Friday, August 12, 2011

Swing Banjoist and Vocalist Cynthia Sayer Performing Saturday Afternoon At Roosevelt Island Public Library - Family Friendly Program of Jazz, Tango, Western & More

Contributor Francine Lange reports:
Don’t miss internationally acclaimed swing banjoist and vocalist Cynthia Sayer, who will perform at the Roosevelt Island Library this Saturday, August 13, at 2:00 p.m. Her family-friendly program displays the surprising range of the banjo, and includes an eclectic, swing-based selection of hot jazz, tango, western, old favorites, virtuoso classics and more. Cynthia will be accompanied by Mike Weatherly, New York City’s favorite singing bass player. Address: 524 Main Street, 212-308-6243
More information available from the Roosevelt Island Public Library and from Ms. Sayer's web site.
Cynthia Sayer is regarded as one of the top 4-string banjoists in the world today. A member of Woody Allen's jazz band for over 10 years, Cynthia's solo career has taken her well beyond these New Orleans roots to become an acclaimed bandleader and guest artist. She has a unique and expansive approach to the instrument which is all her own, and she is also a respected vocalist....

You Tube Video of Cynthia Sawyer's Them There Eyes

Roosevelt Island Resident Leah Maddrie's New Play Chasing Heaven Featured In Upcoming FringeNYC Festival - Performances Start Tomorrow, August 13

NYC Arts asks the question:
What happens when a famous black female author in a slump tangles with the cantankerous ghost of the Jewish creator of a controversial 1930s "Negro folk opera" after his descendant commissions her to create a version that's more politically correct?...
The answer to that question and more can be found in playwright and Roosevelt Island resident Leah Maddrie's new play Chasing Heaven which is featured in the 15th Annual International FringeNYC Festival

Chasing Heaven will be performed for five performances only at CSV (Clemente Soto Velez) Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey, in the Flamboyan Theater on Saturday, August 13, 4:15 PM to 5:30 PM; Sunday, August 14, 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM; Saturday, August 20, 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM; Wednesday, August 24, 8:45 PM to 10:00 PM; Friday, August 26; 9:45 PM to 11:00 PM.

Ms. Maddrie has been an Island resident since 2003 when she moved here from the Upper West Side. She comments regarding living on Roosevelt Island:
It's great to have that beautiful waterside walkway just a few feet away from the front door of my apartment building. I moved here because it was a perfect blend of the small town ambience I grew up with in the Midwest (Flint, Michigan) and the legendary sophistication of the larger Manhattan isle. We are after all, still in Manhattan, though some don't know that!
She is an active member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Episcopalian congregation that worships in the historic Good Shepherd Church in the middle of the Island.
It's a wonderful group of loving, caring people. It's Episcopalian, but really, many of us come from a variety of faith backgrounds. Visitors to the church often comment on the love they feel during the worship service, or afterward at our social gathering, the coffee hour.
Here's more information on Chasing Heaven and Ms Maddrie.

More information on purchasing tickets and directions to Chasing Heaven available here.

Break a leg.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Roosevelt Island's Main Street Retail Corridor Now In The Hands Of Private Sector Developer Hudson Related - Take The Online Retail Survey And Tell Hudson Related What You Would Like On Main Street

Main Street Image Of Roosevelt Island Is The Village From Glark

As reported last Tuesday, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC, a NY State Public Benefit Corporation) is now out of the business of landlord to the commercial retail stores on Roosevelt Island's Main Street:
Just received word that the Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Leaseholder Agreement between the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Southtown developer Hudson/Related was signed earlier today. According to Hudson Principal David Kramer:
We finally signed the Master Retail Sublease today.
Main Street Image From Jones Lang LaSalle

Can we all shout out one big Hallelujah right now?

I asked the Hudson Related team:
Do you have any comment to make for Roosevelt Islander Blog regarding the signing of the Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Leasehold Agreement?

In particular can you describe what next steps Hudson Related will be taking regarding community input for the future of Main Street Stores, the type of new tenants Hudson Related will be seeking out, what will happen to existing tenants and any other information you care to share with the Roosevelt Island community.
Hudson Principal David Kramer replied:
We're going to start immediately surveying the entire island with an online retail survey.

We've assembled a design team with Rogers Marvel Architects in the lead to propose upgrades for the streetscape, storefronts, signage and street furniture.

We've hired Winick to solicit interest and respond to inquiries.

We look forward to conducting public meetings to get feedback from the community after Labor Day.

We hope to start signing new tenants for the vacant spaces; a realistic time frame is for new tenants to be in place by early next year.

Here's the online survey. Please get the word out
Mr. Kramer added:
We're going to enforce the current leases and work with the retailers to improve the retail corridor for everyone.
Hey, Gristedes, do you hear that about enforcing current leases? Better start making improvements in your Roosevelt Island store. The other current tenants too.

Below is a picture of Mr. Kramer pointing towards the future of Roosevelt Island with his Hudson Related team as they began a tour of Roosevelt Island several weeks ago. It's now up to Hudson Related to demonstrate that they can make the long sought improvements to the Main Street retail corridor that residents have been waiting for so long.

Take the online Main Street Retail Survey and tell Hudson/Related what you would like to see happen on the new Roosevelt Island Main Street. (If possible, please send your comments to the Roosevelt Islander Blog as well so your ideas can also be shared with the rest of the community).

I asked former RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin to comment. Mr. Kalkin proposed the Master Leaseholder idea way back in 2007 and diligently worked to make it happen despite persistent opposition from former RIOC President Steve Shane.

From Mr. Kalkin:
Main Street retail has been a problem for decades, and it was one of the first things I tried to work on as a resident and then as a board member. The Retail Master Lease is proof that an idea can come from a resident and be approved by the Residents Association, move to the board, and become a solution that is mutually beneficial for the government and private business. This secures the present revenue stream for RIOC and shares profits above that, benefits the community with a competitive and vibrant retail environment, and takes government (and the long and onerous RFP process that goes with it) out of the business of retail management for the Island.

There will also be significant investment in the spaces to make them look great for tenants and for the community. However, to be especially successful, I recommend that you go to your favorite off-Island stores and restaurants, and tell them that Roosevelt Island is finally ready to rent stores. The more of you who reach out to entrepreneurs and businesses that you love and bring them to the Island, the better the choices we will have in the future.

This plan will not only bring jobs and money into our economy, but Hudson-Related has significant retail experience, and the success of Main Street Retail helps promote the completion of the final buildings of Southtown. That will bring significant revenue for RIOC, which can help secure our promise of long-term affordability for the buildings in Northtown and help pay for our infrastructure and operational needs going forward. It also makes us attractive for a world class university.

Many on the RIOC staff and board worked tirelessly to see this completed and they should be commended for their hard work. Make no mistake, this is our turning point, and a great example how community ideas and democracy can make a difference. Roosevelt Island is place of beauty, strength and determination and I look forward to seeing it live up to its potential.
RIOC issued this press release today:
This week the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) and Hudson Related Retail LLC (HRR) executed a 30-year net sub-lease for over 35 storefronts located throughout Roosevelt Island.

"We at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation are very much looking forward to working with Hudson Related to revitalize Main Street on Roosevelt Island, " said RIOC President and CEO Leslie Torres. The agreement is retroactive to August 1, 2011.

The net lease includes both guaranteed rent and a 50/50 net profit split between HRR and RIOC, after HRR's invested capital plus interest is returned. HRR has also agreed to make substantial capital investments within the first five years of the lease to improve the retail corridor on Roosevelt Island’s Main Street. David Kramer of Hudson Related Retail LLC said, "Hudson/Related is excited to oversee the operations and development of the Roosevelt Island Main Street retail corridor. We envision a new experience for customers and pedestrians alike and look forward to working with Rogers Marvel Architects to create a vibrant retail environment."

HRR was selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process based on their economic proposal, their commitment to address the needs of all of the retail space, and the strength of their program to turn around and improve the island retail sector for all residents, workers and visitors on Roosevelt Island.

About The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York (RIOC) is a public benefit corporation and a political subdivision of the State of New York.  Since 1984, RIOC has been responsible for realization of the 1968 Roosevelt Island General Development Plan (GDP).  RIOC’s authority to implement the GDP stems from a 99 year lease from New York City to New York State for the development and operation of the 147 acres comprising the former Welfare Island, located in New York City’s East River.  For more information, please visit

About Hudson Related Retail LLC.
Hudson/Related Retail LLC is a joint venture between two New York City based development companies, The Hudson Companies, Inc. and The Related Companies LP. These two companies have been partners on Roosevelt Island since 1997 when they were designated to develop 2,000 apartments on Roosevelt Island. Together, the joint venture has completed Fireman's Field, a combined soccer and baseball field on the island, followed by 6 residential buildings, a town square called Riverwalk Commons, and 8 retail stores. The housing has included staff housing for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College and NYU. Market rate housing has included condominiums at Riverwalk Place and Riverwalk Court as well as rental housing at the newly completed Riverwalk Crossing.

After receiving the Press Release, I inquired of RIOC President Leslie Torres and Mr. Kramer:
The press release states that Hudson Related has agreed to make substantial capital investments to improve Main Street over the next 5 years.

How much money has Hudson/Related agreed to invest per the Master Leaseholder Agreement?

Also what is the interest rate referred on capital investment that must be returned prior to the 50-50 net profit split mentioned in the press release.
 What is known about the deal so far is:
... a 30-year lease on Main Street's approximately 100,000 square feet, Hudson-Related would guarantee RIOC the existing revenue it collects from the Main Street stores (about $900,000) and split any additional income and Hudson Related would invest capital in the physical appearance of Main Street...
More on the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder process from these previous posts.

UPDATE 6:10 PM - In response to my question regarding the amount that Hudson Related has agreed to invest in capital improvements to Main Street and the interest rate agreed to prior to the 50-50 split, Mr. Kramer replies:
UPDATE 8/30 - According to RIOC President Leslie Torres:
... Hudson/Related has already begun speaking with residents and community leaders about possible ideas for renovation. They issued a survey to island residents that should conclude in early September and has already garnered an enthusiastic response from over 1,000 residents. While opinions have varied, most people would like to see the addition of retail spaces including a new bakery, an Asian restaurant, a health food store, and a wine/liquor store. Other suggested additions include a new bank branch, book store and yoga/pilates studio. Hudson/ Related is currently talking with potential vendors, many of whom have expressed interest in opening new retail stores. They will continue to collect feedback to make sure that the wants and needs of the community are well represented.

In the meantime, developers are working with architects to discuss improvements to Main Street with the concept of creating a bright, vibrant new look. Some of the ideas in discussion include new lighting and signage for the streets along with new street furniture, bike racks and benches for convenience. This should make the area more appealing to look at and easier to navigate. In addition, developers are working with contractors to cleanout old stores in anticipation of the renovations.

The revitalization of Main Street will be an on-going process but residents can expect to see improvements throughout 2012 with initial construction beginning in the spring....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unforgettable TV Production Crew Returning To Roosevelt Island Tomorrow With More Nightime Shooting - Duvateen Cloth Available For Protection From Intense Lights Shining Into Your Apartment Reports RIOC

 Unforgettable TV Production Crew Light Scaffolding at 504 Main Street

Reported on July 30 that the production crew for the new CBS television program Unforgettable was causing discomfort and sleeping problems for some Roosevelt Island residents. Here's what it was like for two Roosevelt Islanders:
... The movie shoot in 504 lasted all night including bright lights into the apts in 510 and 531 until after 2 a.m. on Thus/Fri and Fri/Sat....
... On Thursday night, the crew set up enormous lights which were aimed into apartments at 510 Main Street and into apartments at the South wing of 531 Main Street. The lights were so intense that their beams penetrated tightly shut venetian blinds, bounced off the walls in apartments, and caused extreme discomfort to the residents all through the night. Calls to Public Safety were useless, as the people on phone duty had no idea this was going on, nor did they seem interested or able to help....
Be advised that the Unforgettable Production Crew will be back tomorrow. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Beginning tomorrow, August 11th, a film crew will be shooting in 504 Main Street.

We are working hard to minimize the effect of the lights at night.  If the lights bother you - please let us know and crew members will hang duvateen, a lightweight black cloth, in your windows.  Hanging the duvateen will not damage any surfaces and it is simple to remove.

If you'd like duvateen hung, please contact Dave at 505-920-7245 to arrange.

Dates of filming are as follows:
August 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18.

Several trucks will be parked on Blackwell Plaza for the duration of the shoot.

We appreciate your cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Agreement Signed Today - Hudson/Related Takes Over Main Street Retail Operations From RIOC, Great Day For Roosevelt Island!!!!!

Just received word that the Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Leaseholder Agreement between the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Southtown developer Hudson/Related was signed earlier today. According to Hudson Principal David Kramer:

We finally signed the Master Retail Sublease today.
Below is Mr. Kramer shaking hands with RIOC President Leslie Torres following the signing of the Master Leaseholder Agreement. Related's Kim Sherman Stamier is standing next to Ms. Torres.

Will have more on this later.

UPDATE  8/13 - More here.

Roosevelt Island Resident Wakes Up To Find Television Missing From Apartment - 7 Burglaries In June & More Public Safety Incidents Reported From June Blotter

The 8/7 - 8/8 RIOC Daily Public Safety Report indicates (See Blog's Sidebar for report):
Burglary- Victim woke up and television was missing. Search made by PSD with negative results.
Yesterday, I inquired of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp  (RIOC) VP of Operations Fernando Martinez and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra:
Do you have any comment on this matter including which building the burglary occurred, time of day, reports from others of  recent Roosevelt Island burglaries and apartment break - ins and recent meeting between NYPD, Roosevelt Island Public Safety, Urban American Management and Roosevelt Landings residents.
Have not had any response from RIOC at the time this post is published.

Examples of other recent reports regarding Roosevelt Island burglaries, robberies and break ins include the following.

The 08/01/11 - 8/02/11 RIOC Daily Public Safety Report indicates (See Blog's Sidebar for report):
Investigation - Tenant reported that unknown person tried to gain entry. PSD conducted search with negative results.

Burglary - Tenant reported that unknown person took property from her apartment. NYPD was notified.
The 7/29 - 7/30 RIOC Daily Public Safety Report indicates (See Blog's Sidebar for report):
Burglary- negative result, report filed, under investigation.

Robbery- negative result, report filed, under investigation
The 7/28 - 7/29 RIOC Daily Public Safety Report indicates (See Blog's Sidebar for report):
 Possible Burglary - Tenant reported property taken from apartment. PSD responded, there appeared to be no forced entry.
The 7/27 -28 RIOC Daily Public Safety Report indicates (See Blog's Sidebar for report):
Missing property - Victim stated he noticed property taken from his apt when he woke up in the morning. NYPD report refused.
RIOC does not provide the location of incidents in their Daily Public Safety Report.

The latest monthly RIOC Public Safety Department Statistics note that there were seven reported burglaries during the month of June and a total of 13 for all of 2011 to date.

Below is the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Incident Blotter for June 2011. Included in the Blotter are these Burglary Incidents:
  • Location was broken into. Door and lock damaged. No items were taken. Repair company on scene to repair the lock. (504 Main Street, 6/6)
  • Victim advised she heard her front door close and thought it was her roommate. Upon investigation her laptop worth $1,300 was missing as well as her wallet. NYPD on scene for report. (560 Main Street 6/10)
  • Reporter advised location was broken into with two gaming systems missing and the rear window broken. NYPD on scene to file a report. (506 Main Street, 6/17)
  • Victim advised she heard her front door open and thought it was her roommate. Upon investigation her roommate was not home, but a laptop computer worth $2,000 and $150 cash was missing from apartment. NYPD contacted for response. (510 Main Street, 6/21)
  • Victim reports three of his laptop computer were taken from his residence. No signs of forced entry. Victim advised only one lock was utilized to secure the apartment. NYPD on scene for report. (510 Main Street, 6/29)
  • Victim reports her laptop computer and camera were taken from her residence in the middle of the night. Victim states she has no top lock only a slam lock. No sign of forced entry or damage to door. NYPD on scene for report. (540 Main Street, 6/29)
  • NYPD on scene for a report of a burglary at location. Three victims advised various electronics and cash were taken. Victim #1 was asleep at the time and observed male subject in his room. Victim #2 found second male subject in his room. Both subjects fled the scene. No description of subjects. NYPD filed report. (560 Main Street, 6/30)
June 2011 RIOC Public Safety Blotter

Monday, August 8, 2011

Scenes From Summer 2011 Roosevelt Island Tennis Camp At The Octagon Courts

More information and schedule available on New York Junior League Free Roosevelt Island Tennis Camp at the Octagon Courts from previous post.

Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin Gets Stuck After Leaving Tram Station This Morning - Can't Move Forward To Manhattan and After 10 Minutes Is Hauled Back To Roosevelt Island Tram Station

Received this message from a Roosevelt Island resident who was stuck briefly on the Roosevelt Island Tram this morning:

Was on the north cabin 7:15 am tram this am,  shortly as we started our trip the cabin stopped moving.  We didn’t even make it as far as the visitor’s kiosk.  Sat there about 10 minutes,  they were unable to get us to move forward.  We finally got hauled  back to the station,  and the south cabin then took us across.

Those cabins sure do get HOT when you are not moving!
I asked RIOC for comment as to what happened with the Tram this morning but have not heard back at the time this is published. Will update if RIOC responds with an explanation.

In the event that a stuck Roosevelt Island Tram cabin is not able to make it back to one of the Stations, here's how Tram Riders may get rescued by the New York City Fire Department.

You Tube Video of FDNY Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drill

That first step out of the Cabin is a doozy.

Testing Continuing On Roosevelt Island Bridge Restoration Project - Periodic 15 Minute Closings of Bridge Today From 10 AM to 2 PM

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Opening From Previous Post By Jonathan Hoo

The much delayed completion of the $86.5 million Roosevelt Island Bridge Restoration Project is undergoing more tests today. I received this advisory at from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) at 9:17 this morning:
We have been advised by the Department of Transportation that there will be a one day extension of the limited daytime closure of the Roosevelt Island Bridge scheduled between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday, August 8th.

As during previous testing periods, the bridge will be closed to all traffic for 15 minute intervals.  Traffic in the queue must dissipate before another 15 minute closure occurs. During this testing NYPD, NYFD and EMS units will be available to Roosevelt Island residents and visitors by dialing 911.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Roosevelt Island Outdoor Swimming At Manhattan Park and Octagon Buildings - Indoor Swimming Pools Available Too

The NY Times reported today on outdoor swimming pools in Manhattan residential buildings:

LIKE iced tea, perhaps, or casual Fridays, outdoor pools are in many minds forever linked with summer. After all, the sensation of sun on wet skin after a few dips in the deep end just about sums up the season.

But that pleasure is denied to most apartment-dwellers in New York City. If their building has a pool at all, it is probably of the enclosed kind.

Of the approximately 150 pools in residential buildings in Manhattan, only about 15 are outside, according to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; some of those 15 are in private town houses....
Roosevelt Island's two outdoor swimming pools were not mentioned in the article. At Manhattan Park

Image of Manhattan Park Swimming Pool
and the Octagon.

The Manhattan Park pool is open to anyone who joins the Pool Club. The Octagon Pool is only for those who live in the building and their guests.

Roosevelt Island indoor swimming pools are also available at the Rivercross and Westview buildings as well as in Sportspark.

More on Roosevelt Island swimming from the RI Marlins and these previous posts.

UPDATE 8/9 - According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), the Westview Pool is open to all Roosevelt Island residents with pool memberships but the Rivercross pool is only open to building residents.