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Friday, July 19, 2019

Heat Wave Coming This Weekend Over 100 Degrees, NYC Extending Hours For Pools And Sprinklers - RIOC Closing Roosevelt Island Sportspark Park After 12 PM Saturday And Sunday, Why?

It's going to be brutally hot this weekend - temperatures over 100 degrees and heat index of 111 degrees.


NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio advises New Yorkers:
... So, today – the latest as of a short while ago from the National Weather Service – today, we’ll get to a high of 90 degrees, a heat index of up to 101 degrees, and that will be primarily up till 5:00 pm, when it will be at its hottest. We could see thunderstorms tonight – that might help for a period of time, but we're not sure about the details of that yet. Tomorrow – a temperature high predicted of 97 degrees, heat index of 111 degrees – again, with the worst period of being up through 5:00 PM tomorrow; Sunday – also high of 97 degrees, heat index of 110 degrees up to 5:00 pm. Some of you are probably learning about heat index – that’s the way it actually feels. It's not just the temperature outside, but when you add in the humidity, the full effect – it’s what you feel, it’s what your body is feeling. It's the equivalent – with cold weather – of wind-chill factor. So, what it's going to feel like tomorrow and Sunday is going to be upwards of 110 degrees – obviously, very extreme for the body. So, everyone has to be really careful and understand that this is a very unusual situation.

So, since that kind of heat can be dangerous, let's go into some of the things that we're advising people to do and some of the steps we're taking. First – number one, if at all possible, stay indoors Saturday and Sunday to the maximum extent possible and, specifically, stay out of the sun. If you do have to go outdoors, keep it to a minimum. But, if you go out, it's a big difference whether you're in the sun or not. You’re going to feel a lot better if you're not in the sun.

Now, we know for our parents – and I can say this as a parent myself – it’s hard to keep kids indoors that long, so there will be good places to go with your kids. All of the City parks, playgrounds will have – that have sprinklers, will have them on until dark. For the City pools – our Olympic-size pools and our intermediate pools will be open until 8:00 pm – that’s extended hours – tonight, Saturday night, Sunday, until 8:00 pm. We were able to extend our beach hours one hour to 7:00 pm. That was the maximum we could do while still ensuring that we had the lifeguards we needed and the safety conditions we needed. But we have added an extra hour today, tomorrow, Sunday at our beaches.
But due to the heat wave, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has chosen to close the Sportspark Pool

  Image From RIOC

after 12 PM Saturday and Sunday.

According to RIOC:
Due to anticipated high levels of heat and humidity, the Sportspark Indoor Pool will be closed after 12:00PM on both Saturday, 7/20 and Sunday 7/21. We encourage anyone without air conditioning to visit the cooling center at 546 Main Street. For emergencies, please dial 911 or call PSD at 212-832-4545. 
For those wishing to cool themselves down at a Roosevelt Island pool, there is the Manhattan Park pool



for those who are members or able to buy a day pass, as well as the Octagon, Rivercross and Westview pools for their building residents.

For everyone else, no pool for you after 12 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

I've asked RIOC for an explanation for closing Sportspark pool during this heat wave and will update when more info received.

UPDATE 6:15 PM - A RIOC spokesperson replied:
Please note the following explanation for tomorrow’s closure of the Sportspark pool. As you will see, there’s too much detail to include in an advisory. In short, we decided to close the pool for the health and safety of our customers and employees.
  1. Most city pools staying open late tomorrow are outdoor pools. Indoor pools have a different set of concerns in extreme heat conditions, especially at Sportspark.
  2. As you already know, Sportspark will be undergoing major renovations in the near future. Recent assessments of the facility’s aging HVAC system showed that several areas - including the pool area - lack adequate cooling systems. We have placed temporary cooling condensers throughout the building and will have a temporary solution for the pool area soon. Unfortunately, none of these measures will be ready in time for this weekend.
  3. The heat index tomorrow and Sunday are predicted to rise significantly after noon, causing the indoor humidity to soar. Industry average for indoor pool humidity levels are between 50 - 60%. Today, the pool humidity level was at 68% at an 85 degree indoor temperature. This condition will only get worse tomorrow as the outdoor temperature is expected to rise even higher. Chlorine becomes difficult to breathe in humid conditions, especially without a properly functioning dehumidification system or cooling system in place. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to close the pool for the safety and health of our customers and employees.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Concerts Presentation Of The Funky Fugues Of Bach, Haydn & Ives Saturday, July 20 At Good Shepherd

As reported earlier this year,the Roosevelt Island classical concert series organizers, R&R Concerts began their 12 season with a new name, Roosevelt Island Concerts. According to Roosevelt Island Concerts:

Roosevelt Island Concerts is currently in its 12th season and has become a vital asset in the cultural life of Roosevelt Island. Augmenting its rich chamber music programming, the series has recently begun to present orchestral concerts under the direction of conductor Benjamin Hochman. The generosity of our audiences is an essential part of the series, complementing the support of individuals, corporations, and institutions in and beyond New York City. One of the few concert series in New York that produces both orchestral and chamber music concerts, the series is earning a reputation as an essential part of New York City’s rich landscape of classical music....
Take a listen here



and attend live this Roosevelt Island Concerts presentation tomorrow evening:
Saturday, July 20th, 7:30 p.m.

Good Shepherd Chapel

Roosevelt Island Concerts Presents:


FUNKY FUGUES

Join us in visiting several generations of fugue as wielded by the master of the form himself to the most successful musical hobbyist in history. From new arrangements to staples to beloved classic string quartets to some of America's earliest classical music, there's a fugue for everyone!

Bach - Selections from The Art of Fugue
Haydn - Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2
Ives - String Quartet No. 1 ("From the Salvation Army")

Ralph Allen, violin
Claudia Schaer, violin
Isabella Mensz, viola
Iris Jortner, cello

Your generous contribution keeps the series affordable
Suggested donation: $20
Students & seniors: $10
Check out the Roosevelt Island Concerts web site to learn more about the orchestra, the artists and how to help with your support.

Roosevelt Island Transportation - Good News Again, This Weekend F Trains To And From Manhattan, Both Tram Cabins Working And Ferry Service Too, That's 13 In A Row - Watch Video Of MTA Rep Talking Roosevelt Island Subway Service

Good news, for the 13th week in a row, Roosevelt Island residents will have weekend F Trains


 running to and from Manhattan, both Tram Cabins operating and East River Astoria Route Ferry service.

Here's the NYC Ferry 2019 Ferry Summer Schedule. 

More good news. During June 13 Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting organized by Council Member Ben Kallos, MTA representative Markus Book reported that there are no planned Roosevelt Island F Train weekend disruptions until August 16 weekend.

Watch the full MTA Roosevelt Island presentation below.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Update On New Roosevelt Island NY Public Library Branch Under Construction At 504 Main Street - Completion Expected By December 2019

Construction of the new Roosevelt Island NY Public Library branch, to be relocated from present cramped premises to it's future home on the first floor of 504 Main Street,


began October 12, 2018, more than 6 years after first being announced in July 2012.

Here's an update on the Roosevelt Island Library construction progress from NYC Department of Design and Construction:
The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) is managing the construction of the new Roosevelt Island Library for the New York Public Library (NYPL). The existing branch library will be relocated to a new and larger facility so the library can serve additional patrons and add needed programming capabilities. It will incorporate certain environmentally sensitive measures to allow for an anticipated LEED certification. Ultimately the new space will transform the first floor of a former school building into a new library serving the entire Roosevelt Island community.

As of this newsletter, the construction has accomplished various tasks, including the following:
  • Existing interior has been torn down and rebuild/framing is ongoing
  • The framing is creating various new rooms for administrative and programming uses.
  • Floor trenching completed to allow room for conduit carrying various utilities 
  • Insulation within the new framing of outer walls still in progress.
The new facility will include some of the following spaces and functions:
  • New shelving for general collection material
  • A generously sized circulation desk
  • Patron computer stations
  • Designated reading area
  • A community room
  • Teen area
  • Separate children’s room
  • New restrooms, Public and Private Staff use
Substantial completion expected by December of 2019

Community Outreach:

Please contact Jomo Blackman at the DDC Office of Community Outreach& Notification for any project related inquiries or concerns.

Email: blackmajo@ddc.nyc.gov

Community Impacts:
During construction hours, you can expect the following:
Increased levels of dust, noise, and possible heavy equipment movement in and out of work site

Construction Hours:
Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 3p.m.



Below is NYPL January 2016 presentation on the new Roosevelt Island branch library

Roosevelt Island Library - FINAL Presentation 1/2016


and more info from the October 2018 construction groundbreaking.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mayor deBlasio Announces Lyft Investing $100 Million For Citi Bike Sharing System 5 Year Expansion Plan To More NYC Neighborhoods - But Roosevelt Island Not Included Without Docking Station Funding From RIOC


According to this excerpt from July 16 Press Release from NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio's office:
The de Blasio Administration joined Lyft to today announce the boundaries of the planned expansion of Citi Bike over the next five years, which will bring the nation's largest bike share system to a larger and more economically diverse range of communities. Last November, the City and Lyft announced an agreement in which Lyft would invest $100 million to grow and strengthen the system, doubling the size of its service area and tripling the number of bikes over the next five years. The third phase of Citi Bike's expansion will bring Citi Bike to all of Manhattan, as well as into the Bronx, and deeper into Brooklyn and Queens....
Except the Citi Bike expansion does not include all of Manhattan - Roosevelt Island is left out of the Citi Bike sharing system.

Yesterday, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal:
Mayor deBlasio today announced a major expansion of Citibike but no mention of Roosevelt Island.

What is status of Citibike service to Roosevelt Island?
Ms Rosenthal replied:
We met with them and unlike the earlier business model, they now charge for the stations. I reached out to Hudson Related and Cornell to kick in some $$$ ... we need to follow-up.
When asked who is expected to pay for Roosevelt Island being part of the Citi Bike system, Ms Rosenthal said:
We do.
Meaning, unlike every other NYC neighborhood, Roosevelt Island alone is expected to pay for Citi Bike docking stations located on Roosevelt Island.

Why is that? Again, I asked Ms Rosenthal:
... Does this have anything to do with Roosevelt Island being State land? If yes, doesn't Battery Park City have docking stations? Who pays for that?
Ms Rosenthal replied:
Yes but I don’t know when the economic model changed nor do I know about Battery Park’s agreement.
According to Streetsblog:
... Citi Bike is that rarest of forms of mass transit: It gets no public subsidy. In fact, the Lyft-owned Citi Bike pays the city for the parking spaces its docks occupy...
Except that RIOC is expected to pay for Roosevelt Island docking stations.

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos has been a long time supporter of bringing Citi Bike to Roosevelt Island.

Yesterday, I asked Mr. Kallos:
Any idea what status is of Citibike service to Roosevelt Island?

Even if no Citibike on Roosevelt Island, would it be possible to get Citibike Dock on Roosevelt Island Bridge next to Motorgate and include it in the Long Island City allocation.
Mr. Kallos replied:
Citi bike will be an excellent addition to Roosevelt Island's transportation options, allowing Islanders to easily move about the Island, to connect to the ferry, and to bike over the Red Bridge into Queens.

My office has been working with RIOC, DOT, and Citi bike's parent company Lyft to bring Citi bike to Roosevelt Island despite challenges posed by geography which makes it difficult to keep docks supplied with bikes on the island.

We will continue to push for the necessary players to come together and do their part to make this happen so Roosevelt Islanders can tap into the Citi bike network.
Roosevelt Island has been asking for bike sharing stations as far back as this 2010  demo and in 2014 was the neighborhood with most requests for bike sharing.

In 2017, Citi Bike sharing came to Astoria/Long Island City


which are the nearest locations to Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 7/19, 1:45 PM - On July 18, I asked the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT):
... The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) told me that Citi Bike is requiring RIOC to pay for any Roosevelt Island Citi Bike Docking stations. Is that accurate?

If it is true, why is Citi Bike not paying for Roosevelt Island docking stations as it does for all other neighborhoods? How much money is RIOC being asked to pay for installation of docks?

Are there any other neighborhoods that are required to pay for the docks? if yes, which ones?

When do you anticipate Citi Bike coming to Roosevelt Island?
A DOT spokesperson replied today:
To clarify, Roosevelt Island is included in the expansion and due to the deal with Lyft to expand Citi Bike, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp is not obligated to pay for docking stations.
No mention of when Roosevelt Island will be included in the expansion. I followed up asking when that would happen. Will update when more info received.

UPDATE 7/19, 2:30 PM - RIOC President Susan Rosenthal adds:
I’m very happy to hear about this change in the Citi Bike program. My staff and I look forward to discussing the idea of bringing Citi Bike to Roosevelt Island with NYC DOT in the near future.

Hey Susan, RIOC President Rosenthal Answers Roosevelt Island Residents Questions On Power Plant Noise, Bus Shelters, Benches And Public WiFi At Tram Stations

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal answers your questions in the July 17 installment of Hey Susan feature.


Hey, Susan! Do you have any information on the curious “zack zack zack” noise which appears to come from the power station, even in the middle of the night. There have been other inquiries on the Roosevelt Island blog so it’s possible you have already looked into this. Is there something you can do about this alarming and heart-pounding noise which sometimes even sounds like gunfire? Your help would be much appreciated.

Susan: Several people have investigated the noise complaint and the power station believes the noise is coming from a faulty compressor that is scheduled to be repaired by the end of this week. Good news!


Hey, Susan! What about more bus shelters around the Island, especially at the F Train and at the Youth Center?

Susan: We have built as many bus shelters as we can around the Island. Unfortunately, some locations simply can’t facilitate a bus shelter, or structure of any kind, due to clearance issues in confined spaces. One of those places is outside the Youth Center. There simply isn’t enough space in that location to build a structure that would provide any kind of shelter for our residents while they wait for the bus. We have looked at a variety of options of shelters, but none work for that particular area.

The bus stop at the F train is just as problematic. It’s already a cramped area for pedestrians and cars, so building a shelter at that location may cause a dangerous situation. For now, people use the overhang at the subway station and the lobby of the subway station itself as shelter during inclement weather.


Hey, Susan! What about more benches and Wi-Fi at both Tram Stations?

Susan: Both tram terminals are confined spaces that don’t really allow for additional seating. The loading area between the two cars gets very crowded while people wait for the tram. Placing benches in that area would make crowding even worse and create hazards for riders. Anyone looking for a seat before the tram arrives on the Roosevelt Island side can sit on the benches around the terminal area.

The congestion problem is even worse on the Manhattan side. Placing additional benches near the loading and unloading areas would also make for a dangerous situation. More seating will be available when the park reopens after the tram elevator construction is completed.

Our staff is reaching out to the MTA and LinkNYC to see if it might be possible for us to have Wi-Fi at both tram stations. It may be easier for us to utilize an existing network than to install one of our own.
More on the power plant noise from this previous post.