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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It's Getting Cold, Roosevelt Island Winter Coat Drive Now Thru December 28 - Please Drop Off A Gently Used Winter Coat At RIOC Public Safety Department

The weather is starting to get cold and winter is coming soon. Snow is expected tomorrow.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department:

The Public Safety Department is hosting its annual NY Cares Coat Drive. This program has brought warmth to many needy families during our frigid winters and it is with this thought in mind that we ask the Roosevelt Island Community to step up to the plate once again by dropping off a gently used winter coat.

Donated coats will be accepted at the Public Safety Department
550 Main Street
24 Hours a day.
Now until December 28th

We thank you and your family for your continued generosity.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

For more information, please call 212-832-4545

Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap Free Community Reuse Event Sunday November 18 - Bring Items You No Longer Need To Give Away, Take Something New Home With You

Home grown Roosevelt Island organization iDig2Learn tweets

Grow NYC adds:
New Yorkers eager to trade in their summer styles for some like- new fall fashions are in luck. Stop ‘N’ Swap®, a free community reuse event organized by the local non- profit GrowNYC, is coming to Roosevelt Island for the very first time, in partnership with iDig2Learn and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

The public is invited to bring clean, portable, reusable items to share with those who can use them. No one is required to bring something to take something — you can simply show up with a bag and see what’s free for the taking.
  • WHAT: Free Stop ‘N’ Swap Community Reuse Event
  • WHEN: Sunday, November 18, 12pm-3pm
  • WHERE: Manhattan Park Theater Club, 8 River Rd, Roosevelt Island
“The average NYC household discards about 2,000 pounds of waste a year. By reusing through events like Stop ‘N’ Swap, NYC residents can take part in diverting over 40 million pounds of material a year from the landfill,” said Marcel Van Ooyen, GrowNYC President and CEO. The organization has set a goal of hosting one swap in each of the city’s 59 community districts each year in response to increasing demand for the events.

iDig2Learn's founder, Christina Delfico said, "It's perfect timing before the holidays to find a gift or something you need, whether it's clothing, toys or household items. Even packaged food is welcome, and we’re excited to announce that Gristedes Supermarket will be donating dry goods to the event.”

"Providing the community with access to free goods is exactly the type of event we are happy to support," said Susan Rosenthal, CEO and President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “Many of us have good quality items that we no longer have a use for, and there is no better way than a free community swap to find a new home for them.”

Girl Scout Troop 3233 will also be at the Roosevelt Island Swap, helping share ideas with New Yorkers about reuse and its value. “I’m proud to see these Girl Scouts taking action to make the world a better place by working to use resources wisely, and reuse items rather than buy new ones,” said Meridith Maskara, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York.

Anything leftover at the end of the day is donated or recycled. Furniture and other large items are not accepted at the swap.

Learn more at

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Amazon Picks Anable Basin In Long Island City For HQ2, Bringing At Least 25 Thousand New High Paying Jobs To Neighborhood And Protests Too- A Short 5 Minute Ferry Ride From Roosevelt Island And Cornell Tech

Amazon announced today that Anable Basin in Long Island City, right across the East River from Roosevelt Island, will be the site of one of it's two new Headquarter sites.
According to this press release from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio:
... In 2019, Amazon will occupy up to 500,000 square feet at One Court Square while working to construct four million square feet of commercial space on Long Island City’s waterfront over the next 10 years, with expansion opportunities for up to 8 million square feet over the next 15 years. Through a $3.6 billion total investment, Amazon will draw from the diverse and talented workforce in New York State to fill at least 25,000 new jobs by 2029 and up to 40,000 jobs by 2034 with an average salary of $150,000. The construction is expected to create an average of 1300 direct construction jobs annually through 2033. Overall, the project is estimated to create more than 107,000 total direct and indirect jobs and over $14 billion in new tax revenue for the State and a net of $13.5 billion in City tax revenue. The project provides a 9:1 return on investment....

... The City-State agreement with Amazon includes commitments to build a jointly-funded 10,000 square-foot onsite employment center to connect local residents with jobs and training. A $15 million investment will expand the JobsPlus program to Queensbridge Houses and expand tuition-free tech training to its residents—serving nearly 1,800 residents over the next 10 years.

The agreement also secures a new approximately 600-seat intermediate public school, a 3.5-acre waterfront esplanade and park, and the establishment of a Long Island City Infrastructure Fund to invest 50 percent of the project’s PILOT proceeds to deliver on transportation and other neighborhood priorities that will be identified in collaboration with the local community...

... The State and City will collaborate with the company and local community to conduct an environmental review and develop a General Project Plan, as is typically done for large City-State development projects, including nearby Queens West. A Community Advisory Committee will be established, which will include representatives of the State, City and local elected officials. In addition, longtime community developer Plaxall will advance development on adjoining waterfront sites that will include planning that complements Amazon’s new headquarters....
The Memo of Understanding between NYC, NYS and Amazon here.

The Anable Basin Long Island City Amazon HQ is a less than 5 minute ferry ride from Roosevelt Island.

The NY Times reports:
... “Amazon’s decision to locate to Long Island City is an affirmation not only of N.Y.C.’s growing tech talent,” Mr. Bloomberg wrote on Twitter, “but also of all the investments — in housing, schools, parks, transportation, and culture” made in Long Island City.

Indeed, as part of one tour of New York City this year, Amazon executives were taken around the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island — an innovation incubator and a legacy of Mr. Bloomberg’s tenure — and back to Long Island City using a new ferry system created by Mr. de Blasio....
Cornell Tech Chief Practice Officer Josh Hartmann said:
... Cornell Tech is proud to welcome Amazon to New York City as its new neighbor across the river from our campus on Roosevelt Island. By choosing Long Island City for HQ2, Amazon will join one of the world’s fastest-growing and most diverse tech communities,...

Cornell Tech is spinning out hundreds of graduates each year as well as groundbreaking, impactful research, and through key partnerships with CUNY and K-12 public schools, we are expanding the city’s pipeline of skilled tech talent. New York City has emerged as a destination for tech and innovation, and Amazon’s arrival will accelerate growth and success for the city and for Cornell Tech.”....
Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher is also an Amazon Board Director.

Long Island City NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has expressed opposition to the agreement

and NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson has reservations as well.



According to Plaxall Managing Directors Paula Kirby, Tony Pfohl and Matthew Quigley and President Jonathan Drescher:
Ever since our grandfather opened Plaxall at Anable Basin more than 70 years ago, our family has believed in Long Island City as a center of productivity, innovation, and artistic creativity,...

... Informed by our decades working with local residents, businesses and institutions, we have developed a vision for Anable Basin centered around that spirit of productivity and quality of life – one that maintains light manufacturing while also creating public accessibility to a long-shuttered waterfront. We are proud to have a partner in Amazon that shares that vision. We’ve seen firsthand in Seattle how the company has worked to develop and integrate its campus and employees into the surrounding community, and we know Amazon intends to execute a similar vision here. It’s therefore meaningful for us, as a family, to be able to work closely with Amazon on a plan for Anable Basin that honors the character of LIC and stays true to the same vision of innovation and productivity that drew our grandfather, Louis Pfohl, here seven decades ago, and was furthered by his children, Ann, Jim and Lynn. Plaxall welcomes Amazon to LIC and looks forward to continuing our longstanding discussions with the community about Anable Basin as plans move forward.
CBS News has more on Who Benefits from Amazon LIC HQ.

Amazon explains it's HQ decision.

And press conference on Amazon LIC HQ by Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and staff.

Stay tuned.

SPONSORED POST - Roosevelt Island Urgent Care Medical Facility, Just Walk In At 520 Main Street 7 Days A Week For Your Medical Needs - Time To Get Your Flu Shot

According to Roosevelt Island Urgent Care (RIUC):

Our Roosevelt Island facility is  located at 520 Main Street. Our Office hours are Monday to Thursday 9AM - 5PM, Friday 9 AM - 4 PM, Saturday and Sunday 10AM- 3 PM. Phone # 646-977-7974.

The medical needs of this 2 mile long historic island on the East River is a perfect landscape for our services.

RIUC is the first health care facility on the Island. Currently local residents must travel to either Manhattan or Astoria, for treatment—a trip that requires the use of a tram, subway, bus or car. Our facility in essence created a full-service medical center for a growing population of 15,000. RIUC is here to serve your needs.

These needs will increase in the near future with the addition of new multi-family developments and the new Cornell NYC Tech campus, which is under construction and due to open this year. The University is relying on our center to tend to the medical needs of the students and faculty. Roosevelt Island Urgent Care is also well positioned to provide services to the many construction workers who are on the Island during the next few years.

Other amenities include:
  • Hot and cold complimentary beverage center
  • Charging station
  • Flat screen TV in waiting room as well as every exam room
  • Childrens play area
  • And much more!
Take a tour of the Roosevelt Island Urgent Care facilities

and learn about the services offered at Roosevelt Island Urgent Care.

More info about Roosevelt Island Urgent Care at their web site and Twitter Page.

RIRA Recommends $150,000 RIOC Public Purpose Funds For Roosevelt Island Non Profit Organizations - Was Carter Burden Senior Center Slighted With Much Smaller Amount Than Others?

The final meeting of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association 2016 -18 Common Council approved the recommendations of it's Public Purpose Funds (PPF) committee for distribution of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) 2018 Public Purpose Funds in the amount of $150,000 for 10 Roosevelt Island non profit organziations.

PPF Committee Chair Dave Evans reported to the November 7 final meeting of the 2016-18 RIRA Common Council  meeting.

Below is RIRA Public Purpose Funds recommendation transmittal letter to RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:

The RIRA Common Council’s four member PPF Committee reviewed the RIOC-provided applications of ten Roosevelt Island 501c organizations. Each is seeking funds for their respective program(s). After reviewing the Committee report during its meeting on November 7, 2018, the RIRA Common Council approved it for transmittal to Ms Rosenthal and her appropriate staff. The Common Council is very pleased that RIOC increased the funding availed from $100,000 to a total of $150,000. Of course, the Common Council hopes to see further increases aimed at an eventual steady state of three percent of the RIOC operating budget per legislation approved by Governor Cuomo.

Further to the above, it is with pleasure that we provide you the attached funding recommendations for your review and approval. If any questions, please let us know and also when this matter will be on the agenda for review and approval consideration of the Corporation’s Board. The Committee will provide under separate cover other forms that RIOC requires.

We thank RIOC for its continued commitment to support the community. The PPF program is evidence of that. Additionally, we thank you for continuing to allow the RIRA-Common Council to provide inputs to the important process of availing funds to qualified Roosevelt Island applicants.
and PPF monetary distribution recommendations for Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations.
Roosevelt Island Residents Association – Common Council FY 2018 – 2019 Summary of Public Purpose Fund (PPF) Committee Funding Recommendations Date Committee Finalized – November 6, 2018

Approved November 7, 2018

1. PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
Amount Requested: $33,500 Amount Recommended: $15,500
Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds are only for the Salvadori Center program comprised of and representative of the School*s diverse population of 6th through 8th graders.

2. Life Frames, Inc.
Amount Requested: $27,150 Amount Recommended: $11,250

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds are to be used to help cover the nature teacher*s salary.

3. Wildlife Freedom Foundation (WFF)
Amount Requested: $10,000 Amount Recommended: $9,750

Committee Decision and Recommendation: To help the WFF in meeting its mission of rescuing, assisting, and rehabilitating stray animals on Roosevelt Island -- as the Director deems appropriate.

4. Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)
Amount Requested: $24,700 Amount Recommended: $18,750

Committee Decision and Recommendation: Funding is to support ensuring an operable heating and cooling (HVAC) system. To help better assure cost-effectiveness, there should be at least five years on the lease.

5. Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS)
Amount Requested: $31,000 Amount Recommended: $18,000

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds will be used as the Director deems appropriate in support of salaries for kiosk workers, maps, Historian support, but not for Cornell.
6. Island Kids

Amount Requested: $25,000 Amount Recommended: $ 12,750

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The approved funding is primarily for the emerging young adults program and to help with scholarships for the most needy young kids.

7. Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance
Amount Requested: $39,000 Amount Recommended: $29,500

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds are to be used as deemed appropriate and/or proportionate to support meeting the objectives of scholarships, a summer musical theater camp, and some limited community outreach -- all with keen efforts to promote broad diversity -- encouraging diversity by helping minorities who are underrepresented in the programs offered.

8. Carter Burden Network
Amount Requested: $20,000 Amount Recommended: $3,250

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds are aimed at helping to fund an instructor for a class of choice.

9. IDig2Learn

Amount Requested: $21,700 Amount Recommended: $14,500
Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds are aimed at funding a manager and/or visiting contractors for uses relevant to the needs of the applicant.

10. Roosevelt Island Disabled Association:
Amount Requested: $20,000 Amount Recommended: $16,750

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds are intended for use in supporting trips and other activities as determined by the Director. It is strongly recommended that research and planning is undertaken for an upgraded transportation bus. Overall, the use of funding, given the aforementioned language in this section, is at the discretion of the Director.
The RIRA recommendations ranged from $9,750 to $29,500 for 9 of the 10 Roosevelt Island non profit organizations. Left far behind was the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center who received a recommendation for much less - $3,250.

The final decision on distribution of Public Purpose Funds is made by RIOC.

Below are links to the Roosevelt Island non profit organizations seeking Public Purpose Funds:

Monday, November 12, 2018

Concerned Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Parents Seek Answers About Alleged Student Gun Threat - School Principal Silent For 2 Weeks, RIOC Public Safety Chief Tells Parent What Happened

Last October 24, I received reports of a large NYPD presence earlier in the morning at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217

and that a threat with a gun was made by a student.

I asked PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman:
There was a large Nypd presence at Ps/is 217 this morning.

I’m told a student claimed to have a gun.

Is that true? Was the school shut down?

Do you have any statement on incident?
Principal Beckman never replied.

In response to my inquiry, a NYPD spokesperson replied there was a dispute between a student and teacher but that no gun was involved.

The issue was raised again last Thursday, November 8, when a concerned PS/IS 217 parent sent this message to the Roosevelt Island Parents Network:
Possibly someone can clarify me a doubt. Could somebody explain to me why no one is doing anything (PSD, RIOC, PS/IS217, DOE, NYPD, etc.) or why are some parents more concerned about the Library Fair than the threat of gunfire at the Island’s school?

As many of you know, a student at PS/IS 217 has threatened his classmates to bring a gun to school and shoot them, he also claimed to have access to the gun, as a reference he has friendship with the shooter of Manhattan Park, whose gun was not found per NYPD information....

... Last night happened a new mass shooting (number 307 so far this year).

Hopefully somebody can answer my questions.
On Friday, November 9, I again asked PS/IS 217 Principal Beckman about the alleged gun incident at the school.
... Do you have any comment on this important safety issue for Roosevelt Island and PS/IS 217 parents....
No response from Ms Beckman to my second inquiry but she did send this message to 217 Parents on Friday:
Dear Parents/Guardians,

The safety and well being of all students and staff members at PS/IS 217 remain our highest priority. Towards that end, we understand that there have been questions in the community regarding an alleged threat that took place two weeks ago. Though we are not at liberty to share information about particular students or specific follow-up related to any student, we assure you that every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of all students and staff.

We look forward to your continued partnership as we work together to ensure PS/IS 217 continues to provide the best and safest learning environment possible for all of its students. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 212-980-0294.

Sincerely yours,

Mandana Beckman

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 parent Sangeeta Joseph (correction, Ms Joseph is not a 217 parent) reports on her conversation Friday, November 9 with Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Chief Jack McManus about the school incident. According to Ms. Joseph:
Chief Jack McManus ... called me back to give out the facts of what really happened at PS 217 a couple of weeks ago.

The facts are as follows:
  1. An 11 year old child had his/her phone taken away at school and responded by verbally threatening to return and shoot. (It has been confirmed that the child does not have access to a gun.)
  2. Both PSD and NYPD got involved immediately and the parents of this child were contacted and spoken to. There is no legal requirement on what action the parents have to take and so there is no additional news on what follow up they have done personally with their child.
It appears that the main issue with this incident is the lack of communication from PS 217 about the incident taking place and having to hear it from a random email. Although we should not scrutinize every single flippant thing kids say on the playground, in today's day and age with gun violence at school's being so common place this is a particularly sensitive topic that we cannot take lightly. Schools should be advising students on things that are unacceptable to do/say and advising parents on topics that they must talk to/re-iterate with their kids at home.

At the same time we should keep a little bit of perspective - this is an 11 year old child who said something incredibly stupid in a fit of frustration. Even us as adults can admit to being guilty of saying things we don't really mean. As a community we should be concerned but equally empathetic to this childs emotional state as well as his/her parents state.

Lastly, Chief McManus has also asked whether the parents would like to have a town hall to discuss some of these issues? If you prefer we could also work on holding a video conference call so that more parents can dial in and submit questions.
Rumors spread when information is hidden from the public. Best to communicate quickly and honestly with the Roosevelt Island community.