Saturday, April 23, 2011

Roosevelt Island On The Web Links

Roosevelt Island on the Web Links as appearing in the April 23, 2011 Main Street WIRE.

Roosevelt Islander - Stanford Wants Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Islander - FDR Hope Memorial Wheelchair Statue
FDR Hope Memorial - We Are Enabled
You Tube- FDR Hope Memorial Unveiled
NY 1 - FDR Wheelchair Memorial for Roosevelt Island
Curbed - FDR Hope Memorial Unveiled
NY Post - Roosevelt Island Statue of Disabled FDR
Wall Street Journal - Stanford Eyes Roosevelt Island Campus
Stanford News - Stanford President on Roosevelt Island Proposal
Business Insider - Stanford Proposed Roosevelt Island Campus
You Tube - Video of Stanford's Roosevelt Island Proposal
Boiler Station - Purdue Also Interested in Roosevelt Island Campus
Second Avenue Sagas - How Roosevelt Island Got the F Train
Jongmin Kim blog - New Red Bus App
See Click Fix - Meditation Steps in Disrepair
RIOC April RIOC Board of Directors Meeting Webcast
RIOC - Operations Committee audio webcast
RIOC - Real Estate Committee audio webcast
RIOC - Governance Committee audio webcast
RIOC - March Public Safety Blotter
RIOC March Public Safety Statitstics
RIRA Online - Cherry Blossom Festival
NY Post - No Sheriff on Roosevelt Island
NY Times - Ping Pong With Roosevelt Island Chief
NY Times - Underground Nuclear Reactor Proposed for RI in 1960's
Mashable - Smarter Wireless Roosevelt Island Parking
NY Post - Outdoor Ping Pong Tables Coming to Roosevelt Island
Just Verb It - Outdoor Photography on Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island School G & T Class Blog - PS/IS 217 Volunteer Day
You Tube - Where I Go Roosevelt Island
You Tube - Roosevelt Island Tram Poem
You Tube - Roosevelt Island Ice Cream Truck
Roosevelt Island Listings - RI Jobs and Business Networking Group

Friday, April 22, 2011

Expect Crowded Roosevelt Island Tram Cabins & Stations This Weekend, No Roosevelt Island Subway Service From Manhattan April 23 -25 But RIOC Will Be Providing 24 Hours Tram Service and Both Cabins Running

Expect crowded Roosevelt Island Trams this weekend because there will again be no F train service to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan starting at 12:01 AM Saturday April 23- 5 AM Monday April 25. According to the MTA:
F Jamaica-bound trains are rerouted via the  M from 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza

Weekend 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM, Mon April 23 - Apr 25

...  For service to Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge, take the  F to Roosevelt Av

and transfer to a Coney-Island bound F.

For service from 57 St, Lexington Av-63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge,

take a Coney Island-bound  F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.
As an alternative, since the F Train will be running on the M line, you can take the F to 53rd and Lexington. Then walk to the Tram on 2 Ave and 60th Street thereby avoiding the longer subway trip into Queens and back to Roosevelt Island.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will be adding additional Tram and Red Bus service during this weekend's upcoming F train subway disruption. According to RIOC:
... RIOC will provide 24-hour Tram and Red Bus service during the weekend of April 23rd to minimize the inconvenience to Island residents.

There will be 2 Trams running during the hours of 12 PM and 7 PM on Saturday and Sunday. At all other times that weekend, both Trams will run at 15 minute intervals.
Image From RIOC (Click to Enlarge)

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Welcomes New RIOC Board Chair Darryl Towns With Ride on Tram and Reviews Latest from Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department

New RIOC Board Chair Darryl Towns, RIOC President Torres & CEO Chirois on Roosevelt Island Tram

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
Last Friday, the new commissioner of the New York State Department of Homes and Community Renewal, Darryl Towns, visited Roosevelt Island for his first official tour, but not his first visit.

Commissioner Towns was already familiar with Roosevelt Island because of his involvement with the wheelchair basketball league. Still, it was great to have the opportunity to show him all of our beautiful sites and tell him about the great projects and events we have in development.

Commissioner Towns plans to attend the RIOC Board meetings, so you’ll have an opportunity to meet him. I’m looking forward to working with the commissioner to make Roosevelt Island a better place to live and work on and visit.

Keeping our Island Safe

On Friday, May 13th, RIOC’s Public Safety Department (PSD) will host a Promotion & Commendation Ceremony for the Island’s 37 uniformed Public Safety Officers. The event will mark the conclusion of Police Week, which is observed across the nation to honor law enforcement officials who died in the line of duty during the previous year.

RIOC’s public safety officers work hard every day to ensure the safety and well-being of the Island residents. I hope you can join us at the ceremony to recognize their hard work. The event will be held at the plaza at 591 Main Street at 4:30 PM.

PSD officers are recognized by the NYPD as Special Patrolmen and are all NYS Certified Peace Officers. They receive training when first hired and ongoing training throughout their career, including training in defensive tactics; Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect; CPR and First Aid; Domestic Violence Training and much, much more.

Last year, PSD officers responded to over 7100 calls for service, and filed over 3700 incident reports during their 24 hour a day, 7 days a week operation. The officers respond to the same types of calls that are responded to by the NYPD including, but not limited to, domestic incidents, criminal trespass, vandalism and larcenies. They also are the first responders to fire-related calls, and have even helped residents put out small apartment fires over the years.

In addition to filing Incident Reports, PSD Officers also keep the island safe by enforcing the laws. They have the authority to issue Summonses for Parking Violations, Moving Violations, and Penal Law and CPL Violations. They also possess the authority to process arrests through the NYPD Booking System.

When an NYPD investigation is required, PSD works closely with the NYPD officers to aide them in the investigation. Similarly, PSD works with other law enforcement agencies.

PSD officers, with the assistance of the NYPD, help make Roosevelt Island one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. Between 2009 and 2010, crime decreased by 18 percent. This year, the downward trend is continuing. Between January 1 and April 1 of 2011, there were 10 felonies, compared with 16 during the same period the previous year. Misdemeanors are also down, from 40 in the first 3 months of 2010 to 32 in the first 3 months of this year.

I wanted to share with you some recent examples of the exemplary work conducted by the members of PSD.

Fighting Graffiti:
As you know, we have a graffiti problem on the Island. PSD has been focused on identifying the perpetrators. Recently, through increased surveillance and extra patrols, PSD arrested two individuals who were responsible for over 100 tags on the island. These individuals, who are not Island residents, were rearrested by the NYPD for other tags off Island.

Reducing Burglaries:
PSD arrested a burglar responsible for burglarizing two apartments. In both cases, the apartment doors were left open by the residents. The burglar walked down halls turning door knobs. When he found an unlocked door, he opened it and yelled someone’s name. If the resident answered he apologized and said he had the wrong apartment. If he didn’t get a response, he would steal valuables near the door, including cell phones, iPods, iPads, Kindles and more. Following his arrest, PSD issued a memo to residents reminding them that while the Island is safe, we still need to take certain precautions, including locking our doors, and reporting suspicious incidents to the PSD.

PSD is led by Director Keith Guerra, a 20-year veteran of the NYPD and Greenburgh Police Department. He is a NYS Certified Police Instructor and has received training from the FBI, FEMA, American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and others. Deputy Director Rene Bryan and Captain Estrella Suarez assist Director Guerra in running the department.

PSD has been proactive in providing the Roosevelt Island Community with outreach summits on Crime Prevention, Youth and Gangs. They have also sponsored programs in Bicycle Safety, Car Seat Safety, Halloween Safety and Safety for Seniors. They truly appreciate the community's support and believe in their slogan, "Together we can make a difference."

You can learn more about the PSD by visiting Next time you see a PSD officer, introduce yourself. They look forward to meeting members of the community and getting to know you better. If you have any questions, or want to report and incident, you can always reach PSD at 212-832-4545.
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears on RIOC's web site and the April 23, 2011 Main Street WIRE.

More on the new RIOC Board Chairperson and Commissioner of NY State Homes and Community Renewal Darryl Towns from Capitol Confidential.

The 2010 yearly Public Safety Statistics are here and for the year 2011 thru March here.

First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival Presented by Roosevelt island Residents Association (RIRA) on April 30 - Celebration of Hope to Raise Funds for Japanese Earthquake Victims & a Photo Contest Too!

Received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association:
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be hosting our First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival which will take place Saturday, April 30, from 1-3 p.m. Participating with RIRA, will be Roosevelt Island Operating Association (RIOC) and the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association Gallery (RIVAA).

Events will unfold in the area across from the F-train station, down the ramp and at our “pier”.
 Image of Subway Pier
The tea ceremony will take place, several times during the 1-3 p.m. period at the “cul-de-sac” next to the Meditation Steps.

Image of Meditation Steps

Festival attendance is FREE TO ALL and there will numerous things for both adults and children to enjoy. For directions to Roosevelt Island please go to our website: riraonline.

On this occasion we have joined with our Japanese neighbors and their organization, the Japanese Association of Roosevelt Island, to support their fundraising efforts. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Japan Society designated charities, supporting the Japanese relief effort to help those suffering from the March 11 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear energy plant disruption. Only cash, no checks or credit cards, can be accepted at this time.

RIRA has arranged to present, on behalf of the New York City Council, two Proclamations of support to Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Consul General of Japan in New York and Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America. These proclamations are generously provided by our City Councilwoman, Jessica Lappin. Additionally, a grove of cherry trees, just across and north of the subway station, will be dedicated by RIRA and RIOC, with a plaque offering our solidarity with the Japanese people. RIOC has generously supported this effort.

RIRA’s Social, Cultural & Education Committee Chairperson, Lynne Shinozaki and her committee, have been working with the Japanese Association of Roosevelt Island to include traditional Japanese musical performances from several groups. Other events will include teaching visitors the art of origami, with the goal being the folding of a one thousand cranes, a tradition in the Japanese culture for special events. The cranes will later be displayed in P.S. 217 for the school children to enjoy. Included in these events will be a traditional tea ceremony, being repeated several times throughout the two hour program. There will also be children from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program demonstrating their special Karate moves.

How can a festival be a festival without food? Well, rest assured there will be assorted sushi rolls provided by Fuji East, sake (maybe a tasting to compare), and a beer tasting being offered by River Walk Bar & Grill. All proceeds from the food and drink sales will go to the fundraising effort.

If you find the cherry blossoms as beautiful as we do, you may want to register at our reception table for the Photography Contest and include some artful photos of these trees in blossom. Our Gallery RIVAA’s President Tad Sudol and other members will preside over the contest. The registration tent will be located on the grassy area between the Tram and Visitors Kiosk. To enter, you must register on April 30. Island youth and seniors may register for the contest, in advance, for free. Off-Islanders will pay $5 to register and participate. Be sure to keep your registration form for the rules for entering your work. Again, all proceeds will go to the fundraising effort. You can go to this website to see contest details and print out in advance, the registration form.

Following the planned program there will be an auction at the RIVAA Gallery on Main Street starting at 4:00 p.m., with previews of the artwork to start at 3:30 p.m.

Please tweet, email and call, the old fashioned way, to invite your friends to come out and join us, and support the Japanese community and our neighbors on Roosevelt Island.

RIRA thanks, in advance, all the donors to this event and the many volunteers who have given so generously of their time and heeded those calls to extra duty to ensure our success! We look forward to seeing our neighbors and their friends at what promises to be a fun, educational, and tasty event!

See you April 30!
More information on the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami as well as efforts by the Roosevelt Island community to help out from this previous post. and some Roosevelt Island Cherry Trees too.

Here's more information on the photography contest.
The Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association
527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044 212-380 0630
Cherry Blossom Photography Contest 2011 Rules and Application Form

Theme: any photos having to do with the Cherry Blossom Festival, photos MUST be taken on April 30th, 2011 (rain date is May 1st, 2011)

Size: 8x10 min. - 16x20 max.

Entry Fee: $5 is non-refundable

Medium: B&W and/or color photographic prints only. No slides, jpgs, tiffs, no cd’s. Or any other digital submission will be reviewed.

# of entries per person: each entry can submit up to three (3) different prints

Eligibility: this contest is open to all except GALLERY RIVAA members and their immediate families

Delivery of submission and deadline: all prints must be delivered by May 14, 2011 to the address listed below. Late entries will not be reviewed. Winners will be announced by May 20th.

Drop off: GALLERY RIVAA 527 Main Street New York, NY 10044 W 6-9, F 6-9 S/S 11-5
or Mail to: GALLERY RIVAA c/o Selwin Fund 531 Main Street #322 New York, NY 10044

Jury Composition: The jury is comprised of (5) five members of GALLERY RIVAA. Esther Cohen, Selwyn Fund, Toshiko Kitano Groner, Beatrice Popoiu, Tad Sudol

Prizes: 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, (3) Honorable Mentions

Each entry must accompany this completed and signed application form, incomplete submissions will not be considered. At the back of each photograph the name of the applicant must be clearly written. Please print clearly; we will not be responsible for illegible entry forms that will not be considered. All entry photographs are non-returnable. All winning photos will be announced in the WIRE Main Street and will be displayed in an upcoming group show at GALLERY RIVAA. Additional prizes to be announced by RIRA at day of festival. All proceeds from entry fees to be donated to Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Please also list your registration number on the back of the photograph.
Name __________________________________________________________________________ Adress__________________________________________________________________________ Phone Number___________________________________________________________________ Email____________________________________________________________________________ # of prints submitted_______________________________________________________________ I agree to the above and to enter the Cherry Blossom Photograpy Festival 2011. Please sign and date below. Signature___________________________________________Date____________________________
If under 18, please have parent or guardian sign this form.
GALLERY RIVAA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation in any of its programs or activities.
Click here to print out Application Form

UPDATE 4/25 - More info on the event from RIRA:
RIRA thanks, in advance, all the donors to this event:  Fujifilm, ITO EN, Roosevelt Landings, RY Management, The Related Management Companies and the Riverwalk Landing Board of Managers, Nonno's Focacceria, The Child School/ Legacy High School, The Roosevelt Island Youth Center, Togei Kyoshitsu of NY, Carol Labozzetta, Tenri Gagaku Music Society of New York, Kumiko Martin, and Masayo Ishigure  "Miyabi”.  We also thank the many volunteers who have given so generously of their time and heeded those calls to extra duty to ensure our success! We look forward to seeing our neighbors and their friends at what promises to be a fun, educational, and tasty event!

UPDATE 4/28 - From RIRA:
An additional donation has been received by RIRA’s SC&E Committee of fifty Obis, hand sewn by Island resident, Flo Kerr. They will be worn by volunteers who will be directing visitors to the events areas.

Decrepit Roosevelt Island Meditation Steps Patched Up - Will Renovated Meditation Steps Use Left Over Roosevelt Island Bridge Stone Like that Used For Brooklyn Bridge Park?

Updating this post on the decrepit condition of the Roosevelt Island Meditation Steps with holes

where  wooden planks should be, reader Mike G reported yesterday morning:
I walked by this morning, and it looks like all the rotten spots are patched. The tape is down.

I'm guessing the "2012" date is for a more thorough refurbishment, but it looks like the steps are back in business now.
Mike is right. I walked by the Meditation Steps yesterday afternoon to find the holes in the wooden planks have been patched over.

Reader Gregor succinctly states:
Thanks RIOC!
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez responded to inquiry earlier this week by reporting:
We have ordered wood to repair the meditation steps.  It is our plan to completely renovate the entire area, late this year or early 2012.
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy has an idea to use the left over stone from the Roosevelt Island Bridge rehabilitation project as was done at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Steps for the renovation of Roosevelt Island's Meditation Steps:
These stone steps are from the RI Bridge. Wouldn't it be nice if steps such as these replaced our deteriorated Meditation Steps!
Image of Brooklyn Bridge Park Steps from Judy Berdy

Image of Brooklyn Bridge Park Steps from Judy Berdy

More pictures of the Roosevelt Island Bridge stone used for Brooklyn Bridge Park Steps from Ms. Berdy.

Design Observer interviews one of the architects of the Brooklyn Bridge Park and provides some history on how the Roosevelt Island Bridge stone got to Brooklyn Bridge Park:
... BD: The part of the park that seems to catch the imagination of visitors is the monumental granite prospect facing out towards the harbor. I've read that the stone was recycled from an old bridge here in New York. How did you find the material and repurpose it?

MU: This stone provides yet another example of involving our client as a resource. The New York State Department of Transportation was in the process of recladding the Roosevelt Island Bridge; because of the high-profile nature of our project, we were able to obtain the old granite, again only for the cost of trucking. Joshua Laird was instrumental in helping us here as well.

BD: The stone is beautiful. You can still see the iron stains and discolorations from its earlier life.

MU: Yes. But one point to emphasize is that it's extremely hard to use recycled material. The material is cheaper to buy, but the effort required to repurpose it is significant. On our end, the work to get the stone, take stock of it, measure it and then mesh our design intent with the dimensions and quantities of the existing material — this was demanding. So was the labor of the masons — cutting the stone and grinding it down. I can't say that the recycled material was a cheaper solution; but it is beautiful, and it is environmentally responsible to reuse what exists. And it reweaves some of the historical threads of the city, in a subtle way....
The Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful example of a great new waterfront park. If you haven't been there do yourself a favor and go soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More College Kids Student Housing Coming To Roosevelt Island - Manhattan Park to Lease 26 More Dormitory Apartments To Marymount Manhattan College in Addition to Renewing 35 Existing Dorm Apartments

With all the excitement generated over the proposed Roosevelt Island Stanford University Campus at the Goldwater Hospital site, it's easy to forget that Roosevelt Island is already the home for a great deal of housing for college students. Previous posts have reported on Roosevelt Island student housing at the Riverwalk development as well as Manhattan Park.

In an article regarding the Stanford plan for Roosevelt Island, Globe Street reported yesterday:

... The addition of Stanford to Roosevelt Island would up the student population on Roosevelt Island, where New York University, Cornell University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Marymount Manhattan College already have student housing, according to Fernando Martinez, VP for operations at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. Hennessy, the Stanford president, mentioned in his address that the site could potentially expand to as many as 2,000 students and 100 faculty members....
There will be even more student housing on Roosevelt Island coming soon since the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) during their April Board meeting (webcast is here, though it does not seem to be working) approved the request of Manhattan Park to change their property's bedroom mix so that Marymount Manhattan College can add 26 more dormitory apartments for their students at Manhattan Park's 10 River Road. The RIOC resolution states:
1.    The Corporation is hereby authorized to consent to Manhattan Park’s Major Sublease to Marymount Manhattan College and to approve the plans and the change to the project’s bedroom mix, along such terms and conditions substantially similar to those outlined in the memorandum from Leslie Torres to the Board of Directors, dated March 23, 2011, attached hereto;
 Image of Manhattan Park's 10 River Road

 How do current Manhattan Park residents feel about living so close to the undergraduate Marymount Manhattan students? One reader of this post remarked:
Oh, great. More students. 3 or 4 kids squeezed into 2BR apartments. Lovely. Can't wait for the warmer weather when the students come out to the roof decks and party in front of our windows.
Those pesky kids are always breaking the washing machines and dryers. (But what do I know - I haven't done laundry in 2 years).
 In a memorandum from RIOC President Leslie Torres dated March 23, 2011 to the RIOC Board of Directors in support of the resolution Ms. Torres states (full memorandum is below in post and linked here):

and Ms. Torres continues:
Manhattan Park's Roosevelt Island Associates states (full text of the letter is below in post and linked here) (Click on text to enlarge)
and Manhattan Park's Starrett Corporation provides some additional details of the deal including financial terms (full text of the letter is below in post and linked here) (Click on text to enlarge):

RIOC Chief Financial Officer Steve Chironis sent the following memorandum to RIOC President Leslie Torres recommending the resolution approving the change in Manhattan Park's Bedroom mix so that the units could be leased to Marymount Manhattan College (full text of the memorandum is below in post and linked here) (Click on text to enlarge).

I inquired of Mr. Chironis:
In your March 10, 2011 memo to Leslie you indicated in your financial analysis an assumption of a 20% vacancy rate over the 10 year term of the lease. Can you explain how you came up with that 20% vacancy rate.

The average NYC vacancy rate is probably 2-3%, certainly less than 5% so how did you get to 20%. Is the 20% just 2% annually multiplied by the 10 year term or something else?
Mr. Chironis replied:
The block of apartments aprrox. 60 are on the lower floors and are the hardest to rent out. The 20% is not the overall vacancy but 20% on the group of 60 apartments (12). It is 12 apartments out of 1100.
Get ready for more college kids at Manhattan Park.

Here's a tour of a Manhattan Park apartment.

Don't know whether it's a Marymount Manhattan dorm apartment or not but this short film on Different Tastes was made by a Marymount Manhattan College student and shot on Roosevelt Island. It's pretty good.

Below are the full memorandums and letters referenced above.

Link in Google Docs here.
Manhattan Park Marymount College Dorm Resolution

Roosevelt Island Cat Adoption Day Saturday April 30 at Farmers Market - Do People on Roosevelt Island Walk Their Cats and Other Cat Stories From WNYC Radio Rookies

Roosevelt Island Cat Adoption Day takes place Saturday April 30 from 10AM to 2 PM at the Farmers' Market near Gristedes. From Island Cats:

You are invited to come by the Island Cat adoption tables to visit and to say hello to Peri,

Image From Island Cats

Sissi, Tigrotto

Image From Island Cats

along with other superior Roosevelt Island cats that are in dire need of loving foster or adoptive homes. 

All cats are spay-neutered and vet-checked, and are tested negative for FIV and FLV as featured on our website. Volunteers are always needed to feed at outdoor-cat colonies throughout the Island. We will provide the food, you provide just an hour a week, and the cats provide wary affection and so much appreciation.

You can contact us at  (212) 593-1054  or Visit our website for more information on the cats, our programs and is tax deductible. 
More on Island Cats at their web site from earlier posts and this WNYC Radio Rookies video report.

If you can, please help find a home for these Roosevelt Island cats.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Real Spring Weather Is Getting Closer and Closer to Roosevelt Island - Can't Wait!

Today started out a bit overcast and cold but tonight looks like it is a very nice spring evening on Roosevelt Island.

Here's a You Tube Video taken last week showing spring starting to show up on Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 8 PM - Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares some more images of the Roosevelt Island spring.

More Roosevelt Island spring pictures from Ms Berdy.

Don't forget that Sunday May 1 is the Roosevelt Island Magnolia Blossom Walk.

UPDATE 4/22 - Correction, Sunday May 1 is the Cherry Blossom Walk.

Are You Interested in a Roosevelt Island Jobs and Business Networking Group? If So, Check out Roosevelt Island Listings for More Info and Other Good Stuff

Image from mslworldwide

Roosevelt Island Listings is an online free classified marketplace for Roosevelt Island residents to buy, sell, trade, organize or promote events with each other. It's sort of like a local, neighborhood mini-Craiglist for Roosevelt Island. The listing headlines also appear on this blog in the middle sidebar just below the Roosevelt Island Tweet search box.

Recent items posted include an apartment seeker, baby items for sale and a kitchen table for sale as well. Another posting was from a resident inquiring if there was any interest in organizing a Jobs and Business Networking Group for Roosevelt Island residents:
There is a crying need to have an in-person jobs and business networking group for RI residents. Many of us are facing challenges getting jobs, getting paid for freelance work or advisory services.  How can we support and facilitate all of these?
It would serve:
  • Those looking for work
  • Freelancers
  • Those who work in advisory services/interim executives/independent consultants
  • People who are working, but interested in keeping up their networks
  • Possibly independent business professionals
Click here for more information on Roosevelt Island Jobs and Business Networking Group and here if you wish to post something on Roosevelt Island Listings. This explains how to post on Roosevelt Island Lisitings.

Will Roosevelt Island Meditation Steps Remain Decrepit and in Disrepair for Rest of Year? - Not Looking Good for Those Who Enjoy Waterfront From the Meditation Steps

An update on this post from last week showing the decrepit condition of Roosevelt Island's Meditation Steps:

Image of Holes In Meditation Steps

I inquired of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez:
...the Meditation Steps are in need  of a great deal of repair with holes currently in the planks in many places (See pictures in link). When will they be repaired?

With the nice weather and summer coming quickly, Meditation Steps is a prime Roosevelt Island location and used by many people to relax. Also, there is a RIRA sponsored Cherry Blossom Festival for the victims of the Japanese earthquake scheduled for April 30 in the vicinity of Meditation Steps. The current condition of the Steps will not give a very good impression of Roosevelt Island to residents and visitors alike who come for the event.

Any comment on the condition of the Meditation Steps and when they will be repaired.
Mr. Fernandez replied:
We have ordered wood to repair the meditation steps.  It is our plan to completely renovate the entire area, late this year or early 2012.
Here's some more of the deplorable condition of the Meditation Steps.

A couple of days ago RIOC put tape all the way around Meditation Steps blocking access to it.

From Mr. Fernandez's statement, I am not quite sure when the steps will be repaired. Does "we have ordered wood" mean that it will be fixed soon, or does "our plan to completely renovate the entire area, late this year or early 2012." mean that fixing the holes in Meditation Steps will wait until winter?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Roosevelt Island Transportation General Manager on the Job and the Street, Improvements Coming With Real Time Red Bus Information - Questions Continue On Scheduling, Bunching, Routing, Linkage and More

 Image of New Transportation Manager Cy Opperman at Red Bus Stop From Jonathan Kalkin at Yfrog

Roosevelt Island's new Transportation General Manager Cy Opperman has been on the job for the last two weeks having started last April 4. As reported in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) President Leslie Torres most recent report:
... Red Buses Under New Management

I know many of you have expressed concern about the Red Bus schedule and stops. It is an issue we are concerned about too. Getting it right is one of our top priorities.

To that end, I am happy to report that we have hired Cyril “Cy” Opperman, a bus operations expert with over 31 years of experience. Cy comes to us from the New York City Transit Authority, where he worked his way up from bus operator to General Superintendant of the West Farms Depot. I know he’ll be a great asset to the Red Bus operations.

Cy’s priorities are safety and the schedule. He’s a hands-on manager and has been riding the buses for a few weeks prior to his official start. So if you see Cy on the bus, say hello. I know he’s eager to hear from residents about their Red Bus experience....
On Mr. Opperman's first day of work on Roosevelt Island, April 4, an Octagon resident sent me this message:
Thought you would be interested to know there was a rioc rep in front of the octagon this morning checking bus times and ridership numbers.
The RIOC rep referred to was Mr. Opperman. You probably will be seeing Mr. Opperman often on the Roosevelt Island streets and Red Bus.

RIOC Board Director Jonathan Kalkin adds:
At the last Operations Committee Meeting I was very excited to welcome Cy Opperman to the RIOC team. He has decades of experience and is exactly the kind of person we were looking for to finally give the people of Roosevelt Island the level of service they deserve.

Over the next couple of months I believe you will see a great change in our transportation system. We have added and tested a couple of improvements, however we needed someone to manage the system to make sure things are executed properly. During the meeting I said to Cy that his job is probably one of if not the most important on the Island.

The Columbia U study I commissioned stated we needed a schedule, a transportation manager, a supervisor outside at all times to make sure the buses are running correctly, enhanced driver training, and better coordination with our other forms of transit. I have been pushing for those transportation reforms and I'm excited that we can finally start to deliver on those promises.

You will also see many technical improvements from real bus time information and transit alert information at the bus shelters, to exciting mobile applications for us on the go. We have been meeting with a number of companies about this and we are excited to introduce them to you soon.

I have posted the question: How can we improve the Roosevelt Island Red Bus? on a site called Quora. Quora is a great resource for the community to give feedback on a number of topics. I look forward to hearing from you.
Here is link to the March 31 RIOC Operations Committee meeting audio webcast in which Mr. Opperman is introduced and speaks in great detail

Image of Mr. Opperman at RIOC Operations Committee Meeting Updated on 4/20

about his prior work experience with NYC Transit Authority as well as his initial impressions on the Red Bus and other Roosevelt Island transportation issues.

One of the possible real time mobile transportation applications Mr. Kalkin was referring to was Roadify.

You Tube Video Explaining Roadify Application

Here's Roadify's Dylan Goelz showing Mr. Kalkin how Roadify works and discussing how it may apply to Roosevelt Island. 

For the record, I was at this meeting as well and used the Roadify app last Sunday as I was waiting for the B61 bus in Greenpoint to take me to Long Island City. The application worked perfectly and the Bus arrived at my stop on Manhattan Avenue when it said it would. I would have walked but when the Roadify app reported the B61 bus was only a couple of minutes away, I decided to wait for it and walk another time.

As Mr. Kalkin noted above, Mr. Opperman's job supervising Roosevelt Island transportation is one of the most important jobs impacting the quality of life for all of us who live, work and visit here. Many of us have questions for Mr. Opperman. Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Planning Committee Chairperson Frank Farance has some too. From Mr. Farance:
Question #1: I've heard about this problem with GPS and so-called wrong job numbers.  In other transportation companies, the solution to this problem is a start-up checklist (which includes turning on the GPS and setting the job number) and a shutdown check list (which includes resetting the job number and then turning off the GPS).  The operator might need to say the words out loud while he/she is performing it (just as pilots do), and he/she might need to radio the dispatcher that he/she has complied with the checklist before starting his route.  Whether these are included as a placard or a laminated hand-card, the technique is the same: requiring checklists to improve consistency and quality in the operations.  Why aren't these common operations management techniques being applied?

Question #2: You have experience in other bus operations, but it wasn't clear what experiences you had in bus scheduling.  Could you let us know about your experiences?

Question #3: Based upon your experience, which MTA bus routes a good analogies to the RIOC red bus route?  What are the similarities?  What are the differences?  How to you plan to apply these circumstances to the red bus?  [Note: I don't think any of the MTA bus routes are like the red bus (I could be wrong), but I think the Hertz-Avis-National-etc. car rental shuttle buses at airports have much in common with the RIOC red bus.  In the past, I've suggested that we use some kind of spacing timer (like airport shuttles) or clock at (say) the tram to enforce spacing.  As for the MTA, I think the Franklin Avenue shuttle in the subway service might be closest to the red bus in terms of stops/timing/distance, but (I think) it still doesn't have strong applicability to our scheduling issues.]

Question #4: You mentioned in the WIRE article that the secret is "headway".  That might reduce bunching, but I agree with Aaron Hamburger that headway doesn't improve reliability of the schedule.  What is your operational strategy for implementing "headway"?  What is your exception strategy when bunching occurs (regardless of your "headway" efforts)?

Question #5: In your WIRE comments, you mentioned concerns about someone getting a flat tire.  In 31 years, I can't think of any time when a flat tire (anyone's!) was notable for a significant change in red bus operating status.  Could you further explain yourconcerns?

Question #6: What kind of metrics do you plan on keeping?  What is your assessment formula/algorithm for determining individual and overall bus performance?  What, in a quantitative description, do you consider Good Service, Marginal Service, and Poor Service?  Or maybe you have some other stratification of service performance and its data?

Question #7: What is your plan, if any, for linking the red bus schedule to all/some/none of the daily events, including the Q102 bus, the Tram, the subway, the hospital shift changes, the school bus pickup/dropoff, the morning rush hour traffic (7-9AM in WIRE corridor), afternoon school traffic (2:30-4:30 in WIRE corridor), and night time subway/tram/bus services?

Question #8: What is your plan for providing consistent Island-wide service so, say, Octagon residents don't feel stranded and have to hire their own weekend schedule?

Question #9: What policies do you plan on changing/keeping with respect to passengers, such as wheelchairs, motorized wheelchairs, handicapped passengers, seniors with filled grocery shopping carts, parents with filled strollers?

Question #10: Have your evaluated the previous traffic flow on the Island, the recent changes (one way routing on West Channel), and other options for traffic flow?  What are your insights?
These questions from Mr. Farance were posed to Mr. Opperman in advance of a meeting between RIRA representatives, Mr. Opperman and other RIOC Staff and Board Members.

Monday, April 18, 2011

No Late Night Queens Bound F Train Service From Manhattan to Roosevelt Island this Week or All Upcoming Weekend, Tram & Red Bus Service to be Added - How About Running 2 Weekend Tram Cabins on Regular Basis??

More late weeknight's without F train service to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan starting later today. The MTA is reporting that there will be no Queens bound F trains from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island starting at 11:00 PM - 5 AM beginning Monday April 18 through Friday, April 22  From the MTA:

 F Jamaica-bound trains are rerouted via the  M from 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza

Nights, 11 PM to 5 AM, Mon to Fri, April 18 - Apr 22

...  For service to Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge, take the  F to Roosevelt Av

and transfer to a Coney-Island bound F.

For service from 57 St, Lexington Av-63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge,

take a Coney Island-bound  F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F .
There will also be no F train service to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan this coming weekend starting at 12 AM Saturday April 23- 5 AM Monday April 25.

As an alternative, since the F Train will be running on the M line, you can take the F to 53rd and Lexington. Then walk to the Tram on 2 Ave and 60th Street thereby avoiding the longer subway trip into Queens and back to Roosevelt Island.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will be adding additional Tram and Red Bus service during the upcoming F train subway disruption. According to RIOC:
... RIOC will provide 24-hour Tram and Red Bus service during the weekend of April 23rd to minimize the inconvenience to Island residents.

There will be 2 Trams running during the hours of 12 PM and 7 PM on Saturday and Sunday. At all other times that weekend, both Trams will run at 15 minute intervals.

During the week of April 18, Tram and Red Bus service will be extended until 5 AM....
Image From RIOC (Click to Enlarge)

Good for RIOC in responding to Roosevelt Island residents transportation concerns during this time.

Will RIOC respond to this concern as well? Have you noticed how crowded the one Roosevelt Island Tram cabin in operation on weekends is? I am told that even when the subway is running normally to and from Roosevelt Island on weekends, there are large crowds riding and waiting for the tram during certain prolonged periods of time. For instance, yesterday around 5:30 PM there were large crowds on the Manhattan Tram station waiting for the one Tram cabin in use to arrive

Image of Crowded Manhattan Tram Station Yesterday Afternoon

and another large crowd at the Roosevelt Island station waiting to make the trip back to the Manhattan Station. This was going on for most of Sunday afternoon.

Image of Crowded Roosevelt Island Tram Station Yesterday Afternoon

Due to the large crowds using the Roosevelt Island Tram on weekends, RIOC should consider running both cabins as they do during rush hours or at least on an as needed basis.

Roosevelt Island Subway Station Doors Still Broken After More Than a Year, Borough President Scott Stringer Wants Answers From the MTA - Here's How F Train Came to Roosevelt Island Via 63rd Street Tunnel

Image of Broken Door at Roosevelt Island Subway Station Entrance From Trevre Andrews

The door to the entrance of the Roosevelt Island subway station is still broken but that has not stopped resident Trevre Andrews from trying to get the attention of the MTA F Line General Manager to fix the door. Last month Mr. Andrews emailed the F Line General Manager asking:
The street level door at the Roosevelt Island F train station has been broken for more than a year now.  Could we please have it fixed?  Thanks.

See below, it looked about the same this morning.
Last week, Mr. Andrews tried again emailing the F Line General Manager:
I went through the F-train station today on Roosevelt Island and see that now 2 out of the 3 doors are broken.  Can you let me know what the plan is for repairing them?  Thanks.
The Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is now on the case as well but Mr. Stringer is going right to the top of the MTA with this letter to MTA Chairman Jay Walder. (Link to letter in Google Docs)

Roosevelt Island Subway Station Letter to MTA

Mr. Stringer's letter is as a result of this meeting held last month in which the Borough President spoke with a group of Roosevelt Island residents about a variety of issues concerning Roosevelt Island. At the meeting, Mr. Stringer promised to contact the MTA about the subway door and platform leak which he mentioned in the letter. Another subway issue which was discussed at the meeting with Mr. Stringer was the disgusting perennial pigeon poop plaguing the Roosevelt Island station but that unfortunately has not made the letter to the MTA Chairman.

We shall see if Borough President Stringer has any better luck in getting the Roosevelt Island subway door entrance fixed than our own resident Mr. Andrews. If he does, then let's start working on the pigeon poop.

Have you ever wondered how subway service came to Roosevelt Island in the first place? Here's a fascinating video via Second Avenue Sagas showing how the F Train came to Roosevelt Island by way of the 63rd Street Tunnel.

You Tube Video on Making of East River Subway Tunnel via 2nd Ave Sagas

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Walking On Roosevelt Island Sunshine and it Feels Good Today - Katrina and the Waves Would Like it Too

After yesterday's cold, dreary, bleak, rainy November like Saturday, today was a glorious, beautiful Spring day on Roosevelt Island and the rest of New York City. I hope you all had a great day. It was almost like walking on sunshine. It was walking on sunshine for these girls reenacting a Roosevelt Island version of Katrina and the Waves from last week.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Walking on Sunshine

Here's the original Katrina and the Waves.