Friday, May 14, 2010

Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Long Island City's Noguchi Museum With Free Admission On Saturday and Sunday - You May Win An Akari Light Sculpture

You Tube Video Of Noguchi Museum

Right across the Roosevelt Island Bridge on Vernon B'lvd in Long Island City there is the wonderful Noguchi Museum which is celebrating it's 25th Anniversary this weekend May 15 & 16 with free admission and programming for all ages. It is a very unique space with the artist's work and a beautiful garden.

I received this invitation on behalf of all Roosevelt Island residents to attend the celebration.
Noguchi Museum Celebration

Here's how you make an Akari Light Sculpture.

New Flower Shop Vendor For Roosevelt Island Farmers Market & Credit Card Payments Accepted For Ravioli, Steaks, Burgers & More At Hoboken Farms

New Florist At Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market will be open as usual tomorrow morning next to the Roosevelt Island Bridge ramp and will have another new vendor joining the existing crew. Last week I met the nice folks from YA Florist who are bringing some sorely missed flowers back to Roosevelt Island. Give them a try!

I also learned last week that there is at least one Roosevelt Island Farmers Market vendor

accepting credit card transactions - Hoboken Farms - where you can purchase an assortment of fresh mozzarella cheese, breads, homemade ravioli, steaks, burgers and chicken entrees. They are using the old fashioned manual machines. RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin has suggested using a new wireless device for electronic transactions and tweets:
Roosevelt Island Garage now accepts cards! Going to inform the farmers market/other merchants about so they can too!

I'd like to see all of Roosevelt Island's merchants, including the Farmers Market vendors, using Square or something similar to it. Would be very convenient.

Here's some scenes from the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market though it looks like it was taken in cold and chilly weather, hopefully not to return until next winter

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Presents Finding Our Mothers & Fathers, The Art Of Jewish Genealogy

Received the following invitation from the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation:


Sunday, May 16th, 2010 at 5 p.m.

Rivercross Community Room, 531 Main Street
The two great myths of Jewish family research are “They destroyed the records” and “I don’t remember anything.”

More and more birth, marriage and death certificates from Europe are turning up.

“Finding Our Mothers and Fathers” is a presentation in learning how to:
  • Trace your roots & how to start
  • Where to look & what you already know
  • What kinds of records yield the best information
  • How to make use of the Internet and computer software
  • How family history can be a spiritual exercise
Steven Kushner, who has spent nearly twenty years tracing his family’s roots, will be your guide. Bring your questions and materials which we will discuss and learn more about your family!

Rabbi Steven Kushner is the spiritual leader of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ, where he has led the congregation as their rabbi for 30 years.

A mesmerizing historian and storyteller by avocation, Rabbi Kushner also loves to study Torah.

Suggested Donation $15.00 person, $25.00 per couple

This event is held as a benefit for the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation.

RSVPs appreciated but not necessary.

All are welcome.

Light refreshments served.

For more information or to RSVP, contact

Judy Berdy at or 212.688.4836

Leana Moritt, Rabbi

Scot Bobo, President Marlene Flom, Vice President

Ivens Stanton, Recording Secretary Julia Chang, Communications

Steve Kaufman, Treasurer

PTA Teaching Assistants Funding Continued - Good News For Schools With More Affluent Parents, No Impact On Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217

You Tube Video of Mountain Music Lincoln Center Performance at PS/IS217

Received the following message from Assembly Member Micah Kellner regarding Public School Parents Association funding of Teaching Assistants:
...I am happy to report that today an agreement was reached between the United Federation of Teachers and the New York City Department of Education which will maintain our PA-funded teaching assistants for the 2010-11 school year. The program will be a continuation of the temporary agreement from last summer for the current school year.

While today’s news is a victory for our schools, we must not lose sight of the main goal—a permanent, long-term agreement to maintain our invaluable teaching assistants. Since the temporary solution was reached last year, I have worked very hard to bring the UFT and DOE back to the negotiating table in order to develop a comprehensive plan for the future. I will continue to work with the DOE, UFT, our parent leaders, and school administrators to ensure that a long-term solution is reached as soon as possible.
I asked PS/IS 217 PTA's President Nikki Leopold and Treasurer Phoebe Flynn how this might impact Roosevelt Island's Public School. They replied:
Unfortunately this has little impact on PS/IS 217 - although we wish it did. Other schools in Micah's district spend heavily on these assistants, and are able to do so because of the extensive fundraising of their PTA's. PS 77 (the Lower Lab School), for example, has the ability to spend $250,000 annually on TA's - all of which is PTA funded. That is more than double our PTA's yearly budget! Our PTA cannot compete at this level for a number of reasons:
1) The average General Fund donation requested at these schools is between $750 - $1,000 per student. This is quite simply beyond the means of most of the families attending PS/IS 217.
2) As it is, we have not come close to 100% participation in our General Fund Drive of $100 per student, for a myriad of reasons. For one, we have a large number of International Students, who are here on a short-term basis and who are unfamiliar with the concept of "paying" for Public School (& why wouldn't they be?).
3) Another is the abandonment of the school by many of those parents for whom such a contribution would be possible, combined with a lack of support from the community, the businesses and the elected officials.

Ideally the costs for TA should come from the DOE, thus ensuring that all students benefit and not just those with an affluent parent body. Both our PTA and the Administration would love to have the funds available to put TA's into our classrooms, particularly in grades K - 2. However, our school does manage to keep our class sizes smaller than at those other schools, and so the lack of TA's does not significantly impact students learning, and allows us to use our funds in other ways.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Come See How Roosevelt Island Disposes Of It's Garbage At Fast Trash Exhibit - Underground Pneumatic Tubes Are Pretty Cool!

Image of Fast Trash Exhibit's Roosevelt Island Garbage From Kate Milford

During the April 22nd opening reception for the Fast Trash exhibit on Roosevelt Island's unique pneumatic underground garbage disposal system, several people remarked on the very un- Roosevelt Island crowd of

Brooklyn hipsters present and even a Chelsea or SoHo-ish feel to the evening .

As Seinfeld would say - not that there's anything wrong with that so be prepared for more visitors exploring Roosevelt Island drawn by the Fast Trash Garbage exhibit at the Gallery RIVAA

particularly in view of recent mentions in Gizmodo and Urban Omnibus.

Juliete Spertus, the project's organizer, reports on the following upcoming events at Roosevelt Island's Fast Trash Exhibit:

Thursday, May 13, 7:15pm

The Public School New York class, “On pneumatics (puffs of air, natural magic)”: This single-session class will examine the genealogy and archaeology of "pneumatics," and its roots "pneu-" and "pneuma," against the backdrop of Fast Trash. For more information visit

Saturday, May 15, 5pm

The Center for Urban Pedagogy’s People and Buildings Film Series: CUP will be screening two documentaries about the politics of NYC garbage disposal in the Gallery: the rare 1979 documentary, Collection and Disposal, a Job for the Birds, a window into the City's garbage crisis, and CUP's own Garbage Problems. Benjamin Miller, author of Fat of the Land, will speak on transport and garbage after the films. For more information visit

Sunday, May 16, 2pm

Architectural League of New York’s Urban Omnibus meet up: Explore Roosevelt Island with landscape architect Donald Richardson of Zion Breen and Richardson Associates, designers of Paley Park in Manhattan and part of the team for the 1969 master plan for Roosevelt Island. Meet at 2pm in front of the Roosevelt Island Subway Station and end at Fast Trash. For more information visit

Sunday, May 23, TBD

East River waterfront walk starting in Queens and ending at Fast Trash on Roosevelt Island: Richard Melnick, president of the Greater Astoria Historical Society (GAHS) will lead the walk exploring East River infrastructure and Michael Heimbinder Executive Director, HabitatMap will give a garbage talk in the gallery. Time and details TBD. For more information visit and

So whether you're a Williamsburg/Bushwick hipster, Roosevelt Island resident or anyone else interested in a fascinating exhibit, come on out see how we get rid of our garbage. Ella Morton of Rocketboom did. She tweets:
Did you know that Roosevelt Island uses a series of tubes for garbage disposal? So cool
and made this video of her experience.

You Tube Video of Fast Trash From Rocketboom

The exhibit will be open until May 23. More information available from earlier post and at Fast Trash.

Sign Up For Adult Master Swim Class & Water Aerobics At Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool

A reader of this post on Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day commented:

On the topic of Health and Fitness, my wife and I are very disappointed by the closing of the Adult master class and the Adult aerobics class at the SouthPark swimming pool. It was great, but RIOC decided to close it, with a very short notice that didn't let us any time to look for more participants. I do believe that RIOC failed to attract more people to these classes, and did not do a great job at advertising for it. We tried to contact them to restart the class, or find some arrangements but didn't have any answers. (I am writing this message individually and do not represent a group of swimmers or the coach. Maybe they had better contacts with RIOC than I did...)

It's a pity that the swimming pool do not attract more resident, although I enjoy having a lot of space to swim. I am jus afraid that they will one day close it, claiming that it's not attractive or sustainable for the community, but it seems to that it's their responsibility to maintain activities and attract people, rather than closing classes...
I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) President Steve Shane if there was a possibility these Sportspark classes might resume in the near future. Mr. Shane replied:
The participation level dropped below the reasonably supportable activity and we are looking at ways to stimulate interest and revive the program. Perhaps this Saturday's open house and free swim will stimulate some participants. We agree that the concept is terrific, but need to find enough participants to justify the expense of the program.
So, if you would like to see these Sportspark swimming classes revived, get some more people to sign up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Upper Floors Of Roosevelt Island Motorgate Parking Garage Closed Starting Tomorrow May 13 For Asbestos Abatement - Roof Remains Open

Received the following Motorgate Parking Garage Advisory from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC):

Please be advised the Asbestos Abatement will begin tomorrow morning, May 13, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. in the Motorgate Parking Garage.

Floors 8C, 8D, 7C and 7D will be closed due to construction and asbestos abatement. In addition there will be some traffic changes in which area's 6A & 6B will be two-way. Directional cones and signs have be installed indicating the flow of traffic. For Roof Top parking customers, there will be a temporary entrance to the roof during this period. Please use 7B for access. There will be no changes to the existing roof exit until further notice.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day At Sportspark - Free Open Swimming & Indoor Basketball

In addition to all of the Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day activities this Saturday at Capobianco Field, there will also be free open swimming and indoor basketball at the newly renovated Sportspark (250 Main Street) from 12 - 7 PM.

Rally To Protest Possible Closing of FDNY Ladder Company 116 Serving Roosevelt Island & LIC- Kellner Calls Possible Closing A Tragic Mistake

An update to last week's post on the possible closing of FDNY Ladder Company 116 which serves Roosevelt Island, Long Island City/Dutch Kills. A rally was held last Friday to protest the possible closing of the Queens Firehouse and Roosevelt Island's Assembly Member Micah Kellner was one of the speakers. Mr. Kellner writes:
This week, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a City budget proposal that would entail, among other cuts, the loss of 400 firefighters citywide. At a time when we have been reminded that New York City remains a prime target for terror, we can’t afford to lose essential protective services.

Today, I rallied with firefighters, union members, and other elected officials outside Ladder Company 116 in Dutch Kills, Queens, calling on the Mayor to find another way to save money besides closing firehouses. Ladder 116 is the closest firehouse to Roosevelt Island, and Island residents rely on the company for a quick response in emergencies. Eliminating Ladder 116 would be a mistake with potentially tragic consequences for Roosevelt Island — while we don’t know yet whether it’s on the list of proposed firehouse closures, I will do everything I can to ensure that it stays in the business of protecting Roosevelt Islanders and their neighbors in Western Queens.

The Queens Gazette reported on the protest rally:
... The firehouse is only a block away from the Queensboro Bridge, which is essential to the safety of those on Roosevelt Island. Manhattan Assemblymember Micah Kellner informed those attending the event that there is no fire company on the island, and Ladder 116 is the only firehouse within a reasonable distance in case of emergency. “I find it incredibly disrespectful [that] the mayor will play games with our bravest,” Kellner said....
... In the event of a closure, the FDNY is required to give councilmembers a 45-day notification prior to the closing. The final day such a disclosure can be made is May 17. Until then, those who attended the rally will be working to change Bloomberg’s mind about the cuts...
I give Assembly Member Kellner great credit for his constituent services. Although I may disagree with him on some issues (notably the FDR Memorial) he personally shows up when needed by Roosevelt Island and is often on Roosevelt Island talking to residents about their concerns.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NY State Department Of Health Five Year Cancer Count Map Shows 77 Cases For One Roosevelt Island Area But Only 26 Mere Blocks Away - What's Going On?

Continuing on the Health and Fitness Theme from earlier today. This is troubling information though not enough is known yet to draw any conclusions. From Gothamist:

The state departments of Health and Environmental Conservation unveiled a new, interactive map today that uses census data from 2000 to show cases of cancer around the city. It also highlights things like hazardous waste generators, commercial pesticide sellers and active solid waste sites in hopes that users can better understand the causes of cancer.

The neighborhoods on the map are divided into small units with vast ranges in population, so the differences in cancer cases are small but sometimes noticeable. For instance, one Roosevelt Island neighborhood with a population of about 5,000 had 77 cases (about 1.5% of the population), including 7 cases of lung cancer and 9 cases of prostate cancer...
According to the NY State Department Of Health (NY DOH):
The Environmental Facilities and Cancer Map shows the number of people diagnosed with cancer (cancer counts) for the years 2003-2007 in small geographic areas of New York State. Locations of certain environmental facilities can also be viewed. These maps cannot show that an environmental facility causes cancer in a community for a variety of reasons.

View Larger Map

Below is the Five Year Cancer Counts for Roosevelt Island's 475 Main Street area provided by the NY DOH
475 MAIN ST, NEW YORK, NY, 10044

Small area ID number: 115003

Five-Year Cancer Counts

Site Cases
Brain and Other Nervous System 2
Bones and Joints 0
Colon and Rectum 7
Corpus Uterus 0
Esophagus 2
Female Breast 6
Kidney and Renal Pelvis 4
Larynx 2
Leukemia 2
Liver and Intrahepatic Bile Duct 4
Lung and Bronchus 7
Mesothelioma 0
Nasal and Nasopharynx 1
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 1
Oral Cavity and Pharynx 5
Ovary 0
Pancreas 3
Prostate 9
Stomach 2
Soft Tissue 0
Testis 0
Thyroid 2
Urinary Bladder 5
Other Cancers not Specifically Listed 13
Total 77
Confusingly, the statistics change dramatically from a total of 77 cases to 26 with a different address - 591 Main Street - a few blocks north.

View Larger Map
Note that the two Roosevelt Island addresses have different "Small Area ID Numbers".
591 MAIN ST, NEW YORK, NY, 10044

Small area ID number: 124607

Five-Year Cancer Counts

Site Cases
Brain and Other Nervous System 2
Bones and Joints 0
Colon and Rectum 3
Corpus Uterus 1
Esophagus 0
Female Breast 1
Kidney and Renal Pelvis 1
Larynx 0
Leukemia 0
Liver and Intrahepatic Bile Duct 0
Lung and Bronchus 6
Mesothelioma 0
Nasal and Nasopharynx 1
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 2
Oral Cavity and Pharynx 1
Ovary 0
Pancreas 0
Prostate 4
Stomach 1
Soft Tissue 0
Testis 0
Thyroid 0
Urinary Bladder 0
Other Cancers not Specifically Listed 3
Total 26
Does the location of Coler-Goldwater Hospital on both the south and north ends of Roosevelt Island skewer these results? I don't know but will be looking into it.

UPDATE 7:30 PM - The NY Times provides some additional information regarding the Department Of Health Cancer Map:
... The creation of the map was opposed by both the department and the American Cancer Society when it was proposed two years ago, according to a review of state records, amid concerns that its unfiltered data could be misinterpreted...

...The interactive map allows users to see the count of incidences of various types of cancer in different census blocks, which can number in the thousands of people in New York City or fewer than a hundred in upstate counties. For instance, randomly highlighting a four-square-block chunk of Brooklyn, between Henry and Court Streets and Second and Fourth Places, shows 23 cases of cancer out of 1,195 residents, with pancreatic and uterine cancers the most prevalent...

... if the map were oriented on top of a nursing home, it would be expected to show a higher than normal instance of cancer, but it would not represent some kind of “cancer cluster.”...
UPDATE 5/12 - A reader, Nicolas, does not want anyone to think that the DOH report concludes Roosevelt Island has a higher cancer rate than other NYC neighborhood. Nicolas comments:
I did not look at the Gothamist article before, but I think you should quote it entirely, because it compares Roosevelt Island with two other neighborhoods, one in the West Village and one in DUMBO to illustrate discrepancies between areas. In opposition to the feeling I had when I read your article, RI is, among the 3, the zone with the LOWEST incidence of Cancer (1.5% vs 3% and 4.7%).
I would strongly suggest you to modify your article and reflect this, because otherwise it might really scare people...

Apparently, the goal of this map was to make people realize that cancer is a very common disease. It was not to scare people about higher occurences of this or that type of cancer in their neighborhood.
The full quote from Gothamist:
... The neighborhoods on the map are divided into small units with vast ranges in population, so the differences in cancer cases are small but sometimes noticeable. For instance, one Roosevelt Island neighborhood with a population of about 5,000 had 77 cases (about 1.5% of the population), including 7 cases of lung cancer and 9 cases of prostate cancer. Meanwhile, a West Village neighborhood near three chemical bulk storage sites reported 3% of their population with cancer. One area in DUMBO near a few active solid waste sites had 64 cases, about 4.7% of the population, with 10 cases of breast cancer and 7 cases of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma...
The NY State DOH web site advises not to draw any conclusions from the data regarding a neighborhood's cancer rate :
The cancer counts reflect people's addresses at the time of their cancer diagnosis

It is possible that people with cancer lived elsewhere before their diagnosis. This is important because cancer can take many years (5 to 40 years) to develop. This is referred to as cancer latency. People's exposures earlier in life, at a different address, may have contributed to their cancer.

Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day May 15 - Come Outdoors On Saturday And Have Some Healthy Fun!

Mark this on your calendar for the weekend. Saturday, May 15, is Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day. Come out to Capobianco Field between 10 AM - 5 PM and have some healthy and fit fun.

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


Join us at the 4th Annual Roosevelt Island Health and Fitness Day. The all day, free outdoor event will take place on Saturday, May 15th, 10 AM - 5 PM. Featuring health and fitness screenings, demonstrations, giveaways, mini-lessons, skill challenges, safety clinics, and tournaments throughout the day. In addition, we will be hosting our first ever marathon of free outdoor fitness classes led by instructors who live in the community. Fitness instruction include Pilates, Yoga, Body Sculpting and other fun classes to help shed some extra pounds. So, come out for some spring cheer as we promote healthy initiatives for the Roosevelt Island community.

Click here for event schedule:

Participating Organizations:

Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital
National Footbag (Hacky Sack) Association
I- Fish NY
Zog Sports
The Italian American Cancer Society
New York Red Bulls "Freestyle Soccer Team
Safe Kids NY
Sponsored in part by Amalgamated Bank

Looking forward too seeing you there!

Be sure to sign up for the ping pong and basketball tournament before hand.

Here are some scenes from the 2009 Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Eustacia Cutler, Mother Of Temple Grandin Will Speak Tuesday At Roosevelt Island's Child School - Learn About Life With Autism

Eustacia Cutler Event of May 11(18)

Roosevelt Island resident Jim Luce, Founder and CEO of the Jim Luce Stewardship Report and Orphans International Worldwide, alerts us to this article he wrote for the Daily Kos:

Eustacia Cutler will be in New York City, on Roosevelt Island underneath the 59th Street Bridge, for a one-on-one conversation with the public. Eustacia is mother to world renowned autistic advocate Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Temple is considered the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. HBO released Temple’s auto-biography this past March. Temple presented this year at TED. From Boston, Temple is 62 years old. As a person with high-functioning autism, Temple is the inventor of the hug machine squeeze-box designed to calm the hypersensitive...
...Temple’s mother Eustacia Cutler will at The Child School/Legacy High School auditorium this Tuesday, May 11, at 6:00pm at 566 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York City. There will also be a special photography exhibit by Paul O. Colliton entitled "A Father’s Moving Photo Study of Autistic Son and His Classmates." The event will also include a silent auction to raise funds for the school’s programming. The Child School is a non-profit organization and event donations are restricted for student learning tools and activities. For further information contact Camille Mouquinho at The Child School by e-mail.
More information available at the Roosevelt Island Child School web site.

Temple Grandin's presentation to TED Conference on Autism and how the autistic mind works is below.

Pesticides Being Applied To Roosevelt Island Parks - Riverwalk Commons, Rivercross Lawn, Blackwell Park, Toddler Park & Other Common Areas

Image of Pesticide Spraying From Green Planet did not occur on Roosevelt Island

Received the following advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC):
Please be advised on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 Save-A-Lawn will be applying pesticide applications at various common areas Island wide. The lawn areas to be treated are Riverwalk Commons, Rivercross, Blackwell Park, Toddler Park, Tennis courts, and some areas at Lighthouse Park. These areas will have the necessary signs posted that are required by New York State Law.

Please note these areas should not to be utilized for at least 24 hours for your safety.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More questions and answers regarding New York State Pesticides Program from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation.

Roosevelt Island Southtown Water Main Shutdown On Tuesday 5/11 After 9 AM - No Water For Riverwalk Building at 405 & 415 Main Street

Received the following advisory from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC)

Please be advised on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 9:00 a.m., DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) will be shutting the 20" water main on the Southern part of Main Street from buildings 405 to 415 Main Street. The only buildings that will be affected are Riverwalk's / Southtown's 405 and 415 Main Street. The rest of the buildings in Southtown will not be effected. Those buildings that are effected will have no water for an estimated 4 hours. The shut down is necessary to detect if the main is leaking which is causing a water flood in a ConEdison Electrical Vault next to the tram. DEP has informed us that the shut down will only take up to 4 hours.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group