Saturday, May 28, 2011

Roosevelt Island Barbecue Grill Use Policy, First Come, First Serve - But Exception Made For Bobby Flay and President Obama If They Grill On Roosevelt Island

You Tube Video of 2010 Barbecue at Roosevelt Island Outdoor Grill

A Manhattan Park resident asks the Manhattan Park Google Group:
What's the story with the grill pits near us?  Do we need some kind of permit to use them?  Are they reservable?

Thank you and have a great weekend!
So, what is the Roosevelt Island Barbecue Grill policy? According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Grills are located at Lighthouse Park, West Seawall near the Octagon, Octagon Soccer Field, and the East Seawall South of Queensboro Bridge.

All island grills are first come first served.

Personal/portable BBQ grills are prohibited! The only grills allowed for use are permanent, RIOC-sanctioned grills located throughout the island.
Here's some tips on barbecue grilling from Chef Bobby Flay and President Barack Obama. You think Bobby and the President might do a cooking demonstration on Roosevelt Island like Ellie Krieger did earlier this week?

You Tube Video of Grilling With Bobby Flay and President Barack Obama

Don't forget that the Doctor Steve Show will be broadcasting the Ellie Krieger healthy cooking on a grill segment that was shot earlier this week at the Riverwalk Bar & Grille this Sunday at 6:30 PM on Channel 11.

Image of Ellie Krieger and Doctor Steve Grilling on Roosevelt Island

Art From The Heart Opening Reception Tonight 6-9 PM at Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA - A Collection of Art From Coler Goldwater Hospital Patients and Residents

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA will be hosting an opening reception later today, May 28 from 6PM - 9PM for their new exhibition, Art From The Heart IV. From Gallery RIVAA:
May 28th – June 19th, 2011

Opening Reception, Saturday May 28th, 6-9PM

A collection of visual art by Coler  Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility Patients and Residents

Hosted by the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association.

This exhibit is funded through the Angelica Patient Assistance Program and The Goldwater Auxiliary.
Come meet your Roosevelt Island neighbors and enjoy the art.

Click here for more information on the Angelica Patient Assistance Program at Coler Goldwater Hospital:
Our mission is to enhance the lives of economically disadvantaged patients in need of long-term medical care and to support long-term medical care facilities. We are presently focused on improving the lives of residents at Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility (CGSHNF) on Roosevelt Island in New York City.
UPDATE 5/30 - Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares some scenes of the Art From the Heart Opening reception at Gallery RIVAA.

More pictures from Ms. Berdy of the Art From the Heart opening reception.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Roosevelt Island Cat Missing From Manhattan Park Apartment - If You See Or Find Henry The Cat, Please Contact The Public Safety Department

Image of Henry the Cat

Received the following message seeking help in finding a lost Roosevelt Island cat:
Please be on the lookout for Henry, a 6-month-old kitten, mostly black with white paws and a tiny black freckle on his right front paw, who has disappeared from his 3rd floor home at 20 River Road. He may have gotten out a hole in the window screen overlooking a driveway between buildings.

If you are passing by there, would you take a look in any bushes or undergrowth where the cat might be hiding if he fell? His very worried owner, Veronica, will also put out food and water there today.

Please get in touch with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department if you see or better yet can catch Henry. The Public Safety Department phone # is ( (212) 832-4545). (Sgt. Rivera and Officer Williams are extra helpful about cat stuff.)

Thanks everybody!
UPDATE 5/28 - More Roosevelt Island Cat news. Earlier this week, the cat from the Main Street Deli died.

UPDATE 5/31- Received the good news that Henry has been found:
His owner, Veronica, spotted him last night hiding in some bushes by the river. He seems fine, just hungry, but she is taking him to the vet today. She thanks everybody.

First Fuel Cell Powering NYC Residential Building Installed at Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building Providing Electricity, Heat and Hot Water - Roosevelt Island Is Winning The Future

Image of Octagon Fuel Cell

A previous post reported on Roosevelt Island Octagon developer Bruce Becker's plan to deliver electricity to Octagon residents by using a hydrogen/oxygen/natural gas fuel cell. Yesterday, Mr. Becker and his Octagon team held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of the Fuel Cell.

An Octagon spokesperson reports on the Fuel Cell:
It's on now! It's providing electricity, heat and hot water to the entire building including all the residents.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin reacts to yesterday's Octagon Fuel Cell Ceremony by Tweeting:
What does the rest on of NYC do today. Well Roosevelt Island wins the future. TODAY we just did the ribbon cutting on our first FUEL CELL!!!!
Globe Street reported on yesterday's Octagon Fuel Cell Ceremony at Roosevelt Island:
Out of the 16 million multifamily buildings throughout the US, only two of them have their own large capacity “green” fuel cells. The newest of the two is located at the Octagon on Roosevelt Island, a stone’s throw away from Manhattan. The luxury 500-unit LEED-certified rental building is now powered by a 400-kilowatt fuel cell, which was unveiled to the public at a ceremony on Thursday morning.

The cell, developed by architecture and development firm Becker + Becker and manufactured by United Technologies Power, provides 1.7 million btu/hour of heat for combined power and heat applications, in addition to 400kW of sustained power. The current largest residential fuel cell is located at 360 State St. in New Haven, CT....
Here's an explanation as to how the fuel cell works to provide electricity.

You Tube Video Of Octagon Fuel Cell Case Study

Octagon developer Bruce Becker made the following remarks

at yesterday's ribbon cutting ceremony:
Good morning. I’m Bruce Becker, and welcome to the Octagon’s Fuel Cell Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. I’m delighted that we have such a great turn out to celebrate this monumental achievement in clean energy for Roosevelt Island, the city and State of New York.

We’re thrilled to have Homer Purcell from UTC here today, the manufacturer of the Fuel Cell, along with Peter Douglas, Director of R&D for NYSERDA, which is providing a grant to help fund its purchase, Jim Landau of Bentall-Kennedy representing the pension fund MEPT, that is footing the bill for the balance of its costs, and Leslie Torres of RIOC, a constant advocate of progressive energy and smart growth policy on Roosevelt Island.


I want to express my sincere gratitude too, to the entire the design and construction team, including our engineers from LN Consulting here with us today, our general contractor, TryState Mechanical and the many Union contractors responsible for installing the fuel cell and combined heat and power components within the building; as well the Octagon’s stellar building management staff who have expertly weathered every challenge presented throughout installation while keeping all of our residents happy, informed, and educated about their new cleaner form of energy distribution. I’d also like to thank Con Edison and the NY State Public Service Commission; without their forward-thinking position on clean energy policy in this city and State, our fuel cell wouldn’t be here today.

To give a little background on our team, this is MEPT, Becker +Becker, LN Consulting, and UTC Power’s second fuel cell collaboration. In fact just one year ago, almost to the day, we installed the world’s first fuel cell together to power a 500- unit multifamily building in New Haven CT. Today as we relieve another 500 units for the electric grid, we’re particularly proud to claim our team’s success in powering the first 1000 homes with clean on-site distributed generation.

I hope the success of our projects will pave the way for energy innovation and a reduction of fossil fuel dependency in New York and beyond. We live in a country where 77% of all electricity produced is used to operate buildings, and where buildings are responsible for nearly half of all carbon emissions. Here we have a box which can fit in the size of a parking space; can provide a clean, reliable, combustion- free source of power and heat to supply our entire building; at efficiency levels greatly exceeding traditional grid power, and I wonder why with over 16 million multi-family housing units in the country, this is only the second application of this technology, which has been around for decades?

With the Octagon, we’ve made strides towards improving this statistic in New York. Let’s hope our story can reach the many other building owners, developers, engineers, and public officials responsible for our country’s existing and future built environment to foster a new vision for sustainable development, where on-site distributed generation is the norm not a novelty.
Fuel Cell Works reports on the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) incentive program for fuel cell use and reports that:
... a 400 kilowatt system installed at the 500-apartment Octagon complex on Roosevelt Island in New York City cost $2.4 million and is about the size of a small truck....
NYSERDA's Director of Research and Development, Peter Douglas,

attended the Octagon Fuel Cell Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and commented:
Good morning, thank you Bruce (Bruce Becker from Becker and Becker Associates). It’s a pleasure to join you here today to unveil this very exciting project, and to recognize a valuable partner of NYSERDA’s for making a significant contribution to the energy future of the State of New York. The new combined heat and power fuel cell system will cut energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide more secure and reliable power back up for heating and cooling services.

In layman’s terms, if the grid happens to go down, the natural gas fired fuel cell keeps working. Not only does the Octagon save valuable dollars and use less power from the grid - they are practicing environmental stewardship through a reduction in emissions, and can provide electric power, heat and hot water to the building.

CHP systems typically achieve overall energy efficiencies of 50% to 70% a dramatic improvement over the average 33% efficiency of conventional fossil-fueled power plants. Higher efficiencies reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas associated with climate change. In addition to reducing air pollution, CHP conserves our limited fossil fuel resources, thereby increasing our nation's energy self- sufficiency.

NYSERDA is pleased to provide $1.2M as a result of a competitive selection process for this incredibly worthwhile and groundbreaking project, which demonstrates the commitment and vision we share with (Gov.Cuomo) Chairman Brown of the Public Service Commission to administer energy efficiency and clean energy programs on behalf of NY ratepayers to ensure that these leading edge projects become reality.

Distributed generation systems increase the overall efficiency associated with electric power generation and distribution by producing the power on-site, making beneficial use of the byproduct heat on-site and avoiding transmission losses associated with central generation. The increased efficiency reduces green-house gases and criteria pollutants. The local production of power also contributes to grid reliability by reducing demand.

NYSERDA clearly recognizes that realizing the total DG-CHP potential and reaping the ensuing benefits will necessitate demonstrating DG resources on the grid to manage peak demand, improve power quality, alleviate Transmission & Distribution load pocket constraints, and defer distribution system upgrades. Simply stated, the success of DG depends on finding applications that benefit both the electric utility and the end-user or host site, and today’s project is a perfect example of that winning combination.

Over the past 10 years, NYSERDA’s investments of more than $100 million for CHP have helped industrial, commercial, institutional and multifamily residences implement this vibrant technology to cut their energy costs and decrease their energy use.

During this time, NYSERDA has amassed the most comprehensive repository of publicly-available CHP performance data in the nation, and this is an important tool for raising awareness about the capabilities and value of CHP.

CHP projects will help decrease energy use and help New York achieve the ambitious energy reduction goals New York has targeted under the 45 by 15 initiative to increase our energy efficiency(15% off 1993 e), and stimulate the production of renewable energy(30% rps) , and to increase our energy security, improve our environment, and create economic opportunity.

The Octagon Park Apartments are a shining example of what an organization can achieve when it adopts, as a corporate policy, both energy efficiency, distributed generation, and renewable energy as integral resources. Through hard work and a keen eye for opportunity, they have shown what is possible, and NYSERDA is proud to have partnered with them to assist in achieving their energy efficiency and reliability goals.

I congratulate the Octagon Park Apartments for its leadership and initiative. Their efforts will help reduce their energy use, and is an example of the contributions that are necessary for New York to achieve the ambitious energy reduction goals established under 45 by 15. Reducing our overall load through energy efficiency, and stimulating the growth of renewable energy generation are the platforms of 45 by 15; and this project is another step forward in achieving our collective goals. Thank you.
More information on financial incentives for the installation and operation of fuel cells from NYSERDA here.

The Octagon Fuel Cell is just another example of Roosevelt Island at the forefront of using new technology for urban planning purposes.

Here's an interesting article from Tech President on Roosevelt Island's use of new technology 
Bright Lights, Small City: Is Tiny Roosevelt Island a Microcosm of Urban Innovation's Future?

New York City East River Ferry Service Starting in June, But Not For Roosevelt Island - So Close Yet So Far

Image Of Ferry Route From NY Times

So close yet so far. Take a look at the East River Ferry Map above and try to figure out what is missing. Got it yet? That's right, no Roosevelt Island on the East River Ferry Service Map which terminates just south of us in Long Island City.

The Brooklyn Paper reported yesterday:
... Sometime pretty much around mid-June (probably!), New York Waterway will launch service connecting Greenpoint, Williamsburg and DUMBO to Lower Manhattan and Midtown every 20 minutes for $4 a ride.

The city-subsidized service amounts to the latest riverboat gamble for an administration that has seen earlier service sink. Even with a three-year, $9.3-million subsidy — up from zero for a prior operator — it is unclear if enough paying customers will keep this boat afloat.

“It’s going to take time to build traffic,” said New York Waterway CEO Paul Goodman. “Right now, it is all a question of frequency — and 20-minute frequency is what you need so that people don’t think of it as appointment ridership.”...
Curbed adds:
...The two deck, 74-foot ferries that can hold up to 100 people are going to be running on a commuter's schedule, operating from 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. every twenty minutes (weekend service is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with additional stops at Atlantic Avenue and Governors Island). The main challenge is going to be getting people to fork over the $4 per ride or the $140 for a monthly pass. And to stay afloat, the ferry is going to have to draw in about 718,000 commuters every year, but it's slightly bolstered by the city subsidy of $9.3 million over three years....
From DNA Info:
 ... The new East River ferry service will only be viable with subsidies, the EDC report pointed out.

The agency anticipated the ferry service will break even if it has an annual ridership of 467,000 with an annual subsidy of $4.3 million. That would translate to a break of $9.30 per ride for an average fare of $5.

The city, however, is only contributing $3 million.

Subsidizing transit is not uncommon: The Long Island Rail Road has a subsidy of roughly $6 per passenger and the New York City Transit Express bus system's subsidy is roughly $12 per rider.

A ferry route along the east side of Manhattan that stops stopping along the Upper East Side at East 90th and East 71st streets, Roosevelt Island, East 34th and East 23th streets and Pier 11, would need a subsidy of $9.15 per ride, the EDC study said....
I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin what's the latest on Roosevelt Island ferry service. Mr. Kalkin replied:
I've been working for months now to get Roosevelt Island ferry service. Several months back we approved an assessment of the oil dock for ferry service behind the tram so that is almost completed. In addition, I have been talking to several vendors about a Roosvevelt Island ferry service.

I am also looking into and working with green companies like Solar Sailor that can retrofit their ferry with hybrid and solar technology. However all of this takes time for certification. I think we are very far ahead and there is a great opportunity to have a green and accessible form of transport on the Island, but it is still a work in progresss. I'm working hard to make it a reality.
RIOC Officials Waving Goodbye To Roosevelt Island Temporary Ferry Service in November 2009

More on Roosevelt Island ferry service from previous posts.

Here is a very exhaustive Comprehensive City Wide Ferry Service Survey from the New York City Economic Development Corporation including a site analysis for Roosevelt Island Ferry service at pages 246- 253.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Waiting To Cross The Open Roosevelt Island Bridge During Extended NYC Department Of Transportation Testing Period - Tomorrow May Be The Last Day For Testing of Roosevelt Island Bridge Rehabilitation Project

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening From Jonathan Hoo

Jonathan Hoo was trying to make his way across the Roosevelt Island Bridge this morning when he could go no further.

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening From Jonathan Hoo

What else could he do but Tweet:
Roosevelt Island Bridge raised. No roadway ahead!

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening From Jonathan Hoo

Mr. Hoo adds:
The bridge was not up because of a ship passing. I was talking to the construction worker on site and he said it was just a routine test...backing up traffic all the way to Main Street for 15+ minutes at 10:15AM.

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening From Jonathan Hoo

On May 18 the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued this advisory:
Attached please find a notice from the DOT, with regard to the five day extension of the limited daytime closures of the Roosevelt Island Bridge scheduled between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., weekdays, from Monday, May 23rd to Friday, May 27th.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Image From DOT (Click To Enlarge)

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) explains:
The New York City Department of Transportation Division of Bridges began testing the newly rehabilitated Roosevelt Island Bridge on May 3rd, 2011. Testing was anticipated to be completed on Friday May 20th. A five day extension in the testing program is required to complete the entire testing program. We apologize for any inconvenience created by the additional testing schedule.

The bridge will be fully closed to all traffic for up to 15 minutes. All traffic in the queue must dissipate before a second 15-minute closure can occur.

Testing will conclude daily by 2:00 p.m. and is expected to be completed on May 27th. The work is weather sensitive and inclement weather may cause the work to be rescheduled or delayed. Should this occur, additional notification of the revised schedule will be provided. Variable message boards will inform motorists and pedestrians of the closures. NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents will assist with traffic control at Vernon Blvd and 36th Avenue. During the bridge testing, NYPD, NYFD and EMS units will be available to Roosevelt Island residents and visitors by dialing 911.
Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening From Jonathan Hoo

Perhaps the testing will be over by tomorrow and the Roosevelt Island Bridge Rehabilitation Project completed but we've heard that before. Maybe this time, it's true.

More on the $86.5 million Roosevelt Island Bridge Rehabilitation Project from earlier posts. Still no word on weather a pedestrian safety barrier will be installed on the Queens side of Roosevelt Island Bridge Pathway.

Fortunately, Mr. Hoo did not try an Evel Knievel by jumping from one side of the open Roosevelt Island Bridge to the other. 

Image From The Onion

RIOC Explains Causes For Roosevelt Island Tram Service Disruption Earlier This Week - Problem With Communication Antenna and Entrance Sensor Now Fixed

Image of Tram Workers Fixing Communications System

Reported earlier this week on Roosevelt Island Tram service interruptions. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) provides the following explanation:
There were two separate and unrelated events which occurred this week resulting in an interruption in Tram service.

On Monday, May 23rd at approximately 3:48 PM, the North Cabin lost communication with its WIFI antenna causing the cabin to pause between towers 2 and 3. The WIFI antenna is a wireless communication link that Tram operators use to send and receive information from the control room to the cabins. The connectors to the WIFI antenna, located on top of tower 3, became loose due to occasional vibration of the towers caused by high winds from the recent severe weather. The issue was resolved by 6:48 PM and rush hour service was resumed.

The second event occurred on the morning of Tuesday, May 24th at 7:38 AM. The South Cabin experienced problems with the Entrance Sensor on the Manhattan side station. The Entrance Sensor pinpoints the cabins location as it enters and departs from each Tram Plaza station and guides the Tram staff to operate the cabin at the appropriate speed for safe docking. A faulty wire connection to the Entrance Sensor caused the circuit breaker to trip in the electrical panel. The problem was addressed and service was resumed at 10:00 AM.

It is important for our Tram personnel to take the necessary precautions to remedy any issue related to the Tram and its service in order to ensure the safety of our passengers and proper operation of the Tram.
Image of Tram Workers Fixing Communications System

Roosevelt Island Resident Corrects Mistake Made By Crains Article - Yes, We Do Have Sit Down Restaurants, A Greek Diner, Sports Bar, & Japanese Restaurant - Nearby Queens Restaurants and Neely's BBQ Block From Tram

Image of Roosevelt Island's Japanese Restaurant Fuji East

Crains New York Real Estate page introduced a profile of Roosevelt Island this week with:
Roosevelt Island gains favor as residential spot

Inhabitants of one-time backwater are psyched over parks, pending Main Street revamp that will enhance fast-growing New York City area.
Roosevelt Island resident Raye Schwartz took exception to a reporting mistake in the article concerning Roosevelt Island restaurants.

Image of Riverwalk Bar & Grill

Mrs Schwartz asks for a Just The Facts correction to the article by Crains and shares this letter she wrote to the writer of the article:
Hello Ms. Fung,

In your May 22nd Crains’s New York Business article on Roosevelt Island, you wrote:

“Right now, the island has only a couple of takeout eateries, including those at Hudson/Related properties.”

I invite you to visit the island so we can show you the error of that statement. There is a Japanese restaurant in the Hudson/Related development of Southtown. There is also Trellis, next to the church on Main Street, a full service restaurant…much like some of the better Greek Diners in Manhattan, with a multipage menu that can take an hour to read. Yes, they have a counter and offer delivery and takeout: but they also have a bar and seating, as well as full waiter/waitress service from breakfast through late dinners, seven days a week including holidays. Additionally, there is a sports bar/restaurant: Riverwalk Grille (also in Southtown), which is very much like some of the upper east side pubs, offering great burgers and similar pub fare.

While we would love a truly upscale restaurant here, remember that this is very much a mixed income community. Those on fixed incomes such as senior citizens, young families or recent graduates with big student loans, may not always want to, or be able to afford a fancy high priced restaurant. So, let’s remember the old girl scout ditty “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver the other is gold”. That must also be true of any retail mix on this “rock”, including our eateries!

Please issue a correction to your statement. I’m sure there are quite a few residents here who would be happy to show you around…and the tram ride is really fun (as well as a very civilized way to commute).

Thanks in advance.

Your truly,

(Mrs.) Raye Schwartz
Here's Trellis, the Roosevelt Island Greek diner with the multi-page menu Mrs. Schwartz mentions

Image of Trellis Diner from lenglekim

and let's not forget Roosevelt Island's pizza place, Nonno's Focacceria.

Image of Nonnno's Focacceria.

Also, there are some new restaurant choices close to Roosevelt Island in Queens. The NY Times reported yesterday on the developing dining scene in nearby Astoria and Long Island City neighborhoods.
... A great one is at the Queens Kickshaw: a grilled gouda sandwich with guava jam, black bean purée and pickled jalapeños ($10).

Another is the housemade brik at the North African Harissa Café: tuna, capers and an egg wrapped in a triangle of thin pastry dough, then fried until the egg yolk is thick and the pastry golden ($3.95).

Many new spots target the twin passions of younger locals: Sunday brunch and cheap beer. (One sports bar off Steinway Street, Canz, has 40 TVs and 200 beers, served up by “Canz Girlz.”

But among the restaurants that have opened in the last year or so are signs that the eating opportunities in Astoria and Long Island City could soon rival those in Williamsburg and Dumbo in Brooklyn. Bites like the spicy fried pickles at the gastro-pub Sweet Afton ($5); the caramel- and chile-tinged chocolate diablito cake at Pachanga Patterson ($6); the chirashi sushi, fresh as whitecaps, at Linn ($22) seem like tastes of things to come...
And don't forget that Memphis based Neely's Barbecue will soon open in New York City,

exact date not known yet, right near the Tram at First Avenue and 61st street. Yum, I am looking forward to this.

You Tube Video of Neely's BBQ

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Healthy Living and Cooking Demonstration By Ellie Krieger at Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill, TV Segment With Dr. Steve Will View On Sunday - Food Was Tasty Too

Look who paid a visit to Roosevelt Island last Monday morning. Ellie Krieger, best selling healthy food author and host of the Food Network's Healthy Appetite program

joined WPIX Channel 11 reporter Doctor Steve Salvatore outside the Riverwalk Bar & Grill

to grill some easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious summer time meals in front of an appreciative

bunch of students from Roosevelt Island's Child School Legacy High School and other members of the Roosevelt Island community.

What quick, healthy and tasty dishes did Ms. Krieger make on her visit to Roosevelt Island? Well, there was grilled steak chimichurri with grilled garlic bread (here's the recipe),

grilled tomatoes with garlic bread (here's the recipe) and

grilled peaches with ice cream

which received excellent reviews by the Roosevelt Island audience.

The Doctor Steve Show will be broadcasting the Roosevelt Island healthy and tasty food segment with Ellie Krieger on Sunday at 6:30 PM. More information on Ms. Krieger and her new book on healthy living and recipes, So Easy, available here.

Some more scenes from Ms. Krieger's visit to Roosevelt Island from beginning to end.

Who's the next food star to visit Roosevelt Island? Bobby Flay, Emeril, Mario Batali, Rachel Ray? Come on over guys, it's nice out here and you will be appreciated!

Roosevelt Island Boot Camp Free Fitness Class At Sportspark Thursday Night May 26 - Callanetics, Plyometrics and Circuit Training Exercises To Help You Get and Stay In Shape

Island Boot Camp Flyer From RIOC

Are you looking to to start a new exercise workout program right here on Roosevelt Island? If so, consider the Island Bootcamp Free Fitness Program being held at Sportspark (250 Main Street) this Thursday from 6-7 PM and 7-8 PM. According to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp's (RIOC) Program Coordinator, Island Boot Camp is:
An hour long fitness class that incorporates Callanetics, Plyometrics, Circuit Training Exercises. The goal of the class is to create an environment of team building and positive reinforcement among the class participants, while training your body to be lean, powerful and fast.

There will be two classes, one at 6pm and one at 7pm.

For now, one time event.  If it gets a good turnout, that would possibly change.  We're only admitting people who are 16 and older and should be generally in good health.
Here's an example of Callanetics

You Tube Video of Callanetics Exercise Program

and how Callanetics helped one woman get in shape.

If you are looking to build power and speed, Plyometrics may be the program for you.

A less intensive version of Plyometrics is demonstrated here.

Why not give Roosevelt Island Bootcamp a try?

Good Luck!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Recaps Recent Roosevelt Island Events and Project Updates But No Mention of General Counsel's Departure -Is Political Patronage From New York Governor's Office the Cause?

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Ms. Torres recaps Roosevelt Island Health & Fitness Day and the Public Safety Department Commendation/Promotion Ceremony as well as updates us on several ongoing projects.

However, Ms Torres does not mention the recent departure of RIOC's long time General Counsel, Kenneth Leitner, who was hired over 11 years ago during the Administration of Governor George Pataki and served under the last two Democratic Party Governors, Elliot Spitzer and David Paterson.

What happened?

I noticed last Wednesday, during the May RIOC Board Meeting that Mr. Leitner was not in attendance

Image of May RIOC Board Meeting without RIOC General Counsel

sitting in his usual seat next to the RIOC President. Hudson/Related Developer David Kramer, who was present at the meeting for the Main Street Master Leaseholder Agenda Item, even asked me "Where's Ken" referring to Mr. Leitner.

Last Friday morning, I looked at RIOC's employee directory web page and saw that Mr. Leitner was no longer listed as a RIOC employee. As I was about to send an inquiry to Ms. Torres regarding Mr. Leitner's status, I read in Roosevelt Island's local newspaper, the Main Street WIRE (Page 1 PDF File):
RIOC Counsel Ken Leitner has left that post after over a decade in the job, a possible victim of the patronage system in New York State politics and government.
In an accompanying editorial the Main Street WIRE editor speculated (Page 2 PDF File):
... An alternative theory about the firing (let’s call it by its right name) of Leitner without cause is a memo he wrote, for Shane, about 30 months ago, summarizing all the interlocking issues involved in privatization of the Island’s remaining Mitchell-Lama buildings. Multiple agencies are involved, with diverse interests, and the memo was produced to make sure everybody understood fully all the places where privatization deals could go sour.

But there are interests – probably Lawlor, for one, and a significant number of Islanders – who want privatization done and done now, even if not all loose ends are tied up. Leitner’s comprehensive knowledge of those issues, and his legal-eagle concern that they be fully satisfied, could be another reason why his presence is no longer to be tolerated. (That was an important component in Shane’s firing, too.)
Again, these theories are all speculation of the Main Street WIRE editor - no facts are presented.

On Friday afternoon, I sent email inquiries to RIOC President Leslie Torres, all of the RIOC Directors, as well as the offices of Assembly Member Micah Kellner and State Senator Jose Serrano. Here's the email to Ms. Torres.
I understand that RIOC General Counsel Kenneth Leitner has been fired. Speculation is that the reason for this is that the Democratic Governor's office wanted their own person in that position.

Do you think it is proper to fire an experienced and well respected attorney for RIOC with great institutional knowledge merely because he was appointed by a Republican Governor many years ago? Any comment from RIOC?

Also, can you help me get a comment from the Governor's office on this matter.
To date, I have not received any response to my inquires except this from RIOC's Director of Human Resources:
The status of Mr. Leitner's employment with RIOC is a personnel matter, and is being handled as such.
There may be a perfectly reasonable and appropriate explanation for the departure of RIOC's well regarded and experienced General Counsel but if his leaving is a result of the new Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, viewing Roosevelt Island as a dumping ground for political patronage jobs, then that raises serious governance issues that the RIOC Board has a responsibility to address.

Here's Ms Torres report to the Roosevelt Island Community received on May 20.
We had a couple of great events in the past week, and I wanted to thank the RIOC staff for all their hard work providing Island residents with the opportunity to get together and enjoy some fun activities. I also wanted to take this opportunity to update you on a few of these events and several ongoing projects.

Health and Fitness Day

On Saturday, May 14, we hosted the Island’s 5th annual Health and Fitness Day. The event was very well attended, no doubt due to the great activities available for the entire family, including pets. The basketball tournament proved to be extremely successful, as did the ping pong tournament and kite flying design and demonstration.

I want to congratulate all the winners of the ping-pong and basketball tournaments.

The ping pong tournament would not be possible without George Braithwaite, our very own Island celebrity. George is a remarkable man with a great history. Today he runs the Island’s ping pong club, but he is also known for being one of the players in the 1971 China ping pong diplomacy games. George is also a national ping pong champion. In recognition of his accomplishments and role in US history, we dedicated a new outdoor ping pong court in his honor. The court, which will soon feature 3 tables that will be available for your use year-round, is located in Capobianco Field, next to the playground.

I congratulate Mike Smith, Manager of Parks & Recreation, and his excellent staff on a job well done. I also want to thank RIRA and all of the volunteers who came out to ensure we have a great event, and our partners and sponsors including Zog Sports, Health First, Amalgamated Bank, Hudson Related, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Child & Parent Services at Bilingual Inc, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Coler Goldwater Hospital, William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, the Mayors Alliance, ASPCA, Department of the Aging, Manhattan Regional Representative for the New York State Comptroller, Weill Cornell Medical Center's Epilepsy Center, Pop-Chips, and the Roosevelt Island Marlins.

Public Safety Commendation Ceremony

On Friday, May 13th the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department hosted its 4th Annual Commendation/Promotion ceremony.

One of our very talented Island resident's, Lauren Abdul, kicked off the program by singing the Star Spangled Banner.

Officers Ingrid Veras, William Dentone and Rodell Lindsey were promoted to the Rank of Sergeant. Officer David Vernet was promoted to Detective.

Officers Steven Cohen and Michelle Williams were presented awards with 20 years of Service to the Roosevelt Island Community.

Other PSD Officers were recognized for their work, receiving an Excellent Service Award, Meritorious Service Award and Medal of Exceptional Merit. These commendations were given for a variety of services, ranging from an arrest involving a firearm to assisting a young girl who broke a femur bone during one of the snow storms.

A special Award of Appreciation was given to Charles Abdul for assisting the Public Safety Department in foiling a vandalism caper on the island.

Fernando Martinez, Vice President of Operations for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, commended the Officers for the wonderful job they do. Officer Edwin Negron of the 114 Precinct Community Affairs Unit praised the department and spoke of the great relationship between the NYPD and PSD.

All in all, it was a wonderful ceremony and I thank the entire force for keeping Roosevelt Island one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.

Get Your Car Seats Checked

While they are always busy keeping our Island safe, the Public Safety Department (PSD) now also has six officers trained and certified in proper car seat installation. The officers completed the Car Safety Seat Technician course sponsored by Safe Kids and the Department of Transportation. Installations and checks will be available at the PSD Office to any resident or worker on the island from 7:00am to 11:00pm, free of charge.

Project Updates

Due to delays in the contracting process, construction on the Good Shepherd Community Center has not yet begun. The RIOC Board is voting on the contract this week. If it is approved, we anticipate the work to begin in the next few weeks and be complete in September.

The new parking meters along west drive have been installed. We are now awaiting installation of the application that will allow the meters to “communicate” with the parking spot sensors and enable motorists to identify open spots using a smart phone application.

I recently visited Southpoint Park. Construction is coming along nicely. The landscaping is starting to take shape and I can see how beautiful it will look when it’s done. We currently anticipate the park to be open at the end of July.
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears on RIOC's web site and the May 21, 2011 Main Street WIRE.

Readings From Roosevelt Island's Past - Stories From the Penitentiary, Hospital, Almshouse and Nursing School Presented by Roosevelt Island Historical Society and Public Library Starting Tonight

You Tube Video of Blackwells (Roosevelt) Island in1903

According to this You Tube post from Tiger Rocket:
... This film was photographed from a boat heading south along the eastern shore of Blackwell's Island known as Welfare Island from 1921 to 1973, and as Roosevelt Island today...  The film opens showing the lighthouse at the north end of the island (Hallet's Cove). As the boat enters the east channel of the river, the stacks of a large brewery in Yorkville on Manhattan are visible in the distance.... The camera pans along the island's granite seawall (built by inmates of the Penitentiary and Workhouse) and the following buildings, in order of appearance, are seen: the New York City Lunatic Asylum [0:39]; the Workhouse; the Almshouse [0:45]; piers for the Queensboro or '59th Street' Bridge still under construction, which upon completion in 1908 will span 135 feet above the island [1:20]; the Almshouse Keeper's House (originally the home of the Blackwell family, who had once owned the island) [1:30]; the Penitentiary [1:45]; Charity Hospital [1:55]. The film ends before reaching the southern tip of the island.
If you are interested in learning more about life on Blackwells (Roosevelt) Island, this invitation from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society  may be of interest:
The Roosevelt Island Historical Society In Conjunction with
The New York Public Library-Roosevelt Island Branch Present
“Reading from Our Island”

Through the years the RIHS has collected all manner of writings that were created by residents of our prisons, hospitals, staff, physicians, administrators and others. Join us for three evenings of readings from these works, most of which have never been publically read before.

Image of Blackwells (Roosevelt) Island Penitentiary From NYPL Digital Gallery

Tuesday, May 24

Readings from the Hospitals & the Penitentiary
Letters and recollections from physicians, nurses and other staff that worked and sometimes lived on the Island. Penitentiary news with readings from the prison published newspaper. Famed anarchist Emma Goldman, who while incarcerated on the Island in 1896 was taught to become a nurse.

Image of Blackwells (Roosevelt Island) Alms House From NYPL Digital Gallery

Tuesday, June 7 - Letters from the Almshouse

Correspondence from families searching for family members who had been confined on the island. The story of the almshouse administrator who absconded with City funds.

Image of Blackwells (Roosevelt) Island From NYPL Digital Gallery

Tuesday, June 28 - Stories from Nursing Schools

Letters, notes and memoirs from Nursing school students at The New York Training School for Nursing, Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing and Central School of Practical Nursing. This Program is an introduction of a photo exhibit on the subject opening in July, 2011.

All programs will take place at the New York Public Library-Roosevelt Island Branch, 524 Main Street from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
More historical images of Blackwells (Roosevelt) Island from the NYPL Digital Gallery here.