Friday, February 3, 2023

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island RIVAA Gallery Essence Créations Exhibition Opening Reception Celebrating Black History Month Saturday February 4 - Watch Video And Learn How Black History Month Began, African American History In NYC And The 1619 Project

Roosevelt island's RIVAA Gallery (527 Main Street) is celebrating Black History Month with an exhibition titled "Essence Créations" from February 2 - February 26. You're invited to the exhibition's opening reception on Saturday, February 4 from 6 - 9 PM.

According to RIVAA Gallery:

Beginning February 2, 2023 RIVAA Gallery will present work by a diverse group of artists for Black History Month.

The exhibition “Essence Créations” focuses on positive and creative expression in the visual arts.

Curated by Lorraine Williams, the exhibition includes the Pax Rawanda Embroideries with Juliana Meehan, Andrew Nichols, Ida Owens, Albert Dépas, Mona Coichy Haigler, Aziza and others.

We look forward to welcoming you either to our opening reception on February 4, from 6-9 or anytime throughout the exhibition which remains open until February 27, 2023.

"Essence Creations" Thursday, February 2, 2023 - Sunday, February 26, 2023

Reception: Saturday, February 4, from 6-9 pm, 2023

Hours: Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am -5 pm Wednesday and Friday from 6-9 pm

CBS New York interviews Dr. Damion L. Thomas, curator of the Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History about Black History Month. According to Mr Thomas:

... Black History Month started as black history week. It was founded by Carter G Woodson in 1926. He chose a week in February because it also encapsulated the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass which were two days African Americans have been celebrating going back to the 19th century. So for 50 years it was a week long celebration. Then in 1976 as the nation was celebrating its 200th anniversary, people decided that this week long celebration should encompass the entire month of February....

... We can trace African American history in New York all the way back to the period of enslavement. Many people don’t realize that by 1700 New York had more enslaved people than any of the other colonies. Most of the enslaved in New York worked as domestics and maids and butlers. Some of them worked on the dock, unloading ships. New York abolished slavery in 1827, which was quite late for some of the northern states which had already taken that step including places like Massachusetts....
 

Here's more on African American history in New York City

 and an interesting interview about the 1619 Project with journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Watch NBC New York Fascinating Video Report About Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Past And Future - Friends Of The Ruins Propose Memorial To Those Who Died From Covid 19 And Frontline Health Care Workers Fighting Viral And Infectious Disease

NBC New York reporter Ryan Baker recently visited the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Ruins. He reports on the fascinating history of the Smallpox Hospital and a possible future use of the site being proposed by Friends Of The Ruins as a Memorial to:

... those we lost to COVID-19 as well as scientific advances and the frontline workers fighting viral and infectious disease....

Learn more about the mysteries of the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital and Friends Of The Ruins proposed memorial from this prior post.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Update On Long Delayed $11 Million Roosevelt Island Sportspark Facility Renovation - RIOC Announces Appointment Of New Sportspark Management, But No Info On Opening, Programming, Scheduling Or Pricing Yet - Take A Sneak Peek At New Swimming Pool And Basketball Court

 Reported September 14 2022:

... The Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool and Gym closed September 1, 2021 for an $11 million renovation currently being undertaken by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)....

... RIOC originally projected the Sportspark renovations to be completed by the Spring of 2022 but that was pushed back to September and then the Fall of 2022....

Reported December 15, 2022:

... During the September 29,2022 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting, RIOC President Shelton Haynes reported the Sportspark Facility substantially completed but target opening date delayed until late Fall/Winter. 

During the October 20, 2022 RIOC Board of Directors meeting, Mr Haynes said the Sportspark renovation is about 95% complete.  RIOC is waiting for punch lists work to be completed and Department of Buildings and FDNY inspections. Mr Haynes added that RIOC hopes to open in a couple of months, if not sooner...

... The facility’s grand opening is slated for Late-Winter 2023, equipped with a new aquatics and management teams;...

During the December 22, 2022 RIOC Board Meeting, RIOC General Counsel Gretchen Robinson reported:

... Sportspark, which I know everybody's excited about, is a project that we are sure the community will love. We have a new team in place and enhanced services. 

We're still working with New York City agencies to get inspections done which will be easier after the holiday season. 

We did send out a notification last week that in January we will provide a lot of pertinent information so after the holidays please check your advisories.... updates on permitting, pricing and other pertinent information will be provided at that time....

On December 29, I got a sneak peek at the renovated Sportspark swimming pool and basketball court from outside through the widows as well as the two new Pickleball courts and posted the video on Roosevelt Islander Instagram Page.

A few days later the Sportspark windows were completely covered up preventing anyone from looking inside.

The good news is that Sportspark may be opening sooner rather than much later. RIOC announced yesterday the appointment of new Sportspark management.

According to a RIOC Tweet today:

and press release yesterday:

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes today announced the appointment of Joseph Natale as Director of Sportspark and Philip Flynn as General Manager of Sportspark at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

“Joseph and Philip both bring their unique experience to RIOC, having been rising stars in their respective roles in the private and public sector,” said RIOC President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes. “Joe’s wealth of experience at Equinox has already paid dividends as he shares his transformative ideas to bring Sportspark to industry standards. Phil too brings to RIOC over a decade’s worth of experience at premier not-for-profits – giving him a unique advantage in navigating state government coupled with his astute background in programming.

"First, I'd like to thank RIOC President & CEO Mr. Shelton J. Haynes for the opportunity to be a part of RIOC and join such a motivated team,” stated Joseph Natale. “What excites me the most about overseeing the new and improved Sportspark is the ability to offer our members best-in-class programming, a high level of member service standards, and new amenities never seen at Sportspark. The member experience will be at the forefront of everything we do."

Natale is an 11-year veteran of the fitness industry, initially starting as a personal trainer and working his way up into management for nearly the past decade. Most recently, Natale held various roles at Equinox, including Assistant General Manager, General Manager, and Senior Manager of Personal Training. Natale’s ability to lead and develop teams, streamline operations, and create an exceptional member experience are all values RIOC seeks for the future of Sport spark. Natale holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management of Sports Industries from the University of New Haven and earned a number of certifications, including NASM-CPT and NSCA-CSCS.

General Manager Philip Flynn commented, "First and foremost, I want to thank RIOC and President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes for giving me the opportunity to help uplift Roosevelt Island in my new role. I am beyond excited for Sportspark to open and show off all the new upgrades to the residents of Roosevelt Island. My goal is to be another resource for the community with a strong focus on health and wellness at the center."

Flynn possesses over a decade’s worth of experience working in the not-for-profit sector. Flynn served as the Athletic Director for Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Roslyn, NY, the only full-service JCC on Long Island’s North Shore dedicated to serving every aspect of community wellness, regardless of age or ability. At the JCC, Flynn was charged with the development and implementation of all sports programs and activities. He promoted sports programming growth, safety, member satisfaction, and member retention through sports program participation and facility excellence. Flynn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Management and a Masters degree in Sports Management with a Minor in Economics and Sports Marketing from the State University of New York at Cortland. Flynn was a DIII athlete in both soccer and track while attending the State University of New York at Cortland.

But still no information from RIOC on a Sportspark opening date, programming, scheduling or pricing. 

On January 24, I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes and Assistant VP of Communications Akeem Jamal:

I'm working on a story about the opening of the Sportspark facility.

I'd like to interview you about the project and RIOC plans for upcoming programs and community use schedules.

I would also like to take a tour of the facility and take video.

Could we do an interview at Sportspark in the next few days.

No response.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams Reports On The State Of New York City In Op-Ed Submitted To Local Community Media - "We Are Going To Build A City For Working People, One That Is More Affordable, Safer, Cleaner And More Livable" Says Mayor Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams submitted the op-ed article below to local NYC community media including Roosevelt Islander Online.

According to Mayor Eric Adams: 

Community Op Ed: A Working People’s Agenda
Last week, in Queens — the borough I grew up in — I reported to New Yorkers on the state of our city. I outlined what we’ve accomplished in the year since I took office, and my vision for the future. We are going to build a city for working people, one that is more affordable, safer, cleaner, and more livable.

We focused on four essential pillars: jobs, safety, housing, and care.

Because without a strong working class, this city cannot survive.

Working people need good jobs and pathways to get those jobs. And those jobs need to be able to support a home for New Yorkers and their families.

That is why we are reimagining our workforce system, connecting 30,000 New Yorkers to apprenticeships through a new Apprenticeship Accelerator. It’s also why we are creating the jobs for the future, through our first of its kind biotech start up incubator that will be home to the next generation of transformative companies, and our Kips Bay life sciences hub, which will help create jobs and train New Yorkers for high demand careers in the life sciences, healthcare, and public health.

And we are ensuring that more city dollars go to minority and women-owned businesses as well as creating a new Nursing Education Initiative to support 30,000 current and aspiring nurses over the next five years.

And while we are finally seeing crime begin to decline in New York City, we must continue to make our streets safe, and it starts with getting New York City’s Most Wanted off our streets.

We are going to get the roughly 1,700 known offenders responsible for a disproportionate amount of the city’s violent crime off the streets.

And we are going to keep our streets safe by holding reckless drivers accountable. We are going to go to Albany to get legislation passed that increases the penalties for serious crashes, running red lights, and impaired driving.

Our city cannot be livable unless it is clean and sustainable. So we are investing millions to make our city cleaner and greener.

Last year we launched the country’s largest curbside composting program in Queens in order to Get Stuff Clean, and by the end of 2024, composting will be citywide and year-round. We are electrifying our city vehicles, and we have reached a deal with Uber and Lyft to have a zero emissions fleet by 2030.

And we are going to build on the success of our Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs by creating permanent community spaces in each borough.

We must have homes for working people. We are working to add 500,000 more homes across all five boroughs—so that everyone has an affordable place to live. We are going to build in every borough and every neighborhood. And that means creating housing in areas that currently only allow manufacturing and office uses while protecting good jobs in the center of our city's economy. We are going to make Midtown Manhattan a true live-work community. And we are building more housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods and near transit hubs. I recently announced plans for 6,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs around four new metro stations in the Bronx. And at Willets Point we're working to build the largest new 100 percent affordable housing development in 40 years — that’s 2,500 new, affordable homes for New Yorkers.

Building new houses is essential for our future, but we also need to address the housing crisis today. So we are going to protect tenants and help New Yorkers stay in their homes by investing over $22 million in tenant protection programs.

We must also ensure that the social safety net is there for working people, so we are expanding it; making it easier for New Yorkers to access public benefits and healthcare. This is an agenda for working people.

As we pursue these programs, we want to keep New Yorkers up to date on the very latest. That’s why we’re launching a new initiative to talk directly to New Yorkers about the issues you care most about. You can sign up for this email newsletter at nyc.gov/hearfromEric to receive breaking news and updates on city initiatives — all tailored to your personal interests. Whether it’s a new park opening, or a new Open Streets in your neighborhood, you’ll be the first to know.

Mayor Adams was asked about Roosevelt Island governance and other issues during a January 6, 2023 community press roundtable. Watch the video here.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Watch Video Of Last Friday Evening's Roosevelt Island Blackwell Park $5 Million Redesign Project Community Meeting - RIOC Reveals Initial Plans And Receives Input From Residents, Construction Anticipated To Begin In The Fall Of 2023

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is in the process of redesigning Blackwell Park.

Last Friday evening January 27, RIOC hosted a Blackwell Park Re-design community meeting to share current plans and seek comments from the Roosevelt Island community. 

On very short notice, about 25 residents attended the meeting at the Good Shepherd Chapel. RIOC President Shelton Haynes was not in attendance. Instead, RIOC Director Of Capital Planning & Projects Prince Shah made the presentation for the $5 million project which is, as of now, anticipated to begin construction in the Fall of 2023.

Here's video of the meeting which began with an introduction by RIOC Assistant Vice President of Communications Akeem Jamal and overview by Acting Chief Operating Officer Mary Cunneen.

The project and online community survey results are summarized in these slides from the RIOC Presentation.

Mr Shah did an excellent job with the presentation and noted why this particular project is so important to him personally.

 

Mr Shah said that RIOC intends to keep the Roosevelt Island community informed as the Blackwell Park re-design project moves forward.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Woman Assaulted And Found Unconscious Early Last Sunday Morning January 21 At Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel 22 North Loop Road Location On Cornell Tech Campus

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department (PSD) 24 Hour Blotter:

01/21/23 – 0120 – 22 North Loop Road – Assault – EMS, NYPD, and PSD Responded – Report

22 North Loop road is the address of The Graduate Hotel and Panorama Room on the Cornell Tech campus. 

On Tuesday January 24, I asked RIOC PSD Chief Kevin Brown and Assistant Vice President of Communications Akeem Jamal:

What were the circumstances regarding the Assault listed in the Public Safety Blotter below? Did an assault actually occur?

Were there any injuries or weapons used?

There has been no response from RIOC. 

In response to my inquiry, a NYPD spokesperson reported:

34 year old female aided found unconscious at the location. 911 was called. Aided has bruising to face and was removed to Cornell hospital for treatment. Aided does not know how she sustained injury.

A Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel spokesperson adds: 

We are aware of this very serious situation and are working closely with authorities as this remains an open investigation. The safety and well being of locals, guests and associates is our greatest priority at Graduate Roosevelt Island.

It's not clear if the incident occurred inside or outside the hotel.

Chief Brown participated in the January 17 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (PSC) meeting discussion about various community issues. Chief Brown advised the PSC that RIOC President Shelton Haynes and Communications VP Akeem Jamal will not allow him to attend future meetings but instead RIOC will conduct their own Public Safety meetings.

Watch video of the meeting here.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island RIVAA Gallery Opening Reception For "You Can Do This" Exhibition By Bob Buckley Saturday January 28 - Paintings Start A Conversation On Hate And Homelessness, Other Are Just Pretty Pictures To Get Out Of Unhealthy Space

According to the Roosevelt Island RIVAA Gallery

Robert Buckley is having his first solo exhibition at RIVAA Gallery. We look forward to welcoming you to this great opportunity to see a large body of his work. 

Bob Buckley has been drawing and painting for a few years. He had basically given up everything from his mid-thirties to his mid-fifties. He did a sketch of Rainy Park for his girlfriend and for Christmas and his birthday, she gifted him a month of classes at the Art Students League. He has not looked back. He has exhibited in many groups shows around New York City. “You Can Do This” is his first solo show.

He tries to start a conversation through his paintings. Hate and Homelessness are real and need to be talked about and dealt with in a positive way. Not all of his work holds a message. They are just pretty pictures to get him out of an unhealthy space. Creating is what gives his life purpose.

The opening reception will be on January 28th from 6-9 pm. At the RIVAA Gallery 527 Main Street Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

Wednesday Jan 25th- Sunday29th, Reception Jan 28th, 6-9 pm

UPDATE 2/1

Scenes from the opening reception.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

RIOC Hosting Roosevelt Island Blackwell Park Redesign Community Presentation Friday Evening January 27- You're Invited And RIOC Says Your Input Is Valued

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is hosting a Blackwell Park

 

redesign community presentation Friday evening, January 27, starting 6 PM at the Good Shepherd Chapel (543 Main Street)

According to RIOC

Dear Roosevelt Island Community,

The historic Blackwell Park, located at the intersection of West Road and Main Street, is among the most utilized recreation spaces on Roosevelt Island. As the Island continues to develop, so has the need for public parks and other amenities. The increased demand highlights a glaring need to expand the existing playground area and green space within Blackwell Park. As RIOC celebrates over four decades of the storied Blackwell Park, it's known that the originally constructed area requires a transformative redesign to meet the current standards and is aligned with other New York City parks. In Phase I, RIOC announced an upgrade to the west parcel of the park, including a brand-new sidewalk, vibrant trees, fresh landscaping, and an open seating area outside of the New York Public Library.

As President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes recently announced, your input is at the forefront of the design phase. RIOC hopes to achieve the same results at the east parcel of Blackwell Park during Phase II. Areas of improvement include equipment upgrades to be ADA compliant, infrastructure updates including utility and drainage systems, and beautifying other highly frequented areas such as the pergola area, plaza pavement and fountain, water play area, basketball courts, hardscape, and landscape areas throughout. As RIOC moves forward with Phase II of Blackwell Park, your input is valued as it will provide the framework and direction for the Masterplan of the Blackwell Park project....

...  RIOC will host a community presentation on Friday, 1/27 at The Chapel of Good Shepherd (543 Main Street) to have a discussion about the vision for Phase II of Blackwell Park.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Roosevelt Island Tram Metro Card Machines Not Taking Credit Cards, Only Cash, For Weeks - Resident Asks If Any Plan To Fix Before 2024, MTA Says They Are Working With Verizon To Fix

A Roosevelt Island residents asked yesterday:

The metro card machines at the tram haven’t taken credit cards in weeks (?). Do you know anything? Any plans to fix them before 2024? ;)

PSD will let anyone through the gate who asks.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse has been asking the MTA to fix the Tram Metro Card Machines too.

In response to my Tweet yesterday, the MTA says they are working with Verizon to get Metro Card machines fixed.

Comments on the Roosevelt Islander Instagram page are: 

  • Utterly insane. Several instances of “coins only”, as well.
  • Ridiculous
  • It's unbelievable that the Tram still doesn't have the OMNY system installed. It's as if we come LAST in NYC. It causes unreasonable lines, at least on the Manhattan side. IT'S WAY PAST DUE. We're dealing with less than 10 turnstiles at 2 locations, why does it take so long???
The MTA reported last November that the Roosevelt Island Tram will be integrated with the Roosevelt Island Tram sometime in 2023.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Teen Players Performing Arthur Miller's The Crucible This Weekend, Get Your Tickets Now - Watch Video Interview With Playwright Arthur Miller And Learn Why He Wrote The Crucible

The Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) Teen Players are performing Arthur Miller's The Crucible this weekend.

According to MST&DA:

THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller

"Written in the early 1950s, Arthur Miller’s play "The Crucible" takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, during the 1692 Salem witch trials. This was a time when paranoia, hysteria, and deceit gripped the Puritan towns of New England. Miller captured the events in a riveting story that is now considered a modern classic in the theatre. He wrote it during the "Red Scare" of the 1950's and used the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for the "witch hunts" of communists in America.” - Thoughtco

Winner of the 1953 Tony Award for Best Play. This exciting drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of our contemporary society. “A powerful drama.” —NY Times. “Strongly written.” —NY Daily News.

Click here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Learn more about The Crucible from this 1995 interview with playwright Arthur Miller

 

and from the PBS program American Masters.

Monday, January 23, 2023

RIOC PSD Chief Brown Discusses Roosevelt Island Public Safety Issues With RIRA PSC Committee During January 17 Meeting - RIOC Cancels Future Meetings With RIRA PSC, Disabled Motorgate Parking Fees, Shoplifting & 460 Main Street Building Problems Among Items Discussed

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department Chief Kevin Brown usually meets once a month with members of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (PSC) to listen and discuss community issues and concerns.

This practice of the RIOC PSD Director meeting with the RIRA Public Safety Committee began in 2014 following discussions with former RIOC President Charlene Indelicato, former RIOC PSD Chief Jack McManus and RIRA PSC Chair Erin Feely-Nahem.

Chief Brown, who was Deputy PSD Chief under Chief McManus, has continued the practice of meeting with the RIRA PSC.

But not next month or afterwards either.  RIOC has decided to discontinue meeting with the RIRA PSC.

During the January 17 RIRA PSC meeting, Chief Brown announced that he will no longer be meeting with the RIRA Public Safety committee. Instead, Chief Brown said that RIOC will be organizing it's own monthly in person Public Safety meeting at Good Shepherd Chapel.

This plan is another example of RIOC's new Vice President of Communications Akeem Jamal plan to have RIOC:

... Control the Narrative...
Stay tuned for more on this issue. 

Other issues discussed at the January 17 RIRA PSC meeting include:

  • RIOC's plan to begin charging fees for disabled people to use the Motorgate Parking garage. Several residents have been told this will start in February but when Chief Brown was asked if it was true, he said he did not know.
  • Review of 2022 crime
  • Shoplifting at Duane Reade
  • Building Vertical Patrols
  • PSD Staffing Levels
  • Quality of Life problems at 460 Main Street affordable housing building
  • January Grand Larceny and Assault
  • Parking/Loading and Unloading

Here's the discussion from the January 17 RIRA PSC meeting with Chief Brown.

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Café At Cornell Tech Returns To Regular Hours, Check Out This Week's Menu For Breakfast, Grab & Go Specials, Daily Dish Hotline Items, Pizza Station, Salads, Coffee, Tea, Smoothies & More

The Roosevelt Island Café at Cornell Tech has returned to its regular hours. Check out this week’s Menu for Breakfast, Grab & Go Specials, Daily Dish Hotline items, Pizza Station, Salads, Coffee, Tea, Smoothies & more. 

In the past 5+ years the Café has not had a price increase. Due to the current economic pressures, we will be raising prices slightly to soften the café’s inflationary pressures.

As we are increasing prices we will be also enhancing our menus and the quality of our products.

For example, Grab-and-go sandwiches would go from 6.25 – 7 to 8 dollars for a bigger sandwich with enhanced proteins such as (chicken, steak, and more protein ounces in every sandwich)

Our daily hotline will now have dishes with a price range of 12- 16 dollars and be enhanced with the current bowl concepts, carving stations, world flavors, and partner restaurants. 

The pizza station will now offer Neapolitan-style personal pizzas in addition to some of our current flatbreads.

And the prices in the coffee bar will go up across the board by about ten percent. 

We look forward to serving our neighbors in the Roosevelt Island community. 

We are open Monday thru Friday 8am to 7 pm. Saturday and Sundays 11am to 5pm.

See you soon at the Café.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Here We Go Again, Draft NY State Assembly Redistricting Map Proposal Moves Roosevelt Island From Manhattan To Queens - You're Invited To Join January 19 Meeting At Senior Center To Keep Roosevelt Island In Manhattan Assembly District

As reported last December 6:

According to the NY State Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) draft Assembly map released Thursday December 1, Roosevelt Island and portions of the Upper East Side will be moved from Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright's Manhattan 76 Assembly District to the mostly Queens 36th Assembly District currently represented by Zohran Mamdani....

Roosevelt Island resident and Main Street Dems founder Joyce Short was a leader in the successful organizing efforts last year to keep Roosevelt Island in the traditional Manhattan  NYC City Council District which had been moved to Queens in the Draft redistricting proposal.

Ms Short reports:

Just as Roosevelt Islanders felt comfortably secure in Manhattan, the State of NY has thrown us a curveball!

The redistricting map which was approved for the recent Assembly election was vetoed by NY State’s appellate court. While, for now, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright remains our representative, if the new map prevails, we will have a Queens Assembly Member, not a Manhattan Assembly Member from the 2024 election.

Important steps for Roosevelt Islanders….. 

The next meeting to plan the community’s presentation at the NYIRC hearing (at 4 PM on February 7th) will take place Thursday, January 19th at the Senior Center at 546 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, at 7 PM. You do not need to be affiliated with any party or be a registered voter to participate in our resistance to change.

Redistricting our community to Queens spells disaster for several reasons. By NY State’s own redistricting rules: 

  1. Districts must consist of contiguous territory and shall be as compact in form as possible. 
  2. The commission must take into account the maintenance of existing districts, pre-existing political subdivisions, including counties, cities, towns, and communities of interest. 

Here’s more...

Assembly Member Seawright adds: 

Commissioners on New York's redistricting panel recently voted to advance a new proposed map for state Assembly legislative boundaries. I am very disappointed to see that the proposal for our AD76 would eliminate Roosevelt Island and redistrict it to a Queens Assembly District. I am committed to fighting alongside constituents to keep Roosevelt Island where it belongs.

Roosevelt Islanders were so powerful in their testimony during the New York City Council districting process, I believe together we can make an unequivocally strong argument to keep Manhattan's Roosevelt Island with our Manhattan Assembly District 76. The process for state redistricting requires rigorous scrutiny, consistent with a process that ensures fairness, provides a platform for all voices, and carefully reviews all options.

The next steps are a series of public hearings around the State. The hearing in Manhattan will be on February 7, 2023 at the Hunter College Kaye Playhouse. I urge all concerned to share their views by testifying in person or submitting comments to the Commission directly at www.nyirc.gov/participate.

Here is January 12 Main Street Dems Zoom meeting on the NY State Assembly redistricting issue.

More info here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Roosevelt Island NY Public Library Branch Celebration Of Life In Memory Of Beloved Colleague Yolonda Fay Boggan Thursday January 19 - Come Share Your Memories, Poems & Prose

Roosevelt Island NY Public Library branch manager Carlos Chavez reports:

Join us on Thursday, January 19, at 6:30 PM for a special event to celebrate the life of our beloved colleague, Yolanda Fay Boggan, She was a valued member of our Library community, serving in multiple roles, for 35 years and served the Roosevelt Island community since 2011.

Share your memories, poems and prose, be a part of creating vision boards, a weaving scroll, and a special jazz performance.  

No registration required. Open to all ages.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day Monday January 16, Take A Moment To Remember, Reflect And Honor His True Legacy - I've Been To The Mountaintop Speech, Letter From A Birmingham Jail, Poor People's Campaign

The third Monday in January is a Federal holiday in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  that was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

Dr King was born on January 15, 1929 and assassinated April 4, 1968.

According to Politico:

... Almost 50 years after his death, we remember MLK as the transcendent figure who helped lift the South out of Jim Crow. We also remember him as almost preternaturally calm in the face of great pressure and danger. He was indeed all of these things. But the passage of time has obscured his dimensionality. In the last years of his life, King expanded his vision beyond the former Confederacy and took on a broader struggle to dismantle America’s jigsaw edifice of racial and economic discrimination—a struggle that took him deep into northern states and cities, where onetime allies became bitter enemies. He did so even as he strained to keep a fractious civil rights movement unified, and in the face of unremitting sabotage from federal authorities.

He was a young man, still in his 30s—foisted onto the national stage with actors many years or decades his senior, suspect in the eyes of both younger and older civil rights leaders—and the burdens of leadership took their toll on him.... 
Here's an excerpt of Dr. King's last speech, I've Been To The Mountain Top, on the night before his assassination.

Dr. King is remembered and honored for his civil rights leadership including his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".

Mehdi Hasan adds:

You can learn more about Dr. King from the Ezra Klein Show podcast with Harvard Professor of Social Sciences Brandon Terry.

Martin Luther King Jr was only 39 years old when he was killed.