Friday, April 2, 2010

Corporate & Zog Softball Teams Return To Roosevelt Island Playing Fields - Review Pony Field, Then Relax With A Nitecap At Riverwalk Bar & Grill

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Opening day of the baseball season returns on Sunday night at Fenway Park with the Yankees playing the Red Sox. Great way to start off the season. On Roosevelt Island, like MLB and the Swallows to Capistrano, the corporate and Zog softball players have returned as well.

A softball player from Brooklyn had this to say about playing on Roosevelt Island's Pony Field according to a Yelp review:

... Pony Field is one of three softball/baseball fields on Roosevelt Island and the farthest to get to. Hoof it on foot through the Soviet-era Russia-esque buildings "downtown," or take the bus for .25 cents. I'm not sure about parking around the field, as I think most may be by permit only.

This field is pretty decent as far as fields go. It used to be one of the most run down (read: weeds) and neglected fields on the island, but within the past few years it has been resurrected. There are new dugouts for players and aluminum tiered benches for fans. The infield is a sandy-dirt mixture and the outfield is fairly even and maintained. There are also nearby bathrooms, which are, ah, best described as "meh."

One thing that RI has going for it are the spectacular NYC skyline views and sunsets....which, after taking in, makes the long F train ride back to Brooklyn pretty okay in my book....
I spoke with a Yahoo softball player the other night at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill who told me the same thing as the Yelp reviewer and added that the field was comparable to others he played on including those in Central Park.

Some of the softball players and others were relaxing after a game last night at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill outdoor seating area.

More on Roosevelt Island playing fields from RIOC.

Use Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department's Air Pump To Inflate Your Bicycle Tires, Basketballs and Soccer Balls

The weather is turning nicer and this weekend is supposed to be sunny with the temperature in the 70's. Thoughts turn to outdoor activities such as bike riding and basketball. So, if you need to fill your bicycle or basketball with air, Roosevelt Island's Public Safety Department can help.


The Public Safety Department would like to offer the residents of the island the opportunity to come in and use our Bicycle Pump.

Feel free to come in, say hello and meet an Officer. While you're here, you may fill a bicycle tire, a basketball or soccer ball.

Public Safety Director Keith Guerra adds that the pump is electric.

More Roosevelt Island Parking Problems - Spaces Removed From Street Opposite The Fire Station Near Octagon Park

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A reader of this post on parking problems in Southtown's Riverwalk area asks:

Why have they suddenly made street parking illegal in front of Octagon Park (across from the fire house)? It used to be metered parking. In fact, the meter machine is still there, but new "No Parking" signs have been erected there.

I asked RIOC VP Of Operations Fernando Martinez about what happened to the parking across from the Fire House and he promised to look into the matter and obtain an answer to the question.

UPDATE 4 PM - Mr. Martinez has the answer and solution:
The signs were changed to "No Parking" when we repaved the roadway from Manhattan Park to the Octagon Field. Unfortunately, the signs were not changed back to allow for parking in that area. The RIOC Engineering Department has been notified and will install the proper signs. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
UPDATE 5:30 PM -According to RIOC:
Our Maintenance Dept. installed the signs yesterday morning, between 40 River Rd., Manhattan Park Building to the Octagon Field Comfort Station. Three (3) signs were installed on the light poles, the signs read 6 hour parking, $1.00 per hour.

Credit Card Payments Now Accepted At Roosevelt Island's Motorgate Garage - Will Farmers Market Be Next?

You Tube Video of Mr. Bean In A Garage

A post from last December included a request from a reader for acceptance of credit card payments at Roosevelt Island's Motorgate 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!
Well reader, your good idea has now been implemented. RIOC President Steve Shane sent in the following message:
BTW, credit cards are now accepted at Motorgate.
The next step is to get the vendors at the Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market to accept credit or debit cards.

UPDATE 11 AM - The 4/1 -4/2 Public Safety Report advises that two vehicles were found to have car windows broken in the garage:
Criminal Mischief/Petit Larceny - PSD officer observed two vehicles with broken windows in parking garage. PSD conducted search with negative results. Items were taken from both vehicles. NYPD responded and made a police report.

UPDATE 4PM - A reader of this parking post has an interesting take on Motorgate Garage:
As a new resident (who only occasionally has a car), I didn't realize understand the parking issues voiced here and in other places. Come on, there's Motorgate! Then I used Motorgate. It all makes sense now.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Roosevelt Island 2010 Census Information Assistance Available Thru April 19 - 10 Questions, 10 Minutes, 10 Years

According to ABC News:

Just in case you didn't know, the government has dubbed today National Census Day, the reference date for its once-a-decade attempt to count the country's population...
Do you have a question about the Census form. If so, you can visit the Roosevelt Island Census Questionnaire Center.

According to RIOC:
Census "Be Counted" Questionnaire Assistance Centers on Roosevelt Island

The Center will answer questions about the Census form, have forms available for residents who did not receive theirs and help people fill out their forms.

We have instructions in several different languages and will use those to help residents who do not speak English.

The schedule is as follows:

Opens today, March 19 through Monday April 19.

546 Main Street:

Mon, Tues, Thurs Fri, Noon - 4p.m.

Coler Goldwater Hospital
900 Main Street (north end of Island):

Tues, Wed, Thurs, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Fri, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m..
Sat 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The NY Times shows who turned in their Cenus Forms so far.

Click here if you want to see the Census participation rate for Roosevelt Island,then just put in zip code.

Lower East Side Ecology Center Holding Roosevelt Island Electronic Waste Recycling On Saturday April 3

You Tube Video of Union Square LESEC E-Waste Recycling

According to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Expert Erica Wilder, the Lower East Side Ecology Center will be holding a free electronic waste recycling event on Saturday April 3:

RIOC and the Lower East Side Ecology Center will be holding a free electronic waste recycling event just in time for spring-cleaning to help Roosevelt Island Residents un-clutter their homes of unwanted gadgets by disposing of electronics in an environmentally sound way. This year also marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.

Residents are invited to bring their unwanted electronics to the Good Shephard Plaza 543 Main Street-Saturday, April 3rd, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.(Rain or shine)

The following items will be accepted: working and non-working computers (laptops, desktops, servers), monitors, printers, keyboards, mice, cables, TV’s, audio-visual electronic devices and cell phones.

According to an EPA study, 40% of the toxins in household garbage come from computers and electronics. Recycling electronics help keeps these toxins out of landfills, incinerators and the environment. By offering free electronics recycling events, the Lower East Side Ecology Center is hoping to stem the tide of all these highly toxic materials reaching the waste stream.
Click on images below for more information and additional locations for future electronic waste recycling events.

RIOC is advising:
Be advised that due to the E-WASTE RECYCLING EVENT being held at the Good Shephard Plaza (543 Main Street), there will be "No Parking" from 543 Main Street to 531 Main Street during the hours of 7:00am and 6:00pm on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010.
More on recycling electronic waste from NYC Waste Less.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Governor Patterson Suspends State Funding Of Construction Projects For Budget Crisis, Exempts Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park - Why?

The NY Post, NY Times and NY 1 are reporting that Governor David Patterson is suspending hundreds of New York State funded construction projects. According to the NY Post:
Gov. Paterson moved on two fronts yesterday to shore up the state's teetering finances: halting hundreds of state-funded construction projects and freezing another $2.1 billion in school aid.

The emergency actions came as the state approached another fiscal year -- its 26th since 1980 -- without a balanced budget.

Paterson officials said the lack of a 2010-11 spending plan by the April 1 deadline would mean the end of the road for some 500 building projects not funded by federal stimulus money.

Ongoing projects facing shortfalls in state aid include the $407 million effort to repair and expand the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, which carries I-95 over the Harlem River, and plans to reconfigure the Long Island Expressway's interchange with Route 110 in Huntington.

Paterson's extraordinary fiat might keep other projects from starting altogether, such as the $75 million plan to build a highway connection for the Army's base at Fort Drum near the Canadian border. Bids for the project were due to be let tomorrow....
According to NY 1:
...For now, only projects paid for with federal stimulus funds will move forward. The rest will have to wait until the state Legislature and the governor come up with a spending plan.

However, any project that addresses emergency health and safety needs will be exempt from the suspension.
How does this suspension of NY State funded construction projects impact the $4 million in State funding allocated to the proposed FDR Four Freedom Park Boondoggle on Roosevelt Island?

When I learned of the suspension of NY State funded construction projects my sentiments echoed this tweet from Value Everything:
Great! Does this mean they'll stop the FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island? I hope so, cause it'll be ugggggly!
So I inquired of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Steve Shane how this will impact Roosevelt Island's proposed FDR Four Freedoms Park as well as any other Roosevelt Island project including the Tram Modernization.

Mr. Shane replied:
I am advised that the Governor's announcement will have no impact on the State appropriation for the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial.
followed by:
Also, zero impact on Tram modernization project. Money already in ESDC's and RIOC's account.
I responded:
I do not mean to be sarcastic or snarky in any manner but what "emergency health and safety needs" does the FDR Four Freedoms Park meet in order to be exempted from the Governor's construction project suspension?
Mr. Shane answered:
I have no idea, but it is not on the suspend list.
I then received the following RIOC Advisory:
Due to construction, South Point Park will be close until further notice.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
and asked Mr. Shane:
Is the closure of Southpoint Park due to construction for the FDR Four Freedoms Park? If so, shouldn't any construction wait until you are sure that the Governor's suspension of State funding is confirmed, otherwise the Park is needlessly closed.
who answered:
There are two projects going on. One is Phase II of the Southpoint Open Space project (aka Green Rooms/Wild Gardens) and the second being the FDR Four Freedoms project. The State funding is confirmed.
This is just an additional instance of what appears to be special consideration being given for the politically connected FDR Four Freedoms Park Memorial Boondoggle. For example this happened just yesterday. I asked Mr. Shane:
During the RIRA Town Hall meeting last Wednesday, you indicated that the FDR Four Freedoms Park Memorial agreement has been finalized, in escrow, it's release from escrow imminent and when it was released from escrow RIOC would make the agreement public. Has the agreement been released from escrow and if so, can you forward me a copy so that I may post on Roosevelt Islander blog.

Also, has the FDR Four Freedoms Park Memorial been approved by the NYC Design Commission? I have been trying to confirm that NYC Design Commission has approved the project but have not been able to do so yet. If it has not been approved, does that have any impact on the agreement between RIOC and FDR Memorial promoters?
Mr. Shane sent the material requested and added in regard to the approval by NYC Design Commission:
no, it was not and no it was not required to be.
In reply, I asked:
In response to your answer below, why does the FDR Memorial Project design for Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park not need to be submitted to and approved by the NYC Design Commission? According to the NYC Design Commission's web site:

... The Design Commission reviews permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed on or over City-owned property. Projects include construction, renovation or restoration of buildings, such as museums and libraries; creation or rehabilitation of parks and playgrounds; installation of lighting and other streetscape elements; and design, installation and conservation of artwork.,,,

Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park is certainly NYC owned property, notwithstanding the City's lease of Roosevelt Island to NY State. For such an important change to NYC waterfront open space park land, why shouldn't the appropriate designated NYC agency that reviews similar projects review the proposed FDR Memorial Park? Indeed, supporters of this Project have claimed that this Project is not just a Roosevelt Island park, but one for the entire City, State and County. If, as claimed, the FDR Memorial Park is such a high profile and prominent addition to New York City open space Park Land, shouldn't a Project of such importance be reviewed by the NYC Agency that is charged with and trained to review it's appropriateness for the proposed location? If not, what makes the FDR Memorial Project so different?

Further, in a matter primarily, if not solely concerning Roosevelt Island residents, you recently sought a RIOC Board resolution waiving the necessity of any required approval by the Design Commission for the Manhattan Tram Station re-design. In a matter such as the proposed FDR Memorial at Southpoint Park, which is claimed by RIOC and other supporters to be of great City, State and national importance, it would seem as though approval of the NYC Design Commission is more warranted or at least, RIOC should attempt to get a formal waiver of the Design Commission's approval. Whether one supports or opposes this particular project, all should agree that proper legal procedures should be followed. To not do so appears arbitrary and capricious, given previous practice.

Also, please remember a similar occassion when you incorrectly claimed that a RIOC Board resolution was not required to approve the FDR Memorial and later decided to proceed with a formal vote on the matter. Perhaps this is a similar occasion...
Mr. Shane responded:
Up to you to pursue. We have been advised that there is no such requirement.
we went through the Design Commission's jurisdiction in connection with the Tram. They asserted no jurisdiction over facilities on Roosevelt Island. Indeed, were one to follow your logic, everything here would be required to be submitted to the DC, a most awkward and administratively difficult result.
followed by me:
If the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial is of such City, State and National importance as supporters assert, then the NYC Design Commission might reasonably be anticipated to assert jurisdiction assuming they know about the project.

My logic does not require every Roosevelt Island project to be submitted to the Design Commission, only those that meet this criteria:

... The Design Commission reviews permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed on or over City-owned property. Projects include construction, renovation or restoration of buildings, such as museums and libraries; creation or rehabilitation of parks and playgrounds; installation of lighting and other streetscape elements; and design, installation and conservation of artwork.,,,

Very few Roosevelt Island projects meet these criteria - other than the landmarks.
Finally, Mr. Shane:
I am advised that the Four Freedoms Memorial was submitted to the Design Commission for a "courtesy" review last April 27 as the DC did not think it had jurisdiction. At that time, the project was without objection and reportedly received kudos.
Why a "courtesy" review of this project and not a full public hearing by the New York City Design Commission? No idea but the FDR Four Freedom Park certainly seems to be on some sort of "unique" track particularly when you consider the 41 existing NY State Parks and 14 Historic Sites that are planned to close due to the budget crisis yet this non-existent Park is being funded to the tune of $4 million in State Funds and another $4.5 in NYC funds for what is purported to be only the first of three phases totaling at least $45 milion? Given that we are in the Passover Season, perhaps one can paraphrase and ask:
Why Is the FDR Four Freedoms Park taxpayer supported project different from all other taxpayer projects?
Why indeed?

Below are the recently completed documents regarding the FDR Four Freedoms Park including
  • Funding Agreement Between RIOC and New York City
  • Development Agreement Between RIOC and Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedom Park LLC (FDR LLC)
  • Letter Agreement Between RIOC and FDR LLC and
  • Escrow Agreement Between RIOC, FDR LLC and JP Morgan Chase
Funding Agreement NYC RIOC 2010

Development Agreement RIOC FDR 2010

Letter Agreemnet RIOC FDR 2010

Escrow Agreement RIOC FDR JP Morgan 2010

Roosevelt Island Magnolia Blossom Walk on Saturday April 3, Cherry Blossom Walk On April 24 - Come On Out, Beautiful Weather Forecast For This Weekend

Top and Bottom image from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society

From the Roosevelt Island Historical Society:
Join the The Roosevelt Island Historical Society for our 3nd Annual Magnolia Blossom Walk Saturday, April 3, 2010 11:00 a.m. Tour leaves from in front of The Octagon, 888 Main Street


3nd Annual Cherry Blossom Walk Saturday, April 24, 2010 11:00 a.m.Tour leaves from the Visitor Center Tram Plaza, Roosevelt Island
Suggested Donation: $5.00
Reservations requested: 212-688-4836

Image of Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom From Trip Advisor

Saturday's weather forecast is for sunny skies and 70 degree temperatures. Come on out to Roosevelt Island for the beautiful day and Magnolia Blossom Walk.

According to this 2009 post from Kimono dresser and blogger Beauty of Kimono:
I live in Roosevelt Island, just adjacent to Manhattan Island. There is a long row of cherry blossom trees, called as “Cherry Tree Walk”, in this island along East River. All the cherry blossom trees were presented from Japan.

Now light pinkish cherry blossoms, somei-yoshino, are blooming, but deep red ones, yae-zakura, near Queensboro Bridge have not yet come into flower.
The photo was taken when I go to see cherry blossoms last Sunday. Many people enjoyed looking at flowers, including more Japanese people than usual.
The cherry blossoms look like letters from Japan.
Here are more pictures of Roosevelt Island Cherry and Magnolia Blossoms from Flikr.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Where Can You Find Passover Cards On Roosevelt Island? Not At The Duane Reade Or Gristedes.

Ever try buying Passover and Easter Cards at any Roosevelt Island retailer? I did yesterday. First I went to Duane Reade. They had Easter Cards and left over St. Patricks Day cards still on the shelf

Duane Reade Greeting Card Rack

but no Passover Cards. Then I tried Gristedes which also had a selection of Easter Cards

Gristedes Greeting Card Rack

but none for Passover. I was about to give up on my quest for a Roosevelt Island Passsover Card when I entered the Candy Store to buy a newspaper and there it was. A store on Roosevelt Island that had at least some Passover Cards.

Roosevelt Island Candy Store Greeting Card Rack

Thank you to the Candy Store.

Roosevelt Island Rush Hour Red Bus Shuttle Service To Queens During Tram Shutdown Canceled For Lack Of Riders - Usage Statistics Confirm

New Roosevelt Island Red Bus Shuttle Schedule To Manhattan

As reported in this earlier Post, RIOC is canceling the weekday rush hour Red Bus Shuttle service to Queens subway stations that was put in place for use by residents during the six month Tram Shutdown as an alternative to the Roosevelt Island F Train because usage is extremely low. According to RIOC:
Due to lack of ridership, RIOC will discontinue its Red Shuttle bus service to Queens Plaza, effective April 1st. Bus riders wishing to go to Queens Plaza during the morning rush hour can take the Q102. Attached, is a bus schedule that reflects the service change
The Red Bus Shuttle to Manhattan will continue until at least the end of April. Below are Red Bus Shuttle Ridership statistics for March 1 - 16.
Red Shuttle Bus Service Usage March 1-16

RIOC VP of Operations Fernando Martinez reports that since March 16:
There are no significant changes to the bus ridership numbers.
Here is the audio webcast of the March 17 RIOC Operations committee meeting which discussed the Red Bus Shuttle ridership usage.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance Does Side By Side By Sondheim - Enjoy!

If you missed last weekend's performance of Side by Side by Sondheim performed by the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance or, if you attended and just want to see a portion of it again, check out this You Tube Video.

Roosevelt Island Easter Egg Hunt - Fun Times For Kids Of All Ages

Despite the chilly inclement weather on Sunday, Roosevelt Island residents of all ages came out for an Easter Egg Hunt at Blackwell Park

and were welcomed by two Roosevelt Island Easter Bunnies.

It was a fun time for children,


and the young at heart.

Kudos to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for organizing the Easter Egg Hunt.