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Monday, March 25, 2019

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Celebrates Purim and Performs The Trial of the Millennium Purimschpiel

Janet Falk reports on the annual Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) Purim celebration held last Wednesday. According to Ms. Falk;

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Presented The Trial of the Millennium for Purim

Purim, a joyous and comedic holiday celebration, filled with fun and parody based on the Biblical story of Esther, was celebrated by the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC)

on Wednesday night, March 20, with more than 60 people participating in a full evening of activities for all ages.

After a pizza dinner, Rabbi Joel Shaiman, dressed as Freddy Mercury,

led the worship service. It included the reading of the megillah or traditional scroll, which recounts the story of the holiday, marking the survival of the Jewish people at a time of a threatened massacre. Assisted by Keren Bachi, Gad Levanon, Anna Levenstein, Michal Melamed and Rachel Rekhter, the reading was interrupted by children

and adults wielding groggers to blot out the recitation of the name of the man who purportedly attempted to destroy the Jews. The congregation joined in singing prayers to music from Queen and Lady Gaga.

The service alternated with scenes from a Purimschpiel, or play based on this narrative. Written by Mickey Rindler and directed by Janet Falk, The Trial of the Millennium presented a courtroom drama in which witnesses pointed out the misdeeds of the villain Haman, who rebutted with his own interpretation. The cast featured King (and Chief Justice) Ahasuerus (Tsoni Peled),

Haman (Mickey Rindler),

Mordechai (Scott Piro),

Queen Vashti (Janet Falk),

Zeresh (Michal Melamed) and Esther (Emily Kalb).

Other cast members included children of the RIJC Religious School and Island community.

The Purimschpiel's broad humor and political-themed puns, plus references to Roosevelt Island affairs, drew laughter, groans and cheers from the audience, who applauded enthusiastically.

The evening concluded with refreshments and delicious Hamantaschen , a triangular holiday fruit pastry treat, baked by the Levanon-Seligson family, which has become an annual tradition.

For more information about the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, which is the oldest, active egalitarian congregation on the Island, please visit or call 212-688-0003.

The next Shabbat family Pot Luck Dinner is Friday, April 12 at 6:00 pm at a neighbor’s home, followed by worship services at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary at the Cultural Center, 548 Main Street.

The Spring Learning series, Fake News?: Scripture, Midrash, Story and History in Our Observances of Purim, Passover and Shavuot, with Rabbi Joel Shaiman, will begin on Monday, April 15 at 7:30 pm.
More info on the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation at their web site.

You're Invited To Meet Your Friendly Roosevelt Island Neighborhood Scientists, Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoc Pub Talk At Nisi Restaurant Tuesday March 26 - Topic, Critical Mass: Cancer Progression And Treatment Progress

The Postdoctoral Association of Weill Cornell Medicine is hosting their second neighborhood Pub Talk event at Roosevelt Island's Nisi Kitchen (559 Main Street) Tuesday, March 26.

You're invited to attend.

According to the Weill Cornell Medicine Postdocs:
The Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoctoral Association presents: the Postdoc “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! Three researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine will discuss what they are doing in the lab to advance the scientific frontier in cancer research. March 26, 2019 - 7:30 PM at Nisi Kitchen (549 Main Street, Roosevelt Island).

Up first, Fanny Vatter will present "Exosomes: tiny messengers for big discoveries". Exosomes are vehicles released from cells, carrying molecules. The contents of an exosome can be used as a biomarker to determine the health or disease of a cell. Join Fanny as she discusses her latest research investigating the role of exosomes in breast cancer progression.

Next, Brian Pickering will present “The Epitranscriptome: small marks with big effects”. Genes give our cells the instructions necessary for life are expressed as RNA, which then makes proteins, which provide the structure and carry out most of the chemistry in our cells. With advances in technologies, we have discovered small chemical modifications that decorate our RNA, informing how much protein to make and how long to stick around before being degraded. Cancer cells hijack this process to proliferate indefinitely and resist treatment. Learn how Brian’s research investigates these processes with the goal of developing a new generation of therapeutics to fight cancer.

To conclude, Wilhem Leconet will present “Controlled delivery and targeting, future’s keywords in cancer therapy”. Wilhems work focuses on a small therapeutic protein, named BiJ591, in prostate cancer. Come hear about how his research has provided new insights into the development of controlled delivery of small therapeutic proteins like BiJ591 in cancer, that once implemented, allow continued release of the therapeutic agent.

*What is a postdoc?? A postdoctoral scholar, or “postdoc” is a temporary mentored research position held by an individual with a doctoral degree. Postdocs engage in research and training that allows them to acquire the professional skills necessary to pursue a related independent career.
The Weill Cornell Postdocs hosted their first Roosevelt Island Medical Research Pub Talk last January 22 at Nisi Restaurant.

The subject was mental disease and brain research focusing on Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Here's what happend.

Weill Cornell Postdoc and event organizer Heidi Meyer began the program with introductory remarks

followed by neuroscientist brain researcher Michael Notaras presentation on Schizophrenia

and audience Q&A.

The Pub Talk's second presentation was by Weill Cornell Postdoc Reed Maxwell on Borderline Personality Disorders.

Sorry don't have video for the second presentation but here's summary of the talk.

So, come meet your friendly local scientist tomorrow evening at Nisi Restaurant for the Second Weill Cornell Postdocs Roosevelt Island Medical Research Pub Talk.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Enjoy An All Mozart Evening Concert Saturday March 23 Presented By Roosevelt Island Concerts At Good Shepherd Community Center - One Overture, Two Concertos, $20 Suggested Donation, $10 Students & Seniors

Reported earlier this month that the Roosevelt Island classical concert series organizers, R&R Concerts have a new name, Roosevelt Island Concerts,

as they begin their 12th season this Saturday March 23 with an All Mozart Evening concert:

One Overture, Two Piano Concertos

Benjamin Hochman conducts the Roosevelt Island Orchestra and solos in two Mozart piano concertos

​Overture to the Marriage of Figaro
Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453

Piano Concerto No. 24, K. 491

Good Shepherd Church

543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

Your generous contribution keeps the series affordable
Suggested donation: $20
Students & seniors: $10
Piano provided by Steinway & Sons

According to Roosevelt Island Concerts
We've changed our name!

The change reflects the series' rising status as one of NYC's leading concert series, now in our 12th season — and driven by your enthusiasm and support.

The concert series that has been presenting extraordinary performances of classical music on Roosevelt Island for more than a decade will now be known as Roosevelt Island Concerts. As one of the few New York series presenting both chamber music and orchestral concerts, its rich repertoire draws audiences from Roosevelt Island and throughout New York City. 

March 23 concert
The first event presented as Roosevelt Island Concerts — on March 23 — will feature an all-Mozart program, with Benjamin Hochman conducting the Roosevelt Island Orchestra and soloing in two piano concertos. First up on the program is the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro. All events in the series take place at Good Shepherd Church, the 1888 acoustically wonderful NYC landmark at the heart of Roosevelt Island.

Check the website for more information about the March 23 concert
Season XII will continue with the Summer Series, organized by Israel Philharmonic Orchestra cellist Iris Jortner and Israeli Opera violinist and violist Ralph Allen. Guest performers will be announced in the late spring. 

Accessible to all New Yorkers
The series has maintained a goal of providing world-class music to all New Yorkers and to everyone in its home community of Roosevelt Island, whose diverse population includes residents of subsidized housing as well as of million-dollar condominiums. Beginning in March, concertgoers will be asked for a donation of a suggested amount, which will help keep the series affordable to all. Complementing the concerts, outreach events at area healthcare and senior facilities bring the joy of beautiful music to those who might not otherwise be able to experience it. 

The series is now in the midst of a major fundraising campaign with the aim of compensating performers at appropriate and competitive levels, expanding the number of creative and tireless individuals who help produce our events, and providing pianists with an instrument of high quality on which to perform. 

Founded as R&R Concerts, the series continues to honor the memory of its namesake Robin & Rosemary Russell, who brought to Roosevelt Island a highly regarded series of concerts and a music school. Building on their spirit, and with the deep support of the community as a vital part of its cultural life, Roosevelt Island Concerts will continue to bring extraordinary classical performances to Roosevelt Island as it expands its geographic and artistic reach. 

The newly redesigned website is at
Check out future Roosevelt Island Concert events, learn about the Orchestra and help support the concert series.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - F Service To And From Manhattan, E Service Also, Both Tram Cabin Working And Ferry Service Too - Single Tram Cabins Operating For Up To 4 Weeks Starting Monday

Good news. There is Roosevelt Island F Train subway service to and from Manhattan this weekend

and E Train service too.
ELECTRICAL IMPROVEMENTS Mar 22 - 25, 9:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon E Trains run via the F in both directions between 21 St-Queensbridge in Queens and 2 Av in Manhattan, the last stop...
More good news, both Roosevelt Island Tram cabins are working this weekend. But starting Monday, Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul project resumes for up to 4 weeks with only 1 cabin working.

More on the Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul project at this prior post.

Here's the Winter Schedule for Roosevelt Island ferry Astoria route service. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Here We Go Again - Roosevelt Island Tram Operating Only 1 Cabin For Up To 4 Weeks Starting Monday March 25 For Part 2 Of Tram Overhaul Project, Rope Relocation Finished, Gear Box Overhaul Begins

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Please be advised that starting Monday, March 25th, the Tram will be operating with only one cabin in service. This work is expected to last up to four weeks, alternating between the North and South cabins. The Tram entry/exit patterns, elevator service, and MetroCard machine availability will not be affected.

How will my commute be affected? 

During this phase of the required maintenance project, only one Tram will be in operation. Please plan for additional travel time when commuting during this period. 

What are my travel alternatives?

Red Bus Shuttle service will be available to and from the Manhattan Tram Station every weekday from 4 PM to 8:30 PM, beginning from the R.I. Tram Station. 

Red Bus Shuttle pick-up locations:

Manhattan: Southwest corner of 58th St. and 2nd Ave.        
Roosevelt Island: Tram Station Plaza

MTA subway F line ( and the NYC Ferry service ( are available to and from Manhattan. Please check websites regularly for service changes and disruptions during this construction period.

Q102 MTA bus service is also an option to connect to Midtown Manhattan-bound trains at Queensboro Plaza. 

Why is this work happening? 

The Roosevelt Island Tram project consisted of two major maintenance updates: rope relocations and gearbox overhauls. The project is now entering into its final phase with the gearbox overhauls, which is expected to last four weeks. This required work is to ensure the safest transportation system possible and to extend its service life into the future.

We thank the community for your patience throughout this project.
RIOC President Susan Rosenthal described the Tram Overhaul Project during her March 7 Community Report to the RIOC Board of Directors.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Restaurant Deprived Roosevelt Island Residents Plead For Take Out Delivery Service From Uber Eats & Amazon Fresh Whole Foods - No Luck So Far But That May Soon Change With Help From NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

Restaurant deprived Roosevelt Island residents have taken to social media pleading for take out delivery service from Uber Eats and Amazon Fresh Whole Foods. So far no luck but that may soon change.

Today, I asked NYC Council Member Ben Kallos if he received any response from Uber Eats or Amazon about delivering to Roosevelt Island. Mr Kallos replied:
Thanks to outreach on social media and follow up from the Roosevelt Islander I've reached out to both Uber and Amazon regarding delivery of foods to Roosevelt Island.
A spokesperson for Uber Eats added:
We want to serve the entire city, including Roosevelt Island, and hope to partner with local restaurants to make that a reality.
I followed up asking the Uber Eats Spokesperson:
Is there any estimate as to when Uber Eats will serve Roosevelt Island?

Also, what is the difficulty in delivering to Roosevelt Island?
Will update when response received.

Here's how Uber Eats is supposed to work.

Stay tuned for announcement.

UPDATE 8:30 PM - According to Josh J. Jamieson, Communications Director for Council Member Ben Kallos:
Uber has been responsive to our questions about service expansions. We understand it is their goal to partner with local restaurants to get them to commit to expanding delivery areas. We are still trying to connect with Amazon.
UPDATE - The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse adds: