Saturday, July 9, 2011

Violence, Wealth, Sex and Betrayal - Readings From Mafia Son By Author Sandra Harmon At The Roosevelt Island Public Library Today At 2 PM

 Any interest is Mafia stories today. If so, head on over to the Roosevelt Island Public Library for a 2 PM reading by Sandra Harmon, the author of Mafia Son. From the Roosevelt Island Public Library:
MAFIA SON, July 9th 2:00 PM, at the Roosevelt Island Public Library

In MAFIA SON, the Scarpa Mob Family, the FBI and a Story of Betrayal, journalist and best-selling author Sandra Harmon details how she gained inside access to both Mob and law enforcement figures, became a trusted confidante to mafia capo Gregory Scarpa jr., and the astounding story she was able to bring to light as a result.

An unforgettable story of violence, wealth, sex and betrayal, MAFIA SON is the tale of a sociopath mafia killer and the son he betrayed.

Sandra Harmon will read from MAFIA SON, and discuss the Mafia and the FBI, 9/11 and answer questions from the audience.

Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Commons Sprinklers Spraying During Tonight's Rain Storm - But Nobody Playing

Reported yesterday afternoon on kids playing in the Blackwell Park Water Fountain and ending the night with the Riverwalk Commons Sprinklers spraying during nighttime rain storm. Nobody playing in the Riverwalk Commons Sprinklers tonight though.

Friday, July 8, 2011

No F Train Queens Bound Subway Service From Manhattan To Roosevelt Island This Weekend - Expect Crowded Tram, Plan Accordingly

Expect crowded Roosevelt Island Tram rides this weekend because there will be no F train subway service to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan starting at 12:01 AM Saturday July 9 thru 5 AM Monday July 11. According to the MTA:
F Jamaica-bound trains run via the M from 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza
Weekend, 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon, Jul 9 - 11...

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.

Note: F Trains skip the 5 Av/53 St E station during this time.

Take A Bicycle Ride Around Roosevelt Island - And See How Copenhaganization of Bike Riding Works In Denmark - Should Roosevelt Island Be More Bike Friendly or Car Friendly?

You Tube Video of Bike Ride Around Roosevelt Island

Come share a bicycle ride courtesy of Ride Gotham and You Tube around Roosevelt Island starting on the East Channel facing Queens near the Octagon building then heading north towards Lighthouse Park. Turn around to continue south on the West Channel facing Manhattan's magnificent waterfront and skyline views passing the Octagon again and the graffiti defaced Boat Prow dock until reaching the soon to be open (August 3 Grand Opening) Southpoint Park barrier.

More on Roosevelt Island Bicycle riding, including do's and don'ts, as well as possible bike sharing program from previous posts.

How do other cities deal with their bicycle riders. A reader shares this CNN story about Bike riding in Copenhagen

The NY Times had an interesting article on bicycles versus cars in Europe:
While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation...
Click here for the entire article.

Should Roosevelt Island be more bike friendly or car friendly?

Roosevelt Island Kids Using Their Skill and Ingenuity Build Temporary Dam and Pool at Blackwell Park Water Fountain - Fun Times On A Hot Summer Day

Special Playground and Water Fountain Correspondent Roosevelt Island 360 updates report from yesterday's hot day excursion into the Blackwell Park sprinkler:
Well the children of Roosevelt Island have successful harnessed their skills as builders and created a temporary dam and pool. The water has topped the pool's edge but they are going for complete containment with the goal of completing filling the cement enclosure with water. These kids are determined and having fun. Soon the pool will drain but their sense of accomplishment and empowerment grows.
and later adds:
Had to end sometime. Maintenance doing their job.

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Blotter Incidents and Response Call Statistics For March and May 2011 -Recent Subway Robbery and Fire In Bulk Container

Last Saturday evening, I sent the following message to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez and Public Safety Director Keith Guerra:

I received a report about big gang bust down by the train and Main St near the pier bet. 5-6 pm this afternoon? There were approx 20 NYPD & PSD patrol cars and many were being arrested.

Is this true? If so, any comment on what happened?
Mr. Fernandez replied:
The incident that you reference in your email was not a gang bust, but rather a robbery that ocurred inside the train station.  Three male subjects were arrested by NYPD with assistance from RIPSD.
This incident, as well as others, are noted in the Public Safety Department's Daily Incident Report which provides a very brief description of calls in which the Public Safety Department responds to and is included in the middle sidebar of the Blog. For example, here's another example of an incident described in the Daily Public Safety Report:
7/1 - 7/2
Criminal Mischief/Fire - In a large bulk container. FDNY extinguished it. No injuries. Search made with negative results. UA notified.
Below are the Roosevelt Island March and May 2011 Public Safety Blotters which report in greater detail the type of incidents which the Public Safety Department and NYPD, when called upon, respond to. (The April Blotter is not on the RIOC web site at this time). The June Blotter is not available yet.

May incidents include:
  • Officers responded to location for a report of youths with weapons. Upon arrival there were four youths playing with toy space guns (front of 40 River Road 5/9). 
  • A wheelchair bound passenger and her attendant were entering the tram paying only one fare. An investigation was conducted and concluded that the attendant did not have to pay per the MTA rules and regulations (5/10).
  • Female victim reported she was in the elevator with four male youths who were forcibly touching her. Subjects were identified and taken into custody, but were released by NYPD for insufficient evidence. Youths released to their parents/guardians (4 River Road 5/10).
  • Reporter made a complaint with regard to bikers utilizing the walkway of the bridge (5/11). 
  • Reporter advised unknown male urinated in front of location. Reporter cleaned up the area. Search for subjects yielded negative results (516 Main Street 5/12). 
  • R/O observed NYPD Officers on the scene for a report of a man arguing with another man with a knife. The NYPD Officer stated it was not necessary to remain on the scene (400 Main Street 5/28). 
  • Victim advised male subject took $4 from him. Subject was approached but stated victim game him the money. Subject returned the money without further incident (540 Main Street 5/28). 
  • A strong smell of illegal substance was observed at location. R/O conducted a search of area with negative results (580 Main Street 5/7). 
  • ARREST Three males involved in a physical altercation with each other. All three males sustained injuries and were treated by EMS. All three males were taken into custody and transported to the 114 Pct for arrest processing (Opposite 645 Main Street 5/27). 
  • Victim advised a group of 10 - 15 male teens assaulted him hitting him and causing him to fall down and hit his head. Victim sustained numerous injuries. Female friend of victim identified nine of the males. Victim refused to press charges. EMS on scene (510 Main Street 5/28).
  • NYPD ARREST Victim reported a male entered his apartment and took a lap top worth $400. Subject was identified in the surveillance cameras and was later observed by R/O at location. NYPD on scene and subject was taken into custody in conjunction with a previous offense (580 Main Street (5/17).
RIOC Public Safety Blotter May 2011

RIOC Public Safety Blotter March 2011

It would be helpful for all Roosevelt Island residents to have access to the specific information contained in the Monthly Blotter on a more timely basis than 1-2 months after an incident occurs. Perhaps RIOC and Public Safety can provide this information on a weekly basis.

Roosevelt Island 2011 Public Safety Calls For Services/Responses statistics through May are here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Movie Showing The Goonies This Saturday Night At Firefighter's Field - Nice Way To Spend A Saturday Evening With Friends and Family

Outdoor Summer Movies are back this Saturday evening at Roosevelt Island's Firefighter's Field.

 View of Firefighter's Field Outdoor Movie From Above

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Come out THIS SATURDAY, July 9th and enjoy the continuation of the Summer Movie Series with the FREE screening of “The Goonies”. The show starts at 8;00 p.m. so be there early with your blanket and chairs for a good spot. There will be snacks available for purchase, but a night of nice weather spent with family and friends at Firefighters Field, is always priceless!

You Tube Video of The Goonies Trailer

Roosevelt Island Outdoor Movies Coming up later this summer are:
7/23/11 - Star Trek (Rain Date: 7/31/11)
8/6/11 - Up (Rain Date: 8/14/11)
8/20/11 - Tron (Rain Date: 8/28/11)
9/3/11 - The Incredibles (Rain Date: 9/4/11

New York State Senator Jose Serrano and Assembly Member Micah Kellner Meet With Roosevelt Island Residents and Discuss Appointment of Real Estate Conflict Ridden, Non Elected, Non Resident, New Appointed RIOC Director

Roosevelt Island's New York State elected representatives State Senator Jose Serrano and Assembly Member Micah Kellner met last night with the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Government Relations Committee/Democracy Team to discuss how the recent controversial appointment of Child School Executive Director Sal Ferrera to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) occurred without their prior knowledge and to develop strategies for next steps.

Here's some of what happened at last night's meeting.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Democracy Team Meeting

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Democracy Team Meeting

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Democracy Team Meeting

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Democracy Team Meeting

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Democracy Team Meeting

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Democracy Team Meeting

Hot Summer Day On Roosevelt Island - Take The Kids For A Refreshing Dip In Blackwell Park Water Fountain

Roosevelt Island 360 shares this picture from the Blackwell Park Water Fountain

and adds:
Always a refreshing park on a hot hot day.

I know there is already a water feature behind Blackwell House at the Water Jets but its shame the old Castle playground location lost its water feature. I recall the reasons were that the water was too close to the new equipment and the water was making the wood chip base too wet but these days any added water play area would be a good thing.

Today we went to Al Lewis but it was too crowded full of kids from the Youth Program camp. I will be honest I know little of how that camp works. The Manhattan Park playground was in use the Day Nursery folks during their reserved time.  And the Octagon playground was too far away. Amusing. Wish the Soccer field bathrooms were closer to the Octagon for young kids but they are reasonably close enough.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

NYC Social Sports Club Volleyball League Playing At Roosevelt Island's Octagon Field, But They Party In Long Island City - No Indication From RIOC When Roosevelt Island Ball Fields Are Available For Non-Paying, Pick Up Play

Image of Octagon Field

Are there any Roosevelt Island Volleyball players out there? If so, you may want to sign up for the NYC Social Sports Club Sunday Volleyball League (NYCSSC). According to Time Out NY:
Roosevelt Island’s Octagon Field
NYC Social Sports Club holds league games on Roosevelt Island’s turf-lined fields that sit next to the Octagon, the former entrance to the New York City Lunatic Asylum, now converted to condos. Registration for the seven-week season costs $75, and you can sign up with 9 to 13 more friends to form a whole team or join as a free agent. Post-match drinks go down at LIC beer hall WunderBar (37-10 11th St at 37th Ave). Octagon Field, 888 Main St, Roosevelt Island (212-929-5353, Sun noon–6pm; $75. July 16–Aug 27. Registration closes Wed 6.
You can register here for Roosevelt Island Volleyball but registration closes later today.

Sticking up for Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill, resident Ross Wollen shares this letter he wrote to Time Out NY:
As a 30+ year veteran of Roosevelt Island (and long time subscriber),  I was pleased to see mentioned RI's Octagon Field and the NYCSSC (June 30 - July 8, 2011 (p. 4)). But it was indeed weird that you recommended players "go down" to the WunderBar - which is across the RI Bridge and maybe a 15 minute walk thereafter in a very at best, commercial area - and these are folks probably with bats, gloves and balls - who came to RI on the Subway or RI Tram (no-one drives) and certainly plan to return that way. I say this in particular because RI has a great , large, newish Sports Bar ( Riverwalk Bar & Grill) located within feet of the "F" Train and yards of the Tram! I have been to the WunderBar often by car and enjoy it - but its ridiculous to send people there on foot from RI , much less the field north of the Octagon. For $.25 they can take the comfortable, new RI Red Buses from there (with A/C) to the Grill/Tram/Subway in about 10 minutes.
Another issue of concern to Roosevelt Island residents regarding the use of Roosevelt Island ball fields is that they are frequently unavailable

Sign at Capobianco Field

to the people who live here due to the fields being rented out to groups like Zog, NYCSSC and others. A previous post in 2008 reported:
An issue of great concern and resentment by many Roosevelt Islanders has been RIOC's policy that use of the Roosevelt Island playing fields is by permit only. The result of this policy has been that these fields are rented out to corporate groups and leagues, such as Zog, effectively locking out resident adults and children from using these fields during prime playing hours...

... Responding to these concerns RIOC has developed a schedule that permits residents to use the fields without permits....

Read this document on Scribd: riplayingfieldavailability

Green = Available for Residents
Red = Permitted Out

I searched but was not able to find a current Roosevelt Island ball field schedule for 2011 that shows when the fields are available for non-permit paying pick up games or play on the RIOC web site but did find the rates charged for the use of  the fields which does include a discount for Roosevelt Island residents.  According to RIOC:
Whether you have a sports team looking for a field or just want to put together a pick up game, Roosevelt Island is your spot. The island offers a variety of outdoor venues for sports practices, competitions, and everyday play.
It would certainly be easier putting a pick up game together if we knew when the fields were not being rented out and if at least one field was available during weekend and evening hours.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Portable Barbecue Grills Not Allowed On Roosevelt Island, Even During Fourth Of July Weekend - But Whiffle Ball Is

Image of NO Outside Grill Sign at Octagon Park

This earlier post during the Memorial Day Weekend reported on the Roosevelt Island outdoor BBQ Grilling policy
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 islanYesterday, I received this email and pictures from a Roosevelt Island Resident who was concerned about a July 4 BBQ/Picnic in violation of the Roosevelt Island Portable Grill Policy
Yesterday, I received this email and pictures from a Roosevelt Island resident:
The purpose of this e-mail is to notify you about a recent RI Barbecue Grill Policy violation; policy that you clearly stated on your post of May 28th 2011
The picnic was being held near the Basketball Courts of Roosevelt Landings South-Queens' side.
The smoke was affecting the kids that were playing there.

I am not sure if there is any signage in this area of Blackwell Park advising of the No Portable Grill Policy but if there is not, RIOC should place some there. ( Yes, I know that some people object to being told that they can't do certain things).

Anyway, I hope you all had an enjoyable 4th of July Independence Day Weekend even though we could not see the Macy's Fireworks from Roosevelt Island.  I had fun playing some Whiffle Ball yesterday - Brooklyn Automatic Rules - on the Riverwalk Commons Lawn.

 I took some mighty swings and misses, lost a fly ball in the sun 

but pitched pretty well. Some of the other Whiffle Ballers hit mighty blasts off the wall above Nonno's. Very impressive.

Glad there was no sign banning Whiffle Ball.

It was a very nice weekend.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

No Fourth Of July East River Fireworks Viewing From Roosevelt Island For 2011 - On Hudson River Again But This Is What It Was Like In Past Years On Roosevelt Island - Happy Birthday America and 4th Birthday of Roosevelt Islander Blog

Image of John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence from


Unfortunately, there will be no viewing of the July 4 Independence Day Fireworks celebration from the Roosevelt Island, Brooklyn or Long Island City waterfront again this year as the Macy's Fireworks Celebration will be set off from barges in the Hudson instead of East River for the third straight year. According to the NY Times:
For this year’s Fourth of July celebration, Macy’s had hoped to turn its massive fireworks show into a birthday party for the Statue of Liberty, which was dedicated in New York harbor 125 years ago. The show’s planners wanted to surround the statue with barges loaded with shells, fire some others off from the base of the statue and even have BeyoncĂ© perform...

But city officials rejected that plan, saying that Lower Manhattan could not handle the throngs of spectators who would be drawn downtown. So Macy’s settled for a third consecutive year of staging its fireworks show on six barges in the Hudson River.
For those of you who have never seen the July 4 Fireworks from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park, or wish to see them again, here's what it was like in 2007

You Tube Video of 2007 Southpoint Park Fireworks Celebration

and 2008, the last time the Macy's July 4 Fireworks celebration took place on the East River.

You Tube Video of July 4 2008 Fireworks at Southpoint Park Roosevelt Island
There's more to the Fourth of July holiday than fireworks, bbq, burgers, beer and flag waving. What the Fourth of July is really about is the Declaration of Independence. This previous post has the text of the Declaration of Independence, a reading of it from then Senator John F. Kennedy and on a slightly less serious note,  South Park's version of the decision by American colonists to declare independence and go to war against England.

Independence Day is also the 4th Birthday of the Roosevelt Islander Blog. Roosevelt Island's Fourth of July Fireworks Celebrations holds a special place in the life of the Roosevelt Islander Blog because it was the subject of the first post and the reason it came into being - my objection (all in CAPS because I didn't know any better) to RIOC charging $18 to gain entry to a public park to view the fireworks when other public venues to do not charge a dime.

Happy Birthday America!!!!

UPDATE JULY 3 2012 - No viewing of July 4 fireworks from Roosevelt Island or East River for 2012 either.