Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sneak Peak At Thanksgiving Day Parade - Happy Thanksgiving From Roosevelt Island, Meet You At Alice's Restaurant!

You Tube Video of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Sneak Peak

I hope everybody has a Happy Thanksgiving. Roosevelt Island 360 posted about the first Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving in 1975. Take a look.

Below is my Thanksgiving Post from last year.

Arlo Gurthrie's Alice's Restaurant has always been a part of Thanksgiving for me so I am repeating the post.

In addition to family, great food, the Macy's Parade, Miracle on 34th Street, March of the Wooden Soldiers and football, listening to Arlo Guthrie's rendition of Alice's Restaurant on WNEW-FM was, for me, a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition. A former DJ from the station remembers Thanksgiving and Arlo Guthrie this way on the blog All Mixed Up Radio.
Every year a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it starts. It's slow at first, and then turns into a non-stop avalanche of phone calls. And no matter how many times a station runs promo announcements telling people exactly when it will be played, the calls still come.

"What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'"
Some of the lyrics:
... You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin' all that room, seein' as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn't have to take out their garbage for a long time....
You Tube link to short 2 minute video version above is here.
For those of you who want to go back in time and see the full 18 minute version of Alice's Restaurant, You Tube link is here.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Visit Roosevelt Island With Awesome 360 Degree Panoramic View From Google Maps - Pretty Neat!

Roosevelt Island's Southpoint and Lighthouse Park are not among the finalist's from last month's online poll seeking places for Google's Street View Trike to visit but New York's Central Park and Bronx Zoo made the final cut.

No need for Roosevelt Island residents to despair and feel our perpetual annoyance at being ignored or slighted by the outside world because Google Maps has taken some great 360 degree panoramic images of our little Island.

Starting at the Roosevelt Island Tram Station

View Larger Map

and continuing through Southtown's Riverwalk development with the East River and Manhattan Skyline in view

View Larger Map

heading past the F train subway station, Duane Reade, Starbucks and towards Main Street.

View Larger Map

Continuing on Main Street waving good-bye to the Trellis Diner, the landmarked Good Shepherd Community Center and what passes for Roosevelt Island retail shops

View Larger Map

Passing Main Street's Motorgate Garage, Gristedes and view of Manhattan Park.

View Larger Map

Also, Manhattan Park from River Road.

View Larger Map

Finally, the Octagon Luxury rental building/former Lunatic Asylum as well as great waterfront views

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

It's too bad though that Southpoint and Lighthouse Park did not get the Google Map View but here's a great panoramic view from Southpoint Park and another from Lighthouse Park. Better enjoy the waterfront views from Southpoint Park now because they may soon be gone forever if the proposed Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle ever gets built. Let's hope this project never gets started!

Help Angelica Patient Assistance Program At Roosevelt Island's Coler-Goldwater Hospital Win Liquidnet Local Impact Challenge Grant - Click And Vote

Image of Coler Goldwater Patients Sketching at Metropolitan Museum

The Angelica Patient Assistant Program is a volunteer organization dedicated to helping the residents of Roosevelt Island's Coler-Goldwater Hospital. According to the Angelica's web site:
Our mission is to enhance the lives of economically disadvantaged patients in need of long-term medical care and to support long-term medical care facilities. We are presently focused on improving the lives of residents at Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility (CGSHNF) on Roosevelt Island in New York City...
Angelica President Trish Duval reports:
Angelica has been nominated for a Liquidnet Local Impact Challenge grant. The top ten vote-getters will receive at least $10,000 -- and possibly more (the amount allocated to each of the 10 winners will be decided by Liquidnet employees).

$10,000 would enable us to do so much more to improve the lives of the patients at Coler-Goldwater Hospital. We have until December 1 to get as many people as possible to vote for us here:
Angelica's entry in the Liquidnet Local Impact Challenge grant states:
...Our focus is on helping patients achieve greater independence and choice through recreational, cultural and social programs. Our signature event, a Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball, was started with patient support in 2006 and has grown every year. Other events include performances by outside groups, spa days for treatments and makeovers, a hip hop music program for young patients, a karaoke program, photography club, visual arts program, chess club and horticultural therapy

The most important part of our philosophy is patient involvement. We work with patients to plan and execute programs and brainstorm about activities for the future. We believe this is an invaluable outlet for patients to express their creativity, enhance leadership skills and advocate for each other...
Ron Becker, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Coler-Goldwater adds:
Hello friends,
If you have not already voted in this campaign, I hope you will take a few moments to vote for Angelica. This group of dedicated volunteers have worked for the past three years in raising funds to purchase equipment and sponsor programs for the pts. and residents at Coler-Goldwater. Enriching their quality of life tremendously. They need every vote to be in the top ten - which will qualify them for grant money to be used for our pts/res. You will need to join a web-site but after voting you can dis-enroll and be taken off the list. Thanks so much for your support and have a Blessed Thanksgiving.
Click here to cast a vote for Roosevelt Island's Angelica Patient Assistant Program and help some of your neighbors at Coler-Goldwater Hospital. Be advised that in order to vote a sign up process is involved.

More on Angelica Patient Assistance Program here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New York State Public Authorities Reform Act Passes Assembly - How Will It Impact Roosevelt Island?

Image of NY State Capital From Lehman.cuny

According to The Gov Monitor:
... Governor David A. Paterson and Legislative Leaders today announced an agreement on legislation to reform New York’s public authorities. The measures include the creation of an independent Authorities Budget Office with expanded regulatory responsibilities and subpoena power to improve the oversight of authority operations.

The New York State Comptroller will also be empowered to review certain noncompetitively procured contracts for more than $1 million. The reforms, while raising transparency standards, will maintain the authorities’ ability to promote economic development.

“For too long, public authorities have operated in the dark, under little or no public scrutiny. Today, we turn the lights on,” Governor Paterson said. “The reforms will ensure that authorities have an independent auditor to examine how they operate and that they best serve the interest of the public....
CBS 6 adds:
... There are more than 700 public authorities operating in New York State generating more than $140 billion dollars in debt and the State Senate is expected to soon consider legislation that would reign in and reform these authorities to protect the taxpayer.

Brodsky said the legislation "creates a new cop" when it comes to public authorities....
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) is one of those NY State Public Authorities and I asked Assemblymember Micah Kellner how this legislation will impact Roosevelt Island. Mr. Kellner replied:
Yesterday the Assembly passed the Public Authorities Reform Act of 2009. This bill included several major reforms that will have significant impact on RIOC.
  • Subject board members to oath of office or acknowledgement of fiduciary duty to the authority;
  • Dramatically expand the powers of the independent Authorities Budget Office (ABO) within the Department of State and make all ABO information available to the public;
  • Require authority boards to establish finance committees to review proposals for debt issuance by an authority and its subsidiaries and make recommendations;
  • Subject state and local authorities to additional reporting requirements, such as authority board performance evaluations
  • Give the State Comptroller the power to pre-approve state authority contracts valued at over $1 million that are not competitively bid and contracts that are paid with the state funds appropriated to the authority;
  • Establish rules governing and limiting the creation of subsidiary public corporations and authorities;
  • Authorize the disposition of property below market value when the transfer is to a government or public entity and the purpose of the transfer is within the mission of the authority;
  • Require state authority contracts to comply with the minority and women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) statute;
  • Provide whistle-blower protection for employees of public authorities, to protect those individuals who report wrongdoing
I later asked Mr. Kellner:
how this legislation specifically impacts disposition of Roosevelt Island real estate? For instance the current ability of RIOC to lease Main Street Retail shops or the possible selection of private sector Master Leaseholder for Main Street retail shops.
Mr. Kellner replied:
The Public Authorities Reform Act of 2009 clarifies the 2006 law when it comes to the disposition of property. The 2006 law allowed for the disposition of property below fair market value when it was determined to be for the public good. The 2009 law allows for the disposition of property below fair market value when the reason for such disposition was within the mission of the authority. What had been previously been at issue with the retail spaces was how to determine their fair market value, that has been resolved and RIOC has an appraisal. Now that there is an appraisal for the retail spaces RIOC should have no issue in leasing them under the old or new law.
Globe Street has more on Public Authorities Reform Act's impact on sale of real estate by Public Authorities:
The state Assembly’s passage of a modified bill to reform as many as 1,098 public authorities throughout New York State drew plaudits from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who expressed relief Wednesday afternoon that the revised legislation no longer prohibits the authorities from making any land sales at below-market rates, as an earlier version of the measure did...
What are the chance's of this legislation passing? According to CBS 6:
It is unclear how the bill will fare in the Senate and whether Democrats will have enought votes in the Chamber to push the legislation to Governor Paterson's desk.
UPDATE - 12/3 - According to the NY Times the legislature finally passed the Public Authorities Reform Act:
... “This is the most fundamental reform of state government in decades, and it’s a blueprint for further reform of state government,” said Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Westchester Democrat who championed the legislation. Senator Bill Perkins, a Harlem Democrat who sponsored the legislation in the Senate, said, “For too long public authorities have operated as a ‘shadow government,’ ” adding that the legislation would “make them more responsive to the needs of the public.”

Elizabeth Lynam, deputy research director of the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonprofit organization, was less moved, calling it “a middle-of-the-road package.”

“It will marginally improve transparency and reporting requirements without tying the hands of authorities too much,” she added....

Roosevelt Island Red Bus Schedule During Tram Outage

Image Of Red Bus From RIOC

Several readers of yesterday's RIRA President's post commented on the Red Bus Schedule during the Tram outage starting next March.
How can one Red Bus will be able to handle as many passengers as four trams ?

"Shane stated that the Red Bus would run every half-hour to Queens Plaza during the morning rush hour while the Tram renovations are underway. He said this would be more than adequate".
I was confused by this "Smith noted that, during the test period in which the Tram was out of service, many people did not know to catch it at Gristede's and that the pick-up point should be at the subway station."

Will there be a stop next to the RI bridge? Or will the residents from Westview, Manhattan Park and Octagon have to travel to the subway to take the bus?
As to the question regarding the sufficiency of one Roosevelt Island Red Bus to Queens Subway Station during morning rush hours, I believe RIOC's decision is based upon the usage patterns experienced during the week long June 2008 Tram Shutdown.
During the 9 days the Tram was out of service from June 10-18, a total of 633 passengers used the Red Bus to Queens Plaza/Manhattan and 406 passengers from Manhattan back to Roosevelt Island. The average daily passenger use to Queens Plaza/Manhattan was 70 and from Manhattan/Queens Plaza 45.
Yesterday, I asked Mr. Shane:
Is this still the current thinking on Red Bus schedule during Tram Outage as stated last November?

Our present thinking is:
Weekdays: 6AM to 9:30AM half hourly to Queens Plaza. 10AM to 3PM hourly to Manhattan, returning on the 1/2 hour, resuming 7PM until 11PM.

Weekends: 8AM to 12PM to Manhattan, departing on the hour, returning on half hour, last from Manhattan at 12:30 AM Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

All depart Gristedes loop, return from 2nd & 60th.
Mr. Shane responded with some changes to previous plan:
Will start weekday morning service to Queens at 7. F line not a problem until later in rush hour. At suggestion of Margie Smith, will loop to Tram for pickup in AM as well as Gristedes, provided there is any ridership (one week trial).

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Reports 11/10 - 11/23. Indecent Exposure, Cursing Motorist, Gallery RIVAA Profanity & Latenight Doorbell Ringing

You Tube Video Of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Recritment

The most recent Roosevelt Island 24 hour Public Safety Report is posted daily on the blog's inside right sidebar, just below the RIOC Directors email address. Listed is a daily log recapping local incidents the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department responded to the previous day.

RIOC is also posting the Daily and October Monthly Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incident reports on their web site. A breakdown of Roosevelt Island Public Safety incidents by location and category (the Blotter) for the months of September/October 2009 is available as well.

Below are the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports for November 11 - November 23, 2009. Incidents include:
  • Damage to Blackwell Tot Lot(11/10)
  • Urban American Porter Threatened By Tenant (11/11)
  • Latenight Doorbell Ringing (11/11, 12)
  • Motorist Cursed At RI Bridge Flagman (11/12)
  • Soccer Play Broke Leg, Mother Wanted Doctor Bills Paid (11/13)
  • Bike Stolen From 30 River Road Rack (11/14)
  • Indecent Exposure At Roosevelt Landings (11/14)
  • Unreasonable Noise From Auto Exhaust (11/15)
  • Tenant Deceased Due To Natural Causes (11/16)
  • Passenger Fainted On Tram (11/17)
  • Pedestrian Hit By Car In Crosswalk (11/17)
  • Gallery RIVAA Picture Frame Damaged (11/18)
  • Tenant Deceased (11/19, 20)
  • Yelling While Getting A Coffee (11/20)
  • Profanity Written In Gallery RIVAA Book
  • Pedestrian Hit By Car In Crosswalk (11/22) and
  • Loose Cigarette Sale (11/23)
11/10/09-7:00 AM to 11/11/09-7:00 AM

Criminal Mischief- At Blackwell Tot Play ground. 3 girls removed a brace used to temporally repair the fence. The damaged portion was cautioned off with caution tape. RIOC Supervisor was notified. Search yielded negative results.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Missing Property- Goldwater Hospital employee reported a lost stenography note pad with personal court information missing. Search yielded negative results. Reporter will check the hospital. NYPD filed a report.

Smoke Condition- A tenant accidently burnt food on the stove. FDNY responded and extinguished it. River walk Manager on scene. No injuries. Water damage to apt.

Aided- A ill person in apt. EMS entered apt. Tenant refused to provided information and PSD response.

11/11/09-7:00 AM to 11/12/09-7:00 AM

Hazardous Condition- Report of a syringe on the walkway front of Goldwater Hospital. PSD responded and conducted a search for the area with negative results. Goldwater Hospital Police Officer was notified.

Harassment- UA porter reported tenant threatened to harm him. NYPD refused. Female had gone to hospital in the past for a mental condition.

Escort- Female escorted out of the thrift store due a previous incident in which she was irrate and disrespectful to employee.

Dispute- 5 teenage boys fighting in a group home. PSD responded. Reporter stated she called to prevent the play fighting from escalating to an actual fight. No injuries.

Escort-Female requested an escort to apt. She was fearful of a previous incident with a male in the hallway. But she left before PSD arrived. No description of the male provided. Search made with negative results.

Investigation- Unknown youth ringing apt door bell at a late hour in the night then fled. PSD responded and conducted a search with negative results. Later in the night an unknown male came to apt door. Tenant ran after him but he fled. PSD conducted a search with negative results. No injuries. NYPD refused.
There's More!

0700hrs 11/12/09 - 0700hrs 11/13/09

Water Leak- Tenant of UA found water in there apartment, UA corrected condition.

Escort- Tenant of Westview reports a suspicious male in her hallway, PSD responded search made area yield negative results.

Investigation- Tenant reports someone rang her door bell and running away, PSD responded search of area made yield negative results.

Investigation- Tenant reports the smell of illegal substance in the hallway, PSD responded made search of area yield negative results.

Found Property- Bus driver of bus#1 found a disability metro card, property log made.

Harassment- Motorist upset because of delays on the RI bridge, motorist cursed at flag man and drove off, PSD was able to retrieve the vehicle info.

0700hrs 11/13/09 - 0700hrs 11/14/09

Water Leak- Male reporter states water leaking into his apartment. UA responded and corrected condition.

Aided- Female wasn't feeling well. Ems responded and female was transported to hospital.

Investigation- Female states son's leg was broken during soccer game. Stated another child was to blame and she wanted doctor bills paid.

Family dispute- Mother and adult son had dispute over medical care.

Aided- Female fell from wheelchair. FDNY responded and corrected condition. Female Refused further medical assistance.

0700hrs 11/14/09 - 0700hrs 11/15/09
Person in Need of Supervision- A youth left the residence then later returned irrate. The youth left again and went to the grandmother's house. NYPD and PSD responded. NYPD confirmed youth was with the Grandmother.

Aided- A female fell from inside the RIOC Bus. She refused EMS and called her boy friend to assist her . PSD report requested. EMS and NYPD refused.

Aided- Male fell from his wheel chair in apt. UA, PSD and EMS responded. male was lifted up by EMS. Transport refused.

Petit Larceny- A bicycle was taken from a bike rack at 30 River Road. Victim will file a report with NYPD on his own.

Found Property- A jacket and bag. It was secured in PSD. Later the owner retrieved the property.

Smoke Condition- A resident accidently burnt food in the apt. No injuries or property damage. Windows opened to air out the hallway.

Domestic Dispute- Between a female and another person. Female stated she was fine and refused PSD report and notified NYPD. NYPD filed report of Domestic Dispute.

Indecent exposure- A female stated a male exposed himself to her . Male fled. PSD conducted a search with negative results.

11/15/09-7:00 AM t o 11/16/09-7:00 AM

Possible Aided- Report of a disabled wheel chair. PSD responded and female was able
to get it to work. Female advised to contact PSD if any problems occur with the wheel chair.

Aided- Female fell and sustained laceration to the back of her head. EMS responded and transported her to the hosp[ital.

Domestic Dispute- Between mother and daughter. No injuries. EMS and NYPD refused. Mother to make an appointment with a counselor on 11/16/09.

Water Leak- UA and PSD responded. Tenant refused to open the door for UA, but complied with PSD. Source of the water leak found in the bathroom and repaired by UA.

Unreasonable Noise from Auto Exhaust- Motorist was issued a summons by PSD.

Vehicle Damage- Vehicle was parking behind another and accidently struck the fender causing scratches. No injuries. EMS and NYPD refused.

11/16/09-7:00 AM to 11/17/09-7:00 AM

Aided/DOA- PSD notified that tenant deceased due to natural causes. Hospice nurse and family at tenant's apt. Family had contacted the Funeral Home for funeral arrangements.

Found Property- Apt keys in a hallway of a building. PSD checked with tenants and unable to locate the owner. The keys were locked and secured at PSD.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Domestic Dispute- Between Wife and Husband. Wife yelling and unable to talk. EMS responded and reported no medical condition. NYPD refused. No injuries.

11/17/09-7:00 AM to 11/18/09-7:00 AM

Aided-EMS responded to Eastwood for an aided. But aided had left prior to the hospital prior to EMS response.

Water leak- In the Public Safety Office. UA notified and corrected the condition. No injuries.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Aided- Female fainted on the Tram. EMS responded and transport to the hospital was refused. Female will see her private doctor.

Obstructing Access Control- At Sports Park an employee placed a hex key on the door bar mechanism which prevented access. Employee was notified not to obstruct access. The hex key was removed.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Vehicle Accident- A vehicle made contact with a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Female sustained a sprang to her ankle. EMS transported her to the hospital. NYPD responded and filed a vehicle accident report.

11/18/09-7:00 AM to 11/19/09-7:00 AM

Investigation- A friend of an island resident reported another island resident possibly harassing the other. PSD spoke to both residents. NYPD refused.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Aided- an Ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Property Damage- 2 youths damaged a Rivva Gallery picture frame. PSD escorted the youth to PSD. They were released to guardian.

Disorderly Youth- 2 youths escorted to PSD. They were released to the guardian. Later the guardian called they were unruly. NYPD, PSD and EMS responded. The youth were transported to the hospital for evaluation.

Aided- Intoxicated male unresponsive. EMS responded. Male became alert and refused transport to the hospital. He went home.

0700 hrs 11/19/09 - 0700 hrs 11/20/09

Aided - PSD and EMS responded for male not feeling well. Aided refused transport to hospital.

Criminal Mischief - PSD took a report from super of two cracked windows and graffiti on it. Search was conducted with negative results for subjects.

Graffiti - PSD officer responded for report of graffiti on vending machines. PSD officer conducted search with negative results for subjects.

Investigation - NYPD and PSD questioned two youths on Main St. from past incident. It was made aware that youths were not with foster mom. Youths were brought to PSD office and it was determined that foster mom knew of youths location. Youths were released.

Verbal Dispute - PSD responded to verbal dispute between two males. PSD spoke to both parties. Both parties went their own way without further incident.

Alcohol/Open container - PSD officer observed male subject drinking from open container. Male subject was issued summons and released.

Aided - PSD and EMS responded to an apartment for aided not feeling well. Aided was transported to hospital.

DOA - PSD responded with EMS and NYPD to aided's apartment. EMS pronounced aided deceased.

0700hrs 11/20/09 - 0700hrs 11/21/09

D.O.A.- Elderly man found dead, died of natural causes, EMS, NYPD and family members on scene.

Aided- Male fell out of wheel chair, EMS and visiting nurse responded, male was transported to hospital and a home care agent was referred.

Harassment- Male reports while he was getting coffee a female walked in yelling at her and causing a scene, NYPD refused.

11/21/09-7:00 AM to 11/22/09-7:00 AM

Criminal Mischief-Mail box lock damaged. UA notified. It will be repaired Mon 11/23/09. Search for the subject yielded negative results. NYPD refused.

Investigation- A youth resident held on to another Island youth's watch and later denied it. NYPD refused. Matter to be referred to Civil Court and Youth Officer.

Graffiti- Unknown youth subject wrote profane graffiti in the Rivva Gallery book. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

Open Container- 2 Subjects were arrested by PSD.

Unlawful Possession of Marijuana/ Open Container- 5 Subjects arrested by PSD.

11/22/09-7:00 AM to 11/23/09-7:00 AM

Found Property- A ring it was secured in PSD.

Water Leak- It was coming from the Eastwood laundry room. UA porters corrected the condition.

Unlicenced Operator/ Disobey Stop Sign- Motorist issued 2 summonses.

Graffiti- In Island House Court Yard and the Light House Comfort Stations. RY Management and RIOC notified. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

Graffiti- Rear of 510 Main Street on pillars. UA notified. Search for the subject yielded negative results.

Aided- An ill person was taken to the hospital by EMS.

Vehicle Accident/Aided- A vehicle made contact with a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
PSD responded and notified 911. Pedestrian sustained a bruise to her forehead. NYPD filed a report. Motorist was arrested by PSD. EMS transported female to the hospital,

11/23/09-7:00 AM to 11/24/09-7:00 AM

Investigation- Female Newspaper Delivery employee reported that 4 days ago an male adult exposed himself to her. PSD conducted a search with negative results. An investigation is actively being done. PSD providing escort to the female.

Investigation- An Island resident reported that a RIOC Bus driver did not pick her up at two different bus stops. She requested PSD report. Matter referred to the Mini Bus Supervisor.

Harassment- An Island resident reported that a RIOC employee's vehicle struck his vehicle 3 days ago. PSD conducted an investigation. It was determined that the RIOC employee did not hit the resident's vehicle. Resident notified of the outcome of the investigation.

Found Property- A cell phone. It was secured in PSD.

Sale of loose Cigarette- Male issued a summons by PSD.

Criminal Mischief- a hole in the hallway wall of a building. UA notified. Search for the subject yielded negative results. NYPD refused.

Aided/EDP- Female homeless attempted to enter the 888 Main Street garage. PSD responded and female became irate and started to screaming. EMS responded and transported her to the hospital for observation. Her belongings were removed from the garage. No injuries.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Temporary Roosevelt Island Ferry Service During Tram Outage Possible At Oil Dock - But If They Build It Will You Come?

RIOC Officials At Oil Dock Watching NY Water Taxi ferry boat

RIOC has been investigating the possibility of temporary ferry service for Roosevelt Island during the time that the Tram is scheduled to be out of service starting in March 2010 and lasting for what is hoped to be only 6 months. One of the questions has been where to place a temporary dock.

Working with NY Water Taxi, it has been determined that a temporary spud ferry dock cannot be placed on the West Channel facing Manhattan due to the rock placement at the sea wall

Subway Pier Sea Wall Rocks

but might be able to work on the East Channel facing Queens at the Oil Dock beneath the Queensboro Bridge

Roosevelt Island Oil Dock

because there is mud and not rock at the seawall.

Oil Dock Seawall

A meeting last Friday with representatives of RIOC management, NY Water Taxi and the NYC Economic Development Corp. at the Oil Dock determined that it is feasible to install a spud ferry barge at the site.

RIOC, NY Water Taxi and NYC EDC At The Oil Dock

The plan discussed by NY Water Taxi and RIOC would be to have the ferry service operate only during the most heavily trafficked rush hours from the Oil Dock to 35 Street Pier. There would be a NY Water Taxi provided bus to cover a still to be determined East Side Manhattan route. The price of the Water Taxi bus will be included in whatever fare is eventually decided upon for the Ferry. There are also NYC buses at the Ferry dock but that will require an additional fare. Commuting time from Roosevelt Island to 35 street dock will be less than 15 minutes.

The next question to be answered is if current rush hour Tram passengers travelling to the East Side will use this temporary ferry service during the Tram outage instead of what is expected to be even more overcrowded F Trains?

RIOC President Steve Shane addressed issue of temporary ferry service during Tram outage in his recent President's Report:
Ferry: Explored temporary service at the existing pier at the meditation steps while the Tram is out next year, but underwater rock formations make spud pier infeasible. Now operator is reviewing the old oil dock on the east channel behind the steam plant and is scheduled to be on Island Friday the 20th. Subject to engineering clearance, approvals from the Coast Guard, if there is sufficient ridership interest based on surveys for a service to 35th Street and maybe on down to Wall Street during rush hours, and with the Board’s approval and commitment of approximately $100,000 to subsidize for 6 months, maybe there will be ferry service during the Tram shutdown.
RIOC Management waving either hello or good-bye to NY Water Taxi

More on status of Roosevelt Island ferry service here.

The NY Times recently reported on problems with East Side Ferry service:
... New York Water Taxi, says that it has not been able to come to an agreement with the city about continuing the subsidy, and that it might have to halt the East River commuter service for the third time in four years. Further, the city’s Economic Development Corporation said that because of the recession, plans to expand the ferry service on the East River have been delayed for at least a year, until spring 2011...

RIRA President on Upcoming MTA Meeting, Resident Transportation Meeting With Building Managements, RIOC and City Officials & Blackwell Park Planning

Image of November 2009 RIRA Meeting from Jonathan Kalkin

Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
1. Meeting with MTA on December 1. We will talk about improving the subway service, especially during the tram outage. I expect representation from the offices of RIOC, Stringer, Lappin, Serrano, and Kellner. I will report the results at the monthly RIRA Common Council meeting on December 2 and also in my next column.

2. Summary of November 10 Ad Hoc transportation meeting at Octagon. This was convened by Francisco Bozzano-Barnes, RIRA representative from Octagon. All agreed "improved subway services and the creation of ferry services between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan are an urgent need for this island". Matt Katz, RIRA Planning Committee chair, provides the following report (great report Matt!).


Francisco Bozzano-Barnes (Convener, RIRA), Matthew Katz (Chair, RIRA Planning Committee), John Renner, Jr. (Becker + Becker), Paul Paul J. Gabriel (MSKCC), Paul Curtis (for Assembly Member Kellner), Kevin P. Rakowsky (Cornell-Weill), Barbara Clark (Octagon Management), Jennifer Jones (R-Y Management), Rick O'Conor (Roosevelt Islander blog), Margie Smith (RIRA, Rivercross Board), S. Bermon (RIOC waterfront rep?), Steve Shane (RIOC), Fernando Martinez (RIOC), Sandra Holden (Manhattan Park), Brian Weisberg (Manhattan Park), Andrew Jackson (Hudson Company), John Moore (for Council Member Lappin), Howard Polivy (RIOC Board), Adam Zaranko (NYC EDC/Maritime), James A. Harris (Asst. VP NYC Economic Development Corporation).


Shane stated that the Red Bus would run every half-hour to Queens Plaza during the morning rush hour while the Tram renovations are underway. He said this would be more than adequate. Smith noted that, during the test period in which the Tram was out of service, many people did not know to catch it at Gristede's and that the pick-up point should be at the subway station. She recommended using a Queens subway stop closer to Roosevelt Island, such as the #7 Court House Square stop, to shorten the turn-around time. Shane explained that the Queens Plaza station is more accessible for the disabled.

Bermon noted that often people congregate around the doors in subway cars, leaving the center of the car relatively empty. She asked if TA employees could move people away from the doors. O'Conor noted that, at the Roosevelt Island southbound subway platform, people congregate where the elevator and escalators drop them, often leaving the middle of the platform less congested. He suggested that signage directing riders to less crowded areas might help. Others noted that the increased ridership throughout Queens made the trains uniformly overcrowded upon arrival at our station.

Bozzano asked if any building managers were hearing transportation complaints from their residents. Rakowsky said that Cornell-Weill provided Southtown residents with a shuttle bus in the evening and Holden said that tenants in Manhattan Park had expressed a fear of difficulties during the six-month Tram outage beginning March 2010. Bozzano asked all the housing managers if short- and long-term transportation issues were likely to affect their occupancy rates; all stated that it would. The consensus was that this would manifest itself in a reluctance to enter into lease agreements. Holden said that the accident that denied tenants the use of the Tram for five months affected lease renewals

Holden asked about the feasibility of using the other subway lines underneath the Island. Katz and Shane noted that the cost of a new station has been quoted at one billion dollars. Bermon asked about bicycle access during the morning rush hour and Shane stated that bikes are not allowed on the Tram during that period.


The EDC reps reported that the City is moving toward approving a landing barge for Octagon and also are examining sites on the south shore nearer to the Island transportation hub. Katz noted that the Coast Guard opposed any west channel site other than Octagon, and mentioned that RIOC VP, Rosina Abramson, had conducted a survey of east channel southern sites that included the participation of the Queens DOT Commissioner. Shane recalled that, twenty years ago, Abramson, then RIOC President, had organized ferry service using the oil dock on the east channel. He said it was temporary and inadequate. Shane noted that Manhattan is organized through a central spine and so, ferry riders would be obliged to continue their commutes from the shoreline. He said that the "spud barge" idea for the pier at the subway would not work, as that site would require considerable drilling, but that the old oil dock was under consideration. Someone noted that ferry service to 71st Street would convenience workers at the East Side hospitals.

Bermon mentioned the "Eco Dock" planned for Bay Ridge, spearheaded by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and funded by the City Council for $300,000. She distributed a news article on the project and asked if a similar Eco Dock could meet our short-term needs.


Curtis cited the December 1 meeting with the MTA to address specific solutions to the Roosevelt Island transportation bottleneck and mentioned station skip-stops as one item of discussion. Bozzano suggested that ferry providers bid on the City contract to keep the price down. Shane said that Tom Fox, New York Water Taxi President, thought he could get permitting for a temporary dock at the oil dock in the southern area of the Island. Bermon asked if the hospital housing representatives thought their institutions would be interested in subsidizing a ferry site near their institutions at East 71st Street. Shane noted that RIOC would offer $100,000 to subsidize short-term ferry service while the Tram was being renovated.

3. Blackwell Park planning. There appears to be some movement within RIOC to accept the fact that the expanded committee of Island residents is *the* committee to define the plans for Blackwell Park. At the time of this report, I have no official confirmation from RIOC on this. I will report further in my next column.
The RIRA President's message was also published as the RIRA column in the 11/21/09 Main Street WIRE.