Roosevelt Islander - Red Bus Fare and Route Changes May Be In The Works
Roosevelt Island 360 - Hurricane Preparedness Video
NY 1 - Examines Subway Overcrowding During Tram Outage
Crains - FDR Memorial Seeking Federal Stimulus Funds
City Limits - 10 MW's of Green Power Sought From Verdant's East River Turbines
Daily News - Choppy Waters For Versdant Turbines
The Star - Profile of UN Delegate Living on Roosevelt Island
Bunny Got Blog - Nellie Bly Investigates 1887 Roosevelt (Blackwell) Island Insane Asylum
Second Avenues Sagas - GPS Bus Tracking System
Bisnow - RIOC's Rosina Abramson Addresses Construction Group
SI Advance - Goldwater Hospital Patient Kimeberly Messink, 22, Passes Away
You Tube - Tram Station Blown Up By Spiderman Movie Crew
You Tube - No Escape From the Roosevelt Island Follower
You Tube - A Snowy March Roosevelt Island Day
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Roosevelt Islander - Red Bus Fare and Route Changes May Be In The Works
Friday, March 6, 2009
Things To Do This Weekend In New York City & Roosevelt Island- Art Shows, Urban Agriculture, Broadway Walking Tour & RI Tour
Looking for fun or interesting things to do on Roosevelt Island or in some other part of New York City this weekend? Here are some suggestions.
Today thru Sunday, The Armory Show - International Fair of New Art - is exhibiting at Pier 94 on the Hudson River. According to the NY Times:
... All parties involved in New York’s flagship international contemporary art fair know that, this time around, something serious is up, or rather down. But sub-7,000 Dow or no, the show is not only back in more or less full gear on Pier 94 on the Hudson River, but it’s also introducing a substantial and sometimes interesting supplement called the Armory Show Modern on the adjoining Pier 92.For a little different type of art this weekend, head on over to the Fountain Art Fair at Pier 66 at 26th Street in the Hudson River Park. According to Time Out New York:
The Armory Show, which is on through Sunday, has always been closely watched for what it has to say about the health of the art market. Scrutiny will be particularly intense this year. And while sales tallies can’t be known for some days, observers may perceive advance indicators of distress...
Fountain is all about the cutting-edge artwork, but we figured we’d make use of Pier 66’s huge stage and PA system,” says Fountain director David Kestings. MC Chris will perform at the March 6 opening reception, and there will be a handful of live installations over the course of the weekend.Or the Bridge Art Fair, described as:
... one of the most influential presenters of international emerging contemporary art, and a top destination for collectors, curators and arts patrons. Bridge New York 09 features 50+ international exhibitors, with 60% from outside the United States.On Saturday, Help make Brooklyn Bloom at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and learn how to grow food at home - even on Roosevelt Island. According to Free NYC:
Today is Brooklyn Botanical Garden's annual community horticulture event devoted to urban agriculture and building a healthy food system in our borough, Making Brooklyn Bloom. This year's event, "Edible NYC: Green It! Grow It! Eat It! and is (and beyond) features "15 hands-on workshops to help educate city residents on how they can grow food at home and make their neighborhood a little bit greener by doing so.On Sunday, The Municipal Arts Society is conducting a Give My Regards To Broadway Walking Tour.
Walk the streets of “The Great White Way”, tracing the history of New York’s Broadway theater district from Oscar Hammerstein in the 1890s to Walt Disney in the 1990s to its latest configuration. See the great Broadway theaters built between the turn of the century and the onset of the great depression — stunning works of art in themselves, and monuments to the lively history of American theater...On Roosevelt Island this weekend, the Farmers Market will be open as usual on Saturday. Gallery RIVAA, the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association, is setting up for a new exhibition next weekend and RIOC has produced a great self guided tour map (PDF File) of Roosevelt Island for any visitor or resident looking to stroll the Island and learn something more about it.
Good weekend transportation news. The MTA is reporting normal Roosevelt Island F Train subway service in both directions and RIOC is not reporting any Tram service advisories either.
Check out some other ideas on what to do in New York City this weekend from the NY Times Urban Eye, NY Post Weekend Calendar, and Newyorkology.
Women's History Month on Roosevelt Island - A Midwife's Tale (March 15) Plus Nellie Bly's Audacious Adventure (March 28) Film Presentations
March is Women's History Month and RIOC has scheduled the following events.
Women's History MonthMore information on the film A Midwife's Tale is available from the PBS series American Experience.
March 1st- 31st
Enjoy two film and lecture series of dynamic women who shaped cities and nations.
When : Sunday March 15th at 2pm
Where : RIVAA Gallery, 527 Main Street
Film : A Midwife's Tale
Speaker: Megan Elias-Professor of Women's Studies Queensboro Community College
Nellie Bly Presentation
When : Saturday, March 28th at 2pm
Where : RIVAA Gallery, 527 Main Street
Film : The Audacious Adventures of Nellie Bly- Around the World in 72 Days
Speaker: Leah Potter- Professor of History, Hunter College
Light refreshments will be served.
For more information, please call 212-832-4540
More information on the Audacious Adventures of Nellie Bly is available here plus the story of her investigation and reporting into the conditions at the Blackwell Lunatic Asylum, now Roosevelt Island's Octagon Luxury Apartment Building. Also a free audio book of Nellie Bly's 10 days In A Madhouse, yes, about the Lunatic Asylum, is available here.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Traditional metrics for evaluating the MTA's subway service include criteria such as on time performance of the trains, passenger overcrowding, crime, escalator and elevator outages etc. Now we can add a new item for measuring subway service - PIGEON POOP DROPPINGS - and the Roosevelt Island F Train Station fails horribly.
Pigeons are all over the subway station and leave their delightful calling cards on the ground, the turnstiles, stairs and everywhere else. I recall a time not too long ago when as I was sweeping my metro card through the turnstile machine a big glob of pigeon poop landed on my hand and card. Not a very pleasant experience!
A reader sent in these Roosevelt Island Subway Pigeon Poop Pictures.
Someone once told me that it is good luck to be pigeon pooped on your head but I think that is an honor I can do without.
Blogger Annietown had some thoughts on pigeon pooping on head luck idea.
... Here’s the thing: a bird takes a dump on me EVERY YEAR. And I don’t even spend a lot of time outdoors. In fact, one might say that I do not like the outdoors and am generally suspicious of anything that does not have four walls and a roof. Last year I was walking down 8th Ave and 50th St. and a bird just laid one on me. I mean it’s MIDTOWN. There’s zero chance of nature there. And yet there I was, with bird shit on my sleeve and all over my watch. The year before that it was actually on my head. Everyone loves to tell you that it’s good luck, but then why don’t they make bird shit key chains like a rabbit’s foot? Everyone is clearly lying and they are horrible horrible people. It’s good luck for the bird.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Recently elected Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin has been asked by the Governor's office to resign his seat as a delegate to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). Upon learning of this, RIRA President Frank Farance sent the following message to RIOC President Steve Shane:
I received the following E-mail below, which is appalling.The email Mr. Farance is referring to is the following from Mr. Kalkin:
Could you explain:
(1) under what grounds Mr. Kalkin is being forced to resign from RIRA
(2) what is the written policy that establishes this policy
(3) what has changed, if anything, regarding Mr. Kalkin (and future RIOC board candidates) that would require their resignation from RIRA.
I note that RIOC Directors Kraut and Stewart were former RIRA Presidents and were permitted to be on the RIOC Board and retain their RIRA positions. What has changed?
Dear RIRA President Frank Farance,I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane to explain the reason why Mr. Kalkin could not sit simultaneously on the RIOC Board and be a member of the RIRA Common Council. Mr. Shane replied:
I have just been informed that Governor Paterson's office, upon a
second review of my file and the file of possible new board members,
has stated that I must regretfully resign my position as a RIRA
Council Member. On the original review I was not told to resign. Since
I have been informed, I officially and regretfully resign from my seat
on the Roosevelt Island Resident's Association.
The Governor's Appointments office believes it to be required to avoid any appearance of impropriety because of the relationship between RIOC and RIRA and the fiduciary obligations imposed by law.I think this probably has to do with RIRA's recent involvement with recommending the allocation of RIOC's Public Purpose Funds although I believe Mr. Kalkin recused himself from participating in Public Purpose Funding decisions.
Mr. Kalkin sends the following message regarding the situation:
I will be leaving my seat on the Roosevelt Island Resident's Association Common Council, but I will continue to attend all community meetings so I can stay informed and in touch with all the great people of RIRA. From the moment I set foot on the Island, I have always felt at home. I remember the first day reading in the paper about the Resident's Association Common Council and was inspired by the spirit of volunteerism and healthy debate in the pages of the WIRE and when I attended my first RIRA meeting. It was an honor to serve as a member of RIRA. It was and still remains the place where I can find the pulse of this community. It is the place that helped start a movement that in 10 years led to my appointment by the Governor to be a RIOC director. I will continue to be a RIOC Director, working with Columbia University to help solve our transportation problems, helping to find a way to make Main Street thrive, meeting with members of the community in our successful Town Hall chats, and most importantly being a good neighbor and friend to the community.
Jonathan M. Kalkin
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.
Are Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Residents Being Billed Correctly For Electricity Charges? Fill Out The Survey and Find Out!
The NY Post reports today on Con Ed electricity over charges:
Each New Yorker overpays $114 a year for electricity thanks to state policies that set the highest possible prices for power, according to data released yesterday by a state legislator.Eastwood/Roosevelt Landing is not the only Roosevelt Island building concerned with very high electricity bills and residents trying to organize, share information and protest if the electric bills are inflated. Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) delegate Isabel Perez-Cruz is investigating whether Manhattan Park is overcharging their residents for electriciy and she sends the following message:
The overcharges add up to $2.2 billion annually, and have cost the state economy "thousands, if not millions of jobs," says the study released by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester).
Some economists say that paying power-generating companies the highest possible price ensures they'll keep electricity flowing, but Brodsky calls the system "an elegant form of price fixing."...
Manhattan Park Electricity Request
To all wives, moms, daughters, grandmother, sisters, and aunts, please get a mammogram breast exam for yourself and family. Some more information is available here on fighting breast cancer from the Susan G Komen Foundation.Free Mammograms
Early detection of breast cancer can save lives.
When :Saturday, April 18th 8am -5pm
Where :Look for the Mobile Mammography van at: Church of the Good Shepherd Plaza 543 Main Street
This is an appointment-based program.
Please schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-453-8378 Ext# 6
Great work by RIOC in providing such a valuable public health service. I wonder if the Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering hospitals, which have such a large residential presence on Roosevelt Island, are helping out?
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
RIRA Monthly Common Council Meeting Wednesday Night 8 PM At Good Shepherd Community Center - Ask Questions of PS/IS 217 Principal
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting on Wednesday, March 4, 8PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). Prior to the meeting, time is alloted for any resident to speak before the Council and air their views or issues of concern to Roosevelt Islanders.
For those interested in the state of public school education on Roosevelt Island, Mandama Beckman, the Principal of PS/IS 217, is scheduled to be in attendance. The 11/18/06 Main Street WIRE has a profile of the Principal:
...When several teachers went back to school for administrative licenses, Beckman got hers too, and slipped right into the job of assistant principal when PS/IS 217’s was promoted to principal at another school. "So here I was with the license, and the same thing happened again, when Miss Gregory announced this summer she was retiring."Some reader comments on PS/IS 217 include:
Beckman was "shocked" when Gregory told her she was ready for ascension to the educational throne. "She was a great mentor in the sense that she was very supportive, and here we’re always planning ahead, so she had let me start certain [administrative] things and take initiatives." As second in command, Beckman had begun a Saturday math program and "tweaked" the assemblies, so she was already making principal-like decisions before switching to the driver’s seat.
"At this school, I could see where I could go next," meaning that she understood what the school needed to retain the students through 8th grade, to involve the parents more in the school’s vision, and to encourage greater communication among teachers of different grades so that the students have continuity as they progress through the grades....
What's funny about the school administration wanting the PTA to raise $100,000 for teacher development. Which I feel should happen, but here is my dismay on that. In recent years the school has been given grants and never did anything with them. A couple years ago the school had a grant for over $100,000 and let it slip by and never did anything with that. The school Library needs to be updated and get rid of the older books and get some new ones in. The playground area needs to be redone. It just seems like the school administration needs to take care of the kids as well as the teachers. How come students can't take books out of the library. I would be concerned for my child playing on that playground..and:
... There is an effort underway here on Roosevelt Island to garner support for a Gifted and Talented program here at PS 217. We are trying to collect signatures of residents here on the island that would be supportive of a G&T program- and bring this data to the attention of Chancellor Joel Klein.I do not know how much knowledge you have of the current situation at PS 217. Presently, many parents send their children to G&T schools, private schools, or public schools (courtesy of a friend's address) in Manhattan to avoid what is considered by many to be a sub-par educational experience. PS 217 currently buses in students from other over-crowded schools to fill seats that sit empty at our school. PS 217 is not currently a reflection of our island make-up. I am serving on the PTA Executive Board, and have been making an effort to try to increase enrollment by residents of Roosevelt Island. Many parents have cited the absence of a challenging academic environment, and a lack of a G&T program as reasons why they would not send their child to PS 217. I believe that the presence of a G&T program here on the island would make many residents rethink their children's educational options, especially in the wake of an upcoming tram shut-down in 2009. Most schools in Manhattan (including G&T schools) will not pick up residents here on the island. Many have buses that stop near the tram station-and it will be much more difficult for these individuals to get to Manhattan schools with an over-crowded subway as the only other option. I know for me personally, if a G&T program is not instated at PS 217 in the next two years, our family will move off-island, and into a better neighborhood school-zone.We currently have 100+ signatures and plan to add many more....
A longtime reader and former Roosevelt Island resident asks the following question:
Do you know until what time Southpoint Park is open at night during this time of year, especially during the weekend? And do you know until what time the Renwick Ruins are lit in the evening? I don't want to make a visit and find myself locked out!According to RIOC, during the winter Southpoint Park opens at 8 AM and closes at 6:30 PM - operating times for the rest of the year at Southpoint Park are available here though the Park is scheduled for renovations of its northern portion with the Green Rooms/Wild Gardens design by the Trust For the Public Land shortly after the Fourth of July. Hopefully, by that time, the Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle proposed for the southern section of Southpoint Park will be dead, buried and forgotten.Many thanks for any information. By the way, this might be the sort of useful piece of information worth posting on your blog. (I looked around and couldn't find anything about it there.)
As to the timing of the Renwick Ruins Lights, RIOC President Steve Shane advises that:
Lights are dusk until approx 10:30According to Roosevelt Island 360:
The night time lighting of the former smallpox hospital, on Roosevelt Island, started as a party favor from Arnold Scaasi, a Sutton Place resident, to his guests. It was then later picked up as a treat from an island based group to the larger city as a reminder that "we're part of the City".This 1993 NY Times article has more on the Renwick Lights:
... The Friends of Roosevelt Island Landmarks, a nonprofit group, is sponsoring the lighting. E. M. Freeman, a member of the group's board, said, "We like to think of it as a holiday gift to our neighbors on the mainland -- and a reminder that we're part of the city."The Weblicist of Manhattan has some great eerie photos of the Renwick Ruins glowing at night and a reader shares childhood memories of driving past the glowing Renwick "Spooky House". Also, another reader thinks the Renwick Ruins are Haunted!
Mr. Scaasi and Kitty Carlisle Hart, head of the New York State Council on the Arts, have organized to raise funds for the permanent lighting of the Smallpox Hospital.
"I love the way the ruin looks in the daytime, like a 19th-century Spanish city hall," said Mr. Scaasi, who lives on Beekman Place. "But at night it is just a big black patch in the middle of the river."...
Monday, March 2, 2009
Individual articles from Roosevelt Island's local community newspaper, The Main Street WIRE, are now more easily accessible on the web. Below are links to the 2/21/09 issue.
Emergency Stay of Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings Electricity Submetering.
Interview With Urban America's Douglas Eisenberg on Eastwood Electricity Submetering.
United Nations School Attracts Roosevelt Islanders.
Profile of Trellis Diner Owner and Plans for Future.
DHCR Approves 15% Rent Hike at Island House.
New York National Bank Leaving Roosevelt Island
Possible Roosevelt Island Red Bus Changes - Fare Increase, Route Change & Where Are The Missing 9:30 - 10 AM Buses?
On February 10, a reader of this post commented about the Roosevelt Island Red Bus GPS system and the lack of a bus schedule:
The Nextbus system is useless right now. I can say that my husband stood at the subway station yesterday with his iPhone looking at the website which stated there was not one but two buses that should have been there in 1 minute. No buses arrived in the next 10 minutes. Why bother spending the money on the system when it doesn't work out of the box? A simple schedule would be brilliant but that would be too easy I suppose.and another on the dual Octagon buses and the lack of a Red Bus schedule:
The red bus situation has become worse ever since the Octagon buses started running both express and local (mostly half-empty buses) and making the residents wait for even longer stretches of time. Also, the buses continue to arrive in packs of 3. There's no way one can get information or simply reason with the drivers.I don't use the Red Bus that often so I don't have any personal knowledge whether any improvement with the GPS system has been made but I asked RIOC President Steve Shane if there was a schedule for the Red Bus.
Again, what was the reason we couldn't have a red bus schedule? Even the worst city bus lines post some sort of a schedule.
Looking forward to clarifications.
Mr. Shane replied:
The Red Bus has a schedule, but it is not similar to the MTA for a specific time expectancy at each stop, as it is specific as to starting and stopping time, frequency, route, and to meet the Tram after dark. There are periods when it runs continuously. With the short stretch of the entire route, specific dislocations (handicapped, traffic, etc.) are easily disruptive.In a subsequent column for the Main Street WIRE, Mr. Shane elaborated in detail on the Roosevelt Island Red Bus schedule. From the President's RIOC Column of the 2/7/09 Main Street WIRE column.
Bus scheduling seems to continue to cause great confusion. Understandably! Follow this if possible:Does that schedule help residents plan their commute or Red Bus usage?
Weekdays (Monday-Friday): The Octagon local leaves The Octagon headed south at 5:45 a.m., with a second bus leaving Motorgate at the same time heading south. These two buses work their way south towards the tram station, with the first bus arriving there at 5:52 a.m., an estimated seven minutes after departure. It then immediately proceeds north to The Octagon to drop off passengers, and pick up at 6:00 a.m., The second bus arrives a few minutes later to wait for the 6:00 a.m. tram. Every 15-20 minutes thereafter, they repeat the cycle until 7:00 a.m., when two more buses join the service, starting and looping at the firehouse, so that there are four buses on continuous loops from 7:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. We expect headway between buses, during this period, of approximately 5-8 minutes. From 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., three buses follow the schedule, two buses meeting the tram every 15 minutes and one on continuous loop. From 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., there are two buses on the schedule. From 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., there are five buses on the rush-hour schedule. From 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., there are two buses, always meeting the tram and, from 11:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., there is one bus on the route, meeting the tram. The Octagon Express, separately supported by The Octagon, makes no other stops southbound, begins at 7:00 a.m., then runs at 20-minute intervals until 10:00 a.m. It makes one northbound stop opposite Rivercross at 504 Main Street.
Friday: Same as other weekdays, except night service continues until the pickup from the last tram (3:30 a.m.).
Saturday: Local buses only, starting at 5:45 a.m., every 15 minutes, coordinated to meet each tram until pickup from the last tram trip (3:30 a.m.). Sunday: Same as Saturday, except the last tram from Manhattan is at 2:00 a.m. and the pickup is coordinated accordingly.
Holidays: Treated as either a Saturday or Sunday if added to the weekend, or as a weekday if mid-week.
In other Roosevelt Island Red Bus news, RIOC may soon examine the possibility of increasing the current 25 cent Red Bus Fare. During the 1/13/09 RIOC Operations Committee meeting, Mr. Shane raised the issue that RIOC Directors may want to consider increasing the Red Bus fare noting that the Red Bus system operates a $700,000 annual operating deficit and the fare has not been increased in the last 15 years. Mr. Shane repeatedly emphasized during the discussion that he was not urging or recommending a fare increase but merely raising the issue for the Directors to consider.
The Directors may also wish to consider making the Red Bus free if this can be shown to decrease the loading time of passengers getting on and off the bus. By removing the fare, passengers could get on and off the bus via both the front and back doors thereby reducing passenger lines that often cause delays in the bus schedule. The resulting decrease in revenue may be offset by the increased efficiency. Perhaps not but may be at least worth looking into.
RIOC is also considering changing the route of the Southbound Red Bus so that it travels down the Queens side of Main Street in Southtown stopping first at the Tram Station and then on to the Subway Station rather than the current longstanding practice of first stopping at the subway then on to the Tram and turning around back to the subway along the Manhattan side of Main Street. The web cast of the 2/12 RIOC Operations Committee meeting in which this was discussed is available here as well as a discussion of the Roosevelt Island Red Buses mysteriously disappearing from 9:30 to 10 AM and nobody knows where they go. RIOC will investigate.
The 2/21/04 Main Street Wire has an account of previous RIOC changes to the Red Bus schedule and route together with a sample of reader letters.
Matt Katz's 2004 RIRA Column included this nugget:
... I was told that there is no intention to schedule the buses so as to synchronize with the Tram; rather, the buses will space themselves by walkie-talkie communication between bus drivers...More Red Bus problems from the 11/18/06 and 12/2/06 Main Street WIRE.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
BLACKWELL PLAYGROUND IS NOW OPENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNAnd the big kids are playing basketball next door as well.
UPDATE -3/2 - Blackwell Playground viewed from High Above.
President Barack Obama Keeps His Promise On Budget and Republican/Conservative Leader Rush Limbaugh Explains Who Conservatives Are
You Tube Video of President Obama's 2/28 Address on B
Two years ago, we set out on a journey to change the way that Washington works.And now for something completely different, here's Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the Republican/Conservative Party speaking before the Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC) yesterday.
We sought a government that served not the interests of powerful lobbyists or the wealthiest few, but the middle-class Americans I met every day in every community along the campaign trail – responsible men and women who are working harder than ever, worrying about their jobs, and struggling to raise their families. In so many town halls and backyards, they spoke of their hopes for a government that finally confronts the challenges that their families face every day; a government that treats their tax dollars as responsibly as they treat their own hard-earned paychecks.
... The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don’t. I work for the American people. I didn’t come here to do the same thing we’ve been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November. That is the change this budget starts to make, and that is the change I’ll be fighting for in the weeks ahead – change that will grow our economy, expand our middle-class, and keep the American Dream alive for all those men and women who have believed in this journey from the day it began.
The full text and video of Mr. Limbaugh's speech is here. An excerpt:
... Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. [Applause] When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don't see groups. We don't see victims. We don't see people we want to exploit. What we see -- what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don't think that person doesn't have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government. [Applause]
We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault...