Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa Claus and Bach Coming To Roosevelt Island This Weekend Before Christmas - No Pogues Though

Santa Claus Image From How Stuff Works

Hey, it's the weekend before Christmas and guess who is stopping by Roosevelt Island this weekend. That's right, Santa Claus himself will be making an appearance at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill (425 Main Street) Saturday afternoon from 2 -6 PM to have pictures taken with local kids. Stop by and say Hi to Santa! Hope you have all been good this year.

You Tube Video of Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

For classical music lovers there will be an All Bach Holiday Celebration Tonight (8 PM) at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street) presented by the Rosemarie & Robin Russell Family Concert Series. The program will include Concerto in D minor for Oboe and Violin and Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major.

The Pogues and Kirsty McColl will not be coming to Roosevelt Island this year, well never, but here is their Fairytale Of New York. Not a cheerful Christmas song but certainly beautiful and poignant - one of my favorites.

You Tube Video of Pogues Fairytale Of New York

Update On MTA F Train Line General Manager's Response To Resident On Roosevelt Island Subway Service And Escalator Direction

Good news for Roosevelt Island subway service this weekend. According to the MTA, there are no scheduled F Train subway service disruptions for Roosevelt Island.

An update to post earlier this week about the correspondence between Roosevelt Island resident Trevre and the MTA's F Line General Manager regarding:
Change escalator direciton and do something about weekend outage.
Trevre received this third attempt by the MTA to answer his question about Roosevelt Island F train subway service.
We again regret any difficulty you experienced.

Despite our efforts to maintain regularly scheduled subway service, disruptions sometimes occur for a variety of reasons, including sick customers, police activity, mechanical malfunction and system repair work. We generally schedule system repair work for late nights and weekends, when ridership is lighter, so that fewer customers will be inconvenienced.

During general orders related to system repairs, orange notices advising customers of subway service changes should be posted in affected stations and regular public address announcements should be made to customers. In addition, station agents should note service changes on the passenger information boards located in their booths. In response to your complaint, we have referred your e-mail to supervision in our Department of Subways for their review and further corrective action. Please be assured, supervision in our Department of Subways will take steps to ensure that their operating personnel follow these procedural requirements.

For the future, please note that subway service change information is available through our website at and our Travel Information Center at (718) 330-1234, which is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days a week. You may also call Customer Services at (718) 330-3322, regarding any other transit-related matter.

In respect to your complaint about escalators, again please be assured that New York City Transit shares your concern for reliable escalator service. Please be aware that suspension of "down" service was implemented to reduce crowding conditions that exist when passengers disembark from arriving trains. If one of the escalators were to remain operating in the "down" direction, it would result in a hazardous crowding condition at the bottom of the escalators. The capacity of the platform and its street stairways are insufficient to accommodate the large number of customers wishing to
egress the station. Nevertheless, a copy of your complaint has been referred to supervision in our Division of Stations for their review. Please be assured that they will continue to closely monitor all station operations and escalators, including those at the Roosevelt Island station, to ensure that they are well maintained and operated with the highest emphasis placed on customer safety.

If you have any further transit-related concerns, please contact Customer Services at (718) 330-3322, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., daily, or write to Customer Services at 2 Broadway, Room A11.146, New York, NY 10004.

We take the concerns of our customers very seriously and thank you for having taken the time to contact us.
I have noticed that one of the Roosevelt Island Lower Level escalators to the Manhattan platform is now running in the down direction. Is this the result of Trevre's messages or maybe recent meeting between residents and MTA?

Roosevelt Island Escalator Going Down From Lower Level To Manhattan Platform

Update On Dead Woman Found Wednesday At Roosevelt Island's AVAC Yard

Roosevelt Island AVAC Image From Bridge & Tunnel Club

An update on yesterday's sad story about a woman found dead at Roosevelt Island's AVAC yard from Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra:
Here is the update on the Investigation

The investigation revealed that the young lady who passed away was a 21 year-old African-American Female who resided in the Astoria Houses in Queens. She was approximately 5'4" and approximately 150 lbs. Her parents found a Suicide Note and were notified of her death by the NYPD Detectives.

There is nothing further to report on the Suicide at this time. Our prayers go out to the young lady's family.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

RIOC Proposed Fiscal Year 2010 -11 Budget For Roosevelt Island - What Happens If Southtown Riverwalk Buildings 7 -9 Don't Get Built Or On Time?

Proposed RIOC Budget FY 2011

Above is RIOC's proposed fiscal year 2010-11 budget for Roosevelt Island. It is also posted on RIOC's web site.

Among the assumptions are:

  • Projected Cash Flow has been extended out to year 2025 (15 years) as opposed to 5 years in past budgets.
  • Salaries Budgeted for 2011 included a 3% COLA increase for non-union employees but is highly unlikely to be paid due to the State's financial condition.
  • Budget Risks (page 8) addresses the financial effect on Projected Cash Flow if Southtown 7,8 & 9 does not go forward.
Regarding Southtown Buildings 7 - 9, RIOC's proposed FY 2010-11 states (Page 9):
Southtown 7, 8, and 9:
In 2006, the Southtown developers exersized an option at a cost of $2,000,000 to extend the Construction Commencement Date for all buildings of Southtown 5–9 from no later than December 31, 2010 to December 31, 2012. Management believes that given current market conditions there is a possibility that the development of Southtown 7, 8, and 9 may not happen, negatively affecting projected cash reserves. Below is the effect on projected cash reserves, if the development of Southtown 7, 8, and 9 were not to go forward. It is management's belief that if Southtown 7, 8, and 9 were to not proceed in the time period, there would be other subsequent development opportunities after the economic downturn cycle reverses its course.
For further information on RIOC's Proposed Budget, take a look at the webcast of RIOC's December 3 Audit Committee meeting in which RIOC CFO Steve Chironis briefed the Directors on subject. RIOC webcasts generally remain available on their site for only a month after taking place.

Let me know if you see anything interesting in budget.

UPDATE 1/1/10-From RIOC:
The Proposed Budget FY 2011 was modified to reflect an increase in actual percentage rent from Manhattan Park, which is greater than the estimates made in the original Proposed Budget FY 2011. Manhattan Park provided the actual percentage rent information subsequent to the distribution of the original Proposed Budget FY 2011.
The modified budget is here.

December 31 Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund Applicaton Deadline Approaching Fast - Make Sure To Submit Your Papers Soon

Pile Of Money Image From Phoenix Fanster

RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder reminds Roosevelt Island non - profit organizations to get your Public Purpose Fund Applications submitted before the December 31, 2009 deadline:
Please be advised that the deadline to submit Public Purpose Applications is Thursday, December 31st at 5PM. Applications can be mailed or dropped off at 591 Main Street with ALL supporting documents. If you have any additional questions, please contact me by phone or email.
More info on Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds available here.

Red Tail Hawk Spotted On Roosevelt Island Window Sill By A Berdy - Looking For Dinner?

All Images By Judy Berdy

File this under the category of you never know what you might find looking out of your Roosevelt Island Window.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy was looking out of her window and spotted a Red Tail Hawk sitting on a 19th floor window sill at 510 Main Street. (Roosevelt Landings/Eastwood)

Ms Berdy comments:
This is for the Birds!!!!!He sat there 30 minutes and refused to turn around........BIRD BRAIN.
What was the Roosevelt Island Red Hawk doing on the 19th Floor Window Sill?

Ms. Berdy believes:
He is scouting a good squirrel for dinner
In 2007 a Red Tail Hawk thought to be the progeny of Central Park West's Pale Male was spotted at Capobianco Field. At the time NY Magazine suggested this was an example of generational downward mobility.
Roosevelt Island: The winged progeny of Central Park West celebuhawk Pale Male may be roosting here. Talk about generational downward mobility.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Woman Found Dead This Afternoon At Roosevelt Island's AVAC Yard - NYPD Investigating

Roosevelt Island AVAC Image From Bridge & Tunnel Club

I was informed by several sources this afternoon that a woman was found dead near Roosevelt Island's Motorgate Garage. I asked Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra whether this was true. Unfortunately, this evening Mr. Guerra confirmed that it was true. According to Mr. Guerra:
Please be advised that at 1:28PM, the Public Safety Department was notified of a possible intoxicated person down in the AVAC yard. Upon arrival, our responding officers found an unconscious female lying face down near a dumpster. The female had no pulse and appeared to be deceased. 9-1-1 was immediately called and FDNY Paramedics and EMT's were on scene expeditiously. NYPD was also on scene and initiated an investigation, which is still on-going. The identification of the female is unknown at this time. NYPD Detectives immediately opened a Case and I am not at liberty to disclose anything further. I will give you an update when I can.
UPDATE - 12/18 - Mr. Guerra provides some additional information.

Ginger Bread Roosevelt Island Tramway, Calendars, Cards, Mugs, Books Plus Other Roosevelt Island Holiday Gifts And Stocking Stuffers

Roosevelt Island Tram Ginger Bread House

Are you looking for that special Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza/Holiday gift with a unique Roosevelt Island flair? If so, our own Ally, the chef at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill may have the answer for you.

A Roosevelt Island Ginger Bread Tram. Imagine, just like RIOC will be dismantling the parts of the real Roosevelt Island Tram next March to be replaced by a new Tram, you can dismantle your very own Ginger Bread Tram and then have the yummy pleasure of eating it. I can remember many wonderful past Christmas Holidays waiting to dig into the Ginger Bread house made by my cousin. It was delicious! Looking forward to doing same with Roosevelt Island Ginger Bread Tram.

I am told that Ally can also make Ginger Bread replicas of other Roosevelt Island landmarks or any other building structure you wish.

Here's how they make a Ginger Bread House from Walt Disney World's pastry chef.

There are also Holiday Gifts available at the Roosevelt Island Historical Society's kiosk at the Tram Plaza.


Another option is the Main Street WIRE 2010 Calendar which includes some great Roosevelt Island pictures.

Can We Get The Roosevelt Island Motorgate Parking Garage To Accept Electronic Payment By Credit Or Debit Cards? Farmers Market Too

View Larger Map

A reader sent in the following good idea concerning the Roosevelt Island Motorgate Parking Garage:

I recently parked at the garage and there is no sign posted that they do not accept credit cards. Not even on the entrance. I have never gone to a parking garage that did not accept credit cards. The only place to get cash out is Gristedes. I would like to see the garage accept credit cards...maybe you can help!
The Motorgate Garage is owned by a partnership between RIOC (61%) and Roosevelt Island Associates (39%), the owners of Manhattan Park. There are 1989 parking spaces. In 2005 RIOC, through the real estate firm of Jones Lang Lasalle issued a Request For Proposals for Motorgate but nothing ever came of it.

Parking Rates For the Motorgate Garage are listed at the RIOC web site.

I asked RIOC President Steve Shane to comment and will advise as soon as I hear back.

Also, in addition to the Motorgate Garage entering the modern era with the acceptance of debit or credit cards, how about the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market accepting electonic payments as well?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MTA's Subway Line General Manager's Email Response System - How Is It Working For Roosevelt Island F Train So Far?

According to the MTA:
MTA New York City Transit has completed the full roll-out of its Subway Line General Manager Program, the most sweeping organizational change in the subway’s history. The new program completes a change in managerial philosophy that shifts the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the subway system from the office to the field....
The MTA provides email addresses for subway line managers including one for the F Train Line General Manager serving Roosevelt Island.

A recently arrived Roosevelt Island resident, Trevre, tested out the MTA's F Line General Manager's email contact system yesterday and this is what happened when he tried to contact the MTA to express concerns over Roosevelt Island subway service:
I live on Roosevelt Island and am concerned not enough is being done about transportation outages during the weekend on the F train. For the past few weekends the F-train has been down either in one direction or the other.

Please provide alternative transportation to get off the island (like a water taxi, more frequent bus service, or different hours for service interruptions). While this isn't a huge issue now, I am sure in March when the tram goes down for repairs it will become a huge issue, so I would like to know the plan in advance.

Also all four escalators on the lower part of the station always run up. Why not run two down and two up, at least in the morning when everyone is leaving anyways.
The MTA's F Line General Manager's response was:
If you would like travel directions, the fastest and best way to get them is to visit the Trip Planner (, our online itinerary planning system. Trip Planner also provides service alerts and advisories to help you plan before you head out.

You may also contact New York City Transit Travel Information at 718-330-1234; 7 days a week, 6AM to 10PM. Non-English speaking customers should call 718-330-4847; customers with disabilities call 718-596-8585; and TTY customers call 718-596-8273. Please note that we are unable to provide specific travel directions via our email system.

Dear F Line Patron:

I would like to extend my utmost appreciation for your correspondence. Your valued comments assist me along with my staff to implement the best service possible to meet your standards. My staff and I are always at your service.

Our goal is to achieve excellence by providing an environment that is reliable, comfortable, and convenient, with you always being our focal point. Your comments and concerns will be addressed with expediency. Thank you in advance for your continue patronage of MTA-NYCT.
Trevre responded:
I appreciate the work you are doing but FYI, I don't need travel directions,
I shouldn't have to click 3 buttons on your website to send you an email, I don't want an automated customer response, and I will understand your appreciation for my correspondence when my correspondence are addressed.
To be continued.
UPDATE - 6 PM - Trevre receives another response from MTA:
This is what they sent me, they didn't even answer my question.


Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

Change escalator direciton and do something about weekend outage.

Discussion Thread
Response ... - 12/15/2009 01:07 PM
We sincerely regret if you had an unfavorable experience.

Unfortunately, station escalators may sometimes be inoperable because of mechanical malfunction or vandalism. When an escalator is reported to be inoperative, the Department of Subways is notified and station supervision attempts to restart the escalator. If unsuccessful, the Department of Subways is again notified and maintainers are dispatched as soon as possible to make necessary repairs. Instances of escalator vandalism are also reported to the New York City Police Department's Transit Bureau. Be assured that supervision will continue their efforts to closely monitor all station escalators to ensure that they are maintained in a satisfactory condition and repaired in a timely manner.

If you have further station-related concerns, including reports of escalator and elevator outages, you may contact Customer Services at (718) 330-3322, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Daily, or write to Customer Services at 2 Broadway, RM A11.146, New York, NY 10004.

Furthermore, supervision in our Department of Subways suggest that, when planning your next trip, you may find it convenient to call (800) 734-6772, 24 hours/ 7 days a week, for up-to-date information regarding the accessibility status of elevators and escalators. In addition, a list of stations that are already accessible is noted on our current subway maps, which you can see on our website at

We take the concerns of our customers very seriously and thank you for having taken the time to contact us.

F Line and V Line General Manager

Know before you go, use
Trip Planner

Update On Roosevelt Island's Island House Fire - Cause Was Electrical Says Fire Marshall

You Tube Video of Island House Fire

A reader of this post on the recent Island House fire asks:
Did Keith Guerra ever determine the cause of the fire ?
Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra responds:
It was brought to my attention that one of your bloggers asked if I determined the cause of the fire on 11/30/09. I am not a Fire Marshall, not do I represent the Fire Department. I do not make determinations of causes for fires. I can only go by what I am told by those who do.

As per Chief Lamberta of FDNY, Fire Marshall Green of the Queens Division determined the cause of the fire to be electrical due to either too many electrical cords in one outlet or a faulty electric blanket. There was too much damage to pinpoint the exact cause of the fire 100%, but he was confident that it was one of those two things.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Update On Being Kicked Out Of MTA Roosevelt Island F Train Meeting - Reader Comments and Main Street WIRE Editor Responds

You Tube Video of MTA Chairman Walder Speaking On Transparency At Citizen Budget Committee

Last week's post about the December 9 MTA meeting with Roosevelt Island residents, RIOC and elected officials to seek solutions for Roosevelt Island F Train problems generated two surprising reader comments. To recap what happened:
I am very pissed at being removed earlier this morning by MTA Press Office from meeting on finding temporary solution to alleviating the anticipated overcrowding on the Roosevelt Island F Train service during 2010 Tram outage despite being invited to attend by a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President and with the knowledge of Assembly Member Micah Kellner's office who convened the meeting. I also got soaking wet walking in the poring rain to MTA Headquarters for this meeting which did not help.

MTA press people present removed me and the Main Street WIRE editor from meeting claiming that MTA could not speak openly or frankly about this subject with us in the room.
These reader comments support the MTA's decision to bar press and blogger from meeting:
Did you really think you can just attend a meeting like that? That's a little naive, no? I am very sure that it is not okay to have the press attending meetings like that pretty much everywhere - MTA or not. That has nothing to do with transparency or what not. You will get the press release or meeting notes through official channels later on.
What I like about the Roosevelt Islander is that even when there are posts contra to what he believes or that disagree with him, he still allows them to be posted. Other Blogsites would remove such comments. That's what makes this site enjoyable to read.

BTW, I also scratched my head when I read that it bothered you to be asked to leave that meeting. But, I think you knew that would happen and gave it a shot anyway.
Main Street WIRE editor Dick Lutz responds and I am in complete agreement with him. According to Mr. Lutz:

I find it "amazing" and a "head-scratcher" that citizens of a democracy would be so willing to have a public agency act unobserved by the public, unquestioned, answerable to no one but themselves, while spending tax dollars and making decisions that affect the daily daily lives of those same citizens. Government behind closed doors, unexamined, is an open invitation to corruption, nepotism, and incompetence.

And it does have everything to do with transparency. Getting the "press release or meeting notes through official channels later on" means that the very people who need watchdogging get to decide what is seen and what is hidden. The first of these anonymous posters, if not an MTA employee, is clearly quite willing to accept whatever government decides he should know -- and not know. And we can point to hundreds, if not thousands, of recent examples of what happens when public authorities and government agencies get to hide what they're doing behind press releases and official statements.

Members of the public at large can't attend a meeting like the one held in that crowded conference room at the MTA offices, for reasons of their own time and availability, if nothing else. If the press cannot attend, as in this case, incompetence goes unobserved and unreported, as in this case -- unless the first Mr. Anonymous trusts that an MTA press-release writer will be allowed to report and comment frankly on the work of his fellow MTA employees, and have that mailed out by the MTA.

Dick Lutz

Editor & Publisher, The Main Street WIRE

Of course, I have yet to receive any information from the MTA regarding this meeting despite being promised so while they kicked Mr. Lutz and myself out of the building. Reports of the meeting from residents allowed to remain in attendance and from Assembly Member Kellner were that the MTA does not think there is any Roosevelt Island F train problem requiring a solution. More on that here.

Below is slide from MTA's Power Point Presentation used during the meeting dealing with Roosevelt Island. Click on the image for better reading.

Here is an editorial on subject from the 12/13/09 Main Street WIRE:

The MTA,

Hiding Incompetence

The MTA seems to think that it can hide the agency’s inability to serve the public by keeping reporters out of the meetings where, in response to good ideas, they give stock answers: "We don’t do that," or "It can’t be done," or "It’s against policy."

The transit agency has a lot more ways of saying "no," of course, but would apparently prefer to keep objective listeners out of the meetings where their technical people divert the attention of supplicants from problems and suggested solutions to relatively unimportant matters, while slipping some form of "no" into their responses.

As the story on page 3 reports, MTA personnel would not allow a meeting with Roosevelt Island leaders and officials to go forward on Wednesday morning until two reporters were escorted from the building. Oddly, this ensures that the MTA’s view of things will not be heard, since those attending such a session tend not to be objective in seeing how their ideas were treated, hoping against hope that there’s some crack in the closed-door minds of those charged with rejecting both the pleas for help and the ideas that would make that help possible.

Keeping the press out has the effect of keeping the public out.

The explanation, that "it’s a different dynamic" when the press is present, is another way of saying, "We don’t want you to hear us say ‘no,’ because then you’ll report it for what it is, rather than the smoke-screen with which we surround it.

Unfortunately, Assemblymember Micah Kellner is complicit – an accessory before, during, and after the fact in allowing the MTA to say "no" out of earshot of objective reporters. We can applaud him for responding to this publication’s call for a full-court press by elected officials to get the MTA moving on solutions rather than additional ways of refusing to help. But setting up a meeting in which they duck that responsibility and competent reporting is excluded makes him part of the problem: As long as the MTA can refuse help behind a door closed to the press, the public will not have a clear-headed assessment of what the MTAspeak ("no," etc.) really means.

The MTA’s handling of the press aside, they’ve made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of being helpful in the transportation crisis that will arise when Roosevelt Island’s Tramway is down for six months (let alone the current rush-hour mess). They claim, despite abundant in-the-station evidence that it just isn’t so, that there is "plenty of capacity during the morning rush." There isn’t, as is known by anyone knows who’s had to wait on the platform while unboardable trains go through and more competition for space accumulates on the platform.

So we’re left with a no-can-do agency that won’t supply capacity, gives us elevators that break down more regularly than the trains run, and operates escalators that often run the wrong way but always lecture us repetitively while multiple trains leave us behind in the morning.

Shame on the MTA.

Shame for a bad job, and shame for hiding your meetings from the people.


Copyright 2009 The Main Street WIRE (reprinted with permission)

RIRA President On MTA F Train Meeting, Blackwell Park, RIOC 15 Year Budget Forcast, Youth Program Soccer Championship and Island House Fire

Image of December 2009 RIRA Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
1. Meeting with MTA on December 9: progress, but no tangible results so far. Paul Curtis of Assembly Member Kellner's office arranged for a meeting at the MTA concerning improved transportation at during the tram outage (March-September 2010). The meeting was attended by our reps (Kellner in person; offices of Lappin, Serrano, and Stringer), RIOC (Shane, Abramson, Wilder, Kalkin), RIRA (myself and Matt Katz), Unfortunately, the press (Dick Lutz - WIRE, Rick O'Conor - RI Blog) were expelled from the meeting. We listened to an MTA presentation by Glenn Lunden and we proposed our own solutions (see below).
Briefly, according to the MTA, Roosevelt Island has plenty available F-train capacity in the morning rush hours — so much capacity that the F-train should be able to completely accommodate all the tram passengers. Now, certainly, Roosevelt Island residents have a completely different experience: waiting for trains, trying to wedge into a crowded train. Our progress? I think we (all of us representing the Island) did a pretty credible job explaining why our transportation situation is pretty unique and why we need help from the MTA.

In response to an MTA staffer's comment "you [RI] are no different than the Bedford Avenue station [in Williamsburg]", I explained that everywhere else, if the subway is transportation option A, then there are options B and C with only a 15-minute commute penalty with a 5-10 minute variability — on Roosevelt Island, options B and C are a 45-60 minute commute penalty with a 30-minute variability, i.e., your daily commuting time increases by 1.5-2.5 hours. It was that kind of quantitative analysis that quickly made it clear to the MTA that Roosevelt Island is unique.

Overall, the thinking of the MTA staff is largely based upon quantitative support. I have requested data (MTA says they will provide) and plan on auditing and challenging the MTA's numbers and methodology. For the MTA, their main concern about our plan is that when the train switches directions, shutting down and starting up, the train might not start up and then it would block outgoing traffic. Again, I've requested data to see if our scenario is within an acceptable level of risk for their operations. Once we have more data and analyses, maybe their perceptions and decision-making will change. I'll have more to report over the next month or so.

The MTA agreed to look into other items: at least one down escalator on the mezzanine level for Manhattan-bound trains; signage to spread people out on the platform (first train car is most crowded because of elevator placement on RI); reducing pigeon poop; faster direction change on upper escalators; better signage for arriving trains; more frequent Q102 service; single direction loop for Q102 route (i.e., no guessing whether the bus will leave the Island or not).

Our presentation to the MTA included:

Roosevelt Island's Modes of Transportation (passengers/hour)
— Bus: 120-300/hour
— Water Ferry (no present service): 120-350/hour
— Tram: 1000/hour
— Subway: ~20,000/hour — Improving subway service has biggest benefit

Our proposal:
— Increasing morning capacity by providing 4-5 "specials" that extend the Q service to Roosevelt Island
— 4-5 trains, one every half hour, in the morning rush between 6:30-9:00. For example, the schedule might be 6:50, 7:20, 7:50, 8:20, 8:50. The exact times are to be refined later.
— Special-Q service will take an uptown Q train from the 57St-7Ave terminus and send it outbound via 63St tracks to 21St-Queenbridge.
— Once there, the train will "turnaround" on the Queens-bound track (motorman switches to West end of train) and await a Manhattan-bound F train to pass on the Manhattan-bound tracks.
— After the F train passes, the Q train will switch tracks and follow to the F train. Once the Q train arrives at Roosevelt Island, the doors will open on the empty train and passengers will board quickly.
— The Q train will continue on 63St tracks (stopping at 63St-Lex) and continue down 7Av and Bway on the normal Q train service.
— Additional Q trains will *NOT* add load to the 63St connector interlock (in Long Island City) nor the Rockefeller Center interlock, i.e., we are avoiding two congestion points.
— For Roosevelt Island commuters, they can transfer at 63St-Lex, continue on 7Av-Bway (a block away from the F train route), or transfer at Herald Square to the F train.
— Extra service is only for the morning rush
— No additional evening trains are requested.

— Has this kind of cross-track routing been done before? Yes, the MTA did this in Herald Square on the 6Ave lines while providing several temporary train services over the years. The 21St-Queensbridge station was the old terminus of the Q train, so it has the signaling to support the turnaround and track changes.
— RIOC will collaborate and coordinate the Island's red bus schedule with the MTA's additional trains

2. RIRA Forms Blackwell Park Subcommittee. The Gang of 15 who have been investigating and advising on Blackwell Park have been organized under RIRA so that RIOC has official community input. Judy Berdy and Matt Katz are co-chairs.

I would like to respond to RIOC's Rosina Abramson's comments in the prior WIRE: "There seems to be great confusion in the community as to who speaks for the community, we had always assumed it was RIRA (the Roosevelt Island Residents Association), but there are other groups popping up." Her statements are false and misleading, I've bit my tongue on this topic for a while, but Abramson is continually factually challenged, which continues (for all of us) to diminish the level of trust in her. It is difficult for RIOC to lead an effort when the reporting of the facts are regularly inconsistent or incomplete. Good luck to Berdy and Katz — they are doing well listening to the community's needs.

3. RIOC will budgeting. According to RIOC CFO Steve Chironis, this years' RIOC budget will include forecasts for 15 years rather than the state-mandated 5 years. This is very helpful. Thanks Steve for addressing this concern from the residents.

4. Great athletes from RI Youth Program. The soccer championship (Red vs. Turquoise) of 7-8 year olds had 20 kids playing 2+ hours straight in Saturday's continuous cold pouring rain. They were tied at 0-0. Two overtimes later, still tied and no score. Two sets of penalty kicks and tied at 1-1. Coaches, parents, and players all agreed: it was a tie and both teams would be co-champions. I couldn't believe the stamina and energy of the kids. Great job kids, coaches, and the RIYP. (Below, "DJ" Smith, the MVP from the Red Team; and "Maddy" Chen, who won the Best Sportsmanship award for the Turquoise team.)

Red Team MVP Winner D.J. Smith

Turquoise Team Best Sportsmanship Award Winner Maddie Chen

5. Fire in Island House. As reported in the WIRE, there was a fire in 551 Main Street. We heard several complaints about the performance of FDNY afterwards. I spoke with Lt. Philips at Engine 260, which is our nearest firehouse. The discussion was in the spirit of comparing notes and lessons learned. Overall, there's a little bit of improvement everywhere: FDNY, RIOC, Public Safety, managing agents, and the residents themselves. RIRA will be compiling an informative list for an upcoming Town Hall meeting.

In church on Sunday, Fr. Miqueli asked residents to avoid idle gossip: there were no candles or electric blankets to cause a fire in the nuns' apartment. He suggested that we await the fire marshal's report to understand the cause of the fire. On Monday, a half dozen of us helped pack up the convent while the apartment is being repaired.

Here's a fire safety tip especially for Roosevelt Island residents: Many baseboard heaters have no guard, so power/electric cords can slip up into the heating elements and cause a fire. In my apartment, the heater configuration makes it impossible to have a bed in a bedroom that doesn't abut a heater (for me, those heaters are ALWAYS off). Please be careful and regularly check sofas, beds, cables, etc. to make sure they are well clear of baseboard heaters.
The RIRA President's message was also published as the RIRA column in the 12/13/09 Main Street WIRE.

It should be noted that the 15 year RIOC Budget forecast rather than the previous 5 year RIOC budget forecast was brought about at the suggestion of RIRA's Budget Committee and Mr. Farance notwithstanding the ridicule of some.

Report From RIOC's President - RIOC Nominees Still Stalled, Tram Modernization Changes, Temporary Ferry Status & Other RI Issues

Image of RIOC Logo

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane updates us on RIOC Board Nominees status, Tram Modernization Changes, FDR Memorial, Green Rooms/Wild Gardens, Re-opening of Sportspark Pool, Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp problem, temporary Ferry service during Tram outage, MTA F Train Subway Meeting, Public Purpose Funding application deadline approaching, RIOC 2010 -11 Budget, Blackwell Park and Happy Holidays.
December 9, 2009

1. Board of Directors: Meeting on December 10 at 4:30PM with Town Hall following. The agenda is full and a report should appear elsewhere in the WIRE. No action from the NY Senate on the nominations of Margie Smith, Dr. Grimm and Mike Shinozaki.
2. Tram: On schedule for shutdown March 1 and reopening by September 1, 2010. Because of the difficulties in isolating costs associated with the mechanical overhaul of the system and its component parts, we have agreed with POMA that it should go ahead with its work and when completed as indicated by the resumption of service, we will take stock of where we are and how much is left in the budget to address station improvements.
3. Southpoint:
(A) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: Phase 1 essentially complete. Permitting and RFP for phase 2 nearing final readiness to be performed in the Spring.
(B) FDR Memorial: Legal work on City funding agreement continues with the FERI attorneys carrying the load. Oversight of construction by RIOC will be necessary, so an RFP for that function was issued with a dozen responses. The expense will be borne by FERI. I expect construction to start in the Spring. State Parks has not rescheduled the meeting to determine methodology for future maintenance, but continues to acknowledge responsibility, having developed the program and a budget. A $2 million endowment has been received by State Parks.
4. Projects: Sportspark pool is reopened and fully operational, ADA and code compliant. A quick rededication is scheduled for before the Board meeting. The gym floor is refinished and bleachers are on the way. Planning for mechanical system replacement, new weightlifting equipment and other refurbishing is ongoing. The RI community should be proud of this facility and make use of it with increased swimming participation by the Marlins, the disabled community, seniors, open swim, etc. The Youth Center will have greater access for basketball and soccer and adult leagues will have a place when the weather makes outdoor courts unplayable. The table tennis group is ever expanding. Watch for program announcements. The next big problem on the horizon is the status of the helix leading to the Island from the Bridge. Last repaired almost 20 years ago, we are having an engineering inspection done to determine the condition and to program the needed repairs. Long term wear and tear, with corrosion from salt in the wintertime, has taken its toll. Hopefully, there will not need to be complete rebuilding, with the attendant dislocation and cost, but the safety of the Island’s connection must be assured.
5. Ferry: It appears that a temporary service from the East channel oil dock during the Tram outage is possible, although usage and cost remain big questions. If all the morning rush hour Tram commuters opt for ferry service to 35th street and are willing to pay for a 2 fare zone, with bus connection to other bus and subway lines, then it is projected as a breakeven. Less than such participation will require a subsidy, presumably from RIOC, estimated to be on the order of $100,000 for the 6 months of the Tram shutdown. NYC EDC is participating in the discussions, but has not yet agreed to take up any of the financial burden. Stay tuned.
6. MTA: At the behest of RIRA and the Island’s elected officials, a meeting with the schedulers of the MTA was held on December 9 to discuss supplemental service during the Tram shutdown. The results of the meeting are published in this edition of the WIRE. Good job even getting such a meeting!
7. Public Purpose Fund: Applications for the 2010/11 cycle should be submitted immediately. See RIOC’s web site or call Erica Wilder for assistance. Completed applications will be delivered to RIRA for its review and recommendations to the Board.
8. Budget: The 2010/11 Budget is being assembled in draft and as proposed, will be posted on RIOC’s web site for public review and comment before being formally presented to the Board for adoption, as it may be amended, at the March meeting. RIRA and other interested parties are welcome to review, comment and raise questions as part of the process. We have tried to set forth the detail of the assumptions that are part of the exercise and have made the projections for 15 years, subject to the inevitable infirmities of far off estimates. Both operating and capital budgets have been set forth.
9. Blackwell Park: Community participation in the planning process is seemingly back on track.
10. Holidays: The traditional Christmas Tree lighting was held on December 3 with a great turnout, delightful weather and good cheer for all. Thank you Santa and all the supporters of this opportunity for the Island community to turn out and enjoy. The Menorah is to be lit and Kwanza to be celebrated. Good tidings, health and happiness to everyone.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 12/13/09 Main Street WIRE.