Friday, August 5, 2011

Take A Walk Thru Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park This Weekend - It's Open Daily From 6 AM - 9 PM

Southpoint Park Dedication Sign (Click on Image to Enlarge)

As reported in post earlier this week, Roosevelt Island's East River waterfront Southpoint Park is open again for the public to enjoy.  During this weekend, why not take a walk down to the park,  have a look around and let us know what you think of it.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued the following advisory regarding the use of the park:
Please be advised Southpoint Park is now open daily from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Sanitary facilities and water fountains are located in the Park.  There are no barbeque areas and outside grills are prohibited.
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares her thoughts and some pictures from opening day at the new Southpoint Park.
Southpoint Park opened today after years in the works. I stopped by briefly to see what has materialized from mounds of debris and acres of weeds.

The approximately 7 acre park weaves south from the gate just south of Goldwater Hospital to the southern end of the Smallpox Hospital. The FDR Four Freedoms Park site is south and will open late in 2012.

Just outside the east gates and inside the west gates are cast iron columns

salvaged from the City Hospital, which was on the site.

The stone walls (Fordham Gneiss quarried on the Island and salvaged from the City Hospital form a serpentine low winding bench and/or fence thru most of the park area.

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Thanks to Alyce Russo, former RIOC Director of Planning for having the stones stored for future use.

Unfortunately the first structure you see is the comfort station, in blue and gray, two colors that have no relation to anything on Roosevelt Island. It is super size and great for school and camp groups.

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Wide asphalt paved roads and paths make it easy for vehicles to use the roads. They seem a little wide and overwhelming in some areas.

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

The hills, which cover tons of rocks now are gently sloping downwards which kids and teens seemed to love and run up and down them.

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

The plantings are mostly wild flowers and black eyed Susan's.
Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

No fancy lawns or gardens here.

Interspaced in the hills are remnants from the old hospital entrance

 Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

including an orb

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

that once signified the entrance to the Maternity Hospital on the site.

The cul-de-sac that will eventually include the FDR Hope Memorial

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

has a lovely grove of trees surrounding it and overlooking the Smallpox Hospital.

The landmark Smallpox Hospital (Not Renwick Ruin) is surrounded by a high fence and unfortunately the weeds and debris has not been removed from around it.


Images From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

This is a pity, since the building should be the showpiece of the park. Hopefully this will be remedied soon.

The landmark Strecker Memorial Laboratory just northeast shines with its wonderful restoration and it is pleasantly placed in a setting befitting this lovely structure.

Image From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society

It is not a cafe, but a power conversion station for the F and M subway lines. Perhaps it is the perfect site for a few tables and a Cappucino Cart.

Modern steel benches dot the area. They look out of place and a bit to modern for the classic site.

It is wonderful to watch the River from paths that were blocked by debris and overgrown vegetation for years.

This may not be the High Line, but it is our new connection to the River and our southern tip. Considering all the convolutions the park went thru, I am glad it is finally here!

For information on the landmark Smallpox Hospital and Strecker Laboratory go to
The full opening day Southpoint Park photo album from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society is here.

More on Southpoint Park Grand Opening and tour here.

The images not credited to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society were taken today to illustrate some of Ms. Berdy's comments or otherwise credited.

UPDATE 8/6 - The aerial view of Southpoint Park and FDR Memorial image were added to text today.

Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Movie Showing Disney/Pixar's Up 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 to Firefighter’s Field and enjoy our fourth installment of the Summer Movie Series.  This Saturday August 6th at 8:00 p.m. we will be screening the Disney-Pixar movie “UP”.  Come early with your blankets and chairs for a good spot.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Don’t miss out on this family friendly flick.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

You Tube Video of Up Trailer

Roosevelt Island Outdoor Movies Coming up later this summer are:
8/20/11 - Tron (Rain Date: 8/28/11)
9/3/11 - The Incredibles (Rain Date: 9/4/11
UPDATE 8/6 7:45 PM - The Outdoor movie for tonight has been cancelled due to the weather. From RIOC:
Movie at Firefighters field cancelled


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Summer Day Camp Activities - Movies, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Bowling, Swimming, Gardening, BBQ'ing and Animals Come A Calling - Plus It's All Free!!!

Received the following report from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) describing some of their activities so far this summer.

First report of the summer by the RIYP Camp to all our fans. The camp has over 200 registered members and a daily attendance of 165 campers. Mondays and Fridays are special events or trip days and we have already seen the movies Cars and Transformers, gone to Ripley’s Believe it or Not on 44th street to see their museum and had a scavenger hunt.

Each group has had a barbeque and on Monday the 1st, we will be visited by snakes, rabbits, frogs, birds and all kinds of interesting species as Nature Life Educational Group visits the program.

Next Friday August 5th, we will be going to Bowlmor Lanes on 44th street, to visit New York’s newest bowling center with over 100 lanes and other attractions. This will be the first time for many of our campers to experience the game of bowling and we have over 20 lanes set-aside for our use.

Remember all programs offered by the Roosevelt Island Youth Program are FREE and open to all. RIYP’s programs are funded by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.
Here's a review from RIYP on what happens when Animals Come A Calling to Roosevelt Island.

Last Monday the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) kids received some special guest visitors from our friends at The Nature Company who brought snakes, lizards, frogs, birds and various insects for a hands-on workshop.

The Nature Company whose motto is "We Bring Nature to You" is a fun-filled hands-on, interactive learning experience for children of all ages presented by Anthony Cogswell the Nature Company's instructor. The themes for the workshop were Sounds Around the World, Neighborhood Nature, ABC Animals, Rocking Reptiles, Animals Around the World, Camouflaging Creatures, Discover Ecosystems, My Forrest and Awesome Adaptations.


RIYP Senior Counselor Anthony Simmons remarked that the kids response to the animals was wonderful and that "they really got into it and the instructor was great".  Many of the children commented that they can't wait until the animals come back again.

The camp is still averaging over 160 youth per day and the program instructors and staff are as good as it gets said several parents watching their children getting involved. The RIYP free Summer Camp is funded by the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

Don't forget game nights from 6PM to 9PM at the Youth Center. For scheduled days call the Beacon at 212-527-2505 or the Youth Center at 212-935-3645. Dates vary due to the television show filming next door.
UPDATE 8/8 - More from the RIYP:

Youth Center Camp Knocks Down Pins!
On Friday the 5th, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program Camp went bowling at Bowlmor Lanes on 44th, St between 7th and 8th Avenues. Campers ages 6 to 14 bowled for over 2 hours. The staff and kids reported that they had a great time and were treated like Kings and Queens. The Campers had drinks, pizza and enjoyed bowling for over 2 and a half hours. This event was scheduled as part of the camp activities and was free for all thanks to funding by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors Meeting Today

Below is the Agenda for today's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Meeting.

AUGUST 3, 2011
5:30 P.M.1

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
1. June 29, 2011 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Presentation of the FY 2011-2012 QTR 1 Procurement Report;
2. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Sea Breeze General Construction Inc. for Roof Repair at Good Shepherd Community Center (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow);
3. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Derive Technologies for Phase Two of the Island-Wide Security Camera System Project (Board Action Required);
4. Authorization to Amend License Agreement with Riverwalk Landing LLC for Zipcar
Parking at Southtown (Board Action Required);
5. President's Report
6. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
7. Public Safety Report
VI. Adjournment

1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period, which is not a part of the RIOC Board Meeting.
A web cast of the RIOC Board meeting will be available within a few days after the meeting.

Work Has Started On The Roosevelt Island Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Project. - Concrete and Brick Pavers Being Removed

 Image of Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Project

First the construction fencing was installed and now work has begun removing the concrete and brick pavers for the southern portion of the Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Project.

 Image of Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Project

More information on the Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Project from previous posts.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Scenes From the Grand Re-Opening of Roosevelt Island's New Southpoint Park - A Great New East River Waterfront Park For New York City

 View Of East River/NYC Skyline From Roosevelt Island's New Southpoint Park

As reported in previous post, today was the Grand Re-Opening of Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park. Not willing to wait for the official 9 AM Park opening ceremony to take place, some biker riders and joggers got a taste of the new Southpoint Park a bit early.

Here what happened at the Grand Opening Ceremony and a peek at the new Southpoint Park.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres welcomed those in attendance and thanked those responsible for developing the Park

followed by New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin who gave a brief recap of the Project's history. Ms Lappin secured $4.5 million in NYC funding to help build the park.

Andy Stone, from the Trust For The Public Land (TPL), then spoke about TPL's role in developing Southpoint Park's Master Plan together with Roosevelt Island residents in order to bring more green and open space to the Island.

RIOC Director David Kraut wanted to make sure that among those being thanked for the contribution to the park's development was a former resident, Shirley Margolin.

TPL's Andy Stone then led a tour of the new park.

Some more scenes from the new Southpoint Park.

I think all those who attended the Grand Opening Ceremony were very happy that Southpoint Park has opened as will future visitors to this new East River Waterfront Park. Southpoint Park will be open from 6 AM - 9PM.

Not all of Southpoint Park is open to the public just yet. Construction is still going on at the Louis Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle just south of the newly opened Southpoint Park and is expected to continue for a couple of more years.  Here are the latest renderings.

Unfortunately, it looks more like a cemetery to me than a waterfront park. What a pity that TPL's Master Plan for all of Southpoint Park, (including the area of what is now the location for the Kahn/FDR Boondoggle) was not accomplished.

Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Begins - Construction Fence Placed Around Southern Portion

Construction fencing has been installed in preparation

for the start of the Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Project. The three phase project will begin with

the Southern Portion of the Plaza.

More information on the Project available at this previous post.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Internship Opportunity With NYC Digital, Help Improve the Delivery of NYC Municipal Services - Roosevelt Island Is Already Using Digital Technology To Report 311 Problems, Track Buses, Monitor Parking and May Soon Have Free Island Wide Wi-Fi Access

You Tube Video Explaining Digital NYC

Roosevelt Island resident Jonathan Kalkin shares this opportunity for an internship with NYC Digital.
NYC Digital is seeking an intern skilled in social media tools and strategy. This individual should have excellent communication skills, professional experience in digital media, and mastery of prominent digital media platforms and tracking applications. The intern will play an important role in supporting New York City’s digital media presence by contributing to social media channels and facilitating coordination with City agencies...  
What is NYC Digital? According to it's web site:
The mission of NYC Digital is to create a healthier civil society and stronger democracy through the use of technology that engages, serves, and connects New Yorkers.

To this end, NYC Digital coordinates digital citywide initiatives that support the efficient exchange of information and services between the public and the City of New York government. This includes the user experience and content of nyc.gov311 Online, crowdsourcing and participatory media initiatives, and the coordination of social media efforts. In May 2011, NYC Digital released Road Map for the Digital City, a comprehensive plan to make New York city the world’s premier Digital City....
Mr. Kalkin adds:
A great internship opportunity for a Roosevelt Island resident who wants to innovate New York City.
In addition to the New York City government, Roosevelt Island is also attempting to lead the way in the use of digital technology to improve the delivery of municipal resources and services with the recent launching of the Roosevelt Island 311 See Click Fix problem reporting system,

the Next Bus GPS Red Bus Tracking system, an Android Cell Phone Red Bus GPS App developed by a Roosevelt Island resident, a wireless smart parking sensor system and may soon have free outdoor Wi-Fi available from Southpoint Park to Lighthouse Park from NYC Wireless.

More on the use of new technology on Roosevelt Island from previous posts.