Friday, October 23, 2009

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the October 24, 2009 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - Main Street Retail Report
Roosevelt Islander - How To Set Up Shop At Farmers Market
RIOC - Main Street Retail Study
NY Times - MTA F Train Study Confirms Roosevelt Island Overcrowding
NY Times - Manhattan Parents Decline To Send Kids To Roosevelt Island Gifted & Talented Program
RIOC - Operaton's Committee Web Cast
RIOC - Public Safety Recruitment Video
RIOC - Burglary Suspect Caught By Public Safety Dept.
RIOC - 2009 Mid Year Budget
The Everywhereist - Loneliness Of Roosevelt Island, But She Likes It
Streeteasy - What Happens To Condo Owners When Master RI Lease Expires
Beckerman Photo - Cool Black & White Photo of RI Boat Prow Dock
Interactive Journalism - Profiles Roosevelt Island Dogs
Lateral Window - Morning View From Roosevelt Island Tram
You Tube - Octagon Dog Run
You Tube - Fishing With Joe
You Tube - NIghtime Roosevelt Island Promenade Walk
Curbed - Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Photo
Roosevelt Island 360 Twitpic - Fall For Arts Mural
NYC Dad's Group - Visits Roosevelt Island
501 Places- Roosevelt Island Is A Cheap Date
Ghost Lounge - Visits Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building
Tim Melideo Photographer - Roosevelt Island Photos
I Was Out Walking - Beautiful Fall Day At Southpoint Park
Silly Salami - Recipe Includes RI Farmers Market Apples

Travelling Roosevelt Island Resident Seeking Island House Rent Payment Address - Can Anyone Help?

Image of Roosevelt Island's Island House Entrance

A travelling Roosevelt Island reader sends in the following request for information:
I am currently an RI resident on extended honeymoon. I neglected to get the mailing address for rent checks for Island House on Roosevelt Island. I have looked all over the internet and on many RI sites, but cannot find it. As I have also been asked this question by a fellow resident, I thought it might be a good idea to post it somewhere on your site.

I cannot even find an email address for them. Perhaps posting that might be worthwhile, too. As I am in the southern hemisphere and constantly on the move, the timing for calls is quite difficult...considering many "public" phones are actually phone services stores with business hours, of which we are having difficulties getting to on time.
Your information is greatly appreciated.
RIOC has a list of addresses and phone numbers for Roosevelt Island housing companies here but no email address.

There is also an Island House residents web site but it does not appear to be active.

Can anyone help?

Ask Google To Send Their Street View Trike To Southpoint Park On Roosevelt Island - Quickly, Before Waterfront Views are Ruined By FDR Memorial

You Tube Video Tell Google Where To Ride

A reader, Denver Gingerich, makes the following suggestion:
Thought you might like to inform your readership of Google's poll to determine where they will send their Street View trike:

There are lots of areas on Roosevelt Island that would benefit from Street View coverage by trike, such as Lighthouse Park, the east and west walkways, and South Point Park. If we have a bunch of residents expressing interest, then perhaps Google will add those to their coverage areas.
According to Google Maps:
Tell us where to ride!

The Street View trike has already collected some imagery, but now we're accepting your suggestions for where to send it next in the United States. Send us your most inspired suggestions for the places you really want to see featured in Street View.

... We will be accepting suggestions for US locations until Wednesday October 28, 2009. The public will then be able to cast their final votes and choose the top locations we'll add to Street View.
Curbed reports that Google's Street View Car was taking in the sights at Governors Island.

Click here and tell Google to bring their Street View Trike to Roosevelt Island. Make sure to do it before the October 28 deadline.

Of course, if Google wants to see the beautiful, panoramic NYC Skyline and East River waterfront views from Southpoint Park they better hurry up

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

and send the Street View Trike before the proposed FDR Memorial Boondoggle ruins them.

FDR Memorial Room Image From Village Voice Runnin Scared Blog

According to RIOC President Steve Shane (Item 5B):
FDR Memorial: RIOC is working with the State and City Parks Departments on integration of funding and oversight mechanics for the $4 million State appropriation, the $4.5 million from the City, and at least $8 million from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, as necessary for phase 1. 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. November 4 meeting with Commissioner Ash and her staff scheduled to discuss allocation of responsibility for implementing the plan and the mechanics of RIOC reimbursement for incurred expenses.
Granite Wall Sample For FDR Memorial Sculpture Room Currently At Southpoint Park

There's still hope that Governor Patterson will decide that allocating $4 million in State funds, with the prospect of more in later stages, is a huge waste of taxpayer funds given the current financial crisis and that the so-called private donations to the FDR Memorial will not be converted into actual cash.

UPDATE - 11/24 - Google's Street View Trike will not be making it to Roosevelt Island's Southpoint or Lighthouse Park but may be going to the Bronx Zoo or Central Park depending on your vote.

Report From RIOC's President - Main Street Retail Report, Consulting With RIRA, Public Purpose Funding, More Trees & Other RI Issues Of Concern

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane updates us on Main Street Retail Consultant's report, Consultation with RIRA, possibility of temporary ferry service during tram outage, RIOC Board Nominees, FDR Memorial, Green Rooms/Wild Gardens, Tram Overhaul, various other constructoin projects, Public Purpose Funding, addition of more trees and other issues of concern to Roosevelt Island.
October 22, 2009

1. Main Street Retail: The final consultants' report was presented on September 22. 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 online on the RIOC website.

2. 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, and more.

3. Ferry: Exploring temporary service at the existing pier at the Meditation Steps while the Tram is out next year. Subject to engineering clearance, approvals from the Coast Guard, and whether there is sufficient ridership interest based on surveys for a service to 32nd Street and maybe on down to Wall Street during rush hours, with a business plan that 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. See report in the October 10 WIRE.

4. Board of Directors: The nominations of Margie Smith and Mike Shinozaki and the re-nomination of Dr. Grimm to the Board have been made by the Governor, but are still pending confirmation by the State Senate. Next Board meeting is scheduled for November 5 at 9:30 a.m. At this writing, the agenda is very light, but we're planning to have a meeting anyway for reports.

5. Southpoint:

(A) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: The contractor continues rough grading, paths, and stone walls; phase 2 to complete the park, including finish grading, capping, utilities, fencing, and planting, to follow as protocols for permitting with City are finalized.

(B) FDR Memorial: RIOC is working with the State and City Parks Departments on integration of funding and oversight mechanics for the $4 million State appropriation, the $4.5 million from the City, and at least $8 million from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, as necessary for phase 1. 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. November 4 meeting with Commissioner Ash and her staff scheduled to discuss allocation of responsibility for implementing the plan and the mechanics of RIOC reimbursement for incurred expenses.

3. Tram Overhaul: Still on schedule for shutdown March 1 and reopening at the end of August 2010. See renderings of the proposed stations on our website. Regular monthly progress meetings continue with architects, engineers, POMA, expediters, City and State agencies, etc.

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 under way. 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. The swimming pool at Sportspark is closed for repairs, although refilled, to be reopened by end of October or early in November. Rehabilitation of the gym (bleachers, flooring, and padding) and installation of a fire-safety system also under way. Sidewalk and pavers repairs accomplished, with restoration of grass area in Blackwell Park West. RIOC is studying solar panels for the rooftop of Motorgate with the New York Power Authority. 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. Southtown: Buildings 5 and 6 are being occupied. Landscaping installed at the Tram turnaround fountain. Sidewalk completed with final work being done at southern end.

6. Fall for Arts: Annual celebration was held October 10. Reports (I was out of the country) are that it was a booming success.

7. Public Purpose Fund: RIOC has completed auditing the seven awardees from the 2009 award cycle so that the information will be available as the selection process gets under way 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. Discussion of the procedures will take place at the Operations Committee meeting on October 21 and if changes are called for, will be on the November 5 RIOC Board agenda.

8. Blackwell Park: Community planning is ongoing, with several divergent views presented. That's why there are group meetings to involve as many stakeholders as possible.

9. Trees: Through the efforts of our Parks & Recreation Director Mike Smith and our CFO Steve Chironis, RIOC has taken advantage of the New York State Nursery and Landscaping program. A total of 86 trees (Colorado spruce, Okame cherry, Kwanza cherry, Yoshino cherry and a few Callery pear) will be received. The first delivery of the Colorado Spruces arrived on Wednesday, and they have now been planted around the water-tunnel fence area. The advice of the Garden Club and the Tree Board is much appreciated. Come take a look.

10. Red Buses: With an accelerated delivery schedule, two new hybrid buses will be delivered and be integrated into the fleet by early November.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 10/24/09 Main Street WIRE.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Kind Of Parks Would You Like To See On Roosevelt Island?

Blackwell House Park Lawn

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) representative to RIOC's Blackwell House Park Taskforce Committee Lynn Strong-Shinozaki is seeking feedback from Roosevelt Island residents on how you currently use and enjoy our existing parks and what you would like to see changed. Ms. Strong-Shinozaki writes:
…people are so passionate about the parks I really want a chance to understand what is important to whom.

Here are my questions….I would like to know if people live on the island and for how long…if they are male or female and if the have any children.

As a RIRA rep. for the Blackwell House Park Taskforce Committee I would like to ask all people who use Island parks to help us by answering the following 3 questions.

  1. How do you use the parks on Roosevelt Island?
  2. What do you like about the parks on Roosevelt Island?
  3. What one thing would you change?

I am really looking for how people value/use what we have now…and what they would like to see if they could participate in the design of new parks on the Island I would like to use this as an opportunity to get people’s ideas for the whole island not just Blackwell park.

It would be a great help if you could use the comments section of this post, or just send me an email which I will forward to Ms. Strong-Shinozaki, to answer these questions.

Rosina Abramson, RIOC's VP of Planning & Governmental Affairs provides some additional background on the proposed plan to remake Blackwell House Park:
... Recall, the process was started because we must relocate the tot lot, which South Town developers underwriting the costs; parents are unhappy with the playground on the northern end, there's a desire to salvage iconic tram pieces and use them as public art and/or educational play, a ramp is to be installed to Blackwell House, triggering re-landscaping, retail consultants suggest that Blackwell Park be used more strategically as a portal to "North Town" encouraging South Town residents to go shopping on Main St, the 504 playground is unsightly, etc.

To recap:

1) We had an initial outreach to community organizations via a broad invitation to community leaders to meet our landscape architects and to elicit community feedback as to preferred improvements to Blackwell Park, in light of the tot lot being relocated because of the South Town development, complaints about the "off the shelf" playground on the north edge and a strong interest in repurposing iconic parts of our tram, for both public art and play/education purposes. 7/09 "Tea Party".

2) We asked community organizations to identify potential members to a working taskforce. RIRA asked for two representatives, to which we agreed.

3) We invited community leaders on a field trip to 2 relevant parks/playgrounds designed by our landscape team and debriefed afterwards.

4) Our playground consultants held focus sessions with youths of the community's youth group. (report attached)

5) Meetings are being set up between playground consultants and representatives of educational and childcare organizations on the Island.

6) We had our first task force meeting in early October. The rough sketches (copy attached) presented for discussion purposes only, were summaries of community input from the July meeting - including a desire for greater visual and actual access to the river, greater integration with Main St. and Blackwell House, a way for parents to monitor children's play without "hovering", introduction of public art, a transition between the historicity of Blackwell House and modern play concepts, universal disability access including for disabled children at play. Discussion ensued. An example of good park/playground design - Washington St. Park in Tribeca - suggested by a task force member, had coincidentally been designed by our lead landscape architect - Lee Weintraub. We agreed to meet 2 more times, each time with new conceptual drawings reflecting discussions most recent discussions. The task force's final proposed master plan will be presented to the full community for discussion in December.

7) There have been extensive independent discussions between task force members and Lee Weintraub, on an "as desired" basis in the interim.

8) Computer scanned conceptual sketches have been transmitted to any community member requesting same. (see attached copy referred to above).

Click On Image For Larger Size View

9) As requested by task force members - a walk through of Blackwell Park with the architectual team has been scheduled for Sat. morning, Oct. 24. The invitation has been expanded to include non-task force member who have raised some questions....
More on re-imagining Blackwell House Park from this earlier post.

RIRA President Frank Farance commented on the Blackwell House Master Plan in his 10/9/09 message (item 6) as follows:
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.

Roosevelt Island Halloween Day Parade Starts At Noon On Saturday October 24 - Riverwalk Building Lobbies Already In The Halloween Spirit - Is Yours?

Good news for all those who enjoy their ghosts and ghouls. The annual Roosevelt Island Halloween Extravaganza Parade will take place this Saturday, October 24 starting at noon in front of Blackwell House and then proceed down Main Street to PS/IS 217. Come join the parade wearing your wildest Halloween costume. There will be additional Halloween Festivities after the parade at PS/IS 217.

Click on the Flyer above for more details.

I've noticed that the Riverwalk building lobbies are starting to get in the Halloween Spirit with some friendly decoration competition. Here's what the folks at 425 Main Street have done to get in the Halloween spirit:

and from the team at 405.

If any of the other Roosevelt Island buildings are decorating their lobbies for Halloween please send me some pictures and I will post here.

More on past Roosevelt Island Halloween's here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1909 Painting of Queensboro Bridge and Blackwell's, Now Roosevelt, Island By George Bellows

Image of George Bellows, The Bridge, Blackwell's Island From Art Of The Day

Blogger Art of the Day posted this picture of the newly opened Queensboro Bridge and Blackwell's Island painted by George Bellows in 1909 and commented:
... When we think of bridges we most like think of the bridge from a distance, the alluring view of it in its entirety, almost as a vista. Looking at this painting I think of the wonderful experience of viewing bridges from the perspective of the immediate shore. Of course, this bridge in particular holds a specific place in my history as it is was the bridge I traversed most often when I lived in Greenpoint.

I never really paid a lot of attention to this painting and while the image always looked familiar in some way I never realized that this was the Queensborough Bridge (59th St. Bridge) since the title refers to Blackwell's Island. I never knew this was an earlier name for Roosevelt Island.

I doubt I need to mention it, but the blue in this painting is gorgeous!
The Toledo Museum Of Art provides some additional information on the artist and painting of The Bridge, Blackwell's Island:
George Bellows

American, 1882–1925

The Queensboro Bridge in New York (also known as the 59th Street Bridge) links Manhattan with Queens, spanning the East River. Midway, the massive piers rest on Blackwell’s Island (now called Roosevelt Island). Painted from the Manhattan side, it shows an unlovely vista of drab factories and docks. However, using vibrant colors, thick application of paint, and bold slashes of the brush, George Bellows gives the scene an energy that conveys the excitement of life in the modern American city.

By cropping the bridge off at the top, Bellows emphasizes its towering presence. The family of onlookers gazing in wonder at the newly opened double-decker bridge underscores its engineering feat—at the time, the greatest cantilever bridge in the world.

Oil on canvas, 1909
Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1912.506

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Looking For New Officers - Be In The Forefront Of Community Policing

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Recruitment

Are you interested in a law enforcement job on Roosevelt Island? If so, there may be a position for you with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. According to Public Safety Director Keith Guerra:
The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department is looking for mature, professional law enforcement candidates to join our force. If you think you have what it takes to be an officer, send a resume to Captain Suarez at
"Together we can make a difference."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No Roosevelt Island Tram Service From Wednesday 10 PM - Thursday 6 AM For Brake Test - Minimalist Tram Video

Minimalist You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tram

If you are coming to or leaving Roosevelt Island on Wednesday night be aware that the Tram will be out of service from 10 PM until 6 AM Thursday morning according to the following Roosevelt Island Tram advisory from RIOC:
Please be advised, on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 the Tramway will be shut down at 10:00 p.m., and will resume service on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 06:00 a.m.

This schedule change is necessary in order to perform the full load brake test.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this schedule change.
Use the subway. No F train advisory so far from the MTA for that time.

The Video is a:
Minimalist film by artist/ filmmaker Jon Par (Jonathan Parisen) of the Roosevelt Island Tram running alongside the 59th Street Bridge in New York City. This is 156 of 1000 avant-garde films that Jon par will make in 2009.
More minimalist NYC videos here.

Roosevelt Island Gifted & Talented Program Not Attracting Upper East Side District 2 Students - Is Difficult Commute To Blame?

Image of PS/IS 217 From Geocities

Through the dedicated work of many Roosevelt Island parents and local political representatives (NYC Council Member Lappin in particular), a Gifted and Talented program was established for the first time this year at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217. A 10/18/09 NY Times article on the New York City Gifted & Talented School program describes a situation in which there are far more applicants for the program than places available and the hesitancy by some non - Roosevelt Island parents to send their children here, even when there is space available in the Roosevelt Island Gifted & Talented program.

According to the NY Times:
... Last year, 14,822 4-year-olds tested for admission to the city’s gifted kindergarten programs, up from 12,410 the year before. About 1 in 5 (3,231) scored in the 90th percentile or higher, qualifying them for neighborhood-based gifted programs, and 9 percent (1,345) made the 97th percentile cutoff for the three citywide gifted programs in Manhattan and two new ones in Brooklyn and Queens.

But those programs have a total of 325 seats — fewer than half the number of 4-year-olds who scored in the 99th percentile, the highest possible score. The city filled the classes, with the highest scorers having the best chance of getting their first-choice schools. (Exceptions were made for siblings.) While children who scored in the 90th percentile or above were guaranteed placement in a gifted program in their district, they were not guaranteed a specific school or location.

Rebecca Daniels, former president of the Community Education Council for School District 2, said that some families on the Upper East Side decided they were better off at their neighborhood school than at, say, a gifted program on Roosevelt Island. Others quit the system for private schools...
I asked Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 PTA Vice President Phoebe Flynn to comment and she replied:
It is my understanding (and I did speak to someone at the CEC for District 2) that the primary reason for this is due to difficulty in commuting to the Island for Upper East Side parents. Unless there are at least 11 children commuting to the school from off-Island, the DOE is not required to provide a bus, which does make it problematic for parents. We had a lot of interest from parents from both Queens & Manhattan in the G&T program (and do have a small number of off-Island children currently enrolled in it), but until the numbers are such that a school bus can be provided, the commute will continue to be a deterrent to parents who would otherwise consider it.

I wish that the article had provided that context, as it could definitely be construed more negatively than intended. At this point, it doesn't have any impact on the current G&T program except that the class size is not at capacity (which could obviously be seen as a benefit to those children in it). The current class would only be in jeopardy if all of the off-Island parents (and some resident parents) withdrew their children from it. Also, it is worth mentioning that the PTA actively encourages parents to have their child(ren) take the G&T test, so that the program can be expanded if necessary.
Thanks again for the opportunity to clarify.
UPDATE - 6PM -I am sure that the Tram going out of service beginning in March 2010 and scheduled to remain out of commission for what we are told is six months does not help this situation either.

RIOC Board Operations Committee Meeting Tomorrow On Verdant Power East River Update, Red Bus, Blackwell Park Playground & Public Purpose Fund

You Tube Video of Verdant Power On Water Power

The RIOC Board Operations Committee will be meeting tomorrow. The agenda is below and is open to the public.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York. The Committee will meet to:

1. receive an update on the Verdant Power Project;
2. discuss the red bus operation;
3. discuss the development of the Blackwell Park playground; and
4. discuss the Public Purpose Fund procedures.
Soon thereafter the webcast of the meeting will be available on the RIOC web site.

Climate Crunch has the latest on Verdant Power's Roosevelt Island East River project:
Marine renewable energy solutions company Verdant Power is currently in the process of optimising its technology for commercial distribution.
In May this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a public notice stating that it concluded the pre-filing process related to Verdant Power’s application for a commercial license. The next step in the application process for Verdant Power was to submit its final license application. The company has been seeking license to commercially develop the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project.

“We have applied for our commercial license with the FERC, which we expect to receive in early 2010,” says Trey Taylor, co-founder & president of the New York-based privately held company.
This will be for the beginning of Verdant’s Third Phase – commercial build-out – starting with 1 MW of installed capacity....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Update On How To Set Up Shop At The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market - Here's The Scoop

Last Saturday At Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

I received this message from an officer of Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 PTA clarifying an earlier post on How To Set Up Shop At The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market.
Good morning,

In response to your post regarding contact information for the Farmer's Market, I thought it might be helpful for you to have all the information regarding leasing space there, as you may be contacted again. The PTA of PS/IS217 is in charge of leasing the tables, at a cost of $30. Vendors usually supply their own tables, and any food vendors must have their own insurance. Interested parties can contact Nikki Leopold (PTA President) at, or Lydia Tang at

It has become increasingly clear that many Island residents are unaware that Farmer's Market is, in fact, a vital PTA funding source, and we appreciate the opportunity to relay it to them. We have also reached out to Yona's Gourmet Delights and are pleased that she may be setting up a table with us. It is important to mention, however, that decisions about leasing space is made solely by the PTA and not by any of the Vendors, and therefore, only the PTA should be contacted about the space.

Thanks so much,

Phoebe Flynn
3rd Vice President, PTA
Thanks for the additional information Ms. Flynn. The Farmers Market is great but additional vendors with more variety and quality products would be welcome as well.

Last Saturday At Roosevelt Island Farmers Market