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Friday, February 28, 2014

Gorgeous Black And White View Of Queensboro Bridge And New York City East River Waterfront Seen From Roosevelt Island

No Roosevelt Island F Train To Manhattan This Weekend - Get Your No F Train Door Magnets

According to the MTA:
F Coney Island-bound trains run via the E from Roosevelt Av to 5 Av/53 St

Weekend, 11:15 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Feb 28 - Mar 3

Trains resume regular service at 47-50 Sts.
Another reason to stop by and get your No F Train Subway Service door magnets

from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Center Kiosk.

Dead Roosevelt Island Rat In Front Of RIOC Office Courtyard For Last 3 Days Reports Resident - Who Will Remove It?

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

UPDATE 7:45 - The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) reports that the dead rat was removed this afternoon.

View Of Early 1970's Roosevelt Island From Harry & Tonto Film - Passenger Elevator Storehouse To Queensboro Bridge, Nurses Residence And Ravenswood Power Plant Coal Chute

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse gives us a look at Roosevelt Island from the early 1970's in this screenshot from the movie Harry and Tonto.

I asked Roosevelt Island Historical Society President (RIHS) Judy Berdy:
What are the buildings next to queensboro bridge in picture?
Ms Berdy replied.
According to Neil Tandon writing for the RIHS:
... The Elevator Storehouse, opened in 1919, housed an elevator that transported cars and people from the Queensboro Bridge down to the present-day Tramway Plaza. In addition, it contained storage space and a reception ward for the island's Metropolitan Hospital. The building, whose main lobby was on its top floor, was nicknamed the upside-down building and was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not for its peculiar design. With the opening of the Welfare Island Bridge, the building closed in 1955 and was demolished in 1970....
The Greater Astoria Historical Society provides this picture of Elevator Storehouse on Roosevelt (then Blackwells) Island

Here's more on the Queensboro Bridge passenger elevator to Roosevelt Island from Ms. Berdy's Book Images of America Roosevelt Island.  An excerpt:
Perhaps, one day in the future a passenger elevator from Roosevelt Island to the Queensboro Bridge will return.

Harry and Tonto was a very good film starring Art Carney. According to Rotten Tomatoes:
In Paul Mazursky's rueful character drama, 57-year-old Art Carney plays Harry, a 70-plus Manhattan widower who loses his tiny apartment to the wrecking ball. Accompanied by his pet, an aged cat named Tonto, Harry sets out on an odyssey to Los Angeles....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Roosevelt Island Door Magnets Reminding You To Check Weekend F Train Service To And From Manhattan Available At Roosevelt Island Historical Society Kiosk

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) adds another addition to it's collection of Roosevelt Island memorabilia. RIHS President Judy Berdy reports:

Are you frustrated with the continual planned services changes in our weekend subway service?

Here is a solution.

Put a magnet on your door to remind you that there is no service in one direction.

There are two magnets available:
No Manhattan Bound Service
No Queens Bound Service
Image Of Magnets From RIHS

The ultimate in Roosevelt Island memorabelia has arrived. Our two new magnets are now on sale in the RIHS Visitor Center Kiosk. $5- each (We accept charge cards)
You can also purchase a Tram magnet

as well as other items at the RIHS Kiosk.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting With Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, NYPD 114th Precinct Commander Kevin Maloney And NY State Senator Jose Serrano - Here's What Happened

Last evening, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, NYPD 114 Precinct Commander Kevin Maloney and NY State Senator Jose Serrano held a Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting to discuss criminal justice and public safety issues effecting our community.

Senator Serrano tweeted:

The Town Hall began with an introduction by Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar followed by brief presentations from DA Vance, State Senator Serrano and Deputy Inspector Maloney.

DA Vance addressed the recent arrest and sentencing of the former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President Of Operations for falsifying payroll records, the allegations of Public Safety Department (PSD) Officers misconduct (it's currently under investigation so he would not comment publicly on allegations) and issues of domestic violence.

Senator Serrano complimented Mr. Vance for the work of the DA's office noting that in addition to "taking down criminals", the DA's Office is concerned with keeping kids "from getting involved in any types of crime". Mr. Serrano also complimented the DA's office on how they serve and protect the immigrant community here on Roosevelt Island and the rest of Manhattan.

Deputy Inspector Maloney reported that he was recently appointed to his position at the 114 precinct last November and that this was his first official trip to Roosevelt Island though he has been working with RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus on Roosevelt Island issues. Deputy Inspector Maloney also said that there is one full time NYPD officer assigned to Roosevelt Island.

PSD Director McManaus (left) Next To NYPD's Maloney, DA Cyrus Vance And State Senator Serrano

Following the presentations, there was a one hour session of questions from the Roosevelt Island residents in attendance. Questions included issues of:
  • Safety at Roosevelt Landings,
  • The District Attorney's Trespass Affidavit Program,
  • Misconduct Of Public Safety Department Officers as well as statements about improvements at PSD under new Director McManus,
  • Allegations of PSD Officers fabricated testimony under prior PSD Administration and more.
There were also questions asked on non criminal justice issues such as:
  • affordable housing
  • emergency preparedness in the event of another Hurricane Sandy and
  • making public meetings accessible for the hearing impaired.
Here's video of the entire 75 minute Town Hall Meeting.

It was a very informative Town Hall Meeting. Thanks to Senator Serrano, DA Vance and Deputy Inspector Maloney for participating and the Roosevelt Island audience for their excellent questions.

Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization Monthly Seminar Wednesday February 26 - Bike New York Presentation On Benefits Of Biking And Identifying Healing Effects Of Chakras

The Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO) sends the following invitation to women 18 years and older for its February 26 Monthly Seminar.

More information on Bike New York's Roosevelt Island programs at this previous post.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Talks District Issues With CB 8 Speaks But No Specific Questions On Roosevelt Island Asked - Kallos Hears Panel Of Open Data Experts Explaining Ways To Improve Functioning Of NYC Council Today

Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member (5th District Manhattan) Ben Kallos appeared on Community Board 8 CB8 Speaks program.

Mr. Kallos addressed issues on the
  • East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, 
  • Second Avenue Subway, 
  • Chairmanship of NYC Council Committee On Government Operations,  
  • Affordable Housing,
  • Seniors Citizens,
  • East River Esplanade,
  • Women's issues (He's only man on Women's Committee),
  • Pre Kindergarten education and more.
Unfortunately, no questions were asked about specific Roosevelt Island issues.

Here's the CB 8 Speaks interview with Mr. Kallos

Today, Mr. Kallos organized a panel on the use of technology to improve the functioning of the NYC Council. His office issued the following Press Release:
Today, technology experts and open data leaders Andrew Rasiej, Noel Hidalgo, John Kaehny and David Moore testified before members of the City Council on innovative technology reforms that will improve the transparency, openness and accountability of the legislative body. The reforms focused on improving legislative transparency, constituent services and the discretionary funding process using technology.

Proposals included:
  • Improving constituent service with interactive tools that empower Council Members and residents to have more open communication;
  • Transparency for the legislative process so that it is more publicly accessible, with all information centralized and easy to find.
  • Opening the City Council Legislative website’s API (the code that allows programmers to share information and build new applications) so anyone can access the information however they wish, using software that the Council is free to improve upon and redistribute;
  • Supporting Participatory Budgeting with a standard technology and communications infrastructure to encourage more residents to vote on how capital funding is spent in their neighborhoods; and
  • Transparency for the application and distribution of discretionary member item grants to community organizations.
Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer, organized the panel with in close coordination with Council Member Brad Lander, the Chair of the Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Elections, as part of panels on a series of reforms to improve the fairness, transparency and efficiency of the New York City Council. Last October, more than 30 Council Members signed on to Rules Reforms, which this hearing aims to implement.

Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Media and Sunlight Foundation, David Moore of the Participatory Politics Foundation, Noel Hidalgo of Beta NYC, and John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany are international, national and local advocates for increased participation and open information in government through the lens of technology.

“We commend the City Council for taking this time to review and adapt its rules for the 21st century. For a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, FOR the 21 century, the City Council needs to embrace the role of a Chief Information Officer who is empowered to adapt 21st century tools and business practices,” said Hidalgo. “In 2009, the New York State Senate created such a team, and I was honored to be a part of it. Using modern, safe, secure, open-source tools, we were able to adapt tools to increase transparency, efficiency, and participation for all New Yorkers. Now, it is the time for the City Council to embrace that same business practice and tools to make NYC the true digital capital of the world."

"We hope this hearing is the first step in a new process of continuous improvement, and public outreach, which will allow council to better harness the speed of light changes in technology. In particular, from today's hearing, we'd like to see the Council recognize the huge opportunities in mobile and two-way text technology to reduce the digital divide,” said Kaehny.

“My experience with shows that there is a huge public appetite for accessible information about what's happening in government. By making its legislative data fully accessible to the public, the New York City Council has an opportunity lead the nation in open government,” said Moore.

"New Yorkers are now competing in a 21st century global economy where access to real-time online information resources is a prerequisite for success,” said Andrew Rasiej, Chairman of NY Tech Meetup and founder of Personal Democracy Media. "The New York City Council has a responsibility to operate in ways that make sure all New Yorkers have a 21st century government that is transparent, accountable, and truly representative of the modern and fast changing world in which they now live.”

Council Member Ben Kallos said: “These top minds in the technology field have always been innovators, and their solutions for the New York City Council are no exception. Along with my colleagues, I am excited for real change in the way the Council operates—making it a more effective, open body where the best ideas rise to the top. After posting state legislative records online, I saw the benefits of opening information to the public so they can hold representatives accountable. Since then, I’ve been fighting to reform government through technology that improves communication between government and the people we represent.”...

Report From New Roosevelt Island Resident Association President Jeff Escobar - RIRA Can Do Better, District Attorney Town Hall Meeting Tonight And Amalgamated Bank Mortgage Seminar Wednesday

 Image Of Jeff Escobar (standing) at 10/12/22 Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar sends the following Report To The Community:
As many may or may not know, at the February 5, 2014 Common Council Session, RIRA President Ellen Polivy had announced that she would step down from her role as president of RIRA due to personal reasons. As an organization whose heart, soul and success lies in those who choose what little time they have outside of their own personal and professional lives to represent and advocate for the interests of those who live on this tiny island we all share as our home, every respect and appreciation must be given to Ms. Polivy not only for her past service and her continued work on behalf of this community, but also her foresight to recognize her need to step down.

Thusly, inasmuch as I was elected by all of you in a contested race in November 2012 as RIRA Vice-President, I am tasked to not only carry on the duties and office of the RIRA Presidency, but also right this ship. I have no equivocations of the place RIRA has put itself since the inception of this term: once a home where a sense of community lived with a sense of purpose and relevance, it is now rudderless and a place where personal politics and past conflicts are carried under the delusional flag that it is saving RIRA from its members. Some would rather have such strife pervade over the work that it should be doing. I, as its new President, am not one of them.

“We Can Do Better”

Each Common Council member has had a hand in the state that RIRA is currently in. Each Common Council member, however, also has the choice of either rebuilding what was lost or continuing the path that has led RIRA to its dismal state. For the sake of this Island and for those who call it home, we can and must do better.

Respect. Civility. Relevance. Community. These four pillars are what should and shall be the bedrock of RIRA. As the direct conduit not to only RIOC but the City at large, it is time that the Common Council members come together and work for the community and be its voice, to do its work, and to meet as a community to tackle and address Island issues in a setting where all is invited. Because, isn’t that what this little ship in the middle of the East River always been about?

Eight months remain in the terms of the current Common Council members, with five Common Council Meetings to be convened. As I have indicated before and reiterate now, it will be up to those Common Council members who choose to remain how much, or how little, will be done during this time. To those who wish to continue their past “work” which has veered RIRA off of its course this past year-and-a-half, such past is past and should either be checked at the door or be tabled to be undertaken in November when the newly elected RIRA board take its seat. Until then, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, respect your neighbors, treat each other with the civility that each person deserves and make RIRA relevant again. If RIRA finally leads, then the community will follow.

Community Events

As life continues on, so do many community events. Of note, I strongly urge to attend the two following events occurring in the next week or so:

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting with New York State Senator Serrano and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office --Monday, February 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center. Voice your concerns and questions directly to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano and New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner as they relate to life on Roosevelt Island and the City at large. This is a unique opportunity to ask questions and advocate for solutions to problems that affect us all.

Mortgage Seminar at Amalgamated Bank– Wednesday, February 25 at 7:00 PM at Amalgamated Bank. For those who have questions and concerns about buying a home, obtaining a mortgage and how to finance a purchase, Amalgamated Bank on Main Street is offering an opportunity to directly ask such questions and a comfortable setting. Please contact Al Salas, Manager at Amalgamated Bank, if you are interested in attending: or 212 413 8775.

Do you have a community concern, question or initiative that you wish to undertake or need help? Have an upcoming community event? Please do not hesitate in emailing me directly at
More on the new RIRA President at this previous post which includes video of Mr. Escobar speaking to the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) in October 2012 on issues regarding the Cornell NYC Tech project.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Series Of Recent Roosevelt Island Burglaries At Roosevelt Landings - Residents At Home In Several Incidents, Double Lock Your Apartment Door Says RIOC Public Safety Director

Image Of Credit Card Used To Open Door From Paxton Locksmithing (For Illustrative Purposes Only)

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Jack McManus sends the following message to the community:
A series of burglaries have occurred at the Roosevelt Landings over the past several weeks. There are no indications that forced entry was used to enter these apartments.

Instead, entry appears to have been made by compromising apartment doors that were not double-locked. In several of these incidents, residents were at home while the Burglary occurred.

The suspect(s) have removed property that can be easily carried such as Laptops, Pocketbooks and Purses.

Thankfully, there were no injuries to any residents during the course of these crimes. We cannot overemphasize the importance of double-locking your door upon exiting or entering your apartment.

Additionally, the Public Safety Department has created a document entitled "Crime Prevention Tips For Our Island Residents". The information included in this document is time-tested by Law Enforcement Agencies, and deemed to be quite helpful. Copies are available at the Public Safety Department (PSD). Please take the time to read this document.

The Public Safety Department along with our NYPD partners are working diligently to locate those responsible for these crimes and to help prevent future occurrences. Please call the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department at (212)832-4545 if you have any questions.
The RIOC January 2014 Public Safety Blotter shows these 3 Roosevelt Landings burglaries:
  • 1/7/14 540 Main Street - Resident reported items were missing from his apt. NYPD on site took report. No sign of forced entry, search made for subj/property with neg results. Bldg. Management to change door locks.
  • 1/16/14 - 540 Main Street - Resident reported items were missing from his apt. NYPD to investigate; no sign of forced entry
  • 1/18/14 - 540 Main Street - Resident reported a laptop was missing from the apt. NYPD responded and filed report; no signs of forced entry.
and December 2013 RIOC Public Safety Blotter shows another 2 burglaries at Roosevelt Landings.
  • 12/9/13 - 540 Main Street - Tenant stated she found her door open and her 2 laptops missing. No signs of forced entry; NYPD notified and filed report.
  • 12/17/13 - 546 Main Street - Resident reports that she stepped out to throw trash and that upon her return her book bag was missing, Search made with neg results; report filed with NYPD
Also, reported last July that there were a series of burglaries at Manhattan Park.

The RIOC Public Safety Department has these Crime Prevention Tips to follow for your safety:

Crime Prevention tips for our island residents:

1. Keep front doors, patio doors and windows locked. If you have a patio, Burglar-proof your glass patio doors by setting a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. The pipe should be the same length as the track.

2. Have your key ready before you approach your apartment door. Don't leave extra keys under doormats, potted plants or any other obvious outdoor location. Burglars will generally find them. Find an inconspicuous place to hide the keys, or give a set to a neighbor you can trust

3. Store cash, jewelry and other valuables in a safe or safety deposit box instead of leaving them lying around the home.

4. Do not leave notes on the door for service people or family members when you are not there. These alert the burglar that you are not home.

5. Be sure to use a dead bolt lock on your doors.

6. Look through your door peep hole before answering the door.

7. Use the door chain when answering and before opening the door.

8. Be sure your apartment door is dead bolt locked before retiring for the night or leaving your apartment.

9. Do not open the door for strangers until you have established their identity and purpose.

10. If you cannot establish their identity, call the PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT at (212) 832- 4545. We are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

11. Report any suspicious persons loitering or soliciting to the PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT.

12. Be aware of your surroundings.

13. Lock your door immediately upon entering your apartment.

14. Be sure the entrance outside your apartment door is well lit.

15. If you feel unsafe during late hours, call the PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT and we will walk you to your residence.

John B. McManus, Director

Joyce Short, the head of the Roosevelt Landings Tenants Association, commented on building security issues at this previous post last week on arrests inside the building for criminal possession of a gun:
As the Head of the Roosevelt Landings Residents Association, I'd like to voice my opinion on this issue.....

Roosevelt Landings is the only building on Roosevelt Island that does not have doormen or someone specifically on-site to deal with security issues in the building. When the Island was fashioned, the Public Safety Department was assigned that task, and our building's management pays a high price tag for that ongoing support.

We have 49 doors leading to our building. And because of our very quirky layout, nefarious access through any one puts residents at risk. Unfortunately, we have residents who live in our midst, who consistently disable the locks so they can come and go as they please, infringing on the safety of their neighbors. No one should tamper with locks for their amusement of selfish access.

People who live in other buildings are guarded from erroneous entry, where Roosevelt Landing's folks are not. Therefore, it is imperative that Roosevelt Landings have the protection of the District Attorney's Trespass program to deter offenders. And I believe Director McManus has instilled a proper approach to dealing with those issues in the men and women on his force.

Children loitering in hallways should be asked to "go home," not get arrested. People who are waiting at the doorway for their buddy to arrive should be escorted out of the building, not handcuffed and thrown into a cell.

People who demonstrate harmful intent should be dealt with in a manner befitting the danger they present.

A public safety officer should never have to put their life at risk by confronting a person with a weapon. That is the job for the police force, which, I believe is grossly under served in this community. When a problem involving a gun, knife, or other weapon comes up, resolution is urgent, and Public Safety Officers put themselves on the line to handle the situation. They should not have to do so.

Instead, we should have at least two permanent booths for police officers on Roosevelt Island. Our volume of population warrants at least that amount. It is unconscionable, and the failing of the City of New York, that this protection is not available to us.
I have been told that the criminal possession of weapon charges have been dismissed but am waiting for confirmation from the District Attorney's office.

Don't forget that tomorrow, February 24 is the Roosevelt Island Criminal Justice/Public Safety Town Hall meeting sponsored by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and NY State Senator Jose Serrano. You're invited.

UPDATE 2/24- The RIOC Public Safety Report noted these burglary incidents this past weekend.
  • 2/22/14 - 0100 - 531 Main St - Pass Burglary - PSD & NYPD responded - Report filed.
  • 02/22/14 - 1100 - 510 Main St. - Burglary - PSD and NYPD reports filed.
UPDATE 2/26 - According to a Manhattan District Attorney's Office representative, the weapons charge was dismissed. The weapon was a BB gun. A charge of marijuana possession remains.

UPDATE 2/27 - 2 more burglaries reported at Roosevelt Landings this week:
  • 02/26/14- 1044 - 510 Main St - Burglary - PSD responded. Referred to NYPD.
  • 02/25/14 - 1644 - 560 Main St - Burglary - Referred to NYPD.
UPDATE 3/11 - Another incident:
  • 03/08/14 - 1146 - 510 Main St - Attempted Burglary - PSD Responded
and another:
  • 03/10/14 - 1240 - 536 Main St - Burglary - PSD & NYPD responded - Report filed.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Report From Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove - Reviews Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting And Thanks Former RIRA President Ellen Polivy As Tireless Advocate For Community

Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove Introducing Feb 5 Roosevelt Island Construction Town Hall Meeting

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.

Many thanks to everyone who braved this crazy winter weather to join us at the Cornell Tech town hall meeting earlier this month. Despite the slush and bitter cold, more than 125 Islanders came out to hear the latest progress on campus construction and to take part in a great discussion. We were also honored to be joined by our new Council Member, Ben Kallos, and Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla.

This week’s column is devoted to recapping the town hall, but first, I would like to acknowledge and thank Ellen Polivy as she steps down from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association. For more than two years now, Ellen has been a constructive critic and tireless advocate for Islanders, helping us understand what is important to her neighbors. She has always acted in the best interests of the community, while working with us constructively and collaboratively to ensure our campus will be an asset to the Island. We will miss Ellen in her role at RIRA, but are grateful that she will continue to be an active member of the Cornell Tech Construction and Community Task Force.

The town hall meeting was held on February 5th and was co-hosted by the Construction and Community Task Force, which was instrumental in putting together what proved to be a very productive and engaging agenda for the meeting. The task force is a critically important group, providing advice for our team, a forum for keeping the community updated and a group of knowledgeable citizens to raise questions in real time.

Our team made three presentations at the town hall. The first was given by Andrew Winters, Cornell Tech’s Director of Capital Projects and Planning. Andrew is overseeing the campus construction and he gave a broad overview of the project phasing, timeline and design, noting the arrival of the first barge on January 21. He reminded everyone that we are committed to using barges for all aspects of the demolition and abatement phase, which is scheduled to go for almost a year. He also described the fencing around the site and the need to close the eastern roadway and promenade in order to ensure the barging operation is conducted safely. In the near future, the western roadway will be turned into a two-way street, with a turn-around at the end to accommodate vehicular access to Southpoint and Four Freedoms parks. Finally, Andrew filled everyone in on the water main break that occurred on the campus site. A team focused on doing test borings hit an active water line. Residents’ water was never polluted nor compromised, but the incident has led us to revise our drilling procedures and also revisit procedures with RIOC to get immediate and clear information out to the community.

Aric Domozick of PAL Environmental Services then gave a detailed presentation on the work his company is overseeing related to the abatement and demolition of Goldwater Hospital. Aric stressed the focus on safety that his company and the entire Cornell Tech team are bringing to the project, beginning with the abatement but continuing throughout the project. He also described the sequence and approach to demolition.

Then Karen Tamir, our landscape architect from James Corner Field Operations (the group who designed the High Line among many other outstanding projects), gave a quick update on the exciting open space plans for the campus. While these plans are not yet final, Karen and her team are designing a unique set of urban public spaces that will be open to the community, populated with native species of beautiful plants, and take advantage of the spectacular views. This is one of the most exciting aspects of the campus and we look forward to sharing final designs soon.

The last half of the meeting was an opportunity for Islanders to ask questions, provide input and hear directly from the Cornell Tech team. As always, there was a terrific energy and enthusiasm in the room and we appreciate everyone’s participation. I hope that the town hall was informative and helpful to those who attended, and I look forward to seeing even more people at the next town hall meeting later this year. In the meantime, all of the latest information on the campus and the construction process is available on our website at Stay warm and dry! 
Here is the full video of the February 5 Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner Not Running For Re-Election Reports Politcker - Democratic Party Battle To Succeed Mr. Kellner Begins

NY Observer's Politicker reports that Roosevelt Island NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner is not running for re-election. According to Politicker, Mr. Kellner said:
I’ve been very proud to represent Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island,” he said. “In light of the slow pace of the appeal, I decided to not to run for re-election because this community deserves an election based on the issues they care about and not a referendum on sensationalized, five-year-old allegations
The Twitterverse reports:
and Politicker has audio of Mr. Kellner's announcement provided by the campaign of Ed Hartzog who is seeking to replace Mr. Kellner.

The NY Daily News Celeste Katz Daily Politics Blog has more on the Democratic Party battle among candidates to succeed Mr. Kellner.
As I reported in January, a power struggle between supporters of two hopefuls eyeing Kellner's seat -- regardless of whether he stayed in the game or not -- led to some bad blood on the East Side.

At the time, investment banker Gus Christensen tried to pack a group in Kellner's district, the Lenox Hill Democratic Club, by underwriting $2,600 in dues for friends to join just before the club picked a president to replace businessman David Menegon, who's also on a mission to succeed Kellner.

Ostensibly with an eye to getting the club's endorsement for Assembly, Christensen ended up winning the vote -- although his backers insisted he could have done so without opening his wallet.

Now the man he defeated, M.J. Dillon, has co-founded a new organization, the Four Freedoms Democratic Club....
Click here for the entire post by Ms. Katz.

Corey Evans is another candidate expected to try to replace Mr. Kellner.

As far as I know, there is no current Democratic Party club on Roosevelt Island. It will be interesting to see if Roosevelt Island Democratic Party members line up behind one candidate.

No Roosevelt Island F Train To Manhattan This Weekend Or Next - Queens Bound Roosevelt Island F Train Stops At Steinway And Other Local Stations

According to the MTA:
F Coney Island-bound trains run via the E from Roosevelt Av to 5 Av/53 St

Weekends, 11:15 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, until Mar 3

Trains resume regular service at 47-50 Sts.

No Coney Island-bound service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.
F Jamaica-bound trains make local stops at 36, Steinway, 46 Sts, Northern Blvd and 65 St
At least better transportation access to Astoria this weekend.

Heavy Fog Vanishes Portions Of Roosevelt Island Manhattan And East River Waterfront Today

Very heavy fog vanishes portions of Roosevelt Island and Manhattan today.

New Roosevelt Island resident Felix D'Souza shares these photos of today's fog

Images From Felix D'Souza

and here's a rooftop view

of the fog.

What's That Nightmarish Building Asks Twitterverse - Not A Scottish Castle, It's The Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital Seen From Above

More on the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Image of Renwick Ruin Smallpox Hospital From Olya's Urban Journal

this previous post.

and cool video of the Ruins mistaken for a Scottish Castle.

Report From RIOC President Charlene Indelicato Roosevelt Island Snowstorms, Sportspark, Tram Maintenance, Blackwell Playgound Signage & Red Bus Fare Eliminated

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato sends the following report to the community.

Snow and Stormy Weather

RIOC would like to extend its thanks to Roosevelt Island drivers for responding quickly to the Snow Emergency advisories and moving their cars off the streets. Your cooperation has helped us keep the streets clean and safe throughout the consecutive storms that have affected Roosevelt Island. We thank you for your patience and for your kind words of encouragement to our staff members on the streets during this exceptionally stormy winter. We would also like to recognize the hard work of our snow removal crew for dedicating over 1,100 man hours to snow preparations and removal since mid-December.

As a reminder, in the event of a Snow Emergency, free 24-hour parking is available for Roosevelt Island residents inside the Motorgate Parking Garage (688 Main St.) in non-reserved spaces. If you have any questions or difficulty finding a parking space, please contact the Garage at (212) 832-4585 or the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department at (212) 832-4545. You may also visit Motorgate’s offices, located on the 4th floor of the garage.

Sportspark Website

Sportspark is aiming to make information about classes, programs and facilities more easily accessible online. To that end, we are pleased to announce the debut of our new Parks & Recreation website. Starting today, Sportspark patrons will be able to view a calendar of programs and available classes online, register and pay for some classes, manage and update contact information as well as access important forms & information online. Online registration is currently only available for the upcoming session of Mommy & Me water safety classes.

If you would like to try out the new site, you can visit We encourage you to try out the new site and let us know what you think. You can report any questions, comments or issues you have to; we look forward to receiving feedback from the community as we improve this new interface.

Sportspark Pool Repair

On February 14, 2014, a mechanical malfunction at the Sportspark Pool required the temporary closure of the facility. Emergency repairs were performed and the Pool is now open. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to the community and thank you for understanding that in order to keep the Pool in good condition, closures are sometimes necessary. We will continue to do our best to maintain the Pool and ensure that it is open and available as often as possible.

Scheduled Tram Maintenance

Weather permitting, the Tram will be undergoing scheduled repairs on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. In order to lessen the impact on travel plans, the work will begin at 10:00 p.m. and take place overnight. The Tram will resume operations at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

Blackwell Park Children’s Playground Signage

New signs stating playground rules and regulations have been installed at the Blackwell Park Children’s Playground. Based on the concerns and desires expressed by the community, the playground has been designated for use by children under 50” in height. This maximum height is based on the average height of a nine year old child, the upper age limit which was agreed upon during discussions with concerned residents. This will effectively address one of the primary issues brought to our attention by Island parents – that of larger children playing alongside very small children. We are grateful to the community for working with us on this project and are hoping to provide a safe, fun experience for all who will use the Playground.

Red Bus Fare Elimination

Frequent travelers on the Red Bus are reminded that beginning April 1, 2014, the $0.25 fare will be eliminated. Travelers are encouraged to use any remaining balance on their fare change cards before this date. If a balance remains on the card after the cutoff date, refunds will be available at the RIOC Bus Garage (680 Main Street) until April 30, 2014. If you have any questions, please call (212) 832-4540 for more information.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

NYPD Arrests 3 Persons For Criminal Possession Of A Gun At Roosevelt Island's 580 Main Street (Roosevelt Landings) Last Friday - Criminal Justice/Public Safety Town Hall Meeting Sponsored By District Attorney Vance And State Senator Serrano February 24

According to this Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department (PSD) Incident Report:

2/14/14 - 1958 - 580 Main St. - Crim. Possession of Weapon - NYPD conducts arrest
A NYPD Press Spokesperson reported that officers from the 114th Precinct responded to a 911 call of a gun spotted at 580 Main Street (Roosevelt Landings). Upon reaching the 4th floor of the building, the NYPD officers observed a gun on a ledge and arrested 3 persons in close proximity to the gun.

RIOC PSD Director Jack McManus adds that PSD received an anonymous call about a gun being spotted at the location. PSD then called 911 and NYPD responded.

Roosevelt Island criminal justice and public safety issues will be the subject of a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, February 24.

As previously reported:
Senator José M. Serrano and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. are sponsoring a very important Town Hall Meeting for the Roosevelt Island community. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact directly with DA Vance and our local elected officials, while learning more about the services provided by the District Attorney's office.

Do you have concerns about public safety and the role of the DA's office? Suggestions or questions? The panel, which will include DA Vance and Senator Serrano, will lead a discussion enabling Roosevelt Island residents to have their voices heard. Please join us!

This Town Hall Meeting will take place on Monday, February 24th, from 6:00pm-7:00pm at the Good Shepherd Community Center Auditorium, located at 543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044.

Light refreshments will be served.
This is an important meeting. Hope to see you there.

UPDATE 2/26 - According to a Manhattan District Attorney's Office representative, the weapons charge was dismissed. The weapon was a BB gun. A charge of marijuana possession remains.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Really Fun First Time On The Roosevelt Island Tram Via Vine - It's Not Usually This Fast

British Comedian Tweets Never Met A New Yorker Bragging To Be From Roosevelt Island - Residents Respond We're Few But Many Of Us Love It

Comedian Chris Williams tweeted today that he never met a NY'er bragging about living on Roosevelt Island, though he says we do have a cool cable car.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse quickly responded.

Roosevelt Island Resident Asks FDR Park Conservancy To Allow More Food And Drink Into The Park And To Provide Transportation For Disabled - FDR Park Responds

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Member and Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach shares the following correspondence with the FDR Four Freedom Park Conservancy:
I wanted to mention to you that we love the park, but would love it even more if it was possible to eat and drink there, especially as private parties do have events with catering there. There are many families who live on RI and are prevented from visiting your park (or visiting it relaxed, or for longer periods of time), as they are not allowed to feed their babies there.

Another point is transportation: Disabled citizens have no access to the Memorial, which is too bad - perhaps there could be a number a citizen could call to be picked up with a small bus or a golf cart, or even pre-book, to be able to visit?

I would appreciate if you could forward these wishes to the appropriate contact people in your organization. I am happy to be in touch with them for further co-operation.

Thank you very much
An example of a FDR Park visitor in a wheelchair

and Champagne revelers.

on a warm sunny day.

A FDR Park Visitor Experience representative responded regarding the Park rules:
At first glance, many of our regulations appear strict, but part of our mission is to preserve this monument to our great President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since we opened, we have strived to improve in order to make the park rewarding to all of those who visit.

Last summer, we designed a seating area for those who bring their lunch. It's located on the west side of the park with beautiful views of Queens. The area includes 5 tables with umbrellas and 25 chairs.

For those who do not bring their lunch, we offer a food station where sandwiches and salads are sold during the warmer months, 3 days a week. We hope to have the food station back by April.

We don't allow any food and beverage on the actual memorial for fear that it will damage the raw granite and invite unwanted vermin onto the lawn.

We agree with you that arriving to the park can be challenging. We wish that there was parking available for ADA visitors closer to our entrance.

To alleviate this concern we offer golf cart transportation to and from the tram and subway station. We receive calls and emails for transportation assistance. Typically its booked in advance at no charge to the visitor. We can usually provide transportation assistance without notice too although notice is appreciated.

We also offer the option of parking inside the park for ADA and offer wheelchairs to those who need it or even a mini tour of the park in the golf cart.

We offered this last year to a World War II veteran and it was a rewarding experience for us all.

Now that the red bus is no longer traveling to our side of the Island, we have added an additional street licensed golf cart to meet ADA transport needs.

We are constantly evaluating what we can do to make the visitor's experience a pleasant one. Suggestions are always welcome.
Here's the FDR Park food station

seating area adjacent to the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital facing Queens

and the golf cart that can be used for transportation

to and from the Tram and Subway station.

Contact information for the FDR Park Conservancy is here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Roosevelt Island Restaurants Rat Free Says Report - Really, Is That True?

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reacts to our local rat free restaurants:

Gothamist explains how the NYC Restaurant Rat Map was created:
... Steven Melendez took the restaurant inspection data from the Health Department and looked at all the inspections since Jan. 1, 2013. Then he counted the total number of inspected restaurants and number of restaurants that received citations for "evidence of mice or live mice" or "evidence of rats or live rats" in that time period for each zip code. Then, for each zip code, he added to the info window any restaurant that currently has a C grade and was cited for mice and/or rats in its most recent graded inspection.

While some neighborhoods came out critter-free—you go, Roosevelt Island!—others had some pretty nauseating stats....
Do you think Roosevelt Island restaurants are rat free? Here's the most recent NYC Health Department Restaurant Grade inspections for Roosevelt Island.

Good news. Everybody got an A.

Snowy Roosevelt Island Day Filmed In Black And White - It's Beautiful

Click Watch on Full Screen icon between HD and Vimeo for best viewing.

Roosevelt Island Steam Plant, Steam Tunnels And Cornell Campus On Agenda For RIOC Operations Committee February 20 Meeting - Also, Sportspark Pool Now Open Says RIOC

Image Of Roosevelt Island Steam Plant

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee February 20 Agenda:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors meeting previously scheduled for Thursday, February 13, 2014 has been rescheduled and will be held on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


Discussion of:

General Projects Status

Steam Plant

Steam Tunnels

Cornell Campus

Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
An audio web cast of the meeting will be available soon thereafter.

Last Friday, RIOC announced that the Sportspark Pool was closed until further notice:
... due to icy weather, essential equipment at the Pool has experienced a mechanical malfunction. We are working with repair staff to restore the pool's machinery as quickly as possible.... 
RIOC reported this morning that the Sportspark Pool is now open:
Please be advised that following a previous closure, the Sportspark Pool has been reopened.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Update 2/21 - Here is the audio web cast of the meeting.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bernard & Amy Are Married On The Roosevelt Island Tram - Congratulations

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:


Congratulations and Best Wishes to Bernard & Amy on your Roosevelt Island Tram wedding.

There was another Roosevelt Island Tram wedding last December and a wedding proposal too.

Roosevelt Island is for lovers.

Roosevelt Island Mathematics - Think Different

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance And NY State Senator Jose Serrano Holding Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting Monday February 24 - You're Invited To Attend And Ask Questions

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance will be coming to Roosevelt Island to hold a Town Hall Meeting on Monday February 24 from 6 - 7 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). There will be a panel discussion followed by questions from the community.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office:
Our office is holding a town hall meeting on Roosevelt Island in partnership with Senator Serrano’s Office on Monday, February 24th at 6:00 PM. New York State Assembly member Micah Kellner will also join the panel.
This is a great opportunity for residents to express their views on Roosevelt Island Criminal Justice and Public Safety Department (PSD) issues to the Manhattan DA and our elected representatives.

For more background on some of these issues, check out previous posts, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) December 2013 PSD Audit and this video of Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee meeting with new PSD Director Jack McManus last September.

More video from the RIRA meeting with PSD Director Jack McManus at this previous post.

UPDATE 2/18 - From Senator Serrano's office:
Senator José M. Serrano and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. are sponsoring a very important Town Hall Meeting for the Roosevelt Island community. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact directly with DA Vance and our local elected officials, while learning more about the services provided by the District Attorney's office.

Do you have concerns about public safety and the role of the DA's office? Suggestions or questions? The panel, which will include DA Vance and Senator Serrano, will lead a discussion enabling Roosevelt Island residents to have their voices heard. Please join us!

This Town Hall Meeting will take place on Monday, February 24th, from 6:00pm-7:00pm at the Good Shepherd Community Center Auditorium, located at 543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044.

Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snowboarder Takes On Streets Of New York City - Any Thrill Seekers Want To Try This On Roosevelt Island?

According to The Atlantic Cities:

The snow-pocalypse, it turns out, didn't keep everyone snuggled up indoors. Director and producer Casey Neistat decided it'd be rad to snowboard through the streets of New York City, dragged behind a moving Jeep....
Via Curbed.

Any thrill seekers for the Roosevelt Island Motorgate Garage Roof Slope

 Image From Google Maps

Ski Jump?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA - Hope MTA's Right

Will there be Roosevelt Island F Train service to and from Manhattan this weekend?

Well, that's a little bit confusing right now.

According to the current MTA Weekender site, there will be Roosevelt Island F train service to and from Manhattan this weekend:
No scheduled work affecting service on this line
But there were signs posted in the Roosevelt Island Subway station this week, including today, noting that there would not be F Train service from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan this weekend

and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued this advisory on February 13:
The MTA has advised that there will be no Manhattan bound F trains this weekend, Friday, February 14th from 11:15 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. Tuesday, February 18th.

Travelers are advised to check online at or call 511 for the most current information on this or any other MTA service advisory. To sign up for real time alerts on planned service changes, visit
Check back with The Weekender for latest information.

Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool Closed Until Further Notice - Mechanical Problems Caused By Icy Weather Says RIOC

Image Of Sportspark Pool From 40 Pools

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that the Sportspark Pool will be shut down until further notice. Due to icy weather, essential equipment at the Pool has experienced a mechanical malfunction. We are working with repair staff to restore the pool's machinery as quickly as possible. We regret the inconvenience this closure poses and thank you for your understanding as we work to correct the problem. Updates will be issued as they become available.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Happy Valentine's Day Snowheart From Roosevelt Island

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

You can also celebrate Valentine's Day and tell someone you love them in a song - Jim Croce's I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song.

Happy Valentine's Day B!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Scenes From Another Roosevelt Island Snowy Day This Morning - It's Beautiful Says Resident Walking On Main Street


and shoveling

Roosevelt Island's Main Street at 10 AM this morning.

How was your commute to work or school today?

UPDATE 1 PM - Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department Director Jack McManus shares this advisory from the NYC Office Of Emergency Management (OEM):

For Motorists
If you must drive a vehicle, monitor weather and traffic reports for the latest road conditions. Use mass transportation whenever possible.
Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible as these roadways will be cleared first.
Drive slowly. Vehicles, including those with 4-wheel drive, take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck in the snow.
If you get stuck on the road stay with your car and contact a towing company.

For Pedestrians
Exercise caution and avoid slippery surfaces; some ice may not be visible.
Wear layers including a hat, gloves and scarf to stay protected from the cold. And, keep clothes and shoes dry.
Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.

Tips for Staying Warm
Exposure to cold can cause life-threatening health conditions. Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia, by keeping warm.
Wear a hat, hood, and scarf.
Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth.
Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Here We Go Again, Another NYC Snowstorm Coming Tonight - No Parking On Roosevelt Island Streets Says RIOC But Time For Building Snowmen And Snowforts

Snowy Southpoint Park Image From Rosanna Ceruzzi

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
The National Weather Service is forecasting for snow to begin falling in the NYC Metropolitan area after midnight tonight through Friday, February 14th, 2014 at 6:00 A.M. with an accumulation of anywhere from 8- 12 inches.

Thus, effective at 12:00 A.M., Thursday, February 13th, 2014, there will be no parking on both sides of Main St. on Roosevelt Island until 12:00 P.M., Friday, February 14th, 2014.

Free parking will be available at the Motorgate garage and underneath the Helix Ramp beginning at 12:00 A.M., Thursday, February 13th 2014 through 12:00 P.M., Friday, February 14th, 2014. This accommodation is for Roosevelt Island residents ONLY. It is imperative that vehicles parked underneath the Helix ramp be moved by 12:00 P.M. Friday, February 14th, 2014 in order to accommodate the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, February 15th, 2014.

Vehicles that do not abide by the aforementioned regulations may be summonsed and subject to being towed at the owner’s expense.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department at 212- 832- 4545. You may also visit the Motorgate Parking Garage offices located on the 4th floor of the garage.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Time to build some snowmen
and snow forts.

Roosevelt Island NYPD 114 Precinct Community Officer Adam Bierbauer Passed Away Recently At Age 83 - He Patrolled Roosevelt Island At The Very Beginning

Image From Queens Gazette

The Queens Gazette reports that retired NYPD "Community Cop" Adam Bierbauer died last January at the age of 83. According to the Queens Gazette:
... In the mid-’70s, Bierbauer moved on to a new position as the 114th Precinct’s Roosevelt Island liaison, where he helped police the island during its housing boom and as it evolved into a bustling, independent business and residential community – no easy task.

When then-114th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Detective Thomas Yacavone, announced his retirement in 1976, Bierbauer’s vast knowledge and understanding of the community made him the only candidate for the job. Bierbauer settled into his new assignment with ease and hit the ground running – working with civic and community groups to address quality of life issues and to increase safety on the streets.

Bierbauer remained at the position until he signed off the job and retired, at age 52, in November, 1983...
Click here for the entire Queens Gazette article.

Condolences to his family, friends and NYPD.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Full Video Of Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Campus Construction Town Hall Meeting - Learn About Demolition, Construction, Barging, Open Space Plans & More

Check out the video below of the February 5, 2014 Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Community Town Hall Meeting presentation, discussion and resident Q &A on the current status of campus construction project as well as plans for future including open public space.

Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove introduced the proceedings with Cornell NYC Tech Director of Capital Planning Andrew Winters, Aric Domozick from PAL Environmental Services on demolition of the Goldwater Buildings and Karen Tamir of James Corner Field Operations on the landscaping plan for the open public space on the Roosevelt Island campus.

Among the topics discussed were:

  • Goldwater Hospital demolition plans,
  • Hazardous materials and other safety issues,
  • Avoiding breaking underground utilities during construction,
  • Barging during demolition and construction,
  • Height Of Residential Building blocking views of Queensboro Bridge,
  • Public access to the campus,
  • Safety of migratory birds from hitting campus buildings,
  • Building pedestrian to Queensboro Bridge from Roosevelt Island and
  • much more.
Here's all 95 minutes of the Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Construction Town Hall Meeting.

More information on the Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island project at this previous post and the Cornell construction web site