Saturday, September 25, 2010

Roosevelt Island Pictures - Run For Congo Women At Firefighters Field, Skyline From Southpoint Park & Manhattan's East Side At Night

Submissions of Roosevelt Island photographs by readers are always welcome. Here are a few.

Duc Le was running on the Queensboro Bridge this morning and took a picture from above of Roosevelt Island's Firefighter's Field where participants in the 5K Run For The Congo Women were getting organized.

Olivier Perrin, a reader from France who blogs at Walk In New York writes:
Quand je viens à NYC, je prends souvent des photos de Roosevelt Island que je met petit à petit sur mon blog photo sur NYC
C'est un endroit de NYC que j'aime beaucoup
and kindly provides a translation:
When I come to NYC, I often take photos of Roosevelt Island that I put little by little on my photo blog on NYC
I like coming to walk on Roosevelt Island
Southpoint Park View Of Manhattan Skyline And East River Waterfront From Walk In New York

Here's more of Olivier's Roosevelt Island photographs.

A new Roosevelt Island resident, Tatiana Muzica, sent in this nighttime view of Manhattan's East Side Skyline taken from Roosevelt Island.

Image From Tatiana Muzica

Thanks for the submissions. Please keep them coming.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the September 25, 2010 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - Ambulance Waiting On Raised RI Bridge As Sailboat Passed Underneath
Roosevelt Islander - New Tram Cabin Arrives
Roosevelt Islander - Bloomberg & Paterson Visit Southpoint Park
Judith's Gallery - Pictures From FDR Memorial Ceremony
Roosevelt Island 360 - New Voting Machines
Susan Arcelay Tweet - Funnel Cloud Seen Near Roosevelt Island During Storm
NY 1 - FDR Memorial Takes Shape
WNYC - Cornerstone Laid At FDR Memorial
Arch Daily - Progress on 4 Freedoms Park
Huffington Post - Roosevelt Island Tram Art Gallery Project
WSJ New York - Octagon Fuel Cell Energy Coming In December
Queens Chronicle - Congresswoman Maloney Wins Democratic Primary Again
NY Times - Community Supported Agriculture At The Octagon
Gothamist - Access A Ride Van Hits Man In Wheelchair on Main Street
DNA Info - Roosevelt island Resident Protests MTA Fare Hikes
US Coast Guard - East River Vessel Closing During UN General Assembly Week
Bordeaux Street - Grocery Shopping Stroll To Trade Fair In Astoria
Sail Blogs - Waits For Roosevelt Island Bridge To Raise Up
You Tube - Jessica Lappin Speaks At FDR Memorial
You Tube - Movie Brainstorming Session At Starbucks
You Tube - Opening Reception At Gallery RIVAA RIT Exhibit
You Tube - Walk From Subway to Southpoint Park
You Tube - Feeding Roosevelt Island Squirrel
You Tube - Observations From The Urban Landscape At Octagon Gallery
You Tube - Vision Of Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Elite Speaks His Mind At Subway Pier

RIRA President On Election Difficulties, RIOC Board Nominations, Maple Tree Group, Critics, Tribalism, Calendar, Capital Budget & Other RI Issues

Image of Mr. Farance At September 2010 RIRA Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Farance addresses:
1. RIRA Elections. We elected Aaron Hamburger as Chair of the RIRA Nomination Committee, which is responsible for getting candidates for RIRA's approximately 50 seats, including building representatives and two Island-wide representatives (President and Vice President). We elected Joyce Mincheff as Chair of the RIRA Elections Committee, which is responsible for the running the elections. Unfortunately, Mincheff has since resigned because of difficulties with the Nominations Committee, who didn't include her in discussions and review. I haven't seen the documents forwarded to the WIRE. Hamburger has not responded to questions on who was on the committee and when they met. You would think that with all fuss made previously, Common Council members would be sensitive towards including *all* members that wish to participate, but this still continues. Immediately, I will look for a new Elections Committee Chair for proper elections this November.

2. RIOC Director Nominee Elections to be held in 2012. We voted 14-4-3 to postpone the RIOC elections. I believe they made a serious mistake. With no resident nominees, the Governor will start filling the spots. What will we do? We've already lost this argument. The Governor will say "You had the opportunity to run elections, but chose not to". A quick election in response? "But short elections don't give the best candidates (according to MTG)". Running a longer election? "But only elections in conjunction with biannual general elections produce good candidates (according to MTG)". We have thwarted every line of rhetoric for the Governor to pay attention to us. MTG suggested elections *after* term expiration. For example, RIOC director seats expiring in June 2011 (Kalkin and Kraut) would not face elections until 2012, giving them 2 extra years. In the 2012 elections, the next candidate's 4-year term is shortened: starts in 2013 and expires June 2015. Elections *after* expiration *never* produce a good result, unless you're interested in keeping the current RIOC Board members in place (which gets back to the secret meetings, apparent conflicts of interest, etc.). The Governor understands this: manipulation to keep present board members. Mr. Katz worries about burning bridges, but doesn't consider MTG's legislation to "taking all the marbles" (we have 5 resident directors now, we want all 7) is just a poke-in-the-eye to the Governor. Katz and others don't see the RIOC Board, in exerting much more force than necessary, was the perfect corporate manipulation: coax them to flex their muscles to toss Shane (unwanted by the Governor), then point out the all-resident board is predisposed to too much force (merely board resolutions could have boxed in Shane). The Shane firing becomes long-term rhetoric for why the Governor will give no more on self governance. In sum: (1) we've ruined the rhetoric and elections to provide our own nominees, (2) MTG legislation is our own power grab that caught the attention of the Governor, (3) RIOC Board overreacted on the Shane firing which demonstrates why we (residents) aren't good at governing.

3. RIRA Presidents Have Always Spoke Their Own Opinions In This Column. I agree with Ms. Vicky Feinmel who seems to have handy my E-mails from 1999. Ms. Feinmel omits reporting that at the October 1999 RIRA meeting (recorded by Mr. Matthew Katz, then Secretary of RIRA) RIRA agreed with my suggestion: the RIRA Column in the WIRE is always an opinion column. Mr. Patrick Stewart, Mr. Katz, Mr. Steve Marcus, and I have always said this was an opinion column that might or might not necessarily represent the positions of RIRA.

4. RIRA Sponsored 9/11 Memorial Service. We had a crowd of about 30-50 people with singing from Sherie Helstien and Laura Stelman Jaeger, piano accompaniment by Craig Crabtree, and poetry reading by Linda Heimer. We had an open microphone and one resident made the observation that, unlike downtown Manhattan, Roosevelt Island has a inclusive spirit, including broad and strong support for the establishment of a mosque here for the Muslim community.

5. RIOC Presentation on 15-Year Capital Budget. RIOC CFO Steve Chironis made a presentation to the Common Council of the 15-year capital budget. According to Mr. Chironis, the RIOC Budget needs to be approved in December, so the schedule is pushed back earlier for us: we're now reviewing in September what we usually review in January. RIRA will be providing feedback and Mr. Chironis will present this at the October 12 RIOC Board meeting. Mr. Chironis felt comfortable with the building of Southtown 7, 8, and 9, which are essential to RIOC's finances.

6. RIRA Support for NY Public Library to Move to 504 Main Street. At the meeting RICLA (Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates) presented a proposal for designating one floor of 504 Main Street as the new home for the Roosevelt Island branch of the New York Public Library. RIRA endorsed the proposal. The proposal is consistent with the RIOC Master Lease RFP which recognizes that NYPL was interested in the space in 504 Main Street.

7. Island Organizations work towards Common Calendar. On September 21, we met. We had input from the following organizations: RIOC, PS/IS 217, PTA, Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, Island Kids, RI Marlins, RI Youth Program, RI Beacon Program, NY Junior Tennis League, RI Jewish Congregation, RICLA, Main Street WIRE. We learned about each others programs, activities, members, and schedules. The goal is to have regular meetings, roughly every September, December, February, and May so we can avoid gratuitous schedule conflicts (which have happened in the past). Roosevelt Island Day 2011 will be on June 11 (so far, so good). The Holiday Tree Lighting will be on December 3 and the PS/IS 217 Winter Concert will be on December 8 (whew, a near miss). However, the Halloween Parade and the RIYP soccer games are both on October 30. Ms. Erica Wilder (RIOC) and Mr. Scott Bobo (RIYP) discovered that conflict and will work to resolve that by changing the schedule of the soccer games that day. We expect to meet in the next 4-5 weeks, with a combined calendar; and we expect to meet regularly to schedule events 10 months into the future. Thank you all the participated, I welcome other organizations to participate.

8. Upcoming RIRA meetings. The next meeting is on October 6 at 8:00 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Community Center, which is our last Common Council meeting for the 2008-2010 session. Because RIOC meeting was rescheduled to October 12 and the day prior is Columbus Day, RIRA will include an hour-long public session (RIRA informational meeting) that addresses Q&A for the RIOC meeting.

9. Response to letters in last WIRE. I'll make this as brief as possible. In the history of RIRA, right now RIRA has the best working relationship with RIOC and other organizations. I have a good working relationship with all RIOC departments. If Mr. Kellner thinks he has a poor relationship with RIRA, then why did he call me on vacation 6 timezones away to set up the community meeting on short notice with Ms. Torres as a RIOC President candidate? I spent 3 days of vacation making the arrangements so that Mr. Kellner, Ms. Torres, Mr. Lawlor, RIOC, the RIOC Board, DHCR, etc. all could look great and have the community interact well with her. It was a big success. So Mr. Kellner asked me to do something that was completely counter to my complaints about RIOC and Mr. Shane's firing. Why did he ask me? He knew that I would do my best to help him in my role as RIRA President, and he knew I could pull it off on short notice. Likewise, Mr. Kellner has had many gruff words about Mr. Shane, yet it didn't stop them from working together. Even at our last RIRA meeting, the RIOC CFO came to present to us, Mr. Kellner's representative attended, and three RIOC Board Members attended, including Mr. Kalkin and Ms. Smith who spoke at the public session (on why their RIOC Board terms should be extended). Mr. Katz is wrong, there is no loss of working relationships for RIRA -- in fact, the relationships are much stronger than when he left office.

The people that are complaining in these letters are deflecting the fact that the main issue is: the Maple Tree Group (MTG a subcommittee of GRC) got caught with an un-democratic, un-inclusive, secretive process. At last week's RIRA Common Council meeting, Government Relations Committee (GRC) Chair Ms. Ashton Barfield confirmed the basic facts of the secrecy: the meetings were not open to all members, the discussion of voting did not include all members, and the vote itself excluded some the members. I asked Ms. Barfield why the GRC report had listed 8 members of MTG instead of the 12 members she reported in her E-mail of July 7 confirming MTG membership. She said that the 8 members were "Formal Members". I asked what provisions in the RIRA By-Laws make the distinction of "Formal Members" versus other kinds of members (bingo!). She threw her hands back and said "Maple Tree Group is open to everyone". It has taken 13 years for some residents to hear that. Many have complained quietly about being shut out of MTG and so did I. It was only by complaining publicly that MTG has changed. Mr. Katz implies that I shouldn't tell the truth about what is going on here, how I should not say it at all, or say it obliquely -- as anyone on the Internet can tell you, that doesn't get results. The galling part of MTG's actions are: they held themselves out as the shining beacon of democratic principles, no different than the disappointment in the "Sherriff of Wall Street" getting caught with prostitutes. The problem isn't having a secret meeting (or getting caught with a prostitute), the issue is: behaving inconsistently with principles that are essential and foundational to their identity. On top of that, Mr. Katz is the former RIRA President who shepherded RIRA through the revision of its Constitution and the creation of its By-Laws. yet Mr. Katz is advocating a process the is improper for the By-Laws of the corporation -- he should know better.

Regarding other points in the letters:
• Regarding Ms. Heimer's concern about a bid to the Storefront RFP by me, unlike Ms. Heimer's building, the Island House Tenants Association (of which I'm the corporate secretary) does *not* own the building and could never make such an offer. In fact, the tenants in Island House are purely focused on long-term preservation of affordable housing and the retention of the existing tenancy post-conversion (if it ever happens), they are not interested in the store fronts (Mr. Kalkin knows this).
• Regarding Ms. Heimer's report about Mr. Kellner and privatization she omits the full discussion: it was months ago that I told Mr. Kellner that the privatization issue was only with Rivercross and not Island House; since then (according to Graham Cannon, President of Island House Tenants Association) Mr. Kellner recognized that was true and issued a memo in support of Island House privatization and decouples the two buildings (one making more progress than the other). There are three points here: first, as I reported originally, the privatization issues surrounding the firing of Steve Shane only concerned one building (which Mr. Kellner did not know at the time); second, I asked Mr. Kellner to socialize his efforts among a wider audience because (as he now recognizes) he is getting a limited perspective on Roosevelt Island from these self-selected residents; third, because of the Governor's veto and the complaints about proposed legislation, Mr. Kellner again understands that a broader review (not just self-selected residents from MTG) would improve proposed legislation. Mr. Kellner does very good work for Roosevelt Island; it is a shame that he was misled.
• It is too bad that Ms. Heimer does reflect upon the fact that if a state-appointed official or RIOC Board Director took the same actions as a resident RIOC Board Director, Ms. Heimer would be complaining loudly. Largely, there is a sense of tribalism here: only residents can do good, state-appointed officials can only do wrong. That is not my take on RIOC, which is why I (along with RIRA members and RIOC staff) have been able to build a better relationship -- a transactional one, not a tribal one. As another example, Ms. Heimer complains that there were only two merchants at the RIRA Town Meeting on the storefronts. Ms. Heimer omits that one of them was the head of our Chamber of Commerce, whose role is intended to represent the merchants. When a RIRA representative goes to a meeting, Ms. Heimer would never let someone get away with the perception "just one person attended", she's voice loudly that that person represents RIRA, which represents the Island; so why does Ms. Heimer diminish the same kind representation the merchants have in their Chamber of Commerce?
• It should have been clear to Mr. Katz that I referred to a different sense of "whopper", akin to the kind of hamburger one buys at Burger King.
A version of the RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA column in the 9/25/10 Main Street WIRE.

Additional background on the Farance/Maple Tree RIOC Board Nominee dispute available here.

No Queens Bound F Train Service At Roosevelt Island Right Now Due To Police Investigation

Received the following F Train Subway service advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) at 12:38 PM:

Please be advised due to a Police Investigation at the 21st Street-Queensbridge Station there is no F train Service into Queens.

Manhattan Bound F Train Service is running at this time.

RIOC Red Bus Service to Manhattan and the Q102 Bus are running on or close to schedule.

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Announces Bed Bug Spray Located In Aisle 5 - On The Front Entrance Door

Can you think of any less appealing signage on the front entrance door to a supermarket than what I saw last night as I entered the Roosevelt Island Gristedes?

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Front Door Bed Bug Signage

Yep, that right, the Roosevelt Island Gristedes is welcoming it's customers with:
There have been bed bugs reported in Roosevelt Island buildings recently and the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) announced during their September Monthly Meeting the formation of a Bed Bug Committee. But still, is posting a sign on their front door the best way for Gristedes to sell bed bug spray?

You Tube Video of Bed Bug Infestation From NBC News

Assembly Member Micah Kellner Greeting Roosevelt Island Residents At F Subway Station Last Night

As I was exiting the Roosevelt Island subway station yesterday evening around 5:30 PM, I stopped for just a moment to consider if somehow I was transported through a time travel vortex to early November. What was the reason for my momentary disorientation?

Well, at the entrance to the subway station, Roosevelt Island's Assembly Member Micah Kellner was greeting residents, shaking hands, listening to Roosevelt Islanders and aides were handing out campaign literature. I thought it had to be a bit early in the campaign season but there Mr. Kellner was at the subway station and it's still only September - not November.

After thinking about this, I should not be surprised. Mr. Kellner can often be seen on Roosevelt Island attending community events, providing input and support on important issues as well as providing excellent constituent services. I give Mr. Kellner alot of credit for the attention he pays to Roosevelt Island - even if I may disagree with him on any particular issue. He is an excellent representative for Roosevelt Island.

Keep up the good work Mr. Kellner!

No time travel for me yesterday evening.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Great Big Sea Back In New York City Playing Concert At Webster Hall This Friday Night - One Day Perhaps, An Outdoor Roosevelt Island Concert

One of my all time favorite live performance bands, Great Big Sea - from the tropical island of Newfoundland, Canada - is making a New York City appearance at Webster Hall this Friday Night.

You Tube Video of Great Big Sea singing Donkey Riding

The first time I ever heard of, or saw, Great Big Sea was at an outdoor concert during the 1999 Summer Festival in Quebec City and I was just blown away by their combination of traditional seafaring folk tunes, Celtic rock songs, audience sing-a-longs and the sheer fun and joy of their live performance. A bunch of friends and I have been attending their New York concerts ever since. If you are looking for something to do Friday night in New York City, I definitely recommend trying to get tickets. You will have a Great Time!

You Tube video of Great Big Sea singing Old Black Rum

One day, I would love to see Great Big Sea playing an outdoor concert on Roosevelt Island with the NYC waterfront and skyline in the background. Southpoint Park would be great!

Did you know that Lukey's Boat Was Painted Green? Great Big Sea and the Chieftains tell the story.

You Tube Video of Great Big Sea's Lukey's Boat Is Painted Green

Until Great Big Sea comes to Roosevelt Island, we can all Rant And Roar like true Newfoundlanders, or at least I can try.

A great blog about all things Great Big Sea is Between the Rock and a Hard Place. Check it out if you want to know more.

Another Fun Wednesday Night Of Karaoke At Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill - Try It Out Next Week!

Stopped by the Riverwalk Bar & Grill last night to get out of the rain and watch some Yankee baseball. Walked right into Wednesday Night Karaoke.

The staff at Manhattan Park were there celebrating Edgar's Birthday (pictured in the middle) and decided to mark the occasion with, what else, group Karaoke!

They looked like they were having a good time and the crowd enjoyed it as well. Good job by the Manhattan Park guys and Happy Birthday Edgar.

There were plenty of other Roosevelt Island Karaoke singers last night performing some of their favorite songs including versions of John Mellencamp's Wild Night

and REM's Losing My Religion.

So, if you have some vocal talent, or even if you don't, come on down next Wednesday for Karaoke Night at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill. You'll have fun.

Maybe Mike will be there to sing again.

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
i) an Energy Conservation Committee has been proposed for interested shareholders.

2) Arline reported that one Board member has expressed strong opposition to the idea of a "green Roof" for Rivercross.

3) Mogens reported RIOC technical personnel have surveyed the area proposed as a ramp to replace the east-west six step stairway to the entrance plaza.

4) Caroline reported that one shareholder, fearing noisy sitters, had urged the Board not to install a bench at the front of the building for shareholders awaiting scheduled pickups.

5) In the general discussion of Rivercross matters suggestions were made that there could be an inventory of windows made cloudy by condensation formed after a break in the seal between the two panes of glass, and that inventory might be used as the basis for an informal call for prices on the assumption that a large scale replacement might result in a cheaper cost to shareholders than the present once in awhile price on file in the Building Office. Including such a question in the proposed Rivercross Tenants' Survey might be considered by Mitch as he refines what the Survey might be.

6) In the general discussion of Rivercross matters it was hoped that some solution might be found for shareholders blocking up the AVAC chute doors with overloaded plastic bags filled too large to pass through the chute opening.

7) In the general discussion of the ongoing Shareholder Forum, the attendees felt the Forum was having a positive impact on the affairs of the building but that it might be advisable to go to a once a month meeting schedule rather than every two weeks. The group wanted to be sure that meetings were in a direct relation to the Board sponsored open meetings. Mogens noted that the first meeting of the Board sponsored Energy Conservation Committee be on October 6, and the Board conducted Conversations with Shareholders will be on October 12. Consequently, the next meeting of the Shareholder Form will be on Tuesday October 5 at 7:30, with the date of the following meeting to be decided then.

Accordingly, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 to meet again on Tuesday October 5 at 7:30.
There is also an online Rivercross Google Group for residents to communicate with each other as well.

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres To Roosevelt Island Residents - Tram Opening Delayed To November, UN General Assembly Week & Other RI Issues

Image Of RIOC President Leslie Torres At Bike Sharing Demo

RIOC President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
The Annual Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (GA) is under way and New York City is in gridlock. Even Roosevelt Island is affected, from an increased police presence because of the proximity of sight lines from our southern tip to the United Nations, to a delay of our Red Buses on their special run to Manhattan and the postponement of a scheduled police department security inspection of our new tram system. And, although President Obama does not have us on his route as he visits the GA, with so many UN families living on Roosevelt Island, we are truly part of the diverse tapestry that makes up New York City. Though experiencing some delays, we, however, are not in gridlock – as this week’s review of our projects, upcoming activities and events demonstrate.

Major Projects Underway:
Tram Opening – The updated schedule to open both the north and south lanes of the tram have been moved to November. Although RIOC, along with our tram contractors had hoped to re-open by mid October, several delays have made that impossible. Even though the engineering work is near completion, the tram system will have to go through a variety of inspections by the State Department of Labor (DOL), as well as New York City emergency services, before it is formally certified by DOL as ready for operation. Our goal continues to be to have a safe and beautiful tram in operation as soon as humanly possible. The tram cabins have arrived. If you would like to sneak a peak, for the next few days, they will be located in the parking lot east of the Riverwalk oval lawn area.
As previously reported, rather than further delaying re-opening, the renovation of the two stations will be performed after the restart of tram operations. Construction work on the stations will be, to the best of our ability, coordinated with non-peak tram schedules, minimizing travel disruptions. Completion of the station work is scheduled for spring 2011.

FDR Memorial – Phase I construction is on schedule, and construction of phase IIA has started ahead of expectations. On September 13th, the Governor and Mayor were both on hand at a ceremony celebrating the arrival of the first granite blocks for the memorial.
Southpoint Open Space (Green Rooms Wild Gardens) – The comfort station has been delivered and assembled. Paving of the east drive near Strecker Lab has begun. Fall planting has begun and opening date is scheduled for spring 2011. We are working closely with the FDR Memorial developers to coordinate our two projects and create a smooth transition between the two areas.

Other Projects in Progress:

AVAC – Installation of the first of two new compacters has been completed. Delivery of the second compactor is expected shortly. The NYC Department of Sanitation is sprucing up the interior of the AVAC building in time for Open House New York (OHNY). RIOC’s AVAC facility (along with other Island venues) has been chosen as a venue for New Yorkers to visit as part of the OHNY October 8 & 9, city-wide program. See below - Upcoming Events - for additional information.

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 stairwell work has been completed. Waterproofing of the rooftop and the exterior of the stairwell bulkheads is 40% finished with estimated completion at the end of November.

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.

Approved Projects to be started this Spring:
Good Shepherd Plaza – Restoration of the Plaza including 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, RIOC has determined to postpone the beginning of the project to spring 2011, in order to complete the work from start to finish without interruption. We are also investigating the replacement of the existing stairway at the south side of the plaza leading to the Rivercross lobby with an ADA compliant ramp.

Projects in Design & in RFP Stages:
Octagon Field Border Landscaping – The new soccer field re-opened on August 26th, to great community acclaim. 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 24th. We hope to start work later this fall.

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

Blackwell House Interior Renovation and Disabled Accessible Ramp – Proposals are being reviewed and we are pursuing some value engineering opportunities to keep costs down. 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 six (6) months to complete.

Public Safety Noise Attenuation Project - The air conditioning system for the Public Safety Department unfortunately produces some unanticipated noise in the Roosevelt Landings courtyard area behind 550 Main Street. We are currently reviewing proposals to install sound attenuating shielding to address this problem.

Sportspark Activities:

Sportspark Activities have been expanded again. Beginning October 2nd, Wheelchair Basketball will be introduced from 10am to 1pm every Saturday at Sportspark. Please see the RIOC website for last minute changes to 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
Recent Community Events:
Hispanic Heritage Month – On Sept. 18th, to kick off Hispanic Heritage month on Roosevelt Island, the Willie Viallegas Entre Amigos Band performed classic Latino music at the Meditation Steps and provided a detailed history of its development and influences on other genre’s of contemporary music. To view pictures from the event, please visit

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

Fall for Arts – Annual Arts, Food and Fun Festival will be celebrated October 2nd, in Blackwell Park and the Rivercross lawn. Festivities include “hands on” art and craft workshops for all ages, Performance of Oedipus Rex at the Amphitheatre, a live performance by the popular drum and bass group “Hank & Cupcakes”. There will be puppet shows for the children, food and much more. In partnership with the RIVAA Gallery. For more information, please visit

Open House New York- On October 8th & 9th, Roosevelt Island will be a host site for the annual city-wide Open House New York celebration, where our fair City shows off its best features. From 9-4 New Yorkers can have escorted tours of AVAC, the Octagon lobby, Sportspark and the Roosevelt Island Historical Society information kiosk.

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, managers of Roosevelt Landings, the parade of ghosts and goblins begins at Blackwell House at 12 P.M. and continues on 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 will also appears on RIOC's web site and the September 25, 2010 Main Street WIRE.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Roosevelt Island Tram Delayed Again, New Date Early November - But At Least No Water Damage To Second Tram Cabin

You Tube Video Of NY 1 Roosevelt Island Tram Shutdown

The projected late August/early September 2010 date for the Roosevelt Island Tram's return of service has long ago come and gone. But what of the previous latest announced back up date of October 5 for the return of at least one Tram Cabin to service? I've been hearing talk for a while now that this too was not to be so I went to the source and yesterday inquired of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) VP of Operations Fernanado Martinez:
Any update of Roosevelt Island Tram resumption of service?

I understand that the return date may have been pushed back to the end of October. Is that true?

If so, why?
Mr. Fernandez replied:
We are planning to return the Tram back to passenger service in early November. I met with the project team and we took a realistic look at the schedule and the amount of work to complete. We feel comfortable with early November.
The Tram Modernization contractor, Leitner - Poma was contractually obligated to have the Tram operational by September 1 and agreed to incur financial penalties if it did not do so. As former RIOC President Steve Shane stated in this post:
.. POMA is contractually obligated to deliver the system and would be penalized with daily penalties as liquidated damages for late delivery in accordance with the terms of the contract...
Of course, at this point financial considerations are of little importance when balanced against the safety and proper operation of the new Roosevelt Island Tram, but any leverage gained from Poma's failure to complete the Tram Modernization on time as contractually agreed should be used by RIOC.

Also, I received a tip from Lucinda last night that the second Tram Cabin arrived on Roosevelt Island joining it's twin which arrived last week. Lucinda tweeted:
roosevelt island - tram arrived around midnight! now there are two.
Earlier this morning, I was told by a very reliable source that the second Tram Cabin arrived several thousand pounds overweight. That when the box crate it was in was opened, water came gushing out. I asked Mr. Martinez about this and after he checked it out advised me that this was not true. Sometimes tips are right and other times not.

Hangars Being Placed On Tram Cabin #2 This Afternoon

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy sent in these recent images of work being done at the Roosevelt Island Tram Station.

Ms. Berdy also forwards this 1976 picture of the old Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station (notice the original staircase?)

and a memo from the VSL Corportation stating that the fare was only 50 cents at the time.

Not 50 cents any more but at least the MTA Metro card is accepted.

UPDATE 7:45 PM: Ms. Berdy shows the Tram cabin

and parts

popping out of theirs crates.

More pictures from Ms. Berdy here.

Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival Saturday October 2 - Fun Filled Day Of Outdoor Events For Kids Of All Ages

Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts 2010 Image From RIOC

Received the following announcement of the 2010 Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Assistant Luther Clement:
Roosevelt Island’s
5th Annual Fall Arts Festival
Explore Fun, Music and Hands-on Crafts this Fall Season

The 5th Annual Fall for Arts Festival, a FREE outdoor event presented by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, is a one-of-a-kind outdoor gallery with a highly acclaimed mix of visual, performing, culinary, and interactive arts. The festival will take place on Saturday, October 2nd from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The festival weekend has plenty to offer children and adults alike. Young aspiring artists can create their very own masterpiece by spending the entire day immersed in a world of art and creativity as they visit the "Imagination Station" and discover their own artistic talents. They can create sidewalk chalk murals, make fresh butter and/or fresh apple juice, and participate in a variety of arts and crafts projects. The "Imagination Station" will also be host to storytelling and to popular English-Spanish bilingual children’s musician “Louie.” The “Imagination Station” will come to life with the help of the Children’s Museum of the Arts, Materials for the Arts, the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, Roosevelt Island based as well as other local NYC artists. Widely popular Drum and Bass duo, Hank & Cupcakes will perform live at Blackwell Park at 12:45 PM. The Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Gallery will host an open mic poetry event beginning at 12:00 PM. Audiences can expect a diverse chorus of voices and a vast array of professional spoken word performers, open mic newcomers and musicians. Also performing is The Faux-Real Theatre Company with their rendition of Oedipus Rex “in brightly colored wigs, fantastical costumes, and masks that [act] as megaphones…exactly as Sophocles intended it to be performed when he wrote it 2400 years ago,” according to troupe director Mark Greenfield. This classic theatrical tale of man-versus-destiny will take place outdoors at the Roosevelt Landings Amphitheater, 540 Main Street, with shows on Saturday October 2nd and Sunday October 3rd at 2:00 PM. The activities will be engrossing; the shows will be thrilling; and you will have fun. Experience Roosevelt Island’s premier fall arts festival, a celebration you won’t want to miss.

Location: Blackwell Park and the lawn across the street, south of Rivercross
This event is FREE and open to the public with convenient parking close to the outdoor exhibits.
Here are some scenes from the 2009 Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ambulance For Roosevelt Island Patient Waiting On Raised Roosevelt Island Bridge During UN Week As Sailboat Passes Underneath

Roosevelt Island Bridge Being Raised Yesterday For Sailboat To Pass

Due to the United Nations General Assembly being in session, once again security precautions require East River boat traffic to use the East Channel when approaching Roosevelt Island. This forces the Roosevelt Island Bridge to be raised so that tall boats can pass underneath. When the Bridge gets raised, traffic is backed up and cannot enter or leave Roosevelt Island until the Bridge returns to it's normal position.

In most cases this is just a small inconvenience, but for emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire, and police vehicles servicing Roosevelt Island, it can be a real safety issue. This is an annual problem for Roosevelt Island during UN General Assembly week and was reported on last year as well:
A Roosevelt Island resident sent a message expressing concern that the health and safety needs of Roosevelt Islanders are being neglected by the raising of the Roosevelt Island Bridge for non - essential boat traffic during the UN General Assembly Meeting currently being held. She was fearful that emergency vehicles such as ambulances and FDNY trucks would be delayed traveling to and from Roosevelt Island resulting in a tragedy due to the Roosevelt Island Bridge not being accessible during these openings....
Here's what happened early last evening.

At approximately 5:30 -40 PM, I noticed that the Roosevelt Island Bridge was in the Up position as a sailboat went underneath as shown in the picture at top and below.

Sailboat Passing Raised Roosevelt Island Bridge Yesterday Evening

There was an FDNY ambulance waiting on the Queens side of the Bridge waiting to cross while the Bridge was in the Up position. I do not know how long the ambulance was waiting.

When the bridge came back down the Ambulance raced across the bridge with sirens on, made a left at the bottom

Ambulance Going South On Main Street
and stopped at 546 Main Street.

I saw a Public Safety Officer in front of the building and asked him if he knew how long the Ambulance was delayed because of the the Bridge being in the open position. The officer did not know and I did not see the Ambulance personnel to ask them.

Later that evening I sent an email to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) VP of Operations Fernando Martinez and Public Safety Director Keith Guerra describing what I saw and asked:
... Do you know how long, if at all, the Ambulance was delayed because of the RI Bridge Opening and if this had any effect on the resident who called the Ambulance? If you don't know, how can we find out?

As you know, Roosevelt Island residents have been concerned that emergency vehicles might be delayed because of the Bridge Opening during the UN General Assembly Week.
Mr. Guerra responded:
I was able to ascertain that the person who called the ambulance had been experiencing chest congestion. They were unaffected by any delay the ambulance may have experienced because of the bridge. Follow-up revealed that the person was ok before, during and after transport.
I replied:
Thanks for the follow up. I am glad that the person is OK.

But do we know how long the Ambulance was delayed because of the Bridge being raised?

A longer than normal response time by the Ambulance because of the Bridge being raised could have ended much differently.
Mr. Guerra:
I agree. I do not have that information. Sorry.
Here's another perspective, that from Sailblogs, a recreational boater:
... The weather was incredible today! We had a bit of stress coming in because NYC police had closed off the section of river near the UN building. We were redirected to the other side of Roosevelt Island. Unfortunately, this side had a draw bridge that hadn't gotten the word yet. There were 4 boats circling around in some pretty strong current at Hell Gate waiting for either permission to go to the other side of the island or for the bridge to raise. Luckily, the bridge came up before anything bad happened...
Sailboat Waiting For Raising Of Roosevelt Island Bridge Image From Sailblogs

Manhattan Traffic Delays Due To UN General Assembly Week - Roosevelt Island Red Bus Manhattan Experiencing 15 Minute Delays

Image of Roosevelt Island Red Bus From RIOC

For anyone using the Roosevelt Island Red Bus Shuttle service to or from Manhattan, RIOC is advising:
Please be advised due to high traffic volume in Manhattan as a result of the UN General Assembly the RIOC Red Buses are running 15 minutes behind schedule.

Please allow ample travel time and we appreciate your patience.

RIRA Supports Relocation Of Roosevelt Island Public Library To Larger Space At 504 Main Street - Urges RIOC To Fund Library Move

Image of Roosevelt Island Library From Travis

As previously reported, there is a possibility that the Roosevelt Island Public Library currently occupying the dilapidated, water leaking and cramped premises at 524 Main Street may be relocated to a larger renovated space at 504 Main Street at some point in the future.

View Larger Map of 504 Main Street

Both RIOC and the New York Public Library are in favor of such a move. Of course, the primary obstacle to this move is funding.

During the September meeting of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council, the Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates (RICLA) submitted a statement to RIRA in favor of moving the Roosevelt Island Library to 504 Main Street. RICLA was seeking a Resolution from RIRA in favor of the relocation which RIRA provided.

Below is the RICLA statement supported by RIRA.
I. Whereas, the Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates, as Founder of the Roosevelt Island Library, Has Led the Way in the Past, and Currently is an Advocate for Development of the Branch Library on Roosevelt Island:

The Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates (RICLA) founded and operated the community library for 18 years. Recognizing the importance of a library to the community, RIOC provided the present Library Space. This space was deemed adequate at a time when the Island population was housed in four buildings.

In the 1990's RICLA mounted a successful drive to have the New York Public Library (NYPL) complete the Island plan of the early 1960's by assuming responsibility for the Roosevelt Island Library. Being relieved of the day to day operations of the library, RICLA now includes within its program ongoing support and encouragement of the Roosevelt Island Branch of NYPL.

Since the Island now has sixteen large residential buildings (with more proposed in the RIOC plans), NYPL and the library users recognize that the present Library is completely inadequate to serve the expanded island population with its numerous seniors, children and disabled individuals.

II. Whereas, Roosevelt Island Needs a Larger, State-of-the-art, Wheelchair-Accessible Library, that Would Be the Cultural Hub of the Island:

Based on a consulting survey of Roosevelt Island residents, it was revealed that “…the library is truly the most beloved presence on Main Street.” The consultants recommended relocation of the Library to 504 Main Street. RICLA strongly supports this move, to effect a significantly larger, state-of-the-art, wheelchair-accessible Library.

The civic presence of the relocated Library would anchor the gateway to Main Street on the east side, where it would be ‘that much more a centerpiece of the Island.’

In addition to the basic Library functions housed on the first floor of 504 Main Street, RICLA urges RIOC to convert a portion of the second floor of 504 Main Street to a first-class meeting and cultural space. Located above the Library, it would, in addition to general community group use, provide needed space for larger branch library events. RIOC has recently re-roofed this building, making it a weather-tight shell for a public space.

III. Whereas, RICLA Urges RIOC to Lead the Way in the Development of the Future, Enhanced Roosevelt Island Library:

Over a period of time the RIOC administration has worked closely with NYPL staff on this proposed relocation. The present sticking point is the difficult financial position of the City which is reflected in its uncertain support for expansion plans of the Branch Library portion of the NYPL. Therefore RICLA asks RIOC to underwrite the necessary additional funds to open an adequate Library space at 504 Main Street, with the modification of the annual leasehold rent to include provision for repayment of the funds as agreed upon by RIOC and the NYPL.


Drafted by the Board of Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates
Submitted by Janet Falk, Executive Director

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reader Asks If Anybody Noticed Increased Fire Department Activity On Roosevelt Island Last Night And Know Reason Why?

A reader sent in this question today:

Last night there seemed to be a lot of firetrucks coming onto the island - more than usual. Any idea why?
I replied:
No idea. There was nothing in the daily public safety report to indicate Fire Department activity either. (FYI -The daily Pubic Safety Report is listed on blog's left sidebar)

Might have something to do with the RI Bridge opening and closing for UN Week due to security precautions but I don't know for sure.

Where and what time did this happen?
The reader answered:
I think btw 9 - 10pm. They were driving south passed (the original) Main Street. Don't believe they stop here. Must have been about 15 trucks that came. At least that's how it felt.
Any answers?

RIOC CFO Steve Chironis Asks Roosevelt Island Residents For Infrastructure Improvement Ideas During RIRA Meeting - Any Suggestions?

Image of RIOC CFO Steve Chironis (Standing) At September RIRA Meeting

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Chief Financial Officer Steve Chironis spoke during the Public Session of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) September Meeting. Mr. Chironis reported:
  • RIOC is projecting a $2.5 million operating surplus for the current year that will be transferred to the Capital Budget.
  • RIOC Budgetary process timing was moved up this year and requires presentation to Board in October and RIOC Board approval by December.
  • RIOC President Leslie Torres first decision as RIOC President was for RIOC to fund RIRA elections
  • Ms. Torres will be meeting with the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp concerning any future development plans for Coler-Goldwater campus within next month or two.
  • Hudson/Related Riverwalk developers have until end of 2012 to exercise their option to start construction on Southtown buildings 7-9.
  • $15 million in 2011-12 Roosevelt Island Capital Improvements include fixing 16,000 linear feet of seawall railings - a common design for the railings which will last for 25 to 30 years will be sought in a Request For Proposals.
Mr. Chironis also asked the Roosevelt Island community for ideas about infrastructure that needs to be improved and indicated that, if possible, RIOC will try to incorporate these ideas in the next budget. Any suggestions?

Mr. Chironis made an excellent presentation informing the RIRA Common Council of these issues. The recent collaboration between RIOC and RIRA has been a welcome development which greatly enhances the quality of life for Roosevelt Island residents. I hope it continues.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

East River Traffic Closure and Roosevelt Island Bridge Advisories This Week For United Nations General Assembly Session

Image of United Nations from Wired New York

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has issued the following advisory regarding use of the Roosevelt Island Bridge during the 2010 United Nations General Assembly session starting Monday. According to RIOC:
Please be advised the NYC DOT Bridge Operations Unit and Koch/Skanska Contractors will be manning the Roosevelt Island Bridge for the United Nations General Assembly. Security Zone closures of the west channel of the East River will be in effect. The crews will be on the bridge from September 20, 2010 to September 27, 2010 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The United States Coast Guard has also issued a UN General Assembly related advisory for boat traffic on the East River.

From the Coast Guard East River Closing Advisory:
The Coast Guard will establish and enforce additional security zones on the East River, periodically restricting vessel traffic through the upper harbor near the United Nations Headquarters, starting at 7 a.m., Sept. 20, 2010.

The East River closures include all waters of the East River from East 35th St. to 59th St. Queensboro Bridge.

Full closure of this section of the East River can be expected for Sept. 23-24.

  • Zone 1: is a permanent security zone that has been in place since 9-11. It restricts vessel traffic within 175-yards of Manhattan in the West Channel of the East River. Commercial vessels must check in with Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service New York on VHF channel 12 prior to entering the West Channel.

  • Zone 2: No commercial or recreational vessel traffic is permitted in the West Channel of the East River from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., except New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sludge vessels, which need a 24-hour advance notice to transit.

  • Zone 3: No commercial or recreational traffic is permitted in the East River between East 35th Street and the Queensboro-59th Street Bridge on Sept. 23, 2010, from 9:15 a.m.-1:30p.m. and on Sept. 24, between 3:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.- except commercial passenger vessels with Coast Guard zone commander approval.

The Coast Guard zone commander will be monitoring VHF channels 13 & 16.

Violations of this security zone are punishable by a $50,000 fine, 5 years imprisonment or both.

Vessels that require opening of the Roosevelt Island Bridge must contact the bridge tender at least15 minutes in advance by phone at (732) 311-6705, (718) 361-9217 or via VHF-FM CH 13.

Specific times of the various security zone closures may change. Every effort will be made to keep mariners informed of all changes. Contact Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Services on VHF channel 12, or at (718) 354-4088 for updates.

For more information, visit the Coast Guard Homeport advisory here.

A Coast Guard dinghy was patrolling the East River near Roosevelt Island earlier today

stopping boats from heading south of the Queensboro Bridge

and turning them around to head back north.

Last year, there were some traffic and safety complaints from Roosevelt Island residents about unnecessary openings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge when there was no East River traffic during the 2009 UN General Assembly Week.

Roosevelt Island Art Scene, Give It A Try - Opening Reception At Octagon Gallery Today For Observations From The Urban Landscape

Image From Gallery RIVAA

Are you interested in doing some art gallery browsing today and not in the mood to go down to Chelsea, Soho or Brooklyn? Well, how about exploring the Roosevelt Island art scene and visit two current exhibits at our very own Gallery RIVAA. You can even attend an opening reception as well!. According to Gallery RIVAA:
Deborah Julian’s photograph exhibit “Observations From the Urban Landscape” is showing at the Octagon Gallery from September 4th – October 10th, 2010. The opening reception will be on Sunday, September 19th from 4-6 pm.

The Octagon Gallery is at 888 Main Street, first floor.

The second Gallery RIVAA exhibit at 543 Main Street is is titled R-I-T Roosevelt Island Tram Past and Future and will be showing through September 26. This exhibit 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.
Roosevelt Island resident David Stone reports on Gallery RIVAA's two exhibits currently showing at both of these locations.