Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Hand, Moment By Moment View Of The 9/11 New York City World Trade Center Attacks

You Tube Video Of 9/11 World Trade Center Attack

I am heading over to the Roosevelt Island 9/11 Memorial Service in a few minutes but before I do decided to post this as a reminder of what happened that day.

Image From Main Street WIRE Of Smoke From World Trade Center Attack As Seen From Roosevelt Island by Vicki Feinmel/Linda Heimer

No more words are necessary.

RIRA President On 9/11 Memorial Service, RIRA Elections, Island Calendar, Retail RFP, RIOC Nominees, Roosevelt Island Governance & Upcoming Meetings

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. 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.

2. RIRA Elections. Our two-year terms, which are up this November. I encourage you to consider running in the RIRA elections. The Southtown complex has grown since the 2008 elections and will have 9 representative (up from 6) to the RIRA Common Council. RIRA will post the details of nominations and elections after next week's Common Council meeting.

3. Island Organizations to meet to on Common Calendar. 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 Roosevelt Islander blog websites. If you are a representative of one of the Island's organizations (not just a member), please RSVP to me ( no later than Friday, September 17.

4. RIOC Produces a Flawed RFP for Main Street Storefronts. The RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee (Chaired by Jonathan Kalkin) has produced a poor RFP. Significant problems include the lack of resident input (and even RIOC board input). Right now the proposals use a notion of "best value", which is based upon three criteria: (1) total economic value and financial return to RIOC (50%), (2) proposer's plans to improve the retail space or retail units (25%), and (3) experience, competence and commitment of the proposer (25%). Furthermore, "RIOC will select the proposals for the Retail Space that, in the sole discretion of RIOC, most successfully fulfills the Selection Criteria" [the three above items]. Nowhere does it say that the residents or the RIOC Board will have any input on the selection of the choice of tenants. If the RIOC Board decides to change its evaluation criteria (e.g., "we're focusing on how much resident input there will be in new tenants"), then RIOC opens itself to litigation because the criteria has changed. This is why it was so critical to get input from us before the RFP was posted for bid. Or said differently: given the years of complaints about Gristedes and the residents' desire to have something different, now with a master lease we will have even less input on Island merchants. Regardless of the downturn of business at Gristedes, Gristedes can still afford to stay there because Gristedes is profitable across all its stores -- that's the same rationale for why we have a Starbucks here that would normally not have enough business to survive in other locations. Do you remember how Mr. Kalkin's real estate committee refused to participate in the Q&A of the RIRA Town Meeting in June that was specifically scheduled to discuss the master lease? Now Mr. Kalkin and his committee don't have to answer questions because the RFP demands "No board member, officer or employee of RIOC, the State or City of New York, or any of their respective public agencies or advisors are authorized to give interpretations of this RFP or additional information regarding the requirements of this RFP directly or indirectly". No discussion beforehand, and no discussion permitted afterwards. Mr. Kalkin's committee could have easily asked the bidders to include proposals on "how to address the needs of residents" and assigned it some percentage weight (a common idea in complex government RFPs), but Mr. Kalkin's committee chose to ignore the needs of the residents or the existing merchants and chose to avoid public Q&A.

5. RIOC Director Nominee Elections. I read the Maple Tree Group's report, as provided by Ashton Barfield (RIRA Chair of Government Relations Committee, of which MTG is a subcommittee). Essentially, they contradict their prior actions. In 2009 when two board positions were expiring in the future, MTG recommended that we have elections. Now then four board positions are available prior to the 2012 election cycle (one already expired, two in Spring 2010, and one at the end of 2011), MTG takes the opposite position. MTG's present position in postponing elections to keep incumbents in positions longer than their terms -- the opposite of MTG's prior position. An MTG member told me: now that the Governor has vetoed Kellner's legislation, maybe we should have elections sooner just in case the Governor tries to appoint people and there are no available resident nominees. This is not principled thinking, this is just expedience. All the Southtown and Octagon people can feel nicely disenfranchised because of MTG's postponement of elections. What's my plan? If you look at the 2009 RIOC director nominee election process, it had the same amount of advance notice as the normal RIRA election process. I plan on advocating strongly at next week's RIRA Common Council meeting that we should have RIOC elections this year. The RIRA election process is very similar to the RIOC director nominee process and we can use the RIRA election machines for the RIOC elections, too. I plan on asking RIRA to use these processes, regardless of MTG's recommendations.

6. Governor Vetoes Legislation. I'm sure this has been reported elsewhere. What is really disappointing is that the Maple Tree Group (the committee that meets in secret and only lets 13-year members vote) supported legislation that was technically flawed. If you read the Governor's (reasonable) explanation of his veto, the legislation Kellner and MTG proposed duplicated existing laws. How does this happen and why don't they understand that these kinds of flaws make for strong rhetoric against this legislation? I guess the experience of those 13-year members (to the exclusion of the rest of us) didn't help, right? The moral of the story here is: a transparent process and an open process produce better results.

7. Upcoming RIRA meetings. The next meeting is on September 15 at 8:00 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Community Center; future meeting is October 6. Last night (Tuesday) the overnight low was above 70 degrees, which will probably be the last summery night this year.
A version of the RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA column in the 9/11/10 Main Street WIRE.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the September 11, 2010 Main Street WIRE.

Jones Lang LaSalle - Roosevelt Island Master Leaseholder RFP
RIOC - Audiocast of RIOC Committee Meetings On Master Leaseholder RFP
Roosevelt Islander - Roosevelt Island Master Leaseholder RFP
NYC10044 - Chart Showing Term Period For RIOC Directors
RIOC - Octagon Soccer Field Grand Reopening Slideshow -
DNA Info - Tram Station Improvements Presented at CPB 8
Micah Kellner - Governor Vetoes RIOC Reform Governance Legislation
NY Times - Profiles New Riverwalk Residents
Roosevelt Islander - Tram Returns To Service October 16, Tentatively
Roosevelt Islander - Bicycle Sharing Demonstration Comes To Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Islander - Riverwalk Bar & Grill First Anniversary
Jonathan Kalkin Tweet - Roosevelt Island Bicycle Sharing
Jonathan Kalkin Tweet - Green Ideas For Roosevelt Island
Jonathan Kalkin Tweet - Smart Parking Sensors For Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island 360 Canine Transit Unit Train On Roosevelt Island
NY Times City Blog - Leslie Torres New Leader For Roosevelt Island
Curbed - New Tram Station Improvement Renderings
Curbed - Manhattan Tram Station In Dumpster
Curbed - Philip Johnson Roosevelt Island Master Plan Drawing For Sale
RIOC - July Public Safety Blotter
RIOC - July Public Safety Incident Type Report
RIOC - July Operations Committee Web Cast
RIOC - August RIOC Board of Directors Meeting Web Cast
Wired Gadget Lab - Roosevelt Island Trash Sucking Tubes
NY Mag - Roosevelt Island Underground AVAC Garbage Removal System
NY Post - Ferry Service For Roosevelt Island?
My Fox NY - Interviews Congressional Candidate Reshma Saujani
Architectural Record - Philip Johnson Master Plan Drawing For Sale
Washington Independent - Unemployed Roosevelt Island Worker Attends 99ers Rally
Housing Watch - Octagon Developer Installs Fuel Cell In Connecticut Building
Guri's Blog - Walks From Roosevelt Island To Prospect Park Brooklyn
NY Times - Tennis At Roosevelt Island Octagon Courts
Daily News - RI Child School Teaches Runs West 4 Street Cage Basketball Tournament
PR Web - Wheelchair Charities & Gaymar Bring Specialized Mattresses To Coler Goldwater
Rox Fontaine - Experience Hip Hop On Roosevelt Island
One Year In Texas - RI Combines Morlocks and CHUD
Roosevelt Island 360 - Versus One Year In Texas Blogger
WNYC - Roosevelt Island Bee Watchers
NY Times City Blog - Roosevelt Island Resident Visits Migrant Workers Exhibit
HHC Today - Unexpected Family Reunion For Coler Goldwater Patient
City Love - Roosevelt Island Parkour Sites
Phoenix Airport Parking - Explains Cory Lidle East River Plane Crash
Monster - Roosevelt Island Pediatrician Job Available
You Tube - Iphone Shows How To Get To Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Sculptor Victoria Thorson Explains Gallery RIVAA Exhibit
You Tube - Outdoor Music At Trellis W/Jonathan Kalb
You Tube - Outdoor Music At Trellis W/ Fabulous Faustones
You Tube - Dancing With Brother Josephus @ Roosevelt Live Concert
Roosevelt Islander - Man In Wheelchair Hit By Access A Ride Van

FDR Memorial Boondoggle At Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park Receives Puny $500 Thousand Dollars In Federal Funds Secured By Congresswoman Maloney

Update 9/13 - Image of View From Southpoint Park That Will Be Blocked By FDR Memorial Sculpture Room From the Main Street WIRE

Received a press release today from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's office announcing that she has secured $500,000 in federal funds for the FDR Memorial Boondoggle at Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park.

Image of Proposed Roosevelt Island Four Freedoms Park FDR Memorial

At first, I was angry to learn that more taxpayer funds were going into this mausoleum that destroys beautiful panoramic East River waterfront and New York City Skyline views and replaces open green space with cement.

Image of FDR Memorial Sculpture Room (AKA Death Box) From Village Voice Runnin Scared Blog

Then I realized what a paltry sum from the Feds - $500,000, when you consider the $50 million or more total cost of the project, the $4 million in State funds, $4.5 million in City funds and even the $500,000 from the Manhattan Borough President committed to date - is not an overwhelming show of support for this ill conceived project which was described by art critic Thomas B. Hess when the design was first proposed in the 1970's this way:
... the sort of political edifice that the Italian fascists loved and Speer perfected for the glory of the Third Reich... The site itself is treated heartlessly. What was a modest, picturesquely rugged shoreline has been disciplined to straight lines and symetrical angles that have no significance beyond the alarming one of man's ability to impose a meaningless geometry on nature. The ultimate irony is that Roosevelt, who fought totalitarians to the death, is commemorated in the harsh style propogated by the dictators.
Southpoint Park Image From Time Out New York's Top Picnic Spots

Commenting on this horrible design for Southpoint Park, some Curbed readers remarked:


i will miss you unkept and overgrown southern tip

(one word) ... HORRIBLE!!!

FAREWELL NATURE!!! - We are relinquishing something that actually looked like the "tip of an island" that only needed minor grooming to keep it looking natural and beautiful. I visited the southern tip many times (seeing art installations, etc.) and enjoyed every visit because I really felt that I was on a remote island, and I could sit on the hill and have a casual picnic and watch the sky. NOW??? WTF??? This is a REAL TRAGEDY and PURE SHIT !!! As much as I hate to say it, I would have preferred a Trump Hotel on the site to this __???__ (something so disturbingly ugly that I am lost for words) .

LiqCity readers had this to say as well:
What an ugly park design.
It looks like a concentration camp. Ugly ugly ugly.
If the intent of the FDR Memorial is truly to honor President Franklin Roosevelt and not the designer of the project Louis Kahn, it could have been accomplished with a simple statue of FDR sitting in a wheelchair or using crutches and look something like this bronze statue from EIS Studios.

The first granite delivery for the mausoleum room is expected on Monday. Will have more on all this next week.

Below is the press release from Ms. Maloney's office:
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan & Queens) today announced that she had successfully secured $500,000 in this year’s federal budget to support the creation of Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.

“The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park will be a world-class amenity and attraction for Roosevelt Islanders, New Yorkers, and visitors from around the globe, and I am proud to have spearheaded the successful effort to secure federal funds to support its creation,” said Congresswoman Maloney, who has represented Roosevelt Island in Congress since 1993.

“It is completely fitting that the federal government will be providing support for a park and statue of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only memorial to one of our nation’s greatest leaders in the city that he and his wife Eleanor called home for so many years,” said Congresswoman Maloney.

“The Four Freedoms Park will be an extraordinary civic space honoring the president who led us through the Great Depression and the cataclysmic events of World War II,” she said.

Congresswoman Maloney led the effort to secure the appropriation in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation and Housing & Urban Development appropriations bill.

First envisioned in 1973 by the late Governor Nelson Rockefeller and the last project ever designed by the world-renowned architect Louis Kahn, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park will encompass 4.5 acres of open space on Roosevelt Island’s East River waterfront in the heart of New York City. It will include walkways lined with trees, a statue of the Franklin D. Roosevelt, and a granite monument symbolizing the “four freedoms” of the late President’s famous speech describing the four basic freedoms to which all persons enjoyed a right: freedom of speech and expression; freedom of religion; freedom from want; and freedom from fear.

The park’s construction is being managed by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park LLC, led by the Chair of its Board of Directors, William J. vanden Heuvel, and its President and Chief Executive Officer, Sally Minard.

UPDATE 9/13- Later this afternoon, New York State Governor David Paterson and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will come to Roosevelt Island to welcome the arrival of the Granite Foundation Stones for the FDR Memorial Boondoggle. According to the event's invitation:
... 24 monolithic stones will be barged up the East River to the Park. The stones, 12" x 6" x 6", 36 tons each will be off-loaded by crane onto the site to form the foundation of what architect Louis B. Kahn called the "Room"...
Others call it the Death Room Mausoleum.

The Main Street WIRE photo at top of post is of the panoramic view of the East River Waterfront that will forever be lost once the granite "death room" is constructed.

Sad day for Roosevelt Island.

Two Gallery RIVAA Exhibits Currently Showing - Tram Past and Future At The Main St. Gallery & Observations From The Urban Landscape At The Octagon

Almost all Roosevelt Island residents are aware of Gallery RIVAA's art exhibition space located at 523 Main Street across the street from Blackwell House.

However, unless you live there, you may not be aware that Gallery RIVAA also has exhibition space at the Octagon Building (888 Main Street).

Roosevelt Island resident David Stone reports on Gallery RIVAA's two exhibits currently showing at both of these locations. According to Mr. Stone:
... Gallery RIVAA now is hosting a solo exhibit from Tad Sudol: R.I.T. ROOSEVELT ISLAND TRAM, Past & Future, a collection of original photographs, paintings and objects celebrating the trams thrity-four years of operation and projecting creative ideas about its future. A video of the exhibit is available on the right. An opening reception, free to the public, has been scheduled for September 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Gallery hours are Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:00 to 9:00 and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 5:00. Their second gallery is in the lobby of the Island's northernmost residential building, The Octagon, at 888 Main Street, now has a solo exhibit by Deborah Julian: Observations From The Urban Landscape. Julian has mounted a colorful show of unique works, many resembling the elements of street photography, but informed by Hopper and Matisse and rich with saturated colors...

... A reception for this show has been scheduled for September 19 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. This gallery, open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm daily,...
Mr. Stone also provides this You Tube video tour of the Octagon Gallery exhibition of Observations From The Urban Landscape by Deborah Julian.

You Tube Video of Deborah Julian's Octagon Gallery Exhibit From Dave Stone

Gallery RIVAA has more on Observations From The Urban Landscape by Deborah Julian.

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres To Roosevelt Island Residents - Tram Opening 10/5, Retail Master Leaseholder RFP Issued & Other RI Issues

Image of RIOC President Leslie Torres

RIOC President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
The beginning of the school year signals the end of summer vacations and often a more leisurely pace. I hope you all had an enjoyable summer, despite record heat. The Jewish New Year coincides with the first week of school in New York, and I wish the Jewish community l’shana tova. There is much to celebrate on Roosevelt Island. RIOC staffers have been hard at work, making sure that our community is ready for the quickened pace set by back to school and back to work schedules. In addition to our continued progress on major infra-structure projects, I am pleased to announce a fall schedule full of activities and fun. Sportspark too has been refurbished, and has a schedule of activities. Try them now and enjoy them, particularly when the weather turns crisp and the thermometer plunges. See the sections on Community Events and Sportspark Activities below.

Major Projects Underway:
Tram Opening – We are on schedule to open the north lane is 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 (RFP) was issued on September 1’st with responses due from proposers on October 13th.

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 is 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.

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 60% finished with estimated completion at the end of November.

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 was expected to start Oct 3rd. After meeting with the contractor who was the successful bidder, it became evident that the work could not be completed before winter, when it would have to halt due to weather and resumed in the spring. To minimize disruption, it has been decided to postpone the beginning of the project to spring 2011, in order to complete the work from start to finish.

Good Shepherd HVAC – Full system replacement. Demolition of the old system has been completed and shop drawings are being prepared for approval. Project completion is estimated for the end of November.

Projects in Design & in RFP Stages:
Octagon Field Landscaping – The new soccer field re-opened on August 26th, to great community acclaim. A report on the Grand Opening event appears below. Photographs are available on the RIOC website at A Request for Proposals to replace trees along the west side of the soccer field has been issued and responses are due September 20th. We hope to start work later this fall.

Good Shepherd Roof Replacement – a Request for Proposals from qualified architects to provide plans and specifications for the roofing replacement is due September 14th. The replacement work will be scheduled to start in spring 2011.

Blackwell House Interior Renovation and Disabled Accessible Ramp – Proposals are being reviewed. Because some funding is being provided by New York City, a VENDEX check (City system to verify contractors’ bona fides) is required. Once the lengthy City approval process is completed, the project is expected to require a six (6) month duration.

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

Pool Schedule ($5 fee per adult, $3 for kids 3-17 and free for Seniors):
• Master Swim- Monday and Friday from 7:30pm to 8:30pm
• Senior Water Aerobics- Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 10pm
• Adult Water Aerobics- Sunday from noon to 1pm
• Adult Learn to Swim- Sunday from 1pm to 3pm

Ping Pong (No charge):
• Free Play- Tuesday and Friday from 6pm to 9pm
• Classes- Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm

Basketball (No charge):
• Open recreation on Saturdays (two sessions)- 10am to 1pm; 2pm to 6pm

Recent Community Events:
The Bike – Sharing Demonstration was held on Tuesday, August 24th. The free demonstration, allowing bikes to be picked up and returned at the solar powered demonstration station, was sponsored by B-Cycle, a company specializing in Bike Sharing installations in cities and campuses around the USA. Don’t miss the opportunity of taking a bike sharing survey at our website – Photos of intrepid residents and visitors, braving the elements while testing the bike sharing concept, can be found on the RIOC website as well.

Soccer Night – On August 26, at 7 P.M. The Roosevelt Island community celebrated the re-opening of the newly refurbished soccer field at Octagon Park. The opening party included free clinics provided by the “Red Bulls” a major league New York soccer team. To view pictures from the event, please visit Evening use of the field under the lights began on Tuesday, September 7th. For scheduled use of the field, please contact Donna Masly at (212) 8322 4563, for a RIOC permit which includes the use of lights for evening scheduled uses. The field is open for free play when not in use by a permit holder.

Upcoming Events:
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.
Run For Congo - a 5K run held annually on Roosevelt Island, is scheduled for September 25 at 9am. For signup information, please visit

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

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.

Roosevelt Island’s Annual Halloween Parade – On Saturday, October 30th, in partnership with Urban America, the parade of ghosts, goblins and assorted Halloween fiends (oops, friends!) begins at Blackwell House at 12 P.M. and continues to PS 217. Everyone is encouraged to come dressed in a Halloween costume. More fun and festivities are planned for immediately after the parade at Capobianco Field. In the event of rain, festivities will be held inside PS 217.
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears in the September 11, 2010 Main Street WIRE.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Roosevelt Island Community Remembers The 9/11 Attacks On World Trade Center With Memorial Service This Saturday & Assembling The Tribute In Lights

Images of Roosevelt Island's Remembrance Garden

I received the following message from Sherrie Helstein who is organizing the Roosevelt Island 9/11 Memorial Service on behalf of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA):

Saturday, September 11, 2010
Memorial Service on Roosevelt Island
Sponsored by
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
Sunset Service Commencing Promptly at 6:45 p.m.
At the 9/11 Remembrance Garden
Behind the Chapel of the Good Shepherd

Please plan to join your neighbors
Please bring your own candle!

Ms Helstein writes:
The program will consist of what is below as far as I am aware at this time. [revised as of 6 PM]

1. Frank Farance – Introductions and welcome to residents and guests

2. We do not have our “usual” visitors from Oklahoma this year, survivors and family of those survivors from the Murrah office building bombing. They had other commitments this year.

3. Laura Stelman Jaeger and Sherie Helstien will sing “Will You Build Me a House” from Peter Pan, with Craig Crabtree accompanying.

4. Linda Heimer will offer some thoughts.

5. Laura Stelman and Gabriela will sing “Make My Garden Grow” from “Candide” with Craig Crabtree accompanying.

6.Matthew Katz will sing and play guitar with residents joining in: “Blowin’ in the Wind”

7. Open the mike to others who might want to speak…

8. At 7:20 or 7:25 we conclude our remembrance and light candles and walk quietly to the promenade…

(Don’t forget to remind everyone on your blog about the Gallery RIVAA opening that evening too.)
RIRA Planning Committee Chairperson Mathew Katz adds:
RIRA has sponsored this program ever since we produced the memorial plot, including the plaque, tree, plantings and bench, the following year. Again, we are asking Islanders to bring their own candles. We understand that the Oklahoma City survivors, who have joined us in previous years, are unable to be with us this year. However, we have invited representatives from the Special Ops firehouse, some of whose fallen leaders are commemorated on the plaque, to join us. In addition, we have asked several of our Muslim neighbors, leaders of their community, to be with us as well. We understand that the RIVAA Gallery has an opening scheduled for the same evening, and we urge our neighbors to attend after our short program ends.
Here's a brief background on the Roosevelt Island 9/11 Memorial Service which started in 2002 from a previous post last year:

Image From Main Street WIRE by Vicki Feinmel/Linda Heimer

To this day, the picture above taken from Roosevelt Island is still so shocking. Smoke pouring out behind the 59th Street Bridge from lower Manhattan as the World Trade Center was attacked and burned on what began as a beautiful September New York morning and soon became what is now known as just 9/11.
Image From Main Street WIRE by Vicki Feinmel/Linda Heimer

... The Main Street WIRE reported on the Memorial's April 2002 dedication ceremony:
...The cherry tree, planted a month after the tragedy, is surrounded by flowers, most planted by members of the Residents Association a few days before the dedication. A single wood bench faces the tree and plaque. Vicki Feinmel, the member of the Residents Association Common Council who organized the memorial and the event, said, “Everyone wanted to do something meaningful and have something permanent on the Island to honor the people we lost from the Island....
the plaque that honors those Roosevelt Islanders who died in the terrorist attack:
Ed Beyea, Anthony J. Fallone, Taimour Khan, Scott Larsen, and Kevin J. Smith – as well as firefighters who were based on Roosevelt Island – Deputy Chief Ray Downey, Deputy Chief Charlie Kasper, Battalion Chief John Moran, and Battalion Chief John Paolillo.

and what it was like to live on Roosevelt Island during and immediately after the attacks.
The September 11 Tribute In Lights will also shine on Saturday night. I think it is the most moving and appropriate Memorial to the events of 9/11/01. Here's how it is done.

You Tube Video of Assembling The Tribute In Lights

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

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 last Tuesday. Mr. Bauer writes:
Folks --

At the meeting Tuesday 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) searching for a window washer
e) the book exchange shelves are now in place at the Yellow Wing elevator in the basement
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
h) a bench for persons waiting for private transportation may be installed next Spring.

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. Zeniel Pereizic has refused to provide the necessary technical information about the building structure. A letter will be drafted to go to the Board.

3) Vicki reported that Board member Steve Kaufman has said that the proposed ramp to replace the six foot wide steps down to the entrance plaza would be on RIOC controlled land. Vicki has opened conversations with RIOC.

4) Vicki reported that Board member Steve Kaufman said the bench at the front of the building may be installed after work is done on the sidewalk area next Spring.

5) Mitch offered some preliminary suggestions for a survey of Rivercross Cooperators Attitude Survey. The group considered the problems with getting honest answers, getting answers from a majority of shareholders, and establishing a tone that was not directive. Further thought to be involved.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 to meet again on Tuesday September 21 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.

Roosevelt Island Marlins Holding Swimming Tryouts This Saturday - But No More Water Polo At Sportspark

The Roosevelt Island Marlins swimming team will be holding tryouts this Saturday, September 11 at two locations - the Sportspark (250 Main Street) at 9:30 AM and Westview (595 Main Street) at 12 PM.

Here are some facts from the Marlins:

  • This is our 6th season
  • Swim Team - kids 7-20 yrs old
  • Learn to Swim 4 yrs & up;
  • part of Learn to Swim (same Westview pool): Toddlers & Babies (adult must be in water during class) - they don't need try-out :)
  • all info at our web site: schedule, tuition, registration forms, phone #.....
On another Roosevelt Island swimming matter, a reader recently sent in a question asking about Water Polo on Roosevelt Island.
I read in the Daily News about water polo being played on the Island. I was looking for some information about playing. Would you know who I should contact?
I recalled that the Roosevelt Island Marlins tried to organize a Water Polo team at the Sportspark Pool. I asked RIOC's Park & Recreation Manager Michael Smith:
I received a question whether Water Polo is still being offered at Sportspark.

Do you know if it is or not and if not, will Water Polo be returning to Sportspark?
Mr Smith responded:
Due to poor attendance water Polo is no longer being offered. Instead we are offering Adult Learn to Swim for two hours every Sunday, Water Aerobics 2 days for the seniors and 1 day for Adults, Master Swim classes also 2 days per week.
For any potential Water Polo players out there, below is an excerpt from the movie Below The Surface which tells the story of:
NYC boy Wolf Wigo aspires to become a member of the USA Olympic water polo team, overcomes the geographical and health obstacles until through training and determination he makes his dream come true 10 years later. Through Wolf's story viewers
are treated to a rare celebration of this exciting and rigorous sport played for the love of the game alone in the USA since it's not a professional sport here....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Are The New York City High School Options For Roosevelt Island Students?

Where do Roosevelt Island students attend High School? A new Roosevelt Island resident asks:
Does anyone attend the NYC Lab School from Roosevelt Island? Just wondering. ...I am actually talking about NYC Lab High School in Chelsea.
According to Inside Schools:
The NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies is one of the most successful and sought-after small high schools in the city. The academics are challenging, but the atmosphere is laid-back. Kids who thrive there are high achievers who speak up, get involved and, in the spirit of the school's name, collaborate with others on projects and extra-curricular activities.

Founded as a 6-12 school, in 2007 Lab High School split from the middle school known as the New York City Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies. Though the two schools maintain a common vision of collaborative and inclusive learning, they are run by separate administrations, with separate admissions policies, teaching, and support staff...
For more information on the Lab High School, here is the school's web portal from the Department of Education and the Lab High School's own web site as well.

Roosevelt Island Resident Red Strider Is Stepping Out With American Diabetes Association And Walking To Help Fight Diabetes - Will You Help Too?

You Tube Video of Step Out - Walk To Fight Diabetes

Received the following message from Roosevelt Island resident Michael Grech who is participating in the American Diabetes Association October 24 Step Out fundraising walk to stop Diabetes. From Mr. Grech:
Hello Friends and Neighbors,

This fall I will be joining more than 100,000 fellow walkers from across the country in this year's Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. After having been diagnosed myself with type 11 diabetes with the last year, I hope the event on October 24th will be my first of many walks.

I am asking for your help. by making a donation on my behalf, you'll be helping the American Diabetes Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes, and fund critical research for a cure.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors appear to play roles. There are 23.6 million Americans living with diabetes, a disease that is oupacing heart disease and cancer. If current trends continue, one in three children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

I believe that my participation in this year's Step Out: the Walk to Fight Diabetes can and will make a difference. Step Out: the Walk to Fight Diabetes is one of the American Diabetes Association biggest fundraisers. With the help of people like you, the American Diabetes Association hopes this event will raise over $20 million to help stop diabetes.

Please help me reach my goal by sponsoring me in this year's Step Out :Walk to Fight Diabetes. To make a contribution or sign-up to walk online please follow these easy steps.
  1. Go to
  2. Under "Find a Step Out Event", enter your zip code in the search box and click on "search"
  3. On the next page where you see your zip code entered again, click on "search"
  4. Click on the events for New York City, 10/24/2010
  5. Click on "Sponsor a Walker" (near top of page)
  6. Under "Search for Participant" enter (first name) "Michael" and (last name) "Grech". then click on "Find a Walker"
  7. Click on the link reading "Grech, Michael"
  8. Click on the applicable link(s) to sponsor [donate] and/or walk with me
For your convenience, I will also be accepting donations personally to be turned in on the day of the event. All donations are tax-deductible. Please make checks payable to the American Diabetes Association. I will be happy to personally pick up donations from you. You can reach me at 9178173746.

Nowadays, most of us either know someone who suffers from diabetes, or worse yet, knew someone who is no longer with us because of this terrible disease. Even you you're not able to contribute financially, you can still support this worthwhile cause by signing up to walk and/or solicit contributions from others.

Thanks for you time and support.

Mike Grech
Here's some more information on the October 24 American Diabetes Association New York City Step Out fundraising walk and a direct link to Mr. Grech's Step Out Team First web page.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Man In Wheelchair Run Over By Access A Ride Van On Roosevelt Island's Main Street - NYPD ESU Free Him From Underneath Van - Expected To Recover

Image From Riverwalk Bar & Grill's Jonathan Hoo

There was a bad accident on Roosevelt Island earlier this morning. A reader sent me the following message:
U see this on Main Street. Guy in a wheelchair got run over
Image From Riverwalk Bar & Grill's Jonathan Hoo

Another reader, Olya, was there on the scene and had this eyewitness report:
I was sitting on the benches between Starbucks and Duane Reade with a friend - and as I looked towards the Queens side of the Island - I heard a man screaming and in a split second an Access Van that frequent the island had run over a man in a wheelchair. My body and mind were in complete shock - but as I ran towards the scene I called 911. The man was alive, thank goodness and screaming - "Please lift it, my back my back". In the meantime, 911 was dispatching an ambulance, but was completely unsure as to where Main Street on Roosevelt Island was located. After giving an address of 455 Main Street, the operator assured me that they were on the way. FDNY was first on the scene and moved quickly and efficiently to free the man from under the van. And, he was then whisked into the FDNY ambulance. I am wishing all the people involved in this incident well - it was truly traumatic.
Image From Riverwalk Bar & Grill's Jonathan Hoo

I inquired of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Keith Guerra:
I understand that a man in a wheelchair got hit by a vehicle near 425 Main Street earlier this morning.

Can you provide any additional details as to what happened, the cause, type of vehicle, extent of any injuries etc.
Image From Riverwalk Bar & Grill's Jonathan Hoo

Mr. Guerra replied:
On Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at approximately 9:41 AM, a 61 year-old Male Goldwater Wheelchair Out-Patient was struck by an Access-A-Ride Mini-Bus. The accident occurred between 425 and 455 Main St. The victim and his wheelchair were wedged under the front wheel axle of the Mini-Bus. Members from PSD, FDNY and NYPD responded to the scene. The victim was extricated by the NYPD Emergency Service Unit and transported in an FDNY EMS Ambulance to the Cornell University Medical Center in Manhattan. He is awaiting surgery and is expected to recover from his injuries.

Images From Riverwalk Bar & Grill's Jonathan Hoo

Roosevelt Island Constituent Office Hours With State Senator Jose Serrano Today From 4 - 7 PM

Image of State Senator Jose Serrano

Today is the first Tuesday of the month so representatives from State Senator Jose Serrano's office will be holding Roosevelt Island constituent service hours at RIOC Headquarters (591 Main Street) beginning at 4 PM this afternoon until 7 PM.

Constituents should bring photocopies of any paperwork related to their situation so that the Serrano staff can effectively and efficiently address the issue.

September Events At The Roosevelt Island Public Library - Sci Fi Discussion Tonight, Painted Drum Book Club, Poetry Hour & Things For Kids

Image of Roosevelt Island Library From Travis

A reader points out that the new schedule for the New York Public Library branches have been announced. Happily, the Roosevelt Island Public Library will retain it's 6 day week and current hours.

The Roosevelt Island Librarian sends the following listing of upcoming events and activities for Adults and Children:

Children's Programs
  • Story Time- Wednesdays at 11:00 AM (location to be anounced)
  • Reading Aloud- Mondays and Wednesdays at 3:30 PM (starting September 15th)
  • Autumnal Equinox Story Time- Thursday, September 23rd, 4:00 PM
Adult Programs
  • Knitting Circle- Tuesdays at 10:00 AM
  • Science Fiction Discussion- Tuesday, September 7th, 6:30 PM
  • Book Discussion- The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich, Thursday, Septmber 16th, 6:30 PM
  • Poetry Hour- William Blake's Tyger, Tuesday, September 28th, 6:30 PM
Mark your calendars.

Rats On Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Platform - What Can The MTA Do?

Image of Subway Rat From NBC New York

Gothamist reported that rats are boldly swarming New York City Subway platforms:
"People have seen them sitting on benches," says Andrew Albert, an MTA board member and chair of the NYC Transit Riders Council. "From what riders have told us, they appear to be getting bolder." That's the subway rat population he's talking about, which many commuters say is surging, at least according to an amNY article that's teeming with great quotes. "Next thing you know the doors are going to open and one is going to come on the train with us," one exterminator predicts....

You Tube Video of Rider Experiencing NYC Subway Rat

Rats have even been seen on the Roosevelt Island subway platform. Last Wednesday, I received this message from a reader:
Any idea if MTA or anyone is going to do something about the rats on the subway platform?

In the morning, I saw 2 rats running around the platform (Queens Bound side).

On the way home, I saw 3 rats running around the platform (again, Queens Bound side).

It is one thing to see rats on the subway track, but on the platform where people wait for the trains? That is disturbing.
NBC New York reports that for rats the:
... the main attraction in many subway stations is the room where trash is stored after it is collected from waste cans on the platform. He said sometimes the garbage can sit for days, becoming a gluttonous rat buffet.

And rats typically live in the walls of the trash rooms, which are often located right on the train platforms.

"They're not down in that deep dark tunnel ... the rats are living in the walls behind that tile," Corrigan said.

A family of eight to 12 rats can make its home in one cinderblock, and every cinderblock in a wall can be occupied "much like we do with apartment buildings," he added.

That can mean as many as 150 rats live in the walls of one refuse room...

You Tube Video of Subway Rats Dining

What can be done? The NY Times reported on a joint MTA/NYC Department of Health Study that offered:

...some practical advice. Nothing quite excites a rat like a station’s “refuse room,” a storage space for bags of garbage waiting to be hauled away. For rodents, the room is “a restaurant,” as Dr. Corrigan called it, and he recommended that the transportation authority install poison bait in the rooms for a more surgical strike. (Currently, the authority places poison only on the tracks.)

Entrances to the rooms should be guarded, Dr. Corrigan said, so rats cannot reach the food. He also suggested that transit officials invest in more high-tech trapping systems, although he said budget concerns would probably stymie such plans....

You Tube Video of Bionic NYC Subway Platform Rat

If you have any suggestions to get rid of the Roosevelt Island rats, email the MTA"s F Train Line General Manager.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Disabled Extreme Sitting Athlete Makes World's First Double Back Flip In Wheelchair & Roosevelt Island Bike Messenger Rides With One Leg - Wow!

Roosevelt Island has a large disabled population, many of whom use wheelchairs. Have you ever asked yourself this question that Digital Journal recently reported on:
Who do you consider disabled? asks one extreme sports wheelchair athlete. When life gives you limits, you should push them, says Aaron Fotheringham, who knows all about that: he successfully completed the first ever double back-flip in a wheelchair

Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham is an 18-year-old wheelchair athlete from Las Vegas, Nevada. Aaron was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord. For Aaron this means his legs don’t work....

You Tube Video of World's First Double Back Flip In A Wheelchair

ESPN 's Breaking Barriers profiled Mr. Fotheringham:
... "People call it wheelchair skateboarding," he says with a shake of the head, "and it's like, oh man, it's its own sport. It's hard-core sitting."...
... Initially using braces to walk, Aaron got his first wheelchair when he was 3. It sat among his toys, and that was how he viewed it: as a vehicle for fun. By the time he was 8, after a series of painful hip operations, he was in the wheelchair most of the time.

From the start, he saw its advantages more than its limits.

That's why, when his older brother Brian invited him to wheel into a local skate park seven years ago, he didn't hesitate.

"A bunch of skaters helped me up to the top of the ramp, and practically just pushed me over on to my face," Aaron recalls with a laugh.

But he got up, and got back into the chair. He kept falling, kept getting up, kept trying. Soon enough, he was racing around the park and wondering how to spin and jump.

"Just being included," he says, recalling the feeling of that first day, "and saying, 'Hey, I may be able to go somewhere with this.'"...
More on Aaron Fotheringham from his web site.

What this shows is that disabled people can have just as much guts or be just as nuts as any other extreme athlete. Not sure which it is but probably some combination of both.

Then there's Roosevelt Island's own Dexter Benjamin who works in an occupation which may be just as hazardous as an extreme athlete. He's a New York City Bicycle messenger - who rides his bike with one leg! (Thanks to Kris via Aus for finding the video)

You Tube Video From AM New York