Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving To All From Roosevelt Island, RIDA Thankful For Help Feeding Community During Covid 19 Pandemic - Holiday Tradition Continues With Arlo Gurthrie's Alice's Restaurant

Happy Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving Day wishes to everyone. 

I hope you all have the best Thanksgiving possible under the present Covid 19 Pandemic circumstances and that Thanksgiving next year will be more normal. 

Since Thanksgiving is still a day all about about Tradition, here is my traditional Thanksgiving Day post started in 2007:

... listening to Arlo Guthrie's rendition of Alice's Restaurant on WNEW-FM was, for me, a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition.

A former station DJ remembers Thanksgiving and Arlo Guthrie this way on the blog All Mixed Up Radio.

Every year a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it starts. It's slow at first, and then turns into a non-stop avalanche of phone calls. And no matter how many times a station runs promo announcements telling people exactly when it will be played, the calls still come.
"What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'"...
Yes, in the olden days people used to listen to music on the radio. Imagine that!...

Here's Arlo Guthrie singing Alice's Restaurant with scenes from the movie.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) President Wendy Hersh has a Thanksgiving message to our community:

Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude. Celebrating this Thanksgiving this year in the midst of a pandemic is very stressful having to be away from people that you’d normally draw close to. 

But as much as this year has been the worst, it’s also shown us how we as humans can be a lot better when we actually try. These past months have been rough and chaotic, but we have gotten through it together and have so much to be thankful for. 

We at the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association would like to take time today on Thanksgiving, to thank everyone who has supported us through this pandemic for the last 8 months. From our daily meal deliveries 6 days a week to Grocery bags and emergency boxes to our now ongoing pantry....we couldn't have done it without the help of so many. 

From Doryne Isley of C & C Management who continuously supported us and gave us whatever we needed; Chuck & Hector and the wonderful C & C Maintence staff for always being there for us in a minutes notice ; Lisa, Pat and Yulissa from Carter Burden (senior center) for their continuous assistance and allowing us to use their space; Pastor Carolyn Marko and her amazing staff from 9 Million Reasons for always providing us with enough food to feed our community; all of the wonderful volunteers that have selflessly given their time and energy to help us feed our community. 

There is no food pantry tomorrow, but there will be one next Friday in spite of Covid-19 numbers going up. Only difference may be that residents will be given boxes of food that we will pack up for safety reasons. We will play it be ear...we want to keep everyone safe...both residents and volunteers.

We appreciate all of you ....and wish you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving...

Here's more on RIDA's efforts, together with community volunteers,

                                               Image Of RIDA, Evangel and NYC CERT Members Prior To Delivering Food Saturday May 2

helping feed Roosevelt Island during the pandemic.

Happy Thanksgiving Roosevelt Island!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Roosevelt Island Tram Featured In Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows Display - Take A Virtual Tour Of The Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows, It's Gorgeous

The Roosevelt Island Tram is featured in this year's Saks Fifth Avenue

Holiday Window Display

According to November 23, Saks Fifth Avenue press release:

Saks Fifth Avenue revealed its iconic holiday window display and ten-story-tall theatrical light show at its New York flagship with a reimagined, one-of-a-kind event concept titled, Saks Lights Up Fifth Avenue....

... Saks' theme for the holiday season, This is How We Celebrate, shines a light on the importance of spending time with loved ones and the different ways people and places across the country celebrate.

Saks' legendary window display is synonymous with the holiday season in New York and this year is no exception. The center six windows showcase how different people celebrate in iconic settings around the city, with each over-the-top celebration scene bringing a different quintessential New York moment to life:

  • A musical celebration on bustling Broadway in Times Square 
  • A classic barber shop getting a visit from some adorable kids and their pets, wanting to look their best for the New Year celebration 
  • A couple on their way to deliver gifts via the Roosevelt Island tram 
  • An aspiring dancer getting an autograph from her ballerina idol 
  • A celebration surrounding the neighborhood food truck at a holiday block party 
  • A friendly competition of holiday lights and decor at neighboring houses in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Here's the Saks lighting ceremony
Take a vitural walk around the Saks Holiday Window Display and check out the Roosevelt Island Tram window.

Granny Annie's And Nisi Kitchen Open For Socially Distanced Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving Dinner, Cornell Cafe Closed - If You're Cooking At Home, Brussel Sprouts With Butternut Squash Recipe From Chef Danny, Pumpkin Pie And Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips From Foodtown

If you don't want to cook and are looking to go out for a socially distanced Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow on Roosevelt Island, consider Granny Annie's

or Nisi Kitchen

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins Dies Yesterday At 93 - Roosevelt Island Remembers Him As Gracious Gentleman, Friendly Tram Rider And Tennis Lover

Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins died yesterday at the age of 93.

Mayor Dinkins was often seen on the Roosevelt Island Tram on his way back and forth from playing tennis at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club.

Skip Hartman, the owner of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club remembers his friend David Dinkins:

David and I really met while watching a competition at the Harlem Armory in 1975. He was then Clerk of the City of New York and an influential leader in the Democratic Party. I was a budding indoor tennis entrepreneur. He actually was part of a group of tennis friends that was then playing at my first indoor club, Stadium Tennis Center in the Bronx. David loved to play tennis, was a solid intermediate player who kept improving his game , He greatly admired Arthur Ashe and embraced NYJTL's mission of bringing tennis to all children. He gladly served on the NYJTL Board from 1975 to 1985, and then again, after serving as Manhattan Borough President and Mayor, from 1994 to 2020. 36 years. He was instrumental in the early 1980's introducing NYJTL to the NYC Board of Education and his prestige opened many doors to NYJTL's work. 

When David became Mayor he and Joyce lived in Gracie Mansion, the Mayor's official residence. Sara and I lived ( and still do) a few hundred feet away. David wanted to play in the mornings for exercise and relief. If he had to last minute cancel for a City emergency, I would not be way out of pocket. So from his many tennis friends I got the call to play. We played vigorous singles tennis several weekday mornings for the next 22 years, and became best friends.  

Our City has lost a great public servant and elder statesman. NYJTL has lost an invaluable supporter. Tennis has lost an enthusiastic player. The USTA has lost a devoted leader. I have lost the best friend a person could have. David, Joyce, David Jr., Donna and their families will always be loved by us.

Here's more on Mayor David Dinkins:


Condolences to his family and friends. 

Rest in peace Mr Mayor.

Roosevelt Island Resident Receives Great Thanksgiving Week News - Wins Riverwalk Park Affordable Housing Lottery Apartment And Current Roosevelt Landings Landlord Allows Her Out Of Current Lease

Roosevelt Island resident Rodica Miller thought she hit the jackpot when she learned  her lottery application for an apartment in the Roosevelt Island Hudson Related Riverwalk Park affordable housing building was selected. But there was a problem - getting out of her existing lease recently renewed this summer at Roosevelt Landings.

According to Ms Miller:

I am a public-school special education teacher residing in one of the Roosevelt Landings buildings since 2018 (when it was still managed by Urban American). My lease came up for renewal in August, and I signed a 2-year lease without thinking much of it. We were and still are in the middle of a pandemic, and I thought that staying put was the safest option. I am a very low-maintenance tenant. I pay my rent through automatic payments and I never complain (even when I should). 

Last April, I applied for one of the affordable housing units at the new development at 460 Main Street. I didn’t think much of it, knowing that the odds are hardly in my favor. After I had already renewed my lease, I heard back from Related and Riverwalk Park that my lottery log number had come up. I went through the tedious process of compiling all the documents needed to check my eligibility. As I started to hope that I might actually qualify and be offered an apartment, I never thought that my biggest hurdle would be breaking up with my current Landlord. 

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   


UPDATE 11/24 - HCK Recreation's Skip Hartman responded today to CBS Channel 2 News story about enrolling Roosevelt Island resident Kristin Braun's special needs daughter in the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program

The well publicized rejection of Kristin's daughter was actually my mistake in instructing the staff not to accept special ed children as we were not equipped to handle them. With all the start up tasks, I had not focused on this enrollment issue and did not consider the full range of children that encompasses the special ed population. 

Many children with special needs can fit in just fine, although others may not. It is a case by case matter. Our Education Specialist on staff is well versed in these issues and interviewed Kristin, Alice's mother, yesterday morning. 

We did accept Alice Bruan after we understood her needs. She was the first and only child we had rejected - so we were able to change our policy on a timely basis and correct the error. Any applicants identifying with special needs will be considered for the program on a case by case basis.

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.