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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Scenes From Today's Roosevelt Island Residents Assocation Cherry Blossom Festival - A Celebration Of Japanese Culture


The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Cherry Blossom Festival took place earlier today with attendance estimates of over 4500 people visiting the performances at FDR Four Freedoms Park


and the Cherry Blossom Walk For Hope Food Vending area adjacent to Goldwater Hospital.


The day began with opening remarks from Roosevelt Island resident Jim Luce acting as host for the events at the FDR Park. Mr Luce introduced the Japanese Ambassador Shigiyuki Hiroki , Roosevelt Island's Assembly Member Micah Kellner and RIRA's Lynn Shinozaki (who was the prime organizer of this event) followed by the NY Taiko Aiko Kai Japanese drummers



and the Koto & Shamisen ensemble – Masayo Ishigure & Miyabi.



Here's a sample from Rabbit New York of the good time had by those 4500 people in attendance.



Will have more video of the day's highlights coming up.

UPDATE 4/14 -  More from the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Representatives from the FDR Four Freedoms Park spoke,



an explanation of the Japanese Koto tradition followed by former RIRA President Matt Katz extolling the virtues of Roosevelt Island,



a Karate demonstration by Long Island City based RESOBOX,



Jim Luce announcing attendance statistics, Roosevelt Island organizations, introducing



a performance of contemporary Japanese music by Neo Blues Maki



and a walk through the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms and Japanese Street Vendors.



The Stewardship Report has the complete program listing:
Japanese Drums – Taiko Aikokai (11:30am – 12:00pm)

Koto & Shamisen ensemble – Masayo Ishigure & Miyabi (12:20pm – 1:00pm)

Traditional Dance – Ichifuji Kai (1:20pm – 2:00pm)

Iaido & Karate performance – RESOBOX (2:10pm – 3:10pm)

“Enka” Folk Music – Neo Blues Maki (3:20pm – 4:00pm)

Shamisen string ensemble – Kicyo Kai (4:20pm- 5:00pm)
Good times.

Roosevelt Island Garden Club Controversy Makes Front Page Of New York Times Today - Sex, Adultery, Misspending & Bullying Charges, Who Would Have Thunk It?

 Image of Disputed RIGC President April Ward In Garden From Ángel Franco/The New York Times

It's hard to believe but the Roosevelt Island Garden Club insurrection, first reported here almost two weeks ago, was the subject of a NY Times front page story today.

According to the NY Times:
It started with the accusations of sex behind the back pond. Of late-night parties that begot stitches and adultery. Favoritism. Misspending. Bullying...

... So goes life these days at the Roosevelt Island Garden Club, where palace intrigue surrounding the garden presidency has grown as abundant as the daffodils, organic vegetables and lazy cats that populate this speck of earth in the middle of the New York City map.

This is no garden-variety garden dispute. After all, in a neighborhood where most people are renters, a patch of flowers and shrubbery to call one’s own is no insignificant thing — especially when the waiting list for such a plot can outstrip the lines for the most coveted kindergartens....
Click here for the entire article and here for previous posts on subject.

Huge Lines At Roosevelt Island Tram Today - No F Train Service To Manhattan And Overwhelming Crowds From Cherry Blossom Festival The Reason

Huge lines at the Roosevelt Island Tram Station this afternoon.

 Waiting To Board The Roosevelt Island Tram This Afternoon

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
The Roosevelt Island Tramway is experiencing higher than usual passenger volume due to the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival. This has caused some overcrowding on the platform. The Public Safety Department is limiting the number of passengers allowed onto the tram platform at any one time until such time as the passenger volume decreases.
Roosevelt Island NYC Council Candidate Ben Kallos tweets:
Yes we do.

Piotr Olszewski Photo Exhibition At Gallery RIVAA's Octagon Gallery, A Panorama Of Roosevelt Island's Unique Characteristics - Wear A Flower To Reception Today From 3-6 PM

Image From Piotr R. Olszewski

Received the following invitation for a new Gallery RIVAA exhibit at the Octagon Gallery:
As Roosevelt Island celebrates its Annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival on April 13th, Piotr R. Olszewski, member of Roosevelt Island’s RIVVA Gallery cordially invites to the opening of his photography exhibition, which will take place at the Octagon Gallery (888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island) from 3 to 6 pm.

Drinks and delicacies from the Polish cuisine prepared by Bratek Deli of Garfield, NJ will be served.

Guests are encouraged to wear flowers to the exhibition – in your hair, lapel, around your neck, on the arm... wherever you wish!

The exhibit, which will remain open until May 26th, will feature at least eight large photographs representing the most characteristic and unique elements of the Roosevelt Island’s panorama such like the tram, Japanese cherry blossom trees, Queensboro Bridge or the lighthouse.

Image From Piotr Olszewski

A couple of dozen smaller photographs from the island will be displayed on a digital screen. The artist also plans a small happening or installation during the opening.

“Roosevelt Island is an exceptionally picturesque and magical part of New York City, but still pretty much uncovered and little acknowledged. Its interesting location between Manhattan and Queens, with the view on North Brooklyn, combined with unique history and character make the Island a fascinating place to be and photograph,” says Piotr Roland Olszewski, who often visits the island and captures its beauty and uniqueness with the lens of his camera.

Polish-born Piotr Roland Olszewski, photographer and a performance artist, has lived in the New York area for over 20 years.

He has presented his work at numerous exhibitions in Poland, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Japan, Argentina and the United States.

Currently his work can be seen at various group exhibitions held throughout a year at RIVAA Gallery in Roosevelt Island, which he has been a member of for the past three years.

“Photography by Piotr R. Olszewski”

The Octagon Gallery, 888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

Exhibition opening: April 13th, 2013 @3-6 pm

The exhibition will be on view until May 26th, 2013

Free

Friday, April 12, 2013

Again, No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend April 12 -15


According to the MTA:
F Coney Island-bound trains run via the M from Roosevelt Av to 47-50 Sts

Weekend, 11:15 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Apr 12 - 15

Trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.

No Coney Island-bound F service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.
More information on subway service disruptions this weekend from the MTA's Weekender.

The NY Post reports:
Good luck getting anywhere in the five boroughs this weekend. Nearly every train line will be affected by construction interruptions this weekend.

Starting at 11:30 tonight, the MTA said the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, A, C, E, F, G, J, M, N, R, and S lines will see changes at some point over the next two days as part of the Capital Rebuilding Program. Check with mta.info for further updates over the weekend....

Demise Of Roosevelt Island's Homogenous Red Storefront Signage Begins Today With Trashing Of Public Safety Department Sign - Retailers Can Now Use Whatever Colors They Want

The demise of Roosevelt Island's homogeneous red Main Street retail storefront signage began today starting with removal


 and upside down trashing


of the Public Safety Department sign at 550 Main Street.

Main Street Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer explained the new signage policy during April 2 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting. According to Mr. Kramer:
... Every retailer can do whatever they want, that we are providing a certain platform which is to have a flat sign across that is lit and whatever they want to do within the rectangle they can do...

... we have some suggested colors...


Here's a final remembrance to Roosevelt Island's Main Street signage from 2009 post:

Main Street Image Of Roosevelt Island Is The Village From Glark
Roosevelt Island's drab, dreary and depressing Main Street has often been compared to East Berlin prior to the fall of the Wall or even The Village from the great British Television program The Prisoner. Glark, a blogger recently visiting Roosevelt Island wrote:
This morning I got up early and explored the half of Roosevelt Island I missed on my first trip to this weirdo bit on earth in the East River. Main Street in so late 60s and early 70s it made my teeth ache. It’s all concrete and metal siding, rundown and aesthetically homogeneous. It’s like a English village via Soviet Russia. It’s the New York version of The Village from the cult TV series The Prisoner. It’s fascinating that it is so close to Manhattan and yet worlds apart....
So long Main Street Red Storefront Signage.

iDig2Learn Celebrates Love Your Block Love Your Earth With Roosevelt Island Family Friendly Outdoor Plantings And Fun Activities On April 20 - Sign Up And Register


Roosevelt Island resident Christina Delfico is the founder of iDig2Learn:
A hands-on program where children explore science, math and healthy food through plant life.
Image From iDig2Learn

According to iDig2Learn:
iDig2Learn's purpose is to unite the community around the idea that city children benefit greatly from time outdoors in nature using their environment to explore science, math and the origin of food through plant life.

​iDig2Learn believes that working together to create green spaces, including science gardens, builds knowledge and creates another source of interest that will strengthen the bonds of friendship in diverse communities for years to come.

​iDig2Learn provides an environment in a real world setting that excites children about food they can grow. Often city children do not get to connect with nature and this educational garden program is a hands on experience within their natural world....
Ms. Delfico is inviting the Roosevelt Island Community to:
Save the date . . . Saturday, April 20th

Love Your Block, Love Our Earth - Come on out to this family friendly event on Saturday, April 20th. Join the festivities with flower power as we celebrate Earth Day and plant outdoors together and participate in fun activities. Make your mark. Beautify our island.

Event activities include planting colorful flowers, uncovering the Earth's treasure with an archaeological dig activity, creating sculpture from nature and an art project to celebrate our Earth and more. This will be a fun day outdoors rain or shine and a great way to show some love to our island, our little patch of Earth.

10 AM activities begin for K to 3rd grade

1PM activities for 4th through 6th grade

There are 2 ways to register, find the iDig2Learn table at the Cherry Blossom Festival on April 13, 2013 or email iDig2Learn@gmail.com directly.

Check in, day of will be on the ground floor of the Motorgate Gallery next to Gristedes beginning at 9:45 AM for the 10 am session and 12:45 pm for the 1 pm session.

iDig2Learn is organizing this event with a grant from Citizens Committee for NYC and NYC Service in collaboration with Roosevelt Island PTA, RI Youth Program, P.S./ I.S. 217, RIOC, RIRA, Gristedes, Manhattan Park, Urban American, The Hudson Companies, Starbucks and others.

Please be aware that the event has been adjusted slightly because of aproposed construction plan to renovate the large rectangular bed area in the bus turnaround plaza to solve leakage problems and create wheelchair sidewalk ramps. So since the area may be boarded off the bed in summer we will focus our "beautifying" to the curbside sidewalk area close to Gristedes, add more planters on that Gristedes side, filling them in with beautiful plants, flowers & evergreens.
Have fun digging to learn.


More on iDig2Learn from their web site



and from Ms. Delfico's presentation at the April 3 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Session.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Roosevelt Island Garden Club Opens Tomorrow But Leadership Controversy Remains - Does NY State Public Authorities Act Require RIOC To Issue RFP Prior To Renewing Expired Garden Club Permit?

Reported previously on the insurrection over leadership at the Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC),

Image From April Ward

allegations of inappropriate behavior by some RIGC members and the recent fire that burned down a RIGC shed. All of this controversy plus the expiration of the RIGC's permit resulted in the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) keeping the garden closed. Until tomorrow. According to this RIOC advisory issued earlier today:
Please be advised the Community Garden will re-open Friday, April 12th at 7:30 AM.

Sincerely,

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

In addition, RIOC also sent this notice to RIGC members:
For the next thirty days beginning tomorrow, Friday, April 12th, access to the garden will be provided to Club Members from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM. Locks will be placed on each of the five entry gates of the garden, providing for one entry point near the comfort station, and will be unlocked and locked by Public Safety Officers at the opening and closing times. In addition, a sign will be created and placed in several areas around the vicinity of the garden stating the following:

"The Garden Club will be open from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM Daily. Trespassers will be summonsed accordingly."

We expect a Land Use Agreement to be executed no later than May 17, 2013. If an agreement is not in place by then, we will revisit our decision to open to Garden.
Today I asked RIOC :
I understand that the RIGC permit has expired and that RIOC is allowing the Garden to open tomorrow.

Does the NY State Public Authorities Act require RIOC to issue a Request For Proposal before they can issue a new permit for the land currently occupied by the RIGC?

If that is true, when does RIOC intend to issue RFP for the land currently occupied by the RIGC?
No response yet from RIOC.

Below is April 2 RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee (Audio Web Cast of meeting is here) discussion of RIGC controversy.



During the discussion, the RIOC Directors reported that it was not their job to decide internal leadership at the RIGC but RIOC Director Fay Christian stated that it was their job to make sure that "equity" was maintained in the operation of the garden. RIOC Director David Kraut also noted that he thought it a bad idea to allow non Roosevelt Island residents to hold plots at the Garden and that policy should be changed.

Here is a portion of RIGC April 3 meeting showing the leadership dispute between supporters of April Ward and Ron Schuppert.



RIGC Secretary Karen Lee commented today:
The only thing i can say is that 83 members signed a document recognizing and accepting the current Officers and Executive Board and these were submitted to RIOC for their information in the last few days.
That is
President- Ron Schuppert
Vice President- Susan Sinisi
Secretary- Karen Lee
Treasurer- Alexis Villafane

The Exec Committee also includes the Chairs of our Standing Committees as stated in our by-laws

Rose Garden- Marjorie Marcallino
Publicity and Publications- Edward Litcher
Standards- Neal Weissman
Park Maintenance- Vaughn Anglesey
Audit and President Emeritus- Ali Schwayri

We are happy that our gardeners will finally get to do what they love to do -garden.
Stay tuned to see what happens next.

Hudson Related's David Kramer Provides RIOC With Update On Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Progress - Arcade Transformation, Window Removal, Trellis Renovation, Public Library Lease, Signage & More

During April 2 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting (audio web cast of meeting is here), Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer provided an update on Main Street retail retail progress.


Mr. Kramer reported that the big news is that Hudson Related will immediately begin to:

... transform the Arcade Experience with wood ceiling, different light fixtures and opening up the space... provide some lighting for the signage...
Here's Mr. Kramer on the Arcade Transformation.



Later in the meeting Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Retail Subcommittee Chair Susan Marcus asked Mr. Kramer what the best strategy would be to fight him on removing the Westview Arcade Windows. After some laughter Mr. Kramer jokingly suggested some
... Civil Disobedience...
and then stated his long held position for removing the Arcade windows:
... we need the approval of the building owner and to the extent the building owner doesn't grant the approval, that would stop us in our tracks us and that would be a huge mistake...

...I would suggest you and your band of advocates wait until you see how it looks at Eastwood...  I have never  been particularly swayed by the argument that the diagonally slanting rain needs to be protected by intermittent window panels where there is space in between where there isn't window panels and at some point you leave the Arcade and then you are not protected at all...

... I encourage you guys to have an open mind before you hold rallies in front of Westview owners residence to take a look at how it turns out at Eastwood...
Here's Mr. Kramer on the removal of window arcades.



Ms. Marcus provides this summary of Mr. Kramer's full presentation.
  • construction on new lights and wood ceilings should begin very soon
  • lights will be put behind signs
  • signs must be same shape but store owner can use own colors and designs
  • Eastwood is being insulated
  • empty store front windows will have new film put on them like the deli
  • Trellis' plans were rejected because they went beyond the actual store to the street. H/R is giving Trellis generous amount of time to come up with new plans.
  • New Market will be opening soon. What soon is was unclear.
  • Liquor store has license but will not be worked on until market is open
  • Library lease is moving forward but still an issue with windows at 504. Lease has yet to be signed.
  • H/R is willing to partition the top of 504
  • Kiosks are still in the planning stage. H/R is thinking of using a vendor the city is using. Will be fancy electronic ones. Not sure about concrete ones that we are using now. May take a handful of years to install the new electronic ones.
  • a bakery may be close to signing a lease
  • Hardware store is still in the middle of a slow eviction process
  • No news on Thrift Store and is not a big concern of H/R at this time.
Here's the full discussion on Roosevelt Island Main Street retail update with Mr. Kramer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sudden Storm Darkens Sky Over Roosevelt Island and East River - Then Comes The Rain

Within a matter of minutes


the sky above Roosevelt Island


got dark and the wind


started blowing and then the rain came.


Hope you did not get caught in the rain.



RIOC reports the Tram was briefly out of service but is now running.

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:



Now, who'll stop the rain.

Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival This Saturday April 13 - Features Japanese Culture, Food, Shopping & Lots More Including Spring Wine Tasting From Culinary Lab

UPDATE 12/14 - Here are scenes from yesterday's Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival.

April 10 Post begins below.

Image From Piotr R. Olszewski

Reported previously on the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) third annual Cherry Blossom Festival to take place Saturday April 13:
... 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

sce@riraonline.com
Roosevelt Island Cherry Tree Row By Goldwater Hospital Seen From The Tram in 2012

The date is soon upon us and RIRA has sent out this invitation to everyone:
Travel to Japan when you attend The Third Annual Cherry Blossoms Festival, featuring multiple Japanese cultural, food and shopping activities, on Roosevelt Island on Saturday, April 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The East River Promenade and its cherry blossom trees are the setting for a street fair with booths of food, merchandise and nonprofit organizations from 10:00 am to 7:45 pm.

World class music performances will take place from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at FDR Four Freedoms Park.

Highlights include:
  • Special activities for children: origami, calligraphy, Manga drawing
  • Traditional Japanese food for purchase
  • Folk and classical Japanese music performances
  • Women dressed in kimonos and men wearing traditional Japanese clothing
  • Traditional tea ceremony.
All activities are FREE and open to the public.

Savor a wine tasting and food pairing from the Culinary Lab at Gallery RIVAA (527 Main Street), from 4:00 pm to 9:30 pm, for a suggested donation of $30.

RIRA's Social Cultural& Educational Committee Chair Lynn Strong Shinozaki adds:
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association welcomes neighbors and visitors alike to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossom trees and experience diverse aspects of Japanese culture.
Here are some scenes of Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival


from prior years.


You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival Musical Performance 


You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival

More here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Come With Me On A NYC Waterfront Cruise Of The Hudson and East River, Fantastic Views On A Beautiful Sunny Day - Temporary Ferry Service May Be Coming To FDR Park

I attended the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's Leadership For Our City Of Water Conference today. The Conference took place on the Hornblower Infinity yacht as it cruised the Hudson and East River past the World Trade Center, Statue Of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Come along with me for a brief view of today's NYC waterfront cruise.



Click on the full screen and the view is simply stunning.

A NYC Economic Development Corp (EDC) representative told me that East River Ferry service is still being studied for Roosevelt Island, is likely to happen but not this year. Could be in 2 years. A Coast Guard representative told me that the Coast Guard has expressed no objection to a ferry dock located on the East River West Channel (Manhattan Side) which some have said was the case.

Will have more on the conference including information on long awaited ferry service to Roosevelt Island soon.

During March 12 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting (audio web cast of meeting is here), representatives of the FDR Four Freedoms Park asked for permission to install a temporary ferry dock and ferry service for this summer on the East Channel next to the Strecker Lab in Southpoint Park. The FDR Park would pay for the dock. The RIOC Directors expressed approval for the proposal and gave the FDR Park permission to try and obtain any necessary approvals for this temporary dock and ferry service.

As I noted near the end of the discussion, RIOC's Ferry Consultant Ocean and Coastal Consultants had previously concluded that a ferry dock near the FDR Park was the worst possible location for Roosevelt Island residents. The RIOC Directors chose not to address that question during the discussion.

Here's the discussion.



The proposed temporary FDR Park Ferry service is not part of the NYC East River service for Roosevelt Island discussed by EDC officials.

What Roosevelt Island Issues Should New RIOC President Charlene Indelicato Address In Her First Month?


New RIOC President Charlene Indelicato Addressing RIOC Board and Community For First Time

A Roosevelt Island resident asks a good question:
What issues, concerns and problems should RIOC President Indelicato address in her first month?

Public Safety
Subway service
Election of RIOC Board members
Cornell contribution to infrastructure
Main Street retail
Tourism
Signage
I would add privatization of Rivercross, Westview and Island House as well as management of parks and public spaces.

What do you think - any thoughts?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Update From RICC, Cherry Blossom Volunteers Sought, Earth Day Celebration, Public Safety March and Forum, Condolences & More


2/26 RIOC Operations Committee Meeting Discussion With RICC On Cornell NYC Tech Negotiations

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
Condolences

We were saddened to hear that Public Safety Officer Frensheria D. Michael died this week. The RIRA Public Safety committee issued the following statement: “On behalf of the Residents Association Common Council and all residents of Roosevelt Island, the RIRA Public Safety Committee extends its condolences to the family of Officer Michael and to the Public Safety Department who have lost a colleague and friend. Her untimely death is a tragedy not just for her family but for all of us. She represented the friendly professionalism and integration into the community that we want to have in our Public Safety Department. She will be missed.”

Officer Michael’s death is a sad and grim reminder to make each day a little kinder and our world a little happier; ever keeping in mind that each day counts. The month of April is jammed with events. RIRA members have been dedicating hours to causes that are important to community betterment.

Cherry Blossom Festival needs volunteers

Saturday April 13 from 10am to 7:45 pm., The Festival will take place on the Cherry tree lined promenade in front of Goldwater Hospital and into Four Freedoms Park where we will have our performances. Vendors from Japan Block Fair will sell their products. You will have opportunities to support your Roosevelt Island charities.

We need volunteers to staff the check-in table at 7:45am to 11am at the Tram. More volunteers are needed for shifts helping the musicians navigate with their instruments around the Island, with setting up and breaking down the children’s interactive tents and the calligraphy and origami tents. We will also need help at the Charities tables. To volunteer, email Lynne sce-chair@riraonline.com

Love your block, Love your Earth event needs volunteers

Saturday, April 20. Love Your Block, Love Your Earth will introduce young people and their parents to the joys and beauty of landscaping. They will revitalize the sterile Gristedes plaza into Gorgeous Gristedes plaza. Christina Delfico an award winning television producer, and grant winner for this event sent me this invitation:

“Join this family friendly event as we use flower power to beautify the area outside of Motorgate and celebrate Earth Day. Activities include planting colorful flowers, uncovering the Earth's treasure with an archaeological dig activity, creating sculpture from nature and an art project to celebrate our Earth and more. This will be a fun day outdoors rain or shine and a great way to show some love to our Island, our little patch of Earth.”

Activities for K to third grade begin at 10am.

Activities for for fourth through sixth grade begin at 2pm”

Registration is two ways: find the iDig2Learn table at the Cherry Blossom Festival on April 13, 2013 or
email iDig2Learn@gmail.com directly.

Check in, day of will be on the ground floor of the Motorgate Gallery next to Gristedes beginning at 9:45 AM.

Public Safety invites participants to joint the march and attend the Forum

Sunday April 21, - The RIRA Public Safety Committee is planning a march and educational forum to inform the community about the progress they are making. Look for signs and posters.

The committee has reached out to and met with elected officials to present our concerns and to enlist their support.. RIOC is in the process of hiring an auditor to evaluate Public Safety Department. We are getting more details on individual incidents and formalizing our complaints to give to the auditor.

We have reached out to and met with elected officials for their support. The committee urges the community to think about the kind of public safety they would like to see on the Island. We will be reaching out in the near future to plan the elicit your thoughts on the kind of Public Safety that would enhance our lives rather than impede it.

Roosevelt Island Community Coalition - City Council hearing on Cornell NYCTech is on April 30 at 10 am at City Hall. For the last time, RICC will be testifying on the needs of the community. This is the last and most important step of the long haul that is a Uniform Land Use Review Process ( ULURP) process. City Council will determine what requirements are put into the final agreement with Cornell allowing them to build. It is also the most painful because it is the final sprint in a marathon of windsprints. Since last August, we had to run as fast as we could to organize the community, set up a not-for-profit corporation, and plan for each of 5 different all-out massive presentations of various types in front of different governing bodies present the community’s needs. We did this with a team of volunteers and community groups against Cornell, a giant who has large resources to hire the best experts and lobbyists. We volunteers have been keeping up. This is the final sprint. I have to admit that I am tired. We all are. But just like in a marathon, people, dredge up the energy for the final sprint, we need to do just that.

Community Board 8 - I have been reappointed to Community Board 8 for a second two year term. We have lost three Roosevelt Island long standing members on the CB8. Patrick Stewart and Deidre Breslin chose to retire this year and Sharon Pope retired last year. We therefore have lost three seats which are very hard to get back. Generally there is only one open seat each year. This disappointing news is what made me choose to remain on the Community Board for one more term despite my enormous volunteer commitment. There was no one else in the wings to take any of our places. I urge all islanders to consider stepping up to make a difference in the City. Young people are welcome and urged to participate. If you are thinking of a career in government or City Planning, the Community Board is an excellent introduction to City planning and politics. We make real decisions that change the landscape of the City. I will notify you when applications open again in the early winter. Meanwhile, anyone who is interested can join a committee by looking at the CB8m.com website and attending meetings that have interesting topics.

Easter Egg Hunt

The Easter Egg Hunt Committee produced a groundbreaking Easter Egg Hunt and fund raiser. Over 1000 children and parents participated at two age-separated sites. Attendance far exceeded our expectations. In the younger childrens event, we had more adults in the childrens’ area than children. It had become a full family event with parents and grandparents coming out to spend a special day with their children. This is likely to become a tradition.

Easter Egg Hunt Thank yous. A production the size and quality of the Easter Egg Hunt could not have been done without a huge number of person hours. Thanks Charlie Delfino and the Youth Center for all their help with this exciting youth event. A special shout-out goes to more than 50 volunteers for their hard work and combined thousands of hours needed to produce this event. Lynne Shinozaki, Lydia Tang, Eva Bosbach Nikki Leopold and Lynne’s assistant for the day Madison Rodriguez did a smashing job. Lynne wanted me to publicly thank the following people who made the event what it was: Our larger than life dynamic Easter Bunny, Dan Leinweber, The young adults, Janelle Hawkins, Esma Williams and the energetic young volunteers from Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Yun Woon, Jia Ying Mei, Carmen Tan, Angela Zheng, Kayla Tang. Two Middle School gentlemen Max Dorfmann, and Mark Shinozaki also spent the day helping. We had volunteers from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program and a huge group of community members who just showed up and helped. Many of the volunteers are a part of Eva Bosbach's Mothers network which also sold the most raffle tickets ; Nikki Leopold and Island Kids helped with expertise, people power and supplies. Our face painter Liyan Chen created hundreds of beautified happy bunny faces. Connie Tanner from RIVAA Gallery and her assistants Catherine Vithlani and Choe Mansour excelled at helping the children make gorgeous Easter bonnets. Between the bunny faces and the bonnets, the adorable children looked ecstatic. Early Moments Book Company heard of the event and donated 100 books. The under-three crowd who were too young to play with the plastic eggs was thrilled with their lavish illustrated gifts. Lt John Pappas and the Port Authority Canine unit did a show and demonstration and allowed petting of the dogs. For the older children’s event, the cotton candy was donated by the youth program and tee shirts for the older children were from Roosevelt Landing. Ben Kallos's Team stepped up to the plate that day when some volunteers didn't show up and did the registration for us. Starbucks provided the coffee and volunteers and Gristedes provided the food. We hope this exciting event will become an annual tradition.

Reach me for questions or suggestions at RIRAPRESIDEN@gmail.com

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Funeral Services For Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officer Frensheria Michael Monday Morning April 8 - She's Remembered By RIOC Director David Kraut And Acting RIOC President Donald Lewis

As previously reported, Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officer Frensheria Michael passed away March 31.

This evening, I received the following information from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Memorial services for Officer Frensheria Michael will be held tomorrow April 8, 2013 at Grace Funeral Chapel located at 607 North Conduit Blvd. Brooklyn, NY 11208.  The viewing will take place from 9-11AM with Funeral proceedings to follow.  For further information, including directions to the chapel, please visit gracefunerals.com or call (718) 235-8088.
During the April 4 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors, RIOC Director David Kraut remembered Officer Michael stating that:
... On a personal note, I missed her today I shall continue to miss her and I think the community will as well.


Acting RIOC President Don Lewis also expressed condolences to Officer Michael's family during the April 4 RIOC Board Meeting.



Condolences came from Roosevelt Island residents as well including:
  • She was a beautiful person ..My deepest sympathy and condolences to the family..
  • I am so sorry to see this, Officer Michael was a true asset to the community, she always had a smile and helpful, caring advice.. my deepest sympathy and prayers to her family...
  • OMG!!! Wow my condolences!!! She always was polite to me!!! Condolences to the family!!!
  • This is so sad, she was such a beautiful person. Condolences to the family.
  • OMG, she was a great lady, RIP
  • She became part of our community and was fair, respectful to all. She will be missed!
  • My husband and I are so sorry to hear this. We will miss her sweet hello.
  • My deepest condolences to her Family. And also to The Public Safety Officers for there loss. She will be Missed. Roosevelt Island will never forget you. R.I.P Officer Michael
  • My deepest condolences to Ms. Michael's family. She will be surely missed here at Roosevelt Island. May she rest in peace.
More on Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officer Frensheria Michael at previous post.

Fire On Queensboro Bridge Tonight - Truck With Oxygen and Acetylene Tanks Explode, Expect Heavy Delays

About 7 PM tonight a Roosevelt Island resident spotted smoke coming from the Queensboro Bridge reporting:

Looks like a fire on the bridge at around 7pm
and shares these photos

Images From Paul Celendrillo

According to the Twitterverse:





At approximately 8 PM I spoke with a person coming back to Roosevelt Island on the Tram who told me the fire on the Queensboro Bridge

Queensboro Bridge This Evening

had been put out.