Friday, December 31, 2010

Best Wishes For A Happy And Health New Year From Roosevelt Island - Goodbye 2010, Welcome 2011

Best Wishes to all for a Happy And Healthy New Year in 2011.

You Tube Video of Bottle Band Auld Lang Syne Performance

There's no better way to party out the past year then with a traditional last song from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes together with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band .
We're havin' a party
Everybody's swinging
Dancing to the music
On the radio
So listen, Mr. DJ
Keep those records playing
'Cause I'm having such a good time
Dancing with my baby

You Tube Video of Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen Having a Party in 1978 - Lyrics are by Sam Cooke.


If you would like some help with any New Year's Resolutions, try out The New Year's Resolution Generator.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Open For Kids During Blizzard - Neither Snow, Nor Rain Etc. Keeps the RIYP From Serving Roosevelt Island Youth

 Image Of Roosevelt Island Blizzard From Olya Turcihin

Despite the blizzard earlier this week, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program was up and running serving the kids of Roosevelt Island. From the Roosevelt Island Youth Program:
Snow Can’t Stop Youth Program

On Sunday night December 26th, 2010 New York City was hit with a major blizzard keeping many businesses closed on a major shopping day, trains stalled, airports closed, even our postal system ground to a halt. While the City tried to dig us out and uncertainty was all around us, one thing remained consistent, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program was open for business at our New York City funded Beacon Program at PS/IS 217. We served breakfast at 8AM with lunch and a mid-day snack to over 60 youth until 6PM that day. With the United States Postal Service failing to deliver on their long standing motto we think after 30 years of not closing due to weather, blackouts or any other major event we can proudly state that the Roosevelt Island Youth Program guaranteed that “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds".
 Image Of Roosevelt Island Youth Program Serving Kids During Blizzard From RIYP

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Are You Freezing In Your Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Apartment? Here's How To Make Sure Your Heaters Work Properly

 Image of Manhattan Park In Winter

With the onset of winter and cold weather comes the perennial issue of keeping your Roosevelt Island apartment warm. A new resident of Manhattan Park is freezing in his apartment and asks the Manhattan Park Google Group (you must be a resident to join thought there are groups for other buildings as well) this:
Hey all,

I've got what I'm told are the older heaters at my place. This is my first winter at the 40 building. I can generally feel warm air blowing, but I can literally leave them running over night at the "warm" setting and the place is still frigid.

Shouldn't it be legal to have actual temperature settings on these things?
A Manhattan Park Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Delegate replies:
It is my understanding that all of the heaters are old heaters. BUT - if your heater isn't working, just call the doorman and tell them that you need to have a work order to have your heater calibrated. We need a maintenance guy to do this every year for some reason, but then the heater works fine. The nob should click when you turn it, otherwise, I've found that it isn't working right.

Hope this helps.
Another Manhattan Park resident advised that the heating/air conditioning repairman is very good and fixes everything. Give it a try and I hope you stay warm.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day After 2010 Christmas Blizzard Clean Up Goes Very Well For Roosevelt Island - Not So Good For New York City Outer Borough Side Streets

Image of Plowed Roosevelt Island Main Street From Olya Turcihin

Looks like the outer boroughs of New York City have had a much more difficult time cleaning up from the Day After 2010 Christmas Blizzard than has Roosevelt Island.
Image Of Plowed Roosevelt Island Main Street From Olya Turcihin

According to Jane, a reader of post on how Roosevelt Island handled the Blizzard:
I've been to Manhattan and Queens in the aftermath of this storm. In a city where apparently large stretches of Queens Blvd are characterized as a "side street" (a.k.a. in desperate need of a plow on Tuesday AM) and the snowbanks at main crosswalks in Manhattan are 2-3 ft high, I'm very grateful to have started my trek at RI. Really impressed with how safe and clear the streets and sidewalks have been. I know it took a lot of people working really hard in tough conditions to make that happen. Thank you all!
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy also commented:
After trekking to the subway in Manhattan, I was glad to be in the
land of civilized snow removal. At 11a.m. Monday, the MTA had cleaned all the snow from around the RI Subway station. That was a first and most appreciated. This afternoon everything was passable and it was great to be home where snow is still fun. Hope the kids have fun making snowmen in the parks!

Thanks to all our bousing staffs,
RIOC an everyone who does the real work!!
More Roosevelt Island images of the blizzard from Ms Turcihin below.

UPDATE 11:55 PM - Take a look at these reports showing how neighborhoods such as Ditmas Park and Sheepshead Bay are still waiting for the blizzard clean up of snow to reach them as well as this video of the blizzard's aftermath in Ditmas Park:

You Tube Video from Brenda From Flatbush

Red Tail Hawk Returns To Roosevelt Island Looking For Breakfast- New York City Blizzard No Roadblock

Eagle eyed Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy reports:
Our island hawk returned to my neighbors terrace at Rivercross this morning about 8:30 a.m. He stayed (or she) for about 20 minutes.

He did not cooperate by moving to better light and showing off his tail. He seemed to be happy perched on the 17th floor terrace facing east.

He left to fly off for a good breakfast of Squirrel.

Previous Roosevelt Island Hawk posts here and more pictures from recent spotting by Ms. Berdy here.

UPDATE 12/29 - The Hawk returned later yesterday afternoon. Must have found a good breakfast on Roosevelt Island.
 Image from Bobbie Slonevsky

New Roosevelt Island Red Bus Route To Start In Middle Of January, Red Bus Predictable Schedule Experiment During Non-Rush Hours To Be Tried Soon & Ambient Overhead Heating For Tram Stations

The current Red Bus stop at the Roosevelt Island Tram Station on the north side of the East/West Road will soon be moved to the South Side of the Street and a new Red Bus Route established.

During a meeting with members of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee last Wednesday, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President Fernando Martinez confirmed that RIOC will implement the new Red Bus Route and Red Bus Tram Station Stop previously previously proposed by RIOC and reported in this earlier post. The new route is described below.
...Here's the Roosevelt Island Tram Station Plaza East/West Cross Street from above.

The proposed plan is that the Red Bus, instead of turning right as it currently does to drop off riders on the north side of the East/West Road (pictured at top), will go around the turnaround heading left

and drop off/pick up riders on the Tram Station Side of the street

in the spot where the Tram workers now park their cars near the construction trailers.

The Red Bus will then make a right on East Channel Road (facing Queens) heading towards Sportspark,

make another right at the South Side of Sportspark to the West Channel Road (facing Manhattan) and head north to resume it's route on Main Street towards the subway station. Before it gets to the Subway Station, the Red Bus will also stop next to the Visitors Center Kiosk.

This new route and bus stop will be implemented sometime during the middle of January 2011. Below is the new Red Bus Route. Click on the image to enlarge.

Mr. Martinez also agreed to a non-rush hour Red Bus route schedule experiment suggested by RIRA Planning Committee Chairperson Frank Farance. Starting at the Octagon, the Red Bus will operate under a fixed schedule, leaving every 20 minutes beginning on the hour and arrive at the Tram Station approximately 20 minutes later. For example, a Red Bus will leave the Octagon at 11 AM, 11:20 and 11:40 AM and arrive at the Tram Station on or before 11:20 AM, 11:40 AM and 12 PM respectively. The goal of this schedule is to have a predictable and consistent bus schedule during non-rush hour operations. This new experimental Red Bus schedule will be implemented within the next week or two and continue for about 3 or 4 weeks for evaluation. The Rush hour Red Bus Schedule will remain the same, operating under a continuous loop up and down the Island.

As to the discomfort experienced by some Tram riders due to standing outside at the stations in the cold weather, Mr. Martinez acknowledged that the tent

at the Roosevelt Island Tram Station was inadequate and that an overhead ambient heating system will be installed soon at both Tram Stations on a temporary basis this winter.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Is Roosevelt Island Handling The 2010 Day After Christmas New York City Blizzard- Looks Like A Winter Wonderland - Tram Information Unavailable From RIOC Hot Line But Red Bus Operating

You Tube Video Of Mayor Bloomberg Discussing 12/26/10 Blizzard

How is Roosevelt Island handling the Day After 2010 Christmas blizzard? I have heard reports of thunder and lighting accompanying the Roosevelt Island snowstorm but am out of town right now so don't know how everyone is coping back home.

Roosevelt Island resident Jason Eng took this picture of the Riverwalk Lawn facing the East River and NYC skyline.

Image From Jason Eng

Sure makes Roosevelt Island look like a winter wonderland.

At 10 PM I called RIOC's Roosevelt Island Tram Hotline phone number (212-832-4555) to find out if it was operating during the blizzard. I received a pre-recorded message advising that today, November 30, the Tram will have it's grand opening celebration. Not very helpful to have out of date information on the Tram Hotline phone number.

However, I received better service from RIOC's Red Bus Hotline phone number (212-832-4558). A live person answered the phone after only a couple of rings and advised that the Red Bus was operating but on a much slower schedule due to the weather.

UPDATE 12/27 10:35 AM - Just received the following advisory from RIOC:
Due to the snow storm, the RIOC Main office will be closed today.  The RIOC Facilities and Grounds crews are working to clear the street and sidewalks.  The Tram will operate today on a 15 minute schedule.  The RIOC Red Bus will operate with limited service.

For information on the F train or Q102, please refer to the MTA website:
UPDATE 9 PM - Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra adds:
What a crazy day. Well, as you could see from the Advisories, the RIOC Staff has been hard at work, clearing streets and sidewalks. Tram service has been ongoing. Our PSD Officers and Supervisors (including the Captain) have been working double shifts to cover for those who live further out and could not make it in. In addition to covering their normal posts, they are also covering the Tram and the Ramp. Hopefully, the storm is behind us for good, and with some warmer weather, we can get back to some normalcy.

The only advice I can give is if people don't have to go out, they should remain in the comforts of their homes. If they need to venture out, please be careful.
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy sends in these sights from the Day After Christmas 2010 Blizzard on Roosevelt Island.

Here's the 2010 Day After Christmas Blizzard represented in time lapse photography - 20 hours in 40 seconds.

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Roosevelt Island Christmas Carols Performed At The Good Shepherd Church - They're Pretty Good!

You Tube Video Of Roosevelt Island Christmas Carol from lulumero

More Roosevelt Island Christmas Carols from the Good Shepherd Church here and here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays To All On Roosevelt Island and Around The World - Hope You Are Having A Great Day

Roosevelt Island Tram Reindeer Card

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all on Roosevelt Island and around the world.

You Tube Video Of Springsteen's Merry Christmas Baby

Hope you are having a peaceful and enjoyable day.

You Tube Video Of Ramones Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)

Here's something for those who eat Chinese food on Christmas and go to the movie theater too. A funny satirical video.

You Tube Video Of Chinese Food On Christmas

I wish you all peace, love and understanding.

You Tube Video of Elvis Costelo's Peace, Love and Understanding

Friday, December 24, 2010

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Annual Christmas Party - Movie, Pizza, Soda, Hot Dogs And Presents From Santa's Helpers

The folks over at the Roosevelt Island Youth Program report on their Annual Christmas Party. From the Roosevelt Island Youth Program:

Santa and his helpers (Roosevelt Island recruits) held their annual Christmas Party for Island youth last Saturday, December 18th.

Over 100 kids and Roosevelt Island Youth Program staff from both the Youth Center and Beacon PS/IS 217 (funded by the New York City Department of Youth Services and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation) met at the youth center.

Following a short Christmas Parade to the Tram Station we boarded the Tram


for our version of a sled ride to the City. We were treated to the 3D movie Chronicles of Narnia 3 at Clearview Cinemas on 62nd & 1st.


The movie came with all the popcorn and soda our young people could eat and drink and after the movie they returned to the youth center at 506 Main for music, holiday singing and more food -  pizza and hot dogs.


Then, Santa's Roosevelt Island helpers


gave out gifts to the kids in attendance.


The Roosevelt Island Youth Program also sent some gifts to families in need and the Executive Director made sure that additional gifts were given out to deserving youth on the Island who were very good this year.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program has had over 30 annual Christmas parties in its history giving out over 15,000 gifts and taking different themes each year. Roosevelt Island Youth Program would like to thank Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres, Vice-President Fernando Martinez and Donna Masley and the staff at the Tram for our sleigh ride to and from the movies and the City of New York and our good friend Carolyn Maloney for all their support.

Happy Holidays to All from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program!!!!!
All images are from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program. More here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still Have Time To Get Some Christmas/Holiday Gifts With That Special Roosevelt Island Flair - Miniature Tram, Tee Shirts, Unique Earrings And Cuff Links

Image of Roosevelt Island Tram Earrings From Shapeways

 Looking to make some last minute gift purchases with a little Roosevelt Island flair? How about a pair of Roosevelt Island Tram earrings pictured above or these Tram cuff links?

 Image of Roosevelt Island Tram Earrings From Shapeways

 The earrings and cuff links were created by Roosevelt Island artist and entrepreneur Ovidiu Opresco to celebrate the inauguration of the new Roosevelt Island Tram and his 70th birthday using an innovative 3D printing process fabrication technology from Shapeways. Mr. Opresco is also one of the artists that created the Crossing the East River On The Roosevelt Island Tram video.

Click here for more information about the Tram earrings and cuff-links.

I am not sure but I believe that they are also available at the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) Visitors Kiosk next to the Tram Station. The RIHS Visitors Kiosk will be open today and tomorrow. 

From the RIHS:

THURSDAY 12/23 12-7 P.M.

FRIDAY 12/24 12-4 P.M.





Among the items for sale is this miniature Roosevelt Island Tram

being displayed at the Kiosk's Grand Opening Celebration by RIOC's Michael Smith, Fernando Martinez, and Steve Chironis earlier this month. Mr. Chironis purchased the miniature Tram and planned on using it as a Christmas Tree ornament.

More RIHS Visitors Center Kiosk merchandise pictured here.

Only two more days until Christmas!

Make A Difference And Help Our Roosevelt Island Neighbors At Coler Goldwater Hospital - Donate Warm Clothes Or Just Stop By And Visit This Christmas And Holiday Season - It Would Make Somebody Very Happy

Members of the Coler Patient/Resident Committee at a Planning Meeting/Christmas celebration/ Image From Angelica Program

Would you like to make a big difference this Christmas season in somebody's life right here on Roosevelt Island? If so, here's how you can do it.

I received this great suggestion from a reader in response to a post on the New York Cares Winter Coat Drive sponsored here on Roosevelt Island by the Public Safety Department. Please consider making a direct donation of a warm coat or other winter clothes to our neighbors at Coler Goldwater Hospital. According to the reader:
Coler is located at 900 Main Street. The volunteer office is open from 9-4 M-F and is the first office on the left behind the Security Desk. Donations can be left at the door after hours, or with Security. Coats, scarves, hats, gloves, mittens, and gently used clothing (sweaters, wraps, pajamas) and shoes for adult men and women in all sizes are needed desperately. Many residents, have no family, or are too poor to purchase these items because the Medicaid takes all of their Social Security, and disability income etc. to pay for hospital coverage. Anyone interested in being of service needs to contact Lydia Ortiz, Director Volunteer Services, at 212 848-6011. I know there a lot of people who have lived on the island their entire lives and still have no idea what Coler Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility is, or what a difference can be made when someone receives a winter coat, or decent clothing., or a visit.

A little help goes a long way there.

Who knows what good things might happen from a post in the RI blog.
I suspect that donating winter clothes to a Coler Goldwater Hospital patient or making a visit during the Holiday/Christmas season will make you feel a little bit warmer too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Roosevelt Island Water Main For Blackwell House Leaking Into MTA Vent Shaft Reason For Road Work At Turnaround - Leak Now Fixed

Image of Blackwell Turnaround Road Work

Have you noticed the road work being done at the Blackwell Turnaround recently? Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President Of Operations Fernando Martinez tells us why.
On December 8, 2010, NYC DEP gave us " Three - Day Notice to Cure". DEP discovered that the MTA vent shaft was being flooded by one of RIOC's water main lines. The water line feeding Blackwell House was leaking under the electrical wire bank. Water was getting into the wire bank and through the conduits to the vent shaft. We called a contractor to make the repairs. The water main for Blackwell House wasn't indicated on DEP or on our maps. In addition, the water main was difficult to trace because of an interference from other utilities under the pavement. The job was further complicated by the cold weather, heavy traffic, and a very thick layer of concrete. The contractor was also instructed to install shut off valves for the Blackwell House and sprinkle/fountain water lines. None existed previously. As of today, all of the piping is installed, which was inspected and approved by DEP. Today, the contractor will backfill the trench and cover it with the steel plates. The plates will be set even with the pavement. In the Spring, we will completely restore the road.
Image of Blackwell Turnaround Road Work

Public Purpose Fund Grant Application Deadline For Roosevelt Island Organizations Coming Up Soon - Remember To Get Your Papers In By Friday December 31

 Pile Of Money Image From Richwealthpig

Received the following message from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder:
Hello All:

Please be advised that the deadline to submit the 2011 Public Purpose Grant Applications is Friday, December 31st at 12 PM. 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.

Good Luck!
Click here if you are a Roosevelt Island organization interested in obtaining Public Purpose funds from RIOC and here for previous posts on subject.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ground Lease Term Extension Sought For Roosevelt Island Mitchell Lama Rivercross Building In Order To Lock In Low Interest Rates For Refinancing - How Does This Impact Any Privatization Plan?

Image of Rivercross Building Entrance

During the December Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors Meeting, an item not on the original Agenda having to do with a resolution extending the term of years for the ground lease on the Rivercross Building was proposed. RIOC President Leslie Torres explained to the Directors that in order for Rivercross to lock in currently favorable interest rates for a bank loan refinancing to undertake necessary building wide improvements, an extension of it's current ground lease term (currently through 2028) by RIOC was necessary before any future increase in interest rates.

Below is the Proposed Resolution.
Agenda Item V, 7. December 15, 2010 PROPOSED RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, “Rivercross Tenants Corp.” (“Rivercross”) is the lessee under a Ground Lease from the New York State Urban Development Corporation (“UDC”), as amended and restated November 30, 1977 (the “Ground Lease”); and

WHEREAS, UDC's interest in the Ground Lease has been assigned to RIOC; and

WHEREAS, Rivercross wishes to refinance the mortgage on its property in order to raise funds for necessary capital improvements and to keep the project in the Mitchell-Lama program, and, in order to do so, needs to extend the term of the Ground Lease, which currently expires in 2028;


RESOLVED, that the President of RIOC be, and she hereby is, authorized and directed to cause an extension of the Ground Lease to be prepared reflecting, that so long as Rivercross continues in the Mitchell-Lama program (i) the term of the Ground Lease shall be extended for an additional term of years sufficient to facilitate the proposed refinancing by Rivercross, (ii) the Base Ground Rent payable to RIOC shall continue at the current level of $2,624.48 per month, escalating 3% as of January 1, 2012, and cumulatively thereafter on each anniversary of such date during the term,(iii) the Tax Equivalent Payments to the ESDC shall continue to be determined under the "Shelter Rent" formula in accordance with the letter between Rivercross and ESDC dated February 5, 2008, and (iv) and containing such other terms as are mutually satisfactory to both parties, and in compliance with the terms of the Public Authorities Law; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the President be, and she hereby is, authorized to cause an explanatory statement of the proposed transaction to be prepared and transmitted to those parties entitled to receive such a statement under the Public Authorities Law; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the President/Chief Executive Officer or her designee be, and she hereby is, authorized and directed to take such further actions and execute such further documents as are necessary or desirable to effectuate the foregoing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that these resolutions shall take effect immediately.
During the discussion by the RIOC Board, Director Margie Smith stated that before there are any headlines she wanted to clearly understand that nothing in the proposed resolution precludes the Rivercross Building from being privatized and leaving the Mitchell - Lama Program in the future. I did not hear a direct answer from any of the other Directors or RIOC staff to Ms. Smith's question.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the RIOC Directors.

After the meeting, I asked Ms. Torres if this resolution means that Rivercross has to stay in the Mitchell Lama program in order to receive the ground lease extension. She indicated that was what it meant. I asked Ms. Smith the same question and she said that the resolution has no impact on whether Rivercross is privatized or not.

Being thoroughly confused and in order to understand the impact of this resolution, I sent the following email message to RIOC President Torres yesterday.
Can you please clarify the impact of the RIOC Board's December 15 Resolution concerning an extension of the Rivercross building ground lease?

After reading the Resolution, It appears to me that the Resolution only authorizes a Ground Lease extension if Rivercross stays in the Mitchell Lama program and does not go private as advocated by some.

Is that an accurate reading of the resolution? If not, can you please explain how that is not correct?

If so, what happens if the ground lease extension is granted and Rivercross subsequently decides it wants to go private - is the Ground lease extension rescinded? Is Rivercross permitted to go private if they receive this ground lease extension?

These are important public Roosevelt Island policy questions impacting all of Roosevelt Island.

I want to be accurate in what I post about this topic so would appreciate any thoughts or comments you have on the matter.
I also sent a similar inquiry to Ms. Smith. Have not yet received a response from either Ms. Torres or Ms. Smith. Will post when and if I do.

The webcast of the December RIOC Board of Directors meeting is available online including the discussion concerning the Rivercross ground lease extension (at approximately the 30 minute mark). Watch it yourself to see how decisions are made on Roosevelt Island.

Some interesting highlights of the discussion include RIOC Director David Kraut stating that he understood that due to the possibility of increased interest rates, time may be of the essence to Rivercross in getting a ground lease extension but time may not be of the essence in this case to RIOC and noted that the Real Estate Committee did not approve this resolution before it came to the full Board as is typically the case in real estate matters.

Mr. Kraut also raised the very important issue of the large discrepancies in the amount of ground rents paid to RIOC by the older WIRE buildings as compared to the higher ground rents paid by the  newer buildings at Manhattan Park, Octagon and Riverwalk. Mr. Kraut indicated that he is concerned that Rivercross, Island House, Westview do not contribute their fair share to RIOC and the operations of Roosevelt Island. In the event that privatization of these buildings do occur, Mr. Kraut wants every effort be made to insure that these buildings pay their fair share.