that time, however, trains did not operate through to eastern Queens. In 2001, we completed the 63rd Street Connector project which links the 63rd Street tunnel tracks to the Queens Boulevard Line. The tracks that were used to terminate trains at the 21st Street/Queensbridge Station are now used as through tracks for F service, which runs every 4-6 minutes during rush hour. In Manhattan, the 63rd Street tunnel tracks have connections to the Sixth Avenue tracks (with access to B, D, F, V service at the 47-50th Streets/Rockefeller Center) and the Broadway Line tracks (with access to Q service at 57th Street). In your letter you had asked whether it is possible to extend the Q train to the 21st Street/Queensbridge Station to supplement F service. This is not operationally feasible because there are only two tracks at the 21st Street/Queenbridge Station, and, given that F trains run through the station on those tracks, there is no place to turn around Q trains. In order to ensure safety, whenever trains change directions on a non-terminal track, such as what you suggest at the 21st Street/Queenbridge Station, it is necessary to change the direction of the signal system. As a result, other trains would need to be kept at a safe distance until the turn-around operation is completed. To terminate Q trains at the 21st Street/Queensbridge Station, it would be necessary to stop F trains on both tracks for several minutes to give Q trains enough time to switch tracks, change directions, and change crews. As a consequence, there would be significant delays in F train service in both directors, which in turn would delay E and V service, which share tracks with the F train. I appreciate your bringing this matter to my attention. Sincerely, Howard H. Roberts, Jr. President Cc: H. Ring, MTA P. Cafiero L. Tendler

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Roosevelt Island Streetlights Being Fixed



On my way out this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find work being done to fix the streetlights in front of the Riverwalk Southtown buildings.

RIOC President Steve Shane is following through on his January Main Street WIRE column that:

Streetlights: RIOC’s engineering department continues to make good progress in resolving wiring issues to get all the street lights to functionality. Only a few are dark as of this writing, most seemingly for normal bulb replacement.
Good job by RIOC!

Red Bus to 2nd Avenue & 60th Street During Roosevelt Island Tram Shutdown Not Part of Present Plan


Roosevelt Island Red Bus Ride from Octagon to Good Shepherd Plaza from Roosevelt Island 360

A reader of this post on 2009 Roosevelt Island Tram shutdown asks:
No plans to run the red bus all the way to Manhattan this time? I thought it was great during the last tram outage. The red bus ran express from Gristedes to 2nd Ave and whatever the cross street is.. 60th St? It stopped in front of that pet store.
RIOC President Steve Shane replies:
Our present plan is not to run the buses to 60th street as it is very uneconomical, especially during rush hours.We would consider a night time pickup depending on demand. Putting the red buses into rush hour traffic on the Queensboro Bridge takes a lot of time in both directions.

Great Photos of Creepy Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital - May Be Last Chance to See Ruins Before It All Falls Down.

Image by Andre Costantini at Silly Dancing



Photographer Gabriel Biderman took these photographs of Roosevelt Island's Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital at Southpoint Park. Biderman describes his Roosevelt Island experience:
...The sun was setting by the time I arrived at 5:30pm. The main gate to the southern tip of the island was over 10 tall and had barbed wire, but it was open. Tripod and my new Canon G9 in hand, I quickly rushed down the 60+ yards to the Hospital. I didn’t want to break in at night, I just chose to shoot through the fence and test the exposures. The floodlights were bathing the Hospital in what seemed like white light but my camera was reading as eerie shades of blue and green.
An hour later I was still shooting when the cop car drove up beside me, “We closing up bossman” said the driver.
What? Bossman? I wasn’t being arrested? Technically, I wasn’t trespassing.
I asked the cop what time they shut down the park to which he replied, “Around sunset, or when it starts to get dangerous.”
“Dangerous?!” I replied, “Well, thanks for the warning.” and started to walk back towards the gate.
Unfortunately the gate was now closed and locked.
Uhmmm…I definitely was assessing the situation and it didn’t look good. But then the cop car came back around from doing his loop and thankfully unlocked the gate.
The next week I returned with my fellow Nocturnalist, Andre Costantini, who was featured previously here with our Red Hook Night shoot.
As luck would have it, February 12th, was one of the few days in which it snowed in the city. Did that deter Andre and me?
Hell no.
We arrived at 5pm, set up, and witnessed an amazing sunset through the snow clouded night. It was truly spectacular...
At the February 28 RIOC Board meeting, a $4 million allocation of NYC funding was approved to immediately attempt stabilizing the Renwick Ruins before it completely collapses despite everyone's understanding that at least $7 million is needed to do the job and nobody knows when, where or if that money will ever be raised. Even if the $7 million is raised, the end result of the stabilization process is still a ruin that will be closed off from the public and surrounded by a fence. Hardly seems worth $7 million to me and to several of the RIOC directors who spoke on the subject. It almost makes you wish for some penny pinching, Republican, fiscal conservatives on the City Council watching out how taxpayer funds are spent. Almost.

The RIOC Board made clear that RIOC funds were not being used for this purpose and pledged that no additional funds for the Renwick Ruins will come from them. Had this $4 million not come from the NYC Council Budget, I do not think it would have been approved by the RIOC Board. RIOC President Shane explained that he does not want to pit park supporters against preservationists for available Southpoint funding. Here is link to web cast of RIOC Board meeting where issue of funding emergency stabilization of Renwick Ruins was discussed and approved.

The Santiago Calatrava restaurant pavilion is looking better every day for this spot at Southpoint Park.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Louis Kahn Southpoint Park Memorial Supporters Slurping at the Public Trough - Seeking $20 Million in Public Taxpayer Funds

Image of feeding at the public trough from The Troy Polloi


Roosevelt Islanders learned from RIOC President Steve Shane at last week's Roosevelt Island Town Hall meeting that the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) is now seeking $20 million in taxpayer funds for one-half of the estimated total $40 million development cost of the Louis Kahn/FDR memorial at Southpoint Park. This latest development is even more outrageous then just trying to stick the Kahn memorial on Roosevelt Island against the wishes of the residents using private funds for the last 35 years. Funds which, to date, they have not been able to raise through private sources but which has prevented other park developments, such as the full Trust For the Public Land plan (PDF File) from moving forward.

$20 million in taxpayer funds could be used for the Roosevelt Island Public Library, P.S./I.S. 217, fixing our decaying infrastructure, improving transportation or subsidizing ferry service, developing the rest of Southpoint Park and a whole host of more necessary and worthy uses of taxpayer funds than the Louis Kahn memorial. I would be interested to see if our elected representatives who support the Kahn Memorial, Councilmember Lappin, Assemblymember Kellner, State Senator Serrano, Congresswomen Maloney and Borough President Stringer are in favor of using $20 million in public taxpayer funds for this use? These officials are usually so good on issues facing Roosevelt Island. Can they look at us with a straight face and say they support providing $20 million in taxpayer funds for the Kahn/FDR memorial? And what will Governor Spitzer do? In fact, what do the supporters think that President Franklin Roosevelt would have thought of spending $20 million in taxpayer funds on a memorial to him when their are so many other public needs to be taken care of?

Even with private funding most Roosevelt Islanders oppose the Kahn memorial. When a resident, not me, referred to the memorial as the "Kahn" memorial during the Town Hall meeting, Mr. Shane interrupted her statement by saying it is the FDR memorial. We all know that Mr. Shane is incorrect on this point. This is a vanity memorial to a famous architect - that is why the supporters will not allow any changes to it- not a memorial to President Franklin Roosevelt which we all favor.

The view as currently exists from Southpoint Park.

Click on this link for the full beautiful panoramic effect.

Here is a You Tube video with a 360 degree view from Southpoint Park.


Now take a look at the proposed Louis Kahn project.

Image from Architectural Record


Below image from Cooper Union Exhibit


Image from NY Times

It is an indisputable fact that the one-of-a-kind, awesome and beautiful, panoramic views of the East River waterfront and Brooklyn/Queens/Manhattan skyline pictured above that are currently available from any spot at the southern end of Southpoint Park will be blocked and lost forever by the construction and placement of the proposed Louis Kahn/FDR concrete and granite memorial at the tip of Southpoint Park.

The first two items on the Thursday, March 6 Agenda of Community Planning Board 8 Park's Committee have to do with Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park and the proposed Louis Kahn/FDR memorial. Tomorrow's meeting will be held at the NY Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street, New York, conference room 1. Here's Roosevelt Island 360's take on the potential for lost views at Southpoint Park and announcement of tomorrow night's meeting.


Update: 5/6 - NY Times on New York City and State budget cuts:
for garbage collection, public libraries, cultural programs, meals for the elderly, tutoring at the City University of New York and summer jobs for youth.
Yeah, let's spend $20 million of taxpayer funds on the Louis Kahn memorial. Great idea.

MTA Says Roosevelt Island Escalator Repair to be Completed by December 2008

Roosevelt Island Subway Escalator Image from Ben

RIOC President Steve Shane forwards message he received concerning the Roosevelt Island subway escalator repairs from MTA's Alissa Kosowsky, Assistant Director of Government & Community Relations, in response to his earlier meeting with the MTA on Roosevelt Island subway transportation problems:
"Here is the information on the escalator replacement:
NYC Transit is in the process of replacing eight escalators at the
Roosevelt Island F station. This contract was awarded for $15.3
million on September 15, 2005 with a duration of 39 months. The contractor,
Skanska Mechanical, is on schedule. As of this time, four escalators
are completed. The remaining four escalators - two platform
escalators and two street escalators are scheduled for completion by the end of
2008. We appreciate the community's patience as we complete this work."
My question is if there are 4 escalators completed shouldn't there always be one escalator working each for the upper street level to mid-mezzanine and then the lower level in both up and down directions? Since these are the longest escalators they should be the priority for replacement before the smaller platform to mid-mezzanine escalators - right? Also, aren't there ten escalators not eight? As Roosevelt Island 360 points out, are there 2 escalators not being repaired?

Let's see how the MTA responds to the other issues raised by Mr. Shane such as problems with daily and weekend subway service as well as next year's Roosevelt Island Tram outage.

UPDATE: 3/11 - Here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Vote Barack Obama in Texas Democratic Presidential Primary - as well as Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont


You Tube video of Barack Obama's closing Texas Leadership ad.

This is for all you Roosevelt Islanders in the great state of Texas. You know who you are. The latest polls show Senator Clinton with a slight lead but who knows? If you have not already, make sure you go out and cast your ballot in today's Texas Democratic primary for Senator Barack Obama and then go to the caucus later tonight. Bring as many people as you can with you. Remember it's not just the popular vote but the delegate count that matters. The Roosevelt Island Cheeseheads were a key voting bloc in Obama's Wisconsin Primary victory so let's do it in Texas as well as in Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont!

As I wrote in earlier post:
We can do better. We can have a President not of Red or Blue America but of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton IS the Red and Blue State divide. Barack Obama is the United States of America. Vote Barack Obama

Fuji East Japanese Bistro - Not Roosevelt Island's Momofuku but Maybe One Day Dosanko




This past weekend was the Grand Opening of the Fuji East Japanese Bistro. I received the following favorable message about Roosevelt Island's newest and much anticipated restaurant from a reader.

We ordered takeout and the sushi roll was great- large portion of fish with not too much rice. They even gave us Japanese barley tea while we were waiting. They seemed very organized for having just opened. I like Nonno's a lot, but they always seem to not get my take out orders just right (missing salad dressing, eggs not done the way I ordered them, I think just still working out kinks) and I don't remember getting a receipt from them ever the first few weeks.
The reader was also:
very impressed by the new restaurant. great service, good food and amazing decor. great date place.
it is the same owner as china one but he owns a upscale successful japanese place in astoria. he actually tried to make china one more authentic and upscale many years back but he didn't do enough business, so he went back to take out!
we were worried about what that would mean for this place, but he's done a very nice job!
I am certainly happy to hear such a positive review. I walked by Fuji East on Saturday afternoon and spoke with random customers leaving the restaurant who also had a good experience.

Unfortunately, my group did not have such a good Grand Opening experience later that evening and neither did most of the other customers dining there at the same time. The service was poor and the food came out of the kitchen cold although the manager did her best to salvage the situation. Several groups at tables got tired of waiting to be served simply got up and left the restaurant. Others waiting to pay their checks grew frustrated at the amount of time it took. Also, the incessant ringing of the phone was very disturbing as was the loud, very un-Japanese like, Christine Aguillara (I think) music video blaring from the large screen TV on the wall above our table. Particularly disappointing was the experience of 4 young twentysomething women sitting at the adjoining table who were very excited at the prospect of the new restaurant, liked it's decor, one even said she got dressed up for the occasion, but ultimately left because they were ignored and never even asked for their order.

It was readily apparent from the people in the restaurant on Saturday night (it was full) that despite this experience, their is a huge pent up demand and great desire for more good, or at least above average, dining options on Roosevelt Island. They desperately want Fuji East to succeed - as I do. I don't think Roosevelt Islanders are expecting Momofuku (though that would be great) but even a Dosanko like experience would be welcomed. I encourage all Roosevelt Islanders to give Fuji East a fair chance over the next few months. It's in our interest to do so.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Is This the Future of Roosevelt Island Transportation? I Hope Not.



Received this report and images of overcrowding on Roosevelt Island Tram from reader:

I'm not sure how long this lasted... but the tram was unusually
crowded this evening (Around 6:30 when I was there). I heard the F
train wasn't running normally, causing every commuter to depend on the
tramway.
More images here.

Roosevelt Island Monthly Tuesday Constituent Service from State Senator Serrano

From State Senator Serrano's office:

Tomorrow, March 4th, is the First Tuesday of the month, and the Serrano Constituent Service Team will be on the Island from 3 to 7 p.m. in the RIOC offices at 591 Main Street.

Constituents should bring photocopies of any paperwork related to their cases so that Serrano staff can effectively and efficiently address the issue.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Ooops - NYU Unaware of 2009 Roosevelt Island Tram Shutdown

Image of NYU Bus from nyu.edu

I recently spoke with several NYU officials at a Roosevelt Island open house. They were trying to persuade their Greenwich Village renting faculty members to buy one of the 58 condo units, purchased by NYU for $43 million, in Roosevelt Island's Hudson/Related Riverwalk building. To date, 13 of the 58 units have been sold to faculty members willing to leave the life of Greenwich Village renters and become Roosevelt Island condo owners.

During the conversation about Roosevelt Island transportation issues, these NYU officials were surprised then stunned to learn that the Roosevelt Island Tram would be completely out of service for at least seven months starting early 2009 in order to repair and modernize the entire Tramway system. They were under the impression that some sort of temporary parallel Tram would be in operation during the time that the Tram is out of service. Unfortunately, as all Roosevelt Islanders know that is not the case. Here is a link to the Roosevelt Island Tramway Modernization Cost Benefit Analysis from RIOC dated October 4, 2007 showing the 4 alternatives considered last year. Alternative 4, the most comprehensive as well as expensive alternative with the longest Tram downtime was selected.

In the absence of the Tram, Roosevelt Islanders will have to rely on the F Train (except on weekends when it is often out of service in one direction or the other), the Q102 bus to Queens Plaza, bike riding, walking or some other yet to be determined transit option in order to get off of Roosevelt Island. RIOC President Steve Shane discussed this issue with the MTA as reported in his 2/23/08/Main Street WIRE column (PDF File):
I discussed the F train scheduling, both as to morning rush hour crowding and weekend outages, especially in light of the pending Tram outage in 2009. I was promised a schedule of weekend interruptions to meet the work plan and the projected completion. I asked for and was promised a work schedule for the escalators and elevators, so at least we’d have some idea of the program and timeline. I discussed the Tram outage schedule and the need for coordination. We discussed the possibility of interim ferry service and they said they’d be cooperative (bus lines at 34th Street) but, given the issues with the Coast Guard and the lack of useful landing sites on the Manhattan shore, thought it unlikely to be very fruitful as an alternative to the subway. I told them of RIOC’s plan to run the Red Bus over to Queens Plaza during the Tram outage.
I guess the NYU Purple Bus is going to be making alot of trips from Greenwich Village over the 59th Street Bridge through Long Island City to Roosevelt Island and back in 2009. Good Luck.

UPDATE - 3/4 - Here is link to the Thornton Tomasetti engineering firm's 2007 Executive Summary on the Evaluation of Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway System Phase 1 and Main Street WIRE links to Roosevelt Island Tram modernization reports.

The Mosquito Audio Device - Orwellian Discrimination Against Teens or Quality of Life Protection for Everyone Else?


You Tube video of BBC report on Mosquito high pitched audio dispersal device

WCBS TV reported on a new architectural control device, some call it an example of discriminatory architecture against the young, that according to Architectures of Control:
produces a high frequency sound (less audible to older people) in order to drive away teenagers hanging around in front of shops.
The device, called the Mosquito, first showed up in England but is now being tried out in a Jamaica Queens apartment building to prevent teenagers from hanging around the lobby.

There is now a growing Buzz Off movement in England, led by England's Children's Commissioner to ban the Mosquito because:
“These devices are indiscriminate and target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving,” Sir Al told the BBC. “The use of measures such as these are simply demonising children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old.”
The view of English shopkeepers is very different. According to the Washington Post:
... he has never seen anything quite as effective for dispersing young people. Two years ago, he affixed the box, which has a picture of a mosquito bug on it, a few feet above the entrance to his store.

He estimated that petty crime has decreased 80 percent. He balked at the idea that he was infringing on human rights. Youngsters loiter outside his shop and pester customers to buy them alcohol and cigarettes, he said.

"They harass customers, and I lose business," Parshad said. "You can't keep everybody happy. You have to look after the customer first."
There are about 3500 units installed in Great Britain and 200 in the United States. None on Roosevelt Island as far as I know. But then again, I can't hear it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

News Links

4 acre waterfront park over the FDR Drive and adjacent to United Nations proposed as part of Sheldon Solow's Con Ed waterside power plant re-development (NY Times). Any chance of doing Roosevelt Islanders a great big favor by moving the Kahn/FDR memorial there please?
The Big Alice, Long Island City Keyspan Power Plant for Sale - More East River condos adjacent to Roosevelt Island in the works? (Daily News)
Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and the Power of Words. (Wall Street Journal)
No more frustrating airline boarding calls - Astrophysicist found fastest way to board an airplane (Wired)
Crunchy Con Rod Dreher on Pew Forum Religion in American Life. (Belief Net)
Andrew Sulllivan on Rod Dreher and the Fluidity of Faith. (Andrew Sullivan)
Grocery stores growing elusive in NYC (Washington Post)
Legos for Grown ups - Pre Fab housing in New York City. (NY Times)