Saturday, September 17, 2011

Take A Northern Exposure Tour Of Alaska With A Roosevelt Island Photographer

Roosevelt Island's Special Rain Photographer Tatiana Muzica branches out to travel correspondent and shares this terrific video of her recent trip to Alaska.

ALASKA 2011 from Tatiana Muzica on Vimeo.

Ms. Muzica quotes from the Naturalist and Conservationist John Muir

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.
and adds:
My trip to Alaska was my life-long dream. I still don't believe that I made it.

We spent 10 days in the wilderness: rafting, kayaking, hiking, fishing, bear watching, etc. guided by my friend: Len Fromzel.

I knew it would be difficult to repeat this trip, so, my husband and I decided to spend one more week in Alaska together: We saw Fairbanks, Denali Park, Anchorage, Seward, Glacier View, Glennallen, Talkeetna, etc.

Denali mountain was covered by clouds the entire week, but on the last day of the trip, our flight was cancelled because of Hurricane Irene and we had a chance to take an airplane to the glacier. It was the most wonderful trip of my life. My husband climbed Denali 5 years ago, but never saw her so beautiful as this time. It was like seeing an old friend, as he said. We can't describe our feelings.

Alaska will remain in my heart forever.
I've never made it to Alaska but one of my favorite all time television programs was Northern Exposure which was about a NYC Doctor paying off his loans by working in a small Alaskan town. Here's a scene from the first episode with Joel and Maurice.

You Tube Video of Northern Exposure Alaska v NYC

Mendelssohn Madness Free Classical Music Concert Tonight 8 PM At Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Community Center Presented By R&R Family Concert Series - Season 5 Schedule Too

Season 5 of the Rosemarie & Robin Russel Family Concert Series on Roosevelt Island begins tonight 8 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street) with a program of Mendelssohn Madness. According to the program organizers:
Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mendelssohn Madness
Ralph Allen, violin
Kate Dillingham, cello
Daniel Weiser, piano

Good Shepherd Center
543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY

8:00 PM

Trio No 1 in d minor, Op. 49
Trio No 2 in c minor, Op. 60
Admission is FREE
Future R&R Concert Programs listed below.

More information on R&R Concerts and their previous well received Roosevelt Island performances from previous posts.

Here's a You Tube Video of:
Heifetz with Rubistein in piano and Piatigorsky in cello play Mendelssohm

Friday, September 16, 2011

Upper East Side Community Paper Our Town Describes Roosevelt Island As "Cuomo's Colonial Island"

A September 15 Our Town article profiles Roosevelt Island and reports on the recent controversial appointment of Child School/Legacy High School Executive Director Sal Ferrera to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC). An excerpt from the Our Town article regarding Mr. Ferrera's appointment:
... the law was changed to require that five of the board members be residents of Roosevelt Island. On top of that, governors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson both chose board members from groups of nominees presented to them as the winners of popular elections on the island. While it wasn’t a perfect democratic structure, it worked. Until Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed an outsider to the board this June.

Salvatore Ferrera lives in Brooklyn and has worked for the past year as the executive director of The Child Legacy High School on Roosevelt Island. He was nominated to the board by State Sen. Martin Golden, also of Brooklyn, with whom he has worked in his history as a teacher and principal. (Golden’s office did not return calls requesting a comment on the nomination.) According to Ferrera, his appointment was a surprise even to him, but it was a bigger surprise to many people on the island and the elected officials who represent them.

“I find it sort of frustrating that this was done—not only without the consultation of the residents, but I didn’t get a phone call,” said City Council Member Jessica Lappin of Ferrera’s appointment. She stresses that her objection has nothing to do with Ferrera personally, but thinks that the governor should have respected the process that had previously been followed.

“We worked for years to get a process in place that Spitzer agreed to back in 2001, to hold these island elections just to suggest people, to give the governor a sense of who people would like to see on the board, with the understanding that they would have to be background checked and vetted,” said Lappin.
Ferrera admits he barely knew anything about the island’s governing structure before he was appointed (which he said happened following a series of phone interviews with members of the governor’s staff) and that he had no idea how upset people would be at his appointment.

“If I had known it was going to be this contentious before, I never would have taken that first step,” said Ferrera. But he insists that his position as the head of a major school and his plans to build a new athletic and equestrian center will enhance the island. “I see myself coming in from the outside with a different perspective. I’m able to broker compromises,” he said....
Read the whole Our Town article here.

An error in the article states that Spitzer was Governor in 2001 - he was not. His term began in 2007.

Roosevelt Island Tram Station Entrance Steps Being Widened To 6 Feet - Tram Station Rest Room Renovation To Start At End Of September, All Tram Station Renovation Completed By September 2012 Says RIOC Spokesperson

 Image of New, Wider Stairs Being Installed at Roosevelt Island Tram Station

A post earlier this week reported on the installation of new stairs at the Red Bus Stop entrance to the Roosevelt Island Tram Station. A reader of the post commented:
This is great news.  I hate the bottleneck that happens when you get off the RED BUS to get onto the Tram.  While we're on the subject, whatever happen to the rest of the TRAM redo.  When is that set to be finished?

Also, during rush hour, or when he F train is not going to Manhattan, why not use both cars to exit the island instead of packing a car only to have others left behind.  I thought that was one of the many reason for spending millions of dollars on this project.
 I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez
Can you provide any details regarding the new Tram Station Entrance Steps being installed this week and do you have any renderings of what it will look like that I can post on blog?

Will there be a ramp as well. Also any information regarding when the Tram Stations will start to be renovated and what will be done.
RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder replied on Wednesday:
We commenced construction yesterday on the Tram Entrance Steps which is scheduled to take approximately 8 days to complete. All work will begin daily after the morning rush hour. During this time, the ramp beyond the existing stairs will serve as the temporary entrance and exit locations. The scope of work includes removal of the concrete stairs and south wall of the stair case. A new concrete wall and code complaint stairway with railings will be installed. As part of the renovation, the entrance steps will be widened from its existing conditions- from 3 feet to approximately 6 feet. The contractor will be using an air compressed jack hammer to remove the stairs. To ensure the safety of pedestrians passing near the construction site, a protective screen will enclose the site while contractors demolish the stairs. Unfortunately, we do not have any renderings of the completed project.

As for the Tram Plaza renovations, the contractor is scheduled to begin Phase 1 (renovations of restrooms) at the end of September. Completion of all work is anticipated for Fall of 2012.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions.
I followed up:
Thank you for the response but can you respond to the portion of my inquiry regarding if a ramp is included in project and if not, why?

On an earlier occasion, Fernando Martinez had told RIOC Directors that a ramp would be included in that area.

Thank you.

Young Adult Evening Weekend Recreation Available At Roosevelt Island's Sportspark - Basketball Leagues Starting September 23

Image From RIOC

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
The Young Adult Weekend Recreation Program at Sportspark is now forming a Basketball League that will begin on Friday, September 23rd. You must be a Roosevelt Island resident and 16-25 years of age to participate. For more information, Please call 212-832-4540 ext# 321.
More information on the Sportspark Young Adult Recreation Program from previous post.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roosevelt Island Post Office Saved, Is Not Among Those Locations Now Being Studied For Closing - Good Job By Protesting Residents and Elected Officials In Keeping Roosevelt Island Post Office Open - Update Roosevelt Island Post Office Not Removed From Study List

Image of Roosevelt Island Residents at Save Our Post Office Protest Rally August 18

Reported last month on the possibility of the Roosevelt Island Post Office being among those slated for possible closing and the protest by Roosevelt Island residents and elected officials to prevent this from happening.

RIOC President Leslie Torres, State Senator Jose Serrano, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, RIRA President Matt Katz, Assemblyman Micah Kellner and NYC Councilwoman Jessica Lappin

A few minutes ago, I received a tip from resident Susan Marcus that:
According to a list on, RI post office is no longer on the hit list.
Here's the CNN report together with the list of 250 possible Post Office facilities to be closed and thankfully, the Roosevelt Island Post Office is not on that list. The list does include one Brooklyn and one Queens (Flushing) Post Office facility being studies for closure.

According to the US Postal Service:
 Faced with a massive nationwide infrastructure that is no longer financially sustainable, the U.S. Postal Service today proposed sweeping changes designed to save the organization up to $3 billion a year by cutting its network of processing facilities by over half and adjusting service standards.

Proposals under consideration include studying nearly 250 processing facilities for possible consolidation or closure, reducing mail processing equipment by as much as 50 percent, dramatically decreasing the nationwide transportation network, adjusting the workforce size by as many as 35,000 positions, and revising service standards for First-Class Mail.

“We are forced to face a new reality today,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “First-Class Mail supports the organization and drives network requirements. With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic. Since 2006, we have closed 186 facilities, removed more than 1,500 pieces of mail processing equipment, decreased employee complement by more than 110,000 through attrition and reduced costs by $12 billion.”...
Good job by the residents and Roosevelt Island elected officials, led by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, in making sure the Roosevelt Island Post Office remained open.

Image of Congresswoman Maloney Exiting Roosevelt Island Post Office

UPDATE 5 PM - I may have been wrong/premature in declaring the Roosevelt Island Post Office saved from closing due to this release from the Post Office which refers to:
250 processing facilities and related "network transportation,"
That list may be different from the list for Post Offices closing. Sorry for the confusion and I am checking to see how the latest list from the Post Office effects the Roosevelt Island Post office.

UPDATE 7/19 - From Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney:
The USPS announcement last week involved processing facilities being considered for possible closure and did not affect or relate to the previous announcement about postal stations being considered for closure.  Regrettably, there is no new information regarding the Postal Service’s review of post offices like the one on Roosevelt Island; I am continuing to advocate forcefully for Roosevelt Island Station to remain open.

United Nations General Assembly Week Returns - East River Boat Traffic Between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan Closed and Intermittent Roosevelt Island Bridge Closings From September 18 - 26

Image of United Nations from Wired New York

Received the following notice from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please see the attached notice from the Department of Transportation with regard to intermittent closures of the Roosevelt Island Bridge during the September UN General Assembly Sessions from Sunday, September 18th through Thursday, September 22nd between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
According to the NYC Department of Transportation:
United Nations General Assembly

From September 18 through September 26, the U.S. Coast Guard will close the main navigational channel of the East River between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island and divert all marine traffic to the Roosevelt Island Chanel between Roosevelt Island and Queens. To permit marine traffic to pass, the New York City Department of Transportation will close the Roosevelt Island Bridge, as needed, for up to 15 minutes between 7: 00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. to permit marine traffic to pass.
During the bridge closure, it will be closed to all vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. A Variable Message Board will inform the public of the closures and Traffic Enforcement Agents will assist in traffic control at Vernon Blvd and 36th Avenue. Emergency service providers have been informed of the special operational schedule.

Questions regarding the bridge closure may be addressed to Fred Herschkowitz, Community Liaison, at 212-839-6307 or For all NYC non-emergency services, including inquiries regarding NYCDOT projects, dial 311. Please be prepared to give your name, your borough, and the project number: HBM1117 to be correctly routed to the project management team.
This is an annual inconvenience for Roosevelt Island but sometimes it can be more than just an inconvenience. As reported in this post from last year, an ambulance rushing to treat a Roosevelt Island emergency was delayed because it had to wait on the Queens side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge while the Bridge was in the up position to allow for a passing sailboat:
Due to the United Nations General Assembly being in session, once again security precautions require East River boat traffic to use the East Channel when approaching Roosevelt Island. This forces the Roosevelt Island Bridge to be raised so that tall boats can pass underneath. When the Bridge gets raised, traffic is backed up and cannot enter or leave Roosevelt Island until the Bridge returns to it's normal position.

In most cases this is just a small inconvenience, but for emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire, and police vehicles servicing Roosevelt Island, it can be a real safety issue. This is an annual problem for Roosevelt Island during UN General Assembly week...
It turned out that in this instance the person the ambulance was called to treat was not effected by the delayed ambulance according to RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bike Sharing Definitely Coming To New York City - You Can Help Bring Alta Bicycle Sharing To Roosevelt Island By Voting For It Now

RIOC President Leslie Torres & Rivewalk Bar/Nonno's Pizza Owner Alphonse At Bike Sharing Demonstration Last Year

Streetsblog reported today:

Addressing a plaza full of reporters at Madison Square this afternoon, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced that the city is entering the next phase of its initiative to launch a public bike system stretching from the Upper West Side to Bedford Stuyvesant. The system will be run by Alta Bike Share and consist of about 600 stations with 10,000 bicycles, creating a network of comparable size and density to bike-share systems in cities like London and Paris....
How does this New York City program effect Roosevelt Island's attempt to bring bike sharing to our neighborhood? I asked former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin who was involved in previous efforts to bring bike sharing to Roosevelt Island that question.

Former RIOC Director Kalkin and Current Director Faye Christian At Bike Sharing Demonstraton Last Year

Mr. Kalkin replied:
As many Islanders know Roosevelt Island tested bike sharing and did a survey after both Columbia and Hunter recommended a program like this on Roosevelt Island in their study. The response from the survey and residents trying it out was very positive. While I was on the RIOC Operations Committee we moved forward on an RFP for bike sharing. It was written and ready for distribution, but during subsequent meetings I set up with DOT we discussed having a station or two on the Upper East Side and/or in Queens. A lot of people in the survey had shown an interest in using the bikes off Island or to ride into other parts of the city and so I brought up that idea with DOT. DOT was also very interested in bike sharing at the time and they said to us that they liked the idea of Roosevelt Island having a bike sharing system that works with the NYC program. There were meetings and communication with DOT after that and RIOC was told that a  bike sharing vendor would be chosen around now and that if we waited we could have a compatible system. It is very exciting to hear this announcement and I'm looking forward to biking around Roosevelt Island and in the future other parts of the city.
According to NYC Bike Share:
...Bike share is a privately-funded & operated, city-supported, program that adds a new affordable option to getting around New York City. Think Zipcar with bikes, and you don’t have to bring the bike back to where you started! Alta Bicycle Share will run, manage and maintain the bike share system, while NYC DOT will coordinate community outreach and regulate station siting....

... NYC DOT and Alta Bicycle Share invite you to help craft a system that's designed for New York City. We invite you to attend special events, open houses and workshops throughout the city, try out the bikes and give your feedback. Get started now by dropping a pin on the map and telling us why you'd like a station there....
So here's what you can do to bring bike sharing to Roosevelt Island. Click on this link and say you want a bike sharing station on Roosevelt Island - do it now - please.

Here's how bike sharing works.

The Phenomenal Success of Capital Bikeshare from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

and for the planned New York City program:

Remember to click here and make your voice count to bring bike sharing to Roosevelt Island.

What Was Going On At TransCanada's Long Island City Ravenswood Big Allis Power Plant This Morning Across the East River From Roosevelt Island?

 Image of Water Cannons Being used at Big Allis Power Plant from Judy Berdy

The sirens were going off and the water canons spaying at the TransCanada Big Allis Ravenswood Power Plant in Long Island City this morning right across the East River from Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy Berdy shares these pictures and adds:
The water sprayers went off about 10:15 a.m. aimed at the barge in the river.

Images From Judy Berdy

I asked Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra's office if they knew what was happening at Big Allis. Will provide an update when they find out.

More information about our East River neighbor Big Allis from previous posts.

Proposed Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) 2012-13 Fiscal Year Budget To Be Presented To Audit Committee Directors On Thursday and Full RIOC Board On September 21

It's budget time on Roosevelt Island. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Audit Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

1. Presentation of the Proposed RIOC Budget for FY 2012-2013.
RIOC's approved budget for fiscal year 2011 -2012 is here.

RIOC's proposed fiscal year 2012 -12 Budget will also be presented at the September 21 Board of Directors meeting. 

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011
5:30 P.M.1

I.     Call to Order
II.    Roll Call
III.   Approval of Minutes
       1.           August 3, 2011 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV.  Old Business
V.   New Business
       1.          Presentation of the Proposed RIOC Budget for FY 2012-2013;
       2.          Authorization to Enter into Contract with Derive Technologies for Phase Two of the Island-Wide Security
                    Camera System Project (Board Action Required);
       3.          Authorization to Enter into Contract with Shawn Construction, Inc. for Installation of Platform Enclosures and
                    Concrete Repairs at Tram Stations (Board Action Required);
       4.          President's Report
       5.          Committee Reports
                       a.    Audit Committee
                       b.    Governance Committee
                       c.    Operations Advisory Committee
                       d.    Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
       6.          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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roosevelt Island Tram Station To Get New Stairs - Will There Be A New Ramp Too? What About The Promised Tram Station Improvements?

Image Of Work Starting On Tram Station Steps Renovation This Morning

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Beginning on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, we will begin work renovating the Tram Entrance Steps. Signs are posted indicating the new entrance and exit. This renovation will take approximately 8 days to complete. Work will not begin each day until after the morning rush hour. Please note there will be no interruption of normal Tram Service.

Your patience and cooperation during this time is greatly appreciated.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
RIOC Staff and Directors had discussed a new ramp being included with the new stairs at the Tram Station. This previous post last December on the new Red Bus Route and Tram Stop reported on the concerns of RIOC Directors regarding:
... the inaccessibility of these nearby steps to the Tram Station

and the distance to the existing ramp for elderly and disabled....

... Mr. Martinez did say that an additional ramp could be installed by the Tram Station Staircase but that would have to wait until spring when the weather get's warmer to mix concrete....
RIOC's Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez was overseeing the Tram Station Stairs Renovation this morning along with Transportation General Manager Cy Opperman and Engineer Director Alex Snedkov.

No word on whether a ramp is being included in the current Tram Station renovations.

The RIOC September 21 Board Meeting has an Agenda item concerning the Tram Stations:
3.Authorization to Enter into Contract with Shawn Construction, Inc. for Installation of Platform Enclosures and Concrete Repairs at Tram Stations (Board Action Required);
I asked Mr. Martinez whether a ramp will be included in the Tram Station Stair renovation as well as future plans for the Tram Stations Improvements that were supposed to be made as part of the $25 million Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization Program.

Will include Mr. Martinez's answer in future update.

Roosevelt Island Waterfront Promenade Entrance Spoiled By Southtown Restaurants Garbage Dumpster - At Least Feeding Pigeons and Rats Have A Nice View For Their Litter Soup

Image of Garbage Waste Shed At Entrance to Roosevelt Island Waterfront Promenade

One of the absolute best things about Roosevelt Island is walking along our waterfront promenade enjoying beautiful views of the New York City Skyline and the passing boats on the East River. It is an incredibly relaxing and pleasant experience. That is unless you are at the top of the ramp leading to the promenade across from the Subway Station and are hit by the sight and smell of the garbage waste dumpster shed containing the garbage from Southtown restaurants.

Now, I am very happy to have these restaurants in Southtown, would not want it otherwise, but is there a more suitable location to place their garbage dumpster?

A Roosevelt Island resident wrote yesterday:
Island residents have been complaining regarding the amount of litter and vermin that is visible and present on the promenade near Starbucks. Strollers, joggers and walkers must pass through this litter'soup' to get to the promenade. It will probably be addressed at the next RIRA meeting and has already been brought to the attention of Related management and the Boards. We are hoping for a solution that will move the bin off the entrance of the Roosevelt Island promenade-which is one of the greatest assets of our island. It would be like having a gross dumpster like this on the highline.
People who care don't want this kind of thing.
and shares these pictures.

Mmmmm - bet the pigeons and rats loved that chicken bone and other goodies from our restaurants.

UPDATE 6 PM - Andrew Jackson is the owner representative for Southtown's Hudson/Related, the landlord for the Riverwalk restaurants and new Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder. Mr. Jackson addresses the dumpster issue:
thanks for posting this. I wasn’t aware the garbage area was a mess but we will get it cleaned asap. In the future, you can always bring Riverwalk stuff to my attention.
I replied:
Thanks for the prompt action.

I think the issue is also the location of the dumpster. Can it be removed somewhere else in a less conspicuous location?
Mr Jackson asked?
I am not aware of a less conspicuous location that is within a comparable distance to the retail stores but is not under someone’s residential window. Do you have any suggestions?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Roosevelt Island 10th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial Service Held Sunday At Remembrance Garden

Image of Tribute In Light As Seen From Roosevelt Island By Nathaniel C. Phillips

Roosevelt Island resident Dave Evans shares some thoughts on attending Roosevelt Island's 10th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial Service at Remembrance Garden on Sunday evening. From Mr. Evans:
Roosevelt Island’s Own “9/11” MEMORIAL

On 11 September 2001, many in the United States awakened to the reality of a threat against this country. While there was a lot of disbelief and just a whole range of emotions, the fact was that this country suddenly seemed smaller and vulnerable. We had been hit and many died. The most visible of the victims found themselves in and or over three locations - - New York City’s World Trade Center, Washington (DC)’s Pentagon (actually in Virginia) and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Many were flying passengers unable to prevent the planes’ arrival on target and some made a brave decision (“let’s roll”) to thwart the hijackers. Many were our first responders, many were neighbors trying to help, and many were ordinary citizens trying to escape the tragedy. They were and are all heroes. Though these victims’ lives were cut short, their memories will live forever amongst us on this earth.

Here on Roosevelt Island, we too have continued to memorialize those who lost their lives that tragic day in 2001.

Image of 2011 9/11 Memorial Service From Dave Evans

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, along with the Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council, led a ceremony on Sunday evening culminating in the names called of I believe nine individuals who lived here or worked here,

Image of Roosevelt Island Memorial Plaque From Roosevelt Island 360

candles lit in their honor and placed in our own meticulously maintained Remembrance Garden,

a candle-laced procession to the water

where we reflected quietly, looked to the future and listened to the sounds of a trumpet. I am glad Andy did not play “taps”, but more on that later. Lynne Shinozaki

Image of RIRA's Lynn Shinozaki

and others put together a splendid ceremony inspired by songs from a wonderful spiritual choir,

Image of Choir Singers From Dave Evans

Asher Elbaz's premier piece,

Image of Ascher Elbaz From Dave Evans

and a Katz guitar

Image Of RIRA President Matt Katz From Dave Evans

as the nicely sized, candle-holding crowd filled the square along side and behind our landmark Chapel.

Images From Dave Evans

I used to limit my own reflections to the area of the Pentagon, a place one would never think could be in the “cross-hairs” of such a successful attack. In fact, when I walked the corridors of that five-sided structure, there was a feeling of invulnerability, invincibility. However, this country was quickly awakened on “9/11” to the reality of vulnerability. Our subsequent responses have recognized that and each day, while we try to press forward with our daily lives, we must not forget that the achievement of peace can be elusive and that it requires strong efforts, sacrifices and sensitive and respectful interactions with citizens of the world of all types. Yes, I was relieved that “taps” was not played because for the first time in ten years, I did not cry in public in the presence of so many other living victims of September 11, 2001.

Roosevelt Island Remembers September 11, 2001 On The 10th Anniversary of Attacks

Image of 2011 Roosevelt Island 9/11 Memorial Service From Frank Farance

Last evening, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) jointly sponsored a 10th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial Service at the Remembrance Garden adjacent to the Good Shepherd Community Center.

Image of American Flag at RI 9/11 Memorial Service From Frank Farance

More on the 9/11 Memorial Service to come in later post.

I asked Life of Riley blogger and relatively recent Roosevelt Islander Maria Riley to talk to other Roosevelt Island residents about their experiences on 9/11. Ms. Riley kindly agreed to do so and shares this report.

World Trade Center Towers Image From Olya Turcihin
As the anniversary of 9/11 crept over the world this week, New Yorkers prepared themselves, contemplating how they’d honor the memory of that day and its victims, prompting instant reminders of where they stood a decade ago—at that hour, that moment. I remember—12 hours away in a dusty conference room filled with colleagues, watching in silence.

Over the past few months, as my family and I have settled into life here on the island, I’ve listened to pieces of personal stories from those who witnessed it all first hand and those left behind. A scene I’ve never been able to erase from my own memory, dazed New Yorkers walking along the bridges, trying to find their way back home, now seems to have been a premonition. These were people I would one day see again, people I would laugh with, families I would bond with over St. Patrick’s Day parties, roof top surprise birthday celebrations, and nights outside our local grill—my neighbors, my friends.

New Yorkers’ notorious reputation for being tough holds true, but what fails to be mentioned more often than not is the compassion and loyalty woven into those steely exteriors. Who knew that ten years ago as I watched in silence from miles away that today I’d stand side by side with them, listening to their stories, and together remembering a bitter September morning.


That day ten years ago, was the first day of school with the bluest sky anyone could have imagined. After the news traveled like wildfire, we all picked up our kids. We were lucky to be on Roosevelt Island and just steps from our kids. At the time, we had a beautiful apartment with a terrace overlooking the gorgeous skyline of the city. Smoke bellowed and the sky of blue turned gray quickly. I remember crying and screaming as we witnessed the second tower fall, shock and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness for all the people there. And, then the silence - the silence that lasted for days in the city . . . no cars, no bustling people - just silence and the roar of jet fighters overhead at intervals—the fear still palpable in the air.
~Olya Turcihin, Roosevelt Islander since 1977
(WTC Picture courtesy of Olya Turcihin)


Yes we were living on RI on Sept. 11, 2001. The Island was silent. The community was in shock, worry and fear on everyone's faces. Everyone was asking, "Who do I know that's down there?” Parents were scrambling to pick up their children, wondering how loved ones were going to get home. Alexander was in school in the city. That was an awful feeling, not being able to get to him. Chris went from work to get him, but it took hours for him to get home. I picked Andrew up from RI Day Nursery and went directly to Olya's apartment, whose view at the time was due south, a clear shot of the buildings. The buildings were there one minute; smoke billowing, then gone. Then there was the concern about the polluted smoke and the direction it was heading. The smoke did reach us a short time later. The goal was for families to reunite as quickly as possible. The community gathered that evening in a candle lighting ceremony, meeting at the church courtyard, and walked along the promenade. It was surreal...
~Gina Enock, Roosevelt Islander since 1996 (Husband, Chris has been a resident since 1976.)


An Excerpt from A New Global View—How My Life Changed After 9/11

On September 11, 2001, I was 2,000 miles from my New York City home, visiting my brother in Colorado. He woke me that morning to tell me there had been a terrorist attack on New York and the Pentagon. I was terrified: my five-year-old daughter was back home with my husband.

I prayed as best I could. And I was incredibly relieved, though still shaky, when my husband was finally able to call two hours later to let me know they were both safe.

Like the lives of many people around the globe, my life changed forever that day. I’ve had to confront terror, along with everyone else, and some of my friends say they still live with intermittent fear.

One day, I heard a very loud noise from the power plant near my apartment—my first thought was “terrorism.” Another time, as I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge on a bitterly cold winter day, I pondered what would happen if the bridge were attacked. I’d never thought about such things before the World Trade Center was destroyed.

A fundamental change took place in my life.

 ~Amy Richmond, Roosevelt Islander since 1997

Triumph of the Human Spirit

Charlie & I were just talking about that morning 10 years ago. So scary, and yet, I remember thinking the entire time - all I want to do is get to my children! They were in school on 57th Street, and I was on Roosevelt Island. Boy, I have never hustled my fat butt so much in all my life as I did that day, nearly running across the Queensboro Bridge! I can honestly say, I think I know how salmon feel going UPSTREAM since everyone was walking OUT OF THE CITY! LOL

Charlie drove me (and a nanny to an RI child named Mary) as close to the QB Bridge as he could get, and I took a shopping cart & Kait's razor scooter with me (quite the visual, huh?!) and when stopped by a police officer at the foot of the bridge (they were evacuating the city and Mary and I were the only two numb skulls trying to get INTO the city!), he insisted he couldn't let us go across and I remember looking at him with tears in my eyes and just blurting out "well then arrest me or shoot me down because I HAVE TO GET TO MY KIDS!" I guess he took pity on me and then stepped aside and told me to be careful. I grabbed Mary's hand and just shoved past. Mary is a small, fragile, older Philippino woman and I feared she would get lost in the chaos of people but in a blur we lost sight of each other and both just forged ahead.

It was so surreal - I got across the bridge, walking as fast as I could, dodging people, in and out of crowds. Everyone just looked numb. We could see the Towers burning off in the distance - there was a weird smell - not strong, but it was starting to get stronger and I kept thinking "what if they take the bridge out next? What will my kids do?" and I pushed on faster. After arriving in the city - walking ON 2nd AVE, not the sidewalk, just the street - weird I tell ya, mobs of people coming at me to the bridge and looking downtown, uptown, everywhere just thousands of people. So many had a zombie like gaunt - all fleeing the city. I got to the school, they knew me well there since I was VP of PTA, etc so I got right in and the Principal was shocked to see me. The kids had no idea what was going on at all. Thankfully. I sat down, drank some water, cooled down and was so relieved to hear the laughter of the children in the "Multi Purpose Room", you know, one of those cafe-gym-otoriums. I signed the girls out of school and proceeded the walk home with Lauren in the shopping cart (she was in 1st grade) and Kait riding her scooter (4th grade). Kait and Lauren thought it was kinda cool that we were WALKING ON 57th & 2nd AVE. LOL Kids! Then they asked what I feared they would ... 'what happened Mommy?' I told them that some bad people had done some bad things and we all needed to get home to Daddy & Madi. As we walked, Kaitlyn looked at me and asked (I'll never forget this, it was cute) "Mommy, was it teenagers?" This was because the teenagers at the HS for Art & Design were always being "bad" whenever she saw them in the mornings/afternoons! Priceless. So I remember laughing and just trudging on. I felt so much safer walking across the bridge, still nervous, but I had my kids and in a sick way, at least I knew that if anything DID happen on that bridge, that was all that mattered - I HAD MY KIDS. The explaining came much later - the midnight nightmares as Lauren would come to my room crying and telling me she was checking to make sure I was still there because Patrick lost his Daddy. Oh gosh, it was such a hard time for us looking in, I cannot imagine what those families, like Patty's went through. Then to see HER and the kids where and how they are today - truly triumph of the human spirit!
Damn, where did all that come from . . .
Isa C., Roosevelt Islander ’81-’89 and returned in 2000

A Freshman’s First Day

It was the first week of high school. That’s when I started really traveling by myself, using public transportation. I live in Brooklyn so I had to take 3 trains to get to Manhattan. I remember that morning was a beautiful day. I had gym first period—7 something in the morning. Gym was in the basement—we weren’t aware of anything that was going on. When gym was over, I had English class and it was on 3rd or 4th floor. In the hallways they have windows where you can see the skyline. The hallways were crowded. I was trying to get to class. It was freshman year, and I was trying to do everything right. I managed to get to the window and I saw a big, big hole in the first tower. You could see the smoke coming out. I thought, what the hell is going on. I ran upstairs and went to the class and no one was inside the class, only the professor was sitting down. I said “Mr., there’s a big hole in the World Trade Center,” and he’s like “oh, you’re lying.” I said,” no, seriously.” The class was on the other side of the building facing towards Queens. He followed me back and we made our way to the window, and I said,” look, you see.” Right then when I said you see—that was when the next airplane hit. Everybody’s going crazy. We didn’t know what was going on. Then they announced on the loudspeaker that nobody could leave or enter the school. No one was teaching; everybody was just by the windows. My class after that was on the top floor on the 7th floor and you could see everything even better. The office made another announcement and told us it was a terrorist attack. They told us it wasn’t an accident. Everybody was scared. As we were watching, the first tower fell. At that moment is when everybody really got scared. We saw them get hit but you could never imagine such a big, strong building could fall. When we saw it fall, it was just smoke. We didn’t see anything for awhile. Then you could see the other tower still standing. We were so confused. They weren’t letting anyone leave the school. They said parents had to pick you up at the school. There were no trains in or out of the city. I thought I was going to stay in school all night. During my next period we were just looking out and that’s when the second tower fell. At the end of the day, my father drove to the school and picked me up. My mom was working in the city as well. And we had to come by the Queensboro Bridge to pick her up—she walked the bridge. We waited for her at the exit. And we picked her up and went to my cousin’s house, because it was his first birthday that day. Instead of celebrating we all watched the news.All the stores were closed. Nobody was outside. It was quiet. New York is never quiet like that.
~Charlie, Native New Yorker, and Employee of Riverwalk Crossing, Roosevelt Island
Image From Main Street WIRE Of Smoke From World Trade Center Attack As Seen From Roosevelt Island by Vicki Feinmel/Linda Heimer

Commenting on this previous post, Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy adds:
It was a time that we all just came together. At some point we went to the firehouse and found the firefighters had no fresh food. We went to Gristedes and got them some food. Some folks put up signs in the elevators of the apt. houses and soon the firehouse was overwhelmed by generous islanders. It was such a show of gererousity. One day we went by and the new equipment was pouring in from all over the country.

The islanders seemed to all be in Trellis. No one wanted to go home. We all knew the victims. It was our family.

We put a table out on the Saturday after the event and had posterboard and markers for people to write their thoughts. We bought 4 sheets of posterboard and ended up with 13 sheets, that hung in the store windows afterwards.

A few days after 911 a visitor came from Albany and we were walking around the island. Stealth fighters were overhead and it was an haunting feeling.

It took ages to return to "normal" life and maybe we never did.
Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk was living in Greenwich Village at the time of the 9/11 attacks and recalls what that day was like for her.

A friend of mine is a volunteer fireman who assisted during the first days of the recovery efforts. This is how he described being at Ground Zero.

Here's a remarkable story of how two workers at the World Trade Center, unknown to each other before 9/11, saved each others lives.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today's Also Football Sunday At Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill - Life Goes On

First Sunday of regular season NFL Football at Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk Bar & Grill. Owner Sal Hoo was holding court, and the Football Specials menu, earlier this afternoon.

Giants are playing now and the Jets later tonight.

I'm happy because my Green Bay Packers beat the Saints on Thursday night with a terrific goal line stop on their way, I hope, to repeating as Super Bowl Champs.

You Tube Video of Green Bay Packers Goal Line Stop