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

Roosevelt Island Covid 19 Free Rapid Test Site Opening Wednesday January 20 But No Local Vaccination Center Yet - Latest Roosevelt Island 7 Day Positive Covid 19 Test Results Number 24 And 5.54 Positive Rate

Last December, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Shelton Haynes announced that a free Covid-19 testing site was coming soon to Roosevelt Island and later updated info to report the Covid 19 Test Site would open in January.

Earlier today, I asked Mr Haynes:

Any update on when the covid test site will open and if there will be a vaccination site on Roosevelt Island. Also, is there any info on the provider, Swift Emergency Care? There is no info that I can find on this provider. Who are they and what experience do they have?
This afternoon, RIOC reported:
In an effort to safely and smartly reopen our community in accordance with state health guidelines, RIOC will be opening a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Site beginning Wednesday, January 20th.

Testing will utilize a rapid antigen test that gives results in as little as 15 minutes to approximately 24 hours, depending upon volume of individuals tested. This site will be open to the Roosevelt Island Community and beyond, Wednesdays through Saturdays, 9 AM to 5PM.

The site, located at 524 Main St. (formerly the R.I. branch library), operates on a pre-registration and walk-in basis. It should be noted that you will be seen on a first-come, first-serve basis by way of registration. Testing is free of charge and no insurance is required.

To learn more, go to: RIOC.NY.GOV/556 

Please be advised that the Department of Health issued the test site a CLIA Lab Certification.

According to RIOC website

... Testing, administered by Swift Emergency Care Testing (SECT), utilizes a rapid antigen test that gives results in as little as 15 minutes to approximately 24 hours, depending upon volume of individuals tested.

Roosevelt Island COVID-19 Rapid Testing Site 

Where: 524 Main St. (formerly the R.I. branch library) 

When: Wednesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM 

How to Pre-register: Pre-registration will begin on Tuesday, January 19th.  

To register click HERE  

Be sure to sign up for RIOC Advisories and check our social media pages for real-time updates.  

How it Works: The site will have the capacity to test up to 500 individuals a day. It will operate on a pre-register and walk-in basis. This site is free of charge and no insurance is required. 

Registration Challenges: Elderly, disabled (visual, hearing, or other impairments), and technology challenged individuals can register on-site with the help of healthcare staff.

The RIOC link to register for Covid 19 test is not active as of Monday, January 18.

At this time, there is no website or information available about the Roosevelt Island Covid 19 test site provider, Swift Emergency Care Testing.

As previously reported, requests have been made for a Roosevelt Island Covid 19 vaccination site.

Roosevelt Island elected official have urged Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to set up a Covid Vaccination site on Roosevelt Island.

But no word yet whether Roosevelt Island will get a vaccination site.

According to the NYC Department of Health, the Roosevelt Island zip code 10044 most recent 7 day Covid 19 reporting data for January 9 - January 15 shows of 443 people tested, 24 were positive for a 5.54% positive rate, an increase in positivity rate from last week showing:

... January 2 - January 8 shows of 558 people tested, 27 were positive for a 4.84% positive rate...

Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool Closed Until Further Notice Due To Potential Positive Covid 19 Case Says RIOC Adding They Conduct Contact Tracing For All Pool Users And Employees

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced yesterday

Please be advised that Sportspark Pool is temporarily closed. An update will be sent when Sportspark Pool reopens. We apologize for this inconvenience.

and I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes for more information about the Sportspark Pool closing:

Why was Sportspark pool closed? When is it expected to reopen?

Today, RIOC sent out this advisory:

Please be advised that Sportspark Pool remains closed due to a potential case of COVID-19. 

It is important to know that Sportspark Pool follows all CDC safe swimming practices including everyday preventative measures, disinfecting routines, and staff testing protocols. 

Please note that currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through recreational water. 

As required, RIOC will be adhering to all guidelines under the CDC Contact Tracing Program. For more info please visit:

Sportspark Pool will reopen when the facility is deemed safe to resume operations. 

We apologize for the inconvenience while RIOC continues its commitment to maintaining a safe community.

I followed up asking:

Was the potential Covid case from a staff person or Sportspark user. Is there contact tracing being done for users of the pool?
My Haynes replied:
We are not at liberty to disclose the details surrounding the potential Covid-19 case. As part of our process, we conduct contact tracing for all users of the pool and RIOC employees.

A Sportspark Pool Tipster adds:

There have been several heated verbal arguments in the locker room regarding people refusing to keep their masks (which is required according to the new rules). 

Also, the staff is letting people sit poolside. Most of them are masked, but this is not the time to be sitting around there. The rules now state that people can’t sit in the lobby, but nothing specifically about poolside. I think this should be changed.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Roosevelt Island Nisi Kitchen Outdoor Heated Tent Seating Re-Opens, Cornell Tech Cafe Outdoor Patio Open Too - Granny Annie's Expects Outdoor Eating Later This Month

The Roosevelt Island Nisi Kitchen heated dining tent re-opened yesterday and on a fairly mild January had several people eating at the outdoor tables.

Owners Kai &!Alex Razaghi invite you to come on down to Nisi Kitchen.

Granny Annie's 'Bar & Kitchen in Southtown is expected to re-open 

with outdoor dining later this month 

and the Cafe at Cornell Tech 

is open for take out, delivery and outdoor dining on their patio. 

The Roosevelt Islansd Fuji East, Piccolo Trattoria, Hot Pot Noodle Shop, Subway Sandwich Shop, Starbucks.and Wholesome Organic Market are open but not for seating.

Let's try to support our local Roosevelt Island businesses.

UPDATE 1/17 - Also open are China 1 and the Jupioca Juice Bar.

More info at Roosevelt Island Shops on Main Street website.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Loneliness & Quarantine At Roosevelt Island Coler Rehab & Nursing Facility - We May Not Die Of Covid But Isolation Protocols Are Killing Us, They Have To Come Up With Better Solution Says Resident

The NY Times recently reported on nursing home patients dying of loneliness during the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown ban on outside visitors.

Here on Roosevelt Island, residents at the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp (H&HC) Coler Rehab and Nursing Facility are suffering severe loneliness from the Covid-19 isolation, confinement and quarantine too. 

A Coler resident reported last week:
We have just learned that our  ...  quarantine has been extended until January 18th.

We were supposed to come off tomorrow January 7th, having been on it since Christmas Eve but a staff member on our unit tested positive day before yesterday - Monday - so they have reset the clock.

Today is our 293rd day of confinement with no end in sight. This has been a crushing blow to us. We are penned in like animals, confined to our tiny bed areas with only an occasional reprieve of a few moments. 

We may not die of COVID, but this protocol is killing us.

They have to come up with a better solution.

And the vaccinations aren't going to put a stop to this.

We are terribly depressed. 

On January 8, the Coler resident reported:

More bad news for us! Of Coler's 22 units, all but two are now in quarantine.

Two residents from our unit tested positive yesterday so they and their roommates (for a total of six people) have been sent over to the C Building fifth floor for a minimum of two weeks isolation. In one instance a woman who is bed ridden, and NEVER leaves her room, tested positive. Where did she get it? (Answer: staff)

Yesterday they began rapid testing staff. They're systematically going unit by unit and shift by shift. For now they will do all staff once a week. Results come back in only 15 minutes. The rapid testing will be in addition to the twice weekly testing staff are currently undergoing. It looks like Coler was spooked by the post holiday surge of positive cases among staff and how those are spreading to residents.

Visitations won't resume until January 20th now.

And yesterday:

For the week of January 3rd - 8th there were 4 positive covid residents and 9 positive staff.

Visitations were closed until January 20th. However I just called again (today Thursday, Jan 14th) and although they said no positive residents, they did say visitations are now closed until January 29th, which means there must be some new staff cases. Yesterday they were still planning to resume visitations on the 20th, so this is a new heartbreaking development). 

And so it goes... 

Another Coler resident who was moved to the C Building 5th Floor for observation because a unit roommate tested positive says:

They still don’t have nothing organized. There is no supplies here, no staff. There is nothing up here. My butt didn't touch the seat of my wheelchair until 3:45 yesterday. One nurse per unit. The one nurse gotta do medication and then turn around and do treatment. By the time they get to me it's damn near time for them to go home. If the right staff ain't here they will leave me in the bed.

During the December 19, Coler Nursing Home Lives Protest Rally, residents were not allowed outside the building so they greeted and waved from inside the lobby to supporters on the sidewalk including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

In response to my inquiry for comment, A NYC HHC spokesperson replied:

NYC Health + Hospitals’ priority remains the safety of its patients, residents, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic continues to pose restrictions on visitation and other activities, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler has been able to accommodate socially distant and safe recreation on our campus for residents. We will continue to work with all residents to ensure their comfort without compromising their safety for the duration of this pandemic.

and adds:

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler follows all necessary COVID-19 safety guidance and regulation from NYS DOH. 

Residents at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler have not been confined to their units for hundreds of days. Despite required quarantine, staff accommodates trips outdoors on the facility’s campus, out to the community for approved “essential visits,” and organizes socially distant and safe activities for residents, such as cultural music and movies. 

As per NYS DOH requirement, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler requires all staff of nursing homes to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. All testing is done on the campus.

If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they are required to appropriately quarantine and not return to work until they are cleared. This may require the unit the staff member works on to be placed on restrictions, as per NYS DOH regulation. However, as stated previously, residents are still scheduled to go outside for fresh air, etc.

All NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler staff are required to wear a face mask at all time when in the facility. Other PPE is worn as required by the CDC, CMS, and NYS DOH regulations.

All NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler residents are provided with appropriate face coverings at all times. 

COVID-19 vaccine distributions for residents and staff at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler began on December 28, 2020. Everyone who is a part of Coler has been offered a vaccine at this point.

More stories about life in nursing homes across America from the NY Times.

UPDATE 1/16 - The Coler resident adds:

For the week of January 9th - 15th: 0 positive COVID residents, 12 COVID positive staff.

Visitations continue to be suspended until January 29th.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - Subway, Tram, Ferry And Citibike - Temporary Red Bus Manhattan Shuttle Daily Until Further Notice Due To Tram Elevator Outage Says RIOC

 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.

                                                                                                     Image From MTA

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.


Due to an elevator service outage at the Manhattan Tram Station, the RIOC Red Bus will provide special shuttle service to and from Manhattan for those with limited mobility. Schedule information is below:


Departs hourly from the Tramway, 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.


Departs on the half hour from the Southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th & 59th Street and will make all Southbound local bus stops (starting with 591 Main Street) to the Tramway. The last trip will depart Manhattan at 7:30 PM. Please note, that there is no shuttle bus service from 3 PM – 4 PM daily. 

The Tram Shuttle will run seven days a week until further notice.

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 15 - January 21 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons, Social Media, Recipes, Nutrition Info & Big Game Give A Way Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket   invites you to check out their January 15 - January 21 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 14, 2021

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association Asks For Your Help Donating Warm Winter Clothes To Nine Million Reasons Long Island City Homeless Outreach Program

As previously reported, the Long Island City based Evangel Church 9 Million Reasons Food Pantry program has been supplying the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) food pantry. RIDA President Wendy Hersh reports:

I think it is important to let the community know how hard it was for us at RIDA to find an agency willing to come to Roosevelt Island to supply us with food to give out. They have been supplying us with food since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, enough to feed 220 families each week. 

I am so appreciative and thankful for them.  I continue to give back in every way that I can. I donate to them personally and if people have a donation for RIDA, I have asked them to donate it to 9 Million Reasons. 

                                                       Image Of RIDA, Evangel and NYC CERT Members Prior To Delivering Food Saturday May 2 

In addition to supplying the Roosevelt Island food pantry, as well as other NYC food pantries, the 9 Million Reasons program also provides clothing for homeless people in Long Island City shelters. If you are able to donate warm winter coats, gloves, scarves and hats in good and clean conditions to 9 Million Reasons, Ms Hersh asks you to bring the clothing to the Senior Center outdoor garden (546 Main Street) on Wednesday or Friday mornings.

According to Evangel Church 9 Million Reasons Program:

A Need for warm winter clothes, among other essentials

9 Million Reasons runs the largest community food pantry in New York City. When our organization was founded in 2016 to serve local neighborhoods, we ran a Saturday-only food pantry as one of the many programs offered. When New York City went into shut down in March 2020, we extended our food pantry program to a daily operation to meet the urgent challenge of rising food insecurity during the pandemic. With this expansion, 9 Million Reasons is able to serve over 70,000 clients weekly via three avenues: walk-in pantry, home delivery, and, since participating in the USDA Farmers to Families program, bulk distribution to a network of 257 smaller food pantries, community organizations, mutual aid groups, and housing projects. The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, which serves the elderly, the disabled, veterans, and other vulnerable community members, is one such partners, receiving supplies of essential groceries, canned goods, and personal care items twice per week. These deliveries have been consistent since the beginning of the pandemic in April.

Since the start of the pandemic, 9 Million Reasons has helped 512,863 families or 1,641,131 people (which equals 15,385,890 pounds of food, or 12,821,575 meals) furnish their dinner tables and relieve some pressure from their much burdened lives, in New York City, Yonkers, Long Island and parts of New Jersey.

In addition to fighting against food insecurity, 9 Million Reasons actively cares for those struggling with another urgent matter in our neighborhood, homelessness, as most hotels in Long Island City have been turned into shelters. 9 Million Reasons’ homeless outreach program includes providing people in need with warm winter clothes, among other essentials. 9 Million Reasons cannot achieve these great milestones without the support from generous individuals and organizations - so, we kindly ask you, within your domain, to join our mission. One way you can support our mission is by donating winter garments in good condition, such as scarves, coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, and winter boots. To make a donation, please drop off your donated items with the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association. If you’d like to make a monetary donation to 9 Million Reasons, please visit our gofundme page to donate. Should you desire to join our effort through volunteering, please visit or Eventbrite page. We are forever grateful for your continued generosity, especially during these trying times.

Last May, I spoke with RIDA's Wendy Hersh and Evangel's Carolyn Marko about their collaboration to help feed needy Roosevelt Island residents.

If you have any winter clothing to donate, please consider dropping it off at the Senior Center outdoor garden (546 Main Street) on Wednesday and Friday mornings for the 9 Million Reasons homeless ourtreach program.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

61 Roosevelt Island Christmas Holiday Trees Recycled And Kept Out Of Landfill With Help From RI Garden Club and Haki Compost Collective Volunteers Last Week - Recycle Your Food Scraps, Pens, Pencils & Markers Every Saturday At Haki Compost Drop Off Site Next To Farmers Market

The Roosevelt Island Garden Club and Haki Compost Collective joined together last week to help residents recycle their Christmas Holiday Trees and avoid adding the trees to landfill. Residents were able to bring their trees to the Garden Club entrance or the Saturday Haki Compost Food Scrap drop off site as these 2 young people (Leire & Itziar) did.

According to the Haki Compost Collective Instagram post:

The dust has settled on our Christmas-tree-rescue operation and the numbers are in... This year, we recycled 61 trees, just about double what island volunteers managed to keep out of landfill last year. Not to mention the inspiring number of Roosevelt Islanders seen carting their own trees to a drop-off site, both by car and by bike.

Throughout the week, Roosevelt Island Garden Club and Haki volunteers made the neighborhood rounds, snagging as many trees as we could find while residents brought their own trees to the garden and food scrap drop-off site. Saturday became a carting bonanza as we took all 61 trees to two different @NYCParks #Mulchfest locations, an active chipping site in Astoria Park and a quieter drop-off at Queensbridge Park.

A huge thank you to @jf.lindentree from RIGC for being the driving force of this initiative, literally and figuratively. With just a handful of dedicated individuals, we can make holiday magic happen throughout the year. Here’s to smashing our own records again next season!

You can continue to bring your food scraps to the Haki Compost Collective drop off site every Saturday at the Farmers Market next to the Motorgate Garage

as well as pens and markers too.