Friday, April 25, 2008

Recycle old Roosevelt Island Computers and Other Electronic Devices

Tekserve's Second Annual Electronic Recycling Event This Weekend!

This weekend Tekserve and the Lower East Side Ecology Center are holding an eWaste recycling event. Here's some more information:
Tekserve and The Lower East Side Ecology Center are co-sponsoring an electronic recycling drive. New York City area residents can properly recycle their electronic waste free of charge on Saturday and Sunday, April 26th & 27th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday, April 28th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The collection point will be at 119 West 23rd Street in front of our store.
Items that can be recycled include:
  • Working and non-working:
  • Computers (laptop & desktop),
  • Servers, mainframes
  • Monitors
  • Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers
  • Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)
  • Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, etc.)
  • Components (hard drives, CD Roms, circuit boards, power supplies, etc,)
  • TVs,VCR & DVD Players
  • Audio visual devices
  • Radios/Stereos
  • Cell Phones, pagers
  • PDAs,Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)
  • Media (floppies, cd’s, zips, VHS tapes)**
On a somewhat related note, the Socrates Sculpture Park, site of the experimental Roosevelt Island Shuttle Slingshot, will be holding an exhibition titled "Waste Not Want Not" from May 4 - August 3, 2008.

Try the Roosevelt Island Shuttle Slingshot Because There is No Weekend F Train Service From Manhattan to Roosevelt Island

Image from MTA

F train subway service disruptions return to Roosevelt Island. According to the MTA, there will be no F train service to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan this weekend. The F train to Queens will be running on the E line from West 4th street to Roosevelt Avenue (not Roosevelt Island) in Jackson Heights, Queens. For those still wishing or needing to take the subway to Roosevelt Island from Brooklyn or Manhattan, take the F train to Roosevelt Avenue and then cross over to the Manhattan bound side for the F train which will deposit you on Roosevelt Island. Plan for at least an additional 30-40 minute travel time. The Roosevelt Island Tram will be working.

For those wishing to avoid any added travel time, there is another option. The MTA and RIOC have thoughtfully provided another new experimental transportation system for Roosevelt Islanders to cross the East River. It's a slingshot type of device called the Roosevelt Island Shuttle being tested at the nearby Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. Here's a sneak peak at the current plan to supplement our transportation infrastructure and what is in store for Roosevelt Islanders when the Tramway shuts down next year for repairs.

Sometimes it does not work so good and you go for a swim. Here are some other experimental transportation systems being considered for crossing the East River.

RIOC is also reporting a Roosevelt Island Bridge advisory for this weekend with only one lane open and traffic direction reversals.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Roosevelt Island Subway Platform Water Leakage - Retribution from the East River?

Has everyone noticed the water leaking on the Manhattan bound Roosevelt Island subway platform near the Up escalator has been getting much worse in recent days? Another resident half jokingly expressed concern that the water was coming through from the East River because it was getting angry with the lack of transportation infrastructure for the ever growing Roosevelt Island population.

We don't have to worry about any East River retribution yet. Last night, RIOC President Steve Shane advised that there is a broken water main that they hope to have fixed by the close of business today.

...there is a broken main in front of the station which they were working on today and hope to have repaired by COB tomorrow.

Workers were trying to fix the leak this morning.

Wild Animal Rescue on Roosevelt Island - Beaver Update, Unhappy Ending

Groundhog Image from ozoni11

An earlier post reporting on a loose beaver roaming around the Motorgate Garage led fellow blogger Roosevelt Island 360 to speculate that:
I wonder if the beaver found by the NYPD while patrolling the East River in prep for the Pope’s visit to the UN was the same animal? We don’t get too many beaver sightings around here so perhaps it was the same animal. Either way we are sorry to hear of the beaver’s passing.
It turns out that what some thought was a beaver wandering Motorgate turned out to be a sick ground hog. According to the March 30-31 Public Safety Report:
Wild Animal Rescue- Adj 684 Main Street a ground hog was taken to R.I. Resident after ASPCA and Animal Care and control could not pick it up. The resident is licensed through NYS for Wild Life rehabilitation.
I asked Public Safety Director Keith Guerra about the Roosevelt Island "Wild Animal Rescue" and if there were any other wild animals in the apartment of the tenant with the Wild Life rehabilitation license, recalling an incident several years ago where a tiger was being kept in a Manhattan apartment. Mr. Guerra responded:
It was a sick ground hog that was reported stumbling around. It actually died, from what one of my officers told me. To my knowledge, the tenant with the Wild life rehabilitation license does not have wild animals in her apartment.
For an incredible view of a life and death wild life battle between lions, buffaloes and a crocodile take a look at the Battle at Kruger in South Africa. The video is a bit longer than eight minutes but well worth it.

You Tube video of Battle at Kruger

In other East River wild animal news, earlier this spring a harbor seal was found lounging on the rocks in Red Hook. Not known if it made its way to Roosevelt Island.

You Tube video of Red Hook Harbor Seal

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Parent's Plea for Gifted and Talented Student Program at Roosevelt Island Elementary School PS 217

12/2007 You Tube video of NYC Gifted and Talented program from Columbia TV News

The recent New York City Public School controversy over the Gifted and Talented student program has reached Roosevelt Island. As described in the NY Times City Room Page, the New York City Public School system is:
Faced with a deluge of children vying for coveted slots in gifted-and-talented programs and a shortage of top-scoring applicants, ­ Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein said that he intended to change the city’s new, standardized policy for admitting children to the programs.

The chancellor proposed today that students scoring in the top 10th percentile on admissions tests would be guaranteed a slot in kindergarten or first-grade gifted and talented programs; last fall, he announced that only those scoring in the top 5th percentile would be admitted.

The Department of Education said that more than 50,000 students had applied to the programs, up from 13,000 last year....
A Roosevelt Island parent of elementary school age children is trying to help establish a Gifted & Talented student program for P.S. 217 here on Roosevelt Island. She reports:
... There is an effort underway here on Roosevelt Island to garner support for a Gifted and Talented program here at PS 217. We are trying to collect signatures of residents here on the island that would be supportive of a G&T program- and bring this data to the attention of Chancellor Joel Klein.

I do not know how much knowledge you have of the current situation at PS 217. Presently, many parents send their children to G&T schools, private schools, or public schools (courtesy of a friend's address) in Manhattan to avoid what is considered by many to be a sub-par educational experience. PS 217 currently buses in students from other over-crowded schools to fill seats that sit empty at our school. PS 217 is not currently a reflection of our island make-up. I am serving on the PTA Executive Board, and have been making an effort to try to increase enrollment by residents of Roosevelt Island. Many parents have cited the absence of a challenging academic environment, and a lack of a G&T program as reasons why they would not send their child to PS 217. I believe that the presence of a G&T program here on the island would make many residents rethink their children's educational options, especially in the wake of an upcoming tram shut-down in 2009. Most schools in Manhattan (including G&T schools) will not pick up residents here on the island. Many have buses that stop near the tram station-and it will be much more difficult for these individuals to get to Manhattan schools with an over-crowded subway as the only other option. I know for me personally, if a G&T program is not instated at PS 217 in the next two years, our family will move off-island, and into a better neighborhood school-zone.
We currently have 100+ signatures and plan to add many more....
More on the NYC Department of Education Gifted and Talented program:
... provides challenging standards-based instructional practices and highly engaging learning opportunities to children with exceptional capacity or creative talent.

Gifted and talented programs are district-based and begin in either kindergarten or first grade, depending on the district or borough. Generally, district gifted and talented programs in Manhattan and Brooklyn begin in kindergarten and programs in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island begin in the first grade. There are also three citywide gifted and talented schools, which accept students from all five boroughs.

Establishing a Gifted and Talented elementary school program at P.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island sounds like a great idea. Why would anyone object?

Image of PS/IS 217 from geocities

Here's some additional information on New York City Gifted and Talented education program.
UPDATE - 12:50 PM: There is a poll regarding subject of support for a Gifted and Talented education program for Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 located on right side column. Just answer yes or no.

UPDATE - 4/24- I obviously would not pass any Gifted and Talented test based upon my typo in the poll question since I left out the "h" in established. I cannot edit and correct the typo without losing the votes tabulated to date so the poll question will remain as is, error and all. Apologies.

UPDATE: 11/10 - According to NY Times City Room blog:
The City Council will take up the Education Department’s new process for admitting children to gifted and talented programs, at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 16.

An Oct. 30 article in The Times disclosed that under the new process, which based admission to gifted programs on a citywide cutoff score on two standardized tests, the number of children entering city gifted programs dropped by half, leaving some gifted classrooms with as few as eight children....

Roosevelt Island Elected Representatives Serrano, Kellner, Maloney & Lappin Co-Sponsor Town Hall Meeting for Residents of 2 & 4 River Road

State Senator Jose M. Serrano forwards the following message to Roosevelt Island residents living at 2 & 4 River Road

Townhall Meeting for Tenants of 2 and 4 River Road
Sponsored by Congresswoman Maloney, Senator Serrano, Assemblymember Kellner and Councilmember Lappin
WHEN: THIS Thursday, April 24 @ 7 p.m.
WHERE: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
Join representatives from:
· Building management
· Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
· Div. of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)
· Dept. for the Aging (DFTA)
· New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
· Human Resources Adminstration (HRA), on hand to help process HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) applications for those who bring necessary ID -- click here for HEAP info.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day - But Sorry I'm Not Going to Pick Up Used Metrocards From the Street and Re-Use Them

Image of Planet Earth from Wired

Earth day according to Wikipedia:
Earth Day is either of two different observances, both held annually during spring in the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere. These are intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth's environment. The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969. A second Earth Day, which was founded by US politician Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in the late 1960s, is celebrated in many countries each year on April 22.
Some Earth Day tips from the NY Post:
*To thoroughly disinfect bathroom and kitchen countertops without using harmful bleach, use rubbing alcohol. Moisten cotton balls and wipe away. It will truly sanitize without the harmful fumes of bleach.

* Tired of getting junk mail and catalogs? Get revenge! Just circle the return address on the envelope and write RETURN TO SENDER on the front. Drop it in the mail and it'll be returned to the sender since they have to pay the return postage.

* If you must buy bottled water, think glass, not plastic. Most stores carry spring water in glass bottles. Glass is easily and infinitely recyclable; old glass bottles become new glass bottles over and over and over again.

* Bring all your old cellphones, PDAs and BlackBerries to any Duane Reade store in New York City and recycle them for free in a Call2Recycle collection box. They'll get made into new metal products.

* Instead of getting a new MetroCard when you need one, pick-up one off the ground and refill it. These strewn cards can be refilled, recharged and re-used.
Re-using Metro cards found on the street sounds like a lovely idea. Comedy Central's Lewis Black has some contrarian Earth Day thoughts on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart from You Tube.

Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential Primary Today - Let's Go Obama

You Tube video of Baracky the Movie

The outcome of the Southpoint Park Kahn/FDR memorial survey is not the only vote of interest to Roosevelt Islanders today. Later this eventing, the results of the Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential Primary will be known. According to the Washington Post:
Some say Clinton needs to win by 10 points -- which was her margin in Ohio last month. Others say eight points. Some say, given the amount of money Sen. Barack Obama is spending on television ads, anything over five points would be a respectable victory for Clinton. Staying within five points would give Obama the opportunity to assert that he overcame a state whose demographics tilted heavily to Clinton.

But the margin in the popular vote ultimately will be secondary to how Pennsylvania affects the battle for pledged delegates. Pennsylvania is the biggest remaining prize on the calendar, with 158 pledged delegates. Clinton badly needs to make up ground in the delegate fight and, given the way they're distributed, that could be difficult.
I hope Barack Obama is able to pull off an upset here and defeat Senator Clinton. In that event, she should withdraw from the race because there is absolutely no way she could win the nomination without destroying any chance to defeat George Bush (I mean John McCain) in the general election. If Clinton wins in Pennsylvania, she should remain in the race until the last primary. I have always believed that what does not kill you makes you stronger. The eventual winner of the Democratic Primary, and I hope it is Barack Obama, will be a better general election candidate against McCain and the Republican Swift Boaters for going through such a bruising and tough primary season.

So to all Pennsylvania Roosevelt Islanders, and I know you are out there, make sure to go out and vote today for Senator Barack Obama.

UPDATE - 8:20: Here is the Pennsylvania Department of State Democratic Presidential Primary returns page and the Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential Primary returns page from 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

Kahn Design Survey Results Are In- 83 Against, 79 Support, 11 Neutral - Update 5:30 PM - 97 Against, 94 Support, 16 Neutral

RIRA President Matt Katz explains Survey from PressHD.

This past week a second opinion survey was taken of Roosevelt Island residents views on Southpoint Park and the proposed Louis Kahn/FDR memorial. The first survey, done by the Trust for the Public Land, indicated that a majority of residents were opposed to the Kahn design for Southpoint Park but was criticized by supporters of Kahn for the alleged inadequacy of the survey. This latest survey was designed by the Roosevelt Island Resident's Association and distributed to approximately 4000 Roosevelt Island apartments in the April 12 Main Street WIRE. The survey form was to be filled out and handed back within the week.

The survey procedure was explained by RIRA President Matt Katz in the above video from Press HD. The survey is here and allowed residents three options. Vote For the Kahn design, Against the Kahn design or Neutral, which meant the respondent had no opinion or the opinion was mixed. The survey also allowed residents to express their views in greater detail by checking off a series of statements regarding their opinions on the Kahn design and adding comments.

Last night the locked ballot box was opened and the raw survey votes tabulated.

The raw votes are as follows. Of the 173 surveys filled out and handed in, 83 were against the Kahn design, 79 were for and 11 had no opinion. In Roosevelt Island's version of the media exit polls, more information will become available on why people voted the way they did when the individual surveys are evaluated for comments and the checked statements.

UPDATE - 5:45 PM: Additional ballots were found in the RIRA P.O. Box. Total number of votes now 207. From RIRA President Matt Katz:
Upon checking the RIRA PO box today, I found additional surveys. Lots. The total count is now 207 (!) with the breakdown as follows:

94 in favor, 97 opposed with 16 neutral. This doesn’t appreciably change the percentages.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Roosevelt Islander and His Parrots

While walking on the West Promenade of the Roosevelt Island waterfront during a nice sunny afternoon, I came across this Roosevelt Islander who kindly allowed me to take his picture and that of his two parrot friends. On any given day, you never know who you may meet or what their interests are.

Do Parrots make good pets? Here's what Squidoo - Animals and Nature has to say:

Did you know that having a Parrot or Parakeet companion that you interact with every day will give you a better quality of life? It's true. Studies have shown that people with pets are less prone to depression and disease. In fact, in some cities bringing pets into the Hospitals helps the patients recover faster! A bird that talks is always happy to see you, loves your attention, and will give you thousands of hours of pleasure and a lifetime of fun.

Not only is a bird good for your health, but it will provide friendship and enjoyment for you, and everyone who visits you. Carefully study the birds I describe here. There is a good chance you will find a loving and entertaining companion.

Mae West Imprisoned On Roosevelt Island for Sex - 81 Years Ago Last Saturday

You Tube video of Mae West trailer

Saturday April 19 was the 81st anniversary of Mae West's imprisonment at the Women's Workhouse on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island) for the crime of obscenity and the corruption of morals. According to today in history by blogger Dr. Caligari's Cabinet:
April 19, 1927 -
Mae West, suspected transvestite, was jailed for her performance in Sex, the Broadway play she wrote, directed, and starred in. She was sentenced to ten days in prison. While incarcerated on Roosevelt Island, she was allowed to wear her silk panties instead of the scratchy prison issue and the warden reportedly took her to dinner every night. She served eight days with two days off for good behavior....

Image of Mae West sex poster from NYC10044

The Bowery Boys have more on Roosevelt Island prison life:
... The prison and workhouse has seen its share of celebrity lawbreakers; one could imagine Paris Hilton feeling at home here. (I'm kidding; she wouldn't last a day.) Many of the purported crimes wouldn't even get you a slap on the wrist today.

Margaret Sanger's sister Ethel Byrne was locked up for providing birth control advice to women in Brooklyn. Anarchist Emma Goldman was a frequent 'guest' for incendiary remarks and inciting riots, joining other frequenter Madame Restell, an early 20th century abortionist. Well before her singing career took off Billie Holiday spent four months here for a "vagrant and dissipated adult" (code for prostitution), although she was still a minor.

However its two most recognizable residents to the public at the time stand at either end of the justice scale; Boss Tweed served there for a year as the instigator of New York's corruption woes, while comedian Mae West was locked up for eight days in 1927 on public obscenity charges, due to the 'salacious' nature of her Broadway show 'Sex'. She received so much media attention that she was allowed to wear silk underpants at night and was eventually let off for good behavior. (The picture above is Mae in court, possibly on the day receiving her sentence.)

The celebrity element also helped shine spotlights on the prison's squalid conditions -- a sorry hall of overcrowding, drug addiction and corruption. By the 20th century, gangs of prisoners virtually ran the place. It would become the inspiration for dozens of pulp novels and films, including one actually called Blackwell's Island.

Image of 1932 Roosevelt Island Prison is from nyc10044