Friday, June 27, 2008

Hipsters Coming to Roosevelt Island, Our Version of the Brooklyn Flea, Waterfalls and Other Things To Do This Weekend

You Tube Video of Vampire Weekend at 2007 Accoustic BBQ on Roosevelt Island

Hipsters will be converging on Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park this Sunday, assuming weather holds up, for the annual Todd P's Springtime Accoustic BBQ. What is the Accoustic BBQ? Impose Magazine describes it as
... one of the most informal, esoteric, and unpredictable of the outdoor show circuit, Todd P’s Springtime Unamplified Accoustic BBQ.

The spectacle unfolded on a broad expanse of grassy public parkland the southern terminus of Roosevelt Island, against (pivoting in a slow circle) the highrises of the Upper East Side, the U.N., the East River sweeping out and under the Williamsburg Bridge, the giant Queens Pepsi sign, or the Queensborough Bridge, arcing over the weather-and-time-gutted shell of an 1850s-era smallpox hospital. A communal grill was running all day, fed by donated charcoal and hot dogs, and drinks surreptitiously circulated in plastic cups. As public space, the park required no booking, and was secluded enough for any amount of racket without anyone nearby to disturb. And, facing the constraints imposed by having no electrical outlets in sight, more than 20 bands and performers stepped up onto one of several impromptu “stages” (”beach blankets”) to play a quick set.
A Roosevelt Island hipster blogger (an oxymoron if ever there was one) Roman Games Diary says of last year's event:
I had a great time just listening to music, sunbathing and taking a couple of pictures and videos.
Maybe they can help save magnificent Southpoint Park waterfront and skyline views from what some call the Louis Kahn death box. (also incorrectly known as the FDR Memorial)

Other things to do include visiting Olafur Eliasson's NYC Waterfalls

You Tube video of Olafur Eliasson's NYC Waterfalls

And Brownstoner's Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene. I've been there several times. It's lots of fun with interesting things to see and buy as well as some good eats.

Brooklyn Flea video from NY Magazine

Or Roosevelt Island's version of the Flea Market from our Seniors.

Also, Newyorkology and the NY Post have weekend listings of things to do as well.

UPDATE - 6/29 The hipster's will not be coming to Roosevelt Island today. The accoustic bbbq was canceled because of projected heavy rain. From toddpnyc:
ACOUSTIC-BBQ-WEATHER-UPDATE------> ---- BBQ CANCELLED ----- sorry, it will be rescheduled! Though the sun is out now, a quick look at the weather websites and the hour-by-hour forecasts and the radar shows there are hella storms coming our way this afternoon. Please feel free to go down the park on the island (or any park, anywhere!) and have your own picnic and strum some acoustic guitars, but the official acoustic bbq is going to be postponed. apologies!!!!!
UPDATE - 6/30: Not everybody got the word in time that the Accoustic BBQ was cancelled due to projected bad weather although the few who did show up seemed to have a good time. From Impose Magazine:
I missed the memo that the BBQ had been postponed, just like I missed the impending clouds clutching at the city Sunday morning on my way to the F-train. And the sign at the gate of Roosevelt Island’s southernmost park, after all that travel, could not deter me. And so I was one of the handful watching the storm hunch in over Manhattan to whatever last, desperately excited strains of music could be tossed into rising wind before we were all swept away. Todd P’s yearly Roosevelt Island Unamplified Accoustic Summer BBQ will still happen some time in the coming weeks. This felt more like one of those rooftop hurricane parties.

Just missing, I’m told, a surprise performance by Arcade Fire to a crowd of approximately ten people, I wandered into the park to see an impromptu uptempo joint effort of the Eskalators and the Vultures, rolling on guitar, harmonica, and saxophone. I think seven people were playing, and three besides myself watching, two of whom were seated against the far fence. Soon, though, Todd P reappeared on bike, bringing drinks for the few who remained and — maintaining Roosevelt tradition — playing the single song he knows, favorite Neutral Milk Hotel b-side “Engine”, of which all recordings seem tantalizingly insufficient....

Image of Acoustic BBQ rain out from Impose Magazine

Escalator Madness From Roosevelt Island and Around The World!

You Tube video of man falling down escalator (not on Roosevelt Island)

MTA is reporting normal F Train Subway service this weekend for Roosevelt Island and the Tram is running on regular schedule as well. But, and there is always a but here on Roosevelt Island, there is growing anger and frustration with the MTA's inability to keep the escalators running as indicated by reader comments such as this from earlier escalator post:
According to the MTA website, 4 escalators are out of service... I assume they are referring to the ones that never seem to be working even though they should, as opposed to the ones that are actually being repaired.

Every day I leave and return to the Island, at least one set of escalators is out of order. And often, the elevator is out of commission as well. Is there any reason for this? I guess by that, I mean... Is there anything us Islanders can do?

Shouldn't the elevators be REQUIRED to work, given that RI has many disabled residents who may be stranded if the elevator isn't functional?

It becomes very frustrating watching the construction workers ogle and harass ladies while they stand around on the platforms, seeming to not work on the escalators being repaired OR the ones we're supposed to be using while the others are being fixed.
I think the 4 elevators referred to in above comment are the ones undergoing capital repairs not the elevators that work sometimes and not others.

And this:
The lower level up escalator has been turned off every day this week around 5:45, I don't know about other times. It was working every morning, so why is it turned off in the evening? Outrageous.
I have also noticed during the last 2 weeks that the Up escalator from the lower mezzanine to mid-mezzanine seems to shut down every day during the evening rush hour. Inexplicably, it is working during the afternoon and then like clockwork shuts down around 5 PM. Twice last week I was on this escalator when it suddenly stopped midway up, jolting the riders, almost causing some people to lose their balance and could have led to a serious accident like that in the above video from Japan.

At the recent Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island transportation meeting, I advised the MTA representative attending about this escalator and she said the MTA would send someone to monitor it. (As an aside, the MTA representatives did a good job listening and explaining the difficulties involved in solving some of these issues but Roosevelt Island needs some relief from these longstanding problems now). One thing we did learn was that the working down escalators can be reversed to go in the up direction when needed but requires some sort of key to be used by a trained employee at the station. Unfortunately, nobody at the Roosevelt Island subway station is trained in this procedure. The MTA rep cited this NY Times article on subway escalator and elevator shortcomings to illustrate problem:
Managers often rush balky elevators and escalators back into service without identifying the underlying causes of mechanical problems, leading to more breakdowns.

Many problems occur because of basic design flaws or mistakes made during the construction of the machines, when contractors worked with little or no oversight. Those conditions left many of the machines virtually broken from the outset.

“They don’t have enough competent people with the proper training,” said Michele O’Toole, the president of J. Martin Associates, which the transit agency hired in 2006 to evaluate its elevator operations. “It all reflects back to qualifications, training, capabilities.”
Now that we are all either thoroughly depressed or angered by the Roosevelt Island escalator insanity, lets have some FUN on ESCALATORS. I am sure the MTA would want me to say don't do any of these things yourself. It could be dangerous.

Ski down an escalator

Spin around on an escalator

You Tube video of Woman Spinning on Escalator

Levitate on an escalator

You Tube video of man levitating on escalator

And my favorite, waiting for an escalator to be fixed.

You Tube video of waiting for help on a stuck escalator

Any Favorites?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Roosevelt Island Light Pole Electric Shock

Light Pole image from Askew - Not necessarily the light pole that caused shock

According to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, a person was injured on Roosevelt Island when he placed his hand on a light pole and received an electric shock. As indicated in earlier stray voltage post I have long been concerned about this danger. Here is the report for June 25.
Hazardous Condition- Male victim placed his hand on a light pole and received a electrical shook. RIOC was notified power turned off.
This can potentially cause very serious injury including death as occurred recently in Brooklyn. From the Queens Ledger:
(Brooklyn) Routine work on a telephone pole led to the untimely demise of 46 year-old Steve Clayton, who was killed by an electric shock. He was working on the telephone pole in Fort Hamilton when a live wire came loose and hit him, sending deadly volts of electricity through his body. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but nothing could be done to save him. According to Eastern Electric, the company he worked for, the New Jersey native is survived by his wife and three children.
UPDATE: 6/27 - RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra reports:
Regarding the light pole, a person leaned up against the pole and felt a shock. No injures. Power shut off by Engineering.

UPDATE:6/30 - Follow up from Keith Guerra:
It was the lightpole in front of Trelis, across the street from Public Safety. We placed cones around it until it gets repaired.
I think this may be the light pole though I am not sure. On Saturday morning, there were no cones around any light pole by Trellis so I hope that means it has been repaired.

Roosevelt Island Elected Officials Urge Mayor Bloomberg To Support Referendum Winners To RIOC Board Of Directors

State Senator Jose Serrano's office forwarded this letter sent by Roosevelt Island's elected representatives to Mayor Bloomberg's office urging the Mayor to support the appointment of those elected by Roosevelt Island residents to serve on the RIOC Board of Directors.

June 23rd, 2008
Andrea Davis Shapiro
Special Advisor to the Mayor for Executive Searches
Office of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
253 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Dear Ms. Shapiro:

We write to you in support of expanded transparency and self-determination on Roosevelt Island. As you are aware, a referendum election was held this past February to recommend six island residents for nomination to the board of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), the public authority which governs the island.

It has come to our attention that Governor Paterson will consider most – though
unfortunately not all – of the referendum winners to fill four seats on the board. The final two seats will also be filled by Governor Paterson, but with guidance and counsel from your office.

With that in mind, we ask you to work in concert with the Office of the Governor to ensure the greatest possible commitment to the February election results, by providing strong consideration to the remaining winners of the referendum.

The island is currently witnessing great development and change. In short, there is no more important time to provide for a democratically elected RIOC board, one that appreciates the diverse and growing needs of the community and takes a proactive role in addressing them.


Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress Jose M. Serrano State Senator Micah Z. Kellner Assembly Member Jessica A. Lapin Councilmember

Reading And Math Scores Improve For Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 - Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

You Tube Video of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader

NY Times reports that:
Reading and math scores for New York students in grades three through eight showed extraordinary gains across the state since last year, with particularly striking leaps in the large urban areas, including New York City.
The gains were apparent for nearly every grade tested in both subjects, in some cases with double-digit increases in the percentage of students performing at grade level or above, according to the scores on the annual statewide exams released by education officials on Monday.
Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 showed improvements in per cent of students passsing for all grades tested except third. Here is link to test results for Roosevelt Island. For more information on Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 including it's budget, attendance and performance evaluation visit the school's portal page. There is also a poll question on whether the school should establish a gifted and talent program for students on the right side column.

Watching The Detectives - April 2008 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Statistics

You Tube video of Elvis Costello's Watching the Detectives

Here are the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports for January 19- April 2008 and May - June 21 2008 including:
6/21 - Smoke Bomb- Thrown into PSD office, search made negative results.
Public Safety Director Keith Guerra advises that:
Nobody was injured. It was a kid's prank. Apparently, when the Desk
Officer turned his back, a youth tossed a small smoke bomb into the
lobby. A canvass was done with negative results. A possible suspect
was confronted but a positive ID could not be made. Video camera's are
being viewed.
Other Roosevelt Island Public Safety incident include:
6/13 - Petit Larceny- Three subjects stopped, property returned to owner.

6/12 - Investigation - Store owner requested PSD to remove person from store. PSD escorted person out of store.

6/11 -
Graffiti/ Possession Graffiti Instrument- Subject arrested by PSD.

6/10 -
Unattended Dog- Owner left a dog unattended in hot weather without water. Owner notified if it occurs again that Animal care and control will be notified.

6/6 -
Assault - Three (3) male subjects attacked off island male. Victim refused NYPD and EMS. Search made with negative results.

6/4 -
Investigation- Female alleged male following her. NYPD and PSD responded. Male was questioned and stated he was looking for a parking spot.

6/1 -
Water Rescue- Male in a kayak flipped over on the West Channel. FDNY and NYPD Harbor patrol pulled him out. He refused tranport to the Hospital.

5/24 -
Alcohol Open Container- 15 Subjects arrested by PSD.
Also, below is a breakdown of Roosevelt Island Public Safety statistics for April 2008 categorized by Calls for Service, Index of Crimes, Misdemeanors and Non- Crime Violations. As in previous months, the largest number of Public Safety responses (43) were for coming to the aid of injured or sick persons.

Read this document on Scribd: aprilpublicsafetystats

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Round Trip Red Bus Usage Statistics to Manhattan and Queens Plaza During Tram Shutdown

Read this document on Scribd: Roosevelt Island Red Bus Statistics

RIOC President Steve Shane forwards the following information regarding round trip use of the Red Bus to Queens Plaza and Manhattan at 2nd Avenue & 60th Street during the recent Roosevelt Island Tram Shutdown.

During the 9 days the Tram was out of service from June 10-18, a total of 633 passengers used the Red Bus to Queens Plaza/Manhattan and 406 passengers from Manhattan back to Roosevelt Island. The average daily passenger use to Queens Plaza/Manhattan was 70 and from Manhattan/Queens Plaza 45.

According to Mr. Shane:
See the stats on daily red bus usage during the Tram outage. First day,
there was no service to Manhattan. Queens Plaza seemed underutilized.
Obvious spike on weekends. Was ridership gaining as it became better
known? Was one week too short an anecdotal period as people could
rearrange their lives for an outage of such short duration? Last day
(6/18), Tram was back in service, for free, at 5PM.

Let's all think about these questions as next spring approaches and we
have to fashion some system. We will again be flexible, but availability
of vehicles, scheduling drivers, budget issues (wildly escalating fuel
costs), and other such will have to be considered.

The question of what, if anything, a public agency should do with
respect to transportation of school children to off Island schools needs
to be discussed in the context of New York City policy. The confluence
of rush hours and school hours makes it very difficult.

I look forward to your input.Next March or April will be here all too
Any suggestions?

What's the Deal With Manhattan Park and Roosevelt Island Electricity Charges?

You Tube video of School House Rock - Electricity

According to Daily News columnist Bill Hammond:
this year's legislative session has been dubbed the "Seinfeld session" - the session about nothing.
He details many issues the legislature should be addressing right now but are not including:
... finding a way to lower electric bills and keep the lights - and air conditioning - on during heat waves.
Which leads me to this question posed by a Manhattan Park resident:
I had a question regarding electricity on RI. I am a tenant at Manhattan Park and when I first moved in I was told that the island gets its electricity in bulk. I didn't think to ask for more information about that at the time, but now I am curious. I was wondering if you had any information about the way the island gets its electricity.
Readers from this post last September on the Manhattan Park pool provide some information on Manhattan Park electricity charges. For instance:
I do not think Manhattan Park disclosed much when we were looking for a new apartment. So far we've been met with a $400.00 utility bill in February. We leave for work at 7 and are home at 7 and we were not home for 2 weekends out of the month. We tried to contest it but to no avail....
I agree wholeheartedly with the outrageous utility bills at Manhattan Park. Ours was over 300 bucks last month. I'm afraid to see what winter brings in. Not only was this not disclosed when we moved in, the paperwork suggested that because Con Ed charges Manhattan Park a sort of bulk rate, that our utility portion of our rent would be LOWER!

Clearly not the case.
I completely forgot about the sell on the bulk rate! Our utility bill is higher in the winter which was never the case in other apartments. Their excuse for the sudden increase was that the cost went up that month. That didn't settle with me but it was either pay it or end up in court. Manhattan Park is known to be very aggressive with tenants who pay late and/or not the total amount of rent.
A possible explanation:
while electric bills are outrageous at Manhattan Park, it likely has nothing to do with the rate and everything to do with the crap heating/cooling units, especially with regard to heating. Forced air is notoriously inefficient, and the units at Manhattan Park are mindblowingly inefficient.
Aside from Manhattan Park electricity bills, the NY Times reported in March 2008 that:
Residents of New York City will see the biggest one-time rise in their bills for electric service next month, after state regulators approved a $425 million increase in rates for Con Edison on Wednesday.

The typical household in the city will pay about $4.25 more each month for the delivery of power by the company, whose string of recent failures and disasters has drawn heated criticism from customers and elected officials, regulators said.
Answering the reader's question, to my knowledge Roosevelt Island does not receive any electricity on an Island wide basis but each individual building is responsible for itself. When I lived at Manhattan Park I recall being told that the entire complex purchases electricity in bulk from Con Edison at a discount (something like buying wholesale rather than retail) and then passes on the savings to the tenants without charging any mark up for a landlord's profit. Each apartment is individually metered so that, in theory, a tenant pays for the electricity consumed. I don't know if this works in practice though.

I suggest taking a look at your lease agreement. There is probably a provision permitting challenging electricity charges with an energy audit. Talk to some of the other tenants about their electrical bills and perhaps a group of tenants can jointly get an energy audit done.

Here's some information on auditing electricity bills from 2004 Cooperator, a co-op and condo newsletter:
The Utility Bill Audit
Another kind of audit is the utility bill audit. These audits can be done by the actual customer, but isn't as likely to be quite as effective as hiring an auditor who specializes in the utility market.
In this case, the auditors/consultants will request a copy of the customer's electric bill, usually one month. The consultants can then go to Con Ed and get two years worth of information on the customer's energy usage for free, and four more years can be purchased - usually at the expense of the consultant - for $15 per account per year.
With six years worth of bills, the auditor or auditors will look for any mistakes or errors and look for billing reduction opportunities. If opportunities are found, they're implemented, and the auditor will also visit the building to look at the meter and make sure it is on the right rate, and that the meter multiplier that is on the meter matches the meter multiplier on the bill. The auditor sometimes removes unnecessary equipment the customer is paying for, determines how the building is heated or cooled, and works to determine if the building qualifies for a better rate.
A credible utility bill auditor has a good relationship with the utility company, and understands their billing, rates, and other factors that will allow them to find the kind of savings most customers may never be able to identify on their own.
Also, the Cooperator on bulk electricity sales:
"In buildings with individual meters, the building will purchase the energy from the utility in bulk, rather than each individual apartment buying energy. When submetering is installed in a directly metered building, the utility no longer bills each unit. It bills the whole property at the established bulk rate, which can be 18 to 25 percent less than the individual residential rate.
I would think this information applies to a rental building as well. Hope it helps. Also, check out the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for energy cost saving programs and ideas.
If you live in a building with five units or more, NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program connects with building owners, property managers and other housing organizations to improve the energy efficiency of the building to reduce energy costs for tenants and provide a more comfortable living environment. This Program provides a customized approach to energy efficiency using a Multifamily Performance Partner that can guide the building owner through every step of the process.
One final resource that may help is Submeteronline, a web site providing information on electricity cost saving options for residential buildings though it has not been updated since 2005.

I asked representatives of Manhattan Park for comment but they have not replied.

UPDATE - 8/10 - Interesting explanation from NY Times on how to read your electricity bill.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Smackdown Between Southpoint Park And Firefighters Field For Roosevelt Island Outdoor Movie Venue - Will Mediocrity Win Again on Roosevelt Island

Where would you rather watch an outdoor movie on Roosevelt Island? At Southpoint Park shown below, with its magnificent waterfront and skyline views that rivals any other New York City location and where outdoor movies have been shown for the last few years.

Click on link here to fully view beautiful panoramic nighttime view of Midtown Manhattan as seen from Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island.

Or, at Firefighters Field with a view of the Queensboro Bridge underbelly and Roosevelt Island Steam Plant where RIOC, in its wisdom, decided to move it this year.

Image of Firefighters Field Outdoor Movie Venue from amreekandesi

There is a poll on right side column that asks the question "Where should the Roosevelt Island outdoor movie series be held". Please express your opinion if you wish.

RIOC President Steve Shane inquired yesterday if my opinion had changed regarding moving the Roosevelt Island outdoor movie from Southpoint Park to Firefighters Field in light of what Mr. Shane perceived to be a successful event. He writes in response to my question concerning transportation lessons learned from recent tram shutdown:
We are assembling the final data and will sit down to discuss to glean
whatever intel is possible as to next Spring's longer shutdown. Will

PS. I understand the movie was a zooming success as measured by the
turnout. No noise problem. Your view, now in retrospect?
I replied:
I was at the movie and the attendance was not any greater than at previous Southpoint showings so I don't think it can be labeled a "zooming success" if by that you mean that Firefighters Field is a better location than Southpoint Park for an outdoor movie.

There appeared to be more small children at the event but there were very few, if any, elderly or disable people, ostensibly the reason for making the move to Firefighters field since it is supposedly easier to access for these people. As to the noise issue, I never claimed nor has anyone else that I am aware of, that noise was an issue in the location of the outdoor movie.

The main point of my objection to the move to Firefighters Field is that the reason for an outdoor movie experience is not watching any particular movie in itself, but the setting for it, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, which adds tremendously to the whole eventing. Firefighters Field in now way compares to the spectacular setting at Southpoint. I am very happy if some people who attended the event were satisfied, it just could have been so MUCH BETTER. Just like much of Roosevelt Island.

Since the reason for moving the outdoor movie was to make it easier for elderly and handicapped people to attend did not seem to impact the event, I hope you re-consider and return the outdoor movie to Soutpoint Park where it belongs.
Followed by Mr. Shane's response:
There were over 300 people at the Sat night movie. 200 was previous expectancy at Southpoint.
Your personal preferences are clear, but not universally shared.
There were several hospital residents in attendance. Who was it that raised the issue of noise from the bridge, red bus, Keyspan?
Back to me:
Just to clarify RIOC's position on matter, what is the reason for moving outdoor movies from Southpoint to Firefighters Field?
Is it:
Access for elderly and handicapped.
Views for movie venue not important part of event experience.
Views for movie venue somewhat important but no real difference between Firefighters Field and Southpoint Park
Some other reason.

As to the noise issue, Eric from 360 raised it in one of his posts.

Regrettably, I acknowledge that my personal preferences may not be universally shared.
And finally, Mr. Shane:
Because we thought it would be better and to give the constant complainers grist for their mill.
As is apparent, my personal opinion and "grist for the mill" is that an outdoor movie event is more than just watching any particular movie. Anyone can do that in an air conditioned theater or at home. The pleasure in an outdoor movie is to be under the stars experiencing the sights of your surroundings. Otherwise, what is the point? According to other NYC outdoor movie venues:
offers visitors and New Yorkers a chance to watch a movie, as well as enjoy some of New York City's best outdoor scenery -- from skylines to parks.
If outdoor scenery is an important factor in enjoying an outdoor movie, there is no better place on Roosevelt Island than Southpoint Park with its marvelous waterfront and skyline views to do so. Firefighters Field may be an OK or satisfactory site for the movie but why settle for OK when you can have GREAT! All too often Roosevelt Island has had to settle for something less or mediocre at best. Hopefully not this time and the outdoor movie will be returned to Southpoint Park.

Here's some other summer outdoor movie events in New York City from Metromix. Notice how the Roosevelt Island series in not included in this list. Wonder why?

Sidewalk Installed at Blackwell Turnaround

Work has been completed decreasing the size of the Blackwell Turnaround allowing vehicles more and safer room to maneuver as well adding a paved pedestrian sidewalk with ramp to the area. It is now much easier to cross the street. Good job by Keith Guerra and the Public Safety Department in fixing this potentially dangerous crossing point.

George Carlin Rest In Peace - Enjoy Classic Baseball/Football Comedy Routine

Image of George Carlin from NY Times

George Carlin died Monday at the age of 71. The NY Times obituary says of Carlin:
“By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth,” read a message on Mr. Carlin’s Web site,, and he spent much of his life in a fervent effort to counteract the forces that would have it so. In his always irreverent, often furious social commentary, in his observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and in groundbreaking routines like the profane “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” he took aim at what he thought of as the palliating and obfuscating agents of American life — politicians, advertisements, religion, the media and conventional thinking of all stripes.

“If crime fighters fight crime and firefighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?” he asked in a 1980s routine, taking a jab at the Reagan administration’s defense of the Nicaraguan Contras.
I remember as a kid staying up late to watch him on the Johnny Carson show and as the first host of Saturday Night Live. My favorite George Carlin routine was on the differences between baseball and football. From NY Times:
He used the ascent of football’s popularity at the expense of the game he loved, baseball, to make the point that societal innocence had been lost forever.

“Baseball is a 19th-century pastoral game,” he said. “Football is a 20th-century technological struggle. Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.”

You Tube video of George Carlin Baseball/Football comedy routine classic

Monday, June 23, 2008

Roosevelt Island Transportation Meeting Tomorrow at Community Planning Board 8

There will be a joint meeting Tomorrow night of Community Planning Board 8's Roosevelt Island and Transportation Committees concerning Roosevelt Island transportation issues including the F train subway service, Tram renovation, ferry service and proposed pedestrian access to Queensboro Bridge from Roosevelt Island. I hope they also look into the horrible state of the Roosevelt Island subway escalators as well!

Roosevelt Island 360 has some thoughts on topic, particularly on access to Queensboro Bridge.

Here is the agenda for the meeting.
Joint Roosevelt Island & Transportation Committee

Committee Meeting

Date: June 24, 2008
Begins: 06:30 PM
Ends: 08:30 PM

Type: Committee Meeting
Location: NY Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street, (First-Second), Auditorium
Contact: Committee Board 8 Office

1. A discussion and schedule of work through completion on the F Line.

2. A discussion of the major renovation of the Tram

3. Follow up discussion on the April 18, 2007 resolution regarding a discussion of the development of direct access from Roosevelt Island to the Queensboro Bridge

4. An update on the proposed East River Ferry Service.

5. Old Business

6. New Business

Deirdre Breslin and H. Patrick Stewart, Roosevelt Island Committee, Co-Chairs
Jonathan Horn and Charles Warren, Transportation Committee, Co-Chairs

British Pound Currency Conversion Disapoints Roosevelt Island Resident - Guess He's No George Soros

You Tube video of currency conversion glasses

Each week, I look forward to reading the NY Times Metropolitan Diary column for the slice of life letters written by average New Yorkers describing a humorous or interesting experience they witnessed. Here's a story about a visitor getting on the Red Bus and overhearing the following currency market conversation between Roosevelt Islanders. This tale comes to us not from the Metropolitan Diary but from Livejournal's third reel:
Trams fly past the window of our room. We have a view of a bridge that alternately makes me hum Simon & Garfunkel and David Mead songs, and alongside the bridge there are cables that carry trams across the river. (I'd never heard the word "tram" used to describe an above-ground cable car before, so I was puzzled the first time Stee mentioned them.) So for another why-the-hell-not moment, we took the tram over the river, took a bus around Roosevelt Island, then came back.

At the bus's first stop after the tram station, the driver flipped out the wheelchair ramp and a grizzled man in a wheelchair and army uniform got on the bus. He told the driver, "Guess what? I got robbed today. By the bank."

I heard the driver's voice, muffled by the barrier between us, "How did that happen?"

"They exchanged money for me, but didn't give me enough. Last night, I was sleeping on Forty-Second Street, and this lady came and put a twenty-pound note in my pocket. So I took it to the bank, right? And they give me $32.45 for it. And I know that ain't right."

A muffled follow-up question from the driver.

"No, see, a pound is five dollars. So I should have got more than that."

"I think a pound used to be a buck fifty or so."

"No, a pound is five dollars. I always known that. So cause I have twenty pounds, they shoulda given me eighty."

The driver said, "Are you sure?"

"No, I ain't sure! But I do know that a pound ought to be five dollars. One dollar, that's a shilling."
For the record, according to XE described as the world's favorite currency site, as of today a 20 pound English note is worth 39.2261 American dollars. Looks like our fellow Roosevelt Islander is no George Soros when it comes to the British Pound.

On a more serious note, why is a Roosevelt Island resident sleeping overnight on 42nd street?