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Monday, November 11, 2019

Approval Of Construction Funding For FDR Hope Memorial Depicting President Franklin D Roosevelt In A Wheelchair On Agenda For RIOC Special Board Meeting November 12 - Also, Deferral Of Hudson Related Riverwalk Building 9 Rental Payment On Agenda Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is holding a Special Board of Directors meeting tomorrow, 5:30 PM November 11, at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street). Only 2 items are on the Agenda.

The first Agenda Item is deferral of rental payment from Southtown developer Hudson Related for the soon to start construction Riverwalk building 9 and the second is approval of construction funding by RIOC of the long delayed FDR Hope Memorial sculpture that depicts President Franklin Roosevelt sitting in a wheelchair.

FDR Hope Fundraiser from Burgeon & Flourish, LLC on Vimeo.

According to the RIOC November 12 Board Agenda

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a Special Meeting of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center Theater, 548 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York, 10044.


Approval of Deferral of Specified Rental Payment and Related Modifications for Southtown Development Building # 9 (Board Action Required)

Authorization to enter into Contract with Sea Crest Construction Corp. for construction services in Connection with the FDR Hope Memorial Project (Board Action Required)
Apparently, no public session prior to the Special Meeting.

According to this memo from RIOC Chief Financial Officer John O'Reilly to RIOC President Susan Rosenthal in support of deferring Hudson Related's rental payment of Southtown's Riverwalk Building 9 development:
The Southtown Plan and Project approved by the Board of Directors on September 22, 1999 included general requirements for the development of Building #9. Additional conditions of the development were outlined in five separate amendments to the development agreement.

As part of the Fifth Amendment to Development Agreement, Hudson Companies Incorporated & the Related Companies L.P. (Hudson/Related) was required to pay RIOC a Specified Rental Payment in the amount of $16,800,000 for Building 8. According to the terms, such payment was due on the Rental Commencement Date, but the developer could defer payment of the Specified Rental Payment until the earlier of (i) a period not to exceed thirty-six (36) months from the Rent Commencement Date, or (ii) developer’s sale of development rights under the Inclusionary Housing Program, set forth in section 23-90 of the New York City Zoning Resolution (ZR), and in either case, all unpaid Specified Rental Payment would bear simple interest at the rate of 4%.

Per the amendments to the development agreement, Rent Commencement Date is defined as “the earlier of (i) the date upon which one or more Temporary Certificates of Occupancy is issued by the New York City Department of Buildings for at least ninety percent (90%) of the Completed Units in the Building, and (ii) the second (2nd) anniversary of the date of this lease.”

For Building 9, the Fifth Amendment to Development Agreement states that the Specified Rental Payment “shall be equal a Blended Land Value of $152.33 per square foot floor area, minus $60 per square foot floor area, if the Ground Lease is signed in calendar year 2019”; that the Blended Land Value would increase annually, at a rate of 2.75%; and such payment would be due upon Substantial Completion of the project.

Unlike for Building 8, the development agreement does not provide a right to the developer to defer such payments. The Specified Rental Payment for Building 9 is estimated at $24,800,000.

Issue: Hudson Related is requesting that the Specified Rental Payment be deferred for 18 months from the Rent Commencement Date instead of Substantial Completion. Hudson Related is also asking that the definition of Rent Commencement Date be amended to “the earlier of (i) the date upon which one or more Temporary Certifications of Occupancy is issued by the New York City Department of Buildings for at least 90% of the Completed Units in the building; and (ii) 30 months from the signing of the ground lease.” Hudson Related is making such request due to the size of the building, it being larger than the other Riverwalk buildings; and because the construction is expected to last about 28 months. Moreover, the balance of payments from the institutional purchaser is scheduled to occur 12 months following the Rent Commencement Date, and the deferred payment would ensure that funds are available to Hudson Related from the institutional sale to pay the Blended Land Value payment due to RIOC. This request would also move the time in which ground rent would be due by 6 months.

In exchange for such request, Hudson Related has agreed to pay interest at a rate of 4.5% on the unpaid principal portion of the Specified Rental Payment until the end of the 18-month deferral period, when the principal and interest would be due in full.

Recommendation: Based on the above, we recommend the Board approve the request to modify the definition of the Rent Commencement Date, to defer the ground rent that will be due by 6 months; and to allow for an 18-month deferral on payment of the Specified Rental Payment from the Rent Commencement Date (instead of the date of Substantial Completion), at a 4.5% interest rate for the duration of that time period. As a result, RIOC would gain an interest income in the amount of $1,692,693.59 in addition to the principal amount owed.
Here's Hudson Related developer David Kramer talking about Riverwalk Building 9 during May 29, 2019 RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting.

Also, here's RIOC Assistant VP of Capital Planning & Projects Jonna Carmona-Graf memo to RIOC President Rosenthal in support of funding construction of the long awaited FDR Hope Memorial sculpture depicting President Franklin Roosevelt in a wheelchair.
Background: In 2010, when the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) sought approval from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) to build FDR Four Freedoms (FFP), the Roosevelt Island Disability Association (RIDA) protested the lack of representation of FDR as disabled in the park’s design. In response, FERI pledged $100,000 toward a sculpture project sponsored by RIDA that would portray FDR in his wheelchair at a site nearby. The Board of Directors approved the siting of the FDR Hope Memorial in Southpoint Park north of the Small Pox Hospital in May 2010.

Subsequent to the Board’s approval of the siting, RIDA formed a committee to solicit a call for Artists to commission a monument. This competitive selection process resulted in RIDA’s hiring of Meredith Bergmann. Following a period of extensive research, the two-person scene within the circular plaza was conceived and was presented to the community and other oversight groups such as NYC Public Design Commission, NYC Parks and NYC Community Board 8. Fabrication of the bronze statues commenced upon approval of these groups.

In April 2018, as RIDA did not have the funds to complete the project, RIDA requested the assistance of RIOC. Materials were submitted and approved by the Board authorizing RIOC to:
  • a. Assume responsibility for the FDR Hope Memorial project execution estimated at a cost to RIOC of approximately $300,000; based upon an estimation prepared by Accu-Cost Construction Consultants, Inc. (Accu-Cost)
  • b. Enter into an agreement with NYC Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) for reimbursement of up to $150,000 in construction costs;
  • c. Enter into an agreement with RIDA donating the statue to RIOC; and
  • d. Procure Mt. Airy White granite and St. John’s granite from North Carolina Granite as a sole source.
Since the Board approval on April 18, 2018, a contract with NYC Parks was executed and registered with the NYC Comptroller’s office on July 12, 2019; an agreement with RIDA was executed and the sole source procurement of the granite pavers was initiated. The actual cost incurred for the stone was $175,088 vs. a budget of $193,147 (which includes contingency), yielding a savings of $18,059. We also moved forward with the development of contract documents for bidding purposes, including drawings and technical specifications. The artist’s team only prepared preliminary construction documents for the plaza. As such, RIOC engaged the services of an Architect of Record to complete the construction documents for bidding and issued a purchase order to the Lawrence Group, one of the Architecture/Engineering firms on our panel.

Final technical drawings and specifications were delivered to RIOC for review in June 2019. These contract documents were reviewed by the LiRo Group (RIOC’s Owner’s Representative) for completeness, constructability and estimating prior to issuing an RFP for construction services. The estimated value for work included in the RFP documents prepared by LiRo, is approximately $620,000.

Procurement: A request for proposals was advertised in the New York State Contract Reporter and RIOC website on August 26, 2019. Bids were due on October 10, 2019 and two proposals were received.

Contractor bid proposals were reviewed by Capital Planning & Projects and LiRo (Owner’s Representative). We assessed pricing included in the RFP bid proposals, the final cost estimate prepared by LiRo and the design estimate of approximately $300,000 provided to RIOC by the artist’s team and Accu-Cost.

Upon RIOC and LiRo’s review of the bid pricing and the Accu-Cost estimate we found essential scope items were not included in the Accu-Cost estimate, including demolition, lighting, fill, erosion control and concrete aggregate (an approximate value of $164,000). In addition, there was a variance in the quantity of pavers and general conditions costs were very low (an additional cost of approximately $263,000). We met with both contractors to understand their assumptions included in the pricing and requested clarifications.

The proposals were then reviewed by Capital Planning & Projects and LiRo (Owner’s Representative) and found to be fair and reasonable and in accordance with RIOC’s procurement guidelines. Sea Crest’s proposal was most responsive to the criteria set forth in the RFP and was within industry range of the LiRo estimate of $620,000.

Recommendation: Based on the above, RIOC Capital Planning and Projects recommends subject, to the satisfaction of all contracting requirements, that the Board of Directors authorize and approve entering into contract with Sea Crest Construction Corporation to provide Construction Services for the FDR Hope Memorial Project for a total amount of $650,000 with a 5% contingency of $32,500 bringing the total authorized not-to-exceed amount to $682,500. We expect construction work to be complete within four (4) months.
More on the FDR Hope Memorial at their web site.

Sponsored Post - You're Invited To Weill Cornell Medicine & NY Presbyterian Upcoming Free Health & Wellness Fall 2019 Seminars - Tuesday November 12 Headache Matters And November 19 Keeping Your Liver & Gut Happy

You're invited to the Weill Cornell Medicine & NY-Presbyterian Free Health & Wellness Fall 2019 Seminar Series.

November 12 -  Headache Matters: When Should I Worry & How Do I Get Control?

Susan W. Broner, MD

Alina Masters-Israilov, MD

November 19

Digestive Health and Weight Management: Keeping Your Liver & Gut Happy

Carolyn Newberry, MD

Sonal Kumar, MD, MPH

Time 6:30–8 pm

Place - All seminars held at:
Uris Auditorium
Meyer Research and Education Building
Weill Cornell Medicine
1300 York Avenue (at 69th St.)
All seminars are FREE and open to the public. Seating is available for 250 people on a first-come, first-served basis.

American Sign Language interpretive services will be provided at all seminars.

If you require a disability-related accommodation, please call 212-821-0888 and leave a message.

According to Weill Cornell Medicine Government & Communty Affairs:
Health & Wellness Seminars

Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) physicians actively educate their communities beyond standard appointment times. Wellness seminars, as well as presentations in collaboration with community-based organizations, create forums for attendees to learn about particular health topics, ask questions and engage in a communicative dialogue with our physicians. The WCM Division of Government & Community Affairs organizes these critically important opportunities to educate and expose common questions, misconceptions or concerns....
Watch the video below to learn more about Weill Cornell Medicine's public outreach programs

including the Health & Wellness Seminars and STEM Education.

More info on the Weill Cornell Medicine/NY Presbyterian Fall 2019 Health & Wellness Seminars.

Veterans Day 2019 - Thank You To All Members Of The Military For Your Service

Today is Veteran's Day.

According to
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars...
If you know a Veteran or see one on the street today, please take a brief moment to thank them for their service to our country. Also, don't just thank them today but do it throughout the year and thank our active duty soldiers as well.

Last year, Roosevelt Island

honored some of our local veterans (approximately 300 veterans live on Roosevelt Island as of last year)

during a ceremony organized by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC).

Today, Governor Cuomo announced:

Congratulations To Roosevelt Island Resident Dimaura Cole Finishing NYC Marathon On Behalf Of The Girl Scouts Last Sunday - She Describes Her Motivation, Preparation And Experience As First Time Marathon Runner

Roosevelt Island resident Dimaura Cole ran

and finished

her first NYC Marathon last Sunday.


Ms Cole describes her motivation, preparation and experience running the 2019 NYC Marathon and looks forward to running in the 2020 NYC Marathon too. According to Ms Cole:
Running the marathon was a long term goal. Last summer, I met Nosipho Dhladhla she was training for the marathon and I was inspired as a result.

As a volunteer Girl Scout leader, the marathon became more meaningful when I was given the opportunity to run on behalf of the Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts teaches girls, confidence, courage but more importantly character.  It’s exciting to support an organization with a mission to make the world a better place. This was a cause bigger than myself and it was important for my daughters who are Girl Scouts to witness the process.

I am a NEW runner and I trained for six months. Most of my training was done on the Roosevelt Island running around the beautiful promenade enjoying the breathtaking views of LIC and Manhattan skyline.

I also ran for 8 consecutive Wednesday in  Astoria Park for an hour from 6:30am to 7:30am.

I ran a total of 10 registered races with New York Road Runners (NYRR), 3 half marathons, one 18 miles, one 12 mile, and the TCS NYC marathon as a result now I am qualified for the 2020 NYC marathon.

I ran numerous virtual races which required enormous commitment because despite feeling tired or dealing with setbacks, it was important to push forward.

I had to learn about fueling while running and how often to fuel.  I experienced digestive problems while running and it was due to eating too soon,  the wrong food or not emptying before the race.

Wearing the right sneaker was a hard lesson learned. My toes have suffered as a result.  Learning to pace myself was challenging as I would run too fast at the beginning and burn out at the end.

I don’t have a gym membership, and that affected my training because it lacked cross training which is less strenuous on the knees and legs.  I did have access to the gym at the hotels when I traveled which was helpful.

I travel for a living which can be dehydrating. I had to hydrate twice as much. Some days I felt extremely tired and I had to remind myself that I was flying and running which increased dehydration.

Towards the end of my training, I had the privilege of meeting former Marathoner and Roosevelt Island resident Antonio Gonzalez who provider vital training tips, and although I couldn’t apply many of his recommendations for this marathon, I will be able to apply them for the 2020 50th anniversary Marathon.

Running the marathon was an amazing experience.  I enjoying running in all the boroughs giving Hi Fives to children and adults. Watching the abundance of smiling faces cheering loudly and excitedly was exhilarating. Seeing my family during the race was like fuel to soul. It regenerated and re-energized my spirit.

Overall,  the marathon training was an arduous journey and a balancing act.   It was well worth it and I am looking forward to next’s year marathon.

I am happy that I’ve inspired others not only to run, but to run for a cause that’s bigger than themselves.

To achieve a goal, is to feel accomplished!

I have a Gofundme page fundraising on behalf of the Girl Scouts.  Please support and share.

This is the campaign for Girl Scouts of Greater New York NYC 2019 (Dee Cole):

Thank you for reading,

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Winter Is Coming But Thougts Of Spring Today Watching Roosevelt Island Kids Playing Baseball In November - Play Ball As Long As You Can

World Series is over, we're in the middle of football season and winter is coming but thoughts of spring came to mind today watching Roosevelt Island kids

playing baseball today at Capobianco Field.

Play ball.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cornell Tech Professor Wendy Ju Talks Self Driving Cars, Human Interaction With Automation, David Letterman/Melinda Gates Campus Visit And You Can Volunteer For Self Driving Car Study On Roosevelt Island

Are you interested in taking a ride around Roosevelt Island in a self driving car as part of a Cornell Tech study?  Here's how you can do it.

According to Cornell Tech:

Participate in a Ride-Share Study!

The Future Autonomy Research (FAR) Lab is looking for participants to take a ride around Roosevelt island!
  • Receive a ​$15 Amazon gift card
  • This study takes approximately an hour
  • Participants will be audio/video recorded and may have to wear wrist mounted physiological sensors
  • The entire ride takes place on Roosevelt Island
 If you’re interested, please get in touch with Ilan Mandel at​ or go to
 h​ttps:// to schedule a time to participate.

Cornell Tech Professor Wendy Ju is studying human interaction with automation and self driving cars. During the October 10 Cornell Tech Faculty Roosevelt Island Community Conversation, Professor Ju described her research to a group of very interested residents.

 I asked Professor Ju about the Optimus Ride self driving car pilot project at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

and whether Roosevelt Island could be a location for self driving car experimentation. Professor Ju replied:

Professor Ju also describes a recent visit by David Letterman and Melinda Gates to the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech' campus

and  Self Driving Car Lab for his Netflix TV interview show.

Here's Professor Ju's full presentation to the Cornell Tech Faculty Roosevelt Island Community Conversation on human interaction with automation, self driving cars and her life here as a new Roosevelt Island resident with her family.

Part 1.

Part 2

Also a very interesting article on possible futures for self driving cars in NY State from City and State NY.