Monday, November 23, 2020

Enroll Now In Roosevelt Island NYC DOE Learning Bridges Program For Free K-8 Child Care, Academic Support And Enrichment Activities At Sportspark And Tennis Bubble

According to the NYC Department Of Education

Learning Bridges is a new program that provides free child care options for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning.

and is available even as public schools have closed due to the rise in Coronavirus cases.

As previously reported, a Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program for K-8 grade students is available from HCK Recreation, the managing partner of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club:

... HCK Recreation Inc. recently received approval from the City of New York to provide a Learning Lab program for up to 200 seats through the Learning Bridges Initiative. This City funded program will provide, at no charge to families, academic support and enrichment activities from 8 AM to 3 PM weekdays...

... The program will utilize space in the Sportspark facility, located at 250 Main Street, and surrounding outdoor space, the north bubble of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, and Firefighters Field. The facilities were thoroughly inspected by the City, culminating in an approved air quality test. 

HCK Recreation Inc., which is the managing partner of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, was approved by the City as a qualified provider based on the combination of excellent facilities it could provide as well as HCK’s 20 plus years of experience operating summer day camps licensed by the NYC Department of Health (DOH). Skip Hartman, CEO of HCK, has past experience as the CEO of two charities, NYJTL and Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, now named New York Edge, that are together the largest (160 schools) provider of afterschool sports, arts, and academic support programs in New York City public schools. ...

... Skip Hartman, CEO of HCK stressed that, “The key to success will be our ability to provide sound academic coordination and motivating enrichment activities while maintaining a safe environment for the children and the staff. We do have, thanks to RIOC’s collaboration, fabulous spaces.” HCK has qualified staff on board and is also actively seeking approximately 25 additional staff, that include licensed teachers in math, stem, literacy and technology, college grads, and college students taking a gap year....

Roosevelt Island parents can pre-enroll their children in the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges Program by calling Paul Fontana, the Director of the Roosevelt Island Learning Lab at 914 656 0614 for more information or also email at

HCK Recreation has been talking with Island Kids recently about working together on the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program at Sportspark and Tennis Bubble. The Island Kids application for a separate Learning Bridges program was rejected without explanation in October by the NYC Department of Education. The HCK application was submitted last July and they learned in October that it was accepted.

But Learning Bridges child care service is not currently available for Special Needs families.

WCBS TV Channel 2 News reported on a Roosevelt Island Special Needs family that is not able to use the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges site. 

According to CBS Channel 2 News
... "a HCK Recreation spokesperson said: ... Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to enroll children with individualized education plans due to limitations with our program staff"....

For more info on enrolling your child in the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program, call Paul Fontana at 914 656 0614 or email   


Friday, November 20, 2020

Roosevelt Island Landmarked Late 18 Century Renovated Blackwell House Now Open To The Public - Come Visit Blackwell House And Explore Historical Treasures That Shaped Identity And Culture Of Roosevelt Island Says RIOC

As reported Wednesday, November 18:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) hosted a social distancing ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of long awaited renovation of Roosevelt Island's late 18th, early19th century landmarked Blackwell House today. ...

You can now visit Blackwell House 

and see it for yourself. RIOC announced today: 

Just in time for the holiday season, RIOC has unveiled the newly renovated Blackwell House and opened its doors to the public! 

Take a moment to explore the rich and impactful historical treasures, records, and archives that have shaped the identity and culture of Roosevelt Island. Experience firsthand the historically accurate décor, as well as images of other landmarked structures and buildings on the island that are no longer standing. 

Blackwell House will be open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 AM – 5 PM, and will be closed on all major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.).

As we express our excitement and enthusiasm to showcase an important landmark, we must also continue to respect and practice the current guidance from NY Forward regarding COVID-19. We urge all visitors to adhere to the following safety guidelines to ensure we keep each other safe and protected during the pandemic.

Safety Guidance 

  • The maximum capacity for Blackwell House is 25% occupancy, or not more than seven (7) people. 
  • All visitors over two (2) years of age must wear a mask. 
  • All visitors must stay socially distant (a minimum of six feet apart). 
  • All visitors must use hand sanitizer upon arrival.

 General Visitor Guidance

  • There is no fee for entry. 
  • There will be a 30 minute limit for all visitors. 
  • Visitors are only permitted on the first floor of Blackwell House and encouraged not to linger. 
  • No food or drinks (no open containers) are permitted in Blackwell House. 
  • Bags may be checked upon entry.

We hope you enjoy your visit! For more info, please visit:

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) President Judy Berdy gave a brief talk about history and future plans for Blackwell House.


More info and video from the Blackwell House ribbon cutting ceremony here.

Sponsored Post - Get Ready For Thanksgiving, Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket November 20 - November 26 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons, Nutritional Tips & Social Media Facebook And Instagram Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket 

invites you to check out their November 20 - November 26 Weekly Flyer for Product Offerings, Specials & 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

and Instagram too.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - Subway, Tram, Ferry & Citibike - Keep Your Social Distance And Wear Face Covering On Public Transportation - Tram Cabin Social Distancing Capacity Increased To 35 Passengers

According to the MTA, there is Roosevelt Island F train service to and from Manhattan this weekend. E train service too.

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.

Here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule which now extends to East 90th street on the Upper East Side.

Also, Roosevelt Island Citbike docking stations.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving Food Drive Is Asking For Your Help - Make A Difference In A Neighbor's Life And Drop Your Grocery Items At 507 Main Street

According to Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA): 

MSTDA is proud to announce its first Thanksgiving Food Drive! 

Starting this week and throughout the whole month of November, help us make a difference in someone’s life.

While you are out grocery shopping, consider picking up some extra items from the list below. 

Our designated drop-off center is located at 507 Main Street (Music & Play Station) during the times of 4-6pm Tues, Thur & 10:30am-12pm Tues, Thur & Sat.

Or bring it when your child attends class! If class is in session, please kindly leave your items outside the door and do not enter the space during classes.


 Please donate items by November 22nd. Here is a list of needed items:

Canned goods with pop-top lids are better than canned goods that require a can opener. Avoid foods packaged in glass. Do not donate foods that are past the expiration date.)  


Brown Rice 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Watch Ribbon Cutting Ceremony For Roosevelt Island's Landmarked Late 18th Century Renovated Blackwell House - Take A Virtual Tour Inside With RI Historical Society, Was That Mrs Blackwell On Porch Today Too?

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) hosted a social distancing ribbon cutting ceremony

celebrating the completion of long awaited renovation of Roosevelt Island's late 18th, early19th century landmarked Blackwell House

RIOC President Announces Sportspark Pool Reopening Saturday November 21 During Town Hall Meeting Yesterday, Local Swimmer Overjoyed With News - Watch Video Of The Town Hall Hosted By Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

During yesterday's Roosevelt Island Town Hall hosted by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Roosevelt island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Shelton Haynes announced that the Sportspark Pool

closed due to lack of lifeguards since last November 6, will reopen Saturday November 21.

According to a RIOC advisory this afternoon:

Please be advised, the Sportspark Pool will reopen this Sat., Nov. 19th, with its regular operating hours.

Pool Operating Hours:

Monday – Wednesday: 7:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Closed Thursday and Friday.

We thank you for your patience during this time and apologize for any inconvenience.

The date in advisory should be Saturday November 21.

Upon learning of the Sportspark Pool reopening, swimmer Roberta Kleinman remarked:

OMG!!! I am overjoyed with the news!

Here's the full Town Hall Meeting hosted by Ms Seawright with:

  • Mr. Haynes, 
  • Coler resident and activist Vincent Pierce, 
  • Cornell Tech Assistant Director of Community And Government Affairs Jane Swanson,
  • Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy and
  • Roosevelt Island Residents Association President Rossana Ceruzzi

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Read 1977 NY Times Article On Beginning Of Roosevelt Island As A Residential Community - Rivercross Coop Buyers Eager For Utopia To Begin Says Headline

 Read about Roosevelt Island 1977 pioneers in this fascinating NY Times article.

The changing nature of Roosevelt Island affordability for middle income and working class people was the subject of this excerpt from a very interesting video previously posted last week by You Tuber Black In The Core showcasing what he describes as:
Roosevelt Island Gentrification - Stealing The Dream


One does not necessarily have to agree with all of the reporting in this video but the issues raised of gentrification and affordability are real. The video does not mention the new 340 unit Hudson Related Riverwalk Park affordable housing building in the process of opening on Roosevelt Island or the hard fought affordability plans negotiated for privatization of the original Mitchell Lama buildings.

Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Best Roosevelt Island Egg Nog Recipe Contest - Winning Recipes Featured In MST&DA Holiday Season Musical The Ghosts All Around Us

Kimbirdlee Fadner, Assistant Executive Director of the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) reports:

The 1st Annual Cheryl Makepeace Egg Nog Recipe Contest

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! The 1st Annual Cheryl Makepeace Egg Nog Recipe Contest! Email your best egg nog recipes to Deadline is midnight on Monday, Nov 23rd. Top 3 winners will be announced on Dec 4th at the MSTDA Annual Fundraiser: "THE GHOSTS ALL AROUND US": A Sneak Peek to the making of a musical. The selected recipes will be served at the performances on Dec 11-13, 2020. All events will be Live & Live Streamed through Youtube and Facebook. More details coming soon! 

 THE GHOSTS ALL AROUND US was commissioned by MSTDA for the Roosevelt Island community for the 2020 holiday season. Written by Jonathan Fadner and starring a multi-generational and diverse cast, this new musical will present its first staged reading on Dec 11-13th. 

*Egg Nog recipes can be alcoholic, non-alcoholic, dairy or non-dairy.

Roosevelt Island's Landmarked 18th Century Blackwell House Having Virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony November 18 Following Long Awaited Completion Of Exterior And Interior Renovation

A virtual ribbon cutting ceremony for the long awaited completion of Roosevelt Island's landmarked Blackwell House exterior

and interior

 renovation project is taking place tomorrow, November 18.  
According to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS):
... This simple well-proportioned house, built for James Blackwell between 1796 and 1804, is the sole surviving building on Roosevelt Island which dates from the period when the island was still privately held property. The Blackwell family owned and farmed the island from the late 17th century until 1828, when it was sold to the City of New York. Blackwell’s Island, as it was long known, had been inherited by Mary Manningham Blackwell from her stepfather, Captain John Manning... 
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) reported yesterday:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) today announced the ribbon cutting for the newly renovated Blackwell House. Located at 500 Main Street, this two-story landmark is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is home to some of the island’s most historical treasures, records, and archives. This socially distanced, special invite only event will take place on Wednesday, November 18th at 11:30 AM, and will be live streamed on RIOC’s Instagram page (rooseveltislandrioc).

“We are pleased to bring this well-loved island landmark back to life, using it to tell the history of Roosevelt Island through exhibition, as well as through community stories and experiences,” said RIOC Acting President & CEO, Shelton J. Haynes.

Established around 1796, the Blackwell House’s renovated interior features historically accurate décor from the 18th Century and includes images of other landmarked structures and buildings on the island that are no longer standing. The first floor of Blackwell House will be open to the public during specified times for viewings and tours.

The Blackwell House Interior Project was a jointly funded project by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and RIOC, with a total project cost of $2.9 million. The work included installation of new partitions, stairs, ceilings, doors, trimming, heating and ventilation system, and as well as electrical, plumbing and fixtures. A new ADA compliant access ramp was also added to the exterior, providing access next to the front porch, which was also given an upgrade.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President, Judy Berdy said, “Blackwell House serves as a concrete link to our past. If you have never taken a really good look at the house, you should note the delicate decorative work under the eaves of the roof and appreciate the scale and proportion.”

Throughout the years, the house served as residential quarters for local almshouse wardens and hospital directors, and was used for small community celebrations in the 1970s. The original resident of the home was James Blackwell, whose father inherited the island from his wife's stepfather, Captain John Manning, the Sheriff of New York. New York City purchased the island from the Blackwell family in 1823 to build institutions for the most populous city in the country. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Reelected NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright Hosting Roosevelt Island Virtual Town Hall Tuesday November 17 With RIOC President, Coler Community Activist, Cornell Tech Rep & RIHS President - Register To Attend And Submit Questions

NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright is hosting a virtual Roosevelt Island Town Hall meeting on Facebook Tuesday, November 17 starting at 7 PM.

Registration is required and you can submit questions in advance here.

Ms Seawright announced in a press release today:

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright clinched a historic victory today as the first candidate ever to win re-election to the State legislature on an independent party ballot line, representing the Upper East Side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island. 

With all precincts reporting and all absentee ballots counted, Seawright carried nearly 60 percent of the votes in the 76th Assembly District, handily defeating a Republican Party- endorsed candidate who also ran with the backing of the Liberal Party.  

Seagull Having Fresh East River Fish For Lunch On Roosevelt Island Shoreline Rocks

Kristin GoldMansour spotted this seagull lunching on East River fresh fish yesterday afternoon on the Roosevelt Island shoreline rocks between Island House and Westview.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Virtual Seminar - What Does It Mean To Age Successfully: Myths & Realities Hosted By Cornell Tech & Weill Cornell Medicine Monday November 16

Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Tech are hosting a virtual seminar on;

What Does It Mean To Age Successfully: Myths & Realities


According to Weill Cornell Medicine/Cornell Tech:

Register for the virtual seminar here. Zoom information provided following registration. We hope you will join us virtually!

What Does it Mean to Age Successfully: Myths & Realities hosted by Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Tech. 

When: Monday, November 16, 2020 at 4:00 PM 

This session will discuss recent findings about what it means to age successfully, and review basic information about “population aging.” The seminar will provide an understanding about the myths and realities of aging, as well as highlight the activities currently happening at the Weill Cornell Medicine’s Center on Aging and Behavioral Research. 

Presented by: Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D. Professor of Gerontology Director, Center on Aging and Behavioral Research Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine

Here's more info on the Weill Cornell Medicine Center on Aging and Behavioral Research

Gorgeous Photos Of Roosevelt Island Waterfront Promenade Autumnal Colors And Sunrise Seen From Tram By Local Artist Georgette Sinclair

Roosevelt Island artist Georgette Sinclair shares these photos

taken of Roosevelt Island's beautiful autumnal colors
 and Waterfront Promenade as she was walking home recently

Ms Sinclair's photos of an October Sunrise seen from the Roosevelt Island Tram are stunning too.

According to Ms Sinclair:

I am a Roosevelt Islander Islander for more then 30 years. I am in love with this Island that never stops amazing me with its beauty. I am an artist at my soul, I belong to different art organizations, including Gallery RIVAA.

I paint and photographed moments in time of the Island and it is never enough. I am into poetic scapes and I wish I could paint more. I work full time as a Doctor of Audiology and I am just stealing time for painting.

I am also a member of the Salmagundi Club since 2000, and I served as one of the Vice Presidents for 4 years, and continue to be part of the art committee. The club has 2 art auctions per year. At the spring auction they sold one of my paintings of a beautiful tree from 4 Freedom Park 

which I painted last year in full autumn colors.

This past weekend I went to see my beloved tree that inspired me, and I was heartbroken to see that it was cut off completely, they killed it along with the other beautiful trees from the Manhattan side. 

I love the Island and I experience so many of the changes during the years, but I did not expect this.

You can learn more of Ms Sinclair's art work at Gallery RIVAA, Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) and her website.

Friday, November 13, 2020

RIRA Rebels Take Charge Of Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council - Commit To Preserving Quality Of Life, Make Community Safe For Everyone, Engage With Youth & Rebuild Trust Within The Community

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Nominations Committee Chair Adib Mansour reported October 21:

... Earlier this month, the RIRA Common Council unanimously decided that RIRA 2020 election be rescheduled to 2022, as a result of COVID-19 and exceptional and unprecedented circumstances, presenting life-threatening risks and complex logistical constraints that do not allow for a fair and transparent RIRA election to proceed.
Consequently, the outgoing Common Council members will remain seated through the upcoming term Nov. 2020 - Nov. 2022. Nevertheless, a RIRA nomination campaign has been launched to invite and encourage Roosevelt Island residents to join RIRA, as a majority of RIRA Common Council seats (34) are currently vacant. Interested residents will be voted in by the current Common Council members on November 4th....

On November 4, current RIRA Island Services Committee Chair Rossana Ceruzzi was selected as President and Public Safety Committee chair Erin Feely-Nahem was selected Vice President.

According to Ms Ceruzzi:

RIRA focus will continue to be on the relevant, critical issues of the community including supporting local businesses and increasing opportunities to engage our youth. 

RIRA is a relentless advocate for Roosevelt Island and will always fight to preserve our quality of life and strive to make our community safe for everyone.” 

As we are in the process of forming the new committees, including the communications committee, and appointing the respective Chairs, ad interim, every communication with RIRA will be only directed to President and VP. 

 I would like to add that one of our priorities will be improving and increase RIRA’s communications/updates with our local media.

And Ms Feely-Nahem:

Thankfully this year Adib Mansour volunteered to Chair the nomination committee. He did an amazing job, with very little help, and managed to bring in 11+ recruits, all skilled, and excited to fill a majority of the vacant seats that existed on the semi-dormant Common Council.The energy, and enthusiasm displayed by the candidates was contagious, and following introductions and discussion, purpose returned, and excitement in the possibility of a “new” Common Council was obvious.  Alongside the old board members who remained, new candidates were seated and all voted to elect the new Officers for the 2020-2022 term.

For me this past term taught me the importance of having an active Vice President. I accepted the challenge and ran for Office. Elected, in this capacity I am very excited to work with Rossana Ceruzzi in her role as President. I am confident that with the election of new RIRA officers, which includes Bafode Drame as Treasurer, the Common Council will be able to rebuild trust within the community. In time I believe we will once again become the voice utilized for the betterment of the Island, as determined by the Residents’ needs. I look forward to serving as an “interim” VP, until such time as a safe election can be held, and the position filled by an Island wide vote.

I hope that we can create a Common Council that residents will once again use as a resource for getting things done that they feel will benefit our community. Our goals will be determined by the needs of the community. 

RIRA Island House Common Council Member Frank Farance adds:

I'm very happy with the new elections, officers, and Common Council. 

The new members introduced themselves and we have new volunteers with interesting and helpful expertise. One thing that this community will appreciate is that our new leadership - Rossana and Erin - are active and accomplished community activists who stand up for the needs of our community. 

This is in contrast to the past half-dozen years where RIRA might be described as the "Cherry Blossom Residents Association" - a RIRA leadership focused upon activities that residents can only participate if they sign non-disclosure agreements - really! 

During that time, other committees such as the Island Services, Public Safety, and Public Purpose Fund committees focused upon individual good works but lacked the advocacy of the RIRA President and RIRA Vice President. In short, we're back to actually representing residents' interests to RIOC, the City, and other entities, we're back to a transparent organization, and that is consistent with RIRA's core mission for the past four decades. 

After the October 2019 RIRA meeting, a group of Common Council members, including Ms Ceruzzi, Ms Nahem, Mr Mansour and Mr. Farance, walked out of the meeting and expressed great concern over the future of RIRA as an organizaton due to what they believed was a lack of transparency and internal dissension. 

Here's what they said.

Now the Rebels are in charge of RIRA - let's see what they can do.