Saturday, January 16, 2021

Roosevelt Island Nisi Kitchen Outdoor Heated Tent Seating Re-Opens, Cornell Tech Cafe Outdoor Patio Open Too - Granny Annie's Expects Outdoor Eating Later This Month

The Roosevekt Island Nisi Kitchen heated dining tent re-opened yesterday and on a fairly mild January had several people eating at the outdoor tables.

Owners Kai &!Alex Razaghi invite you to come on down to Nisi Kitchen.

Granny Annie's 'Bar & Kitchen in Southtown is expected to re-open 

with outdoor dining later this month 

and the Cafe at Cornell Tech 

is open for take out, delivery and outdoor dining on their patio. 

The Roosevelt Islansd Fuji East, Piccolo Trattoria, Hot Pot Noodle Shop, Subway Sandwich Shop, Starbucks.and Organic Market are open but not for seating.

Let's try to support our local Roosevelt Island businesses.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Loneliness & Quarantine At Roosevelt Island Coler Rehab & Nursing Facility - We May Not Die Of Covid But Isolation Protocols Are Killing Us, They Have To Come Up With Better Solution Says Resident

The NY Times recently reported on nursing home patients dying of loneliness during the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown ban on outside visitors.

Here on Roosevelt Island, residents at the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp (H&HC) Coler Rehab and Nursing Facility are suffering severe loneliness from the Covid-19 isolation, confinement and quarantine too. 

A Coler resident reported last week:
We have just learned that our  ...  quarantine has been extended until January 18th.

We were supposed to come off tomorrow January 7th, having been on it since Christmas Eve but a staff member on our unit tested positive day before yesterday - Monday - so they have reset the clock.

Today is our 293rd day of confinement with no end in sight. This has been a crushing blow to us. We are penned in like animals, confined to our tiny bed areas with only an occasional reprieve of a few moments. 

We may not die of COVID, but this protocol is killing us.

They have to come up with a better solution.

And the vaccinations aren't going to put a stop to this.

We are terribly depressed. 

On January 8, the Coler resident reported:

More bad news for us! Of Coler's 22 units, all but two are now in quarantine.

Two residents from our unit tested positive yesterday so they and their roommates (for a total of six people) have been sent over to the C Building fifth floor for a minimum of two weeks isolation. In one instance a woman who is bed ridden, and NEVER leaves her room, tested positive. Where did she get it? (Answer: staff)

Yesterday they began rapid testing staff. They're systematically going unit by unit and shift by shift. For now they will do all staff once a week. Results come back in only 15 minutes. The rapid testing will be in addition to the twice weekly testing staff are currently undergoing. It looks like Coler was spooked by the post holiday surge of positive cases among staff and how those are spreading to residents.

Visitations won't resume until January 20th now.

And yesterday:

For the week of January 3rd - 8th there were 4 positive covid residents and 9 positive staff.

Visitations were closed until January 20th. However I just called again (today Thursday, Jan 14th) and although they said no positive residents, they did say visitations are now closed until January 29th, which means there must be some new staff cases. Yesterday they were still planning to resume visitations on the 20th, so this is a new heartbreaking development). 

And so it goes... 

Another Coler resident who was moved to the C Building 5th Floor for observation because a unit roommate tested positive says:

They still don’t have nothing organized. There is no supplies here, no staff. There is nothing up here. My butt didn't touch the seat of my wheelchair until 3:45 yesterday. One nurse per unit. The one nurse gotta do medication and then turn around and do treatment. By the time they get to me it's damn near time for them to go home. If the right staff ain't here they will leave me in the bed.

During the December 19, Coler Nursing Home Lives Protest Rally, residents were not allowed outside the building so they greeted and waved from inside the lobby to supporters on the sidewalk including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

In response to my inquiry for comment, A NYC HHC spokesperson replied:

NYC Health + Hospitals’ priority remains the safety of its patients, residents, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic continues to pose restrictions on visitation and other activities, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler has been able to accommodate socially distant and safe recreation on our campus for residents. We will continue to work with all residents to ensure their comfort without compromising their safety for the duration of this pandemic.

and adds:

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler follows all necessary COVID-19 safety guidance and regulation from NYS DOH. 

Residents at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler have not been confined to their units for hundreds of days. Despite required quarantine, staff accommodates trips outdoors on the facility’s campus, out to the community for approved “essential visits,” and organizes socially distant and safe activities for residents, such as cultural music and movies. 

As per NYS DOH requirement, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler requires all staff of nursing homes to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. All testing is done on the campus.

If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they are required to appropriately quarantine and not return to work until they are cleared. This may require the unit the staff member works on to be placed on restrictions, as per NYS DOH regulation. However, as stated previously, residents are still scheduled to go outside for fresh air, etc.

All NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler staff are required to wear a face mask at all time when in the facility. Other PPE is worn as required by the CDC, CMS, and NYS DOH regulations.

All NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler residents are provided with appropriate face coverings at all times. 

COVID-19 vaccine distributions for residents and staff at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler began on December 28, 2020. Everyone who is a part of Coler has been offered a vaccine at this point.

More stories about life in nursing homes across America from the NY Times.

UPDATE 1/16 - The Coler resident adds:

For the week of January 9th - 15th: 0 positive COVID residents, 12 COVID positive staff.

Visitations continue to be suspended until January 29th.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - Subway, Tram, Ferry And Citibike - Temporary Red Bus Manhattan Shuttle Daily Until Further Notice Due To Tram Elevator Outage Says RIOC

 According to the MTA, Roosevelt Island F Train service to and from Manhattan will be replaced by the E Train this weekend between 21st Queensbridge and Delancey Street.

                                                                                                     Image From MTA
 

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.

Also:

Due to an elevator service outage at the Manhattan Tram Station, the RIOC Red Bus will provide special shuttle service to and from Manhattan for those with limited mobility. Schedule information is below:

ROOSEVELT ISLAND TO MANHATTAN

Departs hourly from the Tramway, making all Northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (opposite PS/IS 217). The first trip will depart at 11 AM. Last trip will be at 7 PM.

MANHATTAN TO ROOSEVELT ISLAND 

Departs on the half hour from the Southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th & 59th Street and will make all Southbound local bus stops (starting with 591 Main Street) to the Tramway. The last trip will depart Manhattan at 7:30 PM. Please note, that there is no shuttle bus service from 3 PM – 4 PM daily. 

The Tram Shuttle will run seven days a week until further notice.

Thank you for your patience.

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


And Roosevelt Island Citbike docking stations

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket January 15 - January 21 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons, Social Media, Recipes, Nutrition Info & Big Game Give A Way Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket   invites you to check out their January 15 - January 21 Weekly Flyer 

for Product Offerings, Specials and 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.



Thursday, January 14, 2021

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association Asks For Your Help Donating Warm Winter Clothes To Nine Million Reasons Long Island City Homeless Outreach Program

As previously reported, the Long Island City based Evangel Church 9 Million Reasons Food Pantry program has been supplying the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) food pantry. RIDA President Wendy Hersh reports:

I think it is important to let the community know how hard it was for us at RIDA to find an agency willing to come to Roosevelt Island to supply us with food to give out. They have been supplying us with food since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, enough to feed 220 families each week. 

I am so appreciative and thankful for them.  I continue to give back in every way that I can. I donate to them personally and if people have a donation for RIDA, I have asked them to donate it to 9 Million Reasons. 

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

In addition to supplying the Roosevelt Island food pantry, as well as other NYC food pantries, the 9 Million Reasons program also provides clothing for homeless people in Long Island City shelters. If you are able to donate warm winter coats, gloves, scarves and hats in good and clean conditions to 9 Million Reasons, Ms Hersh asks you to bring the clothing to the Senior Center outdoor garden (546 Main Street) on Wednesday or Friday mornings.

According to Evangel Church 9 Million Reasons Program:

A Need for warm winter clothes, among other essentials

9 Million Reasons runs the largest community food pantry in New York City. When our organization was founded in 2016 to serve local neighborhoods, we ran a Saturday-only food pantry as one of the many programs offered. When New York City went into shut down in March 2020, we extended our food pantry program to a daily operation to meet the urgent challenge of rising food insecurity during the pandemic. With this expansion, 9 Million Reasons is able to serve over 70,000 clients weekly via three avenues: walk-in pantry, home delivery, and, since participating in the USDA Farmers to Families program, bulk distribution to a network of 257 smaller food pantries, community organizations, mutual aid groups, and housing projects. The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, which serves the elderly, the disabled, veterans, and other vulnerable community members, is one such partners, receiving supplies of essential groceries, canned goods, and personal care items twice per week. These deliveries have been consistent since the beginning of the pandemic in April.

Since the start of the pandemic, 9 Million Reasons has helped 512,863 families or 1,641,131 people (which equals 15,385,890 pounds of food, or 12,821,575 meals) furnish their dinner tables and relieve some pressure from their much burdened lives, in New York City, Yonkers, Long Island and parts of New Jersey.

In addition to fighting against food insecurity, 9 Million Reasons actively cares for those struggling with another urgent matter in our neighborhood, homelessness, as most hotels in Long Island City have been turned into shelters. 9 Million Reasons’ homeless outreach program includes providing people in need with warm winter clothes, among other essentials. 9 Million Reasons cannot achieve these great milestones without the support from generous individuals and organizations - so, we kindly ask you, within your domain, to join our mission. One way you can support our mission is by donating winter garments in good condition, such as scarves, coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, and winter boots. To make a donation, please drop off your donated items with the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association. If you’d like to make a monetary donation to 9 Million Reasons, please visit our gofundme page to donate. Should you desire to join our effort through volunteering, please visit or Eventbrite page. We are forever grateful for your continued generosity, especially during these trying times.

Last May, I spoke with RIDA's Wendy Hersh and Evangel's Carolyn Marko about their collaboration to help feed needy Roosevelt Island residents.


If you have any winter clothing to donate, please consider dropping it off at the Senior Center outdoor garden (546 Main Street) on Wednesday and Friday mornings for the 9 Million Reasons homeless ourtreach program.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

61 Roosevelt Island Christmas Holiday Trees Recycled And Kept Out Of Landfill With Help From RI Garden Club and Haki Compost Collective Volunteers Last Week - Recycle Your Food Scraps, Pens, Pencils & Markers Every Saturday At Haki Compost Drop Off Site Next To Farmers Market

The Roosevelt Island Garden Club and Haki Compost Collective joined together last week to help residents recycle their Christmas Holiday Trees and avoid adding the trees to landfill. Residents were able to bring their trees to the Garden Club entrance or the Saturday Haki Compost Food Scrap drop off site as these 2 young people (Leire & Itziar) did.

According to the Haki Compost Collective Instagram post:

The dust has settled on our Christmas-tree-rescue operation and the numbers are in... This year, we recycled 61 trees, just about double what island volunteers managed to keep out of landfill last year. Not to mention the inspiring number of Roosevelt Islanders seen carting their own trees to a drop-off site, both by car and by bike.

Throughout the week, Roosevelt Island Garden Club and Haki volunteers made the neighborhood rounds, snagging as many trees as we could find while residents brought their own trees to the garden and food scrap drop-off site. Saturday became a carting bonanza as we took all 61 trees to two different @NYCParks #Mulchfest locations, an active chipping site in Astoria Park and a quieter drop-off at Queensbridge Park.

A huge thank you to @jf.lindentree from RIGC for being the driving force of this initiative, literally and figuratively. With just a handful of dedicated individuals, we can make holiday magic happen throughout the year. Here’s to smashing our own records again next season!

You can continue to bring your food scraps to the Haki Compost Collective drop off site every Saturday at the Farmers Market next to the Motorgate Garage

as well as pens and markers too.

Medical Assistant Position Available At Soon To Open Roosevelt Island Covid 19 Testing Site Facility With Swift Emergency Care

 As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced a Covid-19 Test site will open in the former Roosevelt Island NY Public Library space later this month. The Roosevelt Island Covid -19 Test Provider, Swift Emergency Care, listed a job available at the facility on the Indeed website.

Click here for more info and to apply for the job.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Says Local Seniors And Disabled Residents Need Covid 19 Vaccination Site On Island - Is Anybody Listening?


Mayor Bill deBlasio announced today that Covid-19 vaccinations are available for all New Yorkers age 65 and older.

According to the NYC Vaccine Finder web site:

The Vaccine Finder is a one-stop site for New Yorkers to find their nearest COVID-19 vaccination site. The Vaccine Finder can also provide New Yorkers with information to schedule vaccination appointments. 

To get started, type in an address, zip code or search “near me” to find a list of nearby provider locations, links and phone numbers you can use to schedule your appointment at each location....

But many Roosevelt Island elderly and disabled residents are not able to reach vaccination locations off the Island. 

Today, Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) Vice President Nancy Brown asked for a Covid -19 Vaccination site to be placed on Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer have indicated support for a Roosevelt Island Covid-19 Vaccination site.

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced a Covid-19 Test site will open in the former Roosevelt Island NY Public Library space later this month.

UPDATE 1/13 - Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney wrote to Mayor deBlasio today supporting a Covid 19 vaccinaiton site on Roosevelt Island. Here's the letter:

Dear Mayor De Blasio: 

I write to thank you for your hard work in overseeing the coronavirus vaccination effort in New York City and ensuring that the process is efficient, comprehensive, and equitable. I urge you to further improve access for our elderly and disabled residents by adding a vaccination site on Roosevelt Island.  

As you are aware, there are approximately 11,500 New Yorkers living on Roosevelt Island, including a significant number of elderly and disabled residents. These constituents are part of the high-risk demographic for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19, and they do not currently have access to a convenient vaccination site. The closest vaccination site to Roosevelt Island is in Vernon Boulevard, Queens - over a mile away from most of Roosevelt Island’s residential areas. Seniors and people with disabilities who travel to the nearest vaccination site in Queens must face the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through travel and disproportionate physical difficulties in getting to distant vaccination sites, necessitating a closer location.  

I believe that vaccine distribution should be easy, accessible, and free for all. For those reasons, I strongly encourage you to add a vaccination site on Roosevelt Island to service Roosevelt Island residents, including seniors and disabled populations, many of whom are veterans. Including a vaccination distribution site on Roosevelt Island is a vital step towards achieving this goal and to ensuring an equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your leadership in New York City’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monday, January 11, 2021

UPDATE On Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Multiple Positive Covid Tests, After Investigation School Building Closed For 10 Days Through January 20 - Latest Roosevelt Island 7 Day Positive Covid 19 Test Results Number 27

As reported yesterday, Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 school building 

was closed today to investigate mulitple positive Covid 19 test results within the last 7 days which:

... may have exposed others while at school...

 A PS/IS 217 representative reported today:

Due to multiple confirmed cases, our school building will remain closed through 1/20/2021, and all teaching and learning will continue remotely. Staff and students may return to school on 1/21/2021.
Blended K-5 students will receive synchronous instruction on their in-school day. You will receive more information from your child's teachers....
PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman sent this letter to the school community.

According to the NYC Department of Health, the Roosevelt Island zip code 10044 most recent 7 day Covid 19 reporting data for January 2 - January 8 shows of 558 people tested, 27 were positive for a 4.84% positive rate

and the Roosevelt Island zip code 10044 total number of positive cases is 377 with a 6.9% positive result for those tested and 36 deaths.

UPDATE 12/12:

Manhattan Community Board 8 Virtual Zoom Presentation On Goddard Riverside Safe Haven Homeless Housing Proposal For Upper East Side Wednesday January 13

Manhattan Community Board 8 represents Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side. Roosevelt Island resident Ellen Polivy reports:

I'd like to give a plug for an important presentation at Community Board 8 Health Seniors and Social Services Committee this Wednesday January 13 about a proposed safe haven for homeless people on the Upper East Side.  

Occasionally homeless people find their way to community spaces on Roosevelt Island. It is so easy for people in NY to get into these situations. It has been said that many of us are one or two hard times away from homelessness. A job loss, loss of medical insurance, added expenses, perhaps a serious illness.  

I often wish there was something I could suggest to people in these circumstances. Now, maybe there is. City Council Member Ben Kallos, who has for years volunteered in the January 27 street homeless count, reports that a safe haven is proposed for 419 E 91 Street. The mission is to give individuals living on the street safe housing while they get social services and assistance finding long term housing.  

This Wednesday at 6:30, Goddard Riverside and the NYC Department of Homeless Services will present to the community board 8 health, seniors and Social Services committee in a zoom meeting.

Click here to access the Zoom meeting.

Learn more about Goddard Riverside Homeless Services program here.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

2 Or More Positive Covid 19 Cases At Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217, Others May Have Been Exposed While At School Reports Principal - School Building Closed For 24 Hours Tomorrow To Investigate

Last Friday, Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman informed parents of students that two or more members of the school community tested positive for Covid-19 within 7 days of each other resulting in the school building closing for 24 hours on Monday, January 11 to investigate. 

Today, Ms Beckman sent an update adding that others may have been exposed at the school. According to excerpts from Ms Beckman's January 10 letter (full letter below)

Subject: Confirmed Case of COVID-19, close contacts quarantined
Dear ​P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island ​at​ 645 MAIN STREET ​Community: The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the NYC Test + Trace Corps (T2) have determined tha​t ​a member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19, and may have exposed others while at school...

Below are full copies of Principal Beckman's letters.


There was another positive Covid 19 test at the school reported December 8.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Roosevelt Island Residents Wait In Frigid Cold And Long Line For Tasty Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck, But RIOC Shuts Them Down In Less Than An Hour For Failure To Have RI Permit Even Though They Have NYC Permit

If a business offers an appealing and desirable product on Roosevelt Island, residents will come out  and spend money for quality offerings, even if they have to stand on a long line in frigid temperatures.

That's what happened this afternoon as the Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck made an unexpected arrival at Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Plaza. 

Unfortunately, about 45 minutes after the Food Truck began serving hungry residents, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department ordered the Food Truck to shut down and leave Roosevelt Island. 

The reason for the PSD order was that the Food Truck did not have a Roosevelt Island Food Truck permit. The Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck operator had a NYC Food Truck permit but did not know they also needed a Roosevelt Island Food Truck permit.

So they were forced to leave Roosevelt Island and set up on Vernon B'lvd in Long Island City near the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Many frustrated and disappointed Roosevelt Island residents waiting on line said they would follow the Truck to Long Island City to order some food.

Matt Katz was the last resident to buy from the Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck before they were shut down. Mr Katz wrote to RIOC Acting President Shelton Haynes this afternoon:

I'm writing regarding an old problem that has reasserted itself. I learned that there was a food truck, Cousins Maine Lobster, parked in front of the Good Shepherd Plaza today. Not surprising, the line to take advantage of this new treat stretched halfway down the block despite the cold weather and bitter winds blowing off the river. As my wife and I finished receiving our order, two Public Safety officers came over and told them to close up shop as they didn't have RIOC permits. This has got to stop.

Many food trucks, providing foods not found in our few groceries or even fewer restaurants, have left, unwilling to pay a second fee to RIOC despite having already paid for a City permit. Roosevelt Island is, after all, owned by New York City and only leased to the State for 99 years. City permits should be sufficient for them to do business here. And further, RIOC needs to live up to its designation as a "public benefit corporation" and find more and better ways to serve Roosevelt Islanders. Chasing away food trucks does not satisfy this requirement. The dozens of my neighbors willing to brave the elements so as to buy a lobster roll (delicious!) should be accommodated, not thwarted, by RIOC regulations. You can certainly afford the piddling loss of revenue. ...

Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos heard about the incident and wrote to Mr Haynes:

Could food trucks be offered a warning on the first day together with an application for them to complete on site so that they can return the following day or following week?
RIOC Acting Presdident Haynes replied to Mr Katz: 

Good afternoon everyone,

Thank you for your email Mr. Katz. After looking into this matter, I was informed that our Public Safety team responded to a complaint regarding a food vendor blocking a fire hydrant.

The vendor presented PSD with a NYC permit, which is not applicable on R.I. as we have a separate process from NYC. We are certainly open to exploring the option of modifying our permit approval process when NYC permits are in place while taking into consideration other factors like vendor location, line monitoring and traffic control before approval.

Our team will work with this vendor to secure a permit and invite them back to vend on the island.

Mr Haynes also replied to Mr Kallos:

We will explore all options as we examine our current permit process. Our team is willing to work with any vendor to help expedite the approval process and ensure that we have special locations in place for them. The ultimate goal is to attract more vendors to Roosevelt Island and we feel that we can accomplish that.

How tasty were the Lobster Rolls? Vicki Feinmel was one of the few lucky residents who ordered 

before the Food Truck was shut down and told me:

The food was delicious.

Matt Katz agreed reporting:

Having braved the bitter cold and long line in front of the Good Shepherd Plaza, Sherie and I placed and received our order quickly. We scooted home to sample our now-revised lunch.  

We ordered two lobster rolls, a Maine (with mayonnaise) and a Connecticut (with butter and lemon) that came to a total of just over $40. The rolls were smallish but crammed with lobster and absolutely delicious.  

I speak as one who has celebrated every birthday for 35 years with a lobster dinner (I give my lobsters names, usually Hortense if they are female).  

I hope RIOC will have the good sense not to chase these folks off the Island and that Cousins Maine Lobster will be impressed with our enthusiasm and return on a regular basis.

Here's the Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck Menu

More on RIOC's Roosevelt Island Food Truck policy at this 2012 and 2015 post.