Friday, July 15, 2011

Fairway Upper East Side Market Representatives Promoting New 86 Street 2nd Avenue Store's July 20 Opening At Roosevelt Island Subway Station - Bit Of A Hike So Will Fairway Deliver To Roosevelt Island?

While walking past the Roosevelt Island subway station this evening, I was surprised to find representatives from Fairway Market distributing flyers announcing the July 20 Grand Opening of the Second Avenue and 86 Street Fairway Market.

Fairway Market Reps At Roosevelt Island Subway Station

It may be a bit of a hike to the 86 Street Fairway for some Roosevelt Island residents but it is a new option for those who wish to take advantage of it. The Fairway Market is a wonderful place to shop.

I asked the Fairway representatives if Fairway will deliver to Roosevelt Island but they did not know the answer. I will find out if they do.

Also, Fairway will soon have an online shopping service, though it is unknown if service will extend to Roosevelt Island. I hope it does - competition for Fresh Direct.

No Manhattan Bound F Train Subway Service From Roosevelt Island This Weekend - Expect Crowded Tram Cabins and Plan Accordingly

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Please be advised there will be F train service disruptions from 12:00 a.m. Saturday, July 16, 2011 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 18, 2011. There will not be any Manhattan bound F train service at the Roosevelt Island station during the weekend of July 16th. Coney Island-bound F platforms at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av-63 St, and 57 St are closed.

The Tram will have extended hours every day until 5:00 a.m.
Additional information on Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Service Disruption available from the MTA's Service Advisory Web Page.

Roosevelt Island Cat Adoption Day Saturday July 16 10 AM - 2 PM At Farmers Market

You Tube Video of Cat's Seeking A Home

Tomorrow is Roosevelt Island Cat Adoption Day at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market from 10 AM - 2 PM. If you can, please give a kitty a nice home.

More information available at Island Cats.

Roosevelt Island Real Estate Committee Meeting Monday On Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder and Island House Privatization In Executive Session - Will RIOC Board Real Estate Committee Return To Former Rubber Stamp Status?

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee will meet on Monday. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, July 18, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

1. Introduction of New Committee Member
2. Selection of Committee Chair
3. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to:

a. Review and Discuss Terms of the Main Street Commercial Master Lease; and
b. Review the Status of Privatization/Affordability Plan and Ground Lease Extension for Island House
Upon learning of this meeting, I inquired of RIOC President Leslie Torres:
 I noticed an Agenda Item for July 18 RIOC Real Estate Committee meeting included an Executive Session review and discussion of Main Street Commercial Master Lease terms.

a. Review and Discuss Terms of the Main Street Commercial Master Lease

My understanding was that the RIOC Board had already approved the Master Lease and that all that remained was to finalize some 'technical" and/or "legal" terms of the agreement. Why is it now necessary for the Real Estate Committee to review and discuss further the terms of the Master Lease?

Has something new happened since the Board approved the Master Lease Agreement? If so, what are the additional issues to be discussed?

The issues regarding the Main Street Master Leaseholder are of great concern to Roosevelt Island residents. Why does Real Estate Committee meeting discussion on this issue have to be in closed session without the public being able to attend? Is it possible to have this meeting in the open so that the public can know what is going on? For that matter, why can't the Island House privatization issues be open to the public as well?
This previous post reported on the circumstances when a RIOC Board Meeting Executive Session closed to the public is appropriate.
... (h) the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.
Will opening this Real Estate Committee meeting up to the public affect the value of these transactions? If not, it should not be in Executive Seesion.

This will be the first RIOC Real Estate Committee meeting since the June appointment of  real estate conflict ridden, non-resident, non-elected Child School Executive Director Sal Ferrera to the RIOC Board. Mr. Ferrera is replacing Jonathan Kalkin who was the Chair of RIOC's Real Estate Development Advisory Committee as well as the Operations Committee.

I am concerned of the possibility that without Mr. Kalkin's business knowledge, expertise and dilligence, the RIOC Board Real Estate Committee will return to what it had always been prior to Mr. Kalkin's tenure - a rubber stamp for whatever Roosevelt Island real estate deal the RIOC staff wants to accomplish. Examples of past questionable Roosevelt Island real estate deals rubber stamped by the RIOC Board include the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club License Agreement and it's approximately $4 sq. ft 2007 extension as well as the $6 sq. ft.  annual lease (RIOC 2011 -12 Budget Page 11) for the Child School's premises on the waterfront promenade facing Manhattan.

I hope that these type of give-away real estate deals do not return to Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 7/18 - Received this response on 7/15 from RIOC Board Real Estate  Committee Member Fay Christian:
As you have stated, “...the Master Lease has been approved”. The final contract is being reviewed.  The same holds true for Island House.

Real Estate Committee
I replied:
Thank you for your answer.

But that's my point - if the Agreements are just being reviewed why is the discussion in Executive Session without the public being allowed to attend?

According to the NY State Department of State Open Government Committee, it is appropriate to conduct a meeting in Executive Session when:
... (h) the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.
Will anything being discussed under these reviews substantially affect the value of these Agreements? If not, the Committee meeting should be open to the Public and not in Executive Session.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Full Moon Over East River and Queensboro Bridge As Seen From Roosevelt Island Rooftop - Amazing

On a cool, almost brisk night, view of the Full Moon over the East River and Queensboro Bridge from Roosevelt Island Rooftop was amazing.

Only One Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin Operating During This Afternoon/Evening Rush Hour As RIOC Is Performing Maintenance On Other Cabin

Just received this advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Please be advised during today's rush hour schedule, maintenance will be performed on one Tram cabin. Please allow for extra travel time as there may be slight delays.

Large Branch From Roosevelt Island Tree Comes Crashing Down On Octagon Red Bus Stop - Parent and Two Children Saved From Serious Injury By Top Of Bus Stop - Will RIOC Insure Safety of That Area?

View Larger Map Image of Roosevelt Island Octagon Bus Stop

A Roosevelt Island resident shares this almost tragic experience that occurred at the Octagon Red Bus Stop Wednesday evening during the sudden torrential rain storm.
This evening at approximately 7 pm I was waiting for the Red Bus at the Octagon with my two young children. As we were standing under the bus stop it started raining and a large - about twenty feet long, quite thick - tree branch came crashing down onto the top of the bus stop, coming to rest half on the top of the stop and the rest dangling onto the sidewalk and into the street. Thank goodness for the top of the bus stop or it's quite likely we would have been seriously hurt or killed. As it was we were terrified.

The doorman at the Octagon immediately notified Public Safety and two patrol cars and one RIOC car showed up fairly quickly. However all they did was push the large branch off to the grass by the bus stop and remove the other branches and leaves that fell onto the ground. They took some pictures of the tree and the branch and looked up at the tree for a minute or so. I was so surprised that they didn't rope off the area with caution tape until park service could determine if other branches were unstable. Then they left. The Red Bus continued picking up and dropping off from directly underneath this tree.

I tried to flag down the man in the black RIOC-marked SUV to explain how dangerous it was (white haired man). He looked directly at me waving him down and pointing to the tree and didn't stop. I tried to wave to Public Safety but they stayed by the tree and I wasn't bringing my kids back near that tree.\\

Thankfully no one was hurt but I really think they should have cordoned off the area until someone could take a proper look at this. I wish they had talked to me so I could explain what had really happened.

Thanks to Octagon management for putting up that bus stop - I've never been so grateful.
The Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Incident Report describes what happened this way:
Tree Branch - Fell by bus shelter. No injuries or damage. Referred to Grounds.
UPDATE 6 PM - Here is picture of fallen branch 

from this tree adjacent to the Red Bus Stop taken this afternoon.

I spoke with a RIOC employee today at the site who told me that the branch on the right side of the Tree Of Heaven will probably be taken down. According to the National Park Service:
...Tree-of-heaven is a common tree in disturbed urban areas, where it sprouts up just about anywhere, including alleys, sidewalks, parking lots, and streets. For example, the book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith, is based on the  tree-of-heaven. Away from cities, ailanthus is commonly seen in fields, and along roadsides, fencerows, woodland edges and forest openings. It occurs as seedlings that pop up by the hundreds in recently planted fields and as persistent thickets in rocky, untillable areas. Nationally, ailanthus is recognized to be a serious agricultural pest...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New York City Fire Department Performing Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drills Today - Stuck Passengers Will Be Rescued By Lowered Cable, Not A Bucket

Don't be worried if you see what appears to be rescue operations being undertaken at the Roosevelt Island Tram today. According to this advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Please be advised on Wednesday, July 13th, the FDNY will be performing practice drills on one Tram cabin from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please note regular Tram service will not be interrupted during that time frame.
More information on NYPD Tram Rescue Drills available from these previous posts.

With the old Tram, a bucket was sent to rescue people in the event that the cabin could not make it's way back to a Tram Station as shown in this You Tube Video.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drill

With the current Tram, I am advised that there are so many back up systems that the Tram will always be able to make it's way back to one of the Tram Stations. However, in the very unlikely event that the Tram does get stuck, passengers will be lowered  by cable as demonstrated in this You Tube Video of a Portland Oregon Tram Rescue Drill.

You Tube video of Portland Oregon Tram Rescue Drill

UPDATE 1:30 PM - Here's a video of the FDNY performing Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drills earlier today by being lowered from the Tram Cabin to a boat in the East River.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drill

UPDATE 4:45 PM - Jonathan Hoo shares this photo of the Tram Rescue Drill and Tweets:
Looks like just a drill on the Roosevelt Island tram. You can see someone descending to the boat in this pic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do You Want To Work For RIOC? Communications and Media Services Sought For Roosevelt Island Operating Corp - Insurance Brokerage and Electric Car Request For Proposals Issued Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is looking for communications and marketing assistance services. According to a Request For Proposals released on July 4, 2011:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation ("RIOC" or “Owner”) is seeking to retain professional communications and marketing services for the purposes of informing and updating current residents on organization-sponsored projects and programs and other Island events and promoting the Island to visitors, businesses and prospective residents....

... Scope of Work
1. Manage the development and execution of an annual plan, including ongoing communications, crisis communications, media and public relations
2. Respond to media inquiries, identify opportunities and generate earned media profiling the Island to increase in interest residential, opportunities for businesses and tourism
2. Write and edit biweekly column for local community paper, create an editorial calendar for columns, work with staff to develop timely and relevant content
3. Assist in the development of a quarterly newsletter, including developing article ideas, writing, editing, and working with designer on layout
4. Assist in generating event ideas to attract tourism
5. Assist the development of RIOC’s social media presence
6. Create communications and stimulate media interest around new initiatives or programs
7. Assist in the development of an annual report, including developing a theme, generating content ideas, editing and working with designer on layout
8. Act as liaison to NYC and Co. to help build knowledge of and tourism for Roosevelt Island
The selected Consultant must be available to attend weekly on-site meetings and may be occasionally called upon to assist with outreach to government agencies and community based organizations, including attending meetings and editing correspondences.

Term of Service:
RIOC seeks to engage a communications and marketing Consultant for a one-year term with a 30-day cancellation provision by either party. The contract term is from August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012....

... There will not be a pre-bid conference for this RFP. Questions about the RFP should be directed to Erica Wilder, Community Relations Specialist,...
The question period ends July 18, proposals are due 3 PM July 25 and the award notification will be on July 29, 2011.

Other current RIOC RFP's outstanding include a call for insurance brokerage services and Global Electric Motorcar Vehicles.

According to the Insurance Brokerage RFP:
... For the year ended March 31, 2011, the audit financial statement showed total capital assets as follows:
Seawall $ 2,897,836
Buildings 13,221,428
Land Improvements 6,324,364
Machinery and Equipment 3,621,793
Infrastructure 40,330,278
Total Capital Assets 66,395,699

RIOC employs 103 full time employees and 15 part time employees.

Section of Operations:

Bus Operations: Consisting of seven Orion Hybrid-Electrical Low Floor Buses which provides transportation Island wide. 

Parks and Recreations: To promote the usage of Sports Park Facilities for evens such as Basketball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Indoor Soccer and other events. Provide permits for events such as filming, athletic field usage, and other functions.

Grounds and Maintenance: Is responsible to maintain all outdoor spaces, to include athletic field preparation, landscaping, and parks area. To provide daily maintenance to the island infrastructure, (roads, building, seawall) 

Public Safety Department: Consisting of 41 Peace Officers, unarmed, who provides a safe and secure environment for the residents, employees, business owners, community and visitors of Roosevelt Island. Protect the property and interest of the Corporation and the Housing Companies and Corporations. 

Tramway: Aerial Tramway provides transportation from Roosevelt Island to East 60th street In Manhattan. Operates on two independently powered cars shuttling back and forth across the East River, carrying 109 passengers at a time and 2 million people annually generating approximately $4,200.000. in revenue annually.
Administration Department: Consisting of 42 full time and 7 part time employees.

New York Junior Tennis League Free Roosevelt Island Summer Program at the Octagon Park Tennis Courts - Just Bring Your Sneakers and a Smile

You Tube Video of NY Junior Tennis League

The New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) Free Summer Roosevelt Island Program has begun at the Octagon Park Tennis Courts. NYJTL's Joyce Mincheff reports:
The NYJTL Tennis Program for kids aged 5 to 18, free @ Octagon Park Courts. Mon, Wed & Fri, 9 AM to 12 PM, (Aged 8 and over), Tue, Thurs, 1 to 4 PM, (Aged 8 and over), PeeWees aged 5/6/7 on Wed from 9:30 to 11 AM.

Children aged 7 can participate at all hours at the discretion of the Site Director.

The program is sponsored by RIOC and Council Member Jessica Lappin. No equipment is needed. Program ends on 8/28 with a trip to Kids' Day at the US Open.
No need to bring your own equipment - just sneakers and a smile!!!!

More on NYJTL Summer Roosevelt Island Tennis Program at previous post.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Butt Will Soon Be Mooning Roosevelt Island Tram Riders and Queensboro Bridge Drivers As Gaston Lachaise Sculpture Of The Mountain Installed At Tramway Plaza In August

Image From DNA Info

Roosevelt Island residents and visitors using the Tram get ready for a GIGANTIC MOONING as you approach Tramway Plaza. That's right, a BIG BUTT in your face will greet you as you approach the Southeast Corner of 59th Street and Second Avenue. According to DNA Info:
A sculpture of a voluptuous reclining nude woman made by the late French artist Gaston Lachaise is about to grace a little park off of the former 59th Street bridge — but some wonder if the chaotic intersection is the best place for it.

The massive 1934 bronze sculpture known as "The Mountain" is slated to be installed at the Tramway Plaza on Second Avenue between East 59th and 60th Streets in August.

The location, sandwiched between the Roosevelt Island tram terminal, the mouth of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, and the busy Second Avenue wasn't the first choice by Lachaise Foundation, which oversees the artist's legacy.

They wanted to put the statue — the original version of which was cast in cement and commissioned for a big grove of pines on a rolling hill at an estate in Lenox, Mass. — in Central Park. But the bid was rejected by the Parks Department, Lachaise Foundation curator Paula Hornbostel said at a meeting of Community Board 8's parks committee Thursday....
Read the whole DNA Info article here.

The NY Post reports:
... The statue's arrival comes at a time when one out of four New Yorkers is considered obese. And some are raising questions about the heft of the piece.

"This is a very busy plaza and a big transportation hub, and this creates pedestrian and safety-flow issues," Upper East Sider Michele Birnbaum said...
Here is Roosevelt Island Tramway Plaza on Second Avenue between 59 and 60th Street across the street from the Queensboro Bridge.

View Larger Map

DNA Info adds:
... The massive sculpture of Lachaise's wife spans nearly nine feet across and will be lifted five feet off the ground on pillars in the park's southeast corner.

Elevating it will allow the sculpture to be viewed not only by pedestrians passing through the busy thoroughfare along Second Avenue between East 59th and 60th streets where the Roosevelt Island tram terminal is, as well as make it visible to drivers coming off the bridge toward Second Avenue or 59th Street, proponents said.

"As you drive south [along Second Avenue] you'll see more and more of her and hopefully not crash," Hornbostel joked...
UPDATE 7/15 -DNA Info has more on the how the Tramway Plaza's pigeon population may greet the arrival of  The Mountain.

Join The Roosevelt Island Living Library Adult and Child Garden This Summer - Learn Organic Gardening, Harvesting Your Own Salads, Composting, Nature Digital Photography, Make New Friends and More

Image of Roosevelt Island Garden From A Living Library

Received the following message from Bonnie Sherk of Life Frames & A Living Library Project:

Summer Session 2011 



Dear Students, Parents, Neighbors, Friends:

You are invited to join us this summer, either Tuesday, Wednesday, from 1-5:00 PM. and/or Thursday, from 9 AM-1:00 PM. Sign up for each day separately. Return your signed registration forms to Ms. Veronika Forero,RI Living Library Teacher on Wednesdays & Thursdays, in the Living Library Garden behind 504 Main Street. First 25 students per day will be admitted. More children can participate if accompanied by parent or other adult. Adults without children welcome also ! First come, First served. Join Today !

Program begins Tuesday, July 5. Last day is August 18. Program will be at new RI Living Library Gardens behind 504 Main Street. Please wear a hat, bring your water bottle, and wear sunscreen !

Join us for: • Organic Gardening with Flowers and Vegetables !
• Painting Art Signs & Crafts !
• Digital Photography and Nature Drawing !
• Harvesting Food, Making Salads and other Treats !
• Building through Carpentery & Arts !
• Learning How To Make Compost !
• Having Fun with Friends & Neighbors !
• Transforming and BeautifyingYour Environment !
• Making New Friends and Learning New Things !

For more information: 212-242-1700 or visit or
Indoor/Outdoor Community Learning Environments, International Culture-Ecology-Technology

More information on Roosevelt Island Living Library available at their web site.
We are planting our Third Living Library & Think Park Garden on RI.  Because the School is now under construction, our Orchard and Concentric Circle Gardens on the riverside of the School and our Original Living Library & Think Park Garden in the schoolyard are off-limits.

So, thanks to RIOC and Steve Chironis, and Urban America and Doryne Isley, we are starting anew, adjacent to the building at 504 Main Street, which may become the new RI Branch Library....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why Was Staten Island Ferry Passing Roosevelt Island On The East River Yesterday Afternoon?

Image of Staten Island Ferry Passing Roosevelt Island on East River From Jonathan Kalkin via Instagram

I received several inquiries yesterday reporting the sighting of the Staten Island Ferry passing Roosevelt Island on the East River Saturday afternoon and asking why?

Roosevelt Island resident Jonathan Kalkin shares the picture above and Tweeted:
Staten Island Ferry are you lost again?
In July of 2009, I also saw the Staten Island Ferry

 passing Roosevelt Island and posted:
... One of the pleasures of living on Roosevelt Island is the chance to see all kinds of boats traveling up and down the East River in the West Channel between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. We often see barge, tug, tour, motor and sail boats of all sizes, Coast Guard, NYPD, FDNY Boats as well as speed boats, kayaks and jet skis.

What we don't usually see but I did see on Saturday afternoon while walking on Roosevelt Island's West Waterfront Promenade was the Staten Island Ferry making it's way north on the East River passing Roosevelt Island.

I wondered what could be the reason for this? Was the Staten Island Ferry lost, did it make a wrong turn in NY Harbor or was it just trying to escape Staten Island and explore other parts of New York City?...
The answer to what the Staten Island Ferry was doing on the East River yesterday afternoon is the same this year as in 2009. From SI Live:
Staten Island Ferry becomes a floating carnival for 'God's Exceptional Children

... The Marine and Aviation Anchor Club, Branch 119, along with more than 24 other volunteer groups, came together and transformed the Staten Island ferryboat into a rocking party, complete with three DJ’s, clowns, hundreds of balloons and thousands of hot-dogs.

The “Boat Ride for God’s Exceptional Children” set sail Saturday morning with more than 3,000 children and adults with a variety of special needs for the 37th time....
Read the SI Live whole article here.