Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mayor Bloomberg Takes Tram And Announces $100 Million Gift To Cornell Tech At Roosevelt Island Campus Groundbreaking Ceremony Yesterday - Here's What Happened

Another big day for Roosevelt Island.

Last Saturday, Hillary Clinton launched her Presidential campaign from Roosevelt Island and yesterday, June 16, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Mayor Bill deBlasio came to Roosevelt Island

 Mayor deBlasio Talking With Mayor Bloomberg And Cornell President David Skorton

to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of Cornell Tech's new Roosevelt Island campus scheduled to open in 2017.
Oh, and for the cherry on top of this cake, Mr. Bloomberg announced a gift of $100 million for construction of the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island campus.
Mr. Bloomberg arrived by Roosevelt Island Tram

as did Mayor deBlasio.

Mr. Bloomberg also left by Roosevelt Island Tram
Before the groundbreaking ceremony took place at FDR Four Freedoms Park, there was a walk through

of the construction site

by Mayor Bloomberg,

Mayor de Blasio,

Cornell President David Skorton and Forest City Ratner President MaryAnne Gilmartin

as well as (pictured from left to right below) NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark- Viverito, Mayor de Blasio, Mayor Bloomberg, Cornel Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher, Ms. Gilmartin, Hudson Companies David Kramer and NYC Council Member representing Roosevelt Island Ben Kallos.

Cornell Tech Director of Capital Planning Andrew Winters briefed Mayor deBlasio on construction plans for the campus including solar panels, geothermal wells and the beloved Roosevelt Isladn Cherry Trees.

Then on to the the FDR Four Freedoms Park for the start of the ceremonial groundbreaking passing a family of Roosevelt Island geese on the West Promenade

under the Cherry Trees.

Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher began the groundbreaking ceremony.
Dean Huttenlocher noted that:
... even though physical construction of the campus here has just started, we're already working to be an active part of the community here on Roosevelt Island in our future home...

Followed by:

Mayor de Blasio,

Cornell University Board Chairman Bob Harrison,

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul,

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito,

Cornell President David Skorton,

Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg,

Forest City Ratner President Maryanne Gilmartin, developers of the Bridge at Cornell Tech,

Hudson Companies David Kramer describing Cornell Tech's new passive energy high rise residential building.

Mr. Kramer gave a shout out to
... the heart and soul of Roosevelt Island, Judy Berdy...
President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

Dean Huttenlocher then thanked the audience for attending the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island campus groundbreaking ceremony.

Following the ceremony Mayor de Blasio

met with students from Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 and school Principal Mandana Beckman.
Ms Beckman adds:
Here is the picture we took with Mayor DeBlasio following the Cornell Tech Ground Breaking:

Mandana Beckman, Ursula Fokine , Instructional Coach, Jennifer Bartolino , AP Students: Felicia Einhorn, Principal for A Day & Elyes Bouchik, Assistant Principal for a Day
The Twitterverse is concerned about impact of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island affordable housing.
During press conference after the Cornell Tech Groundbreaking, I asked Mayor de Blasio about that issue. He said this.

Perhaps affordable housing on Roosevelt Island and elsewhere in NYC was the subject of this conversation between Mayor de Blasio

 and Hudson Companies David Kramer

after the Cornell Tech groundbreaking ceremony.

Here's June 16 Press Release from Cornell Tech on the Roosevelt Island campus groundbreaking ceremony.
Cornell University President David J. Skorton, Cornell University Board Chair Robert S. Harrison, Cornell Tech Dean Daniel P. Huttenlocher, New York State Lt. Governor Kathleen Hochul, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, and The Hudson Companies Principal David Kramer today celebrated the groundbreaking of Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island and announced a $100 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies to fund construction of the campus. The first academic building on the campus will be named The Bloomberg Center – in honor of Emma and Georgina Bloomberg. Cornell Tech is a revolutionary model for graduate tech education, developing pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age. Three years ago, Cornell and its academic partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology won New York City’s competition – led by former Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel – to build an applied sciences institution in partnership with the City. Today’s groundbreaking and the announcement of the generous donation mark a major milestone in this effort, with the first phase of the campus due to open in the summer of 2017.

Cornell Tech began classes in January 2013 at its temporary campus in space donated by Google in their Chelsea building. There are currently approximately 15 world-class faculty members, an additional 15 research and development staff, two dozen Ph.D. students in several disciplines, and four master’s programs: the MEng in computer science; the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA; the dual degree Connective Media program at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, the academic partnership between Cornell and the Technion; and starting this fall at the Jacobs Institute, Healthier Life, which will bridge the gap between healthcare and technology. The majority of Cornell Tech’s nearly 100 alumni are pursuing their own startups and working at companies in New York City.

“Cornell Tech isn’t just one of the world’s leading research institutions – it's a pioneering model for using tech to solve real-world problems, and an economic game-changer that will drive smart, powerful, and equitable growth in New York City for generations,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The new Roosevelt Island campus will bring together academia and industry in the service of invention and innovation – and the result will be hundreds of homegrown companies that provide a pathway to opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers. We look forward to continued partnership with Cornell Tech, and commend Mayor Bloomberg's commitment to this effort, and to this groundbreaking institution.”

“We are so grateful for the generosity of Bloomberg Philanthropies. This gift holds special meaning because Mayor Bloomberg first envisioned the Applied Sciences initiative and has seen this project through since its inception in 2011,” said Cornell University President David J. Skorton. “At Cornell Tech we are creating a high-tech entrepreneurial hub for the benefit of the city, the state and the world, and I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor de Blasio and many others for their trust, vision and partnership as we work to reinvent graduate education for the digital age and build a pipeline of tech talent right here in New York.”

"New York became the greatest city in the world because we dared to dream bigger than anyone else, and this project – and the challenge it represents to Silicon Valley – are part of that tradition,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “After talking with leaders from every industry, we launched a competition to bring an applied science campus here, to help lay an economic foundation for the next century -- creating jobs and opportunity for New Yorkers on every rung of the economic ladder. I believe in the importance of this public-private partnership to our city’s future, and it's why the contribution is in honor of my daughters, as there is no better gift I can leave them than to help make the world -- and their hometown -- a better place. This is a gift to support a brighter future for our city and for every young person who grows up here or comes here with a dream, like I did."

“Cornell Tech has come so far in just over three years, with new degree programs, faculty, 100 graduates and our developing campus on Roosevelt Island. We are extremely grateful to all of our partners in this effort, including the NYC tech community, the City, Roosevelt Islanders and many more who are helping us bring our vision to life,” said Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher.

"This is a historic day for Cornell University and for New York City. Cornell has had an unwavering commitment to innovation over its rich history, and Cornell Tech is a prime example of that. We are achieving something revolutionary here, and this very generous gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies is symbolic of our shared values and dedication to the future," said Robert S. Harrison, Cornell University Board Chair.

"Cornell Tech, which is the home of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, will be one of the most fascinating campuses ever built. It is extremely gratifying to know that the Technion is part of it. It will be one of the most modern and advanced research institutes in the world -- a citadel of innovation. When I visited Roosevelt Island recently, I felt that I was standing on a bridge between the Technion and Cornell University. I think everyone in Israel and New York should be proud of what has been accomplished here. I congratulate Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his vision and for his extraordinary gift that will help make this vision a reality," said Technion President Peretz Lavie.

“New York City is a global hub for innovation and there is no better home for Cornell Tech's new state-of-the-art campus than right here in the tech capital of the world. From its unique fusion of technology, art, open space and community to its commitment to sustainability and energy conservation, the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island Campus represents the new frontier in education for the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers. The New York City Council is proud to welcome Cornell Tech to New York City and looks forward to its great success,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

To commemorate the groundbreaking, Cornell Tech commissioned Cornell University alumnus Peter Gerakaris to create a site-specific installation at the RIVAA Gallery on Roosevelt Island. The exhibition opens today and represents the university’s presence by fusing art, technology, place and community. The sprawling 1,000-square-foot installation of kaleidoscopic imagery engages the public in visual play as new layers, patterns, and connections are revealed with each viewing. The exhibit is supported by a generous gift from the Eisenberg Family.

The first phase of Cornell Tech’s campus includes:

The Bloomberg Center, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects. The building is a departure from traditional academic facilities with an open plan and extensive collaborative as well as private work spaces, adapting open plan offices from the tech world to the academic arena. Cornell is aspiring for the building to be among the largest net-zero energy buildings in the United States, with all of its power generated on campus.

The Bridge at Cornell Tech, designed by WEISS/MANFREDI and developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, will be a first-of-its-kind building that will house an ecosystem of companies, researchers and entrepreneurs who are focused on catalyzing innovation and the commercialization of new products and technologies, driving economic growth for New York.

“The Bridge at Cornell Tech is a place for companies looking to test and launch products and ideas, a place where research comes to life and technology meets the market,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies. “For the right companies committed to innovation and collaboration, The Bridge will provide a massive competitive advantage at the center of the campus and the heart of New York City.”

A residential building, designed by Handel Architects and developed by Hudson and Related Companies, that will be the first Passive House high-rise in the world. Passive House is the strict international building standard that drastically reduces energy consumption while creating a healthier and more comfortable living environment for a fraction of residents’ usual energy costs. The residential building will be for faculty, staff and students to ensure the campus is active 24/7.

“We have spent the past 2 years working with an incredible team of engineers and designers to establish this new standard for a 26 story building,” said David Kramer, Principal of the Hudson Companies. “We hope that this boundary-pushing development will serve as a living lab and enduring inspiration to the community of next-generation problem solvers who will live within its (well insulated) walls.”

The first phase of the campus will open summer 2017. When fully completed, the campus will span 12 acres on Roosevelt Island and house approximately 2,000 students and hundreds of faculty and staff. The campus master plan was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with James Corner Field Operations, and includes a number of innovative features and facilities across a river-to-river campus with expansive views, a series of green, public spaces, and a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor areas. The campus will be one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient campuses in the world.

In May, 73 master’s students in computer science and business and 2 PhD students graduated from Cornell Tech, and more than half stayed in New York for job opportunities and to pursue their own startups. Almost one-third of the graduates are pursuing their own ventures that were developed on campus, including the winners of Cornell Tech’s first-ever Startup Awards. Through the awards, five groups of students are now working full-time on the companies they built during their academic program with pre-seed funding from the Blackstone Foundation and free co-working space at Forest City Ratner’s New York Times building.

Cornell Tech was founded when it was selected in December of 2011 as the winner of the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative. The Economic Development Corporation, then led by Executive Director Seth Pinsky, sought proposals for a university to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for City capital, access to City-owned land – and the full support and partnership of City government. Cornell’s proposal was selected ahead of submissions from 17 world-class institutions from around the globe. The Cornell and Technion partnership was selected by the City as the first winner of the competition and was provided with land on Roosevelt Island and $100 million in City capital to build the $2 billion, 2 million square foot tech campus.

Cornell Tech is already fulfilling its promise to New York City to spur tech education in New York City public schools. Cornell Tech has partnered with more than a dozen local schools, including PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island, and is coordinating professional development opportunities for teachers to gain experience in incorporating tech thinking into their teaching.

Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech develops pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age. Cornell Tech brings together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in a catalytic environment to produce visionary results grounded in significant needs that will reinvent the way we live in the digital age. Cornell Tech’s temporary campus has been up and running at Google’s Chelsea building since 2012, with a growing world-class faculty, and about 150 master’s and Ph.D. students who collaborate extensively with tech-oriented companies and organizations and pursue their own startups. Construction is underway on Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island, with a first phase due to open in 2017. When fully completed, the campus will include 2 million square feet of state-of- the-art buildings, over 2 acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.
Say goodbye to Goldwater Hospital

Cornell Tech Cornell - Bridge Cam 2015-04-22 162358 from Curbed on Vimeo.

and hello

Cornell Tech.


YetAnotherRIer said...

What kind of truth would that be? The one he talked about in front of a group of hired extras?

CheshireKitty said...

I respect it although I see what you are saying. It's almost "targeted" giving since it's pretty much "guaranteed" that the people that are going to benefit are those who will have qualified to get into these programs in the first place (can get into an Ivy league school) which means they are probably from a rich suburb or went to a private school or came from a background that promoted a love of learning, or had a dad that donated to the school, and so forth. These are schools of the elite that the elite sends their kids to - so why continue to pour millions into them? The gift does seem to continue to perpetuate the same elitist system that is not really open to all.

The rich like to donate to "lofty" causes, to have their names associated with "worthy" philanthropic efforts, such as libraries (Astor, Carnegie, on down to Schwartzman/Blackstone) hospitals (Weill-Cornell/Citigroup) and of course universities (Tisch/NYU & many other notable r/e families). Do the rich spread their money equally to more "lowly" institutions such as those specifically designed to address the poor/struggling/minorities? Do they? That's a good question.

Imagine if the $100,000,000 had gone instead to the construction of a new college campus in a predominantly Latino or African American part of town - and possibly underwrote free tuition for the students (the way things once were @ CUNY). Imagine the impact of making it possible for qualified sons & daughters of the approximately 40% of New Yorkers who are struggling, to change their futures by attending an Ivy league school for free - so they wouldn't have to worry about racking up huge loans to go to college. Of course there is affirmative action, but by and large, the ultra-expensive/elitist Ivy league schools remain bastions of the rich.

Many of the poor just do not benefit from a pro-education approach to life in early childhood, they do not have financial resources, and they cannot see any alternative other than to work and continue to perpetuate the cycle of low-income jobs, scrambling to survive in a city that is increasingly expensive to survive in.

CheshireKitty said...

If you follow my system, you will get a reply: Write a respectful letter to any official in RIOC. Then call the next day to confirm receipt. You may want to start a log of phonecalls, and exactly who you spoke to, what they said, and if you left a message on VM, if you do not get through to the person to whom you sent the letter.

You can't expect RIOC to drop everything and start doing things according to your suggestions. However, they can at least acknowledge receipt and say your ideas are being studied/considered. I have gotten replies to my letters using the above method.

If you feel your ideas really have merit and could even save the State money (increase efficiency) or really result in an improved quality of life for the residents of RI, and RIOC does not seem to agree, then you could ask the elected officials to intervene and try to get an answer. You would have to follow the exact same process as outlined above: Write a respectful letter to the elected officials, then call the next day to confirm receipt. Start keeping a log of your conversations, so you can refer to your calls/conversations in subsequent communications/letters. Eventually, you can request a meetings; also, the elected officials all have office hours on RI - RIOC has community hours as well - so you can bring your letter and read it to the representative and try to enlist them, try to get them to buy in to your ideas; these reps can then advocate for you (hopefully).

It is difficult to effectuate change on RI because RIOC is a top-down system (mostly). We are "ruled" by an appointee, who is not really answerable to the population of RI. The RIOC organization is similar to a business/corporation in that its objective is to develop and provide the infrastructure so that the private developers can develop the island. It is a real estate development corporation, except that the State floated the bonds to finance the infrastructure needed to enable development by private developers, as opposed to the developers or a developer, undertaking the entire task. At the time the island was developed, the City was not as "hot" - not on an upswing financially - as it is today. Maybe it wasn't possible to find a developer who could develop the entire island (the way Newport was developed, or other large developments, or Disney building entire towns in Florida). There was a time when the City was hemorrhaging people and emptying out. That was the era when RI was developed. It was supposed to attract people to move in by offering a "new" approach - similar to Coop City - but with the added features of the AVAC, the tram, the proximity to Manhattan, the waterfront location, and so forth. The City could not have done it - as I believe the City was in deep trouble financially. It had to be a State project - make it possible for developers to build by putting in the infrastructure & keeping it up (a mini municipal government if you will). There was also the thought of making it a "model" "new" city - almost a "monument" to the egalitarian thinking of FDR, by also commissioning the FDR memorial, and specifically requiring inclusive housing. All these steps were considered "hopeful" and "progressive" in a particularly "hopeless" time in NYC. The RIOC system however is a top-down system, exactly as you would find in a regular business. Later, innovations were introduced but it is still largely unresponsive to the people, who are not, in fact "the electorate" "represented" by RIOC. RIOC can be about as responsive or unresponsive as it wishes - since it's the State equivalent of a private corporation. However, if you do follow my system, as outlined above, of penning respectful letters, the following up with phonecalls/meetings & keeping track of all your contacts, you might eventually get an answer.

APS said...

This is why people don't comment or make suggestions, it becomes too much work. I did my due diligence, the rest is up to them.

janetfalk said...

Here's the other side of Trump's truth-isms:

CheshireKitty said...

I agree that most people don't have the patience - or trust a problem will be taken care of if they alert RIOC to it. When it's not fixed, they blame the RIOC system.. which seems to have no accountability... You are right, it is up to them - but there's no-one making sure they ever do anything. Usually, they do complete projects, or implement reforms. Other times, it may take years for RIOC to get to things. I'll never forget the time Ms. Indelicato was informed that boxes of surveillance cameras had been forgotten for years in some storage area at Motorgate - she was truly, and correctly, infuriated. Who wouldn't be - hearing of such inefficiency? Her two predecessors hadn't followed up on installing the cameras - because one (Lewis) was only temporarily filling in (Acting President) until a President could be appointed by the Governor, and the other (Torres) was hardly there at RIOC, hardly on the job. And somehow Martinez didn't think to have the cameras installed. So the cameras sat in the boxes for years.

To get a response/results from RIOC, you have to turn yourself into a diligent "petitioner" or "supplicant" even. "Lobbyist" is going too far - since it implies a full-time job, research, interfacing constantly with staff, etc. None of that is really necessary with most of the concerns of the residents - such as improvements/clean-up at Sportspark, or keeping up the seawall. An ordinary person can tell Sportspark needs to be cleaned up, and places where the seawall is cracked/crumbling need to be fixed - no complex/arcane knowledge is needed to tell these pieces of the RIOC puzzle need to be repaired/cleaned up. Other aspects of RIOC - such as budget rollovers (funds that are actually in the hands of RIOC but may not show up the following year as they've been rolled over, unspent, from the previous year) or determination of ground rents, depreciation of equipment, or the other myriad financial items RIOC must calculate honestly/fairly & of course disclose, do require more specialized knowledge/research - yet even these admittedly more arcane areas can be studied and possible problems pointed out to RIOC. We trust that RIOC is doing the right thing. However, on occasion there have been investigations/audits that have revealed otherwise - revealed corruption. There are possibilities for corruption at RIOC because it's a stand-alone agency that appears to be accountable to no-one, there are political appointees on occasion, the Board doesn't exercise daily oversight - it tends to accept the information they receive. If there is a problem, the Board can blame the Chief Executive, or the Chief Executive can blame the Board; both can blame the diffuse/lax RIOC system. It's a system almost set up to fail - and maybe that's what the system was intended to be, a loose system that is supposed to get out of the way of the developers once it enabled the conditions (infrastructure) for development. The estimated "use by" date for RIOC is about 100 years - but does it really take 100 years to develop a tiny island in the middle of NYC? is there a reason to have RIOC since most of the land it was supposed to develop has by now been developed?