Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mayor DeBlasio's Transition Chief Carl Weisbrod and Other Roosevelt Island Residents Want To Know When We Are Getting Our Wine Store - Hudson Related's David Kramer Gives Status Update On Main Street Retail Progress

Site of New Roosevelt Island Liquor Store And Former Home of the Grog Wine Shop

Westviewer asks
Any word on retail, especially the liquor store? Work had begun on the site some time ago, then stopped while the walkway was being redone. Now, nothing. We remain the only neighborhood in NYC without a wine/ liquor store.
During the January 14 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee (audio web cast here), Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder David Kramer of Hudson Related provided an update on the status of Main Street retail.

Mr. Kramer began the update by reporting that he recently met Roosevelt Island resident and Mayor DeBlasio's Transition Chairman Carl Weisbrod. Mr. Weisbrod's first words to Mr. Kramer were:
When are we getting our wine store?
Mr. Kramer expects the Wine Shop to open soon. The Wine Shop is owned by the same owner as the Wholesome Factory organic grocer on Main Street. The Wine Shop lease was signed over two years ago, they are current on their rent, have their liquor license and are in process of getting building permit.

Mr. Kramer added:
... Hudson Related has successfully completed phase 2 of our program. Phase 1 was listening tour, strategy phase...

... Part 2 was the corridor upgrade ...  we're very pleased with how that turned out...

... Part 3  which is now we need some more retailers...
and using a football analogy:
... We're at the 50 yard line. We're not in the red zone yet but we're getting there...
Here's video of the Main Street Retail discussion with Mr. Kramer.

During January 15 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Main Street Retail Committee, Hudson Related's Arianna Sachs- Rosenburg reported:
  • Trellis has received an approval for its exterior improvements from RIOC and is presently interviewing contractors for the work.
  • The Hardware store continues to be under eviction process.
  • New tenants are being sought for the space currently occupied by the Thrift Store. If possible, the Thrift Store may be able to stay in a much smaller space.
  • The Wholesome Food Factory is performing well as are the Southtown stores. No specific mention of the Subway or Ice Cream store performances.
  • Hudson Related is seeking solutions for pigeons nesting on the new lamps at the Roosevelt Landings Main Street Arcade.


Westviewer said...

It's good that the wine store will actually open. I hope that the owners have an expert consultant to select the wine, rather than relying on a buying consortium.

KTG said...

When did I endorse anyone on Martinez or anyone on RIOC?

Again another irrelevant lunatic rant, trying to divert from the fact that you said you where retired when in fact you were dismissed. Also apparently still unable to find work.

Perfect attendance is admirable if you are in an elementary school. People are judged in workplace on achievement not activity. Anyone can show up and act busy but few get things done. It something mediocre employees like you never learn until its too late (but in your case it seems you still haven't learned)

CheshireKitty said...

So it amuses you to read about people being laid off?

Whatever - the bottom line is, I currently do not work because (1) I make enough with my pension and so do not "have" to work
(2) I was laid off - reason why I am not working at my old job
(3) I collected unemployment benefits for two years as I had been laid off through no fault of my own. I looked for work the entire time, but was unable to find employment. I continue to look for work but most employers are not interested in hiring older workers.

I'm not ashamed of what happened to me; millions are in the same boat: Older laid off workers in effect forced to retire.

A lot of people these days will work long years but not see a pension/benefits package when they are laid off.

As far as my unemployment benefits were concerned, I was absolutely laid off through no fault of my own.

I certainly struggled to keep that job for about 3 years before the layoff actually occurred. For the final 18 months, I would say the employer, in a further effort to save money, tried all sorts of psychological efforts to get me to quit. I was documenting everything that was happening and I was in touch with an attorney in case I needed to file a wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Long story short, I withstood their efforts - was tougher than they thought I would be - and never quit. I had already been told I could be laid off anytime (basically threatened with layoff) and so when I was finally laid off, it was no surprise (although still, momentarily, a shock). The employer's ideal scenario would have been for me to quit, or to fire me with cause, and thus avoid having to pay out his unemployment insurance contribution, the pension and benefits. None of that happened: I was a good worker, with good evaluations, good rapport etc - was in a way more reliable than a machine, since I was could go for years without taking a day off without prior notice (i.e. no sick days or emergency days off), plus was always willing to work OT. The only "problem" was I was making probably quite a bit more than my own supervisors.

OldRossie said...

Yup. I'm sure you were a pleasure to work with.

NotMyKid said...

Two years and can't find employment?


Bad employer reviews?

Upon calling your old job, they were told to stay away?
I was laid off before in my prior employment during my college days.

Firm moved to Mexico. I found a job about 3 weeks later making almost double.

Two years sounds like a personal problem.

CheshireKitty said...

I made it my business to be a pleasure to work with! In the end, not only did I hit the jackpot of the nice employer-paid pension as well as many other retiree benefits (top of the line med, dental, and life ins) I got several spectacular recommendation letters! So my patience and fortitude over 22 years surviving in that place did pay off! In the end, no matter what they tried to do to me, I was "the last man standing." Others weren't so lucky. Others were fired for trivialities, others were forced into early retirement, others were harassed into leaving. Not me.

I always had glowing performance evaluations because my team (me and my boss) was the most productive and highest-earning in the division, with, I have to repeat no lawsuits, which means 100% customer satisfaction! I had an attendance record no one in my area could match - several years of no sick days including back to back years with no sick days! I also worked endless hours of OT since my boss preferred to stay late just about on a daily basis - this was at the expense of a home life of any sort. And some of my OT was unpaid, which they knew. Now, they also knew I could easily have reported them for permitting and benefiting from the unpaid OT, but I never did. I was nice about that even though I lost money in the process. They certainly enjoyed not compensating this overtime. This issue of the money they essentially stole from me that they knew they owed me, was an additional bit of "leverage" I always had over them, which they knew I knew I had over them. That was my "insurance" that they would never consider, could never imagine, firing me - since I was performing similarly to them, working as long as it took to finish a task as if I were on a salary and not being paid by the hour (although I was). And of course, they never did fire me.

No-one else was quite as willing to work the overtime, or quite as "giving" in working it - and so, I was doubly valuable to them.

The benefits on that job plus the decent rate of pay (even though newbies were being hired at half what I was getting, and they certainly could have figured out a way to lay me off or even fire me many years before they finally resorted to the layoff/forced retirement) still made it worth it, even with the loss of the not entirely compensated OT (although quite a bit of it was actually paid all along - the approval process would vary with the managers, and they were coming and going on a revolving door basis).

Mark Lyon said...

I've hired a lot of people and nobody I've ever encountered who thinks of themselves as "surviving in that place", worried about "what they tried to do to me" or who is constantly looking for "leverage" could be remotely described as "a pleasure to work with."

CheshireKitty said...

There was no problem at my old employer, I was respected and appreciated by dozens of people I interacted with on the job. I made a lot of money for the organization. I was laid off due to downsizing, my old job had disappeared and even once it was gone, I was retained for 18 months anyway, given odd jobs here and there to fill in, yet kept on at my regular high rate of pay although my job title changed. That was so that I could have the years to qualify for the full retirement benefits. Although that was nice of them, I still refused to retire/quit. So then I was finally laid off - through no fault of my own - really, due to the downsizing that had occurred 18 months previously.

Remember: I am in my 60s. Are you in your 60s?

An employer is always going to hire a younger worker, and jobs are scarce enough as it is.

No, it's not that there was some problem at my last job (and in any event, a prior employer is only allowed to verify dates of employment) I made an effort to find work but never got a response once people noted the dates of employment at my last job, which was 22 years at a single job. My work history stretches back to the 70s - so of course employers know right away I'm not exactly young. There is wide-spread age discrimination in hiring.

When you were in college and were canned, of course you could find a job fast. I was getting jobs, permanent and temp, with no problem from my teens up until my late 30s, which was when I started at my final job, which also initially started as a temp job that they then insisted I stay on at as a permanent employee. At that point, since it was post the '87 market crash, it seemed like a good idea to accept the permanent job with the benefits (although prior to that, I had been paying for my own health ins, which was much cheaper in those days, and preferred the variety/challenge of new temp jobs, some of which however, lasted for years).

You add up the number of years I worked: From my teens to now - it has to be about 40+ years. Employers can figure out from my employment background, even if I left out dates of graduation from my resume, that I'm not young or a "recent college grad,"

When you get to be my age, a senior, you'll see how "easy" it is to get a job, even a McJob.

Also - don't kid yourself about how long it takes for unemployed adults to find work again. There are millions who exhaust their unemployment insurance and then do not have a pension to fall back on, or a job. That is why the number of homeless exploded in NYC the last few years, food pantries are struggling to meet demand, and so forth. Two years to find a new job is nothing - that's common in today's economy. And that's the case even for people in their 40s or even possibly 30s. The economy never snapped back to say 4 or 5% unemployment - a job market tilted in the direction of the workers, instead of the employers. Employers can pick and chose, wages can be kept low because of the over-abundance of unemployed workers, and people like me - 60+ workers, well if they do not have a pension (or 2) then they really suffer. Luckily, I stuck it out at my old job, out-witted them, out-lasted maybe a dozen managers, and in the end, was laid off, in exactly the most positive way, at probably the "best" possible time, so as to minimize the interruption of income as much as possible.

It still was shocking to be laid off, I won't lie; my first reaction was to go to the ATM and withdraw a large sum of money.

But everything on the lay-off letter was legit - and even, some weeks later, upped, which was nice. So, in the end, I couldn't complain, which was, undoubtedly, exactly what the employer wanted..

CheshireKitty said...

Ah, but that was the kind of place it was, for all levels of employees - managers, professionals, and everyone else, the lowly "workers:" The politics, rivalries, back-stabbing was unending - and made for a virtual revolving-door situation, especially among the professionals.

One eminent professional shot himself after what they did to him. He was at work that day, as "normal" as possible, helpful, cheerful, and so forth, but later that same day, had blown his brains out -- all because what they did to him (demote him back to his prior management-level job because a new guy, friend of the new big boss, was brought in to take his job).

Many, many others would leave eventually. That's just the sort of place it was - we'd give the impression of being so "caring" but behind the scenes the maneuvering, back-stabbing, betrayals, and so forth, were non-stop. The "narrative" at that place of work was who was doing what to whom at any particular time, who was on the the outs, who was in. This was the story from day 1.

I did somehow manage to "survive" in one piece my years there - can't say exactly how I managed to do it, probably sheer will-power; the same way I kept going in year after year even on days I was sick etc.

Like I said, it wasn't a particularly "nice" place to work at, but everyone wanted to work there nonetheless since it is a top-ranked place and so enhances anyone's resume to have worked there.

OldRossie said...

Another observation: anyone that goes out of their way to repeatedly point out their "high rate of pay" and "top-rated benefits", generally have neither... ESPECIALLY someone that constantly argues in favor of punishing the rich. Couple that notion with a long history of inconsistencies... You can tell your story any way you like.

CheshireKitty said...

Nope - I think you are wrong. The employer could have fired me immediately if I was such a bad employee. Yet - that wasn't the case, not exactly.

I outlasted everyone there, the merry-go-round of managers and the co-workers that would constantly, and I mean constantly, come and go - except the final batch of managers, who, in the end, although they did lay me off, did cut me a generous deal.

You do not get to last at a top-ranked place like that, with not a single lawsuit in over 20 years, earning the most money in your division, if you are not somewhat good at what you're doing. So I was good, and they knew it and I knew it, and they knew I knew it. This was the "basis" of our negotiations - the fact that we both knew I was good.

Perfect attendance isn't just admirable - it means you're more reliable than the machines. More reliable, more intuitive, more resourceful, more creative, more "required". Perfect attendance + OT = increased pay, which was the strategy I pursued for over 20 years.

The managers that laid me off probably were earning less than me - which was undoubtedly why they wanted me to quit, as they could then hire someone to replace me at half the pay. This effort on their part was blocked for many years by my boss.

Once my job disappeared due to down-sizing, there was no reason to keep me around; but even then, I was still kept around for another year and a half, basically waiting for the axe to fall.

Maybe I was a mediocre employee. But if I was NG, they could have fired me long before they finally resorted to laying me off. They were unable to do so because they could never find a justifiable cause or reason to fire me. I had excellent performance evaluations, and I even had tons of letters from customers also praising my performance, and the praise letters were also being sent to the top brass all along. I also was the most "flexible" in terms of OT. So there was nothing they could "get" me on because I was in fact a good employee.

Even so, after 22 years on the job, I was downsized/laid off when my job finally disappeared.

I was laid off through no fault of my own, and so I was a victim of downsizing.

The exit package I received was supposed to squelch any possible wrongful dismissal lawsuit or complaints, and, in the event, it worked - I never complained or sued them, and to this day, get along just fine with the HR Dept of my last employer.

CheshireKitty said...

It was a relatively high rate of pay in a low-paying industry compared with say, finance. The top-rated benefits nonetheless are top-of-the-line med/dental ins, exactly what I was receiving when I was working there.

I'm not rich - far from it - and especially not rich in NYC with the cost of living as it is here. I consider myself lucky in that the long years I put in at that job, did pay off in the end. As I said at the beginning of the thread, employer-paid pensions are disappearing. Even medical benefits for employees are disappearing (much less retiree med/dental benefits). I know I was lucky to have survived there, but it wasn't only because of luck. I did try harder, and worked harder than most. They appreciated it but probably never figured I would last as long as I did.

Eventually, my pay was higher than the supervisors' which must have been somewhat "awkward" but that was only because of the number of hours I was putting in at the OT rate.

There was nothing they could do since I was "required" by my boss, and he had tremendous "pull" even up to the highest management levels of the place. He was also consistently blocking my attempts to transfer from about the 2nd year I was there as I had already tired of the work and wanted to change. I tried to transfer many times, they would go through a charade of "pretending" to consider my application. But nothing would come of it, because my boss "required" me, and only me.

Obviously they could have let me go years before since I was so "costly." Everyone around me was being let go every few years - the turnover rate was incredible. It is impossible for me to even estimate the number of co-workers I outlasted. Either workers were let go or they would leave to move on to something else. The average number of years they'd stay was about 3 or 4. I stayed about 7 times as long as the average - and so I outlasted many "generations" of both managers and workers, and even the professionals. I was almost the "institutional memory" of the place by the time it was my turn to be laid off, when my job finally vanished. Still, 22 years isn't a bad run.

KTG said...

Your own comments validate my statements. You were in same job for 20 years with limited vertical movement.

Yet describe new managers coming in why didn't you get shot at management, why could younger "cheaper" employees compete with your experience?

I started it out in a call center / hourly role out of college. It was the land of "c" students who staid in same role for decades. But managers like these people because they provide stability and don't rock the boat.

I left after 9 months for a more senior role in same company that I pushed for. no initiative = no results.

CheshireKitty said...

Question: Are you vested in an employer-paid pension plan? What is your retirement going to look like for you?

I wasn't the only one who made it to 20 - a select/favored few lasted that long - like maybe 3 or 4 out of the division. I also absolutely tried to transfer, but I was "required" by my boss, and my transfer requests were thus always blocked.

Management? Why should I have wanted to switch to a management job if I was doing better than my own managers financially? Some workers very occasionally would "push" into management - it was sort of pathetic because those spots were notoriously tenuous. Even if they were canned, though, I suppose the idea was they could show that they had gotten a promotion. Even I got a "promotion" - automatically conferred on those with 10 years (or something), which was basically meaningless. A "big deal" was the every 5-year pinning ceremonies that everyone attended - workers plus professionals. Some wore their pins on their coats/IDs. It was just another event to attend with the food speeches etc.

Do you really imagine me "identifying" with the managers? Some were good, some were bad - but I did manage to outlast them all, until my job vanished. Having been a worker and seen what the "managers" occasionally did to workers, why would I possibly have wanted to become a manager?

Remember, too: Managers were coming and going with an even higher turnover rate than the workers, but I stayed, kept getting raises, the OT, generous bonuses throughout the year, etc. so my pay rate was higher than that of my managers after not that long a time. There were certainly other job titles I was interested in trying, and did try to transfer, but my requests were always blocked.

As far as initiative/ambition: That is something I personally never had, from childhood on. I intensely hated the entire "go-getter" ethos from elementary school. I was skipped anyway (placed in a special program and skipped 1 year of school in JHS), then went to an elite HS, then to an Ivy League college. None of this really meant much as my only "ambition" then as now was really, to be left alone.

I agree: It was of course a job I knew backwards and forwards after a short while. Had it not been for the recession at the time, I probably would have up and left. After 6 months as a temp, I was forced to accept it as a permanent job since the employer didn't want to keep paying the agency fee. It was either that or the uncertainty of the dwindling job market at the time. I'm not sure if I refused the job offer and was laid off - which would certainly have happened at that time - that would have counted as a "layoff" since I was working there through a temp agency. So I took the job and became a "regular."

Like most around me, it was actually a job that didn't require that much effort eventually. It was easy doing that job, the reward was the money, the excellent benefits and the informal, frequent parties (nearly on a daily basis).

I ask you again: Are you in line for an employer-paid pension/benefits/etc when you retire? My job was indeed lowly - I'm proud I was a lowly worker and never got suckered into a management track - but at least I got a fantastic package upon separation.

So many jobs today, no matter how "great," do not provide benefits such as med ins & a guaranteed life-long pension (or even sick days in some cases). We were getting a month of vac and something like 114 days of paid sick leave (of course I rarely used sick leave - because of my perfect attendance record etc). Also, free tuition, and many other benefits I can't even think of right off. Does your job provide all these benefits?

Bill Blass said...

You seem to be the only one so interested in the this store to you have a drinking problem

Westviewer said...

No, I don't, you insulting troll, but I like the possibility of buying a bottle of wine on the spur of the moment, the way one can in any other NYC neighborhood.

Janet Falk said...

On a related (pardon the pun) topic: SIGNAGE

Despite repeated emails to David Kramer and the RIOC Board of Directors regarding the status of signage directing visitors to the Shops on Main, I have yet to receive a reply.

Excerpted emails follow:

April 3, 2013:


I have long been an advocate for signage at Tram Plaza and the RI Subway station to direct visitors to locations on the Island, especially the shops on Main Street.

Now that there are several new food establishments (Subway, Coach Scot's Main Street Sweets) and more planned in the future, according to your recent interview, I write to inquire how Hudson Related plans to drive traffic to these locations.

Signs and announcements on the Tram electronic screen would undoubtedly have a positive impact that would support these retailers.

Please let me know your timetable for erecting signs and posting advertisements on the Tram.

July 19, 2013

As a follow-up to the April 3 email,

A quick note to inquire about the directional and promotional signage you propose for Roosevelt island,

The FDR Four Freedoms Memorial Park has posed signs directing visitors to walk or take the red bus.

There is no indication at the Tram station or Subway station that one could dine and shop on Roosevelt Island.

Please advise.

September 16, 2013

Greetings RIOC Directors,

After several attempts to engage David Kramer in discussion of signage, an issue I raised at the RIOC Directors Town Hall Meeting, I turn to you for an update.

Please advise on the status of signage at the Tram and Subway station directing visitors to explore Roosevelt Island and spend money in local establishments.

Thank you.

December 26, 2013

Greetings RIOC Directors,

Several months have passed since I submitted this inquiry regarding the status of signage at the Tram and Subway.

Looking forward to your reply.

NO reply from David Kramer and none from the RIOC Board of Directors.

According to one merchant, it is Kramer who is dragging his feet on this issue. The pretty signs in front of the shops are seen only by those who already walk Main Street.

Who has a plan to drive visitors to visit the Main Street corridor?

Too many tourists simply re-board the tram and return to Manhattan without spending a dime on the Island and helping the merchants stay in business.

Janet Falk