Saturday, April 4, 2009

RIRA Public Purpose Committee To Review Recommended Allocations Of Public Purpose Grant At April 7 Meeting.

Pile of Money Image from KR Connect

I received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Communications Committee Chair regarding the scheduling of a meeting by the Public Purpose Funds Committee to review the allocations in Public Purpose Funds previously made.
At Wednesday's RIRA meeting, RIRA voted to ask the RIRA PPG subcommittee to reconsider the allocations proposed to RIOC. The decision to reconsider was based upon some of the feedback at Tuesday's RIOC Governance committee and the expression of the appearance of conflict-of-interest and/or the appearance of unfairness. The PPG subcommittee will meet:
  • Where: Good Shepherd Community Center, lower level
  • When: Tuesday, April 7, 8PM
The subcommittee will include those RIRA Common Council members who volunteered AND only those who have no conflicting relationship (officer, director, employee, ownership) with the PPG applicants. The seating arrangement will be like RIRA meetings (tables in the center, observers on the side) so it is clear who is part of the committee. RIRA President, Frank Farance, will chair the subcommittee. The meeting will be videotaped. This is an open meeting and the public is welcome to observe.

Assuming we reach agreement on Tuesday night, RIRA will do an E-mail ballot of the revised allocations. With this, RIOC will have either a revised allocation, or if no changes are deemed necessary, will issue a statement that the original allocation was not the result of any conflict of interest. It is RIRAs intention that this will yield a process that is free from any appearances of conflict or unfairness.
A summary of the guidelines for approving Public Purpose Funding Applications as promulgated by RIOC are as follows:

Read More!

Public Purpose Funds should be allocated to community applicants to benefit Roosevelt Island residents, enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health or a better environment....
Factors to be considered are:
... a) Proportion of recipients who are residents of Roosevelt Island

b) Amount of services delivered to the economically disadvantaged

c) Frequency of need – Is this a one-time request or is it expected to recur ?

d) Proven history of service to the community

e) Extent of volunteerism in the organization – how much of the group’s needs
are filled by donated time or materials ?

f) Availability of “matching” grants or services – will a RIOC grant improve the
chances of receiving additional monies or services form outside groups?

g) Efforts to secure grants from other sources
UPDATE - 4/8 - The Public Purpose Funds Subcommittee met last night and reaffirmed their previous allocation of funds. Members of the various Island organizations seeking funds were in the audience but their participation was limited to presenting new information not previously known or correcting false information.

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the April 4 Main Street WIRE:

Roosevelt Islander - Soccer Trophy Name Suggestions Sought
Roosevelt Island 360 - Why Fear Back of Red Bus
RIOC - Board of Directors Web Cast On Public Purpose Funds and Budget
RIOC - Governance Committee Web Cast on Public Purpose Funds Meeting
You Tube - Senator Serrano Congratulate Elected RIOC Directors
NY Times - Octagon Developer Starts New Haven Yale Project
Access RI - Bike Sharing For Roosevelt Island?
NY Times Metropolitan Diary - Roosevelt Island Main Street Part of Manhattan
Micah Kellner - And Jessica Lappin Demonstrate With Coler Goldwater Nurses
Time Out New York - Odd Little Roosevelt Island Summer Concert Series
NY Press - Summer Concert Series At Riverwalk Commons
The Unemployment Benefits - Overcomes Language Barrier To Help Newcomer
Crains - Profiles Young Riverwalk Developer
Time Out NY - Date A Roosevelt Islander
Jaunted - Southpoint Park Movie Shoot

Read More!

On Location Vacations - Salt, w/Angelina Jolie Filming at Coler Goldwater
Newsday - $300 Monthly Transit Costs To Hofstra University from Roosevelt Island
NY Times - Queensboro Bridge Originally Named Blackwell's Island Bridge
The Bowery Boys - Blackwell's Island Bridge
NY Social Diary - View of Southpoint Park From Sutton Place Apartment
Infrastructurist - Roosevelt Island Green Water Power From Verdant
New York Daily - Roosevelt Island Marymount Student Stressed
You Tube - Inside the Renwick Ruins

Friday, April 3, 2009

Access RI Holding Community Review Of Proposals To Improve Roosevelt Island On Saturday Morning 10 A.M.

Image from Access RI

Don't forget that the Hunter College Access RI Studio Team will be holding the second community review of their proposals for improving Roosevelt Island on Saturday Morning. From Access RI:
Tuesday, March 31 from 7-9:00pm and Saturday, April 4 from 10:00am- 12 noon at the Senior Center, AccessRI will be holding a community review of the accessibility plan underway. Open to all!
The Senior Center is at 546 Main Street.

You can still take the Roosevelt Island Community Survey and review the Comments Map.

New Shiny F Train Subway Cars But No Queens Bound F Train Service To Roosevelt Island This Weekend

Image of new F train Subway Cars From AM New York

An attentive reader forward a link to this AM New York article describing the new subway cars on the F train serving Roosevelt Island. According to AM New York:
... Finally, F train riders have something to celebrate.

New digital trains started rolling out on the F last week, adding some automated enjoyment to the much-maligned line....
Unfortunately these new F train subway cars will not be making Queens Bound stops at Roosevelt Island this weekend. The MTA is reporting no Queens Bound F Train subway service to Roosevelt Island this weekend. The F Train will be running on the E track so in order to get to Roosevelt Island from Brooklyn or Manhattan by subway take the F to Roosevelt Avenue and then take the Coney Island bound F Train back to Roosevelt Island. For service to Queens from Roosevelt Island, the MTA suggests taking the Q102 Bus to Queens Plaza for the E and the R train or the F from Roosevelt Island to West 4 and then the uptown F train running on the E line.

Happily RIOC is not reporting any Tram service advisories for the weekend but expect the Roosevelt Island bound Tram to be more crowded due to the F train service disruptions.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City & Roosevelt Island - Rhythm In The Kitchen, Pillow Fight, Stargazing, Cyclone RollerCoaster & RI Tour

You Tube Video of Ride On Coney Island Cyclone

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

On Friday or Saturday night partake in the Hell's Kitchen Cultural Center's Rhythm In The Kitchen Festival. According to the NY Post:
Tonight and tomorrow's Rhythm in the Kitchen Festival is more than a jazz fest -- the participants reach beyond traditional instrumentals by using electronics, turntables or ukuleles, and add elements of rock, pop, classical and even noise to the mix
Saturday afternoon is New York City Pillow Fight Day. According to Free NYC:
Feathers fly and fake cash soars as we converge on Wall Street for a massive urban pillow fight! Swing and whack as you evade pillow-wielding bank executives. Bring a pillow to Wall Street and wait for the signal. Pillow fight! This year's pillow fight is timed to coincide with pillow fights in cities all over the world as part of World Pillow Fight Day...
Later Saturday night check out the 100 Hours of Astronomy Project with the Columbia University Astronomy Outreach team.
The 100 Hours of Astronomy project is a star party taking place April 2nd-5th on sidewalks all across the globe. Our outreach team will be manning telescopes at 125th and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd in Harlem on the clear-weather nights of Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (NOT FRIDAY). We will provide everyone with free looks at Saturn and the Moon, as well as astronomy swag. There is also rumor that the AMNH portable museum will show up for hands-on astronomy activities.
Ultimate Roller Coaster is reporting that Sunday will be opening day for the Coney Island Cyclone.
Coney Island's world-famous Cyclone roller coaster will kick off its 2009 season Sunday, April 5. The first 100 people in line on Sunday will be treated to a free ride on the roller coaster.
According to the NY Post:
Come the weekend you'll be able to ride the Cyclone - and soon even "Shoot the Freak" - just like you did last summer as Coney Island bounces back for at least one more season before a massive overhaul....
Free NYC adds:
Did you miss the chance to enjoy Coney Island in it's heyday? Perhaps even its recent nostalgic yet run down Renaissance? Well don't fear. While Brooklyn's little playground by the sea is undergoing a Disnification, you can still learn all about its grand and sorted past at the new Coney Island History Project Exhibition Center. Each weekend throughout the summer, they will spin yarns of yesteryear under the rickety old Cyclone for you wax poetically about. Today is their kickoff event with a photo exhibition and free Cyclone rides to the first 100. All ages.
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 group show titled Vernissage 8. 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.

Not so good weekend transportation news. The MTA is reporting no Queens Bound F Train subway service to Roosevelt Island this weekend. The F Train will be running on the E track so in order to get to Roosevelt Island from Brooklyn or Manhattan by subway take the F to Roosevelt Avenue and then take the Coney Island bound F Train back to Roosevelt Island. RIOC is not reporting any Tram service advisories for the weekend.

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

Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin Design Possibilities - Will Robots Be Operating The Tram?

A reader forwards the following Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin design images sent from POMAGALSKI S.A. and their subsidiaries to RIOC President Steve Shane and Mr. Shane's request for comments from Roosevelt Islanders. From POMAGALSKI S.A.:

SIGMA has been working last week to design the cabin in accordance to our last meeting in RIOC two weeks ago.

Here attached you will find a set of images that we would like to present to you in order to get your approval in terms of aspect (taking apart any technical point). This is necessary to avoid a loss of time and to make sure that we are in the good directions before going further in the design procedure.

I would appreciate if you come back to us as soon as possible.
Mr. Shane sends the following to his Tram Cabin Focus Group.
My instant focus group. If I've left anyone out, I apologize in advance. Please feel free to inquire of your circle and get back to me with comments by COB tomorrow, April 2 so I can respond to the design team. Obviously, need poles to hang onto, cabin console, some provision for anchoring a wheelchair, roof hatch, signage, etc.

Other than the robot, who I am pretty sure will not be operating the Tram, what do you think of the designs?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Four RIOC Directors Standing Around Chatting About ...

Huddle of 4 RIOC Directors

What were these four RIOC Directors (not the guy in the shorts) talking about yesterday afternoon prior to the Governance Committee meeting on Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funding?

I have no way of knowing but I think they were trying to decide on whether to go to Trellis, Starbucks, Nonnos or Fuji East after the meeting.

The Web Cast of yesterday's Governance Committe meeting will be available shortly. No decision was made by the RIOC Directors yesterday regarding the allocation of Public Purpose Funds. The Directors were primarily seeking to determine if the process RIRA used to allocate the funds among competing Roosevelt Island groups was not only fair but had the appearance of fairness as well.

RIRA Monthly Common Council Meeting Tonight 8 PM - Planning, Island Services, Communications Reports Below As Well As Proposed Resolution

Image of Previous RIRA Common Council Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting tonight Wednesday, April 1, 8PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). Prior to the meeting, time is alloted for any resident to speak before the Council and air their views or issues of concern to Roosevelt Islanders.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows:

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish
Place: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
1. Public Session (8:00)
- No requests for public session

2. Roll Call (8:00)
X 3. Approval of Agenda (8:10)
X 4. Approval of Minutes (8:10)
5. Treasurer’s Report (8:30)
6. President's Report (8:30)
7. Committee Reports (8:40)
Government Relations - M. Smith
Communications - E. Erickson
- Committee report.
Public Safety - R. Schuppert
Housing - J. Micheff & L. Strong-Shinozaki
Social, Cultural and Educational Services - N. Leopold
Island Services - A. Hamburger
- Committee report.
Planning - M. Katz
X - Planning Committee Resolutions
- Status report on RIOC long-term budgeting.

8. Old Business (9:45)
9. New Business (9:45)

10. Adjourn

X Agenda items requiring action
Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 (Mailing Deadline: May 1, 2009)

Here is the Report of the RIRA Planning Committee.

Report of the Planning Committee – March 24, 2009

Present: M. Katz (Chair), A. Barfield, P. Bozzano-Barnes, R. Baranov, H. Chirivas, F. Farance, J. Kalkin, J. Mincheff, E. Polivy, H. Polivy, S. Marcus

Absent: William Buckley, Linda Maynard-Hall, Lynn Strong-Shinozaki

1. Katz discussed the ongoing efforts by the two graduate classes at Columbia University and Hunter College to address Island issues, especially transportation. He reminded the committee of the two dates scheduled by the Hunter group to present their data: March 31 and April 4.

2. Community Board 8 Member, Ellen Polivy, discussed the work of their Parks Committee to plan a Citywide forum in May on the appropriate commercial use of parks. CB8 has banned vendors from Tram Plaza, and Mincheff noted that their presence would act as a deterrent to vagrants as well as helping to maintain the site and provide refreshments to the Islanders who are primary users of the Tram. The Committee agreed to draft a resolution (under separate cover) to CB8 asking them to reconsider and to present it at the April 1 Common Council for their approval. The Committee agreed to draft another resolution (under separate cover) to RIOC encouraging them to provide refreshment services, either directly or through outside vendors, at our parks.

3. Farance noted that RIOC President Shane appears to have reversed his endorsement of a master leaseholder for the Northtown Main Street retail stores. The RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee, chaired by Charlee Miller, is still supporting the plan, although they have yet to make recommendations to the Board. Kalkin said that RIOC VP, Rosina Abramson, has called for a study of the master lease proposal, as opposed to having RIOC or a hired consultant, fill the empty stores. Kalkin said he is investigating banks and credit unions that might take over the NYNB space when they leave in June. Mincheff noted how important a banking presence on the Island is, especially for seniors.

4. Farance, who proposed and convened a sub-committee of this Committee to investigate RIOC’s inadequate budget projections, reported that CFO Chironis has reneged on his guarantee to provide complete financial data. He was promised a database dump from 1991 that would include line-item actuals, and this has not been forthcoming. Farance noted in The WIRE RIRA column that RIOC’s five-year revenue projections don’t offer satisfactory assurances of solvency in the current economic atmosphere, especially with future Southtown ground lease revenues put on (what we can only hope will be) temporary hold. Farance has posited three scenarios for the future development of the Island, each of which results in RIOC’s insolvency sometime in the middle or distant future. Accurate data from RIOC could corroborate or refute these analyses and aid both RIRA and RIOC to plot a future course of fiscal action. Farance is pursuing various avenues, including Board members and local legislators, to acquire this information. Kalkin said he would try to get the data.

Respectfully submitted,
Matthew Katz
Chair, Planning Committee
The Report of the RIRA Communications Committee:
Report of the Communications Committee
March 27, 2009

The set-up of the website is still underway. As stated in the prior report, with only two members, this chair will be communicating with the committee via email as necessary, rather than holding formal meetings.

I have communicated with the Roosevelt Island Blogger who has generously agreed to post the agenda and the meeting materials on that site so that this information is accessible to the public.

As stated previously, I hope to eventually post the pictures of the Common Council members on the website as many tenants recognize faces rather than names and may improve communication between representatives and the tenants. Pictures will be taken during the April meeting.
The Report of the Island Services Committee:

Credit Card Theft
We have learned that in the last 6 months, there have been 35 cases of credit card theft on Roosevelt Island. These incidents are now under active investigations by the Post Office, the NYPD and the Secret Service. Since these cases are being pursued by the proper agencies, ISC will no longer be active on this issue. However, we will continue to closely monitor developments.

Red Bus – Morning Rush Hour Service
Red Bus morning rush hour service problems seem to have been relieved. However, at least one problem remains. From time-to-time, the local Red Bus will not pick-up passengers at the Good Shepherd and Island House bus stops due to overcrowding on the bus.
ISC will monitor the situation to determine how frequently the by-passing occurs. We will be asking residents at these bus stops to report to us on all incidents. Notices will be posted on appropriate Main St. kiosks requesting the information – date and time of each missed bus pick-up during the weekday period of 7 am – 9 am.

Disabled Accessibility to F train
In March, the MTA finally installed a ramp in the middle of both Roosevelt Island station platforms that will allow wheelchair and motorized carts to easily board the F train. This successfully close out the ISC ‘s interest in this important issue.

Public Library
Committee members and RI residents report that our branch library is not providing a variety of services expected from Manhattan libraries. Some examples: the RI library is not scheduling children’s reading groups, not cataloging and properly shelving the special collection of documents, reports and books relating to RI history, and not out-reaching to the community, especially to our schools.
ISC will gather additional information and then consider taking our concerns to the higher management of Manhattan libraries.

Bike Storage Racks At Subway Station
Many bikes seem to be permanently stored at the subway station racks. This prevents residents from using the the racks for their intended purpose – temporary storage of a bike while a resident is using the subway or tram to travel to another part of the City.
We are contacting the Public Safety Department to see if they can control the bike storage situation.

Aaron Hamburger, ISC Chair
And a proposed RIRA resolution to Community Planning Board 8 regarding lifting a ban on licensed vendors at the Manhattan Tram Plaza.
Whereas, Roosevelt Island residents are the largest group of users of the Roosevelt Island Tram and Tram Plaza, and

Whereas, this community, through its elected representatives on the Roosevelt Island Residents Association were not consulted regarding the banning of vendors from Tram Plaza, and

Whereas, the Tram Plaza is frequently used as a resting place for vagrants, homeless people and beggars, and

Whereas, our residents would feel safer in the Plaza if it were better trafficked, and

Whereas, our residents would like to see constructive activity and the possibility of services on the Plaza, and

Whereas, the presence of vendors on the Plaza is unlikely to impede foot traffic, or to have any other negative consequences,

Therefore, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, representing 12,000 residents of our community, respectfully requests that Manhattan Community Board 8 reconsider its ban on the presence of licensed vendors in Tram Plaza.

Approved by the RIRA Common Council
April 1, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trophy Name Suggestions For Roosevelt Island Soccer League At Firefighter's Field Being Sought - Any Ideas?

Image of Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field

I received the following message:
Right now we're applying for a permit to play a Soccer League in the firefighters field during the summer. We would love to honor a Roosevelt Islander, by naming our trophy after him or her. But I was wondering if you can give me some suggestions.
Any ideas?

Roosevelt Island Is Part Of Manhattan Says The NY Times - Then It Must Be True

Image of Roosevelt Island's Main Street from Bridge & Tunnel Club

A reader points out a letter from the NY Times Metropolitan Diary feature yesterday which repeats the false notion that Manhattan has no Main Street. Happily, the NY Times editor correctly points out that Manhattan does indeed have a Main Street and that it is on Roosevelt Island which is part of Manhattan. According to the NY Times:
... In fact, Roosevelt Island, which is part of the borough of Manhattan, has a Main Street....
Now, if only the cab drivers believed that Roosevelt Island is part of Manhattan it would be much easier getting them to take fares here.

More on Roosevelt Island and other New York City Main Streets here.

Roosevelt Island 360 also noticed the Metropolitan Diary letter.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Win The New Yorkers For Parks Daffodil Project For Roosevelt Island - Get Out Those Cameras

Daffodil Image Courtesy of Adrian Benepe and New Yorkers For Parks

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy sends along the following message to Roosevelt Islanders:
Last autumn New Yorkers 4 Parks donated 600 daffodil bulbs to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. We gave them to island groups and management companies to plant.

Please take photos of our daffs in bloom and submit as below with a copy of your photos to this email address.

We would love for an islander to win.
More information on the New Yorkers For Parks Daffodil Project here. Be advised that all entries must be postmarked by April 24, 2009

Bike Sharing and Other Roosevelt Island Transportation Ideas To Be Presented By Hunter College Access RI Team On March 31 & April 4 - Come Participate

Image of Potential Roosevelt Island Bike Sharing Station from Access RI

The Hunter College Access RI Team studying transportation, including bike sharing, and other related Roosevelt Island issues of concern will be presenting their draft report to the Roosevelt Island community for review and comment on Tuesday March 31 and Saturday April 4. From Access RI:
AccessRI will be presenting a draft of our accessibility study for community review. We invite you to participate in this discussion about our recommendations for the island.

You will have two chances to participate:

Tuesday, March 31 at the RI Senior Center from 7-9pm or
Saturday, April 4 at the RI Senior Center from 10am-noon
As always we look forward to your questions and comments!
The Senior Center is at 546 Main Street.

What are some of the issues addressed in the Access RI study? Take a look at the Comment Map prepared at their community Open House last December.

If you have not yet taken the Roosevelt Island Community Survey, please take a few minutes to do so.

The Columbia University Urban Planning students should be presenting their study soon as well. It looks like Roosevelt Island is becoming a laboratory for future urban planners.