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Friday, March 7, 2014

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA

Image From MTA

According to the MTA Weekender site, there will be Roosevelt Island F train service to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Yay!!!!

Chilly Spring Training Today As Roosevelt Island Boys Of Summer Prepare For Upcoming Baseball Season - Register Now For 35th RIYP Baseball Little League Season

 Image Of Baseball On A Frigid Firefighters Field From Janet Falk

I saw and heard a sure sign of spring coming even on a chilly late afternoon earlier today. - the sight and sound of a baseball hitting a bat at Firefighters Field as a group of kids were were getting ready for upcoming season.



Don't forget that baseball registration is currently underway for the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) Little League. Registration information is here.


I'm looking forward to baseball.



You wanna have a catch?

RIRA Common Council Approves $100 Thousand Public Purpose Funds Allocations To 11 Roosevelt Island Organization - On To RIOC For Final Approval

Pile Of Money Image From Passive Income Genius

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council approved the recommendations of its 2014 Public Purpose Funds (PPF) committee for the allocation of $100 thousand in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds during its monthly meeting last Wednesday night. These recommendations will now be submitted to RIOC for its final approval.

Here is RIRA PPF Chair Dave Evans presenting the recommendations of the Committee,



the follow up discussion by RIRA Common Council members.



and the PPF Committee recommendations:
Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN)
Amount Requested: $35,000 Recommendation: $4,000

The RIDN, a recurring applicant, currently has two locations on the Island (405 Main Street and 4 River Road) and continues to serve a number of families. Given affordability concerns, there continues to be an effort to offer scholarships and applicants for such are evaluated by a third-party organization. The $35,000 that RIDN desires for scholarship assistance could conceivably help a number of families but could not be granted due to the aggregate needs of other PPF applicants. The recommended amount the committee puts forward is intended to provide some help in availing financial aid (scholarships) but believes RIDN could make a more concerted effort to aid needy applicants through a more aggressive pursuit of funding from other sources or perhaps from its own resources. As such, in the view of the committee with due consideration of information received, the practical breadth of the program as currently structured on the Island remains limited when compared to benefits derived from other organizations.

PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
Amount Requested: $32,000 Recommendation: $15,000
The PTA, a recurring applicant, remains an active supporter of PS-IS/217. The essence of their request is to support a program (Salvadori Centre Globe) that focuses on a project-based approach to learning math and science. Grades 4 – 8 will be targeted as 60% of the students in those grades did not achieve proficiency in their last New York State mathematics exam. The committee believes this enrichment effort could provide medium to high benefit and will contribute to and enhance student performance, especially in math and science. Further, it is hoped to help mitigate losses from PS-IS/217 of the “best and brightest” to other schools due to parents’ concerns about school performance.

Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)
Amount Requested: $39,500 Recommendation: $16,000
The reality of higher rents has set in under the Master Lease Program. The RIVAA recurring request targets its increasing rent and utility expenses. Beyond its regular gallery, the RIVAA brought art to the Motorgate area and plans to do even more. While the committee believes that RIVAA does avail a special quality and benefit to the Island, given other competing priorities, it is not possible to fund fully the request. The committee continues to encourage RIVAA to, among other things, expand its fund-raising efforts so to mitigate expenses.

Life Frames, Inc.
Amount Requested: $19,900 Recommendation: $3,000
The Life Frames program is directed by an energetic leadership and supporting staff while continuing to be well received by those who participate in it. Though the gardening site near the Youth Center remains available, the committee found no evidence that the program will be able to use a site for gardening on the grounds of PS-IS/217. However, there could be some classroom interaction at the Public School, the Child Center, Coler Hosital, as well as the Senior and Disabled Associations. Life Frames, as a recurring requestor, continues to be well-funded in California but also continues to face more challenges in its funding effort in New York City. Though Life Frames as a long-time applicant has submitted an application that includes a wide list of possibilities/goals, when paired with information taken from the interview, the committee felt those goals would be hard to attain.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS)
Amount Requested: $25,000 Recommendation: $5,000
The Historical Society, a recurring applicant, operates a Visitor’s Center that provides a wealth of information about the Island and probably has the most extensive database of Island history. The application is primarily for funding to: (a) support hiring a summer intern who does extensive archiving and database development, (b) update maps and brochures, (c) support independent contract staff very knowledgeable about the Island, and (d) avail year round support for the Historian. The committee acknowledges these as valid uses of funds but is unable to recommend full or higher funding given competing needs, inclusive of two non-recurring applicants in this year’s pool. The committee projects that going forward, given the pending growth on the Island and the associated increase in the number of visitors, the useful services of the Center will grow exponentially in demand and with some revenue stream. From this, high benefits will accrue to the Island in a broader sense.

Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA)
Amount Requested: $15,000 Recommendation: $13,000
The RISA, as a recurring applicant, continues to provide a valuable service to and advocacy for Island senior residents. As such, RISA continues to seek funding for needed upgrades, improvements and replacements that will enhance and highly benefit the quality of life for seniors on the Island. Having corrected errors in its prepared budget and provided to RIOC and the committee for review, the committee recommends that appropriate PPF funds are availed to support the efforts of RISA.

Island Kids
Amount Requested: $15,000 Recommendation: $10,000
The Island Kids program is well-received throughout the Island and has again requested funding to support its scholarship efforts. The scholarship program allows for a wider number of children to attend who otherwise would not be able to given relatively modest family resources. The committee felt the program’s scope merited funding given its high benefit to the Island.

R&R Concerts
Amount Requested: $11,250 Recommendation: $7,000
R&R Concepts, a recurring applicant, has consistently offered a variety of concerts that are well-received by and easily accessible for Island residents. The funds requested would cover about 50% of the anticipated costs for musicians, supplies and other expenses. The committee suggested that more outside funding be pursued, including from foundations. Further, R&R could investigate use of PS-IS/217 for performances with potential cost-savings and was urged to do more advertising in advance, inclusive of notices in Island buildings. The committee believes the Island continues to receive good benefit from R&R Concerts at relatively low cost.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA)
Amount Requested: $9,000 Recommendation: $9,000
The RIDA request is a little less than last year and is basically aimed at transportation, maintenance/repair and other associated costs. By providing bus transportation, the committee believes RIDA, a recurring applicant, has been extremely successful in providing previously non-existent opportunities with high benefit for the disabled. Though difficult to fully measure the outcome, forty bus trips, each capable of accommodating ten wheelchairs, would seem to enhance quality of life in ways many of us take for granted. The committee felt that similar elaborating language should have been included in the uncompleted Section One of the application that asked for a “successful community initiative” undertaken. The committee asked if it was feasible and advantageous to pursue joining a national disabled organization and if other funding sources were available. The response to the former was that joining a national would not be advantageous and likely a disadvantage. As to other sources of funding, this is becoming an increasing challenge for RIDA.

Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance
Amount Requested: $27,250 Amount Recommended: $15,000
MST&DA, a first time applicant, has a host of needs following the trauma of Hurricane Sandy, i.e., the storm’s impact upon costs, upon the prior location, and upon enrollment. The committee acknowledges the high value to the Island of the long-standing programs offered by the Alliance. Also noted was the breadth of residents who participate. For example, of 81 students who self-reported ethnicity, 25% were Asian, 21% White/Caucasian, 17% African-American, 6% Hispanic, and 30% of mixed heritage. The committee believes strongly that the Alliance should be restored to its former glory. Current projections from other possible funding sources will not do that.

Island Cats
Amount Requested: $3,000 Recommended: $3,000
As a first time applicant for PPF, Island Cats brought a lot of ‘sincerity of purpose’ to the committee. This group of concerned Islanders effectively care for “animals in the wild” (currently estimated at 90 or slightly more cats) that are located on Roosevelt Island and invisible to many residents. Yet, Island Cats with 12 – 20 volunteers, does its best to take care of the animals (feedings, medical care, etc.). There are shelters and/or feeding stations for these outdoor cats near Day Springs Church, the Garden Club and at the south end of the Island. Island Cats works with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and with other animal rescue organizations to stem the over population of stray cats abandoned on our Island. Their plan is to expand their program to reach out more to the disabled and elderly shut-ins, including increased therapeutic visits. This would provide good benefits and include, for example, nail-clipping the animal(s) owned by the visited or availing an animal to “cuddle”. Partnering with Dr. Resnick’s DASH program is under consideration as well as with both the Senior and Disabled Associations. Of course, there are expenses associated with what Island Cats does and with their plans for expansion. The committee was impressed by their enthusiasm and agrees with their need for help.

Shopper Got A Great Deal At Roosevelt Island Thrift Store - 29 Books For $5 But How Much Longer Will Thrift Shop Remain Open In Current Space?

How long the Roosevelt Island Thrift Shop

Image Of Roosevelt Island Thrift Shop From Across Main Street

will remain in their current large space is unknown. They do not have a lease.

However, as previously reported a representative of Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related told the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Retail Committee last January:
... 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.
At least the Thrift Shop has cleaned up the inside


of the store recently.

Report From RIOC President Charlene Indelicato - Roosevelt Island Spring Construction Projects Begin For West Pier, Good Shepherd Streetscape, Octagon Tennis Resurfacing, Lighthouse Park Footbridges, Tram Station Painting & More


Image of West Pier During 2012 Hurricane Sandy

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato sends the following report to the community.
This Winter, heavy snow and freezing temperatures have kept our staff busy plowing the roads, clearing the sidewalks and maintaining the Island’s facilities during the harsh weather conditions. As the weather begins to warm up, we’re getting ready for work to move forward on new and existing capital projects. Our Grounds Department has already begun preparations for the athletic fields to re-open in early April, a new session of Mommy & Me classes is beginning soon, and other activities on the Island are picking up. We are looking forward to a warm and productive Spring on Roosevelt Island.

Spring Construction Projects

Work resumed last Friday on the West Pier after a wave of cold and snowy weather. Weather permitting, construction on the Pier is projected to be completed by the beginning of April 2014.

At the Good Shepherd Community Center, the ceiling and doors of the northern section of the west entryway are undergoing restoration off-site. Restoration architects and the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission are reviewing samples of the proposed rehabilitation work to ensure its quality. The work, which is projected to be completed before Fall 2014, will also include cleaning and restoration of the entrances’ walls and lighting.

Two meetings regarding the Good Shepherd Streetscape project have been conducted with the community, during which designs for the plantings and positioning of the benches were finalized. An RFP for the work will be issued upon the completion of the final construction drawings. We would like to extend our thanks to the community for their valuable input during this process and are looking forward to the next phase of this project.

April will mark the beginning of several important construction projects. The Octagon Tennis Courts will be resurfaced, work will begin on the Lighthouse Park footbridges, the sidewalks near the Roosevelt Island Tram Station will be repaired, and the Tram stations themselves will be repainted. While all of these developments are scheduled to begin in the first week of April, the work is weather-sensitive and will require warm temperatures to proceed. We will continue to keep the community updated as work progresses.

Eight responses to the Cultural Center’s construction Request for Proposals were received by the submission deadline (February 28). RIOC is currently evaluating the responses and beginning the rating and ranking process. A contractor will be selected and construction will begin within the next few months.

In mid-to-late March, a crane will be transported by barge to the Riverwalk Building 7 construction site. While the crane is being moved onto the Island, the East promenade will be closed for approximately half a day. An advisory will be issued to notify the public of the specific time and date of this closure.

Mommy & Me

Registration for the March-May session of Mommy & Me Water Safety classes is available online at RIOC’s new Parks & Recreation website http://rioc.recdesk.com. With the assistance of a parent or guardian, participants aged six months to three years will learn basic swimming skill sets that include submersions, blowing bubbles underwater and movement in the water. Classes are available on Sunday and Wednesday mornings – check online for times and other details. This 8-week session runs from the week of March 16 to the week of May 4, with makeup classes during the week of May 11. While four time slots are currently available, each time slot must have a minimum of 6 families preregistered in order for that class to take place. There is a maximum of 13 families per class. Online enrollment ends this coming Wednesday, March 12 – any classes that do not meet the minimum amount of participants will be combined with another time slot. If you have any questions or if you prefer to register in person, please email Eddie.Perez@rioc.ny.gov or call (212) 832-4569.

Red Bus Fares

As a reminder, the Red Bus will be free to ride beginning April 1. The decision to eliminate the fare was made in order to encourage the use of mass transit, keep traffic on Main Street moving as a result of faster boarding times, and to reduce operating costs by eliminating the need to collect fares from the buses. If you have a fare change card, please be advised that March is the last month these cards will be accepted on the bus. Once the fare is eliminated, refunds for any unused value remaining on the cards will be available at the RIOC Bus Garage (680 Main Street) until April 30, 2014.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Take The Roosevelt Island Columbia University Graduate Architecture School Survey - What's Your Favorite/Least Favorite Place, What's Working, What Can Be Improved And What Do You Think About Cornell

Marena Wisniewski is a student at Columbia's Graduate School Of Architecture. I met her earlier this week at Starbucks and had a brief conversation about Roosevelt Island. Ms Wisniewski reports:

We are currently in the middle of trying to gather responses to a quick poll about the island, similar to the questions I asked you at Starbucks. However, as fun as it would be to ride the tram all day asking people questions(which I did on Monday morning) it's not very effective.
Ms. Wisniewski adds:
We are first years in Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation in the Historic Preservation Program. As part of the curriculum, we are assigned an area in New York City to research and come up with some idea of what preservation means to that specific place.

For our group, we have decided to craft a preservation plan for the island, and believe that resident input is of critical importance. The responses will be used to help evaluate significance of the buildings on the island, and what perhaps should be pointed out as historically significant, or what kinds of transportation/infrastructure could be employed to make the lives of RI's citizens better. Citizen input is really going to influence how we will proceed with a plan, and what sort of things we will include in it.

We would really love to hear just exactly what islanders want for the future of their island.
Please click here to take the survey.


Previous Roosevelt Island academic studies were done by Hunter College, Cornell University and Columbia University.

Please Take the Survey.

Cool Picture Of Ancient F Train Stopping At Roosevelt Island In 2004

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Will New Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeffrey Escobar Be Able To Mend Community Organization Asks Common Council Member? First Meeting Was A Great New Beginning

 Image Of March 2014 RIRA Meeting ( President Jeff Escobar Standing)

As reported last night following the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) March Common Council Meeting:
Just left tonight's RIRA meeting and am happy to say the Circus has left Roosevelt Island. This RIRA meeting under the leadership of President Jeff Escobar was efficiently run, productive, civil and informative. It provides hope for the future of RIRA as an organization.

After the meeting, the overwhelming consensus of those present was that Mr. Escobar did a great job. Some RIRA members even came over to me and said they now understand why Roberts Rules Of Order is a good framework for conducting meetings.

Hopefully, this will continue going forward in the future...
RIRA Common Council Member Dave Evans has this report on the meeting last night:
WILL NEW RIRA PRESIDENT JEFFEREY ESCOBAR BE ABLE TO MEND THE ORGANIZATION?

Many Councilors came to the RIRA meeting of 5 March 2014 with differing expectations which in effect means they did not know what to expect. Given the extensive discourse before the meeting, I had concluded that some felt Jeff would lead the meeting with too much of an iron fist, while some thought that he would show little if any warmth in his leadership style, some opined he would become frustrated and simply walk away, and others that Jeff would certainly please the audience.

Well, in my view he was a huge success. How was this accomplished? In one word, "inclusiveness". That is, due to the discord that had come to be an unfortunate standard, the organization was faced with the prospects of putting new people into a growing number of vacancies due to resignations. In a good way, those vacancies were filled with a mix of folks, some who had positive thoughts about the new President and others who thought negatively.

Thus, the new administration is now inclusive of those who were for and against the prior leadership of Polivy and Escobar. Coupled with Jeff's management and leadership style, this new inclusiveness should bode well going forward.

But, the defining moment was during Jeff's rendering of his President's report when he shared a very personal and touching challenge that his family has endured. I suddenly heard a quiet in the room unlike before. Then there was noise as the attendees erupted in applause aimed at the President. Jeff was suddenly humanized. At that point, I smiled given the collective evidence in his first meeting, that Jefferey Escobar is fully capable of mending the state of affairs in the RIRA Common Council.
RIRA Common Council Member Susan Marcus said Jeff Escobar:
... did a super job. This is the first time I saw Robert's being used correctly and it is wonderful and so efficient. Very impressive when done correctly.
Mr. Escobar told the Common Council:
... people want RIRA to work...  we are here for one purpose only and that is to represent the Island.
Here's Mr. Escobar's RIRA President's Report to the Common Council.



Also, during last night's meeting Susan Marcus was elected the new Chairperson of RIRA's Housing Committee. She invites any resident of Roosevelt Island to join RIRA's Housing Committee. According to Ms. Marcus:
RIRA's Housing Committee is being revitalized. I am very concerned about the loss of affordable housing, housing issues for seniors and retirees, and the issues regarding privatization, including renters' options, mortgages and home-owner insurance. I am interested in forming a wider coalition of neighbors who share these same concerns. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Housing Committee,which is open to any resident of Roosevelt Island, please email me at sqmarcus@gmail.com.
Last night was a good one for RIRA and Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island Job Available With Bike New York, Maintain Bicycle Fleet At Sportspark And Operate Summer Pop Up Bike Shop - Volunteers Also Needed

Bike New York's Roosevelt Island Community Outreach Manager Caitlin Goodspeed reports:

We have a new position opening up for a Roosevelt Island bike mechanic. This person would maintain the bike fleet at Sportspark and operate the pop-up bike shop that we plan to have on the island every weekend this summer. We want to hire someone from Roosevelt Island.

We are also looking for RI-based volunteers and instructors.
Here's the Bike New York Roosevelt Island job announcement:
Bike New York seeks a qualified mechanic to help maintain our fleet of bicycles and assist in the upkeep of our Roosevelt Island Community Education Center for the purpose of on-bicycle education and programming. We are looking for someone who is a Roosevelt Island resident. This position is part-time, with up to 16 hours available per week. Please email Caitlin Goodspeed, Community Outreach Manager, at cgoodspeed@bikenewyork.org for more information about the position.

As reported last January 9:
Bike New York President Ken Prodziba and Roosevelt Island Community Outreach Manager Caitlin Goodspeed spoke during last night's Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Session.. They described Bike New York's ideas to help make Roosevelt Island a more bike friendly community and are looking for input on what residents would like to happen with bicycles. According to Mr. Prodziba, Bike New York wants:
.... to do everything we can to make Roosevelt Island a more bike friendly place. What you want we will do what you don't want we won't do

We learned that there is not a bike shop on Roosevelt Island so we want to create our own pop up bike shop. Everything we do is free so the bike shop will be free, free maintenance, free repairs, all of our classes our free, our camp program is free, our after school program. We're here to serve Roosevelt Island....
Here's full remarks by Mr. Prodziba and Ms. Goodspeed.


Visit Bike New York for more info on the organization and here are some of their tips on buying a bicycle.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Roosevelt Island's New Organic Grocer Wholesome Factory May Not Be So Wholesome Anymore, Residents Report Mold On Sandwich And Food Past Best Sell Date On Shelves - Hope This Is Not Return Of The Roosevelt Island Rule

Image of Roosevelt Island Wholesome Factory Main Street Storefront At Night

Roosevelt Island resident Stuart commenting on the What's On Your Roosevelt Island Mind post reported:
CONSUMER ALERT! As much as we enjoy the presence of Wholesome Factory on RI, be warned that many of the products they sell are past the "best by" date. Check all diary products you purchase.
which drew this response in agreement from Heather, a disappointed resident and ex-customer
My husband bought a sandwich (one of the ones pre-wrapped in cellophane) from Wholsome Factory and it had fungus on it! Disappointing-- we were excited to have a new deli/grocery store, but we definitely aren't buying there anymore. I'm attaching pics.

a reply from Stuart:
Thanks for your post. A day after I saw the outdated dairy products (I did alert the cashier, who thanked me and said she'd have them removed) I went in to check and they were still there! I then spot checked some of the cans and jars on the shelves and several of them were also outdated. I want to support them (even if they're a bit expensive) but will check everything carefully. And I will not purchase anything from the deli counter after seeing your photo. Thanks.
and a suggestion from Cheshire Kitty to:
Definitely call 311 and report the unsafe food purchase. Get a tracking number for your complaint and follow up - demand to have a food inspector visit the premises. They will shut them down if necessary. It may take a few minutes to file the complaint, but it is worth it as a service to fellow consumers. Just have all the information available - which you can get from the receipt, address & phone number of the store, time and day of purchase of the sandwich. Probably the photos can be relayed to the Board of Health/whatever regulatory agency will handle your complaint as well.

Thanks for alerting us to the unsafe conditions at Wholesome Factory.
Westviewer adds yesterday:
I was happy to see D'Artagnan chicken at Wholesome Factory and bought a pack of chicken thighs yesterday, with a use by date of March 5. One bite and we had to throw out the rest. Somehow it's not surprising; the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Roosevelt Island rule still applies: chances are that whatever we have here is the worst of its kind.

On a positive note, Gristede's was selling Plugra butter for $2.99 a half pound, similar in price to other stores. On the other hand, even though in honor of St. Patrick's Day Kerrygold butter was $3.99 (Trader Joe sells it for $3.19) it was still on the shelf next to cheese, where it will pick up cheesy flavors, and not with the other butters.

I can't understand why Gristede's management doesn't understand that if their prices were better (i.e., comparable to other stores) they would SELL more and MAKE MORE MONEY from their R.I. location, especially considering the sweetheart rent.
I was surprised to hear these reports about Wholesome Factory. I don't shop there often but have had their pizza and counter sandwiches which I found to be very good.

What do you think?

UPDATE 3/18 - Stuart reports:
Update on the Wholesome Factory: I checked out the store the other day and observed that they had removed almost 50% of the meats and cheeses from the front display, and the dairy products were now in date. I can't report on the sandwiches (mold-wise) as I didn't have any. However, it is encouraging to see they read this blog! :)

Roosevelt Island Youth Program/Beacon Free Marching Band Drums And Electric Piano Classes Available - Sign Up Now, Space Limited

An announcement from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP). According to RIYP's Adib Mansour:

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program / Beacon is thrilled to announce the start of two new classes: Piano and Drums. The classes are offered to 5th through 9th Graders by professional and skilled teachers. Children will learn the basics with state of the art drums and electric pianos in the newly renovated Youth Center.

Piano classes are held Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30PM to 5:30PM


Drum classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30PM to 5:30PM


Both classes are held at the Youth Center, 506 Main Street.

For further information and registration, please contact Kim at the Beacon (212) 527-2505 or email info@rooseveltislandyouthprogram.com
Perhaps future college marching band members


You Tube Video From Drumline Movie

will have received their start at this RIYP program.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Monthly Meeting Tonight, You're Invited - New President, Public Purpose Funds Report, Reopening Korean Pavilion Discussion, Council Ethics & More

 Image From February 2014 RIRA Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting tonight, 8 PM, at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street).

As always, prior to the start of each monthly meeting there is a public session in which residents can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern.

This will be the first RIRA Common Council meeting following the very contentious efforts to expel Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance. That nonsense failed resulting in the resignations of several supporters of the expulsion motion and others sick of the circus atmosphere.

Let's hope that RIRA returns to addressing the serious issues facing the Roosevelt Island community.

Good luck to the new RIRA President, Jeff Escobar.

Below is the Meeting Agenda.

UPDATE 11:05 PM - Just left tonight's RIRA meeting and am happy to say the Circus has left Roosevelt Island. This RIRA meeting under the leadership of President Jeff Escobar was efficiently run, productive, civil and informative. It provides hope for the future of RIRA as an organization.

After the meeting, the overwhelming consensus of those present was that Mr. Escobar did a great job. Some RIRA members even came over to me and said they now understand why Roberts Rules Of Order is a good framework for conducting meetings.

Hopefully, this will continue going forward in the future.

Will have more on the meeting in coming days.

UPDATE 4/6 - More here including video of Mr. Escobar's President's Report and reaction from Common Council Members.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

NYC Health & Hospitals Corp Tells RIOC That Roosevelt Island Steam Plant Will Close March 31 - RIOC Tells Residents Temporary Sportspark Boiler Will Be In Place By Closure Date If Not Sooner And Take No More Than 7 Days To Install

As reported last January:

... Concerns have been expressed recently by some Roosevelt Island residents regarding the closing, even temporary, of the Sportspark facility when the Steam Plant closes...
and October 2013:
... RIOC Director Howard Polivy and President Charlene Indelicato reported that the Roosevelt Island Sportspark facility

Sportspark Image From Google Maps

may have to temporarily close ... because of the scheduled closing of the Steam Plant.

 Image Of Roosevelt Island Steam Plant

Mr. Polivy explained that the Steam Plant supplies power to the Sportspark and without the Steam Plant, or, a substitute energy source, the Sportspark cannot operate....
The issue of the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp (see Page 6 of HHC Capital Committee Report) closing the Roosevelt Island Steam Plant and RIOC installing temporary heating for Sportspark was discussed during the February 20 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee (audio web cast here). During that meeting it was reported that a temporary heating solution would be installed by the end of February.



RIOC President Charlene Indelicato later clarified that the Sportspark temporary boiler would be installed by the end of February, weather permitting. If weather was a problem,  Ms. Indelicato reported that the installation would be completed no later than the end of March and Sportspark will not be closed more than a week for the temporary boiler installation.

Ms. Indelicato told the Board Directors that March 31 is the date NYC has told RIOC



that the Steam Plant will be closed though she added that NYC Health & Hospitals Corp has been constantly shifting the final date of the Steam Plant closing.

Roosevelt Island Wide Air Quality Monitoring Study With Queens College Center For The Biology Of Natural Systems Proposed By RIRA Planning Committee - May Actually Happen


Former Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy previously reported on efforts to establish air quality monitoring on Roosevelt Island. According to Ms. Polivy:
... One example of balls in the air is the idea and planning of an air monitoring project on Main Street. On our internal blog, we began talking about Cornell and their agreement to do air monitoring only on their construction site. We understand that Cornell is worried about being blamed for pollution that might not be caused by them, so therefore they only want monitoring equipment on their site. However we had a lively conversation on our list serve about general air quality concerns on the Island from the amount of pollution generated from the bridge and the electric plant and other construction around the City. Therefore I suggested that we start an ad hoc committee to study this. Ball was tossed and picked up by Howard Polivy RIOC Board member who thought this was an interesting concept. He did a small amount of research and discovered that Queens College is doing an air quality study. He threw the ball to me. I passed it along to Helen Chirivas who had expressed interest in this issue. She researched a little more and tossed it to Frank Farance who called Queens College and decided to take this idea into the Planning Committee. Now ball is with Frank Farance who is in discussion with Queens College about getting air quality equipment on Roosevelt Island and having us be a part of their Citywide study. But first money needs to be raised for the equipment. Lets see where this goes from here. Ball is still in the air. We will be watching. It’s an exciting project...
RIRA Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance adds:
There are increasing concerns about air quality with the decades long construction of Cornell, and other industrial work around us (e.g., power plant). Rather than a piecemeal approach, we (the RIRA Planning Committee) seek a coordinated strategy with appropriate data/analyses sharing such that the air quality on Roosevelt Island can be monitored and, if necessary, appropriate actions can be taken to address short-, medium-, and long-term concerns. In addition, we might find other neighborhoods (Sutton Place, Queens West, LIC/Ravenswood, Astoria, etc.) who might want to partner, collaborate, and/or support our efforts. Such a nested grid (data fusion) approach might help reduce False Negatives (air quality problems that exist, but go undetected) and False Positives (e.g., air quality problems attributed to activity on Roosevelt Island, but are in fact broader problems in our area). We expect all data to be open and shared.

I have presented this topic at RIRA meetings and there has been strong support. We are working on a plan where Queens College researchers would expand their air quality measurements to Roosevelt Island, but with a smaller grid size (better resolution) than present City-wide monitoring, and with real-time data samples (as compared to the City's two-week samples that take 6-8 weeks to analyze - not timely at all!). There are several nuts-and-bolts aspects of this plan that require further study before we can present it to RIRA for endorsement. I've contacted the research institution at Queens College and they are enthused to work with us.

As part of our air quality efforts, RIRA Planning Committee members toured the Ravenswood power plant (Big Allis) recently.
Mr. Farance shares this message he sent to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato seeking the assistance of RIOC in conducting a comprehensive air quality monitoring program for Roosevelt Island.
Ms. Indelicato

As you are aware, the RIRA Planning Committee has been investigating air quality (AQ) monitoring for Roosevelt Island and coordinating it with the City-wide NYC community air quality survey. We have made good progress, and we need help from RIOC to support this effort, which would provide Reference Data for a Roosevelt Island survey, as calibrated with the City-wide Winter Season sample that is completing this week.

I've also spoken with Peter Krokondelas of the Cornell team and he will be contacting Andrew Winters to connect Dr. Eisl of the AQ research team at the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College. In addition, Dr. Eisl will be coming to the Island and I'd like him to me you and other RIOC staff, and Cornell staff (if possible).

Simply, the collective WE (the Island, RIOC, Cornell, etc.) have the opportunity to do this Right: to get Reference Data, which will be calibrated City-wide, and will be the most authoritative data on air quality for our community for decades to come. I urge you and RIOC to support this effort (by granting permission to mount AQ monitors on five lamp posts), and to encourage those around us (Cornell, Hudson-Related, etc.) to be supportive of these efforts. I expect further AQ monitoring during the demolition and construction phases over the years.

Below, please find:

- RIRA Planning Committee's Efforts
- About CBNS, Follow-Up With CBNS
- What CBNS Is Willing To Do For Us
- Why This Is Important To Do NOW
- Specific Request For RIOC's Help

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.

RIRA PLANNING COMMITTEE EFFORTS

As I reported last Monday:

"There are increasing concerns about air quality with the decades long construction of Cornell, and other industrial work around us (e.g., power plant). Rather than a piecemeal approach, we (the RIRA Planning Committee) seek a coordinated strategy with appropriate data/analyses sharing such that the air quality on Roosevelt Island can be monitored and, if necessary, appropriate actions can be taken to address short-, medium-, and long-term concerns. In addition, we might find other neighborhoods (Sutton Place, Queens West, LIC/Ravenswood, Astoria, etc.) who might want to partner, collaborate, and/or support our efforts. Such a nested grid (data fusion) approach might help reduce False Negatives (air quality problems that exist, but go undetected) and False Positives (e.g., air quality problems attributed to activity on Roosevelt Island, but are in fact broader problems in our area). We expect all data to be open and shared.

I have presented this topic at RIRA meetings and there has been strong support. We are working on a plan where Queens College researchers (Center for the Biology of Natural Systems) would expand their air quality measurements to Roosevelt Island, but with a smaller grid size (better resolution) than present City-wide monitoring, and with real-time data samples (as compared to the City's two-week samples that take 6-8 weeks to analyze). ... As part of our air quality efforts, RIRA Planning Committee members will be touring the Ravenswood power plant (Big Allis) this week."


ABOUT CBNS, FOLLOW UP WITH CBNS

I have met with Dr. Holger Eisl, the Program Director at the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS). CBNS is on the Queens College campus and they have been conducting the City-wide air quality survey for many years. Here is the NYC.gov Department of Health page that discusses AQ, and also cites Dr. Eisl's research (see NYCCAS Scientific Publications on bottom of page):

The CBNS describes their City-wide work on their project home page:

Steve Markowitz (MD DrPH), the Director, is a physician specializing in occupational and environmental medicine. Here is a sampling of his lectures:

I note that CBNS is also doing saturation monitoring at the 126 Street Bus Depot in Harlem to measure before/after affects of the green technologies being incorporated into the bus fleet.

WHAT CBNS IS WILLING TO DO FOR US

Dr. Eisl is willing to do a Reference Data survey immediately on Roosevelt Island. There would be five sampling points with the following approximate locations:

(1) Southpoint Park transverse road (approx. equivalent to 53 Street in Manhattan)
(2) Sportspark transverse road (approx. 59 Street)
(3) Blackwell House turnaround (approx. 65 Street)
(4) Helix Base (approx. 72 Street)
(5) Octagon Park (approx. 79 Street)

Dr. Eisl can also do a simultaneous Noise survey at these points.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO DO NOW

Having Reference Data before demolition and construction start is critical for comparative study for decades to come. The Cornell demolition has not yet started, nor has Cornell yet hired an oversight manager at RIOC, so it is important to get the AQ survey done right now. It addition, CBNS is completing their City-wide Winter Survey this week, so the data can be tied-to/calibrated-with this City-wide data.


SPECIFIC REQUEST FOR RIOC'S HELP

CBNS would need to mount AQ sensors on five light poles, and they need RIOC's permission to do this.
Yesterday, I asked Ms. Indelicato about the status of this air quality study project proposal. Ms Indelicato replied:
We need to get all the information as to locations, installation, insurance, power source, maintenance etc before we say yes or no- I believe the Queens College people are meeting with engineering and IT
Mr. Farance discussed the Air Quality Monitoring Project



at the February 5 RIRA Common Council Meeting.

Roosevelt Island Tram Shut Down Tonight After 10 PM For Scheduled Repairs, Will Resume Normal Operations Tomorrow 6 AM Says RIOC - Take A Super Fast Virtual Tram Ride With Fantastic View

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

Please be advised that the Tram will be undergoing scheduled repairs on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

In order to lessen the impact on travel plans, work will begin at 10 PM and take place overnight. The Tram will resume operations at 6 AM on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

This work is weather sensitive; an advisory will be sent out if this maintenance is rescheduled.

For more information, contact the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation at (212) 832-4540 or email information@rioc.ny.gov.
Here's a great nighttime view from the Tram


and a super fast Tram ride over the East River.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wild Animal Found Roaming Roosevelt Island - Secured By Public Safety Without Struggle, No Injuries

According to this Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incident (PSD) incident report.

3/2/14 - 24:00 - 560 Main Street - Wild Animal - PSD responded - ASPCA Notified.
What was this wild animal found on Roosevelt Island - a lion, tiger or bear?

Image From Huffington Post

No. PSD Director Jack McManus advises that a chicken

 Roosevelt Island Chicken Roaming Behind 560 Main Street

was found roaming behind Roosevelt Landings at 560 Main Street.

Fortunately, the chicken was secured without struggle by Public Safety Officers and then fed by the Officers before being turned over to Wildlife rehab specialists.

UPDATE 3/4 - The Public Safety Department asked NY State Wildlife Rehabilitator Rossana Ceruzzi for assistance with rescue of the Roosevelt Island chicken. Ms. Ceruzzi shares these pictures

 Image From Rossana Ceruzzi

of the Roosevelt Island

Image From Rossana Ceruzzi

Chicken.

According to the NY State Department Of Environmental Conservation:
Wildlife rehabilitators aid in the care and recuperation of injured or sick wild animals. All wildlife rehabilitators are licensed by the DEC. If you find a wild animal in need of assistance, a contact list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators is offered here for your convenience.

Keep in mind:
  • Rehabilitators volunteer their time to provide services to wildlife.
  • Not all rehabilitators may be able to accept every injured or orphaned animal.
  • No state funding is available for animal caging, veterinary care, medicine or food...

Hudson Related Proud Of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 Construction Track Record - Responds To Concerns Raised By NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

Image Of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 Construction Site Today

Earlier today, Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member Ben Kallos published a guest blog post regarding construction safety concerns at Hudson Related's Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 site. An excerpt:
... Many of you may have noticed ongoing demonstrations on Roosevelt Island and might have wondered the reasons behind them. Here’s some context: six of Riverwalk’s nine buildings have already been built, with three more still to go. However, protesters are raising concerns that construction on Riverwalk 7 is being completed by workers who are not being paid a living wage, health benefits, disability benefits, or retirement benefits and who may not have the apprenticeship training and years of on-the-job experience that they need for construction to be safer for both themselves and the residents of Roosevelt Island...
A Hudson Related spokesperson replied to this issue:
Hudson, Related and Monadnock Construction are proud of our track record at Riverwalk. We have an OCIP (Owner Controlled Insurance Program) to ensure that every construction worker is covered by workmen’s compensation insurance. The wages paid by subcontractors to their workers are far in excess of any living wage requirement being considered by the City. We employ a full-time Site Safety manager, licensed by New York City’s Department of Buildings and OSHA, who provides safety training and orientation and implementation of our site safety plan.
More On Roosevelt Island Riverwalk building 7 here and here.

NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Demands Safer Construction Practices By Hudson Related Developer Of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 - Kallos Asks You To Sign Petition

Image Of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 Construction Site Today

Below is a Guest Post by Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side New York City Council Member Ben Kallos


regarding construction safety concerns at Hudson Related's Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 site. From Mr. Kallos:
Demand Safer Construction on Roosevelt Island

By New York City Council Member Ben Kallos

District 5: Roosevelt Island and the East Side

Many of you may have noticed ongoing demonstrations on Roosevelt Island and might have wondered the reasons behind them. Here’s some context: six of Riverwalk’s nine buildings have already been built, with three more still to go. However, protesters are raising concerns that construction on Riverwalk 7 is being completed by workers who are not being paid a living wage, health benefits, disability benefits, or retirement benefits and who may not have the apprenticeship training and years of on-the-job experience that they need for construction to be safer for both themselves and the residents of Roosevelt Island.

Hudson Related built the first six buildings using responsible contractors who pay a living wage and benefits while respecting the safety of workers and residents. Unfortunately, for the latest project, Hudson Related has hired RNC Industries, LLC. For this construction, RNC is paying its employees much less than New York City recognizes as the prevailing wage for construction workers. RNC also isn’t paying for health or disability benefits in case workers are injured on the job. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the main Federal agency charged with enforcement of safety and health, RNC has a bad safety record:
Construction by a contractor with a poor safety record on a project like Riverwalk 7 is dangerous for both workers and Roosevelt Islanders. Whether it is RNC or the next contractor, these tragedies are often preventable – if developers like Hudson Related avoid companies with poor safety records.

At the most recent Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) meeting, Roosevelt Islanders joined me in speaking out to protect our neighborhood. I started my career as a union-side labor attorney and am proud as your Council Member to continue the fight for quality jobs in this city. Please join us in our quest to ensure workers receive a living wage, benefits and the apprenticeship training necessary for safety on construction sites for both workers and Roosevelt Islanders.

If you agree, please consider signing this petition urging Hudson Related to only hire construction companies that pay a living wage with benefits and provide years of on the job training through apprenticeships and therefore have strong safety records. With your voice, our community can ensure the construction of Riverwalk continues to be safe for both workers and Roosevelt Islanders.
Petition is here.

A Hudson Related Spokesperson responds to this issue.

More On Roosevelt Island Riverwalk building 7 here and here.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Come Hear An Update On Roosevelt Island Q102 Bus Service At Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island And Transportation Committees Public Meeting Monday March 3


According to Community Board 8 (CB8) Roosevelt Island Committee:
Roosevelt Island Committee
Monday March 3, 2014

6:30PM

546 Main Street 
12th Floor

Roosevelt Island, NY

Update by MTA on Q 102 bus. Joint issue with Transportation Committee.

The presentation by Cornell previously scheduled for this meeting has been postponed.
 Image of Q102 Bus From Wikipedia

Here is a discussion of Roosevelt Island Q 102 Bus service during November 14, 2013 NYC Planning Department Western Queens/Roosevelt Island Transportation Study presentation to the CB8 Roosevelt Island committee



and full video of presentation here.

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