Saturday, February 19, 2011

Roosevelt Island Tram Service Interruptions Earlier This Week - Here's Why, Kinks Still Being Worked Out On New Tram System

 Image Of Tram Control Room From Remontees-Mecaniques

Earlier this week, the Roosevelt Island Tram experienced brief interruptions in service. Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) Vice President Of Operations Fernando Martinez explains what happened:
Earlier this week, two minor malfunctions caused a disruption in Tram service.In both cases, RIOC was able to quickly identify the problem, make repairs, and return the Tram to full operation. As with any transportation system, especially a new one, minor disruptions to service are expected. RIOC will continue to identify way to reduce disruptions, while putting public safety first.

The two specific incidents include:

1. On Sunday, February 13th. at 2:48 A.M., the Ethernet link communication system lost power and communication between the control room and the cabins was interrupted. The unit was replaced and the tram resumed operation at 7:05 A.M.

2. On Monday, February 14th. at 7:48 A.M., the South Tram’s monitoring system receiver antenna’s supporting bracket ruptured,resulting in a signal loss. Repairs were completed and the tram was returned to operation by 10:15 A.M.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Will Roosevelt Island Become Silicon Island? Stanford, MIT, Cornell & Other Top Universities Express Interest In Proposed New York City State Of The Art Applied Sciences School - And It May Be Right Here At Coler Goldwater Site

Image Of Google's Sergey Brin & Larry Page From Red Herring

Will Roosevelt Island follow in the footsteps of San Francisco's Bay area Silicon Valley to become New York City's Silicon Island? How about the next Sergey Brin and Larry Page starting the new Google from right here on Roosevelt Island? Is that possible? Well, hold on to your hats because it may very well happen sometime in the not too distant future.

As reported in earlier post, the Roosevelt Island Coler Goldwater Hospital site is being considered as one of the 4 possible sites for a world class applied sciences academic research facility to be located in New York City according to a plan put forth by Mayor Bloomberg.
... “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.”...
The San Jose Mercury News reported yesterday, via Curbed, that Stanford University, the birthplace of so many Silicon Valley hi-tech companies, is among the first class educational research institutions interested in creating a New York City campus.
... It is a competitive process, and at least 19 universities have expressed an interest, including ones in India and Israel. The top American contenders, in addition to Stanford, are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell and Purdue....
According to the San Jose Mercury News:
... Stanford and New York officials envision a center focusing on information technology, with one department of computer science and a second in electrical engineering. Its first phase would include 25 faculty, 125 Ph.D. students and 250 or more students seeking master's degrees.

The faculty would initially come primarily from the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Business, including experts in information technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Some new faculty would be hired for the campus. Others would come from the main campus, rotating through for one- to five-year assignments. Biology professor Robert Simoni called the idea "exciting, and very interesting to watch."

Graduate students would earn their degrees in New York, not Palo Alto, although the curricula of the two campuses would be integrated, Hennessy said. Stanford would plan to use its long experience in distance education to allow East Coast and West Coast locations to share courses and support cross-country research collaborations....
The four possible sites being offered by NYC are 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 other privately owned sites in NYC may be considered.

The Coler Goldwater Site on Roosevelt Island would be the perfect spot for such a campus combing a tranquil and beautiful waterfront location with easy access to the rest of Manhattan and NYC only minutes away by the nearby Tram or F subway train.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Explains Need For Pedestrian Safety Barrier For Entire Roosevelt Island Bridge

Image Of Queens Side Of Roosevelt Island Bridge With No Safety Barrier Today

Several readers of yesterday's post regarding the installation of a pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge did not see the need for one.
I've been using this bridge for so long with my children and I've never had the need for extra barriers. Maybe I am not paranoid enough or maybe because I believe that we are already bubble-wrapping out lives way too much. Watch your kids and all will be fine.

That said, what I do miss about the new bridge are bicycle lanes. The grate makes it nearly impossible for bikes to use the bridge and most end up riding on the sidewalk. That, IMHO, is way more dangerous than a missing fence.
... no need for the safety barrier. I lived here over twenty years and never was this a problem. As you can see from the pick, they did put down a white line...
The safety barrier keeps people from jumping. There is no need for a second walkway. The triboro and queensboro both have one walkway each. If you look at the structure, the roadway and walkway are within the bridge lines. Adding a second walkway means you would have to add a suspended structure and more weight to a bridge that has to go up and down.
Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) President Jim Bates responds to these comments explaining why a pedestrian safety barrier is necessary along the entire Roosevelt Island Bridge sidewalk.
As a enabled wheelchair scooter riding person I challenge any of you who feel a barrier is not necessary to hop on a wheelchair or motorized scooter and go on the walkway and see what happens when your wheelchair is about 1 inch from the on coming traffic.
It is nearly impossible for 2 wheelchairs traveling in opposite direction to pass each other on the walkway or a wheelchair and a baby carriage or a wheelchair and a shopping cart.
What about the danger of a slippery surface and children on the walkway or a bicycle coming towards you, (yes I know it's illegal to ride a bike on the walkway, you tell that to the cyclist).
I could go on.
Safety first for all Islanders should be what you should be thinking and saying.
Just do it !

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After Spending $86.5 Million On Reconstruction Of Roosevelt Island Bridge, Why Is There No Pedestrian Safety Barrier On Queens Side Of Bridge? Please Explain New York City Department Of Transportation

Image Of Queens Side Of Roosevelt Island Bridge With No Safety Barrier Today

Why is there no pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge? As anyone can clearly see from the picture above, this is a hazardous area because there's not a lot of room on the sidewalk, particularly for wheelchairs and strollers which are very common on Roosevelt Island.  Why can't a safety barrier be installed on the street side of the sidewalk?

It's not as though a pedestrian barrier for this part of the Roosevelt Island Bridge is a new idea. The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association has been asking for one for a long time.  Roosevelt Island 360 wrote about the need for a pedestrian safety barrier for the Roosevelt Island Bridge in August of 2007.
... When I first read the pamphlets and DOT webpage about the Roosevelt Island Bridge reconstruction I took the phrase new “pedestrian safety fencing” to refer to the railing of the bridge. I have always been concerned about my kids walking alongside the rail and either dropping toys down to the water or falling through themselves.

It was only after reading the phrase again that I realized it refers to a fence separating pedestrians from passing cars and trucks. OK, I should have realized that from the get go. It never made sense how the original designers (Knappen Tippetts Abbott Engineering Company of NYC) of a bridge projected to expect 640 vehicle crossings a day felt that a pedestrian safety fence was not necessary in the first place....
Well, a pedestrian safety barrier is necessary for the whole Roosevelt Island Bridge, not just on the Roosevelt Island side

Image Of Pedestrian Barrier On Roosevelt Island Side Of Roosevelt Island Bridge

Image Of Pedestrian Barrier On Roosevelt Island Side Of Roosevelt Island Bridge

but all the way to the Queens side of the Bridge as well.

Image Of Roosevelt Island Bridge Pathway From Ben Kravitz

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee is making the installation of such a safety barrier one of it's priorities for the coming year, From the February RIRA Island Services Report:
o Pedestrian safety barrier on Queens side of RI bridge – Goal is to have the Department of Transportation install a pedestrian safety barrier similar to the barrier on the RI side of the bridge. (Jim Bates is lead person.)
After spending at least $86.5 million on the Roosevelt Island Bridge Reconstruction Project, you would think that the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) would include a safety barrier protecting pedestrians from the cars and trucks using the Bridge ON THE WHOLE BRIDGE and not just a portion of it.

The work on the reconstruction of the Roosevelt Island Bridge is expected to be completed by March 2011, which is next month. According to the DOT:
... The project will include the complete rehabilitation of the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Reconstruction will take place in three stages over three years. Currently, the lift span is non-operational and marine traffic must pass using the West Channel of the East River. The project cost is $86.5 million.
This project is expected to be completed by March 2011.

Work Completed (as of February 2010)
  • Replace the entire roadway deck and approaches – completed ahead of schedule
  • Construct a new turning lane from the bridge onto Vernon Boulevard southbound – completed ahead of schedule
  • Replace bearings to current seismic codes
  • Remove existing paint and repainting the entire bridge – 98% complete
  • Install new sidewalks and pedestrian safety fencing – 98% complete
  • Repair all deteriorated structural elements, river piers and the timber fender system – 95% complete...
It is interesting to note that as of February 2010 the DOT considered 98% of the work completed to install new sidewalks and pedestrian safety fencing yet no safety barriers were installed on the Queens side of the bridge nor have they been since. Is the remaining 2% considered to be the pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side? If so, will it be completed by March 2011? We shall soon see.

In other Roosevelt Island Bridge news, the DOT will be conducting period test openings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge over the next two weeks.  According to the following advisory from RIOC:
Please be advised the DOT will be performing test openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge on Thursday, February 17th and Friday, February 18th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Please be advised the DOT will be performing test openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge on Tuesday, February 22nd, Wednesday, February 23rd and Thursday, February 24th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information available on the Roosevelt Island Bridge and it's Reconstruction Project from earlier posts.

UPDATE 1/18 - The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) explains the importance of a pedestrian safety barrier for the entire Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Part Time Bus Driver Job Available With Roosevelt Island Racquet Club

Image of Otto, the Simpson's school Bus Driver from Wired

Are you looking for a part time job on Roosevelt Island? If so, there is a job available with the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club as a school bus driver. From 
Driver for Children's After School Program on Roosevelt Island. Must have CDL Class C with Passenger endorsement, clean driving record, and be good with children. 25 - 30 hours weekly. Benefits.  
The school bus driver job is also listed on Craigslist.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

RIOC Operations Committee Meeting Thursday February 7 - Update On Various Roosevelt Island Projects And Closed Session To Discuss Contract Negotiations With Poma On Tram Delay

Image Of September 2010 RIOC Operations Committee Meeting

 Received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.
The Committee will:
1. Receive an update on Motorgate Lighting Project; 
2. Discuss Information Technology Projects; 
3. Discuss Roosevelt Island ferry service; 
4. Discuss electric car charging stations;
5. Receive an update on Red bus service and schedule; 
6. Receive an update on Tram Project; 
7. Receive an update on Streetline project; and 
8. Discuss RIOC Board emails.
A subsequent message received from RIOC CFO Steve Chironis advised that Item 6, an update on the Tram Project, may be held in a closed session, meaning that it will not be open to the public. From Mr. Chironis:
The reason why I have requested a closed session to discuss the Tram update with the Ops. Committee is in order to discuss certain business negotiations in progress with POMA.
The business negotiations with POMA probably refers to a discussion on the damages to be paid, or not, by POMA for the nearly 2 month delay from the scheduled late August/early September Tram opening to it's actual November 30 return to service. During the October 2010 RIOC Board of Directors meeting, it was stated
... $15 thousand in liquidated damages are incurred by POMA every day the Tram is out of service from the early September date that the Tram was originally scheduled to be ready for service....
An audio webcast of the Operations Committee Public Session will be available a few days after the meeting.

Also, the February 23 RIOC Board Meeting has been cancelled.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cutting Edge Fuel Cell Technology Providing Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building With Electricity Using Hydrogen, Oxygen & Natural Gas - Here's How It's Done

Roosevelt Island is again demonstrating how it is at the forefront of using new technology for urban planning purposes. This time it involves the use of fuel cells to provide electricity for residential apartment buildings.

Image Of Octagon Fuel Cell on Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building developer Bruce Becker spoke on the future of electricity generation in the United States and the use of hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell technology in residential apartment buildings at this week's Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Conference. According to American Banking & Marketing News:
... Becker + Becker has already purchased and installed two PureCell® Model 400 Systems.  One system is installed at 360 State Street, a 500-unit LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified project in New Haven, Conn., making the facility the first large-scale mixed-use residential building to generate a majority of its own power on-site with a fuel cell. Another PureCell System is generating power and thermal energy at the Octagon, a 500-unit LEED Silver-certified upscale residential building on Roosevelt Island, N.Y.

Bruce Becker said, “We are proud to pioneer the fuel cell revolution in multi-family development, powering the first 1,000 homes with UTC Power’s Model 400 System.  We could not have achieved this incredible feat without the innovation and perseverance of our architecture and engineering team, as well as the policy and financial support of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority and the Multi-Employer Property Trust.”...
Here's an explanation of how Roosevelt Island's $3 million Octagon Fuel Cell (including subsidies and $1 million grant from NYSERDA) works

Image Of Octagon Fuel Cell on Roosevelt Island

 using hydrogen, oxygen and natural gas.

The Octagon, A Case Study for Fuel Cells in Multi-Family Buildings from Kavanagh Productions Inc on Vimeo.

UPDATE 10 PM: A Reader comments:
 The fuel cell is on the other side of the tennis court behind the bus stop. The picture you have is part of the original HVAC system for the building.
RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin adds:
I am really excited about alternate energy sources like the fuel cell project at the Octagon and Verdant's tidal energy project. I have been working with both groups to see if we can use both of these power sources to power other areas of the island like Motorgate, Sportspark and possibly other residential buildings.

By the late spring we will know how much energy the fuel cell produces and hopefully work with the State and City government to overcome any regulatory hurdles to use the excess energy produced or perhaps install our own. Verdant has shown interest in powering areas of the island like Motorgate and perhaps even more depending on the amount of energy their project produces. This could eventually power electric car charging stations for both resident and RIOC vehicles with zero emission energy.

Electricity on the island is not only an environmental issue, it is an affordable housing issue as many residents rely on expensive electric heat. If Roosevelt Island can use its own clean and inexpensive energy sources, we can pass on that savings to the residents continuing our commitment to affordable housing. Once again, Roosevelt Island is at the forefront of clean energy, technology, and urban planning. As the Chair of the Operations Committee at RIOC, I am very excited to see the Island lead the way.

What Was That Object Hurtling Through the Roosevelt Island And New York City Sky? A Fireball, Meteor Or Something Else?

2009 Austin, Texas Daytime Fireball Image From Meteorite USA For Illustrative Purposes Only

Did you happen to notice an object hurtling through the sky over Roosevelt Island yesterday afternoon? At least one person did - Mother Geek - who tweeted:
Just saw a weird comet-like thingy go over Roosevelt Island. Any ideas as to what it is (or am I going crazy)?
The Blog, Mike's Astro Photos has an explanation:
A daytime fireball seen today from Philadelphia, New York City, New Jersey and other parts of the east coast turned heads and made waves. Over 20 AMS reports were filed within an hour of the fall and almost all of them put the space rock somewhere in the Atlantic....
Some comments from readers of Mike's Astro Photos:
I witnessed it from midtown Manhattan. It appeared to be southeast of here at approximately 12:45 pm. It looked a little like a rocket that you would see from fireworks, but fired down from the sky, rather than upwards.
I saw it! I was looking over the east river from Manhattan and I saw it as it passed over Roosevelt Island! It was cool and no one believed me!
NBC New York reported:
... Around 12:30 in the afternoon a fireball appeared in the sky over Pennsylvania, traveling east for hundreds of miles.

The internet lit up with reports of sightings from people in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland...

...Scientists say it most certainly was a large meteor, a piece of an asteroid or a comet that falls through the earth's atmosphere.
This latest meteor, one scientist says, was probably the size of a car and from its trajectory likely landed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean...
More on Valentine's Day Fireball/Metorite at Lunar Meteorites Hunter. and reports on February 14 Fireball incident from American Meteor Society.

Here's a You Tube Video of a 2009 daytime fireball seen in Austin Texas.

So, did you see the fireball/meteor over Roosevelt Island?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day From Roosevelt Island - Youth Program Gives Out Hearts & Jim Croce Sings I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song

Happy Valentine's Day From Roosevelt Island!!!!

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program celebrated Valentine's Day and shares how:
The Roosevelt Island Youth Program handed out over 300 Valentine Hearts to parents, seniors and youth today to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Healthy Heart Month. So to all our neighbors spend a little time with the one’s you love.

You can also celebrate Valentine's Day and tell someone you love them in a song - Jim Croce's I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song.

You Tube Video Of Jim Croce's I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song

Happy Valentine's Day B!

Weekend Fight In Front Of Roosevelt Island Card Shop, 2 Males Arrested For Assaulting Resident - 2 Public Safety Officers Sustained Minor Injuries

 Image Of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Shield From RIOC

The 2/12-13 Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Report indicates:
Assault Disorderly Conduct/Criminal impersonation- Two subjects arrested by PSD.
Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra adds:
There was a fight that occurred in front of the Card Shop, which filtered down to the Deli. Two adult males, who formerly resided on the island, were arrested for assaulting an adult male resident of the island. Both were processed at the 114th Pct. and sent through the system. Two Public Safety Officers sustained minor injuries breaking up the fight, due to a large crowd that formed as the fight was occurring. One of the males was also charged with Criminal Impersonation for not revealing his true identity because of a pending Warrant.

Roosevelt Island Resident Asks RIOC For More Red Bus Stops - At Sportspark Pool, Southpoint Park And Every 2 Blocks

View Larger Map of Proposed Sportspark Red Bus Stop

Does Roosevelt Island need more stops for the Red Bus? At least one Southtown resident thinks so and sent the following message to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Executive Staff.
Please add another bus stop for the Red Bus and the Q102 behind the Sports Park at the Pool entrance as it is hard to get to for those of us that have mobility issues everyday, and really for anyone on the rest of the island, especially in bad storms and seeing as the red bus stops at the stop sign, that would be a great place for one. I wish it would be important to RIOCC that a lot of people depend on the buses here, the Red Bus and the Q102 to get around, yet it seems that getting to the Tram and the F Train is the only important place the buses go to on the South end of the RI.

The Red Bus and the Q102 should make stops every 2 blocks on this island...I also would love to see a stop down at the new Freedom Park for both the Red Bus and the Q102...please make more bus stops more important on this island, is any one listening?

So many people work and play on the Southern tip of the island, it would be wonderful to know one could get on a bus to go down there to the Pool and the new Freedom Park, as well as all the other events at Sport Park...I would like to see the Red bus go to Gold Water so families could get the the hospital to visit their loved ones as well, not to mention the fact that then one could get on one of the buses to come back home or go to the F Train, Post office or to the the Library or to meet a friend at the Trellis.

There are about 4000 people that live in the South Town area and the bus stops in South Town are few and far between...why is that? We like to use the stores and shops on the island as well and use of the bus is a wonderful thing especially when your legs and feet do not want to cooperate and do what they are supposed to do every day.

Please, Please put more bus stops on the South end of the island and make life a little easier and more enjoyable for those that need the bus system here, I am imploring you.

Thank you very much
More on the Roosevelt Island Red Bus Route, Schedule and Stops from earlier posts.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Roosevelt Island Sportspark Swimming & Basketball Programming, Table Tennis Tournament, Grandparent's Day And Black History Month Swing Dancing Performance

You Tube Video Of Roosevelt Island Table Tennis Tournament Finals

RIOC President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
It’s been a long cold winter and lots of folks are starting to suffer from cabin fever. If you are one of them or just looking to get out, socialize, and exercise, Sportspark might be just the place for you.

Under the direction of Michael Smith, RIOC's Parks & Recreation Manager, and his team, we have made infrastructure improvements and implemented new, free or low-cost programming for the community.

Most recently, on February 5th, Sportspark hosted round robin table tennis qualifying matches that will lead to a championship play-off during Health & Fitness Day in May. This tournament was born out of a very successful table tennis program run at Sportspark on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights by world-famous champion and Island resident George Braithwaite.

Over 40 players, almost all of them regulars from Ping-Pong program, competed in beginner, intermediate, and advanced categories. Thirty-six winners are advancing to the finals.

We also offer programs for residents interested in basketball or swimming. Our free play basketball, held on Saturday’s from 2pm – 6pm, has quickly become popular, with 40 to 50 people regularly showing up to play. We also host wheel chair basketball on Saturday’s from 10am – 1pm.

And if you’re interested in learning to swim, take a water aerobics class, or just swim, we offer classes and open swim at our newly upgraded pool. The work we’ve recently completed includes installation of new drains, a new filtrations system, the resurfacing of the pool, and repainting of the locker rooms. For information about classes and open swim, call 212-832-4559.

We are always looking to provide better services to residents. If you have an idea for a recreation we can provide at Sportspark, please call Mike Smith at 212-832-4559 or email him at

If you are looking for other activities, we’ve got our Black History month event and our Annual Grandparents Day coming up. There is more information on these below.

The Public Safety Department and SafeKids NYC are co-sponsoring their Annual Grandparents Day on Tuesday, February 22nd from 10:00am-1:00pm at the Senior Center (546 Main Street). Safety tips and goodies will be given out to the seniors. Refreshments will also be served.

In partnership with the Roosevelt Island Senior Association, the annual Black History Month event will celebrate the history of Swing Dancing in America. Performers will demonstrate popular dances from the Swing era, including the Lindy Hop, Charleston and the Jitterbug. Guest speakers will provide a brief history of the dances, which evolved at the famous Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. The event will take place on February 26th at 6PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center. Refreshments will be served immediately following the event at the Senior Center, 546 Main Street.
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears on RIOC's web site and the February 12, 2011 Main Street WIRE.