Friday, August 29, 2008

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City - Outdoor Central Park Movie, Coney Island Rockabilly and Hudson River Tugboat Race + Darlington County

New York City Skyline image from trip advisor

Looking for things to do in New York City this Labor Day Weekend? Nothing much happening on Roosevelt Island this weekend but here are some other suggestions.

Later tonight Moonstruck will be playing at the Central Park Film Festival. Gates at Rumsey Playfield open at 6PM.

On Saturday, head down to Coney Island for the weekend long Rockabilly Festival.

On Sunday, the Working Harbor Committee is holding the Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition on the Hudson River starting at 9:30 AM. Also, If you can make it down to South Carolina on Sunday there is the Darlington Historic Racing Festival. I know nothing about stockers, roadsters and sprint cars but it is a good excuse to play Bruce Springsteen's song Darlington County. One of my favorites.

You tube video of Bruce Springsteen's Darlington County

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.

Take The Downtown Train With Tom Waits & The Coney Island Warriors But Be Advised No Manhattan Bound F Trains From Roosevelt Island This Weekend

Image of The Warriors in subway car from Fader

Transportation options will be the same this weekend as it was last for Roosevelt Island as the MTA is reporting no Manhattan bound F trains from Roosevelt Island this weekend. You would think that the MTA would not interrupt subway service on a holiday weekend like Labor Day unless there was an urgent need.

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.

For all those who miss downtown subway service from Roosevelt Island this weekend you can take a trip here on a downtown train with Tom Waits accompanied by The Warriors of Coney Island.

You Tube Video of Tom Waits Downtown Train Train with the Warriors

The Warriors is one of my favorite all time NYC movie films. If you haven't seen, rent it.

You Tube Video of Warriors Trailer

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton Delegates United And Healed At The Convention - Looking Forward to Tonight's Acceptance Speech

Healing the Democrats with Jon Stewart and John Oliver from the Daily Show

Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano is attending the Democratic Convention in Denver and blogging about it at the great New York political site, Room 8. According to Mr. Serrano, the Democratic Party delegates, including Hillary Clinton supporters, are united behind Barack Obama. From Room 8:
... From my vantage point – the New York Delegation seats – I was hard-pressed to find anyone sitting on their hands, or otherwise looking dissatisfied with the process. It's as clear as the Mile High air that Dems are united behind Obama.

Any hurt feelings over Clinton not getting the nomination, or not being selected veep, is red meat for the pundits, but hasn't exactly carried over to the mass of delegates (and we're the ones that matter most in this regard).

One telling sign: I overheard that some national reporters were scrounging around looking for delegates to get on camera and voice their displeasure with Obama. But they couldn't find anyone willing to do it.

At a certain point you have to ask whether a small segment of pundits go out and write the story / set the tone before they even take out their notebook...

I Want To Ride My Bicycle But Can't If It's Stolen on Roosevelt Island - Some Bike Theft Prevention Ideas and A Visit from Bicycle Repair Man

You Tube Video of Queen's Bicycle Race Song

In response to this post on recent Roosevelt Island bicycle thefts, several readers have offered suggestions on preventing your bike from being stolen including etching the bike with some form of identification and using a kryptonite lock.
...make sure to lock the front wheel to the frame and something sturdy (ie Bike Rack). It's also never a bad idea to lock your back wheel as well. There are many different products out there. Kryponite is what most people use and it is a good deterent. But in the end, it's easier to just bring the bike inside with you.
Another reader commented:
You know what I do not understand in this city? NYC is such a bike-unfriendly place in the first place and you still have to always fear that somebody will steal your bike. Is there a way to register your bicycle with the police? I come from a European country where all bicycles have a serial number (similar to the VIN here) and if your bike is stolen (which doesn't happen that often) it is harder to resell them.
I inquired of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra if there was a way to register bikes on Roosevelt Island and he advises:
Our Youth Officer can etch a numeric onto the bike and that numeric is logged with Public Safety. If a stolen bike is recovered (and is etched), it will be returned to it's rightful owner.
In the event of your stolen bike being found and returned, it may have become damaged If so, Mr. F.G Superman a/k/a Bicycle Repair Man can help.

You Tube Video of Monty Python's Bicycle Repair Man skit

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Barack Obama Acceptance Speech Party on Roosevelt Island - Watch Olberman, Scarborough and the Other Pundits Get The Shovels Out

Image from

A fellow Roosevelt Island resident and Barack Obama supporter sends along the following invitation:
I wanted to let you know that my boyfriend and I are having a DNC watch party on Thursday night in my apartment. If you want to post it on RooseveltIslander that would be great. I'll have some snacks and "Baracktails" (haha). Hopefully we can get some Islanders there and sign up anyone who's interested in doing campaigning trips/fundraising/voter registation/phonebanking. My apt is a small one bedroom, but we have a fairly sizable TV, so the more people we can cram in the merrier!
If anyone is interested please RSVP to carly.fraser at

Keith Olberman and Joe Scarborough had an interesting dialogue on MSNBC last night discussing the present state of the horse race between Obama and McBush- I mean McCain. Here's You Tube video of the Get the Shovel Joe exchange. I think Chris Mathews was right with what he said at the end of the video - it was shovel to shovel.

UPDATE 8/31: Here's the video of Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

Blackwell House Broken Windows - What Is the Future For This Roosevelt Island Landmark?

Image of Blackwell House back porch

I received a message and these photos from a reader showing the back porch of Blackwell House with the broken windows pictured below. I asked RIOC President Steve Shane the following:
A reader sent in some pictures of broken windows in the back portion of Blackwell's House. Is the responsibility for fixing the windows with RIOC or Historical Society? Any idea when they might get fixed? Also, has any decision regarding the ultimate use of Blackwell House been determined yet? If the house was being used or had a live-in caretaker, acts of vandalism would be less likely. Perhaps something similar to the plans for the Hamilton Grange House in Harlem might be possible.

Image of Blackwell House broken window

Mr. Shane response:
Fixing the window is RIOC's responsibility. The matter of a live in custodian has been thoroughly discussed, but is very problematic because of the condition of Blackwell House.
Mr. Shane followed up with:
Glazer was there yesterday to measure. Should be installed by Friday.
Good job in responding to broken window but at what point will the condition of Blackwell House be such that it can be used for some purpose other than just staring at it?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

RIOC Seeking Real Estate Development Counsel - For What?

RIOC has just issued a Request for Proposals/Bids for a real estate development counsel. According to the RFP:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation State of New York ("RIOC") seeks Development Counsel for development projects on Roosevelt Island. Development
Counsel shall advise, assist and represent RIOC with respect to real estate
transactions, litigation, land use, environmental review, housing and commercial
matters, negotiations with developers, lessors, licensees and other grovernmental
bodies, and such other special projects as RIOC may from time to time assign.
Services rendered to RIOC may include: negotiation of real estate transactions,
drafting of site control and/or designation letters, development agreements, ground
lease agreements and other necessary and related documents; reviewing documents
that may include but are not limited to: financing agreements, mortgages, contracts
or any other related documents; advising and counseling RIOC with respect to
environmental review and regulatory and compliance requirements; advising and
counseling RIOC with respect to construction matters; representing RIOC in
litigation; representing RIOC at meetings and conferences in connection with the
foregoing; representing RIOC in any other related matter whether directly or
indirectly related to the development and construction of any development project
on Roosevelt Island; and preparing and/or reviewing requests for proposals for
development projects on Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island, NY 10044 (212)832-4540 ...
I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane if this RFP for a real estate development counsel indicated a change in the development policy for Roosevelt Island as represented by this earlier statement regarding the proposed Riviera project by Mr Shane:
To my understanding, the 5500+/- units to exist on completion of Southtown will be the end of development.
Mr. Shane replies that the development policy for Roosevelt Island has not changed.
Absolutely not. Our real estate development counsel, to be on board as preapproved, would be available for the ground lease negotiation with the developer of buildings 7,8 and 9, the possible development of the Sportspark and Tennis complex, lease extensions for the Wire buildings, etc.
Building 7,8 and 9 refer to the unbuilt portion of Hudson/Related's Riverwalk project in Southtown. Here is additional information from the Main Street WIRE on the possible development of the Sportspark and tennis complex as well as earlier posts on why I thought the license extension for the Roosevelt Island Racket Club from the year 2031 to 2046 was very ill advised, a bad deal for RIOC and Roosevelt Island. (Correction - earlier version of this post did not include license extension date to 2046) Also, some background on the lease extensions for WIRE buildings.

In addition to the real estate development counsel RFP, RIOC is also seeking a Labor & Employment Counsel. RIOC is certainly trying to make some lawyers happy.

UPDATE 12:45 - Mr. Shane takes exception to the last sentence of this post regarding "making some lawyers happy". He writes:
Your recent blog is really ridiculous. The point of an RFP is to seek the best prices for services to be rendered. Paying competative prices for services rendered is not a prescription for making anyone particularly happy in the venal, sneering, snide voice of your commentary. Have you nothing better to offer?
I replied to him as follows:
I am sorry if you interpreted the last sentence as being "venal', "sneering" etc. That was not the intent, never is. Ask some other people at RIOC if they felt the same way. It was merely a comment relating to our over lawyered society and not directed at this partricular RFP.
I will post your comment on blog if you have no objection and see if others feel the same way you do.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bicycle Thefts on Roosevelt Island - Easy To Do and Difficult To Stop - Even With A Beautiful Roosevelt Island Rainbow

Image of Subway Plaza Bike Rack from AM New York #13

According to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety report for Friday, August 22, two bicycles were stolen from their owners. One from in front of the Trellis Diner and the other by the Tramway Courtyard.

Here is how easy it is to steal a bicycle during the day in plain sight of many people, including the police, using a variety of tools.

You Tube video demonstrating how easy it is to steal a bicycle

How to make bike thefts more difficult. An interesting idea from gizmodo via treehugger. Bike trees with fingerprint identification keep bikes off the ground away from potential robbers.
And another idea for preventing bike thefts - the "Bike Cuff":
... designed to be used with another lock. Like "The Club" for cars, the Bike Cuff is a theft deterrent. It takes care of securing the front wheel and the frame, and in the process immobilizes steering at a 40 45 degree angle. The tight adjustable fit was inspired by handcuffs. This reduces space for insertion of pry tools and cable cutters.
Here's the rest of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety reports for August 18 -25 including the investigation of a professional photographer taking pictures without a permit (8/19) and criminal impersonation regarding apartment application ( 8/18).

8/18/08-7:00 AM to 8/19/08-7:00 AM

Custody/Visitation- Mother did not bring child for visit with father. he will go to Family Court.
Hazardous Condition- A broken Fire Hydrant. Caution tape put around it. DEP notified.
Unsecured Vehicle- Unable to contact the owner. PSD checked periodically.
Unsecured apt- Keys left on door. PSD knocked on door no answer. The apt door was locked and keys secured in PSD.
Criminal Impersonation/Petit larceny-regarding an apt. 2 Check given to subject and application with personal information. PSD checked with actual Rental Company Personnel who confirmed subjects not with rental co. Victim referred to NYPD.
Hazardous Condition- Shopping cart blocking the stairway. UA porter notified and removed it.
Family Dispute- Between sisters. scratches sustained. One taken to the Hospital for Psychological evaluation. NYPD unable to respond due to back log of jobs. The other refused EMS.
Loitering- F/O building. PSD to monitor area.
Burglary- Access gained to building through an open window. Items thrown about. NYPD refused and locks changed.
Unsecured Premises- Rear door open. The lock was broken. Search for subject yielded negative results. Officer monitored the building.

8/19/08-7:00 AM to 8/20-08-7:00AM

Criminal Mischief- Unknown Subject kicked in building door. Lock was damaged. Search for the subject yielded negative results. RIOC repaired the lock.
Investigation- Professional Photographer taking photos without a RIOC permit. He was referred to RIOC.
Possible Aided- Person complained of back pain but refused EMS. He was escorted home.
Unsecured Premises- Basement door left open. Search made and it was in order. the door was secured.
Found Property- A driver's license was secured in PSD.

8/20/08-7:00 Am to 8/21/08-7:00AM

Fire Alarm- In Eastwood. Cigarette thrown in Avac Chute. UA Corrected condition. No property damage . No injuries.
Criminal Mischief- hole in the wall. Search conducted for the subject with negative results. UA notified.
Aided- Worker of South town accidently caused a rock to stricke a female. No visible injuries and EMS refused. Worker was using a weed waker.
Grand Larceny- (Off Island)- RI resident reported on the subway between 50th and 57th street unknown subject opened zipper on back Pack and took wallet. She will notify NYPD on her own,
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Graffiti- On the 7th floor in the hallway. search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.
Alcohol/Open Container- 2 subjects arrested by PSD.
Unlawful Possession of MARIJUANA- Subject arrested by PSD.
Smoke Condition- small paper burning in the hallway. It was extinguished by PSD. UA notified.
Search for the subject yielded negative results.
Alcohol/Open Container- 2 subjects arrested by PSD.

0700 hrs. Thursday August 21 St. 2008 tru 0700 hrs. Friday August 22nd. 2008.

Arrest - Male and Female Subjects summonsed for open container.
Smoke Condition - PSD Responded to 560 7th floor for a small paper fire. Fire extinguished.
Investigation - Father of a 2 year son reported to PSD that a male subject called him harassing him about his son.
Investigation - Camp counselor at PS 217 reported a 6 yr. old child not feeling well. Youth officer notified mother of child and picked up child. EMS refused.
Court Order/Escort - PSD Escorted male subject to apartment to retrieve some belongings.
Aided - Female tenant stated to PSD officer of having chest pains. EMS Refused by tenant.
Found Property - PSD Observed a set of keys on the sidewalk. Secured keys at PSD Office.
Arrest - Three male subjects summonsed. Two for illegal possession of marihuana one for loitering in public.

0700 hrs. Friday August 22nd 2008 tru 0700 hrs. Saturday August 23rd 2008
Unsecured vehicle - PSD Observed vehicle with windows left opened. Motorgate Office notified.
Unattended Bicycle - RIOC employ left bicycle at Tram courtyard when he returned the bicycle was no longer there. PSD made search with negative results.
Unsecured Vehicle - PSD observed vehicle with windows left opened. Motorgate Office notified.
Graffiti - PSD Officer observed inside stairwell walls and ceiling. Super notified. Search for subjects made with negative results.
Hazardous Condition - NYPD notified PSD of manhole cover that fell into drain hole. RIOC notified condition corrected.
Criminal Possession of marihuana - NYPD Officer reported male subject under arrest. PSD Transported to 114th Pct.
Trespass / Open container - PSD Officer responded for roof alarm. Upon arrival observed Male and Female subjects at location. PSD Issued summonses for Violation.
Escort - PSD Escorted female subject to apartment to retrieve personal property.
Disable Vehicle - PSD assisted in moving vehicle out of street to the side out of the way of traffic. Owner notified tow truck.
Missing Property - Female walked into PSD to report while sitting inside Trellis left bike unsecured outside. Search made with negative results.
Found Property - Female walked into PSD to reported items found inside lobby of 546 Main St.

8/23/08-7:00 AM to 8/24/08-7:00 AM
Unlawful Possession of Marijuana- 2 Subjects arrested by PSD.
Harassment-Complainant stated subject locked her out. PSD responded. Maid opened the door . Subject had left.
Investigation- Suspicious Females found at the Senior Center by the computers. When approached by Senior Member they left. Computers where unplugged but nothing missing.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Found Property- A wallet was secured in PSD.
Alcohol/Open Container- 3 Subjects arrested by PSD.
Investigation- Alarm in apt was set off. PSD and Super Mann Park responded. Tenant inside was fine and accidently set alarm off.
Unsecured Vehicle- In the Garage. The windows were open and radio was on. Vehicle was illegally parked and issued a summons.
Verbal Dispute- Between passenger of cab and the driver. PSD and NYPD responded and passenger made payment of fare.

8/24/08-7:00 AM to 8/25/08-7:00 AM
Criminal Mischief- Lock on apt door slightly bent. NYPD refused. Search for the subject made with negative results. UA to be notified by the tenant to change the lock.
Aided- 2 persons accidently stuck in the locked boiler room. Maintenance responded and persons refused EMS.
Found Property- Envelope with a check. It was secured in PSD.
Missing- A youth of a group home. Search yielded negative results. NYPD responded.

Did you see the rainbow in the AM New York picture of subway bike racks? Very nice!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interesting Links

Commuter Ferry is nice but Cheapskate prefers the train. (Wall Street Journal)
Neighborhood Profile of Roosevelt Island. (AM New York)
Strategies for negotiating good deal if bumped off airline flight. (NY Times)
Awesome View For Rooftop Films Outdoor Movie at Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park - But Watch Out for the Mosquitoes. (Journey of the Mundane)
Roosevelt Island as model for Governors Island jurisdiction between Manhattan and Brooklyn? (Roosevelt Island 360)
Did Bruce Springsteen help bring down the Berlin War? (Variety)
Roosevelt Island is kind of a Utopia. (Living the Scientific Life)
Taxman may be blamed for increased Zip Car costs. (Wall Street Journal)
Some cool Roosevelt Island photos. (Skyscraper Life)