Friday, March 23, 2012

Roosevelt Island Kayaking And Rowing In The East River May Soon Be Available - NY Rowing Association Wishes To Set Up Boat Club On Roosevelt Island

A post from way back in March of 2008 asked:
... Wouldn't it be great if Roosevelt Island could get a boat house to launch kayaks! From an earlier Roosevelt Islander post:
Several years ago I inquired of RIOC about the possibility of a Kayak launch here and was told that the currents were much too strong to safely permit. But others with practical experience of such matters advised that with proper guidance a kayak launch could readily be created on Roosevelt Island....
Well, hold on to your oars and paddles because Roosevelt Island may just get a boat house and seasonal dock to launch kayaks and boats into the East River this spring/summer. The New York Rowing Association current lease on the Harlem River is ending.  They are looking to open a new facility right here on Roosevelt Island just south of the Oil Dock Pier underneath the Queensboro Bridge and presented a proposal to the March 21 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee meeting (audio webcast of meeting is here). The RIOC Board members expressed approval for the idea of the Boat House and program but requested additional information from the NY Rowing Association before they give final approval which they hope to be able to do within 2-3 weeks.

Here's what happened at the meeting.

More on this issue to come.

Here's what it is like rowing around Manhattan.

UPDATE 9:20 PM - Earlier this afternoon, I sent the following inquiry to RIOC Director Sal Ferrera, President Leslie Torres, VP of Operations Fernando Martinez and the other resident RIOC Board Directors:
I am preparing a post on the March 21 NY Rowing Association presentation at RIOC OPS meeting.  The NY Rowing Association web site indicates that Sal Ferrera is a member of their Board of Trustees. Click here for info. Is that true?

If so, was that ever disclosed to RIOC Staff or Directors. I don't recall that it was mentioned during the meeting?

Is Sal being a member of the organization's Board of Trustees relevant to RIOC whether or not to approve the NY Rowing Association permit/license/lease?

Please let me know if anyone wishes to comment for Roosevelt Islander Online.

Thank you.
RIOC Director Sal Ferrera responds:
In response to your email, I am a member of the NYRA board and Vince Paparo is a member of The Child School board.

The Rowing association has been a wonderful addition to our co curricular program, when they wanted to relocate to RI , I felt the community and the Child School will benefit. Issuing a one year provisional permit will allow our board to evaluate the program.

I remained silent during the presentation and discussion and did not try to curry favor. Our Operations committee did a fine job in asking relevant questions
UPDATE 11:15 PM - Received the following response from RIOC's spokesperson:
The discussion and presentation about a potential rowing launch site under the Ed Koch bridge was at an Operations subcommittee meeting and Sal is not on that subcommittee.

Additionally, if any Board vote is taken concerning the NYRA, Sal intends to recuse himself from voting on the issue.
So far, no response from RIOC on whether Mr. Ferrera disclosed his relationship with NY Rowing Association to RIOC Staff or Directors prior to the Operations Committee meeting.


SQMarcus said...

Excuse me, but is this island going to turn into a modern-day version of "Pottersville"?  The RIOC board should look into other boating groups that are not connected to an unelected Board member.  With Mr. Ferrera also gunning for the top of 504 and the space for his horses over the water conduits  area, enough is enough.  Should we find a world-renown architect to create a new "No Democracy Park" in his honor?  Or would renaming this island "Child Island" be sufficient? I have nothing personal against the school; I have sent 3 families there, but I strongly object to Mr. Ferrera's thumb in every pie.   And why didn't he mention his connection at the RIOC meeting?  Curry favor?  How else did he get here?

zoilalexie said...

Get a life Steve.  When you were RIRA president, you didn't do squat.  Now, all you do is bash good people.  Sal has done and will do more on this island OF OURS than you could even think of attempting.  Leave the man alone and stop being a "grump." 

SQMarcus said...

Dear Z,

I am sure Steve Marcus has a great life and is happily involved with it.  My name is Susan.  I wrote the comment and I too have "A Wonderful Life".  

commonsense540 said...

Ok so is Sal also friends with any of the proposed food trucks and of course he has an interest and I am not also Steve Marcus

zoilalexie said...

Well ok then, Susan.  If your life is so great, why waste time trying to bash a good man who is trying his best to make this island a better place?  What's so wrong with looking out for children?  Folks who live wonderful lives don't waste their time going after a do-gooder.  They try to protect those trying to do good - which is what I am attempting to do. 

YetAnotherRIer said...

If this will be for the school only it's okay. If this is going to be available to the public I personally think an RFP should be put out and interested organizations can bring their proposals to the table.

JPH19 said...

 Yeah, cause we wouldn't want something fun and cool to happen here without smothering it in layers of bureaucratic nonsense.

YetAnotherRIer said...

That has nothing to do with this. This is about a) finding a provider for the least money and/or best package all around, b) removal of any kind of conflicts of interest, and c) opens up opportunities for other companies to have a chance as well.

Tram_Rider said...

Perhaps the LIC Community Boathouse, which operates the kayaks in Hallets Cove on summer weekends adjacent to Socrates Sculpture Park, would like a chance to run a boating operation.

Why should NYRA be the only group invited here? Just because they lost their lease in Harlem (under undisclosed circumstances), they work with the Child School ( and they have a CONNECTION to RIOC.

There are other nonprofit boating groups.

Kevin Kevin said...

Wow bringing rowing to Roosevelt Island would be really cool. With all of the current emphasis on bringing public access to the NYC water front and fighting childhood obesity isn't this exactly the type of activity we want to generate in our city.  After all living on an island boating seems like a natural fit for a recreation activity.  Other groups do water access on the West side of Manhattan, but this would be in our backyard.  Their using their own funding and not asking for any public tax payer money. They provide recreational activity to the community, kids, and adults.  Why would we want to bury such a viable opportunity in red tape and launch a spear campaign against them?  They were only going to offer a 1 year contract, if it doesn't work out we just don't renew. While you posting You tube videos look at this one  If there was so much interest from competing groups, why hasn't anyone else suggested it yet?  

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