Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fun In The Roosevelt Island Snow - Sledding, Snowboarding & Field Crumpet - Go Out And Have Some Fun!

The snow that fell earlier this week has been removed from the Roosevelt Island streets and sidewalks but there's still plenty of places on Roosevelt Island to have fun in the snow. Earlier this afternoon, as the sun was starting to go down, some Roosevelt Islanders were sledding or snowboarding down the hill facing Queens in Southtown

and others were playing Field Crumpet under the Queensboro Bridge at Firefighter's Field.

More scenes from fun in the Roosevelt Island snow below.

As a reminder of what the Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning snowstorm from earlier this week was like, our special snow photographer Olya Turcihin shares these photos.

Image From Olya Turcihin
Olya Turcihin
Image From Olya Turcihin
Image From Olya Turcihin
Image From Olya Turcihin
Image From Olya Turcihin

Sunday is another day to play in the snow - go out and have some fun!

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the January 15, 2011 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - Ground Lease Extension Sought For Rivercross
Roosevelt Islander - Day After 2010 Christmas Blizzard
Roosevelt Island 360 - Says Goodbye To Blogging
Roosevelt Island School G & T Blog - December PS/IS 217 Newsletter
RIOC - Public Safety Statistics For January - November 2010
RIOC - Public Safety Blotter November 2010
Curbed - Roosevelt Island v Park Slope Neighborhood Of The Year Battle
Curbed - Ballot Stuffing In Roosevelt Island/Park Slope Battle
WSJ - Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Condo Comparisons
WSJ - Science & Engineering School May Be Coming To Roosevelt Island - Bloomberg Statement On Science/Engineering School
Curbed - More On Science School For RI
NY Times City Room Blog - Verdant Tidal East River Turbine Project Enters Next Phase
Power Gen - More On Verdant Power East River Project
NY Observer - Roosevelt Island Wireless Parking Sensors
Fast Company - More On Roosevelt Island Wireless Parking Sensors
Interior Design - Tradition Of Roosevelt Island Architectural Brutalism
Mutant Frog - 1970's Subway Tunnel Construction Under Roosevelt Island Video
Gotham Center - History Of Roosevelt Island Lighthouse
Gorgeous Ladies Of Comedy - Andrea Rosen Grew Up To Buddy Hackett Jokes
Karathon - Cab Refuses To Go To Roosevelt Island
WSJ - Religious Discrimination Settlement At Coler Goldwater Hospital
Daily News - Legacy High School Earns 2nd Place In Foreign Policy Contest
AMNY - Is Roosevelt Island Home Of Porn Site?
Curbed - Is Roosevelt Island Home Of Porn Site? -
Mania - Red Garden Japanese Anime Takes Place On Roosevelt Island
NBC New York - FDR Park For Roosevelt Island
Daily News - FDR Park Memorial To Roosevelt Or Architect Kahn?
New Yorker - FDR Memorial For Roosevelt Island
CBS New York - Roosevelt Island Resident At St Patrick's For Christmas
Metro NY - Child Legacy School Teacher Is Local Hero
Bowery Boogie - Scenic Roosevelt Island Subway Office Space
Jazz Hostels - Flying Above East River On Roosevelt Island Tram
Fodors - Tram Waste Of Time For Tourists
Fabulously Frugal - View From The Roosevelt Island Tram
You Tube - Christmas Carols At Good Shepherd
You Tube - Blizzard On Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Gallery RIVAA Absolutely Cool Exhibit Video
You Tube - Memoirs Of Gay Sean On Roosevelt Island

Friday, January 14, 2011

Old Roosevelt Island Print Media Attacks New Media Roosevelt Island Blog And Distorts Story On RIRA Censorship Motion - Does Email Count As Letter To The Editor?

Image of Printing Press From Compass Rose via Library Of Congress

 Roosevelt Island's local newspaper, the Main Street WIRE, reappears after more than a month's absence this weekend with an article (sorry, only a PDF File of the January 15 issue of the entire paper is available online) involving this blog which is full of material omissions, inacuracies and distortions.The WIRE article concerns the recent Roosevelt Island Resident's Association (RIRA) resolution, reported earlier here, censoring RIRA Committe Reports from being made available to the Roosevelt Island community at the same time that they are presented to the full RIRA Common Council, as has been the practice for almost the last two years, unless a 2/3 majority vote of that committee permit the Report to be made public.

Briefly, here is how the whole mess got started.
  • I received the January 2011 RIRA Common Council Package, including Agenda and Committee Reports from RIRA President Matt Katz and then published them. I have been receiving and publishing these materials for almost two years without any objections. 
  • RIRA Delegate Joyce Mincheff and then Matt Katz asked me to delete the Public Safety Committee Report from Blog. I refused for reasons stated below.
  • Public Safety Committee Chief Keith Guerra asked me to remove paragraph about Officer. Instead I offered to redact name. I believed him to be satisfied with my response.
  • At Ms. Mincheff's request, RIRA Passes Censorship Resolution by a vote of 17-12 failing to distinguish between Committee Reports, Work Product and Preliminary Minutes.
  • Publish Housing Committee Report And RIRA Southtown RIRA Representative's response.
  • Main Street WIRE publishes (PDF File) misleading report on incident.
Earlier this morning, after reading the WIRE's description of the events leading up to the RIRA censorship resolution, I sent the following email message to the WIRE's editor:

I just read your January 15 WIRE article on the RIRA Censorship resolution and quite frankly I am saddened and disappointed with your lack of balance, blatant partiality and disregard of significant facts known to you.

Your failure to state in this so-called "news article" the fact that what I published were final RIRA Committee Reports from both the Public Safety and Housing Committee Chairs submitted to the RIRA Common Council in the ordinary course of their procedures and not what you label as 'working papers" or "minutes" (page 1 para 3) makes a mockery of your editorial claims in the same issue as holding some sort of exclusive "responsibility" and "good-sense judgment" in Roosevelt Island reporting for your newspaper and you as a "seasoned professional".

Your failure to include the below statement from Ms. Mincheff, which you had a copy of, thanking me for the way in which I handled the Public Safety information demonstrates the intent of this article, together with your editorial, was really designed to be a personal attack against me as a competitive news outlet on Roosevelt Island
If he's okay with redacting his name- it works for me. Keep in mind, there may be responses you've received that mention his name as well.

Thanks for dealing with the problem in a humane manner.

You also failed to mention that the Public Safety and Housing Committee reports were provided to me by RIRA President Matt Katz and that the Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feely-Nahem told me that she had no problem with my publishing the material. She did have a problem that Matt Katz failed to forward a subsequent report that provided additional context to the published Public Safety Report which had it been sent, I would have added to the post. Did you not think that was an important part of the story or did it not fit into your personal agenda of attacking me?

You asked me to comment on this situation and I provided a full response expecting you to be fair and accurate. By failing to correctly represent my side of this story, you have badly misinformed the Roosevelt Island community.

Also, the condescending tone of your article and editorial, including these remarks:
... The technologies of the 21st century have put those megaphones into inexperienced and irresponsible hands. It’s no longer a news organization’s community of professionals making a disciplined, careful decision about what gets re- peated by publication. Now, it can be just one person, answerable only to himself, free of traditional constraints, with no particular responsibility to standards of right and reason...
is self serving and just plain wrong. I may not be a member of what you consider to be the journalism profession but will put the Roosevelt Islander Blog's news judgement and ethics besides the WIRE's any day of the week and come out ahead. I strive to be fair, accurate and provide as many different sides of a story that exist without claiming my own personal opinion to be a fact. When I do give my personal opinion it is stated to be so and not disguised as fact as you have done in this article in an attempt to discredit your competition in the world of Roosevelt Island news and information. I believe you have only hurt yourself and the WIRE.

Again, I am very disappointed that you have chosen this path.
The Editor's response to me was to write a letter to the editor - which I thought I just did - unless the WIRE editor meant for me to send an actual physical letter in an envelope with a stamp through the mail and that an email message somehow does not count.

Here's how the latest in the ongoing saga of the Roosevelt Island media wars began. Earlier in the week, the WIRE Editor contacted me and asked if I wanted to comment on the RIRA resolution restricting media access. I asked the WIRE Editor:
Are there specific questions or charges involving me or are you looking  for general policy comment.
The WIRE Editor replied that I might want to respond to the charge that I was irresponsible in publishing the RIRA Report and a general policy comment as well.

I responded:
OK, I will have a full response for you tomorrow.

If you have not done so already, you may want to consider asking Vini Fortuna, Ava Dawson, Frank Farance and other members of RIRA who opposed this resolution for their views on subject.

FYI - In regard to redacting the Police Officer's name, I never refused to do that but, in fact, I suggested redacting the officer's name to Keith Guerra and he was satisfied with my offer. Ask Keith about that.  I did refuse to delete post from Roosevelt Islander Blog when asked to by Joyce Mincheff, Matt Katz and Chief Guerra.

RIRA Common Council Packages have been sent to me and posted on the blog prior to RIRA Monthly Meetings many times before without any objection. To be clear, none of the material sent to me or posted was "work product" or "preliminary minutes" but were the RIRA Committee reports submitted to the Common Council in the regular course of RIRA business and similar Committee Reports have been posted many times in the past.

Below are two emails I sent to Joyce Mincheff and Matt Katz on January 5 in response to their emails asking me to remove the post of the RIRA Common Council  Package sent to me by Matt. You have my permission to print these emails in full if you wish. First
Joyce & Matt,

I understand your concern but this is news obtained lawfully and is not defamatory towards anyone.

I do not intend on deleting the material.

I think there has been much criticism in the past of RIOC's lack of transparency and keeping information from the public. I don't think it is wise for the Roosevelt Island Residents Association to follow down that path which seems to be the suggestion. It is the right thing to do for RIRA Committee reports to be made available to the public and not just for the select few in the know.

If anyone feels that Officer {Name Redacted} has been unfairly criticized, the solution is not to delete information but rather to add more information explaining why the criticism is wrong or incomplete which I am always willing to do.

I am happy to discuss this with any of you further if you wish.



and second:


I just got off the phone with Keith Guerra and I think he is satisfied with my redacting the officer's name but leaving the rest of the post. I also told Keith that I am happy to post additional information that counters the view expressed about the Officer.

I am not going to delete the post.


Joyce responded later that same day.

If he's okay with redacting his name- it works for me. Keep in mind, there may be responses you've received that mention his name as well.

Thanks for dealing with the problem in a humane manner.


Dick, If you wish to print Joyce's response, you should ask her permission to do so. I will have a chronological statement of the events for you tomorrow. I think that the above emails I am sharing with you provide the context for what occurred.

Also, Erin Feely-Nahem who wrote the Public Safety Committee report told me that she had no problem with my publishing the report. In addition to the Public Safety Report controversy, some RIRA members were embarrassed by the contents of the Housing Committee report submitted and want to prevent similar embarrassments from occurring again by prohibiting the distribution of these reports.

I am happy to respond to any specific follow up questions you may have.

The next day, I sent these comments to the WIRE Editor most of which were ignored and left out of the article.
Since April, 2009, the Roosevelt Islander Blog has been regularly publishing the RIRA monthly meeting Agenda and those Committee Reports provided by RIRA representatives, unedited and in their entirety, without any objections.  In fact, the material was made available with RIRA official's approval and encouragement.

Last week, continuing such practice, RIRA President Matt Katz provided me with the Agenda and Committee Reports for the January 2011 RIRA Common Council Meeting, which the Roosevelt Islander Blog published in full in the ordinary course, as was customary. The next day, I received an email message from Joyce Mincheff and Matt Katz, requesting that I remove from the Blog, the post which contained RIRA’s Public Safety Committee report about the NYPD officer assigned to Roosevelt Island because of certain critical comments made about the officer in the Committee Report.
I declined such request to remove this post, for the following reasons which were provided to Ms. Mincheff and Mr. Katz in an email:
“I understand your concern but this is news obtained lawfully and is not defamatory towards anyone.

I do not intend on deleting the material.

I think there has been much criticism in the past of RIOC's lack of transparency and keeping information from the public. I don't think it is wise for the Roosevelt Island Residents Association to follow down that path which seems to be the suggestion. It is the right thing to do for RIRA Committee reports to be made available to the public and not just for the select few in the know.

If anyone feels that {Name Redacted} has been unfairly criticized, the solution is not to delete information but rather to add more information explaining why the criticism is wrong or incomplete which I am always willing to do.

I am happy to discuss this with any of you further if you wish.”

Later that day, Public Safety Director, Keith Guerra, called me and also requested that the post be removed. He explained that criticism of the NYPD officer would make it difficult for the officer to do his job effectively, and that if the officer was removed from Roosevelt Island by his superiors, another officer probably would not be assigned to Roosevelt Island. I told Mr. Guerra that I would not remove the post for the reasons stated above but offered to redact the officer's name from the post. Mr. Guerra understood the reasons why I would not remove the post, and was satisfied with my redacting the officer's name.

The information published on the Roosevelt Islander Blog, which some RIRA members are now objecting to, was contained within formal RIRA Committee reports submitted by such Committees to the RIRA Common Council in the ordinary course of their business. These Committee reports were not "work product", " preliminary notes" or "unofficial minutes".

RIRA should not be preventing the Roosevelt Island public from reading the same Committee reports that are available to the Common Council Delegates which represent them.  These Common Council Delegates were elected to serve all Roosevelt Island residents, in a responsible and transparent manner, not behind an opaque and arbitrary wall preventing the free exchange of information to the public.

The effort by a majority of RIRA members to censor these Committee reports is an attempt to prevent individual members and the Council itself from being embarrassed or looking foolish. In my opinion, that is not a reason to censor information from the Roosevelt Island public."
After I read the WIRE article this morning, I called Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra to inquire if I misrepresented his position. Mr. Guerra replied that he did not say he was "satisfied" with my redacting the officer's name but that he was "OK" with it. To my mind, there is not much difference between being "satisfied" and "OK". Mr. Guerra did repeat that he would have preferred the entire paragraph concerning the officer be removed but fully understood my position of reporting a news story.

In my opinion, it's too bad the WIRE Editor, in this case and for his own particular reasons, does not understand the difference between a news story and a hatchet job. The WIRE Editor is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts!!!!!!

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Winter Snowstorms, New Tram Schedule, Tram Station Heating, New Red Bus Stops, Dedication Of Ping Pong Court, Organic Fertilizers, Grafitti Removal & More

Image of Ms Torres & Roosevelt Island Tram Cake from RIOC's Facebook Page

RIOC President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
RIOC President's Column

Date: 1/12/2011

Happy New Year to all residents and friends of Roosevelt Island! Our recent winter storms resulted in difficulties for many New York City commuters but the streets of Roosevelt Island were quickly cleared for our buses and resident vehicles. I am extremely pleased by our Grounds and Maintenance crew’s impressive work. I sincerely thank our employees who work through all sorts of strong weather and show great dedication to the Roosevelt Island community.

On a related note, the Tram remained in service during the entire time of the December 26th blizzard, including high winds exceeding 50 miles per hour. Operation of the Tram only stopped briefly because of lightning during the storm. Almost six weeks into operation of the modernized Tram, I am proud to report that the system is performing very well.

Also, the New Year marks a changing of the guard in the Governor’s office. So, I would like to congratulate our new Governor, Andrew Cuomo, on his election. I am positive that this New Year will see great prosperity and infrastructure and service development on Roosevelt Island and in all of New York State.


Projects Underway:

Good Shepherd Chapel Flooring Repair – In the Chapel’s multipurpose area and the offices, including the back office, removal of existing tile is in progress and installation of the floor finish will follow. The flooring is anticipated to be complete by the end of April 2011.

Good Shepherd Chapel HVAC Installation – Work continues on installation of the new HVAC System. Temporary heaters have been placed in the Multi Purpose Room to accommodate event usage until the new system’s expected completion by the end of April 2011.

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.

Tram Heating – Radiant Heater installation in both the Roosevelt Island and Manhattan station platforms is now complete.

Z-Brick Resetting – Board approval has been received for additional funds to continue eliminating pot holes and low spots in the early spring.

Projects in the Pipeline:

AVAC Underground Piping – During inspection of the AVAC system piping, seriously worn areas in the 20” diameter piping under Gristedes and in the east-west run between Roosevelt Landings and Capobianco Field were discovered. The RIOC Board has approved a proposal to repair the worn areas.

Tram Departure Times – A New Tram departure schedule is planned for the week of January 17th. It will then be posted on island kiosks, Tram cabin monitors, the RIOC facebook page,, and the RIOC website, Paper schedules will be available at the RIOC offices at 591 Main Street and an advisory will be sent out to all those subscribing to the RIOC advisories. To sign up please visit the RIOC website and follow the link on the left side of the home page.

Tram Station Bus Stops – RIOC will implement two Red Bus stops near the Tram station. The first bus stop will be located on the East side of the Tram entrance, opposite Firefighter’s Field. The second bus stop will be located across the street from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society kiosk. The bus stops will also be serviced by the Q102 and will have bus shelters. The effective start- date of the bus stops will be January 18th. For a map of the new bus stops and routes, please see the RIOC website,

Events, Recreation, & Community:

Dedication of “George Braithwaite Ping-Pong Court” – The Roosevelt Island Table Tennis Program, which provides free lessons to residents every Wednesday night and has over 70 registrants, was created by George Braithwaite. George, who is a 35 year resident of the island and was inducted into the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 1989, played on the US team that visited China in 1971, bridging what was then a political gap with an historic gesture of “Ping-Pong Diplomacy.” This April marks the 40th anniversary of this historic event and in recognition (3) outdoor cement ping-pong tables will be installed in the area adjacent the handball courts in Capobianco Park. The court will be dedicated to George during this year’s “Health & Fitness Day” in May.
In addition, Henge, Inc. (the manufacturer of the tables) and the USATT will be promoting the event. Mark your calendars because as part of their promotion, free ping-pong paddles and balls will be distributed to the island youth.

Graffiti Removal – With the help of the Public Safety Department, the Grounds Crew will continue to remove all graffiti island-wide. We encourage everyone to report any incidents of graffiti directly to Public Safety at (212) 832-4545 to ensure immediate removal.

Island-wide use of Organic Fertilizer and Pesticides – We will implement an "Organic Only" policy regarding fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and pest control starting this spring. As a result, lawns may not be as green and weed control may not be as comprehensive but, based on research and public opinion, we believe that the benefits of using non-toxic chemicals and fertilizer will be well worth it. This is one of several major "Green Initiatives" being undertaken by the Corporation which also include purchasing Hybrid buses and other electric vehicles, purchasing 20% of electric usage from biomass sources, using recycled print paper only, converting to "Green" cleaning supplies, and installing energy- efficient Xcelerator bathroom hand dryers. Other major "Green" initiatives in the planning stages are Solar Panels, Electric Car Charging Stations and LED Lighting.

Public Safety Department Coat Drive – The New York Cares Coat Drive, sponsored by the Public Safety Department, collected 320 coats this year. The coats have been donated to the program for distribution.

Roosevelt Island Film Locations Promotional Video – A promotional video and brochure to be targeted toward film production companies is currently in development. The video will promote the island’s unique photographic locations such as the Tram, Octagon Field, Lighthouse Park, Southpoint Openspace (opening Spring 2011), FDR Memorial (opening Fall 2012), Sportspark and the Promenades to name a few. Through the efforts of Erica Wilder, Community Relations Specialist, RIOC will work in conjunction with several film schools whereby students will develop the video and brochure as a school project with a scholarship given to the winner
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears on RIOC's web site and the January 15, 2011 Main Street WIRE.  

Verizon FIOS Or Time Warner Road Runner - How Is Your Roosevelt Island Cable And Internet Service

 Image Of Time Warner Cable TV Screen Initializing After Losing Signal

I made the switch from Time Warner Roadrunner Internet service almost two years ago and am very happy with the FIOS internet service. I did not switch from Time Warner cable TV service to FIOS TV solely because of NY 1 local news service which is only available on Time Warner. However, over the last several months Time Warner cable TV service has declined significantly for me at Riverwalk. Two to three times a week, the cable signal is suddenly lost shutting off the television as it undergoes a rebooting process. It can take 10-15 minutes, sometimes longer, before TV service is resumed while undergoing the mysterious mystro  initializing process. Despite the loss of NY1, I am very, very close to canceling Time Warner Cable and switching to Verizon FIOS TV.

How is your Roosevelt Island cable and internet service?  Jesse, a resident of Roosevelt Landings/Eastwood is not happy with Verizon FIOS service problems and reports:
Verizon is making a big push to break Time Warner's monopoly on cable TV in Roosevelt Landings.

In October, I found a flyer outside my door offering a double play with Internet download speeds of 20 Mbps, more than twice what I was getting with TWC. Since the price was $20 to $30 less per month, I switched. No complaints the first month, but last month we had a random two-day outage because a wire became dislodged in the basement, requiring a visit from an on-site technician (who was very friendly) to repair.

Now extreme Internet slowness has been plaguing us for almost a month, and Verizon tech support doesn't know what to do about it. I've been hung up on twice now by technicians who don't understand the setup in Roosevelt Landings, and transferred in circles until I hang up myself in frustration. I'm seeing real download speeds of less than 1 Mbps, nowhere near the 20 Mbps I'm paying for. An online support chat this evening ended abruptly with no resolution, just another promise for a callback that I've yet to receive.

All of these headaches in such a short time makes me yearn for the Time Warner Cable service I once hated. In the three years I had their service, I never had a service call. Maybe it's time to switch back? Anyone else experiencing similar issues?
Are you satisfied with your Roosevelt Island Cable and Internet service provider?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SAT And Other College Test Preparation Classes Available At The Roosevelt Island Youth Program - Also, A Free, Virtual School On Almost Every Subject Offered By The Khan Academy

Are you a high school student preparing for college admission exams? If so, why not take advantage of the additional computer time and test preparations offered at the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP). From RIYP:
We have extended our Computer Room hours from 3 days a week, to Monday-Fridays From 3-8 PM. We are offering SAT, PSAT, and ACT Prep at the Youth Center. You can make an appointment with Computer Specialist Emmanuel Ynoa by calling the Youth Center at 212-935-3645, or by email at the next SAT test date is March12.
Another resource for high school students or individuals of any age to enhance their knowledge and skills is the do-it-yourself-by-You Tube Video classes provided by the Khan Academy. If you haven't yet heard of the Khan Academy, it is:
...a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere.

We have 1600+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance which have been recorded by Salman Khan.
More here on the Khan Academy, a free virtual school for the world. What a great idea!

The Khan Academy also provides SAT Preparation Classes. If your a Roosevelt Island high school student and use the Khan Academy videos together with the resources of the RIYP, who knows how high you may score on your exams. Give them both a try.

For those of us past SAT age, there are a whole host of fascinating videos on an incredible variety of topics available at the Khan Academy. In addition to math, physics, chemistry and biology, there are videos on venture capital, the credit crisis, history, economics, banking and a whole lot more   You won't be disappointed. They even have Brain Teasers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) In Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds Up For Grabs - RIRA Committee Formed To Evaluate Applicants And Make Recommendations To RIOC

 Pile Of Money Image From Richwealthpig

Below is Matt Katz's Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President's Report to the January RIRA meeting sent in by Mr. Katz. Among the topics Mr. Katz addresses is the creation of a RIRA  Public Purpose Fund Committee that is charged with making recommendations to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for the distribution of $100,000 to Roosevelt Island organizations.  More about that after Mr. Katz's report.

Mr. Katz's report to the RIRA Council should not be confused with the RIRA Report/Column, versions of which previously appeared in both the Main Street WIRE and this Blog for the past two years. As previously reported, Mr. Katz has deferred to the Editor of the Main Street WIRE the decision as to how and where the RIRA Report/Column may be presented in the media and any future RIRA web site. The Main Street WIRE editor continues to refuse to allow the column to be published in full on this blog.

Here is Mr. Katz's report:
 RIRA President’s Report – January 5, 2011

1. Welcome back, everyone. I hope your holidays were delightful. Our reconstituted committees have been busy over the last month, and I hope you’ve had a chance to read their activity reports.

2. Tonight we will reconstitute and elect the Chair of the Public Purpose Fund Committee, charged with the responsibility of allocating $100,000 from the RIOC Operating budget to various Island organizations. This has been one of the more interesting jobs that RIRA has taken on over the last four years, and I hope you will consider volunteering to take part. I’ve learned that eight Island organizations have applied for grants this year, asking for a total of $164,373.00. The Committee will be given
the applications in about a week’s time, after RIOC has vetted them for completeness. There will be more than enough time available for the Committee members to read the applications, interview the applicants and come to their conclusions for approval by the Common Council at our March 2nd meeting. RIOC CFO, Steve Chironis, has told me that the RIOC Board of Directors will likely meet to consider our recommendations when they next meet on April 6, having declined to schedule a March meeting.

3. Following up on some material I mentioned last time, our Governor emeritus, David Paterson, vetoed the hydrofracking moratorium bill passed by both houses of the State Legislature that would have stopped the practice at least until this May. He put in place a somewhat watered- down version, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the industry’s efforts to extract gas from shale in New York State and ultimately, how this process will impact the aquifer that supplies all of New York City’s water. I hope Ellen Polivy will continue to keep us informed.

4. I have received a completed permit authorizing our use of the Good Shepherd Community Center through the end of the year. It has been my practice to reserve this facility on a calendar-year basis. Our next meeting will return to Good Shepherd, and I hope all the work on the new HVAC systems will be complete and our community room warm and cozy.

5. At the Orientations I held in November, I loaned two of my copies of Robert’s Rules of Order to new members, but I don’t remember who. I recommend that everyone keep a copy of Robert’s Revised edition as a reference, but regardless, it’s January and I would like my copies back.
RIOC CFO Steve Chironis provides a list of those organizations in the running for Public Purpose Grants.
Please be advised that the following Public Purpose Grant Applications for 2011/2012 were received;

1.) Roosevelt Island Seniors Association - $ 20,000
2.) Roosevelt Island Disabled Association - $ 9,105
3.) R&R Concerts Inc. - $ 9,600
4.) Island Kids Inc. - $ 25,000
5.) RICLA $ 19,500
6.) PS/IS 217 PTA $ 26,558
7.) RI Historical Society $ 20,000
8.) Life Frames Inc. $ 34,610
The applications will be vetted for completeness and then will be forwarded sometime next week to RIRA. RIRA will evaluate and then make a recommendation to the RIOC Board.
The guidelines and criteria for evaluating Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds Grant Applicants are listed here. Factors include:
a)    Proportion of recipients who are residents of Roosevelt Island.
b)    Preference will be given to organizations that can provide services to the widest population of residents, regardless of their economic condition.
c)    Amount of services delivered to the economically disadvantaged.
d)    Frequency of need — Is this a one-time request or is it expected to be a recurring request?
e)    Proven history of service to the community.
f)    Extent of volunteerism in the organization — how much of the group's needs are filled by donated time and/or materials?
g)    Availability of "matching" grants or services — will a RIOC grant improve the chances of receiving additional monies or services form outside groups?
h)    Efforts to secure grants from other sources. i)    Normally, RIRA will not recommend funding to cover 100% of salaries.
The 2010 Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds recipients were:
  • Island Kids $20,000;
  • LifeFrames $19,000;
  • Marlins $18,000;
  • PTA $25,500;
  • RICLA $9,500;
  • RIHS Kiosk $3,000 and
  • Seniors $5,000.
The 2009 Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds Recipients were:
  • $0 Child School
  • $36,000 Island Kids
  • $20,000 Life Frames
  • $0 Orphans International
  • $10,000 RICLA
  • $4,000 RI Day Nursery
  • $25,000 RI Disabled Association and
  • 5,000 RI Seniors Association
Looks like the only new Roosevelt Island organization seeking Public Purpose Funds for this year is R&R Concerts.

Octagon RIRA Common Council Representative Bill Long was named Chair of the RIRA Public Purpose Committee. Mr. Long was one of the RIRA representatives who voted in favor of the RIRA censorship motion.

More information available on Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds from previous posts here.

Nightimes Scenes From A Roosevelt Island January Snowstorm - If Going To Work Today, Travel Safely, If Staying Home, Have A Fun Snow Day!

Image Of Red Bus On Snowy Main Street From Riverwalk Rooftop

Some scenes from a snowy Roosevelt Island late last night and early this morning.

People coming home,

on their way to the subway after leaving work,

plowing the streets

and cars

parked on Main Street blocking the plowing of the streets.

From a rooftop

and street level.

More scenes from a snowy Roosevelt Island night here.

If you have to go to work today, travel safely and patiently. If you can stay home, have a fun snow day.

UPDATE 12:45 PM - RIOC and the Roosevelt Island building managements did an excellent job cleaning up after the snowstorm. Kudos to all who worked very hard through the early morning hours and continue to do so today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Roosevelt Island Theater, Dance and Fitness Classes Being Offered At Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance - Sign Up Now To Meet New Friends, Express Your Creativity, Have Fun & Get In Better Shape!

Are you interested in taking dance, fitness or theater classes right here on Roosevelt Island? If so, consider registering for classes at Roosevelt Island's own Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MST&DA).  It may be a great way to meet some new friends, have fun, express yourself creatively and get in better shape. According to the MST&DA:
For more than 20 years the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) has been a creative outlet for Roosevelt Island residents of all ages. In this unique environment, children and adults alike come together to perform for their friends, families and others in search of a cultural oasis and great entertainment in the middle of the East River.
For those not looking for the spotlight, there are also a wide variety of acting, dance and fitness classes taught by our very talented instructors. Whether you're a former, current, or prospective student, or just curious, MST&DA welcomes you!
Students of all ages from Pre K to adult are welcome but hurry up and register during these times:
Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Spring Registration Dates/Times:
Saturday, Jan. 15, 11AM -3PM
Tuesday, Jan 18, 6PM - 8PM
Wednesday, Jan 19, 6PM - 8PM
Thursday, Jan 20, 3PM - 5 PM
Saturday, Jan 22, 11AM - 3PM
Here's a You Tube Video of MST&DA's production of Menny & Mila's Russian Doll from last July.

More information of MST&DA schedule of classes and upcoming plays available here.

UPDATE & CORRECTION 1/12 - I am advised that the video above was not part of any MST&DA production but was performed by another group using the MST&DA space.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Big Snowstorm, Maybe Blizzard, Heading Towards New York City - Will Roosevelt Island Handle This Snow Storm As Well As Last? RIOC Orders Cars Off Main Street After Tuesday 4 PM

 Image of Day After Christmas Blizzard On Main Street From Olya Turcihin

According to the NY Daily News:
 Get out the snow shovels - another serious snowstorm is on the way.
A nasty winter storm is threatening to roar into the city Tuesday night and could dump 10 inches or more of snow on us....
In light of the predicted snow storm RIOC has issued the following advisory:
Please be advised there will be no parking on Main Street from 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 11th to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 12th in anticipation of the upcoming snow storm.

All motor vehicle owners should utilize the Motorgate Parking Garage for the parking of their vehicles.

Thank you for your cooperation.
If you don't move your car off Main Street, this might happen to it.

RIOC and the Roosevelt Island building managements did a pretty good job with the day after Christmas blizzard, certainly much better than the NYC Sanitation Department. Let's hope they are prepared to do as well this time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Andrea Rosen, Comedian Who Grew Up On Roosevelt Island Profiled - Listened To Neighbor Buddy Hackett Telling One Liners, But Don't Fight Over A Duck

Image of Andrea Rosen From Get Off Your Knees Comedy

The Gorgeous Ladies Of Comedy (GLOB) blog profiles comedian Andrea Rosen, who grew up on Roosevelt Island.  From the GLOB interview:
Where did you grow up?
Roosevelt Island. Weird right? Grandpa from the Munsters lived there for a while when he was super old. And Buddy Hackett had an apartment in my building – he would do one liners for anyone who would listen. It was annoying....
Ms. Rosen recounts how she fell asleep during an audition for HBO"S Flight of the Conchords.

and here's Roosevelt Islander Buddy Hackett with Johnny Carson.

Watch the whole interview - the duck story is priceless.