Friday, August 15, 2008

Neil Diamond Karaoke and Song Sung Blue Outdoor Movie At Southpoint Park This Weekend Plus Central Park Guitar Man and Regina Spektor

You Tube Video of U2's Edge Singing Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline

Looking for things to do this weekend in New York City. On Saturday night, Rooftop Films is presenting an outdoor movie showing of Song Sung Blue at Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island. The movie tells the story of Lightning and Thunder, a husband and wife Neil Diamond cover band. Plus, prior to the movie an opportunity for Neil Diamond Karaoke on stage with the gorgeous New York City skyline and East River Waterfront as your backdrop but you have to sign up beforehand. No outdoor performance stage could be better than this!

Image of New York City and East River Waterfront View during prior Southpoint Park Movie Night from Fresh Air Flicks

For more musical treats this weekend, on Friday night Regina Spektor, Ne me quitte pas, will be at the McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg and on Saturday afternoon, weather permitting go to Central Park and join the "People On The Hill" to see one of my favorite New York City performers, The Guitar Man.

You Tube video of Central Park Guitar Man singing People on the Hill

And on Sunday RIOC's Upcoming Community Events Page reports:
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd will be sponsoring a free, monthly, Sunday concert series to benefit the Roosevelt Island community food pantry
When: Sunday, August 17th @ 2:30 p.m.
Where: The Church of the Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street on Roosevelt Island.
Who: Anima Baroque Ensemble
Cash donations will be gratefully accepted in lieu of a set admission fee to benefit our most vulnerable neighbors in crisis.
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.

Have Fun!

UPDATE 11 PM - For those planning on attending the Song Sung Blue outdoor movie at Southpoint Park, Rooftop Films advises that if the weather is questionable on Saturday call (718) 417 7362 after 3 PM for up to date status report. If the weather is very bad the film will be postponed to Sunday.

Regular Roosevelt Island F Train and Tramway Service This Weekend But There Is A Barbecue Pit Advisory

Image of blurred, moving F Train from venus in furs

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. RIOC does advise that there is a Barbecue Pit advisory for Saturday August 16 at Lighthouse Park.
On Saturday, August 16, TWO Barbeque pits will be reserved for a special event from 8am to 8pm. All other pits will be available for normal "first come, first serve". We apologize for any inconvenience.
Update 2:30 - Here is some more information from RIOC on Roosevelt Island barbecue areas and a delicious recipe for Jacks Ribs.

UPDATE 5:30 - Curbed readers. There will be an outdoor showing of the Neil Diamond cover band movie Song Sung Blue at Southpoint Park on Saturday with Neil Diamond Karaoke just prior to the film.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prominent Art Critic Described Louis Kahn/FDR Memorial As Fascist, Totalitarian and Speer Like - Need We Say Anymore?

Image of New York 1960 book from Amazon

To mark the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Roosevelt Island lease agreement between the City and State of New York, RIOC has begun to assemble and place online a historical archive documenting the development of Roosevelt Island. Good job by RIOC.

Included in the first batch of materials recently made available is a chapter on Roosevelt Island from New York 1960 a book authored by Robert A.M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman. Publishers Weekly says of the book:
Documenting New York City's transformation from manageable metropolis into sprawling megalopolis, this magnificent, panoramic volume sweeps from early 1940s' New York, a world capital of culture, sophistication and commerce, to the mid-'70s, when crime and near economic collapse had tarnished its image.
The book has a very interesting chapter (8) on Roosevelt Island and I would recommend anyone interested in learning about the historical development of Roosevelt Island to read it. I found particularly interesting pages 648-649 which dealt with the Louis Kahn designed FDR memorial. Imagine my astonishment to read this review of Kahn's design by prominent art critic Thomas B. Hess, a self described friend of Kahn and admirer of Franklin Roosevelt:
This is the sort of political edifice that the Italian fascists loved and Speer perfected for the glory of the Third Reich... The site itself is treated heartlessly. What was a modest, picturesquely rugged shoreline has been disciplined to straight lines and symetrical angles that have no significance beyond the alarming one of man's ability to impose a meaningless geometry on nature. The ultimate irony is that Roosevelt, who fought totalitarians to the death, is commemorated in the harsh style propogated by the dictators.

Image of Louis Kahn FDR memorial from

Hess does not merely criticize the Kahn design but denounces it in such a way that had one of the architecturally challenged Roosevelt Islanders who oppose the design said the very same thing, that person would be dismissed as a kook or even worse, an artistically illiterate phillistine (oh my). Now perhaps, other members of the artistic and architectural community will come forward, joining with residents of Roosevelt Island who wish to retain the marvelous, one-of-a kind, 360 degree panoramic views of the East River waterfront and NYC skyline. It is finally time to recognize that Kahn's 1970's era design has no place on a 21st century Roosevelt Island.

The book also confirms what many have known for a long time. The so-called FDR memorial is as much a memorial to Kahn, if not more so, than President Roosevelt. As stated on page 649 of the book, the architect who took over the design following Kahn's death:
viewed the proposed monument as a memorial to Kahn as well as to Roosevelt.
Today, one of the Kahn memorial's leading political supporters, Council Member Jessica Lappin is holding a barbecue fundraiser at Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island. Hopefully, Ms. Lappin will address the issue of why she has secured $4 million over the next two years from the NYC budget for the Kahn memorial despite the City's severe budget crisis and more pressing needs on Roosevelt Island such as inadequate and falling down facilities for the Roosevelt Island Library and Youth Center.

On a positive note for Ms. Lappin, Jim Luce of Orphans International encourages all Roosevelt Islanders to attend the Lappin BBQ:
I first met Jessica Lappin in 2001 when she represented the Office of City Council Speaker Gifford Miller in presenting a proclamation from the City of New York to the organization I founded, here on Roosevelt Island, Orphans International Worldwide (

Jessica was sharp, friendly and very alert. Year after year, she came to our events, honoring our humanitarian mission. She moved on from assistant to elected office herself, and now represents Roosevelt Island in the New York City Council.

In the last month, Jessica has managed to get $86,000 in City Council founding for six Roosevelt Island organizations, including Orphans International.

On Thursday, August 14, 6-7:30pm, Jessica is hosting a good old-fashioned picnic at Lighthouse Park for the residents of Roosevelt Island.

I think we Roosevelt Island residents should all join her en masse to express our appreciation of the tremendous job she has done for our island community....
Other than on the Kahn memorial, I agree with Mr. Luce that Ms. Lappin has done a good job on the City Council for Roosevelt Island.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Song Sung Blue, Neil Diamond Cover Band Movie To Be Shown Outdoors On Roosevelt Island At Southpoint Park - With Sweet Caroline Karaoke Too!

Image of New York City and East River Waterfront View during prior Southpoint Park Movie Night from Fresh Air Flicks

Outdoor movies return to where they belong when held on Roosevelt Island with the August 16 showing of Song Sung Blue at Southpoint Park presented by Rooftop Films. According to Rooftop Films, Song Sung Blue is:
... a beautiful documentary about two American dreamers who fought their whole lives to make people happy and to forget their problems and worries by playing the music of one of America’s great crooners. Filmmaker Greg Kohs goes backstage into the personal lives of a brave couple - from their humble beginnings over 20 years ago to the threshold of fame, from disaster to rebirth, through to the most dramatic chapters in the lives of these authentic American dreamers.
There is a special treat for all you Neil Diamond fans.
Prior to the Film YOU can perform Neil Diamond karaoke LIVE on stage:
In the spirit of Song Sung Blue, prior you can sign up to perform your favorite Neil Diamond song LIVE on the lawn in front of the full audience. Pick your favorite Diamond gem and email us at --send us your name, the song you want to sing, and the best email address to be reached at and if you sign up in time you can be the lead vocalist on stage as we all sing along to Sweet Caroline, Song Sung Blue, Cracklin’ Rosie, Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon, Up on the Roof, America, Heartlight, and many more.
My Yankee fingers resist as I type this but here in the heart of the Evil Empire is an opportunity for Red Sox Nation and the Sons of Sam Horn to replicate a small part of the Fenway Park experience on Roosevelt Island and perform Sweet Caroline

In view of the brief confusion regarding RIOC's attempt to define the content of movies as either "family friendly" or not thereby refusing to permit those films that (in the opinion of a RIOC employee) are not "family friendly" to be shown at Southoint Park, Rooftop Film's advises the following:
Please note: this is a free public event, and Song Sung Blue is a beautiful and powerful documentary, but it is a serious film for adults and mature children. Please note that there is some strong language.
As stated by the film's director Greg Kohs:
The film shouldn’t be described as ‘family-friendly.’ I prefer to refer to it as ‘dysfunctional-family-friendly'.

Here is a brief interview with the director and excerpt from the movie Song Sung Blue.

You Tube Video of Slamdance interview from Current TV

Neil Diamond is currently playing at Madison Square Garden August 14-16. According to the NY Times:
Four decades into a career as the sequined king of soft rock, celebrated in his 1970s peak as much for his rakish growl and helmet of wavy hair as for hits like “Sweet Caroline” and “Song Sung Blue,” Neil Diamond is enjoying something of a career renaissance.
Always a strong concert draw, he has been making more money on the road than ever before, grossing $168 million over his last three tours, according to Billboard. And in May his 46th album on the Billboard charts, “Home Before Dark” (Columbia) — a set of stripped-down and reflective songs produced by Rick Rubin, who recorded Johnny Cash’s last releases — became his first to reach No. 1. On Tuesday, Mr. Diamond, 67, begins a four-night engagement at Madison Square Garden, part of a mostly sold-out world tour that will take him well into 2009.
So come watch Song Sung Blue at Southpoint Park. Enjoy the movie and magnificent nighttime New York City skyline and East River waterfront views.

Photo by Joergen Geerds

Click on link here to fully view the beautiful panoramic nighttime view of NYC waterfront and skyline as seen from Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island.

For those new to Southpoint Park, take a moment when you are there to consider that these panoramic 360 degree views will be ruined forever if the proposed Louis Kahn memorial (some refer to it incorrectly as the FDR memorial) is ever built at this site.

Directions to Roosevelt Island by Tram, F train, bus or car can be found here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Undercover RIOC Police Officers May Be Watching You At Motorgate Garage - So Stop The Acts Of Vandalism

You Tube Video of Police watching you and Every Breath You Take

In response to this post on recent broken car window incidents at the Roosevelt Island Motorgate Parking Garage, several readers have asked for increased security:
Can anyone say ... security cameras
some of us pay up to $165 a month to keep our cars there!!! There are no working cameras to my knowledge, and granted PSD does a great job keeping it safe there, and this past window breaking ordeal is terrible, but why can't the motorgate hire a security guard to drive around there as well???????
RIOC Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra replies:
There are working cameras in the Motorgate, but it's an old system.
Our Engineering Department is attempting to improve the lighting in the
Motorgate. This should help. We are also trying to see if we can
upgrade the system to assist with the vandalism dilemma. I believe this
will help, but cameras are not a "cure-all" as sometimes the images are
not fully clear. It's unfortunate that vandals, with nothing better to
do, damage the property of others. Please advise your readers that we
have officers from our Plain Clothes Unit consistently patrolling the
Perhaps this product might help improve lighting at the Motorgate Parking Garage.

The Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety incident reports from 1/19 - 5/1/08 are here and 5/1-8/11/08 here. Here are the monthly reports for February, April and May 2008.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Roosevelt Island Variable Speed Escalators Save $2000 Per Escalator Annualy - How Much Does Out Of Service Escalators Cost Injured Riders?

Image of Roosevelt Island subway escalator from RIRA

The Roosevelt Island subway escalators may not work on a reliable basis but at least the MTA is making sure that they are energy efficient. Gothamist reports that:
The MTA's problems with current escalators aside, the agency has just introduced new escalators that go into a "sleep mode" when they aren't being used. The pilot program includes escalators at 34th Street-Herald Square, Roosevelt Island; Jamaica-Van Wyck and Parsons/Archer. MTA hopes to save almost $2,000 (per each escalator) in energy costs annually. While some riders are wary, one found the glass half full, telling NY1, "It's much better than them not working at all! If in fact it goes really slow when I'm not on it and actually works when I'm on it, so much the better."
The MTA estimates $2000 in cost savings per energy efficient escalator. I wonder if the MTA has ever done a financial analysis of the cost for an injury to an elderly, disabled or other person walking up the 157 steps to the street from the Roosevelt Island subway platform due to non-working escalators? As stated by a reader of this earlier post:
The inoperative escalator at the subway station is a disgrace. I was one of those "elderly" who was forced to walk the route in 97 plus heat. (With a group of young men close behind who objected to my labored ascent.
If I have a heart attack, stroke or other heat related event occur in my pursuit of the pavement, who will assume the burden of my medical and emotional expenses?
Now, if the MTA could only install levitating escalators, that would be impressive!

You Tube Video of Levitating Escalator

UPDATE 8/13 - New York 1 has a video report of the Roosevelt Island Sleep Mode or Variable Speed escalators and NY Times has follow up story as well. Roosevelt Island 360 has video on escalators also.

Roosevelt Island Bicycle Safety Day on August 14 - Get A Free Helmet For Your Kid, It May Save A Life

Read this document on Scribd: Roosevelt Islandbikesafety

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra sends the following message to all Roosevelt Island young people under the age of 18 and their parents:
In conjunction with Safe Kids NYC, FREE bicycle helmets
will be given out to the kids in the Roosevelt Island community on
August 14th from 3:00-6:00PM in the Good Shepherd Plaza. They will be given tips on bicycle safety and will even have the opportunity to have their bicycles etched and logged at PSD.
And provides some very good reasons for everyone to wear bike helmets regardless of age.
  • You may think you're a pretty good biker, but crashes happen all the time to very good riders. In fact:
  • Wearing a bike helmet is the single most important thing you can do to protect your brain - and your life - when you ride your bike.
  • Children between ages 5 and 14 have the highest rate of injury of all bicycle riders.
  • Each year, more than 500,000 children go to hospital emergency rooms or doctors' offices due to bicycle injuries.
  • More than half of these collisions happen on neighborhood streets, sidewalks, or playgrounds.

Nationally, only about 15 percent of all kids wear bike helmets. In an AAA survey of school children, here's how often kids wore bike helmets:

Always or most of the time 43%
Occasionally 11%
Seldom or never 44%
No answer 2%
Here is the reason why wearing a bike helmet is so important.
The story of Daniel Kane who survived being hit by a car while riding his bike because he was wearing a helment and his mother's advice on how to prevent similar accidents.

You Tube Video from Safe Kids USA on Bike Helmet Safety

Ticks Arrive On Roosevelt Island, One Found on Kitchen Cabinet - UGHHHHH!

You Tube video of Controlling Ticks

As I write this, I find myself scratching so be advised. Blogger Roosevelt Island Dogs reports that:
Since moving to RI (almost a year ago) I have never had a problem with fleas or ticks. I have never found a flea or tick on any of my dogs and don't use anything on them such as Frontline or Advantix. That is, until last week. Last week I found a tick walking on my kitchen countertop. My best guess is that it came off of one of my dog's harnesses when I took it off and put it on the counter....
According to this 2007 NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) press release:
Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, have been increasing among New York City residents since 2003, and the Health Department today reminded New Yorkers to protect themselves against ticks when they are outdoors this summer. The vast majority of Lyme disease cases in New York City are acquired outside of the five boroughs, in areas where the type of tick that transmits Lyme disease (Ixodes scapularis) is found. There were 307 cases of Lyme disease reported in 2006.
And from 2008 DOHMH Tick Borne Disease Health Advisory:
During the spring, summer and fall, DOHMH reminds New York City (NYC) clinicians to be on the alert for and report tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis.
Hear is how to prevent or lessen your chance of being a food source for ticks and removing them if they become embedded in your skin.

A big Ewwwww!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Interesting Links

Do you understand your Con Edison Electricity Bill? (NY Times)
Delay For New Roosevelt Island Blackwell Playground (Roosevelt Island 360)
Southpoint Park Views Are Special and Should Be Spared from Louis Kahn/FDR Memorial (Walking Off the Big Apple)
Death of Urban Historian and Roosevelt Island resident Richard Wade (NY Times)
Roosevelt Island Dog Run Bench Returned - Wrong One Delivered. (Roosevelt Island Dogs)
Mobile Dessert Trucks on New York City Streets (NY Times)
MTA Metro Card Fare Increase Analysis (Roosevelt Island 360)
Factors to Consider Before Buying Kayak, Canoe or Sailboat (NY Times)
Roosevelt Island Tram To Lose City's Last Leather Strap (Daily News)
Man Drawn on Roosevelt Island Tram (Every Person in New York)
MTA looking for Subway Station Sponsors? (AM New York)