Friday, January 11, 2008

Mayor Bloomberg - Please Spend the $4.4 Million Federal Ferry Dock Funds Now!

Following up on previous post. Another weekend, another F train service suspension for Roosevelt Island. This time there is no Roosevelt Island service from Manhattan. The previous few weeks there has been no F train service to Manhattan. This is becoming increasingly frustrating and I can imagine it will only get worse when the Tram goes out of service for at least seven months in early 2009. Even if subway repairs are completed by the time the Tram becomes unavailable, transportation to and from Roosevelt Island will be a nightmare due to the increased population from additional Riverwalk buildings, not to mention the possibility of condos at the Coler-Goldwater hospital. Something needs to be done to expedite ferry service or some other means of alternative transportation for Roosevelt Island.

Could the following article explain part of the reason for the delays in getting ferry service to Roosevelt Island or the winter cancellation of NY Water Taxi's East River route. In a recent article on the suspension of East River Ferry service, the NY Times reports that: officials have left untouched about $4.4 million in federal funds that Congress appropriated in 2005 for building a network of water taxi docks in the city, said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat. One of Ms. Maloney’s staff members met with city officials two weeks ago in an effort to persuade them to spend some of that money, she said Monday.

“It’s been on a priority list of the city to have water service, but they haven’t moved on it,” Ms. Maloney said. The city has said it still has the matter under consideration.
One can only ask why the Bloomberg administration is sitting on this pile of federal money when it could be used to construct a much needed water transportation system for Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Dumbo, Red Hook and other NYC waterfront neighborhoods?
More on ferry service as it effects real estate developments from Curbed.
Williamsburg blogger I'm Not Sayin reports on a pier being built by Toll Brothers Northside Piers development.
Pile of money image is from Home Exchange Travel.

No Queens Bound Roosevelt Island F Train for Next 4 Weekends - But Bangkok Train is Running

There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the Manhattan bound F train will be stopping at Roosevelt Island this weekend. The bad news is - well I'm sure you can guess. The Queens bound F Train will not be stopping at Roosevelt Island this weekend or the following 3 weekends. According to the MTA:

Queens-bound trains run on the V from 47-50 Sts to Roosevelt Av
Weekends, Jan 12 - Feb 4
12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon

How does this affect my trip?
~~ For service to 57 St, take the F to 5 Av-53 St and walk.

~~ For service to Lexington Av-63 St, take the F to Lexington-53 St and transfer to an uptown 4 or 6 to 59 St and walk.

~~ For service to Roosevelt Island and 21-St Queensbridge, take the F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound F.

~~ For service from 57 St, Lexington Av-63 St, Roosevelt Island, and 21 St-Queensbridge, take a downtown F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Queens-bound F.

Why is service being changed?
We are making electrical improvements to ensure that trains continue
to operate safely along the F line.
Here is MTA F Train Weekend Service Advisory Page.

Hat tip to the Presurfer for the video. It comes from Bangkok Thailand. You would think that if an entire marketplace can be quickly assembled and de-assembled to make room for a train in Bangkok then a way could be found to get people on and off Roosevelt Island in a reasonable manner.
You Tube video is here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fresh Direct Trying To Cut Fuel Emissions

From Progressive Grocer on internet grocer Fresh Direct: will begin converting its 150-vehicle delivery fleet to biodiesel next month.

...The fleet will switch to B5, a blend of 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent regular diesel. By February, the company plans to use B5 in its entire fleet.
"Our trucks are a mass transit system for food in the communities we serve, and we are committed to make the fleet run as clean-burning and low- impact as possible," said Adrian Williams, FreshDirect's s.v.p. of transportation. "Our conversion to biodiesel is but one example of our company's environmental stewardship and support of a sustainable future for New York."

FreshDirect will also begin testing idling reduction technologies to allow truck engines to be turned off automatically after three minutes during loading and delivery. While FreshDirect strictly prohibits drivers from idling, this new functionality enforces compliance. By the end of the year 10 percent of FreshDirect's trucks will be running this technology.
More on Fresh Direct environmental policy at re-nest.
Image from Streetsblog.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Register To Vote In NY State Presidential Primary- But You Can't If You Are An Independent

The deadline for registering to vote in the February 5 Democratic and Republican Presidential primary is this Friday, January 11. You must be registered in order to vote and a member of the party in which you intend to vote. Unlike states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, registered Independents are not permitted to vote in the New York state primary so you must be either a registered Democrat or Republican to vote in the respective elections.

This is the first time in my voting history that the outcome of the NY primary will have an impact on the eventual Republican and Democratic nominee. For that reason I had planned on changing my registration affiliation from Independent to Democrat so that I could vote for Senator Barack Obama. The NY Times reports that for me, and other registered voters wishing to switch their party affiliation, we will not be able to vote in the upcoming primary.

Under New York’s somewhat complicated election law, anyone who wants to switch party affiliation must wait for a general election to take place before voting in the new party’s primary. In other words, Republicans who became Democrats or vice versa had to switch party affiliation by Oct. 12, 2007, to vote in the coming primary.
Every vote counts. Remember how close the 2000 Presidential Florida vote was.

Here is the web site for the NY State Board of Elections.

Uncle Sam image is from Willamette Valley Norml and is not an endorsement of their views. I just like the image.
Ballot examination image is from Campaign Warehouse.

UPDATE 1/29- More on February 5, New York State Democratic Primary here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Reminder of Constituent Service Office Hours

Just a reminder that State Senator Jose Serrano will be having constituent office hours today on Roosevelt Island from 3-7 PM at RIOC's headquarters, 591 Main Street.
Also, Assemblymember Micah Kellner has regularly scheduled weekly constituent office hours on Thursdays.

Perhaps Council Member Jessica Lappin can do the same?

UPDATE: 1/9-

SAVE THE DATE Roosevelt Island

Senator Serrano will host the Eastwood Housing Forum on Roosevelt Island the evening of Thursday, February 7th in the Good Shepherd Church. More details to follow next week. The panel will include representatives from management, government, along with housing, disability and elder law experts. Co-hosted by Eviction Intervention Services and the Eastwood Residents Association.

Firefighter's Field Closed for Winter

Received the following message from RIOC's Program Services officer regarding plans for Roosevelt Island ball fields and the closing of Firefighter's Field for the winter. Firefighter's Field is next to the Riverwalk buildings and adjacent to the Tram station.

...I'm hoping you might be interested in posting something on your blog
regarding Firefighter's Field.
We've actually closed the field down in hopes of preserving it
over the winter so we can have the best playing field possible come
spring. Our fields will be in high demand as always and we want to make
sure they're ready to go. All other fields will remain open; they're in
better shape and can better handle anyone who might want to play on them
over the winter, but since Octagon Field will be undergoing construction
come spring, it's imperative that Firefighter's (the only other soccer
field we have) is in ship-shape!...
I have noticed that the field is fenced off but that has not stopped people from playing on it. On Sunday I saw a group playing a game of touch football and having alot of fun. Not sure how RIOC will be able to enforce the ban. Also, I hope RIOC intends to do more than just prohibit use of Firefighter's Field this winter in order to "have the best possible field come spring". I have often found the field to be a muddy mess even when there has not been any rain!

One other issue regarding the ball fields. RIOC please do not let non-Roosevelt Island groups such as Zog Sports and Manhattan private schools monopolize the fields as has been done in the past. I am not asking that these groups be prohibited from using the fields at all times but strike a balance in favor of the residents of Roosevelt Island. Allow us to have a catch, throw a Frisbee or fly a kite on spring and summer weekends, or at night after a day's work, without having to fight for space with these groups. Plan for these issues now so that problems do not occur in the spring and summer.
Image of Firefighter's Field is from Bridge and Tunnel Club.
Image of muddy field is from Honolulu Advertiser and not of Roosevelt Island

Monday, January 7, 2008

Italy Still Loves Roosevelt Island - and Nonno's Foccaceria Too

Our Italian friend/correspondent and six month Roosevelt Island resident still loves Roosevelt Island and says that the Nonno's mozzarella used on its pizza is the best he has tasted yet in NYC. The Board of Italian Residents on Roosevelt Island also agree that Nonno's is very good. On the negative side, he is not happy with the Red Bus system. Here is his update on an Italian living on Roosevelt Island.

I am the Italian guy you wrote about in a couple of your posts.
First of all congratulations for your blog. I read it all the times
and suggest it to all of my friends.

After 6 months of life on R.I. I still believe that this place is the
best place to live in NYC. No doubts about it.

However, one thing that can be improved is the bus service.
Considering that the bus is the only system of transportation
available on the island I believe it is not reliable or powerful
I often have to walk home from the subway or wait for unpredictable
time especially at night or during weekends. During rush hours,
instead, the bus comes quickly but you will rarely ride seated. Also,
the 25 cents fare is convenient but a bit odd. I don't carry around
much cash and find it annoying having to use coins or 1 dollar bills.
How about a 10/20$ card that one can charge once every while? How
about resident card that one can swipe or blink at some reader?

Now some good news.
I can tell you that the Board of Italian Residents on R.I. have
approved with good remarks Nonno's Pizza.
Nonno's its already on top of favourite food delivery options and I
believe the mozzarella used for their square Margherita is the best I
have tasted so far in Manhattan. I am happy they have opened on the
Island cause they make me feel even more like home.

Last, here is a picture taken from my Manhattan Park window that
shocked and made jealous all my friends back in Italy:
Image is here.

RIOC Board Candidate Jonathan Kalkin

Roosevelt Island resident Jonathan Kalkin has created a web site to support his candidacy for election as a nominee to the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors. The election is scheduled for February 5, 2008, the same day as the New York Presidential primary. According to Kalkin:

I believe that a RIOC board member should be available at all times and I believe that technology can make this possible. Without representative government we have become a community of frustration rather than hope. I believe it is because the voice of the community needs to be heard. If nominated, I plan on giving this island the voice and action that it needs.
Good start by Mr. Kalkin. I hope that he will use to set forth his views on the important issues facing Roosevelt Island today and plans for the future of Roosevelt Island. Issues such as the future of the Tram and the transportation infrastructure, Mitchell- Lama and affordable housing, Southpoint Park including stopping the Louis Kahn/FDR memorial, Main Street retail as well as many other important topics will be addressed by the new RIOC Board of Directors and should be addressed by all of the candidates. Here is an article he wrote for the Main Street Wire on the Public Authorities Act and the Main Street Retail fiasco.

This page will be open to any candidate for nomination to the RIOC Board who wishes to express his or her views.