Friday, August 8, 2008

Mayor Splits 2 RIOC Board Appointments Between One Current Member and One Elected By Roosevelt Island Community

Image of elected RIOC Board Candidates from Roosevelt Island 360

Dick Lutz of the Main Street WIRE reports that Mayor Bloomberg has named his two candidates to the RIOC Board of Directors.
Mayor to Appoint Polivy, Reappoint Stewart

The Main Street WIRE has learned that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will use his two appointments to the RIOC Board of Directors to appoint Howard Polivy, who was among the six winners in the community's February 5 election to nominate Board members, and to reappoint sitting Board member Patrick Stewart (who did not run in the February 5 contest). The announcement is to be made tomorrow, according to a highly placed source.

Sitting Board member Michael Shinozaki will lose his seat.

The Mayor's decision leaves two of the community's nominees, Erin Feely-Nahem and Frank Farance, without seats on the Board. Of the community's six nominees, four will have been appointed: Jonathan Kalkin, Fay Christian, and Kathie Grimm, all selected from the nominee roster by the Governor, and Polivy.

No F Train Service To Roosevelt Island From Manhattan This Weekend Plus Things To Do - Jazz, Outdoor Movie, Hair, and Next Week Neil Diamond Karaoke

You Tube Video of F Train en route to and entering Roosevelt Island Station

Subway disruptions return to Roosevelt Island this weekend. According to the MTA, there will be no Queens bound F Train service to Roosevelt Island this weekend but there will be Manhattan bound service from Roosevelt Island and RIOC is reporting no weekend service advisories for the Tram.

Things to do this weekend in New York City include
For other ideas on what to do in New York City this weekend check out the NY Times Urban Eye, NY Post Weekend Calendar and Newyorkology.

Also, set your calendar for next Saturday's (August 16) return of an outdoor movie to Southpoint Park. Rooftop Films will be presenting the documentary Song Sung Blue about:
Lightning & Thunder, a homegrown Milwaukee husband and wife Neil Diamond cover band. They fall in love, rise to fame and suffer grave misfortune as they share the music of the Jewish Elvis with the people of Milwaukee.
There will also be an opportunity for all those interested to perform Neil Diamond Karaoke live on stage prior to the film but you need to sign up by emailing Rooftop here. It is hard for me as a Yankee fan to write this but I know there are Roosevelt Island and other New York City Red Sox fans out there who would love to do their version of Sweet Caroline at Neil Diamond Karaoke. So sign up.

You Tube Video of Red Sox Fans Singing Sweet Caroline at Fenway Park 2007 World Series

Are there any Sons of Sam Horn out there for Sweet Caroline Karaoke on Roosevelt Island?

Several Car Windows Broken at Motorgate Garage Yesterday

Image of broken car window from cpurrin1 and used for illustrative purposes only

Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Incident Report is showing a series of car broken window at the Motorgate Garage. After an arrest last spring, many of these type of incidents at Motorgate has stopped occurring. Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra says
The broken windows at the Motorgate seemed to have occurred around the
same time.
Hope this is not the beginning of a trend.
0700 hrs 08/07/08 - 0700 hrs 08/08/08

Criminal Mischief - PSD officer found exit door handle on floor and reported to Management. Service will fix condition.
Criminal Mischief - PSD officer observed vehicle window broken in motorgate. Search was made with negative results. Motorgate office was notified and had no info on car owner.
Criminal Mischief - PSD officer observed vehicle window broken in motorgate. Search was made with negative results. Motorgate office was notified and message was left with owner.
Criminal Mischief - PSD officer observed vehicle window broken in motorgate. Search was made with negative results. Motorgate office was notified and owner will contact NYPD on his own.
Criminal Mischief - PSD officer observed vehicle window broken in motorgate. Search was made with negative results. Motorgate office was notified and owner will contact NYPD on his own.
Criminal Mischief - PSD officer observed vehicle window broken in motorgate. Search was made with negative results. Motorgate office was notified and owner contacted. Owner reports GPS was taken and will go to 114 Pct. on his own.
Unsecured vehicle - PSD officer observed car window open. Motorgate office notified and owner contacted. Owner will secure vehicle.
Criminal Mischief - PSD officer observed vehicle window broken in motorgate. Search was made with negative results. Motorgate office was notified and owner reports phone charger and motorgate card was taken. NYPD responded and made report.
Unsecured vehicle - PSD officer observed car window open. Motorgate office notified and attempt was made to contact owner with negative results.
Unsecured vehicle - PSD officer observed car window open. Motorgate office notified and had no info on owner.
Unsecured vehicle - PSD officer observed car window open. Motorgate office notified and had no info on owner.
Aided - Officer found elderly female on ground. Aided stated she tripped. EMS was called and aided refused to go to hospital.
Aided - Officer responded with EMS to apt. Tenant told EMS that he fell but refused EMS.

Opportunity To Host a High School Exchange Student From Thailand/ President John Kennedy Explains Benefits to US and the World

You Tube Video of President John F. Kennedy addressing foreign exchange students from AFS on July 18, 1963

I received the following message from Jim Luce of Orphans International that he wished to share with the Roosevelt Island community.

Also, take a look at the great JFK speech above describing how hosting a foreign student is not just a great experience for the student and host family but contributes "to some hope for peace". At the end of the speech, Kennedy invites the students to come back and visit him when he is old and gray. A shame that never happened.

Below is message from Jim Luce.

Global Commitment to Small Town Values in the Shadow of the 59th Street Bridge
Thai Exchange Student Available to Island Family

By Jim Luce, Founder, Orphans International Worldwide (

I have worked hard here on Roosevelt Island over the years, first with the Cub Scouts, the local PTA, Toastmasters, and of course Orphans International.

But I have ever experienced more joy than in learning Roosevelt Island has a new and unique opportunity: one of our families may immediately host an AFS student from Thailand for six weeks – possibly even longer!

AFS, known once as the American Field Service, is the preeminent high school exchange program in the world, ahead of youth for Understanding and the Rotary Exchange. It is also the world’s oldest and largest high school exchange program. See:

The student’s name is Poom and, at 17, he enjoys drawing cartoons and loves nature. As for sports he enjoys swimming, basketball, and hiking with family. In his free time he reads books on economics. He is a friendly, caring, open-minded teen and is a good student. He wants to be an economist to help develop his province, the newest in Thailand. Would our island be a good fit for him or what?

We all know how special Roosevelt Island is. AFS is also very special to me for many reason. To begin with, my grandfather’s eyesight was so bad he could not serve in WWI. So instead, he volunteered with the American Field Service Ambulance Corps on the battlefields of France.

After the war, the drivers vowed to make peace through understanding, and an exchange program between French and German teens was launched. Today, AFS is in 40 countries. See the excellent YouTube video

AFS also speaks to me because my family hosted a girl from Japan and I ended up a Japanese Studies major in college (Wooster & Waseda).

Before that, I had been an AFS student myself, finishing the 12th grade in the States, then completing my 13th grade in a “gymnasium” there before going to college.

The motto of AFS, taken from Sanskrit, is “Walk together, talk together, All ye people of the earth, Then and only then Shall ye have Peace.” The lesson of AFS is tolerance.

I would not be who I am today, and Orphans International would not exist, if it weren’t for my life-impacting experiences with AFS. Let AFS impact your life.

Thailand, by the way, is perhaps the most tolerant country in all of Asia and the Thais I have known are incredibly wonderful people. Poom seems to represent them well. To sponsor Poom, e-mail my friend Patti Davis at AFS (

Your family will be a better family for having hosted Poom. And Roosevelt Island will further strengthen its global commitment to small town values in the shadow of the 59th Street Bridge.

As an aside, I don't necessarily agree that "small town values" are any better than big city values.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

NYC and State In Fiscal Crisis But City Council Funnels 4 Mil To Kahn/ FDR Memorial Boondoggle - Ask Jessica Lappin Why At Roosevelt Island Fundraiser

Pigs at the Trough image from troypolitics

The ongoing attempt of certain local politicians, lead by Councilmember Jessica Lappin, to pump some life into the comatose Louis Kahn/FDR memorial proposed for Southpont Park on Roosevelt Island received a slight boost with the recent infusion of New York City taxpayer funds. According to Lappin aide John Moore:
As for the FDR Memorial, the budget does include $2 million in capital funding for this fiscal year and another $2 million for next year.
The budget referred to is the 2009 and 2010 New York City budget. Given the severe budget crisis facing New York City and State over the next several years, it is nothing less than obscene that Council Member Lappin sees fit to spend desperately need public taxpayer funds on the FDR memorial boondoggle. After 35 years of failure by the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) to raise the approximately $40 million to build what some Roosevelt Island residents refer to as the Louis Kahn Death Box (others refer to it incorrectly as the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial Park) with private funds, FERI is now resorting to sucking at the public trough. What an inappropriate use of public funds, a complete travesty!

When I inquired of Roosevelt Island's other elected officals whether they would support spending New York State Taxpayer funds on the highly controversial so-called FDR memorial I received the following responses. From Assembly Member Micah Kellner:
My focus is on insuring that the quality of life on Roosevelt Island does not erode in these tough economic times. My priorities are protecting the affordability of people's homes as we transition away from Mitchell-Lama, getting new stores and businesses on Main Street and upgrading our transportation infrastructure.
From State Senator Jose Serrano:
In the past, I have expressed my support for the creation of an FDR memorial on Roosevelt Island, but I knew then that during tough economic times it would take a concerted effort by all layers of elected govenment to help make this public monument a reality. With that in mind, I am heartened to hear that the City Council will appropriate a significant amount of money toward this cause. While the overall economic challenges remain, and indeed continue to worsen everyday, I remain hopeful that a fitting memorial to FDR will one day grace the southern end of Roosevelt Island.
Also, during a conversation I had with Congresswomen Maloney at this year's Roosevelt Island Day I asked her if she would be seeking federal money for the FDR Memorial. She indicated that she would not and that any federal funds for Roosevelt Island would be used for fixing the seawall.

Their statements hardly represent an overwhelming desire to spend NY State public taxpayer funds on the Kahn/FDR memorial Boondoggle. Why does Ms. Lappin make the FDR Memorial such a New York City Council funding priority over local Roosevelt Island organizations?

Ms Lappin recently announced that she was able to secure more than $86,000 for Roosevelt Island based organizations from this year's New York City Budget. However, when you compare $86,000 for local Roosevelt Island organizations to the $2 million in each of the next two years she helped secure for FERI's Kahn/FDR boondoggle, a much more clear picture of Ms. Lappin's Roosevelt Island priorities emerge and they are certainly not favorable to the residents of Roosevelt Island. Does she not realize that such funds would be of much better use helping Roosevelt Island's children at the Youth Center, Public Library or at PS/IS 217. Maybe her priorities would be better spent assisting the Senior Citizen Center or helping to insure that affordable housing remains available at Roosevelt Island instead of ruining Southpoint Park with the Louis Kahn/FDR memorial. Even if you believe the memorial is a good idea, it certainly should not be receiving public taxpayer funds during the current City and State budget crisis.

Council Member Lappin is having a Summer BBQ/Fundraiser on August 14 at Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park from 6-7:30 PM. Go introduce yourself and say hello.

Also, why am I not surprised RIOC President Shane is reporting that FERI is now seeking some sort of Southpoint Park site control resolution from the RIOC Board supporting their proposal? From the August 2, 2008 Main Street WIRE RIOC Column by Steve Shane on the FDR Memorial:
The Franklin and Elearnor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) group, having secured additional financing commitments from the city, is seeking further approvals from the state and federal agencies having jurisdiction. FERI has requested RIOC to consider the proposal, again, before FERI spends lots of money on the application process, and to have the Board issue a conditional, non-binding resolution of willingness to proceed, in the same manner as previously utilized for the Octagon, Southtown, and other Island developments with identifiable progress milestones. The item should be on the Board’s September meeting agenda.
This appears to be another example of FERI not being able to raise the necessary funds for the memorial within the Fall 2008 deadline and seeking yet another delay. As reported in the March 29 Main Street WIRE's (PDF File) excellent issue concerning the FDR memorial, RIOC President Steve Shane said of the deadline:
... the close-out date for the Kahn memorial will come “when development of Phase I of Southpoint Park reaches the stage where it’s no longer able to be traversed for construction activity... We are going ahead with that. There’s going to be a groundbreaking this summer, and the construction of the park will be ongoing. We are about to start the stabilization of the Renwick Ruin and we are going to do that. Once that reaches the stage where it’s no longer possible to traverse that part and the design does not permit construction roads through it – it will no longer be possible to access Southpoint for that purpose.”
In the Daily News article titled Time Running Out For FDR Memorial:
"It's been a 35-year saga with no support from people on the island," said Judith Berdy, head of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.
There is no specific deadline for the monument construction to begin, but Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Shane said "the end of the line is out there."
Groundbreaking on the northernmost 10 acres of Southpoint Park is expected this summer. Those plans will turn the park into cultivated wilderness.
After the first phase of that project is complete, the FDR memorial will become a dead deal.
Like a Zombie killed during the daytime, the Louis Kahn/FDR memorial keeps on coming out again at night. However, the good news is by seeking this resolution, FERI and RIOC management are implicitly acknowledging that, as some have said all along, there is no binding legal commitment to build the FDR memorial at Southpoint. If such an obligation existed, there would be no need for this "non-binding resolution of willingness to proceed".

This FERI item on the RIOC Board's September Agenda will certainly be a good opportunity for the newly elected Roosevelt Island resident Board Directors to chart a fresh, new and independent course by rejecting FERI's request for site control of Southpoint Park and come up with a plan to explore new ideas for the future of Southpoint Park. Will they do that?

Much, much more on this soon. For all those opposed to the Kahn/FDR memorial it is time to get organized.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Former RIOC Board Member Says Tram Modernization Program Is Unnecessary

Image of Roosevelt Island Tram from Wired New York

The August 2 issue of the Main Street WIRE has an interview with former RIOC Board Member Mark Ponton who says that the $25 million Roosevelt Island Tramway Modernization Program, which will take the tram out of service for at least six months next year, is unnecessary.

For more detailed background into the decision to take the Tram out of service next year for modernization see the 2007 Tramway Modernization Cost Benefit Analysis, and the Main Street WIRE links to 2007 Tram Report. Also, Re- Connecting America has a comprehensive study on aerial tramways, gondolas and ropeways and Portland Oregon provides an annual report on their Aerial Tramway operations. Below is the full text of the interview conducted by WIRE Editor Dick Lutz.

Mark Ponton, Late of the RIOC Board, Says the Planned Tramway Update Is Simply Unnecessary, Based on Test Results

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation will hold a public hearing Tuesday (August 5, 10:00 a.m.) on the planned upgrade of the Tramway, in the community room at 4 River Road. Former RIOC Board member Mark Ponton was among those who considered the upgrade, but he objected to the plan.
The WIRE interviewed him last week to find out why.

WIRE: You object to the replacement of the Tramway. Tell me why.

Mark Ponton: My major objection is taking the Tram out of service to replace it when quantitative analysis has shown that there's absolutely no reason to do so. We're spending $15 million of the state's money, assuming it's still around when we need it, and $10 million of the Island's money, which we certainly could use for other things, and we're disrupting the daily lives of thousands of people - all in spite of totally objective analytical data, provided by three of the world's finest engineering firms, showing that nothing major is wrong with the Tram at all. Given ordinary maintenance, it should last for years to come. The prediction of how long it will last has not been made, but everything we've examined shows a significant remaining life.

I don't care much about spending the state's money. I do care about needlessly spending $10 million of ours. And most of all, I disagree completely with the idea of negatively impacting peoples' daily lives just because we feel like it, instead of it being necessary for some remedy or to correct some deficiency.

The bottom line is that there's no need to replace the Tram.

There is a need to do about 70 small things, which I describe as scraping up the crumbs from the table. Things like an electric fuse box that hasn't been used for 20 years and should have been removed. Or a little bit of concrete that's cracking. They don't affect safety or reliability, but they do indicate a lack of attention to detail. And our supposed Tram management company, and our RIOC people who are supposedly watching the Tram management company, should have had these fixed. But
we don't need to race out and call 911 and say, "Holy smokes, we need a new Tram."

Q: If we leave safety aside, the reasons being given for replacement have to do with reliability and concern about the longevity of what's there, and you feel none of those are compelling issues.

MP: Not only are they not compelling issues, they're simply not issues at all.

If I take the conclusions advanced by Parametrix, the firm RIOC has had in place for some time, their conclusion is that everything is wrong with everything and has to be replaced immediately. Those are my words, but that's the essence of it. But the supporting data they offer is zero. Absolutely, totally zero.

Thornton-Tomasetti, whom I brought in, concluded nothing is wrong with anything and, from what we can see, it's difficult to even produce a prediction of the foreseeable future when anything might be wrong. Their supporting data was visual observation by skilled personnel; video camera observation of internal areas Parametrix said we couldn't examine without destroying the equipment being examined; magnetic particle
testing, which is a universally accepted means of detecting cracks in metal; and ultrasonic testing of the cables and the hanger-arm pin.

When three companies like Thornton-Tomassetti, Pitkin, and Hardesty and Hanover say there's nothing wrong with anything, it's probably a good idea to pay attention.

When I got the preliminary report from their office, I got the three of them together, and I asked them, What can we do to make the Tram safer? Instantaneously, the answer came back, Nothing. The Tram is as safe as this type of vehicle can be. There is nothing even suspect, and the odds of anything happening to the Tram are less than you getting hit by lightning.

Q: What about the cables - the track cables in particular?

MP: We examined the cable. We found only one area in one cable where there were several cracks, none of them even a minor safety hazard.

Q: These are tiny breaks in the tiny wires that make up the cables...

MP: Yes. The cable is made up of a group of wires that then are spun into a small rope called the strand, which is then spun into a cable or a rope.

The manufacturer of the cable has a very specific set of circumstances in mind, and a very specific set of specifications to do the job the rope is designed to do.

We found in the analysis that we did for all of the rope that we could test, which is everything except those parts that were right above the saddle - we found several individual cracks - one here, one there, which means nothing. In one of the ropes, we found 14 cracks, but they were not close enough together to produce any danger at all. These 14 cracks caused a possible loss of 1.25% of the theoretical breaking strength of the cable. Anybody with any cable experience will tell you that's a so what? There's no worry there.

I then asked the same question about reliability. I got the same immediate answer - that the Tram was an extraordinarily reliable device and there was essentially nothing to be done to make it more so.

Q: Let's talk about reliability. With the Island's population increasing and the subway's capacity at morning rush-hour having been reached, you don't want to have the Tram down. Most recently, there was a week-long slipping of the track rope, but there have been other times when the Tram has been down because it needed this, that, or the other. The argument for a separated system, as I heard it, is that you can have one
side of the system still running while the other is down for whatever work is to be done. That increases your reliability in terms of being able to be in service at all times - or almost all times. I think they said downtime would be very low - just one or two percent at most, with the new system.

MP: What we have now is a "jigback," which operates like a clothesline. The system with two separated sides is called a "funifor."

There's no question that two cabins that can operate independently can provide more availability than two in a tandem system, but the real question is, how much are we really increasing availability?

To find that out, I took the downtime records that RIOC had been keeping for the last seven years.

I divided the downtime into three types. One type we have no control over simply involves pushing a restart button to cure it. For instance, there are times when we've had to shut down the system because of lightning, or because of some terrorist threat, or something like that. No sense in thinking that the new system would do any better, so I just said, that's a tie game. Toss that aside.

Another category is scheduled maintenance, virtually all of which can be done between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Q: Don't some of those things have to be done in daylight?

MP: None of the information I have would indicate that, but there may be some city operating code or union regulation that would mandate the hours in which this type of work can be done. We'll certainly respect that, but, even if we kept it in the time segments that it's in now, it wouldn't affect the numbers much at all.

The final category is downtime, where we have no control over the occurrence, and we need to get things fixed as quickly as possible. Over a seven-year period, I think there were 27 or 37 such instances. In my analysis, I conceded, the existing Tram cannot fix any of those. In that comparison, it loses.

So now, the question becomes, what are those, and how long do they last? I took RIOC's own data and, after correcting some errors they acknowledged were in it, I asked, how many of these occurrences would there be, statistically, based on historical data? The answer came out to be one a year. And how long would the interruption last? The data say 30 minutes.

So we're going through this escapade, hugely disrupting the daily lives of thousands, in order to avoid what statistics show would be one occurrence of a half-hour duration once per year. That's what the actual record shows for the last seven years of the Tram.

We're going through all this to eliminate, in all likelihood, one event per year lasting 30 minutes.

Q: Presuming all that is correct, it seems we're left with the $15 million that is available right now, which RIOC says may not be available next year or, perhaps more importantly, at the crisis moment when it's needed in the event of an unpredictable total Tramway failure and shutdown. An outsider might say it's a waste of state money. But looking at it from the perspective of a Roosevelt Islander, one might say, wait a minute, we've got a 30-year-old Tram - will it last another 30 years and, if we don't think it will and we can all agree that economic times are going to get harder and harder, should we not therefore take advantage of this moment of having more than half of the price of a new Tram available from the state?

MP: I have long since given up caring about the $15 million, except to the extent that it leads us down the path of doing something we don't need to do.

But the $15 million is, in round numbers, about one ten-thousandth of the state budget. So imagine that a year from now, we call our politicians and say, OK, we're ready, we have to replace the Tram now. What politician do you think would say, I can't get that money for you, but don't worry, come back and vote for me next year. What politician do you think would ever do that? And what political party do you think
would ever take out an infrastructural part of the New York City transportation system - for one ten-thousandth of the state budget?

Q: Let's talk about possible consequences if we don't do it. If we're comparing a new Tram that would last 30 years with asking the old Tram to last another 30, is there any sense that the old Tram might suffer an age-induced multiplying of its problems or their frequency? Any feeling that it's a good idea to do this because 30 years from now the existing Tram will be 60 years old?

MP: I don't think the answer has to do with whether the Tram is 30 years old or 30 seconds old.

The issue is, is the Tram capable of doing today what it was put in place to do 30 years ago? With the tests we've done, the answer is a resounding yes. Does that mean nothing will ever go wrong? No. But if you go by historical data, the likelihood is that something may happen. If it does, it'll happen once in a year, and if it happens once in a year, it'll last 30 minutes. That's what the statistical data show.

But let's assume that my calculation is 100% wrong. That says that, instead of having one incident of 30 minutes duration in a year, we're going to have two. Or one will be 60 minutes long, instead of 30. Is that worth taking the Tram down for a year and having all this inconvenience? It certainly isn't, in my book. But maybe other Islanders would say yes. I'm not arguing to have or not have a new Tram. What I'm arguing is what I've said from the very beginning: Whatever we do, it ought to be justifiable and explainable to the average person with the right perspective in simple language, and it should be supported by credible data. All the credible data I've seen says that we don't need to replace the Tram now.

Q: What about obsolescence, say, 29 years from now?

MP: Yes, some people will bring up the issue of obsolescence of certain parts, like for instance, the electronics. They'll say that the manufacturers who make those parts will, for lack of a marketplace, discontinue manufacture. and we won't be able to replace some parts. But there are a couple of easy remedies. The first is to predict which may fail in the next 10 or 20 years and buy a replacement right now. The second is to get one of the top electrical engineering firms to look at the system and give us some insight as to where they could get a part replaced if we needed to. There are firms with the same expertise and international reputation as Thornton-Tomassetti. A simple phone call can get them here to give us the advice we need.

Then, there are the "consumables" - things that are designed to wear out in service, because of the job they do or because they protect a more costly part with which they come in constant contact. When these parts need replacing, they simply get replaced. But you don't buy a new house because your electric mixer stops working. You replace that one piece of equipment.

Q: The new system has to be designed so that both cabins are never on tower 1, and never on tower 3, at the same time, because neither of those towers was built to support two at once.

MP: Right. There must be a guarantee that those cabins can never be simultaneously on tower 1 or tower 3. We have that guarantee right now with a jig-back system. With the proposed system, we'll have to make sure that the cabins are prohibited from arriving at towers one and three at the same time. The safest way is to build up towers 1 and 3 to the same capacity that tower 2 has. That's time and money, but is really the only way you can guarantee that everything will be okay in case of a simultaneous arrival. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Thornton Tomassetti insist on that approach.

Q: You've made the Board aware of your concerns?

MP: Yes, in January when I wrote a memo to Shane. I copied the Board on that.

Q: What about other residents? Do you think they agree, or understand your points?

MP: I don't know. If they do and they think it's OK, then I'm wasting my time and energy. If they don't, then they ought to ask for a complete objective explanation of what the alternatives are, and what they're getting in return for their money and their disruption.

Searching For the Great Buffalo Chicken Wing Recipe at Nonno's On Roosevelt Island!

A reader of this post sends along a review of Nonnos and the following suggestion for Roosevelt Island Buffalo Wings:
The delivery service is good when there is a manager or owner taking the calls. Otherwise the delivery service is near poor.

The pizza is ok, not great, but ok.

The wings are NOT good. They bread the wings which makes them soggy. Here is my suggestion for original buffalo chicken wings (I'm from Buffalo)
-deep fry the wings until medium-dark golden crisp(don't mess them up with breading or seasoning before frying etc.)

-when finished frying toss the wings in a mixture of 1/2 butter and 1/2 Durkee Brand- Frank's Red Hot Sauce (this is the only sauce used in making original wings).

note: increase the amount of frank's sauce to turn up the heat! Offer mild, medium or hot. Don't just fry the wings and serve the sauce on the side. That's lame and not how it is done.

-deliver in cardboard packaging NOT plastic. Plastic packaging will make the wings soggy.

-please offer straight blue cheese dressing not the "hidden valley ranch" style that is really ranch dressing with a few chunks of blue cheese in it-that's crap!

Practice a few batches and you'll have the hang of it in no time.

PS. I'm hoping that the owner's of Nonno's will read this.
The owners of Nonno's have read your suggestion. I spoke with Jack who told me that when they first opened last January, cardboard packaging was used for their food delivery and they would prefer to continue doing so again even though it is much more expensive. However, their distributor no longer carries cardboard packaging and they have been unable to find any other source.

As for your sauce, I think they will experiment with it. Next time your in Nonno's, say Hi to Jack and ask about your chicken wing recipe.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

RIOC Objects To Rooftop Films Outdoor Movie At Southpoint Park Because It Is Not "Family Friendly" - Are There Any Adults On Roosevelt Island?

According to Gothamist, Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park will be the venue for one of Rooftop Films outdoor movie nights. During a Gothamist interview with Rooftop's founder Mark Elijah Rosenberg, it was announced that:
On Saturday, August 15, we’ll be hosting a screening of Greg Kohs’ documentary “Song Sung Blue,” an astonishing and uplifting documentary about two American dreamers who fought to make people happy and forget their worries by playing the music of one of America’s favorite crooners, Neil Diamond. The man himself will be in town that week, so if you aren’t going to see him at The Garden, come out and join us for Neil Diamond Karaoke, and watch this joyous film. Free on Roosevelt Island.
But hold on. Not so fast. Maybe Southpoint Park will not have movies shown there this year. RIOC President Steve Shane forwards this message from RIOC's Program Co-ordinator:
Perhaps I can clear this up. I was approached a few weeks ago by
Rooftop; I met with two of their representatives at Southpoint to see if
we might be able to accommodate two of their shows- one in August, one
in September, both shows being free to the public. They also claimed to
have Jessica Lappin's support for the endeavour.

The sticking point currently seems to be the content of the movies
they wish to show. Both nights would feature documentaries, and
apparently one is not, how should I say it, "family-friendly"? I've
been speaking with Daisy from Rooftop to get a more accurate description
and possible prescreening of the movie for us so we may be able to give
a yes or no.

Bottom line- this is another Todd P thing- NOTHING has been
scheduled, nothing has been paid for at this point in time. August 16th
is rapidly approaching and without a definite grasp of what it is
Rooftop is trying to show, I cannot proceed with the permitting process.
Needless to say, I think a Rooftop film venue at Southpoint Park would be great. I hope that one documentary not being "family friendly" is not a reason to deny Rooftop permission to use Southpoint Park as a venue for outdoor films. There are adults who live on Roosevelt Island that would prefer to see a film that is not for the "kiddies" every once in a while.

It is outrageous that a film's content is being reviewed by a RIOC employee for it's suitability to be shown on Roosevelt Island. What qualifies this person, or any other government worker, for such responsibility? RIOC should not be in the business of regulating the content of outdoor movies shown on Roosevelt Island by a private sector business or organization, particularly in a location as far from what goes for civilization on Roosevelt Island, as is Southpoint Park. There is also something called the First Amendment which, unless the films are "obscene", I believe precludes government agencies from preventing them being shown if the sole reason for doing so is the content of the film.

RIOC, allow outdoor films to return to Southpoint Park and start the permitting process with Rooftop Films!

UPDATE 4PM- RIOC President Steve Shane responds:
My views on the first amendment are not relevant. This is supposed to be
outdoor family entertainment and I do not want to get in the middle of
what constitutes an acceptable community standard.
Unfortunately, by limiting what can be seen on Roosevelt Island to "outdoor family entertainment", RIOC through the actions of NY State public employees, is getting involved in defining an "acceptable community standard" for Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 9:40 PM - In response to my question of:
Why does an outdoor movie event at Southpoint Park have to be "family entertainment"? Is there no place for for an intelligent, adult, (non-obscene) outdoor movie not appropriate for children on Roosevelt Island?
If there is not such a place, is that setting a community standard for Roosevelt Island by RIOC.
RIOC President Shane responds:
Because there is no methodology for screening the attendees. I would have no objection to any kind of movie or other entertainment presented
indoors, duly advertised. If you can figure out how you would advise
adults as to what they may be viewing and that it may not be suitable
for their non-adult accompaniers, then we could talk. However, outdoor
movies have the aura of family entertainment on Roosevelt Island. If you
want to see other kinds of presentations, there are plenty of venues for
you. "Outrageous" seems to be a bit over the top in response.
RIOC is not setting the community standards for Roosevelt Island. If
you want to present anything in a non public setting, you or anyone else
is certainly privileged to do so.
The gate at Southpoint park certainly provides a method of screening out children or those under a certain age if a movie is not appropriate for them to see so I still don't see why RIOC needs to play the role of Nanny to adult Roosevelt Islanders.

Constituent Office Hours With State Senator Jose Serrano Today

Image of State Senator Jose Serrano

Today is the first Tuesday of the month so representatives from State Senator Jose Serrano's office will be holding constituent service hours on Roosevelt Island beginning at 3 PM this afternoon. Here is some more information from RIOC:
State Senator José M. Serrano
Constituent Hours on Roosevelt Island
Who: Everyone is welcomed, no appointments necessary
When: First Tuesday of every month*
Time: 3-7pm Where: RIOC Offices, 591 Main Street Ground Floor
For more information, please call (212) 828-5829
Constituents should bring photocopies of any paperwork related to their cases so that Serrano staff can effectively and efficiently address the issue.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Council Member Jessica Lappin Hosting Roosevelt Island BBQ Fundraiser

Image of Council Member Jessica Lappin

I received the following invitation for Roosevelt Islanders on behalf of Council Member Jessica Lappin.

Read this document on Scribd: lappin RI BBQ fundraiserfinaldoc

Also, below is press release from Council Member Lappin listing Roosevelt Island based organization that she was able to secure funds for from the 2009 New York City Budget.

Read this document on Scribd: RI Funding Release

Good job by Lappin. I only wish she would stop trying to dump the Louis Kahn/FDR memorial boondoggle on Southpoint Park.

Doink, Doink - Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incidents For July 28 Thru August 4

A reader of this post comments on the Roosevelt Island crime and safety situation:
I know RI is one of the safest places in the NYC area, but if you look at the latest blotter reports, and whatever has been said on the streets from who heard what, RI has 2 or 3 robberies, a slashing, assaults, and supposedly an attempted murder.

also, as far as half the things PSD officers respond to are nonsense, but that is because half the people on the island call them for everything.

again, they are better than they used to be!!!
Below are the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety reports for July 28 - August 4, 2008. Incidents included:
  • a woman hit by a bus near the subway
  • verbal altercation with bus driver
  • aiding sick or missing people
  • rudeness
  • exposed playground wires
  • blood found in hallway and
  • an assault, among the others listed below
7/28-08-7:00 AM-7/29/08-7:00 AM

Vehicle Accident- By Subway. Female ran across street to catch a city Bus without looking. She mad contact with another Bus. Neck pain sustained. NYPD report done. EMS transported her to the Hospital.
Investigation- Passenger yelled at Bus Driver did not board Bus and left in a car. Mini Bus Supervisor notified. Incident reported by third party. Bus Driver went home. Follow up 7/29/08.
Found Property- Cell phone- Secured in PSD.
Hazardous Condition- Wires exposed in play ground by sprinkles. No injuries. Corrected by Facilities.
Investigation-Elderly female complained about elderly male being rude to her. Search for male done with negative results.
Unsecured Vehicle- Window open to a car. Central Parking notified. Owner called and no answer. Vehicle checked periodically by PSD.
Graffiti- In Handball Courts. Search for the subject yielded negative results. Referred to RIOC.
Shoplifter-/Trespass- In Business. Subject caught. Trespass notice issued.
Found Property- A passport. It was secured at PSD. A note was left at apt for owner to retrieve it.
Missing Youth- Search conducted and youth found by PSD. Youth turned over to mother.
Vehicle Accident- Truck backed into a sign. No injuries. Referred to RIOC.
Domestic Incident- Between Mother and Son. NYPD responded and prepared a report. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

No Report received for 7/29-30

7/30/08-7:00 AM to 7/10/08-7:00 AM
Alarm- At RIOC accidently set off by employee. PSD responded and all in order.
Found Property- Bags of clothes. Secured at PSD.
Water Flood-In the Pool of one of the buildings. PSD responded and RY mgt working on it.
No injuries.
Harassment- PSD and NYPD responded. Complainant refused to press charges. Sublet situation involved. UA Mgt notified.
Petit Larceny- Item taken from store. PSD responded and it was retrieved from subject. Store Owner refused to press charges and a Trespass notice issued.
Domestic Dispute- Between Mother and Son. No injuries. NYPD refused. Minor verbal argument which ceased.

0700 hrs 07/31/08 - 0700 hrs 08/01/08

Aided - PSD officer reports person fell. Refused to give any info and refused EMS.
Aided - Tenant fell in his apt. Received laceration above right eye and transported to New York Hospital.
Aided - Tenant transported to Mount Sinai Hospital with stomach pains.
Found property - Cell phone turned over to PSD officer and secured at PSD office.
Unsecured vehicle - Officer observed vehicle with window down in motorgate. Officer notified parking attendant and had no contact info.
Investigation - Person called PSD to report blood in hallway. PSD responded and checked with negative results. Management was notified for clean up.

0700 hrs - 8/01/08 - 0700 hrs -8/02/08

Found Property - Anon female rats before exiting red bus observed tan purse. Property secured in P.D.
Graffiti - Officer observed inside stairwell. search made with negative result. Super notify.
Criminal Mischief - Officer observed broken window. Super notify. Search made with negative results.
Graffiti - Tenant rats unknown subject wrote on his front apt. door. Super notify. Search made with negative results.
Graffiti - Officer observed four windows scratched. Super notify. Search made with negative results.
Aided - Officer observed female tenant disoriented. EMS on scene transported to hospital

8/2/08-7:00 AM to 8/3/08-7:00 AM

Criminal Mischief- Partisans knocked down. Corrected by PSD. Area checked periodically.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Elevator Malfunction- 4 youth inside, and UA responded and opened elevator doors. Youths fine. EMS refused. Elevator put out of service.
Alcohol/Open Container- PSD arrested a subject.
Aggravated Harassment- Family Members threatened victim via telephone. NYPD and PSD responded.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Assault/Aided- Youth punched in the face. Victim stated he did not see who punched him. Search for the subject yielded negative results. NYPD and EMS responded. Aided taken to the Hospital by EMS. Parent notified and met youth in the Hospital.

8/3/08 7:00 AM to 8/4/08 7:00 AM

Possible Aided- Call reporting aided made. EMS responded there was no one in need of medical assistance.
Criminal Mischief- Door knob removed. Search for the subject made with negative results. UA corrected condition.
Investigation- MTA Bus had Emergency Message on display screen. PSD responded. No emergency. The screen switch was malfunctioning. Bus Driver will notify mechanic.
Criminal Mischief- 3 Hallway Smoke Detector Cages were removed. search for the subject yielded negative results. NYPD responded. UA notified.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Dispute/ Investigation- Between store employee and subject. NYPD, PSD and EMS responded. Subject refused EMS. Subject notified he cannot enter the store again.
Family Dispute- NYPD responded and handled the incident.
Criminal Mischief- Window was cracked. UA notified and temporarily corrected condition until window can be replaced. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

Scroll down the sidebar to find links to monthly Roosevelt Island Public Safety reports. For comparison purposes, here is the Police Blotter for Brooklyn neighborhoods from the Brooklyn Paper and the Cop Blotter for Queens from the Queens Tribune.