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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa Claus Is Making His Way Around The World Tonight, Track Him With The Aid Of NORAD - Is That Santa Flying Over The Queensboro Bridge On His Way To Roosevelt Island With His Reindeer Leading A Tram Sled Again?

Reports are coming in of Santa Claus sightings from all around the world. You can even track him with the aid of NORAD.

Santa will arrive on Roosevelt Island in a couple of hours. When he does, it may be on his specially designed, reindeer powered, Roosevelt Island Tram sled using one of the old Tram cabins.

Roosevelt Island Reindeer Driven Tram (more info here)

Hope you've taken Bruce Springsteen's advice and were good this year.


You Tube Video of 1978 Springsteen Version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Earlier this week, Santa's helpers at the Roosevelt Island Starbucks had a Christmas Party for local kids.


There were hot drinks, gifts, storytelling, carols


 and a visit with the Santa Claus.


Nice job by our local Starbucks staff.

Don't forget to leave some cookies out for Santa tonight. MERRY CHRISTMAS - Ho HO Ho!!!!!!!!

How Cool Is This - Central Park Harlem Meer Floating Christmas Tree



The Harlem Meer is a wonderful part of Central Park. Go there and explore.


View Larger Map

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Coming On Christmas - There's No Skating On The East River For Sarah McLaughlan But You Can Listen To A Beautiful Irish Fairytale Of New York With The Pogues - What's Your Favorite Christmas Song?

It's coming on Christmas, very, very soon. Here are two of my favorite Christmas songs. Sarah McLaughlan's version of River


You Tube Video of Sarah McLaughlan's River

and the beautiful Fairytale of New York from the The Pogues, as only the Irish can do.


You Tube Video Of The Pogues Fairytale Of New York

Here's the story behind The Pogues Fairytale of New York.

For something completely different, the Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy on the Glass Harp.



Some Chanukah songs are here.

What's your favorite Christmas/Holiday Song?

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Celebrates Holiday Season At Build A Bear, With Alvin & The Chipmunks Movie, Tram Sleigh Ride and Dinner At Trellis - Good Times

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program report on their Christmas Party outing.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Inc. Celebrates the Holiday Season


The Roosevelt Island Youth Program Inc. held its 32nd Christmas party for member of their afterschool program and over 100 youth, staff and volunteer parents attended. The day started bright and early with everyone going to “Build a Bear” on 46th Street and Madison Avenue,




then they were treated to the critically acclaimed “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie


at Clearview Cinema on 62nd and 1st avenue.


They were then taken on a magical Tram Sleigh Ride



to “Lovely Roosevelt Island”

by RIOC and finished the day with dinner at Trellis,




This wonderful day was made possible by Executive Director Charles DeFino and of course funding provided by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. The Roosevelt Island Youth Program, its Board of Directors and the youth we serve wishes everyone a Happy Holiday and Healthy New Year.
More pictures from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program Christmas outing available here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mobile Food Truck Service Still Not Allowed On Roosevelt Island Says RIOC Real Estate Committee But Policy Guidelines Being Developed For Next Real Estate Committee Meeting


You Tube Video of Food Truck Frenzy

As reported previously, the issue of Mobile Food Trucks such as Luke's Lobster being allowed to operate on Roosevelt Island was an agenda item at today's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Real Estate Committee meeting (audio web cast of the meeting will be here within a few days). Here what happened:


You Tube Video Of Roosevelt Island Mobile Food Cart Discussion During RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting

More information on NYC mobile food truck service available at New York Street Food.

UPDATE 12/23 - The answer to the question previously posed whether RIOC believes it has the right to ban food trucks on Roosevelt Island public streets which have all appropriate licenses from NYC and can provide service to any other NYC neighborhood is yes, at least according to the Real Estate Committee. The Committee was unsure where that authority came from though RIOC's attorney believes that the RIOC NY State enabling legislation provides for that power. The attorney noted he would check to see if his impression is correct.

RIOC Real Estate Committee chair Howard Polivy hopes to have a Mobile Food Truck policy established by the January RIOC Board meeting.

Gothamist reports on problems with Food Truck vendors in Hoboken and New York Street Food reports on the Roosevelt Island Food Truck Controversy and shows us what we are missing by banning Luke's Lobster.

Luke's Lobster Roll Image From New York Street Food

FDNY Boat Water Cannons Spraying On East River By Roosevelt Island Last Sunday - Quite A Sight

Image From W. Cruz

Roosevelt Island resident W. Cruz shares these photos and reports:
Early Sunday afternoon an FDNY ship passed by the island with a nice water display.  I took a few pictures
Image From W. Cruz

Last summer members of the FDNY Fireboat Bravest rescued a man in the East River:
Just days after it was put into service, firefighters aboard the new fireboat Bravest rescued a man in the East River on July 10.
"Everybody did their jobs and did a great job," said Capt. Louis Guzzo. "It was a good feeling."

Members of Marine 6 - including Capt. Guzzo and Firefighters Pete Demetropolis, Barney Duffy, Bill Hannan, Jim Mare and Gene Nickola - were called to the scene of a person in the East River, near 23rd Street, at around 7:30 p.m.

They quickly made their way to the area. Capt. Guzzo added, "We were able to make a much quicker response because of the speed of the new boat."

As they made their way up the river, Firefighter Duffy donned the mustang suit - a wetsuit that also is buoyant.

Firefighters on land were on scene when the boat arrived and helped direct the members aboard the fireboat to the victim, who was slipping below the surface of the water....
Click here for interesting video from CNN on FDNY's new, state of the art fireboat.

Update To Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Engineering School Selection - Mayor Bloomberg Interview, Transportation Infrastructure Questions, Why Not Stanford, Academic Program and Graffiti Clean Up Called For


Here's a follow up to post on Tuesday reporting that Cornell Technion partnership was selected to build the NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering School on Roosevelt Island.

Mayor Bloomberg and Cornell President David Skorton appeared on Good Day New York Tuesday morning to discuss the new graduate engineering school and its impact on New York City. Mayor Bloomberg also categorically denied any intention to run as an independent candidate for President in 2012.



2nd Avenue Sagas Blogger asks, as do those of us living here, what is the future for Roosevelt Island transportation infrastructure improvements with the arrival of the Cornell Technion campus?
 ... In a post yesterday, Cap’n Transit wondered how Roosevelt Island would remain relatively car-free. The infrastructure on the island can’t really support a huge influx of cars as it is even as the current hospital areas near where the campus will go up are relatively car-heavy. “Let’s hope,” the Cap’n writes, “that the Cornell and Technion designers have more vision than they showed in that lame fly-through, and that they build something urban and scholarly, with really narrow streets, like in Paris’s Latin Quarter....
and:
One potential “right thing” could involve exploring a new subway stop for the island. The 53rd St. tunnel passes directly underneath what will be the southern end of the Cornell campus. There’s no station right now, and I have no idea if one is even technically or economically feasible. But it would serve to anchor the campus and would nearly eliminate the need to drive to Cornell-on-Roosevelt. Currently, while the F train itself at Roosevelt Island is very crowded, the station is only the 180th most popular. That figure is a bit deceptive though as the 37.6 percent increase in ridership from 2009 to 2010 was the second highest in the city. Over 2.5 million riders a year use the station, and that number will jump considerably with the campus....
During Monday's Press Conference, I asked Mayor Bloomberg and Cornell President Skorton that very question regarding transportation infrastructure improvements for Roosevelt Island and received a general reply that they were very aware of the issue and it will be addressed but no specifics at that moment. After the press conference I asked NYC Economic Development Corp President Seth Pinsky about Roosevelt Island transportation infrastructure and he indicated that discussions will be underway with the MTA on this issue. Also nothing specific at that moment.

There were some interesting comments to the 2nd Avenue Sagas post on Roosevelt Island transportation infrastructure including:
The proper grading for a stop in the 53rd St tubes is simply not there. You need essentially a level grade for about 600 ft, or as close as possible to 600 ft. Besides there is ample capacity at the Roosevelt Island stop. Ample train capacity would be achieved by putting the “F” back in 53rd St, where it belongs, and routing the much more lightly loaded “M” into 63rd St. In so doing you’d eliminate all the ridiculously slow and delay generating switching moves at Queens Plaza & 36 St. Nights & weekends when the “M” quits the “F” could be be rerouted to 63rd St. For reliability a railroad should be straight railed to the maximum extent possible. Eliminate all unnecessary switching moves.
the Queensboro Bridge Roosevelt Island elevator idea returns:
Perhaps adding a mid-bridge station on the Queensboro? Is it not true that trolley service over the bridge featured a Roosevelt Island stop?
and:
... Is there any word on expanding ferry service to the new campus? I imagine such service would be very convenient for those coming from LIC or Brooklyn....
or:
What about constructing a new tram from the Cornell campus to the new development at the former Con Ed site just south of the UN? That has to be cheaper than a new subway stop. Add in the Vision42 proposal (hey, we’re dreaming here, right?) and you’ve got a pretty quick route into Midtown.
Click here for the entire 2nd Avenue Sagas post and additional comments.

The NY Observer Beta Beat has an excellent article headlined:
Safety School? As Stanford Says ‘See Ya!’ Bloomberg Hops in Bed with Big Red
How New York City got a better deal by going with the less prestigious choice.
regarding the competition between Cornell and Stanford to be selected to build the new school. According to Beta Beat:
...  Part of the difficulty of understanding where negotiations broke down is a silence clause stipulated in the request for proposal (RFP). But numerous sources, who spoke under condition of anonymity, painted a picture of tense discussions and onerous demands that left several schools wary, including Stanford.

Cornell, eager to increase its presence in New York City, was more compliant at the negotiating table and better versed in what it took to get city approval, including fundraising before commitments were made. Sources said the $350 million gift, for example, had been secured for months. “We need to expand beyond Ithaca,” President Skorton said plainly from the podium.

“Cornell needed it more. But NYC Tech needs Stanford more,” tweeted New York City–based venture capitalist David Pakman, alluding to the latter’s prestige within tech circles and facility with spinning out successful startups. (There’s a reason China and Russia are trying to build their own Silicon Valley.)
In the end, it seems the city got a better deal for taxpayers by going with the one that wanted it more, rather than the one it was supposed to want.

A university source familiar with the negotiations said Stanford’s decision to drop out wasn’t based on any one issue, but rather due to “a whole host of things that held them liable for factors outside of [their] control,” such as big-ticket penalties for missed construction deadlines and the city’s desire “to indemnify themselves for any toxicity” at the Roosevelt Island site. Although a Phase II study was commissioned this year, a full scale analysis of the medical dump under the hospital cannot be done until the building is razed. Should serious hazards be uncovered, the school will be on the hook not only for the clean-up but also potentially for resultant delays.”You had a lot of institutions that wouldn’t even apply because of the terms, and they got even more severe in the negotiation process,” said the source.

City officials counter that such stipulations are par for the course. “If we didn’t include these types of commitments, there would be a chorus of people saying: How could the city write a blank check to a university that in five years could just decide it wasn’t into it?!” one official said. “It’s standard in any kind of long-term land lease or land sale that the city would ask the recipient to agree to certain benchmarks.”....
Click here for the entire Beta Beat article.

Tech Crunch interviewed Cornell Dean Daniel Huttenlocher on the new Roosevelt Island school:
... Academically, we’re looking at shifting away from traditional university campus disciplines. There’ll be key disciplines involved — computer science, electrical engineering, operations research, applied math — but those disciplines need to be in the context of other disciplines where tech is being applied…. hubs that combine tech and other fields. In media, for instance, there are relevant areas of the social sciences, like sociology and psychology.

It’s about building interdisciplinary groupings that focus on these domains — Connective Media, Healthier Life, and the Built Environment. That second one isn’t just health care, but things like lifestyle types of apps. The third is about smart building technology, green buildings.
If you look at startup companies in New York, there’s certainly media. That’s a big, active area in the city’s economy.

For health, you’re seeing some startups there. But I’d say it’s the leading edge of the startup world. Then with green tech, that’s the bleeding edge, and there are relatively few companies. There’s a lot of growth potential in all these areas from a jobs perspective, and we see the academic areas that support them are not pure tech....
Click here for the entire Tech Crunch interview.

What impact Cornell's huge presence on Roosevelt Island will have in the future is unknown but it will be immense. Someone, perhaps associated with Cornell using the name Cornell Tech, is trying to have an impact by reporting this graffiti issue to RI 311 See Click Fix system.
HUGE HUGE gang tagging on the sea wall, all in Queens can see it

this thing is huge and been there a long time..would be nice if it was covered up, painted, sandblasted off. You can see it from Queens and it is very large, had to take a long time to do.
Let's see how fast the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) jumps to clean up the graffiti mess pointed out by Cornell.

This is just the beginning of a very long and exciting process for the Roosevelt Island community. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Chanukah From Roosevelt Island and The Shlomones, Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, The Maccaabeats and Matisyahu - Let's Do The Rocky Hora Chanukah Dance


Happy Chanukah from Roosevelt Island. The Roosevelt Island Chanukah Menorah joins the Roosevelt Island Christmas Tree and Holiday lights to brighten up Blackwell House Plaza.


Enjoy some Chanukah songs from The Shlomones,



Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert,


YOu Tube Video of Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert Sing Hanukkah Songs

The Maccabeats and


You Tube Video of The Maccabeats - Candlelight - Hanukkah

Matisyahu.


You Tube Video of Miracle - Matisyahu Hanukkah Song

If you want more Chanukah songs take a look at these oldies but goodies from Adam Sandler and the Dreidel Song with a Texas twist.

Roosevelt Island West Road Floodlight Shining Into Riverwalk Apartment Window - Is Con Ed Emergency Generator Lights The Cause?

A Roosevelt Island resident asks:

Do you know who we should contact to ask about the floodlight on W Rd next to 465 Main St?  I just want to know how long it will be up, because it shines ridiculously brightly into our apartment.  If it’s going to be there for quite a while, we might have to invest in drapes. 
Image of West Road Floodlight This Evening

As reported in this post last Saturday, I believe the floodlight has to do with Con Ed shutting off the streetlights on West Road due to a stray voltage situation over the weekend.
... Con edison has temporarily disconnected several lights on the Westdrive between Riverwalk buildings 405 and 425. RIOC has placed emergency generator lights at this location until the street lights are fully restored....

The street light shut off extended to 465 Main Street as well. I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for an explanation earlier today but have not received a reply yet and also suggested that the resident report the issue to RI 311 See Click Fix. Will update when and if RIOC responds.

Mobile Food Van Service For Roosevelt Island On Agenda For Tomorrow's RIOC Board Of Directors Real Estate Committee Meeting - Bring Luke Lobster and Other Good Mobile Food Trucks To Restaurant Starved Roosevelt Island



Previous post reported on the Luke's Lobster Mobile Food Van being chased off Roosevelt Island despite having all required New York City permits and Licenses. As Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez explained:
Yes, a food vendor will have to provide RIOC with the appropriate NYC licences and copies of insurance.  We will then issue a RIOC permit.  However, please keep in mind that we are not currently accepting any applications for street food vending.
and a subsequent response from the RIOC Board of Directors:
... the Board has placed the issue of mobile food vendors on the agenda for the next Real Estate committee meeting to develop a procedure for handling them in a uniform, and fair way.
The issue of Mobile Food Trucks will be discussed in public at tomorrow's RIOC Board of Directors Real Estate Committee meeting along with an Executive Session closed to the public on the status of Island House privatization and ground lease extension. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

AMENDED AGENDA
1. Discussion of Street Vending Licenses on Roosevelt Island;
2. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to Review and Discuss the Status of Privatization/Affordability Plan and Ground Lease Extension for Island House.
Good mobile food trucks, and Luke's Lobster is an excellent one, are a great amenity  and should be allowed to operate on Roosevelt Island under the same rules and regulations as they do in any other NYC neighborhood.

Readers commenting on the Luke's post had this to say:

From Mark:
This is terrible.  If anything, we should be encouraging food trucks to make RI their evening dinner stop.
Cari:
It's so aggravating to be a part of NYC and yet not. Food trucks are an awesome idea to help spice up the food options here on the island. All summer the ice cream truck parks here, why not allow more options. RIOC, you really really are missing the boat on this one...
Cynthia:
Seriously! The RIOC need to get a life and give us all one too. A permit? Unbelievable! RI is the perfect place for food trucks and if the RIOC were smart, they would run events with the trucks every single weekend to draw more tourists to the island. I have lived here since 1979 and I cannot think of one thing the RIOC did to better the life for the residents without trying to squeeze a buck from someone. ARGH!!!!
JPH:
Roosevelt Island: we must preemptively lower the quality of life.
Rob:
This is terrible. Luke's is one of the best food trucks in the city. It's more upscale, and high quality than anything currently on the island, without interfering with real estate.
Roosevelt Island Residents Association Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance commented:
... I recognize that RIOC may control permitting on its properties, such as the sidewalk near the subway.  However, a food truck on a public street (Main Street), I believe, is outside of RIOC's control.

If a mobile food vendor complies with the NYC licensing and permitting requirements:

"http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site..."

AND, Roosevelt Island's Main Street is *not* on the list of restricted streets for mobile food vendors:

"http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/do..."

THEN, under what authority does RIOC/PSD have the right to ask the food vendor to leave?...
There are more comments here.

During the December 14 RIOC Board of Directors meeting,  Nonno's Focacceria and Riverwalk Bar & Grill owner Alphonse DiCioccio expressed objections to mobile food vendors, such as Luke's Lobster and the Domino's Pizza car at the Farmers Market, being allowed to sell food on Roosevelt Island asserting that it was unfair to existing store owners who pay rent. Here's what he had to say.


You Tube Video of December RIOC Board Meeting Public Session (Part 2)

Commenting on this post, theohiostate writes:
 ...the Food Vendor's should also pay some kind of rent or permit fee.  They shouldn't get to sell here for free.  If that happens, our local businesses - the few that we have - will close, and we will have nothing....
I replied:
The Mobile Food vans should be allowed on Roosevelt Island under the same circumstances and permits that exist in any other NYC neighborhood.

The more food choices Roosevelt Island residents have the better. If residents decide to spend their money at food vans rather than existing restaurants, the answer is for the restaurants to improve their offerings, not work to ban the mobile food vendors.
An audio web cast of the RIOC Board Of Directors Real Estate Committee public session should be available a few days after the meeting. The Executive Session on Island House Privatization will not be made public.

Christmas Day Roosevelt Island Volunteer Opportunity To Serve Dinner For Seniors and Disabled - Donate Your Winter Coat To New York Cares At Public Safety Department Today


Are you interested in volunteering to help serve Christmas Day dinner to Roosevelt Island Seniors and Disabled from 1 - 5 PM on December 25? If so, please contact Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Jim Bates. Contact here - fdrhopememorial (at) gmail (dot) com

Also, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department is participating in the NY Cares Winter Coat Drive.Today is the last day coats are being accepted at the Public Safety Department.


According to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department:
THE PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT WILL AGAIN BE HOSTING
THE ANNUAL COAT DRIVE.
THIS PROGRAM HAS BROUGHT WARMTH TO MANY OF THE
NEEDY DURING OUR FRIGID WINTERS.
IT IS WITH THIS THOUGHT IN MIND THAT WE ASK ROOSEVELT ISLANDERS TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AGAIN.
LAST YEAR A TOTAL OF 475 COATS WERE DONATED.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR CONTINUED GENEROSITY.

DONATED COATS WILL BE ACCEPTED

FROM 12/2/11 THRU 12/21/11

DONATIONS CAN BE BROUGHT TO:
THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND OPERATING CORPORATION
PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT
550 MAIN STREET
24 HOURS A DAY

WE THANK YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Roosevelt Island Sportspark Facilities Open During School Holiday Vacation Except For December 24 -25 and January 1


A reader of this post asks:
About the Basketball facilities, schools will be on holiday vacation for the next couple of weeks (12/17/11-1/2/12), any plans to maintain the Sportspark basketball court open during the holiday vacation so that island resident children can enjoy some indoor activity? I am a R.I. resident and have two boys (12 & 14) who would love to play basketball during their school vacation. Please send some information or whom to contact. Thanks!
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) answers:
Please be advised the Sportspark sports complex will be closed for the Holidays December 24th - 25th, and January 1st.  On December 31st, we will be open on our regular Saturday schedule closing after the evening open swim.  Please visit the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation website for pool hours.
Sincerely,

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information on Roosevelt Island's Sportspark facility here.

Roosevelt Island Is Now Silicon Island - NYC Chooses Cornell and Technion To Develop Applied Sciences & Engineeering School On Roosevelt Island - Here's December 19 Press Conference Announcing The Selection


You Tube Video Flyover Rendering of Proposed Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Campus

It's hard to believe this is really going to happen but way back in February of 2011, I asked this seemingly ridiculous question:
Will Roosevelt Island follow in the footsteps of San Francisco's Bay area Silicon Valley to become New York City's Silicon Island? How about the next Sergey Brin and Larry Page starting the new Google from right here on Roosevelt Island? Is that possible? Well, hold on to your hats because it may very well happen sometime in the not too distant future....
Well it's not ridiculous any longer because yesterday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that a partnership of Cornell University and the Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology was selected to create a state-of-the-art, world class Applied Sciences and Engineering School right here on Roosevelt Island. Whew, this is still very hard to believe but it is true as this report from My Fox NY demonstrates.



I attended yesterday's press conference and was able to video much of the proceedings. Below are the introductory remarks by Mayor Bloomberg during the press conference announcing the selection of Cornell and Technion to build the NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School.   Mr. Bloomberg said that the Cornell/Technion proposal was the boldest and most ambitious plan of all received with the most students, faculty and building space. The proposal includes 500,000 sq ft of public space, public programming, incubator space, partnerships with NYC public schools for at least 10,000 students a year and will immediately establish a $150 million dollar fund to invest in New York City start ups.


You Tube Video of Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Press Conference Part 1

A presentation by Cornell President David Skorton and Technion President Peretz Lavie followed Mayor Bloomberg. The first phase of the campus on Roosevelt Island will open no later than 2017 and classes will start next September in temporary space.


You Tube Video of Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Press Conference Part 2

I found it interesting that Mr. Lavie revealed that this past Friday while in Israel he received a phone call telling him to be in New York on Monday for the press conference. On that same morning, Stanford representatives were still negotiating with NYC officials only to announce Friday afternoon that Stanford was withdrawing its proposal for the Applied Sciences and Engineering School. The whole story of what happened with the Stanford withdrawal is still unknown.

Mr. Skorton and Mr. Lavie described the aims of the new school and took us on a brief tour of what will be the new Roosevelt Island campus. Mr. Skorton described the proposed campus as an environmental standard bearer that will be open and welcoming to the Roosevelt Island community as well as a technology magnet for the rest of the city.


You Tube Video of Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Press Conference Part 3

Next followed statements from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose Serrano, Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Member Jessica Lappin, Deputy Mayor Robert Steele, EDC President Seth Pinsky, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp President Leslie Torres and Tumblr Founder David Karp. Mayor Bloomberg noted that he was impressed to see the NY Water Taxi going down the East River on the Eastern side of Roosevelt Island in the Cornell video presentation. Later during the press conference,  Ms. Lappin told Mayor Bloomberg that she was happy he was impressed with the Water Taxi since she has been lobbying very hard for years to obtain ferry service for Roosevelt Island.


You Tube Video of Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Press Conference Part 4

Finally came questions from the press including the status of the current patients at Goldwater Hospital (who over the next couple of years will be moved to North General Hospital), the location of tech incubator space (it will be on the Roosevelt Island campus), and the impact on K - 12 education from the new school. NYC School Chancellor Dennis Wolcott said that he has visions of sugar plums dancing in his head over the new school. Mr. Bloomberg was also asked about Mr. Lavie's remarks that he was told on Friday to be in New York on Monday (the Mayor did not think that was significant) and whether the City's $100 million commitment was exclusively for the Roosevelt Island site and the Mayor said that it was. NYC is considering a second selection for the Applied Sciences initiative as well.


You Tube Video of Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Press Conference Part 5

I had problems with my video camera as the Press Question period began so I was not able to record approximately the first 10 minutes of the Press Questions including my own questions (hope to be able to get the video, or at least audio from another source). I questioned Cornell President Skorton specifically on Roosevelt Island such as why Roosevelt Island was chosen over other NYC neighborhoods, what improvements were to be made to the Roosevelt Island infrastructure and about Cornell's willingness to work with the Roosevelt Island community. Mr. Skorton replied in a general manner that he understands infrastructure improvements need to be made and to the extent he understood my question, Cornell is very happy to work with Roosevelt Island residents to make the project succeed.

More coverage available at Beta Beat which live blogged the press conference, the NY Times asks Roosevelt Island residents what they think of their new Cornell Technion neighbors and reports on Cornell's formerly anonymous $350 million donor:
The donor whose $350 million gift will be critical in building Cornell University’s new high-tech graduate school on Roosevelt Island is Atlantic Philanthropies, whose founder, Charles F. Feeney, is a Cornell alumnus who made billions of dollars through the Duty Free Shoppers Group....
Below is the Press Release from Mayor Bloomberg's office.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG, CORNELL PRESIDENT SKORTON AND TECHNION PRESIDENT LAVIE ANNOUNCE HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD A NEW APPLIED SCIENCES CAMPUS ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND

Cornell University-Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Consortium Selected to Build 11-Acre State-of-the-Art Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island; Will Receive $100 Million in City Capital

Temporary Off-Site Campus Will Be Open in 2012; First Phase of Fully-Funded Permanent Campus To Be Completed By No Later Than 2017

Applied Sciences NYC Initiative Designed to Dramatically Transform City’s Economy and Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cornell University President David J. Skorton, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie today announced an historic partnership to build a two-million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.  The selection of the Cornell/Technion consortium –  which pairs two of the world’s top institutions in the fields of science, engineering, technology and research – marks a major milestone in the City’s groundbreaking Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which seeks to increase New York City’s capacity for applied sciences and dramatically transform the City’s economy. Cornell/Technion’s proposal was among the many strong proposals that were submitted to the City from a number of world-class institutions around the globe as part of the City’s groundbreaking competitive process. The Cornell/Technion consortium was ultimately selected due to the large scale and vision of their proposal, the long and impressive track-record of both institutions in generating applied science breakthroughs and spinning out new businesses, the financing capacity of the consortium, the focus of the consortium on the collaboration between academia and the private sector, and the overall capacity of the partnership to execute the project.  In addition to the Roosevelt Island site, the City will also provide $100 million in City capital to assist with site infrastructure, construction, and related costs. This is the first selection announcement for the Applied Sciences NYC initiative. Productive discussions are ongoing with other respondents – Carnegie Mellon, Columbia and a New York University-led consortium – and the possibility of additional science and engineering partnerships in the City is still open. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at Cornell’s Weill Cornell Medical College, and was also joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, New York City Economic Development President Seth W. Pinsky, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator José M. Serrano, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Council Member Jessica Lappin, as well as other civic and business leaders.

“Thanks to this outstanding partnership and groundbreaking proposal from Cornell and the Technion, New York City’s goal of becoming the global leader in technological innovation is now within sight,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By adding a new state-of-the-art institution to our landscape, we will educate tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and create the jobs of the future. This partnership has so much promise because we share the same goal: to make New York City home to the world’s most talented workforce.”

“Cornell University and our extraordinary partner, The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, are deeply gratified to have the opportunity to realize Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for New York City: to prepare tomorrow’s expanding talent pool of tech leaders and entrepreneurs to work with the city's key industries in growing tomorrow’s innovation ecosystem,” said Cornell President Skorton. “Starting today, we are going to put our plan to work, tapping into our extensive connections throughout the city and build a truly 21st Century campus to fuel the creation of new businesses and new industries throughout the city for decades to come.”

 “Our pride and our hopes for the future are shared by the whole Technion community of students, faculty, friends and supporters, including the very successful American Technion Society,” said the Technion President Lavie. “Together, we have the means, ingenuity and willpower to make our world a better place by joining with Cornell University and the great people of New York City for this innovative new center of learning and enterprise.”

In addition to the announcement of this historic agreement, Cornell has also announced that it received a $350 million gift from an anonymous donor, the largest contribution in the university’s history and one of the largest in the history of American higher education, which will support the extraordinary vision of the NYCTech Campus project. Cornell/Technion has laid out an aggressive plan for the project, which will ultimately culminate in the completion of a 2 million square foot build-out housing for up to 2,500 students and nearly 280 faculty members by 2043. When completed, the new Roosevelt Island campus will result in an increase in the number of full-time, graduate engineering students enrolled in leading New York City Master’s and Ph.D. programs by approximately 70 percent. Prior to commencement of construction on Roosevelt Island, Cornell/Technion plans to open in an off-site location in 2012, with the first phase of their permanent Roosevelt Island home expected to open by no later than 2017. By 2027 the campus will have expanded to over 1.3 million square feet. Cornell/Technion has agreed to a 99-year lease for the Roosevelt Island site, with an option to purchase the land at the end of the term for $1. Cornell will develop and own the campus itself, and will assume financial responsibility for its establishment and operations.

According to a new analysis, the NYCTech Campus will generate an even greater economic impact than was initially projected when the City released the Request for Proposals earlier this year. The new economic impact analysis, which was completed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, projects that the new campus will generate more than $7.5 billion (NPV) and more than $23 billion (nominal) in overall economic activity over the course of the next three decades, as well as $1.4 billion (nominal) in total tax revenue. The campus alone will help create up to 20,000 construction jobs and up to 8,000 permanent jobs. More importantly, the campus is expected to generate nearly 600 spin-off companies over the projection period – projected to create up to an additional 30,000 permanent jobs.  The strength of both Cornell and the Technion in generating entrepreneurial activity was one of the major factors in the selection of the consortium by the City.

“When people look back 100 years from now, I believe that they will remember today as a signal moment in the transformation of the City’s economy,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “This is an inflection point in an economic renaissance that will position New York City for outsized success in the decades and centuries to come.”

“Today, with the creation of this historic partnership, New York City is forging a new path in economic development,” said New York City Economic Development President Seth W. Pinsky. “Thanks to the bold vision offered by Cornell and the Technion, we are taking another important step forward in attaining our goal of becoming the undisputed global leader in technology and innovation. These two world-class institutions - each of which is a leader in science, engineering, research, and entrepreneurship – have seen the tremendous promise that New York City has to offer, and we, in turn, have seen the enormous advantages that they bring with them. Over the next several decades, this creative partnership - which brings together the public, private and academic sectors - will lead to the creation of new technologies, new businesses, new jobs, and increased economic activity across the five boroughs, ensuring a brighter future for our City for generations to come.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to introduce Israel's creative spirit to New York City's new technological center through this unique Technion-Cornell partnership. This is more than a just a collaboration between organizations; but rather an alliance of leading young minds and we will do our best to turn this endeavor into a major success. We are looking forward to the innovations that this dynamic partnership will create,” said Ido Aharoni, Consul General for Israel.

The Cornell/Technion proposal included a number of programmatic and development details that aligned with the City’s vision for the Applied Sciences NYC initiative that caused it to stand out. The NYCTech Campus is expected to become a world-leading institution, conferring graduate degrees and conducting research in the applied sciences with a commitment to innovation, commercialization, and the creation and retention of businesses and jobs in New York City. Academic uses are anticipated to range from classrooms, to laboratories, libraries, teaming areas and lecture halls, to start-up incubator and accelerator space. The remainder of the space in the campus will be devoted to residential uses, a conference center, as well as ancillary uses, such as retail in support of the faculty, staff and students on the campus.

The campus will be organized around three interdisciplinary hubs: Connective Media, Healthier Life, and the Built Environment. Cornell will immediately offer Master and Doctoral degrees in areas such as Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Information Science and Engineering. In addition, after receiving the required accreditation, the campus will also offer innovative Technion-Cornell dual Master of Applied Sciences degrees.

The NYCTech Campus will host entrepreneurs-in-residence, organize business competitions, provide legal support for startups, reach out to existing companies to form research partnerships and sponsor research, and establish a pre-seed financing program to support promising research. In addition, the campus will structure its tech transfer office, which will be on-site, to facilitate startup formation and technology licensing.  The NYCTech Campus will also establish a $150 million revolving financing fund that will be solely devoted to start-up businesses in the City.

Cornell/Technion’s proposed NYCTech Campus will combine cutting edge technologies to create one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient campuses in the world. The proposed phase one academic building, if completed today, would be the largest net-zero energy building in eastern United States – meaning it will harvest as much energy from solar power and geothermal wells as it consumes on an annual basis.  The campus is planned to include a solar array that will generate 1.8 megawatts at daily peak and a 400 well geothermal field, which uses the constant temperature of the earth to cool buildings in the summer and heat them in the winter. The well field and solar array would each be largest in New York City if built today.  The campus will not only employ some of the most sophisticated environmental technology in the world, it will also help develop them, serving as a living laboratory for the Built Environment hub.

In keeping with the focus on community involvement contained in the RFP, the Cornell/Technion proposal outlined a number of areas in which the universities will touch the lives of New Yorkers -- the type of involvement to which both schools have been committed for many years.  For example, each year 7,000 Cornell students and 150 faculty members participate in programs at the Cornell Public Service Center.  In fact, Cornell recently received the nation’s top award as an “institution of community engagement” from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Technion, meanwhile, operates a Center for Pre-Academic Education for those who require additional preparation prior to formal schooling, and in the last academic year 80 Technion employees volunteered in after-school centers in low-income areas.

Plans for community involvement in New York City include the creation of education enhancement programs that will impact a minimum of 10,000 New York City students and 200 New York City teachers per year. Cornell/Technion also intends to work closely with PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island and the Child School, a charter school located on the island, to enrich their curricula and participate in STEM-oriented after-school programming. They will also work to meet the goals of the City’s HireNYC employment program and develop partnerships for job placement and training. In furtherance of its community outreach goals, Cornell/Technion will offer significant programming on and off its campus designed to engage with residents of Roosevelt Island and the larger City.  Cornell’s campus plan will further create new public open space on the campus. Cornell has also pledged to help preserve the historic murals currently-contained within Goldwater Hospital. Plans for the hospital to be moved to a new location in Manhattan by the end of 2013 were in the works prior to the commencement of the Applied Sciences NYC initiative.

Both Cornell and the Technion have long and very successful track records with fundraising and development – both in New York City and beyond – which added to the assessment by the City of the feasibility of the proposal. Cornell alone has raised nearly $4 billion in gifts and commitments over the past seven years, including the recent $350 million gift relating to the Roosevelt Island campus. And the Technion has an established presence in New York City with the American Technion Society, which maintains a national network of thousands of alumni and supporters and has raised more than $1.65 billion since its founding in 1940, the majority raised in the past decade. Cornelly employs more than 5,000 people in New York City, and the city is home to some 50,000 Cornell alumni. In 2007, Cornell completed a 330,000 square foot outpatient clinical building in New York City and is currently constructing a 550,000 square foot medical research building in the City.

Cornell is widely known as a global leader in the fields of applied science, engineering, technology and research, as well as commercialization and entrepreneurship. Cornell is home to the top-rated Ivy League engineering program and is one of only a handful of institutions with top-10 programs in the key disciplines that drive today’s tech sector: Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Nanotechnology, and Information Science.  Cornell ranks fourth in the world in the number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, according to US News and World Report. Further demonstrating the institution’s increased focus on commercialization, tenure evaluations at Cornell have recently begun to give serious consideration to the commercial activities of faculty members and their students. Cornell faculty and alumni have founded groundbreaking technology companies such as Qualcomm, Palm and PeopleSoft, and lead many of the nation’s most innovative technology companies. In the past five years alone, Cornell alumni have created more than 2,600 companies around the world – employing some 34,000 people and raising more than $10.6 billion in new capital. Cornell alumni are also leaders at many of the most active and successful venture capital firms in the country such as Battery, Bessemer, Canaan, Charles River, First Round, Matrix, and Sequoia. Cornell’s technology commercialization arm, CCTEC, has provided Cornell technology to ten startups in the past year, and 35 in the in the past five years. Further demonstrating the university’s increased focus on commercialization, tenure evaluations at Cornell have recently begun to give serious consideration to the commercial activities of faculty members and their students. Cornell recent alumni also have a large representation in the New York City tech start-up scene, with companies such as Postling, Go Try It On, JIBE, CityPockets, Behance and Moat.

Like Cornell, the Technion also has a world-class track-record in research, development and entrepreneurship. The Technion’s departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are considered to be among the best in the world. The Technion boasts top ranking faculty members including Nobel laureates —the most recent, Professor Dan Shechtman — who just last week accepted the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Professor Shechtman is also well-known for his course on entrepreneurship, now in its 26th year and boasting 10,000 graduates. The Technion has long been considered a driving force behind Israel’s emergence as one of the world’s great centers of technology.  The country today has one of the highest concentrations of high-tech start-up companies globally. In partnership with a strong community of incubators, private investors, venture capitalists, angel groups and entrepreneurs, the Technion’s tech transfer arm, Technion Technology Transfer (T3), has filed an average of 300 new patents each year and annually nurtures innovative startups in sectors such as clean-tech, cell therapy, drug delivery, nanotechnology and others. Companies including Intel, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard have established major operations near or on the Technion campus, where they can take advantage of  the world-class research and students and faculty members of the Technion. The Technion graduates currently head nearly half of the 121 Israeli companies on the NASDAQ, which have a combined market value of over $28 billion. More than 70 percent of the Technion graduates are employed in the high technology sectors that drive Israel’s economic growth.  Presently, Israeli companies headed by the Technion graduates employ 85 percent of Israel’s technical workforce.  According to a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, there are approximately 4,000 start-up companies located around the Technion’s home campus.

“This is a momentous day catapulting New York City into the forefront of the 21st century economy and burnishing its place as the high-tech center of the East,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “Mayor Bloomberg deserves tremendous credit for his vision to always build for the future in order to keep New York the greatest city in the world. By partnering with Cornell, a great New York institution with a deep tradition of cutting-edge engineering and world-class sciences work, we are sending a message to the high-tech community:  New York welcomes with open arms the best and the brightest, and the most creative and the most ambitious high-tech minds in the world. We will build all that is needed to conceive and launch your business. But this just the first step, the end of the beginning, of what needs to be a ongoing, multiyear effort to make New York not just one of, but the high tech center for innovation. And that is the message we are sending today with this announcement – look out Silicon Valley, look out Boston, New York will be second to none.”

“No other city is poised to lead in the high-tech economy of the future like New York City,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Cornell and the Technion’s partnership will bolster the city’s potential to spark new industries, attract businesses, and create thousands of jobs. I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his efforts in bringing a state-of-the-art science and engineering campus right here in the heart of the Big Apple, ensuring that we’re growing innovative leaders to compete and win in the global economy.”

“A new, world-class applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island is a perfect holiday gift for our city that will pay dividends for generations. Cornell and the Technion are an unbeatable combination, matching academic excellence with a proven track record of creating new hi-tech start-ups.  Roosevelt Island will be an outstanding site for a new high-tech campus – accessible by transportation, near Manhattan and Queens in the heart of the city, but separate enough to have a small-town feel.  I thank Mayor Bloomberg for having the vision to bring an applied sciences school to New York, and for having the wisdom to choose Cornell and the Technion – and a location on Roosevelt Island- to build this incredible new school,” said Congresswoman Maloney.

“A state of the art facility for academic training and research provided by the team of Cornell and Technion Universities will produce talented graduates ready to work in New York’s growing high tech sector,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “This in turn will draw new and expanding high tech business that can benefit from a highly qualified work force in New York City, the center for international business. I want to thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg for launching the Applied Sciences NY initiative, an innovative competition that has resulted in a $2 billion investment that is critical to New York City’s economy. The addition of this engineering and applied sciences campus will add to the already vast array of higher education centers in New York City while creating tens of thousands of new jobs in the tech sector as well as educational opportunities for more than 2,000 students.”

Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said: “This announcement is great news for Cornell University, one of the nation’s premier Universities located in Upstate New York, for the City’s plans to create a robust, high-tech economy for the future, and for the thousands of young people who will be able to find work here.  I commend Mayor Bloomberg for his vision and congratulate all those who played a role in this selection.  I look forward to seeing the positive impact that this agreement will have in the years ahead, both as a tool to enhance the educational experience and promote the creation of thousands of new jobs throughout New York.”

“It’s very exciting that Roosevelt Island will host a state-of-the-art applied sciences campus in New York City, and I congratulate Cornell University on their winning bid,” said Senator José M. Serrano. “Our city’s greatest strength is our diversity and we have always attracted a wealth of talent from all over the globe. For this reason, the Island’s accessibility to the heart of Manhattan makes it the ideal location for a new facility of higher learning. I look forward to watching this campus boost New York's economy by creating high-tech jobs throughout the city, and lead our state toward becoming a worldwide leader in the field of computer engineering. The Roosevelt Island residents, who have been extremely supportive throughout this process, are sure to make wonderful neighbors, and together we look forward to working with Cornell University to ensure the success of this campus.”

“Job creation is a top priority for the City Council, and with the selection of Cornell University as the home of the city’s new applied science and engineering campus, we’re one step closer to bringing new jobs to New York City and becoming the technology capital of the world,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I’m thrilled for what this means for the future of our city, and its economic growth. This historic partnership is a milestone for the city and a vote of confidence in our continued efforts to keep us on the cutting edge of new technology.”

“Today’s announcement is an extraordinary milestone in New York’s efforts to diversify our economy and create the jobs of tomorrow,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “A science and engineering university will help ensure that New York City leads the world’s innovation in the 21st century, just as it did in the 20th. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Steele for their stewardship of this landmark project, and am proud to welcome Cornell University to the greatest city in the world.”

“As Chair of the Economic Development Committee in the City Council, I welcome this great news as our city takes a huge leap towards being a leader in the field of applied sciences,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Chair of the Economic Development Committee. “This strong commitment to developing the bio tech sector will not only help diversify New York City’s job base, but it will enhance both our intellectual and economic capacity.   I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, The Economic Development Corporation and Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for their leadership in making this a reality for New York.”

“This is a game changer for our city,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin. “I’m thrilled that Cornell University will be engineering our city’s economic future on Roosevelt Island. Cornell-Technion’s plan will make New York a high-tech capital and transform Roosevelt Island into Silicon Island.”
“Hooray for the home town team! I want to congratulate Cornell and the Technion Universities for winning the Mayor’s Applied Sciences competition,” said Assembly Member Micah Kellner. “I couldn’t think of a better place for New York’s world-class applied sciences university than Roosevelt Island.”

“Roosevelt Island has always been a pioneer in advancing municipal technology.  It is fitting that the Island will now become a hub for innovation, exponentially expanding the ideas that will change the way we live locally and globally. We’re thrilled to welcome Cornell University and the Technion’s new world-class applied science and engineering campus as our neighbor and look forward to working with them closely. We also are thankful to Mayor Bloomberg for his vision,” said Leslie Torres, president of New York State’s Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, which manages and operates the two-mile long Island.

“Cornell and the Technion are each well-established global leaders in the fields of science and engineering, as well as entrepreneurship,” said Charles Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineering, and President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This newly formed partnership marks an important moment for New York City, its economy, and the future of innovation and higher education in this country.”

“Earlier this month, Facebook announced we would be opening an engineering office to add to our already strong presence in New York City,” said Serkan Piantino, head of engineering at Facebook in New York City. “New York has a strong history of innovation and is home to thousands of talented technical people, and we want them to help us solve the challenges of designing and building the next generation of Facebook. The addition of an applied sciences campus to New York City will ensure that New York continues to attract some of the best and brightest engineers and computer scientists in the world.”

“With their world-class engineering and computer science programs, Cornell and the Technion are an outstanding selection for this exciting endeavor,” said Barry Silbert, Founder & CEO of SecondMarket. “This new applied science campus underscores the Mayor’s continued commitment to entrepreneurship and job creation, and is a momentous step forward for NYC’s thriving high-tech and startup community.”

“New York City has always been home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative businesses on the planet,” said Kevin Ryan, Founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe.  “Now, with Cornell and the Technion’s world-class tech campus situated in the heart of the city, even more entrepreneurs and visionaries will have the tools and creative environment needed to start new businesses across the five boroughs, and as a result, grow New York City’s economy.”

“New York City has been making great strides towards becoming a leader in tech, and the arrival of Cornell and the Technion will greatly accelerate its development,” said David Tisch, founder of TechStars. “Increasing the number of engineers is critical, and this project affirms why TechStars believes in the success of New York City. We look forward to working closely with the universities to accelerate company and job creation, and applaud Mayor Bloomberg on the success of Applied Sciences NYC.”

“Cornell and the Technion are world-class institutions, and their partnership on a new applied science campus will solidify New York City’s position as a major center for technology startups, an important source of new jobs,” Eric Hippeau, Partner at Lerer Ventures. “There is a shortage of talent that companies around the world need to grow, and the addition of these respective faculty members and students will benefit NYC’s economy for years to come.”

“This is an incredibly powerful initiative for the City, the tech community and the startup scene,” said John Maloney, President of Tumblr. “There is a tremendous shortage of engineers, not just in NYC but across the country, and we applaud Mayor Bloomberg’s vision and leadership for addressing this critical competiveness issue in such an innovative way.”

“The city’s technology ecosystem is booming and we need an influx of top talent to build the next generation of startups right here in the five boroughs,” said Cyrus Massoumi, co-founder & CEO of ZocDoc. “Cornell and the Technion graduates are sure to create many of the great technologies of tomorrow and contribute to the growth of companies like ours.”

“With Cornell and Technion as partners, New York City is set to embark on a truly exciting new project that will forever alter New York City’s physical and economic landscape,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “Not only will this campus create thousands of good construction and permanent jobs for New Yorkers all across the five boroughs, it will also strengthen the City’s economy for decades to come. We applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Cornell and Technion, and all those who will work collaboratively over the next several years to turn what was once a dream into a thriving economic engine for New York City.”

With the selection of Cornell/Technion now complete, the project is scheduled to move into the environmental and land use review process, including the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Process, with all review expected to be completed by the fall of 2013. Groundbreaking on the first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus is expected by the beginning of 2015.

Selection for the Applied Sciences NYC initiative was based and will continue to be based – on factors in three categories: Economic Impact and Feasibility, Respondent’s Qualifications and Track Record, and Institutional Connections to the City. There has also been a strong emphasis placed on the ability of the facility to create jobs and increase the global competitiveness of New York City. Accordingly, the RFP issued in July asked respondents to prioritize fields in the applied sciences that would lend themselves to commercialization and business creation and attraction.  Specific criteria in the RFP included:
  • Likelihood of developing research that will lead to the formation, expansion and attraction of companies in industries that demonstrate the most potential for growth.
  • Likelihood of creating construction and permanent jobs and generating tax revenue.
  • Likelihood of developing a financially self-sustaining campus.
  • Likelihood of contributing to the diversification of New York City’s economy by expanding its applied sciences sector.
Respondents were also evaluated - and will continue to be evaluated - on their proposed community relations and partnerships, including programs that they intend to undertake to connect with residents locally and citywide. Institutions that are selected are expected to comply with a series of deadlines and requirements, including those relating to construction timeline, the number of enrolled students, the number of dedicated faculty members, and the establishment of applicable academic and research programs.  Any partner institution is also expected to create links between industry and academia to ensure that research is applied or translated for use in various business sectors. Campus plans must demonstrate a strong emphasis on sustainable, energy-efficient design that is sensitive to surrounding neighborhoods and the global environment.

The selection process, which is ongoing, has been led by City officials over the past eight weeks, in consultation with and with guidance from members of the Applied Sciences NYC Advisory Committee, which was created earlier this year.  The committee was comprised of leaders from the academic, civic and business sectors, and was assembled to ensure that the ultimate selection achieves the goals set forth by the City.

Applied Sciences NYC was designed to capitalize on the considerable growth presently occurring within the science, technology and research fields in New York, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s record of creating a better diversified and more competitive economy for the future. In the technology sector, employment in New York grew by nearly 30 percent between 2005 and 2010, with total employment now at nearly 120,000. Also, last year New York surpassed Boston to become the number two recipient of venture capital funding for technology companies, while in the third quarter of 2011, New York surpassed Boston in venture capital funding across all categories.

Applied Sciences NYC was launched by the City after hundreds of conversations with academics, local business leaders, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and community leaders, during the last several years. In these conversations, a common theme emerged: even with the high quality of research and development activity taking place in New York City today and even with all of the expansion plans now in the works at local universities, given the scale of the City's economy and the scale of its ambitions (to become the global center of the innovation economy in the 21st Century), the City needs to promote more such activity in the coming decades. This is especially true as other countries continue to invest heavily in research and development, with Asia, for example, now predicted to overtake R&D expenditures in the U.S. within the next five years, thanks primarily to striking growth in R&D investment in China.

In July of 2011, the Economic Development Corporation issued the RFP seeking a university, institution or consortium to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for City capital, access to City-owned land – at the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island, or on Governors Island – and the full support and partnership of the Bloomberg Administration. In October, the City received 7 responses from 17 world-class institutions from around the globe.