Friday, March 5, 2010

Roosevelt Island Cello Extravaganza Presented By R&R Concerts At Good Shepherd Community Center Sunday Night 8 PM

Image From R&R Concerts

Last week's Cello Extravaganza Concert that was cancelled due to the snow has been rescheduled for 8 PM this Sunday March 7 at Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Community Center.

More information here.

Roosevelt Island Lights Going Out - Con Ed Working On Problem Says RIOC

There seems to be a problem with failing lights on Roosevelt Island. According to the 3/4-3/5 Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Report:

Hazardous Condition - PSD observed various lights out on RI. Con ED was on island and was advised. Con ED will make repairs. PSD officer was posted in area.
and the 2/28 -3/1 Public Safety Report:
Hazardous Condition - Numerous lights out at Manhattan Park, West Seawall, and Blackwell House. RIOC notified.
In response RIOC informs us that:
Please be advised Con Edison continues to work on the lighting outages throughout Roosevelt Island. Note this is a Con Edison issue and they are hopeful to restore most, if not all, of the lights by the end of the weekend.

The Public Safety Department will be conducting additional patrols throughout the affected areas until the power is restored.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
It didn't happen on Roosevelt Island but do you know what happened the Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia?

You Tube Video of Reba McEntire's Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

Celebrate 9th Anniversary Of Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA With Opening Reception For Vernissage 9 On Saturday NIght 6 - 9 PM

Click On Image To Enlarge

Received the following message from Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA:
Join us for the 9th Anniversary of Gallery RIVAA. Vernissage 9 opens with a Reception on Saturday, March 6th, 6 - 9 P.M.
Image From Gallery RIVAA

Day 5 Of Roosevelt Island Tram Less Commute To Manhattan - Are You Willing To Take The Temporary TramBus?

You Tube Video Of Jackson Hole Tram Cabin Taken Down

Today is Day 5 of the Roosevelt Island Tram-less F Train Subway commute. It was just last Monday that Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) President Steve Shane officially shut down the Tram with a handshake

and work began on the six month Modernization Project.

The first morning of commuting went smoothly but how about the rest of the week? Here's two different opinions from Monday's subway report:
Commuting via Train has not been a problem all week. Let's hope the MTA keeps it that way
Last night, 3/3 the subway stranded Roosevelt island commuters at around 6:30 from the city and from queens. My boyfriend got announcements when he got on the train at bryant park saying they would be taking the V line bc the F line signals were down and they would have to take the F back from Queensbridge. The problem is once they got there the F was not working at all and he was left to walk or wait for a bus for a half hour and on top of that ran into a little girl who was sick and her mother who couldn't speak english and couldn't find their way back to the island.
This is only week one, how much more are we going to have to take before MTA realizes that the subway and a few buses aren't going to do the trick.
Another reader suggested:
If you want to take the reader's advice and contact the MTA's General Manager, here is his email address.

But wait. The MTA may have come up with a temporary solution to Roosevelt Island's tram-less commuters - The BUSTRAM.

Twitpic Bus Tram Image From Fake MTA

What do you think - willing to take a ride on the new Roosevelt Island TramBus or BusTram?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Urban Ninjas Return To Roosevelt Island For Parkour & Free Running Training

They're back. This earlier post introduced Roosevelt Island residents to the sport of Parkour or Free Running:

... Doing handstands down stairs, walking on the sides of walls, leaping over obstructions in a single bound! Have some form of Urban Ninjas or Navy Seals established a training camp here on Roosevelt Island? Maybe an audition for latest James Bond movie chase scene?

No, but the relatively new sport of Parkour has come to Roosevelt Island. What is Parkour?...
As explained by You Tube Video from bullettrun:
Urban Vanguard and Ryan Doyle train together in NYC on a cold, winter January afternoon at Roosevelt Island. Includes interviews and training footage from that day, and other occasions in NYC. Sha Mualimm-Ak and Ryan Doyle discuss their attitudes towards Parkour and training together.

According to American Parkour:
Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.
The main difference then between Parkour and Free Running is that Parkour is defined by purpose "get somewhere quickly and efficiently using the human body", and Free Running is defined by the activity or art of moving through your environment however you want, moving your way, following your own path.
Whatever it's called, it looks really cool.

What's Happening With Roosevelt Island's Main Street Retail & Mitchell Lama Privatization- RIOC Real Estate Committee To Meet And Discuss Today

Image of Roosevelt Island Main Street Arcades From Page 14 of Consultants Retail Report

Roosevelt Island's Main Street retail situation, or more precisely, lack of retail - particularly with the recent closing of the Grog Liquor Shop - is always a topic of great interest and disgust. A reader of this post asks:
I thought getting new stores here was now in the laps of the RIOC Board Members.... Can someone ask them what's being done to fill the storefronts?
Reacting to the Grog Shop's closing and empty Main Street stores this reader commented:
It is in the hands of the RIOC Board Members that we voted in.

Urge them to take action. A study was completed and the laws were changed.

Now, let's get a Flower Shop, an Ice Cream Parlor, a Bakery, a Fish Store and another Pizzaria opened in the heart of Main Street.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp's (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee will be meeting today to discuss Main Street Retail and Mitchell Lama Privatization. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York. The Committee will meet to:

1. discuss the Main Street retail master lease project; and
2. discuss issues pertaining to the privatization of the Mitchell-Lama buildings.
New RIOC Director Margie Smith comments:
I don't have any comment right now about the Master Leasholder or the M/L privatization status other than to say that the Real Estate Committee is giving them top priority and doing everything possible to move both projects along as responsibly as possible.
A video or audio webcast of the meeting will be made available on RIOC's web site within two business days.

More on Roosevelt Island Master Leaseholder plan here and the Main Street Retail Consultant's report is below.

Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Study

Regarding Mitchell Lama Privatizations, RIOC President Steve Shane's 2/25 message (Item 9) reported:
Privatization of Mitchell-Lamas: With the extensive discussion and debate at the Board meeting to express the sense of the Board for ground lease extensions, RIOC has taken a step forward in preserving the long term affordability of the portion of the housing on the Island represented by Rivercross, Island House and Westview. Much work and many details remain to be resolved with the other governmental agencies who are stakeholders in Roosevelt Island. Stay tuned for developments.
During the February 18 RIOC Board Of Directors meeting Mr. Shane further commented on the Rivercross, Island House and Westview privatizations. The comments were transcribed by the Main Street WIRE. An excerpt from the full transcript below:
... The subject of privatization this Island of what were four Mitchell- Lama buildings for what were fondly known as the WIRE buildings, for Westview, Island House, Rivercross, and Eastwood has been going on for a long time and it is generated by the provision in the Private Housing Finance Law that gives individual Mitchell-Lamas the right to withdraw from the program after a number of years of regulation. Now, there is controversy over whether that applies to the projects here on the Island because of the provisions in the ground lease with the City of New York to which each of them subscribed at the time they were formed and had their own sublease, ...
The 2/27/10 Main Street WIRE has more on Roosevelt Island's Mitchell Lama privatization efforts.

The webcast of the February RIOC Board of Directors Meeting including Mr. Shane's full statement on privatizations of Roosevelt Island Mitchell Lama buildings is available here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) March Common Council Meeting Tonight - Come Find Out What Is Going On!

Image of December 2009 RIRA Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting tonight at the Good Shepherd Community Center's Lower Level Room at 8 PM. The RIRA Common Council is composed of residents elected from each of the Roosevelt Island buildings. If you are interested in learning what's going on here on Roosevelt Island - Come On Down!

Prior to the start of the meeting there is an opportunity for the public to present any issues of concern to the Council.

UPDATE 4:30 PM - Below is the Agenda for RIRA's March Meeting:

Click On Image To Enlarge

Come Learn About Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 School From Principal & PTA President Tonight At Riverwalk Informational Meeting - School Tour March 10

This recent post reported on Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk developers acting as Principal For A Day at PS/IS 217. If you are interested in learning more about the school and reside in Southtown, the following message from the Riverwalk developers may be of interest.

Come and Learn about Roosevelt Island’s Local Public School

P.S./I.S. 217

Did you know about their K-8 programs?

Their Amazing Facilities?

The New Gifted and Talented Program?

When: Wednesday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Riverwalk Court Party Room, 415 Main Street, Roof

Come meet Principal Mandana Beckman,

Assistant Principal Jennifer Bartolino

& PTA President Nikki Leopold

Light refreshments will be served.

Related Management 405 Main Street, New York, NY 10044, 212-920-3070, fax 212-920-3071

Tonight's PS/IS 217 informational meeting is intended for residents of Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk buildings. PTA President Nikki Leopold advises:
There will be another school tour on Wednesday, March 10th at 8:45am, as well as one in April. We might do another Q&A open to the general public if interest dictates.
More information on future PS/IS 217 school tours is available at the PTA's web site.

You Tube Video Of PS/IS 217 3rd Graders Colombian Dancing Rehearsal

The Roosevelt Island School G & T Class Blog has the March 2010 PTA Newsletter.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Roosevelt Island Red Bus, NYC Q102 and Hospital Bus Route Temporarily Changed During Tram Modernization

Click on image to Enlarge

RIOC has decided to change Roosevelt Island Bus routes during the Tram Shutdown. According to RIOC:
Please be advised that RIOC will implement a temporary bus route during the period of the Tram Modernization Project, March 1, 2010 to August 31, 2010. The temporary bus route will only affect the southern portion of Roosevelt Island i.e. around the F Train and Tram Stations. Currently, the RIOC, Coler/Goldwater and Q102 buses travel south on West Drive and then turn east toward the Tram Station. The RIOC bus dwells at the Tram Station, while the Coler/Goldwater and Q102 buses turn right onto East Drive and continue to Goldwater Hospital.

The temporary bus route eliminates south-bound buses on West Drive, as well as the associated bus stops opposite the subway station. Instead, all bus and truck traffic will travel south-bound along East Drive. The RIOC bus will turn west at the fountain and continue to the front of the F Train Station, while the Coler/Goldwater and Q102 buses will turn east at the fountain-continuing south down East Drive toward Goldwater Hospital, and return Northbound as they do now. Please refer to the attached map for further details.

The effective date of the route implementation will be March 1, 2010.
More Roosevelt Island Bus information from RIOC President Steve Shane's 2/25 Report (Item 2B):
... The MTA will continue to operate the Q 102 bus on the Island on its published schedule. Starting in April, there will be a route change to eliminate the alternating loops to Coler and Goldwater for those who would use the Q 102 and its transfer into the Metrocard system. Regular Red Bus service will continue on the Island, but because of the increased construction activity at the Tram site and the elimination of the Tram stop during the outage, all regular Red Bus service will run a continuous loop southbound along the East Drive, stopping at Riverwalk Bar, then looping around to the front of the subway station to resume a northbound run. Those that want to disembark for the subway at Riverwalk Bar may do so; those who want to ride around to the subway may stay on a stop and do so. All southbound buses, including the Octagon Express will make a stop at PS 217 for those wanting to board a bus at the Q102 stop....
RIOC has previously proposed this bus route change, not for Tram related construction reasons but for what are said to be safety reasons. At the January 2010 RIRA meeting:
... RIOC's VP of Operations Fernando Martinez describing a proposed plan to reroute the Roosevelt Island southbound Red Bus to the East Channel (Queens Side) Road when it passes the Blackwell Turnaround in Southtown replacing the current West Channel route. Mr. Martinez explained the reason for this change is due to safety issues caused by a "blind spot" at the current subway Red Bus stop as riders exit the back of the bus and cross the street to the subway station not seeing oncoming northbound traffic....
What did the RIRA members think of the bus rerouting plan?
... Some members favored this new route and others had additional thoughts and suggestions. One suggestion was to keep the existing route but move the current subway bus stop further north to remove the "blind spot" safety problem and/or place a Public Safety officer at the bus stop to direct traffic during rush hours which would also eliminate the "blind spot" issue. Another suggestion was to just ban private cars from using the West Channel during rush hours by directing them to the East Channel road....
So, will this "temporary" East Channel bus route change during the Tram shutdown serve as a test to measure acceptance by Roosevelt Island residents and become the permanent route?

Unusual Roosevelt Island On Film - Nelly Bly, Emma Goldman & Grandpa Munster At The Public Library Tonight 6:30 PM

Nelly Bly Around The World In 72 Days Image From PBS's American Experience

The Roosevelt Island Public Library is hosting:
A series of presentations by Judith Berdy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, featuring our unusual Island on film!
According to Ms. Berdy:
Join us on Tuesday, March 2 at 6:30 p..m. at the R.I. Branch of the NYPL, 524 Main Street.

This weeks film excerpts include:"The Other Islands of New York City" featuring Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster)
"Around the World in 72 Days: Nellie Bly"&"Emma Goldman: An Exceedingly Dangerous Woman"

This program is free and sponsored by the RIHS & NYPL
Why no Dark Water or A Necessary Music. Those movies certainly depicted an unusual Roosevelt Island - to say the least.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 1 Of the Roosevelt Island Tram-Less Rush Hour F Train Subway Commute - Smooth Sailing So Far & Good Job By The MTA

So how did this mornings first Tram-less Roosevelt Island rush hour commute go? Pretty smoothly from my perspective at the Manhattan Bound F Train subway station.

I stationed myself there from approximately 7:45 to 9 AM and did not see any particular problems with overcrowded trains. F Trains were arriving every 2 or 3 minutes but as we got closer to 9 AM the interval increased to about 4 minutes. Yes, several trains during that time were very crowded and riders had to squeeze in to be accommodated but nothing unusual for a morning rush hour New York City Subway ride.

Crowded Roosevelt Island Rush Hour Subway Platform

Squeezing Into F Train At Roosevelt Island

Other trains had more than ample enough room for standing.

Empty Rush Hour Roosevelt Island Station and F Train

I was pleasantly surprised to see at least 4 MTA personnel stationed, including supervisors, on the platform helping riders and generally evaluating the situation.

MTA Personnel Helping At the Roosevelt Island F Train Platform

The MTA personnel delayed departing F Trains several times so that Roosevelt Island residents rushing down the stairs or escalators could safely board a waiting train. They even helped a woman with a stroller who had let two previous trains go by get on the next train. I was certainly very impressed with those MTA workers. They did a great job! I was told that in the event there are significant F train delays in Queens, a V train would be re-directed on the F line towards Roosevelt Island.

A reader of this post had a similar subway experience this morning.
Day 1 of Tramageddon: no noticeable difference in my commute at around 7:45am. I was thinking that some folks would start their commute early plus the usual tram crown at this time would have some kind of impact. Nope, nothing at all. As long as the trains are running on schedule I am sure the F line has enough capacity.
NY 1 was on hand to witness today's Roosevelt Island commute interviewing residents on the subway platform and at the Tram Station. They also interviewed RIOC VP Of Operations Fernando Martinez in this video.

The reporter, Roger Clark Tweeted:
I'm thinking one of the old Roosevelt Island Trams would make a fun coffee stand or snack bar....need clever name for business...
Don't know how the Red Bus Shuttle to Queens went this morning though.

Roosevelt Island Tram Shutdown Begins This Morning - Will Commuting From Roosevelt Island Be A Nightmare As Many Fear Or A Minor Inconvenience?

And so it begins this morning - a tram-less Roosevelt Island for what is hoped to be a six month period during which the Tram will be renovated and returned to service no later than late August/early September. NY 1 reported on the last day of the Roosevelt Island Tram:
The Roosevelt Island Tram is set to make its final East River crossing Sunday night before undergoing a six month-long renovation and repair project.

Service on the tram will be suspended beginning at 2 a.m. Monday.

"We'll miss it. We won't be able to go until September again, so that's why we wanted to go today to get one last fun ride," said Upper East Side resident Joe Covey.

The $25 million project will replace everything except the bases of the three towers that support the cars.

Project managers say when all is said and done riders can look forward to more comfortable cars and more reliable service.

In the case of a malfunction, like the one which left 70 passengers stranded for seven hours back in April 2006, cars will run on a backup power system and be able to return to the nearest station.

"It will be far more flexible during operation so it will be easier to load the people from one side to the other, even if there's maintenance operation on the other trams," said Project Director David Aubonne...
There's NY 1 video too.

The Daily News adds that the Tram Shutdown will impact others in addition to Roosevelt Island residents.
... Barbara Oyola of the Bronx typically takes the tram to her job at a Roosevelt Island coffee shop. She's expecting the shutdown to add an extra 75 minutes to her commute.

"I'll have to see the new tram to believe this is worth it," she said. "The F train stinks. Riding it is going to be the worst."

In addition to the F train, commuters can use the Q102 bus or take $1 shuttle buses to the Queens Plaza subway station and the E, G, R and V trains.

The tram carries about 2 million riders a year. City officials warn the work will also affect traffic on First and York Aves., as well as 59th and 60th Sts. and the Manhattan-bound upper roadway of the Queensboro Bridge.