Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the May 2 Main Street WIRE (Not Available on line yet):
Roosevelt Islander - RI Disabled Association Opposes Kahn Design For FDR Memorial
Roosevelt Island 360 - Pictures of Tram Rescue Drills
Curbed - Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin Designs
Curbed - Foul Eruption On Roosevelt Island
Orangeadnan - 360 Degree View of Subway Pier
NY State Comptroller - Report On RIOC Recycling Compliance
Hot & Cool Guide - Highlights Roosevelt Island
Five Boro Sports - Wheelchair Basketball Classic at Coler Goldwater Hospital
New York Social Diary - FERI Party For FDR Memorial Supporters in Pennsylvania
Daily News - Electricity Submetering Snafus
NBC New York - Profiles Bar Adjacent To Tram
Historic District Council - Preserving Roosevelt Island
Susanna's Sketchbook - Meets Tram Harmonica Player
NY Taxi Photo - Nightime on Roosevelt Island
Improv Everywhere - MP3 Roosevelt Island Expreriment
Urban Adventures - Biking to Roosevelt Island
Taking Shots - Riding Atop The Tram
Daily Photo Stream - Marriage of Real Estate and Money
You Tube - A Trip To Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Roosevelt Island Urban Mountain Biking
You Tube - Charger RT Hangs On Roosevelt Island
You Tube - 360 Degree of Winter Octagon Dock
Friday, May 1, 2009
Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the May 2 Main Street WIRE (Not Available on line yet):
Things To Do This Weekend In New York City & Roosevelt Island- Irish/Yiddish Songs, Art Fair, Space Stories, Hot Dog Hoot, Cherry Tree Walk & 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.
The NY Times Spare Times suggests a Friday evening of Irish and Yiddish Songs at NYU's Glucksman Ireland House.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY GLUCKSMAN IRELAND HOUSE Friday at 7 p.m., “Yiddish and Irish Song,” with Susan McKeown and Lorin Sklamberg.Also, The International Art Fair arrives Friday at the Park Avenue Armory and stays thru Tuesday.
The International Fine Art Fair has been an annual event in New York City since 1994, with many of the world’s leading picture dealers coming together to exhibit the finest paintings, drawings and sculpture from Renaissance gold ground panel paintings to 20th century modern art. This diverse selection includes examples from among the most important European and American works to be found on the market today.On Saturday, Space Stories 2009 is a series of day long public lectures at the New York City Explorers Club.
Space Stories is a full day of presentations spanning from traditional space and aeronautical disciplines to emerging fields in space exploration. This will be a great opportunity for those who are interested in these disciplines to interact. Tickets will NOT be sold at door.If you would rather be outdoors on Saturday, join the Roosevelt Island Historical Society for a Cherry Blossom Walk.
On Sunday, the Astor Center is hosting a Hot Dog Hootenanny. According to Serious Eats:
...We'll have hot dog vendors from around the city serving samples of their classic regional franks: condiment-heavy Chicago-style, deep-fried New Jersey Rippers, and New York City grilled, as well as an off-beat fusion dog and a high-end "fancy" dog. Guests can taste a dog from each of the participating hot dog shops and wash them down with beer or prosecco before heading into a hot dog seminar and guided tasting, should you want to take your hot dog appreciation to the next level....Or, if you are in the mood for a free folk music concert from a group of moms who rock, the Motherlode Trio returns to Roosevelt Island with a Sunday afternoon concert at the Good Shepherd Chapel.
On Roosevelt Island, in addition to the Cherry Blossom Walk and Motherlode Trio Concert, this weekend the Farmers Market will be open as usual on Saturday as is Gallery RIVAA, the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association which is exhibiting a new show titled Art From The Heart featuring the works of Coler-Goldwater Hospital patients. Also, 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.
The MTA is reporting normal Roosevelt Island F Train subway service in both directions and RIOC is not reporting any Tram Advisories for this weekend
Check out some other ideas on what to do in New York City this weekend from the NY Times Urban Eye and Spare Times, Free NYC, NY Post Weekend Calendar and Newyorkology.
Roosevelt Island Health And Fitness Day Saturday May 16 - But Remember To Sign Up For Basketball and Ping Pong Tournament By May 8
Roosevelt Island Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder sends the following invitation to all Roosevelt Islanders.
Please join us for our 3rd Annual Roosevelt Island Health and Fitness Day. This great event will take place on Saturday, May 16th, 11AM - 4PM. Featuring a variety of health and fitness screenings, demonstrations, giveaways, mini-lessons, skill challenges, safety clinics, and tournaments throughout the day. So join us for some spring cheer as we promote healthy initiatives for our community.Remember that the sign up deadline for participating in the Three on Three Basketball Tournament as well as the Ping Pong Tournament is Friday May 8.
Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital
I- Fish NY
The National Double Dutch League
New York Road Runners Foundation
New York Red Bulls "Freestyle Soccer Team
MTA- Metropolitan Transit Authority
Safe Kids NY
WeACT for Environmental Justice
NYC Fire Department
Roosevelt Island Community Organizations
and many more......
In addition, We will also be hosting our annual basketball tournament and the first ever Roosevelt Island Ping Pong tournament which promises to be two great exciting events. So if you feel inclined to show off your talent, you can sign up online. And don't forget, the first 100 attendees will receive a free recyclable grocery tote bag.
Looking forward too seeing you there!
Sit Down Protest By Roosevelt Island Youth Center Baseball Players Over Lack Of Access To Ball Fields Of Dreams
Remember David and Emilia? They were the very young Roosevelt Island Activists who protested a dangerous metal strip in front of a children's playground and got RIOC to fix the problem. Well, last Saturday there was another protest by young Roosevelt Island children but this time it was a Sit-In by the Roosevelt Island Youth Center Baseball players on the pitcher's mound at Capobianco Field.
A reader at the protest explains the reasons for the protest and problems encountered by the Roosevelt Island Youth Center's Baseball League access to ball fields.
In the last couple of years, Roosevelt Island residents and particularly the kids, have been getting less and less access to the fields as a result of their increased rental to outside (off Island) sports teams by RIOC. Additionally, these fields' cost to the RI Leagues (although at a discounted rate) further reduces their time practicing. All this translates to little or no time for our kids to play on our fields. At one point while I was coaching the minors' soccer league last fall, we had 4 teams practicing on one soccer field for one hour, twice a week - something that, in practicality, is utterly ridiculous.This past Saturday, the RI Yo
uth Center's baseballleague kicke d off the season at Copabianco Field with the first game beginningat 9:30 am and the second at 11:30 am. The morning started with a brief celebration-which was cut short because of time restraints- followed by the first game, which ran a little over in the last inning and finally the second game, which also in turn ran over because of the earlier delays. Since the field was only rented to the RI Youth Center until 1:30PM and then to an outside sports team at 1:30PM, there was no room for overtime and as a result our first conflict of the season began.While the second game was still being played, the "outside" baseball team of adults, started practicing their pitching and batting at the far end of the field and slowly the balls were getting increasingly closer-putting our kids in jeopardy of being hurt. The psychological pressure on the kids, coupled by the physical and menacing presence of the outside team, this Saturday and on many other occasions in the past, led to the sit-in by the parents and kids (see photos) as a protest to what seems to be a blatant disregard by RIOC to the rights of the families in this community to have access to the island 's fields for organized and leisurely recreation. It is a violation of our rights as residents of this island and we are not going to put up with it anymore. Several parents have started a petition demanding priority time for our kids on the fields and parks and we hope that RIOC will be open to an amicable discussion about how this issue can be resolved, especially in lieu of new buildings cutting down park spaces, with increased number of residents.
Verbal Dispute - Over baseball field between softball league and Roosevelt Island Youth Center. PSD responded. Group with permit stayed. Other group left.Yesterday, I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane:
I believe that some time last year, RIOC indicated that they would keep at least one ball field available for Island residents to use and not rent them out to off Island groups. Is that still the case?Mr. Shane replied by noting Octagon Field's temporary closing and forwarding this response from RIOC Program Coordinator Donna Masly:
With weather getting warmer and summer approaching, what is RIOC's policy regarding ball field use by Island groups, residents and Little League as we as off island organizations?
Field permits for the spring and summer (up through August) can be submitted starting in January. Island residents and groups are allowed to submit January 1 and are given preference over off-island applicants, who may submit January 15.Permit Fee Rates for Roosevelt Island Ball Fields are available at RIOC's web site.
Scheduling for the bulk of applicants is generally not finalized until mid-February. At any point in the season after January 15, applications are evaluated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Due to the combination of the season (spring is softball-intensive and every resource is precious) and the unfortunate delay in permitting Octagon Field due to repairs, it was necessary to permit out Capobianco Field in a LIMITED capacity to accommodate requests. Parks and Recreation has every intention of once again granting open use of Capobianco Field once the softball season winds down.
The Roosevelt Island Youth Center's Little League program was granted every single date they requested. Unfortunately, very few permit requests come from Roosevelt Island Residents. I wish I had the pleasure of granting more permits to locals.
The permitting process is simple! Any interested applicant can visit our website- www.rioc.com/generalapp.htm, fill out and submit a permit application which will then be promptly evaluated by yours truly.
A couple of additional photos from the protest are below.
Maybe the Youth Center should hire David and Emilia as consultants?
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Responding to this recent post on the "Steaming Pile of Dung" RIOC President Steve Shane advised:
Even city folks should be able to tell the difference between "dung" which is always of animal origin and "mulch" which is almost always vegetable material.As one of those "City Folk" who did not know the difference between the two, I thought there might be some other Roosevelt Islanders who might want to learn more about gardening. By coincidence, I had previously asked Mr. Shane about the Roosevelt Island Garden Club that is located between Manhattan Park and the Octagon Building.
I have had several inquiries regarding how one joins the Garden Club and gets a plot of land? Are there any guidelines as to who and how long one gets to keep a plot of land for gardening? Who makes those decisions RIOC or some other entity? Did not see anything on RIOC web site about this.Mr. Shane replied:
I think the subject is shrouded in the fog of time, but will make inquiry. RIOC has no role in the administration of the garden or the club.The next day, Mr. Shane followed up:
See statement on p.28 of the HOT Guide:Good job by the Hot Guide in ferreting out this information!
"Roosevelt Island Community Garden: The Community Garden, just north of the soccer field, has 139 plots on less than 2 acres of land. Membership is $35 per year. To sign up for the waiting list, mail P.O. Box 127, RI, NY 10044. There are about 6 plots available per year. Tools are available in a shed at the garden for members. Trees are forbidden, and gardens that are not maintained are grounds for expulsion from the club. The garden is open for visitors during the day and can be accessed by members with a key during off-hours."
Roosevelt Island 360 discovers that at one time the Garden Club, not RIOC, may have governed Roosevelt Island.
For those that just want to do some gardening on their terrace, balcony or patio, the New York Times had some recent advice:
...One of your most important goals should be to protect your plants against the elements. Wind is the main enemy of an elevated garden. Summer storms can cause lasting damage by breaking limbs, drying out soil and knocking over pots, while icy winter gales can freeze and desiccate leaves.Be aware of where the prevailing wind usually comes from — off a river or through a wind tunnel. Create a barrier on that side with a hedge or a more informal windbreak, preferably evergreens like hollies, which will ground the garden aerie visually and make it more inviting year-round....
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Howard Polivy Confirmed as New RIOC Director By NY State Senate - Vote For Another 2 RIOC Board Members Scheduled For May 19
I received the following message from Assembly Member Micah Kellner's office that Howard Polivy has been confirmed by the New York State Senate as a member of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp's Board of Directors. This means that 4 of the 6 Roosevelt Island residents elected to be nominated for the RIOC Board have been appointed by either the Governor or Mayor and confirmed by the State Senate. Mr. Polivy joins Mr. Kalkin, Dr. Grimm and Ms. Christian as elected by residents RIOC Board members. Congratulations to Mr. Polivy!
Kellner Commends Polivy’s Confirmation to RIOC BoardCurrently, there are three non-elected Roosevelt Island residents serving on the RIOC Board.The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) plans to hold a special election on May 19 to nominate 2 additional resident RIOC Board Members. According to the March 4, 2009 Main Street WIRE:
Statement by Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner
“Roosevelt Island residents have gained a powerful advocate today with the New York State Senate’s confirmation of Howard Polivy to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) Board of Directors. I congratulate Mr. Polivy on his confirmation to the RIOC Board; this is a validation of the democratic will of the Island. I know that Howard will be a passionate and responsive voice for all residents.
“Howard Polivy’s nomination process was representative of the role he will assume today. For decades, residents have expressed that the RIOC Board of Directors has not truly reflected their interests. Taking matters into their own hands, on February 5, 2009, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) held an island-wide referendum to recommend to the Governor and the Mayor the residents’ choices for filling the six vacant or expired Board seats. Turnout for this historic vote was unprecedented. More Roosevelt Island residents voted for the RIOC Board nominations than voted in the 2008 Presidential primary or in the 2006 gubernatorial elections. Altogether, 1,718 votes were cast, and Mr. Polivy was chosen to be one of the six men and women the Island residents put forward as the people’s candidates. His confirmation today validates this democratic process.”
“Howard Polivy has worked tirelessly to bring about positive change in the community.
He was instrumental in creating the Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Response Team
(CERT) and serves as its Team Chief. He is also a tenant representative for his building to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council.
“Mr. Polivy was nominated to the RIOC Board by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Earlier this week, State Senator José Serrano and I wrote to the Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions in support of Mr. Polivy’s nomination and were gratified to see him quickly confirmed.”
... In the February election, six residents were nominated to the RIOC Board, including Kalkin and Polivy. Dr. Kathie Grimm, Kalkin, and Fay Christian, who were among the top six vote-getters in that election, now serve on the RIOC Board. Polivy's appointment is pending. The third- and fourth-highest winners in the February 5 election, Erin Feely-Nahem and Frank Farance, were not appointed; Farance subsequently ran for and won the presidency of the Residents Association.
In the planned May election process, nominees will be chosen for RIOC Board seats that are currently open or are expected to become open shortly. RIRA will forward the names of the winners, but will also remind the Governor's Appointments Office that Feely-Nahem and Farance were winners in the 2008 election and remain available for appointment.
UPDATE - 11:55 PM - CORRECTION - ADVISED BY DICK LUTZ OF MAIN STREET WIRE THAT ABOVE PRESS RELEASE IS INCORRECT. MR POLIVY WAS NOT CONFIRMED BY NY STATE SENATE BUT BY A COMMITTEE OF THE STATE SENATE.
I received the following message concerning Roosevelt Island's Long Island City neighbors.
I work for City Year in New York. City Year is a non-profit organization that places teams of young people (17-24) in public schools around New York City, including PS 111, PS 112 and MS 204 in L.I.C. Our volunteer corps is comprised of 230 young people who have decided to spend a year working with children as tutors, mentors and role models in some of New York City's most underserved neighborhoods.
We are having a day of service at Dutch Kills Park this Saturday and are in need of volunteers to come out for the day. Volunteers should expect to do light landscaping, mural and playground painting and some light construction.
Below is a blurb that we posted on our blog. Feel free to edit. Attached is a one-pager about our organization.
This Saturday, May 2nd, City Year New York is having our 3rd Annual LICense to Serve Day in Long Island City, Queens. Dutch Kills Park will be the hub site for the day and the site of the opening ceremony. City Year will be working at Hour Children's “My Mother’s House”, painting murals and playground games,as well as performing gardening around the hub site. Families are encouraged to attend and children will be able to attend a Children's Carnival featuring games and other activities.
The opening ceremony will be at 9:30am with service projects running until 3:00PM.
Volunteers need to register prior to the event by contacting Nick Florest at (646)-247-7735
Perhaps City Year In New York volunteers can help out here on Roosevelt Island as well?
A troubling report. The Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Report for April 28-29 advises that:
Found Shell Casings- R/O Coler Hospital. No shots heard. Casings secured in PSD. NYPD notified.
Swine Flu Advice For Roosevelt Islanders & A Discussion With Pediatrician Dr. Grimm On Thursday April 30
I noticed that a NYC Department of Health Swine Flu flyer was placed by the elevators of my building. The next day, I inquired of Roosevelt Island Doctors Resnick and Grimm:
The Riverwalk Buildings have placed flyers near the elevators advising residents about the NYC Health Department warnings concerning the new Swine Flu strain that has appeared in NYC.Dr. Grimm replied:
I was wondering as local Roosevelt Island physicians if you would care to comment or provide some advice to residents on what to do to avoid catching this virus and what to do if they are feeling flu like symptoms.
... I have received some calls. So far the US cases have been mild and are sensitive to Tamiflu. In general, it is best to avoid crowded areas and only do as much traveling as is necessary. If one develops typical symptoms of flu such as fever, body aches, and terrible cold symptoms, one should seek medical advice but avoid exposing other people if possible. The city is advising against going to ERs unless one is really sick and not just out of fear. This reminds us the importance of flu shots for everyone. although the present flu shot formulation did not include the specific antigens for swine flu, I wonder if people who take the flu shot year after year may have some crossover protection. HOpe this helps a little. Kathie GrimmAnd Dr. Resnick:
... If you feel sick, stay home. Wash your hands frequently. Always coughAlso, parents can discuss their health concerns with Roosevelt Island's pediatrician Dr. Kathie Grimm on Thursday April 30, 7 PM at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (4 River Road). Dr. Grimm is giving a talk titled, The Questions Parents Ask. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP 212*593*0750
into a tissue or your sleeve, never into the air on onto your hand.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Roosevelt Island Public Safety Reports 4/13 Thru 4/28 - Cat Attack, Abandoned Dog, Softball Field Permit Dispute & Seawall Jumper
RIOC is posting the most current Daily and March 2009 Monthly Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incident reports on their web site. Also, available is a breakdown of Roosevelt Island Public Safety incidents by location and category (the Blotter) for the month of March 2009.
Below are the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports for April 13 - April 28, 2009. Incidents include:
- Food Odor (4/13)
- Object Thrown From Building (4/14)
- Suspicious Persons Looking Towards Sportspark pool (4/14)
- Unsanitary Living Conditions (4/16)
- Car Struck Bicyclist, left scene (4/16)
- Unlicensed Food Vendors (4/17)
- Abandoned Dog Outside Starbucks (4/20)
- Person Attacked By Cat (4/24, 25)
- Person Struck On Head with Softball at Ballfield (4/25)
- Softball Field Permit Dispute (4/25)
- Person Threatened To Jump Off Seawall
4/14/09-7:00 AM to 4/15/09-7:00 AM
4/15/09-7:00 AM to 4/16/09-7:00 AM
0700 hrs 04/16/09 - 0700 hrs 04/17/09
0700 Friday April 17 th 2009 - 0700 Saturday April 18th 2009.
4/18-09-7:00 AM to 4/19/09-7:00 AM
4/19/09-7:00 AM to 4/20/09-7:00 AM
Abandoned Dog- By Starbucks. Owner left dog unattended for 90 minutes. PSD responded and returned dog to the owner. Dog appeared to be in good health.
0700 hrs 04/21/09 - 0700 hrs 04/22/09
0700 hrs 04/23/09 - 0700 hrs 04/24/09
Friday April 24th 2009 - Saturday April 25th 2009
Harassment - NYPD and PSD Officers responded to a female tenant apartment who reported 19 yr old female in apartment threatened her.
Escort - Supervisor of group home requested male subject removed from group home. Male exit apartment. NYPD refused.
Aided - PSD Officer responded with FDNY to apartment tenant was having a stroke. Transported to hospital. Son secured apartment.
Missing Property - Female tenant reports PSD officer that her bicycle was missing from the bike room. Bike was found inside room under mother name.
Arrest - RIOC Bus driver reported vehicle obstructing traffic. PSD officer gave lawful order to move. Driver refused to move was summonsed for Un-licensed hack operator and for no trip sheet.
Court Papers - Male tenant requested PSD Officer to service papers to his wife. No answer at door at the time.
Malfunctioning Gate - PSD Officer reports gate at south point park not closing. RIOC Project manager on scene. Gate closed after 45 minutes.
Aided - PSD Officer responded to lobby. upon arrival female tenant stated was attacked by a cat and bleeding from both hands. EMS transported to hospital.
Arrest - PSD officers observed 3 three male subjects in vehicle of Hospital lot driving around creating loud noise. Vehicle stopped aroma of marihuana. Subjects summonsed and released.
0700 hrs 04/25/09 - 0700 hrs 04/26/09
Possession of Marijuana/Reckless Driving/ Trespassing - Four subjects arrested by PSD.
Aided - Female sustained scratches from her own cat. EMS transported aided to hospital.
Aided - Pregnant female has returned from hospital previous night and now felt ill, but refused EMS. PSD escorted to apartment.
Verbal Dispute - Over baseball field between softball league and Roosevelt Island Youth Center. PSD responded. Group with permit stayed. Other group left.
Aided - Child leg slipped through meditation steps and sustained scratches. Parent refused EMS. Cone placed on hole. Matter referred to RIOC.
Aided - Female struck on head with softball at baseball field. EMS responded and aided refused transport.
Aided - Elderly male fell. EMS responded and transport to hospital refused.
Missing Property - Bike missing from bike room. It may have been removed to another location by RY Management.
0700 hrs 04/26/09 - 0700 hrs 04/27/09
Unlawful possession of Marijuana - Three subjects arrested by PSD.
Alcohol/Open Container - Subject arrested by PSD.
Aided/EDP - Mother upset with daughter coming home various times. Mother threaten to jump off seawall. EMS responded and transported aided to hospital.
07:00 AM 4/27/09 to 07:00 AM 4/28/09
Escort- Male adult of a group Home was escorted out of apt per request of Group Home Supervisor. It was completed without incident.
Investigation- NYPD investigating a report of a person jumping into the River rear of Costco. Search conducted with negative results.
Found Property- A Brown Handbag. It was secured in PSD.
Received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.
Get a close-up look at the glorious show of spring on Roosevelt Island. Join the Cherry Blossom Walk led by Judith Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.
Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
Tour leaves from the Visitor Center
Tram Plaza, Roosevelt Island
Reservations: www.rihs.us or 212-688-4836
$ 5 Donation to the RIHS is requested
Monday, April 27, 2009
Kahn/FDR Memorial Opposed By Roosevelt Island Disabled Association - Design Ignores Handicapped Community Here, Nation Wide & War Veterans
I received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) Board of Directors opposing the proposed $45 million Louis Kahn Design for a FDR Memorial at Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park that is being promoted by the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI):
On behalf of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association and it's many disabled members we want to voice our opposition to a glaring deficit in the current proposal for the FDR Memorial to be built at the Southern tip of Roosevelt Island.
President Roosevelt was disabled by Polio before he was elected President of the United States and used a wheelchair almost exclusively. A statue of President Roosevelt sitting in a wheelchair or standing with the help of his crutches would be most appropriate here on an Island where many disabled people reside, both in apartments and in the two chronic care hospitals. In the same manner that our first black president, Barack Obama, has inspired so many school- aged black children to aspire to higher achievements, once thought to be impossible, such a memorial would have the same effect on the disabled community when viewing a statue of one of our most beloved presidents and realizing that he, too, was disabled and was able to overcome his disability and be elected to the highest office in the country. What an inspiration that would be for the multitude of disabled visitors, especially our wheelchair bound war veterans returning from Iraq, to visualize that despite their disability anything is possible. The memorial, as shown in the artist's sketches. does not portray FDR as disabled and we feel that this is an injustice to us all. It is said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In this instance, a statue of FDR depicted as our first disabled President would speak volumes to the millions of visitors, disabled and non-disabled who will be visiting The FDR Memorial for generations to come.
Roosevelt Island Disabled Association Board of Directors and it's members
In an earlier post, I wrote the following about this issue:
In addition to destroying the beautiful NYC skyline and waterfront views from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park, the proposed Kahn/FDR memorial also fails to acknowledge FDR as a man and a President of the United States who achieved greatness despite a disability that forced him into a wheelchair. The absence, in any meaningful way, of FDR's use of a wheelchair or crutches is particularly shameful given the large disabled and handicapped community at Roosevelt Island's Coler-Goldwater Hospital complex.The inclusion of a statue depicting FDR sitting in a wheelchair at the Washington DC FDR Memorial was a hard fought battle and happened only as an afterthought addition to the original Memorial. As described in this 1996 Time Magazine article:
A similar controversy arose at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC. According to this 1/11/01 LA Times article:
... Advocates for the disabled objected strongly when the memorial opened 3 1/2 years ago with its centerpiece FDR statue only hinting at Roosevelt’s polio affliction. It shows a cape-covered Roosevelt in a straight chair with two tiny wheels....The National Organization of Disability wrote of the importance in recognizing FDR's use of a wheelchair and incorporating it into the Washington DC memorial.
... Four-year-old Hannah McFadden, an Albanian immigrant born with a leg deformity, didn’t need her mother to explain the significance of Wednesday’s unveiling of a statue depicting President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a wheelchair.
“It means people on crutches and in a wheelchair can do anything,” said Hannah, sporting hot-pink crutches for the ceremony in which President Clinton dedicated the statue...
President Clinton dedicated a new statue of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a wheelchair at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. on the morning of January 10, 2001. The statue, the first to depict a world leader using a wheelchair, will be located at the entrance to the seven-acre Memorial site in Potomac Park, between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. "This dedication represents a great victory for people with disabilities. FDR's Memorial finally will acknowledge his significant disability experience, which forged his leadership qualities-courage, determination, and compassion-that enabled him to successfully lead the nation through the worst crises of the 20th century," said N.O.D. President Alan Reich. "This magnificent statue will be an inspiration to people worldwide, disabled and non-disabled alike."...
Image of FDR Memorial Wheelchair from Ability Unleashed
A great idea for an appropriate and honorable FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island was suggested by Roosevelt Island's Doctor Jack Resnick who treats many of our disabled residents.
Somebody designed a memorial to FDR on Roosevelt Island that completely ignored the man’s physical disability. Franklin Roosevelt spent much of his adult life in a wheelchair. The polio virus, which infected him in 1921 at the age of 39, left him with almost no use of his legs. Twelve years later he became President of the United States. He went on to save the country from economic calamity and the world from Hitler....The Chris Reeve home page includes the Congressional House and Senate resolutions in favor of a FDR Wheelchair Statue for the Memorial in Washington DC. Shouldn't such a representation of FDR really be just as appropriate, if not more so, here on Roosevelt Island.
...Roosevelt Island is a living, breathing memorial to FDR. And when we celebrated FDR Day here each year, it was clear that we were focused on FDR as an icon for the disabled.
The FDR Memorial on this Island should focus on the President’s strength in conquering his disability. Many possibilities come to mind. For instance, he should not be memorialized with a bust. We should see a greater-than-life-sized statue of him sitting in a wheelchair – and he should face north toward Goldwater and Coler Hospitals...
Unfortunately to date, it is more important to the supporters of Roosevelt Island's incorrectly labled FDR memorial to honor the projects architect, Louis Kahn, than it is to honor FDR and the disabled community here on Roosevelt Island and elsewhere.
... The problem was that the crucial and defining fact that Roosevelt conducted his presidency from a wheelchair became a forgotten footnote to the White House proceedings and, indeed, to the whole memorial idea.A Memorial to FDR on Roosevelt Island must include a representation of him that recognizes his disability because it will be an example and inspiration to many on overcoming great personal challenges and as stated above by RIDA:
... In a Harris poll a while back, 73% of those asked said the memorial should include "visible recognition of F.D.R.'s disabilities." The National Organization on Disability, which claims to represent the interests of 50 million disabled Americans, thinks that to ignore F.D.R.'s disability in the monument is a major cultural blunder. "It would be unconscionable to have schoolchildren visit the memorial five years from now, or 500 years from now, and have no sense of the challenge F.D.R. faced," says Mike Deland, the organization's chairman.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has become the spokeswoman for a loose confederation of scholars who likewise are appalled at the idea of going ahead with the memorial as designed. "Roosevelt's polio made his special relationship with the American people possible," she said last week. "Not to allow that to be shown would be a fundamental distortion of history, a real loss." The Roosevelt heirs, who at first seemed supportive of a historically cleansed memorial, seem to have tipped the other way, with many favoring a change. The National Organization on Disability has agreed to pick up any extra cost if a new sculpture is needed, since the three F.D.R. pieces are already at the foundry....
... What an inspiration that would be for the multitude of disabled visitors, especially our wheelchair bound war veterans returning from Iraq, to visualize that despite their disability anything is possible....However, unlike the DC Memorial, in the case of the FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island, depicting President Roosevelt in a wheelchair or on crutches should be the prime focus of the Memorial and not just an afterthought addition.
At one time FERI agreed that FDR should be depicted in a wheelchair, at least in the Washington DC Memorial. FERI previously resolved that:
Resolution of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Board of Directors at its meeting in Warm Springs, GA, on Tuesday, April 11, 1995It appears that as it applies to the Roosevelt Island FDR Memorial, FERI and it's local political supporters are more interested in honoring the projects designer, Louis Kahn, than they are in honoring FDR or inspiring the disabled community here on Roosevelt Island and across the nation, including our returning war veterans as well as everyone else who shares the universal desire to overcome great challenges and adversity.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's indomitability, even in the face of his disability, is an important part of his legacy, and the fact of his disability should be shown in a significant way at the Washington memorial to FDR. Recognizing that time may be needed to do this in an effective way, necessary additions or modifications should be pursued as quickly as possible, but the opening of the memorial should not be delayed
There is still time to stop FERI"S proposed design plan and replace it with one that truly honors FDR and inspires the nation. The taxpayer funds from the NYC Council and State of New York may not come through due to the extreme budget crises we are currently suffering through and the RIOC Board of Directors, composed of a majority of Roosevelt Island residents still has final approval over this project and could vote it down.
Below are some images of FERI's proposed FDR Memorial for Roosevelt Island.
Other pictures are available here.
The PTA of Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 held a fundraising event last Thursday featuring a buffet of international food cooked by the parents of children attending the school. Ms. Isabel Perez-Cruz, 3rd VP of the PTA updates us as to what happened.
PS 217-PTA INTERNATIONAL DINNER 2009: A GREAT SUCCESS!!More pictures here.
The International Dinner organized by the PS 217 PTA was a tremendous SUCCESS! It was very well attended, we had over 100 guests!! People from our school (PS 217), the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA), The Senior Center, The Disabled Association, The Marlins team, Memorial Sloan Kettering, The WIRE, our Island dentist Dr Shick and many other Roosevelt Islanders came and enjoyed themselves. The big stars were the cooking parents: The food was amazing!! We had food from Norther Africa, Western Africa, East Europe, Pakistan, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, America, Japan and China. Parents participated with cooking, by baby-sitting for other parents during cooking or during the event, by buying tickets, by helping coordinate the event, etc. We had sponsorship from Nono's and Fuji East: both restaurants donated food for the event. Additionally, we received monetary sponsorships from Dr. Grim, the Roosevelt Island Cleaners, Trellis Restaurant and Urban American. Manhattan Park did not charge for the use of the Theatre and RIOC also gave great support. Many thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers!
Islanders came and eat, chatted and listened to the great Turtle Bay performers: a group of Colombian musicians that performed live and put an amazing show. Look at the link below to find some pictures taken of that day, since the preparation trough the party.
This will be an event that Islanders will wait for every year: a nice, relaxing and entertain dinner to meet the others, chat, have a good time and SUPPORT the arts and music programs and the teachers at our school! Thank you very much for your participation.
Good job by all!