Friday, December 12, 2008

Roosevelt Island Holiday Cards & Gifts

A reader of this Roosevelt Island Christmas tree posts asks:

Last year I bought Roosevelt Island Christmas/Holiday Cards from a man who lived on the island. Does anyone know if he is selling them again this year?
I hope he is because I love his reindeer driven Roosevelt Island Tram cards and bought some last year at his booth in the Motorgate Atrium.

If you are looking for that special Roosevelt Island holiday gift, check out the Historical Society Kiosk this weekend.

UPDATE - 12/16 - Information on ordering the Roosevelt Island Tram Reindeer Cards here.

Things To Do This Weekend in New York City and Roosevelt Island - Tuba Christmas, B'klyn Art Gallery Hop, Bowling & RI Tour

You Tube Video of Rockefeller Center Tuba Christmas playing Jingle Bells

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

For tonight, the NY Times shows how a couple can have a great New York City meal for less than $100. According to the NY Times, the goal is:
A dinner for two that was at least three courses in a restaurant structured that way — and a similar amount of food in a restaurant that wasn’t — would be $99 or less, including tax and a tip of 20 percent on the total of the check before tax. I excluded drinks from that budget since diners have vastly different appetites for alcohol and other beverages, the surest inflators of a check.
On Saturday afternoon, head on over to Rockefeller Center for a very Tuba Christmas:
Hundreds of tenor and bass tuba players congregate on the Rink at Rockefeller Center on Saturday, December 13th at 3:30pm playing Christmas carols and other crowd favorites. The tubists of all ages line up under the great Christmas Tree and fill the area with the organ-line sound of low brass. Spectators are encouraged to sing along with the Christmas carols and other well-known songs.
The NY Times provides a variety of additional Christmas and Holiday music, dance and theater happenings going on in the New York City area this weekend and through December 25.

On Sunday take in the smART Brooklyn Gallery Hop. From NY 1:
Art lovers will soon have a fun and free way to see all that Brooklyn has to offer.
Tourism officials announced the smArt Brooklyn Gallery Hop today.

On December 14th, free shuttles will run through four different gallery districts, making it easier for participants to see as many exhibits as possible. Sixty-four participating Brooklyn art galleries will offer exhibitions and refreshments from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

"I think there is that perception that Manhattan is the only place for art, but we are changing it very rapidly," said Brooklyn Arts Council President Ella Weiss.
Maybe you're in the mood to knock some things down. Try hitting the pins at The Gutter Bowling Alley in Williamsburg. Time Out New York lists other New York City Bowling Alleys though none are located on Roosevelt Island.

On Roosevelt Island this weekend, the Farmers Market will be open on Saturday as is Gallery RIVAA, the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association which is featuring the Winter of Change group show. 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 service advisories either.

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.

Menacing On The New York City Subway and Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incident Reports For December 2 -11

Here's a disturbing and all too real video of a subway passenger being harassed on the Q subway line in Flatbush Brooklyn via the Ditmas Park blog. There is no reason why this could not happen at anytime or anywhere in the subway system including the Roosevelt Island F Train.

You Tube Video of Subway Menacing Part 1

The confrontation continues here.

RIOC has started to post the most current Daily and Monthly Public Safety Incident reports on their web site. Below are the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports for December 2 - December 11 2008. Incidents included:
  • Fire in the Main Street Flower Shop (12/3)
  • Furniture moving noise complaint (12/2 or 3)
  • Recanting of prior robbery complaint (12/4)
  • Domestic choking dispute (12/4)
  • Barking dog (12/5)
  • Arson (12/6)
  • RIOC Bus window shattered (12/6)
  • Street Fighting (12/8)
  • Duane Reade ATM investigation
  • Fire in Eastwood (Roosevelt Landings) AVAC Chute (12/9) and
  • Unsafe window frame and glass removal (12/11)
12/2/08-7:00 AM to 12/4/08-7:00 AM
Fire- Smoke Condition- At the R.I. Flower Shop. PSD responded. EMS refused. No injuries. It appeared to be an electrical fire. PSD evacuated nearby areas. PSD with assistance of Urban American were able to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading. FDNY responded and extinguished it.
Noise Complaint- of furniture being moved constantly. PSD responded and corrected the condition.
Smoke Condition- Burnt food. No injuries. UA notified. EMS refused. Windows open to air out the smoke.
Criminal Mischief- Cracked Window. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

0700 hours 12/04/08 - 0700 hours 12/05/08
Follow up (Robbery on 11/24/08) - Alleged victim recanted original report of being robbed. He stated that he wanted to drop the complaint he made up about being robbed and the incident did not take place.
Aided - Fell on street and hit his mouth. PSD officer responded and aided appeared to be intoxicated. Aided transported to hospital.
Aided - Notified PSD that she was having chest pains. EMS was called. Aided refused transportation to hospital.
Arrest (Unlicensed Operator) - Motorist was observed making illegal U-turn and was stopped. Motorist was arrested and taken to 114 pct. for processing.
Assault 3 - PSD responded to report of domestic dispute. Victim and subject were having verbal dispute when subject started choking her. Subject was arrested and taken to 114 pct. for processing.

0700 hrs. Friday December 5th 2008 thru 0700 hrs Saturday December 6th 2008.

Barking Dog - Tenant reported to PSD an ongoing dog barking for about one week. PSD advised tenant to see Urban American Management. PSD Filed report.

Aided - Female tenant not feeling well, transported to the Hospital.

Found Property - RIOC Driver bus number 4 found prescription of medicine. Owner was notified and items returned.

Found Property - Tram Supervisor reported to PSD found black bag left behind. Property secured inside PSD.

12/6/08-7:00 AM to 12/7/08-7:00 AM

Criminal Mischief- Lobby door glass broken. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

Arson- In building. A stack of papers burnt on the carpet. Search for the subject yielded negative results. PSD responded and FDNY. It was referred to the Fire Marshall.

Property Damage- Paint on an apt door damaged. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

Alcohol/Open Container- Subject was warned and admonished by PSD.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.

Criminal Mischief- Broken window in building. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

Trespass- 2 Subjects arrested by PSD..

Criminal Mischief- Hallway mirror ripped off. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

Criminal Mischief- Front window shattered to RIOC BUS. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

Aided- Female fell on the sidewalk and refused EMS.

Aided- EMS responded to apt Tenant refused to allow PSD. entry and to provided information.

Past Fire- Insurance company adjusted responded to 568 Main Street to conduct an investigation.

Trespass/Open Container- 2 Subject arrested by PSD.

Trespass/Alcohol Open Container-4 Subjects arrested by PSD.

Public Urination- Subject arrested by PSD.

Harassment- Between 2 tenants over money. NYPD refused. No injuries.

Missing Property- Money missing from apt. NYPD refused.

12/7/08-7:00 AM to 12/8/08-7:00 AM

Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS. Investigation- Tenant reported mold in apt. UA notified.

Criminal Mischief- Slide door latch to roof door broken. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

Aided- Intoxicated male fell and was unstable. EMS transported him to the Hospital.

Property Damage- Broken clamp on metal bar that held the RIOC Holiday Banner. The Banner was secured in PSD. RIOC personnel notified.

Aided/Handicapped Person- Coler Hospital patient in wheel chair inoperable and transported to the Hospital by RIOC Bus. Coler Hospital PD attended to patient.

Unsecured Vehicle- Driver's side door open. Central Parking provided owner's phone number and PSD notified the owner.

0700 hrs. Monday 12/8/08 to 0700 hrs. Tuesday 12/9/08

Investigation- Island resident reported an off Island incident in which she was threatened by a third party. She will go to precinct of occurrence.

Investigation- Report of a package mailed at the Post office and stated he later saw it in the hallway by his residence. He will check with the Post Office.

Verbal Dispute- Between a male and a female. No injuries. NYPD refused. Female left apt.

Violation of Court Order-Between father and mother of child over visitation of child. Matter referred to Family Court.

Disorderly Conduct- 2 Subjects fighting in the street arrested by PSD.

Complaint/Investigation- Tenant smelled odor of marijuana in the morning near his apt and reported the incident in the evening. NYPD refused. Search of the area conducted with negative results.

Investigation- Tenant alleged that a contractor took his citizens papers PSD responded and found papers underneath other papers in apt.

Criminal Mischief- On the first and fourth floor two windows were broken. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified.

0700 hrs. Tuesday 12/9/08 to 0700 hrs. Wednesday 12/10/08

Water Leak- In apt. PSD and UA responded. UA corrected the water leak.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the Hospital by EMS.

Fire Investigation- In AVAC Chute. PSD and UA responded and no injuries. No property damage. It was extinguished by UA personnel. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

Investigation-Victim stated suspicious female attempted to assist her with use of ATM machine in Duane Read. Assistance was refused. Outside female spit in her face. NYPD was refused. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

Unsecured Property- A Fuel Power Box. UA Handyman responded and secured it.

EDP- Male threatened to commit suicide. EMS transported him to the Hospital. No injuries.

Unlawful Poss. of Marijuana/Loitering/Trespass/ Open Alcohol container- 2 subjects arrested by PSD.

EDP/Aided- Male with a history of mental condition was taken to the Hospital by EMS.

Investigation- Female harassing a male resident asking for money. Female fled. Search for the female with negative results. NYPD refused.

Lost Property- Fur Coat and a pocket book. They belong to an Island resident and were returned to her.

False Alarm- In apt. PSD and Manhattan Park Super responded and no fire all in order. The alarm was shut off by the Super.

0700 hrs. Wednesday 12/10/08 to 0700 hrs. Thursday 12/11/08

Criminal Mischief- Broken window in the building. Search for the subject yielded negative results. UA notified. NYPD refused.

Vehicle Accident- Between a vehicle and a RIOC Bus. No injuries. EMS refused. NYPD prepared a report.

0700 hrs. 12/11/08 - 0700 hrs. 12/12/08

Harassment - Resident reported to PSD that another resident is harassing her because she has a small dog in her apt. Reporter will go to housing management.

Hazardous condition - PSD officer observed entire window frame and glass removed from hallway. No contractors or safety measures were present to prevent serious injury. Super was notified. Contractor returned to location and project manager was notified.

Trespass - PSD officers arrested (3) three subjects. All subjects were issued criminal court summonses and released.

Aided - Resident reported pain and was transported to hospital.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Roosevelt Island's Manhattan Park Offering $300 AMEX Gift Cards For New Renters - Anything For Renewal Tenants?

Image of Manhattan Park from Bridge and Tunnel Club
According to an article in the Real Deal, Roosevelt Island's Manhattan Park is offering American Express gift cards for new renters:
... New tenants at Manhattan Park, an 880-unit development on Roosevelt Island, will receive a $300 AMEX gift card at signing. At Manhattan Park, rents for one-bedroom apartments start at $1,795 a month, and go up to $4,695 for a three-bedroom apartment that can be converted into a four bedroom. The company refused to say what the current occupancy rate is. Some use the gift cards as a reward for not bringing a broker to the table. Brian Baker, Manhattan Park's director of leasing, said the promotion applies to clients who see the company's ad on Craigslist and who rent without a broker. "It's hard for the broker, but it's a win for us," he said....
No word yet if Manhattan Park will follow the practice of Roosevelt Island's Octagon building in not including incentives for renewal tenants.

Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony Postponed to December 15

RIOC has announced that the Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony scheduled for later today has been postponed. According to RIOC:

Due to the inclement weather, the Tree Lighting Ceremony has been rescheduled to Monday, December 15th at 7PM.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer Urges MTA Not To Raise Access-A-Ride Fares on Elderly and Disabled New Yorkers

Access - A- Rice Bus outside of Roosevelt Island's 455 Main Street

Received this message from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer:

Dear Friends:

You may already be aware of the MTA’s troubling proposal to double the Access-A-Ride fare. The magnitude of the MTA’s budget crisis will require exploring all realistic options to close the gap; however, this proposal places an unfair burden on some of our city’s most vulnerable riders.

I am calling on the MTA to withdraw this proposal. I hope you will join me by signing the petition at this link: and encouraging your friends, colleagues and fellow advocates to do the same. A PDF version is attached for you to distribute at meetings, at your organization, or to anyone who may appreciate a print copy. Please make sure to return all signed petitions to my office at
1 Centre Street, 19th Floor for delivery to the MTA.

If you have any question, please contact Jessica Silver, my Deputy Director of Community Affairs and Constituent Services, at (212) 669-8135 or via email at

There are many elderly and disabled Roosevelt Island residents who benefit from this service provided by the MTA. Accorded to Mr. Stringer:

... The Access-A-Ride program helps the MTA meet the requirements of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which requires that transit agencies provide “comparable” paratransit service to passengers who are unable to use standard public transit. Thousands of people with disabilities depend on Access-a-Ride to get to the doctor, the grocery store and to work....
More from NY 1 including video of press conference by elected representatives and a guide to the MTA Access-A- Ride program.

New Equipment Arrives and Installed For Roosevelt Island's Blackwell Playground

Blackwell Playground Construction Image from RIOC

I enjoy the cold winter weather and snow but on a dreary and rainy December day, the arrival and installation of new equipment for Blackwell Playground brings thoughts of spring.

Roosevelt Island 360 has some thoughts on the new Blackwell Playground and reviews other Roosevelt Island playgrounds. Also, a reader sends in these aerial views of Blackwell Playground

and the roof of adjoining building.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drill - The First Step In The Bucket Is The Hardest Part

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drill

Somebody was on the Queensboro Bridge during a Roosevelt Island Tram rescue drill and captured this footage of a rescue bucket going up to meet the stranded Tram Cabin. Pretty neat but hope I don't have to do it!

Here's how Portland Oregon handles their Tram rescues.

You Tube video of Portland Oregon Tram Rescue Drill

Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony Thurday December 11 - It's Coming On Christmas and Wintertime

All Roosevelt Islander are invited to the annual Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday December 11 at 7 PM in front of the Blackwell House. From RIOC

Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony
When : Thursday December 11th at 7 PM
Where: Blackwell Plaza
Featuring Live Performances, Food, Hot Cider, Gifts for the kids & Photos w/ Santa
Sponsored by RIOC, Amalgamated Bank, Starbucks & Nonno's Focacceria
Although you would not know it by the warm and rainy weather today, it is soon coming on Christmas and cold winter days which reminds me of this great song.

You Tube Video of Sarah McClachlan's River

This is a wonderful version of Joni Mitchell's song River, sung by Sarah McLachlan.
It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

But it don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river I could skate away on
I made my baby cry
Lyrics to River are here.

UPDATE - 12/11 - RIOC has announced that the Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony scheduled for later today has been postponed. According to RIOC:
Due to the inclement weather, the Tree Lighting Ceremony has been rescheduled to Monday, December 15th at 7PM.

Heavily Armed Soldiers Take Over Roosevelt Island's Main Street - But It's Not Real, Just Filming The New Kings TV Show

What's this?

Heavily Armed soldiers rumbling down Roosevelt Island's Main Street in a caravan of armored vehicles. Sick of the objections by some Roosevelt Island residents, have the supporters of the Kahn/FDR Memorial finally decided to employ unilateral military action and take over Southpoint Park once and for all?

Nah. It just that a new NBC show called Kings is shooting some scenes today on Roosevelt Island and is the reason why the parking advisory was issued for today by RIOC.

Cinema Blend describes Kings as:

... an inspiring exploration of the timeless David vs. Goliath struggle. The show is set in a modern metropolis under siege where the fighting has gone on for too long and cost far too many lives. When David Shepherd (Christopher Egan, “Resident Evil: Extinction”), a brave young soldier, rescues the king’s (Golden Globe winner Ian McShane, “Deadwood”) son from enemy territory, he sets events in motion that will finally bring peace....

Kings movie crew shooting some overhead scenes

There is a serious issue regarding the disruption of normal community life when a film crew takes over a section of a neighborhood. The NY Times City Room reports on the reaction from a Bronx neighborhood:
“This is good for the city to have shows filmed here, but you can’t given them a blank check,” Mr. Dinowitz said. “Taking away people’s parking for two days is absurd.”

A representative for 20th Century Fox Television, which is producing “Life on Mars” with ABC, said in a statement:

The producers of “Life on Mars” are deeply grateful to the city of New York and its residents for their goodwill and hospitality. We ask their patience with any temporary inconveniences our filming may cause and we apologize if our activities have had an adverse impact on any citizen’s daily life.
The Brooklyn Heights Blog has some useful information on what to do when a film crew is outside your door including this code of behavior for film crews (via Brooklyn Heights Association):
1)Post notices of parking restrictions well enough in advance so that people can move their cars. This means at least 48 hours. For shoots that have towing permits, the notice has to go up before the “alternate side parking” day to be seen when motorists routinely go to move their cars. );

2) Be courteous to residents and businesses on location and stay within the limits of the permit, both in terms of space and times;

3) Clean-up all waste created by the shoot.
Here is some more information on prior TV and movies shot on Roosevelt Island as well as how to get required permits and approvals.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Main Street Parking Advisory For Wednesday, December 10 - Roosevelt Island Film Shoot Scheduled

RIOC is warning of a:


Effective 12:01am on Wednesday, December 10th, parking will be prohibited along Main Street between 501 and 575 Main Street due to a film shoot.
Normal parking rules will resume Wednesday, December 10th at 3pm.

We apologize for the inconvenience.
UPDATE - 6PM: Asked about any potential Main Street Red Bus or other traffic disruption caused by the film shoot, RIOC President Steve Shane advises:
The traffic disruption should be minimalized by the time (10AM-1PM) scheduled for the shoot.

RIRA President Reports On Southpoint Park, Octagon Mortgage, Public Safety, Main Street Retail and Other Roosevelt Island Community Issues

Image of RIOC Director Kalkin and RIRA President Farance at RIRA Town Hall Meeting

RIRA President Frank Farance sends the following report to the Roosevelt Island community.
1. RIRA Town Meeting on Tuesday, December 2. Yet another very productive meeting! RIOC Board members Jonathan Kalkin and Fay Christian attended. (Other RIOC Board members had prior commitments.) Assemblymember Kellner's office was in attendance in the person of his Chief of Staff. Senator Serrano's office will attend future meetings. Approximately 30 were present. The meeting was structured around RIOC Board Agenda items, with RIOC Board members introducing each topic:

2. RIOC agenda item -- Southpoint Park: Authorization to issue a Negative Declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; approval of the plan and project; authorization to expend funds and to enter into contracts for construction. In short, RIOC has determined that the Trust for Public Land (TPL) portion of Southpoint Park has no environmental impact. Residents asked questions about the FDR memorial project, which is unrelated to the RIOC Board agenda item. Earlier, I had asked RIOC President Steve Shane about the community's preference, as registered in the recent referendum question, for completion of the memorial park before the memorial monument. Steve said that it was impractical to complete the park first and he believed that the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) would get its necessary funding. I told Steve that, if RIOC is choosing not to do as residents wish, RIOC needs to provide a formal response about RIOC's actions, which are counter to the results of the referendum question.

3. RIOC agenda item – The Octagon: Authorization to waive the notice period and to consent to Multi- Employer Pension Trust (MEPT) Octagon LLC's financing its leasehold interest in the Octagon lease. In short, the owners of The Octagon want to take out $110 million from the development and mortgage it -- what you and I would call a home equity loan. RIOC's interest in this is that they might be able to get a recording fee of several million dollars, i.e., a piece of the action. Several residents raised concerns about whether or not this would be considered a predatory lending scenario. RIOC Board members said that the owner is contractually permitted to do this, and RIOC was merely helping to speed things up. This did not satisfy residents because the operating costs of The Octagon could exceed its operating income. Residents asked RIOC Board members, prior to agreement with owner, to confirm that this was not predatory lending.

4. RIOC agenda item -- Public Safety Contract: Authorization to enter into a contract with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officers Benevolent Association. Essentially, this concerns authorization to negotiate contract terms with Public Safety’s union. This led into a broad discussion of the Public Safety Department (PSD), and of the 94% vote on the RIRA referendum for a citizens review board. Residents expressed:

- PSD's budget is growing, with a large fleet of vehicles (4 patrol cars, 2 Segways, 9 bikes, a motorcycle, etc.) and a large staff -- yet we are told by PSD that we are safe and have no crime. This seems contradictory: no crime, yet more staff and more equipment. A resident from Eastwood (now Roosevelt Landings) said that one of the original reasons for PSD's creation was the lack of doorkeepers in Eastwood, and that if Eastwood were to get doormen, this might greatly reduce the need for PSD.

- PSD wants money for their own gym for their off-duty officers. Residents were upset that money was being spent and existing space taken away (e.g., portions of the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance and the former bakery), while RIOC could better spend the money by adding equipment or hours to existing facilities, such as the Westview Pool or Sportspark.

- PSD wants more space, including space for a "holding cell". This was an emotional topic, and residents want more involvement in this discussion. Many felt that the matter escalates friction with PSD. (There were several reports of problematic encounters with PSD.) One resident whose son has allegedly suffered abuse said that PSD Director Guerra endorsed the use of extreme force with teenagers because they don't respect PSD. We'll need to hear PSD's side of the story to get the full picture.

In reaction to the 94% referendum vote favoring a citizens' review board for PSD, I reported Steve Shane's comments: RIOC will never provide a citizens' review board for PSD. This was certainly not well received by the residents. We'll need future town meetings devoted to PSD and its role on Roosevelt Island.

5. RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee report: RIOC's Real Estate Committee has agreed to hire a consultant to investigate the empty store fronts. As pointed out by several residents, nothing has been done in the past 20 months of the current RIOC administration, and nothing has been done in the past five years. Residents demanded that RIOC agree to take action, not just hire another consultant. RIOC Board members said they would take these comments back to the Real Estate Committee (chaired by Charlee Miller, with members Dr. Kathie Grimm and Fay Christian). In response to the RIRA referendum question indicating a strong preference for a private developer to take over the commercial space, residents asked what RIOC was doing. My short summary of the discussion is: the Real Estate committee has not yet addressed the referendum results, but is likely to do so soon.

6. RIRA Common Council: The Council elected the following officers and committee chairs at its Wednesday night meeting: Charlie Berg, Secretary; Elizabeth Erickson, Communications chair; Margie Smith, Government Relations chair; Joyce Mincheff and Lynn Strong-Shinozaki, Housing co-chairs; Aaron Hamburger, Island Services chair; Matthew Katz, Planning chair; Ron Schuppert, Public Safety chair; Nikki Leopold, Social, Cultural, and Educational Services chair.

7. RIRA's 2009 Common Council meeting schedule: January 7, February 4, March 4, April 1, May 6, June 3, September 9, October 7, November 4, December 2 (all Wednesdays, 8:00 p.m., Good Shepherd Community Center).

8. Upcoming RIRA Town Meetings: Wednesday, January 14, and Wednesday, February 18. They will be held in advance of RIOC Board meetings. Steve Shane and I briefly discussed some areas of collaboration and cooperation, such as joint RIRARIOC sponsorship of the town meeting. I'm all for collaboration with RIOC.
You can also read the RIRA President's Report in the Main Street WIRE.

The RIRA Town Hall Meeting prior to RIOC Board of Directors meeting is an excellent idea since it allows residents to be informed of important Roosevelt Island issues before they are voted upon. (Whether or not a decision has been made on any particular issue before the vote is another question - don't know the answer to that, particularly with new Board). It may also be a great benefit to the RIOC resident Directors because it allows them to hear the community viewpoint on current Agenda items and may provide valuable information from residents with particular knowledge or expertise in the subject.

RIRA President Farance should be congratulated for initiating this idea and RIOC Board Members Kalkin, Shinozaki and Christian thanked for participating as well. I hope that the other RIOC Board members will join their fellow Roosevelt Islanders and attend future RIRA Town Hall Meetings.

Latest Update On Manhattan Park Water Main Shutdown

Water Main Construction in Front of Manhattan Park's 40 River Road

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the latest update on Manhattan Park water main shutdown in front of 40 River Road.
Latest word from DEP is that the job is now scheduled for Friday evening December 12, with shut off of water main to occur at 9PM and estimated to last 8-10 hours.
Stay tuned for any further updates.

Monday, December 8, 2008

RIRA Manhattan Park Delegate Seeking Con Ed Electricity Usage Infomation - Please Help, It's in Your Interest To Do So

RIRA Common Council Meeting

Manhattan Park RIRA Common Council Delegate Perez-Cruz sends the following message:
Dear all,

Manhattan Park residents have 8 elected representatives to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). We were elected on the 2nd November election. However, practically nobody knows us and therefore cannot air any concerns through us. Residents are not informed either of the RIRA monthly meetings and of what is in the agenda.

I want to encourage all the elected common council members to make their contact info available to the people that elected them. I want to inform people of what RIRA is doing, has been doing and is planning to do. Manhattan Park Management has told me that I cannot post my information on the designated areas of the building, so there are few channels to use to connect residents. This blog is one of them.

By the way, we had the second RIRA meeting yesterday December 3, were Chairs to RIRA committees where chosen. The chairs of there
committees are:
Social, Cultural and Educational Services: Nikki Leopold
Island services: Aaron Hamburger
Planning: Mat Katz
Government relations: Margie Smith
Communications: Elizabeth Erickson
Public Safety: Ron Schuppert
Housing: Lynne Strong-Shinozaki AND Joyce Mincheff

Talk to your neighbors about the blog, stay tuned to get informed on
Island and MP issues.
Ms. Perez-Cruz is particularly concerned with the electricity costs at Manhattan Park.
I do not know how many people (if any) have requested to see their meter readings on electricity. But so far, all people I have contacted find their winter bills excessive. To request measurements of electricity would be a good start. The beginning of this is the high bill we get evidenced by their winter-sky rocketing. Is there anyone out there that have numbers to share with the rest of us?
If any Manhattan Park resident would like to share their Con Ed electricity bill information in order to compare them with others, a Google Group for Manhattan Park has been established.

I have also created separate groups for:
Groups for Octagon and Eastwood (Roosevelt Landings) will be done shortly.

Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 PTA Meeting On Tuesday - Are RI Kids Avoiding This School?

Image of Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 from Geocities

There will be a General Meeting of Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) on Tuesday, December 9 at 6PM in the school's cafeteria.

The New York City Department of Education progress report grade for Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 for the 2007-08 school year was a C. According to the report:
  • This school's overall score for 2007-08 is 47.4
  • This score places the School in the 25 percentile of all K-8 schools Citywide–i.e., 25 percent of those schools scored lower than this school
  • This school did not meet its improvement target from last year
In 2006-07, PS/IS 217 received a B grade. Here are some previous posts on Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 including information on math and reading scores, zoning and a parents plea for the establishment of a gifted and talented program.

A Roosevelt Island parent shares at least one opinion on the state of PS/IS 217:
It seems like every time I talk to a parent they are all trying to figure out how they are going to get their children out of the school. I am amazed at how many students here on RI do not go to PS 217. Kids attending private schools while living in gov sub housing (how/why is this possible?). Kids attending schools in manhattan with "borrowed" addresses. Kids being home schooled. It is sad. If everyone chose to have their children attend PS 217 we would have an excellent school.

Unfortunately, attending a PTA meeting makes you realize how dysfunctional the school is, and how much work it would take to get it where it should be. For me, it is easier (stress-wise) to home school my kids, than to spend a year trying to "fix" the school like I did last year. For some reason there are people who defend the school to no end, but the reality is that if your child is advanced there is no opportunity for them at that school. It is unfortunate that the principal is anti-G&T programs.

I have come to conclude that the only way for the school to truly dig itself out of its current situation is to:

A. Have an administrative change. Clean sweep.
B. Have all faculty re-interview for their current positions
C. Instate a G&T program
There may be much to discuss at the PTA meeting.