Monday, October 19, 2020

No Good Shepherd Plaza Reindeer Sled This Year - RIOC Cancels 2020 Roosevelt Island Holiday Lights Display Due To Revenue Shortfalls Says Acting President Shelton Haynes - Not Known Yet What Other Events Will Be Cancelled Too

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Shelton Haynes announced during the October 15 Operations Advisory Committee meeting that the annual Roosevelt Island Holiday Lights display will be cancelled this year due to revenue shortfalls. 

No Reindeer sled,

no Roosevelt Landings Arcade Lights,

no Tram Plaza animal lights

or any other Holiday Lights.

Mr Haynes explained that RIOC is currently experiencing a $2.7 million revenue loss this year and reducing it's community events budget from $150 Thousand annually to $50 Thousand.

Last Friday,I asked Mr Haynes what other upcoming Roosevelt Island events will be cancelled. Will update when answer received.

Learn What Really Happened Inside Roosevelt Island Coler Nursing Facility From Those Who Lived It During Early Stages Of Coronavirus Pandemic - You're Invited To October 21 Virtual Zoom Special Sneak Preview And Conversation Of New Documentary, Fire Through Dry Grass, From Local Filmmakers

 As previously reported:

The Friends Of Coler are a group of Roosevelt Island residents organizing to help the patients and staff of NYC Health & Hospitals Corp (HHC) Coler Facility during the Coronavirus pandemic

The Friends of Coler helped establish a Coler Task Force and according to this June 25 letter from Roosevelt Island NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and other elected officials to HHC President Mitch Katz:

... we are constituting a community-based Coler Task Force under the auspices of Community Board 8, chaired by Alida Camp, CB8’s Chair and a professional mediator to be called upon when necessary. The Task Force will be composed of Coler residents and families, local stakeholders and elected officials. The Task Force will identify issues of concern and obtain timely responses from Health + Hospitals senior management, facilitate tours of Coler for members of the committee and elected officials, and ensure healthcare workers or residents who speak out are shielded from any retribution...
Julia Feguson is a Friends Of Coler volunteer and reports today:

COVID has dissipated at Coler as it has all over NYC and the Roosevelt Island Medical Center established within Coler has gone, but when individual cases arise due to staff Covid infections, then lockdown of patients ensues. 

Recent reports from Coler Rehab Nursing Care Center indicate we need to be very concerned for a pattern of actions that severely limit patient movement and keep them away from family and friends and advocates. As we all know from recent months, mental health and physical health are closely intertwined. 

The Friends Of Coler invite you to learn more about what really happened at the Roosevelt Island Coler nursing facility during the early stages this year of the Coronavirus Pandemic at a Virtual Sneak Preview and Conversation on Wednesday October 21 of a new documentary currently in the works - Fire Through Dry Grass.

This Wednesday evening, October 21, the Roosevelt Island NYPL branch and Friends of Coler are co-hosting a storytelling/fundraising event to support a forthcoming documentary about life inside Coler during the pandemic.

 Please join the Open Doors Reality Poets alongside filmmakers Andres "Jay" Molina (a Coler resdient) and Alexis Neophytides for the trailer release of their forthcoming documentary, FIRE THROUGH DRY GRASS, and a conversation about #ownvoices pandemic storytelling. 

 Fire Through Dry Grass - 2 min teaser from The Big Chair on Vimeo.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately affect people of color, poor people, currently and formerly incarcerated Americans, and nursing home residents, Molina and Neophytides will discuss the critical impact of documenting from the inside and uplifting narratives from the communities most at risk. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Beautiful Aerial Drone View Of Roosevelt Island Southern Tip, NYC East River Waterfront, Renwick Smallpox Hospital And FDR 4 Freedoms Park

Click on icon at bottom right of video for full screen view.

More Roosevelt Island Wildlife - Hawk Spotted Perched In Tree Then Soaring Over Over Roosevelt Island


The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reports:

Friday, October 16, 2020

Assemblymember Seawright And Congresswoman Maloney Visit And Show Support For Roosevelt Island Wildlife Freedom Foundation Cat Sanctuaries - RIOC Says It Will Not Displace The Cats And Will Work Out Agreement

Last Wednesday, October 14, Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright visited with Wildlife Freedom Foundation (WFF) Founder Rosanna Ceruzzi at the Octagon Cat Sanctuary,

The WFF operates 4 Roosevelt Island Cat Sanctuaries, including this one at Southpoint Park.

As previously reported,  the WFF Cat Sanctuaries had been threatened with eviction later this month by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) but the threat was later rescinded by Acting RIOC President Shelton Haynes following protests by WFF supporters and intervention by Assemblymember Seawright.

During Ms Seawright's visit to the Octagon Cat Sanctuary on Wednesday, I asked her and Ms Ceruzzi about the current status of negotiations with RIOC. Ms Seawright said that she was successful in getting RIOC to halt it's attempt to charge WFF $400 in rent during the Covid Pandemic.


Ms Ceruzzi noted that there were not Feral Cats at the Roosevelt Island Sanctuaries but rather former house cats abandoned when owners moved away.  

Following the interview, I asked Ms Ceruzzi if the $400 rental fee sought by RIOC was for each of the sanctuaries or for the 4 in total. She declined to answer that question. 

During yesterday's RIOC Operations Advisory Commmittee meeting, Acting RIOC President Shelton Haynes was asked by RIOC Director David Kraut about the Cat Sanctuary controversy. According to Mr Haynes:

... Negotiations broke down and then it became public...We're not going to displace Rossana or the Cats. We're going to work with them as best as possible and that's what we're doing....

... We've been having discussions with them as early as June.  we want to make sure we finalize them as early as possible....

Mr. Kraut added:

... As long as the cats are in the shelter by the time cold weather comes, I'm happy and the cats are happy....


More on the background of this story at prior post.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend, F & E Train Service To And From Manhattan - 20 Tram Passenger Social Distancing Limit Enforced And No Resident Priority Access Says RIOC, Ferry Route Extended To UES And Citibike Too

According to the MTA, there is Roosevelt Island F Train Service to and from Manhattan this weekend. Also, Roosevelt Island E Train service to and from Manhattan.

There is a Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin 20 passenger Covid-19 Social Distancing limit.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) was asked by a resident: 

There has been a lot of complaints again about terrible tram congestion and waiting times at weekends, with one resident saying that she waited an hour to get back from Manhattan in the tram queue. 

Can you look into the issue again and consider solutions such as a red bus service on weekends for tourists and retaining the tram for residents during this period ? 

The Red Bus Shuttle to Manhattan is hardly used during the week but really necessary at the weekend when limits on numbers inside each tram, alongside visitors, makes using it impossible 

RIOC spokesperson Jessica Cerrone replied:

Thank you for your feedback. We have notified the Transportation Director about this issue, however, we are not considering priority access to the Tram for residents.

Here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule which now extends to East 90th street on the Upper East Side.  

Also, Roosevelt Island has a new transportation option with the recent addition of Citbike docking stations

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket October 16 - October 22 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons, Nutritional Tips & Social Media Facebook And Instagram Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket  

invites you to check out their October 16 - October 22 Weekly Flyer for Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items


Click here to visit the Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket web site for online shopping, delivery options, digital coupons, weekly flyer and more

 Follow Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket on Facebook


and Instagram too.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

2020 Election Information For Roosevelt Island Voters - Request An Absentee Ballot Or Early Voting Location Or November 3 In Person Election Day

There is no early voting polling station on Roosevelt Island. The Robert Wagner Middle School at 225 East 75th Street is the early period voting location for Roosevelt Island.

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos reports on voting procedures:
VOTE BY MAIL You can now vote by mail with confidence, thanks to a new absentee ballot tracking system that was implemented following the passage of a law I authored to require ballot tracking citywide. 

Request Your Absentee Ballot 

  • Online Absentee Ballot Request at (BEST) 
  • Print and Mail the application to 200 Varick Street, 10 Fl, New York, NY 10014 
  •  In-Person at the 200 Varick Street, 10 Fl, New York, NY 10014 
  • Email application to 
  • Fax application to 212-487-5349 
  • Call 866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692) 

Request your Absentee Ballot by Tuesday, October 27 

Postmark your Absentee Ballot envelope by Tuesday, November 3rd 

You may also drop it off In-Person at a borough office, ANY early voting site, or ANY poll site by Tuesday, November 3rd. 

Track your Absentee Ballot at EARLY VOTING 

Early voting starts Saturday, October 24th and runs through Sunday, November 1st. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Last Chance To Help Roosevelt Island And NYC By Filling Out 2020 US Census - DO It NOW, Only Takes 10 Minutes - Matters Now More Than Ever Says Governor Cuomo

The deadline to complete 2020 US Census is Friday October 16 at 6 AM

According to Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

I have some bad news. Manhattan has some of the lowest response rates in New York City in the low 60% range, trailing the nation, which could cost the borough and city billions in the next ten years until the next Census. 

To make matters worse, on Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court issued an order to allow Trump to end the 2020 Census early, effective Thursday, October 15, at 11:59PM Hawaii time. Accounting for time zones, here on the East Coast, that's Friday, October 16, at 5:59AM. 

 This is not a drill, please share this email far and wide, and make sure you and everyone you know has completed the census:

 Roosevelt Island has 3 Census Tracks. The Roosevelt Island self response rate is below.

See the full map at

See the full map at

See the full map at
Help Roosevelt Island and all of NYC by filling out the 2020 Census right now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Bike Worth More Than $1 Thousand Stolen From Octagon Bike Rack Yesterday- Is It Safe To Leave Your Bicycle At A Roosevelt Island Bike Rack Without It Being Stolen?

According to yesterday's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety (PSD) 24 Hour Incident Report:

10/11/20 – 1340 – 888 Main Street – Grand Larceny – PSD/NYPD responded – Referred to NYPD.

In reply to my inquiry for more information, RIOC PSD Chief Kevin Brown adds:

PSD took a Report for a bicycle that was taken from Octagon bike rack. The complainant states the bike was worth over 1,000 dollars. 
On September 30, a Roosevelt Island resident reported:

We had two bikes stolen from different locations on the Island. Both were locked and the lock was cut. One was taken from outside Manhattan Park, the second from near the Octagon tennis court....  It happened last week, and the second one just yesterday evening...

On the first one, we reported to Public Safety, the second, not yet. But I thought it will be a good heads-up for people on the Island to secure their bikes better. We used a relativity thin chain and it was just cut, and with the second we bought a thicker chain, but it didn't help. There was a third attempt before the second theft, but then we found the bike with the cut-off lock near the subway.

My husband found the bike there attached to another bike wheel, with our cut-off lock around both. It seems like they were left there in order to collect other parts and we just caught it before the thief left the Island...

It seems like a serial thing, that's why I think it's worth publishing.

                                        Image Of Manhattan Park And West Promenade Bike Racks

I followed up with Chief Brown asking him:

Im told by a resident that there’s been an increase in bike thefts recently!

Have you noticed that.

He replied:

That’s is not something we have found in our reports.

Is it safe to leave your bicycle at a Roosevelt Island bike rack without it being stolen?

Monday, October 12, 2020

Woman Reports Male Exposed Himself At Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station Lower Level Yesterday - Man Gone When NYPD Transit And PSD Arrive At Scene


According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Daily Incident reports:

10/11/20 – 2050 – 400 Main Street (platform) – Public Lewdness – PSD responded – Referred to Transit PD.
RIOC Public Safety Deparment Chief Kevin Brown adds:
The public lewdness complaint occurred on the lower level of the F train. A complainant walked into PSD and stated she witnessed a male exposing himself. PSD notified the transit police and responded to the location. Upon arrival not both NYPD and PSD the male was gone on arrival.

Meet Roosevelt Island Public Safety Youth Officer Anastasia Aquart-Morgan, Named Officer Of The Month - RI Mom Thanks Her And Says Kids Trust Her

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) named Public Safety Youth Officer Anastasia Aquart-Morgan it's Officer Of The Month. Acting RIOC President Shelton Haynes announced on Instagram:

During November 7, 2019 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Presentation for teen and young adults on knowing your rights when interacting with law enforcement, PSD Chief Kevin Brown introduced Youth Officer Morgan and spoke of her responsibilities.

One Roosevelt Island Mom said of Officer Morgan:

... 9 to 14 year old Roosevelt Island kids that go outside by themselves, the consensus across the board ... is they all trust you...

According to the October 7, 2020 issue of RIOC News:

 OFFICER OF THE MONTH Anastasia Aquart-Morgan Youth Officer, 

Anastasia AquartMorgan, has been with the Public Safety Department for five years and has been an asset from the very beginning. Her passion for law enforcement drives her to continuously seek ways to improve herself and others. She is the “go-to officer” and is non-stop, always helping others, regardless of their rank. 

Officer Aquart-Morgan takes on responsibilities above and beyond her job description and can handle any task given to her, big or small. During the month of September, Officer Aquart-Morgan was assigned to Bicycle Enforcement Patrol. She has been diligent in educating and enforcing bicycle safety. Throughout September, she interacted with over 1,000 bicyclists. She advised on bicycle safety and has issued over 500 warnings and admonishments to bicyclists for minor violations. Officer Aquart-Morgan has also written over 40 summonses for various bicycle and vehicle violations. 

Being very knowledgeable, and handling every emergency call with professionalism and respect, Officer Aquart-Morgan is pleasant and kindhearted. She quickly earned the respect and trust of her colleagues by just being herself. Please say hello to Officer Aquart-Morgan next time you see her around the island!

Congrats and thank you Officer Morgan.

Roosevelt Island Wildlife Wants To Stay Dry Too - Raccoon Dashes Up Tree From Promenade Seawall To Avoid Splashing Water From Passing East River Boat

A couple of weeks ago, Roosevelt Island resident Yitza Martinez spotted two raccoons staring back at her that evening on the Roosevelt Island East River shoreline rocks.

Yesterday, Ms Martinez had a daytime encounter with a Roosevelt Island raccoon

and reports:

This raccoon was by the Octagon bbq grounds. As you see in the first picture it was sitting on the sea wall. When a boat passed and made the water splash up. The raccoon was trying to avoid getting wet and ran in to climb up the tree. 

Roosevelt Island wildlife was the subject of a very interesting February 12, 2020 Engage RI presentation by local resident and Wildlife Freedom Foundation President Rossana Ceruzzi.

More on the Engage RI Natural World of Roosevelt Island at this prior post.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Over 600 Edible Greens & 200 Pounds Of Vintage Compost Given To Roosevelt Island Neighbors At iDig2Learn & GRIN Plant Therapy Kit Gift-Away Yesterday - Composting Locally Means Organic Matter Never Leaves Roosevelt Island Say's GRIN

Yesterday, Roosevelt Island residents Christina Delfico, founder of iDig2Learn and Anthony Longo, founder of Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors (GRIN),  celebrated the return of our Roosevelt Island Food Scrap Drop Off Site Collection Program by giving away Plant Therapy Kits.

According to Ms Delfico:
Best day ever! Over 500 delicious edible greens & 200 lbs of vintage 2019 compost given to neighbors in today’s Plant Therapy Kit Gift-away. Yummy kale, bok choy & lettuce helped celebrate the return of @bigreuse food scrap drop off collection compost program, the growth of the newly-created @hakicompost grassroots neighborhood volunteers supporting that compost program & to share the news that Food Scraps have value & show appreciation for neighbors who drop scraps every SAT between 9a - 2p. What comes from the earth can return to the earth and scraps create nutrient-rich compost for growing food. Week by week more neighbors are contributing scraps. Feels so good. Huge big shout out to the Haki volunteers & partners...

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Watch Wonderful Roosevelt Island Concert By Leonardo Suarez Paz’s PIAZZOLLA 100: Cuartetango & Bandoneon Celebrating Liberty And Promoting The Vote

A small group of lucky visitors to the Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park enjoyed a socially distanced concert last Thursday afternoon, October 8, by the Leonardo Suarez Paz’s PIAZZOLLA 100: Cuartetango string quartet & bandoneon:

The wonderful performance :

Celebrating LIBERTY - Promoting the VOTE

can now be enjoyed by you and many others on this video. (Click on the full screen icon at bottom right of video for best view). 


According to the group's web page:

The Four Freedoms Park Conservancy hosts a special preview of Leonardo Suarez Paz’s PIAZZOLLA 100 Festival whose mission it is to celebrate liberty and honor the invaluable contribution of immigrants to society, including our namesake’s, the Argentine born and New York raised composer who mentored Leonardo Suarez Paz.

The program will feature the double Latin GRAMMY-Award nominated Cuartetango string quartet and bandoneon. 

  • Leonardo Suarez Paz, director, violin, vocals, 
  • Hector Omar Falcon, violin 
  • Ron Lawrence, viola 
  • Danny Miller, cello and 
  • Rodolfo Zanetti, bandoneon. 

We will celebrate the freedom of expression and perform in honor of Piazzolla’s violinist Fernando Suarez Paz, who passed away on September 12th, 2020 and whose fearless authenticity helped shape the sound of Nuevo Tango. In a time when the world needs justice and equality, there couldn’t have been a better way to reaffirm our belief in the essential human freedoms than celebrating it at the Four Freedoms Park with a Nuevo Tango concert, a genre born out of the search for liberty.

The park is tribute to the life and vision of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a son of New York and a beloved president who, with great courage in troubled times, expanded and preserved the democratic way of life. Conceived in the 1970’s and opened in 2012, the park’s design was the last major work of Louis Kahn, an immigrant to the US and one of the most celebrated architects of the twentieth century. A sculpture of FDR by Jo Davidson, who was amazed by Roosevelt’s “unshakable faith in man” graces the forecourt of the park and reminds us that “in Roosevelt’s tremendous relief program, the artist too was included.”



The concert will include a special call to action, reminding our live and online audience members to REGISTER and VOTE in the November election. Voter registration forms and stamps will be available on site at the park before, during and after the concert.

Clich here to enjoy more performances from the Leonardo Suarez Paz’s PIAZZOLLA 100 Festival including a Nuevo Tango Ballet at the FDR 4 Freedoms Park and concert at Good Shepherd Chapel.