Friday, May 21, 2010

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the May 22, 2010 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - No Funds For PS/IS 217 Teaching Assistants
Roosevelt Islander - Scenes From Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day
RIOC - May Board Of Directors Meeting Web Cast
RIOC - Master Leaseholder Real Estate Committee Web Cast
RIOC - Operations Meeting Audio Webcast
RIOC - Audit Committee Audio Web Cast
RIOC - Street Lane Closures Due To Tram Modernization
RIOC - Queensboro Bridge Lane Closures Due To Tram Modernization
Roosevelt Island School G & T Class Blog - New PS/IS 217 Playground Under Construction
Out2Play - PS/IS 217 Schoolyard Schematic Design
Roosevelt Island 360 Twitpic - Heading Home To Roosevelt Island
Jim Luce Stewardship Report - Video From Haiti
Roosevelt Island Historical Society - Kiosk Gets Face Lift
RI Moms - New Blog
WSJ - A Tribute To Trash Tubes
Gizmodo - Roosevelt Island Fast Trash Garbage Disposal Exhibit
Urban Omnibus - Unique Roosevelt Island Garbage Disposal
Urban Omnibus - Architects Tour Roosevelt Island
NY Post - Queen Latiifah, RI Hospital Employee In Movie
NY Post - First Female Bridge Painter Starts On Roosevelt Island Bridge
Your Nabe - Pols Protest Possible Closing of Ladder Company 116 Serving RI

RIRA President On Community Participation In Common Council Discussions, RIRA Elections, Blood Drive, Future Meetings & More To Come

Image Of Heated Discussion During May RIRA Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
1. Comments in last WIRE about heated RIRA discussion. We welcome the residents to speak at the public session, which is the beginning of each RIRA Common Council meeting (note: RIRA Town Hall meetings are completely for the residents). I recognize that, to some extent, we all need to vent our frustrations. But to make your suggestion/complaint/topic more constructive, the Common Council would like to hear your suggestion on what we (RIRA) should do about your concern. Obviously, some things are outside of our control (e.g., store leases and enforcement), but we do gather input and work with the relevant parties (RIOC, government, building owners, etc.) and express your concerns. In the last RIRA meeting, the discussion went from a complaint about a particular merchant to a general discussion about leasing store fronts. I'm hoping to have a RIRA Town Hall meeting on June 16 to inform the community about the discussion -- no decision-making, just information-sharing for all of us.

2. RIRA elections this November. We reach out to the community to become more involved. You can volunteer to be a RIRA Common Council member. We have building-wide representatives (several for each of the housing complexes) and Island-wide representatives (President, Vice President) -- all are directly elected positions. If you'd like to see what this is like, please come to one of our meetings. It's rewarding, you get to know your neighbors and community, and you can have a positive effect on things around you.

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.

5. A short column? A good number of things are in progress and not yet ready to report. Hopefully more by the next column.
The RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA column in the 5/22/10 Main Street WIRE.

Lack Of NYC Construction Crane Permits Delay Roosevelt Island Tram Work - Increasing Skepticism Tram Will Resume Service By Scheduled September Date

You Tube Video of Time Lapse Crane On NY Pier

Uh Oh - is it time to start being concerned that the Roosevelt Island Tram may be out of service longer than scheduled and not be ready to resume daily Tram service operations over the East River as promised for late August/Early September?

It appears that the Tram Modernization Program contractor Poma, which has little or no experience on New York City projects but is relying on others to guide it through the inner workings of local construction logistics, is having dificulty securing the required crane mobilization permits in a timely manner.

Here's why Roosevelt Island residents may need to get worried that the Tram will not be ready as originally promised. Yesterday, in preparation for a post on this weekend's scheduled Queensboro Bridge and Second Avenue/surrounding streets lane closures due to work on the Tram, I asked RIOC President Steve Shane:
...wanted to check that the RIOC advisories regarding lane closures for Queensboro Bridge and surrounding streets scheduled to begin this weekend are going forward and not changed before I post them on blog.
Mr. Shane replied:
The advisory for lane closures is rescinded as the work on 60th street has been postponed due to the continuing difficulties of POMA (and others) in obtaining crane mobilization permits in Manhattan.
I followed up with:
As of now, do the problems obtaining crane permits delay the resumption of Tram service from the scheduled late August/Early September date?

If not, at what point will the failure to obtain crane permits result in pushing back the scheduled start of Tram service?

Also, is POMA contractually penalized if they fail to deliver Tram Service by the Early September date if that failure was caused by the non- timely issuance of crane permits by the City or other appropriate governmental bodies?
and Mr. Shane responded:
POMA continues to state that the delay can be overcome. I grow increasingly skeptical. We push every day and are staying on top of the situation, but the work other than on the towers goes on. When it is on the critical path to ultimately delay delivery becomes a matter of judgment as to whether, when and where the effort and resources will be committed to make up the lost time.

POMA is contractually obligated to deliver the system and would be penalized with daily penalties as liquidated damages for late delivery in accordance with the terms of the contract. POMA would likely take a legal position to argue force majeure, but without an official embargo from the City, RIOC would obviously dispute their claim. So it goes in the construction business. We continue to push POMA and at the same time, try to assist with the City agencies having jurisdiction. Much bigger issue Citywide than RIOC"s & POMA's problem at both ends of the Tram. In everyone's best interest to get the project done as quickly as possible.
If Mr. Shane is becoming "increasingly skeptical", I am deeply worried that Roosevelt Island residents may have to wait much longer than the planned 6 months for the Roosevelt Island Tram to return to service.

Mr. Shane also addressed the Tram issue as it relates to cranes and weight restrictions on the Roosevelt Island Bridge in his most recent RIOC President's Report: Tram (Item 2):
At this writing, twelve weeks after shutdown, POMA advises that construction is still on schedule for reopening by September 1, although the City’s stricter enforcement of weight restrictions on bridges as applied to crane mobilization has resulted in some delay. The Contractor is working on alternatives. Station work proceeds apace at both ends. RIOC has engaged BL Companies to do some preliminary architectural design for work on the two stations after the system is back in operation. There will be a community presentation for reaction and comment as we go forward.
Let's hope and do all we can that these invisible ghost spirit people are not the only Roosevelt Island residents using the Tram come this September.
Design Image of RI Tram Station From RIOC and BL Companies

More on Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization Program from RIOC.

Friday Night Roosevelt Island Violin Duels Presented By Rosemarie & Robin Russell Family Concert Series

Later tonight the folks at the Rosemarie & Robin Russell Family Concert Series are Presenting An Evening of Violin Duels with Ralph Allen and Claudia Schaer:
Friday, May 21, 2010

An Evening of Violin Duos

Good Shepherd Center
543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY

8:00 PM
More on previous Roosevelt Island R & R Concerts from earlier posts here.

Enjoy this Bach Violin Dueling Duet from the past with Jack Benny and Isaac Stern.

You Tube Video of Jack Benny/Isaac Stern Bach Duet

Report From RIOC's President - June Board Meeting, Weight Problems For New Tram Crane, Fall Park Path Opening & More Roosevelt Island Issues

Rendering of New Manhattan Tram Station Design From RIOC

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

1. Board of Directors: Next meeting June 24 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 published on the RIOC website.

2. Tram: At this writing, twelve weeks after shutdown, POMA advises that construction is still on schedule for reopening by September 1, although the City’s stricter enforcement of weight restrictions on bridges as applied to crane mobilization has resulted in some delay. The Contractor is working on alternatives. Station work proceeds apace at both ends. RIOC has engaged BL Companies to do some preliminary architectural design for work on the two stations after the system is back in operation. There will be a community presentation for reaction and comment as we go forward.

3. Bus service:
A. Red Bus Shuttle to Manhattan: Weekdays and Weekends, Same stops and service into and returning from Manhattan -See the schedules posted on RIOC s web site and on the posters throughout the Island. 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.
B. 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.
C. Red Bus: Service continues on the Island as previously.

4. Southpoint: The Southpoint area remains closed while active construction is under way on both the FDR Memorial and Green Rooms/Wild Gardens projects. We expect to reopen the paths as far south as the Renwick Ruin by the fall, although planting in the will require restrictions until the growth takes hold.

5. Projects:
A. Octagon Soccer Field resurfacing: Work is ongoing and when complete, new specimen trees will be planted at designated locations. The schedule indicates completion around the end of July.
B. Other: Sportspark, Motorgate joint repair, fiber-optic cabling, Good Shepherd plaza and HVAC, street lighting, etc., all keep Engineering very busy. The pilot test of LED lighting at Motorgate is in design and may be considered for street lights.
C. AVAC: New compactor chambers have arrived and are being installed. New paneling is nearing completion. Go to RIVAA gallery before May 23 to see the great exhibition “Fast Trash”, about AVAC and pneumatic collection systems. !!

6. Health & Fitness Day: Glorious weather, terrific participation and a good time had by all. Kudos to all the community volunteers, contributors and RIOC staff who make this day special. Special note of the annual commendation ceremony for the members of Public Safety, recognized for their efforts during the prior year. Officers respond to calls, never knowing what they are going to face. All Island residents owe PSD a special thank you for helping Roosevelt Island to be the unique haven that it is.

7. Environment: Led by Rosina Abramson,VP for Planning, RIOC is participating in a feasibility study, funded by the EU and Cradle to Cradle Island Projects (C2CI) - to analyze ongoing environmentally sustainable projects and recommend additional projects to make RI more self sufficient from an energy point of view. RI, as a residential Island community "lab", the first U.S. member of a 22 trans-national Island network, will contribute to the experience, knowledge and progress of how Islands capture their natural resources and waste materials and turn them into energy and other productive uses.

Finally, as one follows the follies in Albany, I think all Island residents should think about how fortunate RIOC is to have an operating budget essentially independent of those issues. The ongoing success of the completed developments and future prospects will hopefully allow the level of services to be maintained.
This message also published as the RIOC column in the 5/22/10 Main Street WIRE.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Musical Theater Journey Through Roosevelt Island's Underground Garbage Tube System Closes Fast Trash Exhibit This Weekend - Walking Tour Too

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

This weekend is your last chance to see the FAST Trash Exhibit showcasing Roosevelt Island's unique underground pneumatic tube garbage disposal system at the Gallery RIVAA before it closes on May 23.

The Fast Trash exhibit, organized by Juliete Spertus, was recently profiled by the Wall Street Journal:
... In a way, Roosevelt Island’s garbage system offers a glimpse of an alternative New York, one that sought technology-driven solutions to urban problems. “Basically, trucks were cheaper,” Spertus says. It wasn’t the city’s only foray into tubes. From 1897 to 1953, a pneumatic mail system served parts of Manhattan.

Spertus’s exhibit asks us to contemplate going back to this future. “There’s not a lot of thought about how to incorporate our maintenance systems into the design of our urban spaces,” she says. Roosevelt Island’s trash system might look like a dead-end technology, but parts of Barcelona, Seoul, Stockholm and Hong Kong all use the modern descendants of the same system today. In that sense, Roosevelt Island’s tube-based trash is “as cutting-edge today as it was in the 70s,” Spertus says. Modernizing the island’s system would cost $6 million, according to Spertus...

There will be 2 special events closing the exhibit. On Saturday May 22, 5 PM at Gallery RIVAA there will be a live musical theater performance of AVAC Memories.

Image Of AVAC Memories Perfomers

Here is what an imagined elevator pitch to a theater producer might have said. From Ms. Spertus:
One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Musical Theater Extravaganza!

AVAC Memories tells the story of five pieces of household waste who are tossed into a Roosevelt Island garbage can and, together, go on a thrilling journey through the AVAC sanitation system. As they are dropped down garbage chutes, sucked through pneumatic tubes, crunched in a compactor and shipped off to the dump in a garbage barge, our grimy heroes learn some valuable lessons about friendship, courage and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Ms. Spertus adds:
Please join us for this short live performance followed by a Q and A
with the creators.

AVAC Memories was written by Frederick Alden Terry (music) and John Herin (lyrics), and directed by Dev Bondarin, with musical direction by Remy Kurs, featuring Jennifer Blood, Jason Collins, Steven Eng, Sevan Greene, and Jaygee Macagupay.
Image Of AVAC Memories Performers

Also, Ms. Spertus reports:
On Sunday May 23rd, Richard Melnick, President of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, will lead a walking tour of Roosevelt Island focusing on East River infrastructure. The tour will end at the Fast Trash Exhibit at Gallery RIVAA. At the conclusion of the walking tour Michael Heimbinder, Executive Director of HabitatMap , will discuss the logistics of moving trash in New York City answering the questions: how does garbage move? who moves it? and where does it move to?

The walking tour, trash talk, and entrance to Gallery RIVAA are all free. The tour starts at Socrates Sculpture Park at 11:00 am on Sunday May 23rd. To get to Socrates Sculpture Park take the N Train to Broadway, then exit and walk west along Broadway until you meet Vernon Blvd. To view and contribute to the walking tour map click here.

Remember to bring snacks and water and wear your walking shoes. Note that this is the last weekend of the Fast Trash Exhibit.
Below is a great video showing how Roosevelt Island's AVAC pneumatic tube garbage removal system works.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum from greg whitmore on Vimeo.

More on the Fast Trash exhibit and Roosevelt Island's AVAC underground garbage removal system from earlier posts available here.

Burglary At Roosevelt Island's Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings - Jewelry & Money Taken

Thief Image From Advocates Studio

The Roosevelt Landings/Eastwood building at 580 Main Street was the site of a recent burglary. According to the 5/18/ - 5/19 Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Report:
Burglary- Resident was not home. Unknown subject gained access and took jewelry and money. PSD and NYPD responded and conducted a search with negative results. PSD and NYPD filed reports.
Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra adds:
The apartment door was locked and there were no signs of forced entry at all. NYPD Detectives dusted for prints and came up empty.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FDNY Firehouse Closings Decision Postponed Until NY State Budget Resolved - Ladder Company 116 Still Serving Roosevelt Island, At Least For Now

Update on prior posts concerning possible closing of Long Island City based FDNY Ladder Company 116 which serves Roosevelt Island. May 17 was believed to be the day that Mayor Bloomberg was to announce the New York City Firehouses to be closed due to City and State budget crisis but that announcement of Fire House closings has been postponed. The NY Daily News reports:
Mayor Bloomberg is giving a reprieve to 20 fire companies on the chopping block - at least for now.

"I'm going to wait and see," Bloomberg said.

He's counting on Albany to come through with some last-minute cash when the Legislature finalizes a spending plan - one that is already 48 days late...

The closing of relatively near by Ladder Company 116 would represent a significant danger to Roosevelt Island residents.

Here's a report about August 2009 fire at Roosevelt Landings/Eastwood.

Summer 2010 Jobs Available For New York City Youth On Roosevelt Island - How Does Economy Effect Roosevelt Island Teens?

You Tube Video On How Economy Effects Roosevelt Island Teens

I noticed a Craigslist ad offering Summer jobs opportunities for New York City youth with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) and asked RIOC President Steve Shane if the ad was accurate. Mr. Shane replied:
As we have every year, in conjunction with the Youth Center, we try to hire "seasonals" to perform some of the outdoors type tasks (mowing, trash collection, etc.) which expand during the summer. Fill in for vacation time, etc., without expansion of the permanent unionized cadre. A way to give young people some entry into the temporary work force. I will refer you to Claudia Mcdade who administers the program for any further specifics. I've seen a whole boatload of young people here for interviews, mostly freshly scrubbed and reasonably properly dressed.
The jobs pay $15 per hour. From Craigslist:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has summer job opportunities for NYC youth. The minimum age is 18 years, and applicants must possess a valid driver's license. Positions will run from May 24th through September 6th, 2010.

Perfect for recent high school grads or college students!

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is a New York State Agency responisble for the development, maintenance and safety of Roosevelt Island, NY. Located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens counties, Roosevelt Island is a vibrant community with residential and commercial properties, a transportation
system, various parks and community areas.


Grounds Keepers:

Landscaping, maintenance and upkeep of all RIOC outdoor properties, sports fields and tennis courts. Job entails: lawn maintenance, tree pruning, graffiti removal, trash collection/removal, and street cleaning.
Prior Landcaping or gardening exp. A Plus!


Mainternance and upkeep of all RIOC properties, roads, offices and indoor sports facility. Job entails: General Laborer/construction work, light carpentry, concrete/mason work/painting/road repair. Basic knowledge of tools and handywork a MUST. Prior construction of Laborer exp. a Plus!

These positions offer an excellent opportunity to work outside in one of NYC's most beautiful settings.

Please e-mail resume to Applicants should indicate position of interest.
Roosevelt Island youth over the age of 18 - Hurry up and get those resumes to RIOC if you are looking for a summer job.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Roosevelt Island Parkour and Free Running Highlights From Twisted Traceurs & Interview With Ryan Doyle

Holy jumping, leaping, twisting, spinning, tumbling, flipping Batman. These guys are really amazing. You can learn more about Roosevelt Island's version of Urban Ninjas at the Twisted Traceurs web site:

... Our Mission as the Twisted Traceurs is to not only make videos and Perform, But to teach people the correct way to learn and train parkour with out getting hurt. We have helped many people in our local training areas from young 6 to 8 year olds kids, even 25 year olds adults. We Also teach more about the philosophy aspects of Parkour, but we leave it up to them on what they want to use it for in life...
and from earlier posts.

Here's Part 1 of 5 You Tube videos showing Parkour legend Ryan Doyle being interviewed on Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Commendations & Promotions Ceremony

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra sends the following message:

On Saturday, May 15, 2010 the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department honored its members at the 3rd Annual Commendation / Promotion Ceremony. Several Officers were awarded Citations for a job well done. Officer Rivera was promoted to Detective and Mr. Claudio Cornetti

was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for assisting the Department with the apprehension of four Burglars, who also committed a Robbery & Assault. The 19th and 114th Precincts from the NYPD were represented on the Dais, along with RIOC President/CEO Stephen Shane. Several Roosevelt Island residents were on hand to commend the Officers.

Congratulations to PSD on a fine year where crime had declined on the island by 18%.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Schoolyard Under Construction For Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 - Zog Sports Makes A Donation To New Out2Play Playground

PS/IS 217 Schoolyard Construction From RIGAND

The Roosevelt Island Gifted & Talented Class Blog reports on new construction going on at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 schoolyard:
... The crew is currently dismantling the old equipment and the new playground should replace it soon! Mini-baseball and soccer fields, basketball court, designated areas for chalk play and other activities, and more...
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. President Steve Shane forwards this letter he received from Zog Sports CEO Robert Herzog concerning the new schoolyard and Zog's participation in Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day.
The ZogSports team and volunteer participants are very excited to assist with the Roosevelt Island Health and Fitness Day this Saturday, May 15. We will be organizing and running a sports‐focused obstacle course for kids. We are looking forward to spending the day volunteering and interacting with the Roosevelt Island community.

We have some other very exciting news that we wanted to share with you and your team. We are pleased to announce our $25,000 donation to Out2Play to help sponsor the redevelopment of the playground at P.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island. The funding will enable Out2Play to transform the school’s empty, asphalt schoolyard into a safe, stimulating and developmentally beneficial playspace. Construction for the playground will take 6‐8 weeks over the summer and P.S. 217 will have a completed playspace by the start of next school year. We selected this project on Roosevelt Island because of our commitment to support, respect and improve the communities in which we play.

We are thrilled to work with Out2Play to help provide an area where the Roosevelt Island schoolchildren can get outside and be active. To date, Out2Play has built 80 playgrounds and plans to build 40 more this year. ZogSports lauds Out2Play for its mission to keep NYC public school kids active and healthy by providing safe and fun playspaces. We look forward to the fall for the Grand Opening celebration with the school, community, public sponsors of the project and ZogSports participants.
Mr. Shane also adds that Zog is:
A very good supporter of the Island.
What is Out2Play? According to Crains New York Business:
...Out2Play, which was started four years ago by Columbia MBA graduate Andrea Wenner, has already raised $20 million and built 80 playgrounds at New York schools, transforming nearly 1 million square feet of unused lots into play spaces. By contracting out and building a number of playgrounds at once, and devoting 97% of its annual budget to the projects, Out2Play has been able to work at a fast pace. The DOE funding will help Ms. Wenner achieve her organization's goal of transforming 150 empty schoolyards.

“Every day there are new studies that point to the fact that children need more opportunities for physical activity,” said Ms. Wenner, executive director of Out2Play. “This money is going to go a long way in ensuring that the children who come through these schools every year will have a place to be active, to play and to have fun.”
Here is the design schematic from Out2Play for Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 new schoolyard.
Click Here For Larger Image From Out2Play

PS/IS 217 also has some indoor sports including this basketball game between students and teachers.

You Tube Video of PS/IS 217 Student/Teacher Basketball Game

RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting Today To Review Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Leaseholder RFP Draft - Will Retail Come To Roosevelt Island?

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 Monday, May 17, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The Committee will meet to review the RFP drafted by Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. for the master lease of the Main Street retail.
An audio webcast of the meeting will be made available soon thereafter (usually with 2 business days).
UPDATE 5/18 - Audio webcast is now available.

Scenes From 2010 Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day - Fun and Informative

Saturday was nearly a perfect day for Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day. There was beautiful warm sunny weather, valuable information and fun for all those who attended. Here are some scenes from a very nice day.

Basketball Tournament

Ping Pong tournaments

Rock Climbing
Hackey Sack
Hula Hoop Demonstration

The Roosevelt Island Marlins Swimming Team
Tasty Food and
Pilates Class

There was also health and fitness information available from folks at Coler-Goldwater Hospital,

the Visiting Nurse Association,

and assistance in making your home environmentally safe and green.

Free breast mammogram exams were also available.

Kudos to RIOC and all the volunteers who helped make the 2010 Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day a tremendous success.