Monday, January 23, 2012

New Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Opening Soon And Agreements With Existing Stores To Remain In Place Says RIOC President During January Board Meeting

RIOC President Leslie Torres provided the report below to the January 2012 Roosevelt Island Board of Directors Meeting. Ms. Torres oral report was similar to previously published written report though Ms. Torres did add some additional information about the future leasing of Roosevelt Island's Main Street retail store corridor. According to Ms. Torres, Main Street Master Leaseholder Hudson/Related principal David Kramer assured her that:

... there are stores in the pipeline that should be opening soon and other agreements with existing stores to remain in place...
Also, according to Ms. Torres, the FDR/Louis Kahn Memorial Boondoggle at the southern tip of Southpoint Park is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2012. Makes me ill every time I see this ugly, horrid concrete mausoleum from the Tram defacing the tip of Southpoint Park.

The RIOC President Report to January Board of Directors meeting:

You Tube Video of RIOC President Report to January 2012 Board of Directors Meeting

Here's a copy of the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Agreement and current rents for existing tenants as of August 2011.


Westviewer said...

What stores are in the pipeline?  Will the existing stores be required to improve?  

Adrian Schnell said...

Per the Memorial park, Can you envision the park next to the tech campus?

I think it will be a great complement to the campus.  I don't understand why you are so down on the concrete park? Please, explain why so negative!!  The glass, metal, solar, concrete is going to look amazing from the Top of the Rock and the UN.

CheshireKitty said...

Adrian - I agree.  If it was up to Rick, most of downtown Washington would never have been built since it consists of stately concrete/marble memorial buildings, many commemorating great Presidents.  Would Rick have preferred Washington to have remained "natural" with discreet little plaques noting the achievements of great Presidents?  

When the FDR memorial is built, people are going to find it very exciting - a true mirror of the hope enunciated in his 4 Freedoms. There will be the amazing walk to the sculpture of FDR, then the room opening up to the incredible vista of NYC - the river, the UN, and beyond!  

Upon the stately walls of the room the 4 Freedoms will be inscribed - a worthy memorial to one of the greatest Presidents.  This is exactly what the 4 Freedoms meant and continues to mean to so much of the world - freedom, which is expressed by that incomparable view toward the river and especially the UN!  

roozevelt said...

Did Miss Torres call it a "boobdoggle"?  Or is that just the opinion of the owner of this Blog.  Come on, Rick... get over it.  The park will be completed in a few months.  Even you can open up your mind to something new and exciting. 

If you still don't like it, don't go there.  But, I bet when they open it up, you'll be there front & center taking pictures and trying to get close to the dignitaries that will come.

Take a stand by Boycotting the park... but please stop trashing it, because many residents are excited about it.  Thank you.

Westviewer said...

It would have been worth your while, Rick, to make a field trip to New Haven to see the Louis Kahn buildings on the Yale campus* (and learn a little bit about architecture) before mouthing off about the FDR memorial.  

*much closer than the Salk Institute in California or the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas

Frank Farance said...

Having four years of viewing (and Art/Architecture majors for roommates), I don't recall any positive comments about the Yale University Art Gallery *building*.  It was an undistinguished modern pile concrete, apparently an aesthetic of Kahn according to Arch Daily "".  I lived in Morse College, a residential college designed by Eero Saarinen which features "no right angles" in its rooms, a space-planning puzzle for undergrads.  Living in Morse (which bears resemblance to the Salk Institute), we were a little embarrassed because we knew the rest of the campus had a classy look, but still we recognized Morse had good design (regardless of its very modern look).

While I recall people talking excitedly about what is IN the Art Gallery, it was always seen as a paradox: good art in an ugly building.  I doubt a trip to New Haven would put the building in a better perspective (but a pizza excursion to Yorkside, Sally's, or Pepe's might be worth the trip).

Yes, we're stuck with the Kahn concrete deathbox, clearly it doesn't fit my aesthetic.  It's not that concrete is used as a material, it's that beautiful natural and spectacular views are obstructed by the work (both the trees and the deathbox).

As I've complained previously, the deathbox itself is a security/terrorist hazard is such close proximity to the UN, along with the trees in the park that become an unviewable staging area.  Sure, they'll put lots of security cameras and guards, which will greatly increase the operational cost of the park.  Brilliant!

Frank Farance said...

Wait a moment, I thought "Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoogle" was the name of the project?  The words "memorial" followed by "boondoggle" flow off the tongue effortlessly, right?  On this blog (this page) it says so under Welcome to Roosevelt Island section: "The northern section of Southpoint Park, with access to view the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital, is now open. The Southern Section, site of the Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012".

Just in case I misunderstood, I did a Google search of:

kahn fdr "memorial boondoggle" roosevelt island

which turned up 5,580 hits with RIOC as the fourth hit and FDR Four Freedoms Park (the organizers' official home) as the fifth hit.  When I take "boondoggle" out of the search:

kahn fdr "memorial" roosevelt island

I get 22,800 hits, still RIOC as the fourth hit, but FDR Four Freedoms Park ("") DROPS OFF the first page of results.  I thought in might be a quirk in Google, so I tried:

kahn fdr "memorial"

(which does not get to the park's organizers on the first page of results) versus

kahn fdr "memorial boondoggle"

which gets the park's organizers as the first result.  I tried this on a browser that has never been used for this kind of search and Google auto-completes as I type only "kahn fd" and produces four options for completion:

kahn fdr memorial
kahn fdr
kahn fdr memorial boondoggle
louis kahn fdr memorial

In other words, adding "boondoggle" to one's search makes it easier to find the official website of the park's organizers.  I guess that more people (including Google) associate the word "boondoggle" with the park than not.

Why it is that adding "boondoggle" as search criteria is necessary for the organizers' website to get to first page status on Google search results? :-)

Westviewer said...

What beautiful, natural and spectacular views are you talking about?   I never saw anything at the southern end of the island that bears any resemblance to that description.  There was some landfill and a view of both sides of the river, but the same view seen from the tram is much more interesting. 

Frank Farance said...

I have photos.  If I figure out how to post a photo, I will.  (I tried with the commenting system but got some discus error.)

Regardless, one can easily visualize the loss of panoramic views with the rows of trees, right?  Imagine sitting in that green and what do you see?

By the way, which was your favorite: Broadway, Yorkside, Sally's, Pepe's, or that place across from Silliman on Wall Street?

RooseveltIslander said...

Here's the spectacular NYC East River and Skyline view from Southpoint Park that will be destroyed by the Kahn Death Box Boondoggle.

YetAnotherRIer said...

We already have that kind of view at Lighthouse Park. Why can't we do something different at the south point? I am looking forward to the memorial. Hopefully it is going to be a boon for this island. We need real tourist attractions to put Roosevelt Island on the map. Right now you take the tram and then what? Right... nothing. In a few months RI will actually become a destination.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Because the correct name of the memorial is "Four Freedoms Park" and that's how you get to the official website. Unfortunately, only the folks who call the memorial Boondoggle made the connection between the word memorial and name Four Freedoms Park.

Trevre Andrews said...

The biggest difference is you aren't building memorials in DC that obstruct great views.  I agree, Rick probably doesn't come off as a very unbiased journalist (but I think generally he does a great job at this) by openly bashing the memorial...he should let readers do that for him.  That being said here is +1 to everything Frank said and -1 to all lovers of giant view obstructing memorials. 

And for those who think the memorial will be some tourist boom for the island, maybe you should consider what it is competing with (the rest of New York City).  I think very few are going to make the hour long venture from Manhattan to get to the tip of the island where there won't be anything happening.  

If FDR was here today do you think he would have wanted 50 million dollars spent for this (20% of which were tax dollars)?

And we have every right to go to the boondoggle and enjoy what is left of the southern tip of the island and it is not because we support what was done there, but because we enjoy what is inherent with its location, without the boondoggle or impaired with the boondoggle. 

YetAnotherRIer said...

Tourists go to all kinds of places. Do you really think that the Cloisters, for example, are not popular? Even Wavehills Garden up in Riverdale gets a good share of tourists (talk about isolated).

Anyway, we can all have our opinions and it is true that the "almost 360 degree" views are traded in for something different. The view is great, IMHO, but what's being built there right now is a lot greater. If you want views go to the top of the island. If you want views and an awesome memorial have some fun time at Southpoint. Not sure why name-calling (and I would say calling it a boondoggle falls into this category) is necessary at all. 

Trevre Andrews said...

I will have to check out the Cloisters and Wavehills Garden someday, but I think they probably have a lot more to offer than the boondoggle memorial.  I doubt the memorial has feelings 

Boondoggle is actually the perfect word for it: a scheme that wastes time and money.  I added boondoggle and memorial together so we could try and be as exact as possible.   

Frank Farance said...

Mr. Andrews, a bouquet of roses and a +1 to you, too.  I watched Rick's video and was saddened.  I didn't realize how much I missed that crappy little chain link fence with the open views.

I am entertained by YetAnotherRIer's thinking: "We already have that kind of view at Lighthouse Park. Why can't we do something different at the south point?".  In other words, we have a surplus of great views, which means it's OK to wreck one of them.

Maybe we'll get lucky and all the trees will die from the salt water so we can get our view back.

Maybe some branding genius will create Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle T-shirts, caps, and other merchandise.

Maybe YetAnotherRIer will get his/her wish "We need real tourist attractions to put Roosevelt Island on the map".  Yes, this might become a tourist attraction: how to take a priceless view (something obvious to any tourist) and just wreck it by obscuring it.  That kind of wreckage *is* a tourist attraction -- certainly college kids could appreciate this way.  Those kids will have their own lingo for it "After class, let's go hang out at the Wreck".  Just as the internet (according to Google) better knows the site with the word "boondoggle" attached, tourists will know it as The Wreck.  The Renwick Ruins sits next to the Southpoint Ruined (gee, I'm channeling Maureen Dowd).

And once you've made the more obvious connection (The Wreck, the Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle, or Southpoint Ruined), the official name doesn't matter any more.  We will be hipper than Williamsburg: they are tearing down wrecks and putting up nice views, while Roosevelt Island innovates by putting up wrecks to obscure views.  (Again, channeling Ms. Dowd.)

YetAnotherRIer said...

Dude, we all get it. You and Rick hate the memorial. Trevre does, too. Well, nothing's fair in life and in the end you always have the right to complain. It's a bit surprising, though, that of all people emotions are pretty much the only reasons why the memorial should die, in your opinion.

Frank Farance said...

You say "emotions are pretty much the only reasons why the memorial should die", but if you're discounting "emotions", then no memorials are built, right?  (Note: I believe FDR was one of the greatest US presidents.)

To clarify, I disagreed with the *aesthetics* -- certainly valid points when discussing art, architecture, etc..

As an analogy, I recall a party many years ago where this tall, thin, and very attractive woman was wearing a tight-fitting fashionable dress.  The color was yellow and dress material had many fancy cuts.  All eyes were on her.  Then someone hollered "Hey, Big Bird" and all of us conjured the Sesame Street character.  At that point, regardless of her attractiveness, everyone saw her as Big Bird ... she had to leave.

My point is: Once you conjure it as a Big Wreck or the Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle, it fits better than other descriptions, it's compelling, and (just like Google) it sticks better than the organizers' vision.

If you're creating art-architecture-etc then you want your own vision to be the compelling one, not the Big Bird or the Big Wreck one ... and that's a real problem for this site because it destroys something beautiful.  People might ask Why?  And people might ask Why did they need the trees to block the view?  And people will look at the FDR Hope Memorial Statue and think: they were able to do a nice statue with destroying things, so why did they ruin things with the rest of the park?  At that point it's a goofy chuckle to one's self: Wow, they really did destroy this beautiful view for no good reason.  <-- And that is what makes it a tourist attraction.

Westviewer said...

There are those who think that the memorial in its entirety will enhance, not destroy the view. 

zoilalexie said...

Rick, Frank and Trevre are all talking "smack".  They know as much as they "dis" the Four Freedoms Park, they themselves will go there.  Hypocrites are what they will be when they spend whatever time they spend there.  keep calling it names & trashing it, but I guarantee you will all go there when it's done.

CheshireKitty said...

This entire thread is just plain silliness.  There are endless instances where you can say world landmarks have "ruined" views or ruined the "natural" view.  Cities have historically sited important structures such as memorials at points to take advantage of views - this does not mean views are destroyed.  

At Cape Sounion in Attica, you certainly lose the 360 degree view because of the temple, but nobody complains about it.  People are perfectly happy to include the temple in their photographs.  Otherwise, Cape Sounion is just another cape or point in the Aegean with a great view, of which there are probably thousands.

You want a 360 degree view, you can always go to the top of the Empire State Building, plus so many hi-rises offer long-range views, sometimes in all directions.  So we already have this in NYC and in many other metropolises around the world, and it's not new anymore.  

I think visitors will be thrilled at the 4 Freedoms Memorial Park - with the allee of trees creating a sense of drama and as they draw the visitor's attention to the sculpture, and then the spectacular view - a endless view embodying the concept of freedom - flanked by the monumentally inscribed 4 Freedoms!  How else could Kahn have presented these words?  On a discreet plaque half-hidden by shrubbery?  

It will be a new, important spot for visitors to the US - and Americans, of course.  FDR remains a heroic figure around the world and many will make the pilgrimage to see the 4 Freedoms Park as well as the UN.  They both embody the idealism and hope that the world could rise up out of the tawdry "ideology" of fascism and racism which led to the destruction of the last world war, and give people at last a chance to be free. 

Westviewer said...

I like Sally's and Pepe's, but the last time we were there, we ate a a newer place in a re-purposed industrial building right near the campus.  The pizza was very good, in the true New Haven style.  I don't remember the street, but it was more convenient than the others.   

Frank Farance said...

Zoilalexie, you confuse being-agreeable with use. There are many people that don't like their elected president, yet they don't leave the country.  There are many ugly buildings, but I still use them because I have to do business in them.  That's not been hypocritical.

You've missed the point.  We've been discussing the design of the park.  Rick thinks the loss of 360-degree views is terrible, and CheshireKitty thinks as long as there is some 360-degree view somewhere (Attica, riding the Roosevelt Island Tram, or at Lighthouse Park) then we don't need to worry about destroying the view at the Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle.

Westviewer said...

"Ugly" is a moving target.   Even the Eiffel Tower was roundly denounced by many at first.  Sometimes it takes time for an eyesore to become a beloved landmark.  

zoilalexie said...

No Frank, you make little sense here.  You may use an ugly building because you have to do business there.  But, you won't have to go to the Four Freedoms Park, but you will.  It's by choice, not necessity.  That's hypocritical. 

I haven't missed any point here.  As a matter of fact, I usually agree with most of your points.  However, on this one I disagree with you.  Stop bashing the Park, because you know you will go there (and more than once too).

Frank Farance said...

Zoilalexie, you suggest that we censor our opinions unless they conform to yours.  You also suggest Cut Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face behavior.  According to you, if my kids ask to play in the park, then I'm supposed to tell them "We can't go in here because I've said that this park is a terrible design and I don't like its aesthetics" -- ridiculous.  Using the park doesn't equate to agreeing with the parks aesthetics or the decision-making that brought it about.

And ditto for the Island residents who sued for saving baseball/soccer field where Southtown 1 and 2 (475 and 465) presently sit.  I doubt anyone would say: "Because you've become friends with residents of Southtown, it makes you a hypocrite on the lawsuit".  I note that, as predicted by the proponents of the Southtown lawsuit (Southtown 1 and 2 would have been built across from 405 and 415 and Sothtown Field left intact), the field by the tram (the edge of town) gets much less use than the field that was in the center of town, which would have comprised a coherent greenspace (Blackwell Park, the Rivercross Lawn, and Southtown Field).