Friday, May 26, 2017

PTA President & RIOC President Report On Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Courtyard Garbage & Rat Infestation Problem

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA President Erin Olavesen reports on the garbage and rat infestation problem at the school's courtyard. According to Ms Olavaesen:

The administration and PTA met May 24 with both RIOC and RIRA to update them on the situation, and to see if they could assist the school in getting rid of the rats and finding a long term solution to deal with the garbage.

The most important piece that I'd like to communicate is there are no rats or rodents inside of school. 217 prides itself on being one of the nicest facilities in District 2 and Ms. Beckman has the expectation that it remain so. Safety of students is her number 1 priority. Students are not in danger by attending school.

I'd like to respond to the information given regarding organic waste disposal. The information provided by the cafeteria manager, Rosa Ramez, is incorrect. Ms. Ramez manages Manhattan school cafeterias where schools have moved to zero waste and have composting programs. Although 217 is a Manhattan District 2 school, our waste management services are provided by Queens. Composting is beginning to be implemented in Queens schools, but we are not close to that happening at 217.

217 is not breaking the law by placing food waste in bags on the curb. People have cited codes regarding food waste being required to be in sealed containers. Because school has daily pick up, this does not apply. Please see the attached picture. This is a photo from a Queens school directly across the bridge. This picture was taken May 24 around 1 pm. Their trash, including food waste, is enclosed in clear plastic bags.

217 is required to use the clear trash bags provided by the DOE. 217 is not allocated any funds to purchase any other trash bags. Both trash and recycle are placed in clear plastic bags. We have daily trash pick up and on two of those days there is also recycle pick up. On the two recycle days, the truck is a split truck, picking up both trash and recycle. The clear bags allow the Department of Sanitation to distinguish trash and recyclables.

A few days ago our custodial staff requested storage containers to hold the trash outdoors during school hours. The Department of Sanitation will NOT remove the trash from the containers. The custodial staff will remove the trash at the end of the school day and place the bags, as always, on the curb for trash pick up. The Queens Department of Sanitation typically picks up around 5pm but it can sometimes be as late as 9pm before the trash is collected. Unfortunately this means the trash will sit curbside waiting for the Department of Sanitation to arrive.

This is an example of the bins:

They are plastic and airtight. I think we should be receiving four of them from the Division of School Facilities. The custodial staff was unsure of the timeline but I am happy to check in and update regularly. The staff is hopeful that this will be adequate to store all of the cafeteria trash generated from breakfast and lunch. If it isn't we'll return to DSF and see if more can be provided.

Rossana and Aaron from RIRA listened carefully to 217's challenges and limits in the May 24 meeting. They will be updating the Common Council at their upcoming meeting.

RIOC came to school today as well. Susan Rosenthal and Shelton Hayes both were in attendance at the meeting. They visited the area with their rodent expert and brought his recommendations to the meeting and offered to connect us so that he could offer his expertise. Unfortunately, the limits of the DOE mean some of the suggestions were not things 217 is able to do. A suggestion was to use "mint bags" which rats do not like. Because the bags are not clear and because the school is not allocated funding to buy bags, this is not an option. The school is also not permitted to buy or use bleach as a sanitizer.

RIOC acknowledged the challenges, and agreed that the bins 217 will be receiving were not a long term fix. Susan Rosenthal agreed that to get a fix the situation would have to be escalated beyond RIOC and the 217 administration. They were happy to assist and reach out to elected officials and others to help find a fix.

217 being a NYC DOE owned property on a state owned island makes things complicated. We all agreed that the current system isn't working and we wouldn't continue to accept how things are done in Queens if they aren't working on Roosevelt Island.

One important thing to note is that 217 is waiting for the DOE to pave the area where the rats are currently living. In addition to creating a safe egress from the cafeteria, the area will no longer be a nesting area for rodents. It will also be easier to clean. The paving job is one that has gone out for bids and 217 is now waiting. Susan Rosenthal is looking into the possibility of RIOC being able to do something to excavate and remove the nests while we wait for the DOE to pave. I'm happy to update when more information regarding the timeline of paving is available.

I'd also like to mention that on May 24, I was in communication with Ben Kallos' office about bins and a long term solution. I'll update when I know more about what Kallos' office is able to accomplish.

217 and RIOC also have a meeting scheduled with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene next week. My understanding is the meeting is to provide information on rat management. When more information about the agenda of the meeting or the outcome becomes available I will share that information.

Now, if you'd read all of that...

Thank you all for your concern and patience and trust. I understand the situation is upsetting and we all want to find a solution, and it can be difficult to sit and watch and not see immediate resolution. I appreciate the emails from islanders who have emailed me as fellow 217 parents, island parents, concerned residents, and representatives of various organizations wanting to offer help and support.

I encourage you all to attend both the RIOC meeting and the RIRA meeting to thank them for their dedication to working with 217 to find a solution that works for our community. Please continue to email me with your questions. I am happy to share what I know and find out the the information if I don't know.
During the May 25 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Meeting Public Session, Roosevelt Island Day Nursery Executive Director Pamela Stark spoke about the PS/IS 217 courtyard garbage and rat problem. Ms Stark noted that the school's courtyard garbage and rat problem are also effecting tenants at the neighboring Manhattan Park 2-4 River Road building.

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal also spoke about the PS/IS 217 rat and garbage problem and what is being done to fix it

during her President's Report to the May 25 RIOC Board of Director meeting.

RIOC Director David Kraut thanked Roosevelt Island activist Frank Farance for bringing attention to this issue and Ms Rosenthal added
Frank has been a pain in my butt often, but I will tell you this time he was on top of a very serious problem and I want to publicly thank him.
More info on the subject available at previous posts on April 28 and May 22.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Seniors Association Memorial Holiday Patio Party Sunday May 28 - Intro To Basic Stretch Techniques Wednesday's May 24 - June 10 Too

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA) President Barbara Parker reports:

Your Invited!

Join Us for Fun, Food and Beverages

Memorial Holiday Patio Party

Sunday, May 28th 2:00pm – 5:00pm

546 Main Street

Free to RISA Members- Non-Members $5.00

For more information contact: Barbara Parker 917-951-4137 or email:

Introduction to Basic Stretch Techniques

Learn safe and effective ways to properly stretch for everyday functional fitness

Wednesdays, May 24th thru June 14th


546 Main Street - 12th Floor - Multipurpose Room

Free to RISA Members – Non-Members $8.00
Instructor: Barbara Parker
For more information and registration contact 917-951-4137

(Advance registration is required)

Job Available At Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Center Kiosk - Must Have Knowledge Of Roosevelt Island And Enjoy Customer Service

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) President Judy Berdy reports:

The RIHS is accepting resumes for position at the RIHS Visitor Center.

  Image of RIHS Visitors Kiosk By Richard Bachman From Friend Of The UES Historic District

This is a part time position:

Applicants Must have knowledge of island.

Enjoy customer service

Be flexible for different schedule each month

Speaking a foreign language is a plus

Desire to deal with people politely and enjoy the interaction

Manage the sales and displays at the kiosk Be responsible for daily money

Send 1 page resume to :

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Memorial Day Weekend

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Who Will Be Future Operator Of Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Beacon After School Program - Not Long Time Operator RIYP Or Island Kids Reports School Principal

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) issued a Request For Proposals to operate the Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program for next year. The Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) 

has operated the Beacon After School Program at PS/IS 217 for the last 22 years.

On May 18, I asked Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman:
I am preparing a story on the issue of Roosevelt Island Beacon After School program RFP.

I understand there was a meeting today concerning applicants to operate the PS/IS 217 Beacon After School program.

I am told the purpose of the meeting was to evaluate applicants and to make recommendations to Department Of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) for an operator of the after school program.

Who were the RFP applicants for the Roosevelt Islands PS/IS 217 Beacon After School Program?

What is the criteria for evaluating and making recommendations to DYCD?

If qualified, will there be more than 1 applicant recommendation?...
and followed up yesterday, May 24:
... I understand that PS/Is 217 has decided not to sign the Partnership Agreement with the current Beacon operator, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program.

Is that true?

If it is true, do you have any statement regarding the reason for declining to sign the partnership agreement?

What was the criteria used for making the decision?

What group or groups did you sign the partnership agreement with?

Who is on the PS/IS 217 School Leadership Team?

Do you have any other comment on this matter?...
Ms Beckman replied today:
The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) recently released the Beacon Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify community-based organization (CBO) partners for the next round of Beacon Community Centers. Our school community at PS/IS 217 will continue to benefit from the Beacon program and its resources.

The RFP is a competitive application process and CBOs submit a proposal. Principals need to sign-off on a School Partnership Agreement (SPA) to ensure a strong relationship between the school and the Beacon provider. Proposals will not be considered without the principal’s signature. If a principal signs multiple SPAs - each of the proposals will be considered, and the one proposal with the highest score (determined by DYCD rubric) will be awarded the Beacon contract.

At PS/IS 217, we gathered with our School Leadership Team (SLT) and met with all five potential Beacon CBO partners. We utilized the CBO interview protocol developed by DOE and reviewed by DYCD. After consulting with our SLT, I decided to sign three SPAs by applicants to the Beacon RFP. DYCD will now score the three proposals and the Beacon contract will be awarded over the summer.

If you have any additional questions regarding the Beacon application process, contact Michelle Rosa at DOE.
The RIYP learned yesterday that Ms. Beckman declined to sign a School Partnership Agreement with RIYP. RIYP received this email from Ms Beckman:
In consultation with the School Leadership Team we have decided not to sign your organizations’s partnership agreement. Thank you for your interest.
Another Roosevelt Island based group, Island Kids, which has been serving Roosevelt Island for over 20 years was informed today that they will not be receiving a signed PS/IS 217 School Partnership Agreement either.

Without the signed School Partnership Agreement, neither RIYP or Island Kids will be considered as an applicant to operate the PS/IS 217 Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program next year by DYCD.

At this time, the three organizations that received signed School Partnership Agreements from Ms Beckman is unknown.  I've asked but have not received an answer.

Stay tuned for more.

UPDATE 8:55 PM - I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal:
Any comment to what extent Beacon RFP winner will have on Roosevelt Island Youth Center operator?
Ms. Rosenthal replied:
There is no relationship between the 2

SPONSORED POST - Roosevelt Island Urgent Care Medical Facility, Just Walk In At 520 Main Street - Open Monday Thru Friday 8 AM To 8 PM And Saturday, Sunday 9 AM To 6 PM

According to Roosevelt Island Urgent Care (RIUC):

Our Roosevelt Island facility, located at 520 Main Street. The medical needs of this 2 mile long historic island on the East River is a perfect landscape for our services.

RIUC is the first health care facility on the Island. Currently local residents must travel to either Manhattan or Astoria, for treatment—a trip that requires the use of a tram, subway, bus or car. Our facility in essence created a full-service medical center for a growing population of 15,000. RIUC is here to serve your needs.

These needs will increase in the near future with the addition of new multi-family developments and the new Cornell NYC Tech campus, which is under construction and due to open this year. The University is relying on our center to tend to the medical needs of the students and faculty. Roosevelt Island Urgent Care is also well positioned to provide services to the many construction workers who are on the Island during the next few years.

Other amenities include:
  • Hot and cold complimentary beverage center
  • Charging station
  • Flat screen TV in waiting room as well as every exam room
  • Childrens play area
  • And much more!

Please visit the Roosevelt Island Urgent Care web site or stop by our office at 520 Main Street for more information.

Roosevelt Island Woman Robbed Of Iphone And Beaten May 22 Afternoon At Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station - Another Iphone Robbery From Roosevelt Island Bus May 19 Afternoon

A Tipster reported yesterday:

5 kids arrested on Monday at or by the train/tram. They are from off island but apparently they beat and robbed a young woman who lives here.

Also last Friday there was a report of 2 kids robbing a woman on the island for her phone. I am not sure if those 2 kids from Friday and the 5 kids from Monday are connected. But I feel like no one knows about it and we should.

Fridays incident happened on the bus. I am not sure if its the red bus or the 102, but the kids ran into the train.
According to a NYPD Spokesperson, on Monday, May 22, at approximately 2:30 in the afternoon, 5 teenagers between 13- 17 years of age approached a 28 year old woman standing at the Roosevelt Island F Train Station Manhattan Bound platform. The Queens teenagers, 4 female and 1 male, surrounded the Roosevelt Island woman, robbed her of an Iphone and roughed her up causing bruising and lacerations.

According to Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department (PSD) Director Jack McManus, following the incident, the woman canvassed the area with Public Safety Officers and spotted the teenagers at the Tram Station where they were arrested by PSD.

 NYPD & PSD At Tram Station May 22

Chief McManus and Deputy Chief Kevin Butler also reported a previous incident of a stolen Iphone occurring after school on Friday afternoon, May 19. According to Deputy Chief Butler, 2 kids, 12 years of age or younger, robbed an Iphone from a bus passenger and escaped into the Roosevelt Island F Train subway station. They were not caught. PSD is not sure if the robbery occurred on a Red Bus or NYC Q102 Bus.

Chief McManus says the two incidents are not related and not part of any organized gang. They were opportunistic crimes he said.

Chief McManus discussed these two incidents at the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee meeting last night.

Here's the discussion.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roosevelt Island Residents Invited To NYPD 114 Precinct Sector David Neighborhood Coordination Officers Safety Summit May 25 At Queens Astoria Library

Roosevelt Island is part of the NYPD 114 Precinct Sector David. On Thursday, May 25, the NYPD 114 precinct is hosting a Sector David Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) Safety Summit at the Queens Library in Astoria, 37-44 21 Street from 7-8:30 PM.

Roosevelt Island residents are encouraged to attend the NCO Safety Summit. NYPD's 114 Precinct Sector David coverage includes Astoria Park South to Queens Plaza North from the West Side of 21 Street to Main Street on Roosevelt Island.

Image From Astoria Post

According to the NYPD 114 Precinct web site:
Neighborhood Coordination Officers, or NCOs, are your local problem solvers. They spend all their working hours within the confines of their assigned sectors, actively engaging with local community members and residents. They get to know the neighborhood, its people, and its problems extremely well....

NYPD 114 Precinct Sergeant Brian Andruszkiewicz adds:
The 114 Precinct Neighborhood Coordination Officers have set up a safety meeting to discuss some community concerns and some ideas that you have to make your community a safer place.
NYPD 114 Precinct Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune

 reported in this April 13 post:
... The 114th Precinct went to the new module of community based policing in October 2016. This module of policing is broken down into Steady Sector Officer's, Neighborhood Coordination Officer's (NCO's) and response auto's.

Roosevelt Island is zoned in Sector David (sectors are defined zones within a command) and has two (2) permanent NCO's assigned to cover that sector.

Steady sectors are given several hours a tour "off-patrol" time, meaning they attend community based meetings, conduct community outreach, or whatever else specific to their sector needs to be addressed. The NCO's are tasked with coordinating with the residents in their sector, such as; attending community based meetings, identifying specific community issues, formulating solutions to those problems, just to name a few....

... Roosevelt Island not only has two (2) Officers or NCO's assigned, they now have steady sector cops patrolling the area as well. This means the same cops patrolling the Island on a regular basis... This allows for stronger relationships between my officers and the residents of Roosevelt Island....

... The NYPD 114 precinct NCO office # 718-626-2708

NCO's assigned to Roosevelt Island:

PO Keith Matthes (

PO Joseph Esposito (
Deputy Inspector Fortune encourages Roosevelt Island residents to get to know the NCO's assigned to our community and let them know about specific problems and issues.

Many of the issues concerning Queens residents of Sector David are different than those on Roosevelt Island. Officers Matthes and Esposito plan on attending a future Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee meeting to hear our specific concerns.

New Roosevelt Island Park & Picnic Benches/BBQ Grills/ Water Fountains, Youth Center Roof Replacement, RISA Funding & Board Member Appointment Letter On Agenda Of RIOC Directors Meeting May 25 - Public Comment Period Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet tomorrow evening, May 25 at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street).

 Image Of RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting

Prior to the start of the RIOC Board meeting, there will be a public comment period. Sign up here to speak at the meeting.

Among the items on the RIOC Board meeting Agenda are:
  • Roosevelt Island Youth Center Roof Replacement,
  • New Water Fountains, Park Benches, BBQ Grills & Picnic Tables,
  • Roosevelt Island Seniors Association Funding and
  • Letter To NY State on new Board Member recruitment.
Below is the full Agenda:





5:30 P.M.[1]

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes

1. April 20, 2017 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Authorization to Enter into Contract for Roof Replacement at the Roosevelt Island Youth Center (Board Action Required – Materials to Follow)

2. Ratification of Contract with Regimental Contracting, LLC. for Purchase and Installation of Water Fountains, Park Benches, Barbeque Grills, and Picnic Tables at Roosevelt Island Parks (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization of Expenditure of Funds for Roosevelt Island Senior Association (Board Action Required)

4. Approval of the Governance Committee Letter to New York State Center for Recruitment And Public Service on Assisting with Board Member Appointments (Board Action Required)

5. President’s Report

6. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

7. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

[1] The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.