Saturday, December 11, 2010

Opening Reception For New Exhibition Titled Absolutely Cool At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA Tonight 6 - 9 PM - Exhibit Continues Through January 30, 2011

Absolutely Cool Exhibit Image From Gallery RIVAA

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA will be hosting an opening reception tonight, December 11, from 6PM - 9PM for their new exhibition titled Absolute Cool. The exhibition will continue thru January 30, 2011.

Why not come out say hi to some neighbors, make some new friends and enjoy the art? You know - it's Absolutely Cool to do so.

Gallery RIVAA's regular hours are:
Wednesdays and Fridays 6 – 9 pm
Saturdays and Sundays 11 – 5 pm

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

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

Roosevelt Islander - Tram Opening Day Celebration & Voyage
nyc10044 - Roosevelt Island Tram Coverage
Gothamist - Stuck In Roosevelt Island Subway Elevator
Roosevelt Island School G&T Class Blog - Winter Concert
RIOC - Tram Is Back
RIOC - October Public Safety Blotter
RIOC - Public Safety Statistics
RIOC - Operations Committee Audio Webcast
RIOC - Special Commemorative Publication
Curbed - Foursquare Mayor Of Roosevelt Island Tram
Curbed - Tram Font Lettering
Duc Le Photography - Roosevelt Island Tram Photographs
Flikr John Skelson - Roosevelt Island Tram Photos
Daily News - Roosevelt Island Tram Back In Service
NY Times - Quirky Tram Runs Again
NY Times - Tram Seat With A View Returns
WSJ - Tram Returns
NY 1 - Interviews Tram Passengers
NY Post - New Roosevelt Island Tram Video
Huffington Post - Most Scenic Tram Rides Include RI
Shapeways - Roosevelt Island Tram Jewelry
WSJ - 2 Bidders For Retail Master Leaseholder RFP
Daily News - Guide to Roosevelt Island Neighborhood
Capital New York - Wireless Parking Sensors Come to Roosevelt Island
Wired - Wireless Parking Sensors Come To Roosevelt Island
Daytonian In Manhattan - History Of Good Shepherd Church
Archinect - Louis Kahn Memorial Under Construction
Streetsblog - Roosevelt Island Bike Sharing
New America Media - Paralyzed Patient Abused At Coler Hospital?
Our Town - Photography Exhibit Honors Roosevelt Island Tram Workers
France Amerique - Service Suspended - Men Behind Tram Renovation
Judith's Gallery - Visitor Center Kiosk Merchandise
Adventures Of A GoodMan - Fall Photo Exhibit
ENT Blog - For Love Of Money Fan Visits RI
Vimeo - First Ride On New Tram
You Tube - Fall For Arts Recap

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Welcomes New Tram, Celebrates Tree Lighting, New West Road Parking With Wireless Sensors, More Motorgate Parking, Z Bricks, Facebook , Roosevelt Island Complaint Line & More

 Image of Ms Torres (right) and RIHS Judy Berdy (left) Holding Miniature Roosevelt Island Trams

RIOC President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
Date: December 10, 2010

Back from what I’m sure was a restful and happy Thanksgiving for everyone, Roosevelt Island residents and visitors are getting a wonderful gift in time for the holidays. I would like to personally welcome all to come ride the new, state-of-the-art Tram! On Tuesday, the 30th, the Tram returned to service after a beautiful ceremony featuring our partners in the project: elected officials, agency commissioners, and construction engineers. The first rides over the East River inaugurated our signature transport device and I would like to say that without so many cooperating forces this major achievement would never have been. I am so proud of everyone involved. So, come enjoy your Tram.

Then without so much as a breath, this last Friday, Roosevelt Island celebrated the lighting of its Tree in front of Blackwell House. Senator Serrano joined me along with a certain very jolly and giving fellow. My friend Santa shared the stage with the funky Saretta Wesley and her Magical, Magnum and Mackadocious Crew while island businesses gave out winter treats. Thanks to the community for another wonderful event full of the holiday spirit of generosity.

Projects Underway:

Archived Records Digitization - RIOC has been awarded a Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) grant from the New York State Archives, a unit of the NYS Education Department (SED) for the purpose of digitizing records.

Main Street Parking - 34 new parking spaces have been added to Main Street next to the subway station as part of a pilot parking program that will test electronic devices that monitor parking spaces and relay availability information. Data is then transmitted wirelessly in real-time to smartphones, dynamic street signs, websites or handhelds. Using this information, drivers are led directly to available parking. Using the system, Public Safety is also assisted in enforcement, policy, maintenance of roads, and parking. If the pilot is successful, the system may be applied throughout the Island. Main Street’s West Road along the southern Promenade has been routed to accommodate the additions so that traffic is one-way northbound. Installation of electronic sensors began November 17. The new spaces will not be available for parking until meters are installed.

Motorgate Parking Garage Refurbishing – The 7th floor and roof of Motorgate Parking Garage are now available for parking except for 60 spots still being renovated.

Z-Brick Resetting - Between 9/1/10 and 11/15/10 approximately 7,200 square feet of z-brick pavers on Main Street were reset, thus helping to eliminate pot holes and low spots that are a hazard to vehicles and pedestrians. RIOC staff plans to ask the Board for approval of additional funds to continue these efforts in the early spring.

Projects in the Pipeline:

AVAC Underground Piping - During inspection of the AVAC system piping, the Swedish AVAC manufacturer, ENVAC, discovered seriously worn areas in the 20” diameter piping under Gristedes and in the east-west run between Roosevelt Landings and Capobianco Field. RIOC has received a proposal from ENVAC to protect the wear areas by welding steel plates inside the piping. Excavation and pipeline replacement in those areas would be far more expensive and disruptive. RIOC will be making a recommendation to the Board this month to proceed with the ENVAC proposal.

Events, Recreation, & Community:

Roosevelt Island 311 Email Complaint System - We have now implemented a new email comment service, Roosevelt Island 311, which will allow residents to contact RIOC on any island related issue. Whether it is a question, complaint or hazard that you may see while walking down Main Street, we advise everyone to email us at RI311@RIOC.COM so that we can address your issue in a timely manner.

RIOC Community Office Hours - Residents are invited to come to the RIOC office at 591 Main Street to bring any concern or issue to our RIOC representative on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. beginning on December 1st. For more information, please call 212-832-4540.

RIOC Facebook Page - In conjunction with the reopening of the new Tram, we have launched a new facebook page that highlights pictures of the new Tram and news coverage of the reopening. Visitors and friends will also find other useful information on the page. We invite you to share your photos and receive up to date information on what's happening on Roosevelt Island at RIOCny

Parks and Recreation - RIOC has implemented a new hotline for general parks and recreation information which can be reached by calling the general RIOC line (212-832-4540 ext. 504).

Public Safety Coat Drive - The Public Safety Department will be sponsoring its 3rd Annual Coat Drive from December 1st to December 31st. Donated coats may be dropped off at PSD.
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears on RIOC's web site and the December 11, 2010 Main Street WIRE. 

There's a back story behind the RIOC President's Report continued appearance on this blog.

Report From December RIRA Meeting & Roosevelt Island Controversy Between Old And New Media - Print Media Fighting Back Against The Web

Image of December 2010 RIRA Common Council Meeting

The monthly Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council meeting held on December 1 began with Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) CFO Steve Chironis presenting RIOC's proposed fiscal year 2011 - 2012 budget.

Nothing new from previous discussions regarding the budget was revealed but it was good to see many of the new Common Council members had reviewed at least portions of the proposed budget and were prepared with questions for Mr. Chironis that he ably answered.

Image of RIOC CFO Discussing RIOC 2011-12 Fiscal Year Budget At December RIRA Meeting

Approval of the proposed fiscal year 2011 - 2012 budget is on the Agenda for the December 15 RIOC Board of Directors Meeting.

More on RIOC's Proposed 2011-2012 Budget here and here.

After Mr. Chironis spoke during the Public Session, Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates (RICLA) representative Janet Falk spoke to the Common Council members regarding her attempt to bring Roosevelt Island organizations under a common insurance umbrella and urged those interested in participating to contact her.

RIRA President Mathew Katz

Image Of RIRA President Katz (center), VP Polivy (left), Secretary Helstein (right) & RIOC's Chironis (standing) at December RIRA Meeting

then delivered his RIRA President's Report to the Common Council.
RIRA President’s Report – December 1, 2010

1. We have put together some of the basic Council materials to help us in our work. The Contact sheet has been forwarded to you and please let Sherie know if there are any errors. She has prepared table tent cards for each of us to display here tonight and please return them to Sherie at the end of the meeting. Vini Fortuna has created an Attendance sheet that is available on a Google website and I’ve forwarded the link to everyone. Also, you will see that all the 2011 Common Council dates are listed on tonight’s agenda, so please put them on your calendars. I’ve brought extra wall calendars as well should you need one.

2. We’ve been asked to convene our next Common Council meeting on January 5 at the Sportspark gym, 250 Main Street. We were asked to do this because RIOC is conducting asbestos abatement at the Good Shepherd Community Center during the first week of January. I’ve been assured that sufficient tables, chairs and heat will be provided for our needs.

3. I attended the ceremony to mark the reopening of the Tram yesterday. It was truly a gala affair with considerable coverage by the media including the BBC and French television. Some of you may have seen Dave Evans on an ABC broadcast expounding on the Tram and I got my licks in on NY1. By the way, I was interviewed by The New York Times on Monday about the community’s perception of the Tram, and that story appeared in today’s New York section.

4. Today marked the first session of RIOC open office hours. There will be a RIOC representative available every Wednesday between 3 and 5 p.m. at their 591 Main Street office. I met with Community Liaison, Erica Wilder, who will be the point person for this program. The Main Street WIRE and the Roosevelt Islander blog will broadcast this information and I’ve asked RIOC to do the same. The project will continue only if it is utilized and I hope that the community will recognize this opportunity and take advantage of it. The RIRA Common Council should lead the way and I urge you to drop in and introduce yourselves to Erica, a very nice young woman who, among other things, created the Fall for Arts program on Roosevelt Island.

5. During the last Common Council,Vice President, Ellen Polivy, brought the issue of hydrofracking to our attention. This is the practice of using water mixed with toxic chemicals to release natural gas from shale and is threatening the aquifer that supplies New York City’s drinking water. Yesterday, the State Assembly passed a bill previously endorsed by the Senate that now awaits the Governor’s signature. This bill will suspend permitting of hydrofracking in New York State until May of 2011. I know that Community Board 8 has come out against this practice and I hope Ellen will continue to keep us informed.

6. I’ve suggested to the resident RIOC Board Directors that it would serve the community well should they meet occasionally with the residents. While we do have an opportunity to speak to them at the RIOC Board meetings, those are formal affairs at 5:30 in the afternoon, with video coverage, RIOC executives and the DHCR Commissioner in attendance. It might be more comfortable for us to schedule informal get-togethers at a more convenient time. Lynne Shinozaki has suggested that RIRA start the ball rolling by offering a sit-down over coffee or drinks at one of our Island watering holes. I’ll ask if they’re interested at the December 15 Board meeting and let you know.

7. Our primary goal this evening is to elect the chairs of our seven primary committees. Remember, every Delegate is required to serve on at least one committee. Chairs must convene at least three meetings over the course of a year, but the number will be dependent upon the issues and programs each committee undertakes. And as always, I will require written reports of committee meetings by the Friday before Common Council unless the meeting is held after the mailing deadline or late- breaking news needs to be shared verbally. And in January, we will elect a chair of the Public Purpose Fund Committee, the RIRA group charged with allocating $100,000 among those Island groups requesting financial help.

8. And finally, I urge you all to go out and find a virgin to sacrifice some time before December 21 to insure that the Winter Solstice will guarantee that days begin to lengthen once again. Seriously, Sherie and I lit the first Chanukah candle this evening and, as we begin this month of celebrations, we wish you a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas, a good Kwanzaa and a healthy and prosperous New Year. Together, I know we’re going to do great things for Roosevelt Island in 2011.
The remaining portions of the meeting were devoted to nominating, voting and appointing the chairperson(s) of the various RIRA committees. Former RIRA President Frank Farance was voted Chair of the Planning Committee, a position formerly held by Mr. Katz. Essentially, the result of the 2010 RIRA Presidential election was a switch of positions between Mr. Farance and Mr. Katz - both now holding positions formerly held by the other.

The RIRA President"s Report delivered to the Common Council and included above is different than the RIRA President's Report which had previously been appearing in this blog (since February 2009) during the tenure of Frank Farance and once during Mr. Katz's current term as well as in our local print newspaper, The Main Street WIRE. The RIRA President's column as well as the RIOC President's column (which has been appearing in this blog since April 2009) had been appearing only in the print newspaper (and it's online version) before the establishment of this Blog.

The RIRA President's Report to the public may no longer be appearing in this blog. At the direction of the Main Street WIRE Editor, Mr. Katz has decided to allow that Editor to set the terms and conditions for how the RIRA President's Column may appear on the Roosevelt Islander Blog. According to the Editor, only a small snippet of the RIRA President's text may appear in the blog with a link to the WIRE's online version for the complete column. That is unacceptable to me. I had previously been publishing the entire column as well as linking back to the WIRE and will not publish the RIRA President's column unless it is whole and complete. If any of you wish to read Mr. Katz's RIRA President's column, it will only be in the print version of the WIRE as well as it's online version unless Mr. Katz changes his mind and allows me to post the entire version of the column - which I am happy to do.

The Main Street WIRE editor also tried to persuade Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres to stop sending the RIOC President's column in full to this blog but, again, only provide a snippet with a link to the full article in the WIRE. Unlike Mr. Katz, Ms. Torres refused to comply with the Editor's request. Ms. Torres told me that she will continue to provide her column in full to the Roosevelt Islander Blog. However, yesterday I learned from Ms. Torres that she will delay sending her column to this blog to comply with the WIRE's production and weekend distribution schedule. I had previously received her columns on Wednesday and usually posted them on Thursday's. Ms Torres now tells me that she will send the RIOC column to the Blog on Friday afternoon although I think and hope she is open to sending her column out earlier.

That's a brief summary of the nonsense that has been going on for the last month in Roosevelt Island media land. I have offered both Mr. Katz (who is listed as the circulation manager on the WIRE's masthead) and the Main Street WIRE Editor the opportunity to present their views on this ridiculous situation. To date they have not responded but will post any reply they have on topic if they wish.

UPDATE 9:45 PM - Clarification - Both Mr. Katz and the Editor have presented their views on this issue in several email messages between the three of us but they have declined my request for permission to post their messages.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Roosevelt Island School Kid Florian Henkel Von Donnersmarck Is Director Of New Thriller, The Tourist - And Won 2007 Academy Award For Best Foreign Film About East Berlin Before The Wall Fell

The New York Times today profiled Florian Henkel Von Donnersmarck,  director of new Johnny Depp/ Angelina Jolie movie "The Tourist". Mr. Von Donnersmarck was the director of the film The Lives Of Others which won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and was described in the article as a:
... bleak examination of betrayal and moral corruption in East Germany...
What's the Roosevelt Island connection? Well, besides the East Berlin reference, it turns out that the 37 year old Mr. Donnersmarck was a Roosevelt Islander as a child having gone to school on Roosevelt Island. According to the NY Times article Mr Donnersmarck's:
... background is intellectual and cosmopolitan. His father, a member of the German nobility who lost his fortune following World War II, was a Lufthansa executive who moved around the world. Mr. von Donnersmarck even lived as a child for a while in New York, where he went to school on Roosevelt Island and at the age of 4 saw his first movie, at the Museum of Modern Art. He expected to see “Doctor Doolittle” but was exposed instead to the German melodrama “Varieté.” He cites this experience as the start of his interest in film....
Charlie Rose interviewed Mr. Donnersmarck earlier this week.

Roosevelt Island Constituent Office Hours With NY Assembly Member Micah Kellner's Office Today And Every Thursday 3-7 PM - Remember To Bring Copies Of Any Necessary Paperwork

Received the following message from Roosevelt Island's Assembly Member Micah Kellner.
ROOSEVELT ISLAND OFFICE HOURS Every Thursday, 3 – 7 p.m.
At the RIOC offices 591 Main Street No appointment necessary. To enable my office to better assist you, please bring any documentation relevant to your case.

My community office is open Monday – Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 315 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065 p: (212) 860-4906 f: (917) 432-2983
Visit me on the web:
Streetsblog reports today that Assembly Member Kellner has written to Manhattan DA Vance and NYPD Commmissioner Kelly calling on them to enforce street safety laws. Here's an excerpt of the letter Mr. Kellner sent to Mr. Vance and Mr. Kelly from Streetsblog:
Dear District Attorney Vance and Commissioner Kelly:

I am writing to you regarding an incident that occurred early yesterday morning, in which 21-year-old student Jason King was struck and killed by a dump truck that was illegally backing up the wrong way, as he was crossing Madison Avenue near 81st Street.  I have been informed by the Community Affairs Officer at the 19th Precinct that the driver of this truck was issued a summons for unsafe backing, but that he was not charged with any crime and no further action has been taken.

As the sponsor of Elle’s Law and a supporter of the Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez Law, I am greatly concerned that neither of these important pedestrian-protection laws has apparently been enforced in this incident....

Are You Ready For Some Football? Roosevelt Island Youth Program Flag Football Super Bowl This Sunday - Come Out And Watch Up Close And Personal

For most of the United States, February 6 is Football's Super Bowl Sunday but here on Roosevelt Island we are lucky because Super Bowl Sunday will also take place this Sunday, December 12. How can that be? Charlie DeFino, the Executive Director of the Roosevelt Island Youth Program explains:
Roosevelt Island Youth Program Flag Football League 2010

This Sunday the Roosevelt Island Youth Program’s Flag Football League will have its Super Bowl Sunday starting at 10:30 at Copobianco Field. Commissioner Jamal Perry and his volunteers, Tony Leon, Waklimi Young and Eric Hagan, all former RIYP youth giving back to their community, will oversee the battle for this year’s championship.

The league had six teams and now we have come down to the final two for the RIYP Cup 2010, if you are not doing anything or like to watch our youth participating in some good clean fun, stop by and root the kids on. After the game all youth will receive certificates and trophies along with lunch at La Trellis to celebrate bringing this great program back. Special thanks should go to Christina Ewing, RIYP Chairperson of the Board and Iris Ewing also a member of the board for lending their support; these programs are made possible by the Roosevelt Island Youth Program and community volunteers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitor Center Kiosk Grand Re-Opening December 9 - Get Your Roosevelt Island Caps, Tee Shirts & Other Merchandize For the Holidays

Newly Restored Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Kiosk Image From Judy Berdy

 Received the following message from Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy announcing the Grand Re-Opening of the Visitor Centers Kiosk at the Tram Plaza and the opportunity to purchase Holiday Gifts. From Ms. Berdy:
 We have great holiday gifts for your stocking stuffers at the kiosk. There are tees, caps, tram models, books, mugs, magnets and much more. Bring your checkbook and have a great time shopping while enjoying the restoration of our Visitor Center.


You are invited to join us for the

Grand Re-Opening of the

RIHS Visitor Center Kiosk


Publication of

Our New Map and Brochure.*

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

11 a.m.

Tramway Plaza, Roosevelt Island

Join us for the grand re-opening,tram ride and refreshments

RSVP 212-688-4836 or

*Map illustrated by David Cain and brochure designed by Chris Enock

The restoration of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Visitor Center Kiosk

was funded by the City of New York

with the support of City Council Member Jessica Lappin.

Funding Agency:

NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

Project Management:

NYC Department of Design and Construction


Thomas A. Fenniman

Construction: Promo-Pro Ltd.

The publication of the map and brochure was made possible by the generous donations of:


Riverwalk Crossing & Riverwalk Court

The Octagon – Becker +Becker

Urban American

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC

Amalgamated Bank, BL Companies,

Coler Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility

Gristedes, Island House, Main Street Wire, Manhattan Park

Rivercross Tenants’ Corporation, Thomas A. Fenniman – Architect,


Gina Pollara, Jack Resnick, Roosevelt Island Day Nursery

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Judith Berdy-President and Historian

Ursula Beau-Seigneur-Executive Vice President

Deborah Dorff-Vice President

Lynn Chambers-Treasurer

Mark Chipman-Secretary
Here is a slideshow from Ms. Berdy of the Visitor Center Kiosk restoration from start to finish and photos of Roosevelt Island merchandise for sale at the Visitors Center Kiosk.
 We have added lots of great new items for everyone in the family

New items include:
Tee Shirts, keychains and Caps with the new tram design on them
Necklaces, earrings, charms with the old and new tram designs
We have great mugs, bracelets, lanyards, note cards, books and lots of other stocking stuffers. 
"We have new items for our island dogs, including pooch tee-shirts and place mats.
The kiosk will be open daily 12 noon to 5 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
RIHS Tram T-Shirt From Image From Judy Berdy

 More on the restoration and history of the Roosevelt Island Visitor Centers Kiosk here.

Full Roosevelt Island Agenda For December 9 RIOC Operations Committee Meeting - Tram/Red Bus Schedule, Electric Car Charging Station, Wi-Fi, SeeClickFix 311 System, Fertilizer & More

You Tube Video of Propark Electric Car Charging Station Garage

Looks like the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Operations Committee has a very full agenda on it's plate for it's December 9 meeting. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The agenda for the meeting will be:

1. Introduction of new Director of Engineering

2. Discussion on Electric Car Charging stations for Motorgate and expanding current study for LED lighting, Solar Power and Verdant Tidal Power

3. Update on Tram Stations

4. Discussion on Tram/Red Bus schedule

5. Discussion on Tap Card Payment on the Red Bus

6. Discussion of Roosevelt Island Smart Parking Meter and Sensor Pilot Project

7. Discussion on Hybrid Solar Ferry Plan for the Oil Dock and Feasibility Study for a long term dock

8. Discussion on Roosevelt Island 311 SeeClickFix system

9. Demonstration of RIOC's Facebook page

10. Discussion on fertilizer type: organic v. conventional

11. Discussion on the development of Sports Park

12. Dedication of George Brathwaite ping pong court

13. Update on Progress of Bike Sharing RFP

14. Update on Southpoint Park WIFI Internet Project
The RIOC Operations Committee meeting is open to the public and available soon thereafter as an audio web cast.

Links to agenda items were provided by me and not RIOC.

As to Tram/Red Bus Schedule, a reader of this post wrote:
Most of the passengers would prefer "it (the bus) goes a bit around the round-about and backs up into the spot on the south side" . It would be preferable to the haul from the north end of the road most of the time and winter is coming
Image Of Tram Passengers Running Across Street To Catch Red Bus

Image of Tram Passengers Waiting For Red Bus On North Side Of Tram Plaza

Weekend Tram Schedule

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roosevelt Island Resident Makes Obscene Gesture At RIOC Motorgate Helix Camera Says Public Safety Department, Also Alleges Resident Broke Camera - Now Under Arrest

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra reports:

On November 30, 2010 at approximately 10:53PM, a male subject approached a camera owned by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation located at the top of the helix.  Said subject made an obscene gesture and proceeded to break said camera, causing $3700 in damages.  Said subject must not have realized that his image was captured by the camera system, and that he was known to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department due to a prior arrest in 2007.

On December 3, 2010, {Name and address of Roosevelt Island resident deleted}, was apprehended by the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department and charged with Criminal Tampering 1st degree, Criminal Mischief 2nd degree and Obstructing Governmental Administration 2nd degree. His arrest was completed at the 114th Precinct, and he was transported to Manhattan Central Booking.  He was arraigned on December 4, 2010, and remains in custody awaiting an indictment by the Grand Jury.

Kudos to the PSD officers involved in this investigation and arrest, and thanks to P.O. Fernandez for his assistance as well.
Note that I deleted the name and address of the suspect because there has been no conviction or admission of guilt.

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery Registration Starts Today For January - June 2011 Program

Are you the parent of a two year old Roosevelt Islander? If so, you may be interested in the the following information from the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN):
a NEW program for the NEW YEAR!
Half Day Two's is a 5 morning class (9 am-12 noon) for 2 year old children born between April and December 2008.

Registration will begin on December 7th! 
According to the RIDN:
The Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN) is an international school whose population reflects the rich ethnic, cultural and racial diversity of the Roosevelt Island community. The Day Nursery provides infant, toddler, preschool and Universal PreK programs for children ages 3 months through 5 years.

RIDN is located in two sites offering views of the East River the Queensboro Bridge and the NYC skyline. Each school provides opportunities for year round outdoor play in well equipped playgrounds and beautiful green lawns.
A 2009 Main Street WIRE article has more on the RIDN:
After more than 30 years in one location, the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery will soon be adding a second facility. The addition will be located in Building #6 of the Riverwalk project, and will be known as the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery at Riverwalk. The age group served there will be three months to three years. (After age three, children can attend the present facility at 4 River Road. When a student reaches age five, a parent has two options ?the Day Nursery for a year of kindergarten, or a transfer to kindergarten at PS 217.)...

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

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

If you have any questions to ask Senator Serrano's 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.

Be Glad You Were Not Stuck In The Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Elevator During Yesterday Morning's Rush Hour - That's Why I Take The Stairs Or Escalalators

Image Of Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Elevator To Manhattan Platform

The Roosevelt Island F Train Subway elevator got stuck during yesterday morning's rush hour. Kittylexy, a trapped Roosevelt Island F Train subway rider,  tweeted:
Trapped in RI elevator.60 min n counting
MTA elevator stuck 60min and counting w/15 adults 2 kids 1 baby. Inspection fail. MTA useless. We called 911. Fire dep here
and were finally rescued.
Finally out of the elevator and at work. Thanks to NYC's bravest! The rock! Take notes . Don't leave ppl stranded in elevators!!
Hope you were not one of the unfortunate people stuck in the elevator

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra adds:
At approximately 8:25AM, an FDNY vehicle responded to the Train Station. Our PSD units responded as back-up and were informed by FDNY personnel, who were called by the MTA, that 8 people were stuck in the elevator. The individuals were removed from the elevator by FDNY. No injuries were reported.
Interested in knowing what it's like to be stuck in an elevator over a prolonged period of time without actually having to go through the experience? Then check out this previous post that includes a time lapse video of a man stuck in an elevator for over 40 hours.

UPDATE 2:45 PM -Gothamist provides a complete first hand account from the stuck Roosevelt Island subway elevator passenger. An excerpt:
... Seconds into its descent the inside door opened and caused the elevator to stop about 20 to 30 feet below ground level. The man nearest the door tried shutting it a few times; it popped back open twice before closing. The elevator didn’t move after that so we called for “help.” Time in elevator: 10 min (8:15am) The MTA person on the other end came through garbled at best, but offered no real help anyway. The person said they would call the engineer. Ok fine. There was grumbling, one person louder than others, but overall no one was particularly panicked. Ten more minutes go by and it’s getting hot in there. There’s one small vent near the front which is clogged with dirt and who knows what.

We jam the bell button, bang on the door and yell into the call button. One woman was particularly vocal, and who could blame her. It was tightly packed in there, getting stuffier by the moment and there was NO communication from the MTA. When the MTA rep gets back on the speaker, they say, “The engineer is on his way. 10 minutes.” We’ve been stuck about 30 minutes at this point and patience is wearing thin. I think the baby was the most unperturbed of the lot of us. Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator” looped in my head, but I thought singing it would be in bad taste....
and a You Tube video of the FDNY's arrival.

 Of the Roosevelt Island subway station and it's escalators, the stuck passenger adds:
 ... The escalators there are perpetually broken as well. My mom was on one when it suddenly stopped. If she wasn’t holding onto the rail she would have been thrown back. I saw another person get his jacket snagged on a section without paneling. He had to keep climbing while he freed himself. When it rains, the place is soaked with water. No one mops. I was being super careful because of that but I slipped and cracked my shins anyway. Did I mention the doors have been broken for months? Yeah, the Roosevelt Island station is a mess and the MTA staff that work there are rude and useless. I’ll take my chances with the tram. At least if that gets stuck I watch YouTube....
 Gothamist's full account of the incident is here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Update On 30 New West Drive Parking Spots In Southtown - Does Roosevelt Island Need More Street Parking Or Should Cars Be Discouraged?

New 2 Hour Parking Spots On Southtown's West Drive

Received an update from RIOC concerning the new West Drive parking spots in Southtown . According to this RIOC Advisory:
RIOC is in the process of conducting a parking pilot project in the Riverwalk section of town. We have designated approximately 30 parking spaces on the West Drive. Streetline has installed sensors in each of the spaces designated along West Drive, which will enable residents who choose to download the application the ability to ascertain an available parking space. This program will also give the Public Safety Department the ability to detect if vehicles are parked in the spaces longer than the allotted amount of time. Meters will be installed shortly to begin this pilot project. Until then, we are extending a two hour parking courtesy to those interested in parking their vehicles in those designated parking spaces. The two hour parking courtesy will be strictly enforced by the Public Safety Department. Those wishing to park for more than two hours are encouraged to use the Motorgate Parking Garage. Another advisory will follow as soon as the meters are installed.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
The West Drive parking spots extend from the backs of 405 - 425 Main Street (pictured above) to 455 - 475 Main and

up to the Blackwell Turnaround.

RIOC has also installed new traffic signage at the Blackwell Turnaround instructing drivers approaching the Turnaround to stay left unless making a U-Turn and not to head south on the new one-way northbound West Channel Road.

Are these new parking spots good for Roosevelt Island and Southtown? As the comments to this post illustrate, there is a great difference of opinion among Roosevelt Island residents. For instance, readers opposed to the West Channel parking spots write:
... Those 30 spots are a very poor use of those areas. A long and beautiful vista is a high price to pay for 30 spots (and the ugly gaps for fire hydrants etc.) and more foot traffic to trample on public lawn and plantings. There are so much more space that can be used north of the steam station (across/south of the Fireman's Field) and all around the back of the hospital facing Queens.
I get the sense that people think they are entitled to parking spaces for their cars. Yes, we live in NYC and since when does it mean in this city that more buildings mean more offerings to park your car?

We are talking about changing something that used to be nice to just another street in NYC. Bring on the cars. Yeah! We can't have enough metal and steel littered all around.
RIOC's unilateral idea of changing half of the West Road south of the circle is an abomination.
PSD has not been able to enforce parking restrictions on Main Street so probably will not do so on West Road.
The whole concept also calls into doubt any consideration of creating a nice promenade around the is-land for pedestrians and bicyclists (which would be a another tourist attraction).
The walk to/from the subway and tram stations has become like a walk on a Manhattan Street.
RIOC should lower the price of short time parking at Motorgate and simplify/enforce the short term street parking rules instead of putting vehicles all over the Island.
If this is not done it means
"Riverwalk Interests Overrule Community"
West Channel Parking supporters counter:
Actually the spaces are for short term parking. Sensors are being installed to make sure they are used for that. Also I read here that they want to lower the prices in motorgate to encourage parking there as well. The hardest thing for businesses is having no short term parking. Its a death sentence. Try inviting a family with a car for a bite to eat on RI. Try inviting anyone to this oasis for anything and the RI parking tax at the garage or lack of parking anywhere makes it impossible. You can have a family of 5 park somewhere else and pay a cab or take a subway but that adds 20 bucks either way. As a result you have a ghost town for shops in an already bad economy and current businesses threatened. Also lets remember it was changed to one way for safety reasons as the area near the subway was an accident waiting to happen.
Complain all you want. The extra short term parking is here to stay, so just deal with it. Remember, it's short term parking for loading, unloading or getting a bite to eat or something.

Plus, the spaces are not only for island residents but visitors who wish to patronize the businesses here.
nYC businesses haven't adapted to not having parking. They have millions of local people around them. RI is landlocked and apparently filled with anonymous people who are sure about everything but know very little. But you are right we should plant more trees and rollerskate to work and pay for life with unicorns and rainbows. The automobile was invented a long time ago. I suggest you get used to it. You live in shadow of the one of the largest power plants on planet earth and you are concerned with the automobile. Hilarious.
This is not an issue of Roosevelt Island newcomers versus old timers or Riverwalk residents versus WIRE building residents. There are plenty of Riverwalk residents and newcomers to Roosevelt Island who are against this additional parking.  It's more an issue between those who don't want to encourage the use of more cars on Roosevelt Island and those who do.

I think encouraging the use of cars on Roosevelt Island by adding 30 additional parking spots at Roosevelt Island's public transportation hub which is only steps from the subway and tram is ridiculous.  The reasons advanced for the West Channel Parking don't hold up to scrutiny.

Short term parking to load and unload packages does not require 2 hours of parking nor do I think that Riverwalk businesses such as Duane Reade, Starbucks, Nonno's, Fuji East and the Riverwalk Bar & Grill will benefit from patrons driving to their stores enough to justify burdening the rest of us with their cars. Come on, how many people from outside of Roosevelt Island will really drive here to patronage these businesses? Don't think many will.  I fear that this is just the first step in eventually allowing unlimited parking in Southtown which is favored by some Riverwalk car owners who don't like parking their cars in the Motorgate Garage.

The wireless parking sensors are a good idea but get rid of the West Channel parking and use the wireless parking technology for Main Street parking spots and the Motorgate Garage. Here's how the Streetline wireless parking system works

and prior posts on same topic.

UPDATE 12/7 - The Riverwalk buildings have a driveway cut out in front of their buildings for loading and unloading
 Car Pick Up and Drop Off Area At 455 Main Street
with a 20 minute limit.

 20 Minute Parking Sign For Loading and Unloading In Front Of Riverwalk Building

Now that the Tram is back in service, when will the temporary parking priveleges for Tennis club patrons at the Southtown field opposite the Riverwalk Commons during the Tram outage be revoked. There is no reason why tennis club patrons should be given special parking status on Roosevelt Island - is there?

Incredible Video Of Remote Control Plane Flying Over Statue Of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge And Exploring New York City

You Tube Video Of Remote Control Plane Flying Over NYC

We think the views from the Roosevelt Island Tram are fantastic but nothing compares to the views of New York City seen from this remote controlled plane flying over lower Manhattan. According to Ars Technica:
The video is absolutely stunning: a remote-controlled plane flies over and around the Brooklyn Bridge, buzzes the Statue of Liberty, and explores New York from a point of view even "real" airplanes rarely see. While the police were curious about what was happening, no arrests were made, and the creators of the video praise the police and the TSA for their professionalism.
This is the story of how one group of enthusiasts made flying a plane around New York City fun again...
The pictures are amazing but the natural concern is of the potential for damage caused  by those who wish us harm using such devices. Hope the NYPD and other professionals learned some lessons from this incident.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What Was Roosevelt Island Like In 1982? Some Answers From NY Times and You Tube

A little bit of Roosevelt Island history before the arrival of the subway. A reader sends in this link to a 1982 NY Times article titled:

A few quotes from the article:
... It is an island of baby strollers and children playing fearlessly in the street, sparkling vistas of Manhattan and refreshing breezes. It is also an island of silent nights, little street life and none of the pulsating activity to be found just across the river. For people who seek proximity to the city but prefer a relatively safe and quiet place to make their home, Roosevelt Island may be a good choice...

...The island is accessible to cars via a small bridge that connects it to Queens at 36th Avenue. When the tram is out of service, residents must cross this bridge by bus and then travel to Manhattan - where most work - by a circuitious route. Cars are allowed on the island, but may park only in the Motorgate Parking Garage...

... The Rivercross complex has 375 deluxe co-ops and some of the finest views in the city. Because it was built under the state's Mitchell-Lama subsidy program, resale prices are legally limited to recouping the price of the original investment. Apartments sell for $15,000 to $30,000 and monthly maintenance costs, which are partly tax deductible, range from $500 to $1,200. Here, too, the turnover is moderate, with about three sales a month.
Illegal co-op sales have been made at Rivercross in the past, with shareholders charging more than the legal maximum. As a result, the co-op board instituted a stringent system of appraisal...

... Many residents cite a lack of diversity in shops and their relatively high prices as the island's greatest drawback. As a result, some shop for food and staples in Queens. On the island there is only one supermarket, a mom-and-pop store, a pharmacy, a pizzeria, and a deli. For frills, diversity or particularly attractive sales, residents have to look elsewhere.
For more on Roosevelt Island from 30 years ago, take a look at this You Tube video of Roosevelt Island - An Island Place, showing what the Roosevelt Island Experiment was like for some of the first residents to move here in the late 1970's and early 1980's.