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Friday, May 25, 2018

RIOC Responds To Roosevelt Island Residents Complaints About Weekend 5 & 10 K Races - Will Reduce Number To No More Than 2 Monthly, Eliminate 10 K, Limit Runners & More

Sometimes, Roosevelt Island residents can help change policies of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) by speaking up. In this instance, welcome changes are coming to the frequent Weekend 5 and 10 K races that use Roosevelt Island

and disrupt the lives of residents, particularly those who live in the Southtown Riverwalk area. The changes include reducing the number of races to no more than 2 a month and eliminating 10 K races.

Here's what happened. Earlier this month, Roosevelt Island Southtown resident Jianfan Zhu wrote to RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus:

This is the second time I write to you regarding the very disturbing traffic arrangements during weekend race in the Island. Last time, in June 2016, I parked at the street where there was no "no-parking" sign, and the next day I received a ticket. In the end I had to appeal to the judge, who ordered the ticket unlawful.

But what happened today was even worse.

Last night (Friday May 4th), I decided to park my car in the street as I had an important medical appointment for my baby this Saturday morning. I saw “no-parking” signs and cones put in many street parking spots. With the experiences last time, I have been extremely careful about the signs, and last night I chose to park at East Loop Road (south to N Loop Road) where there was no any signs (see attached Pic #1). This Saturday morning at 7:00am, I went there to feed meter, and everything remained normal – no sign, no road block.

At 10:30 when I needed to use the car, to my very surprise, the entrance to East Loop Road and the exit from South Loop Road were both block! When I arrived at the South Loop Road exit, there were already 3 cars waiting, me being the 4th one, and another one was following me – 5 cars were blocked at the exit.

It was around 10:45am when I arrived, but I am sure the road was block much earlier when the race started.

The officer told me that there was nothing I can do, but just wait in the car until the race was over. Even worse, he did not know when the race would be over, but kept referring me to the no-parking signs where it said until 1pm! I could not move forward nor backward, I could not even park the car and go home to check out my baby. All I can do is to stay with the car, and I was not able to even tell my wife when this would be done.

Obviously, my baby missed the appointment. Thank god this was not a life-threatening issue.

Mr. McManus, Roosevelt Island is not Manhattan. It’s a tiny island, and if you block a road, there are no alternatives options. So, if you make a decision to make special traffic arrangements, put your feet in the residents’ shoes, make sure there’s a decent way-out, and their daily lives will not be disturbed....
Mr. Zhu then wrote to RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
While I look forward to hearing from Public Safety regarding this unfortunate incident in particular, I would like to kindly let you know that the many, many races in Roosevelt Island, weekend after weekend, are indeed very disruptive to the residents - feel free to ask other residents especially in Riverwalk community and you will hear the same. I have lived in Manhattan and Queens before but I never found another neighborhood that has so many races which take up parking spots, block roads, and make noises in early morning.

If you cannot reduce the number, pls at least make them less painful for the residents.
Also, resident Raye Schwartz wrote to RIOC after receiving an Advisory about a Roosevelt Island race on Mother's Day:
I’m really shocked and dismayed that our community has become so thoughtless and insensitive as to allow this. It’s Mother’s Day, and happens only once a year. Although our island population has slowly but surely been taken over by people who obviously do not realize that this is very much a family oriented community, or should I say WAS A FAMILY ORIENTED COMMUNITY, often with family members not living nearby, this community seems to have forgotten that...

... Races are held year round: It really isn’t necessary to have this kind of event on Mother’s Day, when so many families look forward to being together. Thus, to have such an event which limits street parking, is absurd. Further, the red bus and Q102 are also already limited because of weekend schedules as well as the construction of the helix. Additionally, starting this coming week, it will only be worse because of the continued tram plaza construction.
... most of the participants in these frequent races are not residents. Second, many families like to celebrate Mother’s day with either lunch or brunch, especially when there are very young children, and these parking restrictions are in effect until 1PM which is around the end of the lunch hour. And these races, while some include our community members, are not typically family oriented, as for example a Little League softball or Youth Soccer game....
Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Southtown Common Council Member Mickey Rindler followed up writing to Ms Rosenthal:
I am writing to you as the co-chair of the RIRA Island Services Committee. The use of loudspeakers on Firefighters field early this past Sunday morning is one of many past violations regarding noise before races. There are also issues with traffic and residents’ access to street parking both in Southtown and on the newly opened loop road around Cornell on mornings when there are races.

In particular, Janet Falk has made a point in her email today that the Girls on the Run race has many hundreds of participants. Last year, I counted 55 taxis, private vehicles and Ubers dropping runners off for this event in a 15 minute period and this was just a fraction of the vehicles as people were arriving for more than 1 hour. Traffic was completely backed up on Main Street.

I would like to meet with you as soon as possible to learn RIOC's plans to deal with the hundreds of vehicles that will once again descend on our Island on June 3 between 8 and 9:30 am.

In light of the Helix construction, one tram service operation and potential suspension of F train service, there is a strong possibility of an unmanageable situation. It is likely that the traffic jam on the bridge will extend to and potentially block Vernon Boulevard. In the event there is any emergency, this could turn into a disastrous situation. We demand that private and commercial vehicles transporting nonresidents (excluding buses) to the Island that morning be forced to turn around at the top of the helix and drop their passengers there.

I look forward to hearing from you about this meeting request.
After receiving these reports from residents, RIOC scheduled a meeting with Mr. Zhu, Mr. Rindler and additional RIRA ISC members.

According to Mr. Rindler, during the meeting RIOC President Rosenthal:
... promised only a few things but she did agree to work on a number of changes including moving the venue away from residential areas and possibly maintaining road traffic during the race.

In the meantime, she agreed to limit commencing amplified sound until 8 am at least verbally, although some permit holders may have already signed contracts. Officers will have a copy of the permit in the future to avoid misunderstandings and PSD will enforce it. Consequences for violators will be put in the contract, including possible fines, and RIOC will inform NYC Runs that they violated the contract on May 13 when they started PA system too early.

She wouldn’t commit to ending races on Mother’s and Father’s Days, although they will consider.

They are discussing a cap on the number of runners but too high (1000) we told her. They are likely to limit races to 2 races/month and to put an end to 10K races because they take too much time and block access of residents to parking and roads for much longer. They will work with the sponsor to limit traffic and tram issues on June 3 which is a huge race with 1500 runners.

The timeline is unclear as she said they had just in the last week discussed the venue move. After the meeting, Ms. Rosenthal apologized in an email for PSD's failure to act appropriately and stop the broadcasting after Janet's noise complaint on May 13.

Overall, the meeting was reasonably productive and the Southtown delegation of RIRA representatives will be following up to make sure RIOC carries through with its pledge to find ways to reduce the inconvenience to residents caused by the races.
Prior to meeting with residents on this subject, RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson reported:
... “We have conducted several internal meetings this week because of the handful of residents who’ve contacted us about their concerns about pre-race noise, parking restrictions and traffic tie-ups following the events,” said Susan Rosenthal, CEO and president of RIOC.

“We decide upon policies and procedures based upon our evaluation of all factors and listening to residents’ comments. And, we have no problem modifying those policies and procedures when appropriate,” she said.

Rosenthal and RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus will meet with several residents next week to discuss how they are coordinating the events and share details about potential changes being considered.

In 2018, Roosevelt Island has hosted five different road races, and has confirmed at least six more through the end of the year. The events, usually held on Saturday mornings, attract participant groups ranging from 300 runners to more than 1,500.

Because of the events, usually staged at Firefighters Field and run around the perimeter of the Island; there are temporary morning parking restrictions near the Tram, Blackwell turnaround and Loop Road which encircles Sportspark and Cornell Tech.

RIOC is attempting to find a reasonable solution that will address some residents’ concerns about the noise, parking and traffic tie-ups on Main Street, which is experiencing heavier bus and vehicular traffic than normal due to the Helix road repairs, and the Tram service reduction due to station platform repairs.
 Image From NYC Runs

No more than 1 race a month would be better but 2 is a start.

Will have more on this subject,including statement from RIOC later today.

Roosevelt Island Resident, Musician And Advertising Legend Roy Eaton Plays I Remember Mama Saturday May 26 At Good Shepherd Community Center - You're Invited To This Free Concert

Roosevelt Island resident, advertising industry legend and musician Roy Eaton plays I Remember Mama Saturday May 26 at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street) presented by R&R Concerts.

You're invited to this free concert. According to R&R Concerts:
Roy Eaton plays I Remember Mama

The New York Times: "The cumulative effect was deeply satisfying. One came much closer to the heart of Chopin—and by extension, to music itself," in praise of a solo concert by Roy Eaton at Alice Tully Hall.

Don't miss Roy Eaton in concert this coming Saturday, May 26:


No admission fee.


Learn more about Roy Eaton's advertising career

and take a listen to his music.

Enjoy the concert.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - F Train Service To And From Manhattan, Only 1 Tram Cabin Working, No Metro Card Machines At RI Tram Station & NYC Ferry Service New Summer Schedule

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.


SIGNAL IMPROVEMENTS | 9:30 PM Fri, May 25 to 5 AM Tue, May 29 F Service is rerouted in Manhattan and Brooklyn

... No F service at 57 St, 47-50 Sts, 42 St-Bryant Pk, 23 St, 14 St, W 4 St, B'way-Lafayette St, 2 Av, Delancey St/Essex St, East Broadway, and York St.

F service operates between Jamaica-179 St and Lexington Av-63 St, and via the express to/from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr (skipping DeKalb Av, days and evenings), and via the to/from Stillwell Av.

Remember there will be only 1 Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin operating this weekend. As previously reported:
... Construction work on the Tram Station platforms, at both Roosevelt Island and Midtown Manhattan, will resume this Wednesday, May 16; and continue for up to 30 days reducing commuter service to one cabin. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will operate a free, weekday roundtrip Red Bus service from 3 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. to help alleviate evening rush-hour waiting and congestion...
Plan for long lines at the Tram Station.

And no Metro Card Vending Machines working at Roosevelt Island Tram station. Fill up your Metro Card at RI Subway or Tram Manhattan station.

There is Roosevelt Island ferry service on the Astoria Route. Here's the new summer schedule for Roosevelt Island ferry service.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes May 25 To May 31 Product Offerings, Sales & Specials - Fresh Sushi & Poke Bowls Too

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

invites you to check out their May 24 - May 31:
  • Groceries, 
  • Organic & Gourmet, Gluten/Soy/GMO Free
  • Snacks
  • Meat, 
  • Fresh Produce, 
  • Seafood, 
  • Frozen, 
  • Deli &;&
  • Fresh Bakery

Don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Wednesday and Sign Up for the Gristedes Diamond Loyalty Rewards Program.

And Fresh Sushi and Poke Bowls available 

at the Roosevelt Island Gristedes Cafe.

More Gristedes Supermarket information available at their web site, Facebook Page and Twitter feed.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

No Roosevelt Island Tram Station MTA Metro Card Vending Machine Thru June 16 During Tram Station Repairs - Fill Up Your Metro Card At Manhattan Tram Station Or RI Subway Station

MTA Metro Card vending machines will be out of service at the Roosevelt Island side Tram Station until June 16 but there is one machine working

at the Manhattan Tram Station.

 Have you noticed lines forming behind the Manhattan Tram Metro Card Machine blocking those with Metro Cards from going thru the turnstile to the platform area.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson explains the reason for no Roosevelt Island Tram station Metro Card Vending machine: According to Mr. Robertson:
Due to on-going construction work on Tram platforms, at both Roosevelt Island and Midtown Manhattan, the MetroCard vending machines will be out of service at the Roosevelt Island Station until June 16.

Commuters are advised to buy a roundtrip ticket at the Midtown Manhattan Station or at the MTA Roosevelt Island MTA subway station.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will operate a free, weekday roundtrip Red Bus service – from Midtown Manhattan to Roosevelt Island - from 3 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. to help alleviate evening rush-hour waiting and congestion due to reduced tram cabin availability during this construction period.

This new construction completes work that began last July when RIOC contracted with Specialty Construction System, Inc. to address corrosion and water damage to both stations’ platforms at a cost of $2.15 million. The project included the installation and repair of station roofing, removal and repair of the structural slabs and metal column and building a new ADA-compliant access ramp on the north ramp of the Roosevelt Island Tram Station.

New concrete slabs, which are the top surfaces of the platforms at both stations, will be waterproofed and receive new traffic coating during the next month. The project went on hiatus in December 2017 until New York City area’s daily temperatures were forecast to be above those required for the installation.

“Although uncracked concrete will typically keep out liquid water, water vapor can still penetrate quite easily,” said Stephen Noone, RIOC’s assistant vice president of Capital Planning and Projects. “Keeping water drained away from the concrete foundations and preventing it from moving through the platforms is essential to having a successful structure,” he said.

Once that work is complete, the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will re-install turnstiles, ticket machine kiosks and re-program electronic emergency exit doors.

Much of the platform project construction is being done around the North Tram’s boarding and de-boarding ramps on both platforms, and thus “we will be limited to only the South Tram servicing the public and because of this, waiting times will unfortunately increase,” said Armando Cordova, operations and maintenance manager for Leitner-Pomo of America, the engineering sub-contractor that operates the Tram for RIOC.

RIOC’s Director of Transportation Cyril Opperman said the Red Bus shuttle service will begin at 3 p.m., each weekday during the construction period, operating roundtrip from Midtown Manhattan to Roosevelt Island every half hour leaving from the southwest side of Second Avenue between 58th and 59th streets.

“The service is not being offered during the morning commute because the average weekday traffic congestion to Midtown Manhattan is so great, the roundtrip shuttle is not time efficient,” Opperman said.

The MTA’s F-Train, NYC Ferry and the Q-102 bus will be in operation to Roosevelt Island during the 30-day platform construction period that began May 16.

Also this week, a new construction project to upgrade the Manhattan Tram Station elevator began and the two building phases will be finished by next Spring, RIOC officials said.

The elevator project, at 59th Street and Second Avenue, is part of a series on-going transportation upgrades to the Roosevelt Island Tram. The design calls for an iconic, two-bank, ADA-compliant glass elevator which replaces the existing elevator that has outlasted its expected mechanical life.

During a two-year period, RIOC solicited public input, met with New York City Department of Parks and Recreation officials and community members to shape and finalize the project design which will require custom manufacturing.

The construction contract was awarded in December 2017 to Sea Crest Construction Corporation, a subsidiary of Scalamandre Construction, Inc., both based in Long Island, New York. Both companies have decades of public works project experience building transit plazas, industrial plants, roads, bridges and airport terminals across the New York metropolitan area.

The project will be completed in two phases; the first of the two glass elevator banks will be built and the existing old elevator will be dismantled. Then the second glass elevator bank will be constructed so that there will always be a working elevator.

“We have begun doing some isolated exploration and boring work on the site this week,” said RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson. “We will continue that and then set up the site construction fencing by the end of the month.”

The fencing will not encroach or restrict access to the surrounding sidewalks or station entryway. During the steel erection work, an overhead sidewalk shed will be installed. The park area around the Tram station will be closed and several planter beds will be temporarily relocated.

Architectural renderings of the Manhattan Tram Station elevator project design are available upon request.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Stacy Horn, Author Of Damnation Island, Poor, Sick, Mad & Criminal In 19th Century NY Discusses History Of Roosevelt Island At NYPL Mid Manhattan Branch June 6 - Register Now For Free Tickets

Damnation Island is the title of a new book by author Stacy Horn about the history of our home here on Roosevelt Island. You can tell by the book's title that the story is of a Roosevelt Island before luxury condos, Cornell Tech and tourists coming to visit.

Ms Horn will be discussing the Roosevelt Island of Damnation Island with NY Times columnist Gina Bellafante at the NY Public Library Mid Manhattan branch (475 Fifth Avenue) on June 6.

According to the NYPL:
Damnation Island: Stacy Horn with Gina Bellafante

Wed. Jun 6, 2018 at 6:30pm EDT

An author evokes the forgotten ghosts of Roosevelt Island, a place where prisoners were enlisted to care for the insane.

The narrow island in the East River once contained a lunatic asylum, two prisons, an almshouse, and a number of hospitals. Designed to be state-of-the-art, both humane and efficient, Blackwell’s Island quickly became, in the words of Charles Dickens, “a lounging, listless madhouse.” Using city records, newspaper articles, and archival reports Stacy Horn brings the stories of the inhabitants back to life, and highlights the work of the period’s officials, reformers, and journalists.


Registration does not guarantee admission. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A stand by line will form thirty minutes before the program.

The Program Room opens at 6 PM.
To register.

Click here to buy your copy of Damnation Island or try your luck at winning a free copy of the book (thru May 31)

Would be great if Ms Horn gives a reading of Damnation Island right here on Roosevelt Island too!!!

UPDATE 8:45 PM - You can also purchase Damnation Island at the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) Visitors Center Kiosk at the Tram Plaza on Roosevelt Island.

Learn more about the history of Roosevelt Island from RIHS President Judy Berdy during this March 2018 lecture

to the Historic Districts Council.