Friday, August 21, 2009

Roosevelt Island Community Outreach Basketball Game Between Public Safety Department & Youth Center A Great Success!

Basketball Game Between Roosevelt Island's Public Safety Department and Youth Center

I watched a pretty good game of full court basketball last night between the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department and Youth Center at the Blackwell Courts. The game was part of Roosevelt Island Connect, a Community Outreach Initiative between the Public Safety Department and Youth Center.

The Public Safety Team was in blue and Youth Center in yellow. The game was well played with some great shots, drives to the basket and tough picks.

Game Photo

According to Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra:
The Youth Center team came out victorious with a 62-60 win over the Public Safety Department. Many folks in attendance commented on what a great game it was. But, more important were the new relationships that have been forged by this event. The players from both teams went back to the Youth Center afterwards and talked over Pizza and Refreshments. Kudos to Charlie DelFino and Coach Steve Morgan for their involvement in the festivities.
After The Game Handshakes Between Teams

This was a great idea and I hope it continues with similar events.

Good job by all involved!

Lightening and Thunder Storm Over Manhattan's East Side As Seen From Roosevelt Island

You Tube Video of Lightening Over Manhattan

Roosevelt Island blogger Retro Info took this great video of last Tuesday's Lightening and Thunder Storm over the East Side of Manhattan.
fantastic lightning storm over manhattan taken from our apt on roosevelt island
More on the storm and the damage it caused in Central Park from the NY Times City Room blog.
More than 100 trees were toppled and hundreds more were damaged in Central Park during the fierce thunderstorm that moved over New York City on Tuesday night. It was the most severe destruction that the park’s trees had sustained in at least 30 years, according to officials at the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Central Park Conservancy, which manages the park.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Roosevelt Island Mitchell Lama Westview Residents To Receive 14% Rent Hike While Rest Of NYC Apartment Rents Going Down - Does That Make Any Sense?

Image of Westview From Corrections History

While many New York City residents are receiving reductions in their rent due to the recession and poor economy, Roosevelt Island residents of the Mitchell Lama Westview building have just been informed that they are to be paying higher rents to stay in their apartments.

A reader of this post sends the following message regarding Westview rent increase:
I am a long time Resident of Westview.

People on this Island need to know about the fight we have here trying to preserve "affordable" housing here on R.I, the very reason this Island came to be in terms of residential buildings back in 1976.

Westview is still under the Mitchell Lama system and was thinking of doing a conversion, but it fell through. That was due in part to the last Greedy Landlord and potential new owner.

We now face a 14% rent hike by 9/1/09.

The last rent hike we paid never brought us the things it was supposed to like new elevators, etc.

The conditon of our Buildings continue to worsen, we have 360 apartments and our rents are almost 1,000 for a Studio, 1200, for a one bedroom, etc.

Westview is the MOST EXPENSIVE M/L Building in the entire State of NY.

The illegalities and conflict of interests are mind- boggling.

I want to know how it is Legal in NYS for the Head of DHCR to also be the Head of RIOC- our so-called "Public Benefit Corporation".

The Head of RIOC in her rhetoric implored us last year on 8/13/08 at the BRD that "affordability" was very important to them and DHCR.

Now, a year later, it all goes out the window.

The new owners are supposedly a "charitble" organizatin that fund Cancer Research and have a shark of a Lawyer representing them.

All kinds of rules have been broken in Westview, in terms of breaking M/L rules, NO Warehousing is allowed Ever. That is why we have internal and external lists.

There are tons of illegal subletters here, residents with primary residences in other states- those are grounds for getting kicked out of the Building.

The Task Force does continue to fight for the Tenants, but most tenants don't know what they are doing and that has been going on for awhile now.

There was a time on this Island when major news about the "WIRE" Buildings was reported on in the Wire, now, you never see anything on Eastwood- who is fighting sub-metering, Island House, who had a rent hike shoved on them in the Winter and now Westview.

All of this needs to be out in the open and transparent again.

There are lots of tenants in Westview, whose rents have kept the Buildings standing since it went up, who now stand to lose their homes.
Roosevelt Island's representative on the NYC Council Jessica Lappin comments:
I disagree with DHCR's decision to increase rents for Westview. I have urged DHCR to deny Westview any increase in rent and will continue to oppose any future rental increases. I am disappointed by the news, and am worried about the hardship and difficulty this increase will cause.
This past July, Roosevelt Island's elected officials including Ms. Lappin, Assembly Member Kellner, State Senator Serrano and Borough President Stringer sent a strongly worded letter to DHCR Commissioner Van Amerongen stating:
... we believe that granting any significant rent increase at Westview would be destructive of the tenants’ efforts to negotiate a fair and reasonable conversion agreement with the owners, as well as of DHCR’s own stated goal of preserving affordability in the building. Moreover, we are concerned that the owners’ initial request for an extraordinarily high rent increase may have been intended to prejudice these ongoing negotiations. We believe that any increase would be unjustified, given the owners’ failure to implement energy efficiency measures in the building, to refinance the building’s mortgage, or to make proper use of funds raised by previous rent increases....

... we believe that DHCR should terminate the current BRD without awarding Westview’s owners an unjustifiable rent increase, and start the process anew....
Apparently DHCR Commissioner Van Amerongen did not heed this advice.

More on Westview, affordable housing and Mitchell Lama from earlier posts.

The Westview Task Force web site is here.

Stolen Roosevelt Island Bicycle Found And Returned To Owner - But Not Yet For This Yellow Bike

Image of Bicycle Recently Stolen From Roosevelt Island Resident

Have you had the unfortunate experience, like the owner of the above yellow bicycle from this recent post, of having your bicycle stolen on Roosevelt Island and given up any hope for ever getting it back? Well consider this happy ending from the August 11 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report:
Recovered Property - Resident reported to PSD that she observed her reported missing bicycle tied up to a light pole. Bike was clipped and returned to owner.
The lesson learned is that if your bike is stolen, keep a look out for it and immediately contact the Public Safety Department if you spot it here on Roosevelt Island.

Let's hope the owner of the stolen yellow bicycle is lucky enough to have it returned as well!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roosevelt Island's Newest Eatery Opens This Week - Riverwalk Bar & Grill - Completes Restaurant Commons Area

Last Night At Riverwalk Bar & Grill

Two words not previously associated with Roosevelt Island are "Restaurant Row" but that may soon change with the opening this week of Roosevelt Island's newest eatery - the long awaited and eagerly anticipated Riverwalk Bar & Grill on the Riverwalk Commons. Time Out New York even acknowledges this auspicious event in their weekly restaurant openings section:
River Walk Bar and Grill Co-owners and brothers Jonathan and Salvatore Hoo hope to fill a void in Roosevelt Island’s dining scene with this casual bar and eatery. Alfonse Dicioccio—who owns nearby Nonno’s Focacceria—is also involved, but you won’t find much pizza here: The staunchly all-American menu sticks to burgers, hefty salads and fried finger food. 425 Main St between Road 5 and West Rd (646-833-7050)

Last Night At Riverwalk Bar & Grill
No idea what Time Out is referring to as "Road 5".

This week's schedule of events is below:
Please join us this week in celebrating the opening of Roosevelt Island´s newest restaurant and deli!

Monday August 17th - Bar is open for cocktails
Tuesday August 18th - Deli open from 6AM - 8PM for breakfast and sandwiches
Wednesday August 19th - Deli and Restaurant are open
Thursday August 20th - Deli and Restaurant are open. Family party at 6pm
Friday August 21st - OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING!
Yesterday Afternoon At Riverwalk Bar & Grill Deli

I ate their last night and had a great time. Sampled some ribs, wings, potato salad, cole slaw, onion rings and sweet potato fries - mmmmm sweet potato fries. Everything was good. One of my dining companions did mention that he thought the wings should be more super hot but enjoyed himself nonetheless.

Now if they only get some good Ginger Beer, I will be a very happy person.

Upon more reflection, even the opening of Riverwalk Bar & Grill will not make a Restaurant Row on Roosevelt Island like Smith Street in Brooklyn or Broadway in Astoria, but added to the Nonnos Focacceria, Fuji East Japanese Bistro, Starbucks and Fruit Stand, perhaps Roosevelt Island has a Restaurant Commons!

Recent Public Safety Incidents At Roosevelt Island's Motorgate Parking Garage - Man Stuck In Elevator And Known Thief On Premises

Motorgate Parking Garage Image From Roosevelt Island 10044

There have been a couple of recent Public Safety incidents reported at the Roosevelt Island Motorgate Parking garage of interest. They are:
0700hrs 08/17/09- 0700hrs 08/18/09
Aided- Male stuck in Motorgate elevator, Motorgate attendee was able to release elevator door, victim RMA.

0700hrs 08/18/09- 0700hrs 08/19/09
Trespass - Motorgate attendee observed known thief in motorgate, PSD responded, subject fled scene, PSD canvassed area observed subject on Roosevelt Island Bridge, PSD issued a Trespass summons and released.
About the person stuck in the Motorgate elevator, Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra adds:
Public Safety received the call at 12:34AM and the person was released by 12:38AM. There were no injuries. The problem was corrected. RMA stands for "Refused Medical Attention." ...

Roosevelt Island Bridge Closure Advisories Did Not End Last Night - Will Continue on August 20 & 21

Just received the following email advisory from RIOC regarding continued work this August by the NYC Department of Transportation on the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Please be advised the NYC DOT Bridge Operations Unit will be performing openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge for preventive maintenance. They will be conducting these openings on August 20, 2009 to August 21, 2009 between the hours of 8:30 P.M. and 4:00 A.M. Please be advised that each test opening will take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes to be completed. The test openings will be appropriately spaced to prevent the least amount of disturbance to the vehicular traffic traversing the bridge.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information on the NYC DOT Bridges available here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Roosevelt Island Bridge Closure Advisory To End Tonight - Not Soon Enough For Some

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge From Bridge and Tunnel Club

Hopefully, tonight will be the end of the preventive maintenance work being done on the Roosevelt Island Bridge for a while. According to the RIOC Advisory:
Please be advised the NYC DOT Bridge Operations Unit will be performing openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge for preventive maintenance. They will be conducting these openings nightly from August 11, 2009 to August 13, 2009 and August 17, 2009 to August 18, 2009 between the hours of 8:00 P.M. and 4:30 A.M.
Please be advised that each test opening will take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes to be completed. The test openings will be appropriately spaced to prevent the least amount of disturbance to the vehicular and pedestrian traffic traversing the bridge.
A reader Jesse was not very pleased with what occurred last week at the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Jesse writes:
8 to 10 minutes? Try an hour on Wednesday night. There were at least 30 Roosevelt Islanders stranded on the LIC side between midnight and 1 a.m., and nobody had any information. Traffic was backed up on both sides of the bridge, with horns blaring right under the bedroom windows of residents of Manhattan Park, Eastwood and Westview.

This was a total disaster, and horribly mismanaged by both DOT and the RIOC, whose leadership could do much, much more to communicate with Island residents, both before and during such a shutdown.

Add it to the long list of Shane's shames.
Roosevelt Island 360 Tweets a picture of traffic backed up on Main Street due to either ramp construction or Roosevelt Island Bridge closure.

NY 1 reports on a September 2007 incident at the Roosevelt Island Bridge which left motorists stranded for hours late at night for which the preventive maintenance work is presumably being done to prevent from happening again.
Drivers trying to cross the Roosevelt Island Bridge overnight sat for six hours Friday because the bridge was stuck in the up position.

The span got stuck in an up position at around 11 p.m., leaving a gap in the roadway that kept traffic from crossing....
UPDATE - 3:55 PM - RIOC President Steve Shane replies:
To Jesse,your blogger poster, who commented on my list of "shames", be advised that among other things that I do not command is the operation of the New York City Department of Traffic and their testing schedule on the Roosevelt Island Bridge. DOT posted notices, we posted them and displayed them on our website, as did you. Public disruption is unavoidable in matters of this kind, but none the less, a pain when experienced. If I controlled DOT, things might be different, but I do not.
UPDATE - 8/19 -Unfortunately, it seems as though Roosevelt Island residents will have to suffer through some more days this August with DOT performing late night maintenance on the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Just received this email advisory from RIOC (advisory has not yet appeared on RIOC's Advisory Web Page):
Please be advised the NYC DOT Bridge Operations Unit will be performing openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge for preventive maintenance. They will be conducting these openings on August 20, 2009 to August 21, 2009 between the hours of 8:30 P.M. and 4:00 A.M. Please be advised that each test opening will take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes to be completed. The test openings will be appropriately spaced to prevent the least amount of disturbance to the vehicular traffic traversing the bridge.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Connects With Youth Center On Basketball Court - Thursday August 20 Blackwell Court

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Youth Center Basketball Connect Image From RIOC

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra sends the following message to Roosevelt Island community:
As part of our Community Outreach Initiative, the Public Safety Department has teamed up with the Youth Center and will be hosting a Community Basketball Game on Thursday, August 20th. The game will take place behind the Youth Center at the Blackwell Basketball Court and feature a team from the Public Safety Department playing with a team from the Youth Center.

The game should kick off about 6:30PM. The members of the Youth Center and their parents will be treated to Pizza and Refreshments after the game.
Great idea!

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feely-Nahem appreciates this ourteach undertaken by Mr. Guerra. She comments:
Sounds like a great idea, and an evening of fun. Although we are traveling the next day, I'll be sure to be there for the excitement!
Good Luck to all.
UPDATE 8/20 - RIRA President Frank Farance supports this initative as well:
I think you're on to some good community-building ideas, which might have positive long-term effects for the Island. I hope you guys can do something like this on a regular basis. In general, Thursday nights at 6:30 are good and I would watch/participate; unfortunately, I am out of town just for next Thursday. Great work!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Roosevelt Island Residents Seeking Answers On Bright Horizons Pre-School Tuition and Verizon Internet Service

Image From Actionsignslv

Can you help a couple of Roosevelt Island neighbors with the following questions. A reader of this post asks:
Can anyone tell me what the tuition rates are at Bright Horizons? Thanks.
and another reader inquires:
I am new to 475 main as well, is there any way to get a internet only service? Verizon online still "thinks" they don't offer internet service to 475 main.
According to their web site, Bright Hoizons at the Octagon:
... is a full service early learning program for children ages six weeks through five years old, on a full-time and part-time basis. We are a full day program, open from 7:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., serving fifty children....
No information on tuition rates. Can anyone help?

As to availability of Verizon FIOS at 475 Main Street, the Verizon Check Availability web page indicates that FIOS is not available at this location although it is available at both nearby 425 and 455 Main Street. Does anyone have any information on FIOS availability at 475 Main Street?