Friday, December 7, 2007

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Resigns

RIOC President Steve Shane sends a copy of the following message delivered to the RIOC Board of Directors:

Please be advised that Jim Fry has resigned as the Director of the
Department of Public Safety, effective December 31, 2007 for reasons
relating to his health.

I expressed my appreciation personally and on behalf of RIOC for his
service and we shall more publicly acknowledge it in the weeks ahead.

The Dreidel Song - Texas Swing Style for Roosevelt Island

For Roosevelt Islanders in Texas or in a Texas state of mind.
Happy Hanukkah!
You Tube video link is here.

Southpoint Park Roosevelt Island - Great Venue for Hipster Concerts

Todd Patrick, is described in an interview today with Gothamist as:

a major force in the avant-garde rock scene. In the fastidious spirit of a modern day Bill Graham...
Patrick produces shows
at atypical, under-the-radar locations like lofts, rooftops and funky, “illegal” clubs. Often eschewing such vagaries as permits and liquor licenses, a Todd P show typically features an eclectic line-up of bands unleashing an adventurous squall of sound before a sweaty, writhing all-ages crowd.
Patrick is asked what New York concert is he most proud of? The answer involves Roosevelt Island.
Definitely the acoustic barbeque on Roosevelt Island. I do it every year though not always on Roosevelt Island. We invite a lot of bands, most of whom are the usual psych-folk bands but there are always some exceptions, there are always some bands who don’t usually play acoustic. I just invite everyone I like in town to come play in the public park, with no permit and no amplification. It’s totally free with no stage; we do it every spring as an encapsulation of what I love about music and who’s interesting at that moment of time. Those are always my favorite shows in New York.
Although these concerts may not be to everyone's taste, it is just one example of the diverse community of Southpoint Park visitors currently, and who hopefully in the future, will enjoy the natural beauty, open vistas and fantastic New York City Skyline views available at Southpoint Park. Hopefully, if the Trust for the Public Land design for the Wild Garden/Green Rooms Plan favored by Roosevelt Island residents is brought to fruition more individuals and diverse groups will be able to enjoy Southpoint Park. Unfortunately, if the massive Louis Kahn/FDR memorial is allowed to be built these fantastic views will be significantly obstructed and some green parkland space will be replaced with granite and concrete.

It has come to my attention that the link to the Wild Garden/Green Rooms plan for Southpoint Park is no longer active. I have no idea why the renderings for this plan would be removed. Until or if it is ever re-activated here is a link to Main Street WIRE with the rendering though it is not as extensive as the original presentation.

You Tube video link of Roosevelt Island Accoustic BBQ is here.

UPDATE: Link to Wild Garden/Green Rooms is now working.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Look to the Cookie, A Black and White Cookie on Roosevelt Island

Do you remember this scene from Seinfeld's "The Dinner Party". It is one of my favorites episodes and not only because I love black and white cookies. There's also the Chocolate Bobka and Saddam Hussein.

JERRY: Uhm, The thing about eating the Black and White cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate And yet somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved.

ELAINE: Your views on race relations are fascinating. You really should do an op-ed piece for the Times.

JERRY: Um, um, Look to the cookie Elaine. Look to the cookie.

I recently came across a post by The Black and White Cookie Review blogger describing a trip to Roosevelt Island. He visited "wonderful Roosevelt Island" with a friend, played some frisbee and had a "wonderful dinner" at the Trellis Diner until he was persuaded by his friend to get:
a coupl'a black and white cookies and glasses of milk. It all looked so delicious.

But after taking a bite:
OOOOUCH! Hard. Like cold steel. It didn't taste like anything I've had before. It was kind of gross. Not vanilla, more just like...white something. And the cake...blecch. Too much cake with too little taste. It was like eating styrofoam.

Hmm. The chocolate side tastes VERY familiar. What could it be? Matt was able to pinpoint it. Like chocolate Betty Crocker frosting. Ahhhh!

And yet, the entire overall taste was unpleasant. I love when a cupcake has Betty Crocker wapped on top of it, but the thick, dry cake made the cookie a chore to eat. We were both very very disappointed. Especially Matt, who as an innocent and less experienced cookie eater than me, was unprepared for the dreams-dashing mediocrity and depressing anticlimactic taste of the below average black and white cookie.

And they always LOOK so good!
Perhaps, Jerry Seinfeld is right, the lack of a good home grown black and white cookie may explain some of the conflicts and controversies that exist here on Roosevelt Island.

More on the best of New York Black and White cookies from Gridskipper

You Tube video link from Seinfeld is here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Roosevelt Island Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Saturday, December 8

A Hanukkah Menorah Lighting ceremony will take place on Saturday December 8 from 6 - 6:45 PM in front of Blackwell House. Come join your neighbors for some hot drinks, latkes, donuts and music.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Hanukkah From Roosevelt Island and Adam Sandler

I always get a good laugh from Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song.

Put on your yalmulka, here comes hanukkah
Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah,

Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.

When you feel like the only kid in town without a x-mas tree, heres a list of
People who are jewish, just like you and me:

David lee roth lights the menorrah,
So do james caan, kirk douglas, and the late dinah shore-ah

Guess who eats together at the karnickey deli,
Bowzer from sha-na-na, and arthur fonzerrelli.

Paul newmans half jewish; goldie hawns half too,
Put them together--what a fine lookin jew!

You dont need deck the halls or jingle bell rock
Cause you can spin the dreidl with captain kirk and mr. spock--both jewish!
The rest of the lyrics are here.

You Tube video link is here.

You Tube video link of Hanukkah Song part 2 is here.

You Tube video link of Hanukkah Song part 3 is here.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society Holiday Party Thursday 12/6/07

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society invites all to join them for a Holiday celebration at the Visitor Center Kiosk adjacent to the Tramway Station on Thursday December 6th from 4-8 PM. Come join your neighbors for some free holiday refreshments and cheer as well as check out the holiday gifts for sale.

Roosevelt Island Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Blogger Daily Exhaust is a former Roosevelt Island resident who is thrilled to have returned to civilization in Carnegie Hill.

Goodbye Roosevelt Island, hi Carnegie Hill.

I have to tell you, my wife and I feel great being back in civilization. We didn't realize how much we missed Manhattan. No more red bus, no more Tram. Do you understand how good it feels to take the 6 train straight to work with no transfers? Via Roosevelt Island 360
As someone who has lived in that area, I agree that Carnegie Hill is a wonderful place to live. Within walking distance to Central Park, museums, bookstores restaurants etc. Six months ago I was ready to make the same decision to move back to Manhattan or to an area in Brooklyn that has a real neighborhood feel to it with the accompanying services and amenities one expects from living in New York but which has been terribly lacking on Roosevelt Island.

Last summer I decided to give life on Roosevelt Island another chance and moved into the new Riverwalk building in Southtown. To date, I am very happy with that decision. My building has some great amenities, a wonderful staff and is 2-3 minute walk to the Tram and the F Train. I can be on Second Avenue in 7 minutes, Central Park in less than 17 minutes, the Upper West Side, Union Square and Greenwich Village in 20 minutes as well as Williamsburg in 25 minutes while enjoying the benefits of a relaxing waterfront community that has begun see the arrival of more retail stores.

Had I spoken with the Daily Exhaust blogger prior to his move away from Roosevelt Island I would have told him the same thing that I recently said to two women who were unhappy living at the Octagon and actively looking to move that was the subject of a prior post summarizing my thoughts on the differences between living on the North and South areas of Roosevelt Island. Here is an excerpt from that post:
They explained that they lived in the Octagon building and could not stand the distance, time and effort involved in going back and forth to Manhattan. They spoke of the difficulties with the Red Bus transportation system but most of all were disappointed by the sense of isolation and disconnectedness from the City (Manhattan).
...I told them that I understood their feelings and felt much the same way when I lived in Manhattan Park but since moving to the Riverwalk buildings in Southtown my view of living on Roosevelt Island has changed completely.

...There are many attractive benefits to living at either Manhattan Park or the Octagon on Roosevelt Island. Both have gorgeous waterfront locations with great views of Manhattan and beautiful green park grounds each with adjacent swimming pools as well as an outdoor tennis court facility and ball fields. However close proximity to Manhattan with access to any city life amenity is not one of those benefits. At Manhattan Park there is at least a significant Roosevelt Island discount, as compared to Manhattan, on rent but that is not the case at the Octagon.

The moral of this story is that if living within 15-20 minute walk of a movie theater, bookstore, museum, good restaurant, bar, nightlife and the buzz of the city is very important to you then perhaps the Octagon and Manhattan Park are not the right place for you to live, but Riverwalk may be. If the benefits of tranquility and recreational activities described above are more important and/or you have small children, then Manhattan Park and Octagon would be great places to live.
The answer to the question posed by The Clash "Should I Stay or Should I Go" as it relates to living on Roosevelt Island all depends, as do most things, on knowing what you are looking for.

Here is You Tube video link to the Clash singing "Should I Stay or Should I Go.
Here is Tony Bennett's answer. You Tube video link to Tony Bennett singing I'll Take Manhattan.

Monday, December 3, 2007

State Senator Jose Serrano on Roosevelt Island, Tuesday 2-6:PM

State Senator Jose M. Serrano will be holding office hours for constituents on Roosevelt Island tomorrow, Tuesday December 4 from 2 to 6:PM at the RIOC office 591 Main Street.

A letter in the November 17 issue of the Main Street WIRE criticized Senator Serrano for not fulfilling a campaign promise to hold regular office hours on Roosevelt Island once elected. The writer states:
During your campaign, you promised Roosevelt Island that you would set up office hours in the community. Though you’ve been in office for a full year and more, we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of you or any of your representatives, except at our blood drive in the June Roosevelt Island Day event. Assemblyman Kellner has office hours every Thursday, 3-7 p.m., in the RIOC office conference room. You could probably make a similar arrangement.
In the December 1, 2007 issue of the Main Street WIRE (PDF File), State Senator Serrano responds to the letter writer by detailing his concern and involvement regarding issues of concern to Roosevelt Island. He recounts his participation in a Mitchell-Lama housing forum, support of Eastwood building residents and his presence on Roosevelt Island for the Fall for Arts Festival, Senior Day and the Fourth of July celebration. Serrano's letter also states that:

... members of my staff have spent substantial time on the Island this year meeting with tenant associations, public safety advocates, environmentalists, RIOC representatives and the RIRA Common Council.
What is troubling about his letter however is that he believes that:
I have sat down with representatives from groups including the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute...
is performing a service for residents of Roosevelt Island when in fact the Louis Kahn/FDR memorial advocated by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is opposed by most of the residents of Roosevelt Island as indicated by the Trust for Public Land survey recounted here. Has Senator Serrano sat down with Roosevelt Island residents who oppose this memorial at Southpoint Park as he has with the supporters who do not live on Roosevelt Island.

Senator Serrano should be congratulated for joining his colleague Assembly member Micah Kellner in holding office hours for his constituents here on Roosevelt Island. I hope Senator Serrano makes this a regular practice. Perhaps Roosevelt Island's other elected officials such as Council Member Jessica Lappin, Borough President Stringer and Congresswomen Maloney will join their colleagues Kellner and Serrano in visiting Roosevelt Island and holding regular office hours here.

Will Handcuffs-R-Us Be Sharing Space with Roosevelt Island Public Safety Office?

While walking by the former Blackwell Mini-School building pictured above (504 Main Street) last Friday night I noticed that the second floor lights were in use and some type of ceiling work was being done by workers in the premises. This may be just some normal maintenance work on the space or it could be preparation for a potential occupant of the premises after many years of permanent vacancy. The space has been empty since the Lillies Day school vacated other than the period of time when RIOC was temporarily using the premises as their HQ during the renovation of their offices. Anybody know what is going on here?

As recently as last May, RIOC was considering using this prime Main Street location as the new office for the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. RIOC President Steve Shane writing in the May 5, 2007 Main Street WIRE reports:

We have initiated a study to move Public Safety from its present location to 504 Main Street. The present space must be overhauled (and for anyone who doubts the imperative, they are invited to drop in for a tour), and rather than keep Public Safety in limbo while doing a rehabilitation and for several programmatic reasons (such as getting those vehicles off Main Street, centralized location, etc.), the idea is very appealing.
Mr. Shane cites the following reasons for moving the Public Safety Department office during an interview with the Main Street Wire:
A more central location once Southtown is completed, getting PSD cars off Main Street, more privacy when people are brought into the station, space for lockers, better "holding pens," and a more separated office area.
Asked about past plans to use the 504 Main Street location as expansion space for the Youth Center, which occupies adjacent space in Eastwood, Shane said, "There must be other ways to deal with the Youth Center. We’ve got plenty of available space."

Shane said he envisioned setting aside a portion of the building for retail space.
I am sure that a potential retail tenant for this space would love the idea of being next to and sharing space with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department's "Holding Pens". Maybe retailers like Handcuffs-R-Us or the Nightstick Nook would consider sharing a store with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department.

On a much, much larger scale, NYC is planning on developing retail space on the ground floor of the Brooklyn House of Detention located along Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill. According to the NY Times:
By almost any measure, the Brooklyn House of Detention, 10 stories of razor wire and wire-mesh windows in Boerum Hill, is a repellent sight.

But, the city reasons, it need not be so. So, to attract people other than criminal suspects to the 760-bed jail, the Correction Department has decided to convert part of the complex into 24,000 square feet of retail shopping space.

"The site is going to be redeveloped," Martin F. Horn, the correction commissioner, said in an interview this week. "One way or another, retail is going to be there."

Under Mr. Horn's jail-with-retail plan, three sides of the block that the jail now occupies, along Atlantic Avenue between Smith Street and Boerum Place, would be converted to one-story retail space beginning this summer. The jail entrance, now on Atlantic, would be moved to the fourth side of the block, along State Street.

For a long time I have wished that Roosevelt Island would attract some of the retail amenities that exist near Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. I had hoped that it would be some good restaurants, not jails with retail stores.

UPDATE - 12/5/07- RIOC President Steve Shane provides the answer as to what was going on at 504 Main last Friday night:

Simple answer is that RIOC has issued a permit to a film company to do a shoot on the 2nd floor of 504. RIOC receives a fee and is reimbursed for out of pocket expenses (Public Safety, etc.). All in the very normal course of business.
... we are still looking at the 504 option for Public Safety, although waiting for new Architectural consultant to be on board to look at the physical constraints.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Warm Cup on a Cold Day at Roosevelt Island Farmer's Market

A hot apple cider from the Roosevelt Island Farmer's Market on a cold, chilly but very nice Saturday.