Friday, August 17, 2007

Public Restroom Update

Update - RIOC President Steve Shane provides the following comment regarding issue of public restrooms on Roosevelt Island:

I'm having our grounds and engineering folks look at the problem. Be back to you reasonably soon. Thank you and the poster for calling this to our attention.
RIOC should be congratulated for being responsive to this issue. This is a great example of resident's using Roosevelt Islander to identify and resolve important issues regarding the quality of life here on the Island. Let's continue to do this with other issues and see what we can achieve.

What do you think of the see through toilets above? The person inside can see out but people on the outside cannot see in.

When you Gotta Go - Where do you Go?

A concerned reader sends in the following comment that I have heard from several others as well as observed myself:

I'm a resident of Roosevelt Island and love living here very much. I walk a lot and have noticed this past year, that in some areas, the sweet smells of the salt water wafting from the river have been replaced with the revolting smells of urine. I, quite frequently, see men ducking behind bushes and around corners of buildings to relieve themselves. Uncomfortable for me, and them I'm sure when spotted. I've also been approached several times by women, visiting the island for the day either picnicking at Lighthouse Park or here to play sports, asking where the restrooms are. The answer is obvious if you're near Octagon park. I direct them to the public restrooms, which seem to be locked more often than not. What about the people at Lighthouse Park? Where are they suppose to go? At the moment, the majority of them use the back parking area of Coler as their personal restrooms, men and women alike. There is one port-a-potty near there that is locked all of the time. Can we install port-a-potties down there that are available to the public or better yet a more permanent facility? I understand that port-a-potties are not the most attractive solution, but a solution non the less. I love our island and want our visitors to respect our little paradise, and not piss all over it.
The above picture is of the Mannekin Pis, a Brussels Belgium landmark that I saw many years ago but never thought would one day be used to illustrate a point of concern to Roosevelt Island. It just goes to show that one never knows when some piece of information learned long ago could be of use.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Duane Reade to Open after Labor Day - Hopefully

Products have started to be shelved at the new Roosevelt Island Duane Reade. This afternoon I spoke with one of the employees who told me that Duane Reade was hoping to be open right after the Labor Day weekend.

Roosevelt Island Getting Noticed

Roosevelt Island 360 kindly informed me that the Roosevelt Islander blog has been added to the NY Times City Room neighborhood blog section. I agree with the fellow Roosevelt Island blogger that:

I am ... excited that NY Times readers will see a link to issues affecting Roosevelt Island. Very very cool.

Roosevelt Island Red Bus Service - How Are They Doing?

It has been over a month since the new Roosevelt Island Red Bus schedule, resulting from a collaboration between RIRA and RIOC, has been in place. The changes, as reported in the Main Street Wire, involved using the cross island road south of the Sportspark as a bus turnaround instead of the circle by the Tram Station thereby returning the north bound subway bus stop. In addition, the Parking Garage/Gristedes bus stop was eliminated during the morning rush hours. There is also the continuing designation of certain bus routes as Octagon Express, Octagon Local and Firehouse Local as well.

Since moving from Manhattan Park to Southtown, I do not often have a reason to ride the Red Bus. While at Manhattan Park, I was annoyed and frustrated by the overcrowding and bunching of buses that occurred during the morning and evening rush hours and usually walked to and from the Tram or Subway. Have the changes helped at all?

Rooseveltisland360 takes us on a typical Red Bus ride from the Tram via video.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Funny Girl at Southpoint Park Outdoor Movie Night Saturday August 18

Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand is the movie selected to be shown at Southpoint Park on Saturday August 18. Come watch the movie and enjoy the fabulous view.

The Encampment Update - Call for Creative Collaborators

Thom Sokoloski, the artist behind The Encampment (October 5-7), sent a message asking for those interested in participating in the creation and realization of this project to be installed at Southpoint Park Roosevelt Island to contact him at If you are interested please contact them by September 1.
A You Tube video link to an earlier version of the Encampment is here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Phil Rizzuto - Rest In Peace Scooter

Phil Rizzuto, New York Yankee player, broadcaster, Hall of Famer and gold record recording artist has died.
Thank you for all the great memories.

The Encampment Public Art Project - Are the Gates Coming Next to Roosevelt Island?

A Christo Gates like public participatory arts project called the Encampment by artist Thom Sokoloski is coming to Roosevelt Island during Open House New York in partnership with the Roosevelt Island Historical Society and Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association. The project is scheduled to be presented from October 5 - 7 and will place 100 19th century expedition style tents at Southpoint Park. Throughout September the public will be encouraged to participate in the Encampment's creative process.
The Encampment is described as follows:

The Encampment is a large-scale public participatory art installation. One hundred - 19th century expedition-style
tents will be erected as a work of optical art on Roosevelt's Island Southpoint. Though the work can be seen during
the day, its experience is truly a nocturnal one. New Yorkers along both sides of the East River will be able to view the
symmetries of the interiorly lit tents all night long, while the public can experience the installations created by
volunteer creative collaborators within each of the tents from 7pm -1am, October 5-7, 2007.
Since the creation and completion of The Encampment requires the participation of the public, we invite the residents
of Roosevelt Island, as well as multi-disciplinary artists and students focused on art, design, architecture and the
performing arts to join in the creative process. Throughout September they will collaborate with the Creative Team to
research the stories, people, culture, architecture and history of Roosevelt Island. They will have the choice to design
an installation for one of the tents, take part in choreographed ceremonies, partake in a musical landscape or join the
production crew that puts it all together!
The Toronto based creators of the Encampment are also promoting a 24 hour Art Adventure to view the project which includes a private jet from Toronto and a gourmet meal. We don't know if the gourmet meal is on Roosevelt Island or not.
In this 24-hour art adventure you will travel by private jet from Toronto to New York and be chauffeured to the elegant Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, which overlooks The Encampment on Roosevelt Island. That evening you will be treated to a gourmet dinner and be a VIP guest at the premiere of the artwork. Throughout the night and following day you will experience The Encampment from a multitude of perspectives: from your hotel room above, on the East River and at the site itself. The creative team will also guide you on an exclusive tour of Castle Williams, the site of their next work The Babel Symphony, before returning by jet to Toronto.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Italy Loves Roosevelt Island

Received this comment from a reader:

today (12th of August) I visited the island for the very first time and I immediately fell in love with it.
I am an Italian 28 yo software engineer seeking for a place to live in NY.
Roosvelt Island is the place to be!

Prices are quite high (as the rest of the city, btw) but one way or the other I will move there.

R.I. is the best place I have seen in NYC.

Roosevelt Island image is from New York Social Diary.

Renewable Energy Technology Being Tested on Roosevelt Island - Is Al Gore a Happy Man?

Verdant Power, an entrepreneurial renewable energy company, is testing a potential source for the production of clean, environmentally friendly electricity that does not contaminate the air or rely on foreign oil right here on Roosevelt Island and was the subject of a NY Times story today.
According to the story:

The idea of generating electricity by harnessing the power of a flowing river — called hydrokinetic energy — is attracting growing attention.

Basically, the East River turns the turbines’ blades as it flows past. The turbines, like windmills, generate electricity that is channeled through wires to a central control unit and from there to the existing electricity grid.

Hydro turbines have a few advantages over windmills. While winds are erratic, tides can be charted by the minute, which allows power companies to know exactly when the turbines will be generating power.

Verdant chose the East River because it is fast-flowing and is close to where the energy it produces would be used. The East River’s unique character also played a role. The river’s tide changes direction each day, flowing north and then turning around and pushing toward the ocean.

But just before the tide shifts, there is a window of about 45 minutes of calm that allows Verdant to install, repair or tweak its turbines.

The NY Times also has a video on the Roosevelt Island Verdant Power Tidal Turbines.
For more on this story visit Chemical and Engineering News (one never knows where an interesting or topical link can be found) and the always informative and reliable Main Street Wire and here as well