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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

NYC Environmental Protection Dep't Fences Off Roosevelt Island Octagon Park BBQ Pits And Picnic Tables For Water Tunnel Emergency Access Road Months Ago - Construction Delays Frustrate Residents And RIOC Alike - What's The Problem?

A Roosevelt Island Octagon Building resident asked when the NYC Department of Environmental Protection

access road project

will be completed:
Can you by chance let us know when this construction will take place?

It’s by the Octagon by the bbq pits. It was supposed to be an access road. We cannot get any info from the building or RIOC. There are no signs. No permits, nothing. Work was supposed to be complete by May...
Another Octagon resident added:
... 50% of those nice new BBQs and Picnic tables in the Octagon Park are getting removed (supposedly relocated) to make way for an “emergency access road” to the Water Tunnel facility.

A lot of parents and residents up here are concerned.... There is no timeline for how long the large fence and paved road will be there. According to a supervisor on-site, the road will be permanent. Kinda shocking that a huge portion of park area where all residents from the island (and off-island) enjoy picnicking/BBQ-ing is being permanently removed for an emergency access road, especially when the facility is already accessible via paved roads....
I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) about the status of project. RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson replied yesterday:
“We are just as frustrated as the community is with the lack of progress on this access road project being handled by the City’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The road’s construction – which is to be grass paved and blend with the existing Octagon building campus and be used for emergency responses only – started April 23 and was expected to be complete by June.

Several trees adjacent to the Octagon, some picnic tables and barbecue grills, along with the iconic Sabrina statue were to be replaced and or relocated nearby to clear space.

We have reached out to NYC Councilmember Ben Kallos for help in getting a project update. Our General Counsel informed me this morning that we should expect additional information this week about when the project is expected to restart and be finished.

I will share that information with the community as soon as that happens.”
Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos' office reported that they are looking into the matter.

Below is the NYC DEP announcement of the access road project
What Is Happening Here?

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be performing construction for an emergency access road to the DEP Roosevelt Island site that will be used for emergency responses only. The road will be grass paved and is intended to blend with the existing Octagon building campus. This work is in conjunction with City Water Tunnel No. 3.

When Will Work Take Place?

Work is anticipated from April 23, 2018 to early June 2018. Work hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

What Is the Anticipated Community Impact?

DEP will be working closely with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, as several trees adjacent to the Octagon, as well as some picnic area furniture (tables and barbecues) will be relocated or replaced nearby to clear space for the additional access road. The Sabrina Statue will be cautiously moved out of the access road path.

What will be the protection?

Chain link fence with privacy screening will be installed around the access road work, for public safety. Clear signage will be placed along the fencing, providing construction information and any pedestrian detour direction.

Will update when more info available.

UPDATE 4:55 PM - RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson adds:
We just received word that city DEP is confirmed to start construction the first week of September.

They did not send an anticipated completion date.

Meet Adam Roberts, NY State Democratic Party Committee Candidate For 76 Assembly District Including Roosevelt Island - Aims To Bring Reform And Accountability To The Dems

Are you interested in NY State Democratic Party politics? This is for you.

Adam Roberts reports:

I’m Adam Roberts, a candidate for Democratic State Committee in the 76th district.

Though only 26 years old, I’ve built up a great amount of public service experience over the past decade. This includes, working for Council Member Ben Kallos, producing a documentary for PBS, working for UJA-Federation, and serving as the Democratic District Leader for Yorkville.

As Democratic State Committee Member, I’d represent Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side. The Democratic State Committee is the governing body of the New York State Democratic Party. Responsibilities of the Democratic State Committee include determining the party’s platform and positions, which races resources are allocated to, who our Democratic National Committee (DNC) Members are, and who the party endorses in statewide races.

Right now, the New York State Democratic Party needs to undergo major changes. Corruption in Albany is rampant, while the state party is disorganized and ineffective. This is all to the detriment of Roosevelt Island.

We need to make sure the Democratic Party works for Roosevelt Island. A fractured and corrupt party hinders the passage of important legislation regarding those issues most important to Roosevelt Island. Improvements in affordable housing, transportation, and healthcare all get stalled because of widespread corruption and disorganization.

We need the Democratic State Committee to stand up to bad actors and hold them accountable. Myself and Lauren Trapanotto, my running mate, are seeking to reform the New York State Democratic Party. If elected, I’ll fight for the State Committee to:
  • Clean up corruption in Albany
  • Make the Democratic Party more progressive
  • Build up local Democratic organizations
  • Stay neutral in Democratic primaries
  • Allow for the election of DNC Members
  • Investigate corruption and sexual harassment
We need change in Albany for Roosevelt Island to prosper. Most crucially, we need new leadership to make these changes. In the Democratic Primary on Thursday, September 13, please be sure to vote for me, Adam Roberts, and my running mate Lauren Trapanotto.
Here's Mr Roberts, Ms Trapanotto (on right) and their colleagues petitioning during Roosevelt Island Day
and after receiving the endorsement of Four Freedoms Democratic Club, explaining what they hope to accomplish as NY State Democratic Party Committee member.

Mr Roberts is running against the incumbent, Jonathan Piel
and Ms Trapanotto is running against the incumbent, Ruth Halberg.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Update - Good News, Cafe Eleanor Panini Bar Owner Says He Expects To Open In 2 Months At Rivercross Location, With Beer And Wine License

Some good Roosevelt Island Main Street retail news.

I spoke last Friday with the owner of Cafe Eleanor, the Panini bar to be located in the Rivercross building at

503 Main Street.

According to the owner, construction has started inside the premises and he hopes to be open in two months.

Cafe Eleanor will have a beer and wine license as well.

Cafe Eleanor owner also owns the Wholesome Food Factory Organic Market and Island Wines on Main Street.

On Friday, I asked Shops On Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related:
... any update on the Mexican restaurant or other new retailers?
Hudson'Related's Alexandra Kaplan replied:
No other news of note right now.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Roosevelt Island Resident And Artist/Sculptor Victoria Thorson Exhibition Of Wood & Ceramic Sculptures On View At Garrison Art Center - You're Invited To Opening Reception Saturday August 11

Roosevelt Island resident and artist/sculptor Victoria Thorson is presenting an exhibition of her work, BassWood Bodies, at the Garrison Art Center starting with an opening reception, tomorrow August 11. You're invited.

According to this Garrison Arts Center Press Release:

BassWood Bodies
Victoria Thorson
August 11- September 9, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday August 11, 5 - 7 PM
23 Garrison’s Landing Garrison, NY 10524

Garrison Art Center is pleased to present BassWood Bodies, an exhibition of wood and ceramic sculptures by Victoria Thorson. The exhibition will be on view in the Riverside Galleries from August 11 through September 9. There will be an opening reception on Saturday August 11 from 5 to 7 pm, 2018.

Victoria Thorson has been seduced by basswood. Its softness of touch, when smooth, evokes the human body. Starting with lumber or recycled wood, Thorson sees potential shapes and feels her way along the cracks, knots, and grain, following the lines of energy. She carves and refines to create slits of light between masses, and discovers abstract forms to express life’s silences and vibrations. When dressed with colored waxes, her work becomes a song from within. The wood is her partner in a dance with nature.

Alice’s Portal

Thorson’s sculptures tread a line between recognizable form and pure abstraction. The goal is to navigate beyond literal thought to engage, not with a story but enter the cave of the mind where shadows, shapes and spaces are revealed. Her work is often anchored by a repurposed metal industrial find that is the right weight, proportion, and aesthetic to be part of the piece, not a separate base. Most pieces can rotate 360 degrees, or swing out to recompose, while the initial core and plumb line stay intact.

Homage to Mlle P created with knot from same plank as Portal

This exhibition will also feature several ceramics Thorson made at Greenwich House Pottery, where she worked as programs coordinator in the 90s. There Thorson learned from the sculptor Peter Gourfain to sharpen a wood tool and cut clear planes when the clay was right to the touch. Since 2000, Thorson has brought her fluid form-language from clay to wood.
Thorson studied at the National Academy of Design with figurative sculptor Bruno Lucchesi and at the Art Student League. Thorson started by modeling the figure in clay and practicing anatomy drawing. Later, Thorson’s study with Peter Gourfain was marked by an increasing pull toward idiosyncratic figurative abstraction. For her transition to minimalistic but precise forms in wood, Thorson says she owes a debt to the rough cuts and technical support of the Salt Lake City cabinetmaker Wally Johnson, and since 2009 to James Murray, the Hudson Valley sculptor and wood maestro, who is also a teaching artist for Garrison Art Center.

Also a PhD art historian, Thorson taught art history at Oakland University in Michigan and at the University of Southern California. She worked at MoMA where she uncovered the fake drawings of Auguste Rodin. Art history jobs ranged from project director, editor, and essay writer for Great Drawings of All Time: The Twentieth Century, 1979 to recent contributor to the Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, 2011 writing the definition and history of Abstract Art.

Thorson’s work moves along the trail of post modernism still unfolding in our time. She writes, “I do not innovate to confront or shock but seek to soothe the human psyche. I create to enter a spirit world. Sculpture occupies our space and is the implicit mirror of the god within. If a viewer incrementally rotates my columns, changing aspects, interaction and flexibility follow.”

BassWood Bodies will be on view in the Riverside Galleries concurrently with abstract paintings and tapestries from artist Melinda Stickney-Gibson. Both exhibitions will be on view at Garrison Art Center from August 11 through September 9, 2018.

Here's a 2010 video of Ms. Thorson describing her work at a Gallery RIVAA exhibition.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - Good News, F Train Service To And From Manhattan - Both Tram Cabins Operating And NYC Ferry Has More RI Service

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.


STATION ENHANCEMENTS | Until December 2018 57 St F Station is closed
Both Roosevelt Island Tram Cabins are in operation.

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

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Roosevelt Island Outdoor Movie Series At Southpoint Park Showing Marvel Studios Black Panther Friday August 10 - Gorgeous East River Waterfront Views, Food Vendors And A Movie

The fifth in the series of 2018 Roosevelt Island Outdoor Summer Movies at Southpoint Park

Image Of June 22 Outdoor Movie Showing of Wonder Woman at Southpoint Park

takes place Friday August 10, with the showing of Marvel Studios Black Panther.

 According to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson: 
The Roosevelt Island Outdoor Summer Movie Series' showing of Black Panther, at Southpoint Park, is set for this Friday at 7 p.m. after being postponed last week due to rain.

The event is being sponsored by Verizon who will donate raffle and game prizes as well as opportunities, at their hospitality booth, to win upgraded home FIOS service and free mobile phones.

Admission is free and pets are welcome in the park. Pre-movie activities include contests and prizes, food vendors; a state-of-the-art sound system, music, and a 40-foot-premium screen.

Food truck vendors including Wafels & Dinges and Sweetface Snoballs will be serving food and snacks for sale.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.

The final movie showing in the 2018 Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park Outdoor Movie series is A Wrinkle In Time On August 17.