Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reminder - Motorgate Gallery Murals Opening Reception And Cornell Tech Community Town Hall Meeting Tomorrow March 29

According to Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA:

Dear all,

Please join us for the opening ceremony of Motorgate Gallery on Wednesday, March 29th from 6-7:30pm at Motorgate Atrium.

Free refreshments will be provided by Gallery RIVAA.

Venue: Motorgate Atrium, 628 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York, NY 10044


And from Cornell Tech:
Join us for the Cornell Tech Town Hall! Wednesday, March 29th, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Manhattan Park Theatre Club, 8 River Road

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
Please be advised that there will be a Cornell Tech Town Hall event on Wednesday, March 29th from 7 – 8:30 PM at the Manhattan Park Theater Club (8 River Rd.).

We appreciate Cornell working together with RIOC in order to allow Roosevelt Island residents to attend both the Town Hall and the Motorgate Gallery Opening, which is scheduled for 6 PM that same evening.
Tomorrow is a busy night on Roosevelt Island. See you at both events.

Roosevelt Island Westview Ground Lease Negotiations Stalled Delaying Building's Exit From Mitchell Lama Program - Residents Worry About Fate Of Affordability Plan, What's Going On?

Six months after approving an affordability plan to exit the NY State Mitchell Lama housing program, residents of Roosevelt Island's Westview building are worried that no final agreement has been reached between the Westview building owner/sponsor (North Town Phase 111 Associates LP) and various NY State government agencies, including the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), NY State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) and the Empire State Development Corp.

As reported October 3, 2016:

The last remaining Roosevelt Island Mitchell Lama building, Westview,

took another step closer to privatization and exiting the NY State affordable housing program this weekend with the residents approving an affordability plan negotiated between their representatives, the Westview Task Force  (WTF) and building ownership....
... The Westview Task Force added that the Affordability Plan has the support of local elected officials, NY State Homes & Community Renewal and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC). RIOC is expected to approve an extension of the Westview Ground Lease through 2068 during its January 2016 Board meeting....
 Image of September 22 WTF Affordability Plan Informational Meeting

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright supported the Westview affordability plan and had this statement:
... Westview is the last building remaining in the Mitchell-Lama program on Roosevelt Island and will exit with an affordability plan supported by Assembly Member Seawright. Seawright acted on the numerous concerns raised by her constituents and worked with public officials Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Senator Jose M. Serrano, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos and New York State Homes & Community Renewal’s Commissioner James S. Rubin to ensure the affordability plan was fair for all. The proposed plan, which was overwhelmingly approved, protects Westview residents who chose to continue to rent rather than purchase. The affordability plan specifically protects residents on fixed incomes who simply cannot afford to purchase their apartments or pay market rent. At the same time, this is an opportunity for many middle income Westview residents to become first time home buyers at affordable purchase prices...
But, to date, the Westview building owner/sponsor and the NY State agencies have not reached a final agreement leaving the residents worried and the fate of their homes unknown.

I spoke with Westvew owner/sponsor David Hirschhorn about the current status of the Westview affordability plan and exit from the Mitchell Lama program. According to Mr. Hirschhorn:
The Affordability Plan is essentially a very detailed term sheet that sets forth all of the details for how Westview will withdraw from the Mitchell Lama Program and how it will operate following Mitchell Lama withdrawal. It is modeled on the Island House Affordability Plan and includes: (i) the purchase price to be paid by tenants who elect to purchase their apartments, (ii) the rent to be paid by tenants who elect not to purchase their apartments, (iii) the ground rent and transfer fees to be paid to RIOC, and (iv) the payments in lieu of real estate taxes to be paid to ESD.

Following the Island House template, the Westview Affordability Plan was the product of many years of negotiation and compromise between the Sponsor and the Westview Taskforce. DHCR was involved in every step of these negotiations and used its good offices to ultimately bring the parties together resulting in the Westview Affordability Plan Dated September 1, 2016 - FINAL. The agreed upon Final Affordability Plan was then overwhelmingly approved in a tenant referendum on October 3, 2016. The economic terms were carefully balanced and reflect substantial concessions; therefore, any change will have a ripple effect resulting in multiple changes. Its very complicated.

The sponsor and RIOC were to finalize the Ground Lease extension using the Island House Ground lease as the Westview template. The final approved Westview Affordability Plan provided for the same ground rent and the same transfer fees agreed to by RIOC in Island House to be incorporated in Westview. The Westview Affordability Plan actually states:
This Affordability Plan contemplates the execution of a formal Ground Lease Modification Agreement incorporating the terms of this Affordability Plan. The Sponsor and the New York State agencies agree to cooperate with one another in a good faith effort to prepare and execute such Ground Lease Modification Agreement (and the Sponsor-RIOC Sublease herein described) as expeditiously as reasonably possible.
All of this was supposed to have been completed by January 31, 2017 because effective February 1, 2017, the Affordability Plan provides that the purchase price paid by Westview tenants increases (with additional increases each month thereafter). The Sponsor deferred the February increase, but the March 1st increase is effective. The next increase will take effect April 1st.

I presume RIOC is evaluating whether it will proceed with the ground lease extension on which the Affordability Plan was based (the same as RIOC agreed to in Island House) and approved by Westview Tenants, or whether it will instead require a greater ground rent to be paid by the Coop (which would require that the monthly maintenance fees be increased that could result in the coop not being viable and thus the failure of the entire deal), and/or higher transfer fees from the Sponsor and tenants when apartments are sold. As noted above, any change in one provision beyond what was carefully negotiated, such as an increase to the Sponsor, would result in other changes, such as an increase in the purchase price to be paid by tenant purchasers.

Without a ground lease extension there cannot be a cooperative conversion and tenants would not be able to become homeowners. Remaining a Mitchell Lama is not an option and so Westview would become a market rate rental building. This would be a most unfortunate result.

All of the New York State agencies (RIOC, DHCR & ESD) need to finalize the Westview Ground Lease Extension substantially in the form that these same agencies signed for Island House. This could be done very quickly since the form is actually included in the Westview Red Herring which all of the agencies have had since its filing in 2015. ESD has already stated that they are prepared to move forward using the Island House documentation. So its really up to RIOC and DHCR as to whether they will proceed as provided in the Final Affordability Plan.

I am cautiously optimistic. I believe that RIOC and DHCR are carefully considering what is at stake and they are certainly aware of what was agreed to and the economic terms that everyone (tenants and sponsor) relied upon in compromising upon a final consensus back in September. I do believe they are working hard to make the Westview Affordability Plan a reality. It would be most unfortunate to now upset the apple cart. Island House was a smashing success and as the Sponsor, I would hope that we can replicate and bring that success to the Westview Tenants. Both the Sponsor and the Westview Taskforce desire to conclude the Westview Ground Lease Extension as originally contemplated without further price increases to the Westview Tenants. With interest rates rising, it would be good for the Westview Tenants to get this done very soon.
The Westview Task Force representing building residents issued this March 20 statement:
We were unpleasantly surprised and very disappointed that the effective date of the Westview Affordability Plan did not materialize at the end of January, this after the agencies assured us that a January effective date was achievable as long as we came to an agreement with the Sponsor and demonstrated Tenant support for the Plan. An overwhelmingly positive vote by Tenants was delivered at the end of September 2016 moving the Plan forward for final approval by the agencies.

We have not been provided with any specifics related to the new demands put on the Sponsor by the agencies and we are not part of any negotiations. Therefore, we are not in a position to comment on the status of such negotiations. We have, however, clearly expressed to the agencies and Sponsor our concerns with any potential outcome that might adversely affect the affordable preservation of our homes, and our position that any such adverse outcome would be unacceptable.

We remain hopeful that the affordability terms as of the promised January effective date will be retained and quickly approved by the agencies.
RIOC President Susan Rosenthal responded to my inquiry on status of Westview affordability plan and ground lease extension saying:
RIOC is working in concert with HCR and ESD to negotiate with the Owner. We remain hopeful that the parties will reach agreement. 
The last public statements by RIOC on the subject of Westview ground lease extension and affordability plan occurred during the October 13, 2016 Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting. RIOC President Rosenthal reported to the Committee:
We had a meeting with the Task Force at their request and we also had conversations with Hirschhorn before the vote and I indicated to both groups that we are having an appraisal.  It is very possible that the rent proposed by us will be higher than the Island House rent based upon the increase in market value and they should know that before going forward....

... We're not going to agree to an amount that's not based upon the market value....
RIOC Director Margie Smith added:
There's just so many variables. It is similar to Island House but certainly not the same building. There are so many issues that one building has and not the other one. We should have been involved all along in this, certainly before they voted....
Ms. Rosenthal replied:
HCR did not look at the affordability plan before the vote. ESD has not looked at the TEP payment before the vote. I'm not sure why it was done in this chronology.
Here's portion of the Real Estate Advisory Committee discussion

and the full discussion.

Information on the Island House Mitchell Lama exit here and Rivercross exit here.

Island House Mitchell Lama exit was under an affordability plan, Rivercross Mitchell Lama exit was a market rate plan.

There is currently an arbitration under way between RIOC and Rivercross regarding the Rivercross ground lease extension fee. Not currently known if the Rivercross ground lease extension arbitration effects the Westivew ground lease negotiations.

Westview residents are very worried.

Indivisible Roosevelt Island Group Formed To Fight President Donald Trump's Agenda - Indivisible RI NYC Meeting Tonight March 28 At Senior Center

Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk reports:
Indivisible Roosevelt Island, one of 4,500 local groups in the national Indivisible network, will meet on Tuesday, March 28 at 8 p.m. at the Carter Burden Senior Center, 546 Main Street. Join your neighbors to discuss new and continuing forms of grassroots activism and issues of concern.

According to Indivisible, it is:
A practical guide For resisting the Trump agenda

Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.

Indivisible Groups are located

all over the United States

Ms. Falk reported on the January 21 NYC Women's March:
... I attended the march with a group of about 150 people from Roosevelt Island....
...It was an amazing day, both for the camaraderie of everyone sharing and photographing their signs, guesstimating the size of the crowds, cheering when helicopters and drones appeared overhead to photograph the enormous size of the crowds and feeling that you were a part of something bigger than yourself.

Over drinks at Riverwalk, we decided to form a group for Social Action in connection with the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association, to keep our elected officials aware of our concerns and keep them motivated to fight the good fight. Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney have a tough road ahead. They need to know that we support them and are keeping our eyes on them....
The group that was formed following the NYC Women's March is Indivisible Roosevelt Island.

Ms Falk adds:
Indivisible Roosevelt Island is an advocate for equality and justice. We serve as a clearinghouse for:
  • information about the current administration
  • how to contact our elected officials to express our concerns about proposed legislation, regulation and nomination that we believe are detrimental to American society and the US economy
  • meetings, rallies plus letter-writing and phone calling campaigns.
We had our first meeting on February 9.

There is a weekly newsletter, a private Facebook account and a Twitter account. The email address is Indivisiblerinyc@gmail.com

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Man And His Dog Enjoy Walk On Roosevelt Island Waterfront Promenade - Isolation, Urban & Nature All Together, But Goose Poop Too

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reports:

Watching boat traffic w/ #peteypiro is some nice procrastination

A post shared by ScottyP (@scottpiro) on

Geese chatterboxes

A post shared by ScottyP (@scottpiro) on

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery Spring Gala Fundraiser Saturday April 1, Food, Music, Dancing, Live Auction & Raffle Draw - Knicks Tickets, Weekend Home Retreats, Friars Club Roast, Farm Fresh Food Delivery & More

According to the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery:

Please join friends of Roosevelt Island Day Nursery at their Spring Gala Fundraiser, Saturday, April 1st, 7-10 pm, at the Manhattan Theatre Club, 8 River Road.

Click here to Buy Tickets! Food/drink, dancing, entertainment, and live and silent auctions for amazing items like Knicks tickets, farm fresh food delivery, weekend home retreats, a Friars Club Roast, piano lessons, original art, and more!

Raffle draws will include week of FREE RIDN summer camp and Manhattan Park pool membership! See more details at www.biddingforgood.com/ridngala to buy Gala tickets and bid on silent auction items.

Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team Impressive Performances - Winning Medals, Personal Best Times & Competing During Almost 8 Month Exile Waiting Completion Of Much Delayed Sportspark Renovation

Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team

Head Coach Roman Sloudnov reports:
We’re In It To Win It

Despite now almost 8-month long Sportspark pool renovations, our island is still home to some of the fastest swimmers in the entire Metropolitan area. This past month our team took part in the major Championships of the short course season: “2017 8&Under Championship” in West Nyack, NY and “2017 Junior Olympics Championship” in East Meadows, NY, and “Zone Qualifiers Championship” in Bronx, NY.

Overall, the Roosevelt Island Swim Team placed 19th out of 115 in Metro (NYC, Westchester and Long Island) - an amazing feat! I would like to thank Coach Andrea, Coach Tyrone, Marlins’ dedicated Board of Directors, and all the team parents for this outstanding season, and share some details from the final meets of the short course season with the entire RI community.

On March 4-5 our youngest teammates represented the club at the Metro 8 & Under Championship. It was a very successful performance with eleven personal best times and one club record. Congratulations to Gabriela Finchelstein (8), Tadija Maslo (7), Rachel Remor (7), and Timur Shchuchinov (7)! The highlight of the championship for our young athletes was its opening ceremony, which included a costumed parade:

The following weekend, eleven Marlins represented Roosevelt Island at the 2017 Metro Junior Olympics. They demonstrated an incredible performance winning in total nine medals, breaking 16 club records and changing 18 personal best times. Great swims by Skander Daghfous (12), Emir Emre (12), Adrian Lengyel (9), Strahinja Maslo (10), Denys Mialkovskyi (9), Matija Prokic (16), Ian Remor (9), Sophia (12) and Timur (7) Shchuchinov, Maksim Tesovic (11), and Stephan Vesselov (12). Congratulations!

We are also extremely proud to finish this season with three more Metro medalists! 7-year-old Timur Shchuchinov became 4-time Metro Champion winning 100 free, 100IM, 25 breast, and 50 breast at the Metro 8&Under Championship, while 10-year old Strahinja Maslo collected 2 Metro Champion titles (in 200 free and 500 free), and placed second in overall scoring among 10&Under Boys at the Junior Olympics. An outstanding accomplishment by the young athletes!

Timur and Strahinja raced together in 4 relays at the Junior Olympics Championship along with their teammates Denys Mialkovskyi (9), Ian Remor (9), and Adrian Lengyel (9), placing as high as 10th in the Metro area.

12-year-old Sophia Shchuchinov was the only swimmer from our team who had qualified to attend two sessions each day of the Junior Olympics Championship representing Roosevelt Island in the evening finals against best swimmers from NYC, Westchester, and Long Island. Despite this challenging schedule, she managed to break club records and win two medals.

Four Roosevelt Islanders participated in the highly competitive Zone Qualifier Championship in Lehman College, Bronx, NY. We congratulate Strahinja Maslo on placing 3rd in 100 free and 500 free, and Denys Mialkovskyi and Matija Prokic, who set personal records at the meet. Sophia Shchuchinov delivered a solid performance in 200 breaststroke finishing 6th in the final.

While these final championships results concluded the short course season, and we as a team have already began training for the upcoming long course competitions, Strahinja Maslo continues to compete for Metro Zone Team. In April he will travel to Webster, NY and race the fastest swimmers in the Eastern Zone in 100 free, 500 free, and relays. We wish Strahinja all the best at the upcoming meet.

Once again, I would like to congratulate our swimmers and their parents on another great season, and thank Coach Andrea, Coach Tyrone for their major contribution to this success!

Coach Roman
More information on the Roosevelt Island Marlins swim team

available at their web site.

During Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) March 23 Board of Directors meeting, RIOC President Susan Rosenthal reported that she hoped to have an announcement today or tomorrow regarding the much delayed opening of the Sportspark facility.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

You're Invited To Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Community Passover Seder April 10 -11 - Answer The 4 Questions Or Ask 40 Of Your Own

An invitation from the Chabad Of Roosevelt Island to the Roosevelt Island Community Passover Seder.  According to the Chabad Of Roosevelt Island:

Whether you are a Seder veteran with answers to all four questions or a curious explorer with 40 questions of your own, Chabad's Seder offers a stimulating & satisfying experience.

Monday, April 10 - 6:30 PM
Tuesday April 11 - 7 00 PM

Please RSVP here or contact Chabad Of Roosevelt Island for more info.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Roosevelt Island Community Report From RIOC President Susan Rosenthal - Seawall Railings, Sportspark Opening Soon Maybe, Blackwell House, Tram Platforms & Elevators, Youth Center Rats, Renovation, Operator, Renwick Ruins, Water Safety, Picnic Tables, Water Fountains & BBQ's

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal reported to the March 23 RIOC Board of Directors meeting on current projects including:

  • Seawall railings replacement - start construction in June,
  • Sportspark announcement regarding opening hopefully by Monday or Tuesday,
  • Blackwell House renovation Request For Proposal (RFP) posted,
  • Tram Platforms renovation (both Manhattan and Roosevelt Island stations)
  • Rat problems at Roosevelt Island Youth Center,
  • Youth Center Building Renovation,
  • Youth Center Operator RFP being revised with assistance of NY State Office of Children & Family Services,
  • Renwick Ruins Scaffolding To Repair Falling Cornice and 
  • Final Report coming soon on status of Renwick Ruins condition commissioned by FDR Park (estimated cost of stabilizing Ruins is $20 Million)
Here's Ms. Rosenthal's report to the RIOC Board (Part 1)

Part 2:
  • Tram Elevator RFP - creating glossy brochures and exploring personal contacts seeking contractors,
  • Roosevelt Island Public Space Water - It's safe,
  • New BBQ's, picnic tables and benches, and water fountains,
  • Motorgate Gallery Art Gallery Opening and
  • Renwick Ruins Stabilization and future plans for re-purposing.

Good News Again, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - That's 14 In A Row

According to the MTA, there will be Roosevelt Island F Train service

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

That's 14 weekends in a row of Roosevelt Island F train service to and from Mahattan. The last Roosevelt Island weekend F train service disruption was December 16-19, 2016.

Hope this did not jinx it for next weekend.