Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roosevelt Island Gallery RIVAA Artists Brunch Sunday September 13 At 11 AM - Come Meet Your Fellow Neighborhood Artists!

Fall Fiesta Image From Gallery RIVAA

Received a message from Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA that they will be holding an Artists Brunch on Sunday, September 13. Gallery RIVAA is inviting local artists to learn more about their organization and offering the opportunity for Roosevelt Island artists to get to know each other.

The Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association cordially invites Roosevelt Island ARTISTS to join us on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 AT 11:00 AM GALLERY RIVAA 527 Main Street.

There will be an informal brunch and a chance to get to know each other. A brief history of our organization will be presented, and information on how to become a member will be available.

Any questions, please call Selwyn Fund, Membership Chairman, at 212-308-6630 and leave a message.
Gallery RIVAA's current show is Fall Fiesta showing from September 12 - November 1 2009.

Learn To Swim With The Roosevelt Island Marlins - Try - Outs & Registration September 15

The Roosevelt Island Marlins are conducting a 'Learn to Swim" Program for those aged 4-14 at the Westview Pool (625 Main Street).

Try -Outs and Registrations are on September 15 at 5 PM. Click on the image above for more information.

More Roosevelt Island swimming information available here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the September 12, 2009 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - Pooping Pigeons Plague Subway Station
Twitpix - FDR Memorial Sample Wall Blocks Waterfront View
Roosevelt Island 360 - What's Your Favorite RI Location
Roosevelt Island Dogs - Free Pet Product/Supplies Sharing Resource
NYC Ania - East River Sailboats Passing Roosevelt Island
Black & White Cookie Review - Roosevelt Island A Favorite Getaway
Puppies Pearls & Pooside - Blackwell Ancestor Wants Roosevelt Island Back
NY Times - Octagon Not Living Up To Green Claim
NY 1 - Teacher Leads East River Crew Expedition
AM New York - Treacherous RI Currents Problem For East River Boat Traffic
Inner City Press - RI Resident a/k/a United Nations Mr. Blue Retires
Brooklyn Eagle - RI Granite Blocks Building Part Of B'klyn Bridge Park
Irene Eng The Kibbitzer - Visits Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Urban Ninja Twisted Traceurs Practice on Roosevelt Island
You Tube - King Of Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Emily's 4th Birthday
You Tube - Fishing on Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Roosevelt Island Lighthouse
Gotham Gazette - Kayaking East River
Soul Storage Company - Opens On Roosevelt Island
Daily News - Soul Stored on Roosevelt Island In New Movie
New Yorker - More Roosevelt Island Soul Storage
Time Out NY - New Roosevelt Island Eatery Opens
Cityroom Blog - Sailing Past Roosevelt Island On East River
Ohmidog - Roosevelt Island Among Best Dog Walking Routes
Hydro Review - Improved Verdant East River Energy Turbines
Scientific Computing - Tidal Energy From Floating Docks
NY Post - You're A NY'er If You Served Time On Roosevelt Island
You Tube - New Roosevelt Island Water Fountain
You Tube - Lightening and Thunder Storm Over Manhattan As Seen From Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Diane Birch Roosevelt Island Outdoor Concert
You Tube - Roosevelt Island Talent Show
You Tube - Roosevelt Live Concert With Chicha Libre
Paranominal - Ghost Hunting On Roosevelt Island -

Things To Do This Weekend In New York City And Roosevelt Island - World Trade Center Tribute In Light, Central Park Wilderness Skills & Brooklyn Books

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 ideas:

Everyone knows that today, 9/11, is the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Take a moment to think about those who were killed and their families as well as the men and women, both past and present, protecting us against these events ever happening again. Later tonight, look towards Battery Park for the magnificent Tribute In Light.

There will also be a Roosevelt Island 9/11 Memorial Ceremony tonight at 7 PM behind the Good Shepherd Chapel.

On Saturday, head on over to Central Park and test your wilderness skills.

Wilderness Skills Workshop
Saturdays, September 12 - November 7, 2009
9:00 am - 5:00 pm (full 8-hour course)

Program departs from the North Meadow Recreation Center (Located mid-Park at 97th Street)

Mountain Man comes to the Big Apple! Learn basic survival skills related to shelter, water, fire, food, and more with certified tracker and forensic investigator Shane "White Feather" Hobel. Program is appropriate for ages 14 and up. Advance registration and fee required; discounts available....
For the literary minded, Sunday is the Brooklyn Book Festival. According to the NY Times Urban Eye:
Put on your twee-est outfit — you know you have one — for the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday. Chockablock with local authors and personalities, from the Jonathans (Lethem, Coulton and Ames) to the literary comedians (David Cross and Gary Shteyngart) to the brainiacs (Naomi Klein, Oliver Sacks) to the trendy (Colson Whitehead, Sloane Crosley, Amy Sohn) to The Times’s own Jenny 8. Lee — literally everyone you’ve ever wanted to read will be there, plus Lupe Fiasco and Thurston Moore. This is perhaps the one place you don’t have to bring a book for fear of boredom
On Roosevelt Island this weekend, in addition to the 9/11 Memorial Remembrance on Friday, the Farmers Market is open as usual as is Gallery RIVAA, the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association which is having an opening reception for a new show titled Fall Fiesta on Saturday night.

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. There will also be Light Jazz performed outside of The Trellis restaurant on Friday and Saturday evening, weather permitting.

The MTA is reporting no Roosevelt Island F Train subway advisories this weekend and neither is RIOC with Tram advisories.

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 and Newyorkology.

Report From RIOC's President - Updates On Various Roosevelt Island Issues & Solar Panels For Motorgate Roof Being Studied

Image of RIOC Logo

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane updates us on RIOC Board Nominees, FDR Memorial, Green Rooms/Wild Gardens, Renwick Stabilization, Tram Overhaul, various construction projects, paperless RIOC Board meetings and other issues of concern to Roosevelt Island. Mr. Shane also indicates that RIOC is studying solar panels for the roof of the Motorgate Parking Garage.
September 9, 2009

Back to school after Labor Day, marking the unofficial end of summer:

1. Board of Directors: Next meeting scheduled for September 17th at 4:30 at Good Shepherd, with a Town Hall style meeting to follow. This meeting will be our first where we have tried to do away with the antiquated and costly “Board Books” and replace them with electronically disseminated materials. The nominations of Margie Smith and Mike Shinozaki to the Board and the re-nomination of Dr. Grimm have been made by the Governor and forwarded to the NY State Senate for confirmation. At this writing, it seems unlikely that the State Senate will act on the confirmations before the next Board meeting, but RIOC has asked both the Governor’s office and the elected representatives to try to expedite the process.
2. Southpoint:
(A) Renwick Ruins: Stabilization completed and building secured.
(B) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: The contractor continues rough grading, paths and stone walls. Phase 2 to complete the park, including finish grading, capping, and utilities, fencing and planting to follow when protocols for permitting with City are determined.
(C) FDR Memorial: Following Board Project approval in June, RIOC is working with the State and City Parks Departments on funding mechanics for the $4 million State appropriation, the matching $4.5 million from the City and at least $8 million from FERI as necessary for Phase I. DEC permitting being integrated with GR/WG. Legal work on finalizing development relationship is in the pipeline.
3. Tram Overhaul: The schedule remains for shutdown March 1, 2010 and reopening end of August 2010. See renderings of the proposed Tram stations on our web site. We continue to have regular monthly progress meetings with architects, engineers, POMA, expediters, City and State agencies, etc., all to move to an orderly execution of the project.
4. Projects: Work is ongoing on many projects and others are being completed. New Public Safety space should be done by September 15. Motorgate lighting trials continue. Resurfacing and waterproofing work has been contracted for, but awaits finalization of asbestos abatement plan. AVAC fencing completed and enclosure work under way. Repair of ramp on the helix finished, but there will be further long term repairs needed. Swimming pool at Sportspark will be closed for repairs after Labor Day to be reopened 6-8 weeks later. Rehabilitation of the gym (bleachers, flooring and padding) and installation of a fire safety system also underway. Sidewalk and paver repairs being accomplished, with restoration of grass area in Blackwell Park West. RIOC is studying solar panels for rooftop of Motorgate. Octagon sewer connection restoration from the water tunnel to begin, allowing reopening of the comfort station. Octagon field back in operation with natural surface, pending final conclusions about artificial surfaces.
5. Bank: Amalgamated Bank’s takeover of the NYNB space is completed and the branch opened as of July 20. Official dedication scheduled for October 1.
6. Southtown Buildings 5 and 6 have commenced occupancy. Landscaping for tram turnaround fountain is coming.
7. Bridge: The NYC Department of Transportation is now conducting sporadic testing of the bridge resulting in short closures. For those out late needing access, watch for the advisories from DOT. Good to see that the pedestrian access is almost completed. RIOC is planning to extend the enhanced railing on the Island side.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 9/12/09 Main Street WIRE.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Roosevelt Island Community Remembers The 9/11 Attacks On World Trade Center & Assembling The Tribute In Lights

Image From Main Street WIRE by Vicki Feinmel/Linda Heimer

To this day, the picture above taken from Roosevelt Island is still so shocking. Smoke pouring out behind the 59th Street Bridge from lower Manhattan as the World Trade Center was attacked and burned on what began as a beautiful September New York morning and soon became what is now known as just 9/11.

Image From Main Street WIRE by Vicki Feinmel/Linda Heimer

To commemorate that day, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be holding a 9/11 Memorial Remembrance on Friday evening:
Friday, September 11, 2009
Memorial Service on Roosevelt Island
Sponsored by Roosevelt Island Residents Association
Sunset Service Commencing at 7:00 p.m.
At the 9/11 Remembrance Garden
Behind the Chapel of the Good Shepherd

Please plan to join your neighbors and Please bring your own candle! (In the event of rain, the Memorial will take place inside Good Shepherd Chapel)
Images of Roosevelt Island's Remembrance Garden

The Main Street WIRE reported on the Memorial's April 2002 dedication ceremony:
...The cherry tree, planted a month after the tragedy, is surrounded by flowers, most planted by members of the Residents Association a few days before the dedication. A single wood bench faces the tree and plaque. Vicki Feinmel, the member of the Residents Association Common Council who organized the memorial and the event, said, “Everyone wanted to do something meaningful and have something permanent on the Island to honor the people we lost from the Island....
the plaque that honors those Roosevelt Islanders who died in the terrorist attack:
Ed Beyea, Anthony J. Fallone, Taimour Khan, Scott Larsen, and Kevin J. Smith – as well as firefighters who were based on Roosevelt Island – Deputy Chief Ray Downey, Deputy Chief Charlie Kasper, Battalion Chief John Moran, and Battalion Chief John Paolillo.

and what it was like to live on Roosevelt Island during and immediately after the attacks.

The September 11 Tribute In Lights will also shine on Friday night. I think it is the most moving and appropriate Memorial to the events of 9/11/01. Here's how it is done.

You Tube Video of Assembling The Tribute In Lights

Roosevelt Island Sidewalk Replacement And Construction Of New Walkway In Front Of Rivercross Building

Construction of New Rivercross Sidewalk

The replacement of existing flagstone sidewalk and construction of new concrete walkway in front Rivercross building was continuing yesterday. According to RIOC:
Please be advised the River Cross sidewalk will be under construction on Thursday, September 3, 2009 and Friday, September 18, 2009 as RIOC's contractor will be removing the existing flagstones and pouring concrete to create a new walkway.

This will be done in stages allowing pedestrians to utilize the sidewalk. There may be one day that the walk will be closed for a few hours, where pedestrians will need to use the opposite side of the street. Signs will be posted. The construction will be from the Main Street curb in front of 503 to the existing concrete sidewalk |and west towards the mediation steps.

The professional offices of 501 Main Street will not be closed, but will be redirected to allow access to their offices during the construction.

Roosevelt Island Tram Advisory For Friday Due To PBS Film Shoot - No Interruption In Service

RIOC is reporting a Roosevelt Island Tram advisory for Friday Morning due to a PBS film shoot. From RIOC:

Please be advised on September 11, 2009, between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., there will be a film shoot taking place at the Tram. Please note it will not interfere with regularly scheduled service.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Barack Obama Explains Health Care Through Song

You Tube Video of Auto Tune Health Care Via Andrew Sullivan

Perhaps President Obama should consider singing his health care speech tonight in front of Congress?

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council Meeting Tonight 8 PM - Good Shepherd Community Center

Image of November 2008 RIRA Common Council Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting tonight, September 9, at 8 PM in the Good Shepherd Community Center's Lower Level. The meeting are open to all and begins with an opportunity for residents to address the Council with any item of concern. Below is the Agenda for the meeting.
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish
Place: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
1. Public Session (8:00)

2. Roll Call (8:15)
X 3. Approval of Agenda (8:20)
- Election of Secretary (8:20)
4. Approval of Minutes (8:30)
5. Treasurer’s Report (8:30)
6. President's Report (8:35)
- RIOC and Field Policies agenda item for RIRA Upcoming September 16 Town Hall meeting
7. Committee Reports (8:45)
Government Relations - M. Smith
- Election of Committee Chair
Public Safety - E. Feely-Nahem
Housing - J. Micheff & L. Strong-Shinozaki
Social, Cultural and Educational Services - N. Leopold
- Committee report
Island Services - A. Hamburger
Planning - M. Katz
- Committee report
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 September RIOC Board Meeting: Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 8-9:30PM
Next Meeting: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 (Mailing Deadline: October 2, 2009)
Future 2009 Meetings: November 4, December 2
Also, RIRA will be holding a 9/11 Memorial Remembrance on Friday evening:
Friday, September 11, 2009
Memorial Service on Roosevelt Island
Sponsored by Roosevelt Island Residents Association
Sunset Service Commencing at 7:00 p.m.
At the 9/11 Remembrance Garden
Behind the Chapel of the Good Shepherd

Please plan to join your neighbors and Please bring your own candle!
In addition, below are reports from RIRA's Planning Committee and Youth Services Sub-Committee as well as the 2009 RIRA Financial Report:

The Planning Committee has not met since late March, but issues impacting the committee continue to arise and to be addressed. Both the Columbia University and Hunter College graduate seminars made their final reports to mixed reactions from the community. These have been reported on elsewhere.

On May 28, RIOC hosted a groundbreaking event for the start of Southpoint Park construction, and the earth moving continues. This ceremony included a ribbon cutting to mark the end of the Smallpox Hospital/Renwick Ruin stabilization project that required $4.5 million from Jessica Lappin and the City Council. To me, the results look like a mouth full of metal braces. The ethereal beauty of that structure has been lost and will not return until additional funds can be found to bolster its internal structure. This is unlikely to happen until a use, preferably some commercial, revenue-positive use, can be found for the building. If you haven’t been down that way, you should visit this landmark

The RIRA/RIOC Town Meetings, instituted by Frank Farance, have the potential to examine key Island issues, especially those on the RIOC Board agenda, prior to consideration and voting by the Board of Directors. This experiment can only work if resident Directors and RIRA Counselors attend in sufficient numbers to afford a lively and productive discussion. Unfortunately, this has not been the case so far. More than any other activists on Roosevelt Island, these two groups have the possibility of positively affecting the quality of life here. However, if these Island leaders continue to define their responsibilities only in terms of once-a-month meetings, many opportunities will be lost.

Following up on the RIOC Board approval of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) plan for Four Freedoms Park and the FDR Memorial, the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA), under the leadership of its Treasurer (and RIRA Member), Jim Bates has achieved an agreement from FERI’s leadership to work with RIDA to include a representation of FDR the disabled President, to be included somewhere in the vicinity of the Park. To that end, Ambassador William vanden Heuvel has pledged $100,000 received from the Paul Newman Foundation. Jim has convened a group, including representatives from the RIOC Board, RIRA, RIDA and the community to determine the site, the funding and the nature and source of such a sculpture. RIOC Director, Jon Kalkin, and architect, Marc Diamond, have been especially helpful in educating the group as to the process and getting it underway.

On July 7, I was invited to join host, Rosina Abramson, members of her staff, Queens Parks & Recreation Commissioner, Dottie Lewandowski, and Urban Answers spokesman, Mike Fishman, to tour the Island investigating sites for a boating and kayaking launch area. The criteria include finding existing pier structures that might be built on, waterfront areas that are safe from excessive currents and proximity to service amenities. The possibilities for returning Roosevelt Island to its maritime roots are very exciting and part of a Citywide effort along these lines. I first got involved during the East River Day events of 2007, sponsored by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. I hope that a location we examined on the East Channel within Southpoint Park and near the Strecker Lab is seen as appropriate, as this would provide incentive to develop the Renwick site, the centerpiece of Southpoint Park, as a restaurant and perhaps, much more.

I attended, albeit briefly, a get-together between the RIOC-appointed architect, Lee Weintraub, who is looking for community input to improve the Blackwell Park area that extends north from Blackwell House to the fountain and east to the river. Frank Farance represented RIRA and has discussed the event in his WIRE column. Many Island organizations were represented at this first meeting and the game plan is to establish a small (six-person) working group to consider conceptual designs and elements, much as the Trust for Public Land (TPL) did with a somewhat larger group and for Southpoint Park. Stay tuned.

At the request of Bonnie Sherk, I arranged a meeting on July 29 to include Bonnie, Sen. Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Micah Kellner and myself. Ron Becker of Coler/Goldwater Hospital was there along with a hospital environmental educator, AKA a “horticultural therapist.” This took place at PS/IS 217 where the summer program, made possible by a $20,000 Public Purpose Fund grant allocated by RIRA, is currently taking place. Also joining us, were representatives of PS/IS 217 PTA, parents and, of course, the students and teacher participating in the program. Our state representatives had the opportunity to see the program in progess, and Bonnie had the opportunity to influence two legislators with discretionary funds at their disposal. My hope is that this synergy will allow LifeFrames, Inc. to find operating funds exclusive of the Public Purpose Fund, allowing RIRA to provide those funds to other deserving Island organizations next year.
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 community
• 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
Click on images below to read the 2009 RIRA Financial Report.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Early Morning Commuting Options From Roosevelt Island To Manhattan - No Red Bus Prior To 6 A.M. So Put On Your Walking Or Bicycle Shoes

Image of New York City Sunrise From Zarky

A new Roosevelt Island resident asks the following question about very early in the morning commuting from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan:
I am a new resident to RI and reside at the north end of the island. I am a registered nurse that works on the upper east side on the columbia presbyterian campus. I wanted to know how the commute is for people who have to be in Manhattan by 6:30-7am using public transportation.
Is it reliable enough? Is it okay to walk early in the morning to guarantee a train ride on time? I have heard mixed reviews about the red bus and F train. Please let me know how it is and what people do.
Thanks and take care.
Another reader of this earlier post had a similar request for pre 6 A.M. Red Bus service:
I hope that in the near future, residents can have their bikes stored at the bike racks. If the bikes aren't a hazard, then I don't see what the issue is.

Speaking of changing something with the RIOC, I emailed them and suggested that the Red bus start service at 5:30am or 5:45am for those who have to be at work in Manhattan between 6:30am and 7am.

I don't know how realistic the request is, but I find it to be within reason.

This gives leeway for delays that can occur due to weather and what not.

I would like to hear people's thoughts about this.
The Roosevelt Island Red Bus does not begin service until 6 A.M. so the only option for those early morning commuters are walking to the subway/tram station or biking. The Tram begins operations at 6 A.M. and the subway is in service 24 hours a day.

According to the MTA there are 7 F trains servicing Roosevelt Island between the hours of 6 - 7 A.M. In my experience, the F Train does not get crowded at Roosevelt Island until at least 7:45 A.M. so early morning commuters should not have a problem finding room on the train.

As to walking to the train from the north part of Roosevelt Island, I have found it to take approximately 15- 20 minutes from Manhattan Park depending upon how leisurely a pace you maintain. If the question is whether or not it is safe to walk at that time, I think it is.

Good Luck with your new commute.

UPDATE - 9/11- RIOC President Steve Shane responds:
The first bus leaving Octagon is at 5:45AM to make the first Tram to Manhattan at 6:00AM.
I hope this solves your problem.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening Advisory For Tuesday, September 8, 10 A.M. - 2 P.M.

RIOC has issued the following Roosevelt Island Bridge Advisory for the morning of Tuesday, September 8:

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 Tuesday, September 8, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please note 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.
Plan Accordingly.