Friday, October 9, 2009

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the October 10, 2009 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - Update on RI Bed Bugs
Roosevelt Islander - Southtown Parking Problems Exacerbated
Philadelphia Inquirer - Image of Proposed FDR Memorial At Southpoint Park
NY Times - Empty Nesters Move To Riverwalk
NY City Search - Video of Riverwalk Bar & Grill
RI 360 Twitpix - Crowded Morning Roosevelt Island Tram
Lateral Window - Favorite Blackwell Park Bench
MSNBC - RI River Turbines Provide Electricity
Daily News - Congresswomen Maloney's Husband Dies On Mountain Climbing Trip
Spencer McCormick - One Month Half Suburb/ Socialist/Nightmare On Roosevelt Island
Cabbage Patch Head - New Resident Looking Forward To Life On RI
Career Builder - RI Associate Teacher Position Available with Bright Horizons
Sail Net - Sailing Advice Down East River
Glark - Roosevelt Island Is The Prisoner's Village
Mama Robot - Selling Items at Fall For Arts Festival
Ephemeral New York - Many Names of Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Amalgamated Bank Branch Grand Opening
Micah Kellner - Attends Amalgamated Bank Opening
Yfrog - Royal Enfield Motorcycle Spotted On RI
NY 1 - B'klyn Bridge Park Steps Come From Roosevelt Island Bridge
M Live - Ruins Porn From Detroit To Roosevelt Island -

RIRA President On Town Hall Meetings, RIOC Budget, Red Bus Schedule, Public Purpose Grants, Parking and Other Roosevelt Island Issues Of Concern

October 2009 RIRA Common Council Meeting

RIRA President Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
1. RIOC Board Members aren't making time to interact with the residents. RIRA has sponsored a town hall meeting just prior to every RIOC Board meeting so that residents can ask questions and get feedback from the community. At the last meeting, only one of the RIOC board members attended. Several RIOC board members have never attended. Considering that the public session portion of the RIOC Board meetings is after the RIOC Board conducts its business (thus, no opportunity for resident input prior to decision-making), the RIRA town hall meetings are the only forum for community interaction — and RIOC Board Chair (and DHCR Commission) Deborah VanAmerongen recommends that RIOC Board members interact with the community. All resident RIOC Board members that ran for election said they would interact with the community, yet some have not lived up to that commitment.

2. RIOC Budget Discussions at RIRA Common Council meeting. RIOC CFO Steve Chironis has taken the initiative to open a dialogue with the residents by getting advance input and feedback on the 2010/2011 RIOC. Great idea, Steve.

3. Red Bus Experiments. We had a meeting to work on improving the morning schedule. Right now, we're still planning the experiments because there are several traffic congestion scenarios to address in the mornings around 6:50, 7:25, and 7:50. I'll have more information in the next WIRE issue. Overall, there's a good sense of collaboration with RIOC and, in particular, Fernando Martinez, RIOC VP of Operations.

4. RIRA's Recommendations for Public Purpose Grant Process for 2010. Steve Marcus and his committee have incorporated input from the community, applicants, RIOC Board members, and RIRA Common Council members. The recommendations address three main areas: (1) Guidelines and Criteria for Evaluating Public Purpose Funds: these are general requirements (some apply to RIOC, some apply to RIRA, some apply to the applicant) and there are additional factors, too; (2) Recommendations to RIOC: these are specific recommendations that RIRA believes will help improve the process for all of us (applicants, too); (3) Criteria and Procedures for Voting Membership in RIRA's Public Purpose Subcommittee: this portion of the document addresses specific concerns about perceived conflicts of interest. I think Steve's committee has done excellent work in addressing concerns (from RIOC, RIRA, the applicants, and the public) on the review process.

5. East River Ferry Service. I'm not opposed to ferry service, I just don't believe it will catch on for Roosevelt Island in a way that makes it a significant mode of transportation. Ferries have limited capacity that won't make a dent in our transportation problems. Even if the ferry were free, it still isn't competitive because of all the transfers and extra time. Unless you work at one of the East River heliports, you still have another 20-30 minutes to get a subway and continue your commute. Really, it would be shorter to take the F train to Queens and head back into the city than it would to take a ferry. Here another reason you know they don't work. According to the WIRE, a spud barge (don't visualize a boat full of potatoes or a Budweiser dog with black spots) will cost about $5000/month. That's chump change, especially if it has been reported that Octagon is having problems with vacancies. So why doesn't the Octagon developer order the barge if it is so cheap? Probably because: (1) the water ferry would get little use, or (2) maybe Octagon really doesn't have a vacancy problem. I'm betting on #1.

6. Blackwell Park Master Plan. Rosina Abramson, RIOC Vice President of Planning and Inter-Governmental Affairs says we don't need to know the budget to determine the kind of master plan for the park (this only makes sense to Abramson and no one else on the committee). The Blackwell Park master plan committee will meet for approximately three times (two meetings to go) before announcing the plan to the community in the first week of December. RIRA has two liaisons on the committee. We have requested drawings and sketches to share with the community. RIOC has chosen to impede RIRA and community review by distributing only paper copies of document. So far, it's poorly managed, little information is shared, significant community concerns have been rejected, and, apparently, the process is designed to have little input from the community. Disaster predicted for December.

7. Public Safety Office Renovations. Preface: The following criticisms in NO WAY reflect anything negative about Public Safety operations this is merely and engineering and approval issue about their space. The newly renovated offices have the wrong kind of door access which causes huge problems for the disabled, they relegate the Jewish congregation to back-door status (how offensive!), and the access doors are at opposite ends — 560 Main for elevator access and 540 Main for stair access. This is what happens when you avoid review of your architecture and engineering plans. Note to Tom Turcic, RIOC Director of Engineering: ADA compliance is merely a minimum and doesn't equate to usability. As they say: There is never enough money to do it right, but always enough money to do it over.

8. Making More Parking Available for All Four Residential Complexes. Again, working with Martinez, he is investigating returning the parking on Main Street between 40 River Road and Octagon soccer field that benefits Manhattan Park and Octagon. Martinez is working with the Coler-Goldwater hospital to make some of the south campus employee parking available, which mostly benefits Southtown, Sportspark, and the tennis bubble. My children Emilia and David (see photos) have measured 34 Avenue near Vernon Blvd in Long Island City to demonstrate that additional parking could be available on both sides of Main Street in Southtown. Martinez investigating this additional parking, which would benefit Southtown, Rivercross, and portions of Eastwood and Island House.

The RIRA President's message was also published as the RIRA column in the 10/10/09 Main Street WIRE.

Having some problems uploading the photos from Mr. Farance. Will try to add later.
UPDATE 10/19 -

Image From Frank Farance

Big Turnout Of Roosevelt Island Residents To Manhattan Town Hall Ferry Meeting - Temporary Ferry Service Possible For RI During Tram Outage

Possible Ferry Dock At Meditation Steps During Tram Outage

RIOC President Steve Shane reports on the possibility of temporary Roosevelt Island Ferry Service while the Tram is out of service (RIOC's President Report Item 10):
We met with Tom Fox, the ferry operator, to discuss temporary service at the existing pier at the meditation steps while the Tram is out of service. Subject to engineering clearance and approvals from the Coast Guard, if there is sufficient ridership interest based on surveys for a ferry service to 32nd Street and maybe on down to Wall Street during rush hours, with a business plan which RIOC would have to subsidize to some level (to be determined, subject to Board approval, but guesstimated to be approximately $100,000 for 6 months), if, if, if….Will keep everyone posted. To be noted is the City’s lack of enthusiasm in proceeding with the proposed ferry service at the Octagon.
In other Ferry news, a very large and impressive contingent of Roosevelt Island residents attended last Monday's NYC Economic Development Corporation's (NYCEDC) Manhattan Ferry Service Town Hall Meeting hosted by NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Council Members Jessica Lappin (representing Roosevelt Island as well as the East Side of Manhattan) and Dan Garodnick.
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn at Manhattan Ferry Town Hall Meeting

Speaker Quinn as well as Council Members Lappin and Garodnick opened the Town Hall Meeting with remarks expressing support for a comprehensive water transportation system for New York. Ms. Lappin also acknowledged the large presence of Roosevelt Island residents at the Town Hall Meeting and noted that she received more than 40 messages from Roosevelt Islanders who supported Ferry service but were not able to attend the meeting.

NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin At Manhattan Town Hall Ferry Meeting

Following these remarks a PowerPoint Presentaion was given by Venetia Lannon, a representative of the NYEDC, illustrating the criteria to be used for placement of the Ferry docks and service. Ms. Lannon emphasized that no decisions have been made as to placement locations yet. (Click on the slides below to read more clearly).

Following the NYCEDC presentation, members of the audience were given 3 minutes to make their case for a particular ferry location. Approximately 14 Roosevelt Island residents, more than any other community, spoke in favor of Roosevelt Island ferry service though none thought it was in any way a panacea to our transportation needs. RIRA Planning Committee Chair Matt Katz said that Roosevelt Island ferry service was "palliative at best". All but one Roosevelt Island resident objected to the current proposed location of a ferry dock at the Octagon urging that a ferry dock should instead be at Roosevelt Island's transportation hub near the subway and tram.

One of the speakers was RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin. After the meeting Mr. Kalkin Tweeted:
Three points I made tonight 1. The ferry must be 1. affordable 2. accessible 3. incorporated in our future metrocard system/ travel hubs
Other Roosevelt Island speakers pointed out that ferry service will be doomed to failure if located at the Octagon, should not be only for the affluent, should have a large enough dock to be used for emergency evacuation and that ferry service had previously been in use on Roosevelt Island as late as 1986.

As far as I could tell, nobody from RIOC management attended though as mentioned earlier, RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin was in attendance. Also in attendance were RIOC Board nominees Margie Smith and Michael Shinozaki.

Ms. Lappin issued the following statement regarding the Ferry Town Hall Meeting and ferry service to Roosevelt Island:
Statement from Council Member Lappin
Re: Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study Town Hall

Thanks to all the Roosevelt Islanders who came out to speak in favor of ferry service at last night’s town hall forum. Residents from all over the city attended last night, but none came out in greater numbers or more eloquence than Roosevelt Island residents. In fact, more people spoke in favor of ferry service on Roosevelt Island than spoke for or against any other single location. Those voices, in addition to the 46 people who have e-mailed my office sent a message loud and clear: Roosevelt Island needs ferry service. I will continue to push the city to provide this transportation link to the Island and I’m glad to be joined in that push by so many dedicated Islanders.

If you missed last night, it’s not too late to add your voice to the calls for Roosevelt Island ferry service. You can e-mail and make the case for a ferry to and from Roosevelt Island.
In regard to the problem of locating a Roosevelt Island Ferry Dock at the Octagon Ms. Lappin commented:
A dock near the subway and tram would be ideal and my preference. That said, the developer at Octagon already received approval from the Army Corps of Engineers for a landing, which alone takes an average of 18 months. That makes a location there an interesting option for the short term. But it certainly doesn't preclude an additional or replacement dock at the transportation hub in the future.

Report From RIOC's President - Disabled Access To Cultural Center, Temporary Ferry Service, Bridge Opening For UN Week & Other RI Issues Of Concern

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, possibility of temporary ferry service during tram outage, handicap access to cultural center, solar panels for Motorgate roof being studied, various other constructoin projects, enforcement of Curb Your Dog rules, Main Street Retail Report, oponing of Bridge during UN Week and other issues of concern to Roosevelt Island.
October 7, 2009

1. Board of Directors: The nominations of Margie Smith and Mike Shinozaki to the Board and the re-nomination of Dr. Grimm have been made by the Governor, but are still pending confirmation by the NY State Senate. Next Board meeting is scheduled for November 5, 2009 at 9:30AM.
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 as protocols for permitting with City are finalized.
(C) FDR Memorial: Following Board Project approval in June, RIOC is working with the State and City Parks Departments on integration of funding and oversight 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. Legal work on finalizing development relationship is ongoing. State Parks has approved an operating and maintenance budget and is in receipt of a $2 million endowment to fund the expenses. I am meeting with Commissioner Ash and her staff on November 4 to discuss allocation of responsibility for implementing the plan and the mechanics of RIOC reimbursement for incurred expenses.
3. Tram Overhaul: On schedule 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 is done and PSD has moved in. Punch list work is underway. Despite the “outrage” over change of long habit in handicapped access to the Cultural Center, I know that the design was carefully planned to take into account ADA requirements. Early kinks in procedures will be straightened out. Motorgate lighting experiments continue; resurfacing and waterproofing work has been contracted for, but awaits finalization of asbestos abatement plan which will likely result in postponing until Spring because of winter conditions affecting the concrete. . AVAC fencing completed and enclosure work under way. Swimming pool at Sportspark is closed for repairs to be reopened by end of October. Rehabilitation of the gym (bleachers, flooring and padding) and installation of a fire safety system also underway. Sidewalk and pavers repairs being accomplished, with restoration of grass area in Blackwell Park West (with “curb your dog” signs which will be enforced!). RIOC is studying solar panels for the rooftop of Motorgate with NYPA. 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. Planning for new Blackwell Park included a community bus ride to visit other parks to get a sense of the possible.
5. Bank: Amalgamated Bank’s official dedication was held October 1 with bagels and balloons. Glad it’s a going enterprise.
6. Southtown Buildings 5 and 6 are being occupied. Landscaping for the tram turnaround fountain is installed. Sidewalk completed with final work being done at southern end.
7. Bridge: The NYC Department of Transportation operated the bridge as usual during United Nations week to accommodate the security concerns which close the west channel to ships. Only minor glitches in the operations. An inconvenience to the Island when it happens, but part of being in New York City. Fortunately, no serious emergencies.
8. Main Street Retail: The final consultants’ report was presented on September 22nd. Much to think about in approaching the leasing of vacant stores, upgrading the appearance of occupied stores and consolidating, relocating and otherwise accommodating the various non profit users of space, all with an eye on the essential service functions. The final report is posted and has been made available to the blog sites and the WIRE.
9. Coordination with RIRA: A long list of matters of common interest is being discussed so that everyone’s input will be available. Parking, red bus scheduling, Good Shepherd Plaza, landscaping, public purpose criteria, budgeting, etc., etc.
10. Ferry: We met with Tom Fox, the ferry operator, to discuss temporary service at the existing pier at the meditation steps while the Tram is out of service. Subject to engineering clearance and approvals from the Coast Guard, if there is sufficient ridership interest based on surveys for a ferry service to 32nd Street and maybe on down to Wall Street during rush hours, with a business plan which RIOC would have to subsidize to some level (to be determined, subject to Board approval, but guesstimated to be approximately $100,000 for 6 months), if, if, if….Will keep everyone posted. To be noted is the City’s lack of enthusiasm in proceeding with the proposed ferry service at the Octagon.
11. Fall for the Arts: Annual celebration scheduled for this Saturday, October 10. Come out and enjoy the many events.
12. Public Purpose Fund: RIOC has completed auditing 5 out of the 7 awardees from the 2009 award cycle and will have completed the audits by mid October so that the information will be available as the selection process gets underway in November. RIRA will again be asked to give recommendations so that the ultimate funding will be included in the RIOC budget for 2010/11.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 10/10/09 Main Street WIRE.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Update On Incident Involving Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Renovation And Disabled Community Access To Cultural Center

Earlier in the week I published this post that included a message from a Roosevelt Island resident advising about what she felt was:

... inappropriate behavior by members of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department as she tried to enter the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center. The renovation of the Public Safety Department office has required that the entrance to the Cultural Center be moved in such a manner that Ms Stern believes relegates her and other disabled people to second class status....
There are usually two sides, or more, to every story. RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra responds to Ms. Stern.
I am somewhat surprised that this letter was written after the protocols were explained to Ms. Stern by RIOC President Steve Shane. He explained to her, as I have explained to those who have asked me, that citizens are not permitted to enter Restricted Areas in Law Enforcement Facilities. Ms. Stern was made to believe that she could have access through the Restricted Area of Public Safety by Judy Berdy, who was looking to cause trouble. Ms. Berdy knew full well that access through the Restricted Area would be denied but decided to bring Ms. Stern that way anyway - never informing Ms. Stern of what she knew. I found that strange since prior to that, Ms. Berdy personally discussed with me the needs of the RIJC during the Holy Holiday and I happily assigned 2 Officers to assist all in need of gaining access and use of the elevator. My Officers were instructed to make every accommodation to help anyone in need of assistance and Lt. Yee offered to do that for Ms. Stern. After cursing at Lt. Yee, Ms. Berdy departed with Ms. Stern. When I spoke to Ms. Berdy after the incident, she apologized for her behavior. It is unfortunate that Ms. Stern displays the same lack of respect, yet demands to be respected. To those reading this, rest assured that our Officers will continue to assist those who need our help.
Right before posting this, I received a message from RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin indicating what he describes as a successful meeting between members of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, RIOC, the Public Safety Department and the project architect to insure that the disabled residents have appropriate access to the Cultural Center.

According to Mr. Kalkin, the following changes will be made:
The outside door to the rear vestibule is being repaired with the proper handles and opening devices that are, of course, ADA approved.

The automatic door-openers are on order and will be installed as soon as they arrive.

An intercom-type phone that dials direct to the Desk Officer will be installed.

A camera in the vestibule area will also be installed.

Police will escort help anyone that requests to be taken to the entrance and inside. Even riding in the elevator with that person.

A canopy from the side door of 546 Main St. and our door will be installed as soon as Urban American approves their share of the funding for it.
That is excellent news. Good job by all involved.

Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival Saturday, October 10 - Fun Day For All Ages

The 4th Annual Fall for Arts Festival

Saturday, October 10th 2009

Good Shepherd Church Plaza , Rivercross Lawn &

Surrounding Areas

Good Shepherd Plaza 543 Main Street

11am- 4pm Artist displaying their original works as well as delicious food, and


11:30am-12:30pm 3 Bearded Bards (islanders Howie Leifer, Chris Fuller and Matt


1pm-1:30pm Salsa versus B-Boys Demonstration

2pm- 3pm 8 Piece Latin Band

3pm- 4pm Flamenco Dancing Showcase

Rivercross Lawn aka “The Imagination Station”

Kids Area-ages 1-18

Ongoing Art Project Activities 11am -4pm

Materials for the Arts- Projects: Maracas and Mexican Aprons

Children’s Museum of the Arts- Projects: Clay station & craft station

Wykoff Farmhouse- Activities: Apple Pressing and Making Fresh Butter

South Street Seaport Museum- Activities: Recreating FDR’s Sailboat with paper, wood

carving demonstration and watercolor exhibit

“Louie” Bilingual Children’s Song Singer- Interactive songs with instruments

Storytelling by Bobaloo

SportsPark 250 Main Street

(Next to Tennis Bubble)

11am-2pm Free Art Workshop instruction by RIVAA Artists

Art supplies and materials included/ All ages

RIVAA Gallery 527 Main Street

Spoken Word Poetry 11am to 4pm Hosted by Chris Fuller and Adela Sinclair

12:00 PM – 4 PM Spoken Word Poetry

4:10 PM Japanese Bamboo Flute (Shakuhachi) Recital by island resident Gerald Starlight

7 PM Isadora Duncan Dance Recital (Refreshments Served)


11AM – 2PM – Art Workshop (for all levels) at the Sportspark Studios. All welcome, no registration required, materials provided.

Roving Entertainment 11am to 4pm

watch out for…..



Balloon Sculptors

Walking Characters

Open House New York Sites on Roosevelt Island

Free tours at the following locations:

Saturday 9 AM to 4 PM- The Church of the Good Shepherd

Community Center

Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to 4 PM- Southpoint Park

The Octagon and Lighthouse Park are also participating again this year in Open House New York – Saturday and Sunday noon to 5.

For more information visit





Click on Images Below For Full Schedule

Roosevelt Island No Parking Advisory For 521 - 531 Main Street Continues Until 7 PM Saturday October 10

RIOC Parking Advisory For 521-531 Main Street

RIOC is continuing the Parking advisory from earlier this week thru Saturday. From RIOC:
Please be advised due to construction there will be no parking from 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 7th through 7:00 p.m. Saturday, October 10th from 521 Main Street to 531 Main Street.

We appreciate your cooperation during this time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Watching Football And Baseball Playoffs At Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill - Pinch Me, Am I Dreaming?

It's great to finally have a Roosevelt Island Restaurant and Sports Bar particularly now during football season and the baseball playoffs. I had a good time last night watching the final few innings of the Twins/Tigers game at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill with my favorite Sweet Potato Fries (Yum, Yum), although I must admit I was hoping the game would go at least 20 innings so that whoever won would be even more exhausted for tonight's game against the Yankees.

I think the Riverwalk Bar & Grill video above is a pretty accurate description of the place - good food, friendly people and convenience that Roosevelt Islanders have never, ever, ever had before.

They also have deserts. If you have a sweet tooth, I would highly recommend a Peanut Butter and Caramel indulgence from their nightly specials, the Peanut Butter Crunch. Lucky for my waist size, it is not on the menu every night.

Peanut Butter Crunch Before I got to it.

Now, if they can only get that Ginger Beer!

Early Childhood Associate Teacher Position Available At Roosevelt Island's Bright Horizons Pre-School

Bright Horizons Image from OctagonNYC

Anyone looking for a job as a early childhood Associate Teacher here on Roosevelt Island? If so, Bright Horizons at the Octagon may have a spot for you. From Career Builder:
...Channel your love for children and the joy of guiding a child through moments of discovery into an exciting career as an associate teacher at Bright Horizons. Join our team of early education professionals and help create high-quality, developmentally appropriate programs for children. Embark on a new professional journey in an environment that values your contributions and provides you the resources you need to grow your career.

Build strong relationships with children, parents, and colleagues while also enjoying the many unique aspects of teaching in work-site child care centers.

Stepping into an associate teaching position at Bright Horizons, under the guidance of a teacher you will: ...
Bright Horizons describes itself as:
...Bright Horizons 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. We are proud of the opportunity to offer a unique natural playground with mature trees and exciting climbing structures appropriate for various ages....
Base pay is $11 - $12 per hour.

More information on the job is available here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Does Public Safety Department Renovation Relegate Roosevelt Island Disabled Community To Second Class Status As They Try To Enter Cultural Center?

I received the following message from Roosevelt Island resident Sharon Stern regarding what she feels was inappropriate behavior by members of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department as she tried to enter the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center. The renovation of the Public Safety Department office has required that the entrance to the Cultural Center be moved in such a manner that Ms Stern believes relegates her and other disabled people to second class status.
To Whom it MAY Concern?

A person with a physical disability living on Roosevelt Is
since before it was so dubbed, I am now in the 21st century
relegated to a second class status. We are restricted to back door
access to RIJC religious services and the Cultural Center, and this
through a circuitous route through the 546 lobby; to which I have

I had intended to write a complaint of the reprehensible
treatment to which I, my aide, and Judy Berdy were subjected by
Officer Lee, Sunday eve 9/27/09 on our way to religious services.
I'd been given to understand that under extenuating circumstances,
(rain or in my case, a malfunctioning wheelchair) I'd be 'allowed'
access through the Front door on Main St.. which now is the
entrance to Public Safety, (what a misnomer). (My aide was pushing
my chair.) Access was denied; Officer Lee (or Yee?) was 'Following
orders' (Where've I heard THAT before?) of Chief Guerra.
Yesterday Steve Shane, upon hearing of this unconscionable
situation, (from me on the phone) promised to strive for 'more
flexibility' from Chief Geurra. I later learned of a subsequent
meeting of the principals were Guerra allowed for no flexibility.
Whose running this joint anyway???

At 3:am this morning I came to my senses. Chief Guerra can
keep his flexibility and put it were the sun doesn't shine. I ask
no favors: I demand my rights as a tax paying citizen of the United
States of America.

I will not enter at the rear; this kind of abuse ended with
Civil Rights and the ADA. This whole extension of Public Safety
space, (and power, evidently) is a complete travesty. It is a
violation of 1. Human Rights, 2. ADA regulations, 3. the simple
human decency that once guided this island. It is, I fear, an
extension of the greed and corruption that is destroying our
country today.

Until this outrageous situation is rectified, either by a
reversal of PS policy or another architectural renovation, I
consider myself barred from access to RIJC services and the
Cultural Center.

Now to get my 2 WCs repaired; another fray; bucking another
beaureaucracy, (sp?). Too much for these 2 paralyzed shoulders to
Asked to comment, RIOC President Steve Shane replied:
I am meeting with all of the concerned parties and their advocates as soon as they can to jointly address the matter. We have carefully considered ADA requirements and are more than sympathetic to the special needs of our disabled population.
UPDATE 10/8 - Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra responds and RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin reports on possible solution for disabled community access to Cultural Center.

Amalgamated Bank Branch Grand Opening On Roosevelt Island - Cause Of Celebration For Banking Deprived Residents

Photo by Catherine Gibbons
Last Friday's Grand Opening of the new Roosevelt Island Amalgamated Bank branch drew some divergent responses from readers. One wrote:
Only on Roosevelt Island do bank branches have grand openings. Amazing. I wish Starbucks did that when they opened. But they just opened without fanfare.
I think it's AWESOME that Amagamated Bank took over the vacated lease of the old bank. They have the support and resources to last here on the island and their rates are better. Welcome to R.I. Amalgamated!
Amalgamated's Public Relations representative forwarded this recap of the Roosevelt Island Grand Opening festivities.
Students, residents, local leaders and elected officials helped as Amalgamated Bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer Derrick D. Cephas and Branch Manager Kathy Lasri cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Bank’s Roosevelt Island branch. Later this month, Amalgamated and P.S. / I.S. 217 will start a project that lets third and fifth grade students open savings accounts and deposit small amounts of money. The project will include classroom sessions about saving money and spending it wisely. Shown in the photo in the front row (from the left) are: Kartan Afif, Jessica McNamara, N.Y.C. Deputy Comptroller Denise Pease, Mr. Cephas, Ms. Lasri as well as students Alpha Bah, Julia Nam and Andrea Reyes. Back row (left to right): P.S. / I.S. 217 Principal Mandana Beckman, Father Peter A Miqueli, R.I.O.C. President and CEO Stephen Shane, Bank V.P. Lona Gill, New York State Assemblyman Micah Kellner, N.Y.C. Department of Finance Commissioner David Frankel, State Comptroller’s Deputy Press Secretary Vanessa Lockel and State Banking Department Director of the Consumer Affairs Unit Akua Soadwa
Assembly Member Micah Kellner was there and on his blog reports:
On October 1st, I was proud to join Amalgamated Bank President and CEO Derrick Cephas, as well as Borough President Scott Stringer and a number of other distinguished guests, to mark the grand opening of Amalgamated’s new branch on Roosevelt Island. The opening marks the beginning of a new era of community banking for island residents — a secure replacement for the New York National Bank branch that closed this summer.

In July, I posted about how I worked with Assembly Banking Committee Chair Darryl Towns to ensure that the State Banking Department designated the island’s new Amalgamated branch as a Banking Development District (BDD) branch. This means that $10 million in public funds have been deposited with the new branch, providing the security it needs to serve as a reliable long-term bank for Roosevelt Islanders. Thanks to the BDD designation, as well as support from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and other stakeholders, island residents will continue to have a convenient location to do their banking for many years to come....

Let's hope that Amalgamated can stay in business on Roosevelt Island longer than their predecessors.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Roosevelt Island No Parking Advisory For 521 - 531 Main Street From Tonight at 11 PM Thru Wednesday Morning

RIOC Parking Advisory For 521-531 Main Street

RIOC has issued the following Parking advisory:
Please be advised due to construction there will be no parking from 11:00 p.m. Monday, October 5th through 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 7th from 521 Main Street to 531 Main Street.

We appreciate your cooperation during this time.
RIOC will be repaving and repairing the street. Plan accordingly.

Update On Roosevelt Island Bed Bugs - They're Crawling Around Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings And Rivercross Too! Call Out The Dogs!

You tube Video of Bed Bug Dogs

In response to earlier posts concerning reports to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department about a bed bug problem at Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings, a skeptical reader asks:
Just wondering, don't you think both bedbug reports are more than a little suspicious? Have you heard anything independently about bedbugs at Eastwood?
I replied:
Regarding the bed bugs - They were mentioned as a problem by the RIRA housing committee chair at the September RIRA meeting in addition to the Public Safety reports.

I am looking into it and will try to get a comment from Urban American when I return.

I think it is a relevant story. If the presence of bed bugs is true, then people should know about it. If it is not true, then the fact that someone would make it up in order to get out of a lease or pressure the landlord in some manner is a story as well.
In response to my inquiry Joyce Mincheff, Co-Chair of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Housing Committee, confirmed the presence of Bed Bugs at Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings and Rivercross. She writes:
There is a bedbug problem throughout the City!

Not only have I heard of the problem in Eastwood but also in Rivercross. It is likely that the other buildings are affected as well.

People are loathe to come forward when they have the little critters for several reasons- because it's a source of embarrassment and because they may simply not know or be in denial over having them. The most important thing to recognize about having them is that it's not your fault! If you fail to report them, however, you're enabling their spread to your neighbors.

Not only does the invaded apartment have to be exterminated, the adjacent units, both laterally and horizontally should be sprayed as well. Failure to report the problem to management inhibits their ability to take comprehensive action.

Temperature extremes kill bedbugs and they don't just hide in mattresses. They can be in clothing as well, picture frames, furniture, couches, etc. Placing clothing in the dryer or the freezer for several days will destroy them.

Urban American is cooperating totally in eradicating the problem. They will bag and remove mattresses as well as helping to move bags of clothing or belongings. No one with an infested mattress should attempt the removal of it on their own. They need to be encased and discarded where no one else can pick it up. Management will exterminate in infested and adjacent units. When they send you a notice telling you they need access to spray, please heed their request!

In Eastwood, because of its intricate design, the neighboring apartment is unlikely to be the person next door to you on your hallway nor the person who's address is directly above or below you. Please be diligent in contacting management so the correct apartments can be located. Report your problem immediately.

If you wake up and have an itchy bump that wasn't there when you went to had a six legged visitor during the night. Call right away. You could have been such a great host that your guest doesn't need to dine again for several months, so don't judge whether you have a problem by whether you're bitten again the next evening.

Just because you have bedbugs does not necessarily mean the removal of your mattress. Only a professional should make that call. There are ways to treat and salvage your mattress.

If you have bedbugs please don't attempt to eradicate them simply through the use of home remedies! Your problem is your neighbor's problem as well. Please contact management to have it treated effectively and immediately.

There are a couple of things folks can do to minimize the liklihood that they will bring bedbugs into their apartment:

Refrain from purchasing second hand furniture or second-hand clothing.

If purchasing something second hand, keep your purchase sealed until you can either cycle it through the dryer or send it to the dry cleaner.

If you travel, take a good look at the mattress you are sleeping on and upon your return, carefully inspect your belongings and luggage as you unpack.

Although bed bug pictures usually portray them as a brownish red disks about half the size of your fingernail, they go through stages that are less obvious, including a clear stage.

If you're really concerned about whether you may have them hibernating...they can go up to a year without might want to call the bedbug sniffing really exists! You can find him on the internet.

More on Roosevelt Island bed bugs here.

UPDATE - 10/6 - An Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings Bug Bug Task Force has been formed.

Remembering Long Time Roosevelt Island Resident Archie Seale

Image of Archie Seale From Main Street WIRE

RIOC President Steve Shane's September 25 Message recognized the death of long time Roosevelt Island resident Archie Seale:
On a sad note, Archie Seale, long time resident, political activist and proprietor of the Grog Shop, passed away last weekend. His twinkle and smile will be missed.
Mr. Seale's friend and fellow Roosevelt Island resident JM Shea wrote the following tribute to her friend:
Please let us all remember Archie Seale, long time owner of the Grog Shop.

He was a true light and leader on this little Island for years.

Our Family first came to know him and his shop in 1982, when we moved here from Yorkville.

I have so many fond memories of Archie, always smiling, fighting hard for this Community, great Political Activist.

My Beloved Parents, Eleanor and Jerry Shea knew him well as did myself, Jean and my sister, Janet.

He became like a Second Dad to us, in that he was always watching out for us after we lost our Dad over ten years ago.

He always had a smile on his face and I loved to go into his shop and just talk to him.

I still see myself, an early twenty something, brand new to my new special Island home on my Haven of Roosevelt Island, sitting on the curb-where the Red bus used to stop. I was waiting to go do my laps in the large pool at Sportspark.

He helped also watch over my parents, Eleanor when she got sick with Alzheimer's and our Dad, after we lost our Mom.

I will never, ever forget him.

I miss him so much already, but I know he is in Heaven with the Lord, now.

My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and close friends.

I will be at his Memorial Service later today at 11:00am at the Good Shepard Church.

I will still be looking for him walking up Main St. to his home in Rivercross.
There was a death in my family recently as well. One thing I learned, which is something we all know but often ignore, is to tell those people you care about how important they are to you and that they are loved.