Saturday, August 28, 2010

Roosevelt Island Bridge Closed For 15 Minute Intervals August 30 - 31 From 10 AM - 2 PM

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge from NYC Roads

Received the following advisory from RIOC announcing intermittent 15 minute closings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge during the hours of 10 AM - 2 PM on Monday, August 30 and Tuesday, August 31:
Please be advised due to inclement weather this week, the DOT has rescheduled the daytime testing of the Roosevelt Island Bridge to Monday, August 30th and Tuesday, August 31st.

Attached you will find a notice from the DOT with complete information.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Plan accordingly.

Revised RIB Day Time Testing Aug 30 and 31

More information about the Roosevelt Island Bridge Reconstruction Project is available from the New York City Department Of Transportation.

Another New Vendor For Roosevelt Island's Saturday Farmers Market, Meet Coler Goldwater Hospital Cook Rose - Try Her Jerk Chicken & More

A new vendor joined the Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market today and plans to be back next week as well. Rose's Catering sells Jerk Chicken, Mac & Cheese, Peas & Rice, Corn on the Cob, Fish, Collard Greens and much, much more.

Image of Rose's Catering At Farmers Market Today

I stopped by and spoke with Rose earlier today and learned that she has been cooking at Coler Goldwater Hospital for over 20 years. One Hospital worker stopped by to pick up some take out and said the food was great.

Give it a try next week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

RIRA President On RIOC/RIRA Elections, Maple Tree Group, Shane's Departure, Torres Arrival, Main Street Storefronts & Other Roosevelt Island Issues

Image of June 2010 RIRA Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Farance addresses:
1. Successful RIRA Fundraiser nets $1333. My apologies for skipping this important item in my last column. Thanks to Sherie Helstien and the RIRA Social, Cultural, and Educational Services Committee (chaired by Nikki Leopold), who produced a classical vocal concert as a June 27 fundraiser. RIRA funds have helped many organizations and worthwhile efforts on the Island.

2. RIRA Sponsored 9/11 Memorial Service. On Saturday, September 11, at 6:45 p.m., the community will come together at the 9/11 memorial behind the Good Shepherd Community Center. There will be readings, performances, and moments of silence. Don't forget to bring your own candle.

3. RIRA Elections. We all have two-year terms, which are up this November. I encourage you to consider running in the RIRA elections. In my next column, I expect to have more details on the nominations and elections process.

4. RIOC to provide funding of biannual RIRA and RIOC director nominee elections. RIRA runs its Island-wide elections every two years at the same time as the federal elections. RIRA Common Council members are directly elected -- delegates from each of the housing developments (Southtown, Northtown, Manhattan Park, Octagon) and two Island-wide representatives (President and Vice President). In the past, we have been lucky enough to have funding from our City Councilmember (but funding stopped years ago) and from our State Assemblymember (but the Governor has vetoed all member items recently). I spoke with RIOC about long-term funding and they have agreed to support us (separate from public purpose funds). Thanks to Steve Chironis and RIOC!

5. Island Organizations to meet to on Common Calendar. Have you experienced the frustration of being a member of two Island organizations who have scheduled an important event on the same day? Maybe we can do better and have fewer conflicts in the schedules. On September 21 at 8:00 p.m., I'm holding a meeting with all organizations invited with the hopes that we can have a common calendar through June 2011 so we can avoid gratuitous conflicts. We'll publish the calendar in well-known places, including The WIRE, RIOC, and Island blog websites.

6. Meeting Ms. Leslie Torres, then candidate and now RIOC CEO/President. Thank you to the residents who provided questions to Ms. Torres for the RIRA Town Meeting. We had a good meeting and she answered approximately 20 detailed questions over 90 minutes. This week RIRA officers and committee chairs met with Ms. Torres to reaffirm the RIRA-RIOC collaboration.

7. RIOC Board chose not to interview 3 candidates. Assemblymember Kellner has legislation requiring three candidates be interviewed and publicly vetted prior to appointing the RIOC Board president. Regardless of Ms. Torres' excellent capabilities, the RIOC Board has failed the Island residents. Board members (with the exception of Margie Smith) felt that they had a good candidate, so there was no reason to follow through. Board members don't seem to understand that the sanctity of the process is most important: today's reason for lack of self-discipline is tomorrow's excuse for precedent for not following the process. After the appointment, Matt Katz (former RIRA President) questioned RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin's reasoning for his unwillingness to have three candidates considered. Mr. Kalkin said that there was an immediate need for a RIOC President because some important decision needed to be made right away. No such event has happened since. This sounds like a bunch of baloney. A common theme with the present RIOC Board is double standard. Had State-appointed people made such decisions, we'd be screaming bloody murder to the governor, but now the we have some residents on the Board, we don't complain as much about their poor decision-making.

8. RIOC Board has no requirements that prohibit them from talking about the Shane firing. Also at the RIOC Board meeting, Roosevelt Islander blogger Rick O'Connor and I asked RIOC General Counsel Ken Leitner what provisions, statutes, etc., prohibited the Board from discussing Shane's firing. Leitner referred the questions to the Board Chair, read: there is no legal basis for the RIOC Board withholding the information. If it is the policy of the chair not to discuss this, then this could easily be overruled by the directors themselves. So the real reason this is not being discussed is because the directors chose not to discuss it. As confirmed by Assemblymember Kellner, Shane's firing involved friction with the Board over privatization (not really about storefronts). Recently, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard was fired by its board and their board chose to give an explanation. Why did they explain? Their board is elected by their shareholders, thus they need to explain their decision-making. For us, it's back to the double standard: had State-appointed Board members not explained, we'd voice ourselves loudly... but now that it is our own residents, we have a different standard.

9. Still Problems with Main Street Storefronts. I've asked Jonathan Kalkin, Chair of the RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee, for a copy of the RFP. Mr. Kalkin continues to be unresponsive to questions about the RFP. Mr. Kalkin and his committee members did not come to the RIRA Town Meeting in June to discuss this. Mr. Kalkin wants to write an article for The WIRE explaining his perspective, but he is unwilling to take questions from the WIRE's editor or the RIRA President. Mr. Kalkin claims that he has met weekly ("I believe I hold the record for most Real Estate Committee meetings. Some of them we had almost every week at the end of this process."). All the records of his meetings have been removed from the RIOC website. RIOC has a bid worth approximately $100 million over its lifetime, yet we have no records of the committee meetings, no supporting documents, and a committee that refuses to answer questions or participate in community meetings. According to Mr. Kalkin, RIOC has outsourced the bidding to Jones Lang LaSalle. Meantime, we have the Tram project at $20-25 million which has been well-documented on the RIOC website. Why does RIOC use a different procurement, review, and publicity process for the Main Street storefronts? We've asked for a copy of the RFP to review it prior to posting. Why? Because it is in everyone's benefit to make sure the right RFP is posted for bidding. In government purchasing, it is normally the case that these kinds of complex bids have some interaction with the public and the vendors: a draft is posted for comment. This makes sense for vendors too because fixing the bid afterward can cause litigation and delay from both successful and unsuccessful bidders. But Mr. Kalkin refuses to have community input. Opaque, arbitrary, and capricious.

10. Maple Tree Group, a voice of democracy, demonstrates the opposite: subjective criteria on whether we have elections. The Maple Tree Group (a subcommittee of RIRA's Government Relations Committee) has produced a whopper. They recently voted, in a secret meeting with only self-selected "core" members (read: The Old Guard) to postpone RIOC Board nominee elections for two years (2012). Right now, one RIOC director's position is expired (Fay Christian of Rivercross), two will expire in Spring 2011 (David Kraut of Roosevelt Landings, and Jonathan Kalkin of Manhattan Park) and one will expire at the end of 2011 (Howard Polivy of Rivercross). I'm on that MTG committee, but I was excluded from voting ("because you haven't been involved in all of the discussions for the past 13 years". My response: I resigned from the committee when I was a RIOC Board candidate. I'm no longer a candidate so I rejoined). I was excluded from the discussions, too -- RIRA meetings are public. When I was elected RIRA President, I learned that Southtown and Octagon people were really unhappy about the dominance of the so-called Old Guard and wanted an equal say. But you don't have a say in the MTG, which thinks it controls Island-wide elections and state legislation. You can try to join them, but they won't let you vote because you haven't been around for 13 years and they'll keep their discussion private (yup, you can't even go to a meeting). Meantime, even though you and I will not meet up to their standards and 13 years of membership to allow us to vote and participate, they expect legislators with five minutes preview to make informed decisions about Roosevelt Island, and they expect the RIRA Common Council to approve MTG's positions with ten minutes of discussion. According to an MTG member, the reason for delaying the vote is so that there can be a staggering of candidates: four one election cycle, three the other cycle - but we can accomplish that with RIOC elections this year. The "core" members are Ashton Barfield (Rivercross), David Bauer (Rivercross), Linda Heimer (Rivercross), Sherie Helstien (Westview), Matt Katz (Westview), Dick Lutz (Rivercross), Nurit Marcus (Rivercross) -- who all voted against the RIOC elections this year -- and Joyce Mincheff (Roosevelt Landings), who voted in favor of RIOC elections this year. RIRA Government Relations Committee chair Ashton Barfield tells us that MTG has no leader. I spoke to David Bauer, former MTG Chair, and he was very disappointed in this recent vote: he feels that it is difficult to promote democracy when you don't have a democratic process yourself. Meanwhile, when I complained about the secrecy, MTG member Ellen Polivy (RIRA Vice President and whose husband would benefit from RIOC elections postponed two years) chided me, "Frank, put your effort into more important ventures than trashing the careful and deliberate work of a committee with long tenure". Anyway, I hope that some of you complain at the upcoming RIRA meeting, and I hope that you join RIRA -- we cannot be making decisions in a self-selected, secretive way. A neighbor told me: democracy is not about getting an election, it's about getting the second election. There's a lot of stuff going on here with the RIOC Board and manipulation of the election process.

11. Upcoming RIRA meetings. Aside from the short-notice town meeting (see above), the next meeting is on September 15 at 8:00 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Community Center; future meeting is October 6. I can't believe the summer is over. :-(

A version of the RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA column in the 8/28/10 Main Street WIRE.

New RIOC President Leslie Torres First Message To The Community - Good Beginning For Roosevelt Island

Image of New RIOC President/CEO Leslie Torres

I met with new Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres last Thursday afternoon at the Starbucks in Southtown. We had a very informative 90 minute conversation talking about the past, present and future of Roosevelt Island.

Ms. Torres explained that her time to date as RIOC President has been spent learning about Roosevelt Island issues by meeting with RIOC staff, residents and other stakeholders. She said that no personnel changes among Senior Staff are anticipated and that her view of the RIOC President/CEO position is to implement policy set by the RIOC Board.

My initial impression of Ms. Torres is that she is very smart, personable and genuinely interested in the concerns of Roosevelt Island residents. She emphasized a commitment to openness, transparency and a desire to engage with the community in a productive dialogue. I was also impressed with Ms. Torres desire to utilize the collective wisdom and experience of community members for the betterment of Roosevelt Island.

Ms. Torres mentioned that she would like to make RIOC Board Meetings more easily accessible to the Roosevelt Island community. She suggested the possibility of conducting RIOC Board Meetings at various alternating locations on the Island. In addition to the current Good Shepherd Community Center, other possible RIOC Board meeting sites include the Octagon, Manhattan Park Community Center and in Riverwalk Building party rooms.

I suggested to her that RIOC Staff and Board Members set up a booth at the Saturday Farmers Market and take turns meeting and talking with residents who stop by. Former RIOC Director Mark Ponton originally proposed that idea several years ago.

Ms. Torres had had a good beginning on Roosevelt Island. Every resident I spoke with who has met with Ms. Torres had said it was a positive experience and are hopeful it will continue.

Below is Ms. Torres first RIOC President's column. Welcome to Roosevelt Island.
What a whirlwind my first several weeks at RIOC have been. There is so much going on. My thanks to Steven Chironis for his efforts as Acting President and the rest of the staff in keeping everything on track during the transition. And thanks to all Roosevelt Islanders for your kind welcome.

Major Projects Underway:

Tram Opening – We have been informed by the contractor that the re-opening schedule has been delayed by an additional 10 days. The north lane is scheduled to open on October 5th, and the south lane on October 16th. The stations design has been finalized and approved by the RIOC Board at its special meeting on August 4. The majority of construction work for the stations will be performed after the opening of the Tram. Construction work will be, to the best of our ability, coordinated with non-peak Tram schedules, minimizing travel disruptions.

Retail Master Lease – The Request for Proposals is nearing completion and is expected to be released before the end of this month.

FDR Memorial – Phase I construction is on schedule, and construction of phase IIA has started ahead of expectations. The first major granite delivery is expected to begin in mid-September.

Southpoint Open Space (Green Rooms Wild Gardens) – The initial opening of paths only are expected in the fall. After fall plantings, full opening is expected in Spring 2011.

Other Projects in Progress:

AVAC – The fa├žade work has been completed. Installation of new compacters is in progress.

Octagon Soccer Field – The new lighting, excavation and grading have been completed. The fields should be opened for regular use by the end of this month.

Island Security Camera System – Phase I (installation of cameras from Motorgate to 504 Main Street) is to be completed by the end of this month. Phase II (from 504 to Southpoint Park) discussions are in progress.

Motorgate Roof Waterproofing & Stairwells – The project is about 50% finished with estimated completion at the end of November.

Motorgate LED Lighting – Design and engineering are in progress for the re-lighting of Motorgate with more energy conserving fixtures.

Helix (Bridge Ramp) Engineering Investigation – As previously reported, the preliminary report from LiRo Engineering shows that the helix surface does not have serious structural damage. We are anticipating a full report shortly.

Approved Projects to be started this Fall:

Good Shepherd Plaza – Restoration of the Plaza and alleviation of drainage problems, expected to start Oct 3rd.

Good Shepherd HVAC – Full system replacement.

Projects in Design & in RFP Stages:

Good Shepherd Roof Replacement.

Blackwell House Interior Renovation and Disabled Accessible Ramp.

Recent Community Events:

Outdoor Summer Movies – Our successful series featuring movies filmed on Roosevelt Island concluded this week with the August 21’st showing of Nighthawks.

Expanded Sportspark Activities – Please see the RIOC website for expanded pool, ping-pong and basketball hours.

Bike–Sharing Demonstration August 24 – A bike sharing installation was tested by residents on Tuesday, August 24. The free demonstration, allowing bikes to be picked up and returned at solar powered stations, was sponsored by B-cycle, a company specializing in Bike Sharing installations in cities and campuses.

Soccer Night August 26, 7 P.M. – The community celebration re-opening the newly refurbished soccer field at Octagon Park, included free clinics provided by the “Red Bulls”, a major league soccer team.

Some Upcoming Events

Fall for the Arts – Annual Arts, Food and Fun Festival will be celebrated October 2nd, in Blackwell Park and Rivercross Open Space.

Hispanic Heritage Month – Will be celebrated on Sept. 18th at 2 pm on Meditation Steps. The Willie Viallegas Entre Amigos Band will perform Latin music and provide a history of its development.

From the RIOC Archives - On October 25th at Sportspark, a panel discussion co-sponsored with the Roosevelt Island Historical Society will be held, exploring some of the materials from the RIOC Archives.

A version of the RIOC President's column also appears in the August 28, 2010 Main Street WIRE.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This Is Hip Hop - At Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park BBQ Last Weekend

Blogger Rox Fontaine reports that Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park was the place to be last Friday for a special night of Hip Hop. From Rox Fontaine:

... The music was blasting from the lone PA speaker and everyone was having a great time. Apparently, it was too loud for tiny Roosevelt Island's Public Safety and they barged in to tell the hosts to turn it down. The squad of about 6 officers hovered around for about 10 minutes and then walked off into the night. Of course, the music made it's way back up shortly thereafter and Public Safety was back again. This time in two vehicles. They made it clear that if the music didn't stay off, the party would be shut down.

People huffed and puffed for a short while about the lack of music and then something special happened.

*Clap* *Clap* *Clap* *Clap*...NO MUSIC!

It started with two or three people and within seconds it grew to about 30 people. The chant continued and a group gathered. The "cypher" was officially opened and the MCs began to take control of the party. This is Hip-Hop!...
More here.

Here's some old school hip hop from a really good movie - 1984's Beat Street. Enjoy this scene with:
Grandmaster Melle Mel performing "Beat Street Breakdown", the first track of the original soundtrack album of the 1984 mainstream Hip-Hop dramatic feature film "Beat Street"
from You Tube.

Newcomer Reshma Saujani Challenges Incumbent Carolyn Maloney For Roosevelt Island Congressional Seat - Meet Ms Saujani At Town Hall Sunday August 29

Image of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (right) and Challenger Reshma Saujani (left) From NY Daily News

Roosevelt Island's longtime representative in Congress, Carolyn Maloney of the 14th Congressional District, is facing a strong challenge from relative newcomer Reshma Saujami, a lawyer. According to an article in the August 24 New York Daily News:

There’s nothing smooth about the infighting for the Congressional seat from the so-called “Silk Stocking District” on the Upper East side, where 18-year Democratic incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 64, is facing a primary election challenge from upstart Reshma Saujani, 34, an eight-year resident of the city who is making her first bid for elected office....
What's the difference between the two candidates? Again, from the NY Daily News:
... Maloney cited her years of fighting for issues such as credit-card reform, the health care bill for 9/11 reformers and bringing home $4 billion in funding for the Second Ave. subway and related construction projects.

To which Saujani said, “I think that Maloney ranks at the bottom of our New York delegation, and I’m saying that on the record. And I think Carolyn Maloney represents the problem. We have in Congress, I think, a lot of mediocre representatives.”...
Ms. Saujani will be visiting Roosevelt Island this Sunday. Her office passed along the following invitation to all Roosevelt Island residents to come meet her and ask questions at the Trellis during:
... Reshma's Community Conversation Tour event at Trellis on Sunday, August 29th at 5pm. It will be a Town Hall style event for residents to hear Reshma speak about the race and to also give everyone attending the chance to ask Reshma questions about our campaign....
Below is the invitational flyer for Ms. Saujani conversation with the Roosevelt Island Community.
I asked Ms. Saujani's campaign staff:
If Ms. Saujani has any thoughts or comments on specific Roosevelt island issues, would be happy to post them as well.
and received this response specifically concerning Roosevelt Island issues:
  • Reshma is very concerned about the recent goings on at Coler-Goldwater Hospital, with the moving of 200 beds from the now-shuttered North General Hospital in Harlem. It particularly concerns her that none of the many full-time residents of Goldwater Hospital were consulted about this move. While she is optimistic about the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s plans to build a new state of the art nursing facility on the site, Reshma believes that greater oversight is necessary to ensure that those served by the Coler-Goldwater Hospital have the best possible care and facilities available.
  • As a Congresswoman from New York, Reshma Saujani would push to increase federal funding for public transportation. The tram is already way behind schedule, and the repeated delays on the F train make the current situation much worse. Commuters living on Roosevelt Island need more options, and I strongly support exploring every possible avenue, such as adding ferry service.
  • There are over 500 Muslim families living on Roosevelt Island, and Reshma Saujani believes they deserve to have their own place of worship. The fact that the Muslim community has asked for help at numerous RIOC and RIRA board meetings and been largely ignored is unacceptable.
I then asked incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's office:
If Congresswoman Maloney wishes to prepare a similar statement for the Roosevelt Island community, I would be happy to post it on the Roosevelt Islander blog.
Received the following statement from Ms. Maloney's campaign:
A Fighter for Roosevelt Island

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has been a vigorous and effective representative for Roosevelt Island since her election to Congress.
  • She has been a forceful advocate for a greater degree of self-governance on the Island, successfully urging the Governor to appoint the winners of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association-organized election to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) Board of Directors.
  • Representative Maloney worked with RIOC to help secure a $250,000 matching grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historical Preservation to repair and restore one of the Island’s notable landmarks, Blackwell House.
  • She secured $700,000 in federal highway funds to install surveillance cameras in Roosevelt Island’s subway station to provide better security.
  • In the current Congress, she’s secured a major federal appropriation for parks on Roosevelt Island (that will be officially announced in the coming weeks).
  • Congresswoman Maloney successfully urged the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake the $500,000 study documenting failings in the Island’s Seawall, and is continuing to push hard for federal funding to repair the Seawall.
  • She helped secure federal funding for water taxis in New York, for which Roosevelt Island would be an eligible site, and helped secure U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval for a water taxi dock permit on Roosevelt Island.
  • Joining with Island leaders and fellow elected officials, Representative Maloney successfully fought for the reopening of the Tramway following suggestions from some after the April 2006 breakdown that it be mothballed in perpetuity.
  • She’s been an advocate for better policing and security on Roosevelt Island and has convened meetings to enable residents to voice their concerns to the relevant government agencies.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney looks forward to continuing to work closely with her fellow elected officials and Island residents to present a forceful and united voice for all Roosevelt Islanders.
Ms. Saujani was recently interviewed by Fox News NY.

and Ms. Maloney discusses jobs and tax cuts on CNBC.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The New York Times also examined Ms. Suajani's stylish, though comfortable, Kate Spade wedges foot wear.

According to NBC New York, Congresswoman Maloney:
... gave in to pressure today and agreed to debate her Democratic primary opponent Reshma Saujani.

The decision comes one day after NBCNewYork aired video of Maloney refusing to commit.

A spokesman for the congresswoman said the radio debate, scheduled to air on WWRL radio on September 7th at 11 a.m., "is a good format."...

Debating is good.

UPDATE 8/27 - A reader sends in this link to separate interviews with Ms. Maloney and Ms. Saujani on Brian Lehrer's WNYC radio program.

Take A Walk Through The Roosevelt Island Communty Garden - Disabled Accessible Plot Available To Be Tendered Says Garden Club

Image of Roosevelt Island Community Garden

From a 2009 post:
I have never walked through the Roosevelt Island Garden Club area but did so earlier this week. It is really quite lovely, situated between Manhattan Park and the Octagon, Roosevelt Island's tiny version of Conservatory Garden in Central Park.
If you've never visited the Roosevelt Island garden, I highly recommend it and if you have, go again.

Yesterday, I received the following invitation from the Roosevelt Island Garden Club:
I am a member of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club. It's a beautiful and rewarding place to be for everyone to enjoy when the weather is good. There are a few handicap accessible garden areas available. We have a Wait List but at this time none to our knowledge are handicapped. If you know of any handicap person who might be interested in tending a handicap accessible plot please have them write to request an application at: Roosevelt Island Garden Club, P.O. Box 127, New York, NY 10044 or email us at
Image of Roosevelt Island Community Garden

More great pictures of the Roosevelt Island Community garden from Chedpics.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roosevelt Island Pediatrician Position Available - How Would You Like Tracey Ullman As Your Child's Doctor?

You Tube Video of Tracey Ullman As a Pediatrician

Pediatrician job is available on Roosevelt Island. From NY Times & Monster:
Gouverneur Healthcare Services
Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
For a general Pediatric Practice
FT and PT

Board Certified or Eligible
Bilingual Spanish/​English Preferred

Gouverneur Healthcare Services is part of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, a leading provider of healthcare services in New York City.​ Gouverneur is building for the future and has begun construction on a completely modernized healthcare facility with the goal of providing affordable and comprehensive healthcare.​

We have two Pediatrician positions immediately available in our Diagnostic and Treatment Facility.​ The first is FT days requiring one evening per week, and we are able to provide excellent comprehensive benefits.​ The second position is hourly for coverage of evening clinics, weekends and holidays and does not provide medical benefits.​ Salaries are highly competitive and based upon Board certification and commensurate with experience.​ Please forward your cv indicating which position you are applying for to Felix. ​Santiago@​nychhc.​org

NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation
I guess you can't start preventive care too soon.

Roosevelt Island Rivercross Mitchell Lama Cooperative Residents Meet Again To Discuss Issues Of Common Concern & Solve Problems - Maintenance Going Up

Image of Rivercross from Adventures of a Goodman

Are you a resident of Roosevelt Island's Rivercross Mitchell Lama Cooperative and interested in learning more about what is going on in your building? If so, consider joining with some of your neighbors as they meet to discuss common interests of concern and find solutions to existing problems.

Rivercross resident David Bauer sends the following report from the most recent meeting held yesterday. Mr. Bauer writes:
Folks --

At the meeting last evening --

1) Shareholders were encouraged by the several moves made by our cooperative recently:
a) the start of the Board open conversation sessions with shareholders
b) establishment of a window screen maintenance policy
c) raising the temperature setting for the common spaces
d) the active search for a window washer
e) starting the creation of a book exchange center
f) clarifying the process for reporting/correcting the transmission of odors between apartment
g) upon request, building staff will install u-shaped handles to facilitate window opening .

It was noted that at the second Board Conversation session the five minute time limit for one shareholder to speak was relaxed. One shareholder took 20 minutes to offer comments pro and con for the Board to consider.

2) Arline reported on conversations with Landscape Architect Mark K. Morrison. He was positive in his cursory review of the Rivercross Building as being suitable for a 'Green Roof' installation. As a next step, she will be asking Zeniel Pereizic for technical information about the building structure.

3) Vicki reported on positive conversations with Board member Steve Kaufman about both the ramp as a replacement for the six foot wide steps down to the entrance plaza, and about the placement of benches for persons waiting for a transportation vehicle.

4) Judy raised the matter of the need for a published price list of maintenance/renovation services offered by the building staff. The list would preferably show those items the building staff will do as a matter of course, and the things that would be a 'off duty' job by the staff. She will pursue the matter further.

5) Deborah Beck, former Board member of RTC and RIOC, joined the group and offered information and opinions about the proposed book exchange self location, about the building staff, about the process involved in converting from a Mitchell-Lama building to a private operation, the attitude of DHCR toward RTC being colored by the operating experience of other M-L buildings, and the building staff.

6) During the end of meeting opportunity for each person to comment, there ensued a general discussion about the advisability of a letter writing campaign focused on DHCR questioning the proposed 5% increase in monthly carrying charges next year, in the need for help for many people in moving furniture in connection with the annual cleaning of the heating/AC units, and formalizing shareholder concerns.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 to meet again on Tuesday September 7 at 7:30.
Mr. Bauer's report from prior Rivercross meeting is here.

There is also an online Rivercross Google Group for residents to communicate with each other as well.

Another Rivercross resident sent in this memo from the Rivercross Tenants Corp Board of Directors informing shareholders of an upcoming 7% maintenance increase starting September 1, 2010 and an additional 5% increase ordered by the DHCR to begin September 1, 2011 to fund additional Reserves for Replacement Contingencies which the Rivercross Board did not think was necessary.
River Cross Surcharge Memo

Roosevelt Island's Resurfaced Artificial Turf Octagon Soccer Field Re-Opening Thursday August 26, 7 PM - Come Meet New York Red Bulls Soccer Team

The newly resurfaced with artificial turf Octagon Soccer field will be re-opened on Thursday August 27. Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder reports to the community:

Please join the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation along with the New York Red Bulls Soccer Team on Thursday, August 26th at 7 PM as we re-open the newly resurfaced Octagon Soccer Field. Dust off your soccer cleats and participate in the fun as guests will have the opportunity to watch professional athletes perform eye-catching soccer tricks and play with some of the best soccer players in the country.

Autographs and photo opportunities will be available during the event.

In partnership with Amalgamated Bank and ZogSports.

The Octagon Soccer Field is located at 755 Main Street which is directly north of Manhattan Park- 40 River Road and across the street from the firehouse (750 Main Street)
Image of Resurfaced Artificial Turf Octagon Soccer Field

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Health Care And Retirement Benefits Consumer Seminar At The Roosevelt Island Public Library Wednesday August 25 1 PM

Consumer Choices Flyer, RI

On Wednesday August 25 at 1 PM, the Roosevelt Island Public Library will be holding a Health and Retirement Benefits Consumer Seminar. From the Roosevelt Island Public Library:

Find out about health and retirement benefits including: NYS EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage); Federal Medicare, including Part D; Social Security, including the Low-Income Subsidy; New York Prescription Saver Card; and Medicare Savings Program. Also, learn about current computer, phone, and mail scams--how to keep from becoming a victim, and what to do if you are victimized. Representatives from the NYS Dept. of Health, the NYS Consumer Protection Board, U.S. Social Security Administration and the NYC Dept. for the Aging will be present to speak about a variety of programs, distribute literature, and answer your questions. Free giveaways!
More information on health care and retirement benefits from the NY Public Library.

Man Swims East River West Channel From Manhattan To Roosevelt Island - Safe, But Summons Issued

Image Of East River West Channel Between Roosevelt Island & Manhattan

It is certainly not the same thing as swimming across the English Channel, but sometime last Sunday a man swam the West Channel From the East Side of Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. According to the 8/22/-8/23/10 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report:
Investigation/ Reckless Endangerment- A male swam from the FDR straight across to Roosevelt Island. NYPD/ESU, and PSD responded. Male was fine. EMS refused. NYPD issued subject two summonses.
That's a very dangerous thing to do considering the East River currents by Roosevelt Island can be very rough during certain times of the day as shown in this You Tube Video.

Recently, a question was asked on Yahoo answers regarding the safety of swimming the Hudson and East River near Roosevelt Island. According to Yahoo Answers:
The current in both Hudson and East River is very strong, especially past Roosevelt Island and at Hell's Gate. But even past the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the current can move ar 4-5 knots. I've seen many small craft barely making any headway against this currents, some were even getting swept backwards.

About 10-12 years ago two guys set out from Greenpoint to swim across the East River. They made it across to Manhattan, but could not find a place to get out of the river, because it's all sea wall along the FDR Drive.

So they tried to swim back to Brooklyn. The current carried them down all the way to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. One guy managed to catch a ladder and climb onto a dock at the Red Hook Wastewater Treatment Plant, while the other got swept under a barge docked at the Hudson Street power plant and drowned.
More on the drowning mentioned above from the 2002 NY Times and a recent attempt to swim London's Thames River from the BBC:
Former Tory politician Matthew Parris wrote in his Saturday Times column that he had swum across the river in central London in his vest and trunks.

"Frankly swimming in the Thames is not only ignorant it is selfish too," said David Snelson, Port of London Authority chief harbour master.

"It was ignorant and it was dangerous," Mr Parris admitted in his column.

"It could have ended in disaster," he added, admitting that he was "no great swimmer"...
Fortunately, the Roosevelt Island East River swim did not end in disaster either.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coler Goldwater Hospital Patient With Severe Memory Loss Reunited With Family Due To Assistance of Friend Lazaro And Channel 41 Reporter

A reader sent in this link to a HHC Today article describing a Coler Goldwater Hospital patient with a traumatic brain injury and severe memory loss caused by a severe beating being reunited with his Brooklyn family. According to HHC Today:

... After spending three months hospitalized at Bellevue, Velez entered Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility in April 2007, and he's been a resident there ever since. In time he befriended another resident, Nestor Lazaro. They play dominoes regularly. It's not just for recreation - it's part of Velez' treatment. It's a game where memory is vital, and Velez' had soon recovered sufficiently from his brain injury that he was able to beat Lazaro. But the whereabouts of his family remained a mystery.

So Lazaro decided to help his friend. A few weeks ago Lazaro contacted Channel 41 Univision, the Spanish-language television station. Reporter Berenice Gartner went to Coler-Goldwater and interviewed the two friends about Velez' plight. Shortly after the show aired, Velez' got some wonderful news: his relatives had seen the show and were already en route to Coler-Goldwater to see him. They live in Brooklyn....

We should all have friends like Lazaro

Floriberto (Alberto) Velez, seated center, was reunited with his nephew, left, and his brother, right, after his friend Nestor Lazaro, rear, contacted the news media.

Roosevelt Island Stir Fry Chicken With Eggplant Deep Fried First - Grosses Out China 1 Kitchen Customer

Image of China 1 Kitchen

You walk into Roosevelt Island's only Chinese restaurant, China 1 Kitchen, for some take out Stir Fry Chicken with eggplant. Do you expect the eggplant to be put in the deep fryer before stir frying?

Well, Manhattan Park Resident DD did not and what DD saw grossed DD out. I received this message from DD last Thursday:
I was grossed out tonight to find out they are deep frying the food before they stir fry it. Tonight I caught them deep frying the eggplant I ordered. I never heard of a Chinese restaurant doing that before. Here I was ordering what I thought of as a healthy vegetable meal, and it was deep fried. And in the same grease they deep fry the wings and everything else.
I asked DD:
Can you provide any additional details. Did you ask them why they were doing this? If so, any response? Did you take the food.
DD replied:
Yes I asked and they said "they always do". I ordered chicken with eggplant. I noticed the purple skins of the eggplants in the basket they were deep frying, in with other stuff,( I guess my chicken). I intervened over the eggplant being cooked that way. It didn't occur to me then that the chicken might be cooked that way too.

Yes I asked, and they said "they always do". I was upset and asked for the owner. They ignored me. I said I did not want to eat deep fried food. i was being ignored no matter what I said and was about to ask for my money back, as I had already paid. Some older woman then told me that she would fix it but it wold take longer.She did not specify what she was going to do either.

I am not sure she did anything different at all. I took the food from her after a couple of minutes. It looked and tasted the exact way as a couple of days ago when I had it delivered to my apt. without knowing how they cooked it.

I am guessing they might be deep frying the food to get it cooked quicker. That makes the food really really unhealthy. Also vegetarians are getting veggies cooked in the same grease as the pork..etc.
Here's how to make your own stir fry chicken with eggplant.

You Tube Video How To Make Chinese Stir Fry Chicken with Eggplant

I happened to be speaking with a professional cook last night and mentioned DD's issue with the China 1 stir fry. The chef indicated that placing the eggplant in the deep fryer before stir frying may not be that unusual because doing so would soften the eggplant and make it easier to cook.

I don't know if that is common practice or not but it is certainly not the expectation of customers ordering stir fry to have their food deep fried as well.

Here's a recipe from PF Chang for Stir Fried Chicken with Eggplant that includes deep frying.

Bicycle Sharing One Step Closer To Roosevelt Island - B Cycle Hosting Demonstration Program On Tuesday August 24 - Come Show Support & Vote For RI

You Tube Video of B-Cycle Sharing Program

A Roosevelt Island Bike Sharing Program is one step closer to reality.

Image of Potential Roosevelt Island Bike Sharing Station from Hunter College Access RI(Page 39)

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Member Jonathan Kalkin has been working to bring Bicycle sharing to Roosevelt Island for some time. What is Bicycle Sharing? According to The Bike Sharing Blog, Bike Sharing is a:
short-term bicycle rental available at a network of unattended locations;
Mr. Kalkin now reports:
I am really excited to announce that B-Cycle will be presenting their bike sharing program on Roosevelt Island on August 24, 2010 from 2pm to 7pm. The Columbia U transportation study I commissioned recommended bike sharing and I have been contacting bike sharing companies ever since.

I contacted b-cycle awhile back to state RIOC's support and interest which you did a post on. Thanks to the hard work of Erica and the great staff at RIOC, we are part of their national tour.

It's not over yet though, please encourage people to the come to the presentation and email b-cycle about their interest. They also have a vote contest on their website that people should click on. These programs need government cooperation and support in order to thrive. As the new Chair of the Operations Committee at RIOC, I will do everything I can to make bike sharing a reality on Roosevelt Island.
RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder provides some additional information:
On Tuesday August 24, 2010 from 2 PM to 7 PM, we will be hosting a demonstration of the B-Cycle company’s modern bicycle rental mechanism and bikes. Island residents and visitors will have the chance to test drive the bikes for free and learn how to use the intuitive, automated solar powered kiosk. The B-cycle system can measure and track various parameters of usage including miles ridden, calories burned, and carbon off-set.

Residents and visitors will be surveyed for their interest in bike-sharing programs and their assessments of the current bicycling and transportation situations on the island. The survey and the exhibition are part of RIOC’s appraisal of island accessibility and possible plans to implement a bike-sharing program.

Location: On the west promenade, across the street from Starbucks and the subway.

More on the bike sharing concept from earlier posts.

Click here to vote for Roosevelt Island Bike sharing at B Cycle.

Engadget reports on another bike sharing concept, Social Bicycle, that will begin beta testing in New York City soon:
Social Bicycles is a bike sharing system with a twist. Using an iPhone app, the system allows users to drop off, locate, and borrow a bike nearly anywhere. The bikes are equipped with a GPS device which is locked to one of the wheels, and when the bike is locked, it's locatable using the app, so that someone can borrow it; when it's in use and unlocked, it doesn't appear in the app. The real upside to Social Bicycles is that the regular infrastructure required for bike lending systems -- such as docking stations in a lot of convenient locations -- are unnecessary with this system,...
Don't forget to vote here and show your support for Roosevelt Island Bike sharing.

UPDATE 11:30 AM - WCBS TV News has more on Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to add 50,000 bikes for a New York City Bicycle Sharing plan.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daytime Roosevelt Island Bridge Full Closures Expected For Reconstruction Project During Limited Periods Of Time This Week 8//23 - 8/27

Received the following Roosevelt Island Bridge Traffic Advisory from RIOC:

Attached please find an updated notice from the DOT with regard to the upcoming limited daytime closures of the Roosevelt Island Bridge scheduled for Monday, August 23, 2010 - Friday, August 27, 2010.
RI Bridge Daytime Closure

This is the type of traffic jam that can occur when the Roosevelt Island Bridge is shut down for a period of time.

Plan Accordingly.