Sunday, March 10, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Easter Egg Hunt, Cherry Blossom Festival, Gristedes Renovation, Gardening, Motorgate Mural Art, Cornell Barging, Public Safety & More

Gallery RIVAA Fall For Arts Murals in Motorgate Garage

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
Roosevelt Island is bustling with activity right now.

We are seeing some exciting new changes, from wonderful Sunday night music at Gallery RIVAA to their RIOC-RIVAA cosponsored classical music and Art in the Motorgate lobby.

I am thrilled with the Gristedes renovation. The store is clean and bright. I enjoyed seeing the new merchandising with lots of specialty items, interesting gift and housewares items and the specialty foods isles separated for ease. I think the changes are positive. I hope the high prices and the old practice of selling outdated items also get reconsidered.

RIRA Social Cultural and Educational committee planning a host of events. Saturday, March 30 ushers back our Easter Egg Hunt

After many years we have decided to revive the much loved Easter Egg hunt with an exciting day planned for ages one through twelve.

From 10:00am-12:00pm the Easter Bunny and bonnet making will be at Manhattan Park as well as an Easter egg hunt for the youngsters in the Manhattan Park green space.

Later from 2pm-4pm the older children from ages 6 to 12 will be at Firefighter's for Field Games and egg hunting with prizes in the eggs. You will find at both the Easter Bunny and our fundraising raffle that includes Gift Certificates to Eiji’s Salon on Madison Ave., gift certificate for Photographer Rachel, (her work is amazing), Starbucks basket as well as many more wonderful gift certificate from our wonderful local restaurants and prizes.

or FAX to
or leave your form in box at
PSIS 217

There are volunteer opportunities Saturday, March 23 from 9:00am-3:00pm at 4 River Road Community Room. We will be stuffing Eggs. We also need volunteers for Saturday, March 30th Easter Egg Hunt 9:00am - 5:00pm. You can come for an hour or two if you can't commit to the whole day. Contact us at

Sat. April 13th Cherry Blossom Festival

Our Third Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for under the Cherry Trees in front of Goldwater Hospital. The vendor organization Japan Block Fair will provide food and vendors. From 10:00am-7:30 pm Rain or Shine our promenade leading to Southpoint Park will teem with wonderful Japanese food and fare. Performances will take place at Four Freedoms Park. You will be able to hear the music you have enjoyed with some wonderful new additions. If the weather is bad everything comes inside. If you are interested in working on the committee or volunteering please contact us at

Saturday April 20, Love Your Block, Love Our Earth

Come on out to this family friendly event. Join the festivities with flower power as we plant together. Celebrate our Earth and beautify our island. Make your mark. We will be beautifying certain strategic areas along main street including in front of the plaza in front of Motorgate and Gristedes. Christina Delfico got a special grant from Citizens Committee for NYC and NYC Service to celebrate Earth Day and beautify our block. Her group, iDig2Learn is organizing this event collaborating with Roosevelt Island PTA, RI Youth Program, RIOC, RIRA, Urban American, The Hudson Companies and others.

See the work of your hands for years to come. Practice getting dirty in anticipation of Roosevelt Island Day in June. There will be activities in the morning and afternoon for more details or to volunteer contact


Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) has been closely following the deliberations of the NYC Planning Commission. We are disappointed that up to this point they have been unwilling to take a stand on barging. This means that our City Councilmember Jessica Lappin will need to save the day and deliver us the barging that our community demands. Also pushing for barging is Assembly member Micah Kellner and Assembly members from Western Queens. RICC plans to continue lobbying our elected officials.

We will be having a RIRA /RICC /CERT Town Hall meeting about emergency planning after OEM releases the new evacuation designations for the City. It is expected that Roosevelt Island will be reclassified. We’ll give you more information when we learn it.

The Public Safety Committee is planning many additional events and are being very active in their mission to replace the leadership of public safety to one that treats Islanders more respectfully. Committee members are continuing with the petition drive and are planning a march and rally. It is not enough to get rid of what we don’t like about public safety, our community must create a public safety that we want. To that end, I have begun some discussions with a not for profit organization that helps communities think through thorny issues and come to collaborative conclusions. I have invited the public safety committee to join this process to create the kind of public safety department that supports life on our Island.


carter craft said...

important to note that Barging materials in for the Park on Governors Island has helped them avoid THOUSANDS of Truck Trips. I think the number is 6,000 or thereabouts.

CheshireKitty said...

Carter - That's great and Cornell should study and duplicate what was done there. It seems to me Cornell is trying to avoid barging because it requires more careful advance planning, and may be slower than simply using truck after truck. I'm sure Bloomberg wants to get the campus built asap so he may not want barging if it slows down the work.

mary lynn zelkner said...

Create a public safety that supports life on our island? Really. Do you mean a public safety that residents have total control over? Unfortunately law enforcement doesn't work like that.

xchief said...

Good statistics to know. Just wondering though, what bridge to Governors Island the trucks would have used, for the 6000 trips??

CheshireKitty said...

She might mean a PSD that has common sense, doesn't over-enforce, doesn't escalate unnecessarily,doesn't arrest residents for no reason, and certainly, doesn't beat residents so that they require days of inpatient care at an acute-care facility. Yes - Mary Lynn - the residents most definitely do call the shots, and are in control. RI residents pay for PSD out of our rents. RI residents shouldn't cower in fear that somehow something they do or say will be deliberately misinterpreted by a brutal PSO and they'll end up in jail -- for no reason. Isn't that what happened to the deli men Mary Lynn, who did nothing but were falsely arrested nonetheless? Ms. Polivy is right: PSD currently does not support life on RI; instead, it crushes it. That's why it's up to RI residents to reassert control over PSD - first, by calling for the dismissal of Guerra and his cronies, and once they've left, by reforming PSD policies and practices.

YetAnotherRIer said...

No, you guys live in la-la land. None of us have direct control over anything in this country. We elect people that put things in place and we have the chance voice out our opinions. We will never be able to call the shots how law enforcement works. This is not how it works. It is your right, though, to yell and scream about it as much as you want. It just makes you look like a looney after a while.

mary lynn zelkner said...

Are you kidding me? Residents cowering in fear. Do you cowering in fear when you see an officer? Do you run away screaming in fear when you see an officer? Do you shiver in your boots when an officer is passing by you? I doubt it so don't even try and blow it up to those extremes. Secondly,and again,but it doesn't seem to get through to you,either that or you have inside knowledge of what actually happened that night in the deli because you continue to state that he did nothing wrong. HOW DO YOU BECAUSE I'M DYING TO KNOW HOW YOU KNOW MORE THEN EVERYONE ELSE.

mary lynn zelkner said...

But yetanotherrier,didn't you read what kitty said. She thinks because a small portion of her rent goes towards psd,that she calls the shots. I guess because an even larger portion of her taxes go to this great countries military defense,kitty thinks she should be able to captain a US aircraft carrier to right. Please,give me a break. But your right sir. Some of us do live in lala land. I'm just glad people like you and I don't

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Zelkner, in fact PSD is paid SOLELY by our rents/maintenance. The public safety fee from the buildings is $1.7 million, i.e., the amount we should be spending. The extra $1.2 million (i.e., PSD over budget) also comes from rents, maintenance, fees (e.g., field rentals).

None of PSD's regular work is paid by City, State, Federal taxes (e.g., I'm excluding disaster work).

In fact, residents *do* call the shots because the Public Safety services are a contractual obligation to buildings via the ground lease. For example, the provide a service to our buildings and it is possible to choose a different service (according to the ground leases). So, yes, the relationship between law enforcement and the community is different than most of the US.

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Zelkner: Yes, CheshireKitty is correct. You'll see people look differently (and hear them talk differently) when Public Safety comes by. Yes, people perceive PSD is a hazard on a daily basis, parents and children are wary. Gee, you could be next with a beatdown and an arrest just for asking a question to Public Safety.

And on top of that, if you're in Section 8, such as Eastwood (with a UA's huge profit motive), even if you're falsely accused (and PSD trumps up charges), the eviction process starts right away ... even before you get your day in court (with charges typically dismissed).

Here's part of UA's eviction notice on getting arrested:

"This Notice is being given pursuant to your Lease Agreement and the Rules and Regulations of your Lease Agreement. The premises were formerly a Mitchell-Lama Rental. The landlord duly opted out of the Mitchell-Lama Program and is now permitted to seek fair market rents. You are the recipient of a Section 8 subsidy from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) pursuant to 24 CFR 882. DHCR is being notified of this proceeding."

Right, nice to let the tenants know there's market rate apartments that rationalize the Section 8 eviction process.

And guess what: PSD again fabricates testimony, they work hand-in-hand with UA on this. For example, one eviction complaint noted "making obscene gestures with their middle fingers and other obscene gestures towards other tenants and building employees". The problem is, the event they (landlord and PSD) are referring to was at 2AM and did not occur on the building premises. There are no workers out in the hallways in the WIRE buildings at 2AM, maybe a handful of workers sitting in the maintenance room. So these complaints that might sound real but are bogus (because PSD trumps up charges and fabricates testimony), but you don't get to correct these so-called facts in landlord tenant court.

Thus, there is a real human cost to these bogus PSD arrests and testimony. And UA (Eastwood's landlord) has a strong profit motive (as noted in their eviction notice) to see Section 8 tenants removed, and Guerra's PSD is willing to comply. The RIRA Public Safety Committee has already documented these problems, but the RIOC Board chooses to remain ignorant.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"Yes, people perceive PSD is a hazard on a daily basis, parents and children are wary.": Only the ones that are a) paranoid, b) are up to no good, c) have no sense for their own critical thinking, d) are just trouble makers in general, or e) think they are so much better than others.

YetAnotherRIer said...

You have no say how PSD is run. None. Whatsoever. If you don't believe in this why don't you sue the PSD? Or the RIOC? Or the State? See what happens.

GeorgeProzakis said...

I love it when an upstanding citizen just yells "I pay your salary!".

I reply, so your the cheapskate that doesn't give me a raise!.

Or if they present me a NYS benefit card, also known as a welfare card with $$$$$$ on it. I reply, no! I pay for you to live! I also pay your rent and diapers and your adventures to the strip club!.

I'm nit even going to comment on this topic.

Lots of interesting stuff up and coming though. Maybe I'll check out something in the future.

Frank Farance said...

PSD is a contractual service provided by RIOC to the buildings, and it is a service we pay for via our ground lease (a contract). Elsewhere taxes are paid, and the government provides services, including law enforcement, so there isn't a direct contractual relationship, but not so on Roosevelt Island (because RIOC doesn't collect taxes).

As for taking action against RIOC/PSD, I am planning on it, and I expect progress will be made. Both YetAnotherRIer and Officer Prozakis (who knows little about Roosevelt island) don't understand that it works differently here.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: You're so blind, many many people who has seen the deli video have a visual (and visceral) understanding that Public Safety can strike arbitrarily ... I can't think of anyone who has watched that video and hasn't asked themselves: Why did the deli guys get locked up and roughed up? Why was the deli guy beaten with a baton? Ditto for the stories heard by the community, victims brave enough to tell their stories (meanwhile they suffer from anonymous complaints of cowards like you who don't have the guts to identify themselves and stand behind what they say).

YetAnotherRIer said...

I am glad they have you, Frank. You will set things right.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I have lived long enough on Roosevelt Island to understand that there is a group of people who keep insisting how different this island is from the rest of the city.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: You keep making unsubstantiated points. RI is different in a major way: how many other communities in the five boros have home/building-owners using an *individually negotiated* contract *with the City* to provide general services and pay for it through their rents/ maintenance, such as law enforcement (PSD), garbage collection (AVAC), road repair, transportation (red bus, Tram), and so on? Those kinds of things make Roosevelt Island different (for better or worse).

CheshireKitty said...

Lynne and Ellen voted for the RIRA resolution calling for Guerra to go, and Mike has mandated a couple of accountability improvements. RIOC also will have an outside audit conducted of PSD. Of course, none of this is enough (yet) because it isn't the departure of Guerra & company. That is why everyone should still continue their efforts to have Guerra step down. Ellen's suggestion of the conflict resolution workshop might be OK after Guerra leaves. Many of the PSOs at PSD are OK. It is just a few of Guerra's associates and Guerra that are not. After Guerra and his corrupt friends leave, then a process of reconciliation might make sense - it would also give residents a way to convey feedback to the PSD on improvements, such as to always first try to defuse situations rather than escalating them. In addition, the PSD mustn't arrest people walking through their own buildings, or climbing up the stairs in their buildings. If anything, walking by residents should be encouraged - since it is a form of exercise and lack of exercise leading to obesity and a variety of chronic diseases is one of the problems of modern life. We don't have many streets, instead we have hallways - why should we be deprived of the opportunity to exercise and stay fit, even in winter, or in rainy weather, when it would be advantageous to walk or climb stairs indoors. Not everyone can afford to go to a health club. For some people, the only way they can be active is to walk, or climb up stairs, since it's free. PSD should drop the rule that we cannot walk or climb the stairs in our buildings. PSD should not harass residents who may rest on the benches along Eastwood passageway to converse. This is why the benches are there. PSD should stop disturbing social interaction on the benches along Main St. They have to accept that residents of all ages and colors will sit and talk, and not arrest or harass anyone who so desires to rest and socialize. There are many additional spots all over RI which seem to afford a place to socialize, such as ledges, stairs, the promenade, and so forth. PSD should not disturb those who rest and converse in these areas, either. These are the kinds of issues that must be conveyed to PSD, and PSD should promise in writing to observe common-sense and humane rules such as these, after Guerra and his friends at PSD are gone - so that RI is livable again.

CheshireKitty said...

Hahahahaha.. nice try YetAnotherRIer. You don't understand, nobody "has" Frank. Certainly Frank didn't "get" RIRA to vote unanimously on 2/16 for Guerra's ouster. The facts really spoke for themselves: Jones beaten to within an inch of his life, then falsely accused, then kipnaped - since he was detained for no reason in his hospital bed, then prevented from seeing his mother or a lawyer, then his mother receiving threats from Guerra by telephone, Jones finally getting a large volume of effusion removed from his lung - which had been punctured by a rib that was fractured by Officer Torrens. YetAnotherRIer - the above doesn't just "happen" - Guerra enabled it, orchestrated it, tried to hide it, and is still trying to keep his job despite it. Anybody who hears about the story is horrified. The only reason Guerra is still hanging in is because Lewis & Eliav want him to stay so as to avoid the appearance that Guerra is guilty and thus lose leverage in the settlement negotiations. After the payout and confidentiality agreement (if that is how the case turns out) they will undoubtedly throw Guerra - and maybe his corrupt lieutenants as well - under the bus. Or, do it in a nice way by asking him to resign. I don't doubt Guerra and several others at PSD are looking for new jobs, and probably have been looking since the Jones incident came to light. So, no YetAnotherRIer - nobody "has" Frank, and the story would have had the same effect had anyone else reported it. Because, as I said above, the facts really speak for themselves, and the facts will set things straight.

CheshireKitty said...

No, that's not exactly true. We do have CCRBs which handle quite a lot of complaints. Quite a large proportion of those complaints result in discipline, others in resignations, still others in charges. Moreover, the police are not immune to assault charges if they use excessive force. The police are there to protect us, not beat us. We certainly do call the shots when we elect officials that oversee the Police Dept. You speak as if the Police Dept is a world unto itself. You think Bloomberg never speaks to the Police Commissioner? You think Bloomberg isn't involved? Remember how the aggressive patrolling was curtailed after the Diallo case? You think the police never change? That they are always going to bust heads and so forth? Look, I'm all for going after the bad guys - if anything I moved to RI because it had a reputation for being safe. I was a "refugee" from the crime-ridden outer boroughs if you will. And, it worked: I never had another incident of crime since I moved to RI. And what about the great NYPD - did they ever catch anyone who robbed me, or mugged me, and so forth? No.. In that regard, I'm as much a statistic as so many others. The one thing I enjoyed about RI is that it's the equivalent of a gated community - with only 3 ways to leave the island. That may sound creepy but it means that anyone who thinks of committing a crime on RI has to think twice, since it's likely they cannot escape or blend into a crowd. That fact alone makes for a much safer neighborhood. So, I'd say (1) Of course we elect people who have stands on issues like law enforcement. After they're elected, we can still lobby the gov to effect changes to policies. That's what a dynamic democracy is about. (2) We do make changes in law enforcement: The changes following the Diallo case are one example. (3) RI is mostly safe, but a lot of that has to do with it being a tight-knit, neighborly community, maybe with less of the usual urban anomie of other areas. The fact that there are only 3 ways off the island also enhances security. That being said, there is no reason for over-enforcement by PSD. The Jones incident was only the latest and worst of the abuse cases since 2008 when Guerra arrived. His arrival coincidence with a growing undercurrent of discontent with the PSD. A year after he arrived, a referendum on RI was held and 94% voted to have a CCRB implemented to handle the growing number of complaints about the PSD. RI has had enough of Guerra: It is now time for Guerra to go - he has outstayed his welcome and his presence is a continuing reminder to residents of his corrupt management and inhumane policies. If he wants to drag everything out and wait for one investigation after another to occur - to keep waiting for more and more shoes to drop - that is his choice. If he were wise, he would leave now before the investigations cast more of a shadow on his career. He should leave now - when he can simply say to a future employer he's leaving in order to be closer to his family upstate, which sounds plausible. If he leaves later, the unavoidable news that he screwed up will reduce his chances of finding re-employment, since he will be leaving under a thundercloud, and perhaps, or probably, under RIOC pressure..

CheshireKitty said...

Ms. Zelkner - in some ways, the PSD are glorified security guards - rent-a-cops. If they don't perform well, they should be fired. Which is not exactly what we're saying, however. PSD contains many good PSOs. There are a few that are no good - and they should go. Once they go, PSD should be reformed. As far as running an aircraft carrier, that's the silliest example of an "analogy" I've ever heard. Why not say - a huge portion of your taxes pays for Medicare and Medicaid. Why not pretend to be a doctor if you are paying for elderly and poor citizens' medical care? The point is, Mary, we pay taxes in order to get the best, most economical services - including military services, which are constantly being scrutinized by our elected officials. Aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines, all sorts of wonderful defense programs - can be cut by Congress anytime. So can any of our programs, depending on who we send to Congress and the White House. So yes, I do think that I have a voice - when I vote for my representatives at all levels of government. If you don't think so, then you must really be a sheeple, living in bahbah land. Haha..

CheshireKitty said...

In fact RIOC is being sued by Jones. And more and more will come forward to sue for the abuse they've suffered. Anticipate large payouts to the victims of abuse... isn't that the way things work in our capitalist society?

CheshireKitty said...

It is and it isn't. If we had the NYPD, we would have some accountability and recourse because of the CCRB. PSDs elsewhere have similar problems to ours - they are prone to abuse and over-enforcement perhaps to compensate for the fact that they aren't police. They may turn into bullies because of this inferiority complex. Also, remember that Guerra is a retired NYPD. He may want to "command" a police force, even though PSD isn't exactly police. He got Shane to spend a million dollars to upgrade and expand his station and also wanted to take over the Youth Center space to turn it into a quasi-military training area for PSD. He's trying to turn the PSD into a "real" police department because of his background. You see him swaggering down the street still carrying his weapon under his jacket, as if he still were in the NYPD, a smirk on his face like he owns the place. He exemplifies the problem: Over-application of force resulting in brutality. RI is the equivalent of a small, laid-back town. Guerra's PSD buildup was not only wasteful but also unnecessary. He successfully lobbied Shane for an expansion of PSD that didn't pay off, since it resulted in an increased number of complaints and incidents of abuse. Now, he unapologetically brags about his men beating Jones, and what he did afterwards - as if he's gotten away with it. The people may have the last laugh though - when the verdicts of the cases start rolling in. And Guerra doesn't have his political ducks in a row either. Once one politician after another calls for his removal, then it's only a matter of time before RIOC obliges and fires him.

CheshireKitty said...

Well, it's true isn't it. City and State employees don't just get a free pass - they're accountable and subject to periodic cuts. We do pay for PSD from our rents - and we should get the best protection services for our money, not the corruption, brutality and inhumane treatment we currently get. Unfortunately, it's all because of Guerra - his policies and outlook have warped PSD. And that's why Guerra must go.

mary lynn zelkner said...

If you are a refugee from a crime riddled neighbourhood,then why do you think it is ok for these "kids" to stand in front of the deli and be the most disrespectful little hoodlums I've met. I'm a social worker,I've met a lot.

So you think its ok for them to make sexual remarks when I'm walking past the deli?

I dont use the stairwell the well for exercise,I instead like to jog Arlington the island. So you think psd should just let these innocent "kids" sit in the rear of eastwood and smoke weed. Cause that's all I smell when I pass the rear of 580 and there is about 10 of these thugs there. But because they live on the island,they should be given a free pass. NO NO NO NO. its not public safety that is ruining quality of life,its these freaking fake wonna be gangsters. And when psd cracks down on it,its a problem. When you het pulled over for making a uturn,which you know you shouldn't do,you give the officer a problem cause you feel because your a resident you shouldnt have to provide the documents. That's why traffic stops escalate. Because people think they can sit there and curse an officer out because they are an island resident. That's why it escalates. Please kitty,try and think like a senseable female. You are automatically assuming all allegations are true.

YetAnotherRIer said...

There is a flaw in your logic. The RIRA may think it represents the entire island but in reality it doesn't. It represents and speaks for a very small group of residents. And again, I am glad the criminal minds on this island have you and Frank on their side to represent them.

YetAnotherRIer said...


YetAnotherRIer said...

Well, you guys seem to be very sure of yourselves. We'll see the outcome.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I should have stopped long time ago. Chase your ghosts, Frank. Have fun.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Again, your thinking is flawed. I don't need the RIRA to represent me. Nor does the majority of the residents here. Also, I know that you love doing this, but social class standing has nothing to do with this unless you are implying that criminal minds are usually found in lower or middle class families?

CheshireKitty said...

Brava? Seems to me her comment is just more blah-blah - same old, same old. Maybe she'll reconsider her pro-PSD position though and join those calling for the dismissal of Guerra and his cronies at PSD.

CheshireKitty said...

You may not need RIRA to represent you, but you have to accept that they are the only body around that represents RI residents (just as the gov is the only representative electoral body we have). Why don't you stop paying taxes - since they fund the gov, including the State gov, which appointed the RIOC board that is now cracking down on PSD?

All I'm saying is that revulsion and horror at the Anthony Jones incident resulted in RIRA, which mostly consists of people drawn from the professions such as engineering, law, health care field, and so forth - i.e. the middle to upper-middle class - voting unanimously in support of the ouster of Guerra.

The point is, these are all "responsible" taxpayers - the furthest possible sample from people that would in any way "identify" with "criminal minds".

Although forms of criminality, which may include white-collar crime, can be found in all social classes, in general, education and the professions are correlated with less crime. (Thus, the idea is, the more highly-educated a population, the less crime you may have. Whether that always works out that way is another question - there's no absolute in that question. Some would say highly educated mathematicians figuring out ways to outsmart financial markets are undertaking criminal acts. These are highly-educated, highly-paid professionals who may not view their work as criminal in nature. Regulatory agencies monitor such systems and decide if they are unfair or even illegal.)

If you are referring to ordinary street crime, I would say that education would definitely lead to a decrease. Do I link education to class? Possibly - but not always. The point I was trying to make when I wrote that the largely "middle-class" members of RIRA voted unanimously on 2/6 for the removal of Guerra, is to stress that that position is not a class-linked or class-limited position, that it cuts across all social layers on RI, because any sentient person hearing the story of the Anthony Jones beating immediately recognizes that it represents an obvious, and horrific, case of police brutality.

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