Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Champagne And Limo Service For Some Visitors To Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park, Only Water For Most Others - Ferry Service Coming To FDR Park From 34th Street This Summer

As previously reported Roosevelt Island residents and other visitors are not allowed to bring beverages or food of any kind other than water into the so-called FDR Four Freedoms Park. As one Roosevelt Island Mom reported:

outrageous! i was yelled at next to my kids (!!!) by the rude "park rangers" for my 4 years old holding a juice. fascism at its best
Except certain visitors to the FDR Park are treated more kindly like this happy group drinking champagne and toasting each other last Friday afternoon.

Other visitors to the FDR Park even received drop off limo service last Friday so they could avoid the rest of Roosevelt Island.

Later this afternoon the FDR Park Conservancy is holding a Summer Garden Party fundraiser. Tickets range from $250 to $10 Thousand. I wonder if they will allow people to eat and drink on their Kahn "Sacred Space" at the fundraiser?

Also, will the family of geese and their babies who made a temporary home next to the FDR Park lawn

Image From Denise Shull

still be there for tonight's fundraiser? They were not there last Friday.

In other FDR Park news, responding to my inquiry on the subject, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato reports that there will be a Roosevelt Island pilot project ferry service this summer between the FDR Park and 34th Street in Manhattan. Ms. Indelicato noted that no Request For Proposals or full RIOC Board approval is necessary to proceed with ferry service for the FDR Park. Ms. Indelicato believes that ferry service at the FDR Park will benefit all of Roosevelt Island and will provide data to justify a future Roosevelt Island ferry service in another part of Roosevelt Island. Will have more on this coming up.

The FDR Park has also taken over Southpoint Park land on the East Side of the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital

gating it off from the public,

using the area as their own office space, parking lot

and garbage receptacle.

Who runs this place, RIOC or the FDR Park?


Trevre Andrews said...

It was a bad idea when they first designed it, it was a bad idea to raise money for it, it was a bad idea when they got the approval to build it, and it is still a bad idea after they build it. Now rather than keeping the south point of the island open to whoever, whenever, to do whatever they want they have fenced it off and ruined it for the majority of the people who used to use it. You can bulldoze the thing right into the East River saving us all a lot of trouble and giving us back our much more useful green space. Just another example of RIOCs lack of cojones - just wait til the campus gets here. Moving out with many other good people next year because of stuff like this.

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Trevre Andrews said...

And one more thing, if you could ask him, and someone did, this is what he really wanted. You are all idiots for not respecting a dead man's wishes.

"If any memorial is erected to me, I know exactly what I should like it to be. I should like it to consist of a block about the size of this (putting his hand on his desk) and placed in the center of that green plot in front of the Archives Building. I don't care what it is made of,
whether limestone or granite or whatnot, but I want it plain without any ornamentation, with the simple carving, 'In Memory of ____'."

Some think he did great things, but the greatest thing he ever did and could ever be remembered by was his promotion of freedom and this - this new memorial is the exact opposite of that.

CheshireKitty said...

Shocked to hear the nesting pair of geese have been removed. Wild birds are protected under the law.

Let me say things about the Kahn-designed memorial. It is true FDR did not wish to have himself memorialized in a "monumental" fashion. The simple block of stone he wished does exist on the grounds of the Wash. DC Archives Bldg, as per his wishes.

Since then, some of his descendants have "capitalized" on FDR's memory. Not saying the public shouldn't be allowed to view FDR's homes etc.

Kahn designed the FFP monument when there was nothing else on RI - no Southtown, no MP, no Octagon. The deletion of the relatively small amount of green space then would not have made that much of a difference if green space was preserved elsewhere on the island, as it was supposed to have been. The island wasn't supposed to have been as built up as it has subsequently become - almost a mini-Manhattan, but without Manhattan's precious green spaces.

The FFP monument to me sets up a dialog with the UN, perhaps points to it. The UN complex is another marmoreal construction almost devoid of green space. The only way we can have these "glorious" or monumental spaces is if we also have green spaces. Think of Lincoln Center - it's also marmoreal/monumental. Yet we accept it because we also have Riverside Park, Central Park, even Verdi Park (as tiny as it is).

I totally disagree with the latest land grab of FFP - unlawfully extending their gated property to include the E. side of the land beside the Renwick Ruin. This is out and out against the law and RIOC should immediately protest and request nicely that the fence and gate be removed (or moved back to where FFP's property actually ends).

If anyone was a man who stood up for the common folk, it was FDR. The fund-raiser, limited to those who can afford the pricey tickets, is a travesty in that it excluded those who cannot afford these ultra-expensive tickets, exactly something FDR would not have wanted, since his aim was to set a place at the table for everyone.

The monument is another money-making enterprise, and the monument has taken away precious green space. However, it wasn't Kahn's intention to take away almost the last bit of green space on RI. It's a wonderful design, but only if we still had green space that's been subsequently gobbled up by development. Also, using the park as a private money-machine, as the FFP folks seem to be doing, is quite unethical and antithetical to the purpose of a public space. If FFP "owners" want to hold a fund-raiser, let them rent out a ballroom at the Plaza or Pierre. They seem to have the bucks to afford it (considering how much they're charging per plate).

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Adrian Schnell said...

Curious to why you are moving out.

Trevre Andrews said...

Just wait til next year when the construction trucks start rolling down main street in the hundreds. You will find out pretty quickly how peaceful it is going to be for the next five years, and with RIOC running the show I doubt you will see any progress made in terms limiting the disruption.

CheshireKitty said...

Hey, the FFP people aren't going to have to worry about the trucks! They'll have their ferry dock built by then - and can just float to their posh sunset parties in the East River! That's what's known as planning ahead! Ironically, the FFP folks will have their ferry dock for their yachts to arrive, but the Cornell people refuse to build a dock now for the barges - to minimize trucking. What is wrong with this picture? FFP has completely given up on RI as a community - never bothers to invite us or include us in their ceremonies or events, right? Cornell has given up on RI as a community - never commits to building the dock or barging, right? To me, this says we - the community - hasn't got any influence or leverage with the bigwigs making these decisions. Obviously, RIOC doesn't give a dam' - it will spend a few millions to rehab the helix, in time for the big trucks to start rolling down Main St. Does anyone see RIOC putting its foot down with Cornell on barging? Nope! Instead, it's facilitating trucking by rehabbing the helix ahead of time! That's what RIOC thinks of our community folks - we might as well be chopped liver as far as RIOC is concerned.

RInsider said...

Are people really crying about these things??? I'm shocked at the fact that someone actually took the time to report such nonsense. I was told to check this blog out, but it has lacks creativity and interest. I'll stick to the Daily News or Post. By the way, as a Marine Corps Veteran, Four Freedoms Park is truly an inspirational place. I did three deployments putting my life on the line for those freedoms. I suggest you take a moment to reflect on why you have the freedoms to complain about such lame issues.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I wonder what part of Manhattan will be much better.

YetAnotherRIer said...

There are millions of other things that actually deserve your anger more, no?

Trevre Andrews said...

Seriously? I don't think you have fathomed what 5 years+ of construction on a one road island is going to be like. It would be the same if I lived on the 2nd ave subway line they are constructing, its better to pay rent and stay mobile in this city than buy a place since you never know who your community is going to sell out to.

CheshireKitty said...

What things exactly shock you RInsider?

The article was about the ongoing fund-raising effort by the FFP people, as well as their land-grab of the area to the E. of the Renwick Ruin.

Some of us on the thread have just concluded that no-one cares about our community: Southtown will be severely impacted by the trucks, so will Northtown. Cornell does not commit to measuring particulates at any additional points on RI other than at the construction site itself as required by law - although trucks will be transporting tons of toxic debris along Main St once the demolition and excavation begins. We know there is a layer of debris that will be toxic since Cornell has agreed to spend money to mitigate it. And toxic dust from the debris will float all over RI as a consequence of Cornell using trucks to transport this debris off the island.

Yet, we don't see Cornell rushing to build a dock, do we? And the millions RIOC is spending to rehab the helix, some of that money could have been directed to the oil dock area - rehabbing the oil dock so it could accommodate barges. Oh, no - RIOC would never do that; that's too considerate of the community. Even the RIOC resident directors who will be directly impacted by the truckloads of toxic debris traveling down main street right by their windows - even those directors don't complain about Cornell's plan to truck.

The Cornell project is supposed to start next year - which is about 6 months away. We know that RIOC isn't holding Cornell's feet to the fire on barging. Quite the opposite: RIOC will facilitate Cornell's trucking by helpfully rehabbing the helix before the end of the year! That's smart thinking - anticipating the hundreds of heavy trucks that will have to use that helix to transport tons of debris off the island, and tons of buildings materials onto the island. RIOC gives no thought whatsoever to the health of the community - instead, plays right into Bloomberg's game of pushing the Cornell project, since it represents Bloomberg's most lasting, most important "legacy".

There is no light between Bloomberg's and Cuomo's position on Cornell - thus, the RIOC directors once again are shown to be mere bobble-head dummies - furiously nodding their heads up and down as Cuomo/Towns/Indelicato instructs them - even if it means they'll be exposed to toxic dust, and the helix - the lifeline of RI - severely degraded, possibly damaged, by the hundreds of truck trips...

If, God forbid, something finally happens to the helix (think the truck that finally crashed through the deteriorating West Side highway once upon a time) then we'll see how RIOC "springs into action" - with no access to emergency services, or any sort of vehicular access/deliveries and so forth: Does RIOC even have an emergency plan in case of such a disaster? This is how irresponsible RIOC is in not pushing for barging - it puts 15,000 residents lives on the line rather than inconvenience Bloomberg's pet project. Talk about inverted priorities..

We see then that RIOC doesn't prioritize correctly - the health and well-being of islanders must come first.

RIOC must withhold the strip of land Cornell wants until Cornell builds the dock and presents a credible barging plan - that will be legally binding and enforceable, such that the project could be shut down by a judge in case Cornell does not adhere to a barging plan.

If RIOC wants to "help" Cornell, then RIOC should rehab the oil dock instead of the helix.

CheshireKitty said...

Trevre is right. All the condo/coop owners on RI are going to get a big shock when they try to sell their properties to buyers who will take one look at the chaos, noise, and dust on Main St and say - No thanks!!

Bill Blass said...

It is time for the rira to take action

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: When we lost the park on the site of Southtown 1&2, there was a fair amount of community anger over it. Not only did residents *build* that park, but it would have integrated Southtown better into Northtown, the idea would be to put some of the Southtown buildings in what is now the field across from Southtown 4-6.

So why was there anger, which has lasted a long while? Because the decisions where not in the best interests of the Island or the Island's residents ... they put those buildings there, just because they could ... essentially taking open space (park land) and distributing it in several places ... as long as the acres add up to about the same total, then it doesn't matter how parks are designed or where they are placed, right?

So ditto for Four Freedom's Park: as long as one park (originally, a spectacular park with beautiful 360-degree views, a natural view, and a park that permitted a LARGE VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES) is replaced with another park (limited views, limited days of access, only walking and water, no food, no respect for wildlife) of the same size, then everything is the same, right? Of course not. And you have two classes of users, literally:

- the water, no bread, no music, no activity, limited-to-certain-hours Class

- the limo-chauffeured, champagne-drinking, caviar-eating, orchestra-toting, any-day-or-time-partying Class with exclusive use of the park

Oh, and now RIOC tells use that there is no need for their approvals on ferry service (which might diminish the placement of ferry stop(s) elsewhere on the Island), but Octagon owners have tried for years with little success, and the rest of the Island has participated in a variety of transportation studies, but FDR has its own connections?

So anger is completely understandable when the nature of the park has permanently changed (for the worse, IMO) and the hours/uses/activities are now significantly restricted, yet THE MONEYED CLASS HAVE FREE RUN OF THE PARK.

And our RIOC Board and new RIOC President sit hapless and helpless.

Frank Farance said...

RInsider: No one diminishes the importance of the four freedoms or your own personal commitment. However, is it your point that because you're a vet, then that sacrifice trumps all other priorities for the populace and property usage?

YetAnotherRIer said...

Whatever rocks your boat. I did enjoy Southpoint Park before the memorial and I am still enjoying it now in form of the memorial. It is a matter of how open you are for change and how tolerant you are when it comes to others forcing you to look at and live with new things.

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Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: great malapropism/metaphor: "Whatever Rocks Your Boat" ... sorry I'll have to borrow that line. :-) A favorite of mine is "We'll Burn That Bridge While We're On It", which combines "We'll Cross That Bridge When We Come To It" and the metaphor of Burning Bridges.

To your point: what is annoying is the large size of land devoted to "forcing you to look at and live with new things" (rather than just a small monument at the end) and the re-purposing of such a large amount of park space with (now) such limited access/use, compared to those who are very wealthy.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Consider the park to be in the same league as places like the Met or other cultural institutions.

CheshireKitty said...

Really? You enjoy it? You enjoy trying to find a place to "sit" on the architecture/ledges/slabs - since there is no seating.

Explain to us exactly how you manage to "enjoy" FFP. Each time I go there, I have the same experience: It is nice as a memorial - admiring the sharp masonry lines and the architecture. I walk to the room at the end of the island and look at the enclosed view - which is an enclosed horizontal panorama that always reminds me of cinema's letter-box format, or maybe Panavision. It's all very nice - for a somber monument. Sometimes, you can find a place to rest on one of the ledges, sometimes, not.

After taking in the view, I turn around and trudge out. There is no place to rest in the monument except on the ledges - which, of course, as backless makeshift benches aren't particularly welcoming or accessible.

The Four Freedoms Monument should never have been termed a "park" as the purpose of a park is to provide a place of respite, relaxation: You have the expectation in a park that after walking into a park, there is going to be a spot to rest, or just quietly sit out and take in either a view, or greenery, etc. Try to imagine any of our parks - Union Sq, Madison Sq, Ft. Greene, Prospect, Central - without a single park bench. Also, try to imagine them without kids being permitted to run around, play, and yell. It wouldn't be possible to "enjoy" these parks without the users - kids and adults alike - having the right to run in the parks, or sit down to rest on a park bench.

FFP remains solely a monument, a piece of dramatic architecture in honor of FDR. It isn't conducive to life. Instead it's a place to briefly contemplate FDR's legacy, take in the view, the water feature in the room, for a few minutes, then quickly return to the "humanism" of Southpoint Park and the green periphery of RI, which of course includes numerous benches. Basically, you see people briefly visiting FFP then "fleeing" the funnel-shaped structure.

No wonder Pollara wants to take over Renwick Ruin - to give visitors a place to "recover" (i.e. actually sit down, relax, snack, a venue where kids can run around etc.) after the experience of visiting the monument. For Pollara, a visitor center would also be a place to sell mementos and so forth - although she of course would make money on every cup of coffee sold there.

So the conversion of Renwick Ruin into a FFP visitor center will be another money-making opportunity for Pollara - another step in the direction of maybe privatizing all of Southpoint Park one day - under the control of, and for the benefit of, Pollara.

CheshireKitty said...

Not exactly. There are plenty of places to sit and contemplate art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is (supposed to be) a hushed respectful atmosphere at the Met - that is true - and certain rules of behavior are enforced. Then again, the Met isn't a public park.

The comparison should be with other monuments such as the national monuments/memorials on the Mall honoring Presidents Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson, and of course, the much more low-key FDR memorial. The monumental structures are placed within the Mall/parks in Washington and their grandeur is magnified by their placement within green areas, and alongside ponds, reflecting pools etc. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Mall_map.png

FDR never wished to be honored with a monumental structure and Washington's FDR memorial is accordingly low-key, down to earth, etc. Somehow, this memo was never shared with Kahn, Pollara, and the others involved with FFP over the years.

On RI, there is a scarcity of open space and greenery. It was our lack of community organization and clout that did not shut down FFP once fully publicly accessible and user-friendly green areas on RI began disappearing one by one with the rush to develop Southtown and Octagon.
its boundaries.

There is a place for monumental formality - which is what Kahn achieved in his design. Monumental formality is usually synonymous with huge, sometimes overwhelming structures. The contrast of the Kahn monumental design with the smallness of the space is jarring: Only the view is big, but that too is reduced to a box in Kahn's design. It is up to the individual viewer to decide if in the end the design "works" - or not.

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YetAnotherRIer said...

Frank's rant over the "monied" vs. "RI resident" in the current WIRE is pretty dumb. Just because the memorial is on Roosevelt Island it should be different than any other cultural institution in this city (actually in this country or even in the entire world)? It will always be used for glamourous events where only the people that can afford it will be invited to. Yes, there will be champagne and limos. So what? Are you bothered by the Met or the AMNH for doing the exact same thing (actually even a lot more over the top)?

Am I the only one who actually enjoys the memorial and does not have the desire to use it as an example for rich vs normal people? Why do some people think we RIer are so special and we need extra treatment when new things come to this island?

MushMouse & PunkinPuss said...

Frank is a bafoon and Kitty is his sidekick. I remember when Kitty would disagree with Frank too. But Frank would go on and on and on and on, until kitty said, "Screw it - I can't beat this idiot, so I'll join him instead."

Or.... maybe Frank is Kitty.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: You misunderstand the nature of FFP: it is open space, and it is intended to be a park, but you're right that it is run like a museum, which is not the purpose of the space. So while Central Park might have non-public events, one can eat/drink in most anywhere in the park, along with many other activities permitted in Central Park but not in FFP. With the VERY limited amount of park space on the Island (something residents have fought for strenuously over the years), there is a stark imbalance which is aptly described as "moneyed" vs. "the rest of us".

And add to that: the ferry landing that seems to require no permission/involvement from RIOC that could take away from the ferry landing closer to our transportation hub.

Certainly, it's worth gathering/sharing information with the residents and understanding the residents' positions.

YetAnotherRIer said...

We can argue about what the park is supposed to be. Since we disagree about that already it doesn't make sense to argue any further.

CheshireKitty said...

YetAnother: Frank is right. State funds are going toward this "park" which is not a park. The public has a right to know every single thing about FFP since we are partially underwriting it. My tax dollars are going to funding FFP so I have a right to know the details about FFP.

I want to modify my post above about FFP being a sculptural/architectural installation instead of a park: FFP is not even a sculptural/architectural installation - since even those usually have seating. It is not even a "lookout" point since those provide seating. As things stand now, it is most akin to a passageway where the public is not invited to tarry - such as connecting tunnels between train lines in the subway. They may be decorated with mosaics, or other artworks, but the public takes in these pieces fleetingly en route to their destinations and of course no seating is provided in these busy underground thoroughfares (think the tunnel connecting the Sixth Avenue 42nd St station to 5th Ave. with the wonderful literary quotations and sculptural works embedded into its walls).

Other cultural destinations including sculptural/architectural installations are visitor-friendly, but FFP is not. It should not be termed a park or a museum, it is purely a memorial. The idea at FFP is the visitor is expected to quietly remember FDR, read the words, and then quickly leave. It is a place to simply walk through, observe a moment of silence, and then leave. That, reader, is exactly the antithesis of a park, or even most cultural institutions. FFP should be renamed FFM - Four Freedoms Memorial.

I want to share with you my comment that I just placed on the website of FFP, on their gushing story of their latest garden-party fund-raiser .http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/news/entry/sunset-garden-party: "Disgraceful. Why not invite the kids of Roosevelt Island's PS 217 to an educational day at the "park" which is not a park? The rich need yet another venue at which to party, is that it? What are you raising money for Ms. Pollara now that the park is finished?"

CheshireKitty said...

That's not true, of course. Maybe the unreconstructed pro-Guerra folks think so, but then again, they would.. from the depths of their bitter and utter defeat. Now that they've been beat they are grasping at anything to undermine the side that won.

Anyway, FYI, the handle of the hater's post refers to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse (which I, although a kitty, never heard of).

In the series, Punkin' Puss is naturally, an orange pussycat who is feuding/obsessed with destroying a brave, resourceful, little mouse called Mushmouse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punkin'_Puss_%26_Mushmouse (The reader will lol over the funny capsule summaries of the episodes on this website.)

Here's a link to a site with a photo of said orange kitty and pursued mouse: http://www.keyframeonline.com/Animation/Punkin%E2%80%99_Puss_&_Mushmouse/1485/

Think Tom and Jerry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_and_Jerry except that the cat in the series under discussion is orange and the setting is in the rural South.

The mouse moniker may refer to mushmouth, a slangy term for "a person who has trouble articulating and is difficult to understand" http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mushmouth. However,the likeable mouse character in the cartoon series doesn't seem to have any problems with articulating. Perhaps the name occurred to the series writer a reference to what the orange pussycat would like to do with the cute prey - munch it into mush, and then consume it. Enjoy a Punkin'Puss & Mushmouse video at this site http://www.trilulilu.ro/video-animatie/punkin-puss-and-mush-mouse-hyde-and-shriek The reader will definitely LOL viewing this cartoon!

I wish the haters out there would drop their anti-Kitty attitude. What is wrong with being a lovable cat? Why can't all the cats in this world get along?

Yes, CK disagreed with Frank before, that is true. And in many struggles with Frank, I would go on and on and on as well. For me though, it was a "game" - similar to the Punkin'Puss constantly feuding with Mushmouse, or Tom and Jerry forever battling. I thought I would have the last word and triumph. I found the "game" of sparring with Frank interesting for the same reason anybody enjoys participating in or watching games - to get a chance to experience the thrill of victory. At least in this ephemeral arena, I thought I could beat Frank (as well as other opponents that might come along) - and thus, at least momentarily, dominate. At that point, reverting to my essential low-key nature, I could conveniently begin vanishing, from the tip of my tail to my head, with only my grin remaining in the air, for a few moments, until that too, vanishes. The whole point of the "game" was simply to prove CK is not only a persevering cat, a cat that never gives up, a resourceful cat and a thoughtful cat, but also a winning cat.

Now, I am not Frank's side-kick. I may agree with Frank on some issues. If so, there is little to add to what Frank says if he articulates what I would say.

Otherwise, I may disagree with Frank - but in a less barbed manner than before. I guess it's less a game - I don't disagree for its own sake. Frank is not only persuasive he's usually right. And Frank is most definitely not an idiot!

YetAnotherRIer said...

What cultural institution does not receive tax payers money? The Met, for example, is a FREE museum, donation only. They get mostly private funding but the city throws a lot of money and incentives at them as well (the building they are in, for example, is public property and NYC spend a large share of its money to maintain the facilities).

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: But that is the crux of problem: Is FFP supposed to be a museum? Look at the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, they don't have the same kind of restrictions as FFP.

Here's a sampling: "The public may visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial 24 hours a day.
However Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30
P.M. daily and to provide interpretive programs every hour on the hour
from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.".

Clearly, the National Park Service (NPS) has been able to figure out how to Do This Right. With 24-hour access, ya think Washington DC has fewer security problems than NYC?

The NPS should take over FFP. However, that is unlikely to happen ... who would want to give up a really great partying location with spectacular views, exclusive access (with public access so restricted) ... and you get to host fundraisers, not just for your organization, but making money (as a not-for-profit) hosting events for *OTHERS*.

Yes, I've heard its the rage in NYC for Not-For-Profit's Pop-Up Event Spaces. So think Tavern On The Green, but without the franchising worries.

Ratso123 said...

The FDR Memorial is not a National Park. It is a State Park. It is also in the back of another park which has specific hours that it is opened.and closed, which would limit access. There were a lot of visitors there yesterday and the atmosphere was very pleasant.

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123: Carefully read my comments: "NPS should take over FFP", obviously I don't believe it is a national park. As for the hours: FFP is not open the hours of the adjacent park (Wild Gardens). So if NPS can do a good job servicing a park 24/7, then NPS can do as good a job or better with the reduced hours of the Wild Gardens ... and NPS is able to manage the park without the silly restrictions of FFP.

Ratso123 said...

Why are you in favor of the Federal Government taking over the Memorial and the Park? Do you really think that the Feds will be able to manage 2 more parks during the sequester?

CheshireKitty said...

The Met would never dare charge a set admission - it would drive too many people away. The deal with the Met is that because it has a suggested admission, tons of people go for free (as you say) or a minimal donation. Then they get a nice revenue stream from the food they sell in their restaurants/caf or the gift shop. The trick is to get museum-goers to visit the institution in the first place - that's why in the end the "free" admission pays off.

Explain exactly why the Met needs to receive tax payer money if it is a repository of hundreds of pricey - very pricey - works of art? All it has to do is occasionally sell an art work and presto it's ahead millions of dollars.

If the Met does receive taxpayer money, and the building is actually public property - that's news to me, but evidently you've looked into it. If it is the case, then not many are aware of it. I never saw the Met as a money-losing proposition - since it's so rich in terms of how much its holdings are worth (and some of them can be termed priceless anyway) popular in that it draws hundreds of thousands visitors, and as you say, has the fund-raising parties, gifts, bequests, and so forth.

Anyway, in my comment, I wasn't critical of the FFP receiving tax-payer money. It's now a State Park - and it's finished. Yet Pollara and her friends seem to be leveraging the State support to raise additional funds for a project that is now finished. Has FFP become a money machine with the funds flowing into Pollara's purse or that of her friends or possibly shell organizations directly or indirectly? I would like to find out more about the money she is raising, how it is being used and so forth. If she is earning a living out of the money she is raising for a park that is now finished, then she must go. What is her role? Why should anyone support Pollara? What is she adding to FFP?

I said "The public has a right to know every single thing about FFP since we are partially underwriting it." I stand by that statement. Shouldn't there be transparency if taxpayer dollars are partially funding FFP?

Westviewer said...

I'm sure that the people who named it did not expect that the word "park" would be taken so literally to mean only the kind of place Central Park is. This is a monument, or a memorial and probably should have been named such in order to avoid the kind of semantic argument we see over and over on the blog.

Westviewer said...

Bu, bu, but you don't understand! Roosevelt Islanders ALWAYS want special treatment.

YetAnotherRIer said...

It is a cultural institution; like a museum, Central Park, what not. And those institutions ALWAYS come with "monied people" using them for fundraisers and other "high-society" kind of purposes. I would understand the outrage if you were not allowed to be at the FFP. But you are. You are just not invited to champagne and limo events. What is the big deal?

YetAnotherRIer said...

"My tax dollars are going to funding FFP so I have a right to know the details about FFP."

My tax dollars are going to funding the NSA so I have a right to know the details about the NSA. Right?

YetAnotherRIer said...

You do NOT have the right to know every single thing about FFP since you are partially underwriting it. Where do you get this idea that you do?

CheshireKitty said...

Certainly. Here is the website of the NSA FYI http://www.nsa.gov/. The only information that should be confidential or secret is that which would compromise US security. So the details we could find out would have to be defined.

Most of us knew that under the Patriot Act post-911, the NSA or various other branches of the US intelligence were collecting all possible info on us - probably even x-raying the mail. I don't understand why people are surprised that everything is being collected. And even with all that, the gov/FBI missed the Tsarnaev brothers - an unbelievable fail. However the gov has also thwarted numerous plots since 911, thank goodness. Personally, I have no problem with the gov collecting info if it serves to thwart plots. You can disagree with me but that's what I happen to believe. I guess I am somewhat conservative that way.

Of course I knew the US spies on everyone including allies - why would anyone possibly be surprised by that? I agree with this policy, too. Why is Pollard still in the slammer? He was spying for Israel, that's why. Even if Israel is a staunch US ally, it still isn't right for a US citizen to spy for any other country ally or not. That's why Pollard will never get out of the slammer.

You can be certain all the other countries around the world are doing same thing. It has always been this way and always will be this way - there's no way to stop or end it. And why should it stop or end? Shouldn't our gov have this info? Of course we should. Or should we give it all up and just let all the other countries do it? I don't think so.

So none of what emerges from Snowden's revelations really surprises me. Although I myself wouldn't do what the leakers do - since I am certain everyone already knows about the collection of information and the rest anyway, so what is the point, I wish some guy in China or Russia would do the same thing to China and Russia that Snowden, Manning, and Assange have done to us since that would level the playing field.

CheshireKitty said...

I don't see why not. What if Pollara is using FFP to raise money for a questionable shell organization? Wouldn't you want to know if your tax dollars are partially funding a State Park that is being used to raise money for a dubious organization? If that is the case, you and I are indirectly participating in an elaborate rip-off of the donors, if the money isn't going to fund the memorial but is instead really going into Pollara's or her friends' pockets .

CheshireKitty said...

Yet: Question - Is anyone from RI, including RIOC officials, ever invited to FFP special events?

FFP might as well not be on RI for all the involvement or interest it shows in our community.

Representatives from RI including the hospitals, should be invited and not be made to pay an exorbitant donation. That includes representatives from Goldwater-Coler.

RI is not a champagne and caviar island - and guess what? FDR was not a champagne and caviar kind of guy.

Far from it. The champagne and caviar set feted on RI have long hated FDR since he repeatedly and successfully turned the tables on the rich. The rich still can't get over FDR's innovations like Social Security, unemployment insurance, and many other actions that were pro-labor for example.

All of FDR's social safety net programs still rankle the champagne and caviar set that is invited to party on his memorial (though most of them don't refuse the Social Security pension when they reach age 65 even though they don't need it).

If anyone should be invited to the fundraisers, it should be kids from RI PS 217, disabled individuals from the hospitals, and residents or their representatives including those in RIOC. If anything, it was FDR's progressive and reform-minded thinking that led to the UDC and the GDP.

But this isn't recognized by the FFP crowd. They ignore us and in so doing ignore one of the key aspect's of FDR's legacy: He wasn't advocating the Four Freedoms in opposition to fascism for a globe run for the benefit of the champagne and caviar set. As the FFP website says: He looked forward to a world founded on four human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

He was advocating the Four Freedoms for countries freed from the tyranny of fascism and heartless capitalism. Countries would not only extend freedom of speech, expression, worship, but also freedom from want in the form of a helping hand to the elderly, disabled, and so forth - instead of letting them die in the street which is what the champagne and caviar set prefer. The additional freedoms FDR advocated which are not in our Bill of Rights but should be are freedom from want and freedom from fear.

For FDR, it was as much a struggle to get Social Security and unemployment insurance and the NLRB etc etc as it was to beat the fascists overseas. FDR's struggle both overseas and at home proved that only if both fascism and the uglier aspects of capitalism are beaten is it possible to have all Four Freedoms.

That was the enduring legacy of FDR, which the champagne and caviar set still maneuver day and night to undermine, finds ways to weaken,and so forth.

The wiles of legions of high-priced lobbyists peopling Washington that are paid for by the rich, and the rich corporations - what do you think they are in Washington for? They aren't there to make things better for us, they are there to improve things for them - the rich, and the rich corporations, the champagne and caviar set.

That is why it's so ironic that an FDR memorial is used as the setting for fund-raising, perhaps dubious fund-raising - which excludes representatives from RI itself.

YetAnotherRIer said...

So many words about nothing again. I do not know if anybody from the island has been to upscale FFP events or not. I personally don't really care. Thing is, it is a good back drop for fundraising and it is being used for that. No big deal.

CheshireKitty said...

Does anybody know if comparable galas take place at the FDR Memorial in DC, or even at the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials? How would you feel about it if a bunch of moneyed big shots sat around swilling champagne at the Lincoln Memorial - with no provision made for the ordinary people to attend? Both the Lincoln and the Jefferson Memorials are in wonderful settings, aren't they? Maybe the rich class should organize rich-only galas there - just like you say.

FFP people, in their website, under their Rules section, talk about how visitors must "quietly stroll" on the memorial in order to "preserve its sanctity".

Hah: I don't see the FFP Garden Party attendees respecting "its sanctity". They seem to be having a great time downing liquor and fine eats. Check out the photos for yourself http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/news/entry/sunset-garden-party

Ratso123 said...

I agree. It is a memorial and it is a very peaceful place. It wasn't built for people to spend the entire day. .If you want a picnic or need a bathroom you go into South Point park. It's right there.

CheshireKitty said...

It is a memorial that was "sold" to us as a park.

Even so, somebody should find out if Kahn himself envisioned it as purely a memorial. Were there renderings of the project by Kahn that included seating? For example, there is seating (a marble bench) included in the Jefferson Memorial. There is no seating provided in the Lincoln Memorial but a ledge there is used by visitors to rest. Of course these major sites provide rest room facilities, Ratso.

CheshireKitty said...

So you agree with FFP that it shouldn't have invited any of us - including RIOC people - to its Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony on May 27th? The local press wasn't even informed of that event.

Check out the story as it appeared in the blog : http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2013/05/its-memorial-day-thank-you-for-your.html

Better yet, look at the photos of the ceremony from the FFP website http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/news/entry/memorial-day

Recognize anyone from RI in these photos?

Frank Farance said...

Does FFP comply with the GDP? It says "The Open Space Areas [which includes all of Southpoint] will be interlinked by a system of pedestrian paths and walkways. The entire waterfront of the Island will be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists on a Waterfront Promenade suitable for use by emergency vehicles. ... The Waterfront Promenade will serve pedestrians and cyclists.".

The GDP (General Development Plan) is normatively referenced (included) in the Island's Master Lease, i.e., it is required by the lease between the City and the State. The GDP describes the overall layout of Roosevelt Island, its residential complexes, its open spaces, and its parks. The GDP is the governing document that states, essentially, where one can put residential buildings, and preserves the space and character of the Island's park lands.

So it sounds to me like bicycles should be permitted (possibly up to the point of the FDR bust), right? Just like Lighthouse Park.

Frank Farance said...

FFP's 2011 IRS Form 990 is available at "http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/452/452716646/452716646_201112_990.pdf"

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123: Having features of an NPS kinda park might be what people want: regular access with regular activities (say, not too different than Lincoln/Jefferson memorials). Even permitting for special events might be done in a normal way (as it is done with other parks). Right now, this seems (especially considering the Island-wide impact of FFP's ferry service) to be prioritized for what the FFP conservancy wants, and not what the Island needs, and not what the State wants, e.g., for other State parks, the priority is the *users* of the park, not gala events for a few people.

YetAnotherRIer said...

" How would you feel about it if a bunch of moneyed big shots sat around swilling champagne at the Lincoln Memorial - with no provision made for the ordinary people to attend?"

Nothing, because I am not envious of people with money. This is the country we live in. I'll do my own events, with my own people, bringing my own champagne if needed.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Yes, I agree that the FFP folks can do whatever they want with the park as long as the general public has access to the place. And I wouldn't even mind if they shut the park down for an event and reopen it later on. It is not my park. If I wanted it to be mine I would have become a donor.

CheshireKitty said...

That's not the point - whether or not you are envious of people with money. It's using a spot that is supposed to be sacred - or as sacred as a secular spot can be - as a setting for a party. It turns out the Lincoln Memorial itself isn't used for this purpose, although a Millennium-related event was held at the base of the Memorial in Dec 1999.

Would you feel the same way about a party at the Tomb of the Unknown? That wouldn't bother you?

YetAnotherRIer said...

Listen, you have your own interpretation of the purpose of the FFP. I have mine. For me, FFP is not sacred. End of story.

OldRossie said...

wait... in previous discussions you eluded to the fact that you don't work...

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: I agree with you than it isn't a sacred site, and I agree with you that I'm not envious of the fancy parties and I'm not upset that I/neighbors haven't been invited.

What I find troubling is:

(1) they (FFP) are making plans to put up ferry service, they have not considered the impact to the rest of the Island, RIOC appears to be hands off, and us current/future residents have a stake in this because it can detract from the viability of ferry service to the pier (across from the subway); and

(2) they impose unreasonable restrictions upon us regular users (no juice boxes, milk, or formula for kids; no bicycles when they are easily accommodated in a similar configuration/space at Lighthouse Park; other parks don't have these kinds of unreasonable restrictions).

So a parent (who is responsible, does not litter, and takes his/her trash out) visiting the park with a 2-year old in a stroller with a sippy cup (of juice/milk/etc.), must empty out all their stuff at the park's entrance (with no place to keep it) as they enter the park. What purpose are those restrictions serving? (Please, I know you and I have had disagreements about stroller age, and other parenting ideas ... let's not digress into that discussion, you know the points I'm making, right?)

My sense is that we should have use of the park like other parks. I'm not suggesting we permit skateboards on the walls, but what is the food problem if people take care of their trash? Maybe no consumption of food at The Room is reasonable, but no *possession* of food in the park itself? They should go to 60 Centre Street and watch how people eat lunch on the courthouse steps.

Ratso123 said...

I'm not sure what your concern is with the ferry service. Since I've lived here this was always a "talked about issue". When the Tram was being fixed Martinez and friends were going to look into it. Before that it was going to be examined by this one and that one.. When the B shuttle was running to 34th Street and sometimes 2nd Avenue, it was brought up. If the FFP people can cut a deal for ferry service-good for them.

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123: It has been talked about for a while, but in the past several years, there has been more serious thought on ferry service. We've also learned more about the financials, the permitting, and the practical aspects (I gave the link to an excellent study by RIOC): if we have one stop, it's less likely that we'll have multiple stops.

So having a ferry stop at FFP might mean no other stops on RI.

Having a stop at FFP is impractical for most people living here because it is far away from the transportation hub ... which defeats the purpose of making ferry service a transportation option.

It seems as if FFP is ignoring the significant planning work done previously on the ferry.

Ratso123 said...

The ferry they are proposing is for transportation to and from FFP. I don't think that it is being designed to service the residents going to and from work. People should be upset that our elected city reps haven't been able to devise a viable plan for ferry service to and from RI. According to what I have observed and what you have said, it has been studied for over 20 years, with still no plan. As far as the FFP ferry goes, if the purpose is to transport people to and from the park, then I think that is where it should dock. The residents will continue to take the Tram, subway, bus or drive.

CheshireKitty said...

Tax is taken out of Social security pensions, if that's what YetAnother receives.

CheshireKitty said...

There was a ferry from RI to Wall St Pier 11 one summer in '87 or '88. It was a re purposed mail boat from Maine. One day, the engine kicked out and it drifted up to the area of the Octagon and crashed slightly. A rope was tied around it and it was pulled in and the passengers de-boarded. That was when the ferry service ended.

CheshireKitty said...

Yet, the FFP conservancy refers to "its sanctity" on its website - it's the reason visitors - including kids - are not allowed to run or speak loudly.

The FFP conservancy hypocritically forbids standard park-going activities to ordinary visitors because of "its sanctity". Somehow, "its sanctity" is not an issue when the well-heeled party at the same site.

OldRossie said...

Apologies, I was referring to CheshireKitty not working, in effort to question the "taxpayer" status.

CheshireKitty said...

Believe me taxes are taken out of all pensions, retirement funds etc., Social security - you never get out of paying taxes. Even unemployment insurance is taxed.

CheshireKitty said...

If it is a park, then FFP should permit everything that is done at a regular park. The sloped surfaces should be used by skateboarders. Visitors should be allowed to sit on the steps - and benches should be installed. Food and drink should be allowed and trashcans made available. That is - if FFP is actually a park.

If it is a memorial, as FFP conveniently claims in mandating its rules for the ordinary visitors, then "its sanctity" must be respected - by all, including making it off limits to high-priced fund-raising galas. How can "its sanctity" be in effect sometime but not other times? Educational events might be permitted on the premises, but nothing that might detract from "its sanctity".

CheshireKitty said...

Even though it's listed as a State Park and is actually called Four Freedoms Park, it is not a park. It's a memorial.

The expectation is visitors quietly walk up to room, read the inscription, pay their respects to the memory of FDR, and depart.

If headgear were de rigueur as in the past, FFP would expect male visitors to remove their hats to show respect.

There is no way regular park-going activities can be accommodated at the site - just as visitors are expected to show a certain degree of decorum at the memorials in Washington. If interested, check out this story on the controversy re dancing (as a form of expression) within the Jefferson Memorial (it isn't allowed). http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2011/06/national-park-service-responds-dancing-thomas-jefferson-memorial8251

The irony is that the same spot - FFP - undergoes a complete transformation when the rich arrive with their open check-books: Suddenly, and only in their presence, the memorial loses "its sanctity". For them alone tables are set with gleaming china and sparkling wine goblets, from which they can enjoy a fine meal while taking in the view, marveling at the architecture while laughing at "its sanctity".

CheshireKitty said...

So you agree with FFP that the park is not entirely a public park even if it is jointly operated by the State of NY and the FFP conservancy?

And that as such, the FFP can shut the park to the public for private fund-raisers, despite the notion of "its sanctity" the FFP conservancy invokes as the justification for enforcing certain rules of behavior for the general public within the park boundaries?

You say that because it is a privately-controlled memorial, it is OK that there are different levels of decorum/behavior allowed - according to the socio-economic level of the visitor or guest.

You say it is OK that the rich get to enjoy a sit-down meal complete with fine liquor at a fund-raising party at FFP whereas the poor are only allowed to stand at the same location - because "its sanctity" is "real" or must be "respected" only when the public is around, according to the FFP conservancy's website - which lists both the rules for the general public alongside photographs of invited wealthy guests enjoying "its sanctity" along with fine wine and food.

This is all OK with you because of the degree of private ownership of FFP: If the FFP conservancy owns FFP, then it has the right to turn on and off "its sanctity" and the rules it enforces to honor the memorial, as it sees fit.

It Is OK for FFP to occasionally invite wealthy friends to relax and party at the memorial, whereas when the general public (who may even include FFP donors) visits, FFP removes accommodation such as seating. You agree with this statement, right Yet?

Therefore, the memorial is more a private memorial site than a public park.

Since it is a private memorial, this makes it OK for "its sanctity" to be in effect or "genuine" only when the public is allowed in, whereas the memorial loses "its sanctity" and reverts to "it's party-time" when the rich are invited in. It must be something about the whiff of money that dispels "its sanctity" huh, Yet?

The memorial, since it is a private memorial to FDR, only requires the decorum appropriate to "its sanctity" when the public visit. Otherwise, it can be used as a party site, even rented out as a party site - because as a party site, the FFP will temporarily suspend the notion of "its sanctity" while funds are being raised. This is analogous to permitting the simple granite block at the DC Archives that also memorializes FDR to be used as a table to serve pizza to wealthy invited donors. You would have to say that if the block were owned by the FFP, this would be perfectly OK to do, despite the usual "notion" of "its sanctity" and the fact that the block is ordinarily known as an FDR memorial. Yet: In temporarily losing "its sanctity" according to the presence of the rich or poor, is the granite block then really only a mere pizza table? If the same block is a mere pizza table one day but a solemn memorial the next, can you blame the public for questioning the genuineness of "its sanctity" at any time or day?

So this is what FFP conservancy tells us: Because the FFP conservancy (effectively) owns the site (despite it being jointly operated by the State of NY and the FFP conservancy) the conservancy is fully within its rights to solely mandate when the site is in "its sanctity" or when it is in "its profane" state. The State of NY and the public must respect the varying condition of the memorial, which can only be effectuated by the conservancy, as it sees fit. Thus, a poor child with grape juice is forced to pour out the grape juice, because the memorial is in "its sanctity" when the poor are around. But a rich donor is free to guzzle fermented grape juice on the same spot, because "its sanctity" notionally disappears when the rich are around. Does that correctly reflect your thinking, Yet?

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