Thursday, August 6, 2020

Black Artists Through History Series Inspired By The Roosevelt Island March For Justice, Take The Drawing Challenge Says RIRA Youth Committee Chair - Lesson 3 On Artist Kehinde Wiley, Painted Portrait Of President Obama And Rumors Of War Sculpture Speaking Back To Confederate Monuments

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Children, Youth & Education Committee Chair Adib Mansour developed a series of Black Artists Through History Lessons inspired by the June 3 Roosevelt Island March For Justice

The first lesson was on sculptor Edmonia Lewis.

The second lesson was on the painter Romare Howard Bearden.

The current lesson is on the contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley who painted the portrait of President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

According to Mr. Mansour:
In this 3rd lesson of the Black Artists Through History series, I am in awe of this successful New York-based artist, Kehinde Wiley, who had over 33 solo exhibits since 2002 and multitudes of worldwide group exhibitions.

His subjects are often young black men and women painted in a photorealistic rendering against stunning patterns in the background. He once said that his art’s mission stems from “The desire to look at a black American culture as underserved, in need of representation”. Today, Wiley’s works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Denver Art Museum, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others.

I find it very pertinent to our island’s Youth March for Equality to celebrate this Black artist, "At a time when young black men are constantly vilified in the press and mainstream media, and even murdered on the street by racist policemen, Wiley's portraits are an essential document of the power, fashion, versatility and beauty of the black community in the USA.” The Art Story.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool Reopens Monday August 10 - Open Swim Only With Limited Capacity And Free Of Charge

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced today:

Miss the sounds of splish splash? The Sportspark Pool is back and we couldn't be more ready! Located at 250 Main St., the pool will be open from Monday through Wednesday, 7:30 AM - 3 PM, as well as on Saturday and Sundays from 10:30 AM - 6 PM. The pool will be available for open swim only, free of charge through the summer, with a limited capacity and required temperature checks prior to sign in. Stay tuned for future updates!

UPDATE 8/6 - A tipster sends in flyer

with Sportspark Rules.

It's Summer, It's Very Hot And Roosevelt Island Water Fountains Have Not Worked Since 2018. Why? RIOC Gives An Update - In The Meantime, How About Turning On RI FDNY Hydrant With Sprinkler Cap?

It's summer, it's hot and the Roosevelt Island water fountains have been shut down by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for 2 years. Initially, the fountains were shut down due to water contamination safety concerns discovered by community activist Frank Farance in summer of 2018.

  Image From Frank Farance

In the summer of 2019, we learned RIOC could not fix the water fountains due to an inability to find a qualified contractor who complies with Minority and Women Business Owned Enterprise (MWBE) regulations.

I asked RIOC Acting President Shelton Haynes:
The Roosevelt Island water fountains were shut down in 2018 for contamination safety reasons and still remain shut down.

The last we heard from RIOC on this subject was in August 2019.

Any update on Roosevelt Island water fountains - when will they be turned on?

Will any Roosevelt Island water sprinklers be turned on this year. The temperature's been in the Upper 90's recently. Roosevelt Island kids and others would enjoy be cooled off in a water sprinkler. Why are they not on?

Also, could FDNY hydrants on Roosevelt Island be turned on with sprinkler caps?
RIOC Director Of Communications & Community Affairs Erica Spencer-El answered:
We are actively addressing the water fountains throughout the island and understand the needs during the summer. Below is a brief update on where we are:
  • Southpoint Park- The water fountain at the Southpoint Park comfort station is scheduled to open later this week. The Backflow project that we issued an RFP for last fall, was cancelled because we could not obtain a waiver approved for MWBE participation. The current plan is to include the water fountain fix inside other upcoming projects.
  • Blackwell Park- will be repaired along with the contract for the paver replacements, which we anticipate will commence early next year.
  • Lighthouse Park- we are currently working with the project designers for the Nellie Bly project to finalize the project timeline, which is scheduled to begin next spring. The fountain repair at this location will coincide with this project and we anticipate that they will be re-installed once the prep work for the Nellie Bly project is completed.
  • McManus Field- the specs for a fountain are part of the comfort station work, which will be completed this year.
  • Capobianco Field- we are in the planning stages for Capobianco Field and do not have an update at this time.
We will be opening the pool at Sportspark very soon and hope that it will serve as an alternative to help cool off residents while we work on getting the fountains back online throughout the island.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Blue Sky And Clean Air After Tropical Storm Isaias But Strong Winds Knock Down Roosevelt Island Trees And Lamppost

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Roosevelt Island Rivercross Coop Building Seeking RIOC Approval For New Mortgage Refinancing At August 5 Real Estate Committee Meeting And Immediately After Full RIOC Board Meeting - Currently Have 10 Year $50 Million Interest Only Mortgage From 2011

According to notices sent out yesterday by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), the Roosevelt Island Rivercross Tenants Corp 

is refinancing  the mortgage on their 365 unit Co-op building and seeking approval of the RIOC Board of Directors for the transaction.  The subject of Rivercross mortgage refinancing will first be discussed as the sole item on Agenda of August 5 RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting and immediately thereafter the sole public item on Agenda for approval by a Special Meeting of the RIOC Board of Directors.

As of 5 PM this afternoon, there is no other information or material available on the RIOC web site about the Rivercross mortgage refinancing. Yesterday, I asked RIOC for more info but have not received a reply yet. Typically, RIOC posts the Agenda and Item Board materials a few days before a Board of Directors meeting.

As previously reported, in 2011 the Rivercross Tenants Corp refinanced their then existing 30 year mortgage with a new $50 million 10 year 4.64% interest only loan. According to a statement at the time from the Rivercross Tenants Corp Board of Directors:
... The proceeds of the new mortgage will be used as follows: First, to pay off the existing mortgage (approximately $25,000,000, including prepayment fees); Second, to create a $15,000,000 capital improvement fund to pay for energy-savings investments (new windows, a more energy-efficient heating system and submetering); and Third, to create a $10,000,000 fund to pay the real property transfer taxes that may have to be paid if and when Rivercross leaves the Mitchell-Lama program and becomes a private coop....
Below are the RIOC notices regarding Rivercross mortgage refinancing meetings tomorrow.

According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. via videoconference.


1. Discussion of Mortgage Refinancing by Rivercross Tenants’ Corp

2. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee


Due to public health concerns and as authorized by Executive Order of the Governor, this meeting will be conducted via videoconference.

The link to a webcast will be posted on RIOC’s website by 12:00 pm on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a Board of Directors meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 5:00 P.M.



1- Authorization to Approve Mortgage Refinancing by Rivercross Tenants’ Corp. (Board Action Required)

2- Executive Session to Discuss Pending Litigation

Due to public health concerns and as authorized by Executive Order of the Governor, the August 5, 2020 Board of Directors meeting will be conducted via videoconference.

The link to a webcast will be posted on RIOC’s website by 12:00 pm on Wednesday, August 5, 2020
UPDATE 7:25 PM - August 5 Board of Directors materials are now posted on RIOC web site.  Below is August 4 Memo from Acting President Shelton Haynes to RIOC Board of Directors supporting approval of the Rivercross Mortgage refinance.
Rivercross Tenants’ Corp. leases the property known as Rivercross pursuant to a Restated Ground Lease dated as of November 30, 1977, which was amended by Amendment #1 dated as of March 28, 2011 and the Second Amendment to Restated Ground Lease dated as of May 30, 2018. In July 2011, Rivercross obtained a $50,000,000 loan from NCB, FSB, which was secured by a first leasehold mortgage (the “Existing Mortgage”). The Existing Mortgage was for a 10 year term, maturing in 2021. The interest rate on the Existing Mortgage is approximately 4.64 %. Rivercross seeks approval to refinance the Existing Mortgage with the same lender (now known as National Consumer Cooperative Bank) with a first leasehold mortgage in the amount of $67,000,000, and a second leasehold mortgage securing a $2,900,000 revolving line of credit (collectively, the “New Mortgages”). While the interest rate of the New Mortgages will not be locked in until after RIOC’s consent has been obtained, it is anticipated that the interest rate of the New Mortgages will be approximately 3%.

In conjunction with the Existing Mortgage, the lender and RIOC entered into a Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreement, whereby the lender agreed not to disturb RIOC’s occupancy of the commercial space it sublets in Rivercross if the lender succeeds to Rivercross’s interest under the Ground Lease. RIOC delivered a written consent to the Existing Mortgage, which included various provisions relating to the rights of the parties in the event of the termination of the Ground Lease. The parties contemplate exchanging substantially similar documents in connection with the New Mortgages.

We have been advised by Rivercross’s counsel that it is Rivercross’s intention to use the loan proceeds remaining after satisfaction of the Existing Mortgage to fund reserves.


I hereby recommend that the RIOC Board of Directors consent to the proposed refinancing by Rivercross Tenants’ Corp.
There is no stated reason why approval of Rivercross mortgage refinancing requires an unscheduled "Special" Board meeting and could not be considered at the next regularly scheduled September 10 Board meeting.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Roosevelt Island MST&DA Presents Virtual Pop In Series For Kids And Adults August 3-8 - Get Your Daily Blast Of Creative Dance, Exercise, Musical Theater, Acting & Improv With Your Favorite Instructors On Zoom

Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) is hosting a Virtual Pop-In Series of classes for kids and adults on Zoom. You're invited to join the fun. According to MST&DA:

The first week of MTSDA VIRTUAL POP IN SESSIONS was a blast and we are so excited to announce WEEK 2!!!

Email to get the zoom link for daily blasts of creative energy for your whole family with your favorite instructors sharing what they love to do most!

*If you joined us last week, the link is the same for all sessions.


MONDAY 10-10:45am: "FULL OUT" Dance for theatre with Miss Christie (age 5-13) - An all levels dance class and a perfect combo with Wednesday's "BELT IT OUT" session. Learn a routine to a song from the musical "Wicked"!!!

TUESDAY 9-9:45am: "KICK IT WITH CHRISTIE" (adults, kids are ok too!) - Suggested Equipment - yoga mat, pillow, chair, small towel or glider, light set of weights (cans of peas are great!) Kick off your morning with a cardio and conditioning class focused on core and upper body strength and standing leg stability. Great for dancers and non-dancers alike! We'll complete the workout with an intro to the basics of kickline technique and a kick combo for the finale!

WEDNESDAY 10-10:45am: "BELT IT OUT" Sing with Miss Kimbirdlee (age 7-13) - "Defying Gravity" and "Popular" from the musical "Wicked" - Bring a musical theatre song to life from start to finish with instruction that is accessible to all levels! Learn a fun and easy vocal warm-up. Then dive into lyrics and rhythm. Next, add your character and off you go!

THURSDAY 10-10:30am: "PLAYMAKERS" with Miss Mae (age 2-4) - An innovative introductory theatre class for the youngest actors! Even at this age, your child’s imagination is blooming, ready to explore story-telling, acting, singing and dancing. We play theatre games, act out stories, learn songs and encourage creative self-discovery.

SATURDAY 10-11am: THEATRE IMPROV with Josh Shapiro (adults & teens) - A theatre improv class that teaches thinking on your feet, comedic timing and creating new and interesting situations on the fly. We play short form improv games that eventually lead to long form games. Lots of laughs included.

Check out MST&DA Facebook page for more info.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

What Was All That NYPD/FDNY Helicopter And Boat Action Last Night In East River By Northern Part Of Roosevelt Island About?

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse asked last night?

And the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse finds the answer.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Long Time RIOC Staffer Fernando Vargas Retires After 38 Years Of Service To Roosevelt Island Community - Residents Gather At Nisi To Show Their Appreciation And Wish Him Well

Long time Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) staffer Fernando Vargas retired this week after 38 years of service to the Roosevelt Island Community. Yesterday, residents gathered outside Nisi Kitchen to show Mr Vargas their appreciation for his service to the community.

According to the iDig2Learn Instagram post:

Fernando served our neighborhood with joy for 36 years! Retiring yesterday, community members left their apts (many for the 1st time) to safely say thank you! Those who couldn’t, sent words of appreciation.

Interestingly enough he helped every community group as if they were the only ones. So when the tennis group showed up us gardeners smiled realizing we weren’t the only ones. The Historical Society, Girls Scouts, GRIN, Garden Club & Jewish Congregation leaders all came by along with others. Fernando beautified the grounds, always lent a hand, was the 1st to set up events and the last to leave, supporting all ages equally & treating everyone from the public to his crew with deep respect & great love.

Fernando served our neighborhood with joy for 36 years! Retiring yesterday, community members left their apts (many for the 1st time) to safely say thank you! Those who couldn’t, sent words of appreciation. Interestingly enough he helped every community group as if they were the only ones. So when the tennis group showed up us gardeners smiled realizing we weren’t the only ones. The Historical Society, Girls Scouts, GRIN, Garden Club & Jewish Congregation leaders all came by along with others. Fernando beautified the grounds, always lent a hand, was the 1st to set up events and the last to leave, supporting all ages equally & treating everyone from the public to his crew with deep respect & great love. #missyou #happyretirement #communityservice TY @nisikitchen for the delicious chocolate heart-shaped cakes!
A post shared by @ idig2learn on

Thank you for your service to Roosevelt Island Mr Vargas. Best Wishes in your retirement.

Friday, July 31, 2020

RIOC Installs New Roosevelt Island Bike Safety Signage After Speeding Rider Hits Baby Stroller With 6 Month Old Inside - Baby Bruised But OK, Could Have Been A Tragedy Say Mom Who Suggests Safe Rules For Bikers And Residents To Coexist

As reported June 18:

During June 2 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee video conference meeting, I asked:
Residents have been concerned over the increased number of bike riders, mostly appears to be visitors, riding on sidewalks and waterfront promenade creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians, including elderly and kids.

What can RIOC do about creating safe sidewalks and pathways. Signage is not enough. Will PSD officers be stationed outside to monitor safe bike riding.
RIOC President Susan Rosenthal answered that RIOC is putting together a team with the Public Safety Department and Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Interim President David Lawson to find a solution for bicycle riding safety issues including signage and striping the Promenades for separate bike and pedestrian sections.

The problem of unsafe bicycle speeding, riding on sidewalks and against traffic on Roosevelt Island continued during the summer without much visible action taken by RIOC to prevent such practices. Until, a Roosevelt Island Mom reported on Twitter earlier this week:

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket July 31 - August 6 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons & Social Media Facebook And Instagram Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket

invites you to check out their July 31 - August 6 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

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - F Train Service To And From Manhattan, Tram Passenger Limits At Discretion Of Operator, New Summer Ferry Schedule And Citibike Too - Wear Your Masks To Travel Safely For You And Others

According to the MTA, there is Roosevelt Island F Train Service to and from Manhattan this weekend.

The Roosevelt IslandOperating Corp (RIOC) adds:
Tram Passenger Limits

As the region begins to reopen and more people return to work, the tram will have more riders. The tram operator has the discretion to allow an increase in the stated thirteen passenger limit based on conditions at a given time. If you feel a tram car is too crowded, we encourage you to wait for the next one. If you see an unsafe condition, please notify a the tram operator or a Public Safety Officer or call PSD directly at 212-832-4545.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway will be closed from 1:00 AM until 6:00 AM to ensure that disinfecting measures can be performed. Regular tram service will resume at 6:00 AM each day and continue until 1:00 AM the following morning. These early morning closures will continue each day until further notice...
Here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule.

Roosevelt Island has a new transportation option with the recent addition of Citbike docking stations.

Also, beginning in August, the E train will replace the F Roosevelt Island subway service on select overnights and weekends due to the MTA's work on the Rutgers Tube tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. According to the MTA:
... On select overnights and weekends between August 2020 and March 2021,... E trains will be rerouted during select overnights and weekends over the F line between 36 St in Queens and a temporary terminal at Delancey St in Manhattan. New York City Transit will provide further service details and dates as they are finalized....

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Congressman John Lewis Laid To Rest Today, Leaves Remarkable Legacy Of Causing Good Trouble And Creating More Just America - President Barack Obama Delivers Powerful And Meaningful Call To Action Eulogy At Funeral Today

Civil rights champion Congressman John Lewis was buried today. He leaves a remarkable legacy. Watch this.

He left a final message published in the NY Times on the day of his funeral - read it.

or listen to an audio recording of the message.

President Barack Obama gave a powerful and meaningful call to action eulogy at today's funeral for Congressman John Lewis.

And here's the entire eulogy.

More on John Lewis from this trailer to John Lewis - Good Trouble documentary.

Rest in peace Congressman John Lewis - thank you for your service to America.

Roosevelt Island Free Food Pantry Friday July 31 From RIDA At Senior Center 4 To 6:30 PM - Fresh Produce, Lots Of Milk And Non Perishable Items, Everyone Who Needs Is Welcome, Over 140 Families Served By RI Food Pantry Last Friday

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) President Wendy Hersh reports;

The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association will be having a food pantry tomorrow Friday July 31 from 4 - 6:30 pm at Roosevelt Island Senior Center (546 Main Street).

Lots of Fresh Produce,


and non-perishables.

If you are in need of food, please feel free to come on Friday. Everyone who needs is welcome. You MUST wear a mask and bring your own bag or cart.
Ms Hersh adds:
Last Friday's food pantry gave food to over 140 people/families. We were so pleased. So we will continue the pantry every Friday to help our community. Although the line was long,

PSD assisted us with social distancing inside and out to help keep everyone safe. Thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who help make this happen.
Learn more about RIDA's food delivery to residents during the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Sponsored Post - Atlantic Hurricane Season Is Here, NYC Emergency Management Department Wants You To Know Your Hurricane Zone, Be Ready And Be Prepared - Roosevelt Island Is Zone 2 & 3

The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1 and lasts thru Novmeber 1.

The New York City Emergency Management Department (NYCEM) wants you to be prepared for Hurricane Season

and Know Your Zone.

According to NYCEM:
There are six hurricane evacuation zones, ranked by the risk of storm surge impact, with zone 1 being the most likely to flood. In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, residents in these zones may be ordered to evacuate.
Roosevelt Island is located in two zones - Zones 2 and 3.

All but one of the Roosevelt Island residential building and the Cornell Tech campus are located in Zone 3. The NYCEM Know Your Hurricane Zone Map below shows Zone 2 in cream color and Zone 3 in yellow.

The Octagon Building, Coler Hospital, Lighthouse Park and FDR Park are located in Zone 2.

In the event Roosevelt Island needs to be evacuated, NYCEM reports:
If you are required to evacuate, it is recommended that you shelter at the home of friends or family outside of the evacuation area. If you wish to go to a public facility, select any evacuation center from the following list....
There are no evacuation sites on Roosevelt Island. The closest sites are listed below.

Here's some scenes of what Roosevelt Island looked like during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012

and report on damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Sponsored Post - Do It For Your Family, Get A Free NYC Covid-19 Test Today, Free Quick & Easy - Closest Roosevelt Island Locations Are In Long Island City And Upper East Side

Here's a screenshot of Covid 19 Testing Locations

in Long Island City and the Upper East Side that are closest to Roosevelt Island.

Click on this link for the exact addresses.