Friday, November 12, 2010

What Does That Other Person's Roosevelt Island Apartment Look Like? Take A Look At Riverwalk, Octagon And Manhattan Park Apartments To Find Out

Are you curious about what apartments on Roosevelt Island other than your own look like? Then follow this Southtown Riverwalk resident as he uses his laptop computer to video a tour of his picture filled apartment accompanied by some very Twin Peaks ish backgound music.

You Tube Video Tour of Riverwalk Apartment

Or. take a tour of this studio apartment in Roosevelt Island's Octagon building that a resident is hoping to find a new occupant to take over his lease.

You Tube Video of Octagon Studio Apartment Tour

And let's not forget this tour of a Manhattan Park apartment.

You Tube Video of Manhattan Park Apartment Tour

How does your apartment compare?

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Adventure To The Big Apple Circus - No Reports Of Kids Running Away To Join

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program shares a brief summary and pictures from their Great Adventure To the Big Apple Circus.

On Wednesday November 10th, with the impending Veterans Day and no school on Thursday the Roosevelt Island Youth Program took over 100 youth to diner at Trellis and a special trip to the Big Apple Circus. The children’s excitement started building the minute they saw the “Big Top” at Lincoln Center and continued throughout the 2 hour show.
Here's a behind the scenes look at the Big Apple Circus.

You Tube Video of Behind The Scenes At The Big Apple Circus

No reports yet of any Roosevelt Island kids running away to join the circus yet.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Veterans Day 2010 - Thank You To All Members Of The Military For Your Service

You Tube Video From Department Of Veterans Affairs

Today is Veteran's Day. According to
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.
If you know a Veteran or see one on the street today, please take a brief moment to thank them for their service to our country. Actually, thinking about this, don't just thank them today but do it throughout the year and thank our active duty soldiers as well.

Below is the 2010 Veterans Day Proclamation from President Barack Obama.
 Presidential Proclamation -- Veterans Day


On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors.

In an unbroken line of valor stretching across more than two centuries, our veterans have charged into harm's way, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the freedoms that have blessed America. Whether Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, they are our Nation's finest citizens, and they have shown the heights to which Americans can rise when asked and inspired to do so. Our courageous troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe have earned their place alongside previous generations of great Americans, serving selflessly, tour after tour, in conflicts spanning nearly a decade.

Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders. They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast. They have built and shaped our Nation, and it is our solemn promise to support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return to their homes and families.

America's sons and daughters have not watched over her shores or her citizens for public recognition, fanfare, or parades. They have preserved our way of life with unwavering patriotism and quiet courage, and ours is a debt of honor to care for them and their families. These obligations do not end after their time of service, and we must fulfill our sacred trust to care for our veterans after they retire their uniforms.

As a grateful Nation, we are humbled by the sacrifices rendered by our service members and their families out of the deepest sense of service and love of country. On Veterans Day,let us remember our solemn obligations to our veterans, and recommit to upholding the enduring principles that our country lives for, and that our fellow citizens have fought and died for.

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2010, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

and Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth answers question from and concerning veterans.

Thank you for your service to all veterans and members of the United States Military.

You Tube Video of Norah Jones American Anthem

Is This The Greatest Play In Football History Or Just the Sneakiest Quarterback Sneak Ever?

You Tube Video of Quaterback Sneak

Here's an explanation of what happened.

The only Roosevelt Island connection is I heard about the play from a customer at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Southtown Residents Updated On Roosevelt Island Tram Status And New Traffic Pattern/Parking Spots For West Channel Road

Image of RIOC's VP Of Operations Fernando Martinez Giving Tram Update To Southtown Residents

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez gave Southtown Residents an update on the Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization Project last night informing them the Tram is scheduled to resume operations in late November. Mr. Martinez reported that the construction phase of the project is nearly complete and that as soon as the NY State Department of Labor (DOL) signs off on the safety of the new tram, service will resume. Inspectors from the DOL will be on Roosevelt Island next week to begin their certification process.

There were several testy questions and statements from a couple of residents frustrated with the repeated delays in getting the Tram back in service. One resident unfavorably compared the time it has taken to build the new Tram with the year it took to construct the Empire State Building. Another resident asked what would be done with the liquidated damages assessed against Poma, the Tram's Contractor, for delays accruing after the original planned September Tram opening and if liquidated damages can be assessed against RIOC itself for the delays.

Mr. Martinez responded he was equally frustrated by the delays but that the Tram Modernization is a tremendously complex construction project made even more so by difficulties involved in New York City wide crane permitting problems. Mr. Martinez also acknowledged that perhaps the original 6 month schedule to complete the project was a little too ambitious. The great majority of Riverwalk residents at the meeting agreed with Mr. Martinez assessment and thanked him for the work being done.

As to the liquidated damages against POMA, Mr. Martinez said that it would be the subject of future negotiation after the Tram is back in service.

Another resident asked about having some sort of compartment or space on the Tram for large dogs that cannot fit in a carry on case which is required for all dogs on the Tram. Mr. Martinez stating that he would look into it but advised that other Roosevelt Island Tram riders might not be very happy with large, non-guide dogs, out of a carry on case riding the Tram.

Finally, Mr. Martinez presented the new Southtown Traffic Plan with the West Channel Road facing Manhattan turned into a one-way north bound street and the addition of 30 additional parking spots on the subway station side of the West Channel. More on the Southtown Parking situation here.

All in all, an excellent job by Mr. Martinez informing Southtown residents on the Tram and parking situation.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Southtown Common Council Delegate Dave Evans was also at the meeting and reports:
I was happy to be in attendance on Tuesday, November 9 when Fernando Martinez of RIOC provided Riverwalk-area residents an informative update on our beloved TRAM.  His presentation was essentially the same as provided during an open session of a September 2010 (I believe) RIOC Board Meeting that I attended at which Leslie Torres, then the pending new RIOC President, was in attendance.

The Riverwalk session was both bitter and sweet.  The former characterization is due to the angst some in attendance felt and vented due to 'perceived past unacceptable and unrealistically optimistic' RIOC promises and its performance and handling of the TRAM renovation program.  For the most part, Fernando patiently and gracefully handled the questions birthed from those perceptions, apologizing where appropriate while explaining the scope of the project and the fact of liquidated damage (that is, rebated money to RIOC) forthcoming from the contractor for missing the deadline.  Some asked, "how will RIOC use that money?"  Interesting question and we will await the answer. 

Of course, and appropriately so, Fernando received kudos from some attendees for RIOC's management of this major program and in a relatively short time.  Moreso, for the good news in the presentation was that the modern, two-cabin, aesthetically improved TRAM - - that can run concurrently in the same direction with a three-minute crossing of our wonderful river while providing fantastic views and with robust support of the morning and afternoon rush hour - - will be operational the end of November.  Some work will continue beyond year-end but the TRAM will be operational.  Yes, YES!

Hey, as a further treat, it might also accommodate and offer the rite of passage to any patron who has a large dog.  Is November end realistic?  Fernando firmly says "yes" because the Department of Labor is already scheduled and is gonna certify the system.  Let's hope so or otherwise in attendance Ms Wilder, whom Fernando advised would be available for future questions, will certainly be busier at her desk as RIOC Community Relations Specialist.  OK, no more bitter in future sessions here in Riverwalk land because the TRAM is near and parking, yes, expanded vehicle parking is on the horizon.  Well done, if done, RIOC!

Thanksgiving Day Volunteers Needed For Roosevelt Island Disabled and Seniors Association Holiday Dinner - Terrific Way To Help Your Neighbors & Community

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. If you are interested in doing any Thanksgiving Day volunteer work on Roosevelt Island, please consider helping out your neighbors at the Roosevelt Island Disabled (RIDA) Association and Seniors Association by serving Thanksgiving Day Dinner. RIDA President Jim Bates explains how you can help:
 The Thanksgiving Day dinner is for members of the Disabled and Senior Association who do not have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. We are expecting over 50 people to attend. Food will be prepared by volunteer cooks. We are looking for volunteers to help in serving, setting up and cleaning up afterwards.

Contact uncle jim at 212 731-2547 or email
Mr. Bates adds:
The Roosevelt Island Disabled Associations also provide Angelfood Thanksgiving boxes to families on RI. The amount of families served  will be determined by how many boxes are donated by donors. This Thursday at 2 PM is the last time I can place orders for a November 20th distribution.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's The Latest On Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Stores? Master Leaseholder RFP Submissions Received, Being Analyzed & Will Be Discussed At November 17 RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting

Main Street Image From Jones Lang LaSalle

What's going on with the Roosevelt Island Main Street retail situation? Will the depressing, dreary, Soviet Union/East Berlin before the Fall of the Wall, looking storefronts

Main Street Image Of Roosevelt Island Is The Village From Glark

ever become vibrant and appealing to Roosevelt Island residents? Will government, in the form of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) finally get out of the business of leasing and managing retail real estate?

Some Roosevelt Island residents are skeptical of stores ever filling Roosevelt Island's dreary Main Street as expressed by this reader's comment to RIOC President Leslie Torres November 4 Report to the Community:
Once again, not a word about the empty storefronts on Main Street, obviously because there has been no progress, Nor will there ever be, until then head of RIOC actually lives on the island, or until such time as we get out from under the thumb of NY State and become a normal New York City neighborhood.
and this comment to Ms. Torres October 21 Report:
Jonathan Kalkin should be commenting on the RFP for the Retain Master Lease Project. I heard there are no takers for that, just a few inquiries.

So, you sent Mr. Shane packing just a few months before he was going to retire, and you don't have anyone to start filling the storefronts. Great.
The original October 13 deadline for submissions in response to the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Request For Proposals (RFP) was extended to November 1 and now we are waiting to see the results, if any. We may have some answers as to the status of the RFP next week because the RIOC Real Estate Development Committee is scheduled to receive a report on any proposals received by Jones Lang LaSalle, (RIOC's consultant on project) during the November 17 Committee Meeting. The meeting's Agenda is below.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The agenda for the meeting will be:

1. Review of the Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. Report on the Commercial Master Lease Proposals; and

2. 2. Extension of Trellis Lease.
Asked to comment on the Master Leaseholder status, RIOC President Leslie Torres responds:
It has only been a few days since the submission deadline but we are encouraged by the proposals that have been submitted and are optimistic about the process. We are currently reviewing and  preparing analysis of the proposals for our board and we will, of course, discuss the matter in public at the first appropriate instance.
As to Mr. Kalkin, I have been observing this issue from the very start and in my opinion Mr. Kalkin has done a terrific job shepherding this challenging and difficult issue to it's present state despite the many roadblocks placed in his way. Whether a Main Street Master Retail Leaseholder is the best option for Roosevelt Island is still an open question but it is worthy of exploration. Let's see what happens!

The RFP is here and an addendum was added here.

Also, here are links to audio web casts of RIOC Real Estate Committee Meetings in which Roosevelt Island Retail Master Leaseholder issues were discussed and debated in great detail as well as a comprehensive Study on Roosevelt Island retail prepared by consutants Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates.

Letter Grades For New York City Restaurant Health Inspections - Roosevelt Island's Trellis Diner Gets An A, Others Not Graded Yet

The New York Post reports on the New York City Health Department's recently enacted letter grading system for restaurant inspections.

Now you "C" them, now you don't. The Health Department has identified the first 15 restaurants branded with a lowly C since the city's A-B-C grading system was launched more than three months ago -- but more than half of those eateries were caught hiding their lousy grades from customers....
According to the NYC Health Department Restaurant Inspection Information page:
... Starting in July 2010, New York City is requiring restaurants to post letter grades that correspond to scores that it receives from its sanitary inspection. An inspection score of 0-13 is an A, 14-27 points is a B, and 28 or more points is a C. Grade cards must be posted where they can easily be seen by people passing by...
How did Roosevelt Island restaurants do on the grading system? Well, the Trellis Diner had the most recent inspection on November 4, received 12 violation points for a grade of A and like a parent proud of a child's Report Card, posted the A grade on their window for all passing Roosevelt Island residents to see.
Trellis Diner Received An A Grade From NY Health Department Restaurant Inspection
None of the other Roosevelt Island restaurants have yet to receive a letter grade though their most recent Restaurant Inspection reports are here. UPDATE 4:40 PM - Extension of the Trellis Lease is on the Agenda for the November 17 RIOC Real Estate Development Committee Meeting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Roosevelt Island Tram Conducting Tests And Watching Out Over Runners During NYC Marathon Sunday

Even though there were no Roosevelt Island residents riding the Tram as passengers yesterday on NYC Marathon Sunday, the Tram was still making test rides over the East River during the race and watching over the runners.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy noticed the Tram being tested, took some pictures and writes:
Though there were no passengers on the trams, the cabins were rehearsing their simultaneous dance steps all afternoon, gracefully gliding over the route in First Avenue. They did more than 26.2 miles back and forth today.

More Roosevelt Island Tram Marathon Day photos from Ms. Berdy.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin took this picture on Marathon Sunday

and Tweeted:
A first! New feature of the Roosevelt Island Tram. Two moving in the same direction. Cool!
Finally, Roosevelt Island photographer Tatiana Muzica took this picture of the Marathon Runners making their way on Central Park South towards the finish line.

Roosevelt Island Constituent Office Hours With NY State Senator Jose M. Serrano Tuesday November 9, 4-7 PM - Remember To Bring Copies Of Any Necessary Paperwork

Image From State Senator Jose M. Serrano's Office (Click To Enlarge)

New York State Senator Jose Serrano's staff usually holds Roosevelt Island constituent office hours on the first Tuesday of every month at RIOC's Headquarters (591 Main Street) during the hours of 4-7 PM. However, because the first Tuesday of November was election day, Senator Serrano's Roosevelt Island constituent office hours were postponed until tomorrow, November 9. I am also advised that in addition to the Senator's Staff , Mr. Serrano is expected to be attending tomorrow's Roosevelt Island constituent office hours meeting.

So, if you have any questions to ask Mr. Serrano and his staff or are in need of any assistance that may require the help of your elected representative stop on by RIOC HQ. Also, bring photocopies of any paperwork related to your situation so that the Serrano staff can effectively and efficiently address the issue.

Roosevelt Island Community Outreach Basketball Game Between Public Safety Department And Youth Center's Parents Thursday November 11 At Sportspark Court

From the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department:
As part of our Community Outreach Initiative, the Public Safety Department has teamed up with the Youth Center and will be hosting a Community Basketball Game on Thursday, November 11th from 6 pm to 7:30pm at the Sportspark Basketball Courts.

The game will be played between the Officers in PSD and the Youth Center Parents.
In the summer of 2009, the Public Safety Department  played a game of Basketball at Blackwell Park with members of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center - now it's their parents turn. About the game with the Youth Center, Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra  wrote at the time:
The Youth Center team came out victorious with a 62-60 win over the Public Safety Department. Many folks in attendance commented on what a great game it was. But, more important were the new relationships that have been forged by this event. The players from both teams went back to the Youth Center afterwards and talked over Pizza and Refreshments. Kudos to Charlie DelFino and Coach Steve Morgan for their involvement in the festivities.
2009 Roosevelt Island Youth Center/Public Safety Department Group Photo

New Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matthew Katz Reports To The Community - He's Back

RIRA President Matthew Katz Speaking At November 2010 Common Council Meeting

Newly elected Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matthew Katz sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. From Mr. Katz:
November 6, 2010

I’m back. Again.

The campaigning is over and it’s time to get to work. The RIRA Common Council is blessed with the largest turnout of delegates in our history, thanks to the efforts of Nominating Committee Chair, Aaron Hamburger. In addition, you have been offered three Candidates’ Nights plus the Great Debate between me and former President, Frank Farance, to help decide your vote. This and the professionally conducted fifteen hours of Election Day were courtesy of long-time Election Committee Chair, Joyce Mincheff, and we owe her and her crew of poll workers a vote of thanks. My thanks to all who voted for me, and especially for the record turnout of voters who supported RIRA by casting their ballots. The powers that be pay attention when we vote in significant numbers.

I checked back to see what I wrote after my last three presidential campaigns and I think it’s worth plagiarizing my November 18, 2006 RIRA Column: Many friends and neighbors asked if I was nuts for running again or whether I was simply a masochist. While accepting the possibility of insanity in the family, I did have reasons for wanting to take on this two-year task along with a new Common Council. Four years later, this still rings true. Roosevelt Island is in transition, with a new RIOC President, a RIOC Board of Directors composed of seven (out of nine) Island residents and a new Governor, Andrew Cuomo, to be sworn in next January. There are many issues in which I have participated that hang in the balance: Housing and the potential end of Mitchell- Lama subsidies, additional residential development and the strains on infrastructure and transportation that will result, retail stores and restaurants and the community’s input into the Master Lease, and the continuing development of our parks and open spaces. I want to be a part of that.

I also said this: At this point, I’d like to plagiarize—from myself---several statements from previous RIRA columns. In my first column, dated November 19, 2000, I said, “Will my writing be biased, opinionated and subjective? Y’betcha!” That won’t change. In my [last] column, dated November 6, 2004 I said, “During the first RIRA debate in 2000 a prescient questioner asked me how much time I would devote to the task [should I be elected]. Ruffled, I answered, ‘As much time as it takes.’ Little did I know how many hours every week that would entail.” I now know very well how consuming the RIRA presidency can be. Again, my answer hasn’t changed. However, let me explain what the RIRA Column is, and isn’t:

This column is not an official duty of the RIRA President; never has been. It is the result of an agreement between the last three RIRA Presidents and the editor of this newspaper to print whatever that President wishes to write, unedited and uncensored, and the same deal holds true for the RIOC Column. While the name “RIRA Column” may be misleading, it is the editor’s choice; I’ve been comfortable with it during my six years writing the column. Neither my predecessors nor I have vetted our words with the RIRA Common Council; you wouldn’t want to read a column written by committee. It will be informative but chatty, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Here’s a story from the election: I was campaigning at the subway station last Monday evening, when a young man confronted me angrily about the material I had posted on the pillar just outside the station. He said that the 425 Main Street tenants’ committee had prevented him from using that space for his own purposes and he resented my use of the pillar to advance my election hopes. Now, I think the residents of every building should be provided with open bulletin boards where they may post anything they choose. However, he informed me that this committee had regularly removed my signage from that spot. I reminded him that the pillar belonged to and was the responsibility of the Transit Authority, not any Southtown building, and that the TA had expressed no objections to allowing me to utilize their pillar like one of the Main Street kiosks. The gentleman described my posters as “garbage,” stating that it “messed up” the area. I said to him (and now, to you) that American democracy is messy and raucous, and that folks had been putting up campaign signs on anything that wasn’t moving for two hundred years. It’s how we’ve always chosen our leaders, and trying to stem that tide is like trying to hold back a tsunami with a teaspoon. The electoral process in this country can be intrusive and even embarrassing some times, but it beats every other system hands down. So please, temper your impatience with campaign extravagance; embrace it! On the other hand, I don’t think I got his vote.

So let’s get down to business. The first meeting of the RIRA Common Council, Class of 2010-2012, met this past Wednesday. We elected the two remaining Officers of the corporation, Russell Fields as Treasurer and Sherie Helstien as Secretary of the Council. Both have served in this capacity before. Many of you know that Sherie is my wife, and served as Secretary during the six years of my previous administrations. This is a labor-intensive job, especially keeping the minutes--the permanent record of our meetings--up-to-date and accurate. It’s so convenient to be able to nudge her in bed when I need to discuss agendas!

When I was first elected RIRA President in 2000, I initiated a series of orientations for the new Members and we will continue this practice. This is an opportunity to provide the delegates with our basic documents; the RIRA Constitution and Bylaws, the General Development Plan for the Island, the legislation that created RIOC in 1984 and that Public Benefit Corporation’s Bylaws. We also cover Roberts Rules of Order; the essential set of guidelines that maintains structure and order during meetings that otherwise might become unruly. And finally, I can give these folks an idea of what we do, how we do it and what is expected of them individually and as a team.

I remember when Sherie and I first joint the Common Council in 1997. We were intimidated by the organization and by how much we didn’t know, and so, we kept our mouths shut for the first three months. I hope the Orientation will allow our “newbies” to hit the ground running when we meet again on December 1. At that meeting, I intend to call for nominations for Council Committee Chairs. Much of our business is conducted within the committees and every delegate is required to participate in at least one. Did you know that any RIRA member (i.e. any Island resident) may join and work with a committee?

I intend to start us working on existing issues immediately and hope quickly to put in place an effective Council ready to face the unexpected. Don’t forget that RIRA is also an environment that encourages innovation, and so, I hope to add to the roster of RIRA events, both fun and informative, some free and some fund-raisers, that have enhanced our reputation on the Island and kept us in the mainstream of Island life.

RIRA is the voice of Roosevelt Island, and RIOC, the local politicians and the media recognize us as such because so many of us volunteer to join the organization and so many of us come out to vote in the elections. If you’ve read any of my old RIRA Columns, you know that I’m a sucker for a good quote. Here’s one from my old boss at The New York Academy of Sciences, Margaret Mead, which I’m often happy to resurrect:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world. 
It’s the only thing that ever has.
A version of the RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA Column in the 11/6/10 Main Street WIRE.

Mr. Katz also provides this President's Report to the November 2010 Meeting of the RIRA Common Council.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT – November 3, 2010

I want to welcome the new RIRA Common Council, Class of 2010-2012. I hope you will find your service to this community as rewarding and beneficial as I have. I want to thank the outgoing Delegates from the Class of 2008-2010 for their work and their commitment. I especially want to thank past President, Frank Farance. I know how difficult the President’s job is and how hard he has worked at it. Yesterday, we were adversaries; today we are colleagues, and this role feels far more comfortable and far more familiar.

I especially want to thank Aaron Hamburger and his Nominating Committee, which has brought the largest group of Council Members to this table in the thirty-three-year history of the organization. And, predictably, Joyce Mincheff, our long-standing Elections Committee Chair, has produced an impeccable and flawless election with the help of her team of poll workers, and the turnout of over 1,400 voters is quite impressive. Thanks to you all.

First, a piece of extraneous business: Over the last few months, Sherie and I have received a ton of 2011 wall calendars. We can’t use them all, and so, I will offer them to you, first come, first served, after we adjourn.

I intend to keep this first meeting, convened fewer than twenty-four hours after the polls closed, short and sweet. We will elect the officers of the corporation, without whom we cannot conduct business. The old timers will notice that I have eliminated all committee reports other than the report of the Election Committee. This is because the new committees’ chairs have yet to be determined and their committees reconvened. Then, we will set a date (or dates) for the Orientation that has become a tradition over the last decade. The intention is to shorten the learning curve necessary for new members to get up
to speed on the documents, requirements and practices of the Residents Association. There is lots to learn about RIRA, Roosevelt Island and our place within the City and State, and our two-year terms encompass only twenty regular meetings. Believe me, these terms whiz by incredibly fast and we need to get down to cases quickly. And finally, we will consider a request from the Roosevelt Island Chamber of Commerce for financial support.

This agenda will give us a month to consider committee chair appointments. RIRA Committee chairs are elected by the Common Council. Every RIRA delegate must join at least one committee, and we will use the next four weeks to determine nominees for the leadership positions. I hope that both grizzled veterans and “newbies” will think about running for these essential posts. After all, much of our Council work takes place within our standing and ad hoc committees.

So, let’s get started.
More on the November RIRA meeting here.