Friday, May 8, 2009

The Bowery Boys Podcast Roosevelt Island a/k/a It's Nice To Be Here - Great Job!

Image of Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital from The Bowery Boys

The Bowery Boys have a great podcast on all things Roosevelt Island from it's original name, Minnahanonck ('It's Nice To Be Here'), to the new Southtown development. I highly recommend checking it out.

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City & Roosevelt Island - Affordable Art, Bicycle Fetish, Gangster Red Hook, Tofu Smackdown & RI Tour

Image from Freebird Books

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.

Friday night through Sunday, the NY Post Hot Picks recommends the Affordable Art Fair:
If you couldn't afford the recent Christie's art auction and its $14-million sales prices, a more reasonable art mart is in town. Many pieces are selling for just a few hundred bucks, and 75 percent of the work is priced under $5,000. The annual Affordable Art Fair runs today through May 10 at 7 W. 34th St., and art-loving moms get in for free on Sunday
On Saturday Free NYC suggests the Crazy Joe Gallo Tour Of Red Hook.
...Relive the infamy of gangster-era Red Hook in a walking tour on the life and times of beatnik mobster Joey Gallo. Tom Folsom, author of The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld, will lead the tour over the classic Gallo turf (the old docks, the shop-lined streets where Mondo the Midget walked Joey’s pet lion, the sites where the Gallo brothers “went to the mattresses” in a guerilla war against the Mafia, and the funeral home where he lay in state).
Uh Oh. It looks like the Crazy Joe Gallo Tour of Red Hook is sold out for tomorrow but you can make reservations for future tours the following two Saturdays. So instead check out Bicycle Fetish Day in Williamsburg. According to the NY Times Spare Times:
...a block party for bicycle enthusiasts with art displays, bicycle beautification booths, food, information from related groups like Transportation Alternatives and other activities. From noon to 6 p.m., on Havemeyer Street, between Hope and Grand Streets, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A party from 6 to 10 p.m. will follow in the backyard of the sponsor of the event, the City Reliquary Museum and Civic Organization, 370 Metropolitan Avenue.
For Sunday, what better way to celebrate Mother's day then by eating healthy - lots of eating healthy- at the Tofu Takedown taking place at the Highline Ballroom.
You begged for it!!! For too long, vegetarians have been unhappily doggy paddling in a sea of comfort food. NO MORE.The most audacious takedown to date features TOFU, meat of the soy gods. Some may interpret this as a smack in the porky face of the previous bacon takedown!!! All it is, is another takedown!!! We expect to see brilliant and innovative renditions of this malleable fruit! Tofu chili! Tofu brownies! Tofu ice cream!
Time Out New York Kids has more traditional suggestions for celebrating Mother's Day.

On Roosevelt Island 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. In addition, Gallery RIVAA will be hosting an Opening Reception of RIVAA Reflections:
We invite you all to the OPENING RECEPTION THIS Saturday evening, May 9th from 6 - 8 PM. The Octagon Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Octagon Building at 888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island. The red bus stops in front of the building. Hope to see you there.
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 UrbanEye and Spare Times, Free NYC, NY Post Weekend Calendar and Newyorkology.

Roosevelt Island Residents Slow Pitch Softball League Being Formed


You Tube Video of Slow Pitch Softball Hitting Tips

RIRA President Frank Farance has obtained the required permits for a Roosevelt Island Softball League. From Mr. Farance:
Folks-

I have the permits, based upon our discussions last Sunday.

Here's the summary:

- Co-ed league
- Slow pitch, 6-12 arc, 1-1 staring count
- Play at Capobianco Field (across from PS/IS 217)
- Sundays, 9AM-1PM
- May: 17, 31
- June: 7, 14, 21, 28
- July: 12 (championship)

Shortly, I'll have more information about team registration.
Play Ball!

World Laughter Day In Central Park Led By Roosevelt Island Resident - Hahahahaha


You Tube Video of World Laughter Day in Tokyo

Some say that laughter is the best medicine. If that's true then last Saturday we all should have been in Central Park. The Daily News reported that the New York World Laughter Day celebration in Central Park was led by a Roosevelt Island resident. According to the Daily News:
The economy is in the toilet, swine flu is sweeping the globe and a steady rain is ruining a spring day in New York.
What better time to celebrate World Laughter Day?

... "There's nothing you can do about being late, so you might as well laugh," said Alex Eigorn, 48, of Roosevelt Island, who led the group.

Eingorn trained with Dr. Kataria, who told him it was the group's mission to create world peace.

"There's certain things you can't do while laughing: fighting, arguing, being mad," Eingorn said.

For two hours, the group convulsed with laughter, ignoring trivial problems like the economic crisis or the flu pandemic....
More on World Laughter Day from Laughter Yoga.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

QBB Cultural Center With Pedestian Access To Queensboro Bridge From Roosevelt Island Proposed By Columbia University Transportion Study

Below is an aerial view of what the area underneath the Queensboro Bridge on Roosevelt Island currently looks like. You can see the Bridge, Tram Station, Steam Plant and Tennis Bubble. The scene can best be described as drab, worn and shabby.

All slides are from the Columbia University Transportation Study of Roosevelt Island

But, according to the recently presented Columbia University Urban Planning Transportation Study (PDF File from Main Street WIRE), this area can be transformed into a 21st Century Queensboro Bridge Cultural Center including a direct connection to the the Bridge from the building thereby permitting pedestrian access to and from Roosevelt Island - a long sought transportation option for some residents.


The idea is similar to one first proposed in 1916 for a food mart with a bakery and butcher shop that would include roof top pedestrian access to the Bridge at the same Roosevelt Island site.

Below are several slides from the Columbia presentation describing the advantages of their proposal




The bureaucratic critics and naysayers raise several objections to the proposal, other than its cost, advising that the landmark status of the Bridge and subway tunnels underneath preclude building such a structure on the site.

If the proposed QBB Cultural Center is not new construction but a modernization of the existing buildings on site, perhaps the subway tunnels underneath would not prohibit its construction - just like the new Tram Station. As to landmark status and other concerns, Streetsblog has some answers:
... Landmark Status: While it's great that the Queensboro Bridge has achieved landmark status, this status should not override legitimate security and public health priorities. Rather it should ensure that any alteration harmonizes with the structure's aesthetics -- you know, the way the building that connected the island to the bridge for four decades did....
And don't forgot those windmills on top of the Queensboro Bridge either.

It doesn't hurt to dream.

Report From 5/6 RIRA Meeting- Red Bus Fixed Schedule Experiment, RIRA To Receive $10,000, Octagon Tenant Turnover Worries & RIRA Wire Column

Image of Roosevelt Island Red Bus from RIOC

Learned the following at last night's Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Meeting.
  • Assembly Member Micah Kellner has secured $10,000 for RIRA;
  • RIOC will experiment with a fixed schedule for the Red Bus starting next month;
  • during a discussion on Roosevelt Island ferry service, an Octagon RIRA delegate said there was immense concern over tenant turnover at the Octagon by building management;
  • some RIRA members were concerned with the harsh tone of RIRA President Farance's 5/2/09 Main Street WIRE column regarding the recent Transportation Study conducted by Columbia University students (column is not yet available online) and
  • during the discussion on the RIOC Board Nomination Elections to be held on May 19, it was reported that current RIOC Director Charlee Miller has retired and that RIOC Director Patrick Stewart was not going to be re-appointed to the Board
I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane the following:
At last night's RIRA Common Council meeting, it was disclosed that there will be a new Red Bus Schedule, with fixed timing rather than a continuous loop, that will be implemented on an experimental basis next month. Is that true and if so, can you provide some additional details as to what the schedule will be?

Also, it was stated during the meeting that RIOC Director Patrick Stewart will not be re-appointed to the RIOC Board. Is that true?
Mr. Shane replied:
As to the experimental red bus schedule, we have agreed with Frank Farance to try a schedule from 9:55 until 11:30 AM which contemplates a 45 minute loop for the 3 buses in service, departing Octagon at 9:55, 10:10, 10:25, etc.

As to Patrick Stewart, I know that neither he nor anyone else has been nominated by the Mayor/Governor for the seat which he presently occupies and which, by statute, he continues to occupy until a successor is named.
Update - 12:30 PM - Advised by a reader that the 5/2 Main Street WIRE is available online in PDF file format. Also, if you have not read it yet, there is an excellent in-depth interview with RIOC President Steve Shane in that same WIRE issue marking Mr. Shane's two year anniversary as RIOC President. Happy Anniversary!

Deadline For RIOC Board Nomination Petitions Sunday May 10 - Get Those Application In

RIOC Board Election Nominee Image from NYC 10044

Would you like to serve on the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors? If so, the deadline for submitting nominating petitions is fast approaching - 6 PM on Sunday May 10.

What does RIOC do? The Main Street WIRE explains.
RIOC has a powerful role in charting the course for the present and future of Roosevelt Island. Some of the functions RIOC performs include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Protecting Roosevelt Island's open spaces – securing our parkland.
  • Making determinations affecting the continuation of affordable housing and transition of Island buildings.
  • Overseeing expenditures for RIOC, including salaries, operations, and capital improvements.
  • Setting policy on emergency planning, and overseeing its implementation.
  • Planning for the present and increasing commutation needs of the expanding population, including interfacing with the MetropolitanTransit Authority, setting policy regarding the Tram and Red Buses (including purchase), and evaluating potential alternatives such as ferry service and Queensboro Bridge access.
  • Determining the future transparency of RIOC's operations and interaction with the community.
The Public Authorities Accountability Act requires public authority board members to understand and assume fiduciary control of the corporation. RIOC staff and consultants advise the Board on such matters.

Don't miss this special opportunity to put your mark on your community! The stakes are too great to sit on the sidelines. If you have what it takes, your community needs you, NOW!
More information is available here but remember if you want to serve on the RIOC Board, your nominating petition containing signatures from 50 adult residents of Roosevelt Island must be submitted by Sunday May 10.

There will be a Meet The Candidates Night on Tuesday May 12 at the Good Shepherd Community Center and the election will be held the following week on Tuesday May 19.

Any candidate who wishes may publish a statement on this blog.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Reports 4/27 Thru 5/6- Shell Casings Found, Aided Person Fallen From Wheelchair, Elevator Fight and Unpaid Tram Fare

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Shield Image from RIOC

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. The Monthly Public Safety Reports for April have not yet been posted. Will link to them as soon as they are available.

Below are the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports for April 27 - May 6, 2009. Incidents include:
  • Shell Casings Found (4/27)
  • Moving Violation/Disorderly Conduct (4/27)
  • Helping Handicapped Person Who Fell out of Wheelchair (4/27)
  • Hazardous Condition - Air Conditioner Hanging Out Of Window (4/29)
  • Fight In Elevator (4/29,30)
  • Responded to Medical Alert Warning Going Off (4/30)
  • Paint Falling From Queensboro Bridge (4/30)
  • Youths Blocking Sidewalk (5/1)
  • Public Intoxication (5/1)
  • Criminal Trespass/Resisting Arrest (5/1,2)
  • Unpaid Tram Fare (5/2)
  • 20 Disorderly Youth (5/2)
  • Public Urination in Building Lobby (5/2) and
  • 2 Women Stuck in Motorgate Elevator
4/27/09-07:00 AM to 4/29/09-7:00 AM

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Found Shell Casings- R/O Coler Hospital. No shots heard. Casings secured in PSD. NYPD notified.

Alarm at Tunnel- PSD and NYPD responded. Alarm was accidently set off by the RIOC Contractor. NYPD filed a report.

Investigation-Daughter of tenant hadn't seen mother. PSD responded and knocked on the door and no answer. Later Home Attendant knocked on the
door and no answer. PSD responded with the Super and tenant not home.
No record of any aided reports for this resident.

Fail to Yield/ Disorderly Conduct- Motorist stopped for moving violation. He refused to provide his identification. Another officer responded and again he refused, became irate and disorderly. Subject arrested by PSD.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Aided- Female 's ring was stuck on her finger and cutting off circulation to the finger. EMS transported her to the hospital.

Unsecured Vehicle- Central Parking notified and had no record of the owner. Nothing appeared to be disturbed in the vehicle. PSD provided periodic checks of the vehicle.

Aided- Handicapped Male fell out of his wheelchair. He was assisted back on to it by PSD. No injuries and EMS refused.

4/29/09-7:00 AM to 4/30/09-7:00 AM

Hazardous Condition- Air Conditioner hanging out of apt window. UA and PSD responded. UA corrected condition.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Unsecured Vehicle- Vehicl rear window open. Vehicle interior inorder. Central Parking has no record of the owner. PSD checkec the vehicle periodically.

Aided- Female Senior Citizen needed assistance being lifted. EMS provided assistance and no injuries. Transport refused.

Lights Out in a building stairwell. UA Super notified and will have electrician make repairs.

Dispute/Fight- Between 2 males in elevator. 3rd party broke it up. No injuries and males left. Incident reported by 2-4 River Road security guard 3 hours after it occurred.

Harassment- Unknown subject knoocked hard on the apt door. this caused the inside of the peep hole cover to fall. Search for the subject yielded negative results. NYPD refused.

There's More!



0700 hrs 04/30/09 - 0700 hrs 05/01/09

Aided - PSD responded to apartment for medical alert alarm going off. Aided stated she fell getting off bed. EMS on scene, but aided refused medical attention.

Harassment - PSD took report from two residents making complaints against each other regarding noise.

Lights Out - PSD discovered lights out in stairwell. Super was notified and will have electrician respond.

Dispute/Fight - PSD responded to past report of fight in elevator between two male subjects. Reporter stated fight was broken up by third party and the two male subjects involved went into apartment. No report of injuries.

Harassment - Tenant reported to PSD that unknown person banged on door causing inside peep hole cover to fall off door. PSD responded made search with negative results.

Aided - PSD responded with EMS to apartment for elderly male having seizure. Aided was transported to hospital.

Escort - PSD escorted housing management and previous tenant to his apartment to retrieve documents as per court order. Management secured apartment.

Accident - PSD responded under Queensboro Bridge for report of paint falling from bridge onto vehicles. PSD responded and took report. Department of Transportation notified.

0700 hrs. Friday May 1st 2009 - 0700 hrs. Saturday May 2nd 2009

Investigation - Female tenant locked out of apartment PSD Officer responded and escort to apartment. Mother was home.

Verbal Dispute - Super request PSD Officer to respond to Apartment where porter was removing floor. Neighbor was upset that porter machine was too loud and moving items on the wall. Condition corrected all work completed.

Investigation - PSD Officer responded to Motorgate Level 3D for vehicle hood released tampered. NYPD on scene.

Aided - PSD Officer responded to West seawall observed male laying on the grass intoxicated and unresponsive. EMS transported. Summonsed for open container.

Disorderly Group - PSD and NYPD Officers observed youth blocking sidewalk. Male subject escorted to PSD and released to parents.

Arrest - PSD Officer observed male subject inside PSD construction site. Subject became irrate swinging arms away and resisting. Transported to 114 Pct. for criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

Property Damage - Female tenant entered PSD and stated while doing laundry the machine damaged two of her sheets. Super notified.

5/2/09-7:00 AM to 5/3/09-7:00 AM

Criminal Trespass/Resisting Arrest-Subject arrested by PSD.

Damaged property- Bed Sheets damaged in broken Washing Machine. UA notified.

Vehicle Accident- Between 2 private vehicles. No injuries. Damage to one vehicle. NYPD responded and took a report.

Un Paid Fare- Female boarded tram and did not pay fare. PSD responded and located female. She then paid fare.

Aided- Child sustained a laceration by left eye. EMS responded and transported him to the hospital. He was accompanied by his aunt.

Dispute- Between 2 residents over a civil matter. No injuries. Matter referred to Civil Court.

Disorderly Conduct/Group- 20 Youths were noisy front of a building. PSD responded and youths complied and left except one. Remaining youth was verbally abusive and struck an NYPD Officer in the hand. Youth escorted to PSD. released to the parent after NYPD had discussion with parent.

Aided- Female fell in apt. EMS responded. Transport to hospital was refused.

Theft of Service- Subject failed to pay fare. PSD arrested subject.

Public Urination/Disorderly Conduct- Subject urinating in lobby of a building. Subject attempted to flee. PSD arrested the subject.

5/3/09-7:00 AM to 5/4/09-7:00 AM

Graffiti- In building. RY Management notified. Believed a youth was involved and matter referred to Youth Officer.

Aided- Female felt ill due to a gas leak. FDNY, EMS and UA Super responded. Female taken to the hospital by EMS.

Aided- Female felt chest pain. EMS responded and transport to the hospital was refused. UA shut off the stove by UA. Daughter secured the apt.

Suspicious Male- Tenant escorted to her apt. Dearch made with negative results.

Missing Person- Female youth. PSD conducted a search with negative results. NYPD responded. Later the female returned home.

Unsecured Premise- Temporary gate by Gristedes Supermarket.
PSD checked area and in order. PSD provided periodic checks of the area.

Aided- Female fell inside of apt and sustained injury to elbow. EMS responded and transported her to the hospital.

5/4/09-7:00 AM to 5/5/09-7:00 AM

Investigation- Report of screams heard in a building. PSD responded and conducted a search of various floors with negative results.

Aided/Investigation- NYPD responded for a report of a assault in an apt. PSD responded tenant was intoxicated and sitting outside on a bench. She wanted to report an incident that she had previously reported. She left and NYPD left. She then fell outside. EMS refused. No injuries.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Lock In- Thrift store employee accidently locked an adult male inside. PSD responded with Thrift Store employee. Male removed. He stated he was fine and refused EMS.

Disorderly Conduct-2 males punched each other in a hallway. PSD responded and arrested both subjects.

Aided- 2 Adult females were stuck in the Motorgate Elevator. PSD and Central Parking responded and removed them. Both stated they were fine and refused EMS.

Criminal Mischief- UA notified PSD that there were 2 small areas of carpet that were burned. PSD conducted a search of the area and found burnt debris in a stairwell. UA notified.

Hazardous Condition-Stairwell door knob missing. UA notified. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

5/5/09-7:00 AM to 5/6/09-7:0 AM

Found Property- 2 guitar cases and a brown Hand bag. Property secured at PSD. Owner was notified and will retrieve it later.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Aided- Female requested to be taken to the hospital. EMS responded and transported her to the hospital.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

RIRA Common Council Meeting Wednesday 8 PM Good Shepherd Community Center - Credit Card Theft, Bike Storage, Red Bus & Tennis Club Parking

RIRA Common Council Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 6, 8PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street, lower level). 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.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows:

AGENDA

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish
Place: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
1. Public Session (8:00)
- No requests for public session

2. Roll Call (8:00)
X 3. Approval of Agenda (8:10)
X 4. Approval of Minutes (8:10)
5. Treasurer’s Report (8:30)
6. President's Report (8:30)
7. Committee Reports (8:40)
Government Relations - M. Smith
Communications - E. Erickson
Public Safety - R. Schuppert
Housing - J. Micheff & L. Strong-Shinozaki
Social, Cultural and Educational Services - N. Leopold
X - request for funds of up to $300 to cover the cost of coffee, bagels and OJ on RI Day, 6/6/09.
Island Services - A. Hamburger
- Committee report.
Planning - M. Katz

8. Old Business (9:45)
Matt Katz to bring sign up sheet for the four Saturdays of the blood drive
9. New Business (9:50)

10. Adjourn

X Agenda items requiring action
Next (and Final 1st term) Meeting: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

The Agenda can be printed out here.

There's More!



A report by the Island Services Committee is below and can be printed out here.
RIRA – ISAND SERVICES COMMITTEE (ISC)

REPORT TO COMMON COUNCIL MEETING 5/6/09

Credit Card Thefts
There have been two more reported credit card thefts, this time at 455 Main St. (Riverwalk Place). Both victims have been interviewed by the Secret Service. Active investigation of credit card thefts on Roosevelt Island is on-going.

Tennis Club Parking In Southtown
ISC has investigated this issue and concluded it’s a reasonable deal between RIOC and the Tennis Club, with no adverse impact on the Roosevelt Island community. Council members wanting details should e-mail Aaron Hamburger.

Red Bus Morning Rush Hour Service
We continue to get reports of buses by-passing the Good Shepherd and Island House stops due to overcrowding on the bus.

Bike Storage Racks At Subway Station
After ISC contacts with RIOC officials, RIOC has begun to remove bikes which have either been at the racks for too long or are abandoned (as evidenced by flat tires and/or rusted chains). If RIOC is aggressive on this issue, we should see more spots available for legitimate short-term (less than a day) storage of bikes.

Aaron Hamburger
Chair, ISC

Monday, May 4, 2009

What's The Deal With The Roosevelt Island Tram? City Council Member Jessica Lappin Tells Us The Answer



Roosevelt Island City Council Member Jessica Lappin takes a ride with NBC New York reporter and explains what's the deal with the Roosevelt Island Tram.

A Parent's Plea Answered - Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 To Get A Gifted & Talented Program Next School Year- Tours On May 7 & 14

Image of PS/IS 217 From Geocities

In April of 2008, I wrote about a Parent's Plea for a Gifted & Talented Program to be established at PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island. The parent wrote:
...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....
Another reader just informed me that a Gifted & Talented Program will be established at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 in the upcoming school year. According to the NYC Dept. of Education's web site, tours of PS/IS 217 are scheduled for May 7 and 14. Call the school to RSVP.

Maybe East Side Manhattan Parents won't complain now about the possibility of having their kids shipped off to Roosevelt Island as the NY Sun explained was the case last year.
...One possibility being raised at a meeting tonight on the Upper East Side would have families living in the new luxury condominiums rising in Midtown East being sent to a school on Roosevelt Island or to a school for the deaf, rather than to the coveted P.S. 116 boasted about in brochures for the condo....

..."Frankly, telling a kindergarten parent that you're going to ship their kid to Roosevelt Island is not going to help you make friends and influence people," Ms. Silver said. "Why don't you send them to Princeton? It's crazy....
This is good news for Roosevelt Island kids and their parents. Could also help Hudson/Related sell some Riverwalk Condos.

Report From RIOC's President- FDR Environmental SEQRA Process, New RIOC Director, No Southpoint July 4 Fireworks & Other Roosevelt Island Issues

Image of RIOC logo

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane addresses issues on Approval of Public Purpose Fund Allocation, A new RIOC Director, Southpoint Park Developments including the 4th of July Fireworks celebration not taking place at Southpoint because NYC is moving the fireworks show to the Hudson River, proposed FDR Memorial Environmental SEQRA permitting process and the Tram Modernization among several other items of importance to Roosevelt Island.
1. Board of Directors: Special Meeting was held April 22, 2009. Public Purpose Fund allocation recommended by RIRA, after reconsideration, was approved. Next meeting scheduled for May 14, 2009 at 4:30 PM with a Town Hall meeting to follow. Mr. Howard Polivy’s appointment by the Governor and Senate confirmation is scheduled for this week. Mr. Polivy will occupy the seat that has been held by Michael Shinozaki. Charlee Miller has announced her intention to retire from the Board at the end of her appointed term in June. Our thanks to both Mike and Charlee for their service to the Roosevelt Island community.

2. Southpoint: As to projects:
(A) Renwick Ruins: Stabilization work nearing completion. The entrances to the building will be boarded up to secure the interior and prevent trespassing.
(B) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: The contractor, Coppola Paving & Landscaping Corp., has started with mobilization, rough grading, paths and stone walls. Phase 2 will be the finish grading and capping of the site, utilities, fencing and planting.
(C) FDR Memorial: FERI is working on engineering and permitting with DEC, Army Corp. of Engineers, Coastguard, etc. FERI has delivered its Environmental Analysis to RIOC as lead agency and our consultants are reviewing as part of the SEQRA process. The State Budget’s $4 million capital appropriation to RIOC, conditioned on a matching $4 million from the City and at least $8 million from FERI as necessary to complete phase 1 seems to complete the financing hurdle when finally committed. Even after permitting process, much remains to be worked out, including coordination of funding and supervision among State Parks Department, NYC Parks Department, RIOC and FERI before bringing the project back to the Board for further consideration.

3. Tram: Work is underway on design and fabrication. Spools of cable are to be shipped from Europe by early May. Scheduling of tower reinforcing and top replacement, cable pulling, street and park closures, crane locations, etc. with permitting for everything is ongoing. Met with Community Board 8 on April 7. On schedule for July 6, 2009 shutdown and December reopening. Thornton Tomasetti has undertaken architectural work in addition to its previous structural engineering engagement. As soon as designs and sketches are available, will make available to the community. Studies of present day code requirements (ADA, fire, electrical, lighting, access & egress, communications, security, HVAC and sprinklers for sub-grade rooms, wind, rain and snow barriers, etc.) as applied to both stations is in the works. Likely to reorient the approach to the Manhattan station to Second Avenue. The last Tram Emergency Evacuation Drill for this equipment is took place April 26. We are coordinating with NYPD and NYFD to develop familiarity with and establish protocols for the new system.

4. Red Bus, Tram and Subway: By running the Tram and a connecting Red Bus all night, the late night 36th Avenue bridge closures passed without incident. Hopefully, the last scheduled closures in late June will be similarly painless. Coordination with emergency services will be done again. Follow our website and notices from DOT for updates. MTA has put out notices that due to emergency track work, trains will be slowed down, reducing the rushhour schedule by two trains, increasing the degree of difficulty when the tram will be out of service from July 6 to mid December. Despite our questioning, there is apparently no good answer to the inconvenience and discomfort.

5. Projects: Replace the exterior of the AVAC building, install replacement chambers for AVAC, lighting at Motorgate, repaving portions of Main Street, fa├žade at Sportspark and start on the improvements to PSD. Public Safety has temporarily relocated to 504 Main Street while the work is being done. Flowers for Main Street are here. The Board agenda will include upgrading the fire safety systems and resurfacing the pool at Sportspark and replacing the HVAC system for Good Shepherd. Enjoy the spring weather.

6. Sportspark Swimming: In response to requests, morning weekday adult swim hours are 6 to 11 AM especially to accommodate those with child care responsibility. We hope for greater participation. The synchronized swimming exhibition sponsored by the RI Seniors was an example for all.

7. Bank: RIOC received a notice from NYNB that it intends to close its branch at 615 Main Street on June 6, 2009. We met with Amalgamated to urge it to come to the Island and supplied a letter of support for application to the State Banking Department to allow opening a branch. Let us hope.

8. Southtown Buildings 5 and 6 moving toward completion. Landscaping being done and interior finishes and fixtures being installed. The roadway in front of the Tram is scheduled for paving. The Ground Rent Increase Deferral Agreement is no longer on the table as the lender would not agree to the terms.

9. Standing room only crowd for the R&R Concert April 18th. Wonderful.

10. The Mobile Van for Free Mammograms was on the Island April 18th, but was fully booked. There will be a return visit on May 30th. If interested in scheduling an appointment, call Erica Wilder at our office (212) 832-4540.

11. Blackwell Park Playground: In response to the request of some parents, we have emphasized the purpose of the tot playground by increased Public Safety presence to discourage inappropriate older people from hanging out at the area.

12. Bicycles: To clear what is becoming an increasing problem, the bike rack at the subway station will have notices posted that leaving bikes for more than 24 hours is not permitted. Public Safety will remove what appear to be permanently stored bikes to increase availability for those who utilize the space as intended.

13. July 4 Fireworks: Apparently, the City has decided to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s sail by moving the fireworks to the Hudson. RIOC’s annual July 4th celebration by fireworks watching is apparently not going to happen, but suggestions for alternative festivities are welcome.

14. Finally, the firearms incident on April 14th was determined by NYPD to have been in self defense. Thankfully, no one was injured.

This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 5/02/09 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Island Free Ballroom Dancing Class At Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance Tonight - Make Elaine Proud!


You Tube Video of Elaine Dancing On Seinfeld

Are you a fan of Dancing With The Stars, dream of dancing like Fred & Ginger or just don't want to embarrass yourself like Elaine from Seinfeld the next time a friend or loved one pleads with you for just one dance.

If so, The Roosevelt Island Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MSTDA) may be able to help. Tonight the MSTDA is conducting a free ballroom dancing class from 7-8:30 PM.

Free Mammograms On Roosevelt Island Saturday May 30, Appointment Necessary

Image of Mammogram Van From American Italian Cancer Foundation

RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder sends the following message regarding the Free Mammogram Testing event held last April 18 on Roosevelt Island and advises of second free Mammogram Day on Roosevelt Island scheduled for May 30:
The Free Mammogram event went better than expected. The mobile unit was booked completely but had room for a few walk ups. There were 36 appointments total. We will be providing this great service again on Saturday, May 30th from 8am to 5pm.
Ms. Wilder advises that:
Women interested in receiving a free mammogram on Saturday, May 30th 8am to 5pm, can call 1-800-564-6868 for an appointment.

Hosted by Project Renewal Scan Van Program (Formerly operating as Women's Outreach Network) in partnership with RIOC
Assembly Member Micah Kellner also reports on a Free Mammogram testing day.
My office, in partnership with the American-Italian Cancer Foundation, is coordinating a free mammography screening program on Saturday, May 9th from 10 am to 3 pm in front of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, located at 331 East 70th Street between First and Second Avenues.

...This service is available for any woman over 40 years of age who has not had a mammogram in the past 12 months, regardless of whether or not she has health insurance. Space is limited and appointments are necessary, so women who would like to take advantage of this opportunity should schedule their appointments as soon as possible by calling my office at 212-860-4906. All appointments must be made by May 1st....
Although the May 1 deadline has passed for the May 9 screening, perhaps exceptions may be made or walk ups accepted. The American Italian Cancer Foundation provides further information on mobile cancer screening awareness and a schedule of upcoming screening days.