Friday, September 3, 2010

Roosevelt Island Tram Parts Subject Of New Photgraphy Exhibit At Gallery RIVAA - R-I-T Roosevelt Island Tram Past and Future

You Tube Video of Gallery RIVAA Roosevelt Island Tram Parts Exhibit from Dave Stone

Have you ever dropped in to view the art presented at Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA? If not, give it a look. There's a new interesting exhibition of photographs currently at Gallery RIVAA featuring

photographs by Tad Sudol. The exhibit is titled R-I-T Roosevelt Island Tram Past and Future and will be showing through September 26. Mr. Sudol is:
presenting large format photographs from the old Tram machine room with the design for the permanent sculpture exhibition of the tram parts, including the spinning wheels, at the Roosevelt Island Motorgate.
The Gallery is open Wednesday and Friday from 6 - 9 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM - 5 PM. An opening reception for the Exhibit is scheduled for September 11 from 6 - 9 PM.

Here's a previous post on the gears that power the Roosevelt Island Tram.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Roosevelt Island At The Forefront Of New Technology & Urban Planning - Latest on Bicycle Sharing Plan- Come Test Out Your New Ideas Here

RIOC President Leslie Torres & Rivewalk Bar/Nonno's Pizza Owner Alphonse At Bike Sharing Demonstration

Roosevelt Island receives much grief from many of our fellow New York City residents for being strange, insular, creepy, spooky, stuck in the past etc - and some of that is true. But there is another side to Roosevelt Island which is at the forefront of urban planning and the use of new and exciting technology for the betterment of those who live, work and visit here. For instance in varying degrees of progress, there is the:

This Tweet from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin tantalizes us with some possibilities:
Meeting @EPA today, discussed my LED, electric car chargers, Solar, Wind, Solar Ferry, bike sharing initiatives
Here's the latest on one new proposed project - the Roosevelt Island Bike Sharing plan. As reported in previous post, a B- Cycle Bicycle demonstration project was held August 24 on Roosevelt Island.

Image From Jonathan Kalkin

According to StreetsBlog:
As cities across the United States open new bike-sharing systems this year, New York City's commitment to launching bike-share remains cloudy. On the semi-independent Roosevelt Island, however, momentum is building to launch a small bike-sharing system with or without the rest of New York...
... Wilder expects bike-sharing to be used for all kinds of trips, from commutes to errands and recreation. "We have a lot of bike riders on the island," she explained, noting that bike racks are consistently packed full.

Once the surveys gathered yesterday are compiled, said Wilder, "it's just figuring out the funding aspect of it." She estimated that setting up the program would cost the RIOC around $3,500 per bike, although membership and rental fees would repay some of that cost. "At first we'll take a hit, but in the end, it'll pay for itself within a two-year, three-year period," she said.

For now, Roosevelt Island is moving toward bike-sharing on its own. "It would be great if we could be the pilot location for New York City," said Wilder, who added that integration into a citywide bike-sharing system would be the preferred model. "But if New York City doesn't want to bring it," she shrugged, "folks can always come and this will be an attraction."

The "Wilder" mentioned in Streetsblog article in RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder.

RIOC's VP Of Planning & Intergovernmental Affairs Rosina Abramason Taking A Ride on B-Cycle

The NY Daily News also reported on a possible Roosevelt Island Bicycle Sharing program:
... Roosevelt Island cyclists said they were intrigued by the idea of bike rental terminals.

"The bike is real smooth. It rides better than my bike," said Angel Roman, 34, a carpenter from Flushing who visits his uncle on the island twice a week.

Teacher Aly Figueiredo, who lives on Roosevelt Island, said she and would use the bikes for weekend trips to the farmer's market.

"I was thinking about buying a bike, but my apartment doesn't have storage," said Figueiredo, 24.

Because the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. has autonomous jurisdiction over the island, B-Cycle was able to launch its experiment there without lengthy regulatory approval from other city or state agencies, Wilder said.

"Here in Roosevelt Island it's ideal, because we have a number of bike paths and limited transportation," said Leslie Torres, president and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.
RIOC President/CEO At B-Cycle Bike Sharing Demonstration

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director Jonathan Kalkin adds:
It was really exciting to see people come out and test bike sharing on Roosevelt Island. I came out several times and the feedback was good. Many (myself included) had not been on a bike in years. It is true, you never forget, but it takes a minute or two to remember. I'm putting it on the agenda for our next Operations Committee meeting so we can examine the survey results and hopefully move forward with an RFP.

At RIOC we have to do a couple things to make this successful. Many studies including the Columbia, Hunter, and most recently the Cornell Landscape study I commissioned stated we need proper signage throughout the island and a well connected path. We have currently picked a firm to set this kind of program in motion. This would not only help people who bike, skate, run or rollerblade, but would make it easier for our disabled population to travel around the island.

I don't know if bike sharing is a commuting alternative, but it is a great way to exercise and bike around Southpoint and our other parks. It may develop into something else, but for now the feedback I got was for mostly recreational use. This is why I have been also looking into inexpensive or free long-term bike parking for people who use their bike everyday to go long distances. Ideally, we will have other areas of the city involved with their own bike sharing stations. Therefore, I have contacted our representatives to see if we can get some bike sharing partners. We used to be the place of new ideas and it is really great to see the island leading the way again.
RIOC Directors Kalkin and Faye Christian At Bike Sharing Demonstraton

Some more scenes at the Bike Sharing demonstation

and a slideshow of the event from RIOC.

RIOC is also taking a survey to see what you think of the Bike Sharing idea. Click here to fill it out.

So if you have an idea for a new urban planning project bring it to Roosevelt Island. You never know, we may be able to do it! The Welcome mat is open!!!!!

Assembly Member Micah Kellner's Constituent Office Hours Session Today Moved To Good Shepherd Community Center & 2009 CPB8 Interview

CPB 8 12/2009 Interview With Assembly Member Micah Kellner

If you are planning on attending Assembly Member Micah Kellner's constituent office hour seesion this afternoon be advised that the location has been moved to the Good Shepherd Community Center. According to RIOC:
Please be advised that constituent hours for assembly member Kellner’s office schedule for Thursday Sept 2nd will be from 3pm to 7pm and held at the lower level of the good Shepherd Community Center Chapel (543 Main Street). Constituent hours will resume next Thursday September 9th at 591 Main Street.

Roosevelt Island Women Charged More For Shirt Cleaning Than Men At Valet & Riverwalk Cleaners - But Not The Main Street Dry Cleaner

Image of Man's & Woman's Shirt From NY Times

A Manhattan Park resident was upset to find out that Valet Cleaners charges more for having a woman's shirt washed and ironed than a similar man's shirt. The issue was raised on the Manhattan Park Google Group:
I just tried to set up an account at Valet Cleaners in 30 River Rd, and found out they discriminate against women! They charge $1.50 to wash and iron a man's short sleeve white shirt, but charge $4.50 to wash and iron a woman's short sleeve white shirt!!!!

Isn't this illegal?!?! Even though it's farther away, I'll just stick with Roosevelt Island Cleaners on Main St. They charge the same price for men's and women's shirts. Maybe a boycott is in order. Has this happened to anyone else, or just me?
I spoke with the Riverwalk Cleaners and they told me the same thing that they charge more for cleaning a woman's shirts than for the equivalent man's shirt. The NY Times had an article about this.
For women across New York City and beyond, it basically amounts to being taken to the cleaners. Women’s shirts often cost much more to launder than men’s, even if they are smaller and made of the same cloth....
and explained the difference in pricing from the Cleaners perspective:
... Asked to explain the price discrepancy, several launderers cited the size and shape of their industrial pressing machines. They were built for men’s shirts, they said, explaining that the smaller, tapered women’s garments were often ill-fitted for the big, manly presses or were otherwise too delicate. That meant hand-pressing, which is more labor-intensive.

“They won’t fit the machine; they would rip,” said a woman at Alpian’s Garment Care in Midtown East, where it costs $9 to launder a woman’s shirt, $2.75 a man’s...

A second Manhattan Park resident reported:
I never noticed that problem, as I live alone, however I had another problem with Valet Cleaners.

I had a business meeting and had a suit cleaned for that meeting. I [told] the man there I needed it by 4:00PM in 2 days. He promised to have it delivered to me by 2:00.PM.

I could not find the man in Valet Cleaners, nor my suit, unitl 5:00 PM the day it was promised, after my business meeting. The man had nothing to say and he had collected the money from me before hand. I am sorry, but in America business is just not acceptable that way.
Another resident wrote:
We also had terrible, terrible experiences with them. My wife left her jacket to be cleaned and they shrunk it! What kind of laundry professional is that? Also, did you know they use the machines in the building? You have to compete with them during the day to get your laundry done. And they use a lot of machines! Just absurd. Don't use them. The one at Riverwalk is way superior.
and a suggestion for an off Island cleaner:
If you have the opportunity to get off the island, I use a cleaners in Queens on 21st St and Broadway. They are great I have no complaints. Broadway Cleaners. I have been using them for a few years now. I started off using Valet Cleaners and I thought they were ripping us off.
The Dryclean's Blog explains the Cleaner's perspective:
Why are women's blouses more expensive to clean than men's business shirts?

The reason cleaners charge more for women’s blouses than men’s business shirts is because they are passing along their increased cost of production to their customers. Depending on the cleaner’s equipment, it costs them between three and four times the labor expense to properly “finish” a women’s blouse compared to a men’s shirt. Here’s why…

The biggest production cost for a cleaner is their labor expense, the money they pay their employees. Most of their labor goes into the “finishing” of a garment. Finishing is a combination of machine pressing and hand ironing. Most garments require a combination of machine pressing and hand ironing to achieve the desired finish. Many cleaners have special “assembly line style” machines that can finish the typical men’s business shirts without any hand ironing. These machines greatly reduce the time and labor needed to finish a shirt compared to a women’s blouse which sometimes requires as much as 100% hand ironing to achieve the proper finish. Depending on their equipment and the skill of the presser, most cleaners can finish three to four men’s business shirts in the same time it takes to finish one women’s blouse...

You Tube Video On How To Press A Shirt

Does that explanation resolve the issue?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fun Times With Trivia Tryst At Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill - RIRA Delegates Win Big

Last night was another fun time at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill Tuesday Trivia Tryst Night.

I must admit to feeling some frustration during the evening as my aging brain cells struggle to recall answers to trivia question hiding way, way, way deep inside my skull. Sometimes, the frustration is alleviated as an answer, even better, a correct answer, manages to find it's way out of my mouth and onto the answer sheet. A drink often helps - even if it's only Ginger Beer.

Anyway, last night's game was won by the team of Sphincter Wink composed of Manhattan Park RIRA delegates Ava and Joe together with their friends John and Skylar

and here's is their winning Trivia Tryst Award Slip.

Congratulations on your victory.

I am also happy to report that after an embarrassing last place finish the previous week, my team of me and B came in third of thirteen and got 10 bucks off our tab. Great job B!

Why not come by next Tuesday for Trivia Night and have some fun. Maybe former champs Crazy 8's will be there to challenge for the Trivia Title.

Hurricane Earl Likely To Miss New York City But Is Roosevelt Island Prepared For A Direct Hit?

WNYC is reporting:

Hurricane Earl is threatening the East Coast, but New York is not likely to get a direct hit. Meteorologists still predict high winds and heavy rains starting this Thursday night.

The city's Office of Emergency Management Commissioner, Joseph Bruno, says residents from Coney Island to the Rockaways should be especially vigilant:

"At this point, we don't see any reason to ask people to move," Bruno says. "If something should change, as soon as that happens, we will start notifying people and we will utilize the resources of the city to ensure that an orderly opportunity to leave was possible."...
Roosevelt Island Resident's Association (RIRA) President Frank Farance sends the following message to the community:
I asked PSD Director Guerra and the RI CERT Team Chief Howard Polivy about the planning for the hurricane at the end of the week. I received the following response from Mr. Guerra, who said it is OK to share this with the community. Separately, Mr. Polivy let me know that NYC OEM (Office of Emergency Management) does not plan on any deployment of the CERT Team this weekend. Sounds like we have everything covered.
Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra replied to Mr. Farance as follows:
Thank you for your email. As you may or may not know, I am in constant contact with the folks at OEM, and the updated information I have received is that, as of right now, they do not expect a significant impact to New York City. The Hurricane Accuracy Service gives a pretty accurate outlook (within 3 days), and Long Island is the area in line to receive more than a glancing blow. My contacts will update me sometime tomorrow morning. We are aware that the CERT Team is available and we will coordinate with Mr. Polivy if we get any information indicating that more planning is needed.
What would happen if a Hurricane made a direct hit on New York City? Here's the scary scenario.

Roosevelt Island 360 found this informative video of a Hurricane Emergency Preparedness Presentation for Roosevelt Island sponsored by Community Board 8's Public Safety Committee held in 2006. In the event there is a need to be evacuated from Roosevelt Island to a shelter, the NYC Office of Emergency Management recommends Newcomer High School in Long Island City at 28-01 41 st Avenue.

What Does It Cost To Advertise Inside The Roosevelt Island Red Bus? RIOC Has A New Pricing Policy

Roosevelt Island businesses and non - profit organizations expressed unhappiness recently with RIOC's pricing policy for advertisements placed inside the Red Bus. RIOC has responded to these concerns.

I sent the following message to RIOC Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez:
I understand there have been some changes in RIOC policy regarding Island organizations and non profits advertising on the Red Bus.

Can you please describe what is the new Red Bus advertising policy.
RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder replied:
We recently modified the current policy for non profits and island organizations to advertise on the Red Bus. The original fee of $100 has been waived and groups are now allowed to advertise for free.

However, groups are required to adhere to the following guidelines when submitting ads:

1) There will be a limit of 7 ads, per ad period, per group which will be dated once received. One ad will be posted on each of the seven Red Buses for an advertising period of up to 2 months. Ads which are promoting an event that expire before the 2 month ad period will be removed the day after the event takes place.

2) All ads are required to be size 11" x 46" and laminated.

3) Completed ads should be submitted to the RIOC office, 591 Main Street, Attn: Erica Wilder. Once the advertisements are received and approved, ads will be posted the next business day.

As for all other businesses, the price to advertise for the two month period will be $160.

UPDATE 9/4 -In response to a reader's comment I followed up with a question to Ms. Wilder:
Thanks for the information on the bus sign advertising.

Can you please advise why the signage size must be 11 X 46?

A reader commented on this post that it is very difficult to get signage of this size made up and some Island organizations would prefer the option to have 11 X 17 signs as was previously the case.

Is that possible? If not, why?

Thanks again.
Ms. Wilder replied:
As you know, bus advertising is a great way for any organization or business to promote their product or event. The 11" x 17" ads were difficult to read when seated especially when the Red Bus is crowded. Most passengers were unable to see the small print on the ads which most likely resulted in ads being overlooked. The 11" x 46" ad size (plus or minus an inch or so) is the standard size used by the MTA and most transit systems around the country. The size gives advertisers the opportunity to spread their message over a larger surface area with larger text and pictures without having to crowd information on a small page. As with the MTA, advertisers are allowed to combine ads to make up the required size that we request. This will offset the costs of printing an 11" x 46" ad at any local copy center.

I hope this answers your question.
UPDATE 9/7 - Image of 11 X 46 Red Bus sign.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NY Governor Paterson Vetoes Roosevelt Island Governance Reform Legislation - Large Investment In RI, Interests of Residents and State May Differ

Image of August 2010 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting

By coincidence, on the same day that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) took it's first step to get government out of the retail leasing and management business by issuing the Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Leaseholder RFP, New York State Governor David Paterson clamped down on the RIOC governance reform legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Micah Kellner by vetoing it. The bill, A10392, provided according to Mr. Kellner:
...that Islanders will have a greater role in the governing process—it opens up the corporation to the public and establishes the principle that Island residents must have a say in how the Island is run.

The legislation gives the public a role in the process of hiring the RIOC President — requiring the Board of Directors to consider at least three candidates for the job and to hold hearings allowing members of the public as well as Board members to interview the candidates. It requires that meetings of the Board of Directors be subject to the state’s open meetings law, and specifies that members of the public must have an opportunity to comment on all agenda items before the Board votes on those items.

The bill also provides that two of the public members of RIOC’s Board of Directors will be chosen upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the Assembly and the Temporary President of the State Senate—who will make their suggestions based on consultation with the local member of the Assembly and the Senate, ensuring input for the elected officials who are most answerable to Roosevelt Island residents...
Asked to comment on the Governor's veto, Assembly Member Kellner replied:
I am incredibly disappointed that Governor Paterson vetoed the RIOC reform legislation I introduced, and I vehemently disagree with the reasons he has given for his veto. By passing the reform bill with overwhelming margins, the legislature clearly communicated its intent that RIOC should be more open and accessible, and that Island residents should have a greater say in the Island’s decision-making process. RIOC’s decisions have a vastly bigger impact on Island residents than on anyone else, and the needs of those who live on the Island should outweigh the abstract concerns expressed by the Governor in his veto message.

“By rejecting these common-sense measures, the Governor has set back the cause of open government and public authorities reform. Nonetheless, I will not stop fighting to open up RIOC and make it more accountable to the Island residents it serves. I will bring these reforms back as many times as it takes to make them a reality.
Governor Paterson's veto statement on the proposed Roosevelt Island governance reform legislation is below.
Roosevelt Island Governance Reform Veto

Master Leaseholder Request For Proposal Issued For Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Stores - Good Bye East Berlin, Hello 21st Century! Maybe

Main Street Image Of Roosevelt Island Is The Village From Glark

The Time has finally arrived. New ideas may soon be forthcoming to change the empty, dreary, depressing Prisoner and communist East Berlin like view and operation of Roosevelt Island's Main Street Retail corridor. Government, in the form of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) may finally be out of the business of retail management on Roosevelt Island.

The reason for this is that today, RIOC issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a private sector Master Leaseholder to take over the Roosevelt Island Main Street retail stores currently controlled by RIOC. RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin Tweets:
My Master Lease RFP Roosevelt Island Retail Revitalization Initiative is LIVE today!
Bye Gov't Run Commerce on Roosevelt Island. Hello Freedom, Hope, Choice, & Prosperity. RIOC Tear Down This Wall.
According to RIOC real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle:
On behalf of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York (“RIOC”), Jones Lang LaSalle (“JLL”) is seeking to leverage the expertise of the real estate industry to improve the community retail and services offered on Roosevelt Island (“RI”) through this request for proposals (“RFP”) from qualified investors and operators (“Investors” or “Proposers”) for the acquisition and management (the “Disposition”) of some or all of the retail and office space in the following six (6) buildings (the “Buildings”) located on Main Street, the primary north/south thoroughfare and the central retail corridor on RI (the “Retail Space”):
Below is the RFP for Roosevelt Island's Main Street retail portfolio.
RI Master Leaseholder RFP

Here are some highlights from the RFP (Page 2):
... RFP Goal: Through this RFP RIOC is seeking to maximize the best value for RIOC (“Best Value”), which is defined generally, and more specifically defined in the Selection Criteria, as the selection of a single Investor entity as master operator of the Retail Space or multiple Investors operating their respective Retail Units based on a proposal or proposals that:

(i) furthers RIOC’s objective of maximizing the long-term aggregate revenues RIOC receives from the Retail Space while

(ii) making available to RI’s residents, workers and visitors an improved and appropriate mix of goods and services;

(iii) improving the appearance and vibrancy of Main Street; and

(iv) maintaining quality operating and management standards for the Term of the transaction(s)

While the importance of maximizing RIOC’s revenues should not be understated, RIOC is seeking to encourage creativity and commitment on the part of the Investor(s) with this broader Goal of maximizing Best Value....
What does Best Value mean? According to the RFP (Page 10-11):
... In order to determine Best Value when evaluating RFP responses, RIOC will utilize the following Selection Criteria and weightings that, in its sole and absolute discretion are in the best interests of RIOC:

1. The total economic value and financial return to RIOC, which is defined as the present value of the risk adjusted economic value of the sum of: (i) upfront and future payments, (ii) the value of any in-kind considerations received by RIOC and (iii) the value of any other economic benefits received by RIOC. Any such in-kind consideration and or other economic benefits in (ii) and (iii) must be, in the sole judgment of RIOC, bona fide, legitimate, quantifiable and reasonable. (50%)

2. The proposer’s plans to improve the Retail Space or Retail Units including, but not limited to, marketing, design, operations, tenant mix and selection processes, approach to providing some space for non- profits, management, maintenance and renovation, including improving the Retail Spaces’ or the Retail Units’ relationship with its immediate surroundings and overall benefit to Roosevelt Island. (25%)

3. The experience, competence and commitment of the proposer (including the identity of the key employees and professionals the proposer intends to have work on the proposed project) in the re- development, management, marketing and leasing of projects that are similar in scale and complexity to that proposed under the RFP. (25%)...
Here are the available retail store spaces available for the Master Leaseholder (Page 14 of RFP).

Click On Image to Enlarge

Image of Roosevelt Island Main Street Corridor From Jones Lang LaSalle

For some reason, the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club Tennis Bubble at 281 Main Street is not included in this RFP.

It must be remembered that nothing in this RFP commits RIOC to accept any received proposals from potential private sector Main Street Retail Master Leaseholders. This is an information gathering process to determine whether there is any interest on the part of the real estate community to take over Roosevelt Island's Main Street retail corridor and if there is, RIOC will then have to make a determination if that is a good deal for Roosevelt Island.

For those interested in the process of how the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder RFP was developed, below are links to RIOC Real Estate Development Committee audiocasts in which these issues were discussed.

6/10 RIOC Real Estate Development Committee audiocast

5/25 RIOC Real Estate Development Committee audiocast

5/17 RIOC Real Estate Development Committee audiocast

4/27 RIOC Real Estate Development Committee audiocast

Great job by Mr. Kalkin and the RIOC Board of Directors in getting this through. Now let's see what happens.

UPDATE 9/2 - Neglected to mention that proposals are due October 13 2010.

UPDATE 9/5 - RIOC has also posted links to audiocasts of Master Leaseholder related Real Estate Committee meetings.

Roosevelt Island Public Library Summer Reading Celebration, Wednesday September 1 - Games, Food, Prizes, Mad Science Experiments & More

Mad Science Image From Roosevelt Island Public Library

The Roosevelt Island Public Library will be holding a Summer Reading Celebration on Wednesday September 1.
The Summer Reading Celebration will be held on Wednesday, September 1st, at the Amphitheater. it begins at 3:00 PM and ends at 7:00 PM. There will be prizes a raffle, games, food, and a program: Mad Science! Mad Science begins at 4:00 PM.

Tickets will be available for Summer Reading participants at the Library starting on August 25th.
Here's some more information from the Roosevelt Island Public Library:
Come one, come all and behold: the science circus is about to begin. Step into our three rings of fun as we present a series of chemistry and physics demos that explain how a bed of nails can provide a great night’s sleep or how important balance can be to a tight rope walker. You’ll be amazed as we hatch our super secret “Snooberfish” eggs and take an amazing high dive that won’t make a splash! For ages 5 and older. A celebration for the Summer Reading 2010 program.
Reading is fun and one Roosevelt Island family's kids have read more than 2000 books this year. How about you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Scenes From Grand Re-Opening Of Roosevelt Island's New Artificial Turf Octagon Soccer Field - A Very Nice Evening

Image of Newly Re-Opened Roosevelt Island Octagon Soccer Field With Artificial Turf

The Grand Re-Opening Celebration of the Roosevelt Island Octagon Soccer Field with it's newly installed artificial turf surface occurred last Thursday evening and was a wonderful event. Kudos go out to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and it's Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder for what was a well organized and fun event for all who participated.

The early evening event began with great anticipation as Roosevelt Islanders of all ages lined up just on the outskirt of the Octagon Field to await the opening ceremonies

which began with brief remarks by Ms. Wilder and RIOC's Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez.

RIOC President Leslie Torres then presented the RIOC engineering staff

headed by Director Tom Turcic

with a plaque of commendation for their work in getting the field open, followed by RIOC's Permits Program Coordinator Donna Masly urging all Roosevelt Island residents to make use of the field.

Zog Sports representatives, including it's CEO Rob Herzog, then gave out raffle tickets for 20 soccer balls that they had donated for the occasion.

Members of the New York Red Bulls Special Tricks Squad (not the team players) then came out on the field to perform soccer tricks to the delight of the crowd.

Finally, the moment arrived for the official ribbon cutting

by RIOC President Leslie Torres

There's More!

and the Roosevelt Island Octagon Soccer Field was officially open as the waiting kids rushed on the field

to start playing.

Later in the evening, Zog's Rob Herzog and RIOC's Ms. Torres handed out free soccer balls to the raffle winners.

Zog's Event & Philanthropy Coordinator Jodi Kanter later reported:
ZogSports was excited to help the residents of Roosevelt Island celebrate the grand re-opening of Octagon field last night. As part of our continued dedication to supporting, respecting and improving the communities in which we play, we were thrilled to donate 20 high-end soccer balls to the residents of the island. During the raffle (and afterwards on the field) we could see that we helped make these 20 kids so happy. We plan to continue to support youth sports on the island through our ongoing relationship with the Roosevelt Island Youth Center. We look forward to seeing everyone running around this fall.
Amalgamated Bank was also one of the event's sponsors

and let's not forget the Octagon Soccer Field Grand Re-Opening Celebration Cake either!

As darkness arrived, the lights came on and play continued into the evening.

It was a very nice evening and RIOC deserves credit for doing a good job.

RIOC Vice President Martinez indicated that the field will not be fenced in and will be open for spontaneous use and pick up games when not being used by organized leagues and others with permits but expressed the hope that the field will not be abused by those who use it.

Last Saturday morning, I walked on the field and was saddened to see it littered in some places with leftover water bottles and discarded ice cream cups.

More garbage cans near the field will be helpful but only if people care enough to put their garbage in the cans.

Roosevelt Island Youth Center Director Charlie DeFino has suggested the possibility of using the fields for Little League Baseball and softball as well.

I did hear from one parent who told me that her child fell on the field, scraping her knee and felt a burning sensation which hurt more than when she fell on natural grass.

City Limits magazine recently reported on the use of artificial turf at NYC parks:
... Artificial turf is part of PlaNYC, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's blueprint for an environmentally friendly future. Yet a City Limits investigation has found that overuse and chronic neglect has run turf ragged years ahead of schedule; price comparisons generally favor natural grass, even in the long term; and the health risks of turf—largely dismissed by the city after the destruction of one artificial field for high lead levels in late 2008—are much broader and deeper than previously reported.

After years of rejecting health concerns, the city recently agreed to switch materials and to set up new protocols for testing artificial turf, but the backroom negotiations that brought these concessions actually kept more threatening information from seeing the light of day
Paul, a reader of the City Limits article comments:
Synthetic turf is a necessary solution to urban athletes' tremendous need for playing fields. The alternative to synthetic turf, and my personal preference, living grass, requires irrigation; needs weekly rest periods during the growing season; cannot be played on while it is wet; and must be closed to play when it is seeded and during the winter to prevent root damage. All of this is necessary down time that NYC residents do not understand or respect. When the safety issues are resolved, the 12 month/seven day/all weather play opportunities synthetic turf affords will be well worth the expense.
A reader sends in this link to WNYC's Brian Lehrer interviewing the City Limits writer on artificial turf in NYC Parks.

Whatever the relative merits of artificial turf, the Grand Opening Celebration for the Re-Opening of Roosevelt Island's Octagon Soccer Field was a very nice evening.