Friday, November 21, 2008

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City and Roosevelt Island - Punk Movie Festival and Auction, Ice Skating, Cheese Fondue & RI Guided Tour

Image of Cheese Fondue Takedown from Chili Takedown

Looking for fun things to do on Roosevelt Island or in some other part of New York City this weekend? Here are some suggestions.

Starting today, Brooklyn's BAM cinematek will be featuring a Punk Rock movie series starting with the film Breaking Glass. According to the NY Times:
THE movies never took too kindly to punk, but that’s only fair: punk never took kindly to anything. The whole movement, style, attitude, whatever you want to call it — the punks didn’t care — came into being in the mid-’70s and flamed out fast. Like a song by the Ramones or the Sex Pistols, it was over before you knew what hit you. In a way, the extremely peculiar film series called Punk ’n’ Pie, which begins Friday at BAMcinĂ©matek in Brooklyn, demonstrates pretty conclusively that punk remains, three decades later, defiantly resistant to definition, still pogoing so furiously that the camera can’t quite keep it in focus.
If you need to fulfill more of your interest in Punk Rock, Christies is holding a Punk Rock Auction Extravaganza with items from Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, The Ramones and many others that can be viewed this weekend at their Rockefeller Center location prior to the auction.

On Saturday, the American Museum of Natural History debuts a new polar skating rink made from synthetic ice. Other ice skating options include Wollman and Lasker Rinks in Central Park, Bryant Park Skating Rink and Brooklyn's Prospect Park rink where I first learned to skate many years ago.

After all that ice skating, you need some food. On Sunday head on down to Union Pool in Williamsburg for the Cheese Fondue takedown. For $10, you can eat and judge:
The Most Important Fondue Contest In NYC!!
On Roosevelt Island this weekend, the Farmers Market will be open on Saturday as is Gallery RIVAA, the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association currently showing Georgette Sinclair's Great Escapes. Also, RIOC has produced a great self guided tour map (PDF File) of Roosevelt Island for any visitor or resident looking to stroll the Island and learn something more about it.

Good weekend transportation news. The MTA is reporting normal Roosevelt Island F Train subway service in both directions and RIOC is not reporting any Tram advisories.

Check out some other ideas on what to do in New York City this weekend from the NY Times Urban Eye, NY Post Weekend Calendar and Newyorkology.

Roosevelt Island Winter Indoor Swimming With the Marlins - Next Stop Outdoors With the Coney Island Polar Bears?

You Tube Video of Coney Island Polar Bears

It's a little bit cold outside so for most of us thoughts don't naturally come to the idea of when and where can I get my swimming in. Fortunately for some, the folks at the Roosevelt Island Marlins do think of winter swimming and want you to know about their new December swimming schedule. Don't worry, the Roosevelt Island swimming is indoors at the Sportspark or Westview pools not outdoors in the East River but it may be good practice should you decided to try out and join the Coney Island Polar Bears.

Let's get into the POOL!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roosevelt Island Tram Design Cabin Survey - Which Cabin Do You Like?

RIOC is conducting an online poll to determine which of these four Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin designs are most prefered by the public for the Tramway Modernization Project. No additional information regarding whether the tram cabins are of equal characteristics other than appearance is provided in the poll

Take the poll here and view web casts of RIOC Board meetings concerning the Roosevelt Island Tramway Modernization Project as well.

RIOC should also consider polling the Tram Cabin names. The Carvatech, Gangloff, Sigma and Sigma Square just does not seem very rider friendly. Any suggestions?

I think I prefer Roosevelt Island's version of the Mountain Glider - The River Glider

You Tube Video of Mountain Glider

Holiday Lights For Roosevelt Island But Not For The Bronx Zoo If Wildlife Conservation Society Has Its Way

Roosevelt Island Holiday Light decorations were being put up on Main Street yesterday. With the chill in the air, Thanksgiving arriving next week, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree standing but not yet lit, it's starting to feel like the Holiday Season is almost here.

The Roosevelt Island Holiday/Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held at Blackwell Plaza Thursday December 11. This is what it was like last year.

Roosevelt Island Santa Claus Image by Alexis Villafane

Roosevelt Island Blackwell House Christmas Tree Image from Roosevelt Island 360

There was a brief discussion during the November RIRA meeting concerning RIRA's contributing funds for the Main Street's Holiday Lights. Although the funding was approved due to the overwhelming support of RIRA's newly elected delegates, one of the new RIRA delegates objected to the idea of any Main Street Holiday Lights because of the additional use of electricity it would cause and increased carbon footprint.

Well, RIRA did not heed this delegate's call to put out the Holiday Lights but unfortunately the Bronx Zoo has done so. According to the Daily News:
The Bronx Zoo is pulling the plug on its annual Holiday Lights Show to save electricity - not just money.

Zoo officials said it's part of an ongoing effort to reduce its "carbon footprint" and make the festival cleaner and greener.

The light show - a nighttime wonderland of animal sculptures in lights - draws up to 100,000 visitors each holiday season.
I think this decision by the Bronx Zoo to cancel their annual Holiday Lights festival in order to reduce the carbon footprint is ridiculous and completely out of proportion to the very real environmental problem that does exist. New York City and State as well as the nation are going through some very difficult economic problems now and traditions light the Lights help people get through them. Should Rockefeller Center also cancel their Christmas Tree lighting?

What a bunch of Scrooges and Mr. Potters.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Roosevelt Island Monthly Public Safety Incidents For September 2008 and Daily Incidents for November 10 -18

I received the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report for the month of September 2008. It includes the type and number of incidents occurring in September and prior months this year as well as, in certain instances, the location. Through September 2008, there have been 1303 Public Safety call for services/responses of which the largest number 491, have been for aiding or transporting ill people.

Also, below are the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports for November 10 - November 19 2008. Incidents included:
  • Food Delivery man approached and felt threatened (11/10)
  • Shoplifting (11/11, 18)
  • Teenager assaulted (11/11)
  • Aided concerned friend checking on condition of another resident (11/12)
  • Digital camera lost and later found by another resident (11/12-13)
  • Assisted NYPD with possession of illegal narcotics arrest (11/14)
  • Spotted Eastwood (Roosevelt Landings) hole in wall (11/10, 15,16) and
  • Assisted NYPD with detaining suspects in off-island robbery (11/-18)
11/10/08-7:00 AM to 11/11/08-7:00 AM
Missing Property- Box with Tee Shirts left in the thrift Store. Upon owner's arrival it was missing. NYPD refused. Search for the property done with negative results.
Stuck Elevator- No one inside. UA notified and put it out of service.
Summons Served- Family Court papers served by PSD pertaining to a custody matter without incident.
Criminal Mischief- A hole in the wall. UA notified. Search for the subject yielded negative results. NYPD refused.
Missing Property- Door Mat. Search for the property yielded negative results. NYPD refused.
Disorderly Conduct- 3 Subjects arrested by PSD.
Investigation- Food Delivery Man was approached by 2 Subjects and he felt threatened. Delivery man left area and notified PSD. NYPD refused. He was advised to contact PSD when making deliveries if he feels uncomfortable. Search for the subjects conducted with negative results.

11/11/08-7:00 AM to 11/12/08-7:00 AM
Aided- Male stated he had pain in legs but refused EMS. He will see his private Doctor.
Criminal Mischief- Fence knocked down in Park. RIOC grounds repaired it. Search for the subject yielded negative results.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
False Alarm- At Building. FDNY and PSD responded. No damage and no smoke condition. All in order.
Assault- A teenager struck another in the face with a closed fist and fled. Search for the subject yielded negative results. NYPD responded and prepared a report. EMS refused By parent.
Missing Property- An Electronic game. Parent checked with friend of her son and it was not found. NYPD refused.
Shop Lifting/Poss of Marijuana- At Duane Reade Store. PSD responded and apprehended 4 subjects. One of which had possession of Marijuana. All arrested by PSD

11/12/08-7:00 AM to 11/13/08-7:00 AM
Possible Aided- Concerned friend had not seen Island Resident in a few days with various Medical Conditions. PSD searched the Island. She later walked by. She was fine.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Hazardous Condition- A Metal plate was bent by a Van. RIOC Engineer replaced the metal plate and caution tape and cones were put around the area.
Lost Property- A digital Camera-. It was secured by PSD.

0700 hrs 11/13/08 - 0700 hrs 11/14/08
Lost property - Person reported to PSD to report he found a digital camera. Property locked inside sgt cabinet.
Property damage - Motorist made u-turn on Main Street causing damage to stop sign. Summons was issued. Motorist information was taken for report.
Harassment - Female victim reported to PSD that she was pushed by another female because victim removed clothes from machine. Both parties left before NYPD responded. Both parties will go to pct. on their own.
Criminal Mischief - Unknown subject broke window inside apt. building. Search was made with negative results.

11/14/08 0700hrs- 11/15/08 0700hrs
Vehicle Accident- Male subject struck RIOC parked bus, both vehicles sustained damaged. Subject refused medical attention. NYPD notified PSD supervisors notified.
Aided- Female felt ill, PSD responded along with EMS. Aided transported to Mount Sinai Hospital.
Aided- Social service has not been able to contact elderly tenant in three days. PSD officer responds to apartment with Super no one answers, they entered apartment no one was home. Super secured door.
Aided- Male felt dizzy mother called 911. PSD and EMS responded. Aided transported to Mount Sinai.
Family Court Papers- mother of child on island to serve child father Family court Warrant of Arrest papers. PSD attempted to serve subject was not on island.
Unsecured Doors- PSD officer while on patrol observed two bike room doors unsecured, officer secured doors. Super notified.
Hazardous Condition- While patrolling the Motorgate PSD officer observed lights out on levels 4 & 5. Motorgate attendee notified.
Unsecured Vehicle- While patrolling Motorgate PSD officer observed a vehicle with the drivers side window down. Motorgate office notified, owner notified, condition corrected.
Criminal Possession- PSD assisted CPOP NYPD on an arrest of illegal narcotics. Two males transported to the 114th precinct for process.

11/15/08-7:00 AM to 11/16/08-7:00 AM
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Disorderly Conduct- Subject arrested by PSD.
Found Property- ATM Bank card. It was secured by PSD.
Panhandling-Subject Arrested by PSD.
Hazardous Condition- Bed left in the hallway. UA notified and removed it.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Criminal Mischief- Holes in the wall. UA notified. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

11/16/08-7:00 AM to 11/17/08-7:00 AM
Aided-An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Stuck Elevator- No one inside. UA notified and corrected the condition.
Criminal Mischief- Hole in the wall. Q7 Stairwell. UA notified. Search for the subject yielded negative results.
Criminal Mischief- "K4" Stairwell. The cable box was broken. Search for the subject yielded negative results. Service

November 17th, 2008 7:00 AM to November 18th, 2008 7:00 AM
Criminal Mischief - While on patrol officer noticed a wall broken in staircase. Urban American notified.
Criminal Mischief - While on patrol officer noticed a cable box damaged. Unable to identify what company box belongs to. Urban American notified.
Investigation - Officers responded for a possible dispute. Upon arrival parties had left area.
Aided - Coler Hospital was bleeding from his foot. He received medical attention at Coler Hospital.
Criminal Mischief - Motorgate attendant reports vehicle which has a lien on it was vandalized. Owner notified and reports property missing from vehicle. Search conducted of area with negative results. NYPD refused.
Criminal Mischief - Motorgate attendant reports vehicle vandalized. Search of area conducted with negative results.
Aided - Male slipped from his wheelchair. EMS responds and lifts male back into chair. He refused medical attention / transport.
Aided - Male fell on ground and sustained a laceration. EMS called and he was transported hospital.
Criminal Mischief - Female reports damaged done to her doorbell by youths. Area searched with negative results. Urban American notified.
Family Court Papers - Father escorted by PSD to have papers served on mother of his children. Papers served without incident.
Noise Complaints - Tenant complaining of constant noise from a neighbor at various times. Urban American notified.
Family Court Warrant - Male was picked up by PSD for open warrant and processed at Family Court.
Aided - Officer responded with NYPD and EMS for a possible EDP. Male was transported to Cornell hospital for evaluation.

11/18/08-7:00 AM to 11/19/087:00 AM
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
RIOC Alarm- RIOC Employee for got to shut off the alarm. PSD responded and premises in order and alarm shut off.
Possible Shop Lifter- Group of youth entered and exited the store. PSD responded and conducted a search with negative results.
NYPD Investigation- PSD provided access to facilities for NYPD to detain 3 subjects pertaining to a Robbery Off Island.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.
Aided- Female touched dry ice and complained of pain. EMS responded and she refused transport to the Hospital.
Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.

You Tube Video of Doink Doink from Law and Order

Roosevelt Island Office Hours For Elected Officials, City Council Member Jessica Lappin Will Be Here Monday November 24 - Tell Her What You Think

Image of Council Member Jessica Lappin

I received the following message from New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin's office.

Council Member Jessica Lappin

Roosevelt Island

Office Hours

Monday, November 24th

3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Roosevelt Island Senior Center

Meet with Council Member Lappin to share your thoughts and concerns about life on Roosevelt Island.

If you can’t make it but still have something to share with the Council Member, please feel free to call (212) 980-1808 or e-mail

I hope that Ms. Lappin will start conducting regular office hours for Roosevelt Island. Currently, Assembly Member Kellner has weekly Thursday and State Senator Serrano monthly Tuesday Roosevelt Island constituent meetings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meet Roosevelt Island's Eco- Friendly Octagon With Free Rent Through End of Year!

Octagon Building Image From Urban Baby Daily

Our friends over at Curbed are showcasing Roosevelt Island's own Octagon today after viewing a Craigslist ad describing a "Live Green" 2 bedroom 2 bath rental for $3529 a month with free rent through the end of 2008. According to Curbed:
Aw, look: The Octagon's gone green. Bucking recent trends in political rhetoric, New York's favorite Roosevelt Island asylum-cum-haunted development, has dropped it's former "FDR approved!" schtick for a safer, snugglier, more environmentally-sound marketing campaign. Branding the dev as a "full-service Eco-friendly Landmark building," the Octagon boasts a community garden, a Zip Car fleet, and daycare for the kiddies -- feel-good services for these uncertain (but certainly depressing) economic times....
Here's a previous post on life at the Octagon and other Roosevelt Island buildings.

RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting On Main Street Retail Disgrace, Thursday November 20 - Community Invited To Share Views

Image of Roosevelt Island Main Street from Wikipedia

We all know that the long vacant retail stores on Roosevelt Island's Main Street are a disgrace and blight on the community. I can't even remember how many years it has been since these stores were occupied. The reason given for the inability to lease up these stores is the Public Authorities Act cumbersome procedures requiring the issuance of an RFP for each store lease.

What is RIOC's latest plan for Main Street? They are going to study the issue and hire a consultant. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development
Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on
Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York. The committee will meet to discuss retention of consultant to assist in studying and making recommendations on optimizing Main St. use and space planning and ascertaining the community's preferred retail uses, and recommending most appropriate uses for market and community service needs.
I am glad that something is being done but is it too much nitpicking and sniping to ask why has it taken so long to solve the Roosevelt Island Main Street retail problem?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Roosevelt Island Chain Gang Escapes to Brooklyn For 50 Cent Reality Show - The Money and the Power

You Tube video of 50 Cents Money and Power Roosevelt Island to Brooklyn Chain Gang Race

Contestants on 50 Cent's new MTV reality show The Money And The Power can truly say that they were prisoners on a Roosevelt Island Chain Gang trying to escape from Southpoint Park and make their way through Long Island City to their destination of Camp Curtis on Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Test your knowledge of the streets of New York after the Crew exits the barbed wire prison gates of Southpoint Park, gets over the Roosevelt Island (36th Avenue) Bridge and attempts to make their way to Brooklyn. Can you map out their route?

Southpoint Park Gate Image from Sean O'Sullivan

While you are watching the Chain Gang escape, give a moment to thinking about helping Roosevelt Island residents stop the proposed Louis Kahn/FDR Memorial from ruining the existing magnificent Southpoint Park views of the NYC skyline and East River waterfront.

Why Is Manhattan Park's River Road Blocked To Traffic? Answer - To Repair AVAC Garbage System

Road Construction Blocking Traffic in Front of Manhattan Park's River Road

Several readers have written in asking what is going on with the road construction blocking traffic in front of Manhattan Park's River road. Commenting on this Drive Thru Roosevelt Island At Night post, reader Mike G. first alerted us to this condition:
Well, the directions would USUALLY be good.

Right now, that first left onto River Road would drive you into the AVAC repair hole (if you ignore the barrier blocking RR) :)
RIOC President Steve Shane provides additional information:
Construction is replacement of elbows in AVAC system. All work being done by outside contractors persuant to bids, under RIOC supervision.

Street should be closed up by Thanksgiving.
Here's some more information on Roosevelt Island's unique AVAC Garbage system from NYU's Portfolio:
The A-Vac, on Roosevelt Island, is New York’s only pneumatic garbage collection system. Designed in the late sixties to accompany the island’s Mitchell Lama housing developments, the system works like this:18-inch-wide pipes run under all the high-rises on Roosevelt Island. When people throw their waste down the building’s chutes, it piles up for several hours, until a trap door opens, sucking the garbage into a pipe. While air is blown out one end, valves on the other open to allow the intake of air at selective points. This creates a pressure differential that propels the garbage through the underground pipes at speeds of up to 60 miles an hour....
When the garbage resurfaces, it is at the A-Vac center, a squat three-story building at the island’s north tip. The pipes climb to the building’s ceiling, and dump the trash into two upside down silo shaped cyclones, which spin and then slide it down chutes into container bins. The whole vacuum process takes 10-15 minutes.

Image of Roosevelt Island AVAC from Roosevelt Island 360

Barack Obama Interviewed By 60 Minutes - Well Done Mr. President - Elect!

I know that the intelligence, measured temperament, non-partisanship and humor demonstrated by Barack Obama during his interview last night with 60 Minutes does not by any means guarantee that he will be able to successfully address the many complex domestic and international issues faced by the United States - but it was a good start and makes me proud to have supported his election.

Some excerpts from the 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft. On governance and the economy:
Kroft: Have you been reading anything about the Depression? Anything about FDR?

Mr. Obama: You know, I have actually. There's a new book out about FDR's first 100 days and what you see in FDR that I hope my team can-- emulate, is not always getting it right, but projecting a sense of confidence, and a willingness to try things. And experiment in order to get people working again.

And I think that's what the American people expect. You know, they're not expecting miracles. I think if you talk to the average person right now that they would say, 'Well, look, you know well, we're having a tough time right now. We've had tough times before.' 'And you know, we don't expect a new president can snap his fingers and suddenly everything is gonna be okay. But what we do expect is that the guy is gonna be straight with us. We do expect that he's gonna be working really hard for us.'

'We do expect that he's gonna be thinking about ordinary Americans and not just the wealthy and the powerful. And we do expect that. if something doesn't work that they're gonna try something else until they find something that does.' And, you know, that's the kind of common sense approach that I want to take when I take office.

Kroft: There's been talk on Capitol Hill and a number of Democratic congressmen have proposed programs that are part of sort of a new New Deal. The possibility of reviving agencies like the Home Ownership Loan Corporation.

Mr. Obama: Two points I'd make on this. Number one, although there are some parallels to the problems that we're seeing now and what we say back in the '30s, no period is exactly the same. For us to simply recreate what existed back in the '30s in the 21st century, I think would be missing the boat. We've gotta come up with solutions that are true to our times and true to this moment. And that's gonna be our job. I think the basic principle that government has a role to play in kick starting an economy that has ground to a halt is sound.

I think our basic principle that this is a free market system and that that has worked for us, that it creates innovation and risk taking, I think that's a principle that we've gotta hold to as well. But what I don't wanna do is get bottled up in a lot of ideology and is this conservative or liberal. My interest is finding something that works.

And whether it's coming from FDR or it's coming from Ronald Reagan, if the idea is right for the times then we're gonna apply it. And things that don't work we're gonna get rid of.
Non-ideological, FDR or Reagan. This is a President looking for the best ideas and solutions to America's problems.

On the potential of an automobile industry bailout or bankruptcy?
...For the auto industry to completely collapse would be a disaster in this kind of environment, not just for individual families but the repercussions across the economy would be dire. So it's my belief that we need to provide assistance to the auto industry. But I think that it can't be a blank check.

So my hope is that over the course of the next week, between the White House and Congress, the discussions are shaped around providing assistance but making sure that that assistance is conditioned on labor, management, suppliers, lenders, all the stakeholders coming together with a plan what does a sustainable U.S. auto industry look like? So that we are creating a bridge loan to somewhere as opposed to a bridge loan to nowhere. And that's, I think, what you haven't yet seen. That's something that I think we're gonna have to come up with.

Kroft: Are there a lot of people that think that the country would probably be better off and General Motors might be better off if it was allowed to go into bankruptcy?

Mr. Obama: Well, you know, under normal circumstances that might be the case in the sense that you'd go to a restructuring like the airlines had to do in some cases. And then they come out and they're still a viable operation. And they're operating even during the course of bankruptcy. In this situation, you could see the spigot completely shut off so that it would not potentially permit GM to get back on its feet. And I think that what we have to do is to recognize that these are extraordinary circumstances. Banks aren't lending as it is. They're not even lending to businesses that are doing well, much less businesses that are doing poorly. And in that circumstance, the usual options may not be available.
What will Obama miss from his pre-Presidential life? Walking around his neighborhood.
Mr. Obama: There's still some things we're not adjusted to.

Michelle Obama: Like what?

Mr. Obama: Like--

Michelle Obama: What do you want?

Mr. Obama: Me not being able to take a walk.

Michelle Obama: Oh, well, you know.

Mr. Obama: No, I mean, though those are things that…

Michelle Obama: I don't walk as much as he does though. So I guess I don't miss it.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. I mean, you know.

Michelle Obama: You want to go for a walk?

Mr. Obama: I do. I'd love to take you for a walk. Although it's cold today. But…

Michelle Obama: Yeah, I wouldn't go with you.
Here is link to complete 60 minute interview with President-Elect Barack Obama