Friday, August 22, 2008

No F Train To Manhattan and Crowded Tram Expected For Roosevelt Island This Weekend. Plus, No Roosevelt Island Down Escalators For A Month!

Image of Tram passengers last time subway was out of service in one direction

According to the MTA there will be no Manhattan bound F trains from Roosevelt Island this weekend. RIOC reports no Roosevelt Island Tram advisories so Tram service should be running on regular schedule except for the larger number of passengers on the Roosevelt Island side due to the absence of F train service to Manhattan. Plan accordingly.

RIOC is also advising that beginning Monday, the down escalators at the Roosevelt Island subway station will be out of service:

Escalator work

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.
Roosevelt Island 360 explains the escalator advisory:
The reason for this temporary inconvenience is that the curent "up" escaltors, ES 413 and 416, are being closed so that the adjacent escalators, ES 412 and 415, currently under construction can be completed.
The Village Voice was impressed with 360's escalator explanation and charts. They recommend:
Someone offer this man an advisory position in a public agency!

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City - Solar Power Outdoor Films and Shakespeare On Roosevelt Island

Looking for things to do this weekend? Here are some choices.

The Solar Powered free Outdoor Film Festival hosted by Solar One and Green Edge NYC at East 23rd Street and the FDR Drive this Friday and Saturday It is described as:
... the first in New York City to use the power of the sun to construct an outdoor “eco-theater” like no other. Solar One's independent film venue integrates natural and human-made components of our urban environment creating the city’s “greenest” motion picture showcase. This free six-evening program features nightly screenings of environmental documentaries. Each night will focus on a different theme including water, energy, food, waste and more.
The films being shown include:
Friday August 22
Water Shorts:
Gimme Green, 2007, 27 mins.
Gimme Green peers behind the curtain of the $40-billion industry that fuels our nation's largest irrigated crop---the lawn.
Invisible Creek, 2004, 8 mins.
Travel down the most polluted waterway in America, Newtown Creek, located on the border between Brooklyn and Queens in New York City.
City of Water, 2007, 30 mins.
City of Water explores the aspirations for a diverse, vibrant waterfront at a time when the shoreline is changing faster than at any other time in New York's history. See shots of Stuyvesant Cove Park and interviews with community members about their struggle for the kind of development they desired on the waterfront.
Plus discussion of CSOs with Cortney Worrall of the Coastal Marine Resource Center

Saturday August 23
Green Building:
The Greening of Southie, 2008, 81 mins.
Building Boston's first LEED Gold-certified building turns out to be harder than anyone thought. The Greening of Southie shows what happens when you try to build the city of tomorrow---today.
Plus Q&A with director Ian Cheney
Also, outdoor Shakespeare returns to Roosevelt Island. According to the RIOC events page:
Shakespeare in the Park A Midsummer Night's Dream
When : Saturday and Sunday, August 23rd and 24th @ 4:00pm
Where : Eastwood Amphitheater (Behind the 520 Breezeway building)
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.

Why Was Andy Garcia On Roosevelt Island Last Night? Shooting A Movie Or Looking For An Apartment In This Truman Show-esque Little Toy Town.

Image by Alain

The New York Post may have the premier outlet for dishing out celebrity gossip, sightings and pictures from Page 6 but Roosevelt Island has our favorite Italian correspondent, Alain, who may be about to give Page 6 some competition. Last night Alain spotted actor Andy Garcia sitting on the Roosevelt Island side of the Tram Plaza and took these pictures.

Image by Alain

What was Andy Garcia doing on Roosevelt Island? Was he searching for a place to live here on Roosevelt Island? Have celebrities decided to shun the glitz, glamour and glory of an apartment in Manhattan or the trendiness of Brownstone Brooklyn and begun to consider the charms of a Roosevelt Island waterfront condo?

Image by Alain

Of course not. Andy Garcia was here on Roosevelt Island shooting scenes for the forthcoming movie "City Island". Here's a video shot by the City Island director Raymond de Felitta of the Roosevelt Island Tram ride at night speeded up so it only takes a little less than 2 minutes in travel time from Manhattan.

You Tube video of Roosevelt Island Tram at Night from City Island Movie

You can follow the progress of the City Island movie at the director's blog, Movies 'till Dawn. He says of Roosevelt Island:
... Roosevelt Island tram. Truly spectacular and romantic.
Yet a little on the bizarre side of things, the island is one of those Truman show-esque where it all feels a little to considered and held together. Neat condos flanked by neat streets and a tram as a mode of transportation. A little toy town methinks...
That's about right.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is DHCR Waging War Against Roosevelt Island's Rivercross Tenants? Tenants Will Fight Back With Lawsuit!

Image of Rivercross Complex Cowl Vents from Brian Patrick

This earlier post described DHCR's plan to increase the surcharge on Mitchell-Lama Rivercross Co-op residents whose income exceeds the maximum allowed for the building. The DHCR is attempting to impose this increase despite opposition by the Rivercross Board of Directors and knowledge by Commissioner Van Amerongen's that any rent surcharge increase will result in a lawsuit. That lawsuit by the Rivercross Tenants Corp. will now be filed according to the memorandum below.

A reader sends the following memo announcing that the Rivercross Tenants Corp. will bring a lawsuit against DHCR alleging an illegal order by DHCR increasing the surcharge and abuse of governmental power.

Read this document on Scribd: rivercrosssurchargememo

It will be interesting to see how the DHCR seeks to justify overruling the business judgement of the Rivercross Board. After all, as the Main Street WIRE reported in a prior 2001 case involving a Rivercross rent surcharge increase agreed to by both DHCR and the Board, the Appellate Division of the NY State Supreme Court ruled:
DHCR rationally construes the PHFL [Public Housing Finance Law] to allow Mitchell-Lama cooperatives to be responsible for creating their own individual surcharge schedules, in recognition of the business and practical factors unique to each..."
Now, on this issue of a rent increase surcharge the DHCR and Rivercross Board disagree and DHCR is seeking to overturn the business judgement of the Rivercross Board. A reader comments:
Seems like DHCR might be in an interesting position, having at one time argued that it could leave decisions to the cooperative board(and won!) and now ordering that same cooperative board to impose a higher surcharge?
Another reader comments:
DHCR is waging war against Rivercross. I didn't see any righteous indignation when they let Eastwood (with deep subsidies and truly poor people) out of the Mitchell Lama program. Now DHCR is "saving" Rivercross for who? The vast majority of the building has voted to explore leaving the program 3 or 4 times now. Apparently DHCR knows better...
I don't know if the rent surcharge increase is justified or not but the issue is who decides? Is it the buildings shareholders and Board of Directors or is it Commissioner Van Amerongen , DHCR and the State of New York?

Here is January 2008 interview with DHCR Commissioner Van Amerongen conducted by the Main Street WIRE and January 2008 statement by Assemblymember Micah Kellner on Tax Equivalency bill for WIRE buildings including Rivercross.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coler-Goldwater Patient's Mom Seeking Short Term Housing On Roosevelt Island

Image from Nick's Crusade

I received the following message seeking short-term housing assistance for the mother of a new incoming patient at Coler-Goldwater Hospital.
Erica from RIOC recommended I contact you, as island bloggers.

I am writing on behalf of someone who will soon be living on Roosevelt
Island. Nick Dupree will be a patient for long-term rehabilitation at
the Goldwater campus of the Coler-Goldwater Hospital. This comes at
the end of a long struggle to receive appropriate services, which has
him leaving his state and traveling to New York. If you are interested,
please feel free to read more about it at:

What I am trying to find out is if it is possible to find short-term
accommodation on the island. Nick will arrive in in New York on August
28, and will be traveling with his mother, who will be staying for 7
days to help him transition at the hospital. While staff at
Coler-Goldwater have been very accommodating so far, they cannot
actually provide a place for her to stay. Since there is no hotel on the
island, they recommend staying nearby in Manhattan or Queens. Ordinarily
this would not be an issue, but his mother is in very poor health
herself. She cannot walk more than a few blocks, and it would be very
difficult for her to navigate the subways or buses.

My goal, as a friend, patient representative, and New Yorker, is to try
and find a way for her to stay within walking distance of the hospital,
perhaps with someone who is living on the island. I'm in a position to
collect funds to compensate someone who could provide that kind of

Please let me know if there are any suggestions or leads I could try. I
appreciate very much the time you've taken to read this e-mail. Please
do not hesitate to reply to this message with any questions or comments...


Here's more on Nick:
If you've never heard of Nick Dupree, a quick search on the web will bring up some interesting facts. Nick is a 26 year-old health care activist, writer, and former student from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL. He also has an undiagnosed physical disability which necessitates the use of a motorized wheelchair and a ventilator to breathe at all times, and he requires 24 hour physical assistance to live.
NBC 15 first introduced you to Nick in the summer of 2001 when at the age of 18, this quadriplegic with a rare form of muscular dystrophy began an on-line crusade from his bedroom to change a state medicaid law that would have otherwise terminated his home nursing care on his 21st birthday.

James Tucker is ADAP's lead attorney, "He (Nick) has had an extraordinary impact not just in Alabama but throughout the country. He testified in front of Congress. People throughout the 50 states and around the world were part of his campaign. They knew about Nick's crusade."
If anyone can help, please contact

Mayor Bloomberg Seeking Windmills for NYC Bridges and Buildings - Start With the Incredible Queensboro Bridge Wind Machine!

Image of windmill on top of Empire State Building from NY Post

Mayor Bloomberg's Plan NYC 2030 initiative for a more sustainable, green and energy efficient New York City tookanother step forward with the announcement that the City is seeking:
expressions of interest from firms with experience implementing renewable energy projects, as well as other interested parties. Specifically, the City seeks to gather information on potential renewable energy projects that advance PlaNYC goals and accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The information gathered from this RFEI will be used to identify promising renewable energy projects for New York City and to provide a better understanding of the opportunities for both established and emerging renewable energy technologies.
According to the NY Post:
Forget Chicago.New York would claim title as the genuine "Windy City" under a dramatic proposal by Mayor Bloomberg yesterday to develop wind turbines atop the Big Apple's bridges and skyscrapers.
Adds the NY Times:
Mr. Bloomberg said he would ask private companies and investors to study how windmills can be built across the city, with the aim of weaning it off the nation’s overtaxed power grid, which has produced several crippling blackouts in New York over the last decade.

Mr. Bloomberg did not specify which skyscrapers and bridges would be candidates for windmills, and city officials would need to work with property owners to identify the buildings that would best be able to hold the equipment.

But aides said that for offshore locations, the city was eyeing the generally windy coast off Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island for turbines that could generate 10 percent of the city’s electricity needs within 10 years.

Let's start bringing windmill power to New York City with the Incredible Queensboro Bridge Wind Machine introduced in this earlier post. Video from Current TV.

Also, let's not forgot the Verdant Power underwater turbine project in the East River just off of Roosevelt Island. Video from Current TV.

As mentioned in the Verdant video, fish may have to be careful around Roosevelt Island in the future to avoid being chopped up and sliced by the water turbines as will birds if the windmills are ever built.

UPDATE - 8/21: NY Times reports that architects and engineers express great doubts on feasibility of wind power for New York City but that solar power has great possibilities.

UPDATE - 8/23: NY Times reports on Verdant Power's third try at installing water turbines in the East River.
...Imagine a field of windmills, but underwater. Instead of making power only when the wind blows, they would run according to the tide charts, as predictable as the phases of the moon. The East River — not a real river, but a tidal strait connecting Long Island Sound to Upper New York Bay — is famous for currents so strong that sailboats must wait for the tide to turn in their favor.

Those currents ate up the first two generations of turbines, installed by Verdant Power, a small private company, in late 2006 and early 2007. The only way inventors can make anything work is to see how it doesn’t work. And in the saga of the East River turbines, there is already a sharp lesson on the risks of giving up too soon....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Second Gristedes Supermarket For Roosevelt Island? Maybe, But Definitely a Whole Foods For Nearby Second Avenue and 57th Street Before Next Olympics!

Vacant Riverwalk Retail Store adjacent to Duane Reade

Long Island City and Roosevelt Island have several things in common including close proximity to Manhattan, beautiful waterfront views, new residential developments and residents salivating for more and better retail amenities than are currently available. Long Island City bloggers Liqcity and A Fine Blog report how happy the neighborhood is with the opening of a new area supermarket, Foodcellar (formerly the Amish market) and the soon to be open Duane Reade.

Fortunately, a Duane Reade opened on Roosevelt Island earlier this year to the delight of retail service starved Roosevelt Islanders. Many Roosevelt Island residents have eagerly waited to see what retailer will occupy the vacant space adjacent to Duane Reade in the Hudson/Related Riverwalk development at 425 Main Street. Though not definite, the long held speculation of Gristedes taking over that space may be close at hand. If true, will Roosevelt Island residents be as happy at this news of a second Gristedes on the Island as their LIC neighbors were with their new supermarket? Not if this opinion by an Octagon resident about shopping at the Roosevelt Island Gristedes is common among other Roosevelt Islanders.
The Gristedes is DISGUSTING. I really mean it... you should go there and check it out... my favorite place is near the dairy, it actually smells like shit so they put an air freshener there to make it smell a little better. Not to mention in the summer or maybe early fall when I was in there I heard the manager say right in front of me and other customers "Wow, I really can't believe we passed that health inspection!" Since that day I have not shopped there.
And these excerpts of comments from 2007 Roosevelt Island grocery shopping post do not shed a positive light on the Roosevelt Island Gristedes:
  • Gristedes has always been a major disappointment long before I moved to Roosevelt Island. Their stores are by far the most disgusting, confusing and over priced grocery stores in NYC.
  • The only time I set foot into our Gristedes is when I really need something that I don't have at home or ran out of.
  • Does Gristede's deliberately try to stock the worst possible produce that it can get? There's a reason why Fresh Direct chose Roosevelt Island as its pilot. If that store didn't get a fantastic break on the rent, it would have been out of business long ago.
A contrary view from our Italian correspondent Alain:
All I care about a Grocery store is the quality and the variety of the products it sells.
That clarified, I must say that Gristedes fully satisfies my standards.
Image of Roosevelt Island Gristedes from Roosevelt Island 360

And fellow blogger Roosevelt Island 360 asks if Roosevelt Island residents would mourn Gristedes Departure? The answer?
Thank heavens for Fresh Direct.
Happily, Fresh Direct, the 59th Street 1st Avenue Food Emporium and Saturday's Farmers Market will not be the only options Roosevelt Islanders have for good quality grocery shopping in the future. However, according to the NY Observer we will have to wait until the next Olympics rolls around in 2012.
Whole Foods has signed as the anchor tenant for a new development at 57th Street and Second Avenue, making it the sixth outlet for the Austin-based food retailer in foodie-laden New York City.

The World-Wide Group announced this evening that Whole Foods would, starting in 2012, occupy 47,000 square feet in its mixed-use development.

Image of Whole Foods Columbus Circle Store at Time Warner Building from SF Bart

Hopefully, by that time the Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization program will have been completed so that a trip to Whole Foods will be very easy and convenient. (Just kidding - I know the tram modernization is scheduled to start in 2009 and last for 6-9 months).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Barack Obama Versus Who? McBush, Bushcain or John McCain - Now It Starts!

The Presidential Primary campaigns are over and the general election has begun between Senator Obama and President Bush now seeking his third term in office. Oops - my mistake. I meant between Senators Obama and McCain but it is hard to find much of a difference between the President and Senator McCain since Senator McCain started to run for the 2008 Presidency.

You Tube video of John McCain debating himself on supporting President Bush from jedreport

Senators Obama and McCain had their first joint appearance, though interviewed separately, at Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum On The Presidency last Saturday. Transcript of the event is here and video here.

The 2008 Presidential campaign has started. More election information from a variety of news and opinion sources can be found at Real Clear Politics.


Man Falls on Subway Track, Excessive Spitting, Unauthorized Move-Out and Other Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incidents For Week of 8/11- 18/08

You tube Video of Man being pulled up from Subway tracks after having fallen from platform for illustrative purposes only. Not actual Roosevelt Island incident

On Saturday night, I noticed several Fire and Police Department vehicles parked next to the Roosevelt Island subway station and inquired of an officer what was happening. He told me that a person fell onto the subway tracks and was being transported to the hospital. Saturday's Roosevelt Island Public Safety report adds this:
Aided- Person fell in the subway tracks and removed by Anonomos person. Aided sustained injury to shin and was transported to the Hospital by EMS.
In the back of every subway rider's mind, at one time or another, is the concern of being pushed or falling onto the subway tracks. At the same time we also wonder what we would do if this happened to someone else in our presence. Would we be willing and able to help that person off the subway track and back onto the platform even if there was an oncoming train approaching? At least in Saturday's Roosevelt Island incident there was an anonymous person willing to do so. Good job to whoever was responsible!

Other public safety incidents on Roosevelt Island this past week included a summons for repeated and excessive spitting (8/15), an unauthorized move out at Manhattan Park (8/16), an investigation into a bus driver not picking up a passenger (8/15) and breaking up a fight between two groups at the basketball court (8/13).

The Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Incidents for 8/11 - 8/18/08 are below
and for some contrast, here's a report from Curbed on "Pandamonium"at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg last Saturday night.

8/11/08-7:00 AM to 8/12/08-7:00 AM
Alarm Response/Unsecured Premise-School checked by PSD in order. School Personnel notified. It was checked until secured by School Personnel.
Domestic Dispute- PSD and NYPD responded. No injuries. NYPD prepared a report.
Investigation- Unknown person threw garbage on to a patio. Search for the subject yielded negative results. U'S notified.
Criminal Mischief- Door lock tampered with. No entry. search for the subject yielded negative results. U'S replaced the lock.
Criminal Mischief- Broken Window. Search for the subject yielded negative results. U'S Super notified.
Hazardous Condition- Broken Avac chute door unsecured wire box. U'S Super notified.
Hazardous Condition- Smell of gas. PSD and U'S responded. U'S corrected condition with the stove. No injuries.
Alcohol Open Container/Unlawful Possession of Marijuana- Subject arrested by PSD.
Aided- 3 Males stuck in an elevator. Central Parking and PSD got the out. No injuries and EMS refused. The elevator was put out of service.
Oder of Protection- NYPD served papers to the subject. He was then removed by NYPD. Later the subject returns and is arrested by PSD.

8/12/08-70:00 AM to 8/13/08-7:00 AM
Aided-An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Investigation- NYPD notified of possible missing. But mother wanted to wait to see if teenager returns. NYPD report refused.
Vehicle Damage- A vehicle parking caused minor damage. Owners will handle the situation on their own. No injuries. NYPD refused.
Graffiti- In handball courts and the basketball courts. Search for the subject yielded negative results and Grounds notified and corrected the condition.
Graffiti- On the 4th floor. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.
Petit larceny- A child's Bicycle was taken. Search for the Subject and bicycle yielded negative results.
NYPD refused.
Criminal Possession of Marijuana- Subject searched and a forged green card was found. NYPD arrested the subject.
Unsecured vehicle- Owner notified and secured the vehicle.
Family Dispute- Between mother and daughter over curfew. PSD responded matter resolved. No injuries.
Alcohol Open Container-Subject arrested by PSD.
Graffiti- In stairwell 4 "W". Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.
Unsecured Premise- Stairwell door to building found open. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

0700 hrs. 8/13/08. tru 0700 hrs. 8/14/08.
Unsecured Premisses - Officer observed rear stairwell door left open. Search made with negative results
Aided - Female reported having Stomach pains. EMS transported to hospital.
Aided - Female reported having chest pains on the RIOC red bus, also pregnant. EMS transported to hospital.
Missing Person - NYPD and PSD made search for group home youth with negative results. PSD observed youth on Main St and escorted back. NYPD Notified.
Found Property - Anon male reported to Officer book left behind. Secured in PSD.
Aided - Doorman called PSD officer requesting officer for a 6 yr old female child. Upon arrival father on scene reported she fell hitting door causing injuries to head. EMS transported to hospital.
Aided - PSD Officer reported he stepped off curb into a hole in the road causing pain to the left ankle. Transported to the Hospital.
Hazardous Condition - Female tenant reported to a PSD Officer tenant above her was throwing objects into her patio. Officer observed rubbish in patio. Super advised.
Fight/Dispute PSD Officer observed two groups of Youths playing basketball, fighting. Officer requested additional Officers, upon arrival groups of youths dispersed.

0700 hrs 08/14/08 - 0700 hrs 08/15/08
Missing persons - NYPD reported that two youths ran away from group home on Island. Search was made with negative results.
Open container - PSD officers observed two subjects drinking alcohol in public. Both subjects were issued summonses

8/15/08-7:00 AM to 8/16/08-7:00 AM
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Criminal Mischief- Window shattered in a vehicle. Search for the subject yielded negative results NYPD refused.
Trespass- PSD arrested a subject.
Criminal Mischief- Window of Vehicle was broken. Search for the subject yielded negative results. Complainant to notify NYPD.
Criminal Mischief- Vehicle scratched. Complainant stated it was there a few days. It may have occurred off Island. NYPD refused.
Alcohol/Open Container- Subject arrested by PSD.
Criminal Mischief- Bus Shelter's two windows scattered. Caution tape placed on it. Search conducted for the subject with negative results. RIOC Notified.
Investigation- Complaint that BUS Driver did not pick up a passenger. Bus Supervisor notified.
Spitting- Subject warned numerous times. But he continued to do so and was issued a summon.
Unlawful Possession of Marijuana/Open Container/Littering in Public- Subject arrested by PSD.
Alcohol Open Container/Littering in public/Unreasonable Noise from Vehicle-2 Subjects arrested by PSD.

8/16/08-7:00 AM to 8/17/08-7:00 AM
Unauthorized Move Out- PSD and Mann Park Supr responded and corrected the condition.
Lost Property- A wallet. Owner retrieved it in store. Money was missing. Store Owner gave owner money which was left on the counter.
Alcohol Open Container- 3 subjects arrested by PSD.
Aided- During a baseball game a youth sustained an a laceration to forehead and was transported to the Hospital by EMS.
Violation of an Order of Protection- Subject entered apt and threatened spouse. PSD responded and conducted a search for him with negative results. NYPD responded and report was done.
Alcohol Open Container- 2 subjects arrested by PSD.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Aided- Person fell in the subway tracks and removed by Anonomos person. Aided sustained injury to shin and was transported to the Hospital by EMS.
Unlawful possession of Marijuana- Subject arrested by PSD.
Assisted in Arrest by NYPD- PSD assisted NYPD on an arrest.
Domestic Incident Report- PSD and NYPD responded. No injuries. NYPD did report.
Open Container Alcohol/ Disorderly Conduct- 4 subjects arrested by PSD.
Damaged Property-Bench rotted out due to normal ware and tear( water from the west sea wall). Caution tape put around it. RIOC to be notified.
Criminal Mischief/Disorderly Conduct/ Aided- a subject arrested by PSD. Another subject complained of chest pain and EMS responded. Transport to the Hospital was refused. The third subject could not be identified by witness.

8/17/08-7:00 AM to 8/18/08-7:00 AM
Family Dispute- PSD and NYPD responded. No injuries. NYPD report done.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Unsecured Vehicle- Window open. Unable to notify the owner. PSD periodically checked the vehicle.
Hazardous Condition- Gasoline Container with a quart of gasoline in the building. It was removed and taken to the Mini Bus Garage.
Suspicious person- Exited stairwell door. PSD responded and male had left. NYPD refused.
Criminal Mischief- Broken glass and door kicked in. PSD posted. RIOC to be notified.