Friday, December 17, 2010

Nice New Roosevelt Island Tram But Some Residents Unhappy Due To Lack Of Coordination With Red Bus, Exposure To Winter Without Protection & Other Shortcomings - The Tram's Not Just A Tourist Ride

Image of Roosevelt Island Tram Station From John Skelson

Today it's a bit warmer but over the last few days it's been pretty cold waiting at both Stations for the Roosevelt Island Tram. There is the tent at the Roosevelt Island Station - has anyone used this thing -

but nothing on the Manhattan side to provide protection from the elements except a small cage with a heater for one of the Tram Workers.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) President Judy Berdy has had enough with these as well as other Roosevelt Island Tram problems and let loose at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) December Board of Directors Meeting during it's Public Speaking session last Wednesday. She was Pissed Off!

RIHS President Judy Berdy Speaking At December RIOC Board Meeting Public Session

Below are her written remarks:
The tram opened on November 30th to great fanfare.

Unfortunately, there was little planning for service coordination after that date.

Here are the shortcomings that are unacceptable:

The total state of confusion between tram and bus schedules
  • For 34 years the bus met every tram 
  • The tram ran on the 15 minutes non rush hour and 7 minutes rush hour 
  • Two trams ran back and forth The bus met every tram
In this freezing weather, which RIOC should have know happens every December, There are no shelters in Manhattan or on the island. The Manhattan station has no shelter, just a guard booth that is on the wrong side of the turnstile.

The Manhattan Metrocard machines break down and there is no resolution since RIOC refuses to let POMA sell Metrocards from the booth.

The tram doors do not open halfway so any heat in the cabin instantly dissipates when the doors are left open 6 feet to admit passengers.

The island station is a further disaster with no shelter.

People run across the street to catch the tram or run back to get the bus since there is no coordination of schedules. We are counting the days to:
  • a person injured falling to run and tripping 
  • a baby carriage being hit by a car
  • an elderly/disabled person injured
 Tram Riders Running For Red Bus On South Side Of Street
Where is a PSD officer to guide pedestrians? This would be a worthwhile use of their time instead of patrolling the island in their warm vehicles. I am sure we can spare one officer during tram operating hours for traffic duty.

Waiting for spring is not an acceptable answer.

I have heard from all my neighbors about the mess at the tram and bus.

You are not saving any money running only one cabin,. That is a PR fiction to make us look green. It makes me see RED. Just run the two cabins as before and at least that will mean we have a quarter hour schedule again.

You are alienating your ridership. Just watching from the kiosk, the non rush-hour ridership is down, way down. Residents do not want to be abused and made to wait unacceptable lengths of time in the cold just to ride the tram. They will stay with the F train. At least there is shelter from the cold.

Here's the tourist view of how the Roosevelt Island Tram works.

You Tube Video From Gondola Project

To be fair to the Directors and Staff at RIOC, they are aware of these problems and  are trying to find solutions as reported in this earlier post regarding the bus route. It's is just very frustrating for those using the Tram and Red Bus on a daily basis.

Infant/Toddler Teaching Job Available With Roosevelt Island Day Nursery

Are you interested in a job as an Infant/Toddler Teacher with the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery? If so, this December 14 listing from Craigslist may be of interest.

 Infant/Toddler Lead Teacher
○ Full-Time position to begin January 2011
○ BA or AA in Early Childhood Education, considered
○ Masters in ECE and NYS certified, preferred
○ Experience working in an early childhood setting (0-3), REQUIRED 
Click here to apply.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Roosevelt Island Holiday Concert - A Free Night Of Classical Music Presented By Rosemarie & Robin Russell Family Concert Series Saturday Night, December 18 - Come Listen To Bach & It's All Free!!

This Saturday night, Roosevelt Island's own local Rosemarie & Robin Russell Family Concert Series will be presenting their Holiday Concert, a free evening of classical music at the Good Shepherd Community Center starting at 8 PM.
The Holiday Concert  8:00 PM Saturday, December 18, 2010
Eric Lamb, flute
Ralph Allen, violin
Iris Jortner, cello
Yi-heng Yang, harpsichord
Good Shepherd Center
543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 
Admission is FREE
Johann Sebastian Bach
Three-Part Inventions BWV 787-801 (Transcribed by Richard Hoffmann for flute, viola, and cello)
Sonata No. 3 in g minor for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord BWV 1029
Sonata No 1 in b minor for Violin and Harpsichord BWV 1014
Sonata No. 2 in e minor for Flute and Continuo BWV 1034
Trio Sonata in G Major for Flute, Violin, and Continuo BWV 1038
Here's a brief taste of the wonderful music you will experience if you attend. Bach's Sonata No. 3 in g minor for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord.

You Tube Video of J. S. Bach - Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord in G Minor

More information on the R&R concert series from previous posts. As reported in earlier posts, all reports from previous concerts are that if you go, you will have a great time.

New State Of The Art NYC Engineering School May Be Coming To Goldwater Hospital Campus On Roosevelt Island

 Image of Goldwater Hospital Building

The Wall Street Journal and NY Times are both reporting an initiative announced today by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to bring a world class Engineering School to New York City. And guess what, according to the WSJ:
Possible areas include Roosevelt Island, Governors Island, Staten Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Sunset Park.
The Roosevelt Island site being considered for the new Engineering School is the Goldwater Hospital Campus on the southern end of the Island that will be closed in about four years.

A top notch engineering school would certainly be a great use for that beautiful site.

Video of Coler-Goldwater Hospital from Roosevelt Island 360

It would be far better for Roosevelt Island than more luxury condo development. A state-of-the-art Engineering School nicely complements Roosevelt Island growing reputation as a place for new technologies, such as electric car charging stations, wireless parking sensors and more, to be tried out in an urban setting.

Some readers of the NY Times City Room Blog did not think it was such a good idea to bring in a new Engineering School to New York City but would rather see an upgrade to our existing excellent Engineering Schools:
Top rated engineering schools don’t exist in a vacuum. They need the logistical support from the university they are a part of. I’d say “Build on what we already have” – in this case, the City College School of Engineering of CUNY and Columbia University School of Engineering, both of which I conveniently graduated from :) They are both outstanding schools of engineering, they are an integral part of two great universities and all the City really has to do to push its objectives is to throw money at these schools of engineering :)
Here's the full Press Release from the Mayor's Office announcing the initiative:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky today announced that the City is seeking responses from a university, applied science organization or related institution to develop and operate an applied sciences research facility in New York City. In order to maintain a diverse and competitive economy, and capture the considerable growth occurring within the science, technology and research fields, the City is looking to strengthen its applied sciences capabilities, particularly in fields which lend themselves to commercialization. The City will make a capital contribution, in addition to possibly providing land and other considerations, commensurate with the respondent’s investment. Through a Request for Expressions of Interest released today, the City will suggest four possible development sites – at the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, on Governor’s Island, and at the Farm Colony on Staten Island – though respondents are also encouraged to consider and propose privately-owned sites within the five boroughs in which an applied sciences facility might be developed.

“A new, state-of-the-art applied sciences research school would be a major asset for New York City as we develop a 21st century innovation economy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The City is committed to finding the right partner and providing the support needed to establish such a facility because research in the fields of engineering, science and technology is creating the next generation of global business innovations that will propel our economy forward. New York City has all the ingredients to complement an applied science and engineering hub – a highly educated global population, unparalleled financial and business community to provide capital and support for new ventures and existing top-notch institutions performing cutting-edge research. We want to capitalize on those strengths.”

“New York City is a global leader in most areas of education, and our institutions of higher learning are among the reasons why New York continues to be a global magnet for talent, but applied sciences and engineering is one area in which New York City is strong but doesn’t dominate,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “As we continue to transform New York into a 21st Century city of innovation, excelling in applied sciences and engineering will become increasingly important, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to ensure New York City does.”

“Adding a new, world-class applied sciences facility to New York City’s already impressive science and technology community is critical to staying globally competitive,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “Such a facility would not only enrich our research capabilities, but it would also lead to commercialization, expanding our City’s dynamic economy. Investing in innovation is the key to keeping our economy robust, diverse and growing, and this initiative is a strong demonstration of the City’s commitment to making these kinds of investments.”

New York City is home to more than 626,000 students, including more than 4,200 graduate engineering students. And while our more than 100 academic and research institutions are renowned worldwide, there are unparalleled growth opportunities that now exist within the science and technology fields, and a global competition going on to take advantage of those opportunities. As the demand for talent outpaces supply around the world, it is important that New York City take steps to increase its pool of engineering faculty and graduate students, as well as research expenditures. Other countries are already investing heavily: research and development spending in Asia is predicted to overtake U.S. levels in the next five years, thanks primarily to striking growth in R&D investment in China.

The Request for Expressions of Interest released today by the New York City Economic Development Corporation seeks proposals for the development of an Applied Sciences Research Facility with a strong focus on applied engineering. Other fields within the applied sciences including environmental science, mathematics, chemistry, physics and computer science will also be considered, with a focus on fields that present significant opportunities for commercialization.

“New York no longer has to play second fiddle to anyplace in the tech sector economy, but our engineering talent is still more imported than home grown,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “This exciting new initiative by the Bloomberg Administration will change that paradigm.”

“Google depends on the contributions of first-rate engineers and scientists,” said Google Vice President of Engineering Stuart Feldman. “We support this effort, which will increase the amount of advanced scientific work being done in New York City, attract people into important fields, and raise the recognition of New York as a great science center.”

“During my 25 years of venture capital investing in New York City, I have watched the burgeoning technology sector emerge as an important part of the City’s economy,” said Fred Wilson, Managing Partner of Union Square Ventures. “But I believe there is a big missing piece in New York City’s technology community: the lack of a world-class engineering school within the five boroughs. Today’s announcement is a great step toward creating one.”

A majority of the development must be for academic use, and could include teaching space, wet and/or dry labs and conference facilities. Proposals that also include space for related commercial activity such as business incubators, corporate research and development facilities, and spin-out companies are strongly encouraged, as are joint-ventures and consortia proposals.

Upon receiving responses to the Request for Expressions of Interest, the City will evaluate proposals and develop an Applied Sciences Research Request for Proposals to be released shortly afterward. The Request for Proposals will request conceptual architectural design, more detail on the development team, detailed financial information and will include a draft contract. Final developer selection will be based upon responses to the RFP. To obtain a copy of the complete Request for Expressions of Interest, please visit Responses are due on March 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where Should The Roosevelt Island Red Bus Stop To Pick Up And Drop Off Passengers At The New Tram - Here's The Latest Proposal From RIOC

Now that the fun and excitement over the Roosevelt Island/Park Slope first round battle for the Curbed Neighborhood Of The Year is over, it's back to daily life on Roosevelt Island and issues such as the Red Bus and Tram Operations.

A reader of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres recent Report To The Community wrote:
Hey Leslie -- It is not all lollipops and roses.

Please get the Red bus to pick up and discharge passengers at the Tram ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE STREET AS THE TRAM after 7 am. Anything less is an accident waiting to happen, and it is cruel to our elderly and disabled neighborsn not to mention many of our youngsters who go to school in Manhattan and do not excercise any precaution when crossing the street.

And then get a bus shelter up there too. And move the bench from the outer edge of the station to the more protected area where it used to be.

Common sense seems to have gone out the window with the re-opening of the Tram. Running one cabin during the day ? Pretending no one will notice ?

And please remind the Red bus drivers to use their radios and talk to each other so we can prevent a repeat of the 25-minute wait this past Friday at the Across-the-street from the Tram bus stop in 20 degree weather...
Another suggested:
The easiest way to make the crossing of the street safer would be to make it a one-way, bus-only lane. Paint a crosswalk sign on the street and we are done. Any other complains are just because of laziness or rain-allergies.
And comments from other posts:
 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
 Crossing a street is now a "haul"? I am speechless. What is wrong with us if we don't even want to walk a few steps anymore? I agree that the crossing should be made safer: buses only, a cross walk, or even maybe make the street narrower or build a passenger loading bay. But complaining that walking 10 more steps is unacceptable is just silly.

Oh, maybe the bus fare should be bumped up to a dollar. Maybe that will refocus the complains.
One more:
The majority of RIers don't care much if the bus stops on the north or the south side of the street. They all understand that walking a couple more steps is not going to kill them.

I have talked to many people who take the bus and the only thing that pisses everybody off is the bus not being in sync with the tram right now.
 This issue was raised and discussed during the RIOC Board of Directors December 9 Operations Committee meeting. The discussion was very interesting and sometimes quite heated. In the past, I would recommend that you listen to the discussion yourselves on the audio web cast but it appears that only the first 27 minutes of the more that 2 1/2 hour meeting is available. The Red Bus and Tram Operations discussion took place later in the meeting and is not included in the audio web cast.

This is what happened. RIOC's VP of Operations Fernando Martinez presented a review of the first week of Red Bus and Tram operations following the return to service of the new Tram System.

The RIOC Directors present as well as RIRA President Matt Katz made many of the point referred to by the readers above.  In response, Mr. Martinez proposed the following Red Bus route change which will enable the Red Bus to drop off and pick up passengers at the Tram on the south side of the street so that Red Bus passengers will not have to cross into traffic. (Click On The Image To Enlarge)

Here's the Roosevelt Island Tram Station Plaza East/West Cross Street from above.

The proposed plan is that the Red Bus, instead of turning right as it currently does to drop off riders on the north side of the East/West Road (pictured at top), will go around the turnaround heading left

and drop off/pick up riders on the Tram Station Side of the street

in the spot where the Tram workers now park their cars near the construction trailers.

The Red Bus will then make a right on East Channel Road (facing Queens) heading towards Sportspark,

make another right at the South Side of Sportspark to the West Channel Road (facing Manhattan) and head north to resume it's route on Main Street towards the subway station. Before it gets to the Subway Station, the Red Bus will also stop next to the Visitors Center Kiosk.

Several RIOC Board Directors raised concerns to this new Tram Station Red Bus Stop proposal citing the inaccessibility of these nearby steps to the Tram Station

and the distance to the existing ramp for elderly and disabled

One Board Director asked if a canopy similar to the one that leads from the South Side of the Tram Station to the Tennis Club could be placed at the proposed bus stop to protect riders from bad weather.

Another Director asked if the Red Bus could just back up a bit from the new stop and then go around the turnaround as it did before the old Tram went out of service. The Director added that if necessary, a curb cut in the sidewalk adjacent to Firefighter's Field could be done.

Mr. Martinez responded that he did not think it was possible for the Red Bus to safely make the Tram Turnaround from the proposed new Red Bus Stop. Mr. Martinez did say that an additional ramp could be installed by the Tram Station Staircase but that would have to wait until spring when the weather get's warmer to mix concrete. In the meantime, Mr. Martinez promised that a new temporary bus shelter will be installed at the current Tram Station Stop.

Guess what? A reader sent in this comment earlier today:
FYI: RIOC has just installed a passenger shelter for the bus stop across the street from the tram.
And here it is.
New Temporary Bus Shelter

Remember this is just a proposal right now and not the definite new route. So, what do you think of the new proposed Tram Bus Stop and Route?

Another issue with the Red Bus Stop occurs at the Subway Station. Will have more on that later.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Park Slope Defeats Roosevelt Island In First Round Of Curbed Neighborhood Of The Year Contest - Keyboard Computer Ballot Stuffing By Both Sides Alters Vote Count

Alas, the Great New York City 2010 Curbed Neighborhood Of The Year upset was not be. The Goliath Park Slope has defeated the Roosevelt Island Ru-dy in a crushing blow to our plucky little Island.

After leading Park Slope in the vote tally most of the day yesterday and even into the morning hours today by an approximately 57% - 43% margin with over 1600 votes cast, I was happy to receive an email earlier this morning from a reader advising that we had achieved an enormous upset by defeating Park Slope. Minutes later, I was stunned to receive an email from the same reader reporting that Roosevelt Island had lost.

I went to the Curbed web site and saw the final tally to be Park Slope 53.7% - Roosevelt Island 46.3% with total votes of 1175.

What accounts for this defeat? Is this our local version of Bush vs Gore and the 2000 Florida Presidential election vote count all over again? Do we have to start investigating the digital version of Hanging Chads? As one reader wrote in declaring:
Roosevelt islanders wrapped up in curbed scandal!
Well, probably not a scandal. This is what happened. According to Curbed, ballot stuffing by both sides inflated the vote counts but there was more of it from Roosevelt Island supporters. From Curbed:
Folks, a quick word on yesterday's wildly popular and controversial Park Slope vs. Roosevelt Island matchup, and Curbed Cup voting in general: Cheating makes us sad! Our tech team detected ballot stuffing on both sides, including 401 Roosevelt Island votes from the same IP address (an average rate of 1 vote every 5 seconds). After clearing out the obvious fakes, Park Slope is the victor by a slim margin. Better luck next Cup, Roosevelt Island
Curbed adds:
Park Slope is the winner (by a marginal amount though -- Roosevelt Island actually did make a legitimate strong showing
It was fun while it lasted. We'll get them next year.

UPDATE 4:30 PM - At least on Roosevelt Island resident is not upset we lost:
I'm happy that we didn't win - my rent's too damn high!

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Board Of Directors Meeting Wednesday December 15, Agenda Includes Approval Of Fiscal Year 2011 - 2012 Budget - Sign Up Today To Speak Prior To Meeting

 Image of August 2010 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting At Manhattan Park Theater Club

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) will be holding it's December Board of Directors meeting Wednesday, December 15 starting at 5:30 PM. The meeting is being held at the Manhattan Park Community Center instead of the Good Shepherd Community Center.

Prior to the start of the Board meeting there will be a period of time for members of the community to comment and ask questions of the Board Members. According to RIOC:
A 30-45 minute public comment period wherein those who sought to address the Board would have pre-registered, with time for any speaker limited to two (2) minutes. Pre-registration would be accomplished by addressing RIOC at its web site or in person at RIOC's office prior to the day of the meeting. Public comment should be for the purpose of receiving comment, not to engage in debate or colloquy with board members. The Chair would control the time and limit for each speaker.

By scheduling the public comment period as above, the town hall style session following alternate Board meetings should be obviated. The RIRA meetings now held the evenings before each Board could function as the equivalent of a town hall meeting, with Board members attending as they wish, but with the expectation that a senior RIOC staff person would also attend to answer questions on Agenda items.
If you want to speak to the RIOC Directors make sure you sign up today. Below is the Agenda for RIOC's December 2010 Board Of Directors Meeting.

DECEMBER 15, 2010
5:30 P.M.1

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
1. October 12, 2010 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Approval of the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 (Board Action Required)
2. Authorization to Enter Into Contract with ENVAC Scandinavia AB for AVAC Transport Piping Repair
(Board Action Required)
3. Authorization to Enter Into Contract with Power Cooling, Inc. for Installation of Sound Shield Condensers on the
Public Safety Roof (Board Action Required)
4. Authorization to Amend the Contract with CNA Enterprises for Resetting Z-Brick Pavers (Board Action Required)
5. 2011 Meetings of the Roosevelt Island Operation Corporation Board of Directors (Board Action Required)
6. Presentation of the FY 2010-2011 QTR 2 Procurement Report
7. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
8. Public Safety Report
9. President's Report
VI. Adjournment 1

1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period, which is not a part of the RIOC Board Meeting.
The entire Proposed RIOC fiscal year 2011-12 Budget is here for your review. More on RIOC's Proposed 2011-2012 Budget here and here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vote Roosevelt Island As 2010 Curbed Neighborhood Of The Year - David Beat Goliath, King Harry Beat The French, Rudy Made The Notre Dame Football Team & Roosevelt Island Can Beat Park Slope

Image Of Curbed 2010 Neighborhood Of The Year Cup

Well folks, Roosevelt Island has made it into the Sweet 16 Round of the prestigious 2010 Curbed Neighborhood of the Year Award.
The Curbed Cup, our annual award to the New York City neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 'hoods vying for the prestigious fake trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tourney bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends in the wee hours the next morning. Let the eliminations commence!...
But talk about being an underdog, we Roosevelt Islanders have to battle the mighty Park Slope in order

Image From Curbed
to advance to the next round. Roosevelt Islanders, do not fear such a battle, others before us have overcome similar odds. Remember David beat Goliath and Rudy made the Notre Dame football squad despite being told over and over that he couldn't do it.

If David and Rudy could win their battle against overwhelming odds, why can't Roosevelt Island beat Park Slope?

Go to the Curbed site right now, vote for Roosevelt Island and tell them why you think Roosevelt Island should be the 2010 neighborhood of the year. This is what I said to Curbed during the nomination process:
No question about it - The 2010 Curbed Neighborhood Of The Year has got to be Roosevelt Island.

For development, who can beat the spectacular new Roosevelt Island Tram with it's convenience and amazing views of the waterfront and NYC skyline. There's also 2 new waterfront buildings right next to the tram and subway.

As to restaurants we got the new Riverwalk Bar & Grill with their special football menu of 35 cents hot wings- mmmm good. Pretzel Turkey sandwich was pretty tasty too. It did open in 2009 but that's practically yesterday for Roosevelt Island. Also, Roosevelt Island's long time operating Trellis Diner recently got an A from the Health Inspector.

Retail Development - Our Main Street Retail Revitalization will soon be under way when a private sector Master Leaseholder will hopefully replace RIOC (the government public benefit corporation) as landlord and improve the current "Soviet" style look of Roosevelt Island's retail.

All this and more including our parks, green space, community activists, ghosts and creepy spirits (except the under construction Louis Kahn/FDR Memorial which will destroy the great views from Southpoint Park) make Roosevelt Island the hands down choice for the 2010 Curbed Neighborhood of the Year.
So go on right now and vote for Roosevelt Island as the 2010 Curbed Neighborhood Of The Year. It's a battle worth fighting.

You Tube Video of St. Crispins Day Speech In Henry V

 Be wary Park Slope. Here comes Roosevelt Island.

Vote here.


UPDATE 3:40 PM - Curbed is reporting that there are allegations of ballot stuffing going on from both sides. I am sure nobody from Roosevelt Island would do that because we can win honestly. Please only vote once.

UPDATE 12:30 AM 12/14 - At this moment Roosevelt Island has increased it's lead over Park Slope with 56.6% of the vote to Park Slope's 43.4% out of a total of 1542 votes. Make of this what you will that in the other contest today, between the West Village and Noho, a total of 660 votes were cast.

Roosevelt Island Elected Officials Lappin And Kellner Want MTA To Insure Proper Working Of Subway Elevators And Escalators - Seek Answers To Latest Incident of Stuck Roosevelt Island Subway Elevator

As reported in this post, during last Monday's morning rush hour, the Roosevelt Island Subway elevator got stuck somewhere between the station's street level

and Manhattan bound platform.


Gothamist reports:
... a group of 15 adults and two children squeezed into the elevator in the F train station on Roosevelt Island. And there they remained for a full hour until the FDNY came to their rescue....
Quicker than you can shout get me outta here, Roosevelt Island's New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin introduced a Council Resolution to ensure the the NYC Subway elevators and escalators work properly. According to the December 9 NY Post:
Subway elevators and escalators are going nowhere fast -- and the City Council is trying to fix the mechanical mess.

Councilwoman Jessica Lappin yesterday introduced a resolution that leans on the MTA to investigate poor maintenance work on the subway's lifts, two days after 15 people -- including an infant -- were trapped in the Roosevelt Island station's elevator for a terrifying 30 minutes.
"It's a perpetual problem across the city, and it's one that can be dangerous," Lappin said....
Ms. Lappin's office advises that the resolution was in the works prior to the latest Roosevelt Island subway elevator incident. Ms. Lappin adds:
We shouldn’t be, but all Roosevelt Island straphangers are familiar with the sight of out-of-order escalators and elevators at subway stations.  For some of us, that’s an inconvenience and means we need to walk.  However, for senior or disabled riders, these outages can mean the difference between getting into or out of the subway – or not.  The MTA has an obligation to ensure that its elevators and escalators actually work.  Roosevelt Islanders and New Yorkers across the city deserve to know that the escalators and elevators they rely on are going to be functioning.  They need to do preventative maintenance to reduce the number of breakdowns and they need to fix things quickly when something does go wrong.  The bottom line is that the MTA needs to maintain its subway stations, and that includes the elevators and escalators.  New Yorkers aren’t interested in excuses.  We’re interested in results.  So far, we aren’t seeing very many of those.
Roosevelt Island's Assembly Member Micah Kellner expressed his concern as well. Below is a letter dated December 8, 2010 Mr. Kellner sent to MTA New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast asking for answers regarding the recent incident in which a number of passengers were stuck in an elevator at the Roosevelt Island subway station.
I am writing on behalf of residents of and visitors to Roosevelt Island, which is located in the district I represent, regarding a recent elevator breakdown.

As you may know, on December 6, 2010 an elevator at the Roosevelt Island subway station broke down during the morning rush hour, stranding fifteen adults and several children in the elevator for over an hour. Several reports have indicated that the trapped passengers’ repeated calls for help to New York City Transit staff did not result in a timely response, and that it was not until after a passenger contacted 911 on a mobile phone that assistance was received.These reports are highly disturbing. I am concerned that there were not appropriate emergency measures in place prior to the incident, and that NYCT staff apparently did not respond effectively to the passengers’ calls for help. Given the depth of the Island’s station, it is unlikely that residents will be able to use their mobile phones in most emergencies.

The elevators and escalators at the Roosevelt Island station have been a recurring problem, with frequent outages that restrict Islanders’ already limited transportation options. Particularly given the large number of Island residents who are elderly or have disabilities, it is important that the station’s elevators are kept in a state of good repair. Indeed, it was in part because of the ongoing problems at Roosevelt Island that I introduced legislation to require timely maintenance of elevators and escalators throughout the MTA’s facilities.

Please provide a detailed explanation as to what measures the MTA will take to improve the reliability of the elevators at the Roosevelt Island station and elsewhere to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. Additionally, what will be done to ensure a more effective response to any future incidents? What steps were taken to assist the stranded passengers at Roosevelt Island? What policies and procedures are currently in place for such situations, and what changes will be made to these policies and procedures in light of the Roosevelt Island incident?

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you would like to discuss them further, please do not hesitate to contact me at (212) 860-4906.
Mr. Kellner sponsored legislation in 2009 to require more frequent maintenance of escalators and elevators in the MTA system:
 Requires the city of New York or county within the district to make maintenance of escalators, elevators and other facilities in passenger stations a priority; requires daily inspections, reports to MTA inspector general and the management advisory board, emergency repair order after two consecutive daily reports of inoperable facilities, and annual reports by the management advisory board.
The MTA maintains an Elevator and Escalator Status Page as well as the email for F Line General Manager.

Here's an eyewitness account of being stuck in the Roosevelt Island subway elevator from one of the unlucky subway riders who reports to Gothamist:
... 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...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Long Distances Can't Keep These Former Roosevelt Island Residents From Making Music Together, Technology Helps - It's Like Photoshop Layer Tag But With Music

Three friends, Pete, Chris, and Chris grew up on Roosevelt Island and then life took them to different places around the world. They still fondly remember their time on Roosevelt Island and recently got together in their current homes to play some music together. Here's what happened.

You Tube Video of Music Around The World With Pete, Chris & Chris

According to one of the Chris's:
First Pete uploaded himself playing. Then Chris added his harmonies and Guitar then I added the visual effects and realized I could do more and added to the fracas one more time on Bass and Drums.
It's like Photoshop Layer Tag... but with Music.

Who wants to add Piano, Choir or a String Ensamble?
Once a year the kids who grew up on Roosevelt Island come back and hold a reunion like this one from the past summer. I think I saw a keyboard player in that mix.

Don't miss the double rainbow that appeared at Southpoint Park during the 2009 Reunion (2 minute 15 second mark of the video) - Very Spectacular!