Friday, June 3, 2011

Roosevelt Island Tram Running Single Cabin Next Two Weekends For Electrical and Mechanical Improvements To Cable Suspension - Smoother Ride and More Ways To Hold On Coming Soon

Previous post this week reported that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will  be running a single Roosevelt Island Tram cabin this weekend and next due to electrical and mechanical improvements being made to the cabin suspension.

A reminder from RIOC:
As a reminder, on Saturday, June 4th - Sunday, June 5th, the Tram will be operating a single cabin only due to electrical improvements to the cabin suspension. During this time, the Tram will provide service every 15 minutes. Normal service will resume on Monday, June 6th at 6 AM.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin adds:
Very excited to announce that we are starting work on the improvements to the Tram residents have asked for and I  have been advocating for on the Operations Committee. People want a smoother ride especially on the towers and RIOC will be testing improved suspension features to provide that. People have also asked for more ways to hold on during the ride and that is coming soon as well.
Mr. Kalkin promised these improvements would soon be coming in an April post and it looks like he was right:
..The other day I had the opportunity to be on the Tram with our VP of Operations Fernando Martinez and RIOC President Leslie Torres. I had mentioned during previous meetings that I had gotten several emails or comments that there were not enough places to hold onto currently. I'm 6 feet tall and the rack on the top was still high over my head. I told Fernando that we should either lower the current poles on the top, add some kind of retractable strap to hold onto that doesn't hit people in the face, add extra vertical poles, or some combination of the three. There may be alternative solutions so I asked that we have an expert look at it again to figure out a fix.

I also have seen, read or experienced myself movement on the Tram while it approaches the towers. The Tram is different from the old Tram in that it uses a fixed cable system and therefore can be used in higher winds because the cables are fixed and don't move. Therefore the Tram cable can't swing on the trip in high winds. It remains fixed. However, when approaching the towers the Tram will center itself which is why you feel that nudge. This is very similar to a speed bump. If the operator moves quickly through it, it is more severe and during high winds, the correction is bigger. I have asked during several operations meetings that we develop a procedure for this during regular operations and high wind situations. If we have to go slower when approaching the tower in order to give a more comfortable ride, I think we should. It just makes sense....
Image of Tram Passengers Holding on to Overhead Bars

One Pint, One Hour, 3 Lives - Sign Up To Be A Donor For The Roosevelt Island Blood Drive At The Farmers Market Tomorrow

You Tube Video of Mayor Bloomberg Donating Blood

The Roosevelt Island Day Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) annual Blood Drive is currently underway. RIRA President Matt Katz reported at the June RIRA meeting that:
After two Saturdays at the Farmers Market, I can report to you that the sign-up for blood donors is going gangbusters. With two weeks to go, and due to the ultra-persuasive volunteers staffing our table, we have fifty-one pledges in hand.
There's still plenty of room for more Roosevelt Island blood donors. It's easy to sign up. Just stop by the RIRA Blood Drive Table at the Farmers Market tomorrow. Speak to the RIRA members

RIRA Members Aaron Hamburger and Mona Sen At RIRA Blood Donor Table Last Week

who will provide you with all the information you need and learn how you can donate blood and save one life or maybe more.

You Tube Video of Save 3 Lives In 1 Hour As A Blood Donor

The blood donations will take place on Roosevelt Island Day, June 11, at the Seniors Center, 546 Main Street from 10 AM - 4 PM. You will be treated very well.

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Roosevelt Island Red Bus Operations, Community Transportation Meeting, Octagon Fuel Cell, Tennis Court Times, BBQ Grills, Roosevelt Island Day & More

Image of March 2011 Morning Red Bus Bunching at the Octagon

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I hope you enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend and the official summer kick-off.

Summer is a season to have fun at the parks across the Island. I’ve included below information on some Island activities, and you can check our website and Facebook page for more information.

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

Running the Red Bus: Cyril “Cy” Opperman

Two months ago, recognizing that we needed to improve the management and the service on our red bus line, I hired Cyril “Cy” Opperman, a 31-year veteran of bus operations, to head up our bus operation.

Even before he officially joined the RIOC staff, Cy was riding the Red Buses to get a feel for the customer experience, safety procedures and general bus operations.

Now that he’s on board, Cy comes in at about 5:30 in the morning to provide oversight of the morning rush hour, which starts with the first two buses at 5:45am and three others at 6:45am. In case you are wondering, as I was, Cy wakes up at 3am and goes jogging before coming in to the office (he gets 5 hours of sleep, which he’s been doing for most of the past 31 years).

Cy spends the rest of the morning traveling the route, talking to passengers, and residents, and overseeing the dispatchers, all in an effort to improve operations.

Improving Bus Safety

Safety is Cy’s first priority. To that end, he oversees a daily safety inspection of all main bus components. Cy’s also making sure all our bus operators are properly trained. All drivers will now be required to take a road test, physical, and written exam on an annually basis, twice as frequently as is required by the State.

Ensuring On-Time Bus Arrival

Cy is also working on getting buses on an on-time arrival schedule that best meets residents’ needs.

Over the past few weeks, Cy managed a survey to track ridership and determine how to best dispatch and route buses during the morning rush. He is now conducting a pilot program to assess if routing all morning buses via at The Octagon will improve service. The pilot includes maintaining the current Octagon express bus and two Octagon local buses and adding The Octagon stop for the 2 remaining local buses that currently commence at the Firehouse.

Preliminary pilot results show that the extension of the Firehouse Local to the Octagon provides improved service for The Octagon residents without impacting riders at boarding at Manhattan Park.

Check out our Facebook and website for updates on any changes to the bus schedule. We will also send out information via our email alert system.

Cy plans to tackle the PM rush hour service next.

Community Meeting on Island Transportation

If you are interested in hearing more about the Red Bus operations, or other Island transportation issues, please join us on Thursday, June 16th for a community meeting on island transportation issues. The meeting will be held at the Good Shepherd Community Center at 7pm.

Octagon Officially Powered by Clean, Green Technology

Last week, Becker + Becker, developers of The Octagon, hosted a ceremony to officially launch the cutting-edge fuel cell that now powers the building. The technology comes courtesy of a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Roosevelt Island has always been at the forefront of adopting green, clean technology. You can see my remarks from the ribbon cutting on RIOC’s Facebook page.

Tennis Court Time Available

As I was walking to The Octagon ceremony, I passed by our beautiful tennis courts and was reminded how wonderful it is to have these courts on the Island. While tennis season has started, it’s not too late to get your season pass. Passes cost $100 per person and give you access to 6 courts on a first come, first serve basis. For more information.

Island Boot Camp a Hit

Following Health and Fitness day, we held an Island Boot Camp class at Sportspark. Boot Camp fitness classes are a great way to get fit, since they combine several different forms of exercise into one fun group class. Not surprisingly, most of the 18 residents that attended gave the class high marks.

Mike Smith, Director of Parks and Recreation, is working to increase the types of classes offered at Sportspark. Email him suggestions at

BBQ on the Island

I know there will be many Island residents ready for a good cook-out this summer. As you may know, BBQs are available at Lighthouse Park for you to use on a first come, first serve basis. We just ask that you use them safely, keep the park clean, and follow a few other rules posted at the park.

Roosevelt Island Day:

Come out on June 11th and show your Roosevelt Island community pride by helping to keep the Island green and beautiful at this fun FREE event! Activities begin at 9AM with an ongoing tradition of community-wide flower planting. Starting at 12PM there will be more to do and see, including amusements, games and rides for the entire family, and the popular petting zoo. The event concludes at 6PM with a concert on the Good Shepherd Plaza.

Sponsored by Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Urban American, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, Island House, Island Kids, PS/IS 217 PTA, Rivercross, RIRA, RISA, RIVAA, Roosevelt Island Living Library, and Westview.
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears on RIOC's web site and the June 4, 2011 Main Street WIRE.

No Pedestrian Safety Barrier For Queens Side of Roosevelt Island Bridge Says NYC Dep't Of Transportation - More Test Openings For Bridge and Often Delayed Rehabilitation Project Scheduled To Be Completed At End of August 2011

Image of Queens Side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge Without Pedestrian Safety Barrier

Previous posts have reported on the desire by some for a pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge Pathway. There is an existing pedestrian safety barrier on the portion of the Bridge closer to the Roosevelt Island side

Image of Roosevelt Island Side of Roosevelt Island Bridge with Safety Barrier

but it does not extend to the Queens side of the Bridge.

Queens Side of Roosevelt Island Bridge without Safety Barrier

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner and NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin sent this letter to NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione urging that a pedestrian safety barrier be installed along the Queens side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge and that the Roosevelt Island community be apprised of any progress in the construction of such a safety barrier.
Dear Commissioner Forgione,

We are writing in regards to the status of a pedestrian barrier on the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Currently, pedestrians on the eastern side of the bridge do not have a physical barrier to protect them from traffic. Such a barrier was unfortunately and incomprehensibly not included in the original design of the bridge.

The absence of a barrier on the eastern side has created hazardous conditions for the large disabled community on Roosevelt Island, pedestrians with children, and the many others who understandably feel unsafe crossing the bridge while unprotected from traffic. As the only thoroughfare to and from Roosevelt Island, the bridge is extremely busy at all hours of the day. Wheelchair users who cross the bridge risk falling off the curb’s edge. On the extremely narrow path, this can easily occur when individuals attempt to pass one another

Members of the community, including the Roosevelt Island Residents Association and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, have contacted us for assistance in meeting with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to determine the best way to incorporate a barrier into the existing structure. We understand that this problem has been acknowledged by the DOT, and that you have been examining the issue. However, the community has not been kept apprised of any progress that has been made towards the construction of a barrier.

The absence of this barrier is a tragic accident waiting to happen. We ask that you meet with local community leaders to discuss the future plans for the bridge. Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Commissioner Forgione responded by saying no to a pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side of the  Roosevelt Island Bridge because, according to the DOT, the sidewalk is in compliance with required standards.

Click on text above to read the DOT Commissioner's response or read it below.
DOT Roosevelt Island Bridge Pedestrian Safety Barrier Letter

During last night's Roosevelt Island Resident's Association (RIRA) meeting, Kellner's staffer Robert Atterbury told the Council Members that Assembly Member Kellner and Council Member Lappin are working on reversing DOT's decision as well as setting up a meeting between Roosevelt Island community members and DOT officials to further explain the need for a Roosevelt Island Bridge pedestrian safety barrier along the Queens side of the Bridge.

DOT Commissioner Forgione also reports in her letter to Mr. Kellner and Ms. Lappin that the often delayed $86.5 million Roosevelt Island Bridge Rehabilitation Project's new completion date is now the end of August 2011.

This means that there will be more testing on the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening From Jonathan Hoo

According to the DOT:
The New York City Department of Transportation Division of Bridges will again resume testing the newly rehabilitated Roosevelt Island Bridge on Monday, June 6th at 10:00 a.m. The bridge will be fully closed 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 be completed on June 10th. Electrical and mechanical testing requires intermittent closures of the bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In the weeks after June 10th, should sporadic testing be necessary, NYCDOT will inform the Roosevelt Island community and the general public.

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.
Click On Image to Enlarge

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Young Woman Dreams of Living in New York City - Dream Comes True and She is Now Living on Roosevelt Island

The NY Times profiled a young woman with a dream of living in New York City ever since she was a young girl. She made that dream come true and now lives on Roosevelt Island. From the NY Times:
As a teenager, Kristy Shelberg, stoked by “Seinfeld” and “Friends” and subscriptions to Vogue and Elle, plotted her escape from Creve Coeur, Mo., for New York City and a job in fashion or photography. She graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in marketing from LIM College in Midtown Manhattan, became Kristy Whitwell when she married her hometown sweetheart in July, and was hired last August as the event and party coordinator at the Scholastic Store in SoHo. Ms. Whitwell, 24, lives on Roosevelt Island with her husband, David, a classical trombonist attending the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music....
The entire article is here.

Welcome to NYC and Roosevelt Island Kristy.

U2 loves New York too.

You Tube Video of U2's New York

Free Mammogram Screenings From Project Renewal Scan Van Available On Roosevelt Island Tomorrow Reports State Senator Jose Serrano

Image of Project Renewal Scan Van Mammogram Room

Roosevelt Island's State Senator Jose Serrano with Project Renewal's Scan Van Program are offering Free Mammogram screenings on Friday June 3 at the Good Shepherd Church Plaza (543 Main Street) from 8:30 AM - 4 PM.
For women 40 years of age and older who have not had a mammogram in the past year.

Free For Uninsured women 40 years of age and Older Medicaid/Medicare/Affinity/Fedelis/GHI/Local 1199/Oxford/Cigna United Health Care and other insurance plans accepted. All co-pays and deductibles are waived.

An appointment is necessary.

Please call 1-800-564-6868.
Image From Senator's Serrano's Office (Click on Image To Enlarge)

More on Project Renewal here and from previous posts.

Roosevelt Island Tram Running Single Cabin For Next Two Weekends - Electrical and Mechanical Improvements Being Made To Cabin Suspension

 Image of Roosevelt Island Tram Cabins From Duc Le

Received the following message from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that on Saturday, June 4th - Sunday, June 5th, the Tram will be operating a single cabin only due to electrical improvements to the cabin suspension. During this time, the Tram will provide service every 15 minutes. Normal service will resume on Monday, June 6th at 6 AM.

In addition, On Saturday, June 11th- Sunday, June 12th, the Tram will be undergoing mechanical improvements to the cabin suspension. During this time, the Tram will provide service every 15 minutes. Normal service will resume on Monday, June 13th at 6 AM.

Red Bus service will operate on its normal weekend schedule.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have on your commute and thank you for your patience during these service changes.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Plan on crowded Tram Cabins for the next two weekends.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keep Your Bare Feet Off Of The Roosevelt Island Starbucks Tables Please

It's almost summer and hot outside. Many people are wearing sandals and flip flops for comfort, relief from the heat and style. Unfortunately, some people choose to relax in a restaurant or coffee shop by removing their sandals or flip flops and plunking their bare dirty feet right on top of tables or chairs that others use as this person did at the Roosevelt Island Starbucks over the Memorial Day weekend.

Image of Bare Feet On Roosevelt Island Starbucks Table

Not very considerate behavior or sanitary at all.

Yahoo Answers received a question on this topic recently: 
Why do girls put their bare feet on the coffee table at Starbucks?

Don't get me wrong. I think most of the ones who do it are gorgeous, and they have pretty feet. But isn't putting your bare feet on the coffee table at Starbucks a bit awkward and unsanitary? I often see college aged girls purchasing their lattes before walking over to the couch area, slipping off their rainbow flip flops and resting their bare feet on the coffee table like it's a foot stool, while reading a book or studying.

Isn't putting your bare feet on the coffee table as unsanitary as putting your feet on the coffee table with flip flops on because of all the germs involved? I will admit that there's something attractive about a girl who's confident enough about her feet to rest them on a table where everyone can see, but at the same time, I also find it somewhat gross since people eat and drink off that same table.
Most of the answers were similar to this one:
No matter if they're bare or not, it is rude, rude, rude to put your feet up on a table where others may put their food or beverages. Period. The employees should be going around telling them to please remove their feet--they are not in their private homes--and immediately wipe the tables.

That's vulgar, disgusting, and completely low class.


This really started to bug me. LOL! So, I emailed corporate and they asked for the store where this was going on. Apparently, the employees are supposed to stop people from doing this, as they see it the same way I do. Of course I couldn't tell them, but by all means you should go to the Starbucks site and send an email. There may be no explanation for why people so rudely do this in their me-centric little world, but you can call it to the attention of management.

Come Learn What Is Happening on Roosevelt Island With Red Bus, Main Street Stores, Library and More - Residents Association (RIRA) Meeting Tonight 8 PM At Good Shepherd Community Center

Image of April 2011 RIRA Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) monthly June meeting is tonight 8 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). The Agenda for the meeting is below.

As always, prior to the start of each meeting there is a public session in which any resident can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern. Scheduled to speak during tonight's Public Session are Miranda Murray of the Roosevelt Island Public Library and Sal Ferrara of the Child School/Legacy High School.

Also, remember that Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano has Roosevelt Island constituent office hours just prior to the RIRA monthly meeting and on the first Wednesday of every month from 4 - 7 PM at RIOC Headquarters 591 Main Street.

If you have any questions to ask Senator Serrano's staff or are in need of any assistance that may require the help of your elected representative stop by RIOC HQ. Also, bring photocopies of any paperwork related to your situation so that the Serrano staff can effectively and efficiently address the issue.

Below is the Agenda for the June RIRA Meeting,

June 1, 2011 Agenda

the Island Services Committee Report,

Updates on the key issues ISC is working on:

Red Bus – Schedule, Stops, Strollers – The Red Bus now seems to be operating according to the plan worked out with RIRA. There appears to be little or no complaints from passengers. We will continue to monitor the operation.

RIOC is studying the possibility of allowing strollers on the buses during rush hours and we expect to hear from them about this issue in mid-June.

Main St. Stores – ISC has been in contact with RIOC Board member Jonathan Kalkin on this issue and plans to have a meeting with Kalkin in the near future to discuss ways that RIRA can work with RIOC and Hudson-Related in getting the stores that the community feels are needed and desirable for Roosevelt Island. Meanwhile, we are establishing a direct contact with David Kramer, the person in Hudson-Related who will be directing their efforts in attracting and selecting stores for Main St.

Parks – RIOC has now delayed the opening of Southpoint Park to the end of July. We suspect weʼll be lucky if the park opens by Labor Day.

Public Library - Since the New York Public Library has not yet allocated capital money to this project, itʼs clear that there will not be a start on the new Library in 2012. Best we can hope for is 2013 or 2014.

Pedestrian Safety Barrier on RI Bridge - We still havenʼt received an official response to our letter to the NYC Dept. of Transportation (DOT) on this issue. However, we understand that last week both Jessica Lappin & Micah Kellner received letter from DOT rejecting the proposed installation on the Queens side of the bridge. More information to follow. The fight is not over.
and minutes from the May RIRA meeting.
Click Here For More

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council Meeting, 
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Minutes for May 4, 2011 Meeting
1. Public Access – 8:10p.m.
Robert Atterbury – Assemblyman Micah Kellner’s liaison to Roosevelt Island –
Kellner, with Rep. Maloney, is working with the DOT Manhattan Commissioner on safety barriers for the RI Bridge.

The Department of Justice is investigating the Taxi and Limousine Corp (TLC) for violating ADA guidelines for new Nissan taxis, which are not wheelchair accessible. Comptroller John Liu is looking into a potential conflict of interest, as those involved with choosing the vehicle were also involved with the vehicle design.

Micah has proposed legislation making the “Rescue Dog” New York’s State Dog; ditto the Rescue Cat.

A letter has been written and signed requesting that EMS partner with Public Safety for ambulance and emergency services on Roosevelt Island. Within two weeks, EMS will set up a call system so that every time EMS receives a call from a RI resident, EMS will inform Public Safety so that they can get to the emergency site even before EMS arrives and begin helping the caller. Public Safety is trained in the use of, and has defibrillators on hand.

Erin Feely-Nahem asked if the bill to establish a Civilian Complaint Board has been re-submitted. It is being reviewed, and people can contact Kellner’s office to give input.

Meeting called to order at 8:15pm:

2. Roll Call: Quorum achieved, (28 present/17 absent). Caetano removed having missed three consecutive meetings.

3. Approval of Agenda: Request to move SC&E report to head of the Committee reporting list; Helstien added a motion to New Business. Approved with amendments by acclamation

4. Approval of 4/6/11 Minutes: (Moved-Shull/Seconded-Atkins). Approved by acclamation

5. Treasurer’s Report – Report presented: Current Checking balance: $3,858.17; Legal Fund: $1,224.77; MTG Fund: $1,244.73.

6. President’s Report

1. The RIRA First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival required over 150 individuals and organizations to create. Lynne Shinozaki, SC&E Committee Chair will report the details of the event in her committee report. Katz dedicated a bronze plaque, funded by RIOC, to the Japanese people, along with RIOC President, Leslie Torres. RIRA received a Citation from Assembly Member Micah Kellner’s office, who brought a framed page from the Congressional Record citing the Island’f Fesival, courtesy of Rep. Maloney. Councilwoman Jessica Lappin’s office presented two framed Proclamations for the two Japanese Ambassadors to the United States and received by their representative.

2. A “Dear Friend” letter was received from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, thanking us for the concerns raised regarding hydrofracking. He stated in the letter, that his office has “zero tolerance for public safety or environmental threats against our state’s families and any dangers will be met with the full force of my administration.”

3. Katz mentioned that Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer made good on his vow to follow up on our subway station concerns. He did so with an April 12 letter to MTA Chair, Jay Walder, citing our Manhattan-bound platform flood and the station door that never gets repaired. Katz also reminded Stringer of the unsanitary conditions in the lobby area caused by the netting that was supposed to interdict the pigeon population but, in fact, provides them with additional perching and nesting opportunities. His office has promised to follow up.

4. Katz sgined up Council volunteers to solicit blood donors at the Saturday Farmers Markets noting that he and Secretary Helstien have already signed up to start the ball rolling.

7. Committee Reports –
SC&E: Chair, Shinozaki – Expected numbers at the April 30 Cherry Blossom Festival were 300-400; actual attendance estimated at 1000-1200 people; that day we made $8,368.61! RIRA budgeted up to $150, only $50 used for lockboxes.

Events coming up:
5/14 – SkateRI during RIOC’s Health & Fitness Day, at Child School; RIRA Café fundraiser outside.

5/21 – Networking Breakfasts kickoff in residential buildings; 9am-Noon.

6/11 – RI Day – at RIRA FREE breakfast table, RIRA will be fundraising, partnering with Fresh Direct: with a $20 donation to RIRA, the donor will get a FD coupon; only for new FD members, however. Helstien presented Lynne with a pair of folded crane earrings, and will present a pair to Neha Kaul, who was in charge of personnel for the April 30 Festival.

Planning: Chair, Farance – Oral report: Farance has divided the Committee into sub-Committees which will focus on the following matters:

- GDP improvements sub-committee;
- Long-term financial planning by RIOC sub-committee;
- Blackwell Park sub-committee – to be led by Ilonka Salisbury;
- Transportation issues sub-committee in partnership with Island Services committee;
- SDRC sub-committee headed by Denise Shull: Letter has been sent to Stanford, NYU, and NYEDC. Next meeting will be with RIRA Councilmember and new CB8 Board Member, Jeff Escobar, who understands community benefit agreements, and RIOC Board member Jon Kalkin who has some expertise with NYEDC, to build a community coalition to give residents standing in the looming development of Goldwater Hospital. We hope that NYEDC will tell other prospective groups about RIRA letter. RFP is expected to come sometime over this summer.

- Issue: Better utilization of parking spaces on RI; commercial spaces

Public Safety: Chair, Feely-Nahem – oral report: Letter has been sent to Public Safety Director Guerra, commending his officers for their service at the Cherry Blossom Festival. There have been numerous Motorgate complaints with RIOC VP Martinez questioning whether Central Parking or Public Safety must enforce parking rules. The committee is working the hours of 4pm-midnight every night. Insp. Cirabisi has promised to bring the new full-time Island officer to the Common Council when one is appointed.

Communications: Co-Chairs, Dawson & Fortuna – Oral report: Website is running well; Vini is planning two training sessions to teach committee chairs how to use our calendar. He will send out some dates and times later. Fortuna wants to add RIRA to Wikipedia!

Government Relations: Chair, Mincheff –Oral report: the RI legislation review process with edits should be done by next meeting. Jessica Lappin had a baby boy, Miles. ASPCA will be out at Health & Fitness Day, 5/14, doing FREE micro-chipping for our pets.

Housing: Chair, Chirivas – Written report for February meeting. No recent meeting/no report. Constitution: Chair, Evans – Meetings in April cancelled. To resume in May.

Island Services: Chair, Hamburger - Written report submitted. Parking machines at Southtown location in operation.

8. Old Business – None

9. New Business –
Helstien – Proposed two motions with regard to the purchase and sale of RIRA hats and visors for fundraising:
Motion 1: seconded, Salisbury That the members of the RIRA Common Council approve the SC&E Committee’s request to purchase a gross of hats and visors at one of these amounts: (a) ($6 per hat/visor x 144 =) $864, (b) ($5.50 per hat/visor x 144 =) $792 or (c) ($5 per hat/ visor x 144 =) $720. The hats and visors will be sold at $15 each netting $2160 – $864 = (a) $1296, $2160- 792 =$1368, or 2160-$720 = (b) $1440.
(The cost of the hats was given in various price ranges, as the cost was not solidified at the time of this RIRA meeting; subsequent to this meeting, the price of $5.50 was agreed upon.)
Vote: 25Y, 0N, 0A. Motion carried.

Motion 2 as amended: seconded, Salisbury That the members of the RIRA Common Council agree to participate in the selling of hats and visors at all community events, in order to help build the RIRA Treasury ensuring our ability to do more programs and events that any of the committees might want to pursue.

Vote: 24Y, 2N, 2A. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Still No Stovetop Cooking For Roosevelt Island Westview Residents Due To Gas Service Disruption, Expect Another 6 Weeks of Hot Plate Cooking - No Word On Rent Abatement But At Least Trellis Diner Is Offering A 20% Discount

Image of Dual Burner Hot Plates  From GE Housewares
As reported in this May 9 post:
An outage of gas service for residents of Roosevelt Island's Westview Mitchell Lama building is scheduled to begin May 18 and may last as long as two months according to the Notice below sent by Westview's RY Mangement Co last week. The Notice states that there will be no cooking gas available during this time but RY Management will provide residents with dual burner hot plates....
It's been about 2 weeks without gas service for Westview residents. The Trellis Diner has kindly offered a 20% discount to Westview residents during the gas outage to their building but I am sure that residents would just like to start using their own kitchens again.

I asked Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President and Westview resident Matt Katz about the no gas situation:
As Westview residents, do you wish to make any statement regarding Westview Gas outage situation.

I have been told by residents that the Hot Plates provided by RY Management are less than satisfactory and they are not sure what is going on with any possible rent abatement.
Mr. Katz replied:
Speaking only as a Westview resident, I am disappointed in the lack of communication from both R-Y Management and especially from the Westview Task Force. R-Y gave us two weeks notice regarding the gas outage, but has yet to explain why this extraordinary work was necessary. The WTI stated (but only in a flyer posted in the lobby) that they would ask management for a 4% rent rebate to compensate tenants for the “inconvenience.” That was almost two weeks ago, and we have heard nothing from them since. The work is being done by an outside contractor, the Maxwell Plumb Mechanical Corp., and has been run like a military campaign.

We made due with the hot plate (what choice do we have?) and our microwave, although we’ve been asked not to use them simultaneously. How a family with children is expected to provide meals using these devices one-at-a-time eludes me. We did some cooking prior to the outage and are finding strategies to feed ourselves. However, the problem is not limited to cooking alone. Our gas-powered dryers in the laundry rooms were replaced by electric ones, and I am told they are less than satisfactory.

Originally, we were told to expect the gas to be off for two months. However, this is dependent upon the level of cooperation from the tenants in allowing work people to enter their apartment both to replace gas conduits and to test each line of apartments for gas pressure. I hope this difficult period may be shortened by virtue of this cooperation.
The minutes to the Westview Task Force May 17 Meeting Minutes report this about the gas service disruption:
FS) reported on Gas Outage Meeting with RY Management on Tuesday May 10 :
  • The Taskforce got an overview of what the actual effort is, it is not an emergency fix but a critical repair and gas infrastructure upgrade for both buildings and all apartment 
  • Requested 4% rent reduction, RY said this would be address following the completion of the repair 
  • Requested Bi-weekly status reports from RY management
Gas Outage Update:
A distributed tenant flyer expressing anger and frustration with the Taskforce management of Gas Outage issues (4% rent reduction insufficient) was discussed and agreed to that it would be ignored due to the fact that it was anonymous. Tenant communication will be through the Monthly Newsletter and Tenant Updates.
The full Westview Task Force May 17 meeting minutes are below.
Westview Task Force May 17 Minutes

What should be a fair rent rebate for losing the use of a stove for two months? Here are some opinions from readers of the previous post on Westview's loss of gas service:
Twenty per cent is the normal and expected rent reduction for a loss of services of this magnitude, according to highly regarded Queens-based landlord tenant lawyer -- on the LANDLORD'S SIDE. Four per cent is not serious compensation.
I hope you are actively involved in the negotiations with WV management on this. Could you back up your claim that 20% is normal? The magnitude of this service reduction is the loss of two burners and an oven. Who is that highly regarded Queens-based landlord? Could you provide a reference?

Let's do an experiment. How much would it cost you to buy a brand-new electric stove? You can get one from Sears for around $350. With delivery and taxes you'll end up paying arounf $450. A quick look at eBay and Craigslist shows me that you could sell a barely used electric range for at least $200. Subtract the cost of a two burner hot plate (let's say $60) that brings us to $140. Add the value of your time and we'll be at something like $200. What's the average rent of a, say, 2BR apartment? $2000? 2 months of rent, $200 out of pocket cost for you, that comes out to be 5% on a monthly basis.

I don't see how you could justify a 20% reduction.
 4% is fair for both sides. That's the amount management pays for gas and that's approximately the economic value or losing two burners and the oven. Anything above that would be ridiculous.
One more:
You are losing four burners and either one or two ovens, depending on your stove. A hot plate is not equivalent to a gas burner.What management pays for gas is not the issue. The issue is the loss of services to tenants.

Four percent may be satisfactory for someone who doesn't cook, but for the rest of us it is a pathetic joke. I have lived here for 34 years. In the early days, there were often uncalled-for calls for rent strikes. Now, when there is really a reason for one, tenants are just rolling over. Good luck to all of us during the negotiations on privatization. We are bound to get royally screwed with this attitude.

After this is all over, you realize that management will apply for a rent increase on the basis of a "capital improvement," don't you? I'd like to know why this gas problem is suddenly so urgent.
Here's another thought experiment. There are two apartments, each equal in all respects except one has gas service with a working stove and the other does not. The apartment with the working stove rents for One Thousand Dollars a month ($1,000). How much should the other apartment without the working stove rent for? Closer to $800 per month (20% discount for no gas) or $960 (4% discount for no gas)?

Healthy Cooking On A Grill Demonstration Video By Ellie Krieger With Doctor Steve Salvatore at Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill

As reported in this post last week, 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 Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill to grill some easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious summer time meals. Here's the segment that appeared on TV last Sunday:

The recipes for the dishes prepared in this segment are here too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Memorial Day - Thank You For Your Service To All Members Of U.S. Military and Their Families - 2011 NYC Fleet Week, Come Visit Roosevelt Island

You Tube Video of Buglers Across America

In addition to enjoying ourselves this Memorial Day weekend with a day off from work, friends, family and outdoor barbecues, let's also take a moment to remember the men and women of the United States Military who are currently serving our country, those veterans who have done so in the past and those who gave their lives. From
Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer...

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves...
More information on Buglers Across America here.

It's also Fleet Week in New York City.

You Tube Video of 2011 Fleet Week New York City

If you know a veteran or someone currently serving please tell them you appreciate their service and say Thank You. If you see a Sailor or Marine on the street this weekend, say Thanks to him or her as well.

On Memorial Day last year, three FMF Corpmen of the Marine 2nd Division found their way to Roosevelt Island

 but I have not seen any Fleet Week presence on Roosevelt Island this year yet.

Here's a You Tube video of the 2011 Parade of Ships from Fleet Week New York City.

Happy Memorial Day and Thank You members of the United State Military.