Friday, April 10, 2009

RIRA Reaffirms Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds Allocation - Decision Now Up To RIOC

Meeting of April 7 RIRA Public Purpose Funds Subcommittee

RIRA President Frank Farance sends the following message to RIOC President Steve Shane and the Roosevelt Island community regarding RIRA's recommendation to the RIOC Board of Directors for allocation of Public Purpose Funds.
On April 7, 2009, as directed by the RIRA Common Council, the RIRA PPG committee met again to reconsider the PPG allocations. Below, please find the meeting report.

On April 8-9, the RIRA Common Council balloted the resolution (see below). The resolution was approved by a vote of 20 (approve), 1 (disapprove), 3 (abstain).
Below, please find the RIRA resolution regarding our approval of the PPG allocations. Note that the PPG allocation amounts are the same as the prior RIRA allocation.

RIRA quickly addressed this concern (approximately 7 days) and RIRA requests that RIOC quickly approve the funding because some applicants (Island Kids, Life Frames) need their funding no later than May 1, 2009 to successfully start their 2009 program.

***Without RIOC's immediate funding, this would have a negative impact on approximately one thousand Island residents (250+ for Island Kids, 700+ for Life Frames.***

Finally, it was disappointing that Mr. Stewart, the Chair of the Governance Committee, did not attend the RIRA Common Council nor the RIRA PPG meeting. I received no response from our invitation to the RIRA PPG meeting. Clearly Mr. Stewart has keen interest in the RIRA process and it is unfortunate that he was unable to directly observe the committee's work.

Please let me know when RIOC is scheduling a board meeting to approve the PPG monies. Thanks.
Below is the report of the meeting and approved resolution.

1. Meeting started approximately 8:15 PM and ended approximately 9:30 PM.

2. Meeting was attended by Frank Farance (chair), Steve Marcus, Margie Smith, Erin Feely-Nahem, and Phoebe Flynn.

3. The RIOC Board, PPG applicants, and the public were permitted to observe, but not participate in the committee discussions concerning the allocations of funds. (There were some general questions about what the RIRA PPG committee would be doing in this meeting.)

4. Each member asserted that they have no conflicting relationship (employee, owner, officer, director) with any of the applicants.

5. The committee took the action to reconsider the PPG allocations.

6. The committee discussed each application, if there was any new information, and its scoring according to the established criteria. The committee discussed the relative merits comparing the high-, medium-, and low- ranking applications.

7. The committee arrived at the following allocations:

$0 Child School
$36,000 Island Kids
$20,000 Life Frames
$0 Orphans International
$10,000 RICLA
$4,000 RI Day Nursery
$25,000 RI Disabled Association
5,000 RI Seniors Association

with the following rationale:

- The applications were scored based upon the established criteria.

- Some proposals (Child School, Orphans International) were excluded because they did not provide significant direct benefit to Roosevelt Island residents.

- The highest ranked proposals (Island Kids, RI Disabled Association, RI Seniors Association) were considered first and given highest priority in their funding.

- The next highest ranked proposals (Life Frames, RICLA) were considered and given second priority in funding.

- The remaining proposals (RI Day Nursery) were considered and given third priority in funding.


Whereas the RIRA Common Council has received information concerning an appearance of conflict of interest within the discussions of the RIRA PPG committee and PPG applicants;

Whereas the RIRA Common Council took immediate action and asked the RIRA PPG committee to reconsider its allocations of PPG funds with a committee composed of members having no conflicting (employee, owner, officer, director) relationship with PPG applicants;

Whereas the RIRA PPG committee reconsidered the allocation of funds and provided rationale for its decision-making;

Resolved, the RIRA Common Council recommends to RIOC the following PPG allocations for 2009: Child School $0, Island Kids $36,000, Life Frames $20,000, Orphans International $0, RICLA $10,000, RI Day Nursery $4,000, RI Disabled Association $25,000, RI Seniors Association $5,000; with the following rationale: (1) the applications were scored based upon the established criteria; (2) some proposals (Child School, Orphans International) were excluded because they did not provide significant direct benefit to Roosevelt Island residents; (3) the highest ranked proposals (Island Kids, RI Disabled Association, RI Seniors Association) were considered first and given highest priority in their funding; (4) the next highest ranked proposals (Life Frames, RICLA) were considered and given second priority in funding; (5) the remaining proposals (RI Day Nursery) were considered and given third priority in funding.

Approved by RIRA on April 9, 2009.
A subsequent email message indicated that Mr. Stewart was out of town for the RIRA Public Purpose subcommittee meeting. Mr. Kalkin, another RIOC Governance Committee member was in attendance.

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Orphans International and the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery sent the following message to Roosevelt Islander Blog prior to the meeting.

From Orphans International:
Orphans International has for many years been a place of volunteering and service for the residents of Roosevelt Island. Recently this has increased as Island residents became aware of the many college interns coming to Roosevelt Island for OIWW jobs training. At the present time 5 RI teens are doing office work at OIWW to meet their school's requirements for community service. The NY courts have assigned 2 people to do work for us to complete court ordered community service. Over 200 people have applied for summer internships here, but only 23 will be chosen. Many RI residents asked how they could be chosen for our positions, so we decided to offer evening classes.

Because of the large number of professionals who visit our computer lab (all donated) OI has started offering classes in support of job hunters. The first 2 classes attracted 7 students each. RI residents searching for jobs will receive help researching possible job sites, preparing a resume, learning to "get through" to potential employers and practice with their interview.

The opportunity to learn to use many new programs is very attractive to people looking for work in this competitive job market. OIWW asked for RIRA funds to cover our utility bills for our space at 559 Main.
If we receive it we can consider increasing our jobs training activity at the office, and know that we are not having to take money our of the orphans mouths to do it.
And Roosevelt Island Day Nursery:
... In regards to the criteria, "Proportion of recipients who are residents of Roosevelt Island," all of the families who received financial aid for this year, do live on Roosevelt Island. Our tuitions for this year are $10,275-$14,525 plus an additional fee for afterschool....

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City & Roosevelt Island- Auto Show, Hanami Cherry Blossom, Easter Parade & RI Magnolia Blossom Tour

You Tube Video of Easter Parade Song with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland

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 New York International Auto Show is at the Javits Center through April 19 and today is holding a Special Public Sneak Preview tonight from 11 AM - 10:30 PM so if you like cars - this is the place to be.
The New York Auto Show is value-packed fun for the whole family combining the best place to compare the world’s finest cars and trucks with state-of-the-art displays, celebrities, prizes, giveaways, interactive exhibits and vehicle test drives.

For 109-years, NYIAS has ignited the passion and stirred the soul of car lovers with its futuristic concept cars and new vehicles and 2009 is no exception. Compare every new car on the market under one roof, in one day, without any pressure to buy. Whether you’re looking for a small car that makes a big impression, something fun, fast and frugal, or you want to get plugged into a hybrid or electric vehicle there is no better place to research your next new car, crossover, minivan, SUV, or truck.

Even if you’re not looking to buy a car until much later in the year, the Show is the only place that you can explore the technological breakthroughs that are changing the way we drive. From revolutionary safety equipment that automatically brakes the vehicle if it senses an impending crash to features that allow your car to park itself, you can guarantee that the car you buy tomorrow will be radically different from the one you are driving today. Come to the Show to find out just how different!
On Saturday visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for Hanami:
... the Japanese cultural tradition of viewing and cherishing each moment of the cherry blossom season. At Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Hanami is a New York City "rite of spring."

Visitors can stroll under a canopy of cherry trees, view artwork inspired by cherry blossoms in the Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery, and savor special Japanese entrees at the Terrace Café.
On Sunday stroll up 5th Avenue with the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival. According to the NY Post:
Grab your floppiest hat and hop over to Midtown for Sunday's Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., paraders -- a term we use liberally -- will be milling about Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th streets sans floats, bands and other such things generally associated with a parade. Everyone's invited to join and watch as confused tourists get the wrong idea about Manhattanites' fashion sense
Don't forget Sunday's Roosevelt Island Magnolia Blossom Walk:
Spring is in the air -- with all its glory -- on the Magnolia Blossom Walk to be held on Roosevelt Island on Sunday, April 12, at 11:00 a.m.

Take a 90-minute tour of the historic sites on Roosevelt Island and rejoice in the abundant color of the magnolia trees in full bloom.
In addition to the Magnolia Blossom Walk, 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.

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, Free NYC, NY Post Weekend Calendar and Newyorkology.

RIOC Investigating Recent Power Surges on Roosevelt Island Tram Causing Brief Shutdown & The Most Awesome Aerial Trams In The World

Image of April 2006 Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue from NY 1

According to the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety reports there have been 3 recent incidents reported of Tram Power Suges - 4/2,6, &7 - causing the Tram to lose power for 1-2 minutes. I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane:
Do you know what the cause of these "surges" are and how does it affect the operation and reliability of the Tram?
Mr. Shane replied:
We are trying to identify the cause of the power surges with Con Ed, but so far not Island based. No effect on Tram except automatic shutdown until resolved.
After jump, the Public Safety reports on Tram power surge incidents and a review of the Most Awesome Aerial Trams In The World.

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0700 hours 04/02/09 - 0700 hours 04/03/09
Power Surge - PSD channel stopped working in PSD. Super checked circuit breaker and reset it. Tram supervisor later stated that the tram stopped running for two minutes then resumed. No injuries or property damage resulting from surge were reported to PSD.

0700 hrs 04/06/09 - 0700 hrs 04/07/09
Power Surge - Caused PSD radio channel to stop operating and Tram to cease and resume after one minute. No injuries or property damage resulting from power surge.

4/7/09-7:00 AM to 4/8/09-7:00 AM
Power Surge- At Tram and effected PSD radio frequency. Power off for one minute. No injuries or property damage.

Blogger World of Mysteries includes the Roosevelt Island Tram among the Most Awesome Aerial Trams In The World.
Although the numbers of people who use aerial tramways as tourists are vast, the record for the amount of people to use a system must involve it being part of a mass transit system. One would normally associate mass transit with speed rather than the slow grace of the aerial tramway. However, spanning the East River in New York City, the Roosevelt Island Tramway connects the latter with Manhattan. It began service in 1976 and has since then carried almost thirty million people. Until recently with the introduction of the Portland system it was the only mass transit aerial tramway in the USA. And yes, you did see it in the Spider-man film.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Repaving Roosevelt Island Streets and Pothole Repair - Bye Bye Z Bricks

RIOC President Steve Shane responds to the following two comments by readers of this recent post on Roosevelt Island Pothole repair and street paving:

Who is in charge of fixing potholes on RI? The NYC DOT or the RIOC? Can I call 311 and report a pothole or do I have to call the RIOC?
Bye, bye z-bricks. Little by little all the character is being sucked out of the Island.
From Mr. Shane:
Call RIOC to report potholes. We are responsible for fixing them, hence the present advisory about street closings for such repair program.

Repaving will ultimately do away with the z brick which are a constant source of problem and presently unreplaceable. We will continue their use in plazas.
Five years ago the RIOC Board set aside funds for the maintenance of the Z Bricks in their 5 year Capital Plan. The April 3, 2004 Main Street WIRE reported on this exchange between previous RIOC Board Director Ponton and RIOC President Berman concerning the Z Bricks.
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...RIOC President Herb Berman, responding to a question from resident Board member Mark Ponton, said that it is “absolutely not the case” that RIOC management has decided to discontinue maintenance of sections of Z-brick on the Island, and substitute asphalt or blacktop. Board Chair Mary BethLabate said the five-year capital plan includes funds for the higher cost of maintaining the Z-bricks....

Perhaps it is just not feasible to maintain the Z Bricks on Roosevelt Island streets any longer but what happened to those funds allocated during previous RIOC administration for Z Brick repairs in referenced 5 year capital plan? Were they spent and proved that Z Bricks on Roosevelt Island streets were not practicable?

Other interesting items from the 2004 RIOC Budget include:
  • ...Certain items of Island infrastructure, in particular the street lighting, will be maintained in the future by the City when and if all elements are converted to the City standard.
  • Discussion indicated that RIOC will retain some control over commercial uses of ground-floor space in Southtown buildings #3 and #4. Berman indicated attention would be paid to the concerns of competition in the Island’s micro-economy.
  • In his President’s report, Berman said RIOC is hiring an elevator expert to develop and implement a permanent solution to the problem of frequent elevator outages and erratic operation at Motorgate....

Magnolia Blossom Walk On Roosevelt Island - Sunday April 12

Image of Roosevelt Island Magnolia Tree from RIHS

Received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society:

Spring is in the air -- with all its glory -- on the Magnolia Blossom Walk to be held on Roosevelt Island on Sunday, April 12, at 11:00 a.m.

Take a 90-minute tour of the historic sites on Roosevelt Island and rejoice in the abundant color of the magnolia trees in full bloom.

The tour, led by Judith Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, will highlight the principal events and personages of the Island over the past 300 years. This is the first in a series of two walks offering botanical and historical observations about Roosevelt Island. The Cherry Blossom Walk will be held on Saturday, May 2.

For reservations, please contact or 212-688-4836. A donation of $5 to the RIHS is requested.

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DIRECTIONS: Take the Tram at 59th Street and Second Avenue or the F train to Roosevelt Island. Walk 15 minutes north on Main Street or take the red bus (25 cents). Meet at The Octagon, 888 Main Street.

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society promotes awareness of our Island's unique story and pursues preservation of its landmarks and artifacts. For more information, please visit

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is Trust For The Public Land Still Involved in Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park Green Rooms/Wild Gardens Project?

Image from 4/12/08 Main Street WIRE(PDF File)

Following up on a remark made by a Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Member during RIRA's April 1 meeting, I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane:
At last night's RIRA Meeting, one of the delegates stated that He/She was told by someone from the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute that the Trust For The Public Land was no longer involved in the Green Rooms/Wild Gardens Southpoint Park project and that the project had slowed down considerably recently.

Is that true? If so, what happened?
Mr. Shane replied:
Absolutely untrue.
TPL has a contract and is performing same. RIOC has taken over the last part of the contract, namely supervision during construction, to expedite matters. Construction is scheduled to actually commence next week.
After the jump is an excerpt of RIOC's description of the Trust For Public Land's scope of work for the Southpoint Park Green Rooms/Wild Gardens Project.

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The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation has engaged the Trust for Public Land under a three year contract for final design and construction documents for the 12 acres at Southpoint Park. The condensed scope of work includes:

Phase I: Consultant Selection Phase - 6/1/06 to 11/15/06
Task 1: Request for Proposals for Design Services
The Contractor shall draft a Request for Proposals (RFP) including a complete project description with site conditions, expected final results, a schedule for completion, and criteria for selecting a preferred proposal. The Contractor shall submit the RFP to RIOC for review and approval prior to release for solicitation of proposals.

Products: Approved RFP released through advisement in local papers, the New York State Contract Reporter, and other appropriate means.

Task 2: Design Consultant Selection
In consultation with RIOC, the Contractor and an appropriate review committee shall review all proposals received as a result of the RFP.
After review of all proposals, the selection committee will develop a shortlist of firms for interviews. Key personnel and staff assigned to the Consultant Team must be present at the interview.

Products: Consultant(s) selected and approved by DCR/RIOC.
Status - Complete - Wallace, Roberts and Todd (WRT), LLC Selected as Lead Firm

The complete description of work is here.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Closure Advisory April 15 - 17, 21 &22, 2009 - Be Careful, It's A Long Way Down To The East River

Image of Half Open Bridge From The Onion

Received the following notice regarding the temporary closure of the Roosevelt Island Bridge.



APRIL 15 – 17, 21 & 22, 2009

FROM 12:30 A.M. TO 5:30 A.M.



12:30 A.M. AND 5:30 A.M.


RIOC President Steve Shane provides additional information in his April 6 RIOC Report.
36th Avenue Bridge: On April 1, we met with representatives of Skanska and DOT to discuss mandatory bridge closings to replace buffers and cables. They are not kidding. The Bridge will be closed the nights of April 15 & 16 (and if it rains on either, then also on the 17th) between the hours of 12:30AM and 5:30AM. No vehicles will be able to cross during that time. A similar closing is scheduled for June 29 & 30. We are coordinating with emergency services to station fire, police and EMS responders on Island and to plan for transport and response if necessary. We will run the Tram during the period of closure to make sure that there is access and egress. We have lived through this situation before, are well aware of the potential difficulty and will do our best to mitigate the disruption. PLEASE MAKE PLANS ACCORDINGLY.
The complete closure of the Roosevelt Island Bridge could cause serious difficulties to sick or injured residents who need emergency assistance during this time period. Mr. Shane addresses that issue in an email message sent to Roosevelt Island media:
You have all received a copy of the DOT Notice of Bridge Closure.

1. It is absolutely necessary.
2. The Fire Department will station an engine (pumper) and a ladder truck on the Island during the outage to respond to any emergencies. In addition, there will be a fireboat available to deliver additional personnel if a big emergency occurs. An engine company (with 5 firemen) will be at the Vernon Ave. end of the Bridge to provide additional bodies as needed.
3. The Fire Dept. (EMS) will station an ambulance on the Island and an ambulance at the Vernon Ave end of the bridge. In the event of a medical emergency, the victim will be treated and taken to the RI end of the bridge and conveyed on a gurney to the other side where the other ambulance will be waiting to transport. In addition to the 4 EMS persons, there will be the 5 firemen there to assist. If the bridge is completely impassable (one of the procedures will require it to be 6'-8' above the connecting streets), then transport will have to be by Tram to a waiting ambulance on Manhattan side.
4. RIOC will run the Tram all night on 1/2 hour intervals (except in emergency) with the Red bus to match up. The Subway (F Train) should be available.
5.Only 2 nights are needed, and if the weather permits, the later nights will not be required. Steelworkers union contract and OSHA rules do not permit workers on exposed iron surfaces at heights when it is raining.
6. NYPD is also likely to station a squad car on the Island to assist.
We have coordinated all of this with NYPD, NYFD, EMS, DOT, HHC, etc. A necessary evil, but we should get through it. Please try to quell the hysterics.
After the jump more on the history of the Roosevelt Island Bridge including what happened a previous time the Bridge got stuck in an open position.

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Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge in Open Position From NYC Roads

According to NYC Roads:
... Initially, access to Welfare Island had been through a series of ferries from Manhattan and Queens. In 1930, a four-cab elevator service began between the lower deck of the Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge and the island. The service, which had served 230,000 cars per year by the early 1950's, provided the only public connection to Welfare Island.

The increasing traffic needs to and from Welfare Island, as well as growing congestion on the Queensboro Bridge, prompted the New York City Department of Public Works to propose a new vertical-lift crossing between Queens and Welfare Island. After initial resistance from the New York City Council, which doubted that the $6.5 million span would carry enough traffic to justify its cost, construction of the Roosevelt Island Bridge (then named the Welfare Island Bridge) began on March 17, 1952....
The NY Times reports on a 2004 incident when the Roosevelt Island Bridge was stuck in the open position for more than an hour:
... All the means of access to the sliver-shaped island were out of service for about an hour that day, Aug. 12. The tram was down for a periodic tune-up. The Roosevelt Island Bridge, which lifts to allow boat traffic to pass through, was stuck in the open position. Electrical problems temporarily halted service on the F train.

''If someone had a heart attack or a fire, there would have been no way to get an ambulance onto the island,'' said Matthew Katz, president of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association.

As it turned out, there were no disasters, but Mr. Katz has worried about emergency planning ever since. His solution: additional access routes to serve the island's 12,000 residents.

On Tuesday, the transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 8 will consider a request from Mr. Katz and his association to allow island residents direct access to the Queensboro Bridge via staircase or elevator...
Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge from Wired New York

Roosevelt Island Bridge Image From Bridge & Tunnel Club

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kimono Dressing Class Dream Blossoms On Roosevelt Island

Image of Roosevelt Island Kimono Class from NY Times

Who would have thought that of all the unique neighborhoods in New York City the place where you can learn Kimono Dressing would be right here on Roosevelt Island. According to the NY Times:
...Putting on a kimono without help is almost impossible. The kimono with all its accessories can include a dozen components, and the type of fabric used and the manner in which the kimono is folded vary, depending on the occasion and the wearer’s social status.

Hiromi Asai, 28, who emigrated a year ago from Japan, has stepped into the void, offering her services as a kimono dressing instructor in her Roosevelt Island apartment....
Ms. Asai writes about all things Kimono and her experience being interviewed by the NY Times in her blog, Beauty Of Kimono, and concludes:
...My class is in Roosevelt Island, in the small corner of Manhattan. I am very pleased that one of my dreams from Japan blossoms in The New York Times.
Thank you for finding my dream, Emily!
A video on how to put on a kimono titled " The Art of Kimono Dressing" after the jump.

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You Tube Video of the Art Of Kimono Dressing

Roosevelt Island New Amesterdam Soccer League To Play At Firefighters Field - Has Room For 3 More Teams

Image of Firefighters Field from Leonard Zelig

A reader of this post seeking names for a Roosevelt Island Soccer Trophy asks:

I read about the proposed league.. it's about time someone organizes something like this on the island.. what are the details? i'd like to put a team in.
Here's some information on the co-ed New Amsterdam Soccer league that plays at Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field. I am advised by the organizer of the New Amsterdam Soccer League that:
... we still have 3 Team Spot available in our league, maybe we could create a Roosevelt Island Team!
And an aerial view of Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field after the jump.

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Aerial View Image of Firefighters Field From New Amsterdam Soccer

Roosevelt Island Road Closure Advisories For Pothole Repairs and Repaving

According to RIOC:

Road Closure Advisory
Please be advised of the upcoming road closures and temporary re-routing for Main Street and Tramway Road.

1. Starting on Tuesday April 7, 2009, RIOC's Asphalt contractor will be on the island repairing potholes starting from Coler Hospitals main entrance to South Point tackling all necessary potholes, which will take place for the most part of the week. The contractor will have Flag Men to assist with the traffic, we will start after rush hour and try to finish before the evening rush.

2. Starting April 13, 2009, Hudson Related's Asphalt contractor for South Town will be Asphalting the top layer (Finish Coat) around South Town's New Main Street, Tram Roadway finishing to the West Drive, the work will take place throughout the week. Contractor will have Flag Men, the buses will have to be re routed for a day or two around Sports Park. We will have confirmation on which day the rerouting of the buses will occur by the 13th.

3. Also starting on Monday April 13,2009, RIOC�s contractor will be starting the Main Street Pavement Reconstruction from 40 River Road/ Main Street to the Octagon Soccer Field Comfort Station entrance. The traffic lanes will be reduced to one lane creating two way traffic on one lane with channelizing Devices and Flag Men during construction hours, during the evening only channelizing devices will be in place. This work will be performed in two halves, the first half will be on the North bound lane for two weeks and the second half will be on the south bound lane for an additional two weeks. During this work the 40 River Road bus stop will have to be relocated to accommodate the traffic flow.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

RFP Issued For Southpoint Park July 4 Fireworks Spectacular - Come Organize Roosevelt Island's Biggest Party!

You Tube Video of 2008 Fourth of July Fireworks from Roosevelt Island

Do you want to organize and manage the biggest party on Roosevelt Island - the annual July 4th Fireworks Spectacular Celebration at Southpoint Park? If so, hurry and reply to RIOC's Request For Proposals (RFP) seeking a Production Company to oversee the event. As described in the RFP:
... The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York (“RIOC”), a New York state public benefit corporation, is seeking the service of a Production Company to implement, oversee and manage the July 4th event with emphasis on additional events for 2009. RIOC will require bidders to submit original concepts for special events, arrange and manage the production of such events which will meet the following criteria of enhancing Roosevelt Island’s public image and promoting goodwill with the Roosevelt Island community and the City of New York. Implementation of such projects to include:

The Annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular 591 Main Street ...
Roosevelt Island's Fourth of July Fireworks Celebrations holds a special place in the life of the Roosevelt Islander Blog because it was the subject of the first post and the reason it came into being - my objection to RIOC charging $18 to gain entry to a public park to view the fireworks when other public venues to do not charge a dime. Here's more on the Good, Bad & Ugly of previous Roosevelt Island July 4 Fireworks Spectacular Celebrations including the fantastic fireworks display, overcrowding, long lines, problems with General Admission Seating, Free VIP Seating, financial accounting and South Park on Independence Day.

The deadline to apply to this RFP is a bit confusing since it lists two deadline dates - April 1 and 13. I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane as to the correct date and he replied that April 13 is the correct deadline date.

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Mr Shane:
April 13 is the correct date. We are filing a correction in the Contract Reporter and changing our website notice.
Thank you for picking the item up and bringing it to our attention.
First was posted 3/23/09.

Report From RIOC's President - Budget Adopted, Southpoint Park Developments, Tram Update, Public Purpose Funds & Other Roosevelt Island Issues

RIOC logo image from RIOC

Starting a new feature and hope it will continue. RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 4/04/09 Main Street WIRE. Mr. Shane addresses issues on RIOC's Budget, The Tram, Renwick Ruins Stabilization, Green Rooms/Wild Garden and FDR Memorial among several other items of importance to Roosevelt Island.
1. Board of Directors: Regular Meeting March 26, 2009. The Budget for Fiscal Year 2009/10 was adopted. Public Purpose Fund allocation recommended by RIRA was tabled after discussion and was the subject of a Governance Committee meeting on 3/31/09. See below. See netcast of the meetings at RIOC’s homepage.

2. Southpoint: As to projects:

(A) Renwick Ruins: Stabilization work to be completed by the end of April. The building will then be boarded up to secure the interior and prevent the trespassing which seems to be created by our very own attractive restoration. Something about the Spring, moonlight and teenagers. Unfortunately, two of our Public Safety Officers were injured, one with a fractured ankle, chasing some kids in the Ruin.

(B) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: The contractor, Coppola Paving & Landscaping Corp., has executed and delivered its contract and bonds and will start with mobilization, rough grading, paths and stone walls. Phase 2 will be the finish grading and capping of the site, utilities, fencing and planting.

We are planning a combined ceremony for the groundbreaking for GR/WG and completion of the Ruins stabilization in early May. Stay tuned for details.

(C) FDR Memorial: FERI is working on engineering and permitting with DEC, Army Corp. of Engineers, Coastguard, etc. FERI has dug test pits and taken cores for environmental and structural analysis and delivered soils analysis for review, to be part of the SEQRA process. The State Budget includes a $4 million capital appropriation to RIOC for the FDR Memorial project, conditioned on a matching $4 million from the City and at least $8 million in the possession of FERI as necessary to complete phase 1. Much remains to be worked out.

3. Tram: Work is underway on design and fabrication. Meeting with Community Board 8 Transportation Committee scheduled for April 7 at the NY Blood Center. On schedule for July 6, 2009 shutdown and December reopening. With the withdrawal of Renzo Piano, Thornton Tomasetti has undertaken architectural work in addition to its previous structural engineering engagement. As soon as designs and sketches are available, will make available to the community. I hope to have something available for the CB8 meeting next week.

4. Red Bus, Tram and Subway: Faced with the announcement of late night F train shutdown during the week by MTA for emergency track work, in the interim, RIOC is running the Tram and Red Bus service until 5AM until MTA restores service on or about April 10.

5. Projects: Grounds cleanup underway. Lighting at Motorgate (we are experimenting by installing two alternative types to test efficacy), replace the exterior of the AVAC building, install replacement chambers for AVAC and start on the improvements to PSD. Public Safety has temporarily relocated to 504 Main Street while the work is being done. Flowers for Main Street are coming.

6. Public Purpose Fund: As part of the budgeting cycle, RIOC received applications from the several entities applying for allocation of the $100,000 of public purpose funding, forwarded them to RIRA and after RIRA’s review, and received a recommendation for action at the March Board meeting. The matter was tabled for further review by the Governance Committee. The Governance Committee met on March 31 and looked into the process by which the RIRA recommendations were made. The Committee will report to the Board on the matter. RIOC conducted an audit (both financial and function) on the recipients of last year’s awards and presented the results to both the Board and RIRA’s review committee.

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7. Sportspark Swimming: In response to requests, effective March 9, morning weekday adult swim hours is extended to 11 AM to accommodate those with child care responsibility. We hope for ever greater participation.

8. Bank: RIOC received a notice from NYNB that it intends to close its branch at 615 Main Street on June 6, 2009, saying that the business does not justify maintaining its operation. Banking is very important to the Island’s population, especially the seniors, handicapped and merchants who do not have easy access to either online or mainland banking. We have written to NYNB and the various governmental agencies supervising bank operations expressing our dismay and calling their attention to lease provisions to which they will be held. We have met with another institution encourage it to come to the Island, and while trying to drum up business for a bank is not exactly within RIOC’s charter, we are trying to facilitate.

9. Main Street Commercial: The Real Estate Committee, chaired by Board member Charlee Miller, met with the consultant doing the study to review preliminary findings and recommendations. Many RIRA members also participated, led by Margie Smith.

10. Southtown Buildings 5 and 6 moving toward completion. Landscaping being done and interior finishes and fixtures being installed (see refrigerator deliveries). Our agreement for deferral of Ground Rent increase has been finalized and will be executed when supporting documentation is obtained from the building loan lender, attorneys, title company, etc.

11. 36th Avenue Bridge: On April 1, we met with representatives of Skanska and DOT to discuss mandatory bridge closings to replace buffers and cables. They are not kidding. The Bridge will be closed the nights of April 15 & 16 (and if it rains on either, then also on the 17th) between the hours of 12:30AM and 5:30AM. No vehicles will be able to cross during that time. A similar closing is scheduled for June 29 & 30. We are coordinating with emergency services to station fire, police and EMS responders on Island and to plan for transport and response if necessary. We will run the Tram during the period of closure to make sure that there is access and egress. We have lived through this situation before, are well aware of the potential difficulty and will do our best to mitigate the disruption. PLEASE MAKE PLANS ACCORDINGLY.