Friday, January 18, 2008

Roosevelt Islander Loves the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre!

Sunday's NFC championship game between the Giants and Packers is football the way it should be played - in The Frozen Tundra of Green Bay's Lambeau Field. If we're really lucky the temperature will be below zero, the vapor from players breath will be visible, it will be snowing with players sliding all over the field and Brett Favre will make some incredible play for the Packers to beat the Giants and go to the Super Bowl.

Also, every Green Bay Packer fan should watch this video from Once in a Lifetime Fan, an Australian Packer fan visiting Lambeau field and following the Packers with his family during this season. Even non-Packer Football fans can vicariously enjoy the experiences of this fan.

And let's not forget the Ice Bowl Game of 1967 between the Packers and Cowboys. Here is a video that features the last play of the game, a quarterback sneak by Bart Starr behind Jerry Kramer and Ken Bowman to win the game. The video features the young photographer who got the picture of that incredible play.

Here is direct link to video from WFRV.

Finally, remember this scene from There's Something About Mary of Ben Stiller's character pronouncing Brett Favre's name as Brett "Fah-vrer".

You Tube video link of We Love Brett Favre is here.

UPDATE - 1/24 - I have just gotten over the fact that the Packers lost and the Giants are going to the Super Bowl. Despite the fact that I think the better team lost, I congratulate the Giants and wish them well against the Patriots. If momentum means anything in the Super Bowl after a 2 week layoff then the Giants certainly have a shot, particularly if Brady is hurt.
The Packers lost because they had no running game on Sunday and Brett had an off day. From the very beginning of the game he did not look like he was having any fun as he did during the Seattle snow game. Anyway, I still love the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre. They had a wonderful season and I thank them very much for their efforts. Looking forward to next year!

Now the good news - only 21 days until New York Yankee pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 14. Play ball.

You Tube video link of New York Yankee memories here.

Experimental East River Transport Service for Roosevelt Island - Who needs the Tram, Subway or Ferry!

Since it is Friday it must mean another weekend without full F Train subway service for Roosevelt Island. Just like last weekend there will be no Queens bound F Trains stopping at Roosevelt Island but there will be Manhattan bound F trains service from Roosevelt Island. These service interruptions are scheduled to continue for the following two weekends. Here is the MTA F Train weekend subway advisory.

Queens-bound trains run on the V from 47-50 Sts to Roosevelt Av
Weekends until 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.

BREAKING NEWS!! There is good news however. I have recently discovered through a well placed secret source an experimental transportation system that the MTA and RIOC have been working on with a high-tech Japanese company to get Roosevelt Islanders back and forth across the East River. They hope to have it ready when the Tram is taken out of service next year but may install it sooner if subway service continues to be so unreliable. Here it is. What do you think?

If it works on Roosevelt Island, the next phase of service will include the Toll Brothers North Side Piers Development and Schaeffer's Landing in Williamsburg both of which are seeking ferry service.

You Tube video link is here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Meet the Candidates for RIOC Board Nominees Video

A President's welcome from Kimberly Lengle on Press HD.

A Candidate's Night was held last Wednesday for Roosevelt Island residents to meet their fellow neighbors seeking election as nominees to the RIOC Board of Directors. For those of you who were unable to be there in person, bloggers Press HD and Roosevelt Island 360 have more video from the meeting including presentations from the candidates as well as a question and answer session.

My initial impression is that I was disappointed that most, but certainly not all, of the candidates lacked basic information on the important issues facing Roosevelt Island today and in the future. Other than passionately urging the retention of Roosevelt Island's affordable housing, the general desire for open space parkland and retailers for the vacant Main Street stores, for the most part there was no acknowledgement or apparent appreciation of the complex legal, regulatory, financial, engineering and managerial constraints imposed upon members of the RIOC Board as Directors of a New York State public corporation operating under the Public Authorities Act and a State mandate to be financially self supporting. I was also stunned by the fact that most of the candidates, some of whom have lived on Roosevelt Island for 10 or 20 years, have never even been to a RIOC Board meeting!

I regret that members of RIRA and the Maple Tree Group who have worked so hard to get these elections approved are not running for these positions because, in my opinion, they are the most knowledgeable and qualified members of the community to serve on the RIOC Board.

I truly do not intend to be overly critical of the announced candidates. They deserve to be congratulated for entering the fray and volunteering to serve their community. But remember, the six individuals who win the election to be nominated to the RIOC Board must still be approved by the Governor and the State Senate. At that point their knowledge and qualification for the position of RIOC director will be evaluated again and not by Roosevelt Island residents.
Watch the video's and decide for yourself!
Next candidate's meeting is Saturday February 2.

Roosevelt Island Book Club

I received the following request from a reader about to move to Roosevelt Island:

My husband and I are moving to Roosevelt Island in a few weeks.
In order to get to know other residents, I wish to join a Book Club.
If you can direct me to the appropriate contact, I would appreciate it.
To which I responded:
Welcome to Roosevelt Island.
The Roosevelt Island branch of the NY Public Library has a book club. The current book they are reading is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Hope that helps. There may be others but I am not aware of any. I will post about this topic and maybe other groups will respond.
Thanks for reading the blog and please feel free to contribute any thoughts or comments you think relevant.
Good Luck with your move!
Any thoughts for our new neighbor?

Image is not of reader but of blogger CK at MarketingProfs Daily Fix on way to Book Club. Such dedication.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Transcript of 2001 Southtown Court Case Decision

Southtown before Riverwalk development from Main Street WIRE

As part of an ongoing effort to collect and make easily available to Roosevelt Island residents important governing documents concerning the history and development of Roosevelt Island, here is a link to Main Street WIRE transcript of the 2001 New York State Appellate Court legal decision in the case involving the development of the Hudson/Related Riverwalk Southtown development that was opposed by some residents. The name of the case was:

Roosevelt Islanders for Responsible Southtown Development, etc., et al.,


Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, et al.,

City of New York, et al.,

Among the arguments made by the residents opposing the Southtown development was:
that the Related/Hudson plan violates the GDP, as amended in 1990, because it reduces the size of Blackwell Park from "approximately six acres" to 3.86 acres.
The Court disagreed finding that:
...the park was actually encroached upon by prior development in connection with Northtown. Further, the Related/Hudson site plan increases the total amount of open space from 8.2 acres to 15.1 acres, with 5.4 acres of open space between Northtown and Southtown, which is "approximately six acres," and although this space is not contiguous, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the proposed layout is not significant as the separating line is a road, not a building. Nor is it unreasonable to conclude that the movement of soccer and softball fields, as well as a children's play area, to the south is insignificant, especially in light of the fact that the Ramati Plan had actually eliminated the soccer fields.
Thanks to RIOC Board nominee candidate Jonathan Kalkin for providing link to article.
Links to other important governing documents such as the Roosevelt Island Master Lease, General Development Plan and Chapter 889, the RIOC governing statute, together with the Southtown legal decision are provided at the top of the right column of this page. Please let me know if there are other documents that should be added to the list.

Image of Southtown before Riverwalk buildings from Main Street WIRE.
Here is Main Street WIRE chronology of Southtown development from 1997-2002.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Roosevelt Island Tram Commute Profiled in NY Times

The New York Times Next Stop series documenting various NYC commutes profiles the Roosevelt Island Tram today and features interviews with Roosevelt Island 36o and Judy Berdy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

According to the NY Times:

Everyone heralded the tram’s comfort, safety and unbeatable views as reasons for their choice of commute, but the thing that surprised me was that they said it was also more convenient. For them, connecting to East Side buses or a train at 59th Street was a much more palatable commute than taking the subway under the river.

True, island residents who work on the west side of Manhattan, are more likely to take the F train, which stops a few blocks from the tram station, but a common criticism of the train was its overcrowding. “The subway at this time of day — I might have to wait for a few trains to go by because they’re so crowded,”...
The article shows Roosevelt Islanders are a friendly group.
Watching the Manhattan-bound commuters pile onto the tram, they all seemed to know each other. They even made sure that their children said “hello” and “good-bye” to Mr. Paravati, the amiable conductor who chanced upon the job 32 years ago and has been working the trams ever since.
Unfortunately, there was nothing in the article discussing the scheduled shutdown of the Tram next year for repairs that are planned to take at least seven months or what/if transportation alternatives will be made to substitute for the lack of Tram service.

The Tram is a wonderful way to commute. Instead of merely reading about it, let's show everyone what it is like. First take a day time trip to Manhattan facing south with U2.

You Tube video link is here. And a night time trip back to Roosevelt Island facing north with Hellogoodbye. You Tube video link is here.

Is There Parking Nepotism In A Small Southern Town Called Roosevelt Island?

Obtaining one of the 55 metered parking spots on Roosevelt Island has always been extremely difficult but today's Daily News reports the allegation by some long time Roosevelt Island residents that the situation has been exacerbated by:

...a chronic culture of nepotism that aggravates the problem.
According to the article, Roosevelt Island resident and RIOC Board nominee candidate Frank Farance charges
"You can't find a spot because there are so many bogus [parking] placards and illegal handicapped permits,"
Some locals said parking regulations are selectively enforced by Roosevelt Island Public Safety, whose officers have the right to ticket cars and make arrests.
"They will not issue a summons to friends," said Ron Schuppert, chairman of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association's public safety committee and a retired NYPD officer with 25 years on the job.
"It's like a small Southern town. It's nothing but nepotism," he said.
Farance and Schuppert alleged there is a secret list of people who are immune from ticketing.
RIOC President Steve Shane denies that there is such a list of those immune from ticketing and characterizes such claims as an urban legend. Mr. Shane:
"There's no such list," Shane said. "There may have been one but there certainly isn't one now."
Also, he
noted that more summonses have been issued in the past year.
"We had a relatively laissez-faire attitude over here," Shane said of the approach to parking enforcement before he took over as president last year. "Parking spaces are more available on Main St. now."
It is interesting to note that while Mr. Shane denies any such preferential parking list currently exists under his RIOC administration, he acknowledges one may have existed before his recent tenure under prior administrations.

I believe Mr. Shane when he says no such list currently exists or practice occurs. However it probably did exist and occur during prior administrations and it must be difficult to change longstanding employee perks and practices within RIOC or any other organization. Mr. Shane, as a good executive, must know or can easily discover, whether or not such a list and practice existed in the past. In order to turn the page and demonstrate a resident friendly RIOC management he should just make the list public or deny that it ever existed.

Image is of Dukes of Hazard's Boss Hogg and Sherrif Roscoe from Monsters & Critics.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Meet the Candidates for RIOC Board Nominees- Tuesday January 15, 7PM

Roosevelt Island residents seeking election as nominees to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation's Board of Directors will be holding a candidate's night tomorrow, Tuesday January 15 starting 7 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center. Residents can ask questions and the candidates will set forth their 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.

Image is from Roosevelt Island 360 who has more on elections here.

Here is a video from a new Roosevelt Island blogger, Press HD, containing an interview with RIRA President Matt Katz describing the reasons why this election for nominees to the RIOC Board is so important. Welcome to the world of Roosevelt Island blogging!

Roosevelt Island: A Place Without Democracy from Kimberly Lengle on Press HD.

Roosevelt Island's Delacorte Water Geyser Was Bigger Than Mayor Bloomberg's East River Waterfalls

Delacorte Geyser Image by Judy Siegel.

didn't think public art installations could get more wacky than Long Island City's Floating Tree (a/k/a/ the Bird Condo) or the spooky tents of Roosevelt Island,...
but the NY Sun reports:
Olafur Eliasson, a Danish–Icelandic artist whose installation "The Weather Project" drew 2 million people to the Tate Modern in 2003 and 2004, has designed what will likely be the city's biggest public art project since Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates": a series of freestanding waterfalls in the East River.
According to a source whom the mayor told about the project, the waterfalls will rise about 60 to 70 feet above the water — more than half as high as the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge. They will be visible from the area around the Seaport, from Brooklyn Heights, and from the Governors Island Ferry.
Roosevelt Islanders know that for many years there was a similar public art installation in the East River just off the southern tip of Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island. It was the Delacorte Fountain or Geyser that would shoot a stream of water not 60 or 70 feet, but 400 feet into the air. It was stopped in the late 1980's because some Sutton Place residents feared "liquid wastes" would be thrown in their faces from the spray. Oh my!
I guess it does not matter what gets thrown in the faces of tourists at the South Street Seaport!

Below is NY Sun's version of East River waterfall.

Here is artist Olafur Eliasson 2004 Waterfall project.

And Eliasson's 1998 Reverse Waterfall.

Thanks to Curbed reader Jazz Age for providing links to Olafur Eliasson's work.

UPDATE: 1/16- From Bloomberg News:
The New York City Waterfalls,'' created by artist Olafur Eliasson, will cascade from heights of 90 to 120 feet (27 to 37 meters), illuminated at night and visible from Manhattan's South Street Seaport.
Constructed on scaffolding intended to mimic the look of buildings under construction, its design will be environmentally protective of fish that inhabit the river, and its pumps will be powered from the water current, Eliasson said.

``They are as real as any waterfalls; it is real water falling,'' Eliasson said of the project. ``The scaffolding supports are clearly visible and may be recognized as the same kind that has been used to build New York over the past century.''
With a 400 foot spray, Roosevelt Island's Delacorte Geyser was still bigger than the 120 feet New York City Waterfall cascade!

Also, watch out for the Waterfall spray from liquid waste that is dumped into the East River, particularly after a heavy rain storm. From blogger No Impact Man:
What happens is that both the household sewage from our homes and the storm water drainage from the streets and rooftops of the buildings come together in underground drainage pipes that take it all to wastewater treatment plants (click on the above diagram for a larger version). During a hard rain, however, those underground sewage pipes get overwhelmed and, to keep the sewage from backing up into our sinks and toilets, it gets dumped, untreated, through the CSOs into the rivers and waterways.
Images are from Bloomberg News.

Roosevelt Island Child School Legacy High School

The Child School Legacy High School on Roosevelt Island offers

...a unique academic/therapeutic community where children with learning disabilities can achieve their intellectual and emotional potential.
I received the following message from the Child School inviting all Roosevelt Island residents to a free community event showcasing performances by their students to be held on January 31 from 6-8PM at 566 Main Street.
From the Child School:
We are inviting all Roosevelt Island residents to a free performance. Please help us advertise. We're eager to get to know more residents.

Night of Music at The Child School
When: January 31, 2008 6:00-8:00pm
Where: 566 Main Street

Free, all Residents welcome

Student performers of all ages transform our gym into a concert hall. Our kids work for weeks to put on a good show. Last year's event included renditions of “Maple Leaf Rag,” Mozart’s “Ah vous dirai-je Maman,” Vanessa Carlton’s “A thousand Miles,” “Tequila,” “Pachelbel Canon,” spiritual hymns “Three Spirituals” and “I Have a Dream,” “The White Tiger Fight Song,” and “Ode to Joy.” One student even improvised by playing percussion on a chair which was transformed into an amazing drum!
Image is of Holiday letters sent to United States soldiers from Child School students.