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.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Motorgate Garage Art Gallery Opening Reception Celebrating Display Of Fall For Arts Festival Murals - Wednesday March 29

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

You are cordially invited to attend the 2017 Motorgate Gallery Opening. The event will take place at the Motorgate Garage Atrium (688 Main St.) on Wed., March 29th from 6-7:30 PM. Come and celebrate the addition of new murals painted at the 2016 Fall for Arts Festival to the Gallery's collection!

The Gallery opening is sponsored and curated by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA). The Jazz Salonists will provide live entertainment. Drinks and light refreshments will be available. For more information visit

During the 2016 Motorgate Garage Gallery murals display opening reception (video below):
... RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El together with Gallery RIVAA's Tad Sudol welcomed visitors to the Motorgate Gallery and described how the Motorgate Gallery began. Mr Sudol said:
I think this is the only garage in entire New York who has displays of such big art work...

... It reminds me a little bit of National Gallery in Washington...

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Bonus Savings Card Diamond Rewards Loyalty Program March 24 To April 6 - Get Exclusive Offers And Earn Points On Hundreds Of Items To Be Redeemed On Next Order & Passover Specials

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

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Look for the Diamond Rewards label on the shelf or the product
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You can sign up for a Gristedes Bonus Savings Card online or in store - just make sure you give your email address and whether you are a new or existing Bonus Savings Club member, in order to be eligible for the Diamond Rewards Loyalty program.

Also, Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket invites you to check out their:
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  • Organic & Gourmet, 
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  • Meat, 
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  • Frozen, 
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Department Offerings for March 24 - March 30

and these 4 Week Passover Specials valid March 24 - April 20 including $5 Off Coupon when you spend $75 or more.

Gristedes representative Bob Capano invites Roosevelt Island residents to check out their various product departments for all of your shopping needs.

Don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Wednesday and Sign Up for the Gristedes Diamond Loyalty Rewards Program.

More Gristedes Supermarket information available at their web site, Facebook Page and Twitter feed.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Russians Are Coming To Roosevelt Island

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reports:

Make up your own story.

Disability Rights Advocates File Lawsuit Claiming Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park Denies Freedom Of Access To People With Disabilities

Last May, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park, designed by architect Louis Kahn, was inaccessible to the disabled community and according to the NY Times:

... the city is withholding a permanent certificate of occupancy and hundreds of thousands of dollars in financing until the matter is resolved....
On March 16, the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a lawsuit claiming that the FDR Four Freedoms Park, a:
... Site dedicated to freedom denies freedom of access to people with disabilities...
According to the DRA complaint, the lawsuit seeks:
... to rectify the systemic, discriminatory exclusion of persons with mobility disabilities from full and equal access to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park (“FDR Memorial”), New York City’s recently built monument commemorating our 32nd President....
DRA reports:
In 2012, New York City welcomed the opening of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. Yet FDR, the President it commemorates who used a wheelchair for mobility, would have struggled to take in its dramatic beauty, as the monument begins and ends with steps.

Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a non-profit legal center, filed a class action lawsuit today in federal court on behalf of individuals with mobility disabilities alleging that the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy are blatantly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiffs, including the Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled (BCID) and several New York City residents who use wheelchairs, allege they are unable to access the Memorial in violation of long established law.

Plaintiff Edith Prentiss at the Four Freedoms Park. Photo by Joe Rappaport.

Accessibility barriers pervade the FDR Memorial in its entirety, including a large flight of stairs leading up to the entrance of the Monument. While paths exist around the base of the memorial, they circumvent the bulk of the monument and are comprised of uneven stones that make travel difficult for manual or power chair users. After traveling an unreasonably long distance down a side route, a chair user must begin an arduous back-tracking ascent up a path made of gravel to appreciate the vistas in the same way a non-wheelchair user can do.

At the opposite end of the FDR Memorial is a sunken terrace that provides an uninterrupted view of the East River, known in architecture as a ha-ha wall. Yet steps block wheelchair users from reaching that point. Plaintiffs also cite an inaccessible gift shop and non-ADA compliant restrooms.

Plaintiff Edith Prentiss, who uses a wheelchair due to her mobility disability, has visited the Memorial many times but has never been able to explore the terrace. “I’ve heard that those who run the park say that we can just enjoy the view afforded by the sunken terrace from elsewhere,” she said. “I find that offensive in the ‘back of the bus’ sort of way. I feel like they’ve prioritized their own aesthetics over our right to visit the Memorial, and are now waving away our concerns by saying: ‘What you got is good enough anyway.’ It’s not.”

Phil Beder, also a Plaintiff who uses a wheelchair says, “I am an FDR buff. He’s my hero. It’s patently ironic that a Memorial built in honor of him is rife with barriers for wheelchair users. Frankly, it makes me both mad and sad.”

“In a park dedicated to freedom, the choice to deny freedom of access to people with disabilities is just plain wrong,” said Joseph G. Rappaport, BCID’s Executive Director. “Denying the right of people with disabilities from enjoying the park fully isn’t in keeping with FDR’s life and legacy.”

“The Memorial was built very recently, decades after the ADA, and New York State should know better. We can’t figure out what they were thinking, but to leave it as is would give unfettered license to continue building important public spaces with no regard for the civil rights of persons with disabilities,” said Michelle Caiola, Litigation Director at DRA.

The suit seeks injunctive relief towards remedying all elements of inaccessibility allowing visitors with mobility impairments to visit the Memorial on equal terms with everyone else. A copy of the Complaint is available below.
A link to the copy of the complaint is available at bottom of DRA post.

Google maps shows us the sunken terrace steps in the FDR Park's Memorial's Room that the lawsuit alleges is inaccessible to the disabled

and the full view of FDR Four Freedoms Park.

According to DRA attorney Jelena Kolic, attempts to communicate with the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy to discuss disabled persons accessibility at the FDR Park were not returned resulting in the lawsuit.

I asked the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy for comment on the lawsuit. A spokesperson replied:
We have not had the opportunity to fully review the class action suit. Four Freedoms Park is – and always has been – committed to accessibility for people with disabilities. We take accessibility issues very seriously and strive to meet the needs of all of our visitors.

FDR Four Freedoms Park takes accessibility issues very seriously, and we welcome dialogue about how we can meet the needs of the many visitors we receive each year.
According to a May 10, 2016 NY Times article:
... Sally Minard, the president and chief executive of the conservancy, said the use of ramps had been thoroughly explored. But it would present its own drawbacks.

Railings would have to be installed along the ramps and behind benches that are now sheer slabs of Mount Airy granite, set off against monumental blocks of the same whitish-gray stone. This would compromise the Kahn design, which the conservancy tried to follow as faithfully as possible.

“The consequences of doing it — for everyone’s experience — seemed to outweigh the value,” Ms. Minard said. “The decision was not seen as a problem because we believed then, as we do now, that the park more than meets the requirements for accessibility for those with a disability, and that the memorial as a whole is A.D.A. compliant.”...
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy commenting on a previous post noted:
For many years, we told the FDR park designers. In those days the architect from Mitchell-Gurgula, Ms. Minard and Mr. Vanden Heuvel ignored the community concern over disabled access.
The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association and FDR Hope Memorial Committee are leading an effort to install a sculpture depicting FDR in a wheelchair at Southpoint Park,

close to the entrance of the FDR Four Freedoms Park.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Roosevelt Island Infrastructure Projects On Agenda For March 23 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting - Overhauling Tram Carriage & Brakes, Renovating Tramway Station Platforms, Helix Ramp Rehab, Sportspark Heating System & More

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet tomorrow evening, March 23 at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street).

Image Of RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting

Prior to the start of the RIOC Board meeting, there will be a public comment period. Sign up here to speak at the meeting.

Among the items on the Agenda are several Roosevelt Island infrastructure projects. Below is the Agenda:





5:30 P.M.[1]

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes

1. February 16, 2017 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Nelson & Pope Engineers & Surveyors for Design and Construction Services in Connection with Permanent Heating System for Sportspark (Board Action Required)

2. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Gandhi Engineering, Inc. for the Engineering Design Services in Connection with the Roosevelt Island Helix Ramp Rehabilitation Project (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Specialty Construction Systems Inc. for Renovations of the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway Station Platforms (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Enter into Contract with SEIU, Local 32BJ (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Devo and Associates, LLC for the Purchase, Installation and Maintenance of Multi-Space Parking Pay Stations (Board Action Required)

6. Ratification of Amendment of Contract with Leitner-Poma of America O&M, Inc. for Overhauls To Aerial Tramway Carriage and Brakes (Board Action Required)

7. President’s Report

8. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

9. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

[1] The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.
According to this March 21 RIOC memo:
... In conducting the anticipated overhauls of the Tram’s Carriage and Brakes, Leitner-Poma determined that additional work was needed to ensure the safe operation of the Tram. Specifically, the Tram’ Grips were tested and overhauled; the Tram’s Hangers were serviced; and the Tram’s Cabin suspension rods were inspected, tested, and retensioned (“Additional Work”).
The total cost of replacing the Tram’s Cabin floors; the overhauls of the Tram’s Carriage and Brakes; and the Additional Work is $500,814.09.

As the aforementioned work was necessary to maintain the safe and efficient operation of the Tram, we recommend the ratification of the expenditure in the amount of $500,814.09.
and March 17 RIOC Memo:
The Roosevelt Island Helix Ramps repairs project was initiated as part of the 2014 Capital Projects Budget. The work was designed by Gandhi Consulting Engineers and Architects. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in bidding the project in 2014. Over the next two years, the Helix continued to deteriorate. The original contract did not include the flat plaza area in between the ramp, bridge and garage exit. On February 17, 2017 pieces of the spalled concrete roadway underside fell on to the East Promenade walkway. Gandhi was called in to investigate the damage but they informed us that the most damaged area was not included in their original scope of work. The existing condition of the Helix ramp and plaza area poses a risk to safety of the public. Additional investigations need to be performed to assess the condition of the entire ramp including the flat plaza area and underside and determine how to repair it. This additional scope of work should then be added to the drawings and sent out to bid as soon as possible....
And March 21 RIOC Memo:
The Roosevelt Island Tram Station Platform Repairs project consists of two locations, one on Roosevelt Island located at 300 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY, 10044 and one located on the Manhattan side at 254 E 60th Street, New York, NY, 10022. The tramway station on the Manhattan Side is a two story structure with platforms at the upper level. The tramway station on the Roosevelt Island side is a single story structure with a partial basement. The platforms on both stations are cracked, deteriorating and in need of repair and replacement. As part of the ongoing Tram Modernization Project, RIOC recommends demolishing the existing platforms and waterproofing system and replacing them with new topping slabs and waterproofing membranes. The scope of work also includes repairing cracked and spalled concrete at both platforms....

SPONSORED POST - You're Invited To Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island Town Hall Community Update 7-8:30 PM Wednesday March 29, Learn What's Going On And Ask Your Questions

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

Scenes From Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Persian Palace Purim Celebration - A Royal Ball

The Chabad of Roosevelt Island share scenes from their March 12 Persian Palace Purim Celebration.

More Persian Palace pictures here and information about Chabad Of Roosevelt Island available at their web site.