Saturday, October 1, 2011
Wall Street Journal And NY Post Profile Roosevelt Island Retail - What Happens Next To Main Street Stores, Find Out At October 20 Town Hall Meeting With Master Leaseholder Hudson Related
... "The one missing piece is having good retail on the island. To us that has always been the Achilles' heel," said David Kramer, the head of Hudson Cos., which built and runs Riverwalk together with Related Cos., another developer. "Improving the retail will help our residents, but as an investment it's got to work as a stand-alone project as well, which we expect will be the case."...and in addition to a wine store, Mr. Kramer said:
... a pet store and ice-cream shop also got high marks.Click here for the entire Wall Street Journal article.
"We are quite bullish that if we can be successful with our eight stores in Riverwalk, then we can be equally, if not more, successful with our stores on Main Street. There is more foot traffic on Main Street," he said....
Under an article headlined:
Roosevelt suffers as shops close up
Image of Trellis Owner Kaie Razaghi From NY Post
the NY Post reported:
... Because of the dearth of eateries, many residents order takeout from Jackson Heights.
“Everyone is dying on this island,” said Kaie Razaghi, owner of Trellis Diner. “I’m the living room and the dining room of the island.”...
Friday, September 30, 2011
All Male Version Of Oedipus Rex and Female Version of Seven Against Thebes Performing Outdoors This Weekend On Roosevelt Island From Faux-Real Theatre Company
The Faux-Real Theatre Company is coming to Roosevelt Island this weekend to perform an all male version of Oedipus Rex on Saturday October 1 and all female version of Seven Against Thebes on Sunday October 2. Both shows are free and will start 2 PM outdoors at the Roosevelt Landings Amphitheater (behind 540 Main Street).
According to the Faux folks:
2 GREEK CLASSICS, EXACTLY AS INTENDED… SORT OFHere's a You Tube video from last year's performance of Oedipus Rex by Faux at the Roosevelt Landings Amphitheater.
If we were to travel back in time to see the earliest plays in ancient Greece, we would think we were at an avant-garde rock musical: fifty scantily clad men on stage wildly dancing the Dithyramb (the “drunken goat dance”) before an audience numbering in the thousands. Greek drama was an entertainment form both of the people and for the people.
In the spirit of this exuberant and community-inclusive Dionysian aesthetic, The Faux-Real Theatre Company is presenting an all-male production of Sophocles’ OEDIPUS REX and an all-female production of Aeschylus’ SEVEN AGAINST THEBES. Both productions will be presented exactly as the ancients intended them to be performed… sort of. Each show will feature a mono-gendered cast of 12 dressed in bold colorful costumes, fantastical masks, live music and Faux-Real’s broad stylized approach to acting that Aeschylus and Sophocles might have confused as their own.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Stanford and Cornell Duking It Out For New York City Applied Science & Engineering School - Roosevelt Island's Right In The Middle Of It All, Whew!
This September 23 post summarized the perception by Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) members attending a September 16 meeting with Cornell University on Mayor Bloomberg's proposed NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School, which both Cornell and Stanford University have proposed to be located on Roosevelt Island, as:
... Summarizing the basic difference between Stanford and Cornell's approach to the Roosevelt Island community to date, Ms. Shull noted that Stanford's approach is to learn everything they can about the community needs and Cornell was only interested in the Child School and talking RIRA out of seeking a Community Benefit Agreement....Also reported in same post that:
... Assembly Member Micah Kellner is holding a meeting on September 27 with Cornell representatives and selected members of the Roosevelt Island community. I hope to be able to attend and to report on what transpires during this meeting....The September 27 meeting took place with Cornell representatives, Mr. Kellner, leaders of Roosevelt Island organizations and RIOC Board member(s). I asked to be able to attend and cover the meeting but was told by Mr. Kellner and Cornell representative that press/bloggers could not attend. Mr. Kellner advised that he would report back after the meeting.
I followed up after the meeting on September 27 asking Mr. Kellner to comment on what happened. Mr. Kellner replied:
It was a great meeting where Roosevelt Island community leaders were able to exchange ideas with the leadership of Cornell University.I replied the next day:
Thank you for your response.Have not yet received a response from Mr. Kellner to these questions.
Could you be a bit more specific as to what was discussed during the meeting and who attended?
Was there any explanation from Cornell representatives regarding why they met with Sal Ferrera' Child School on September 16 and the perception by RIRA members who attended the September 16 meeting that Cornell was opposed to Roosevelt Island residents seeking a Community Benefits Agreement for the project?
Who were the representatives from Cornell, not necessarily their names but what role in the process do they have. Were they decision makers, information gatherers or something else?
Was there any discussion that a New York State school such as Cornell should have some precedence or favor in the selection process over a West Coast School like Stanford?
I believe that at least some Cornell's NYC facilities are located in your district. As an elected official, do you support any particular school being selected by NYC and do you think that a local school should be favored in any way over a school that is not yet located in New York State.
A Roosevelt Island resident attending the September 27 meeting with Cornell provides more details describing it as follows:
It was a very casual information exchange. The Roosevelt Islanders present talked about their organizations, i.e., Matt described RIRA and how it's made up of reps from each building, he talked about the history of the Island; Jim Bates talked about RIDA and what their goals are; Dolores spoke about the Senior Center; Jonathan talked about some of the IT innovations we have on the Island; I spoke about the nature of the Island and some of the concerns I've heard from people, the recurring theme of which was that whatever entity ends up on that piece of land should be integrated into the community. The residents don't want to feel as if they're living on someone else's campus, nor do they want to see an "us and them" environment with an obvious separation from the community. We'll need to have a very cooperative working relationship to make this work for everyone.That was the consensus of others who attended the meeting as well. I followed up with the resident asking similar questions to the ones I asked Mr. Kellner. The resident replied:
They were very open to that. They described some of their projects around the state and expressed a very strong desire to work with the community. There were no specifics talked about because this is so early in the planning stages, but we all agreed that there were logistics that need to be worked out with the community, like how the red buses would work, what role public safety would play, what kind of energy programs we could expect to see, etc. All very general issues to put on the table but to be expanded upon as time goes on.
No one asked that specific question. I asked if they'd met with others and they said they'd met with the heads of both schools. They said that's where they start when they come to a community, i.e., they reach out to the local education community to get a feel for what educational facilities/programs, etc. they already have.Cornell representatives also gave a presentation of their plan for a NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School at Google's HQ in Chelsea yesterday. According to this tweet from AppSciNYC:
The CBA didn't come up per se, but rather the whole concept of working together to benefit the community. I believe they're trying to understand what's already here and where there may be mutually beneficial opportunities.
I don't know the exact titles, Matt may have their cards. There were two reps from Cornell who told us a little about Cornell itself and said they were the team working on the RFP.
The political consultant was there, but didn't say much of anything. No discussion at all about a New York school having precedence. No implication that there would be any preferencial treatment.
RTThe Cornell Daily Sun reported on yesterday's presentation at Google's HQ.
@levitandan At #google HQ in Chelsea with Cornell techies - about to hear about their proposal for @appscinyc. Packed house. #cornellnyc
Speaking to an audience of Cornell alumni on Tuesday at Google’s New York City headquarters, Prof. Dan Huttenlocher, dean of Computing and Information Science, revealed an outline of the University’s proposal to construct an engineering and applied science campus on Roosevelt Island.and:
“We’re proposing to get going right away. We would start operating by summer and we would have students in the city by fall,” Huttenlocher said....
... Cornell has also been in continuous discussion with business leaders in New York City and around the country, Huttenlocher said. He expressed confidence that Cornell’s established presence in New York would give its proposal the edge over those of other contending universities.Click here for the entire Cornell Daily Sun article.
“If a school doesn’t have good roots in New York, it may attract good students here and just be a pipeline to jobs elsewhere in the country,” Huttenlocher said. “We believe strongly that a Cornell in New York, with the strong ties to all of you and others that we have here, would really change that pattern. But for another school that doesn’t have a strong network in New York City, it might never happen.”
Here's Stanford University President John Hennessey explaining why Stanford wants to build an Applied Sciences and Engineering Schools in NYC and the economic benefits that will result from it.
A previous post reported on this benefit to NYC's economy if Stanford is selected to build the school:
... During a meeting and tour of Roosevelt Island several weeks ago with Stanford's Director of Communications Lisa Lapin, I learned that a number of Silicon Valley Venture Capital Firms have indicated a strong interest in following Stanford to NYC should Stanford be chosen to build NYC's new world class graduate engineering school - which Stanford would locate on Roosevelt Island...Sand Hill Road Comes to Roosevelt Island - well, maybe?
The Observer's Beta Beat has a great article on the competition among universities and neighborhoods seeking NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School headlined:
Will Stanford Take the F Train to Silicon Island? Tensions Rise as Deadline for Tech Campus ApproachesAccording to Beta Beat:
Will Silicon Alley U. go to a visiting favorite or the hometown underdogs?
... As the Oct. 28 deadline for proposals approaches, both neighborhood advocates and the institutions bidding have intensified their campaigns. Scuttlebutt has Stanford as the frontrunner and Roosevelt Island as the likely site, agitating folks like Ms. Dolan and institutions like N.Y.U....Click here to read the entire Beta Beat article.
... TO LOCALS, THE SELECTION PROCESS leaves something to be desired. “It’s downright anti-N.Y.C. for the mayor’s office to consider helping an outsider come into N.Y.C. and a massive slap in the face of all the great institutions N.Y.C. has here already,” Fred Wilson wrote in an email to The Observer. Mr. Wilson, a partner at Union Square Ventures and pater familias to the city’s growing tech scene, is not quite an unbiased onlooker: this summer he joined the board of N.Y.U. and its engineering school, N.Y.U.-Poly, which merged with the Polytechnic Institute in 2008, after surveying which institutions might have the most impact....
... Nonetheless insiders acknowledge that incumbents are disadvantaged because the city is already intimately involved with existing expansion plans decades into the future, which didn’t involve anything on this scale. “Let’s say hypothetically, everyone turned in the exact same proposal, would we probably go with Stanford? Yes. Why? Because everyone turned in the same proposal and they have the best reputation,” said a source familiar with the decision-making process. “But we don’t know what they’re going to submit.” Such is the nature of the R.F.P. process, explained the source, wherein even the mayor’s excitement over attracting a school like Stanford is only a “small to medium plus” dependent on what the committee makes of the proposal....
Whew - and we here on Roosevelt Island are right in the middle of all of this. From Beta Beat:
City councilmember Jessica Lappin, whose district includes Roosevelt Island, said that, compared with the “cockamamie schemes thrown out through the years,” like a big box store and a housing project, it’s been easy to galvanize community elders around the plan.Yes, much better than a big box store.
UPDATE 5:40 PM - Jonathan Kalkin, who is leading an effort to organize all Roosevelt Island organizations to participate as stakeholders in an eventual Community Benefits Agreement with any University that develops a campus at the Goldwater Hospital site. was at the September 27 meeting with Cornell and adds:
This meeting was initiated by Cornell University and a number of subjects were discussed, but Cornell seemed very open to working with the coalition on a community benefit agreement to make sure that if Roosevelt Island is chosen they will develop a plan that is mutually beneficial for the university and the community. The discussion on community integration led to a number of suggestions regarding mentoring programs and assistance in education, a state of the art library, and a shared workspace/incubator.UPDATE 10/7 - Crains is reporting that several other schools (NYU, Columbia and Carnegie-Mellon) are in the running to be selected to build the NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School and these schools are considering locations other than Roosevelt Island. From Crains:
We also discussed community access to the University resources and campus. We also talked about improvements to transportation that included talks about possibly adding ferry service and enhanced bus service. Finally we discussed the energy needs of the University and how an Island wide energy plan could mutually benefit the university and community.
This was a preliminary discussion on the possible ideas that may be helpful for the community. A University has not been chosen yet and the location has not been finalized, but if this develops it will certainly be a great opportunity for the Island.
Several schools that have flown under the radar in the citywide competition to build a tech campus are poised to shake up what had appeared to be a dogfight between Cornell and Stanford universities.Click here to read the entire Crains article.
The two engineering powerhouses have hired lobbyists and public relations firms to pitch their proposed Roosevelt Island campuses. But details of three other bids—led by New York University, Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University— that would use other sites are emerging. They would be strong contenders if multiple winners are chosen....
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Filthy Roosevelt Island Motorgate Garage Getting A Power Wash Starting October 3 - Access To Garage And Pedestrian Walkway By Elevator Only
Image Of Entrance to Motorgate Garage Atrium
According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Please be advised that beginning Monday, October 3rd, the entire Motorgate Parking Garage will be Pressure Washed. During this time, access to the garage and pedestrian walkway will only be accessible by elevator. For your safety, we ask that everyone follow the directional signage for proper entrance into the atrium. The Pressure Washing is scheduled to be completed in 3 weeks.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Image Of Motorgate Atrium Interior Windows
As outlined in RIOC's Motorgate Garage Atrium General Cleaning Request For Proposals:
Scope of WorkThe windows and floors of the Motorgate Atrium are very filthy.
Powerwash exterior/interior atrium windows and metal framing
Remove all tape, flyers, postings, etc. from glass and metal framing
Remove debris from escalators
Powerwash all “Red” atrium tubing
Provide necessary protection
Labor costs must be based on Prevailing Wage Rates
Image Of Motorgate Atrium Interior Windows
Looking forward to having them cleaned.
Image Of Motorgate Atrium Interior Windows
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
New Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Center Kiosk Hours For October and New Merchandize - It's Not Just For Visitors But Residents Too!
Image of RIHS Visitors Kiosk By Richard Bachman From Friend Of The UES Historic District
Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) Visitors Center has new October hours.
RIHS President Judy Berdy adds:
We have lots of new exciting merchandise at the kiosk, including subway map magnets, F train magnets,The Visitors Center Kiosk is not just for visitors to Roosevelt Island. Stop by, say hello and learn something interesting about where you live right here on Roosevelt Island.
taxi models, Big Apple pencils, Vazu vases, pop-up dogs, Dynomighty Tyvek wallets, baggage tags and lots more.
The kiosk is open Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m. and Friday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
All proceeds go to support the RIHS.
New York State 10 Year Redistricting Plan - Where Does Roosevelt Island Fit? Elected Officials Lappin and Kellner Reply To RIRA President Katz
Image of Matt Katz, Jose Serrano, Jessica Lappin & Micah Kellner (front row left to right)
Reported last Friday on testimony Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Matt Katz provided to the NY State Legislative Redistricting Task Force (LATFOR) during public hearings held on September 21. Mr. Katz's statement is here.
Yesterday I received this comment from NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin and NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner:
We are writing in response to Matthew Katz’s testimony to the state legislative redistricting task force. While Mr. Katz states, “my issues are not with the public servants holding the seat but with the choice of district,” it certainly doesn’t seem that way.Mr. Katz responds:
We’d like to set the record straight.
Mr. Katz claims that Senator Jose Marco Serrano doesn’t participate in Community Board 8 activities. That’s just not accurate. Senator Serrano or his staff frequently attend Community Board 8 Full Board meetings. He is also a regular participant in other community and civic events on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.
Mr. Katz also states that, “we Islanders should be represented, across the board, by Upper East Side public servants who will surely be more accessible and more finely attuned to the unique needs of this planned community.”
It’s hard to imagine a public servant more accessible and responsive than Senator Serrano. He is one of the most open and accessible elected officials in the state legislature. And over the years, he has proven himself to be quite attuned to the issues facing the Island.
Lastly, we’d like to point out that the 28th District doesn’t only serve RI, El Barrio, and the South Bronx. It also overlaps with our districts in Yorkville.
In addition to being inaccurate, we found Mr. Katz’s testimony to be needlessly divisive. There certainly are valid arguments that can be made for changing district lines. We hope future comments and testimony on this issue are restricted to those arguments.
Sincerely, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin and Assemblyman Micah Kellner
I, too, would like to set the record straight. Our federal and state districts are reconsidered once every ten years following the national census. I was asked by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s office to present testimony at the Manhattan redistricting hearings as the 14th CD is in jeopardy when New York State loses two congressional districts. I agreed to do so. Most of the speakers, including former mayor Ed Koch, Senator Liz Krueger, former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, representatives from Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, spoke to the unfair and politically motivated methods the State Senate has used to reset districts for decades and the reluctance of New York State government to reform the system with an independent commission.UPDATE 9/28 State Senators Jose Serrano and Liz Krueger reply to Mr. Katz:
I did not speak to this question; I was not asked to. My reason for attending was to support Rep. Maloney. However, New York State residents get to chime in only once every ten years. I made it as clear as I knew how that my comments were no reflection upon Sen. Jose Serrano, his predecessor, or any other of our conscientious representatives. To quote from my statement, “We have been represented ably by all our local legislators, including…the incumbent, Senator José Serrano. However, my issues are not with the public servants holding the seat but with the choice of districts.” These sentiments are heartfelt, then and now. The 26th SD IS closer to Roosevelt Island. The 28th SD IS farther away and not contiguous with this community. In a state correctly criticized for gerrymandered districts, my complaint was entirely with the districting process and not with the present seat-holder.
I made one false assumption in my statement: I stated that Sen. Serrano does not participate in Community Board 8, and he does. I don’t attend most of these meetings, having sufficient meetings of my own on Roosevelt Island to occupy my evenings. I assumed that, as CB8’s northern boundary is at 96th Street and that the 28th SD only dips a toe into Yorkville (down to 86th Street) but is primarily located in northern Manhattan and the South Bronx, that Sen. Serrano’s primary community board participation would be in those neighborhoods. I regret the mistake.
When I decided to write a statement and to include my comments on our state senate district, it occurred to me that perhaps I should wait until a less responsive senator occupied that seat. However, given the ten-year hiatus in redistricting, that would have required a wait until the fall of 2021. I have no idea what my role in local politics will be after I turn 75, but there is a likelihood that I will not be responding, or being asked to respond, to the redistricting issues of that future time. Therefore, I made a pitch for a more “common sense” process and conclusion.
I am truly upset that my comments, in which I took exceptional pains to separate the district from its incumbent, were seen as disrespectful to Sen. Serrano. My regard for him is based on his long and consistent labors on our behalf My respect and affection for him, as well as for Councilwoman Lappin and Assemblyman Keller, are second to no one’s. I apologize for giving any other impression.
Matthew M. Katz, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
We write to you in response to testimony by Roosevelt Island resident Matthew Katz to the New York State Redistricting Task Force.
Although we both believe in Independent Redistricting, and that partisan politics and legislators should not play any role in drawing district lines, there were various inaccuracies in Mr. Katz’s statement that we would like to address.
Mr. Katz stated that “the 28th Senatorial District serves El Barrio and the South Bronx, with Roosevelt Island thrown in as an afterthought.” He also mentioned that the 26th SD has more issues in common with Roosevelt Island than the 28th SD, and that Senator Serrano does not participate in Community Board 8 activities. The 28th District covers parts of the Bronx, East Harlem, and Roosevelt Island, but also a significant portion of Yorkville on the Upper East Side. Senator Serrano has been extremely active and accessible on Roosevelt Island, and we have both had a strong and consistent presence at its corresponding Community Board 8.
We are two of the most progressive members of the Democratic Conference, and anyone would be hard pressed to find a major issue or vote on which we differ. If one views our voting records, to say that the residents of Roosevelt Island would have drastically different legislative representation from either of us is simply inaccurate.
Mr. Katz declared that “Islanders should be represented, across the board, by Upper East Side public servants who will surely be more accessible and more finely attuned to the unique needs of this planned community.” Only he knows for sure what he meant by these words. The fact that a district includes places like East Harlem— a wonderful and diverse neighborhood once represented by then City Council Member Carolyn Maloney— should not disqualify an elected official from representing an equally diverse community like Roosevelt Island. In fact, Roosevelt Island is significantly more diverse than the 26th Senate District, and more closely mirrors the 28th Senate District in terms of its racial and ethnic makeup.
Mr. Katz’s comments were not only incorrect, but also betray the inclusive spirit that is so much a part of the Island. Senator Serrano has long prided himself in the fact that he represents one of the most diverse Senate districts in the state; and Roosevelt Island continues to grow into a multicultural melting pot, very much in line with New York City as a whole.
We are strong advocates for public participation and encourage residents to make valid arguments in regards to redistricting. Our hope is that a fair and independent redistricting process will move forward— one that takes into account accurate and unbiased rationale for any changes to district lines, and that will not be based on inaccurate statements.
Sincerely, Senator José M. Serrano Senator Liz Krueger
Monday, September 26, 2011
Received the following advisory from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that the South Tram cabin will be operating at a 50% capacity until further notice.I've asked RIOC for further explanation and will update when answer received.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Opening Day Of Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League At Octagon Field - International Group Of Kids Plus Dedicated Volunteers Equals A Great Time
This past weekend was opening day for the free Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League played at the Octagon Field. Roosevelt Island resident and Coach Dave Evans reports on the first day:
YOUTH SOCCER ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND - - THE BESTMore pictures from RIYP Soccer League Opening Day below.
If you are a fan of soccer, you probably know well names like Pele, Maradona, Zico, Beckenbauer, Platini and Beckham. Well, perhaps, just perhaps some of these legends have been reincarnated right here on Roosevelt Island. Are they international, yes the legends are, just look at the names. The same right here as I have on my team names like Afil, Chapman, Elkaslay, Evans, Katoanga, Murray, Pasmino, Rickman, Strong or Shinozaki, Suggs, Wolczuk, Yegyel, and Young (twice). Internationally flavored assortment? Yes, and that is amplified throughout this wonderful Youth Soccer Program here on the Island.
THANKS to Charlie Defino (our trigger), his staff and the many wonderful coaches and parent volunteers who serve teams in the 7-8 age group (Minors), 9-10 (Juniors), and 11 plus a year or two or three (Seniors). Oh, there are also Kinder-Kickers, I believe 5-6 years old. I personally admire these folks who volunteer their time, sharing principles of teamwork, leadership, and in some cases, building budding stars and fine citizens. Programs like this (and there are several on the Island) are a blessing for our community and certainly help mitigate against potential adverse impacts upon kids with too much idle time.
The season officially started play Saturday, 24 September. Did the players show? Yes, and with much enthusiasm. From my perspective, this seems to be the best start of a new year of play. The number of enrollees was phenomenal. This caused a few minor problems like rounding up all the players who had signed up and ensuring there were enough shorts, shirts, socks, shin guards of proper size for the players. Yes, all of this was and is FREE to our consuming audience. Further, I do not know a coach who would even think of charging for their time - - they love the game but more so, love what it offers the kids. Yes, here on Roosevelt Island, we've got the best!
Images provided by the Roosevelt Island Youth Program.