Monday, January 25, 2021

$7.8 Million 5700 Square Foot Brand New Roosevelt Island NY Public Library Branch Opens Today - Come Take A Virtual Tour, It's Beautiful

Great news for Roosevelt Island today. The brand new Roosevelt Island NY Public Library branch is open and available for limited grab and go service during the current Coronavirus pandemic. 

This morning, Roosevelt Island NYPL Branch Manager Carlos Chavez gave a tour of our new local library. Come along and see for yourself.

New York Public Library President Anthony Marx, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Shelton Haynes attended today's opening and all had some very interesting comments. Take a listen.

 As previously reported:

... Plans for the new Roosevelt Island branch library on the first floor at 504 Main Street were first announced way back in July 2012 but construction did not start until October 2018. At that time, residents were told to expect substantial completion of the new library by December 2019. As we know, that did not happen due to a variety of delays and then the Coronavirus Pandemic shutdown....
Happily, starting today, the Roosevelt Island Library is now open for all.

Below is NYPL press release about today's opening of the Roosevelt Island library branch.

The New York Public Library is opening a beautiful, brand new Roosevelt Island branch at 504 Main Street on Monday, January 25. The new 5,200-square-foot location will open with grab-and-go service, and replace Roosevelt Island’s former branch, a one-room library that, while beloved, could no longer serve the needs of the growing community.

"As our resilient City enters a hopeful new year, the Library is proud to kick it off by giving Roosevelt Island the new library that they have long needed, wanted, and deserved,” said Anthony Marx, President of The New York Public Library. “It’s a new beginning for a community that for so long has loved and relied on its library, a trusted center of life where patrons access information and open doors of opportunity. We are eager to welcome our neighbors to their new space and support them as they continue to weather unprecedented challenges and work towards recovery and a brighter future.”

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Residents Eagerly Waiting For Roosevelt Island Public LIbrary Grand Opening On Monday January 25 - Is That Bernie Sanders Waiting Too?

As reported on Friday, the brand new Roosevelt Island NY Public Library Grand Opening, with limited grab and go service, is taking place tomorrow, Monday January 25. Patiently waiting, or maybe not so patiently, is Bernie Sanders, 

with Roosevelt Island resident Kaja Meade. According to Ms Meade:

Bernie and I are just waiting for the Library to open. He's a Public Library kind of guy.
Photo by Ms Meade and Martin Schott.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Candidate To Represent Roosevelt Island And UES In NYC Council District 5 Julie Menin Meets And Speaks To RI Residents At Farmers Market Today - Watch Video Interview Of What She Has To Say

Julie Menin is a candidate to represent Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side in NYC Council District 5, seeking to succeed current City Council Member Ben Kallos who is term limited from running again. Ms Menin was at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market today meeting and talking with residents about local issues.

I spoke with Ms Menin today at the Farmers Market about a variety of local issues including the need for a vaccination site on Roosevelt Island, affordable housing, small business assistance as well as Ms Menin's experience and background. Here's what she had to say.


Learn more about Ms Menin at her campaign website.

Ms Menin's opponents in the June 22 Democratic Party Primary are: 

Seagull Enjoying East River Seafood Lunch Yesterday Afternoon On Roosevelt Island Waterfront Rock

Friday, January 22, 2021

Brand New Roosevelt Island NY Public Library To Open Monday January 25 At 504 Main Street With Limited Grab And Go Service

When will the new Roosevelt Island NY Public Library finally open is a question often asked by residents.

Plans for the new Roosevelt Island branch library on the first floor at 504 Main Street were first announced way back in July 2012 but construction did not start until October 2018. At that time, residents were told to expect substantial completion of the new library by December 2019. As we know, that did not happen due to a variety of delays and then the Coronavirus Pandemic shutdown. 

Well, better sit down when you read this - the brand new Roosevelt Island New York Public Library will open for limited Grab and Go service on Monday, January 25.

According to this NY Public Library statement received earlier today

On Monday, January 25, a brand new Roosevelt Island branch will open at 504 Main Street. The new 5,200-square-foot location will open with grab-and-go service, and replace Roosevelt Island’s former one-room branch. 

At this time, you will be able to access a small area of the branch to pick up, check out, and drop off material requested online or over the phone. For full details on our grab-and-go service and reopening policies, please visit our website. If you prefer, you are now also able to use your phone to reserve material at this location and use contactless self-checkout when you download the new NYPL app, available for iOS and Android devices.

The Library currently offers a wide range of free, virtual programs and services to all New Yorkers. When conditions allow us to expand services, the new library will offer significantly more space for additional classes, storytimes, and computers, plus designated areas for children, teens, and adults, a community room, an outdoor seating area with an exterior book drop, and more. Learn more about our Roosevelt Island location
 
The completion of this exciting project ensures that the Roosevelt Island Library will continue to serve New Yorkers now and in the future. The Library is thankful to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Ben Kallos, NYS Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, NYS Senator Jose Serrano, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Former Speaker Gifford Miller, Former Council Member Jessica Lappin and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. for their support of this project.
The Roosevelt Island Time Machine takes us back to the 2012 announcemt of funding for the new library by former Roosevelt Island NYC Coucnil Member Jessical Lappin and NYPL officials.

Warning, This Article Is Positive And Will Make You Feel Good - Green Wave Surging Over Roosevelt Island Last Year And More To Come, Stay Tuned

Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico reports

2020 Island Wins & More to Come!

Warning: This Article is Positive and Will Make You Feel Good

The numbers are in and they are impressive. Islanders are renown for caring for their neighbors and those efforts shined bright in 2020. Residents, Island groups, local leaders and small businesses came together last year and are still making masks and care packages, running a food pantry, giving new clothing and toys, and rallying to support our neighbors at Coler. 

What sometimes goes overlooked is the strong "green" wave surging through the island. And by green wave we mean efforts to sustain daily practices that are good for people and planet. These efforts include reducing litter, access to pollution-free transport like bicycles, upcycling and exchanging household goods, adding tidal energy turbines to the river, plantings that support butterflies and animals and spotlighting wins in the new "Green Corner" of RIOC's newsletter. 

Roosevelt Islanders stand united when it comes to keeping the island clean and healthy for all.
 

January often brings a look back so here are just a few from 2020, and as resident student Olivia S. said, "One thing I like about Roosevelt Island is how engaged the community is."

2020 Community Wins

  • 6 Engaged RI community events held to foster environmental understanding & boost sustainable practices on Roosevelt Island.
  • 1 garden renovation allowing more Octagon Residents to garden and grow food. 
  • 23,000+ pounds of food scraps diverted from landfill and transformed into compost for island projects (150,000+ since 2015).
  •  1 newly-created grassroots group, Haki Compost Collective, supporting compost initiatives, community connections and volunteering each Saturday at the Big Reuse Food Scrap Drop-Off from 9am - 2pm.
  •  500+ plants distributed to islanders along with 200 pounds of locally processed compost for at-home Plant Therapy Kits to grow food.
  • 2000+ used batteries collected for proper disposal through RIOC's battery tube program publically available at Public Safety on Main Street.
  • 200+ island advocates spoke up to restore the NYC Compost Program to the budget when cut in March. By September it was back each Saturday!
  • 75% more Christmas trees collected than last year and transported by Haki and Garden volunteers to Mulchfest in Queens.
  • 180 pounds of Christmas tree sale trimmings collected for compost.
  • 10+pounds weekly of finished compost given back since November.
  • 20,000+ pounds of organic matter processed into compost at the garden.
  • 50+ organized and attended a presentation for Climate Week 2020 featuring local resident's sharing sustainability tips and the Engaged RI efforts.

The Climate Week NYC 2020 presentation is an annual global event which had enhanced reach because it was virtual. Being part of it was a special honor for the island because it captured over a year of Engaged RI work that the community did when Cornell Tech received a grant to boost sustainability on Roosevelt Island. Not only did it feature Roosevelt Island youth and youth leaders but also spotlighted residents who are knowledgeable about composting, leaders who work at the Senior Center, and locals running small businesses.

Beatrice Ajaero, of IBARI & Nneji says, “As a small business owner sometimes you forget that you make a lot of decisions during the day, but we work hard to see that every product we source and every partnership we kindle is geared towards making a positive impact for the environment for the people.”

Be sure to watch the videos we created for Climate Week NYC 2020 to get inspired and view locals sharing tips on what you can do for a cleaner greener 2021. 

And the progress didn't stop in 2020. In addition to simple steps to reduce waste in the new year like for example, requesting no single-use utensils for Take-Out food, try participating in the following ways below…

  • Declutter! Every Saturday in January and drop USED pens/markers for recycling during the Food Scrap Drop-Off hours 9 am - 2 pm  
  • To connect or take action with Engaged RI click here 
  • To volunteer with Haki Compost Collective email: info@hakicompost.org 

Be sure to stay tuned for island Plogging efforts in 2021 and how you can be a part of this. 

And as local compost guru, Anthony Longo of GRIN says, “We're trying to keep everything locally, specifically anything that grows out of the earth we are trying to keep it here and use it again here to the benefit of the community.”

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - Subway, Tram, Ferry, Temporary Red Bus Manhattan Shuttle & Citibike - Bernie Sanders And Dr Fauci On Subway Too

According to the MTA, Roosevelt Island F Train service to and from Manhattan will be replaced by the E Train this weekend between 21st Queensbridge and Delancey Street.


According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

While we continue to follow social distancing and align our operations with New York Forward guidance, we also continue to incrementally increase the number of passengers permitted on the Tram. Tram capacity will increase on Sunday, November 1st, from 20 to 35 passengers per cabin, and we will continue to assess and gradually increase in phases. 

We understand the need for this mode of transportation, however, the health and safety of our riders and operators are our priority. We appreciate your cooperation.

Also:

Please be advised that the Manhattan Tram station elevator remains out of service until further notice. The Red Bus is providing special shuttle service to and from Manhattan for those with limited mobility. Schedule information is below: 

Roosevelt Island to Manhattan

Departs hourly from the Tram, making all Northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (opposite PS/IS 217). The first trip will depart at 11 AM. Last trip will be at 7 PM. 

Manhattan to Roosevelt Island 

Departs on the half hour from the southwest side of 2nd Ave., between 58th & 59th Streets and will make all southbound local Red Bus stops (starting with 591 Main St.) to the Tram. The last trip will depart Manhattan at 7:30 PM.  

Please note, there is no shuttle bus service from 3 PM – 4 PM daily.  

Weekend and Holiday Service  

The Tram Shuttle will run Monday to Friday until further notice. No weekend or holiday service.  

Thank you for your patience. 

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

And Roosevelt Island Citbike docking stations

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket January 22 - January 28 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons, Social Media & Recipes, Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket invites you to check out their January 22 - January 28 Weekly Flyer

 

for Product Offerings, Specials and 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.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Roosevelt Island Newcomer From Nigeria Joins Friends Of Coler And Introduces RI Residents To Our Coler Neighbor Francene Benjamin - She's Living In Lockdown But Looks Forward To Walking Around Roosevelt Island Again Soon, Give Her A Wave As You Walk Past Coler

Long time resident Julia Ferguson (pictured on right) and newcomer Foluke Ogunyemi (pictured on left) are among the Roosevelt Island residents who are Friends of Coler.

Ms Ferguson says the two met:

 ... by volunteering online together and then later ran into each other on Main Street in masks! It is so encouraging to meet new friends in many ways even during these very challenging times. 

 Ms Ogunyemi describes herself as :

 ... just a regular Roosevelt Island mum that is glad to have found the best place in New York city to put down roots, I very recently migrated from Lagos, Nigeria to work for UNICEF--and have worked in development for children and women for 12 years.
 Ms Ogunyemi introduces us to our Roosevelt Island Coler resident neighbor Francene Benjamin. According to Ms. Ogunyemi:
Roosevelt Islanders do love and appreciate the Island. Indeed, most of the long-term residents cherish the neighborhood as does Francene Benjamin. She has been a resident for a decade and half at the north end of Roosevelt Island—within the historic Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center.

Francene loves living on the island, the peaceful quiet, the crashing of the water against the rocks and the Lighthouse makes for good reminders of her time in Antigua and Barbuda where her family and elderly parents still live. Living on Roosevelt Island in 2020-21 has been different, it is now over 280 days of lockdown and not being able to walk outside the grounds of Coler. Accustomed to going out for long walks, crocheting, gardening, singing and going to church, Francene has had to adjust to new ways of appreciating life on Roosevelt Island.

“I will say in 15 years here, Roosevelt island through the years has been really good ... there used to be a fruit stand close to us that we loved to visit, although the island had some changes, it remains comfortable, safe and a nice place to live in New York--really nice at night. Most of the time this year, to pass the time, I watch people walking, it has become therapeutic for me, watching people walk along the riverbank which I am currently unable to do has increased my appreciation of walking as a great and refreshing exercise. I watch people walk past, it is a joy to see the mothers who go past with children in strollers, early morning or evening joggers, those who are committed to walking daily or simply just leisurely strolling—it is a gift to have a place like Roosevelt Island in a year that has been so tough on us all.” 

“My crotchet work used to be a truly relaxing past time--I did a lot of filly patterns and using simple instructions, I made a queens size bed spread, scarves, hats, chair backs, arm rest and table center pieces. I love crocheting and there are a few--about 3 of us here interested in crocheting and we have plans to make things but are not yet be able to fulfil that, currently my wrists are not in the best shape but I am not giving up on that dream.”

Please watch the first few minutes of my recent Crochet Artist video made as part of a series on ‘Skill Share Videos’ curated by Niti Parikh from MakerLAB at Cornell Tech.
This video documentation started with a simple goal: to provide a space for conversation starters with makers of all abilities and backgrounds which can hopefully lead to inclusive and participatory design projects to improve people’s everyday life. 

This lockdown has been quite challenging and isolating, but I value the moments when I was able to schedule to go out to enjoy some fresh air. Thankful for phones and zoom, technology making it possible to still connect with family and friends but most importantly, it is comforting to be able to watch the East River and Roosevelt islanders walking past to remind myself I still live in this beautiful community. 

Happy 2021 and a safe, healthy time for all the islanders, I am hopeful for the new year to bring new grace and a chance to walk around the island again. For now, do wave whenever you walk past, we at Coler are waving back from inside and wishing all Roosevelt Islanders a Happy New Year!"

If you would like to join Friends Of Coler volunteers, please send them an email.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Watch Moment Long Island City Trump Countown Clock Reaches Zero As President Joe Biden Sworn In - Brings Cheers From New Yorkers On Roosevelt Island

Learn more about the Long Island City East River Trump Countdown Clock from prior post.

Manhattan Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee Virtual Zoom Meeting Thursday January 21- Covid Conversation, RIOC Capital Projects, RI Bridge Bike Lane Update, Status Of Coler Task Force & More

The Manhattan Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee is meeting tomorrow evening. 


According to the Meeting Agenda:

Roosevelt Island Committee*

Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 6:30 PM 

This meeting will be conducted via Zoom 

For access to the Zoom meeting, sign in by clicking this link.  

AGENDA: 

  1. COVID-19 Community Conversations presentation by Jessica Sanchez from New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  2. Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Capital Projects and updates by Acting President Shelton Haynes.
  3. Roosevelt Island Bridge bike lane Updates from DOT
  4. Status of the Coler Task Force
  5. Old Business

New Business Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, Chair
*Joint meeting with Health, Seniors, and Social Services Committee

Here's more on proposed Roosevelt Island Bridge Bike Lane.

You're Invited To Gallery RIVAA Black History Month Quilt Exhibition Opening Reception Saturday January 23 - Social Distancing And Face Covering Required

Roosevelt island's Gallery RIVAA (527 Main Street) is hosting a Black History Month Quilt Exhibition from January 23 - February 21 with a public opening reception 6-9 PM Saturday, January 23.

 
Attendees at the opening reception must maintain social distancing practices and wear face coverings.

Here are scenes from 2020 Gallery RIVAA Black History Month celebration.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Cookie Sale On Line This Year - Free Shipping Thru January 24 - Purchase Girl Scout Cookies For Yourself Or For Donation

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3001 Leader Aiesha Eleusizov reports:

In case Roosevelt Islanders might be interested in a safe and contactless way to get their Girl Scout cookies this year, our Council is offering FREE shipping for one week - Jan 18 through the 24 for Girl Scout cookie orders over $20!! Folks can purchase directly from a Girl Scout they know (they can reach out to them for their personal digital cookie site) OR they can order from any of the troops on the island. I am sharing with you the links for the island troops' sales sites.  

For health and safety, it is highly unlikely that the island troops will have the usual booth sales this year at the Farmer's Market, so get them this week while shipping is free!! 

Customers can purchase cookies for themselves or for donation. Given the great food insecurity this year, cookies purchased for donation will primarily go to food banks in NYC. I will work with our Council to try to get a donation of cookies to 9 Million Reasons (that supports our island's food bank). We usually get a large donation to Coler Hospital and we give some of these cookies to the Senior Center and RIDA. I will try to get Council to keep that donation this year as well. 

Check out Roosevelt Island's very own Persya Perez (Troop 3001) who was on NBC last week: Selling Girl Scout Cookies Goes Virtual

 

Roosevelt Island troops with their sale links (in order from oldest to youngest Girl Scouts):   

Troop 3244 (11-12th grades/ Leaders: Aiesha Eleusizov and Jasmine Castillo): 

Troop 3001 (6-9 grades/Leaders: Aiesha Eleusizov and Yitza Martinez):

Troop 3536 (6-7 grades/ Leaders: Dimaura Cole and Liz Pirraglia):

Troop 3002 (4-5 grades/ Leaders: Elle Erickson and Kristin Bruan)

Troop 3233 (2-3 grades/ Leaders: Susy DelCampo Perea and Fay Christian)

Long Island City East River Countdown Clock Displays Only A Few Hours Remain Of Trump Administration Seen Today From Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms Park

Closer to home. Across the East River from Roosevelt Island, on Long Island City waterfront, is an outdoor digital clock counting the days and hours remaining until the end of the President Donald Trump  nightmare.

Today, at about 2;40 PM,  the clock displayed only 22 hours left until end of Trump administration as seen from the Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park
According to the Queens Post
A large digital clock on the Long Island City waterfront makes it clear that President Donald Trump’s days are numbered. The clock located by Anable Basin has been counting down the days until Trump’s term in office comes to an end–and for many residents that day can’t come soon enough. The timepiece was put up on the front of Sound River Studios, located at 4-40 44th Dr., more than three years ago by Matthew Barney, who operates out of the building, along with fellow artists such as Brandon Stosuy....

Click here for the Queens Post story about the Trump Countdown Clock.

The Trump Countdown Clock artist tweets::

Monday, January 18, 2021

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 on the night before his assasination - 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 History.com