Saturday, March 22, 2008

Brush Fire at Southpoint Park

Image from Press HD

According to Gothamist, a large brush fire broke out today at Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park. Although information is sketchy, Roosevelt Island blogger Press HD reports:
There’s little information on the late afternoon fire at Southpoint. Officers at Public Safety headquarters said they were not allowed to give out information but one officer on patrol in a PSD vehicle said “a 14-year-old kid” started the fire.

Pictures were taken at the scene at approximately 6:30pm where that same officer commented that the fire broke out “a few hours” eariler.

The smell of burnt leaves was still strong and could be detected from a few feet away.
More information when it becomes available.
UPDATE: 3/24 - Roosevelt Island 360 has timeline of Southpoint Park brush fire here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Need More Square Footage? Try the Strap on Back Pack Room to Increase the Size of your Apartment

Have you ever wanted to increase the size of your Roosevelt Island apartment? Are you jealous of your single family homeowner friends and relatives who can expand their living space square footage by building on an extra room? No matter what the size of your New York City apartment, we all need more space. Sometimes if you are very lucky and can afford to, this problem can be solved by combining units adjacent to, above or below your apartment. But most of us don't have the opportunity to combine apartments. Don't worry. Wired may have the solution:
Looking for a new way to piss off your landlord or co-op board? How about adding a new room to your unit without a contractor or any silly permits?
That's the opportunity afforded by the "backpack house," a folding, pref-fab cube meant to attach to the side of any dwelling, adding about 80 square feet of living space. It weighs about 2 tons, so anyone above the ground floor is likely to need a crane to get it into position.
Fresh Home via Convertible City has more:
Located between art and architecture, the backpack house is a walk-in sculpture with their own spatial quality: a floating, lighted room, as a temporary scaffolding and a “minimal sculpture” also appears. Universally used as a mini-backpack, this house adds extra space at the front of each residential building attached.

Regular F Train Service For Roosevelt Island This Weekend but Traffic Advisory for Roosevelt Island Bridge Traffic

Image is of traffic waiting to cross Roosevelt Island Bridge last Sunday afternoon

The MTA is reporting that there will be regular F Train service to and from Roosevelt Island this weekend but that next weekend there will be no Manhattan bound F Train service from Roosevelt Island.

However, remember that a weekend does not go by without some transportation challenge for Roosevelt Islanders. RIOC has issued a weekend traffic advisory for the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) will perform three consecutive weekends of work operations on the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Work will begin on Friday, March 14. 2008 and weather permitting, continue until Monday, March 31,2008. Work hours will be continuous from Friday at 8:00 p.m. until Monday at 6:00 a.m.

The work activities planned include bridge painting operations. Traffic lane reversals will be in effect during the work hours in which one lane remains open to traffic while work progresses. Eastbound and westbound traffic will alternate using the one open lane. At the end of each weekend two-way traffic direction will be restored....
The pictures above were taken on Sunday afternoon, March 16, as I happened to be walking by so I don't know if that was typical of traffic trying to get over the bridge all weekend or not. On Friday night around 10:PM I did experience a 10-15 minute wait crossing over from Long Island City.

Plan accordingly.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Any Stray Voltage Protection for Roosevelt Island Pedestrians and Pets? I Prefer Not To Be Electrocuted.

Truveo Video link of WCBS story on stray voltage

Stray electrical voltage coming from sidewalks is a very serious problem that has caused injury to pedestrians and their pets as well as one tragic death in 2004 when Jody Lane, a young women walking her dogs was electrocuted on an East Village street. Another example from a February 2007 NY Times article:
A small dog being walked along a downtown sidewalk yesterday was apparently electrocuted moments after crossing an icy manhole cover, according to a veterinarian who examined the animal after a dog-walker brought him in.
...If the cause of Bob’s death is determined to be electrocution, his death would be the latest in a string of episodes in which pet owners or their pets were harmed by stray voltage in metal plates or other objects on the city’s streets and sidewalks.
I raise this issue because the March 20 Roosevelt Island 24 Hour Public Safety Incident Report indicates that sparks were coming out of an electric box by 425 Main Street. The report states:
... Hazardous Condition-electric box by 425 Main St. sparkling due to rain, power was shut-off.
What type of follow-up and remediation is being done by Con Ed and RIOC to insure that tragic injuries or deaths to people and their pets do not result from stray voltage here on Roosevelt Island?

The NY Times City Room blog reviewed this problem last January prior to City Council Hearing on the matter and published this message regarding Con Ed's response to the stray voltage problem.
My name is Roger Lane, the father of Jodie Lane who was electrocuted by ConEd on 1/16/2004.
ConEd is using the media and carefully parsed information to provide a favorable picture in anticipation of next week’s council meeting.
I thought you should see data less parsed.
Stray Voltage [SV] detections by calendar year [data provided by ConEd to Roger Lane]:
• ConEd found 5,455 SV in 2007
• ConEd found 3,331 SV in 2006
• ConEd found 2,508 SV in 2005
• ConEd found 2,344 SV in 2004
That’s a 233% increase over 4 years and 13,638 locations with dangerous voltage.
Reported shock events declined from 378 in 2006 to 295 in 2007 [data provided by ConEd to PSC]. 295 is 6 shocks every week, hardly safe!
It is reported that ConEd has 15 mobile stray voltage trucks working all year. The reality is they own 15 trucks but they are used less than half the time.
ConEd plans 1 manual and 8 mobile test cycles for 2008. They say this will eliminate 90% of the stray Voltage. In the last 4 years ConEd did 4 manual test cycles and 7 mobile test cycles for a total of 11 cycles. If ConEd were right about a 90% reduction in stray voltage with 8 test cycles they should have already solved this issue considering 11 have already been performed…, yet each test cycle continues to find about 1100 stray voltages.
ConEd needs to do more than 9 scans in 2008. The cost of 24 test cycles is estimated at $12M…that’s $3.75 per year per ConEd customer…
Why is ConEd skimping on the safety of New Yorkers?
According to the NY Post:
Less electricity is leaking from Con Ed-managed light poles and electric switching boxes, the utility said yesterday.
Con Ed counted 295 reports of stray electric shocks last year, down from 378 in 2006 - a 22 percent reduction.
Since the company stepped up its search for electrically charged light poles, street boxes and other equipment in 2004, the number of shock incidents has declined by 49 percent, the company says.
"All the shock numbers are going down," said Alfonso Quiroz, a Con Ed spokesman.
Con Ed says it has spent $100 million on its effort to eradicate stray voltage.
A company-designed fleet of 15 high-tech stray-voltage detector vehicles cruise city streets year round, using electronic sensors to seek out shock points on manhole covers, light poles, service boxes and other structures.
Do any of these stray-voltage detector vehicles ever make their way to Roosevelt Island or do we have to wait until someone gets hurt? I am particularly sensitive to this issue because several years ago I was walking down the south side of 50th street towards 2nd avenue following the clean up from a snow storm and received quite a shocking jolt as I stepped on a manhole cover. It was a very unpleasant experience that I remember to this day. I still avoid that manhole cover when walking down 50th street.

UPDATE: - 3/25 - RIOC advises that this was not a stray voltage incident but occurred:
within the confines of the Southown construction site of
building 5 & 6. A 4 foot by 4 foot guard shack was being supplied with
power for lighting via an old construction extension cord from the
building. The cord was laying in water and shorted out.
More here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Roosevelt Island Free Mammograms on Saturday March 22 - Will Colonoscopies Be Next?

The Pink Baseball Bats were part of MLB's Mother's Day effort to raise awareness of Breast Cancer. Image from The 700 Level.

When: Saturday, March 22, 2008 starting at 9:00am Where: Look for the Mammography Van at 591 Main Street An appointment is necessary.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, The American-Italian Cancer Foundation & the Women's Outreach Network invite you to have a Free Mammogram
For more information, please call Erica @ 212-832-4540
To all wives, moms, daughters, grandmother, sisters, and aunts get a check up for yourselves and family. Here's some more information.

Hey, it's probably too expensive but how about some free colonoscopies (You Tube video of procedure here) for the guys. Ugh, Ugh, Ugh!

UPDATE from RIOC - 3/20:
There has been such an overwhelming response for appointments to receive free mammograms on Saturday March 22nd that I scheduled an additional date, May 17th- which is also Health and Fitness Day, for individuals who could not get an appointment this Saturday. The start of appointments for this weekend has also been changed from 9:00am to 8:00am. I'll look into the colonoscopies.
Great work by RIOC in providing such a valuable public health service. I wonder if the Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering hospitals, which have such a large residential presence on Roosevelt Island, are helping out?

Flashing Incident at Southtown

Daily News Headline Image from Wireless Moment

From the Roosevelt Island 24 Hour Public Safety Report and the Queens Gazette On March 16:
At 425 Main St., Roosevelt Island, a 25-year-old black male exposed himself to a victim, jumped a turnstile while fleeing the scene and upon apprehension, produced forged identification. He was charged with possession of a forged instrument, bail jumping, theft of service and public lewdness

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sir Arthur C. Clarke - Rest in Peace - Wherever You Are

You Tube video of 2001: A Space Odyssey ending with Star Child

Arthur C. Clarke died today after 90 orbits around the sun. Here is an excerpt from his NY Times obituary.
Arthur C. Clarke, a writer whose seamless blend of scientific expertise and poetic imagination helped usher in the space age, died early Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had lived since 1956. He was 90.

...The author of almost 100 books, Mr. Clarke was an ardent promoter of the idea that humanity’s destiny lay beyond the confines of Earth. It was a vision served most vividly by “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the classic 1968 science-fiction film he created with the director Stanley Kubrick and the novel of the same title that he wrote as part of the project.

His work was also prophetic: his detailed forecast of telecommunications satellites in 1945 came more than a decade before the first orbital rocket flight.

...Mr. Clarke was well aware of the importance of his role as science spokesman to the general population: “Most technological achievements were preceded by people writing and imagining them,” he noted. “I’m sure we would not have had men on the Moon,” he added, if it had not been for H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. “I’m rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books.”

From last December, here is his 90th birthday message.

Roosevelt Island Monthly Public Safety Report for February 2008

Here is link to report.

It is interesting that of the 140 February Public Safety responses, 45 or slightly more than 30%, were for coming to the aid of someone needing medical attention.

Here is the 24 hour Daily Public Safety report from January 18 - March 10.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Have a Happy Roosevelt Island St. Patrick's Day With Great Big Sea - Watch Out for the Old Black Rum

You Tube video of Great Big Sea live performance of Old Black Rum

One of my all time favorite bands is the Canadian Newfoundland Band Great Big Sea. In the past, they played in New York City around St. Patrick's Day, but not this year. I missed their most recent NYC January live performances but thanks to You Tube I will be able to watch them live for St. Patrick's Day.

More of Great Big Sea here. Below the lyrics from The Old Black Rum, a great drinking song for St. Patrick's Day from the wonderful NewFoundland band Great Big Sea.

The Old Black Rum
(written by Bob Hallett / Based on traditional Irish)

I drank sixteen doubles for the price of one
Tryin' to find the courage to talk to one
I asked her for a dance, not a second glance
My night had just begun

Well, I drink to the Father and the Holy Ghost
I'm kneeling at the alter of my nightly post
So I'll raise a glass, not the first or last
Come join me in this toast

Because the old black rum's got a hold on me
Like a dog wrapped 'round my leg
And the old black rum's got a hold on me
Will I live for another day?
Hey! Will I live for another day?

The queen of George Street just went walkin' by
Walkin' on by with some guy who don't care
That she stood in line since half past nine
And spent three hours on her hair

Well, her friend is lookin' at me with an evil grin
I think a bloody racket might soon begin
I must have said something to the George Street queen
Now the boys are joining in.


So I drank all of my money and I slept out in the rain
Every day is different, but the nights they're all the same
You never see the sun on the old black rum
But I know I'm gonna do it again!


I drank sixteen doubles for the price of one

Lyrics from Sing 365.

Is an East River Kayak Launch from Roosevelt Island Possible?

Image from Paddle and Knit

Blogger Paddle and Knit took a kayak out on the East River during a cold, rainy day and paddled by the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.
We paddled from Long Island City to the Water Club in Manhattan. We waved at the restaurant guests, chefs cooking by the windows and a room of bat-mitzvah celebrants. We headed back past the southern tip of Roosevelt Island and were able to see the crane leaning against the building on 51st Street.
Wouldn't it be great if Roosevelt Island could get a boat house to launch kayaks! From an earlier Roosevelt Islander post:
Several years ago I inquired of RIOC about the possibility of a Kayak launch here and was told that the currents were much too strong to safely permit. But others with practical experience of such matters advised that with proper guidance a kayak launch could readily be created on Roosevelt Island.
A reader of the post commented:
there are many areas where eddies would permit a kayak landing. for that matter, just land at southpoint and climb over the short fence. just be prepared for a ticket, as cops have claimed it to be illegal to climb on the seawall rocks.
A reader of another post had this to say about Roosevelt Island kayaking:
Kayaking around Roosevelt Island is pretty good given the very swift currents in the East River. It's like jumping on an express train to head north or south (depending on your timing). New York City, in general, has very poor waterfront access, so don't feel particularly slighted -- the very expensive Hudson River park on Manhattan's West Side does not have water access south of 23rd Street and are only four authorized access points in all of Manhattan. Once you're on the water in a kayak or canoe, you're almost guaranteed to get the notice of the NYPD marine unit or Coast Guard. NYC is just not friendly to kayakers or canoers (but it is rewarding once you can get to the water).
Here's a chart of East River tides and currents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Maybe with proper understanding and knowledge of the challenges involved in kayaking from Roosevelt Island, the new RIOC administration will reconsider decisions made by prior administrations concerning kayaking from Roosevelt Island!

Another Vandalism Incident at Motorgate Parking Garage

Image of broken car window by cpurrin 1 is not from Motorgate Garage

Despite the March 13 arrest of a suspect in a Motorgate vandalism incident, another broken car window and property theft occurred at the Roosevelt Island Motorgate Parking Garage on March 14.

From the 3/14-3/15 34 hour Public Safety Report:
Petit Larceny (From A Vehicle)-At 688 Main Street (Motorgate Garage) a vehcile 's window was broken and a tool box was taken. NYPD and PSD responded and reports done. Search for the subject yielded negative results.
Be careful and pay attention when you are in the Motorgate Garage. If you spot something suspicious give the Public Safety Department (212-832-4545) or NYPD a call. Here is an overview of other Motorgate Parking Garage incidents from the Roosevelt Island 24 hour Public Safety Reports during the last several weeks:
0700 hrs. Wednesday February 20th 2008 - thru 0700 hrs. Thursday February 21st 2008.
Criminal Mischief - Male stated parked his vehicle at Motorgate at roof area. Vehicle rear tires slashed both sides of vehicle scratched. PSD Conducted a search for subjects with negative results. Owner refused NYPD and will file a report with Central Parking.

0700 hrs. Friday February 22nd 2008 thru 0700 hrs. Saturday February 23rd 2008 hrs.
Larceny - GPS system taken from Motorgate garage.

2/26/08-700 AM to 2/27/08-700 AM
Hazardous Condition- At 688 Main Street in the Motorgate Garage the lights are out in levels "3B", "6A", and "7B". Central Parking attendant notified. Public Safety to monitor the area.

Reports from 2/29/08 0700 hours to 3/01/08 0700 hours
Petit Larceny -Female rpts property taken from her vehicle parked in Motorgate.NYPD and PSD took reported

March 3
Hazardous Condition- At 688 Main Street (Motorgate Garage) in levels "6A", "6C", "6D' and "4B" lights were out. Central Parking Attendant was notified and will notify the Electrician to come and reset the circuit breakers. Areas were monitored by PSD frequently.

0700 hrs 03/06/08 - 0700 hrs 03/07/08
Hazardous condition - PSD observed lights out on level 6A, 6C, 6D of motorgate. Central Parking was notified.

0700 hrs. Friday March 7th 2008. thru 0700 hrs. Saturday March 8th 2008.
Hazardous condition - in motorgate various lights out Motorgate Supervisor notified

3/11/08-077 AM to 3/12/08-700 AM
Criminal Mischief- At 688 Main Street (Motorgate Garage) a vehicle window was broken. NYPD responded and prepare a report. PSD searched the Garage for the subject with negative results.
Criminal Mischief-At 688 Main Street (Motorgate Garage) 3 vehicles windows were broken . PSD searched the Garage for the subject with negative results.
Aided-At 688 Main Street an ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.

3/12/08-700 AM to 3/13/08-700 AM
Criminal Mischief- At 688 Main Street a vehicle window was broken. Search of the Motorgate Garage yielded negative results for the subject.

3/13/08-700 AM to 3/14/08-700 AM
Criminal Possession - Stolen Property At 688 Main Street (Motorgate Garage) subject arrested by PSD.
Investigation - At 688 Main Street a resident found the gear box shifter moved. Doors were locked and no damage to the vehicle. NYPD refused.

3/14/08-700 AM to 3/15/08-700 AM
Petit Larceny (From A Vehicle)-At 688 Main Street (Motorgate Garage) a vehcile 's window was broken and a tool box was taken. NYPD and PSD responded and reports done. Search for the subject yielded negative results

Changes at Roosevelt Islander and Some Readership Statistics

Cartoon Image from coxandforkum

Regular readers may have noticed some changes to the look of the Roosevelt Islander blog. I hope these changes make it a little bit easier to read, navigate and search through the blog. This is still a work in progress so please bare with me here as I try to upgrade Roosevelt Islander with more services, information and features over the coming months.

I find it amazing that what started out eight months ago with an all CAPITAL letter post of one Roosevelt Island resident's complaint concerning the RIOC policy of charging $18 to view the July 4 fireworks celebration at Southpoint Park has grown from a once in a while post to over 435 posts. Also, what I thought would be of interest to maybe a few family and friends has climbed to almost 35,000 unique Roosevelt Islander visitors, an average of approximately 185 daily, since statistics started to be kept in mid September.

Image is of Roosevelt Islander Monthly Visitor Statistics from September 2007-February 2008 via Statcounter.

Thanks to all the readers, those who comment and lend their expertise on particular subjects as well as those who send in their tips, suggestions and messages. Please continue to do so.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

News Links

"Despite Backing from Bloomberg and Quinn, Ferry Plan Faces Choppy Waters". (City Hall News)
Man Girdle or Body Shaping Underwear. (Wall Street Journal)
General David Petraeus - Iraqi Leaders Failing to Make Sufficient Political Progress during Surge. (Washington Post)
Losses Stall Affordable Housing Projects. (Wall Street Journal)
Microlending in Queens New York. (Washington Post)
Author Gary Wills on "What the Gospels Meant". (Wall Street Journal Video)
Roosevelt Island Purim Party, March 20. (Roosevelt Island 360)