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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Roosevelt Island Halloween Festivities, Web 2.0 Smart City Award, Public Purpose Grant Fund Applications, Southpoint Gardening Help, Retail Town Hall Recap, District Attorney's Office Community Meeting and Upcoming PSD/Youth Center Basketball Game

RIOC President Lesile Torres (center)  Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El (left) and Evie Przbyla (right)

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I hope everyone had a great Halloween despite the surprise of a snowstorm in October. I am happy to report that even with the heavy rain, wind and ice, the Tram operated without interruption.

There are lots of exciting things happening on the Island that I would like to update you on:

2011 Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award

I would like to congratulate Michael Moreo, RIOC’s Director of Information Technology and his team for winning the 2011 Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award. The award is given by the State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) in recognition of a state or local government entity that has demonstrated innovative use of web 2.0 technology to advance their organizations core mission, serve citizens and foster open government and civic engagement.

Communicating and exchanging ideas with the Roosevelt Island community is a top priority for us. We offer a portfolio of web 2.0 applications including NextBus, SeeClickFix, and Facebook that help us operate, maintain and develop the island and its services. We are pleased to receive this award and look forward to providing more technology solutions that will further develop Roosevelt Island into a “Smart City”.

Public Purpose Grant Applications

The 2012 application for Public Purpose Funding is now available online. Public Purpose Funds are allocated to benefit Roosevelt Island residents, enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health or a better environment. The RIOC Board of Directors awards these funds upon the recommendation of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA).

To review current guidelines and obtain a copy of the application, please visit http://rioc.ny.gov/ pdf/Grant_Application.pdf. If you have bookmarked last year’s application, please do not use it, as new items have been added to the current application. Please note that applicant organizations must be not-for-profit as defined by 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 Status.

The deadline to apply for Public Purpose Funds is Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 5:00 PM. Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.
The 2012 Public Purpose Grant application can be downloaded or completed online at your convenience. Please submit your completed application and necessary attachments to the RIOC office located at 591 Main Street.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding completing the PPG application please contact RIOC via email, Erica.Spencer-EL@rioc.ny.gov or by calling 212-832-4540 EXT# 349.

Friends of Southpoint

Friends of Southpoint are looking for fellow gardening enthusiasts to help keep Southpoint beautiful.

Southpoint's seven acres have been planted with more than 35,000 Northeastern native plants, comprised of more than a hundred different trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns and grasses. Friends of Southpoint (FoS) volunteers will be trained in plant identification, as one of the early efforts will be to remove specific invasive plants. Learning to identify the weeds will be part of the work; getting to know the native plants will be part of the pleasure. If you'd like to help out, please contact April Ward at FoS@mac.com. Parents are encouraged to bring their children. RIOC will provide tools, FoS T-shirts and snacks/beverages for the volunteers.

Town Hall Meeting for Retail Space

I was happy to hear that the Town Hall meeting for the Retail Space that took place on October 20th was well attended. I know that Hudson Related is doing their best to move the revitalization of Main Street’s commercial space project along while keeping everyone informed. We too are very excited about the revitalization of Main Street and look forward to new stores opening on the island.

New York County District Attorney's Office Community Meeting

The New York County District Attorney's Office, in partnership with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, will be hosting an informative community meeting on the Criminal Justice System and Arrest to Sentencing Process at the Good Shepherd Community Center (546 Main Street) on Wednesday, November 9th from 7pm to 9pm. Attendees will get information on the following:
• The PSD's role in the community and their initiatives
• Why the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has the authority to prosecute and
investigate crimes on Roosevelt Island
• An explanation of the criminal justice process in New York County
• The differences between a violation, misdemeanor and felony
• What is the arrest to sentencing process for adult offenders
• The role of Family Court in the criminal justice system
• The Manhattan District Attorney's new re-entry and juvenile justice initiatives

I encourage you all to come out. Light refreshments will be served.

PSD Basketball Game

The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department will be hosting a basketball game with officers and young adults from the community on Tuesday, November 8th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Sportspark.

The game is organized by the Public Safety Department as a way to build relationships between the department and the youth community of Roosevelt Island, so please join us at the game. This is the 3rd year that this game will take place.
Below is video from the 2011 Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award which was awarded to RIOC for it's use of web 2.0 technology and


The full video including first 13 minutes is here

 the press release from the NY State Chief Information Officer:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of New York State has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award. The award recognizes a state or local government entity that has demonstrated innovative use of web 2.0 technology to advance their organizations core mission, serve citizens and foster open government and civic engagement.

“I am pleased to congratulate the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of New York State on being selected as this year’s Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year Award. They epitomize how an organization, regardless of size, can find value in the use of web 2.0 technologies to engage their constituents. Web 2.0 technologies and social media tools create new communication channels for government to stay connected with citizenry. Many state and local organizations are leveraging the technology more and more and I am very encouraged by this trend. Going forward I expect to see more innovative uses in this area,” said Daniel C. Chan, New York State Acting Chief Information Officer and Director of the Office for Technology.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of NYS has a portfolio of Web 2.0 Applications it uses to engage residents, workers and visitors of Roosevelt Island. As part of its core mission to operate, maintain and develop the island and services, Web 2.0 Apps have played an important role in improving presence as a “Smart City” by increasing the availability and quality of knowledge, communication and social infrastructure. Smart Cities operate on the concept of six (6) main dimensions: smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living and smart governance. Web 2.0 technology is a natural fit to promote the Smart City concept.

“We are extremely pleased to receive this recognition for our innovative use of Web 2.0 technologies. The use of Web 2.0 applications such as NextBus, SeeClickFix, and our Facebook presence is only the beginning. We are committed to providing more applications and other Web 2.0 technology that residents, workers and visitors of Roosevelt Island will use to more fully enjoy, engage and collaborate with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation in years to come” said Michael Moreo, CIO of The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

To meet today's demands and anticipate future needs, New York State launched the Empire 2.0 Initiative in June 2009. Empire 2.0 is New York State's social media strategy designed to enhance customer transactions and experience of social media networking with state government, increase transparency into government operations, and enhance citizen engagement. In August, CIO/OFT furthered that initiative by launching a new website called Empire 2.0 Center of Excellence, a "one-stop" Center that provides resources and tools about social media and Web 2.0 technologies and best practices in the industry. To visit the Empire 2.0 Center of Excellence website visit www.empire-20.ny.gov.

The Empire 2.0 Showcase Agency of the Year fully embraces the principles of the Empire 2.0 Initiative which are to connect, create, and collaborate, by setting a high bar of IT excellence in the use of Web 2.0 social media technologies in state government to improve service delivery, enhance professional development, and promote collaboration among all relevant stakeholders.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Again, No Queens Bound F Train Subway Service From Manhattan To Roosevelt Island This Weekend


You Tube Video of MTA's Weekender Service Change Map

This will be the second straight weekend of no Queens Bound weekend F train service to Roosevelt Island this weekend. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) reports:
Please be advised that there will be no Queens bound F train service Saturday, November 5th- Monday, November 7th from 12:01 AM to 5:00 AM. Please allow for additional travel time.

Sincerely,

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information on Subway Service Disruptions from the MTA Weekender.
F Jamaica-bound trains run via the M from 47-50 Sts to Roosevelt Av

Weekend, 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon, Nov 5 - 7

Here's A Copy of The Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Lease Agreement Between RIOC and Hudson/Related

Finally obtained a copy of the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leasehold Agreement between the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Hudson/Related. Here are some key provisions. (Click in text area to enlarge). RIOC is the Sublandlord and Hudson Related the Subtenant.



From Section 32 Miscellaneous:
The rent roll for existing Main Street tenants,
the guaranteed rent from Hudson/Related to RIOC (Page 56 Exhibit G),
and the participation rent.

Not to mention the provision terminating the Seniors/Disabled Shoppers Bus.

As reported in these previous posts, the Seniors/Disabled Shoppers Bus has received a temporary reprieve until at least 75% of the vacant stores are leased.

Click here for the entire Master Leasehold Agreement.
Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Agreement

Click here for the recommendations from the retail study referenced in paragraph 4 of the Main Street Retail Master Leasehold Agreement.

UPDATE 11/6 - You can search for text within the Main Street Retail Master Leasehold Agreement here.

Theater Director Enters Narnia's Wardrobe and Finds Roosevelt Island - Will Bring Outdoor Shakespeare To Eastwood Amphitheater This Summer With Much Ado About Nothing

 Eastwood Amphitheater Image From Island Shakespeare

A new Roosevelt Island theater group, Island Shakespeare, is coming to Roosevelt Island and they plan on performing Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing this summer at the Eastwood Amphitheater located behind 540 Main Street.  According to Island Shakespeare:
How many beautiful amphitheaters exist in the midst of the concrete jungle of New York City? Not too many, to be sure! But, Island Shakespeare’s got one and it’s absolutely lovely! Just minutes from the Upper East Side, among flowered parks with river views, Island Shakespeare performs the works of Shakespeare and others in one of the most beautiful hidden gems of all the city.

Island Shakespeare strives to deliver exceptional theatrical performances featuring the works of William Shakespeare, with a dynamic group of artists home-based at the Eastwood Amphitheatre. Our purpose is to develop a creative dialogue that attracts a diversity of voices from Roosevelt Island, New York, and from all over the world.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kristi Artinian and Managing Director Thomas R. Kee, Island Shakespeare glows with creativity, life, and new possibility!...
Artistic Director Krisi Artinian adds:
... When I first moved to Roosevelt Island, I thought I’d come through the wardrobe into Narnia. I couldn’t believe my luck — to find this hidden delight right smack in the middle of New York City. “Is it really possible,” I wondered, “that such a green and gorgeous place could exist ten minutes away from midtown Manhattan? Is it possible that these parks and flowery riverside walkways, so lovely and well kept, are even closer to NYC’s epicenter than Central Park? How is this not common NY knowledge?” I was in love with my Island, and soon learned that Roosevelt Island was the gift that kept on giving.

Tom and I discovered the dynamic Eastwood Amphitheater on Roosevelt Island as we took a cool March stroll along the East River. The Amphitheater was nestled into the landscape of Roosevelt Island, and was just minutes from the Tram and subway. What could be better, we thought, than bringing Shakespeare to this gorgeous place so that others could share our experience of Roosevelt Island?!...

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Shakespeare

The outdoor Eastwood Amphitheater will be a great spot to watch these performances. Last September the Faux-Real Theater Company performed Oedipus Rex and 7 Against Thebes in that space. Here's a video from an earlier performance at the Eastwood Amphitheater.

Welcome to Roosevelt Island Shakepeare!

Actor/Comedian Johnathan Fernandez Of Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill Performed On Colbert and Jimmy Fallon Show - See His Sketch Comedy Team Stone Cold Fox Perform Friday Nights At Upright Citizens Brigade

Don't be surprised if you see a familiar Roosevelt island face on your tv screen, Ipad, movie theater or performing at a local comedy club. You may not realize it the next time you visit Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill, but the young man who is serving your food and drink, Johnathan Fernandez, has appeared in these shows.


Fernandez Commercial Reel from jthanf on Vimeo.

According to Mr. Fernandez:

I am from the Poconos, Pennsylvania and am a comedian/actor based in New York City. I performed in improv shows at Penn State and have since taken classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. I am on a house sketch team at said theatre.

I have appeared on The Colbert Report, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Nickelodeon, and in many internet videos, some of which were for funnyordie.com and comedian Michael Showalter.

I also played a lead role in the independent feature Director’s Cut which has been accepted into many film festivals, two of which are the Boston International Film Festival and The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.

I can be seen once a month in an ensemble cast with my group Stone Cold Fox at the NY UCB Theatre.
Mr. Fernandez's Sketch Team, Stone Cold Fox, appears Friday night's at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

You can make reservations here to see Mr. Fernandez and his group tonight or any other Friday night.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League Playing Exciting Games On Saturday At Octagon Field - Come Watch and Cheer For The Kids


Last Saturday's Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) Soccer League afternoon games were cancelled due to the crazy October snowstorm but the young soccer players will be out playing enthusiastically again this Saturday. Come out and cheer the kids on as they play at the Octagon Soccer Field.

Here's a RIYP Soccer League report from last week before the snowstorm.
Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League Doing Just Fine.

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer is moving along into our 8th week of play with 15 teams jockeying for position before the playoff rounds begin in two weeks, defenses are closing ranks and the one-sided scores of the first couple of weeks are gone. Remember games are Saturdays from 9:30AM to 5:30PM on Octagon Field just north of Manhattan Park and south of the Octagon, also if you just want the pure enjoyment of 5 & 6 year old boys and girls learning the game under the smiling faces of their parents and Coach Tommy, come see our Kinder-kickers program at Pony Field under the shadow of the Octagon and just north of the gardens.

More on the RIYP Soccer League from previous posts.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Report From Roosevelt Island Resident's Association (RIRA) President - Lunch With Public Advocate and Hudson Developer, Meeting With DOT Commissioner On Roosevelt Island Bridge Wheelchair and Bike Safety, Post Office Petitions and November 7 Q & A Meeting For Future RIOC Director Nominees


You Tube Video Of November RIRA President's Report

Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Matt Katz delivered his November Monthly report to the Common Council last night.

Mr. Katz reported on:
  • Main Street Retail Town Hall Meeting follow up,
  • his lunch with Southtown developer/Main Street Master Leaseholder Principal David Kramer, NYC Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio and other Roosevelt Island residents in which a variety of issues were discussed including the pros and cons of returning (liberating?) Roosevelt Island to the jurisdiction of New York City from the State of New York and RIOC,
  • meeting with Department of Transportation (DOT) Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione regarding a Roosevelt Island Bridge Pedestrian Safety Barrier for the Queens side of the Bridge and clarification regarding the contradictory bike signage and bike safety issues on the Bridge. No definitive answers were provided by the DOT Commissioner. Mr. Katz would also like some sort of ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of Roosevelt Island Bridge Renovation/Rehabilitation. DOT has no plans for any such celebration,
  • an additional 1000 signatures were added to the Save Roosevelt Island Post Office Petition making a total of over 3000 signatures which will be presented to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to assist her in preventing the closing of the Roosevelt Island Post Office and
  • November 7 Question and Answer meeting for potential candidates interested in running for nomination to the RIOC Board of Directors. Existing resident Directors will be at the meeting to talk about their experience and answer questions.

Roosevelt Island Grandpa Al Lewis Playground Closed Tomorrow For Emergency Equipment Repair - Scheduled To Reopen Saturday


Received the following advisory this afternoon from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that the Al Lewis Playground, located next to Capobianco Field, will be temporarily closed Friday, November 4th due to emergency repairs to the play equipment. The playground will reopen Saturday, November 5th.
I sent an email to RIOC inquiring:
What is the nature of the emergency equipment repair? Was anybody hurt which requires the emergency repair or is the repair preventive?
Playground correspondent Roosevelt Island 360 reported last August on Grandpa Al Lewis playground equipment that needed repair in this previous post:
... After the removal of the overhead monkey bars RIOC fenced off the remaining platform securing the fences with plastic straps. Straps that have to endure the pressure of hundreds of kids weekly pulling and pushing upon the fences. At one end of one fence four straps secure the fence. The other side only two. The second fence only has one remaining strap.

It is this fence and remaining strap that will probably soon fail and I believe RIOC should be monitoring and fixing before something happens....
It is unknown at this time whether  tomorrow's emergency equipment repair at Grandpa Al Lewis Park is related to Roosevelt Island 360's previous report.

Image of Grandpa Al Lewis Playground

UPDATE 11/4 - RIOC reports:
Please be advised that due to colder than expected temperatures, the planned surface repair to the rubberized flooring at the Al Lewis Playground has been extended. The playground will remain closed until further notice.
A RIOC spokesperson informed me today that this was a planned repair and was not the result of any injuries.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program High School Basketball League About To Begin With Assistance From Coaches Across America Program - Applications Available This Week Until Friday, Team Evaluations and Selections Take Place On Monday November 7


Received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP):
The Roosevelt Island Youth Program is forming it's Annual High School Basketball League, anyone interested should contact Anthony Simmons or Hassan Wazani at 212-527-2505 for more information. Applications can be picked-up at the school between 3PM and 8PM, Monday-Friday this week, evaluation to select teams will take place on Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 6:30PM at the school. Coach Anthony and our new Coaches Across America Nike sponsored employee will be working to provide the quality in programming you have come to expect from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program inc.
What is Coaches Across America? RIYP Executive Director Charlie DeFino explains:
RIYP has been chosen as a site by Coaches Across America (CAA), the flagship program of Up2Us and a proud member of AmeriCorps in the first nationwide effort to mobilize highly trained coaches as Sports-Based Youth Development experts. CAA hires and recruits young people with a passion for sports, and places them as AmeriCorps "coaches" in community-based sports programs. RIYP was one of only sixteen agencies excepted this year (over 100 applied) into this program which is sponsored by AmerCorps, Nike Sports and the Department of Youth and Community services.
More info on Coaches Across America

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight 8 PM At Good Shepherd Community Center - Come Learn What Is Going On And Add Your Voice To The Process

 RIOC CFO Steve Chironis Addressing October RIRA Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting later today, 8 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). The Agenda for the meeting is below.
Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish
Place: Chapel of the Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street

  1. Public Session (8:00)
    • P.O. Dino Sitaras, 114th Precinct
  2. Roll Call (8:15)
  3. Approval of Agenda (8:20)
  4. Approval of Minutes–October 5, 2011 (8:25)
  5. Treasurer’s Report (8:30)
  6. President's Report (8:35)
  7. Committees (8:50)
    • Government Relations/MTG sub-committee
    • Housing
    • Constitution Committee
    • Island Services
    • Planning/SCRC sub-committee
    • Public Safety
    • Social, Cultural and Educational Services
    • Communications
  8. Old Business (9:50)
  9. New Business (9:55)
    • Public Session Procedure Motion–Hamburger
  10. Adjourn
Next Meeting: December 7, 2011
As always, prior to the start of each meeting there is a public session in which any resident can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern. Newly assigned to Roosevelt Island,  NYPD Officer Sitaris will introduce himself during the Public Session.

Image of Roosevelt Island's NYPD Officer Sitaris At Farmers Market

A discussion and decision is expected regarding RIRA's plan to conduct elections this winter for nominees to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors.

Below are committee reports submitted to the RIRA Common Council.

The Island Services Committee Report:
RIRA – ISLAND SERVICES COMMITTEE (ISC) REPORT TO COMMON COUNCIL MEETING, 11/2/11

Update on some of the issues ISC is working on:
Closing of Post Office Matt Katz had a direct contact with Carolyn Maloney indicating that she was making progress on preventing the closing of the RI Post Office. However, she wants more signers of the petition. RIRA and others gave Maloney 2,000 signers over the summer. RIRA and ISC have been collecting the additional signers. By the Common Council meeting (11/2/11), we expect we will be over the 1,000 goal.

Red Bus Operations Weʼve made no progress on the outstanding bus issues as RIOC stonewalled us all summer. Key issues to resolve are: (1) Adjustments to the Red Bus schedule, (2) allowing strollers on the bus during rush hours, (3) service to Southpoint Park and Sportspark. RIRA is now scheduled to meet with RIOC (Martinez & Opperman) the morning of 11/2/11. Weʼll have a full report on this meeting at the Common Council session that evening.

Main St. Retail Stores ISC reviewed the information disclosed at the 10/20/11 Community – Hudson-Related meeting. We all agreed it was a good and productive meeting. Over 300 RI residents attended. As Main St. leasing and improvements proceed, the ISC Main St. Stores Task Force (led by Mona Sen) is ready to help the community in resolving potential future controversies and relaying key information and concerns to Hudson-Related. The Task Force will continue in place until the end of our Common Council terms in Nov., 2012.

Special Note: At the 10/24/11 ISC meeting, 10 out of our 12 members attended. A record turn-out.
The Planning Committee Report:
The RIRA Planning Committee did not meet in October. I expect we will meet in November or December, as schedules permit.

I will discuss with the Planning Committee the effort to analyze the 2010 Census data for Roosevelt Island. My hunch is that this effort will produce some insight that might be useful for Roosevelt Island, and also for Borough President Stringer and Mayor Bloomberg. We shall see after the analysis is complete and coordinate our communications with the RIRA Government Relations Committee.

I'm expecting Ms. Shull to report separately on the Southern Development committee efforts.
The Silicon Island Sub-Committee Report:
Report of the Silicon Island sub-committee – November 2, 2011
Numerous groups such as the seniors, RIDA, the garden club and the chamber of commerce have been contacted to submit lists of their "wish-list" for a community benefit agreement.

Jonathan Kalkin is doing most of the leg-work on this as our legal counsel recommended this coalition be a new organization. RIRA will have a seat on the coalition in the form a formal seat plus the representation of Delores and Jim Bates.

An in-person meeting of the groups that respond will take place within in the next month to six weeks.

Again per counsel's recommendation, a list is being kept of who is contacted and who responds so that in the future, the agreement is solid in terms of demonstrating that the entire community was overtly invited.
and the Housing Committee Report:
The Committee met at 2:30pm on 3/26/11 at the Trellis Restaurant and conducted an extensive and wide-ranging discussion about a variety of issues.

Issue #1: We discussed the importance and need to write and include a mission statement of the Housing Committee for the RIRA website. By chance, Vini was also present at the Trellis and we had a chance to collegially and informally discuss with him the wish to relay to him a mission statement for inclusion on the website. Chair of Housing Committee commented that she would prefer if Vini could please personally put the paragraph on the website as her technological skills are lacking insofar as posting items on the website. Vini graciously agreed to place the mission statement, and any other information the Committee may feel is helpful to visitors to the RIRA website seeking information re housing on RI. Such additional information could include information regarding the HEAP program, as well as information or even links to companies offering apartment insurance, for example.

Action Taken: The mission statement and the additional information for the website remains pending at this time.

Issue #2: Russell discussed his activities regarding obtaining information on disclosure of resident energy costs by landlords in advertising and leases.

Action Taken: Russell’s effort was tabled at this time.

Issue #3: Steve discussed the HEAP program, whereby low-income tenants can apply for and obtain energy cost assistance from the government. Unfortunately, the application process is complicated, Steve reported, and tenants are not always reimbursed properly. Sometimes, the help of an attorney is necessary to obtain reimbursement, Steve added. Currently, there is a question as to whether HEAP will pay benefits to applicants receiving sub metered electricity.

Action Taken: As discussed above, information regarding the HEAP program, along with advice from the Committee regarding the possible difficulty of obtaining benefits from HEAP, as well as information to be developed by Russ regarding energy cost disclosure, may one day be included within the Housing Committee portion of the RIRA website. We would like to include helpful information such as this to assist present and possible future renters or owners on RI, so that they can get an idea of resident energy costs beforehand and not be surprised by the cost of energy once they move in; or, if they currently reside on RI, they may also benefit from the information and advice.

Issue #4: We would like to one day hold a Housing Fair, which could include the distribution of literature and applications from HEAP and even a presentation by a HEAP representative. Information about apartment insurance would also be distributed, along with insurance company representatives available to give additional information or distribute applications. Housing advocates could conduct workshops including giving advice on forming tenants associations, tenants rights in general, pointers in negotiating with government agencies, landlords, or even in Housing Court, etc.

Action Taken: We plan to confine ourselves to developing and putting information on the Housing Committee portion of the RIRA website regarding these and other important energy and housing issues.

Issue #5: We discussed a variety of miscellaneous items, including the college campus to be built at the site of Goldwater Hospital, the possibility of additional affordable housing on RI and what is the role of RIRA in advocating for the protection of fixed-income, low-income, and moderate-income tenants residing on RI.
Action Taken: The Committee expressed the hope for the continuation of RI as a mixed-income, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community. As far as obtaining traction or leverage in order to influence decisions being taken by the City re Goldwater and the developers regarding the construction of affordable housing at Southtown, much depends on the vision and fairness of City Hall, as well as Albany’s power in performing diligent oversight and enforcement with respect to the proper interpretation of the agreements with our developers regarding the construction of a specific percentage of affordable apartments along with apartments offered at market rates.
So, if you are interested in learning about or participating in the Roosevelt Island community, stop on by tonight's RIRA Meeting.

Seniors and Disabled Roosevelt Island Shoppers Bus To Queens Gets A Temporary Reprieve From Elimination, Will Stay In Service Until At Least 75% Of Vacant Main Street Stores Leased By Hudson Related Master Leaseholder - Main Street Revitalization Is Goal

 Image of Long Island City Costco From Roosevelt Island via Bridge & Tunnel Club

Reported last Monday that the Roosevelt Island Seniors/Disabled Shoppers Bus service to the Broadway/21 Street Queens Shopping area/Costco would soon be terminated in accordance with terms of the Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Agreement between the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and the new Main Street Landlord/Master Leaseholder Hudson/Related partnership. From last Monday's post:
This morning, I sent the following message to the Hudson/Related Master Leaseholder Principal David Kramer:
I have been advised that the Roosevelt Island Shoppers Bus that transports Senior Citizens and Disabled people from Roosevelt Island to stores in Long Island City is required to be terminated by RIOC according to the terms of the Main Street Retail Master Lease Agreement.

Is that true?  If so, do you have any comment for the Roosevelt Islander Blog on the reason why this service is being terminated and when will the Shoppers Bus be terminated?

Thank you.
Within hours, Mr. Kramer replied:
The retail study report recommended ending the Shopper's Bus. It was memorialized in the recent lease agreement, but the genesis was the retail consultant's recommendation.
I just received the following joint statement from RIOC President Leslie Torres and Hudson/Related Principal David Kramer:
Historically, when the island did not have many retail options it made sense to provide seniors and disabled island residents with a "shoppers bus;" to take island residents off island to shop. As part of the plan to revitalize Main Street, we will attract new businesses to the island, providing more shopping options for residents. To help support Island business expansion, when the contract agreement to revitalize Main Street was entered, language discontinuing the "shoppers bus" was included. However, the bus service will continue to be operated by RIOC until the vacant retail spaces are at least 75% developed.

The goal of the master lease agreement is to revitalize the Main Street corridor and to provide Roosevelt Islanders with stores they want to shop in. RIOC and Hudson Related look forward to a thriving commercial corridor on Main Street.
The retail consultant's recommendation regarding the Shoppers Bus was as follows:
... RIOC operates a “Shopper’s Bus”, which departs at 10:30 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday mornings and that takes residents to the Broadway Shopping Center, at the intersection of 21st Street and Broadway.This shopping center is also within walking distance of the Broadway business district. Once a month, the Shopper’s Bus travels to the Costco Wholesale store located at Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, although given its infrequency, this service is primarily geared towards and used by more elderly shoppers.While the “Shopper’s Bus” is an excellent service for those residents who utilize it, it clearly represents a major source of leaked spending.The RIOC should consider strategies to shift some of this spending to Main Street. One idea would be to eliminate the bus and provide coupons and other subsidies to elderly, disabled and low-income residents to encourage Main Street spending....
Good job by Hudson/Related and RIOC in responding to community concerns about the Shoppers Bus. Time will tell if the new revitalized Main Street will be able to serve the needs of those residents who currently use the Shoppers Bus to Queens as well as all the residents of Roosevelt Island.

There was an interesting discussion on the comments to the original Shoppers Bus post. From Jesse Webster:
My argument is that the existing retailers are selling at an unreasonable margin given their costs.

Like fare increases on the NYC Subway, high prices keep customers away, requiring additional price increases to maintain revenue.

Beyond the head start they get from subsidized rent, there are steps these retailers could take to reduce their prices to be at least competitive with stores like Duane Reade.

For instance, they could look to other wholesale sources which might sell to them more cheaply.

Gristedes has the benefits both of city-wide scale and state-subsidized rent. It's not reflected in their pricing.

The retailers we have seem to look at Islanders as a captive audience, and the stakes have been too low for them to honestly compete for customers on price, store cleanliness, etc. The bodega and hardware store don't even bother to lift the gates over their windows when they are open -- as if Main Street is so dangerous it requires them to operate from inside a cage.

Market rents aren't going to solve all of our problems Having a landlord who enforces leases and values the commercial real estate and quality of life on this Island, and who has a stake in filling the storefronts with merchants who will be successful, will go a long way toward revitalizing main street.
Frank Farance replied:
Good points.

Why would we expect the best shopping in our
bedroom community when other bedroom communities have similar problems?

Regarding price, my sense is that price reductions come from the availability of information to the consumer and to the store.  So to take "bakgwailo"'s example below, if everyone knew D-R sells Guiness at $11.50 and Gristede's sells it for $12.00 AND the perceived value of the convenience of Gristede's was less than $0.50, then D-R might get more Guiness business.

Still Gristede's might not reduce their price, even if there were perfect information known by all.

I'm sure you know: a common technique for retailers is to offer sales on certain items to get you in the door and hope you'll buy the higher margin items.  You bought a dozen eggs on sale (20 cents off, how many eggs can you buy?), but you also bought a couple six-packs of Guiness (as an Octagon, Manhattan Park, or Northtown resident, you're already in the store, why travel to D-R to save a couple quarters?).  Thus, there is no business rationale to reduce the price of Guiness or, said differently, there is no reason for Gristede's to "leave the money on the table".

Overall, I'm not sure how prices that you feel are unjustified get pushed down.  Even when the WIRE did comparison shopping at Gristede's and other local supermarkets, it didn't really bring down prices regardless of their losing customers.  I think it took a significant erosion of their customer base over several years to recognize they needed to address their problems.  <-- That's hard to motivate/enforce via a Master Lease or even the prior arrangements with RIOC.

The truth is, like all bedroom communities, we are a captive audience and (really) the marketplace incorporates that knowledge and adapts to it (e.g., higher prices, less selection, lesser quality, etc.).  Right?

I think location has an effect, too.  So the most efficiency (competition, information) would be at the place where convenience cost is low (Southtown over subway, next to tram) and get the market would get progressively worse has one got further away (e.g., Gristede's across from Manhattan Park).

Adding more stores (as many people intuitively feel) will reduce convenience cost, but that only works if the marketplace is able to support the additional business (I've already expressed my doubts).

Anyway, thanks for responding, I enjoyed reading your comment.
and so did 455 Resident:
yes, because we are a captive audience, competition amongst retailers can not exist except in the case of eateries.  The retail space will have to be comprised of boutique style or specialty shops to fill specific desires and wants of the community.

If places like Gristedes are forced to uphold their lease agreements, the quality of their merchandise and service will improve.  It has to.  Otherwise their business will deteriorate and they will close.

Prior to H-R, the existing retailers could get away with sub-standard service because their rents were so low or not enforced, so there was no real impact on the wallet.  M & D was supposed to renovate and upgrade their store when they signed a new lease with RIOC a couple of years ago.  Not surprisingly, this never happened.

H-R is on the right track.  The biggest challenge they face is picking the right mix of stores.
Here's Mr. Kramer at the Retail Town Hall Meeting talking about Main Street retail market rents and the dissatisfaction he shares with many residents concerning the Roosevelt Island Gristedes store.


You Tube Video of Main Street Retail Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds Application Process Begins - Deadline Is January 3, 2012, Get Those Papers Submitted!

 Pile Of Money Image From Richwealthpig

Are you a Roosevelt Island not-for profit 501(c)3 or 4 organization seeking additional funds for next year? If so, this announcement from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El is for you.
Greetings:

Please be advised that the 2012 application for Public Purpose Funding is now available online. To obtain a copy of the application, please visit http://rioc.ny.gov/pdf/Grant_Application.pdf to review current guidelines and to access the application. If you have bookmarked last years application, please do not use it, as new items have been added to the current application. Please note that applicant organizations must be not-for-profit incorporations as defined by 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 Status

The deadline to apply for Public Purpose Funds is Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 5:00 PM. Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.

The 2012 Public Purpose Grant application can be downloaded or completed online at your convenience. Please submit your completed application and necessary attachments to the RIOC office located at 591 Main Street.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding completing the PPG application please contact me via email, Erica.Spencer-EL@rioc.ny.gov or by calling 212-832-4540 EXT# 349.

Good Luck,
According to RIOC::
... Public Purpose funds first became available after the construction of Manhattan Park in 1989 when New York State allowed the fund to be established in lieu of the developers paying sales tax on construction materials. The RIOC Board of Directors awards these funds upon the recommendation of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA).
Not-for-profit community organizations are welcome to apply for these funds by following the application process below.

RIRA Mission Statement
Public Purpose Funds should be allocated to benefit Roosevelt Island residents, enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health or a better environment....
The chart below shows the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) recommendations for 2011 (Click on the image to enlarge)

and here's a summary of RIRA's 2011 Public Purpose Funds recommendations from previous post:
Summary of 2011 RIRA Public Purpose Fund Recommendations

Island Kids

Amount requested:    $25,000 Recommended allocation:    $20,000
The Island Kids program continues to be managed effectively and to offer a well-received program. The request is for scholarships for the summer camp that the program runs. With an income eligibility test to receive a camp scholarship, the program benefits low and moderate income residents. Last year, the number of applicants for full and partial scholarships exceeded the funds available. This year, the participation in the program is expected to grow. The committee recommends the same allocation as last year, however.

PS/IS 217 PTA

Amount requested:    $26,558 Recommended allocation:    $20,000
This program will offset the loss of the school's Art program to public school budget cuts. Although the funds for this program were eliminated, the mandate in the curriculum for art instruction remains. Given competing priorities for PPF allocations, the amount the committee recommends represents one fewer teaching artist than the applicants requested.

LifeFrames

Amount requested:    $34,610 Recommended allocation    $5,000
This program has received mixed reviews from the parties involved with it. It has been popular with the children involved, but has not been able to expand funding from outside sources. The main concern from the committee for the upcoming year is whether the program would be able to operate effectively in light of renovation taking place at PS/IS 217—it's main programmatic targets in the past. The committee intends that it's allocation promote some continuity in the program as it expands to other target audiences, with the hope that other funding can be found to leverage future PPF allocations.

RICLA

Amount requested:    $19,500 Recommended allocation    $7,500
The RICLA performs a valuable function in supplementing the advertising funds of Island organizations and assisting such organizations in obtaining grants. The committee members wish to further this objective. The committee is concerned, however, about the effectiveness of these efforts to date. The recommended allocation is for the advertising matching and grant-writing programs only.

RISA

Amount requested:    $20,000 Recommended allocation    $20,000
The RISA request is for a different purpose than were previous requests. The current request is to fund a popular activities program for Island seniors. The committee members view the request as a modest one compared to the benefit of the program. The recommendation is to allocate the full amount that the applicante requested.

RIDA

Amount requested:    $9,105 Recommended allocation    $9,000
The request from RIDA, while modest, may produce the highest benefit-cost comparison of all the programs that the committee considered. The current request goes for the operation of the van that was funded by a past PPF grant and thus leverages that allocation in a beneficial and meaningful way.

R&R Concerts

Amount requested:    $9,600 Recommended allocation    $9,000
This applicant has shown the initiative to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) organization, which status will help it raise outside funding in the future. That initiative, combined with the history of the applicant's programs on the Island are likely to enable the applicant to expand it's program here.

RIHS

Amount requested:    $20,000 Recommended allocation    $9,500
The committee recognizes this applicant's achievements in acquiring and renovating the kiosk that is it's main venue of operation. The portion of the request for an intern archivist is also promotes a worthy goal. The committee members believe, however, that the direct benefit to Island residents is lower than that of other applicants. The amount that the committee recommends reflects that belief.

More information on Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds from RIOC here and RIRA Guidelines and Criteria here.

Roosevelt Island Constituent Office Hours With NY State Senator Jose Serrano's Office Wednesday November 2, 4-7 PM - Speaks In Favor Of Keeping Rents Affordable


You Tube Video of Senator Serrano Speaking In Support of Rent Regulation

Received the following message from Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano's office.
Senator Serrano's Roosevelt Island Constituent Hours TOMORROW! 
  
Serrano Roosevelt Island Constituent Hours*
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
591 Main Street 
Roosevelt Island, NY 10044 
  
Meet with Senator Serrano's staff to discuss any concerns or suggestions you may have to improve your community.

*Constituent Services are also available Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, in Senator Serrano's District Office at 157 East 104th Street.
If you have any questions to ask Senator Serrano's staff or are in need of any assistance that may require the help of your elected representative stop on by RIOC HQ. Also, bring photocopies of any paperwork related to your situation so that the Serrano staff can effectively and efficiently address the issue.

Also, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be holding their November monthly meeting tomorrow starting 8 PM  at the Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street. The Agenda for the meeting is here. During the Public Session Roosevelt Island's new NYPD Officer will introduce himself. Come on down to the RIRA meeting and learn what is happening on Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island Free Flu Shots November 3, 10 AM To 2 PM At Seniors Center Provided By Assembly Member Micah Kellner's Office - Appointment Necessary, Call By Tomorrow

Image From Chicago Free

Reported previously on the free Roosevelt Island flu shots provided by Assembly Member Micah Kellner's office.

Mr. Kellner sends a reminder Tweet:
ATTENTION ROOSEVELT ISLANDERS: Free Flu Shots @ Roosevelt Island Senior Center on Nov 3-to register, call my office @ 212-860-5906 by Nov 2

Roosevelt Island Zipcars - Are More Needed?

 Roosevelt Island Zipcar At Riverwalk Dirt Lot

Are you a Roosevelt Island Zipcar user? If so, have you noticed a recent decrease in the number of Roosevelt Island Zipcars? A reader reports:
I live in Manhattan Park and am a Zipcar member, have you noticed by chance that Zipcar seems to have removed 70% of the vehicles from the island ? I have e-mailed them after seeing that for the next month only 3 cars seem to "live" on the island at this time, 1 in Riverwalk, 1 in Octagon and 1 in Motorgate. I am waiting for a response in the next 24 hours, and will keep you posted, in the hope that you can post something on your blog to get fellow Zipsters to unite and write to Zipcar to get the cars back. It would not suprise me if horrible Motorgate have scared them away...
Zipcar responded to the reader:
Thank you for following up with us regarding availability of zipcars on Roosevelt Island. We recently defleeted some of the older cars in our fleet, which is why you are seeing less availability. Currently we have 3 locations and 7 vehicles on Roosevelt Island:
Roosevelt Island - Riverwalk has 4 cars
 Roosevelt Island has 1 car
 Roosevelt Island - The Octagon has 2 cars

In the spring, we will be expanding our fleet and you will see a greater selection of zipcars at that time. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

 Happy zipping! 
Roosevelt Island Zipcars can be found here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

No More Roosevelt Island Seniors and Disabled Shoppers Bus To Costco and Long Island City Soon - Service Will Be Terminated As Part Of RIOC's New Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Agreement With Hudson Related

 Image of Long Island City Costco From Roosevelt Island via Bridge & Tunnel Club

Did you know that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) provides a shoppers bus for senior citizen and disabled residents? According to RIOC:
The Shoppers Bus service is available for seniors and disabled persons every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Senior Center (546 Main Street). Seniors and/or aide must have identification available before boarding the bus. Children are not allowed to ride the Shoppers Bus. Adults 18 and over will be allowed on the SB only if they are assisting a senior or disabled person. COSTCO shoppers must bring shopping bags and/or cart for groceries.

Participants of the Shoppers Bus are encouraged to notify the Senior Center 1 day in advance prior to boarding. Please contact Rema Townsend, Director of the Senior Center, at 212-980-1888 to be added to the SB list.
That is about to change with the new Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Agreement. As first reported by Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance  commenting on this post:
...I've heard that RIOC is required to discontinue the seniors' shoppers bus because of a contract provision in the master lease agreement.  (I'm waiting for written confirmation on this....
In order to find out if it was true that the Shoppers Bus was being discontinued, on October 26 I sent the following message to RIOC President Leslie Torres:
Is it true that as part of the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leasehold Agreement with Hudson Related, RIOC has agreed to discontinue the Seniors Shopper's Bus? If so, why and when will the Shoppers Bus be terminated?

Please provide a copy of the Main Street Retail Master Leasehold Agreement so that I can make it public on the Roosevelt Islander Blog.

Thank You.
and followed up earlier today with the same message. Have not received a reply as of the time of this post.

This morning, I sent the following message to the Hudson/Related Master Leaseholder Principal David Kramer:
I have been advised that the Roosevelt Island Shoppers Bus that transports Senior Citizens and Disabled people from Roosevelt Island to stores in Long Island City is required to be terminated by RIOC according to the terms of the Main Street Retail Master Lease Agreement.

Is that true?  If so, do you have any comment for the Roosevelt Islander Blog on the reason why this service is being terminated and when will the Shoppers Bus be terminated?

Thank you.
Within hours, Mr. Kramer replied:
The retail study report recommended ending the Shopper's Bus. It was memorialized in the recent lease agreement, but the genesis was the retail consultant's recommendation.
More information on the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail report referenced in Mr. Kramer's reply is here. Below is the retail consultant's, Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, recommendation regarding the Roosevelt Island Shoppers Bus (page 34):
... RIOC operates a “Shopper’s Bus”, which departs at 10:30 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday mornings and that takes residents to the Broadway Shopping Center, at the intersection of 21st Street and Broadway.This shopping center is also within walking distance of the Broadway business district. Once a month, the Shopper’s Bus travels to the Costco Wholesale store located at Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, although given its infrequency, this service is primarily geared towards and used by more elderly shoppers.While the “Shopper’s Bus” is an excellent service for those residents who utilize it, it clearly represents a major source of leaked spending.The RIOC should consider strategies to shift some of this spending to Main Street. One idea would be to eliminate the bus and provide coupons and other subsidies to elderly, disabled and low-income residents to encourage Main Street spending....

Free Martial Arts Program Offered By The Roosevelt Island Youth Program For Ages 6 and Up (Adults Too) - Learn More Tomorrow At PS/IS 217 Beacon Meet and Greet


Are you interested in learning the Martial Arts? If so, check out this message from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP):
For the 18th year the Roosevelt Island Youth Program will offer free Martial Art's classes for everybody 6 and older, Sensei' Ms. Dawn Marie Ely will once again be teaching the classes this year, this will be Ms. Ely's 5th year with our program. We will be hosting a Meet and Greet on Tuesday November 1st at the Beacon @ PS/IS 217 from 6:30PM to 7:30PM for parents and their children. Classes will be held on Monday,Tuesday and Thursdays starting the second week of November, classes are 1 hour to 1.5 hours long based on age and level, we will be forming classes for youth ages 6 to adult and of course it's free thanks to our City contractors the Department of Youth and Community Development. So if you want you and your child to learn Jujitsu or just want to exercise and get in shape we have a great program for you. Hope to see you Tuesday, to get registration forms in advance just call 212-527-2505 and ask for Mr. Wazani.
More information on RIYP Martial Arts Class including Gee Presentation Ceremony from previous post.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fun Time At Snowy Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade - Costumes, Thriller Dancers, Shine & The Moonbeams, Rides, Games & Treats

Image of Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade Marchers

Despite the rain, snow and cold weather, yesterday's Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade was a fun time for all participants. The Parade organizers, Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Urban American and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), adapted to the weather conditions quickly by switching the Parade's route to the covered sidewalk arcade,


though some hearty and determined marchers, including Thriller Dancers, followed the Halloween Trucks



You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade

on the Traditional Main Street route


winding up in the warmth of a dry PS/IS 217. Upon arrival at PS/IS 217, the marchers received Halloween Treats from the Roosevelt Landings Urban American staff.


Urban American's Doryne Isely welcomed the Halloween revelers and commented on the day's surprising inclement October weather by proclaiming
WE'RE ROOSEVELT ISLANDERS, NOTHING STOPS US!
and then introduced the entertainment by Thriller Dancers performing indoors this time, followed by the musical group Shine & The Moonbeams.


You Tube Video Of Roosevelt Island Halloween Festivities

Roosevelt Islanders of all ages, young, younger and young at heart got dressed up in Halloween costumes,


played games,



ate popcorn,


cotton candy


and enjoyed the rides and inflatables.





Everyone had a great time including Roosevelt Island Youth Program Director Charlie DeFino  (left) and RIOC President Leslie Torres (center)


as did RIOC's Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El (left) and Evie Przbyla (right).


More images from 2011 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade and Festivities below.



The Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade Was sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, NYC Development of Youth and Community Development, Urban American, RIOC, Island House, Rivercross, Westview and the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association.

Click here to visit Roosevelt Islander on Tumblr and share your own pictures or videos of the Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade.

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