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Friday, March 14, 2008

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting on Louis Kahn/FDR Memorial 3/25/08 - What Impact Will Governor Spitzer's Resignation Have?

A Roosevelt Island Town Hall meeting on the proposed $40 million Louis Kahn/FDR memorial to be located on 3 acres at the southern tip of Southpoint Park, Roosevelt Island is scheduled for 7 PM on Tuesday, March 25 at Good Shepherd Community Center. Supporters of this memorial to Louis Kahn, (the supporters claim it is a memorial to FDR but in reality it is really a memorial to the architect Louis Kahn) are now seeking $20 million in taxpayer funds after failing to raise the necessary financing through private sources for the last 35 years.

What impact Governor Spitzer resignation will have on the outcome of this issue nobody knows. Spitzer's letter in support of the Kahn/FDR memorial is largely responsible for reviving this project from it's deathbed where it had been placed by the previous RIOC and NY State administration so his removal from the scene may have a significant impact. We will have to wait and see what the position of Governor David Patterson will be on this issue though he did compare lobbyist to prostitutes at a news conference yesterday which may show an affinity towards the concerns of local neighborhoods. Today's NY Sun has an article as to what his appointment could mean to Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards development and the issue of eminent domain. I am sure though that at this moment Southpoint Park is not on his top priority list which may indefinitely postpone any go decision on the Kahn memorial until it is too late due to construction of Phase 1 of Southpoint Park which is scheduled to begin this summer or fall. We should only be so lucky.

Another new wrinkle in this ongoing saga is the 1974 legal memorandum that supporters of the Kahn design have claimed legally binds RIOC to it's development if the necessary funds are raised. Well, it was learned this week that this agreement for the disposition of RIOC property is for an indefinite duration of time and was conditioned upon the payment of $2 million by the City and State which was never paid. How the failure by the City and State to perform a material provision of this agreement impacts the ultimate outcome is also unknown. RIOC President Shane said of this:

The City &/or State failure on the $2 million doesn't appear relevant
to me. But that's my personal opinion, not a considered and certainly
not a researched opinion. Rather than grasp at legalities at this
moment, I suggest that the process be allowed to play out. Might also
take a look at the editorial in Crain's this week on Greenwich Village.
Once you define the discussion as being only relevant to Roosevelt
Islanders, you have preset the result.
Mr.Shane provides some more information on the importance of this meeting:
Please publicize the Town Hall Meeting so as to attract the largest crowd possible. If the views of the Island's residents are to be considered, their broadest possible involvement is much to be desired. Turn out matters. The only way to validate a survey is by having a statistically supportable sample. The greater the number, the lower the margin for error and the more reliable the result.
It is extremely important if Roosevelt Islanders want to enjoy unobstructed, beautiful East River waterfront, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens skyline views and the Trust for Public Lands Wild Gardens/Green Rooms design for Southpoint Park that you attend this Town Hall meeting.

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.


APOLOGIES - 3/15: SINCE LAST NIGHT, FOR SOME REASON THE 360 DEGREE SOUTHPOINT PARK YOU TUBE VIDEO IS NOT WORKING. 3/16 VIDEO IS NOW WORKING.

Here is another 360 degree You Tube video of Southpoint Park. Hopefully, this video will remain available.



Now take a look at the proposed Louis Kahn project.

Image from Architectural Record


Below image from Cooper Union Exhibit


Image from NY Times


The Louis Kahn design envisions:
V-shaped promenades leading to an open space with granite walls, framing views to the south and west of the river and Manhattan towers, including the U.N. complex.
It is precisely the intended "framing views" of the design which destroys the open panoramic beauty of the East River waterfront and New York City skyline views that currently exists at Southpoint Park and is the reason why the Louis Kahn project must not be built at the proposed site.

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.

Here's Roosevelt Island 360's take on the potential for lost views at Southpoint Park and announcement of tomorrow night's meeting.


For more information take a look at these sources:
Roosevelt Islander,
Roosevelt Island 360,
Trust for the Public Land Southpoint Park Conceptual Plans,
Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute,
Main Street WIRE presentation of TPL Plan and
1974 Memorandum of Understanding concerning Louis Kahn/FDR memorial at Southpoint Park.

No Manhattan Bound F Trains From Roosevelt Island This Weekend


You Tube video of arriving F Trains at Roosevelt Island

No Manhattan bound F Trains from Roosevelt Island this weekend. According to the MTA:
Manhattan-bound trains run on the V from Roosevelt Av to 47-50 Sts
Weekend, Mar 15 – 17, 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon

How does this affect my trip?
Trains skip 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av-63 St, and 57 St.

For service to these stations, take the F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Queens-bound F.

For service from these stations, take a Queens-bound F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound F.

Why is service being changed?
We are making electrical improvements to ensure that trains continue
to operate safely along the F line.
RIOC President Shane forwards the latest information from the MTA regarding Roosevelt Island weekend subway disruptions.
Here is the most up-to-date information on F line diversions. Please
note that these plans are subject to change and that these are the
work dates we are aware of at this time. We anticipate more weekend work
in the near future.

F Line Diversions:
March 15 - 17 (southbound)
March 29 - 31 (southbound)
April 5 - 7 (southbound)
April 26 - 28 (northbound)
May 17 - 19 (northbound)

Customers will be able to travel in the opposite direction and
back-ride
to their desired location.

We encourage you to check www.mta.info for the latest updates on
service
diversions. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
I guess Southbound means towards Manhattan and vice versa.

Public Safety Officer Nabs Motorgate Parking Garage Vandal Suspect

Image of Motorgate Parking Garage from Zach K.

There has been a string of recent acts of vandalism incidents at the Motorgate Parking Garage including broken car windows that may have just been solved by the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. Just received this message from RIOC President Steve Shane:
The rash of broken windows in cars at Motorgate should be much
reduced. Public Safety has done a fine job. The individuals are to be
commended!
I agree. Good Job!

Here is description of the collar by Public Safety director Keith Guerra. (I have not included the name of the apprehended suspect because that is all that this person is at this time, a suspect):
As you know, there have been some incidents involving vehicle damage at
the Motorgate. I directed our Public Safety Officers to pay special
attention to this with more patrols by uniformed and plain clothes
officers.

On March 13, 2008 at approximately 8:20 PM, Lt. Yee was patroling the
Motorgate Parking Garage, when he noticed a vehicle on the lower level
had been broken into. He immediately transmitted the information over
the Public Safety Radio. Officers Donet and Hernandez responded and
immediately saw a man in close proximity with a back-pack. The man was
approched and he set the bag, which was opened, down on bench. He
stated the bag and it's contents were his, however, the owner of the
vehicle was now at his vehicle. Lt. Yee brought the owner over and he
identified and claimed ownership of the bag and several of it's
contents.

(Name and address witheld) arrested and charged with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.
Subsequent to his arrest, it was later confirmed that he was also wanted
on an NYPD Warrant for another crime he committed on June of 2006.

Our Public Safety Officers, with the assistance of P.O. Fernandez of
the 114 Pct. were diligent in their response and investigation of this
incident.


Roosevelt Island Bridge Undraped, Dark Red - Bridge Workers Save Man From Jumping

Image by Paul Sahner

A reader sent in this picture of the Roosevelt Island Bridge with it's new paint job and commented:
The crew working on the RI Bridge renovation uncovered the top of the structure today to reveal it's new darker red paint
Also, remember that RIOC has issued a weekend advisory for the Bridge.
WEEKEND WORK SCHEDULED
FROM FRIDAY, MARCH 14,2008 UNTIL MONDAY, MARCH 31,2008
WORK HOURS WILL BE CONTINUOUS FROM FRIDAY 8:OO PM THROUGH MONDAY 6:00 AM
On other Roosevelt Island Bridge news, kudos to the Bridge workers who were able to stop a distraught person from jumping off the Bridge earlier this week. From the Roosevelt Island Public Safety 24 Hour Incident Report:
3/12/08-700 AM to 3/13/08-700 AM
Aided/EDP- R.I. Bridge a male adult attempted to jump off the Bridge. 2 Bridge Construction workers stopped him. EMS, FDNY, NYPD and PSD responded. Male was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Unfortunately, nobody was able to prevent a similar occurrence from happening on the 59th Street Bridge a day earlier. From the Roosevelt Island Public Safety 24 Hour Incident Report:
3/11/08-077 AM to 3/12/08-700 AM

DOA- On East River 59th Street Bridge an adult male jumped off the bridge. The deceased was removed by NYPD Harbor Patrol.
Complete Roosevelt Island Public Safety 24 hour Incident Reports from January 19 - March 10 2008 are here. There is also a Roosevelt Island Public Opinion poll on how well the Public Safety Department is doing its job on the right column of this page. Give your opinion.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Coler-Goldwater Hospital Appears Safe From Luxury Condo Development for the Next 10 Years


Video of Coler-Goldwater Hospital from Roosevelt Island 360
There has been much speculation and discussion raised in the past few months by residents, journalists, politicians, and bloggers over the fate of Coler-Goldwater Hospital's southern campus on Roosevelt Island and worry that it's residents might be moved to be replaced with more luxury condos. At a recent meeting with Southtown residents, RIOC President Steve Shane indicated that it was his opinion the south Coler-Goldwater Hospital campus was not going to be sold by New York City and developed into luxury condos anytime in the near future. Mr. Shane:
My considered opinion based on conversations with HHC persons and experience with NYC projects of like type. I suggested a minimumm of 10 years before anything could realistically happen.
This is certainly good news for the patients at the Hospital and Roosevelt Island residents who were concerned with the added transportation infrastructure problems such a development would bring to an already overburdened transit system. But those views would have been spectacular.

Image of Manhattan from Roosevelt Island by COLM

UPDATE
: 7/21 - But see these plans by SSJ Development for Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park that include the Coler-Goldwater Hospital site.
... Located slightly north of the Queensboro Bridge and extending to the south side of the bridge, this six-acre site takes up the entire width of the island from Main Street to East Road. SSJ Development's vision encompasses the Tram Site, the existing Goldwater Hospital Site, the Former City Hospital Site and embraces the Master Plan for a New Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island as prepared by the Trust For Public Land. SSJ Development proposes creating a vibrant and lively community centered around a newly created transportation hub.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Take Out Available at Night ... On Roosevelt Island... After 10 PM

Take out Food Delivery Image from New York Magazine

Roosevelt Islanders have long known the feeling of coming home at night tired, hungry and in no mood to cook or heat up leftovers only to be resigned to the fact that no decent take out was available nearby but desperately hoping that some pizza place in Astoria or Long Island City would consider delivering to Roosevelt Island in less than an hour. I'm not even talking about late at night but at 9 or 10 PM when nothing was open and you were out of luck unless one had the foresight to pick something up prior to getting on the Tram or Subway. Of course, commuting on the Tram or Subway with food is not a particularly pleasant experience although less objectionable on the Tram than the F Train.

Well, I am happy to report that starving Roosevelt Islanders have at least some desirable night time options now that Nonno's Foccaceria is open until 10 PM, edible chips, ice cream candy and convenience foods are available at Duane Reade through 10 PM on weekdays and Fuji East is open until 11 PM. Holy cow! Last week, I stopped by Fuji East twice after 10:30 and had good take out experiences. It was also pretty crowded.

I am also happy to report that several readers have had good experiences at the recently opened Fuji East. Here's one:
I had a late lunch yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the the attractive decor, attentive service and pretty good pork donburi, which arrived at the table hot and not oversalted, but a little heavy on the breading.
Let's hope they keep it up! Little by little the Roosevelt Island restaurant options are getting better.

New Southtown Bike Rack Joins Subway Bike Rack- Take the NYC Bike Rack Survey

Riverwalk Bike Rack

Subway Bike Rack

In addition to the subway bike rack, there is now a new bike rack placed between Riverwalk buildings 3 and 4.

If you are interested in bike transportation issues here is New York bike rack parking survey designed by:
two Hunter College graduate students working with the NYC Department of City Planning Transportation Division to improve our understanding of the public’s bike parking needs and current bike parking resources. This survey is designed to engage YOU in the decision making process as the city ramps up its efforts to install thousands of new bicycle racks and other bicycle parking facilities throughout the five boroughs within the next few years.
UPDATE 3/14 -NY Times reports the NYC Department of Transportation:
is pushing to modernize the city’s bike racks through an open international design competition, the winners of which will be part of an exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in October.

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Being Trained in Verbal Judo - Take a Poll on How Public Safety Department is Doing Job


You Tube Martial Arts Illusion video from Boxist

Below are examples from the Roosevelt Island 24 hour Public Safety Incident Report of typical recent interactions between Public Safety officers and local residents. The 24 Hour reports from January 19/2008 to date are here.
0700 hrs 02/25/08 to 0700 hrs 02/26/08
Aided - female fell f/o 560 Main St. on sidewalk. Aided taken to hospital.

Found property - person turned in wallet to Public Safety. Wallet contained no money. Wallet secured in Sgt's closet. Unable to ID owner.

Open Container of Alcohol - 3 subjects were observed drinking in public. Summonses were issued.

Aided - Tenant called EMS because she was not feeling well. Officer on scene. Aided taken to hospital.

Past Robbery - Victim reported to PSD/NYPD of robbery. Victim refused EMS.

Reports were taken for all above incidents.

2/26/08-700 AM to 2/27/08-700 AM

Criminal Mischief- At 516 Main Street 1 St. floor Hallway there was a broken window . It was broken from the outside. UA Handyman responded. The Glass Co was notified and will respond to replace the window.

Hazardous Condition- At 688 Main Street in the Motorgate Garage the lights are out in levels "3B", "6A", and "7B". Central Parking attendant notified. Public Safety to monitor the area.

Aided- On Main Street a parent of a child alleged that the RIOC Bus Driver closed the rear doors as her daughter was exiting the bus. EMS refused. Bus Driver stated no incident occurred all day.

Petit Larceny-At 544 Main Street in the General Store 2 subjects put on 2 wool hats and exited the sore without making payment. NYPD and PSD conducted a search of the Island for the Subjects with negative results.

PUBLIC SAFETY RESPONDED AND PREPARED REPORTS FOR THESE INCIDENTS.

3/8-3/9

Unsecured Vehicle- At 688 Main Street (Moorgame Garage) Central Parking notified owner who secured vehicle.

Petit Larceny/Harassment- At 455 Main Street (Duane Reade) there was shoplifting of mechanize. PSD and NYPD responded but subject had already left. Search for subject yielded negative results.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS

Tree Branch- R/O 1 Main Street (Goldwater Hosp) a large tree branch fell on the street. No injuries. Dir of Operations was notified.

Investigation- At 30 River Road a resident reported unknown male had tried to gain access with a key. Subject did not gain entry and left. Search made of the area with negative results.

Unsecured Door- At 555 Main Street a rood wasn't locked. PSD responded and conducted a search but subject was not there. Doorman was notified to secure the door.

Locked out Youth- At 560 Main Street a youth returned home late and parent did not want to provide entry. PSD responded and parent did allow youth inside apt.
A reader asks:
Would you have a poll on the PSD and how residents view them, Exc. Good, Fair, Poor with comments and nay incidents they may have had with them.?
The Public Safety poll is on the right side column. When responding remember that there is a new Public Safety director so that problems associated with the Public Safety Office in the past need not be attributed to the new administration. The 2/23/08 Main Street WIRE (PDF File) has an interview with the new Public Safety Director Keith Guerra who explains that:
“I want to improve the way that my officers are perceived by the residents here on the Island.”

Guerra plans on effecting this improvement by changing the uniform and by having the officers go through training and retraining. “They will be going through a number of different trainings whereby they are going to raise their proficiency in defensive tactics.” Guerra says that they will be specifically trained in “verbal Judo, a martial art of the mind and mouth,”which “consists of being able to interact verbally with the public, whether that’s engaging in a conversation that is very pleasant... all the way up the scale to a conversation that may be confrontational in its nature.” He says that they will also be changing the current baton, “which appears to be a stick or a club,” to an expandable baton, “which is more of a defensive instrument with offensive capabilities.
Here is link to the web cast of the February 15 2008 RIOC Operations Committee meeting which has a discusstion of Public Safety issues.

For comparison purposes here is the Brooklyn Police Blotter page from the Brooklyn Paper.
From Fort Greene:
The 47-year-old was hanging around the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Fort Greene place around 4 pm when he saw two men, one of whom he knew, fighting on the street. He started to chuckle, and his acquaintance noticed and turned to him.

“Stop laughing,” he said.

The bystander and the brawler were soon arguing, and the violent 26-year-old got fed up, went to his car, and pulled out a long metal object. He struck the older man in the head, causing injuries bad enough to send him to Brooklyn Hospital. But the joke was on the perp, as cops happened upon the scene and put him under arrest.

And Williamsburg:
A hard week for twenty-something men using the Bedford Avenue L station ended with hard time for one teenager.

It started on Feb. 25, when three thugs jumped a 28-year-old man in the station.

“Just give it to me,” said the ringleader, a 6-foot guy in a gray hoodie, pointing to the victim’s wallet. A second thug, also 6-foot, proceeded to put the North Sixth Street resident into a choke-hold and pull him to the ground, at which point all three punched and kicked the victim.

Then, the ringleader grabbed the punchee’s wallet, before the entire gang fled toward Driggs Avenue.

Inside the New York University grad student’s $100 billfold was $41, two credit cards, a $50 Whole Foods gift card and a monthly MetroCard.

A few days later, on March 2, a teenager approached a 27-year-old at the same station and asked him for his ID at around 8:30 pm.

When the adult complied, the kid, surprise, stole his wallet, too.

Dumbonyc reports of increased night time crime:
A few residents have emailed saying that there have been a few attacks by “a group of boys” on foot. On Thursday night, there was a robbery on the corner of Front and Washington Street. Another story said that the “same group” jumped a man and tried to “pull his eye socket out”. In another incident, the group pulled a man between cars and mugged him
Does this mean that in exchange for having very few close by and convenient city amenities like restaurants, book stores, bars etc. Roosevelt Island also has little crime? Is that the trade off?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Roosevelt Island Organizations - Are You Seeking Funding?


NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin forwards the following Budget Request Form for fiscal year 2009 to any Roosevelt Island organization seeking funding. Keep in mind that the deadline for applying for these funds is April1, 2008. The following Roosevelt Island organizations have previously received funds through Council Member Lappin's office:
  • RI Historical Society,
  • RI Day Nursery,
  • RI Disabled Association,
  • RIRA, RI Youth Center,
  • RI Senior Center,
  • RI PTA,
  • PS/IS 217 and the
  • Main Street Theater.


COUNCIL MEMBER JESSICA S. LAPPIN BUDGET REQUEST FORM
Manhattan – District 5 Fiscal Year 2009


Organization Requesting Funding: _______________________________________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________________________________ Zip: __________________

Organization Head: __________________________________ Budget Contact Person: __________________________________

Title: _____________________________________________ Title: _________________________________________________

Phone: ____________________________________________ Phone: _______________________________________________

Fax: ______________________________________________ Fax: _________________________________________________

Email: ____________________________________________ Email: ________________________________________________


EXPENSE Budget Request: $___________________________ CAPITAL Budget Request: $____________________________________

Cost of Total Program: $ _____________________________ FEIN# ___________________________________________________

Is the organization a 501C-3? YES NO If NO, please list conduit ___________________________________


Purpose of Funds Requested: ____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Description of Organization: ____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If your organization received funding from the City Council in FY 2007, please describe funding received, purposes, and any outcomes or results:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please return by April 1, 2008 to Council Member Jessica S. Lappin
c/o Caroline Mello
250 Broadway, Suite 1804
New York, NY 10007
Fax (212) 442-5503

Subway Escalator Update - Is Pointing Out the Number of Roosevelt Island Escalators an Aspersion on RIOC and/or MTA?

Image of escalator replacements by Kevin Smith

RIOC President Steve Shane responds below to this earlier post concerning the escalator replacement at the Roosevelt Island subway station that pointed out only 8 of 10 escalators were being replaced. Mr. Shane forwards the message below from MTA's Alissa Kosowsky, Assistant Director of Government & Community Relations, explaining why only 8 of the 10 Roosevelt Island subway escalators are being replaced. He also takes umbrage at his perceived tone of the post which he believed cast certain aspersions. Decide for yourself.

From Mr. Shane:
Further response to both of your aspersions about 10 escalators vs 8
under repair.

"The easy answer is that those two escalators are newer than the
others and do not need replacement. I am working on getting you their exact
age.
Alissa"
My response:
Thank you for the additional material regarding the two escalators not being repaired. I will certainly update post to reflect information.

However, your characterization of my post as casting "aspersions" is troubling to me because that is never my intention nor do I think the post can be reasonably read to be an "aspersion" which is defined by Merrriam-Webster as " a false or misleading charge meant to harm someone's reputation ". My observation was a reasonable inquiry as to why MTA is only replacing 8 of 10 escalators, particularly when not too long ago all ten elevators were out of service.

Do you really think that anything in the post was false, misleading or meant to harm someone's reputation? If so, specifically what?

Also, FYI - The Up escalator from the lower mezzanine to mid-level mezzanine was not working at approximately 3:20 this afternoon.
Back to Shane:
If I'm too sensitive to your nuance so that I read into your post the underlying message of don't those dopes even realize that there are 10 escalators, not 8, then I apologize. I intended the use of "casting aspersions", as written, in the context.
Accepted.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that on the same day as this exchange, I was admonished during Community Planning Board 8 Park's committee meeting for being rude. I guess my mother never taught me manners.

A Little Bit Too Close To Home

Cartoon image from xkcd.com via crooks and liars.

Roosevelt Island Tram Advisory for Tuesday and Wednesday Morning

Roosevelt Island Tram image from m day

From RIOC, a Roosevelt Island Tram Advisory

On Tuesday, March 11th. and Wednesday, March 12th the Tramway will be operating on an hourly schedule from 10 AM to 2 PM.
This schedule change is necessary in order to perform maintenance.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Roosevelt Island Bridge Weekend Advisory from Friday March 14 - Monday March 31

Image of Roosevelt island Bridge from Chenn Family Adventures

RIOC issued the following advisory regarding the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Advisory

WEEKEND WORK SCHEDULED
FROM FRIDAY, MARCH 14,2008 UNTIL MONDAY, MARCH 31,2008
WORK HOURS WILL BE CONTINUOUS FROM FRIDAY 8:OO PM THROUGH MONDAY 6:00 AM

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) will perform three consecutive weekends of work operations on the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Work will begin on Friday, March 14. 2008 and weather permitting, continue until Monday, March 31,2008. Work hours will be continuous from Friday at 8:00 p.m. until Monday at 6:00 a.m.

The work activities planned include bridge painting operations. Traffic lane reversals will be in effect during the work hours in which one lane remains open to traffic while work progresses. Eastbound and westbound traffic will alternate using the one open lane. At the end of each weekend two-way traffic direction will be restored. This work is weather-sensitive. Inclement weather may cause die work to be rescheduled. NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents as well as construction flaggers will be on site to help direct. Additionally, noise mitigation measures will be implemented by the contractor.

Prior to the start of weekend work the pedestrian sidewalk will be relocated to its original location.

As with all major reconstruction projects, NYCDOT is fully aware of the unavoidable impacts this reconstruction project may have on the surrounding community and on motorists. However, we will strive to keep these impacts to a minimum.

Questions regarding this project may be addressed to Tiffany Asberry, Community Liaison at 212-758-1060

Last Thursday's Night's CPB 8 Meeting On Kahn Memorial, Is Meaningful Dialogue Possible - Not Without Real Input From Roosevelt Island Community?

Image from Mother Jones

What to make of Community Planning Board 8 Park's committee meeting last Thursday night on the future of the Kahn/FDR memorial at Southpoint Park Roosevelt Island? The only thing I am sure about is that emotions are extremely raw on this issue and that the opposing parties are speaking different languages to each other so effective communication is absent.

To me, it seemed that the Committee Chairperson's primary role, at least as expressed during the meeting, was limited to calling for dialogue between the supporters of the Kahn Memorial (they call it the Kahn design of the FDR memorial) and local Roosevelt Island residents who oppose this particular design and support a real neighborhood waterfront park for all park constituent users and residents to be able to enjoy. However, this call for dialogue by the Chairperson demonstrates a critical lack of understanding the real issue in this dispute which is a fundamental lack of respect for and responsiveness to the needs, desires and wishes of the local community, in this case Roosevelt Island, from the supporters of the Kahn memorial.

It is impossible to have a dialogue when the Kahn supporters say that even if the majority of Southpoint Park users and Roosevelt Island residents oppose the memorial it will not matter. They will still try and go forward with the memorial because they claim to have the raw New York State political power to do so. How they have such power is pretty amazing considering that they have failed for over 35 years to raise the necessary private sector funds to stick this thing on Roosevelt Island and are now trying to suck the public taxpayers dry to the tune of $20 million.

So what is the point of a dialogue if there is no expectation of compromise or, even better, finding an alternative to the Kahn design? A real dialogue would be wonderful but it must be premised on the fundamental understanding that the wishes of Roosevelt Island residents and those who actually use, or will use the Park, have a real determining say in the ultimate outcome of Southpoint Park's development! If the Chairperson truly understood the issues in this controversy and wished to support the wishes of the Roosevelt Island community, she should support Roosevelt Island community decision making not some mushy, hand holding dialogue with no consequence at the conclusion of the dialogue.

Some have labeled opposition to the Kahn memorial as an example of NIMBYitis. I don't think it is because we desperately want a real waterfront park to accompany this spectacular one-of-a-kind location on Roosevelt Island but just not the Kahn memorial which ruins it. No other Park or neighborhood in New York City would want it either. Ask the Governor's Island folks or those supporting the creation of the Midtown East Park above the FDR drive next to the United Nations. Not a chance!

Roosevelt Island is a residential neighborhood, not a site dedicated for memorials as is the National Mall in Washington D.C. Southpoint Park is a small 13 acre neighborhood open space which will one day be a modest sized waterfront park, not the 843 acre Central Park or 585 acre Prospect Park. Taking 3 acres of green space away from Southpoint Park and filling it with the concrete and granite infused Kahn memorial does violence to the park, particularly with the now sought obscene $20 million taxpayer subsidy, not to mention the environmental damage caused by the removal of green space.

To supporters of the Kahn memorial, Southpoint Park is not a neighborhood park but a venue for all of the world to glimpse the work of a famous architect who died more than 30 years ago. For us who live on Roosevelt Island, Southpoint Park is not a place for a dated relic of the 1970's, but a place where we can throw a ball around, watch an outdoor movie or concert, fly a kite or just sit there and enjoy the spectacular New York City views. For those who don't live on Roosevelt Island but enjoy their own small neighborhood parks I ask you how would you feel if your park was to be changed for the enjoyment of those who will rarely visit and you had nothing to say about it. How would the residents of Williamsburg/Greenpoint feel if they had no say in the re-development of McCarren Park and the East River State Park or Long Island City residents for Gantry State Park and DUMBO residents for Brooklyn Bridge Park.How about placing a 3 acre memorial in the middle of Central Park's Great Lawn or Prospect Park's Long Meadow? I bet you wouldn't like it - Roosevelt Island doesn't like it either! This is not over!