Friday, May 28, 2010

Cornell University Landscape Architecture Study Presented - The Roosevelt Island Renaissance Project - Revisioning Island Open Spaces

Last Sunday, the Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture School team led by Eden Gallanter presented the results of their study - The Roosevelt Island Renaissance Project - to a group of residents at the Good Shepherd Community Center. The purpose of the study was
a revisioning of Island open spaces with attention to safety, education and public health.
I was not able to attend but several of those who did were very impressed including this commenter:
Eden's presentation was excellent. She is very professional and it is a well thought out plan. It is also one that is a few small suggestions, not one master plan.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin who initiated the Study Tweeted:
Cornell U presents their Roosevelt Island Landscape and Park Design Study. Great Job!
For those not able to attend, Eden sent me the presentation to share with the community. Unfortunately, the study is quite large and had to be broken up into eight separate files. I hope that doesn't stop you from reading the whole thing.
Cornell Landscaping Study Part 1

Cornell Landscaping Study Part 2

There's More!

Cornell Landscaping Study Part3

Cornell Landscape Study Part 4

Cornell Landscaping Study Part 5a

Cornell Landscape Study Page 5b

Cornell Landscaping Study Part 6

Cornell Landscape Study Part 7

Roosevelt Island has been the beneficiary of several other recent University Projects including the Columbia University Roosevelt Island Transportation Study and Hunter College's Access RI Accessibility Study.

Community Supported Agriculture Comes To Roosevelt Island From Vermont Based Holton Farms - Delivery Service Now And Soon Buy Fresh From The Truck

You Tube Video of Holton Farms CSA Truck

Last summer a Riverwalk resident let us know about a Community Supported Agriculture program from Vermont based Holton Farms that was serving Roosevelt Island residents by delivering fresh food direct from the farm. Holton Farms is back again this year:
Our goal is to produce and deliver wholesome food with integrity directly to the consumer. We are committed to producing high quality food and delivering it fresh. We are honest with our customers about where their food comes from and how it was made. In order to get the maximum amount, of the best products available, we will partner with other farms to provide customers with a wider selection of products to fit everyones taste and preference.

We want to completely cut out the middle man wherever possible. We will form direct relationships between farmers and urban communities. This allows farmers to earn a fair wage and focus on quality. It also enables farmers to sell amazing food to those who can’t afford gourmet pricing.

Last Sunday the Holton Farms Delivery Truck was asked to leave Roosevelt Island by the Public Safety Department while parked and delivering food ordered by residents. According to the 5/23 -24 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report:
Investigation- Two food trucks parked opposite 455 Main Street. PSD responded. Neither truck had a RIOC permit. Drivers notified they needed a permit. Trucks exited the Island.
I inquired of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra what happened. Mr. Guerra replied:
We have had a number of complaints from residents asking us if certain vendors have permission to sell/distribute products on Roosevelt Island. RIOC has a policy which states that Vendors need to obtain a permit in order to sell/distribute products here on the island.
and suggested I contact Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) VP Of Operations Fernando Martinez for additional information. From Mr. Martinez :
If Holton Farms is just delivering food similar to Fresh Direct, then a permit is not required. However, if they want to be a vendor on Roosevelt Island (e.g. fruit stand), then the owner should contact Donna Masly and obtain a permit.
Farmer Jurrien of Holton Farms clarified what occurred and is very complimentary of the manner in which Public Safety Department handled the matter:
I saw your email exchange with our CSA member Carol. There wasn't really an incident, it was just PS doing their job. They were courteous and professional. We should have parked on the street in front of 455, but there wasn't any space. So instead, we just went into the leasing office driveway to wait for a space to open up. Unfortunately, one never did. People were so excited to see us there that they kept on coming over and asking us about our drop off service. We were so busy answering questions that we forgot the time!

I am trying to reach out to RIOC to get the proper permissions as I think that despite the Saturday Amish farmers market on RI, not everyone is around on Saturdays and we offer a convenient and much needed alternative. People coming to the truck were begging us to sell to them on the spot, but because the city does not have a category for mobile farm stands, we can only legally sell from private property. So I hope the nice folks over at ROIC can figure out a way to make our project happen.

We are currently working on getting am EBT terminal which would allow us to take food stamps. Should have that in the next few weeks. I think that would make us even more accessible to everyone on the island.

Farmer Jurrien
In addition to the existing Holton Farms delivery service, hopefully Roosevelt Island residents will soon be able to buy some of their fresh Farm products from their Truck on Sundays.

Roosevelt Island Parking Dialogue With Resident & RIOC President - Southtown Underground Parking Discussion Welcomed & New Motorgate Rate Structure?

Motorgate Parking Garage Image From Roosevelt Island 10044

Interesting exchange between Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) President Steve Shane and Mogens, a Roosevelt Island resident, regarding automobile traffic, parking at Motorgate Garage and possibility of underground parking at any future Roosevelt Island residential development in Southtown that they both kindly permitted to be shared with the community. It began with Mogens message to Mr. Shane:
Forward planning goes a long way

.......But where is everybody going to park? In new underground or multistory garages.
At Station Square in Clearwater, Fla., 126 condos sit on a former 78-spot parking lot. Amenities include a rooftop pool, a fitness center and ground-floor retail space — plus a five-story garage in the building that has 326 parking spots, 100 of them public. "There's more parking now than there was before," says the property's manager, David Traynor.
Read more
Mr. Shane replied:
I don't get your point.
Roosevelt Island was and is planned to be an automobile free environment with a central parking facility. The capacity of Motorgate is not yet reached and if approached, there is another quadrant to be built, and vertical expansion also possible.
Do you see the need for more parking, to encourage more cars in an urban environment with lots of mass transportation options?
Mogens replied:
I apologize for not making myself clear. I am in favor of the original concept , which I recall as:
  • No parking by anybody on Main Street except for loading/unloading and bonafide handicapped with a 6 hours limitation and only on the East Side of the street.
  • Red buses running punctually and predictably.
I think we need
  • Reduced monthly parking fees at Motorgate for employees of the local merchants and RIOC/PSD to free up Main Street
  • Reduced short term parking for patrons of the tennis club, who can take the Red bus from Motorgate
  • Built in parking space underground or on lower floors for any new construction.
My objective is to get cars off the street (again) not to encourage more traffic.

The developments on Roosevelt Island are now located far apart. The population growth will attract potential candidates for the shops on Main Street; but they will be discouraged by the virtually non-existing parking availability in front of the stores.

The above is Utopia and much progress can be made just by enforcing the existing laws.

Thank you for your attention
Finally Mr. Shane:
The employees of the merchants already do get a discounted rate at Motorgate.

We are actively considering revamping the rate structure at Motorgate to encourage short term use thereof to get the cars off Main Street.

Underground parking in the remaining contemplated development (Buildings 7, 8 & 9 of Southtown) would be a policy shift and require a reprogramming of the Master Plan. A worthwhile public discussion, but not now on the table. There are clearly pros and cons.

Thank you for your interest. I trust you will continue to participate in the public discussion of the many issues as the Island matures and social patterns evolve.
Wikipedia maintains a list of car free places around the world, including our own Roosevelt Island, and the NY Times hosts a debate on Car Free in America.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Play In Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Game This Saturday Morning Firefighters Field - Have Some Early Morning Fun

Roosevelt Island Saturday Morning Pick Up Softball Game At Firefighters Field

All you Roosevelt Island softball players and wannabees out there at all variety of skill levels don't forget that the next Roosevelt Island Adult Softball Pick Up game is scheduled for Saturday Morning 9:30 AM at Firefighters Field. This is not a league but just a bunch of guys and gals that like playing softball and having some early Saturday morning fun with new and old friends.

So if you are interested come on out and PLAY BALL.

More information, including most recent status of the game is available at the Roosevelt Island Adult Softball Meetup Group.

UPDATE 9: 15 PM - From the Roosevelt Island Adult Softball MeetUp Group:
If you'd like to play, you are strongly encouraged to take a few
minutes to sign up and RSVP for free on the website so that others
will be more likely to come out to a larger game

Dog Owner Asks To Increase Size Of Southtown Dog Run As Solution To Unleashed Dogs Running Around Roosevelt Island - Involve RIRA Says RIOC President

Image Of Southtown Dog Run

Commenting on yesterday's post concerning Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department's enforcement of law against allowing dogs to run unleashed, reader Jason wrote:
Like I've said before... a lot of this reads as hysterical to me as the "oh noes! wealthier people are invading Roosevelt Island!" despair. I should be glad that we don't have more serious things to worry about here.

Maybe it's just because I myself have witnessed such an insignificant amount of irresponsibility. Perhaps I only walk in different areas that aren't problematic. In any case, I do support fining those who don't pick up after their dogs. Hell, I'd even support using cameras to identify the perpetrators.

As to the leash laws (which, yes, I also obey)... can someone tell me the point? If there's a big, empty field, why can't a dog run on it? Who does it hurt? Squirrels and geese roam around; should we shoot them on sight? After all, NOBODY picks up their crap, ever. They urinate on the grass, do they not?

My suggestion is still to increase the size of the dog run if there's an affordable way to do it. There seems to be plenty of free space where the Southtown run is located.
Following up on Jason's suggestion, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) President Steve Shane:
A reader has suggested increasing the size of the Southtown Dog run as a possible solution to the problem of dogs running around unleashed.

Any thoughts on the feasibility of doing this?
Mr. Shane replied:
Any incursion into sacred park or open space brings an immediate outcry from the non dog owners. I think RIRA ought to take a poll and make a recommendation. Clearly an on balance matter. Physically, a modest increase in size would be relatively easy.
If dog owners want to increase the size of the Southtown Dog Run, Mr. Shane has advised you as to how to go about trying to do so. Of course, this would only be a temporary solution since the area occupied by the Southtown Dog Run will eventually be part of Riverwalk Buildings 7-9 when and if they ever get built.

As to who does it hurt to have dogs running around a big empty field, reader Winston comments:
These "insignificant amount[s] of irresponsibility" add up to a lot of poop. Maybe other people want to use that grass.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comedy Night Returns To Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill Thursday May 27 - Come Have Some Laughs And Chuckles

The Entertainment Emporium that has become Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill continues to expand it's offerings. The April Roosevelt Island Stand Up Comedy Night was so successful (despite initial hand held microphone problems)

Owner Alphonse Holding Wireless Microphone Router

that the guys from Riverwalk Bar & Grill are bringing it back for a second month tomorrow at 8:30 PM. Comedians performing will be:
Should be a fun night of comedy and an opportunity to meet new friends and neighbors. Even Yankee and Red Sox fans have a good time together at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill.

Walker Of Unleashed Roosevelt Island Dog Admonished By Public Safety Department - When Will Ticketing Begin?

No Dogs Allowed On Firemen's Field In Southtown

The ongoing problem of irresponsible Roosevelt Island dog owners/walkers allowing their pet dogs to roam unleashed

Unleashed Roosevelt Island Dog (not involved in this incident)
and crap

Curb Your Dog On Riverwalk Commons

on the grass or elsewhere without picking up after them

Poop Bag Dispenser at Riverwalk Commons

continues to the annoyance of many.

As noted by Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.(RIOC) President Steve Shane (Item 6):
Complaints about dog walkers not properly cleaning up after their pets have been made. There will be increased enforcement of the leash laws, including the obvious clean up responsibility to everyone’s neighbors.
and Public Safety Director Keith Guerra:
Dogs are also not permitted to run loose in non-designated areas.
It looks like the Public Safety Department is starting to enforce the prohibition against dogs running unleashed outside of the Dog Runs on Roosevelt Island. According to the 5/23 -23 Public Safety Report:
Unleashed Dog- In a soccer field. PSD responded and warned and admonished the dog walker who left with the dog.
Mr. Guerra has indicated that the Public Safety Department will respond to complaints about unleashed and uncurbed dogs. Unfortunately, by the time someone makes a complaint and Public Safety shows up, the dog and it's owner are often far away. But not in this reported case.

It has been suggested that just as parking tickets are issued for cars illegally parked on Roosevelt Island, tickets should also be issued for dogs running unleashed and uncurbed, not mere warnings to be ignored as soon as the Public Safety Officer leaves the area. Another resident suggested that plain clothes Public Safety Officers walk around the areas of Roosevelt Island where dogs are known to run unleashed such as in Southtown and ticket those owners and walkers allowing their dogs to run unleashed or not curbed. A few tickets issued with dollars coming out of their pockets might deter irresponsible dog owners from continuing to fail to clean up after their dogs and permitting them to run unleashed.

The problem is not with dogs but with their owners/walkers.

UPDATE 12:pm - From the 5/25 - 26 Public Safety Department Report:
Unleashed Dog- PSD summonses a male for unleashed dog rear of Gold Water Hospital.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Howl With Allen Ginsburg Tonight At The Roosevelt Island Public Library Poetry Hour

You Tube Video of Allen Ginsberg Howl

Poetry Hour tonight at the Roosevelt Island Public Library.
This month's Poetry Hour will feature a discussion of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." Free copies of the poem are available at the Information Desk. Join us on Tuesday, May 25th at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion of this groundbreaking Beat Generation work.
More on Allen Ginsburg available here.

Southtown Construction Shed Removed For Additional Tram Modernization Staging Area - When Will Ugly Tennis Club Parking Lot Be Removed Too

Tram Staging Area Now Includes Former Construction Shed Area on left

I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) VP of Operations Fernando Martinez
I noticed that the Monadnock construction shed is being dismantled across the street from 425 Main Street.

What, if anything, will be replacing it?
Mr. Martinez answered:
The additional space will be used as a staging area for the Tram Project.
Now let's also get rid of the ugly eyesore of a dirt parking lot in Southtown across from the Riverwalk buildings reserved for the exclusive use of Tennis Club patrons.

Monday, May 24, 2010

RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting May 25 To Finalize Main Street Master Leaseholder Draft - RIOC May Soon Be Out Of Main Street Retail Store Business

Roosevelt Island residents are getting closer and closer to the day in which RIOC is out of the Main Street retail business and a private sector developer taking over this sad and dreary portion of 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 Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The Committee will meet to finalize the RFP drafted by Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. for the master lease of the Main Street retail.
The audio webcast of May 17 meeting in which the draft Master Leaseholder was presented by Jones Lange LaSalle and discussed by Real Estate Committee is available here. Very interesting discussion and would recommend all interested in Roosevelt Island Main Street retail issues take the time to listen.

An audio webcast of the May 25 Real Estate Development Committee meeting will be made available soon thereafter (usually within 2 business days).

Audio webcast is now available.

PS/IS 217 International Dinner Fundraiser On Thursday May 27 - Come Help Roosevelt Island School Kids And Feast On Tasty Food From Around The Globe

Received the following message from the Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA:
The PTA of PS/IS217 is proud to announce our 2nd Annual INTERNATIONAL DINNER Fundraiser scheduled for THURSDAY, MAY 27th, 2010 at 7:00 to 10:00 pm

Last year’s Event was an unprecedented success, due in no small part to the parents who generously donated their time and cooking skills!. The diversity of our school makes it ideal for such an event, as our community is formed by many nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Once again, we are looking for groups of parents to volunteer their time, their food, and their cooking skills to prepare the food for that day.

The event will be held in the Manhattan Park Theatre Club for adults only and tickets will be sold at $25 each. The dinner will be a seated buffet and will feature live Entertainment. Taste the REAL international food right here on the Roosevelt Island!

We need volunteers to join our cooking teams!!! Our hope is to have dishes representing as many nationalities as possible. Please contact the PTA if you are willing to contribute! Remember, we also need volunteers to staff the event.
Below are some attendees from last year's PS/IS 217 International Dinner Fundraiser.

PS/IS 217 PTA International Dinner Image from Isabel Perez- Cruz