Saturday, November 27, 2010

Burglary At Roosevelt Island's Senior Center, Youths Found Hiding In Closet - What Are The Duties And Responsibilities Of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department?

 Image From RIOC

The 11/24 - 25 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report indicated:
Burglary - PSD and NYPD responded. Two subjects arrested.
Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra adds:
The Burglary was committed at 546 Main St. It involved two male youths age 14, who are island residents. The youths entered the Senior Center via climbing through a window. The youths were found hiding in a closet. Both subjects were brought to the 114 pct where their parents/guardians were contacted.
The Public Safety Department recently revamped their section of the RIOC web page to better describe it's duties and responsibilities on Roosevelt Island. According to the RIOC Public Safety Department:
The following is a rundown of staff and specific duties they perform as mandated by the law, along with those responsibilities that enhance the “quality of life” on the Island.

Staffing and Patrols

The Public Safety Department works round-the-clock, on 8-hour shifts, some overlapping to provide extra coverage as needed. Every shift is staffed by 4-12 officers, including one or two sergeants and a Lieutenant, as needed. The officers are assigned to patrol specific areas of the Island.

Each shift includes:

A Desk Officer at headquarters who receives and refers telephone calls. These calls can range from reports of criminal activity to medical emergencies. All emergency calls are automatically relayed to the 114th Precinct, the Fire Department or EMS through the 911 system; at the same time Public Safety Officers are immediately dispatched to the scene.

Officers patrol around the bridge and Motorgate lobby, the subway station and the tram area, (The station interior is under the jurisdiction of the NYC Police Dept.)

Remaining officers conduct an average of 10 patrols per shift, including patrol of all public areas and vertical patrols of Roosevelt Landings, Island House, Westview and Rivercross according to contracts with building owners. There are close to 50 routes within these buildings that receive regular attention, and while Public Safety Officers are not authorized to patrol inside the Manhattan Park, Octagon and Riverwalk complexes, they do patrol the exterior and respond to any emergencies inside the buildings.

Officers assigned to patrol public areas, pay close attention to the storefronts on Main Street, Motorgate, and the exterior areas of all the residential buildings. Each shift also includes traffic enforcement and checking the parks, the tram, the fence at Southpoint, and the seawall areas. A fleet of bicycles and segways, allow officers to cover more ground more frequently....
Click here for a fuller description of the Traffic, Ticketing, Towing, Youth, Crisis Intervention, Emergency Response and Public Outreach duties of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town On December 3 For Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony - Bruce Springsteen Wants To Know If You Have Been Good This Year

Image of 2009 Roosevelt Island Holiday/Christmas Tree At Blackwell House Plaza

Thanksgiving Day 2010 has come and gone. Santa Claus found his way to New York and was welcomed at the end of the Macy's Parade. Now we can look forward to the annual Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony and the arrival of the big man in the Red Suit one week from today on our little Island.

Santa Clause Arrives For 2007 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Photo by Alexis Villafane

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Assistant Luther Clement reports:
Season’s Greetings Everyone:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation cordially invites you to join us as we celebrate the season at our Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The festivities will take place at Blackwell Plaza on Friday, December 3rd at 7pm. Santa will make a special appearance to receive wishes from any children who have been good this year and Saretta Wesley and the Magical Magnum & Mackadocious Crew will lead the audience in funky carols in addition to a dance-inducing live performance. Warming winter treats such as hot cider and hot chocolate will also be served. Finally, all kids can look forward to small holiday gifts, courtesy of our sponsors.

Bring your holiday cheer for a celebration you would not want to miss!

Sponsored by RIOC, Amalgamated Bank, Starbucks, Riverwalk Bar and Lounge, Hudson Related, Nonno's Pizzeria, Urban American, Becker & Becker, & Dental Love Associates
RIOC President Leslie Torres adds:
... This season will have lots to celebrate. The Annual RIOC Tree Lighting at Blackwell House Plaza is Friday, December 3rd at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome; bring an appetite for holiday treats and warm up with hot chocolate and cider. Also, be ready for a photo with Santa who may drop by with little gifts for all kids...
Here's a You Tube Video from the 2009 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony.

I hope you've all been good this year because Santa Claus will be coming to town - Roosevelt Island that is - very soon and there is no better way to announce his impending arrival than with Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town With Bruce Springsteen & Southside Johnny

Sometimes Santa uses alternative transportation. We are all lucky that the Tram will be back in service for Santa and the rest of us on November 30.

The Roosevelt Island Tram Reindeer postcard is my all time favorite of the Season. I hope they will be available for sale this year. Anybody know?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from Roosevelt Island - Meet You at Alice's Restaurant

Happy Thanksgiving Day wishes to everyone out there in Roosevelt Island land and elswhere. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Since Thanksgiving is a day all about about Tradition, here is my traditional Thanksgiving Day post - if something can be a tradition having started just in 2007.

In addition to family, great food, the Macy's Parade, Miracle on 34th Street, March of the Wooden Soldiers and football, listening to Arlo Guthrie's rendition of Alice's Restaurant on WNEW-FM was, for me, a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition. A former DJ from the station remembers Thanksgiving and Arlo Guthrie this way on the blog All Mixed Up Radio.
Every year a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it starts. It's slow at first, and then turns into a non-stop avalanche of phone calls. And no matter how many times a station runs promo announcements telling people exactly when it will be played, the calls still come.

"What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'"
Some of the lyrics:
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin' all that room, seein' as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn't have to take out their garbage for a long time.
You Tube link to short 2 minute video version above is here.
For those of you who want to go back in time and see the full 18 minute version of Alice's Restaurant, You Tube link is here.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

RIOC Holding Community Office Hours For Roosevelt Island Residents Every Wednesday From 3 - 5 PM - Tell RIOC What's On Your Mind Says RIRA President

RIRA President Matthew Katz Speaking At November 2010 Common Council Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz reports:
Dear Colleagues:

Leslie Torres announced a new service in last weekend’s RIOC Column. Starting today, RIOC will offer community office hours every Wednesday from 3 to 5 P.M. at 591 Main Street. I suspect that these meetings will be with Community Liaison, Erica Wilder, or someone else who can convey the discussions to the correct RIOC exec for action. Unfortunately, this notice was buried toward the latter part of the column and has not been publicized otherwise.

This service resulted from a conversation I had with Leslie on November 8, when I mentioned that several Islanders had complained to me that they were unable to speak to anyone in authority at RIOC, either in person or by telephone. I suggested a method similar to that used by Sen. Serrano and Assembly Member Kellner, who meet with their Island constituents regularly. She said this would be implemented.

I’m afraid that, should no one take advantage of this offer, it will simply disappear. Please inform your constituents and neighbors of this opportunity. Also, you might drop by and introduce yourself as a RIRA Delegate. This is a good way to get to know the folks at RIOC as well as to sustain the office hours.

Thanks, best wishes and happy Thanksgiving,

Matt Katz
Ms. Torres announced the RIOC community hours in her November 17 Report To The Roosevelt Island Community:
RIOC Community Office Hours - Residents are invited to come to the RIOC office at 591 Main Street on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. to bring any concern or issue to our RIOC representative. For more information, please call 212-832- 4540.
UPDATE 10:50 PM - Ooops -Mr. Katz reports back that he discovered after going to RIOC HQ this afternoon that the Community Hours will not start until next Wednesday.

Thanksgiving Day Hero Of Roosevelt (Welfare) Island - Prison Chef Delays Release To Serve Thanksgiving Dinner To 1500 Inmates In 1930

It's not quite the Pilgrims and Indians at Plymouth Rock, but Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares a Thanksgiving  story from Roosevelt Island's past when it was known as Welfare Island and housed a penitentiary. Click on the image above to enlarge and read the story. From Ms. Berdy:
Thanksgiving on the island comes in many ways. Here is a story of 1,500 persons who had dinner in November, 1930, just 80 years ago this week.

Thanksgiving wishes to everyone.
I asked Ms. Berdy for the source of the article and she adds:
The New York Times  November 28, 1930.  I have a paper copy of it in my archives and thought it would be nice for people to read!!!
Roosevelt Island 360 posted about the first Thanksgiving for Roosevelt Island pilgrims in 1975.

UPDATE 1:15 PM - Eater has the Ultimate NYC Thanksgiving Dining and Shopping Guide.

2010 New York/New Jersey Waterfront Conference Presented By The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance Tuesday November 30 & Searching For Noel The Fisherman With WNYC's Radio Rookies

The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) is a great organization that works to make the New York City waterfront a better place. According to the MWA:
The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance works to transform the New York and New Jersey Harbor and Waterways to make them cleaner and more accessible, a vibrant place to play, learn and work with great parks, great jobs and great transportation for all.

The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance envisions a New York and New Jersey harbor and waterways alive with commerce and recreation; where sailboats, kayaks and pleasure craft share the waterways with commuter ferries, barges and container ships; where beautiful, cared-for parks are connected by affordable waterborne transit; where there are dozens of exciting waterfront destinations that reflect the vitality and diversity of the great metropolis that surrounds it; a waterfront that is no longer walled off by highways and rails, or by private luxury residences; a waterfront that is a shared precious resource and is accessible to all. MWA is a leadership organization that will make this vision real for our region.
The MWA will be holding it's 2010 Waterfront Conference on Tuesday November 30. If you are interested in learning what the future of New York's waterfront, including the Roosevelt Island waterfront, will be like and how you can help improve it, this conference is the place to be. From the MWA:

The Future Waterfront &
Funding for the NY-NJ Harbor

The 2010 MWA Waterfront Conference is the region’s preeminent gathering of waterfront advocates, businesses, and government leaders to exchange ideas and best practices, and to plan for a greater waterfront in the NY-NJ metropolitan area.

The next 10 years will bring stunning changes to the New York City and Northern New Jersey Waterfront. Never before have so many opportunities and challenges converged. 2010 will bring New York City’s first Comprehensive Waterfront Plan in a generation. Will this plan be adequate? How will we implement it? A world-class waterfront is an expensive but worth-while investment. How can we secure the necessary capital dollars to build it and maintain it? How can New York and New Jersey get its share of funding for the restoration and improvement of our neglected estuary?

These questions and more will be answered at the 2010 Waterfront Conference. It will galvanize support, build energy and excitement, and continue the momentum needed to create a world-class waterfront and harbor for New York and New Jersey.
The conference program is here and an excerpt from MWA's excellent documentary City Of Water is below.

Also, the WNYC Radio Rookies have a Roosevelt Island waterfront story to tell as they search for the purportedly famous Noel the Roosevelt Island Fisherman. Watch their video to see if they find him.

You Tube Video of Noel Who?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Parking Spaces Available On Roosevelt Island, Additional 30 Spots With Wireless Sensors Added To Southtown's Riverwalk Area - Is More Street Parking Good Or Bad For Roosevelt Island?

New Roosevelt Island West Channel Parking Spaces
First came the street markings,


then the barriers

 and now Roosevelt Island's West Channel Road is a one-way north bound street with approximately 30 new parking spots

in Southtown from 405 Main Street to the Blackwell Turnaround.


I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez:
Cars have started to use the new parking spots on the West Channel road in Southtown. However, there is not yet any signage indicating what the rules are for parking on these spots.

Can you clarify what the current rules for parking in these spaces are, 1 hour, 2 hours etc and if overnight parking at these spaces are permitted? Also, once the signage is in place what are the parking rules for these spaces.
Mr. Martinez replied:
We removed the barricades in order to open up the spaces. We are waiting for the parking meters to arrive. For the short term and on a temporary basis (until the meters arrive) we are going to install signs that state "free temporary 2 hour maximum parking".  The 2 hours will be strictly enforced.
These new parking spots will be equipped and enforced with a new innovative wireless parking sensor system from Streetsline described in previous post.

I am sure that Riverwalk and Rivercross car owners, as well as the Riverwalk merchants, will be happy with the additional parking spots but non-car owners may not be overjoyed with the increased car traffic. Supporters of the added parking spots claim that it will decrease the total amount of driving and pollution since there will not be as much driving around looking for open parking spaces. We shall see.

Do People On Roosevelt Island Walk Their Cats? This And Other Roosevelt Island Cat Stories From WNYC's Radio Rookies

WNYC's Radio Rookies visited Roosevelt Island and produced a series of fascinating stories about Roosevelt Island. Here's one about Island Cats.

You Tube Video of Cat Island

What's Radio Rookies all about? According to WNYC:
Radio Rookies is a New York Public Radio initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world.

Since 1999, Radio Rookies has been conducting workshops across New York, in predominantly under-resourced neighborhoods, training young people to use words and sounds to tell true stories. Upon completion, the Rookies' documentaries air on WNYC - usually during Morning Edition (5am to 9am weekdays on WNYC 93.9 FM, 6am to 10am on WNYC AM 820 and online at
Radio Rookies also report on:
Everybody has a story and these excellent WNYC Radio Rookies report tell  a few from Roosevelt Island.

Great job by the Radio Rookies.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Grand Re-Opening Of The Roosevelt Island Tram Scheduled For November 30 At 11:AM - Then We Will Cross The East River On The Roosevelt Island Tram

We're almost there. Just eight more days and the Roosevelt Island Tram will be back in operation transporting passengers back and forth over the East River between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island starting on Tuesday, November 30. How do we know? Well, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced an opening celebration for the Tram on November 30 at 11 A.M. Presumably, regular Tram service will be available later that same day.

Soon, as the song says, We Will Be Crossing The East River On The Roosevelt Island Tram. Yay!

You Tube Video Of Crossing The East River On The Roosevelt Island Tram

Here's a couple of pictures of the Tram undergoing some of it's final testing.

Images From Duc Le

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roosevelt Island Field Of Dreams Softball Pick Up MeetUp Group Ends it's 2010 Season - Looking Forward To Next Year's Softball Season

Final Game Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Season At Firefighters Field

Did you think that the baseball season ended several weeks ago when the Giants beat the Rangers in the World Series? Well, for some it did, but not the dedicated players from the Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Meetup Group who continued to play Saturday mornings at Firefighters Field into the month of November.

Final Game Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Season At Firefighters Field

But, as the weather starts to get colder, all good things must come to an end. That includes the 2010 Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball season as these intrepid softballers played their last game of the year yesterday morning.

The pitchers made their last pitch

Final Game Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Season At Firefighters Field

hitters got in their final swings

Final Game Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Season At Firefighters Field

baserunners were getting ready to go from first to third for the last time

Final Game Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Season At Firefighters Field

and fielders were prepared to make that one last great catch.

Final Game Of 2010 Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball Season At Firefighters Field

Winter will soon arrive then spring will follow and hopefully, the Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball MeetUp Group will return for the 2011 season. You can follow future announcement from the Softball Meetup Group at their web site.

Great job by Jason in organizing and getting the group up and going.