Friday, May 7, 2010

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the May 8 2010 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - Southpoint Park Closed Until Further Notice
Roosevelt Islander - RI Flags Fly At Half Mast For Soldier Killed In Afghanistan
Roosevelt Island 360 - Ridership Down At Roosevelt Island Subway Station
Roosevelt Island G&T Blog - PS/IS 217 Weekly HIghlights
RIOC - Audiocast of Real Estate Development Committee Meeting
WSJ - Reshma Saujani Challenges Congresswoman Maloney In Democratic Primary
NY Observer - Reshma Saujani Challenges Congresswoman Maloney In Democratic Primary
NY Times - RI Senior Center To Remain Open Despite Budget Cuts
NY Observer - NYC Considered Taking Back Roosevelt Island From NY State
Curbed - Tram Cars Plagued By Bad Typography
MeetUp - Roosevelt Island Saturday Pickup Softball At Firemen's Field
Roosevelt Islander - First Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Game
News Channel 34 - NYSERDA Awards Grant To Verdant's East River Turbine Project
NY Times - RI AVAC System Profiled
Daily News - RI Main Street Mentioned By Mayor Bloomberg
LiqCity - Southpoint Park Construction Photo
Tuvie - Roosevelt Island As Sea Levels Rise
Twitpic - 30 Minute F Train Subway Delay
Shelly Central - Roosevelt Island Sunset
Read Me - I Fish NY At Roosevelt Island
NY Art Beat - On The Road To Faraba
Beach Boats & More - Picture Of Lighthouse Park
You Tube - Americas Next Top Model Hits On Roosevelt Island Tram Passenger
You Tube - Roosevelt Island Toastmasters Get Up & Speak
You Tube - More Roosevelt Island Twisted Traceurs Acrobatics
You Tube - Roosevelt Island At It Eeriest Nightime Best
You Tube - Time Lapse View of Manhattan Skyline From Manhattan Park Window
You Tube - Skateboarder Jump Cones

RIRA President On Agreeing With RIOC On Red Bus Route Ideas, Roosevelt Island Blood Driver & Common Meeting Calendar For Organizations

Roosevelt Island Red Bus At Riverwalk Stop

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
1. Convening a scheduling meeting for the Island's organizations. Many of you participate in more than one of the Island's organizations and have had the occasional frustration: Why did organizations X and Y plan the two interesting events at the same time? My hope is that we can meet this September and try to mark up a common calendar from September 2010 to June 2011 that avoids scheduling conflicts as much as practicable.

2. Red Bus ideas. I spoke with Mr. Martinez (RIOC VP of Operations) and he believes the continuous flow of buses (1) does not produce the best service, and (2) doesn't make the best use of the resources (buses and drivers). He said that we need to have a fixed schedule and he will be gathering data soon to best understand bus ridership and traffic flows. Mr. Martinez points out that the new schedule and routing of the Q102 might help with the morning rush hour, especially for Octagon residents. I agree with Mr. Martinez and we will be working together on the planning and data collection.

3. RIRA Blood Drive on June 19, Roosevelt Island Day. Don't forget to donate blood. Thanks to Matt Katz for organizing this.

4. Upcoming RIRA meetings. The next Common Council meeting is June 2 at 8:00 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Community Center; future meetings are on September 15 (no planned meetings over the summer) and October 6. Upcoming RIRA Town Hall meeting (in preparation for RIOC Board meetings) is on June 16.
The RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA column in the 5/8/10 Main Street WIRE.

On The Way To Faraba Photo Exhibit Openining Reception At Octagon Gallery Saturday May 8

Received the following reminder from the folks at the Gallery RIVAA of an:


A photographic journey to a small

village in Senegal.

Esther Piaskowski Cohen

Reception: May 8, 2010 from 6-8pm

Octagon Gallery

May 1 – June 13, 2010 Hours: 9am-9pm

888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

Roosevelt Island East River Fly Fishing With Don Quixote - Don't Worry Man Of La Mancha, No Evil Giants At Lighthouse Park

Randy Kadish Fly Fishing East River From Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park Facing Queens

Received a message from Randy Kadish whose picture was included in a prior post about East River fishing from Roosevelt Island. Mr. Kadish asked if I would be interested in learning more about his experience fishing on Roosevelt Island and kindly forwarded the following story.
Randy Kadish

The sunlight shined through the blinds. Time for me to get out of
bed. I tried, sort of, but felt weighed down, as if I were a
knight, fallen, encased in heavy armor. Was I defeated?

I pulled the sheets over my head and hoped the new year,
2007, would bring sales of my book, and money so I could finally
travel to faraway fishing destinations. But 2006 started with so
much hope. What did it bring?

I thought of the vision test I failed, ending my hopes of
becoming a court officer. I thought of all the mistakes in the
first printing of my book - the proofreader had fallen down on the
job - forcing me to have the book reprinted, at my expense. Two
major disappointments. Two major reversals. Was I being
punished - trampled on like the knight Don Quixote - for dreaming
of doing good? If only the Man of La Mancha had succeeded in
making the world a fairer place, then I'd be standing victorious.
Wouldn't I?

I thought of the magazines that bought my stories but, for
different reasons, didn't publish their next issues.

I thought of my two new jobs.

Three more disappointments, five so far for the year. More
than in most novels. And I still wasn't in the final crisis.
I thought of the GLX fly rod I lost. I thought of the woman
from the army.

Seven disappointments, not quite as many as Don Quixote, but
Don wasn't real. Maybe that's why he never had trouble getting
out of - or even into - bed. Real or not, I wanted to be more like
the Don. Besides, the weather was unusually mild, as if I were in
southern Spain. A plus. An opportunity to fish and write myself a
better plot-line.

I rolled out of bed, ready to battle with striped bass.
Instead of armor, I took my fly-fishing equipment and headed out
the door. Less than an hour later I walked to the north end of
Roosevelt Island, and into a scene as beautiful as any in La
Mancha. I was in Lighthouse Park. The small park was named after
a tall, narrow, stone structure that I knew was not an evil

Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park

I didn't attack.

Roosevelt Island was about two miles long, and a hundred
yards wide. It split the East River - a major migratory route for
stripers - in half. North of the island, the river again split,
this time around Randall's Island. Half of the river turned
eastward, flowed under the Triboro Bridge - a bridge connecting
three counties of New York City - and merged with the Long Island
Sound. The other half of the river hooked westward, then
straightened and flowed out of my view and eventually, I knew,
merged with the Hudson River.

I looked west, across the river, and saw about a half-mile
of the Manhattan skyline. Most of the buildings were built in the
nineteen-fifties and sixties, eras when New York architects were
concerned with cost and function, so though few of the buildings
were beautiful, they merged, like bodies of water, and formed a
skyline whose whole was greater than its parts. A plus, in my

I turned, looked east and saw an ugly Queens housing
project. A minus. Unlike the different shaped and sized buildings
of the Manhattan skyline, all the project's brick buildings were
cross-shaped and seven-storied. I wished I could be a real Don
Quixote and obliterate them. But obliterating them wouldn't be
easy, especially because they suddenly looked like giant
soldiers - maybe from outer space - all wearing the same uniforms
and standing in perfect formation.

Were they planning an attack, perhaps against the
high-income buildings of the Manhattan skyline?
Was I standing on another world's - perhaps a parallel universe's - battle line?
Would the rules of the Geneva Convention apply?

Fly Fishing The East River From Roosevelt Island Facing The Manhattan Skyline

They wouldn't have to. The housing project, I remembered,
was home to many people. No matter how ugly it was, I didn't want
to see it go.

I set up my fly rod and tied on a white and green deceiver.
The wind, not strong but steady, blew from the west. To cut
through it, I'd have cast straight back. Still, I was confident
I'd again cast over a hundred feet. I faced the housing project
and false cast, shooting more and more line. But my casts sagged.
My loops opened wide. What was I doing wrong? Or was I, like the
pirated Don Quixote, just in a bad sequel? If so, I wanted out,
or at least a casting coach, a Sancho Panza so to speak, to keep
my casting on the straight and narrow.

I told myself I shouldn't have stopped practicing
long-distance fly casting. After all, Don Quixote, up until his
very end, didn't get burned out. Why? Because he had his
impossible dream? Didn't I: to become a consistent 100-foot fly
caster, and to write casting articles and help other anglers?

I accelerated my cast, then abruptly stopped it and let go
of the line. My deceiver landed only about eighty-feet away.
Disappointed, I quickly retrieved. Again I false cast. Again my
casts sagged. I cursed. Why, I wondered, after years of casting
tribulations, after finally coming to believe I fixed my casting
defects, does a new one confront me like a villain? Is this
another reversal? Another obstacle? But obstacles are meant to be
overcome. Just ask Don Quixote.

I thought back to the first act of my fly-casting
adventures: I tried to decipher fly-casting book after book, then
I marched to a lawn and practiced casting, day after day.

I thought back to the second act: I tried to cast farther
than 80 feet. But the fly often hit me. An unexpected reversal.
Why? I reread my fly-casting books and learned that I was
lowering my rod hand at the end of the cast, and therefore
pulling down the fly line. I returned to the lawn, and though I
tried not to, I still lowered my rod hand. So four times a week,
month after month, I experimented with every part of my
cast--stance, trajectory, follow-through--but the fly still hit
me. Darn it! Downtrodden, feeling I was at a dead-end, I trudged
home, thinking of how foolish Don Quixote was for trying to
change the world, and how foolish I was for thinking I could
become a 100-foot fly caster.

And so I wrote another failure into the story line of my
life. A few weeks later, this new failure began to chomp away at
me, at my self-worth, so I got back on my fly-casting horse and
resumed practicing. Then by accident, like a contrived ending, I
realized that when I cast with my elbow pointed all the way out,
my rod hand moved downward and pulled down the fly line.

Thrilled with my new discovery, I cast back and forth and
watched my long loops tighten and streak like arrows.

During the next few months I overcame other fly-casting
obstacles, and finally I cast a hundred feet! I reached my
impossible dream - for a while anyway, because as I fished on
Roosevelt Island I realized dreams, or at least some of them, are

Seagulls dived in the East River. Bait fish! Maybe Stripers
were chasing them. I cast toward the birds. Again my line sagged.
I couldn't reach my target. I cursed, then remembered I wasn't in
a real-life tragedy, though, like Don Quixote, I was in
publications, including my long-distance fly-casting article.
Maybe it held a forgotten solution to my casting defect. And if
not - well, I still had faith the new obstacle was something I
could overcome. So instead of feeling defeated, I enjoyed fishing
and feeling connected, like a bridge, to the beauty all around

Four hours later, as soon as I got home, I started
rereading my casting article. About a third of the way through, I
read that if my back cast and forward cast formed an angle
greater than 180 degrees I probably stopped the rod too late,
after it started unloading and losing power. If I back cast
parallel to the ground, therefore, I had to forward cast with the
same or slightly higher trajectory.

I rediscovered my solution! My story had a good ending.

Grateful, I closed my eyes and wondered why casting ten or
twenty feet farther was so important to me. Were my casting
experiments about more than distance?

Yes, they were also about coming to believe in an ideal
casting form, as absolute as a perfect literary form, like
Shakespeare's 29th or 30th sonnet, as absolute as a law of
physics, like Special Relativity. But why is, why was that so, so
important? Is it because even though the world is riddled by
random turns of history and bloodied by wars, the world, or at
least our solar system, is also unified by ideals that form a
working order? If so, are ideals invisible and so hard to
discover for a reason - so I can't invent them in the universe of
mind? Why? Is it because what gives ideals meaning is the search
for them, the attempt to become in-line with them and then be
able to overcome my defects, my obstacles and to connect to the
good in the world?

Isn't that what spirituality is about? Perhaps an ideal,
therefore, is a part that can never add up to a whole. And
perhaps so am I. That's why when I tried to will things my way I
almost always fell off my horse and cursed a world that seemed so

But that was then. This is now, and now I'm able to deal
with disappointments, one by one, and keep going, like Don
Quixote, and to keep believing that there is a working order of

Yes, I believe by the end of the book of my life,
the good will outweigh the bad.
Randy's historical novel, The Fly Caster Who Tried to Make Peace with the World, is available on Amazon

Report From RIOC's President - Dog Policy Enforcement, Tram Crane Delay, Board Meeting, Southpoint Park Closed & More Roosevelt Island Issues

You Tube Video Explains What Curb Your Dog Means

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane updates us on:
May 10, 2010

1. Dogs: Thank you to all the dog owners who have been observing the rules to keep your pet on the leash and to curb him/her as necessary. For the others, please be more considerate of your neighbors. PSD is enforcing the law.

2. Board of Directors: Next meeting on May 6 at 5:30 p.m. with a brief public-comment period before the official start of the meeting. Anyone wishing to speak should sign up in advance at either the RIOC office or on the RIOC website at The Agenda is always published on the RIOC website well before the meeting.

3. Tram: After ten weeks, the construction is proceeding on schedule, although the City’s microscopic examination of crane permit applications has resulted in some delay for the portion of the work involving dismantling of tower tops and erection of new structures. The station work proceeds apace at both ends. We are monitoring closely.

4. Bus service:

(1) Red Bus Shuttle to Manhattan: Weekdays, operating on the hour beginning at 10:00 a.m., pick-ups starting at Riverwalk Café, then 546 Main, and, finally, on the east side of Main opposite PS 217; returning from Manhattan on the half-hour. Passenger drop-off is in front of PS 217, Good Shepherd, and Riverwalk Cafe. The Manhattan stop is the west side of Second Avenue, at the north end of the 58-59th Street block. No shuttle into Manhattan during 3:00-6:00 p.m. afternoon rush hours except one bus into Manhattan departing the Island at 3:30 p.m. and picking up in Manhattan at 4:00 p.m. to accommodate returning schoolchildren. Resumption of hourly service into Manhattan at 7:00 p.m. and returning until 11:30 p.m.

Weekends, shuttle service into Manhattan starting at 10:00 a.m., hourly throughout the day until 11:00 p.m. Same pick-ups, returning on the half-hour with the last at 11:30 p.m.
See the schedules posted on RIOC s web site and on the posters throughout the Island. Note that if the F train is not in service, the frequency into and out of Manhattan will be increased to every half-hour weekdays, and, on weekends, hourly on the hour from the Island starting at midnight until 10:00 a.m. and every half-hour thereafter, returning from Manhattan 30 minutes after departure. Fares are $1.00, with seniors, disabled and children (5-16) at 50 cents.
We are keeping ridership statistics, and will make further decisions about keeping these shuttle bus runs, in consultation with the RIOC Board s Operations Committee, depending on utilization. It does appear that the F train and the MTA are servicing the needs of the residents so far, and we hope it will continue. I am aware of the discomfort, but it is temporary.

(2) Q102: The MTA continues to operate the Q102 bus on the Island on its published schedule, with a route change to eliminate the alternating loops to Coler and Goldwater. Now, the buses all turn right after entering the Island, go north to Coler, run south to Goldwater, then north to the helix before exiting the Island.

(3) Red Bus: Service continues 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 runs a continuous loop southbound along the East Drive, stopping at Riverwalk Cafe, then looping around to the front of the subway station. Passengers may disembark for the subway at Riverwalk Cafe‚ or ride around to the subway. With the occasional closure of the west road to accommodate the assembly, operation, and dismantling of the crane for work on the tower, all traffic will be diverted to one-way southbound on Main Street, then west across the Island south of Sportspark. RIOC has taken delivery of the demo bus acquired for half price and will now be able to retire the last of the diesels and have an all hybrid electric bus fleet.

5. Southpoint: The Southpoint area is closed while active construction is under way on both the FDR Memorial and Green Rooms/Wild Gardens. We expect the area to reopen as far south as the Renwick Ruin in the fall, although the planting in the open space areas at the northern end will require that people will have to stay off until the growth takes hold.

6. Projects:

A. Octagon Soccer Field resurfacing: Work is under way. Some trees were cut down to permit the field to be properly dimensioned and a new light stanchion to be installed. When the field work is complete, with consultation from the landscape architect and the Tree Board, new specimen trees will be planted at designated locations.

B. Other: Sportspark, Motorgate expansion joint repair, fiber-optic cabling, Good Shepherd HVAC, Octagon sewer complete (the comfort station is reconnected), street lighting, tot-lot improvements, etc., all keep Engineering very busy. We are going to do a pilot test to see how LED lighting would work both at Motorgate and in the regular street lights. Energy conservation and ecological correctness are very much in the plan.

C. AVAC: One of two new compactor chambers has arrived and will be installed. The new paneling is nearing completion. For anyone interested, go to RIVAA gallery to see the exhibition entitled “Fast Trash”, all about AVAC and pneumatic collection systems. Wonderful presentation!!

7. Blackwell Park and Good Shepherd Plaza: Community participation in the planning process continues. Meeting will be held on evening of May 5 to discuss, along with Cornell University students, concepts for green space. Presumably reported on elsewhere in the WIRE.

8. Architects and Planners: A group of Island residents has formed a fledgling group of professionals who will share ideas and be available as a sounding board. I have encouraged them and look forward to their advice to the community and RIOC on planning and design matters.
This message also published as the RIOC column in the 5/8/10 Main Street WIRE.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Help Bring B-Cycle Bike Sharing To Roosevelt Island - Make Sure To Vote And Select Roosevelt Island For Bicycle Sharing

2009 You Tube Video of Montreal Bike Sharing Program

Continuing on the bicycle theme from earlier today, wouldn't it be great if a bike sharing system was established on Roosevelt Island like the one in Montreal described in video above as well as many other cities?

Are you wondering what bike sharing is all about? It's a simple concept. According to The Bike Sharing Blog, Bike Sharing is a:
short-term bicycle rental available at a network of unattended locations;
RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin has been working to bring Bicycle Sharing to Roosevelt Island for some time. Yesterday, Mr Kalkin sends in this link to Gizmodo article on Bike Sharing recently started in Denver by B-Cycle. From Gizmodo
... How does it work? Well, there are B-cycle stations all around Denver. Once you have an account, you can grab a bike from any of them. When you're done, you can then drop it off at any other station. The GPS unit inside the bike (there's no nav screen, it's hidden inside the bike itself) tracks your route and lets you check it out online when you're signed in...
...They're currently finishing the details on the next batch of cities, although they're mum on what those cities will be. You can vote for your city on their site if you want to try to get it near you.

(I was told that in order to bring the system to NYC, they need a whole lot of grassroots support...
Streetsblog adds:
...In Denver, B-cycle will be financed by ads and user subscriptions, with annual memberships priced at $65. Members get RFID cards that they can use to to check out bicycles at individual docks with a wave of the hand. The first 30 minutes of each ride are free, with each additional hour priced at one dollar...
Mr. Kalkin writes:
As you know the Columbia study (Page 38-41), I commissioned and the Hunter (Page 38-40) study both recommended Bike Sharing. It is a great idea for the island and NYC. I also approached a member of Community Board 8 about this idea. This company is having a vote competition to see what area in the country is interested. I posted it on Twitter and Facebook and we are currently ranked 7th in the US now. I would like to approach them and it would be helpful if your readers could put a vote for 10044 in and make sure they pick the Roosevelt Island, NY (full spelling) option. (UPDATE 8:16 PM - I just realized we were ranked 7th in the state at the time, not the US.)
So, if you want the B-Cycle Bike Sharing to come to Roosevelt Island, click on this link and vote.

More information on B-Cycle Bike sharing in this video below

You Tube Video of B-Cycle Bicycle Sharing

and the Denver B-Cycle program here as well.

You Tube Video Of Denver Bike Sharing Program

Let's get those Bikes!

2 Roosevelt Island Bicycles Stolen From Inside Riverwalk Landings Bike Room

Image of Riverwalk Landings 425 Main Street Bike Room Door

One of the really great things about Roosevelt Island is being able to bike around the Island. What's not so great is having your bike stolen. There have been a number of occasions in the past when bikes were left on the street, either chained or not, and stolen.

However, you would think that bicycles stored in a locked bike room inside Riverwalk Landing's 425 Main Street for which a fee is paid would be safe. But that was not the case for two bicycles reported stolen from inside the locked Bike Room of Riverwalk Landing. According to the 5/5 - 5/6 Daily Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report:
Larceny- Two bicycles from the 425 Main Street bike room. PSD responded and conducted a search with negative results. NYPD refused.

FDNY Ladder Company 116 Serving Roosevelt Island, Long Island City & Dutch Kills In Danger Of Closing

The Queens Gazette is reporting that FDNY Ladder Company 116 which serves Roosevelt Island, Long Island City and Dutch Kills is in danger of being closed. According to the Queens Gazette:
Elected officials, community leaders and area residents will gather in front of Ladder Company 116 in Dutch Kills at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 7, to send FDNY officials a message

“Enough is enough,” Gerald Walsh president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association (DKCA), said. DKCA is hosting the rally to keep Ladder Company 116 open, despite word that fire officials are planning to extinguish services provided by firefighters at the century-old firehouse....
and: ...
“Take away the fact that this will leave residents, schools and businesses in Dutch Kills without an open firehouse. It’s a fact that Ladder Company 116 can get to an emergency at Roosevelt Island in warpspeed time. Can other fire companies match the response time of Ladder Company 116 to Roosevelt Island? We don’t believe they can,” Stamatiades said. “So there’s another community that will be jeopardized by the closing of Ladder 116.”

An FDNY spokesperson told the Gazette that a final decision is pending on which companies will close.

“We are waiting for written word on who will close before we can comment. Right now there are a lot of communities getting riled up before the final decision has been made.”
If this is true and Ladder Company 116 closes, it will be a big problem for Roosevelt Island. I will be seeking reactions from RIOC, RIRA and Roosevelt Island elected officials and reporting back.

More on Roosevelt Island's recent experience with FDNY here.

UPDATE 3:10 - I received the following comments regarding possibility of FDNY Ladder Company 116 being closed.

From Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Steve Shane:
I read the budget war drums as you do. Entirely a political determination in the NYC sphere.
From Jason Post, a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office:
The FDNY has not announced which fire companies would be closed under the budget proposal.
From New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin:
So far, we don’t know for sure which firehouses are being considered for closure. We do know that Ladder Company 116 should be off the table. Given Roosevelt Island’s unique location and the role that Ladder Company 116 plays for the Island, it’s clear that closing this firehouse would be a mistake. I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening. The Administration is required by the City Charter to inform the Council of firehouse closings 45 days before the closing is set to happen. Assuming that closings will correspond to the start of the fiscal year on July 1, that means that we should be hearing on this by May 17. I’ll make sure to keep you and the Roosevelt Island community posted.
And from Assembly Member Micah Kellner:
While it is not yet clear whether Ladder Company 116 will be on list of firehouses slated for elimination, there is no question that closing it would be devastating for Roosevelt Island. No other fire company is so well-positioned to respond to emergencies on the Island. I will do everything in my power to ensure that Ladder 116 is preserved -- we cannot afford to gamble with the lives of Roosevelt Islanders.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Monthly 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 question and present any issues of concern to the Council.

Have not received the Agenda yet but will post when I do.

RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting On Thursday - Sign Up To Address The RIOC Directors Prior To Board Meeting

Image of February 2010 RIOC Board Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) will be holding it's next Board of Directors meeting on Thursday May 6. Prior to the start of the Board meeting there will be a period of time for members of the community to comment and ask questions of the Board Members. According to RIOC:
A 30-45 minute public comment period wherein those who sought to address the Board would have pre-registered, with time for any speaker limited to two (2) minutes. Pre-registration would be accomplished by addressing RIOC at its web site or in person at RIOC's office prior to the day of the meeting. Public comment should be for the purpose of receiving comment, not to engage in debate or colloquy with board members. The Chair would control the time and limit for each speaker.

By scheduling the public comment period as above, the town hall style session following alternate Board meetings should be obviated. The RIRA meetings now held the evenings before each Board could function as the equivalent of a town hall meeting, with Board members attending as they wish, but with the expectation that a senior RIOC staff person would also attend to answer questions on Agenda items.
RIOC President Steve Shane advises that those wishing to speak should sign up by the close of business today. RIOC's web sign up page is here.

Below is the Agenda for May RIOC Board of Directors Meeting.

MAY 6, 2010

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
1. March 25, 2010 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Ratification of Consent to Assignment and Assumption of Engineering Consulting Contract for the Aerial Tramway Modernization Project (Board Action Required)
2. Authorization to Enter Into Contract for Banking Services with JP Morgan Chase (Board Action Required)
3. Authorization of Siting of the FDR Hope Memorial within the Southpoint Public Open Space Project Area (Board Action Required)
4. Presentation of the FY 2009-10 QTR 4 Procurement Report
5. Authorization to Enter Into Contract for Architectural and Engineering Design Work for the Aerial Tramway Station Improvements (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)
6. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
7. Public Safety Report
8. President's Report
VI. Adjournment
UPDATE 12:55 PM - A Reader asks:
What is item 5 all about?
What kind of "changes/improvements" came up this late ?
I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane:
Can you provide any additional details concerning Item 5 on the May RIOC Board Agenda

"5. Authorization to Enter Into Contract for Architectural and Engineering Design Work for the Aerial Tramway Station Improvements (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)"

My understanding was than due to cost concerns any design work for the Tram Stations would wait until later in the Modernization process if not after it was completed.
Mr. Shane answered:
Yes, but it is later in the Modernization process and we are ready to do the planning for the next stage. So states in my memo to the Board.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NYC Takes Back Governors Island & Brooklyn Bridge Park From NY State, No Plans To Take Back Roosevelt Island For Now - Freedom Will Have To Wait

Aerial View of Governors Island From GIPEC

This April 12 post asked if Governors Island and the Brooklyn Bridge Park

are being returned to the City of New York from the State, why not Roosevelt Island which is under lease from the City to the State until the year 2068?

Imagine a Roosevelt Island free of it's Colonial Overlord, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) and the State of New York.

How close, if at all, was Roosevelt Island to being brought back to the bosom of the City of New York? Well, the New York Observer recently reported that in 2006 such a plan to recapture Roosevelt Island from NY State and return it to New York City was seriously considered by the Bloomberg Administration. From the April 27 NY Observer:
In late 2006, as a set of projects calling for hundreds of millions in funds languished in their planning stages, Dan Doctoroff, then deputy mayor, became frustrated.

Operating under the code name “Project Repo,” aides to Mayor Bloomberg’s right-hand man for development drew up a clandestine list of where the city could seize control of major initiatives it shared with the state.

Among those considered for a city takeover, according to multiple people familiar with the plan, were the sprawling Queens West housing development near Long Island City; Battery Park City; Roosevelt Island; Brooklyn Bridge Park; and Governors Island....
I tried to find out how real Project Repo was as regards New York City taking back Roosevelt Island from the State. After all, there was a time when former Mayor Rudy Giuliani expressed support for the liberation of Roosevelt Island from NY State but apparently Mayor Bloomberg is not so enthusiastic. Responding to my inquiry, Andrew Brent, a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office replied:
There haven’t been any discussions with the State about the City taking over Roosevelt Island.
but a small sliver of hope for the future of Roosevelt Island's liberaton came from John Moore, a spokesperson for Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin,
Council Member Lappin has not been briefed on any plan for the Bloomberg administration to take back Roosevelt Island for the City, but it’s a conversation that she would welcome.
Will getting rid of RIOC and returning Roosevelt Island to the City be beneficial for Roosevelt Island? This reader thinks so:
Most of the island's problems stem from the fact that it is in New York City, but not of it. If we were just a normal NYC neighborhood, maybe Main Street we would have some retail that didn't look like it belongs in a third-world country. Maybe some of the empty stores would get rented. Maybe a real restaurant would open here. Maybe other residents of the city would realize that we are just a stop on the F train. Maybe RI residents would realize that they live in a housing project in New York City and not in an isolated small town in the middle of nowhere.
Who will step up and champion freedom for Roosevelt Island - our own version of Braveheart's William Wallace and who will be the tyrannical King Edward The Longshanks.

You Tube Video of Braveheart's Freeeeeeeedom Scene

RIOC Audit & Operations Committee Meetings Today - Motorgate Lights, Octagon Field, Public Safety, Red Bus,Southpoint,Tram & Outside Auditor On Agenda

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) Audit Committee and Operations Committee will be meeting later today. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Audit Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The agenda for the meeting will be:
1. to discuss the selection of the outside auditors; and
2. any other such matter as may come before the Committee.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The Committee will meet to discuss:
1. Motorgate Lights (Demo);
2. Octagon Soccer Field;
3. Public Safety;
4. Red Bus Service;
5. Southpoint Park; and
6. Aerial Tramway Modernization Project progress.
An audio webcast of the meeting will be available soon thereafter.

Science Fiction Book Club Discussion Tonight At The Roosevelt Island Public Library - What's Your Favorite Sci-Fi Book, TV Show Or Movie?

You Tube Video of Isaac Asimov Discussing Early Science Fiction

The Roosevelt Island Science Fiction Book Discussion Group will meet tonight, 6:30 PM, at the Roosevelt Island Public Library.
Join us on the first Tuesday of each month, as we meet and discuss Science Fiction we have recently read. Bring your imagination and creativity - and make your presentation truly out of this world!

The group may also discuss Science Fiction-related topics, including books, comic books, films, television programs, and conventions.

Total Sci-Fi has a list of 100 greatest Sci-Fi movies and Popular Mechanics lists the 10 most prophetic Sci-Fi films.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Roosevelt Island Flags At Half Mast For US Army Ranger Killed In Afghanistan - Sergeant Jason Santora Of Massapequa Park New York

Several people have noticed and asked why the Roosevelt Island American Flags at the Blackwell Turnaround

Image of Blackwell Turnaround Flag At Half Mast

and Firemen's Field

Image of Firemen's Field Flag At Half Mast

have been flying at half mast over the last several days. I asked RIOC President Steve Shane and he forwarded this message:
See Governor's request, below.

Sent: 4/27/2010 7:00:35 AM
Subject: Governor directs flags be flown at half-staff Wednesday, April 28

Dear Mr. Shane,

Although we do not have a flag on 591, can we fly the flag on the island at half-staff for fallen soldier, Sergeant Santora?

This is pulled from the Governor's press release:

Governor David A. Paterson has directed that flags on State government buildings be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, April 28, in honor of Farmingville native Army Sergeant Jason Santora who died on Friday, April 23, in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Santora died of wounds he sustained while supporting combat operations in Logar Province. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Fort Benning, Georgia.

"All New Yorkers join together in mourning the death of this outstanding soldier," Governor Paterson said. "As an Army Ranger, Sergeant Jason Santora lived up to all the ideals of the Ranger Creed. We will honor his selfless service to our nation while extending our condolences to his family, his friends, and his fellow Rangers."

Governor Paterson has directed the flags on all State buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor and tribute to our State's service members who are killed in action or die in a war zone.
Image of Sergeant Jason Santora From Sachem Patch

WCBS TV reported on the death of Sergeant Santora and his colleague Sergeant Ronald Kubik:
They left as courageous soldiers and returned as heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Sgt. Ronald Kubik of Brielle, N.J., who was just 21 years old, and 25-year-old Sgt. Jason Santora of Massapequa Park on Long Island, were both killed in Afghanistan on Friday. They were on a mission to smoke out a Taliban terror nest...
and according to Sachem Patch:
..."Sergeant Kubik and Sergeant Santora were warriors, true patriots and absolute heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation," said Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, in a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) release. "They were the epitome of the Ranger Fire Team Leader – fearless, leading from the front, and always concerned for their men."

His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman's Badge, and Parachutist Badge. He has also been awarded the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with combat star, Iraq Campaign Medal with two combat stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon, according to his biography on the SOCOM website.

"Sergerants Kubik and Santora were Ranger leaders of the highest caliber and brothers-in-arms who died fighting together," said Col. Dan Walrath, commander of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. "Their actions exemplify the fighting spirit of the Army Rangers and we will be eternally grateful for the examples they gave us in life."...

The Roosevelt Island American Flags are back up to the top today but now that you know why there were at half mast, if you wish, take a moment when you pass by the flagpoles and think of Sergeants Santora and Kubik for a moment. Thank them, their families and fellow soldiers for their service and sacrifice.

F Train Subway Delays This Morning At Roosevelt Island Subway Station

Twitpic Image of Roosevelt Island Subway Commuters From Robstaro

There were problems with this morning's Roosevelt Island F Train subway commute to Manhattan. Robstaro tweeted:
Thirty minute delays on Manhattan bound Roosevelt island F stop earlier today
With the Roosevelt Island Tram being out of service until (hopefully) late August/early September there are very few options for Roosevelt Island residents to be able to make it to work, school or just get off of Roosevelt Island when problems on the subway occur. When such problems do happen, RIOC has reported that additional Red Bus Shuttle service would be provided to assist in getting to Manhattan or the Queens subway stations. I asked RIOC President Steve Shane:
I understand that there were some longer than usual delays during this morning's F Train subway commute.

Was RIOC contacted about these delays by the MTA?

Also, you have previously indicated that if there were significant delays or problems on the F Train, RIOC would provide Red Bus shuttle service as an alternative. Can you advise under what conditions RIOC would provide the alternative Red Bus Service? 30 Minute delays, 60 minute delays etc.
Mr. Shane replied:
Yes, we got an advisory. Yes, we immediately were prepared to offer additional bus service. Because of the time when it happened, during the tail end of rush hour, we made the decision to be prepared to bus people to Queens, since getting over the bridge to Manhattan was not going to be attractive. The 10 AM bus into Manhattan left on schedule without any overcrowding.

Alternative bus service is always a judgment call based on the severity of the condition causing the F Train delay. Flooding, mechanical failure, sick passenger, etc., etc., all are delay causes which have different expectations. No hard and fast rules. We do the best we can.