Friday, June 5, 2009

Recent Reports Of Burglary and Stolen Items On Roosevelt Island

Burglar Cartoon Image from ryebrookroundup

A reader of this post asks:
any info on the burglaries being spoken about on RI?
I reviewed the past week's daily Public Safety Reports and listed below those incidents describing items being stolen.
Burglary - Tenant reported to PSD that someone broke into his apartment while he was away. Three game systems and two lap tops were taken. No signs of forced entry. NYPD was on scene and took a report.

0700 hrs 06/01/09 - 0700 hrs 06/02/09

Grand Larceny - Worker reported to PSD that unknown person took wallet from locker room. PSD made search with negative results. Cameras were viewed with negative results. Wallet contained credit cards and no money. Victim stated he will go to 114 pct. on his own.

Petit Larceny - PSD responded to group home for past Petit Larceny. Subject was on scene and taken into custody. Subject was taken to 114 pct. and processed by NYPD.

Investigation/Recovered Bike - Tenant reported to PSD that two youths took bike from patio and attempted to leave with it. Owner grabbed bike. Youths fled without bike. PSD searched area with negative results.

6/3 - 6/4

Investigation - Resident reported that his apartment was burglarized and laptop and DVD player were missing. No signs of forced entry and NYPD refused.

0700 hrs 06/04/09 - 0700 hrs 06/05/09

Investigation - Tenant reported to PSD that after returning from church, she noticed her purse containing money and jewelry missing from her apartment. PSD responded and found no force entry. NYPD refused.
Please let me know if anyone knows of other incidents involving item being stolen on Roosevelt Island.

Here is a breakdown of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incidents by Category and location for the Months of April and May 2009.

If The Rain Holds Up This Weekend Please Play Nicely At The Roosevelt Island Ballfields

Images From Main Street WIRE Little League Ball Field Arrest Chronology

As Roosevelt Islanders probably knows by now, there was an incident last week at Capobianco Field involving a dispute between a Roosevelt Island Little League team trying to finish a game that was running late, caused to some extent by the field not being ready at the start of play, and an off- Island Adult League that had a valid permit to play on the field at that time which lead to a confrontation with the Public Safety Department and ultimately, the handcuffing and arrest of a Roosevelt Island parent. Hoping to avoid a similar situation for this weekend, I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane:
Are there any efforts or precautions being made by RIOC to insure that there is not another incident like what occurred during last week's Little League game both from a Public Safety perspective with the next permitted group as well as having the ball fields in shape to be used by the Little League at the scheduled start of their game?

At the June RIRA meeting, I heard that RIOC was planning on having additional personnel available to make sure the field was ready to be used on time for the Little League players. Is that true?
Mr. Shane replied:
With heavy overnight rain predicted, will be problematic at best. However, our groundskeepers are scheduled to start work on the field at 7, an hour before the 1st scheduled game and will do their best.
Pray for sunshine. We don't have tarps and the drainage is old and crummy.

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City & Roosevelt Island - Botanical Wine & Roses, Atlantic Ave ArtWalk, Latin Dancing & Roosevelt Live Concert

You Tube Video of Loverboy's Working For The Weekend

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

As suggested by Newyorkology, what could be better on a Friday night than some Wine and Roses at the NY Botanical Garden?
Wine and Roses
Fridays, June 5, 12, 19; 6–8 p.m.

NEW – Experience the Rose Garden in a new light! Stroll through the Rose Garden during the height of its beauty, stay late and enjoy a musical performance, talk with Botanical Garden experts about rose care, and purchase a glass of wine to complement the colors and aroma of the roses.

Members and Patrons: $10
Non-Members: $20
For Saturday or Sunday, take a stroll on Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Art Walk. According to the Brooklyn Paper:
The sixth annual Atlantic Avenue Artwalk this weekend has the same 200 or so artists, the same wide range of studio openings, and plenty of film screenings and live music — but this year, it’s a “recession-friendly event,” thanks to plenty of freebies and discounted menus at restaurants.

“Atlantic Avenue Artwalk has become a creative ‘stimulus’ more than ever — providing high-quality programming and free events to audiences while encouraging them to shop, dine and support the arts at the same time,”
On Sunday, Free NYC recommends free Latin and Salso dance lessons on the Hudson River Waterfront.
Date: Sunday, June 7th
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: 70th Street Plaza on the Hudson River
Cost: Free

Beginning this Sunday and continuing through the 28th "the Piel Canela Dance and Music School, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the world of Salsa/Mambo and other Latin music and dance to non-professionals as well as professionals, will give free dance lessons in Summer on the Hudson’s annual Let’s Dance! Series. The school’s dance company has performed throughout North America, and at events such at the Latin Grammy Awards and the Puerto Rican Salsa Congress."
On Roosevelt Island this weekend, in addition to Roosevelt Island Day, the Roosevelt Live Dance Party and the Audubon Ecological Tour, on Saturday the Farmers Market is open as usual as is Gallery RIVAA, the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association which is exhibiting a celebration of the Queensboro Bridge Centennial - Connecting Islands and Generations. Another suggestion - 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.

The MTA is reporting no Queens Bound Roosevelt Island F Train subway service this weekend so plan accordingly.

RIOC is not reporting any Tram service advisories for the weekend but expect larger crowds from the Manhattan station due to the lack of Queens bound subway service.

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

Audubon Society Ecology Tour Of Roosevelt Island - What Impact Will Proposed FDR Memorial Have On Nesting Cormorants and Other Wildlife?

Image of Cormorants Nesting Off Southpoint Park From David Byrne's Journal

Blogger City Birder reports that the Audubon Society will be exploring Roosevelt Island this Saturday June 6. From City Birder:
Exploring Roosevelt/Welfare/Blackwell's Island
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Discover one of the lesser-known islands of the archipelago that is New York City. Roosevelt Island has a rich ecological and human history: located in the middle of the East River between Manhattan and the Brooklyn/Queens border, it has been known as Blackwell's Island for the family that farmed it (their farmhouse still stands today), and later as Welfare Island for the many city hospitals and institutions found there. We will visit fascinating architectural remnants of these eras, and search for birds from this prime location in the center of the East River. We could see some of the gulls, cormorants, and herons that nest on smaller islands nearby.
$20 ($18 for members)
Register for the exploration here.

Talking Heads David Byrne took a bike tour of Roosevelt Island and shot some Cormorants too.

This might be the last year to see these nesting birds near Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park if the proposed Kahn Memorial (disguised as a FDR Memorial) is built and replaces much of the green park land with granite and concret.

FDR Memorial Room Image From Village Voice Runnin Scared Blog

This is what will be lost at Southpoint Park - Wedding Image From Jerry Yoon

I may have missed it but I did not see any mention of the Kahn/FDR Memorial's ecological impact on the surrounding bird and other wildlife habitat other than it's impact on Fish habittats in the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt's Institute's SEQR Environmental Impact Study. If such a study has not been conducted to date, I would hope that it will be done prior to any RIOC Board approval of the project.

No Queens Bound F Train Service To Roosevelt Island This Weekend

According to the MTA service advisory page, there will no Queens bound F service to Roosevelt Island this weekend.

F 179 St-bound trains run on the V from 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza, then express to Roosevelt Av

Weekend, 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon, Jun 6 - 8

... For service to Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge, take the F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Coney-Island bound F.

For service from 57 St, Lexington Av-63 St, Roosevelt Island, and 21 St-Queensbridge, take a Coney Island-bound F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a 179 St-Jamaica-bound F.
Plan accordingly for crowded Roosevelt Island bound Trams.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Roosevelt Island Live Dance Party With The Vintage DJ On Saturday June 6

You Tube Video of Vintage DJ

On Saturday afternoon at 4 PM, come enjoy a Roosevelt Island Dance Party Extravaganza on the Riverwalk Commons behind the F Train Subway station as part of the Roosevelt Live Summer Concert series . According to the Roosevelt Live web site:
Immerse yourself in an audio time warp. Jonathan Jacobs a.k.a. The Vintage DJ brings you a MOD 1960s Dance Party of EPIC proportions. With the help of his dancers, The Sho'Nuffs, The Vintage DJ will teach you a sassy selection of popular dances from the era! From The Monkey to The Swim, from Motown to Boogaloo, this swingin' cat will have you shakin' and shimmyin' the afternoon away.
Be aware that there is no direct F train subway service from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island this weekend.

Roosevelt Island Day Saturday June 6 - Have Fun and Enjoy!

Roosevelt Island 360 reminds us that Saturday is Roosevelt Island Day and blogger Lateral Window already has her celebratory T - Shirt.

Image from Lateral Window

And today's her birthday. Happy Birthday!

I was surprised that there was no information on the RIOC web site about Roosevelt Island Day.

Roosevelt Island Ball Field Permit Dispute Leads To Handcuffing and Arrest Of Parent By Public Safety Department

Images From Main Street WIRE of Arrest Chronology

Last Sunday I received a Public Safety Report that indicated there was a Disorderly Conduct arrest made during a dispute at one of Roosevelt Island's ball fields and later that day was told by a resident that it involved a controversy between a local little league team and an off Island group that was waiting to use the field. I was also told that one of the parents, affectionately know as "Blue Beard", was handcuffed by Public Safety officers and lead away followed by crying children and their parents.

Images From Main Street WIRE of Arrest Chronology

He was later released.

Images From Main Street WIRE of Arrest Chronology

Knowing that a similar protest happened last month, but without an arrest, and realizing the potential incendiary nature of this event, I waited to publish an account until more information became available.

I then sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra:
I understand there was another incident over the weekend concerning protesting parents and little leaguers at the ball fields and that one parent was arrested and handcuffed.

The 5/30 Public Safety Incident Report advises of the following:

Disorderly Conduct - PSD responded to North Town park for dispute over baseball field 1 male subject arrested, summons and released.

Do you care to comment or provide any additional details regarding the incident?
Mr. Guerra responded:
The incident was over who had proper permission to use a ballfield. A group of youngsters were using the field. When another group appeared with a proper permit in-hand, they told the group on the field that their time was up. The group on the field refused to relinquish the field, so the Public Safety Department was called.

When the Officers responded, they were shown the proper documentation for the oncoming group. They asked the group on the field if they had any documentation, to which the response was , "No." They had already run over the start time of the oncoming group, which was 1:30PM, so they were asked to turn over the field.

Apparently, everyone complied except for one man. He insisted on making this about the Public Safety Department and not about the fact that his group did not have permission to be on the field. When asked politely to leave the field, like the others had peacefully done, he refused and began taking pictures of the Public Safety Officers. The Arresting Officer explained to him that a group had shown proper documentation for the field, but he could care less. Continuing to remain on the field snapping pictures of the officers, he was again asked to leave the confines of the field or he would be placed under arrest. This still did not engage the man, so he was removed and placed under arrest for Disorderly Conduct.

Please explain to your readers that the Public Safety Department does not issue permits for field usage and does not police the use of the fields unless there is a conflict. To resolve conflicts, our officers will intervene to ascertain if someone or group has an official permit and will grant that person or group access to the area which they have properly secured.

As you know, our officers have undergone extensive training and their level of professionalism has increased. There are still some residents who want to make issues with the Public Safety Department - when all our officers are trying to do is their job. It is not our wish to make arrests, but some folks don't understand the consequences to their actions. Order must be kept and we are charged with that difficult duty.
To try and get a more complete picture of the story, I contacted Blue Beard, Mr. Adib Mansour, a well known and respected member of the community who confirmed to me that he was the parent arrested and that he was not acting in any disorderly manner but merely taking pictures documenting the behavior of the Public Safety officers and that there was physical and verbal abuse on the part of the Public Safety Officers after Mr. Mansour took their pictures. Mr. Mansour also indicated that he was preparing a statement describing his view of the event.

I waited to publish until Mr. Mansour's completed his statement which was made available online yesterday by the Main Street Wire together with a "Draft Report" by it's editor, which attempts to provide a balanced description of this troubling incident based upon the currently available information.

Below are excerpts from Mr. Mansour 4 page statement:
Again on May 30, the Roosevelt Island Little League game ended before the completion of the bottom of the last inning because of RIOC’s field rental policy (which does not take into consideration games that go to overt-time) and the fact that the field, as in previous weeks, was not ready on time. The day ended with dozens of children out side the Public Safety office, some crying hysterically, mostly all afraid, confused and angry.

...In what I heard as a sarcastic tone, one of the off-island players asked the kids and parents to leave the field “before you get seriously hurt.” I was in the process of leaving the field with the rest of the remaining crowd, taking occasional pictures, when I spotted the two Public Safety officers approaching.

Upon their arrival, I stopped to take a picture of the officer dismounting his bike –officer Wilson Toro- who walked towards the crowd and, directing his words to me, he said, “leave the field”. He then came closer to me and, louder, said, “I told you to leave the field,” to which I responded, “Not before I take this last picture of the kids being forced out of the field in this manner” –perhaps I should have phrased it better to avoid any misunderstanding of my peaceful intentions- and proceeded in taking his picture as well as the Roosevelt Island parents and children in the immediate background. Officer Toro then pushed me, in my ribs, saying, “I give you 10 seconds to leave.” I turned, in pain, and said, “Don’t touch me.” He responded, “You don’t want me to touch you? I’ll show you what that means.” He dangled his handcuffs in front of my face. He twisted my arms to the back and locked the handcuffs very tight on my wrists.
Read the whole statement.

Yesterday afternoon, following the WIRE's publication of this report, a meeting was convened in which RIOC President Steve Shane, Public Safety Department Chief Guerra/other members of the PS Department, Main Street WIRE Editor Dick Lutz, RIRA President Frank Farance, RIOC Counsel Ken Leitner, RIOC VP Fernando Martinez and myself attended. Mr. Shane and Mr. Guerra expressed displeasure with Mr. Lutz's reporting of the incident as being inflammatory and inaccurate. Mr. Lutz responded, correctly in my view, that his reporting was accurate, based upon the best currently available information and would have included additional information had Public Safety Director Guerra responded to subsequent email messages.

Following the meeting Mr. Guerra sent the following message to Mr. Lutz and the other meeting attendees:
First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge that the incident which occurred on Saturday was unfortunate. Although there are several topics involved here, the one that most concerns me is the fact that the children had to witness a coach/parent being placed under arrest. I never want children to have a negative view of Law Enforcement and try hard to encourage positive interaction with the youngsters on the island. Suffice it to say, this incident will sit with those particular children for a while and that is truly unfortunate. I have no doubt that the subject who was summonsed is probably a nice man. From the accounts I received, he is respected in the community. Being human, I believe he made an error in judgement.

The Public Safety Department does not police the field or room usage permitted by RIOC. However, in a time of conflict, we will intervene to keep order. In this case, the officers were called to the scene of a dispute. A complainant, who was the recipient of obscene language and threats, made the call to Public Safety. When the officers responded, the copmplainant approached the officers who arrived. There was apparently alot of commotion at the field, but a legitimate permit for the field was produced. The holder of the permit asked that it be enforced. The officers tried to do their best in handling the situation and while I will not try and "Monday Morning Quarterback" them, I will also not try to protect them if I feel they did not carry out my objectives in conducting themselves in a professional manner.

You and I had an e-mail exchange, which is probably not the best way to communicate. After giving you my statement, which I believed to be sufficiently the end of our discussion, you sent another e-mail asking me if I would answer seven (7) questions for your coverage of this incident. Before I could provide the answers, you went ahead and printed an article without the information you sought to have included in it. I feel this was unfair. I have provided the answers to your questions below.

1. Before PSD arrived on the scene, the off-island players agreed to allow the children on the field to finish their game (which apparently had only a half-inning to go), but a PSO stood on the pitcher's mound, prevented play, and overruled that agreement. (Are you aware of this?) Why was this an appropriate course of action?

The supposed agreement, according to the Complainant in the incident, was never reached. Mr. Scott Batton, who initiated the call to Public Safety, approached the responding officers and told them he had a permit that was being ignored by the Little League coaches and parents. Obscenities and threats of bodily harm were spewed in his direction and all he wanted was to take the field his group had paid to use. When asked by me if any agreement was reached or could have been reached to allow the children to finish their game, he replied, "No. This was not the first time that the group had run over into the permitted time that our group had properly secured and we wanted them off the field." The officers had no other recourse other than to oblige the client in possession of a RIOC issued permit which they paid for.

2. A dependable witness says that Officer Toro bicycled across the field and "cut off" a group of residents who were in the process of leaving the field as ordered, then directed his remarks at Adib Monsour, who had photographed him. (Contrary to accounts on which you have apparently relied, he did not "start" taking photos at that point; the photographic record shows that he had taken many pictures before then.) Were you aware of this action by the PSO? Or do you have information to the contrary?

The information that I gathered indicates that all parties who were asked to leave the confines of the field obliged, except for the subject who was placed under arrest. They did not seem like they wanted to, but they did. The subject who was arrested refused to leave the confines of the field, continuously snapping pictures of Officer Toro and was arrested for refusing to disperse when given the lawful order to do so. My question is why couldn't the subject just oblige, like the others had done?

3. Another witness reports that, while Officer Toro was taking Mr. Monsour to PSD HQ, he told a plainclothes PSD officer to "Arrest that one, the one taking pictures." (The person to whom he had reference had taken over Mr. Monsour's camera and he was photographing the walk to PSD.) Does this suggest to you that photography, not misbehavior, might have been the PSO's concern?

This does not suggest to me that the photography was the officer's concern. The information that I gathered does not indicate that anyone else was to be arrested. Had an officer asked another to arrest someone, that person would have likely been taken into custody as well. This did not occur. In the arresting officer's account of the incident, he cited the other individual taking pictures, but indicated that the man was compliant to the verbal direction not to stand in the path of the escort.

4. Mr. Monsour claims, and is backed up by witnesses, that he did not refuse an order to vacate the field but, instead, merely said he wanted to take another picture, and that it was at that point that he was "shoved" by Officer Toro, and that only then did he raise his voice somewhat, saying "Take your hands off me." It is alleged that at that point Officer Toro dangled his handcuffs before Mr. Monsour, said he was about to "teach you a lesson," and cuffed him. Does this square with information you have received from your officers?

No. This does not square with the information I received from the Officers or the Complainant. Again, I ask the question, why couldn't he just vacate the field when asked to do so, like everyone else did. The accounts I received were that the subject was asked at least three (3) separate times to comply and was met with resistance. Corroborating stories state that the subject even asked Officer Toro if he was going to arrest him, to which Officer Toro explained the consequences of not complying.

5. When asked by a resident to release Mr. Monsour, Officer Toro is reported to have said, "He disrespected me," giving that as a reason for the arrest. Is "disrespect" acequate cause, in PSD procedures, for an arrest?

In my experience, officers do not release subjects in custody because they are asked by residents to do so. Of course, "disrepect" alone is not adequate cause to arrest someone, however, if the totality of circumstances includes disrespecting an officer, the person can be charged.

6. When Mr. Monsour informed Officer Toro, at PSD HQ, that he is diabetic and needed food to avoid insulin shock from his morning medication, Officer Toro (who said he, too, is diabetic, indicating he knows the risks involved) is alleged to have said, twice, "I'll wait until you faint. Then I'll call an ambulance and take you to the hospital. Then I'll take you to prison." The second time, this was said within the hearing of other PSD officers. (One, to his credit, is said to have responded by getting Mr. Monsour a sugary drink, paying for it himself.) Does this square with information you've received from officers present at the time?

This does not square with the statements of the officers, who independantly stated that Officer Toro did inform the subject that he was also a diabetic and asked if the subject was ok. When the response was that he felt he needed something with sugar, Officer Payne got the subject a soda. After drinking most of it, the subject then threw the bottle on the floor. When asked by Officer Payne if he was ok, the subject said, "Yes." and thanked Officer Payne for the drink. Shortly thereafter, the subject again stated that he was diabetic and Officer Toro indicates that he told him that if he needed any medical attention, it would be provided for him before being taken to Central Booking. After conferring with his supervisor, Officer Toro wrote a Summons instead of processing the subject through the system.

7. What specific disorderly conduct is alleged?

The Statute includes seven (7) subdivisions, of which I will cite three (3):
A person is guilty of Disorderly Conduct when, with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof: 3.) he/she uses abusive or obscene language; 6.) he/she congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order to disperse; 7.) he/she creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose. Disoederly Conduct is a Violation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I would also like to ask you to correct a quote of mine where you printed that I stated that "prisoners are not allowed to make or receive phone calls." What I said to you was that "when someone is taken into custody, under arrest, they are not permitted to use their cell-phone."

Going forward it is my hope and the hope of the many residents I have spoken with over the last couple of days that the community can move forward in a positive direction. Everyone must pitch in to be part of the solution - not be part of the problem. I vow to continue providing training for my officers and to continue with the information summits and safety programs I have initiated. Hopefully, the community can contribute to fostering a better relationship with the Law Enforcement Officers who serve their community with pride.
This is an ongoing story but everyone should just stay calm, try to figure out exactly what happened and take measures to make sure it does not happen again. If you were there and witnessed what occurred please share your thoughts on what exactly occurred.

Here is the link again to the Main Street WIRE's report on the incident.

A blogger My Feet Only Walk Forward was one of the players on the off-Island team waiting to use the field and writes the following:
... The field on which we would be playing was beautiful. A stand of birch trees at one end. A natural outcropping of native rock to the side of the fields. And raging idiotic local residents screaming racial and homophobic epithets out of their apartment windows.

Turns out when the other teams first arrived the locals had decided that despite the fact that our league had purchased permits to play on the fields that we should bow to them and allow their little rug rats to play ball on the field. It got so rowdy that the police came and arrested one of the parents. The families scattered, but mid-way through the second game of the first set of teams playing, we were treated to a whole host of obscenities. The best part ever was that the man screaming these things was sitting in the window with his two little boys standing next to him. That's what I call good parenting.

I wanted to scale the building and bitch slap him.

It also didn't help that a guy from one of the other teams playing was a complete and total drama queen, and was advising the middle of the day...surrounded by amputees and old walk in groups and carry our bats in our hands. Responding to idiocy with barely veiled racism is not necessarily the way to go. ...
UPDATE - 6/8 - Now available are statements made by a Roosevelt Island Little League Coach and the Permit Holder who contacted Public Safety Department.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight - Agenda and Committee Reports Below

Previous RIRA Common Council Meeting

I received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association concerning their monthly meeting later tonight.
Roosevelt Island Residents Association


Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish
Place: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
1. Public Session (8:00)
- Amalgamated Bank presentation on change of ownership of NYNB branch, 15 minutes

2. Roll Call (8:15)
X 3. Approval of Agenda (8:20)
X 4. Approval of Minutes (8:20)
5. Treasurer’s Report (8:30)
6. President's Report (8:35)
- Internal correspondence
- RIOC agenda item for RIRA Upcoming June 17 Town Hall meeting
7. Committee Reports (8:45)
Government Relations - M. Smith
- Report on RIOC elections
Public Safety - R. Schuppert
Housing - J. Micheff & L. Strong-Shinozaki
Social, Cultural and Educational Services - N. Leopold
- Committee report
Island Services - A. Hamburger
- Committee report
Planning - M. Katz
Communications - E. Erickson
Status report on RIOC long-term budgeting.

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

10. Adjourn

X Agenda items requiring action
Town Hall Meeting for June RIOC Board Meeting: Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 8-9:30PM
Next Meeting: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 (Mailing Deadline: September 4, 2009)
Future 2009 Meetings: October 7, November 4, December 2
RIRA Committee Chairs Planning Meeting, Summer 2009: To be announced, in Sunday afternoon July/August
Another item agenda is a resolution supporting the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association proposal for a FDR Memorial that includes a representation of FDR in a Wheelchair or on Crutches:

WHEREAS: From its initial planning stages, Roosevelt Island was conceived as a place in New York City that could be accessible and comfortable to disabled residents;

WHEREAS: We live in the America of President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor - the America where now more than ever before we are witness to an unprecedented abundance of role models from previously underrepresented segments of society, who have overcome racial, ethnic, and class struggles to rise to the highest levels of leadership;

WHEREAS before them was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who despite being disabled by Polio and confined to a wheelchair, was elected President of the United States, and is now remembered as one of the most effective and courageous men to have led this country;

WHEREAS school aged children have been awakened now to aspire to higher achievements, once thought to be beyond their grasp, a memorial depicting President Roosevelt, as he truly lived, in a wheelchair or in crutches, would have the same effect on the disabled community to see that one of our most beloved presidents was able to overcome his disability and be elected to the highest office in the country.

WHEREAS: The continued resident population of Roosevelt Island, uniquely comprised in significant part by many disabled persons, residing both independently in apartments or within the two chronic care hospitals located on the island, renders a true an accurate portrayal of President Roosevelt more meaningful and poignant on Roosevelt Island than any in any other location

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Roosevelt Island Residents Association supports a plan for the Khan Memorial Park that celebrates President Roosevelt as a disabled person by depicting him in a wheelchair or on crutches.
For clarification purposes only, it is not the Khan Memorial Park but the FDR Memorial Park. In its present form it just seems as though it is really a Louis Kahn memorial.

Below are the minutes from last meeting, report from Island Services Committee and Youth Services Sub-Committee.

There's More!

RIRA Common Council Minutes
May 6th, 2009

1. Roll called, quorum for meeting present, meeting called to order 20:12
2. Public Session – none.
3. Agenda approved by unanimous consent
4. Review of minutes
1. Matthew Katz corrected date for annual Blood Drive. Roosevelt Island Day has been moved from June 13th to June 6th. The Blood Drive will take place on June 6th instead of the June 13th.
2. Committee reports: SC&Z should be changed to SC&E
3. Minutes corrected and unanimously approved
5. Treasurer's Report – Russell Fields
1. Regular Acct: $2981.42, Legal Acct: $1224.70
2. NYNB will be closing. Amalgamated branch is still pending
3. Micah Kellner has secured $10,000 for RIRA through his discretionary funds
1. Council needs to decide what to do with the funds
2. Charlie Berg proposed the possibility of using the funds for the public purpose committee
3. Will be discussed at future meetings
6. President's Report – Charlie Berg for Frank Farance
1. Frank Farance met with Steve Shane to discuss the Columbia transportation presentation. Shane agreed to experiment with a fixed schedule for the month of June. Matthew Katz expressed the disconnect in expectations in the Columbia presentation. Regarding the Columbia presentation, Gad Levenon and Isabel Perez expressed his disappointment at the tone of Frank’s RIRA Main Street Wire piece. Elizabeth Erickson thought the conversation was inappropriate without Frank present.
2. Steve Marcus suggested that the Common Council have a dialog on the column at a future RIRA meting. Council agreed to discuss at the June RIRA meeting
3. Charlie Berg reported that Frank Farance had reached an agreement with Steve Shane to try a fixed Red Bus schedule experiment week of 5/11/09.
7. New Business
1. The RIOC Board elections will take place on May 19th, 2009. RIRA volunteers are needed
8. Committee reports
1. SC&E committee: Request for $300 to fund coffee and bagels for Roosevelt Island Day. Request was unanimously approved
2. All other committees as submitted or no report.
9. Fernando Barnes had a discussion with Octagon regarding a Water Taxi during the time the tram is shut down. Barbara Clark said that it was too costly and that operational expenses were a problem. Matthew Katz and Fernando will look into it further. Fernando recommended talking to building owners about subsidizing the project.
10. Old Business
1. Matthew Katz reported on progress with Blood Drive. Table will be set up every Saturday at the farmers market to recruit blood donors. Volunteer sign up sheet was passed around to individuals to man that table
2. RIOC poll committee: Ashton Barfield made a request for poll workers. Matthew Katz reiterated importance of RIOC elections
11. Adjourned.
And Island Service Committee Report

o Credit Card Theft – No breaks yet in this case. Investigations
o Bike Storage Racks At Subway Station – RIOC implemented a new
policy which is to remove all bikes left in the racks between 2 am – 5
am. This system seems to be working as substantially more room is
now available for regular bike storage throughout the day.
o Red Bus Service – RIOC’s experiment with a standardized schedule
between 10 am – 11:30 am is underway. If successful in improving
service, this system will be expanded to other time periods, perhaps
eventually to all time periods.
Public Library
There is still no apparent cooperation/coordination between the
Public Library and PS/IS 217. ISC is working to get the Library and
217 to establish programs/book exchanges to benefit the students.
ISC now has a high-level contact at the New York Public
Library whom we can go to for help in improving the services at our
Public Library.
And Youth Services Sub-Committee report:
SC&E Committee Report
May 28th, 2009

Youth Services Sub-Committee Meeting

In Attendance:

Common Council Members: Nikki Leopold, Phoebe Flynn, Gad Levanon,
Paco Bozzano Barnes, Frank Farance, Ellen Polivy

Community members: Brian Dorfman, Scot Bobo, Kristen Goldmansor,

Committee discussed concerns surrounding Island youth services. The attendee discussed the focus of the youth services committee and identified the following areas that need to be addressed:

• Raising the quality of the current youth programs being offered in the RI
• Raising awareness of current youth service offerings
• Coordination of disparate Island youth agencies
• Evaluating the well roundedness of current offerings
• Including Island youth in discussions pertaining to Island youth services.
Create a youth forum in which topics such as arts, education and sports
are the focus
• Advocacy for Island youth organizations
• The need to identify youth who do not get involved
• Parent Education: Impressing the importance to parents on the need to have children involved in extra curricular activities

The youth services sub committee will meet again in 2 weeks to continue this discussion and start to create action items.

More Info On Roosevelt Island Garden Club, Our Tiny Version Of Central Park's Conservatory Garden

I have never walked through the Roosevelt Island Garden Club area but did so earlier this week. It is really quite lovely, situated between Manhattan Park and the Octagon, Roosevelt Island's tiny version of Conservatory Garden in Central Park. Following up on earlier post, a member of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club sends in some additional information on how to participate and join the club.

The R. I. Garden Club welcomes everybody, even gardeners with limited experience.
Any person interested to become a garden member must send a letter to the:
Roosevelt Island Garden Club Ltd.
P O Box 127
New York - NY 10044
providing, of course, full name/address/home tel/ cell phone/e-mail etc. and requesting to be placed on the Club waiting list for a garden lot.

The Club will contact the applicant(s) only at the time a garden lot will become available.
The applicant may also indicate his/her desire to become an Associate Gardener while waiting. An Associate Gardener helps a full member when needed.
For the current 2009 Season the annual membership dues are:
- $ 45.= for Membership
- $ 25.= to become an Associate Gardener.
(Naturally no fees are due until a garden is assigned to an applicant)

The Club requests any Member to respect its "Rules and Regulations" (simple, common sense rules which I may foward to you if you provide me with a fax number), to have a true passion for gardening, to devote a little time to keep the common parts neat and tidy and to mantain the garden lot assigned - all year long - neat and without weeds.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Roosevelt Island Red Bus Experiment Has Started - But Why Are There No Signs At Bus Stop Posted?

Image of Red Bus with Hand Straps

The Great Roosevelt Island Red Bus Experiment is under way this week having been postponed in May due to the H1N1 Swine Flu closure and the Memorial Day Holiday Week. According to RIOC President Steve Shane:
Our joint experiment with RIRA in scheduling to see whether there is an improvement in service has been postponed as the week of initial trial turned out to have the Child School closed because of a Swine Flu occurrence and that followed by a short week. We are going to try, during the week of June 1 to schedule the three red buses on the route from approximately 10 to 11:30 so as to leave the Octagon at 9:55, 10:10, 10:25, 10:40, 10:55, 11:10 and 11:25. Each bus will wait at the Tram to pick up the passengers and return northbound. A 45 minute loop is built in to account for unpredictable event along the way. Predictability should be enhanced, although waiting times may suffer as the buses will be held out of service to meet the schedule.
The Main Street WIRE published a Roosevelt Island Red Bus schedule for the Experiment Week showing the time North and South bound buses are to arrive at each stop location, give or take a few minutes for traffic contingencies. When combined with the Red Bus GPS Tracking System, the posted schedule should improve the predictability of the next bus. The question is if predictability is more important than total waiting time between buses?

A reader of this post asks:
Why oh why is the experimental Red Bus schedule NOT posted at the bus stops where (especially at the Octagon) where it could be of some use to the general population?

The experiment is doomed to failure if people don't know about the schedule and the fact there is a somewhat attempt at a schedule.
Also, although I don't ride the Red Bus that often, it appears to me that new overhead hand straps have been added to the Red Bus upper rail. At a recent Operations Committee meeting, the issue of vertically challenged people having trouble keeping balanced on the bus due to high hand bar was raised so these straps may be a solution to that problem.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What Should The Roosevelt Island FDR Memorial Be About - Honoring Overcoming Challenges & Disabilities Or The Architect Louis Kahn?

Image of FDR Using Crutches From Poughkeepsie Journal and FDR Library/Museum

The May 27 FDR Memorial Town Hall Meeting at which the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) presented an update of the proposed Louis Kahn designed FDR Memorial and a SEQR Environmental briefing aroused heated passions from many Roosevelt Island residents who believe that the proposed Memorial ignores the disabled community both here on Roosevelt Island and across the nation. Many think, myself included, that this proposed Memorial is not so much honoring FDR as it is the architect of the project, Louis Kahn.

For those that want to view the meeting and decide for yourself, RIOC has posted a webcast of the proceedings here. The first 50 minutes of the proceedings are devoted to FERI's presentation. Starting at the 51 minute mark questions and statements from the community were presented. I would recommend paying particular attention to the first two statements by Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) President Virginia Granato and Doctor Jack Resnick.

Image From Main Street WIRE of RIDA Members Protesting Against Proposed FDR Memorial

There's More!

The 5/30/ Main Street WIRE (PDF File) has an excellent summary of the Town Hall Meeting and some portions are excerpted below:

... On Wednesday night, the most prominent objection came from a group of disabled residents, who protested the lack of any plan for a full-length portrayal of FDR as a disabled person who nonetheless excelled in life in general, and as a wartime president in particular. They carried signs, but listened quietly as a representative from the construction company, another from the architectural firm, and officials of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) made what amounted to a repeat of several previous presentations – six in the last 12 months, by FERI’s count. The report on an environmental impact assessment, the intended purpose of the meeting, was pro forma....

... In the Q&A period that followed the formal presentation, the president of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, Virginia Granato, calmly presented her group’s objection: “We feel that being disabled was part of who FDR was, as a human being, and he made wonderful contributions in spite of his disability, and not depicting this is a disservice to disabled and non-disabled alike. It’s part of this island. This island has a history of disabled people. We’ve got two long-term care hospitals here. We feel slighted in not showing that he was a disabled person, and we would like to right this wrong.”

Dr. Jack Resnick, physician to many of the community’s disabled or homebound people, spoke moments after Granato, and set forth the basic question in a few sentences. “It really is unconscionable that you could build a memorial to FDR, on Roosevelt Island, that doesn’t recognize why the island is named Roosevelt Island,” Resnick said....

... Resident after resident then hammered away at the “insult” – lamenting the failure to acknowledge Roosevelt’s disability with a view of him in a wheelchair.

Sally Minard, president and CEO of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, responded to most of these comments by pointing out that showing Roosevelt as a disabled person “is not the purpose of this park.” She emphasized repeatedly that the park’s specific purpose is to celebrate Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms. “There are other ways and other places in the park where it can be very clear that Roosevelt was crippled and never could stand or walk alone. We are not ignoring or blind to the significance of his situation....

...Historical Society President Judith Berdy joined those calling for some representation of the physical difficulties FDR overcame. “When I was a student, in
1966, I came here, to Goldwater. Goldwater had open wards of young people, some of whom are in this room, living in iron lungs. Our history of this island has always shunted off the disabled, the prison, the almshouse, the poor. It’s been put away, put on the side. It’s true. It’s time that we reflect more on FDR and his disability.”
Berdy observed that in the ’20s and ’30s, concealing a disability was common, suggesting that times have changed.

“I feel it is time for reconsidering some of the aspects of this memorial to make it more accessible, and perhaps changing some of the depictions of FDR. Showcase his
disability. That will show this island’s history of caring for people – taking those no one cared about and taking care of them and making them at home here.” She said the park should celebrate the whole man, including his disabilities and abilities.“

“There are other ways and other places in the park where it can be very clear that Roosevelt was a man who was crippled and never could stand or walk alone,” Minard responded. “No one is trying to avoid talking about it or writing about it.”
But nothing Minard or others said satisfied those speaking for the disabled community, and subsequent speakers suggested the FERI representatives were deliberately “not hearing” the disabled point of view. The unspoken theme appeared to be that FERI intends to stick closely to the Louis Kahn design, which has led critics to suggest the park is more a monument to Kahn’s architecture than to Roosevelt or the Four Freedoms....
Following the meeting, I sent this email message to Ms. Minard, the CEO of FERI:
Thank you for participating in last night's Public Hearing on the proposed Kahn/FDR Memorial.

As we discussed, here is the link from the National Organization on Disability which includes a resolution of FERI's Board of Directors stating the following:

Resolution of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Board of Directors at its meeting in Warm Springs, GA, on Tuesday, April 11, 1995

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's indomitability, even in the face of his disability, is an important part of his legacy, and the fact of his disability should be shown in a significant way at the Washington memorial to FDR. Recognizing that time may be needed to do this in an effective way, necessary additions or modifications should be pursued as quickly as possible, but the opening of the memorial should not be delayed.

There are also statements from President's Clinton, Bush (41), Carter and Ford in support of depicting FDR as a person with a disability for the DC Memorial as well as a statement from members of the Roosevelt family saying the same thing.

I understand that many of you have worked very long and hard to get the Kahn designed FDR Memorial build at Southpoint Park. I sincerely ask you to reconsider this design and replace it with one recognizing FDR as a person with a disability who overcame tremendous hardships and challenges to become a great President with a Wheelchair Memorial at the southern tip of the Island instead of the bust and room. It would be a wonderful inspiration for people on Roosevelt Island and all over the world to see such a Memorial demonstrating that nothing is impossible with sufficient will. In keeping with the Four Freedoms aspect of the Park, the base of the Wheelchair could have the 4 Freedoms inscribed on each side.

Please don't dismiss this idea. Bring it to your Board and and donors. See what they say. Better yet - have them come to Roosevelt Island and speak to Doctor Resnick, Virginia Granato and others so that the FERI Board can see first hand how vital this is to Roosevelt Island and America.

On another matter, as we also discussed last night, can you please provide me with the public record of your donor list for the FDR Four Freedoms Park.
Thank you.
Ms. Minard replied:

I appreciate your thoughtful comments on how President Roosevelt should be portrayed.
The sincerity and sensitivity of many Roosevelt Island residents on the subject is understood.
As we said, there are ways and places to accomplish their objective within Southpoint Park.
We are more than willing to work with the community to address the issue.

Regarding the names of contributors to the Four Freedoms Park, the information is not public.
All donors will be recognized at the park when it is completed.

I’m sure we will see you soon.

There are Roosevelt Island residents who have been and are still in favor of FERI's proposed FDR Memorial designed by Louis Kahn. I have been having a continuing dialogue with one of them, Marc Diamond (MD). Here is a recent series of exchanges we have had on topic.

Did you cull together all the information in this post? The articles and stuff?
I think you and I agree on something about FDR park - that the sculpture should show FDR's disability.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, I did pull together all the information.

The question is how do you include a sculpture that shows FDR's disability within the Kahn design context. To date, FERI will not allow any changes to the design.

I, of course, would prefer to substitute the proposed 3 sided enclosed memorial room and bust with a wheelchair statue and perhaps Four Freedoms at the base.

Do you have any thoughts on how to include recognition of FDR's disability in Memorial?
MD :
Nice job on collecting all those clips.
Couldn't the bust of FDR be replaced by a sculpture with FDR in a wheelchair or on crutches? FERI is making other changes to allow for lighting and access for the disabled, like a new ramp in the "Room." And this change would have less affect on the architecture, IMHO.
Will you be there tomorrow night?
I'll be there,

Can't you agree to get rid of the "Room" and just have wheelchair statue at southern site? Is the "room" a "must have"
I think if you get rid of the "room," there's no Kahn design. You gotta start over. It's a "must have" in that sense.
I don't think starting over is an option for RIOC or FERI anymore.
You write that without the "room' there is "No Kahn design". In my view, that is the problem. For some, keeping the 1970 Kahn design is more important than creating the most appropriate 21st century Memorial to President Roosevelt. A wheelchair statue of FDR at the southern tip of Southpoint does not need to be enclosed in a room.

Is it more important to adhere to the Kahn design or recognize and honor those, like FDR, who have overcome great disabilities like polio or any other challenge and hardship? That is not just a Roosevelt Island issue but an American one as well.
When I wrote that, I was being practical. I'm hoping there might still be time to change the sculpture, but I don't think RIOC or FERI is interested in any park design but what they started with.
I'm not disagreeing that there may be a better design for the park/memorial or that there could be substantive changes to the Kahn design that would be better. No one knows whether Kahn's design would win if it were one entry in a new international design competition. But it seems to be all about the money for the last year or two. And even that looks like it's in FERI's favor now. Personally, I believe I will really enjoy the Room, whether Kahn designed it or not. But yes, I will get a kick out of knowing it was designed by Kahn. If I could change something about the design, it would be to do away with the stone on all the sloping surfaces and replace it with grass or some other groundcover.
But that cat's out of the barn, or that horse has sailed, or that's soda under the bridge, or the fat lady has eaten, or, well, you know.

The Saga continues. Stay tuned for more.

Report From RIOC's President - Tram Modernization Delay, No Ferry Service Soon, Red Bus Schedule Experiment, Bike Rack Storage & Other RI Isssues

Image From RIOC

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane addresses issues on RIOC Board Nominees, Southpoint Park, Tram Modernization Delay, morning non-rush hour Red Bus Schedule Experiment, Blackwell Playground, Ferry Service, Bike Rack Storage and other issues of importance to Roosevelt Island.
May 29, 2009

1. Board of Directors: Mr. Howard Polivy’s appointment by the Governor and Senate confirmation completed. With Charlee Miller’s announced intention to retire from the Board at the end of her appointed term in June, new nominees will be needed. RIRA’s election on May 19 has produced candidates whose names are now in the pipeline.

2. Southpoint: A press event commemorating the completion of the preservation of the Renwick Ruin and the start of Green Rooms/Wild Gardens was held May 28, 2009. As to the projects:
(A) Renwick Ruins: Stabilization work is complete and the entrances to the building will be boarded up to secure the interior and prevent trespassing.
(B) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: The contractor is doing rough grading, paths and stone walls. Phase 2 will be the finish grading and capping of the site, utilities, fencing and planting.
(C) FDR Memorial: FERI is working on engineering and permitting with DEC, Army Corp. of Engineers, Coastguard, etc. FERI has delivered its Environmental Analysis to RIOC as lead agency as part of the SEQRA process. The Environmental Analysis has been posted on our web site and disseminated to the WIRE and the blog sites. A public meeting was held on May 27, 2009 where the FERI group again presented their project and answered questions. If all the deliverables required under the Conditional Designation Agreement are in hand, the Board could make its final determination at the June 25th meeting. RIOC has been in consultation with the State’s Division of the Budget and Parks Department to work out funding mechanics for the $4 million State appropriation to RIOC, conditioned on a matching $4 million from the City and at least $8 million from FERI as necessary to complete phase 1. At this writing, many details remain to be finalized.

3. Tram: The birthday of the Tram was celebrated on Monday afternoon, May 18th. Cake was served and a videographer interviewed residents for Tram stories. The kids did their own signboard birthday card.
Overhaul: The schedule for a July 2009 shutdown and December reopening seems to be shifting. The Contractor, POMA, has requested sliding the window of closure to accommodate redesign changes in the structural elements, principally the tower heads and the necessary bracing. Design and fabrication of the various elements is well advanced. Spools of cable have been shipped from Europe. Final details of cabin design are completed and fabrication is underway. Scheduling of tower reinforcing and top replacement, cable pulling, street and park closures, crane locations, etc. with permitting for everything is ongoing, but is dependant on the schedule as established. My best guess is a shutdown in September and a reopening in February. Better coordination with architectural work at the two stations will result. I met again with Community Board 8 on May 5. Architectural work for Tram stations is proceeding. A preliminary sketch of the Manhattan and Island stations will be posted as it is an evolving concept.

4. Projects: Work is ongoing to replace the exterior of the AVAC building, install replacement chambers for AVAC, lighting at Motorgate, repave portions of Main Street, replace the fa├žade at Sportspark and make improvements to PSD. Public Safety has temporarily relocated to 504 Main Street while the work is being done. Replacing the HVAC system for Good Shepherd, fire alarm system at Sportspark, swimming pool resurfacing, and architects for the new Tram Park all approved.

5. Bank: RIOC received advice from NYNB that it intends to close its branch at 615 Main Street on June 6, 2009, but due to the potential of Amalgamated, will stay open until July. We have met with Amalgamated and supplied a letter of support for application to the State Banking Department to allow Amalgamated to open a branch. All signs seem positive. We have promised to maintain a substantial deposit with Amalgamated on the order of $10 million, subject to an emergency.

6. Southtown Buildings 5 and 6 moving toward completion. Landscaping being finished and reports of sales are positive. The roadway in front of the Tram is paved and the fountain in the turnaround will follow.

7. Blackwell Park Playground: In response to the request of some parents, we have emphasized the purpose of the tot playground by increased Public Safety presence to discourage older people from hanging out at the area. No adults unaccompanied by an age appropriate youngster will be permitted.

8. Bicycles: To clear what is becoming an increasing problem, the bike racks at the subway station and tram had notices posted that leaving bikes overnight will not be permitted. After 2AM and before 5AM, Public Safety will remove bikes to increase availability for those who utilize the space as intended. If not reclaimed at Public Safety within 48 hours, the bikes will be donated. The purpose is to encourage bicycle riding by making sure there is space in the racks for commuters and not for long term storage.

9. Fireworks: We are asked to host the fireworks to accompany the 100th birthday of the Queensboro Bridge to be on the evening of May 31 at 9PM. The Southpoint Park will be closed as that is where the fireworks will be staged, but good viewing from along the seawall should be available.

10. Health & Fitness Day this Saturday, May 16. Commendation Ceremony for Public Safety officers, basketball and ping pong tournaments, games and exhibitions, great weather, everyone seemed to have fun.

11. Red Bus: Our joint experiment with RIRA in scheduling to see whether there is an improvement in service has been postponed as the week of initial trial turned out to have the Child School closed because of a Swine Flu occurrence and that followed by a short week. We are going to try, during the week of June 1 to schedule the three red buses on the route from approximately 10 to 11:30 so as to leave the Octagon at 9:55, 10:10, 10:25, 10:40, 10:55, 11:10 and 11:25. Each bus will wait at the Tram to pick up the passengers and return northbound. A 45 minute loop is built in to account for unpredictable event along the way. Predictability should be enhanced, although waiting times may suffer as the buses will be held out of service to meet the schedule.

12. Octagon Field Rest room facilities: Because of the cut in the sewer line at the water tunnel, the facility is out of service. The recently installed facility at the north end of the Goldwater parking lot may be used and a porta-san is in place until the repair work is completed (requiring coordination between DEP and the Octagon). Sorry for the inconvenience.

13. Water Ferry to Octagon: Nothing new to report except that it is extremely unlikely that the City will get the design, permitting, route and construction done this season. Coordination among Federal, City, State and private sources is a real problem that RIOC has nothing to do with.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 5/30/09 Main Street WIRE.

Queensboro Bridge Centennial Birthday Fireworks Celebration From Southpoint Park Roosevelt Island - Enjoy!

You Tube Video of Queensboro Bridge Centennial Fireworks Celebration

I had a nice time watching last night's Queensboro Bridge Centennial Fireworks Celebration by the Grucci Family from the roof of my building. As we were watching the fireworks sprayed across the Roosevelt Island sky partially blocked by the Bridge, one of my neighbors remarked what a great view we had but that there would probably be a You Tube video available soon that had an even better view. I knew he was right but didn't think it would happen in three hours!

It's unfortunate for East River folks like us that the July 4 Fireworks Celebration usually held in the East River has been moved to the Hudson this year but at last we got to enjoy last night's fireworks.