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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Roosevelt Island Photographer Olya Turcihin Spots Superwoman And Batwoman Charging Down Main Street In Pursuit Of ....?

Photographer Olya Turcihin spotted Superwoman And Batwoman charging down Roosevelt Island's Main Street


Halloween morning and reports:
Today on Roosevelt Island - spotted two superwomen in pursuit ... of candy
Perhaps the Roosevelt Island Superwomen were protecting us from Halloween ghosts and ghouls or just on their way to a good party.

You're Invited To First Sunday Roosevelt Island Jazz Salon 5 PM At Gallery RIVAA November 2 With Art & The Impressionists


According to Gallery RIVAA:
Gallery RIVAA is pleased to invite you to yet another musical session of First Sunday Jazz Salon this Sunday, November 2nd from 5-7pm at Gallery RIVAA. Please join us and enjoy a nice musical evening with wine and refreshments.

Date: Nov 2nd, 2014
Time: 5-7pm
Venue: Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island
Art & The Impressionists are:
Daniel 'Art' Yalisove - Clarinet
James "Art' Burgess - Bass
Dan 'Art' Schlesinger -Alto Sax
Matt 'Art' Matysik - Drums
Susheel 'Art' Kurien -Guitar
They're very good. Here's the set list for Sunday's Roosevelt Island Jazz Salon at Gallery RIVAA:
Set List

Tenor Madness
Stella By Starlight
All of Me
Footprints
Mr PC
Misty
Black Orpheus
Blue Bossa
On Green Dolphin Street
Satin Doll
Nostalgia In Times Square
All Blues
Beautiful Love
Song for My Father
and a sample of Art & The Impressionists performing



at a previous Gallery RIVAA First Sunday Jazz Salon.

Stop on by Gallery RIVAA tomorrow between 5-7 PM and listen to some good jazz, maybe dance


and meet some new and old friends.

Statement From Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Candidate For Common Council President Jeff Escobar

 Image of RIRA President Jeff Escobar From CB 8 Speaks Video

Jeff Escobar is the current President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). On November 4, RIRA will be holding elections for its new Common Council building representatives, Vice President and President.

Mr. Escobar is running unopposed for RIRA President. Below is statement from Mr. Escobar in support of his candidacy for RIRA President.
Infighting. Internal politics. Organizational power struggles. These are not the foundations of what the Roosevelt Island Residents Association or its Common Council were founded on nor built upon. Unfortunately, as Vice-President, I was forced to ascend to the office of the President of the Common Council under such an atmosphere when the Common Council’s past president resigned earlier this year. Truly, what I had inherited was a dispirited and self-involved body that was representative of no one except itself, and who seemed to have lost both its way and its community goodwill.

When I undertook the office of President with only six or so months remaining of the past administration’s 24 month term, my goals were relatively simple: to bring stability to a house that had come unglued, to inject a sense of professionalism and community pride in those sitting members who chose to remain on the Common Council, to restore legitimacy back to the work of the Common Council, and to right the ship so that the new Common Council – the one that is being elected this year – would have a vehicle and foundation to be successful in its coming term. My thought was then, as it is now, that the only way that the Common Council can be focused on doing the work of the Island people is if it, itself, had rid itself of its inefficiencies, its internal politics and power struggles, and its focus on everything except the needs of the Island and its residents.

I will not say that complete success has been reached. We can and should always do better. What has been reached is a willingness and desire to get on with the work of the Island and to do what the Common Council was elected originally to do: to be the voice and advocate for the Island and to bind the ties that make us, Roosevelt Islanders, a community.

Community, Island Quality of Life, Families and Neighborhoods, Public Advocacy. That is what RIRA and its Common Council has always been and should always be about. To return to its core mission, RIRA and its Common Council needs a leader who can bridge the gaps and differences that divide our community; who has a strong sense of professionalism and community pride and understands that it is the greater good of Roosevelt Island that matters the most; a President who, above all, understands that debate and compromise – not victimization and constant threat – is how the work of the Island community can be accomplished.

For the last six years, I have been deeply involved with the Common Council, first as a building representative of the Octagon to the Common Council, then as its Vice-President in 2012 and now as its current President. During that time, I also represented the interests of Roosevelt Island in the City at large, appointed by the Manhattan Borough President for the last five years to Manhattan Community Board 8 and serving as chair of both its Roosevelt Island-Cornell Technion Task Force and the Roosevelt Island Committee. In my varying capacities and representation of the Island, I have watched as our Island, which was once considered a floating village of small town life in the big City, grapple with the challenges of being a symbol and example of growth and change within the City. As our population grows, as our socio-economic makeup changes, as the original Islanders age and both new and young legacies take root on the Island, our Island, our community, our Island way of life is facing insurmountable challenges that will change the identity of the Island forever. The question we must all ask this coming election is who do we want leading us into this age of change?

In various ways, I have answered that call. Working closely with the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition, and in my capacities on Manhattan Community Board 8, I have helped steer the Island through the ULURP process as it sought to secure concessions from the stakeholders of the Project which would ensure successful integration of the Cornell community into the Island while benefitting all who live, work and visit our home. During my short terms as RIRA President, I have tirelessly continued to advocate and support Island programs and initiatives which seek to bring a sense of community and neighborhood between all on the Island from its northern tip to its southern tip; just this past term I have been charged with – and if elected President will convene – a Town Hall meeting and conference of the Community and the stakeholders of the Hudson Related project as it comes to grip with the impacts the construction of the remaining towers will have on the Island. With RIOC, we have worked to ensure that our access to greenspaces and community resources and infrastructure remain intact while construction of the Cornell campus and the three remaining towers of Southtown are built. In such a short time as the organization’s President, we have come such a long way and done so much, but we can do better – we can do more.

With your vote and my election to the Presidency, I will seek and support initiatives which will ensure that not only that our Island way of life is preserved, but Island futures of our children, our grandchildren and all of those who come to the Island so that they, too, will enjoy the same idyllic way of life that we have had the privilege of enjoying. This will include calling on the Common Council to spearhead initiatives which will seek to open greater and expansive educational opportunities and support for both our private and public schools on the Island, from preschool to elementary to middle school upward; focus on greater and improved management of the Island’s infrastructure and transportation systems, including the accommodation of alternative means of Island transportation from the Red Bus to bikes; revitalize the preservation of greenspace on the Island while focusing on environmental concerns which affect both the Island and our neighboring communities, especially as the 92nd Street transfer station completes its refurbishment and the question of whether or not we will be seeing continuous refuse and garbage barges floating up past our Island on the East River remains; provide education to Island residents as the housing stock changes on the Island and the WIRE buildings begin their efforts to exit the Mitchell-Lama program; answer the question of why so many of us residents leave the Island and what it takes to ensure that those who are on the Island stay. To successfully spearhead such initiatives and ensure that successful results come to fruition, RIRA, the Common Council and Roosevelt Island needs a President as its leader who is cognizant of the need to work with, not against, RIOC, the City and the State in finding meaningful long lasting solutions, and who understands the benefits of building coalitions with all of the stakeholders on the Island.

When my wife and I moved to this little ship floating in the East River almost nine years ago to become one of the original residents of the Octagon, there was no Cornell campus, there was no FDR memorial, the original tram was in place, and the Octagon was barely built. Back then, when we told others we lived on Roosevelt Island, we were met with questions of where that was and why we moved there. Today, when we tell people where we live, we are met with comments of admiration for the Island, its beautiful setting and its community. I have always been proud to call myself a Roosevelt Islander, and I hope in this coming term to make you proud as well to call our little ship in the East River your home. Please vote for me as your next RIRA Common Council President.
Here's the list of RIRA Common Council Candidates


running in the November 4 election.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Good News - Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend

According to the MTA Weekender, there will be Roosevelt Island F train service


to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Election Controversy - Is RIRA Allowing Vice President Candidate To Run For Office In Violation Of RIRA Constitution?


The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) can't seem to escape internal controversy, not even when it comes to running own election scheduled for Tuesday November 4 to select a new Common Council.

Here's the latest. RIRA Vice President Sherie Helstien served on the RIRA Election Committee as its Chairperson during the current election cycle until she resigned in an email dated October 25 saying she resigned at the close of the October 24 RIRA nomination deadline. Sometime before the October 24 nomination deadline, while still RIRA Election Committee Chair, Ms. Helstien submitted her nomination for RIRA Vice President in the 2014 election.

The controversy is that the RIRA Constitution prohibits a member serving on the RIRA Elections Committee from  running for RIRA Vice President.

According to RIRA Common Council member Frank Farance:
RIRA Election Scandal: Sherie Helstien is not permitted to run as RIRA VP candidate; serving in Election Committee prohibits President and VP candidates. Here's wording from the RIRA Constitution Article 5, Section 5, Election Committee:

"There shall be an Election Committee to administer all elections in accordance with the provisions of Article VII. The Election Committee shall include representatives from at least five election Districts. No candidate for President or Vice President may serve on the Election Committee. Candidates for the Common Council may serve on the Election Committee but may not participate in the elections for their own election Districts. No member of the Election Committee may participate in the election campaign of any candidate other than himself/herself or give support to any other candidate. The Common Council shall approve by Majority vote of the Council Members a Chair to the Elections Committee who will coordinate such activities."

Ms. Helstien was approved RIRA Election Committee Chair on June 4 (about 5 months ago) by the RIRA Common Council....
Mr. Farance continues:
... Simply, the RIRA Constitution's Election Committee prohibition on running for President and Vice President is broad: if you serve on the Election Committee, you can't run for those RIRA positions. Ms. Helstien has served as Election Committee Chair, thus she cannot run for those positions. She has been involved in the Election Committee almost 5 months, and now she resigns 10 days before an election so (in her mind) she can run for RIRA VP? I doubt the legal interpretation would support such a narrow interpretation, e.g., on the day of the election, if you're not on the election committee, you are free to run for President and Vice President....
I asked Ms. Helstien and other members of the RIRA Elections and Nominations Committees for comment.  To date, Ms. Helstien has not commented on the matter.

RIRA Nominations Chair Aaron Hamburger responded to my inquiry. According to Mr. Hamburger:
We had an unusual situation for the 2014 elections. I believe RIRA has never had an existing Vice President also be the Chair of the Election Committee. How did this come about? When the Common Council (CC) was ready to form the Election Committee, no one on the Common Council volunteered to take the job of Chair. Fortunately Sherie did accept the position and was voted in by the CC. Had Sherie not stepped forward, we would have had to cancel the 2014 elections because you can't have an election without an Election Committee to organize and run the election.

So, Sherie began to work on the election and, frankly, did a terrific job of getting the process and voting system organized. Late in the nomination period, Sherie decided to be a candidate for re-election as Vice-President, which was her right. She submitted her nomination form on the last day (Oct. 24) of the nomination period. She then resigned as Chair of the Election Committee. Other members on the Election Committee then took over for the last week before voting.

Every thing Sherie did was legal and proper in dealing with this unusual situation. Her goal was to make sure an important RIRA election could be held. None of the people now criticizing Sherie offered any real help in organizing and running the Nov. 4 election.

The CC needs to thank Sherie for the job she did before she resigned.
I asked Mr. Hamburger:
Just to be clear on your position.

Is it your position that the RIRA constitution does not prohibit a person serving on the RIRA Election Committee from running for RIRA Vice President during the same election cycle?

Or is it your position that the RIRA constitution does prohibit a person serving on the RIRA Election Committee from running for RIRA Vice President during the same election cycle but in the particular instance at this time of Sherie serving on the Election Committee there should be an exception and she should be allowed to run for RIRA Vice President.

If you think there should be an exception for Sherie in the current election, what is the reason for that exception?
Mr. Hamburger:
I thought my statement was very clear that everything Sherie did was legal and proper, even thought it was an unusual situation.

As far as the Constitution, it simply says a candidate for President or VP can't be on the Election Committee. Well for most of the time before the Election, Sherie was not a candidate for VP. She became a candidate on 10/24/14, when we received her nomination form, and therefore resigned from the Election Committee.

As I said, this was perfectly legal.

In my statement, I pointed out that we had an unusual situation in having the existing VP being elected by the Common Council to be Election Committee Chair. I also clearly pointed out why and how this came about. I'm surprised that you think you need further explanations from me.
My reply:
My understanding is that the RIRA constitution says that No candidate for RIRA Vice President may serve on the election committee.

Sherie served on the election committee. The RIRA Constitution precludes her from being a VP candidate. Why does it matter that she resigned after the nomination period closed?

Also, On October 16, Sherie sent me the Absentee Ballot flyer with her name on it as the contact person. Later that day she asked me not to post it and then sent me a second Absentee Ballot with your name as the contact person.

Why would she take her name off the Absentee Ballot on October 16, if she was not a candidate for VP? It appears she was or at least intended to be a candidate by October 16 and continued to serve on Elections Committee.

It appears that certain RIRA members are intentionally ignoring the RIRA Constitution on this matter in order to protect Sherie VP candidacy.
Mr. Hamburger:
I don't think you seem to understand. The Constitution says no Pres. or VP candidate may serve on the Election Committee. Sherie didn't become an official candidate until she submitted her nomination form. She may have told various people that she intended to run for re-election but that's doesn't count as being an actual candidate. She was a candidate on Oct. 24.

As I mentioned in my earlier statement, we had a very unusual situation this year. We've never had a VP who was elected by the Common Council to be Chair of the Election Committee. You also know why this came about. Any time after the CC election, Sherie could become a candidate. At that point, she'd have to resign from the election committee. This is exactly what happened. Unusual perhaps but perfectly legal.

Now no more arguments from you about this situation. You have enough from me.
My reply:
The RIRA Constitution provision prohibiting a person serving on the Elections Committee from running for President or Vice President is meaningless if a person is allowed to resign after the nomination period is closed and then run for Vice President during the same election cycle.
Mr. Hamburger:
I told you we had a very unusual situation this year. I doubt it will be repeated in the future. Nonetheless, Sherie resigned as required when she became an official candidate.

Perfectly legal. The constitution doesn't prohibit any one from running as Pres. or VP. It says a candidate can't be on the Election Committee. This provision didn't come into play until Sherie became a candidate. Period.

Let's stop this circle dialog. Let's just say you and I have a difference of opinion...
RIRA President Jeff Escobar added:
Ultimately, it should be up to, and will be up to, the voters -- RIRA's 'shareholders', using the 'corporation' parlance that some Common Council members seem to enjoy employing, who will decide on election day whether or not Sherie Helstien's recent discretions should rise to the level of her not being elected to the position of Vice-President. As with any election, whether it be to a position of public service or to an officer position within a corporation, the stakeholders will have a chance to decide whether or not one should or should not be elected based on their actions. I thank those members of the Common Council who have brought the issue to light, and have full faith that our community will make the right decision based on such information come election day.

Neither the Chair of the Nominations Committee or members of the Nomination Committee -- who are charged with ensuring that the candidacy of an individual is proper -- nor the Chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee or its committee members -- who have been charged with safeguarding the Constitution and By-laws, all of whom I deeply respect both professionally and personally and whom I have full confidence in their execution of their roles and responsibilities within the Common Council, have voiced concern or an objection as to the appropriateness of Ms. Helstien's Nomination for Vice-President.

Until then, and as it should be, it will be up to the voters to decide whether Ms. Helstien or another should serve as Vice-President in the upcoming term. We have a very contested race for which this issue, amongst many, will take center stage. It would be prudent for the candidates of Vice-President, as well as others in the Common Council who are facing their own very contested races -- to expend their time, energy and resources on concentrating on their own election efforts rather than on the minutiae of others.
UPDATE 9:05 PM 11/2 - According to Ms. Helstien:
This will be my only comment on Farance’s willfully false statements. He is, as usual, blowing blue smoke and mirrors at the Roosevelt Island community and blog readers. He enjoys sowing chaos and doubt. Those who encourage him work to the detriment not only of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, (RIRA) but more sadly, to the detriment of this entire community.

Here is what the RIRA Constitutions says:

First: {Article IV, Officers; Section 2, VP; ¶ 1-2} “The Vice President shall supervise all RIRA elections. To perform the responsibilities of office, the Vice president shall supervise the Nominations Committee, the Elections Committee…”

Then: {Article V, Committees of the Common Council; Section 5, Election Committee} “No candidate for President or Vice President may serve on the Election Committee. Candidates for the Common Council may serve on the Election Committee but may not participate in the elections for their own election Districts.”

When nominated in May to the position of Election Committee Chair, I put off accepting the job to see if anyone else on the Common Council would step up. No one did. In June, I accepted the nomination because again, NO OTHER Common Council members offered to take this on. After 38 years, I couldn’t see how RIRA could NOT hold its required biennial election; that would end this essential Island organization. I reluctantly accepted the position and asked continuously for anyone who was interested in serving on this committee to please contact me. No one responded to my request, including Farance and Chirivas. I then chose Committee Members from the people I knew would be helpful and able to work collegially to get this extremely difficult and time-consuming job done. We held two “working group” meetings to work on changing the way RIRA held its elections per the request of RIRA’s President Escobar.

As with all the candidates, my candidacy was not official until the signed Nomination form was placed in the box and received by the Nominations Committee.

This is the fact: No one may run for RIRA President/VP while serving on the Election Committee.
This is the fact: As soon as my nomination form was placed in the lock box, I officially resigned from the Chairmanship and committee and thus, never served on the Committee while a candidate.
This is the fact: Official candidacy is determined by when the paperwork is actually filed in the nomination box.
This is the fact: There is nothing in the Constitution that says a Chair may not resign his or her position. This is the fact: I had no intention of, nor did I Chair or serve on the Committee while a candidate for Vice President.

Furthermore, it was decided internally, within the committee, for continuity and because of timing, with only a week and a-half before the election, and with no more RIRA meetings until the new Common Council would convene on Nov. 5, that two committee members would step up as co-Chairs and continue the work that needed to be done. As the current VP of the organization, I have been, per the Constitution as quoted above, acting in a supervisory position only to ensure timelines and goals are met. I have not been doing any committee work otherwise. Fortunately, the committee has acquired several “old hands” who have very kindly stepped in to cover what I was doing and to guide the rest of the process to its successful completion. You can be sure that when Farance has a chance, he’ll disparage these people too.

For Farance who often claims to always take the “high road” it should be noted that neither he nor anyone in his little band offered to run for this extremely strenuous, time consuming and difficult position either in May or in June, when they had a chance to offer themselves, nor did they step up as volunteers for the committee during the summer, or in the September meeting of the Common Council. They never offered to work for or support the work of their Election Committee colleagues when they were invited to do so.
Further, speaking with Aaron Hamburger, Chair of the Nominations Committee, it is clear Farance falsely claims membership on the Nominations Committee. Remember, decisions are made by the people who show up.

Farance claims that I have no right to run for the office of VP, but that is patently untrue. The RIRA Constitution sometimes lacks clarity in several sections of the document often leaving various issues up to interpretation. In this case, Farance is on the wrong side of this argument. And because of this, he makes idle threats of reporting us/me to the AG’s office. Really? Really??

Make of Farance’s misinformation and obfuscations what you will.

RIRA will have its election on November 4 and you, the community, have a very able and committed group from this Common Council to offer great thanks to for their very hard and impeccable work. I certainly hope we see you at the polls, in support of this community election.

Good luck to all the candidates.

NYC Citi Bike Share Program Expands To More Neighborhoods Including Long Island City, Williamsburg & Greenpoint - But No Mention Of Roosevelt Island

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and Citi Bike announced earlier this week an expansion of the bike sharing program to more NYC neighborhoods. According to Cit Bike:

... Our system will double in size by 2017. New neighborhoods will be added to our system beginning in 2015. By the end of 2017 we will have 6,000 additional bikes and over 375 new stations. The first new stations will be installed in northern Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Long Island City and further into Bedford-Stuyvesant, all neighborhoods originally planned to be part of Citi Bike’s initial deployment. If you would like to suggest a new location for Citi Bike stations, visit the Department of Transportations’s “Suggest A Station” siting portal at www.nyc.gov/bikeshare and stay tuned for news about other ways to get involved....
A DOT October 28 Press Release adds:
New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Alta Bicycle Share incoming CEO Jay Walder, and Citi Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs Edward Skyler today announced an agreement between the City of New York and Alta Bicycle Share to operate, improve, and double the size of the largest bike share program in North America. A $30 million infusion of private capital from Bikeshare Holdings LLC, a group of private investors acquiring Alta, supported by an increased sponsorship commitment from Citi of up to $70.5 million extended through 2024, and a $15 million increase in the credit facility from the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group will allow for the expansion and ensure the long-term stability of the system, making it more reliable and accessible for the thousands of New Yorkers who rely upon it. New Yorkers currently take more than one million trips every month on Citi Bike.

The Citi Bike system, which will continue to be operated by NYC Bike Share (NYCBS), a subsidiary of Alta, will be expanded from the current system of 330 stations and 6,000 bikes to over 700 stations and 12,000 bikes by the end of 2017. Citi Bike will stretch further out into Brooklyn, into Harlem, and bring bikes to Queens for the first time.

The agreement with the City also calls for service enhancements to the system’s operations for Citi Bike’s tens of thousands of riders, including upgrades to the software and technology that helps operate the bike share system.

These enhancements will be made possible by the investment from Bikeshare Holdings LLC, a newly-formed venture of individuals that include Harvey Spevak, CEO of Equinox®, Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, and Jonathan Schulhof, a private investor who led the transaction. Bikeshare Holdings has entered into an agreement to acquire Alta and recruited Jay Walder, the former Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and an internationally-renowned leader in public transit, to serve as the incoming CEO of Alta.

The system will continue to operate as a privately funded program and Citi has agreed to increase its sponsorship contribution by $70.5 million dollars and extend it through 2024 while the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group has increased and extended its loan facility to help fund the program’s enhancement and expansion. The expansion was also made possible by a $5 million investment from The Partnership Fund for New York City to Bikeshare Holdings LLC to support the program’s growth into underserved communities in Brooklyn, Queens and Upper Manhattan.

“This is about delivering the bike share program New Yorkers expect and deserve. We believe in Citi Bike’s potential as a fixture of New York City’s public transit system. It can make our neighborhoods more accessible, help us achieve our sustainability goals, and bridge inequities in our transportation network. To achieve all that, bike share has to be reliable and responsive to community’s needs. Today, after tremendous efforts across our administration, we can say we have the management and the support in place to fulfill that mission. It’s a good day for New Yorkers who rely on Citi Bike, and for neighborhoods and riders that have eagerly awaited its expansion,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio....
Click here for the full DOT Press Release.


Roosevelt Island is not included in the Citi Bike neighborhood expansion for phase 11

 Image From DOT

or phase 111 Potential Expansion.


I asked Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato:
The Dep't of Transportation and new bike sharing owner announced yesterday expansion of the system to Long Island City, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bed Stuy.

Roosevelt Island was not mentioned as a new location for bike sharing.

Any comment on when Roosevelt Island will be getting bike sharing?

Also, since Long Island City is getting bike sharing, is it possible to get a station located at the foot of the Roosevelt Island Bridge on 36th Avenue in Long Island City? That would be useful for Roosevelt Island.
 Image Of Intersection Of Roosevelt Island Bridge, Vernon B'lvd and 36th Ave in LIC

Mr. Kallos replied:
1,000 new bikes will come into use next year; 7,000 by 2017. The Council Member hopes to get as many CitiBike stations as possible into our district and to Roosevelt Island in the upcoming years.

We'll pass along your request to the relevant agencies.
Here's Google Map of intersection


View Larger Map

The NYC Planning Department Western Queens Transportation Study recommended installing a bicycle sharing station at the top


of the Roosevelt Island Bridge helix.

UPDATE 2:15 PM - RIOC President Charlene Indelicato adds:
RIOC strongly believes in increasing the amount of bike safety education and amenities available on Roosevelt Island, and we are pleased with the current state of our successful partnership with Bike New York. However, the Island's infrastructure is not currently ready to handle a large increase in cyclist traffic. Before bike sharing can come to the Island, a master plan for the implementation of bike paths and traffic infrastructure that can accommodate cyclists, pedestrians and motorists in our community needs to be designed and implemented. We plan to work with private entities such as Cornell Tech in order to create this plan and look forward to putting an innovative, inclusive strategy in place.

When it comes to bike sharing in Queens, RIOC's focus is primarily trained on preparing Roosevelt Island for a possible future station. Therefore, we will not be advocating for a docking station near the entrance of the Roosevelt Island Bridge at 36th Avenue at this time.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

No Roosevelt Island F Subway Service From Manhattan Right Now Due To Train Mechanical Problems At 21st Street Station Earlier This Afternoon Says MTA

As of 5:20 PM, there is no Roosevelt Island F Train service from Manhattan due to mechanical problems at the 21 Street/Queensbridge station


earlier this afternoon.
According to the MTA:


UPDATE 6:25 PM:
UPDATE 9;45 PM - According to CBS New York the cause of the F train service disruption today was:
An enormous drill bit plowed right into a subway tunnel and grazed an occupied F Train in Queens on Thursday.

The train had just pulled out of the 21st Street station in Long Island City, Queens, around 11:45 a.m., when the drill bit plowed into the occupied subway car, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority confirmed to CBS2.

The drilling was part of the East Side Access project to bring the Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal, officials said. A worker employed by a contractor — Griffin Dewatering New England Inc. — was using the drill above ground near the station, and was supposed to be expanding a construction well, officials said....
Click here for the full story.

NY City Lens On Changing Scene Of Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail - Possible New Thai Restaurant, Day Care Center And Bank, Also 8 New Burgers From Trellis


NY City Lens is an online news site produced by Columbia University Graduate School Of Journalism students. NYC Lens recently profiled Roosevelt Island's Main Street retail scene with a story titled:
Roosevelt Island Gambles on a Brighter Future

Here comes Cornell and Riverwalk, and a renovated downtown is feeling optimistic.
According to NY City Lens:
... Hal Shapiro, managing director of Winick Realty Group, which does retail leasing, said the problem is that many people don’t really know the island. He needs to explain things about it, such as its beautiful scenery with open space and parks, its population and economic increase and in the past years with finished new residential buildings, and its potential growth since Cornell is coming. And most importantly, he pointed out, that the island is underserved. He said, now he is talking with three potential tenants—a Thai restaurant, a daycare center, and a bank, asking for 50 dollars per square feet.

“Things are happening,” said Shapiro. Saks-Rosenberg agrees. Five years ago the Main Street Retail Study said that Roosevelt Island residents do just 12% of their shopping on the Island, she said, “and now people start to really shop on the island and go to the stores, which was not the case two years ago. ”

However, many residents are still used to their off-the-Main-Street shopping habits. Rachelle Sumersford orders from Fresh Direct online, Fidel Lakew walks across the bridge to the Costco in Queens and gets a cab back, and Dorothy Jefferies goes to Fairway and Agata on Manhattan Island by public transportation....
and:
... Kaie Razaghi and his son Alex come to the island every day from Astoria to work on the renovation of Trellis Diner. He was excited and proud of what he is doing. “We are gonna provide a restaurant dining experience,” said Razaghi. “Now I only have three different burgers. I will have eight when I open up. When I say eight, I don’t mean eight beef burgers with different toppings; I mean eight different meats!”

Razaghi hopes people will come to the Main Street for what he is doing—the modern design of the storefront, the new menu, and the dining experience. “I haven’t been making money for the past two years. It’s either take the money and go buy somewhere else, or put the money in, and take a chance. I put the money in here, and take a chance.”...
Hezi Jiang is the reporter on the Roosevelt Island retail story. She did an excellent job. Click here for the full article.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Will Roosevelt Island Residents Association Continue Advisory Role In Public Purpose Funds Recommendations To RIOC?

Pile Of Money Image From Passive Income Genius

Since at least 2008, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) has been tasked by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to evaluate applications and make recommendations to RIOC for the allocation of approximately $100 Thousand annually in Public Purpose Funds to Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations. As reported in 2012:
... The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) has been delegated by RIOC to make recommendations to the RIOC Board for the allocation of available Public Purpose Funds. RIRA created a Public Purpose Funds Committee that will interview and evaluate the applicant organizations and then make recommendations as to how the funds get distributed to the full RIRA Common Council. Upon approval by the RIRA Common Council, the recommendations are forwarded to the RIOC Board for approval...
Question have been raised recently whether RIRA will continue with its role of making Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds recommendations to RIOC. At the October 1 RIRA Common Council Meeting, Dave Evans, who chairs the RIRA Public Purpose Funds Committee addressed the future role of RIRA in the Public Purpose Funds process.



The October RIRA Common Council postponed any further discussion of its role in Public Purpose Funds until a future meeting.

Last week, I asked RIOC President Charlene Indelicato:
During the October RIRA meeting, there was a discussion that RIOC plans to stop delegating the Public Purpose Funds vetting process to RIRA and to either evaluate the applications internally by RIOC or through a third party other than RIRA.

Is that true?

Does RIOC have any comment on the matter.
Ms. Indelicato replied:
We have not finalized the method of distribution as yet but be assured it will be in accordance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.
RIOC approved the 2014 Public Purpose Funds RIRA recommendations during April 11 Board of Directors meeting and:
... concluded that the process followed by RIRA has been fair and the amounts recommended for each grantee to be reasonable....
with both RIOC Director David Kraut and RIOC President Charlene Indelicato complimenting RIRA on its handling of the Public Purpose Funds allocation process.

Portion Of Roosevelt Island Seawall Railing Held Together With .... A Plastic Water Bottle - RIOC Plans $13 Million In Seawall and Railings Improvements For Upcoming Fiscal Year

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reports:


According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16 (Page 6), RIOC has:
... proposed improvement of the seawall at Southpoint Park ("SPP"). The capital plan as proposed includes a scheduled corresponding expenditure for seawall and railing work at SPP in FY 16‐17. The critical shoring of this infrastructure will stem further deterioration of the affected seawall sections and increase the longevity of RIOC's capital investments in the area...
RIOC's Proposed 2015 -16 Fiscal Year Budget Capital Plan contemplates spending $10 million on the Southpoint Park Seawall and $3 million on Seawall Railing Replacement (Page 9).

Here's the discussion of Roosevelt Island seawall improvements by RIOC President Charlene Indelicato and RIOC Director David Kraut during October 22 RIOC Audit Committee meeting on RIOC's Proposed 2015-16 Fiscal Year budget.



The full audio web cast of the Audit Committee meeting on proposed budget is here.

Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization October Monthly Seminar Tonight - Meaningful World's Dr. Ani Kalayjian Speaks On Healing After Violent Trauma

The Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO) sends the following invitation for its October 29 Monthly Seminar starting 6:30 PM tonight.

According to RIWHO:
A reminder of RIWHO's seminar on Wednesday, October 29. Dr. Kalayjian speaks on past and present traumas that affect a person's lives. She speaks on healing those traumas. She travels internationally to effect those healing possibilities bridging religious and cultural differences. An opportunity to experience an exercise in her healing modality, especially for those in the healing/medical professions.
More on Dr Kalayjian at Meaningful World web site and this video.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What Do You Call A Drink That's Kind Of A Manhattan, But Not Really - A Roosevelt Island Of Course


From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:
Cocktail anyone?

Tables Turned On NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Robo Caller - Roosevelt Island Resident Asks When Governor Cuomo Will Appoint Someone To Fill Long Vacant RIOC Board Of Directors Seat


Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk describer her recent experience with a Robo-Caller from NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's campaign seeking her vote. According to Ms. Falk:
Answer the Question, Governor Cuomo

It's election season, so we all are getting phone calls from candidates and their robo-callers. One campaigner at a telephone bank unexpectedly got an earful. Let me reconstruct the conversation:

"Hi Janet, this is Bruce. I'm calling on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Can he count on your vote in the election on Tuesday, November 4?"

"That's a good question, and I have a question for you, too. If you will answer my question, then I will answer yours. (pause) When will Governor Cuomo appoint someone to the vacant seat on the Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation? And, come to think of it, when will he address the fact that the terms of all the members who are residents of Roosevelt Island have expired?"

"Wow, Janet, I can't answer that for you."

"Of course you can't. So, I suggest you find someone who can answer those questions and when you do, call me back. Then I'll give you my answer about whether I'm voting for Governor Cuomo."

Click.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors seat referenced by Ms. Falk has been vacant since February 2013 when former Child School principal and RIOC Board Director Sal Fererra abruptly resigned.

WNYC's Brian Lehrer reports on a different type of Robo Calling - not for any particular candidate



but just trying to get people to vote.

UPDATE 12:40 PM - Oops, correction. The call Ms. Falk received from Governor Cuomo's campaign was from a phone bank, not an automated robo-call.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Report From RIRA President Jeff Escobar - Condolences To Family Of Roosevelt Island Bike Rider Anna Maria Mostrom, Bike/Car/Pedestrian Safety Initiative, RIRA Elections & Candidate Nights

 Image Of October 8 Red Bus Collision With Bike Rider Anna Maria Mostrom From Kevin Deutsch Tweet

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar sends the following Report To The Community:
On Saturday, October 18th, a memorial service was held at The Swedish Church on East 48th Street for our beloved Octagon neighbor and fellow Islander Anna-Marie Mostrom. As many of you know, Anna-Marie had been in a tragic accident with one of our Red Buses and, in a blink of an eye, her life that was a light to so many was put out. Our prayers and thoughts are with her family as they struggle to make sense of this tragedy. Sadly, it is times like these which cause all of us to take pause on our crazy and busy lives to sit back and take stock in all that we have, the family members we love, and the community that surrounds us. It is also unfortunately tragic events like these which cause us to reflect inward and ask what we could have done differently individually, as neighbors, as a community to have prevented what happened.

As the popularity and necessity for bike transportation grows, as does the size of our community, RIRA will be taking a closer look at how accidents which led to Anna-Marie’s death, as well as other bike and pedestrian deaths and injuries, can be prevented. Just as The City has enacted the Vision Zero initiative which is aimed at preventing pedestrian-motorist accidents, I will be asking the new RIRA Common Council to undertake a similar initiative under the new term working with local community and bike advocacy groups in finding a way to stop such accidents from happening on our little Island again. Both motorists, cyclers, and pedestrians, from young to old alike, should feel safe and confident that walking, riding and motoring on our street will never result in injury or an accident; and the only way that can happen is if we come together as a community to find a mutually agreeable way that we can all share and enjoy the road together.

As stated above, it will be the new RIRA Common Council who will be charged with this new initiative, and it will be up to you as a member of RIRA – of which each and every one of us becomes when we become a resident of this Island – to decide who will be part of the new Common Council. As we have stated in this column and elsewhere before, the election for who will be representing your interests in the Common Council is coming fast upon us. On Tuesday, November 4th, each of you will have a chance to directly elect who will sit on the Common Council and undertake such initiatives as that above, as well as so many more that directly impact our lives as Island residents.

But, who are these Candidates? I am happy to announce that nearly a full slate of candidates for nearly all of the buildings have placed themselves on this year’s ballot, and you will have an opportunity to directly meet and question each of your neighbors who chose to run for a seat on the Common Council and represent your building in the coming week in a Town Hall setting. This is a rare opportunity to not only participate in a direct election and to see the democratic process in action, but to directly pose the difficult questions which afflict our community to the candidates. I encourage each and every one of you to attend your building’s respective Meet the Candidates event as set forth below, and to not hold anything back as you search for who you wish to represent you in this coming term on the Common Council:

Rivercross, Island House and Westview Candidates Night – Tuesday,October 28th at 8PM in the Westview Community Room located at 625 Main Street.

Manhattan Park & 2/4 River Road Candidates Night – Tuesday, October 28th at 8PM in the Manhattan Park Community Room located at 4 River Road.

Southtown Candidates Night – Thursday, October 30th at 8PM in the Party Room located at 455 Main Street.

Roosevelt Landings Candidates Night – Thursday, October 30th at 8PM in the Westview Lower Community Room (625 Main Street)

Octagon Candidates Night – Thursday, October 30th at 8PM in the Lobby Art Gallery located at 888 Main Street.

I also encourage all of you to attend the President and Vice-President Candidates Night for the those vying for the chance to lead the new Common Council on Wednesday, October 29th at 8PM at the Westview Lower Community Room (625 Main Street) located at the middle of the Island.

As I have always said, the choice to run and to become part of the Common Council is the ultimate in community service, and to each of the candidates who have put themselves out there, the best of luck. If the slate of candidates is any indication, the next administration and Common Council looks to be a promising one who faces a challenging term ahead. I have every confidence, however, that whomever is given the honor of representing our community will undoubtedly be successful.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) 2014 Common Council Candidates, Meet Them At Your Buildings Candidate Night This Week - Is RIRA Vice President Eligible To Run Again?

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council election will take place Tuesday November 4. According to RIRA:

The purposes of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) are: 1) to represent the interests of its members to all governmental, quasi-governmental and private institutions that develop policy affecting Roosevelt Island and its residents; that supervise or manage our housing and that supervise or manage other Island operations; and 2) to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of its members and the quality of life in our community are maintained and improved....
All Roosevelt Island residents, whether US citizens or not, 18 years and older are eligible to vote for RIRA President and Vice President as well as for Common Council members for the buildings in which they live.

The candidates running for the 2014 RIRA Common Council are listed below.
Rivercross, Westview, and Island House have more candidates running for the Common Council than slots allocated for their buildings so there will be a competitive race for these seats. Southtown, Manhattan Park, Roosevelt Landings and the Octagon all have less candidates than seats allocated so all the nominated candidates will become members of the next RIRA Common Council.

Come meet your buildings RIRA Candidates this week as shown in schedule below. (UPDATE TO CANDIDATES NIGHT SCHEDULE - Wednesday Night, October 29th's President/VP Candidate event has been moved to the Westview Lower Community room at 625 Main St. at 8pm - NOT at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Thursday Night's Roosevelt Landings Candidates Night will be at Westview Lower Community room 625 Main Street at 8pm.)
Current RIRA President Jeff Escobar is running unopposed for President. Mr. Escobar has been an excellent RIRA President.

Current RIRA Vice President Sherie Helstien is running against 3 other candidate - Sharon Pope, Helen Chirivas and M. Pathak.

An issue has been raised whether Ms Helstien is eligible to run as a candidate for RIRA Vice President. Ms Helstien was the RIRA Election Committee Chair until October 25, the day after RIRA nominations period ended, when she sent an email to some RIRA Common Council members announcing her resignation as Election Committee Chair. According to Frank Farance:
Sherie Helstien is not permitted to run as RIRA VP candidate; serving in Election Committee prohibits President and VP candidates. Here's wording from the RIRA Constitution Article 5, Section

5, Election Committee:
"There shall be an Election Committee to administer all elections in accordance with the provisions of Article VII. The Election Committee shall include representatives from at least five election Districts. No candidate for President or Vice President may serve on the Election Committee. Candidates for the Common Council may serve on the Election Committee but may not participate in the elections for their own election Districts. No member of the Election Committee may participate in the election campaign of any candidate other than himself/herself or give support to any other candidate. The Common Council shall approve by Majority vote of the Council Members a Chair to the Elections Committee who will coordinate such activities."
I've asked Ms. Helstien and other RIRA members for comment on this matter. Will update when more information available.

UPDATE 8:40 PM - RIRA President Jeff Escobar comments on Ms. Helstien candidacy for RIRA Vice President:
Ultimately, it should be up to, and will be up to, the voters -- RIRA's 'shareholders', using the 'corporation' parlance that some Common Council members seem to enjoy employing, who will decide on election day whether or not Sherie Helstien's recent discretions should rise to the level of her not being elected to the position of Vice-President. As with any election, whether it be to a position of public service or to an officer position within a corporation, the stakeholders will have a chance to decide whether or not one should or should not be elected based on their actions. I thank those members of the Common Council who have brought the issue to light, and have full faith that our community will make the right decision based on such information come election day.

Neither the Chair of the Nominations Committee or members of the Nomination Committee -- who are charged with ensuring that the candidacy of an individual is proper -- nor the Chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee or its committee members -- who have been charged with safeguarding the Constitution and By-laws, all of whom I deeply respect both professionally and personally and whom I have full confidence in their execution of their roles and responsibilities within the Common Council, have voiced concern or an objection as to the appropriateness of Ms. Helstien's Nomination for Vice-President.

Until then, and as it should be, it will be up to the voters to decide whether Ms. Helstien or another should serve as Vice-President in the upcoming term. We have a very contested race for which this issue, amongst many, will take center stage. It would be prudent for the candidates of Vice-President, as well as others in the Common Council who are facing their own very contested races -- to expend their time, energy and resources on concentrating on their own election efforts rather than on the minutiae of others.
You can also vote in the RIRA elections by absentee ballot. Here's how.

Choosing A NYC Kindergarten For Your Roosevelt Island Child Panel Discussion Sunday November 2 At Main Street Sweets, RSVP By October 30 - Also, Video Of Cornell Tech's Director Of K-12 Education Diane Levitt Speaking About Education Plans For PS/IS 217 And Other NYC Schools

Image of October 2013 Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Choosing A Kindergarten Panel Discussion

Are you a Roosevelt Island parent about to choose a kindergarten for your child? If so, this upcoming Roosevelt Island workshop is for you.

The Roosevelt Island Parents' Network, together with the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation and Main Street Sweets, will host their second free Choosing A Kindergarten Workshop 4 PM on Sunday November 2 at Main Street Sweets (559 Main Street). If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by October 30 via e-mail to michalmelamed@yahoo.com


Here's a report from the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network October 2013 Choosing A Kindergarten Panel discussion.

Also, some more Roosevelt Island education information. Last July 28, Cornell Tech's new Director of K-12 Education Jane Levitt spoke to the Roosevelt Island Cornell Community and Construction Task Force about plans for Cornell working with Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 and other NYC schools. Here's what Ms. Levitt had to say.





Remember to RSVP for the November 2 Choosing A Kindergarten Workshop.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Scenes From Saturday's Roosevelt Island Main Street Halloween Parade - A Wonderful Day For Kids Of All Ages



It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon yesterday for the annual Roosevelt Island Main Street Halloween Parade as kids of all ages


got dressed up


and marched


from Blackwell House


 down Main Street to Capobianco Field




for rides,


games,


treats,


a drum marching band




and magic show.




An excellent job by the Halloween Parade organizers - Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato


and the RIOC staff,


Urban American's Doryne Isely (pictured at left) and her staff at Roosevelt Landings


as well as Roosevelt Island Youth Program Executive Director Charlie DeFino (pictured behind the lion) and his staff.


Roosevelt Island photographer Olya Turcihin shares these pictures from the Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade.


More Roosevelt Island Halloween pictures from Olya Turcihin here.

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