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Monday, January 21, 2019

You're Invited To Come Meet Your Friendly Roosevelt Island Neighborhood Scientists, Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoc Pub Talk At Nisi Restaurant January 22 - Topic, Beautiful Minds: Brain Research From Cell Culture To Patients

The Postdoctoral Association of Weill Cornell Medicine is hosting a January 22 Pub Talk event at Roosevelt Island's Nisi Kitchen (559 Main Street).

You're invited to attend. According to the Weill Cornell Medicine Postdocs:
Pub Talk” Series; an outreach event featuring the research of WCM postdocs* to engage both fellow researchers and science enthusiasts from around New York City!

Come meet your friendly neighborhood scientists! Two researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine will discuss what they are doing in the lab and the clinic to advance the scientific frontier in psychiatric disease.

Up first, Michael Notaras will present "When does schizophrenia really begin?". Join Michael as he discusses cutting-edge research involving 3D stem cell bioengineering technology to design “mini-brains”, organoids that mimic the first trimester of brain development. Using this technology, he is able to study when mental disorders such as schizophrenia truly commence and the long term consequences for adult disease.

Next, Reed Maxwell will present "More than Ups and Downs: Everything You Didn't Know You Needed to Know about Borderline Personality Disorder". Reed will discuss the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of Borderline Personality Disorder, including best treatments, how to recognize friends and loved ones who might have it, and how to help them out.
Click here to register.

You're Invited To Indoor Seed Starting Workshop Presented By iDig2Learn & Grow NYC At Roosevelt Island Carter Burden Senior Center Thursday January 24 - Learn How To Grow Your Own Nutritious & Tasty Microgreens

The Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center (546 Main Street) is hosting a Seed Starting Workshop with iDig2Learn and Grow NYC on Thursday, January 24. You're invited.

Seed Starting Workshop

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24TH, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 P.M.
Want an early start on your growing season? Interested in growing nutritious and tasty microgreens?

Join iDig2Learn and Grow to Learn for this free workshop on how to start your seeds indoors, including proper timing and planting care.

Workshop limited to 20 participants. RSVP to Yulisa Santana

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day Today, Take A Moment To Remember And Honor His Legacy

The third Monday in January has been designated as a Federal holiday in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was born January 15, 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King is remembered and honored for many things including his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".

An excerpt:
... A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in it's application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest....
The full text of Letter From A Birmingham Jail is here and a short excerpt of audio below.

Here's an excerpt of Dr. King's last speech - I've Been To The Mountain Top.

Politcio has an excellent article on the last years of Dr. King's life.
... Almost 50 years after his death, we remember MLK as the transcendent figure who helped lift the South out of Jim Crow. We also remember him as almost preternaturally calm in the face of great pressure and danger. He was indeed all of these things. But the passage of time has obscured his dimensionality. In the last years of his life, King expanded his vision beyond the former Confederacy and took on a broader struggle to dismantle America’s jigsaw edifice of racial and economic discrimination—a struggle that took him deep into northern states and cities, where onetime allies became bitter enemies. He did so even as he strained to keep a fractious civil rights movement unified, and in the face of unremitting sabotage from federal authorities.

He was a young man, still in his 30s—foisted onto the national stage with actors many years or decades his senior, suspect in the eyes of both younger and older civil rights leaders—and the burdens of leadership took their toll on him....
Take a moment today to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

and the good work he accomplished to make our country a better place:
More on Dr. King from

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Journalist Nellie Bly Escaping Blackwell Island Lunatic Asylum Portrayed On Lifetime Cable TV Channel Tonight - Asylum Now Site Of Roosevelt Island's Octagon Luxury Rental Building

In 1887, legendary journalist Nellie Bly went undercover to report about abuses at NYC's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island and wrote a book about her experience, 10 Days In A Madhouse. According to the Asylum Project:

... One of the most famous cases associated with the hospital was the journalism of young female reporter Nellie Bly, who in 1887 entered the hospital under the guise of insanity under assignment from Joseph Pulitzer. She wrote, "From the moment I entered the insane ward on the Island, I made no attempt to keep up the assumed role of insanity. I talked and acted just as I do in ordinary life. Yet strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted, the crazier I was thought to be by all...." Now trapped, Bly was tormented with rotted food, cruel attendants, and cramped and diseased conditions. After talking with other patients she became convinced many were as sane as she was, writing
What, excepting torture, would produce insanity quicker than this treatment? Here is a class of women sent to be cured. I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.
She was held in the Asylum for ten days before she was finally released with the help of Pulitzer.

Her report, later published in the book Ten Days in a Mad-House, resulted in not only embarrassment for the Institution but a grand jury investigation into the conditions and the question of how so many "professionals" had been fooled. The end result was a $1,000,000 increase in the budget of the Department of Public Charities and Corrections as well as their recommendation of changes proposed by Nellie. Ultimately, this report brought about the end of the Asylum Blackwell's Island....
The Lunatic Asylum is now Roosevelt Island's Octagon luxury rental building.

This evening, January 19, the Lifetime Cable Channel is showing Escaping The Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story:
On a mission to expose the deplorable conditions and mistreatment of patients at the notorious Women’s Lunatic Asylum, investigative reporter Nellie Bly (Christina Ricci) feigns mental illness in order to be institutionalized to report from the inside. The movie delivers an intense and fictionalized account of actual events surrounding Nellie's stay beginning after Nellie has undergone treatment, leaving her with no recollection of how she came to the asylum or her real identity....

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society has more info on the Octagon Building and Blackwell's Island Lunatic Asylum.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Before Blackwell's, Welfare & Roosevelt Island, There Were The Lenape People, Current Resident Asks For Remembrance And Recognition Of Lenape Of Mannahatta

Many Roosevelt Island residents care passionately about the history of our little New York City/State Island in the middle of the East River - we even have our own Historical Society. Our history usually begins with Blackwells Island, then renamed Welfare Island and now Roosevelt Island.

But before there was Blackwells Island - there was the Lenape people.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reported today:

According to Correction History:
... Blackwell's was the name that for nearly two centuries identified what is now known as Roosevelt Island, whose aerial tramway cable-cars gliding over the East River can be seen from the Queensborough Bridge. The cigar-shaped 120-acre isle beneath the bridge extends 1.75 miles and is 750 feet across at its widest point.

Gov. Van Twiller reported obtaining it for New Amsterdam from native tribal leaders in 1637. Then the Dutch settlers put their pigs to pasture there, generating its early Colonial name of Hog Island. In 1652, a man named Flyn acquired the island but 16 years later a British military captain, John Manning, bought it. Unhappily for him, he presided over the surrender and brief return of the city to Dutch rule in 1673. For this, his sword was later symbolically broken in a City Hall ceremony of disgrace. Afterwards, Manning retired to his island refuge. His stepdaughter married Robert Blackwell who took title to it in 1717.

New York City acquired the island on July 19, 1828, through a foreclosure -- later ruled to have been illegal. Total final price: $52,500...
The Bowery Boys have more on the Lenape people:
... Before New York, before New Amsterdam – there was Lenapehoking, the land of the Lenape, the original inhabitants of the places we call Manhattan, Westchester, northern New Jersey and western Long Island. This is the story of their first contact with European explorers and settlers and their gradual banishment from their ancestral land.

Fur trading changed the lifestyles of the Lenape well before any permanent European settlers stepped foot in this region. Early explorers had a series of mostly positive experiences with early native people. With the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, the Lenape entered into various land deals, ‘selling’ the land of Manhattan at a location in the area of today’s Inwood Hill Park.

But relations between New Amsterdam and the surrounding native population worsened with the arrival of Director-General William Kieft, leading to bloody attacks and vicious reprisals, killing hundreds of Lenape and colonists alike. Peter Stuyvesant arrives to salvage the situation, but further attacks threatened any treaties of peace. But the time of English occupation, the Lenape were decimated and without their land....
Check out what NYC and Roosevelt Island (Mannahatta) looked like

in the early 1600's

from Beyond Manhattan, The Welika Project.

Roosevelt Island Youth Center Free Co-ed Basketball Program For 9-13 Year Olds At Sportspark Starts February 4 - Register Now

The Roosevelt Island Youth Center Free co-ed Basketball Program for kids 9-13 years of age starts February 4 at the Sportspark Facility.

Register here.