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Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Wonderful Time At La Nueva Mesa Beta Pop Up Roosevelt Island Dinner Exploration Of Plant Kingdom Says Resident - More Pop Up Dinner Events Planned For Roosevelt Island's The Sanctuary Space

 As reported October 8:

... On October 14, La Nueva Mesa kicks off a pop-up dinner series with a wine-paired six-course locally sourced plant based meal crafted by Drew Shives, Matthew Taber and Amir Dholakia- the three ex-Jean-George culinary wizards behind Beta, the wait-list only popup in Queens...

 The Pop Up dinner was hosted at The Sanctuary,

Image From The Sanctuary

Roosevelt Island's new event space and restaurant that will open in the Spring.

Roosevelt Island resident Christine Delfico tweeted at the dinner

and told me afterwards:
Event was great
Another Roosevelt Island resident who attended the dinner tweeted:

and reported a few days later:
It was a lovely, very diverse group of New Yorkers gathered together on the Island for what proved to be a great vegetarian dinner by some dedicated young chefs, paired with really good Spanish wines. Most of the food was grown by a young first generation Chinese American farmer who runs a small vegetable farm in Astoria.

The venue has the potential to be a fabulous and popular with islanders once it’s up and running - it seems special enough that if they do it well, people might also regularly come from off Island to visit.

For this event, most people didn’t know where they were going in advance and were only told the location the day of. The people I spoke to were pleasantly surprised, and had either not been to Roosevelt Island ever before or not for a decade. (One woman, who lives in Manhattan, recalled that the last time she visited, about 13 years ago, she thought the island had a somewhat “spooky” feeling but that she didn’t have that impression at all this time.)

Only one other person looked familiar to me - Christina from IDig2Learn - I’m not sure if other islanders but most seemed to be from off island. The people I spoke to came on subway and planned to take the tram back. One asked me about getting a cab.
A La Nueva Mesa spokesperson adds:
We were thrilled with how the event turned out. The Beta team did an exceptional job, and it's such a special space. We had the very talented William Elliott from Maison Premiere and PM Spirits behind the bar, as well.

There were 32 guests at the table, and while we don't have exact numbers on who was from the neighborhood, I got the sense that it was an even split. It was encouraging to see that support from both residents, who are eager to welcome something like this to the community, and non-residents, who treated the dinner like a destination in itself. With that in mind, we do plan on doing more events at Roosevelt Island and The Sanctuary!
More photos from the event here and some contrasting comments from prior post about the event.

Roosevelt Island Severe Weather Storm Knocks Down Roosevelt Landings Courtyard Tree Narrowly Missing Apartment Windows Last Evening

A large tree was knocked down in the Roosevelt Landings Courtyard narrowly missing apartment windows during last evening's severe weather rainstorm.

According to a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) spokesperson:
A tree fell down last night due to the severe weather at the rear of 546 Main Street . There were no injuries and no property damage . The tree is on Urban American Property. and they are notified and responded. They will cut the tree and remove it at some point today.
Here's more pictures of the downed Roosevelt Landings tree.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Roosevelt Island To Be Home Of Muckraking Journalist Nellie Bly Monument, The Girl Puzzle At Lighthouse Park - RIOC Announces Today Selection Of Artist Amanda Mathews Of Prometheus Art To Construct Sculpture

Reported June 24:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is calling for artist proposals to create a Memorial to 19th century muckraking journalist Nellie Bly.
RIOC announced today:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has selected Amanda Matthews/Prometheus Art to construct the Nellie Bly Monument on the northern end of Roosevelt Island at Lighthouse Park. The sculptural installation will be known as “The Girl Puzzle” and invites the viewer to experience many facets of Nellie Bly’s talent, conviction and compassion. The ground-breaking journalist and women’s rights advocate exposed the horrors of the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum in 1887 on Roosevelt Island.

“I am proud of the selection committee’s dedication to choosing such a passionate artist to honor the accomplishments of a woman who was truly ahead of her time,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of RIOC. “The committee, made up of RIOC employees and community leaders, unanimously selected this bold installation that will not only represent Nellie Bly’s time here, but her impact on the world.”

The installation will allow the viewer to enter a long walkway where they will encounter four, seven-foot-tall female faces, representing different ages and ethnicities, cast in bronze. A fifth face at the far end of the walkway will represent Nellie Bly. Each face will show the depth of emotion and the complexity of being broken and repaired, which was significant to the conditions Ms. Bly encountered when she posed as a mental patient to report on the conditions inside the mental hospital where the Octagon now stands. Construction of the installation is scheduled to be completed in the Summer 2020.

“It is my great honor to represent Nellie Bly’s life and legacy,” said artist Amanda Matthews, “and to celebrate her passion for diversity and inclusion. Her voice remains timely and significant today.”

... About Prometheus Art

Prometheus Art is a design/build firm owned and operated by Amanda Matthews and Brad Connell. The award-winning artists partnered in 2009 and work on public art, metal sculpture, monuments, architectural metal work and historic sculpture restoration and conservation throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. Clients have included universities, municipalities, corporations, architects, engineers, the U.S. Government and the U.S. Department of Defense. For more information, please visit
RIOC plans a Town Hall meeting in December where the public will get an idea of what the artist is proposing and see the scale of the installation as it relates to Lighthouse Park.

More on the muckraking journalist Nellie Bly

at this prior post.

Roosevelt Landings Lease Assignment, Roosevelt Island Tram Elevator, Artist In Residence Program, Southtown Building Lot 9 Among Agenda Items For October 17 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting - Public Comment Session Prior To Meeting Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet 5:30 PM Thursday October 17, at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street).

 You're invited to  attend, ask questions and share concerns about Roosevelt Island during the opening Public Session before the start of the meeting. Sign up to speak here.

Items on meeting Agenda are:


I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes
1. September 5, 2019 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Authorization of Consent to Assignment of Lease by BSREP UA Roosevelt Landings LLC (The Eastwood Tenant) to Roosevelt Landings Owner Housing Development Fund Corporation, as Leasehold Nominee for Roosevelt Landings Owner LLC, Beneficial Tenant (Board Action Required)

2. Authorization of Southtown Building 9 Lot Reapportionment (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization to Amend Composition of Committees of Board of Directors (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Amend Contract with Elit Green Builders Corp. for Construction of Seawall Railing (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Amend Contract with Sea Crest Construction Corp. for Construction of the Elevator at the Manhattan Aerial Tramway Station (Board Action Required)

6. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. for Design Services in Connection with the Lighthouse Park Project (Board Action Required)

7. Authorization to Enter into Contract for Hope Memorial Construction Services (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)

8. Authorization of Grant Award and Disbursement for Artist-In-Residence Program (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)

9. President’s Report

10. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

11. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.

Roosevelt Island Family Halloween Parade Route March Will Stay On Main Street This Year - RIOC Staff Revises Plan After Board Member David Kraut Explains It's 40 Year Tradition - Roosevelt Island Is Nothing if Not About Our Kids Says Kraut

As reported last week, rumors that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) cancelled the traditional Family Halloween Parade were not true.

Image From RIOC

Rather, RIOC moved the Parade's final destination from outdoors at Capobianco Field to indoors at Sportspark, where it had taken place last year due to the rain.

However, RIOC decided to change the route of the 40 year old parade which traditionally had the costumed marchers walking north on Main Street passing crowds watching on the sidewalks in front of the WIRE buildings.

Instead, the new route would be:
... departing from the Lawn south of Rivercross (across from 500 Main St.), and proceeds to Sportspark for entry into the Halloween Extravaganza!...
The new route was not well received by the Roosevelt Island community. As one resident noted:
... is a walk past the train station as representative and inclusive as a stroll down Main Street, waving at bystanders who may frequent the businesses that we rely on

Do you know how many residents of our community live on that western road? None. The building entrances are on the eastern road. Maybe the subway attendant will wave and cheer us on.
At the end of yesterday's (October 15) RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting, I brought up the subject of the Halloween Parade and asked why the route had been changed?

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal replied:
... it was a question of PSD and Community Affairs together making that decision subject to Executive approval - seemed to make sense because of the traffic issues... I'm taking full responsibility....
RIOC Board Director David Kraut, attended by phone, interrupted to support the traditional Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade route. According to Mrl Kraut:
This Island had traditionally had two parades a year in which we watched our children grow. The Little League Parade in April and the Halloween Parade in October...

... We love to see our children parade on Halloween. We just do. It's been with us every year for the 40 years I've been on this Rock....

... You can't have a parade down where nobody lives. You need to have a parade where people can see it and if that means marching from Capabianco to Sportspark or something else ... let it be so.

Give the kids a chance to show off their costumes and give them festivities at the end of it.... Roosevelt Island is about nothing if not about our kids.... Considerations of traffic don't mean much to me. You stop the traffic and let the kids march thru....
Ms Rosenthal was convinced by Mr. Kraut and relented:
... I don't feel strongly about this issue and if you do am happy to go back and modify it....
Here's the discussion.

RIOC is expected to announce the specifics of the Halloween Parade route later today.

Here's the 2017 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade marching on Main Street.

Good job Mr. Kraut in explaining the importance of Halloween to RIOC staff and good job by RIOC in listening to community and revising their plan.

UPDATE 9:10 PM - According to RIOC:
We Heard You!

The parade begins on Saturday, October 26th at 11:00 AM, departing from Capobianco Field (across from 595 Main Street), proceed down Main Street to Sportspark where the Halloween Extravaganza will take place. For more information on the Halloween Extravaganza, click here.

Here’s how the parade will work:

1. 11:00 AM - Parade organizes at Capobianco Field. (Wristbands will be available for all participants will be given out in the park.)

2. 11:30 AM - Parade kick-off led by PSD. Parade will head south on Main Street, passing the business district, proceeding to the Blackwell turnaround. Once at Blackwell, parade will stay south on West Road, passing the subway and on to Sportspark.

3. 12:15 PM - Arrive at and enter Sportspark. Attendees wishing to park strollers will be directed to proceed to a designated area.

4. Wristbands for late-comers will be available at Sportspark.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Update From Hudson Related's David Kramer - Says All But 1 And Half Stores Currently Leased, Vacant Stores Will Open, Eventually

Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer gave a store leasing update to the October 7 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting.

According to Mr. Kramer, all the Main Street stores have been leased except for the former Bubble Tea Space and the former Urgent Care space which is currently occupied by Doctors Resnik and Grimm and seeking additional medical practitioners.

Mr Kramer noted that of the currently vacant space:

  • 503 Main Street space in Rivercross will hopefully open at end of year as some type of restaurant food use. They are finalizing their concept. The space has been unoccupied for 40 years,
  • 521 Main Street will be Yoga Studio hopefully open January 2020,
  • Tenant for the former Card shop at 563 Main Street has been secured but not ready to announce it yet,
  • 548 main street plan for Mexican restaurant has changed to a Mediteranean restaurant, open early this spring
Mr Kramer's colleague Alex Kaplan reported that the NY Public Library will open in the Summer of 2020, later than the December 2019 that had been scheduled.

Judy Berdy asked Mr. Kramer to make sure that Roosevelt Island restaurants comply with applicable Health Department inspections and regulations He replied that it's not his responsibility as landlord to do so but indicated that if he is made aware of problems, he can apply pressure on the tenant to insure compliance.

Mr Kramer noted recent announcement of Grannie Annie Irish Bar lease signing in former Riverwalk Bar space and opening of The Sanctuary Event space at former Dayspring Church.

Here's the entire presentation. Watch it - very interesting.

Check out the new Roosevelt Island Shops

web page.