Saturday, October 30, 2010

Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade - Simply A Great Day, Thanks To All Who Made It Possible


You Tube Video Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade

Today was a beautiful, cool, sunny autumn day made even better by the fantastic 2010 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade that took place on Main Street starting at Blackwell House and finished up in the PS/IS 217 Schoolyard. Great job by the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Urban American Roosevelt Landings and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) in putting together the Parade.

Below are some more scenes of the 2010 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade.

 


RIOC President Leslie Torres As A Friendly Witch

NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin With A Young Ghost

Borough President Scott Stringer and Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy


You Tube Video Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade


Don't be jealous Greenwich Village Parade - This is how we do it on Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 11/3 - More Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade pictures here.

How Loud Is Too Loud For Roosevelt Island - Amplified Noise Advisory For Capobianco Field On Saturday

 Image of Speakers At Firefighters Field Last Saturday

Received the following advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that on Saturday, October 30, 2010, from 12:00PM to 5:00PM there will be a permitted event held at Capobianco Field that will be using amplified sound. All efforts will be made to ensure minimal disturbance to surrounding areas. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Amplified noise was the subject of this email message I received last Saturday afternoon from a Southtown resident:
I think you should do a story on the use of speaker systems on Firefighters' Field on the weekend.  Right now, the field is being used for the MMC Pep Rally (?).   They have large speakers blasting loudly, to the extent that it is making my walls vibrate in my apartment Riverwalk Court.  A DJ is literally yelling into a microphone and I heard him say that his goal was to make everyone at the rally go deaf!  I have noted that other groups have used large speakers on the field on the weekends, as well.

I called Public Safety and they said they would check to see if the group on the field had a permit.  Permit or no, residents have a right to quiet enjoyment of their homes and should not be subjected to extremely loud noise that can be heard inside their homes for hours at a time.  Why does RIOC permit groups to use speaker systems on the field in this manner, when there are three apartment complexes in the immediate vicinity?  What can be done to change this?
I forwarded the message to RIOC and received this reply from Donna Masly, RIOC's Programs/Permits Coordinator.
Please convey my apologies for any headaches from this weekend.  The permitted group uses our field annually for their Homecoming festivities, but usually they're able to utilize Octagon Field.  A scheduling conflict caused Octagon to be unavailable, so I moved them to Firefighters.  Since Octagon is a bit more out of the way, my assumption is this just hasn't been an issue in previous years.  I was unaware that amplified sound was going to be used, but to ensure this doesn't happen again, I'll be sure to update all permit applications and permits in regards to amplified sound restrictions.  Doing the research as we speak.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Photographic Evidence Of Roosevelt Island Ghosts Revealed For The First Time - Come Join Them And Others For Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade On Saturday 12 PM Starting At Blackwell House

It's just two days before Halloween and time for the ghosts, goblins and spirits of Roosevelt Island to show themselves although some people encounter our otherworldly neighbors at any time during the year as recounted in this January 2009 post:

Blogger Melissa Bastian, who was creeped out by the spirits and ghosts at the Octagon has company in thinking that Roosevelt Island is:
possibly the most haunted piece of land on the planet.
Well maybe not the most haunted on the planet but perhaps in New York City. Another visitor to Roosevelt Island sees spooky images in pictures he took of the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital wall and a friend feels a tap on the shoulder when nobody is close...
Like the long sought after Loch Ness Monster, there have been plenty of sightings and reported encounters with beings from another time and space on Roosevelt Island. Even Ghost Hunters have come searching for signs of the Roosevelt Island After-Life but have never found clear, indisputable photographic evidence. Until now, maybe.

Roosevelt Island photographer Tatiana Muzica noticed something strange going on near the East River on the Subway Pier and took this picture of what appears to be two inter-dimensional figures taking a nighttime waterfront stroll.

 Image From Tatiana Muzica

Then she saw these floating faces on the West Promenade (Click On The Image To Enlarge)

Image From Tatiana Muzica

How many of these disembodied Roosevelt Island Spirits do you see? I found 5.

What is going on here at Roosevelt Island? Do we now have photographic proof that the Roosevelt Island netherworld exists or just some Halloween Trick? You Decide.

Don't forget that Saturday is the Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade. According to RIOC:
Roosevelt Island Annual Halloween Parade
In partnership with Urban American, managers of Roosevelt Landings, the parade of ghosts and goblins begins at Blackwell House at 12 P.M. and continues on to Capobianco Field.  Everyone is encouraged to come dressed in a Halloween costume.  More fun and festivities are planned for immediately after the parade at Capobianco Field.  In the event of rain, festivities will be held inside PS/IS 217, 645 Main Street
Here's what the 2009 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade was like.



More scenes for the 2009 Parade are here.

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra reports on Halloween Safety Day which took place earlier this week. From Mr. Guerra:
The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department and Safe Kids NYC co-sponsored the 3rd Annual Halloween Safety Day at the Roosevelt Island Public Library.  Approximately 30 children attended this informative event. Cheryl Johnson from DOT had the young audience engaged and provided valuable information on how to keep themselves safe on Halloween.  Cheryl also handed out goody bags containing reflectors and literature reinforcing the safety tips they learned.  PSD Youth Officer Michelle Williams provided treats for the Halloween bags, and a good time was had by all who attended.


Have a Happy Halloween!!!!

Science Education Faltering in United States But Roosevelt Island Parents And Kids Making Extra Efforts To Learn Robotics & Computer Coding With Some Pizza Too - Will Spaceflight Be Next?

You Tube Video of Neil de Grasse Tyson On Science Education

A grim report from this October 26, 2010 New York Times editorial:
... the United States ranks 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering, while the World Economic Forum ranked this country 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction....
On Roosevelt Island several concerned parents are trying to interest Roosevelt Island kids in the amazing world of science and technology every Thursday and Friday evening at the Roosevelt Island Youth Program.
 
 Image Of Frank Farance Teaching At Roosevelt Island Youth Program Robotics Class

A Roosevelt Island parent tells us about this great learning experience for kids:
Imagine a 6 year old child at the blackboard explaining how a robot sees colors, explaining it in terms of binary numbers and the logic structure to navigate. That’s the case, no joke.

The Roosevelt Island Kids Robotics Group has been meeting for several months with kids 6-12 years old. The children are of various backgrounds and maturities, and yet they treat each other as equals and teammates, each with a valuable contribution. With a 10 minute pizza break for the tummies, the two hour odyssey understanding the robot mind is then capped with each child’s one minute summary of the night. Often the insights are a short attempt to pass the ball to the next person, but periodically there’s a revelation, a true gem. By night’s end, the heads are weary and the imaginations have rebuilt computer code, and robot arms and legs, reviewed and discussed logic and all the minds have collected empirical data from running the robot. The bedroom ceilings will be covered in robots now..

“Did the robot change its stance?” “ Is it going to repeat the performance exactly the same?” “Does the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena really use Lego Robots like us?” are coursing the agile minds as they head to bed. Inspiring these thoughts is Yale-trained engineering expert Frank Farance, heretofore known as the RIRA President and weekly columnist for that much-awaited Main Street Wire column. Somehow after years of teaching robotics, Frank, aided by agile photographer and hobbyist Brian Dorfmann, has joined fledgling fun with fascinating fact, roboteers with reason, aspirants with algorithms.

Image Of Roosevelt Island Kids Learning About Science

Mssrs. Farance and Dorfmann’s ’s often hilarious antics and old yarns are a most effective way to the child imagination. They keep them laughing with a dash of humor here, a reminder of the Star Wars movie there, and Sponge Bob trivia only the most die-hard inside-baseball cartoon lover would remember. Frank is making the most arcane aspects of computer science into a pumpkin patch of science. By comparison, the classes our kids endure by day seem restrictive and elegiac march of facts and quizzes. “Can learning really be fun?”must cross their minds. But, alas the adults seem to have captured the little minds’ attention and kept them trained on learning robots for two hours. Two hours of eating candy might seem proportionally correct, but deux heures on robots?!? Yale must have had some psychology classes as well….
Maybe some time in the not so distant future the Roosevelt Island Science kids can try their hands and brains on building a spacecraft like this Brooklyn boy did with his dad.



Wouldn't that be something?

Roosevelt Island Rivercross Mitchell Lama Cooperative Residents Meet Again To Discuss Issues Of Common Concern & Solve Problems - Secrecy Rejected But Bed Bugs Found

Image of Rivercross from Adventures of a Goodman

Are you a resident of Roosevelt Island's Rivercross Mitchell Lama Cooperative and interested in learning more about what is going on in your building? If so, consider joining with some of your neighbors as they meet to discuss common interests of concern and find solutions to existing problems.

Rivercross resident David Bauer sends the following report from the October 26 meeting. Mr. Bauer writes:
Folks --

The October 26 meeting covered some interesting ground.

The meeting Tuesday evening continued the conversation about Board actions or comments made by Board members, including the following matters --

1A) Board matters that seem positive
a) the conversation sessions with shareholders
b) establishment of a window screen maintenance policy
c) raising the temperature setting for the common spaces
d) the active search for a window washer
e) the book exchange center
f) clarifying the process for reporting/correcting the transmission of odors between apartment
g) upon request, building staff will install u-shaped handles to facilitate window opening
h) request RIOC to install bench at bus stop.

1B) Events that seem negative
a) Board unwillingness to give reasonable answers to failing to increase the surcharge
b) opposition of two Board members to the bench in front of building
c) apparent significant Board opposition to ramp
d) stand that a green roof is not feasible or affordable without presenting data to justify
e) apparent belief that additions to facilitate window washing would likely be prohibitive in cost without providing data
f) the Board's unwillingness to have its meetings open to interested Shareholders
g) apparent general plans for the expenditure of multi millions of dollars without any indication of the impact on the monthly maintenance cost for individual apartments

2) A significant discussion took place as to whether it was appropriate for these summaries of Shareholder Forum meetings to be made available to the Roosevelt Island Blog. The feeling of most of the attendees was that making such information available was important, particularly in serving as a counterpoint to the veil of secrecy that surrounds the deliberations of the Board. However, one person withdrew from participation in the meeting on the basis that publication on the Blog was inappropriate and unwarranted

3) A larger discussion took place about the matter of bed bugs reported as being/having been a problem in at least six apartments in the building. It was noted that the bugs are quite mobile, using people as a convenient carrier, as well as finding paths between apartments through holes in the building structure. A three person group -- Al, Kimberly and Stephanie -- volunteered to develop a program for furthering information for shareholders.

4) The 'bed bug' discussions led to comments about the range of approaches and attitudes used by various building staff members when they deal with shareholder concerns.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 . The Forum will reconvene in three weeks on Tuesday November 16 at 7:30.
There is also an online Rivercross Google Group for residents to communicate with each other as well.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Learn Martial Arts At The Roosevelt Island Youth Program PS/IS 217 Beacon With Free Classes Monday, Tuesday & Thursdays - Free Body Sculpting Classes Too


Interested in learning Martial Arts? If so, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program - PS/IS 217 Beacon - is the place for you to learn or sharpen your skills. Free Classes are held Monday, Tuesday & Thursdays so sign up now because space is limited. Click on the above image for more information.

Not sure if you will be able to match up against this guy right away but you gotta start somewhere


You Tube Video of Crazy Martial Arts Performance

Also, don't forget about the free Body Sculpting Classes.

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program provides many great services for youth of all ages. Take advantage of it.

New Wireless Smart Parking Sensor Technology From Streetline Being Deployed On Roosevelt Island Soon - Latest Example Of Cutting Edge Urban Planning Technology Being Used On Roosevelt Island

PSD Officer Issuing Tickets In Southtown

An innovative new parking solution using wireless smart technology is coming to Roosevelt Island.

During the September Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) Operations Committee Meeting, RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin presented a trial plan to place sensors underneath the 30 new parking spots to be created on the West Channel Road (facing Manhattan) from 415 Main Street just up to the Blackwell Turnaround.
 Image of New Parking Spaces On Main Street West Channel

To accommodate the new parking spaces, the West Channel Road will no longer be a two way street but traffic will only travel in a Northbound direction. (More information on the traffic pattern change available from this post and included traffic study)

When will the additional parking spots and wireless sensors be installed on the new one way West Channel? According to Mr. Kalkin:
Both events should occur in the next few weeks
Streetline is the company installing the wireless Roosevelt Island parking sensor system and issued the following press release today.
Streetline Inc. today announced that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will deploy Streetline's sensor-based smart parking solutions on New York's Roosevelt Island, part of the borough of Manhattan. Roosevelt Island is creating new "smart" parking spaces next to Roosevelt Island's subway and historic tramway.

The innovative program, which marks Streetline's entry into the East Coast market, aims to help Roosevelt Island better assess its parking management policies, give citizens and visitors a better parking experience, and address traffic congestion.

The new "smart" parking spaces will be outfitted with Streetline's patented parking system which includes ultra-low power sensors that communicate with one another to deliver valuable real-time information, such as how long a car is parked and when a car enters and leaves a parking space.  The initial system also lays the foundation for smart parking meters allowing for easier payments and better pricing.

Due to the limited size of Roosevelt Island, street parking is increasingly difficult for visitors and residents, and double parking and short meter times continue to put a burden on business of local shops.  By deploying Streetline's sensors, Roosevelt Island will have the ability to better assess its parking situation and make the changes necessary, such as adding more parking or changing pricing, so they can begin to provide a better parking experience.

"We are excited to have been selected by Roosevelt Island to help address their parking needs with our smart parking solutions," said Zia Yusuf, CEO of Streetline, Inc. "We applaud their forward thinking strategy and their dedication to utilize new technologies to manage parking for their historic city. By beginning the process of deploying Streetline's sensors, Roosevelt Island is setting the stage for a new world of efficiency and improved services for its citizens."

The Roosevelt Island program will initially deploy Streetline's smart parking "starter kit" which consists of patented hardware and software. The hardware includes ultra-low power mesh networks and vehicle-occupancy detection sensors which are embedded within each parking space.

The software includes applications for parking policy management enabling dynamic pricing and motorist guidance systems.  Parking meter integration, which will be deployed later in the program, enables additional applications for enforcement, maintenance and collections.  The fully hosted software as a service (SaaS) platform is web based and includes 24/7 uninterrupted vehicle occupancy information.  

"We are proud to partner with Streetline and be the first East Coast market to adopt this innovative new technology," said Jonathan Kalkin, director of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp of the State of New York. "This is the first phase to a hopefully larger deployment of smart parking technology around our streets and parking facilities that will provide citizens and visitors of Roosevelt Island a more convenient way to find and access parking."
Here's a You Tube Video showing how the Streetline parking sensors work in San Francisco.

You Tube Video of Wireless Parking From Streetsline

RIOC Director Kalkin adds:
Roosevelt Island presently has a number of parking issues. Parking in Motorgate is too expensive for short term parking, parking on Main Street is supposed to be for dropping off and picking up items and therefore it is limited to a maximum of forty five minutes. Some areas of the Island like Southtown are limited to two hours. However, if you walk the street you will see many cars parked there for more than twice that period or all day. Some of them have placards that are suspect, and many just feed the meter indefinitely.

As a result, if a person wants to drop off items at their place or just wants to have a friend in for a cup of coffee, parking becomes impossible. In addition, that person has to either drive around the island to look for a space which leads to additional pollution and traffic congestion, or drives all the way down to Motorgate and pays a hefty fee to park for that short period. All of these factors are a strain on Main Street and our residents and visitors.

We want to encourage parking for its intended purpose, want to make sure that parking period of time is reasonable, and we want to relay that information to the residents or visitors. We also want to utilize more spaces by the hospitals on the weekends and evenings (when they are usually empty) and in front of Southtown, but want these to be used efficiently.

The information that parking is available ahead can be shown with signage on the street, on the internet, and on mobile devices. We can lower the price of short term parking at Motorgate to encourage the use of the facility for that purpose. Public Safety officers can flag vehicles electronically that use illegal placards and most importantly a vehicle in violation will be shown on their mobile devices so they can spend their time more efficiently serving the community or directing traffic on the street.

Our sensors will be embedded below ground so you won't see them. This is a trial that will eventually be integrated with our parking meters as well. This test phase is the start of several transportation and operations projects that we will be examining over the year like electric car charging stations powered by solar and east river tidal energy , bike sharing, LED energy efficient lighting, tap cards and mobile payments for the red bus and parking, arrival time clocks and information signs at the bus shelters and Tram stations, a SeeClickFix Island 311 system,  a Solar Hybrid Ferry, Island Park WIFI Internet,  and a new Director of Transportation to make it all come together.

As the new Chair of the Operations Committee, I am excited to work with our dedicated team at RIOC and our tireless board members who help make this all possible. Roosevelt Island will lead the city and now the country with innovative solutions to our daily problems, making this place an even better place to live and work.
Just another example of the latest in cutting edge urban planning technology being tested on Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island Herbicide Spraying For Poison Ivy And Weed Growth At Community Garden & Blackwell Park Scheduled For Friday Morning

You Tube Video of How To Spot Poison Ivy

Received the following Advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 5:00 a.m. Save-A-Lawn will be spot treating specific areas around the island for poison ivy and weed growth. The lawn areas to be treated will be the outer perimeters of the Community Garden (near the pathway of the Comfort Station) and isolated areas in Blackwell Park. These areas will have the necessary signs posted that are required by New York State Law.

Although treated sites are safe to frequent twenty minutes after treatment, it is a state requirement to keep the area clear for 24 hours. Please note that pesticides will not be applied anywhere near children play areas or dog runs.

Sincerely,

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More on Roosevelt Island pesticide and herbicide spraying here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Presidential Great Debate Between Frank Farance & Mathew Katz - Informative, Civil And No Swatting

Image Of RIRA Presidential Candidates Katz, Farance & Moderator Mincheff

The Great Debate between current President Frank Farance and challenger Mathew Katz for the Presidency of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) took place earlier tonight at the Good Shepherd Community Center and no, RIRA Elections Chairperson Joyce Mincheff did not need to maintain order in her role as moderator by swatting either candidate with her tennis racket.

In fact, the Great Debate was an extremely civil and informative discussion of issues facing the Roosevelt Island community, the role of RIRA as community representative and the relative merits of Mr. Farance
 
and Mr. Katz for the position of President.

At the end of the debate the candidates shook hands.

Will have more on what happened during the debate soon. The debate was videotaped but I am told that there are no plans to make it available online.

UPDATE 11/1 - More information on the debate as well as video link here.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League Standings After Week 5 - Recap Of Week 4 Too!!

 

Here's the current Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer Standings after Week 5.
Updated standings. Final week of play is this week. Playoffs begin Saturday, Nov 6 with Championships on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Minor League
D. Lt Blue - W4- 1L Points 12
C. Red - 3W- 2L Points 9
B. Royal - 2W-3L Points 6
A. Grey - 1W- 4L Points 3

Juniors
C. Red - 6W-1L 0T Points 18
B. Royal - 6W-1L Points 18
D. Lt Blue - 1W- 5L 1T Points 4
A. Grey - 0W-6L 1T Points 1

Seniors
D. Lt Blue 4W-0L-4T Points 16
A. Grey - 3W-3L 2T Points 11
B. Royal - 3W-4L 1T Points 10
C. Red - 2W-5L-1T Points 7

Have not received the Recap For Week 5 Games but here's the Game 4 Recap from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League:
The Roosevelt Island youth Program Soccer League is well into its 4th week. This season has been great playing on the new field for all to enjoy. The weather has also been cooperating. We have seen great soccer all around each division. Here is the play by play by division:

The Minor Division

In the minors, the Royal team came out the first few games flat, but managed to regroup and posted two wins in the last two weeks. They have had strong performances form Max Thomle, Eric Leon,and Gabriel Price.The RedTeam has had strong performances from Simon Rickman, Madeline Chenn, and Dominic Pabon. The Lt. Blue team is leading this divison, with great play from Luke Chavez and Manuel Correa. The Grey Team, has been in every game with outstanding play from Lanfyn Bryce, Jared Pazmino and Fernando Rey.

The Junior Division

In the Junior division we have a tie for the lead with both Red and Royal at 4-1records.Lt. Blue showed last week they will be a team to contend down the stretch. The Grey Team has also been in each game but came up short. The Royal team is lead by Karina Loureiro, Ahmed Elshakshuki, Sam Merrick Regis Enama and Alessandro Cartegni. The Red Team, Is lead by Blaise Enama, Youssef Afif, Raymand Efthimiou and Aammar Bennani. The Light Blue Team has had great play from Georgia Bobo, Auki Elkaslasy, Tshering Penjo and Andrew Herlihy. The Grey team is lead by DJ Smith, Chris Ewing, Aaron Pazmino and Taj Y oung.

The Senior Division

The Senior Division has had great soccer all around.Presently, Royal and Lt.Blue are tied with 10points. With Red and Grey teams knocking at the door and getting better each game. Royal has offensive presence with Tshering Penjor and, TristanTodorovic. Gino Angula has been a great surprise,scoring a goal in each of the last two games. Lt. Blue has shown great passing is lead by Kevin Leon, Shahryar Iqbai and Luis Villegas. TheRed Team,has had outstanding play from Kerwin Barrera, Mohammed Diaand Roman Bogomolny. The GreyTeam has played tough matches in each outing. Lead by Luka Deluke, Luka Delic and Gabby Beola will be a team to contend with later in the season.

We play on Thursday and Friday evening and Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30pm at the Octagon Soccer Field. Come watch some great soccer!!

Recaps of the previous Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League games are here.

Statement From Ava Dawson And Joe Terranella In Support Of Their Candidacy For Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Delegates From Manhattan Park

 Image of Ava Dawson and Joe Terranella

Received the following Candidate Statements of two current Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Delegates From Manhattan Park who are seeking another term - Ava Dawson and Joe Terrenalla.
 For Ava Dawson:

I'm happy to be running for RIRA again, but unfortunately cannot attend the candidates night on Thursday. I ask that no one hold this against me, as I work every Thursday night (but never on Wednesdays - the official RIRA meeting night).

For the past two years, I've been proud to represent Manhattan Park as the youngest member of RIRA, and I'm very excited about running for a second term! I feel that I represent both the young working professional and student demographics of Roosevelt Island.

I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Pediatric Nursing at Columbia University, and working as a School Nurse in the West Village. Prior to earning my second Bachelor's in Nursing from Columbia in 2010, I graduated from New York University in 2007 with a Bachelor's in History, Law and Society, and served as the Senior Immigration Paralegal and Office Manager at a midtown law firm for three years. I feel that my diverse background and representation of the underrepresented, yet prevalent young professional and student demographics make me an ideal representative for Manhattan Park.

In my role as a Manhattan Park representative over the last two years, I have advocated for quiet study space in the plans for the new library, worked with the Island Services Committee on Island issues such as the Red Bus and bicycle/pedestrian safety, helped staff the free bagel table at Roosevelt Island Day, recruited blood donations at the Farmer's Market, and I headed the bake-sale portion of the summer 2010 RIRA fund raising concert, which brought in approximately $150 in additional funds. I have also helped with weekend WIRE distribution in Manhattan Park.

I feel very passionately about the need for study space to be available for high school, college and graduate students on the island (as well as anyone else who wants a quiet place to read). I also strongly support the preservation and creation of affordable housing on the Island, with a specific interest in advocating for younger families wanting to purchase. If elected, I look forward to advocating for these efforts, as well as those I have been involved in over the last two years.

I'm always open to suggestions, comments and friend requests!

Ava Dawson


From Joe Terranella:

I'm excited to be running for RIRA again, and look forward to attending the candidates night on Thursday.

Over the last two years I have worked hard to represent the young working professional and student demographics of Roosevelt Island. I have been an active member of the Island Services committee, advocating for more reliable Red Bus service and a more vibrant Main Street by supporting the master lease holder plan after careful consideration. I think that Red Bus service will be a continual work in progress and that the master lease holder plan will help to fill the many vacancies on Main Street. If elected for a second term I will investigate establishing a food cooperative on Main Street that would provide the Saturday Farmer's Market quality food every day of the week.

I have been an active member of the Roosevelt Island community, delivering the WIRE in 10 River Road, volunteering and donating at the blood drive as well as assisting with the RIRA bake sale fundraiser.

In my professional life, I work for BBC Worldwide Americas producing short digital videos for educational publishers. I am also pursuing a masters in media management at The New School, frequently traveling downtown to study because of the lack of quiet public space on Roosevelt Island. I think a quiet communal space that is open daily and until at least 9PM each night would greatly improve the life of the many students on the Island.

This is a very exciting time to be involved on Roosevelt Island and I look forward to continuing to represent Manhattan Park over the next two years. I am here to advocate for all Manhattan Park residents, if you have something you would like me to take up for you, feel free to stop me on Main Street or email me.

Thanks!

Joe Terranella
Happy to post statements from any other RIRA Candidate as well.

The full list of RIRA Candidate Nominees for all Roosevelt Island buildings together with Meet the Candidate Schedule is available here.

Remember that tonight at 7 PM is an opportunity to meet the RIRA Candidates for the WIRE Buildings  as well as the Great Presidential Debate between current RIRA President Frank Farance and challenger Mathew Katz that is scheduled to start at 8 PM. Both events take place at the Good Shepherd Community Center at 543 Main Street.

Image of RIRA Presidential Candidates Farance & Katz At Riverwalk Candidate Night (Dave Evans in middle ably moderated event)

A precursor to the RIRA Great Presidential Debate was held last week at Southtown with presentations made by Mr. Farance and Mr. Katz to a group of Riverwalk residents as well as a Question and Answer Session. Dave Evans, the moderator of the evening and Southtown RIRA Delegate Nominee, provides this report:
My family and I are relatively new to Roosevelt Island and it is amazing the level of effort and inputs required to make our small, diverse community function. Volunteers at all levels fill many of the equation's functional variables. As the Chairman of our Building's Community Relations Committee, I served as Moderator of a wonderful exchange between Mr. Frank Farance and Mr. Matthew Katz. As they shared their vision for a better Roosevelt Island for all residents, I witnessed the spirit of and commitment to volunteerism in these two gentleman in their bid for election as President of the very important Roosevelt Island Residents Association. While the "shootout at Riverwalk Corral" was not lethal, it was informative, sincere and substantive as they left the audience to choose whom it desires to be 'stage front' in the pursuit of an Island that stands for all. I am confident that the one not selected will still serve because once a volunteer, always a volunteer.
In the event you are not able to make it to the polls on November 2, RIRA Election Absentee ballot and information available here.

Job Opening For Roosevelt Island Public Library Manager

Image of Roosevelt Island Library From Travis

Interested in a job at the Roosevelt Island Public Library? If so, there is an opening for the branch's Library Manager position.

More information and application for the Roosevelt Island Public Library manager position available here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Roosevelt Island Meeting On Future Of Goldwater Hospital Site - What Will Happen When It Closes? Council Member Lappin & Assembly Member Kellner Hold Town Hall Meeting On Subject

Received the following message from Roosevelt Island's New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin's office:
Join Council Member Jessica Lappin and Assembly Member Micah Kellner For a Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting On The Future OF Goldwater Hospital
Last June, the new York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) announced plans to relocate patients from Goldwater Hospital to a site in Harlem and close the Goldwater Campus. Come to learn more about these plans and what they mean for Roosevelt island and its residents.


Representatives from HHC and Goldwater will be on hand to make a presentation and answer your questions. We hope to see you there.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010
6:30 pm
Good shepherd chapel
(Community room) 543 Main Street
What's going to happen to the Goldwater site? Remember this 2009 post:
Our friends over at Curbed alerted us to this post from blogger Smart Growth regarding a NY State plan called Transforming Roosevelt Island. According to Smart Growth:
Plans are being drawn up to demolish two long-term care hospitals on Roosevelt Island and replace them with 1500 new residential units south of the Queensboro Bridge and 900 more units on the Coler Hospital site. The Coler site will have a new state of the art healthcare facility with some supportative housing units....
Image of Coler-Goldwater Site in Transform Roosevelt Island Plan from Smart Growth

At that time, Roosevelt Island 360 reported of Smart Growth:
... their source is someone working directly on developing the TRI Project ("Transforming Roosevelt Island") and cannot be revealed at this time as "its still a work in progress"....
Nothing more became known of this plan but there have been fears of condos replacing the Goldwater campus before.

Southtown resident and 2010 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Delegate Nominee Stephen Silverstein forwards this message he sent to Ms. Lappin regarding the future of the Goldwater Hospital site
Thank you for sponsoring a town hall meeting on this topic. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this Wednesday, but I wanted to quickly share my thoughts regarding future development of the site. I would recommend a Performing Arts Center on the site, with one example being a complex that includes a satellite extension of Silvercup or Kaufman studios, an indoor theater and an outdoor amphiteater to take advantage of the dramatic views for outdoor performances of both music and theater. I believe an Arts Center would bring welcome tourism to the island without a severe impact on our transportation infrastructure, especially if an adjacent dock for ferry service is planned. Television or film studios with a visitor center and viewing areas for live filming would be a unique attraction for NYC. Perhaps a museum could also be attracted to the site.

In any case, what cannot be allowed to happen is for the Goldwater Hospital site to remain an abandoned and condemned hazardous eyesore.
Unfortunately, the Goldwater Town Hall Meeting is being held the same evening as the RIRA WIRE Candidate Night and Presidential Debate. However, they are all being held in the Good Shepherd Community Center and the Goldwater Meeting is starting at 6:30 before the others.

UPDATE 5:45 PM - Roosevelt Island resident Lisa Forsee has some thoughts on what should replace Goldwater Hospital:
I would like to put the idea out there of an animal sanctuary to be built on the property, maybe along side of a Botanical Garden.
To my knowledge there is not one in this area, or even in the NYC area close by for us to enjoy, by " us" I mean the people that live " in the city ".  Being on an Island we have the perfect resources and wildlife that are very much in need of one.
I find it hard to believe that Roosevelt Island does not even have a " Wildlife Dept" here. It's time to show we are Green here on RI as well. There is so much animal life here indigenous to Roosevelt Island and NY, I do think it would be a wonderful thing to do for our city, our children, our island and the people of NYC. We must protect the wildlife that is here, and maybe bring back some that has gone. We must not forget the wildlife that was here long before any of us were and we must protect those species before they are long gone. 
Please think about that idea, it could be one of the best ideas yet. We could maybe have a Ferry service here and a boat house and maybe restaurant at the south tip to bring people to visit the Sanctuary so folks can see that there is a little bit of nature and wildlife in such a busy city! The walks by the water lined with park benches and the views of the mainland of Manhattan would make a beautiful frame for a couple acres of picnic grounds as well. 
Thanks for your ear,

Meet Your Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) 2010 Delegate Nominees- Southtown Tonight, WIRE Buildings Wednesday, Manhattan Park & Octagon On Thursday Plus Presidential Debate Wednesday

 Image of RIRA October 2010 Meeting

There is a Meet Your RIRA Common Council Building Nominee Candidate Night scheduled later today, Tuesday October 26 for Southtown Residents at 405 Main Street Party Room (7:PM). Additional Meet Your RIRA Common Council Nominee events are
  • Meet Your WIRE Common Council Nominees - Good Shepherd Church @ 7 PM, Wed. 10/27
  • Meet Your Manhattan Park & Octagon Common Council Nominees - 2-4 River Road, Comm. Room, 7 PM, Thurs. 10/28
There will also be a debate between RIRA Presidential Candidates Frank Farance, the incumbent, and Mathew Katz, the challenger, on Wednesday October 27 8 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center following the Meet Your WIRE Common Council Nominees. More information about the 2010 RIRA here.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Nominations Committee Chairperson Aaron Hamburger provides the final list of RIRA Nominee candidates below. The list includes the Island wide positions of President and Vice President as well as the individual building nominees.

Oct. 25, 2010
RIRA ELECTIONS – CANDIDATES – FINAL LIST

 President:
Frank Farance
Matthew Katz

Vice-President:
Ellen Polivy

REPRESENTATIVES TO COMMON COUNCIL:

546 Main: 2 (# of positions - 2)
Dolores Green
Anthony Moran

Roosevelt Landings: 8(# of positions - 7 )
Cynthia Ahn
Claudiu Cornett
Ahmad Darwich
Lisa Knox
Linda Maynard-Hall
Joyce Metcheff
Romano Reid
Lorraine Williams

Rivercross; 4 (# of positions – 3)
Marilyn Atkins
Ellen Polivy
Ethel Romm
Don Sememza

Island House: 5 (# of positions – 3)
Helen Chirvas
Frank Farance
Russell Fields
Katarzyna Krause-Feldman
Michael Preradovic

Westview: 3 (# of positions – 3)
Erin Freely-Nahen
Sherie Helstien
Susan Marcus

2 River Rd.: 1 (# of positions – 1)
Steve Heller
4 River Rd.: 1 (# of positions – 1)
Jim Bates

Manhattan Park: 10 (# of positions – 8)
Barbara Allen
Marc Jonas Block
Ava Dawson
Alex Fletcher
Neha Kaul
Suhail Mattoo
John Paul
Ilonka Salisbury
Lynne Shinozaki
Joe Terranella

Southtown: 10 (# of positions – 9)
Peter Digilio
Dave Evans
Lorena Fortuna
Vinicius Fortuna
Aaron Hamburger
Tommy Nodland
George Ohring
Alfred Plastino
Mona Sen
Steve Silverstein

Octagon: 7 (# of positions – 5)
Scott Bradbury
Sora Caetano
Bevin Curry
Jeffrey Escabar
Bill Long
Guy Long
Denise Shull

UPDATE 5 PM - RIRA Election Absentee ballot and information available here.

Free Roosevelt Island Flu Shots For Senior Citizens On Thursday October 28 Sponsored By Assemblymember Micah Kellner - Flu Shots Also Available At Duane Reade


Roosevelt Island's Assemblymember Micah Kellner is offering free flu shots for senior citizens on Roosevelt Island. From Mr. Kellner:
Free Flu Shots for Seniors
Sponsored by Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner & Coler-Goldwater Hospital
Thursday, October 28th, 10:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main Street
Flu shots are limited and appointments are necessary.
The availability of these shots is very limited and an appointment is necessary. Please call my office at 212-860-4906 to schedule an appointment.
The Roosevelt Island Duane Reade Pharmacy is also offering Flu Shots though it is charging $29.99


More information on the Flu vaccine is available at the Center For Disease Control.


You Tube Video of CDC Flu Shot Recommendations

Here's more information about the Flu and a flu vaccine finder.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Roosevelt Island Tram Return To Sevice Delayed Again, New Estimate Is The End of November 2010 - Maybe The Beatles Can Help?


Roosevelt Island residents have been teased and tantalized over the last several days with both Tram cabins undergoing safety and operational testing as they make their way over the East River to the Manhattan Station and back.

Image of Roosevelt Island Tram Cabins In Manhattan Station From Dave Evans

BUT, when will operational service on the Tram be restored for passengers?

Readers of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres October 20 report to the community had this to say about the Tram's return of service:
Ms. Torres' comments on the tram seem vague and noncommittal regarding the start date of tram operation; I wouldn't be surprised if "soon" turns into late November or December.
and:
I expect the tram to be back in Jan or Feb next year. Anything sooner would really surprise me.
The last estimate received during the September RIOC Operations Committee Meeting was early November. Unfortunately, the date for the return of Roosevelt Island Tram service has been postponed again - this time to late November. According to RIOC VP of Operations Fernando Martinez:
The South cabin was hoisted on Friday, and we performed an emergency evacuation drill on the North cabin.  OEM, NYPD, FDNY and DOL participated in the exercise.  Commissioning on the South cabin has begun.  By all indications and feedback, everything is going well.  We do not have a firm date for returning the Tram back into service because it is contingent on the final certification by DOL, our best estimate is the 3rd or 4th week of November.
The DOL is the Department of Labor.

POMA, the contractor for the Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization Project issued the following press release today: 
 VOREPPE, France, October 25, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- After nine months' work the French firm POMA is putting the final touches to the installation of a new aerial tramway in New York City, linking Roosevelt Island to Manhattan. The keywords for this unique, resolutely urban amenity are innovation, availability, flexibility and above all safety.
A revolutionary world's first for POMA
With the completion of this ultra-modern aerial tramway POMA brings to New Yorkers the most advanced technology in cable-drawn urban transport. To meet the extremely high standards for passenger transit in a city, each car's cradle runs on an extra-wide track. This novel arrangement ensures the cabins remain exceptionally stable, regardless of the weather conditions. To meet safety requirements and deliver the best possible service, the two cars operate independently. The 960-metre aerial tramway connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan in three minutes. Each car has room for 110 passengers and the system can sustain a flow of 1,500 riders an hour.
A challenging urban project
This job has been exceptionally challenging for POMA, involving several major constraints, in particular a limited schedule and strict regulations. Furthermore the firm had to allow for existing infrastructure. Nor was there any question of work on the project disturbing the flow of traffic on the roads below, used every day by thousands of city dwellers. POMA has demonstrated here the full range of its project management and coordination skills.
Soon open to the general public
The first cable was fitted on October 5 2010, with the first running tests starting the next day. By October 8 a car was already travelling at 8 metres per second, its final design speed!
In the course of the next few days will be processed a series of tests leading up to final certification of the facility by the Department of Labour. The permit authorizing the tramway to open to the general public is expected to be issued at the beginning of November. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), the owner of aerial tramway, should be able to organize an official opening in the coming weeks....
Below is an interesting documentary about the development of the Portland Aerial Tram. The video does not start until the 30 second mark.


Of the Air, Of the Earth: The Story of the Portland Aerial Tram from NW Documentary on Vimeo.

UPDATE 9:20 PM - A Reader sends in these images of both Tram Cabins being tested.


 Images by D.J. Forza

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Statement From Mathew Katz In Support of His Candidacy For Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President

Image of Mathew Katz (in Yellow Hat) Campaigning at Farmers Market On Saturday

Mathew Katz sends in the following statement in support of his candidacy for Roosevelt Island Residents Association President.
My name is Matthew Katz and I am running for a fourth term as RIRA President. Why? I think that RIRA is critical in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for all Roosevelt Islanders. RIOC, its Board of Directors, the local politicians and the media acknowledge RIRA as the voice of this community by virtue of the fact that its members include the entire population of the Island and, most importantly, its delegates on the Common Council are elected to those positions every two years.

I’ve been a member of the RIRA Common Council since 1997. I’ve served on every committee and volunteered my services whenever asked. During my three two-year terms as President, we made RIRA an impossible-to-ignore presence here. During my first term, we saved the third shift of the Tram by mounting a petition drive resulting in 3,000 signatures that ended RIOC’s plans to eliminate service after 10 P.M. We confronted Gov. George Pataki with our demands for more control over RIOC and, with the help of then State Senator Olga Mendez, convinced him pass new legislation that would require a majority of the nine-member RIOC Board of Directors be Island residents. Prior to that, only one Director lived here.

During my second term, I challenged then NYC Transit Authority President, Lawrence Reuter, to include our Tram in the MetroCard System. He supported me enthusiastically, but then RIOC President, Robert Ryan, said it would never happen. Nevertheless, the RIOC Board commissioned me to pursue the plan. I knew the probability of achieving my goal was minimal, but over the next two years, I arranged meetings between the two presidents and between RIOC CFO, Pat Siconolfi and the MTA MetroCard chief, Tom Savage, that resulted in the first swipe of a Tram MetroCard in March 2006.
That was a proud moment!

I have been involved with the planned renovation of the Roosevelt Island Bridge since 2000. In 2004, the NYC Department of Transportation completed the final plan and then...shelved it until 2012! I worked with the Bridge Department and the Manhattan DOT Commissioner to consider moving up the restoration of this critical Island artery and presented a resolution to that effect to Community Board 8 that they passed unanimously. My resolution made the case that a fifty-year-old bridge, with a lift mechanism that failed regularly, could cost lives if fire trucks, ambulances and police cars had no way to get here. Remember, we don’t have a single working dock that could ferry emergency vehicles to and from the Island. I have a letter from Manhattan Commissioner Forgione informing me of the new start date— December 2006. And now, the work is scheduled for completion in March 2011.

In my third term, the Chairperson of the RIOC Board and its then President offered us the unprecedented opportunity to mount an election in which the community would choose candidates from among our neighbors for appointment to the RIOC Board. We asked for, but did not receive, guarantees that our efforts would bear fruit. However, a small sub- committee of RIRA, the Maple Tree Group, spent nine months devising, publicizing and mounting the first election in history of candidates for this Public Authority’s Board. Today, seven of the nine Board members are Islanders and we, you and I, chose six of them in two elections. That opportunity to have a seat at the decision-making table will continue with subsequent, MTG/RIRA- mounted, elections.

I’M PROUD THAT ASSEMBLY MEMBER, MICAH KELLNER, AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBER, JESSICA LAPPIN, HAVE BOTH ENDORSED ME. I’m proud of my accomplishments during these years and of the programs created during my administrations: fundraisers, dinners, a sock hop, dances on the promenade, auctions, insurance fairs, concerts and our annual blood drive and free breakfast that have become Roosevelt Island Day traditions. I am running because I haven’t seen this kind of innovation during the past Council term. RIRA must not be allowed to disappear into the wallpaper. The RIRA President must inspire the Common Council delegates to fulfill the offices for which they ran and were elected. Regretably, over 40% of the Counselors elected in 2008 have dropped off the Council, having found no reason to remain.

I have considerable experience in convening and controlling meetings, having done so at The New York Academy of Sciences for over twenty years. I’ve been unhappy with how Common Council meetings have been conducted over the past two years, especially after having worked so hard to create an atmosphere that accommodates the busy lives of its delegates. I posted our agendas on Main Street kiosks before every meeting. You haven’t seen them since 2008. I knocked myself out getting agenda packages— agendas, minutes, financial reports, committee reports—to Council Members by the Sunday before our meetings. Currently, agenda packages arrive Tuesday night or even the morning of our Wednesday meeting day, meaning that delegates often have not had time to read the essential material necessary to conduct RIRA business. The RIRA Common Council partners with the President in doing RIRA business, and should not be sidelined merely as a platform for one person’s agenda.

In addition, RIRA has always encouraged the public to attend and participate in the Council meetings during the fifteen minutes designated for Public Access. However, when an hour or an hour and a half is allocated to the public, then RIRA business at our once-a-month meetings extends into the wee hours and our members, working people, often leave before critical issues are debated and voted on. I have decades of experience in conducting lean, efficient meetings.

I pledge to continue working to enhance community governance of the Island, to preserve affordable housing within current and future stocks, to maintain and extend the open space and parkland that is so dear to our hearts and to ensure that we achieve a retail sector that meets our needs while protecting those merchants who have stuck by us all these years. As a retired person, I have the time, the energy and the passion to devote myself full-time to these duties and to encourage the RIRA Common Council to give this community their best.

Please watch for my campaign appearances in all the Island building complexes and at the Presidential Debate on October 27. I’ll be available to talk to you at the Farmers Market this Saturday and next, or just telephone me at 212-935-7534 to ask specific questions. And on Election Day, I’ll be the fellow yawning in front of PS/IS 217 as you wend your way to work.

Decisions are made by the people who show up. If you care to make a difference, sign up for a two-year stint on RIRA before nominations close at 8 P.M. Sunday evening, October 24. Just fill in a nomination form and submit it at the Public Safety office at 550 Main Street. RIRA must react to the issues that face us, sure, but also must be proactive, innovative, and must draw our neighbors in the new developments into the life of this extraordinary community. Please strengthen our community by getting involved. And I hope you will support me at the polls on November 2.
The statement of current RIRA President Frank Farance is here and more information about the 2010 RIRA here.

Follow Roosevelt Island's Doctor Jack Resnick On A Bicycle Trip Of Israel With The Arava Institute - Israelis, Arabs, Jews, Christians & Muslims Working To Save The Environment

You Tube Video Of Arava Institute

Roosevelt Island's Doctor Jack Resnick is participating in his third 300-mile bicycle trek across Israel together with 130 other people. They are raising money to support the Arava Institute, an ecological educational institution in the Israeli desert that works to promote peace between Arabs and Jews. The Arava students are drawn from both populations and they spend a year living and studying together about protecting the environment. Doctor Resnick says that most importantly, the students learn how to live together.

Doctor Resnick shares the following report of his trip. From October 20:
The first day of my 300 mile bicycle trip from Jerusalem to EIlat is coming to an end.
 A Map of Jerusalem on Byzantine Mosaics
Yesterday was a training day and we roamed around Jerusalem visiting the Old City and the Temple Mount. We saw the holiest site of the three great Western Religions -- the Church of the Holy Sepulcher,
 
 The Blue Domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The Wailing (Western) Wall of Solomon's Temple,
 
the Mosque of Omar
 
and the Al Aksa Mosque.
 
Sadly, we also saw the separation wall built by Israel in response to the last Intifada.
 
My hope is that the small progress in coexistence fostered by the Arava Institute will someday lead to a broad coexistence that can see this wall torn down.
We set out on our bicycles at 6 a.m. not knowing that we would soon be riding in the most difficult day in the nine-year history of this ride.
 
The thermometer reached 112 degrees Fahrenheit and we faced 35-mile an hour headwinds for much of the morning. I took more breaks than planned and managed to make it through the day's 60 mile trek. (In the accompanying photos you'll see the butterfly that spent some time on my finger as I sat in the shade of the only tree around.)
We traveled through beautiful countryside lush with olive trees and dozens of species of trees along with birds which I had never seen before.
The day ended in Ashkelon,

 
a city on the Mediterranean. A dip in the sea was the first order of business.


Continuing on his journey, Dr. Resnick writes:
 I'm writing this at the end of Day 3 of my bicycle trip from Jerusalem to Eilat.

Yesterday was an education in how all things are relative. My house call patients have brought home this idea to me many times over the years. I'm no longer surprised when somebody who spends their life in a wheelchair expresses pity and sadness for the difficulty faced by someone only slightly more disabled. They appreciate the sometimes subtle ways in which their own limitations afford  them degrees of freedom and happiness unavailable to that other  person.

Yesterday, the temperature and wind each dropped by 15 points on our bicycle route. That meant it was 97 degrees Fahrenheit and the winds had dropped down to 20 miles per hour. But it felt positively balmy compared to the previous day. Everything is relative.

The most moving stop was at a resevoir. The Israelis are renowned for their ability to manage that scarcest of resources, water. The resevoir employs fancy technology that I could barely understand to supply the water that has made a good portion of the Israeli desert bloom. But that wasn't the moving part of the stop.

As we stood at the edge of the resevoir we could see the skyline of Gaza in the distance. We knew that thousands of people were crowded into those buildings living very difficult lives. Our Israeli tour guide waxed eloquent on the plight of the Gazans. Even more eloquent was the Israeli resident of Sde Boker who had addressed us the previous night. (Sde Boker is the Israeli town closest to Gaza which has come under intermittent rocket attack from Gazan mlitants.) He recalled the past when the residents of the two communities had been intimately involved in each others lives. And he urged us to join him and other Sde Boker residents in their plea to the Israeli Government to lift the seige on Gaza.
The day was not all grim. Animals supplied some lighthearted moments. We were riding along and saw a herd of dark animals on a farm. As we got closer we realized that they were ostriches -- and the herd came flopping out to meet us.
Late in the day, as we entered the desert, we arrived at an oasis. Lying on the rare patch of green was a cat who, at first glance, seemed  dead. But then we realized she was just conserving energy. And our energy had crashed as well.
 Today we really spent the day riding in the desert. The heat was back, although not to the punishing levels of our first day. Tomorrow is a day off.
Here's a You Tube Video of the 2009 Arava ride from the crew's perspective.