Friday, July 25, 2008

Jib Jab's Time For Some Campaignin' - Goodbye To Bush, Cheney and the Clintons, Let the Obama McCain Campaign Begin!

You Tube video of Jib Jab's Time for Some Campaignin'

Before the serious business of the 2008 Presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain begins, take a moment to laugh at this Jib Jab parody of each candidate. It's also time to remove the Hillary Clinton link from the 2008 Presidential Election sidebar.

Remember, Yes We Can!

UPDATE - 5:35 PM - Blogger, Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, shares a message received by a friend who attended the Obama rally in Berlin with her daughters and wonders what they would remember of the day:
... Of course, it all depends on what happens. If Obama wins and fulfills even half the promise we expect—if he wins and ends this dark time in American politics, if he wins and does something, anything about the environment or the war, if one can come to Berlin, as we often do, and stop being embarrassed to be living in a country run by buffoons, if, in fact, they’ll be able to look back and say that they were in Berlin at the Siegesaule and that they had a good feeling, some kind of sense that things might, finally, change for the better.
Here's the video and text of Obama's Berlin speech.

Regular Roosevelt Island Weekend F Train Service This Weekend and Things To Do - BBQ, MOMA Pre-Fab Housing, Buckminster Fuller and Yankee/Red Sox

You Tube video of Buckminster Fuller, Starting With The Universe at the Whitney Museum

Update: 5:15 - A reader sends in the following message advising that there will be no Queens bound F train service to Roosevelt Island on Friday night/Saturday morning:
The MTA just sent an advisory (at 5 PM on Friday) that "due to emergency work" Queens-bound F trains will skip the Island as well as the other usual stations on Saturday from midnight to 5 AM. Hopefully that won't affect too many people.
According to the MTA there will be regular F train service to and from Roosevelt Island this weekend and RIOC reports no interruptions in Tram service either. Also, the MTA is providing a month of advance notice to Roosevelt Islanders that:
Beginning August 25th, two sets of escalators (four in total) will be taken out of service for a month
as part of the escalator replacement project.

The escalators are located between the street and lower mezzanine.
During this time, the remaining set of escalators will be running in the up direction.

The MTA Elevators and Escalators group will be on call
should anything happen to the working escalators during the shutdown.
If you are planning a Roosevelt Island barbecue this Saturday be aware that:
On Saturday, July 26, a special event will be taking place in the
BBQ area in Lighthouse Park from 9am to 9pm.
Three BBQs will not be available due to the event. Please plan accordingly.
and barbecue:
Grills are located at Lighthouse Park, West Seawall near the Octagon, Octagon Soccer Field, and the East Seawall South of Queensboro Bridge.

All island grills are first come first served.

If you are hosting an event over 30 people and would like to use the grills, a permit may be required.
If anyone's looking for a great BBQ recipe, here's one for Jack's Ribs or Country Style Pork Ribs. Looks delicious.

Other things to do this weekend include Saturday's City of Water celebration at Governors Island, the pre-fab housing exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art and the Buckminster Fuller, Starting With The Universe exhibit at the Whitney Museum. There's also a three game Yankee - Red Sox series at Fenway that can be watched on TV.

Here's a list of other things to do in New York City the weekend from NY Times Urban Eye and the New York Post weekend calendar.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Manhattan Park Rents 35 Units To MaryMount Manhattan College - Is Roosevelt Island The New Boston For Students?

You Tube video of Moving Day for College Students in Boston

It's almost the end of July which means that the new fall 2008 college semester is fast approaching and students will need places to live for the upcoming year. Guess where some of them will be laying down their backpacks? Right here on Roosevelt Island.

I don't think Boston needs to worry about being replaced as America's College Town by Roosevelt Island, but Manhattan Park has become a residence hall for students from Marymount Manhattan College, Rockefeller University and the French Culinary Institute. As described from the Minutes of the April 10, 2008 RIOC Board of Directors meeting, Manhattan Park recently bulk leased 35 units to Marymount Manhattan College after receiving permission from RIOC.
Mr. Shane noted that the Manhattan Park housing project on Roosevelt Island has
requested RIOC’s consent to lease 35 units to the Marymount Manhattan College. Of these units, 34 would house students and one unit would house a Resident Director. As these units will be rented at a market rate, and RIOC has a percentage rent interest in Manhattan Park, it would be to RIOC’s financial interest to approve the sublease. Therefore, Mr. Shane recommended the approval.

The Corporation is hereby authorized to consent to Manhattan Park’s Major
Sublease to Marymount Manhattan College, along such terms and conditions
substantially similar to those outlined in the memorandum from Stephen H.
Shane to the Board of Directors, dated March 27, 2008, attached hereto;
Also, to further Roosevelt Island's place as the new Boston for student living, the Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan Kettering provide housing for their faculty and students at two of Southtown's Riverwalk buildings.

UPDATE: 1:45 - I prefer Roosevelt Island as the new Paris.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trellis Open For Business Today

Image of Trellis Portabello Cheese Challah from nycnosh

The Trellis Diner opened today after being closed for the last week by the Department of Health.

Here is the restaurant inspection report for Roosevelt Island from DOH.

Freedom of the Press Also Includes Bloggers - Doesn't It?

Image of The Trial of John Peter Zenger from courts.state.ny

My July 18th post concerning a proposed Roosevelt Island waterfront development project at Southpoint Park by developer Stephen Jemal of SSJ Development linked to a post by Brooklyn Blogger Gerritsen Beach that described, among other things, a lawsuit brought against the developer. According to Curbed, the developer's attorneys sent a letter to blogger Gerritsen Beach:
demanding the post be pulled down, that blogs linking to it remove it and that the blogger sign a "non-disparagement agreement." It also requests $20,000 for legal fees and to "act as additional consideration to induce him not to file suit." Also, someone believed to be "close" to the developer's firm allegedly launched a Denial of Service attack on the website.
In my opinion, the threat of a lawsuit against blogger Gerritsen Beach is a shameful act of intimidation that threatens this new media outlet of citizen journalists and local neighborhood bloggers. As stated by Gowanus Lounge:
The lawsuit threat hasn’t been settled yet, but the intended chilling effect of threatening a small, non-profit blog with a costly lawsuit is clear. The threat is the same whether it comes from a local online community miffed that emails circulating publicly are being quoted without “permission” and are “illegal” or whether they are from a developer who demands $20,000 to avoid a lawsuit or to induce someone to sign a “non-disparagement agreement.” In either case, a blogger could face a fortune in legal bills to fight off someone with deep pockets who wishes to prove a point.

... The problem is compounded by the fact that bloggers don’t have access to a team of lawyers that reporters do, that many don’t come from a journalism background and can be easily intimidated by bogus claims of liable, slander or copyright violations. It highlights the need for internet groups or a new organization to step to the plate and offer legal advice and counsel to bloggers who are often operating as journalists with none of the institutional protections.
I hope that I never need them but the Electronic Frontier Foundation is a great resource for bloggers providing a:
basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger, to let you know you have rights, and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected.
as is the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse which:
aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities. We are excited about the new opportunities the Internet offers individuals to express their views, parody politicians, celebrate their favorite movie stars, or criticize businesses. But we've noticed that not everyone feels the same way. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to silence other online users. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to "chill" legitimate activity.
Here is more information about this particular incident from bloggers Gerritsen Beach and Sheepshead Bites.

Also, the NY Times had a related article about the Bronx District Attorney issuing a subpoena and gag order on the blog site Room 8.
A grand jury subpoena sent by prosecutors in the Bronx earlier this year sought information to help identify people blogging anonymously on a Web site about New York politics called Room 8.

The subpoena carried a warning in capital letters that disclosing its very existence “could impede the investigation being conducted and thereby interfere with law enforcement” — implying that if the bloggers blabbed, they could be prosecuted.

City Of Water Day This Saturday July 26 - Come Join The Festivities And Sign Up To Help on Governors Island

"City of Water" trailer from MAS on Vimeo.

The indispensable waterfront advocacy group, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, (MWA) is inviting all Roosevelt Islanders and others living in the tri-state area to celebrate City of Water Day at Governors Island on Saturday July 26 from 10 AM - 4PM and will provide free ferry service from lower Manhattan. Here is the invitation:


Celebrate the Waterfront and Waterways!
Saturday, July 26, 2008* - from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Governors Island

On July 26th, paddlers, sailors, mariners and many others from around the region will converge on Governors Island to eat, drink and have fun.
Highlights of the day will include:
• A symbolic and inspirational convergence of kayakers, boaters, sailors and ferry-riders onto Governors Island. New York Waterway and the New York Water Taxi will pick kids from across the city and bring them to the Island for this special day of fun, education and adventure.
• Boat parade of working vessels past and present including the retired fireboat John J. Harvey and the Seaport Museum's tug W.O. Decker.
• Eco-tours of indigenous bird habitats hosted by NYC Audubon (click here to
register) and a Hidden Harbor Tour hosted by the Working Harbor Committee (click here to register). Space is limited; sign up today!
• Fishing clinics with I Fish New York.
• Live music by Eric Bibb.
• Lecture on Fuel from Algae by CUNY professor.
• Car free biking. Bring your own wheels or rent.
Photography by Bernie Ente and Paul Margolis. Video Documentation Squad by HABITATS.
FYI - The eco-boat tour as well as a working harbor boat tour require advance reservation.

The Waterfront Alliance may still be looking for volunteers to help out particularly on Thursday at Governors Island between 12 - 5 PM to help arrange floating docks and hold lines. If interested in helping contact Jen at (212) 935-9831 ext. 279 or

And here is an interview from WNYC's Brian Lehrer show with MWA's Roland Lewis and City of Water's co-director Jasper Goldman (two very good and effective waterfront advocates) discussing issues related to the New York City waterfront.

City of Water from Brian Lehrer live on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jazzmobile at Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Plaza Tonight

Roosevelt Island 360 has details on tonight's Jazzmobile concert at Good Shepherd Plaza by Akiko Tsuruga Quartet.

Jazzmobile is a wonderful program that:
Since 1964, Jazzmobile has been presenting Free Outdoor Summer Mobile Concerts. As the pioneer mobile music organization, Jazzmobile has brought the great Jazz Artists of our time directly to the public throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Essex County, New Jersey, Westchester County, and several cities in upstate New York. Our concerts are funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, State senator David A. Pater, Assembly Keith Wright, and corporate sponsors.
Here is a schedule of future Jazzmobile concerts.

UPDATE - 11:45 PM - If you were not able to make it to the Akiko Tsuruga Quartet Jazzmobile concert earlier this evening, here is a brief You Tube video snippet from liliancmoreira:

RIOC Seeking Help Writing Roosevelt Island's 40 Year History - Who Controls The Past Controls The Future. Who Controls The Present Controls The Past

Image of George Orwell from

RIOC has issued this Request For Proposals, dated July 7, 2008, for qualified consultants to:
... document the development history of Roosevelt Island (1969 to Present).

While the early years of Roosevelt Island, before it was so named, have been well documented by on and off Island landmark and historic conservancy groups, the development years, starting with the Lease and General Development Plan (Dec.1969) have been less so. Though the planning and opening of the original Roosevelt Island residential community (the WIRE buildings) was publicly heralded, there has been very little documentation of the continued development, which more than doubled the population and modified the very detailed physical and social planning efforts establishing this government sponsored “small town in town” urban experiment.

December 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the 99 year lease between New York City and New York State, which gave rise to this experimental urban, East River island community. It provides the opportunity to reflect on what had been promised, what has actually been delivered and where the two do and do not converge. Some expectations have been exceeded and some frustrated; some deemed obsolete and some still out of reach.

RI is finally generating income, assuring its financial security, self sufficiency and ability to finance the completion of the “Plan” as amended. Its contemplated residential components have been built or are underway. As a result RIOC finds itself in the pivotal position of setting and funding service, operational, social and infrastructure priorities which will influence the second half of the lease period
and the ultimate success of this “small town in town” urban experiment. How RIOC manages the legacy opportunity of completing the plan and the promise will be studied for years to come.

In order to project forward, however, there is a need to have a better shared understanding of the past and the present. After 40 years key City Hall officials do not know of the lease and general development plan and are surprised by the notion that Roosevelt Island is entitled to City municipal services, the same standoffs regarding jurisdictional responsibilities have festered for the life of this
community; most lifelong New York City residents have never been here and many think of Roosevelt Island only when the Tram is troubled.

Contacted by architecture and urban studies students and representatives of groups such as the American Planning Association, which last met on the Island in the 70’s, RIOC has no current publications, documents or events trumpeting its successes or proposing future directions suitable for the general public much less for professional groups, students, and elected officials. The most recent compendium of demographics, retrospectives and future planning ideas appears to have been produced in 1994, before either the Octagon or Southtown developments were even proposed, much less built.
The full amended document requesting proposals is here.The submission deadline for bidders on this RFP is July 28 at 2:PM.

This may at first seem to be an unimportant academic study of Roosevelt Island's history. However, it could be very important to the ultimate outcome of controversial Island issues such as the future of affordable housing, development of Southpoint Park and the Coler-Goldwater Hospital campus as well as issues of local governance because whoever determines the historical record, also creates the "facts" upon which future decisions are based. As stated in the RFP about the study:
It provides the opportunity to reflect on what had been promised, what has actually been delivered and where the two do and do not converge. Some expectations have been exceeded and some frustrated; some deemed obsolete and some still out of reach.

Below is the Roosevelt Island General Development Plan as amended (2003)

Also, the Roosevelt Island Master Lease Between the City and State of New York is here.

The quote in the title
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past
is from George Orwell's 1984.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Roosevelt Island School Bus Stop Requires 11 Students Per School

School Bus Image from

More information on the recently announced school bus service for Roosevelt Island children. John Moore, City Council Member Jessica Lappin's community representative, does some further investigation and provides this additional information on school bus service for Roosevelt Island children.
The word from the DOE is that it takes 11 kids to create a bus stop. That is to say, if there are 11 kids on Roosevelt Island attending a particular Manhattan school (i.e. Lower Lab) then a bus stop can be established.

Parents can opt not to use the bus and so would be eligible to continue receiving Metro cards for transportation. However, they seem to be planning on going back to offering either a Metro card or a school bus, no using a card to get to Manhattan and taking a bus from there

As for the length of the trip, DOE policy says that no bus routes can be longer than 5 miles. This should limit the time kids spend on the bus, but it’s not yet clear how long the trip from the Island will take.
UPDATE 1:45 - In response to this comment by reader:
If the 5 miles limit is a hard limit then Lower Lab will not have a bus to Roosevelt Island. According to Google Maps it is 5.3 miles from our Gristedes to Lower Lab on E96th St and 3rd Ave.

The distance from Roosevelt Island to 2nd Ave alone is already more than 3 miles.
Mr Moore clarifies DOE's 5 mile policy:
The DOE is using some discretion for Roosevelt Island. The 5 mile limit was why the Island was always denied for a bus route in the past. However, given the variety of transportation issues facing the Island, the DOE agreed to give some leeway on that rule to set up a bus route for the Island.

Learn How to Become a Child Sponsor With Orphans International - Embrace Family Care For Orphans

Image of July 24 Sponsor A Child Today Event Announcement from Orphans International

Received the following invitation for Roosevelt Islanders from Jim Luce, Roosevelt Island resident and founder of Orphans International.
Hello OI America supporters!

On July 24th, we are hosting a party for our Child Sponsors – hopefully you! -- on the beautiful rooftop at 455 Main Street, overlooking Manhattan. Located adjacent to both tram and “F” line, this new Roosevelt Island building features a party penthouse which holds 80 people. The party will last from 6 to 9pm, but you can stay until 11pm and watch the stars come out!

Please check your schedule and RSVP today (door security requires us to have guests listed). We want to acknowledge our local CHILD SPONSORS, who form the backbone of our charitable work. Invite your friends to join us by sponsoring a child at It's easy! Donors can now receive regular e-mail updates about their child and our children can respond to messages from their sponsors.

On July 24th we will be sharing stories about the children and our intrepid staff “in country.” Please join us and become better acquainted with our beautiful kids and dedicated staff. Invite your friends to join us. We’ll have picnic food prepared by our volunteers, and you can Bring Your Own Bottle (B.Y.O.B.).

Board members, summer interns and other volunteers will also be there. Chat with Don Hoskins, President of our Board of Directors, Linda Stanley, our Executive Director, and all the other unpaid people who make Orphans International possible.

Please RSVP as soon as possible to reserve your spot! Thanks to you, we are Raising Global Citizens!

Giulia, an Orphans International America student intern, describes her summer experience working with the Roosevelt Island based organization.
Unlike other summer jobs before (and I have had quite a few, believe me!) this has not been your regular buying-coffee-for-your-superiors sort of internship, far from it. The focus of the organization are the children under its care in Haiti, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and as of this year, Tanzania. Hence my first assignment: a full blown project to research the building of a self-sustainable, and energy sufficient community centre for our orphans in Jacmel, Haiti. What does that entail? Getting in touch with multiple architects, sponsors, the media; but also: figuring out the logistics behind the process, the time constrictions, the budget. One has to map out a focus, a plan of attack. I would be lying if I said that it has been an easy ride: between the overwhelming sense attached to the task, the obstacles have been many, varying from the hostility to the complete indifference of those to whom we have been trying to reach out to. It has been a daily reminder of the difficulties faced by a non-for-profit and one of the many reasons why people think twice before choosing the job as their life career.
Learn more about Orphans International work in Haiti, Sri Lanka and Indonesia as well as their guiding principle of embracing family care for orphans. Here's Jim Luce writing in the Huffington Post:
Ten years ago I envisioned helping orphans in the developing world by building small homes and hiring houseparents. It seemed obvious that the key to proper care for orphaned children was a strong substitute family. So I put my money where my mouth was and founded Orphans International (OI). I've learned since then that building the small homes of my original dreams--with four children to a house--is very expensive, often too expensive. Yet, I realize, in every country and in every village I have visited sufficient housing usually exists.

With OI Family Care--placing children with their aunts, uncles, or grandparents who want to help--I now grasp that we can provide for 48 children at the same cost as housing 12 in our own small homes. This plan delivers a big bang for my buck--and more importantly, our donor's buck: a 75% reduction in costs, and a 400% increase in capacity.
And Orphans International on You Tube.