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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Scenes From A Snowy Roosevelt Island Saturday - Southtown Sledding, Closed FDR Park, Good Shepherd Plaza, Blackwell House, Riding The Tram & More

Scenes from a Snowy Roosevelt Island Saturday.

Sledding on the much smaller Southtown Hill,
 


a closed FDR Four Freedoms Park,

Image From Trevre Andrews
Image From Trevre Andrews

Good Shepherd Plaza and Community Center,


Blackwell Plaza,


Manhattan Park,


Main Street,


Rivercross Lawn,


Riverwalk Commons,


Waterfront Promenade looking north,


looking south,


the Boat Prow,



inside the Roosevelt Island Tram cabin

 Image From Volker Hage

 and riding the Tram

 

in the snow.

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Holiday Community Spirit, FDR Hope Memorial Donations, Cert Graduates & RIRA Goals, Expulsion, Resignation, Improvements

Roosevelt Island 2013 Christmas Tree And Chanukah Memorah Lit In Front of Blackwell House

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
As I walk down Main Street, I’m reminded of the wonderful feeling of community that we enjoy on our Island at this time of year. Gatherings at the Christmas Tree and Chanukah lightings, holiday sales at RIVAA and the Senior Center, the tree sales on Main Street, and preparations for Kwanza, all make me consider how wonderful it is to live in our neighborhood. I hope all your holidays are filled with love, good cheer and lots of the warm, Roosevelt Island “Ben Hugs” that were named for Benjamin Imbrogno, a young Roosevelt Islander who embodied human kindness and left us this year, far too soon. Hugs pass along a sense of well-being, trust and relaxation, so I hope you’ll pass them around in great abundance and receive your fair share as well.

Newsworthy

Joyce Short, who has served on our Common Council for many years while also running the Island's free tennis program for kids, has written a brave and important new book, Carnal Abuse By Deceit. It is a “must read!” It’s a sad and powerful account of her life with a psychopath and a cautionary tale for anyone looking for a relationship. You will recognize her reason for reclaiming her maiden name when you read it. You can buy it on Amazon.com.

Jim Bates, President of the Roosevelt Memorial, (at South Point Park,) has created a new crowdfunding video to raise money to install a sculpture of an active FDR in his wheelchair. Please watch the video and donate at tinyurl.com/FDRsculpture.

RIRA congratulates the 15 new graduates who will be joining our CERT team. They deserve our utmost gratitude for the training they completed in order to serve our community in a time of peril.

Goals for the New Year

• Working collaboratively with RIOC toward the betterment of the community.

• Advising RIOC and advocating to insure that the needs and interests of the residents are met.

• Creating a dialogue with the community’s tenant associations, residents and the various Managing Agents to address residents’ needs and encouraging more involvement in RIRA.

• Enhancing a sense of community throughout Roosevelt Island by producing a variety of special events.

• Encouraging volunteerism by creating a link between opportunities and people with an interest to serve.

• Developing internal structures to improve the interpersonal functioning of the Common Council.

• Work cooperatively with other groups to ensure the health and safety of Islanders during demolition, construction and operation of buildings and facilities on or near Roosevelt Island.

Common Council Losses

Jeff Prekopa, our Secretary and Communications Chairman, has resigned from his the Common Council. Jeff tackled the job of web design for RIRA,and succeeded where everyone before him had failed. He was an extraordinary, focused, diligent worker and an excellent web designer. He set up a state-of-the-art, interactive website that is increasing the visibility of the Common Council in a meaningful way. Because of his continued commitment to our community he has agreed to continue to improve our website. His departure is directly the result of the Common Council’s inability to stop Frank Farance from defaming his colleagues and making derogatory public comments. Over the years the Common Council has lost many responsible workers for the same reason, and a number of current Common Council Representatives are contemplating stepping down for the same reason.

For instance, since Lynne Shinozaki took over the Social, Cultural and Education Committee, RIRA’s community activities have greatly expanded. Lynne created late night basketball, created our Easter Egg Hunts, Cherry Blossom Festivals and skating in the school and RIRA showcase. She has brought us concerts, dancers and additional events and has more planned for this year. She embodies integrity and community spirit. For her and her hard working committee members to come under attack by the unwarranted rumors that Frank Farance has spread about her conduct is heartbreaking.

No one should be rewarded for unsavory behavior by basking in the limelight it creates, so I do not intend to give Frank Farance more than 30 seconds. His behavior has been a problem for many years. He has had second, third, fourth, and more chances. In fact, he was censured by the Common Council during the last term for the same behavior he is currently exhibiting. It was hoped that the censure would raise his awareness, but it did not seem to affect him at all. Rather, he is like the defiant child who is impervious to punishment. The Bill of Particulars to remove him from the Common Council was not resolved in the last meeting because his supporters, along with others who preferred avoidance over confrontation, voted to remove the matter from the agenda rather than deal with it at the meeting. It is unfortunate because Mr. Farance cannot be cleared of the charges until the Council does its job to hear and decide on the matter. Until it is decided, the issue is simply in limbo.

We have lost many good Council Members over the years who decided that the incorrigible behavior they faced was intolerable. Mr. Farance has set a new level for offensive conduct and the losses we could sustain by his continuing unabated would be too great.

Improvements

To their credit, a number of Council Members have begun a discourse on improving communication and interactions both within the Common Council and with the community. Erin Feeley-Nahem, Romano Reid, Sharon Pope, Micky Rindler and Nicole Walden are among the people who have spoken up with positive ideas for change. The Common Council is reviewing any and all constructive suggestions. We expect to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient. But ultimately whether the Council improves or limps along with contention will be up to the Council to decide or the community to say "enough is enough".

Although not unique to Roosevelt Island bullying behavior is destructive everywhere. It is prevalent enough to elicit a May 2013 article in the Daily Kos. I attach the link here.

I hope your holidays are fun.

Report From RIOC President Charlene Indelicato - Roosevelt Island Cornell Campus Approval, Tree Lighting, Public Purpose Funds, Lighthouse Park, Subway Pier, Good Shepherd Construction & Public Safety Audit


RIOC President Indelicato's Report to 12/12 Board Of Directors On Cornell NYC Tech Agreement

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato sends the following report to the community.
2013 has been a year of many changes, both on the Island and at RIOC. Since my appointment in April, I have gotten to know many of you on the Island. I look forward to continuing to work together toward accomplishing even more in the New Year. This past week, we have celebrated the tradition of lighting the tree at Blackwell Plaza as well as marked significant steps forward on Island construction projects. The application deadline for Public Purpose Funds is coming up – materials can be found on our website, along with a link to download the PSD Operational Audit Report.

Tree Lighting

RIOC would like to thank everyone who came out and made the 2013 Tree Lighting Ceremony a success. Despite the rainy weather, the community was in good spirits during musical performances by the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, The Child School, the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, and Public Safety Officer Deborah Viel. RISA President Dolores Greene made the introductions at the Ceremony, followed by opening remarks from RIRA President Ellen Polivy. Many thanks as well to those Island businesses and organizations who generously contributed to the event: The Hudson Companies & The Related Companies, Urban American, The Octagon, Gristedes, Nonno's Focacceria, Trellis Diner, Fuji East, Coach Scot's Main Street Sweets, and Roosevelt Island's Starbucks.

Public Purpose Funds

The deadline to submit an application for Public Purpose Funds is drawing near – all submissions must be dropped off on or before Friday, January 10, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Applications may be submitted to the RIOC offices (591 Main St.) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or to the Public Safety Department offices (550 Main St.) between the hours of 5 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on January 10, 2014. Further information and application materials are available online at rioc.ny.gov/grants.htm.

Construction

Restoration work is proceeding at the Good Shepherd Community Center on the entry doors and narthex area. As there are two entry points that allow access to the Community Center, continued use of the facility will not be affected by construction. At least one entrance will be available during each phase of construction.

The contract for repairs to the footbridges leading to the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park has been awarded. The contractor met with RIOC engineers this week for a kickoff meeting prior to the commencement of construction. Work is expected to be completed in sixty days, at which point the fenced-off areas of the park will be reopened to the public.

Beginning next week on December 16, 2013, construction at Motorgate will move from Section 5B South to Section 6B North. The re-striping and lighting upgrades in Section 6B North are expected to be completed January 3, 2014, at which time work will advance to Section 6C South. We thank you for your cooperation during this necessary construction.

Repair work at the West Pier is also in progress and proceeding according to schedule. The damage from Hurricane Sandy will be repaired over the next three months.

PSD Operational Audit Report

The Public Safety Department Operational Audit Report is now available for download on the RIOC website at rioc.ny.gov/PSDReport.htm. Both the Board of Directors and RIOC believe that this report will serve as a valuable tool in the reorganization of the Public Safety Department. Many of the recommendations given by the consultants have already been implemented and others are in the process of being put into practice. We all look forward to working with the community to accomplish our mutual goal of ensuring a safe and secure environment for our residents.

Contacting RIOC

Questions, comments or concerns? RIOC wants to hear from you. If you would like to contact us, you may send an mail to information@rioc.ny.gov or you may call the office at (212) 832-4540. You can also contact us through RIOC’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RIOCNY. Feel free to send us a Facebook message or use the contact form on the page to get in touch. You can also visit our Facebook page for event photos, news, announcements and more.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at RIOC – from our family to yours, we wish you a warm, safe and joyful holiday season and a happy New Year!
Video of Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

More Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Service To And From Manhattan Again This Weekend, That's Three In A Row

According to the MTA Weekender Page there will be Roosevelt Island F Train service


to and from Manhattan this weekend. That makes it three in a row.

Fantastic!!!!!!

Transfer Of Roosevelt Island Land Controlled By RIOC For Cornell NYC Tech Campus Approved at RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting Last Night - But Contingent On NY State Signing Funding Memo

Image of Goldwater Hospital/Future Cornell NYC Tech Campus From Google Maps

As reported last evening:
...The RIOC Board of Directors unanimously approved the Cornell NYC Tech project about an hour ago.

However, that approval was made contingent upon NY State signing a memorandum agreeing that the net present value of NY State's 55 annual $1 million payments to RIOC, as outlined in the December 10 Deal Sheet Memo, will instead by fully paid by December 31, 2018. The Memorandum is anticipated to be signed within the next few days....
Here's what happened.

It began with a presentation by Empire State Development Corp (ESDC) attorney Lisa Lim describing the terms for the RIOC controlled land to be transferred for the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech campus



followed by a discussion of the environmental impact of project on Roosevelt Island. garbage, air quality, noise, parking, transportation etc as well as monitoring Cornell's compliance with the agreement by RIOC and NY State.



Then a discussion of the funding issues which was the stumbling block for approval by the RIOC Board. It was resolved by NY State agreeing at the last minute to make the full net present value payment of its contribution to RIOC by December 31 2018 instead of making 55 annual $1 million payments. Although NY State agreed to make full payment by 2018, they were unable to get the funding agreement signed before the RIOC Board vote which is the reason why the RIOC Board approval is contingent.



Not sure what the total value of the NY State payment is yet. 

In addition to the payment by NY State, Cornell will also annually pay RIOC Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($400,000) for 55 years, the term remaining on RIOC's lease with NYC which expires in 2068.

Finally, RIOC President Charlene Indelicato thanked the RIOC Staff, Governor's office, Ms. Lim and the volunteer RIOC Board Members for their hard work and looked to the future with Cornell as a good neighbor.



Cornell


issued the following statement after the vote:
This agreement is a result of a very positive collaboration between RIOC, the State, the City and Cornell. It reflects the widespread recognition of the importance of this project to Roosevelt Island, New York City and New York State. We are grateful to the RIOC board for their support of the campus, and we look forward to a long and beneficial relationship with RIOC as well as with all those who reside on Roosevelt Island. We are excited to move forward to begin construction early next year and to welcome everyone to the campus beginning in 2017.
This was a fantastic job by Ms. Indelicato, her staff and the RIOC Board against great odds and very powerful interests. They deserve the thanks of the entire Roosevelt Island community for their work which resulted in an outcome much better than I or anyone else hoped or expected.

Still more to come on this. Remember it is a contingent approval until the funding is signed off by NY State.

UPDATE 12/17 - The funding memorandum was signed by both NY State and RIOC on Monday December 16.

The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC), composed of Roosevelt Island organizations comment:
RICC was delighted with the significant contribution to our community that resulted from RIOC's negotiations with NY State and Cornell. There remain many aspects of demolition and construction that will continue to require negotiation and monitoring; however, the recognition of responsibility for the tremendous impact that Cornell's campus will have on the Island and its residents validated RICC's long advocacy.

We were honored that so many Roosevelt Islanders put their faith in us.

We are incredibly pleased with the efforts that RIOC's President, Charlene Indelicato, made to champion our community's needs. We also owe the RIOC Board members and staff a sincere debt of gratitude for their hard work and efforts. We believe this result clearly shows how much can be accomplished when we all work together for the common good.

New Voices New Sounds Roosevelt Island Friday Night Music Series At Gallery RIVAA Tonight 7 PM With Jazz Vocalist Aubrey Johnson, Guitarist Cesar Garabini, Harpist Lucia Stavros And Violinist Joanna Mattrey - See You There

Start your weekend with some live Roosevelt Island Jazz at Gallery RIVAA as the monthly Friday night series New Voices New Sounds

 Image From Gallery RIVAA

 continues tonight beginning at 7 PM. According to Gallery RIVAA:
"New Voices, New Sounds"
Jazz at Gallery RIVAA

Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:30pm

Two sets

First set will be virtuosic jazz vocalist Aubrey Johnson with guitarist Cesar Garabini. Second set will be Harpist Lucia Stavros with violinist Joanna Mattrey.

Aubrey Johnson  - known for her ethereal and sweet sound and her vocal acrobatic abilities- Aubrey Johnson is a New York-based vocalist, composer, and educator who specializes in jazz, Brazilian, and creative contemporary music with and without words. She holds a Master of Music degree in jazz performance from the New England Conservatory and is set to release her debut album under saxophonist Greg Osby’s new record label Inner Circle Music within the next year. In 2011 she joined the voice department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, becoming their youngest current voice teacher. In 2012, she joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory as the director of the school’s vocal jazz ensemble. In demand as both a side-person and a leader, Aubrey has performed and/or recorded with jazz greats Bobby McFerrin, Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby, Mark Walker, Paul McCandless, Fred Hersch, and Jimmy Cobb.

Lucia Stavros, harp, and Joanna Mattrey, violin, are both graduates of The New England Conservatory of Music. Although playing instruments that lend themselves to classical and traditional repertoire they are imaginative musicians with a taste for the ecclectic, and have stretched out into the realm of improvisation.
Here's vocalist Aubrey Johnson



and Harpist Lucia Stavros


Kirschner - Forty Winters (excerpt) from The Boston New Music Initiative on Vimeo.

Check it out and have a good time.

Roosevelt Island Red Bus Fare Eliminated And Street Parking Rates Doubled Announces RIOC At Yesterday's Board Of Directors Meeting - Starts April 1, 2014, No April Fools Joke



Reported in December 2012 that Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Transportation Manager Cy Opperman:

... suggested that it would be cheaper to run the bus without a fare but RIOC Directors are not likely to go along with that suggestion. According to RIOC Chief Financial Officer Steve Chironis, Red Bus annual revenue is $300 hundred thousand from riders and $100 Thousand from the Octagon Express for a total of $400 thousand annually. The annual Red Bus expenses are $1.2 million for a net annual loss of $800 thousand....
Reported in September 2013:
... I learned at yesterday's RIOC Board of Directors meeting that Mr. Opperman's suggestion will be implemented and the Roosevelt Island Red Bus will soon be free....
and:
According to RIOC, eliminating the bus fare and doubling parking rates will improve the Roosevelt Island Red Bus efficiency, reduce traffic jams on Main Street and encourage greater use of the Motorgate Garage.
During December 12, 2013 RIOC Board of Directors meeting it was announced that starting April 1 2014 the Roosevelt Island Red Bus fare would be eliminated and street parking rates doubled.

RIOC Director Margie Smith explains RIOC's decision.



RIOC Director David Kraut explains waiting for April 1 to eliminate the Red Bus fare is because the current budget includes revenue from the Red Bus and the new fiscal year starts on April 1.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tram Ornaments For Sale from Roosevelt Island Historical Society At Trellis Saturday Morning - Gallery RIVAA Holiday Arts and Crafts Baazar This Weekend Too

Are you looking for some Roosevelt Island Christmas gifts? How about a Tram ornament? The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) will be selling Tram ornaments at Trellis on Saturday from 9 am to 12 PM.

Gallery RIVAA will be the site for a Holiday Bazaar on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm December 14th & 15th 2013.


Also, gifts are available at the RIHS Kiosk. According to the RIHS
Great Shopping at the RIHS kiosk


Open every day except Tuesday 11 a.m. to 4 pm.
Open until 8 p.m. Thursday 12/12 and 12/19
Happy Shopping.

5th Graders From Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 Show Off Their Fancy Ballroom Dancing Moves - They're Very Good



According to the Roosevelt Island School G & T Program Blog (RIGANDT):

5th grade students at P.S./I.S. 217 for the third year had a Ballroom Dancing residency with Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance. Students performed Merenge, Bachata, Foxtrot, Twist, and Che Chere Reche.
More of the kids dance videos at the RIGANDT.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

RIOC To Receive $1.4 Million Annual Payment For 55 Years From NY State And Cornell For Roosevelt Island Tech Campus Land, Maybe - RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting Tomorrow For Vote To Approve Or Not

Image of Goldwater Hospital/Future Cornell NYC Tech Campus From Google Maps

Reported December 10:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee is meeting for the second time in less than a week for an update on the negotiations with Cornell for the land controlled by RIOC which is part of the planned Cornell NYC Tech campus....

... ... All reports are that the RIOC Directors and staff are battling hard to protect the interests of Roosevelt Island in these negotiations with Cornell...
and updated later that evening:
It looks like an agreement has been reached between Cornell and RIOC subject to approval of the RIOC Board at the December 12 Directors Meeting.

Just received this Amended Agenda for Thursday's RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting which includes this addition:
... 7. Authorization to Enter into an Amendment of the Master Lease with the City of New York and to Take Related Actions in Connection with the Cornell Tech Campus Development, Including Making Environmental Findings and Entering Into a Development Agreement and Other Related Agreements (Board Action Required)...

Yesterday, I sent this inquiry to RIOC President Charlene Indelicato and the RIOC Directors:
I understand that RIOC and Cornell have entered into an Agreement for the land controlled by RIOC that is part of the proposed Cornell NYC Tech Campus on the current site of Goldwater Hospital.

The agreement is subject to approval by the full RIOC Board at the December 12 meeting.

I understand that the proposed agreement between RIOC and Cornell includes annual payments to RIOC of approximately $1.5 million from NY State, NY City and Cornell.

Is the above accurate?

Does RIOC have any statement on this proposed Agreement with Cornell?

Is there a deal term sheet that can be released to the public?...
It is true. RIOC, Cornell and NY State have agreed upon terms for the transfer of the land controlled by RIOC that is part of the planned Cornell NYC Tech campus subject to approval by the RIOC Board of Directors tomorrow (December 12).

The terms of the deal are presented in this December 10, 2013 Memorandum (Memo) from the RIOC Staff to the RIOC Directors. According to the Memo (Page 3):
This Memorandum and the transactions described herein have been facilitated by the Empire State Development staff...
Here are excerpts from the Memo (Page 6-8):
... TERMS OF THE TRANSFER
A summary of terms set forth below have been agreed upon by RIOC, the State, Cornell, the City in exchange for RIOC surrendering the Parcel back to the City. Many of the non‐financial terms reference Cornell’s commitments made in its letters to David Karnovsky dated March 19, 2013 (the “Karnovsky Letter”) a copy which is attached hereto as Attachment C and Jessica S. Lappin dated May 2, 2013 (the “Lappin Letter”), a copy which is attached hereto as Attachment D:

RIOC CONTRIBUTION
  • Surrender of the 2.6 acre RIOC site surrounding the City Goldwater Site (the “Parcel”) under the Master Lease to the City to be incorporated with the City Goldwater Site to comprise the 12.4 acre Campus. The City will lease the Project Site to New York City Land Corporation for 99 years which will assign the lease to Cornell.
  • RIOC commissioned 2 appraisals for the Surrounding Site which valued such site at $24 million (“Haims Appraisal”) and $90 million (“KTR Appraisal). The Haims Appraisal has been assessed as more credible for several reasons.
STATE CONTRIBUTION
  • (i) $1,000,000 annually for 55 years payable to RIOC (escalating 2.5% every 10 years) in accordance with State budgetary procedure, or
    (ii) an equivalent amount to support capital infrastructure improvements on RIOC as determined in accordance with State budgetary procedure.
CORNELL CONTRIBUTION
  • $400,000 annually for 55 years payable to RIOC (escalating 2% every 10 years).
    Execution of a Development Agreement with RIOC evidencing this payment plus the following material commitments to be implemented by or on behalf of Cornell at Cornell’s sole cost:
    ‐Mitigation under SEQRA identified in RIOC findings statement and other materials2;
    ‐Mitigation under SHPA;
    ‐Infrastructure Improvements on, around, and under Loop Road (includes roadway work, sewers, relocation of electrical duct banks, and gas service);
    ‐Parking commitment3;
    ‐Red Bus commitment during construction4;
    ‐Barging where feasible5;
    ‐Access to the RIOC premises under permits and License Agreements providing work plans, bonding and insurance, and incorporating construction protocols, all approved by RIOC;
    ‐Construction and truck trips on and off Roosevelt Island may occur between 7 am to 6 pm to coincide with standard NYC Department of Buildings (“DOB”) hours; variances from such will be approved by RIOC in its reasonable discretion;
    ‐Air and Noise Pollution Mitigation;
    ‐Payment for RIOC Engineer and RIOC Consultant to review Work Plans for work to occur on the RIOC Premises and to monitor performance of work by Cornell or its agents pursuant to Work Plans;
    ‐Ensure Safe Pedestrian and Vehicular Access to areas south of the Cornell Site (RIOC’s request for in‐bound access was not agreed to);
    ‐Repair of damage on Roosevelt Island caused by Cornell or its agents;
    ‐General indemnification for work performed by Cornell or its agents;
    ‐Environmental indemnification for environmental liabilities caused by Cornell or its agents; and
    ‐Increased security by Cornell at southern end of Roosevelt
CITY CONTRIBUTION Via (NYC Economic Development Corporation (“EDC”)
  • Execution of a Side Letter between RIOC and EDC evidencing the following payment and commitments by the EDC:
    ‐$70,000 in payment for one‐time legal fees accrued by RIOC for SEQRA related issues in connection with the transaction.
    ‐NYCEDC, in its role as lease administrator, agrees to meet with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (“RIOC”) on a quarterly basis, beginning on or about February 14, 2014 until completion of the Full Build as defined in the Cornell Lease, in order for RIOC to have the opportunity to brief NYCEDC on Cornell’s compliance (or lack thereof) in connection the commitments set forth in the Lappin Letter in Paragraph A (Construction Practices), Paragraph B (Security), Paragraph C (Parking), Paragraph G (Barging), Paragraph H (Red Bus Service), Exhibit A (Construction Noise Control and Air Quality), the “Construction Measures” portion of Exhibit B, and the “Parking” portion of Exhibit B.
    ‐Pursuant to such briefings, if RIOC disagrees with NYCEDC’s enforcement of a commitment that Cornell has made through the Lappin Letter, RIOC, in its sole discretion, has the right to commence mediation with the Governor’s Office and the Mayor’s Office to reach a resolution, which mediation shall promptly commence within five (5) business days from the receipt of the written request from RIOC.
    ‐If RIOC disagrees with NYCEDC’s enforcement of a commitment in the interim period between quarterly meetings with NYCEDC, RIOC, in its sole discretion, has the right to mediation with the Governor’s Office and the Mayor’s Office, which mediation shall promptly commence within five (5) business days from the receipt of the written request from RIOC.
ESD CONTRIBUTION
  • ESD is waiving its fees in connection with facilitating the transaction....
Also (Page 4-5)
...In accordance with the Public Authorities Accountability Act, as most recently amended (“PAAA”), two appraisals of the Parcel have been prepared. Jerome Haims Realty, Inc., an independent appraiser, appraised the fair market “as is” value at $24,000,000 as of March 8, 2013. KTR Real Estate Advisors LLC, an independent appraiser, appraised the fair market “as is” value at $90,000,000 as of May 22, 2013. The Haims appraisal has been assessed more credible than the KTR appraisal because the Haims’ appraisal is based on residential development that would have been allowed by zoning prior to the creation of the special zoning district for the Project. Moreover, the Haims appraisal discounted for the irregular shape of the Parcel, whereas the KTR appraisal did not.
A footnote adds (Page 5):
... Both appraisers use a Sales Comp approach, and although they use different comps, both conclude at a value of $125 per SF of developable area (“DA”). They also agree on total lot size at 113,912 SF. Therefore, the vast value difference is based on (1) Haims’ use of a residential zoning FAR, which is more credible given the prevailing development character of the Island and (2) Haims’ finding that the “highly irregular in shape [of the parcel, which] could not be developed to maximize all of its development potential independently”, and therefore, by analogy to TDRs, makes the 50% discount...
One area that may be of concern to RIOC is that the NY State contribution of $1 million over 55 years or equivalent contributions for capital infrastructure improvements appears conditioned upon being:
... in accordance with State budgetary procedure...
What does that mean? Can NY State decline to make payments to RIOC or are such payments guaranteed?  That provision needs to be better understood.

Also, shouldn't NY State be making capital infrastructure improvements on Roosevelt Island as needed whether or not Cornell builds its campus here? Why should Roosevelt Island capital improvement paid for by NY State be included as payment for the land to be used by Cornell NYC Tech?

There's much more in the Memo including issues related to construction, barging, trucking, air quality etc. Click here to read the whole Memo.

The RIOC Board of Directors will be voting on this proposed Agreement tomorrow during their scheduled December 12 meeting to be held at the Manhattan Park Community Center, 8 River Road starting at 5:30.

Should be a very interesting meeting.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 12/12, 7:50 PM - The RIOC Board of Directors unanimously approved the Cornell NYC Tech project about an hour ago.

However, that approval was made contingent upon NY State signing a memorandum agreeing that the net present value of NY State's 55 annual $1 million payments to RIOC, as outlined in the December 10 Deal Sheet Memo, will instead by fully paid by December 31, 2018. The Memorandum is anticipated to be signed within the next few days.

More to follow.

UPDATE 12/18 -The funding memorandum was signed by both NY State (ESDC) and RIOC on December 16. More here.

Resident Asks What Are The Roosevelt Island Tram Weekend Hours Of Service - The Answer Is...



Reported last Friday the Roosevelt Island F Train was running in both directions that weekend. A reader commented:

I thought there was going to be 2 Trams all day on the weekends, regardless of the F-train schedule. There was and I think there is still only 1 tram running. This is not according to the schedule....
Yesterday, I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Transportation Manager Cy Opperman:
Some residents have expressed confusion over the weekend Tram Schedules particularly when the F Train is not running in one direction or the other.

Can you clarify what the Tram schedule is on weekends - both with normal F Train service and when the F is only running in one direction and if both cabins run on weekends (and during what hours)....
Tram Operator Poma Leitner's Armando Cordova replied:
The Roosevelt Island Tram Weekend Schedule is as follows;

OPEN

Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday the tram opens @ 06:00 AM.

CLOSE

Fridays and Saturdays the tram close @ 3:30AM

Sundays @ 2:00AM.

DURING “F“ TRAIN WEEKEND SERVICE INTERRUPTION

In an effort to service our residents during the “F” train weekend service disruptions, especially the times we do not receive any notices from MTA, The Tram is on a permanent weekend rush hour schedule servicing with two cabins Saturdays and Sundays; from 7:00 AM. until 10:00pm.

DURING NO “F” TRAIN SERVICE.

The tram extend it’s operation until 5:00AM.
Mr. Cordova added that during the weekend rush hour service, the Tram runs every 7 1/2 minutes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

BREAKING NEWS - RIOC Agrees To Terms With Cornell NYC Tech For Roosevelt Island Campus Subject To Board Of Directors Approval At December 12 Meeting

Image of Goldwater Hospital/Future Cornell NYC Tech Campus From Google Maps

Reported earlier today:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee is meeting for the second time in less than a week for an update on the negotiations with Cornell for the land controlled by RIOC which is part of the planned Cornell NYC Tech campus....
and:
... All reports are that the RIOC Directors and staff are battling hard to protect the interests of Roosevelt Island in these negotiations with Cornell...

It looks like an agreement has been reached between Cornell and RIOC subject to approval of the RIOC Board at the December 12 Directors Meeting.

Just received this Amended Agenda for Thursday's RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting which includes this addition:
... 7. Authorization to Enter into an Amendment of the Master Lease with the City of New York and to Take Related Actions in Connection with the Cornell Tech Campus Development, Including Making Environmental Findings and Entering Into a Development Agreement and Other Related Agreements (Board Action Required)...
Seeking official confirmation from RIOC and will update when more information becomes available.

Here is the full RIOC Agenda for December 12 Board of Directors Meeting.
AMENDED AGENDA

DECEMBER 12, 2013 MEETING OF

THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND OPERATING CORPORATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

THE MANHATTAN PARK COMMUNITY CENTER,

8 RIVER ROAD, ROOSEVELT ISLAND, NEW YORK

5:30 P.M.[1]


I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes

1. November 7, 2013 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Approval of the Proposed RIOC Budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 (Board Action Required)

2. 2014 Meetings of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors (Board Action Required)

3. Ratification of Amendment of Contract with Hill International, Inc. for Owner's Representative Services (Senior Project Manager) (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Enter into Amendment of Contract with Guidepost Solutions, LLC for Public Safety Department Management Services (Board Action Required)

5. Ratification of Waiver of Notice Period, Consent to Riverwalk Place LLC and Riverwalk Landing LLC Leasehold Interests Refinancing, and Related Actions Taken (Board Action Required)

6. Authorization to Enter into Contract for Purchase of a Conventional Dump Truck (Board Action Required)

7. Authorization to Enter into an Amendment of the Master Lease with the City of New York and to Take Related Actions in Connection with the Cornell Tech Campus Development, Including Making Environmental Findings and Entering Into a Development Agreement and Other Related Agreements (Board Action Required)

8. President’s Report

9. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

10. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

[1] The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.

RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting Again For Status Update On Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Campus Negotiations - Reports Are That Directors and Staff Battling Hard To Protect Interests Of Roosevelt Island

Image of Goldwater Hospital/Future Cornell NYC Tech Campus From Google Maps

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee is meeting for the second time in less than a week for an update on the negotiations with Cornell for the land controlled by RIOC which is part of the planned Cornell NYC Tech campus.

This meeting, as with most of the other Real Estate Committee meetings on this subject, is in executive session closed to the public. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

Agenda:

1. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session for Update on Current Negotiations Regarding Cornell NYC Project;

2. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
With the recent closing of Goldwater Hospital and the transfer of its patients, Cornell will be starting demolition of the Goldwater buildings soon - early 2014. Presumably, an agreement with RIOC will be reached before demolition starts but any agreement must be approved by the full RIOC Board.

The December RIOC Board meeting is scheduled for December 12 and nothing about Cornell is listed on the Agenda.

All reports are that the RIOC Directors and staff are battling hard to protect the interests of Roosevelt Island in these negotiations with Cornell.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program 2013 Soccer Championship Games and Final League Standings

Image of RIYP Minors Soccer Players From Adib Mansour

Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP)


Soccer Director Adib Mansour updates us on the 2013 RIYP Soccer Season Championship games and final standings. According to Mr. Mansour
MINORS:

Championship went to James Brown's Team
Second place: John Evans' Team
Image From Adib Mansour

Here are some of the faces and plays from the RIYP Minors finals.



Mr. Mansour adds:
JUNIORS:

Championship went to: Jessey Krieg's team
Second place: Johan Marfey
Third place: Jack McManus
Fourth place: Patrick Reidy

SENIORS:

Championship went to: Frantz Enama's team
Second place: Boris Lissassi
Third place: Cesar & Marianna's team
Fourth place: Daniel Folla's team

Images From Adib Mansour

The finals were fantastic and a joy to watch!!
Here are some of the faces and plays



from the RIYP Juniors and Seniors Championship games.

More on the 2013 RIYP Soccer Season from previous posts.

Snowy Day On Roosevelt Island, Captain Picard And Star Trek Crew Sing Let It Snow - Make It So

It's snowing right now on Roosevelt Island.


The NYC Weather Channel forecast is:
... A steady snow will continue to fall through mid-afternoon. Cloudy with temperatures reaching the low 30s... 1 to 3 inches of snow expected....
Star Trek's Captain Picard, now a Brooklyn resident, and his crew sing:
Let It Snow



I agree.

Make it so!.

Monday, December 9, 2013

BREAKING NEWS - After Many Months Of Waiting, Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Audit Publicly Available Now


Last Monday I asked when will the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department (PSD) Audit, originally scheduled to be released in July 2013, be made publicly available?

Today, an answer was received and it is today.



According to RIOC:
Now available on the RIOC website is the PSD Operational Audit Report, which both the Board of Directors and RIOC believe will serve as a valuable tool in the reorganization of the Public Safety Department. Many of the recommendations given by the consultants have been or are in the process of being implemented. We all look forward to working with the community to accomplish our mutual goal of ensuring a safe and secure environment for our residents.
Here is the link to report.

The report was prepared by T&M Protection Resources.

I just received the report so have not read it yet, but here is an excerpt (Page 4):
... It should be noted that during the course of T&M’s audit we interviewed stakeholders who indicated that some of the outspoken critics of the RIOC PSD are exaggerating the problems associated with the PSD and that there is in fact a “silent majority” of Roosevelt Island community members who do not share many of the critical statements and demands that have been presented as they relate to the PSD. In line with that, T&M would like to state at the earliest opportunity within this Report, that while the RIOC PSD clearly requires improvement in many key areas, the PSD is comprised of many dedicated and experienced men and women who do their best to provide professional public safety services to the Roosevelt Island community. While in fact the PSD may have been as a whole, an overly enforcement oriented organization, the vast majority of the individual officers perform their duties in accordance with the direction and training they have been provided. T&M is confident that this Report and the findings and recommendations contained herein, will serve to assist the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation in providing an enhanced level of service in a more efficient and effective manner....
Will have more on the PSD Audit after reading it.

We have seen many positive changes at the Roosevelt Island PSD following the appointment of new RIOC President Charlene Indelicato and Interim PSD Director Jack McManus. The public release of this report is another one. 

Here's video of Mr. McManus speaking before the Roosevelt Island Residents Association Public Safety Committee about the status of the PSD.

Scenes From Roosevelt Island Menorah Lighting Ceremony And Kids Bring Chanukah Smiles To Seniors Center - Salvation Army Brings Christmas Cheer To Coler Hospital Residents Too

Roosevelt Island resident Nechama Duchman shares these photos and report:

Here are pictures from the Menorah Lighting on Saturday night


and from the Senior Center on Wednesday.


My son Mendel and his third grade class from Brooklyn brought Chanukah smiles to the Senior Center with song,


game and treats.

Also, last Wednesday the Salvation Army



paid a visit to Roosevelt Island's Coler Hospital to spread some Christmas cheer to its residents.

No More Fruit Stand At Roosevelt Island Subway Entrance But Coffee and Breakfast Cart Now There

The Coffee/Breakfast


food cart that uses to be at the Roosevelt Island Tram Station has relocated to the Roosevelt Island F Train Subway entrance next to the Duane Reade.

The Coffee/Breakfast cart replaces the Fruit Stand


that occupied the spot for several years recently and left suddenly last October.


In prior years, the Fruit Stand stayed open thru the end of December.

The Roosevelt Island subway Fruit Stand vendor vacated the spot in front of Duane Reade earlier than usual this year.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pouring Rain But Spirits Still High For Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony Last Friday - Wonderful Singing Performances, Santa, And A Lit Tree - Here Are Some Scenes

2013 Roosevelt Island Christmas/Holiday Tree At Blackwell Plaza

It was a rainy, miserable night last Friday


for the 2013 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony but for those in attendance spirits remained high and they enjoyed the good cheer of the crowd, music, the arrival of Santa


and the lighting of the tree.


Here are some scenes starting with the welcome and introduction by Roosevelt Island Seniors Association President Delores Green of event organizers Anna and Carlene from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), greetings from Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy and then a wonderful performance by the children of the Roosevelt Island Youth Program Beacon (RIYP).



More terrific singing from the RIYP Beacon kids



and an excellent rendition of Come All Ye Faithful from RIOC Public Safety Officer Deborah Viel who was introduced by a soaking wet RIOC Public Safety Department Director Jack McManus.



Despite the bad weather, it was a nice Roosevelt Island event and now the Tree


is lit


for everybody to enjoy.

Sunday News Shows In 90 Seconds From Politico - Maya Angelou, James Baker, Newt Gingrich On Nelson Mandela, Terrorism Discussion and Rand Paul On Unemployment Insurance

If you are interested in a quick summary of the Sunday News talks shows, Politico has it in 90 seconds.

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