Saturday, March 21, 2009

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island 360 & NYC 10044 - MTA Foolishness 1 Community, Local Newspaper and Blogger Great Big ZERO
Roosevelt Islander - Pooping Pigeons Plague Subway Station
Roosevelt Island 360 - Raised Subway Platform For Wheelchairs
Website NYC10044 - RIOC Board Nominations
Populuxe Books - Runaway Barge Nearly Hits Roosevelt Island
NY1 - Roosevelt Island Transportation Without The Tram
NY Post - RIOC Chair Receives Free Car and Chauffeur
City Hall News - Lappin Will Not Seek Public Advocate Office
The Unemployment Benefits - Resident Aids Wheelchair Neighbor To Subway
NY Times - Proposed Tramway For Governors Island?
Access RI - Comment Map By Roosevelt Islanders
Urban Omnibus - Explains East River Tidal Energy
Globe Street - Roosevelt Island No longer Newest Subway Station
Queens Museum - Panoramic Roosevelt Island
Wayfaring Travel Guide - Visit The Octagon
The Jamisonian - Renwick Ruins Viewed By Satellite
Earth Magnified - Renwick Ruins Interior Photos
Shellie Bee - Abandoned Renwick Ruins
You Tube - Roosevelt Island Tram - Lego Version
Website NYC 10044 - Bly Report on Lunatic Asylum - Disability Museum

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City & Roosevelt Island - Working Waterfront, Ebbets Field, Water Day Concert & RI Russian Soprano

You Tube Video of Ebbets Field Being Demolished

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

The third Friday of every month is free at the South Street Seaport Museum. On the program tonight is:
Friday, March 21, 2009
Meet tugboat and ferry captains, a harbor pilot, shipping managers, and other New York waterfront workers to hear their stories. Children will also enjoy building simple model boats and playing with them on a harbor play mat. RSVPs are appreciated to ensure adequate seating: 212-748-8786 or
On Saturday afternoon, the Brooklyn Historical Society is presenting a new history of Walter O'Malley and the decision of the Dodgers to leave Brooklyn and Ebbets Field for Los Angeles.
Join Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael D'Antonio with Peter O'Malley, president of the Los Angeles Dodgers 1970 - 1998, and Richard Sandomir, Sports Broadcasting Reporter for the New York Times, as they discuss the true story of Walter O'Malley and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles on the occasion of the launch of a new book Forever Blue.
On Sunday, Free NYC suggests the World Water Day Concert:
"As a part of CUNY’s commitment to promoting a culture for sustainability, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College presents their free classical music series Great Music for a Great City Water Our Most Precious Resource: A Celebration of World Water Day... This narrated concert will call attention to our international water crisis. The program will feature musical works that celebrate water, including works by Schubert, Copland, Brahms, spirituals & world music. Speakers include John Jay College President Jeremy Travis and President of the Water Keeper Alliance Steve Fleischli. Featuring Eli Wallach, narrator, with Mayim Water music by Israeli Ensemble Rafi Malkiel; the Harlem Vocal Arts Ensemble; and Metropolitan Opera soloists Camellia Johnson, soprano, Terry Cook, bass baritone, and Sirena Huang, violin."
On Roosevelt Island this weekend, the Farmers Market will be open as usual on Saturday as is Gallery RIVAA, the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association which is exhibiting a new group show titled Vernissage 8. On Sunday afternoon, The Church of the Good Shepherd is holding it's Sunday Concert series:
... with Russian soprano, Irina Mozyleva, and pianist, Louis Menendez performing a program of Russian songs and arias titled “Russian Souvenirs” - an inspired presentation of timeless Russian romances and songs by Rachmaninov, Dunaevsky, Dargomyzhsky, Glinka and Arensky with select pieces by American composers of Russian descent.
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 and Spare Times, NY Post Weekend Calendar, and Newyorkology.

Roosevelt Island Issues & Comments Map-Add Your Voice to Roosevelt Island Survey

Image of Roosevelt Island Comment Map from Access RI

The Hunter College Access RI team studying Roosevelt Island created this very cool map illustrating some of the issues concerning Roosevelt Island residents as expressed during the Open House conducted last December. Click on the image above to be able to view the full map.

Comments Placed on Roosevelt Island Map During Access RI Open House

Comments include among many others:
  • Affordable Housing
  • Spruce Up Main Street
  • No FDR Park
  • Too Much Car Traffic
  • Water Kayak Access
  • Dedicated Bike Lane
  • Sewage problem at Westview and Manhattan Park Pool
  • Love Greenmarket - Hate Gristedes
  • Giant Bees in Summertime
  • Black Mold
  • Picnic Areas Packed with non RI residents
  • Get Rid of Feral Cats
  • Sidewalk enforcement of scooter kids
  • I like it out here (Lighthouse Park)
Access RI is conduction an online survey of Roosevelt Island residents.
Tired of waiting for the Subway? Concerned about the quality of life on Roosevelt Island? Worried about the Tram closing? Satisfied with the shopping on Roosevelt Island?

Announcing the release of the Roosevelt Island Community Survey!

The survey covers many aspects of life on Roosevelt Island including housing, healthcare, transportation, recreation, retail and public safety. The purpose of the survey is to inform an accessibility plan that will address the major issues identified by the community.
Please participate by taking a few minutes to answer the survey questions.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization Moving Forward - Here's How They Do A Tram Upgrade in Whistler BC

Image of Tram Track Ropes from Fatzer

Ropeways is reporting that:
Fatzer: Ropes for New York

Fatzer was awarded the order for four track ropes and two haulage ropes for the new Roosevelt Island Tramway, to be built by POMAgalski this year. The track ropes will be equipped with integrated fiber optic lines for data transfer (INTEGRA DATA track rope). The tram takes passengers from midtown Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and is not just a public transportation system for the island residents but also a popular tourist attraction.
Here's how the cable ropes were transported and strung for the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort Gondola in British Columbia, Canada. From You Tube:
After 11 weeks and 18,000 km, four cable spools, each weighing over 90 metric tonnes, have arrived in Whistler.

The spools will form the 4.4 km long span of the Peak 2 Peak gondola, connecting the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb, making it the longest freespan cable in the world.

You tube Video of Cable Ropes arriving at Whistler Tram

A very interesting Construction blog was kept for Whistler's Peak to Peak Gondalo/ Tram and the NY Times Escapes reports on new Trams at Whistler as well as Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
... At Whistler Blackcomb, in British Columbia, the $42 million (52 million Canadian dollars) Peak 2 Peak gondola stretches 2.7 miles horizontally from one mountainside to the other. Featuring a “three rope” design (a steel haul rope and two track cables), it’s the only gondola of its kind in North America. It can operate in winds of up to about 50 miles an hour, and each of its 28 cabins can hold 28 passengers.

Both lifts came with shocking price tags and enthusiastic Web sites. Both were impressive feats of engineering. Both are red. But while the new Whistler-Blackcomb gondola is spectacular — its cars hang on a cable 1,427 feet above the valley floor, with an unsupported span of nearly two miles between lift towers — some locals questioned its necessity. In Jackson, when the old tram was shut down, people said the mountain had lost its soul.

Based on an 18-month safety analysis, including magnetic resonance tests on the cables, Jackson Hole decided in June 2005 to decommission its nearly 40-year-old tram. “The lift was reaching the end of its useful life,” said Jerry Blann, the ski area’s president. At first, the resort explored other options to replacing the tram. But local skiers were outraged. “Save the Tram” T-shirts were printed and a local bar brewed a Last Tram Ale. “There was a lot of emotion tied up in that old box,” Mr. Blann said....

Back to Roosevelt Island.

The Roosevelt Island Tram is scheduled to go out of service for modernization on July 6, 2009, remaining open for service until just after the July 4 Independence Day Fireworks Celebrations which attract large crowds of non-Roosevelt Island residents. The new dual track Tram System (PDF File) is scheduled to open for service in December 2009. During the period of time that the Tram is out of service, the Roosevelt Island Red Bus will pick up passengers at Motorgate Plaza and deliver them to Queens during morning rush hours and Manhattan during non-rush hours and weekends. Last November, RIOC President Steve Shane reported the following regarding Red Bus Schedule during Tram outage:
Our present thinking is:
Weekdays: 6AM to 9:30AM half hourly to Queens Plaza. 10AM to 3PM hourly to Manhattan, returning on the 1/2 hour, resuming 7PM until 11PM.

Weekends: 8AM to 12PM to Manhattan, departing on the hour, returning on half hour, last from Manhattan at 12:30 AM Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

All depart Gristedes loop, return from 2nd & 60th.
Mr. Shane updates the Red Bus Schedule via 3/4/09 Main Street WIRE RIOC Column:
...Based on most recent NYC Department of Transportation requests, the substitute red bus service during non-rush hours will likely stop on the west side of Second Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets, to loop back on 58th Street either directly or via 57th Street....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Roosevelt Island Film Shoot With Sarah Jessica Parker At Southpoint Park - Can The Movies Save Southpoint From Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle?

Image of Sarah Jessica Parker in Have Your Heard About The Morgans from Celebbuzz

On Location Vacations is reporting that the film Did You Hear About The Morgans starring Hugh Grant and Roosevelt Island childhood resident Sarah Jessica Parker will be shooting scenes for the movie on the Upper East Side this week. Curbed reported today (UPDATE 3/19 - Via blogger Construction Graffiti) that the movie was shooting at the Mark Hotel and an On Location Vacations commenter (at 4:33 PM) indicated that:
they’re be filming on Roosevelt Island on Thursday (3/19)
I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane:
I understand that a Roosevelt Island movie shoot will be occurring this week, possibly Thursday March 19. The movie, Have You Heard About The Morgans, stars former Roosevelt Islander Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant.

Is that true? Any more information available as to when and where the shoot will take place?
Mr. Shane replied:
My advice from our permitting department:

03/17/09: Update on the film shoot:
-Tomorrow- WHYoming Productions will be coming to the island to pre-rig one of their scenes taking place at 30 River Road. Vehicles will be loading and unloading in front of the building, but will not be parking. Manhattan Park management is well-aware of the production schedule and will be monitoring the crew between 9am and 6pm tomorrow.

-Thursday- Crew and vehicles arrive around 7am at Southpoint Park. That will be their basecamp. Parking will be limited to the east roadway south of the smallpox hospital, and a row of trailers against the inner-eastern fence parallel to the east roadway. There is a possibility that they will need about 75 feet of roadway along the road parallel to Southpoint Park's main fence. I will have a clear answer first thing in the morning. First half of the day will be a shoot at 30 River Road, no parking there- just dropping off. If everything stays on schedule, the second half of the day they'll be shooting in Southpoint Park (beginning around 4pm). Shoot will wrap around midnight.

-Friday- De-rig at 30 River Road, Manhattan Park is completely in the loop and no parking is necessary.
Although Mr. Shane did not specifically confirm that the movie being shot is Did You Hear About The Morgans, I have independently confirmed that it is the movie being shot on Roosevelt Island at Manhattan Park and Southpoint Park.

Don't know if Hugh Grant or Ms. Parker will be on Roosevelt Island but this is what Ms. Parker had to say of her time on Roosevelt Island:
...Parker arrived from Cincinnati in an overcrowded red VW van -- a poor kid with seven siblings who hovered on the border between theatre gypsy and welfare case. Her family camped out on Roosevelt Island for a time: "It was meant to be a Utopia," she says. ("It was slightly like a penal colony," recalls her brother Pippin, a playwright and director.)...
Did You Hear About The Morgans may be one of the last films shot at Southpoint Park that will be able to showcase the beautiful panoramic 360 degree views of the New York City skyline and East River waterfront currently available if the proposed Louis Kahn Memorial (oops, I mean the supposed FDR Memorial) is ever built. Views like this:

Southpoint Park Wedding Image from Jerry Yoon Photography

Will be destroyed and replaced with a granite and cement mausoleum box.

Death Box Image from Village Voice Runnin Scared Blog

and Southpoint Park will look like this:

Image from NY Times

The Conditional Designation Agreement for the Kahn/FDR Memorial, essentially merely an agreement to agree in the future, between RIOC and the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is here as is the proposed construction phasing of the project.

There is still plenty of time to stop this NYC and State public taxpayer financed boondoggle from destroying the magnificence of Southpoint Park. Maybe the Movie Companies and former Roosevelt Islander Sarah Jessica Parker can help?

Roosevelt Island's Main Street WIRE On The Web - RIOC Elections, Public Purpose Funds, Day Nursery and Cat Dumping

Main Street WIRE logo from NYC 10044

Individual articles from Roosevelt Island's local community newspaper, The Main Street WIRE, are now more easily accessible on the web. Below are links to the 3/7/09 issue.

RIRA Plans Special Election
For RIOC Board Directors But RIRA Delegates Cannot Serve On RIOC Board.
Outrageous That RIRA Delegates Forced To Resign From RIOC Board
Roosevelt Island Organizations Receive $100,000 In Public Purpose Funds.
Guidelines For Evaluating Public Purpose Funding Applications.
Roosevelt Island Day Nursery To Open New Facility At Riverwalk.
Roosevelt Island Pioneers Part 1 and Part 2.
Women's History Month.
Cats Being Dumped on Roosevelt Island

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day From The White House, The Dubliners and Roosevelt Island

You Tube Video of Green White House Fountain For St Patrick's Day from CNN

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Celebrate with The Dubliners great performance of Irish Rover.

You Tube Video of the Dubliners Irish Rover

Today, everybody is Irish but remember the Corrigan Brothers declared that There is No One As Irish As Barack Obama.

You Tube Video of No One As Irish As Barack Obama

The Irish Times on St. Patrick's Day at the White House.
ANALYSIS: Ireland will have extraordinary access to the highest levels of US government today. Brian Cowen will meet a US president whose politics and world view are much closer to contemporary Ireland than his predecessors, writes DENIS STAUNTON .

THE ANNUAL shamrock ceremony at the White House has become such a familiar fixture in the political calendar that it’s easy to overlook the extraordinary and unlikely nature of today’s events in Washington....
UPDATE - 6 PM - President Obama hosted Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the White House this afternoon. According to the White House blog the President remarked:
... Now, before I turn it over to the Taoiseach, it turns out that we have something in common. He hails from County Offaly. And it was brought to my attention on the campaign that my great-great-great grandfather on my mother's side came to America from a small village in County Offaly, as well. We are still speculating on whether we are related...
Here's a fun drinking song for St. Patrick's Day from one of my favorite bands, Great Big Sea singing The Old Black Rum. Enjoy.

Take The 2009 DOE School Accountability Survey and Then Go To Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA Fundraising Dinner - International Cuisine On The Menu

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

I received the following notice concerning a fund raising dinner featuring International cuisine from the PS/IS 217 Roosevelt Island Parent Teachers Association :

The PTA at P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island is organizing an International Diner event on April 23rd from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Manhattan Park Theater Club. Tickets are $25.00 each for a buffet diner where you can taste authentic international food cooked by parents of children at the school. We will have Indian, Middle Eastern, American, Latin, East European, African and Oriental menus. Each group will prepare one appetizer and one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian entree. Deserts buffet and one glass of wine are included with your ticket. The diners will select their favorite dishes to prize the cooks during the event and we will have live entertainment.

This fantastic event will offer you the opportunity to taste genuine food from all over the word right here at Roosevelt Island. We are sure you will have a good time!!

We will start selling tickets soon. Please stay tuned!


PTA P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island

The NYC Department of Education is conducting a 2009 school survey. Please click here and tell the DOE what you think about the education your child is receiving at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217. The survey is can be taken by parents, students and teachers until April 24.

More information on Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 is here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Transportation Deprived Roosevelt Islanders May Have New Amenity - Valet Parking Service For Riverwalk Residents

You Tube Video of How Not To Exit Parking Garage is not from Motorgate

In an attempt to persuade reluctant renters and owners to reside on Roosevelt Island, Hudson/Related, the developers of the Riverwalk Building Complex are considering a new potential amenity for those with cars- Valet Parking service to your door from the Motorgate Parking Garage. Below is their pitch to woo car owners.
Hello Residents:
We have heard your ideas to improve transportation on the Island and we want to help make those ideas a reality! Imagine having your car brought to you, and when it arrives, it's nice and warm?

Related Management Company and Motorgate Parking Garage are considering providing a valet service on the island, and we need your help. Please read the information below in its entirety and fill out the survey by accessing the link listed below. Your honest responses will help us determine if residents would utilize this much-needed amenity.

Our vision: Motorgate's valet personnel would transport residents' cars from the Motorgate garage to a designated parking area across from Riverwalk Place, 455 Main Street. Residents would be required to request their vehicle one hour in advance via phone. When the vehicle arrives the valet attendant would leave the residents' keys with your concierge. The concierge would then phone the resident to inform them that their vehicle had arrived. Residents would be required to remove their vehicle from the parking lot across from Riverwalk Place within 15 minutes of arrival.

When the resident returns their vehicle, the resident would park the vehicle in the assigned area and leave the keys with your concierge for pick-up, allowing one hour for the vehicle to be returned to the garage.

There would be a fee associated with this service, in addition to the monthly standard parking fee of $190....
Is the prospect of no longer walking the 3/4 of a mile along Main Street or taking the Red Bus to and from Motorgate enough of an added incentive for car owners to live on Roosevelt Island? I hope not, I would rather see less cars on Roosevelt Island so would prefer that this plan not be implemented.

If the plan does move forward, hopefully the Car Valet will be able to exit the Motorgate Parking Garage without running himself over with the car as happened to the hapless person in the above video.

DHCR Commissioner/RIOC Chair Among Those Cited For Use of Private Chauffeured Car By NY State Officials Costing Taxpayers $86 Million

Image of Wheel of Government article from 3/15 NY Post

An alert reader forwards this article from 3/15 NY Post detailing the use of private cars and chauffeurs by NY State officials paid for by $86 million in taxpayer funds. Among the officials mentioned for use of these free cars and drivers are DHCR Commissioner Deborah Van Amerongen who is also the Chairperson of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. According to the NY Post article:
... Housing Commissioner Deborah VanAmerongen, who is picked up from her Upper West Side apartment - less than one block from a subway station - and driven in a 2008 Toyota Highlander hybrid to her downtown office or to meetings. Her driver earns $57,479 a year and has no other duties.

... Gov. Paterson's office defended the use of the drivers, saying some commissioners were required to travel extensively and "use the car as a private workspace in order to maximize their time."...
In a time when corporate officials receiving federal bailout taxpayer funds are rebuked by Congress for their use of private corporate planes, perhaps NY State government officials should be more careful with their use (abuse?) of private chauffeured cars paid for with government funds as well.