Saturday, September 24, 2011

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Heated Tram Platform Enclosure, New Tram Stairs, Additional Tram Station Renovations, Public Safety Update, Applied Sciences School, Sportspark Young Adult Recreation & Upcoming Roosevelt Island Events

You Tube Video of RIOC President's Report To RIOC Board

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I hope you are all adjusting nicely to the cooler weather. I know one concern many of you have related to cold weather is how chilly it gets on the Tram platform. I am happy to report that this winter, the Tram platform on both the Roosevelt Island and Manhattan side will have an enclosure that will be heated on cold days. You can read more about Tram Station updates and about other Roosevelt Island news below.

Tram Station Entrance Renovation

We recently commenced construction on the Roosevelt Island side Tram Station entrance steps. We are widening them from three feet to approximately six feet, in order to ease congestion, especially during the morning and evening commutes. All work will be conducted daily, following the morning rush hour, and is scheduled to be completed shortly. During this construction, the ramp beyond the existing stairs will serve as the temporary entrance and exit.

The scope of work on the steps includes removal of the concrete stairs and the south wall of the staircase. A new concrete wall and code compliant stairway with railings will be installed. The contractor will be using an air compressed jack hammer to remove the stairs. To ensure the safety of pedestrians passing by, a protective screen will enclose the site while contractors demolish the stairs.

In addition to the stairs, we are planning to renovate the Tram Plaza to improve its overall appearance. Plans for the renovation on the Roosevelt Island side include:
  • Replacement of the railings at the Tram boarding platform
  • The addition of a see-through roof
  • An enclosure for the Tram boarding area, which will be heated in the winter Scrapping, sanding, and painting of the railings
  • Installing a new no-slip floor and patching where necessary
  • Power washing the entire Plaza
The Manhattan side of the Plaza will get the same renovations as above with the following additions:
  • A new Courtesy booth
  • New security gates
  • New tread toppings for the stairs
  • New textured warning strips at the bottom of the stairs to help the visually impaired
We have already selected the contractor and Phase 1 of the work, which also includes renovations of the restrooms, and is scheduled to begin at the end of September. We anticipate completion of all the work in the fall of 2012.

Public Safety Update

As you know, Roosevelt Island is one of the safest neighborhoods in the City. But that does not mean we do not have occasional crime. I want residents to be vigilant and careful, but also to recognize that we have a great Public Safety Department (PSD). On Thursday, September 15th, two young adults were robbed and assaulted near Blackwell Park by three individuals who removed several items from a backpack and purse, including money and a cell phone.

After descriptions were gathered, Public Safety apprehended two of the three individuals. They were processed at the 114th precinct on Saturday, September 17th. There is currently an arrest warrant out for the third individual.

We have all come to rely on PSD’s quick action. This is just one example of their work in keeping us all safe.

Applied Sciences Campus

As has been reported in numerous news articles, it seems as though Roosevelt Island is the front-runner for the location of a new applied sciences campus that the City would like to see built. According to a recent article in Crain’s NY, “University officials are leaning heavily toward proposing a $1 billion campus on the southern end of Roosevelt Island that won't be available for lease and development until the end of 2013.”

Several schools have already applied for the chance to open a NYC campus, including Cornell University and Stamford University. Both Cornell and Stamford have explicitly stated their interest in Roosevelt Island.

Final proposals are due to the city in late October and the City has stated it will make a final choice by the end of the year. The new campus would be located on the Goldwater Memorial Hospital site (the hospital has been slated to shut down in 2013) and we look forward to working with the City as plans for the site unfold.

Sportspark Young Adults Recreation Update

We are pleased to announce that there were over 35 participants this past weekend (Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th from 9:00pm to 12:00pm) for the Sportspark Young Adults Recreation. Starting this Friday the23rd, in addition to the open lounge (Netflix, Wii, computers & music), ping pong and the weight room, there will be referees provided for the basketball league. Any questions please call Othniel Maragh at (212) 832-4540 ext. 321 or

Upcoming Events

We have several events coming up:
  • Outdoor Production of Seven Against Thebes and Oedipus Rex, Saturday and Sunday, October 1st and 2nd, both shows at 2pm at the Roosevelt Landing Amphitheater
  • Fall for Arts Festival, Saturday, October 15th, 11am- 4pm at the lawn south of Rivercross
  • Latin Jazz Concert celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Saturday, October 15th, 6pm at the Child School Auditorium
  • Halloween Day Parade, Saturday, October 29th, Main Street
A version of the RIOC President's column also appears on RIOC's web site and the 9/24/11 issue of the Main Street WIRE.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Roosevelt Island The Next Sand Hill Road For Venture Capitalists? Maybe, If Stanford Is Selected To Build New York City Applied Sciences & Engineering School - Cornell Better Do Its Homework Better If It Cares About Support Of Roosevelt Island Community

Have you heard of the legendary street in California's Silicon Valley called Sand Hill Road? According to Start Up Muse, Sand Hill Road is the Venture Capitalist's address of choice:

 ... The most active VCs in the world are located on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park....
and Business Insider adds:
... In the U.S. over the past half-century, our private capital markets have evolved from a group of renegade individuals and bankers to a multi-trillion dollar institutionalized "risk capital" business that almost every major pension fund and institutional investor has allocated money to.

And the crown jewel of that system, which for the past five decades has helped make the U.S. economy the most innovative and dynamic in the world, is the venture capital business.

Venture capital firms are spread out across the world, of course, but as with other industries, there's a physical place that represents the global geographic center of the business: California's Silicon Valley.

And within that center, there's an epicenter: A winding strip of pavement leading west from Palo Alto into the hills known as "Sand Hill Road."...
Well, as hard as it may be to comprehend, Roosevelt Island may soon become part of the East Coast version of Sand Hill Road if Stanford University is selected to build the New York City Applied Sciences and Engineering School proposed by Mayor Bloomberg.

During a meeting and tour of Roosevelt Island several weeks ago with Stanford's Director of Communications Lisa Lapin, I learned that a number of Silicon Valley Venture Capital Firms have indicated a strong interest in following Stanford to NYC should Stanford be chosen to build NYC's new world class graduate engineering school - which Stanford would locate on Roosevelt Island.

No VC names were provided nor was it stated that any VC firms would specifically locate to Roosevelt Island but close proximity to Stanford would be a priority of these firms and nothing else is closer to a Roosevelt Island Stanford campus than being on Roosevelt Island.

Ms. Lapin and I took the Tram over from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. It was Ms. Lapin's first time on the Tram. She was very impressed with the beautiful skyline and waterfront views from the Tram and received an excellent aerial view of Roosevelt Island as well as the proposed Stanford Campus footprint at the existing Goldwater Hospital.

We walked from the Tram through the Goldwater campus to Southpoint Park and other areas of Roosevelt Island. Ms. Lapin repeatedly emphasized Stanford's strong desire to integrate harmoniously with, and address the concerns of, the Roosevelt Island community regarding Stanford's proposed new campus. At the time of our meeting this was the publicly announced preliminary plan for the Stanford Campus on Roosevelt Island.

Image of Stanford's Proposed Roosevelt Island Site Plan From Presentation Below

Ms. Lapin later provided an updated version of Stanford's preliminary plans adding:
The design plans for Roosevelt Island are evolving somewhat, now that we have considerably more information about infrastructure needs. The original "massing" as architects call it, was two tall residential towers with the academic enterprise in between. That is what we depicted in our expression of interest in March. Now the direction is for something a bit different, with housing spread throughout, but there are not final plans.

I can say with certainty that the intention is to create a campus community, to integrate development into existing parkways, maximize public access to the waterfront, retain open space, minimize or eliminate vehicle traffic altogether in favor of bicycles and pedestrians, and aim for a sustainable campus in all respects.
Stanford officials requested and have met with a number of Roosevelt Island residents recently including Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz, RIRA's Chair on what is now tentatively being called the Silicon Island Sub-Committee Denise Shull and former RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin.

Mr. Kalkin is leading an effort to organize all Roosevelt Island organizations to participate as stakeholders in an eventual Community Benefits Agreement with any University that develops a campus at the Goldwater Hospital site. The working title for this new coalition in formation is the Silicon Island Development Coalition and will ultimately include representation from each Roosevelt Island building, RIRA, Seniors and Disabled Association, businesses and groups on the east side of Manhattan and other Roosevelt Island stakeholders. I asked Mr. Kalkin to report on what occurred during the Stanford meeting he attended. According to Mr. Kalkin:
Stanford initiated the meeting to discuss their interest in Roosevelt Island. We discussed a range of topics, but the main theme was that we want a university to reach their goals in a way that is mutually beneficial for the university and the community.

It is clear in the RFP that any university that comes here will need some sort of energy plan and so we discussed how a renewable/cogeneration/tidal/fuel cell energy plan could benefit the entire Island and a university.

We also discussed possible transportation improvements including ferry service, the need for a new state of the art library, a possible shared work space/startup incubator space on the island, and some sort of program to enhance education on the island like

This was all very preliminary and isn't an exhaustive list of possible ideas that might help the community, but it was certainly exciting to think of all the possibilities.
By all accounts from those who have met with Stanford officials, Stanford is fully supportive of engaging with the Roosevelt Island community in a Community Benefit Agreement. According to Streetsblog:
... Community benefits agreements are private contracts between community organizations and developers, requiring that the developer take additional actions for public benefit. In theory, CBAs allow groups that are shut out of the normal planning process to make their voices heard. The first real CBA was tied to the construction of a basketball arena -- the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where a coalition of religious, social justice, environmental, health, immigrant and tenant organizations capitalized on public concerns over the project to win promises of living-wage jobs, affordable housing, and local hiring.

In some cases, locals have demanded the inclusion of transportation improvements in the benefits agreement. At the Staples Center, the CBA created a residential permit parking program for the arena's neighbors. Here in New York, the CBA Columbia University signed as part of its expansion into West Harlem required it to light the viaduct along Broadway and advocate for improvements to subway and bus stations....
Examples of Community Benefit Agreements in NYC include West Harlem and Brooklyn.

Cornell University has also publicly announced plans seeking to build the NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering school on Roosevelt Island.

Two Cornell representatives met last Friday, September 16 with the Child School Executive Director Sal Ferrera, who is also a newly appointed Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director, RIRA's Denise Shull and Ilonka Salisbury as well as RIOC's Fernando Martinez and a RIOC research fellow. Also in attendance as an advisor to Mr. Ferrera was former NY State Senate Secretary Angelo Aponte and a political consultant to Cornell, Peter Krokondelas from the firm of Kasirer Consulting.

I asked Mr. Ferrera to comment on the substance of the meeting. Mr. Ferrera replied: 
we were asked to keep our discussion confidential. I can share with you that Cornell is focused on being involved with the community by providing educational programs ,job opportunities and much more.
The RIRA representatives at the September 16 Cornell meeting had a much different perspective than Mr. Ferrera and concluded that it was necessary to report back to the Roosevelt Island community the noticeable distinct difference in approach taken by the Cornell representatives and their political consultant than the one taken by Stanford, at least in this first meeting.

At a meeting last Tuesday September 20 (video of meeting below), the RIRA representatives present for the September 16 meeting with Cornell reported that the meeting was led by the political consultant, Mr. Krokondelas, and clearly focused on what Cornell could do for the Child School's K-12 program - nothing else.

Upon learning that community members were seeking a Community Benefits Agreement with the school selected by NYC, Mr. Krokondelas was taken aback by this and sought to hasten the end of the meeting. Mr. Aponte, Mr. Ferrera's advisor, also thought it important to explain to Ms Shull all the reasons the community should not seek a Community Benefit Agreement but rather work for a restricted declaration. After hearing Mr. Aponte's reasoning, Ms. Shull thought that the Community Benefit Agreement must be a really good idea. The Cornell representatives also seemed surprised to learn that only 12 Roosevelt Island children attend the Child School.

Summarizing the basic difference between Stanford and Cornell's approach to the Roosevelt Island community to date, Ms. Shull noted that Stanford's approach is to learn everything they can about the community needs and Cornell was only interested in the Child School and talking RIRA out of seeking a Community Benefit Agreement.

Here's video portions of the September 20 meeting in which Ms. Shull reports back to RIRA and answers questions regarding the September 16 Cornell meeting. It's fascinating. If you are interested in this process of selecting a school to build an Applied Sciences and Engineering School on Roosevelt Island watch all 52 minutes.

You Tube Video of RIRA Discussion On Meeting With Cornell

Assembly Member Micah Kellner is holding a meeting on September 27 with Cornell representatives and selected members of the Roosevelt Island community. I hope to be able to attend and to report on what transpires during this meeting.

Here's another video showing the September RIRA Common Council Meeting discussing the NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School regarding Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 9/26 - The Stanford University News has an interview with Stanford University President John Hennessey on his vision for a New York City campus. An excerpt:
... What does the city of New York get that's tangible out of this?
I think the city has several goals in mind. First of all, New York sees technology playing an increasing role in its economy. If you look at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's address, he's pretty clear about the fact that technology will play a big role in the city's core businesses – finance and media. The mayor also clearly sees technology as a source of future business opportunities, which will help create jobs.
Technology is also a big part of how cities are going to survive – energy technology, thinking about water in a sustainable way, transportation. All these things are fundamentally technology challenges and are critical to the ability of large cites to thrive.

Is Roosevelt Island the definitive site?
For the purposes of the proposal, Roosevelt Island is definitely the site we are focusing on. We continue to consider other sites – not other city-controlled sites but privately owned sites. Whether or not any of those make sense, and whether or not you can make the finances work on them, is an open question still. We'll continue to do that until we have some certainty about where we want to end up....

... Would you comment on the news reports of a potential partnership between Stanford and local New York campuses?

We're still in a preliminary set of discussions with various universities, as well as industry partners that would want to be part of a collaboration. We're just not quite done in formulating these. We take the view that if we can form some academic partnerships, they will strengthen what we can offer to students, whether undergraduates or graduate students who are on the campus.

In a recent media report, you were quoted as saying Stanford is ready to move quickly, open a temporary site and begin offering classes in 2013. Is that accurate?

That's accurate. This is actually a recommendation which came from the faculty committee that has been reviewing the plan and interacting with their colleagues.

We established this faculty committee, which sent out requests to their colleagues asking for areas of interest, potential concerns, etc. One of the recommendations they came back with is to consider starting earlier to get momentum and to ensure that when you move into the Roosevelt Island facility you actually have a critical mass.

[School of Engineering] Dean Jim Plummer, [Graduate School of Business] Dean Garth Saloner and I found that recommendation compelling. We could begin the hiring process and begin offering admissions to graduate students for 2013....
The entire interview is here.

UPDATE 6:30 PM - Wall Street Journal is reporting that Purdue has dropped out of the running to be selected for the NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School. According to the WSJ:
... Purdue, which first signaled its interest in February, is the first school to formally announce that it won’t submit a response to the city’s call for proposals. Schools still in the running include Cornell University, Stanford University, New York University and Columbia University.

City officials said it was expected that some institutions would drop out of the process, and that more would be weeded out during the bidding process....

Await - An Evening Of Theater, Dance And Music At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA Tonight 7:30 PM Meet Your Neighbors, Hang Out With Friends, Have A Good Time

Image Of Await From Gallery RIVAA 

Looking for something to do tonight without leaving Roosevelt Island? Here's a suggestion from Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA:
AWAIT... an evening of theater, dance and music

conceived and directed by Dagmar Spain

"The state where nothing and everything happens. Where we anticipate, lose hope, and dream again..."

With actors/dancers HernĂ¡o Brizuela Iorgo Papoutsas, Mariana Parma, Dagmar Spain and Yamila Viana, accompanied with original music by Adrienne Ramm on piano.

at Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York

September 23 at 7:30pm

$5 donation

cheese and wine reception

"Ms. Spain has a gift for creating myth, and she seems blessedly content just to enter into and explore those myths at her own quiet pace." - The New York Times

Ed Koch Testifies At NY State Redistricting Hearing, So Does Roosevelt Island Residents Association President Matt Katz - Katz Urges Retention of 14th Congressional District and Representation From Manhattan Senatorial District

WNYC's The Empire reported on September 21:
The state legislature’s redistricting task force is holding public meetings this week in New York City. Today they were in Manhattan hearing testimony from elected officials, good government groups, and any normal people who were inspired to take a day off of work to attend the hearing....
Oh, and Ed Koch...
Oh, and Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Matt Katz testified too. Perhaps he was not as colorful as former Mayor Koch (video of Mayor Koch's testimony is here) but Mr. Katz shares his testimony below. From Mr. Katz:

Good morning.

My name is Matthew Katz and I am serving my fourth two-year term as president of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, elected by the 12,500 residents of my community. Dating back to a George II land grant, Roosevelt Island was created from Welfare Island in the late 60’s and has continued to develop as a residential community ever since the first residential complex opened in 1975. Politically, we a part of Manhattan, specifically the Upper East Side. Our police precinct of record is the 19th Pct. on East 67th Street although, by virtue of our geography, our police calls are answered by the 114th Pct. in Queens, located within our 14th Congressional District. In fact, all of our emergency services, police, fire and ambulance, are provided through Queens by way of the Roosevelt Island/36th Avenue Bridge; this island’s only road connection to the rest of the City, and also within the 14th Congressional District. The F train and our aerial Tramway carry our working population, as well as the many diplomats and United Nations employees who reside here, to their jobs in Manhattan. Our public school is a District 2 Manhattan school and our public library is a Manhattan branch facility.

We are represented through Upper East Side political districts: the 5th Councilmanic District, the 65th Assembly District and the 14th Congressional District. Each of these serves the Upper East Side primarily or exclusively. We are a part of Community Board 8 Manhattan, and our crime (such as it is) is processed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Manhattan Borough Presidents beat a path to our door. It is inconceivable that we could lose the 14th Congressional District having spent decades establishing and strengthening our relationships with our United States Representatives, as well as the other Manhattan public officials who serve us. But that would be the result should the 14th CD be threatened. I’ve come here today to urge the retention of the 14th Congressional District and the Manhattan-centric political life that we have experienced for forty years.

We are a natural part of Manhattan and also, of the Upper East Side. Our State Senatorial District, the 28th SD, is an anomaly and I’ve come here to discuss this as well.

We have been represented ably by all our local legislators, including State Senator Olga Mendez and the incumbent, Senator José Serrano. However, my issues are not with the public servants holding the seat but with the choice of districts. The 28th Senatorial District serves El Barrio and the South Bronx with Roosevelt Island thrown in as an afterthought. Sen. Serrano’s district office is on 104th Street, three miles and a river away from this community. He has instituted staff office hours on-Island; however, this occurs only one afternoon each month.

Common sense, an uncommon commodity in any walk of life, would suggest that the 26th Senatorial District, located directly across the West Channel of the East River, might be the more obvious choice. Its incumbent, Liz Krueger, has shown herself to be conversant with many of our issues. And as I’ve stated, Roosevelt Island is a part of Manhattan Community Board 8, an Upper East Side Board, and Sen. Krueger, unlike Sen. Serrano, participates in their activities.

It is clear to me that the Upper East Side, including the 14th CD and the 26th SD, have more issues in common with Roosevelt Island than are found in the 28th SD, in Queens or anywhere else in the City for that matter. We Islanders should be represented, across the Board, by Upper East Side public servants who will surely be more accessible and more finely attuned to the unique needs of this planned community.

Thank you for your time.

Matthew Katz, President Roosevelt Island Residents Association
Additional information on NY State Legislative redistricting available from LATFOR and NY Uprising as well as WNYC.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Like Cyndi Lauper, Do Roosevelt Island Girls Just Wanna Have Fun? What Would Captain Lou Say?

Gothamist asks the existential question:
Do the girls of Roosevelt Island just wanna have fun? Some new flyers have gone up over there and would indicate that the ladies of the lonely island defintely, and possibly exclusively, just wanna have fun....
That's what Cyndi Lauper says.

You Tube Video of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

If the video was re-done now, perhaps the girls would be filmed leaving the Roosevelt Island Tram instead of the subway.

NY State Public Service Commission Conditionally Approves Urban American's Electricity Submetering Plan For Roosevelt Island's Roosevelt Landings/Eastwood Buildings - What Does That Mean For Residents?

Roosevelt Island's Assembly Member Micah Kellner provides this update on plan by Roosevelt Landings/Eastwood Landlord Urban American to install electricity submetering in Roosevelt Landings apartments.

 Image of Mr. Kellner Speaking at 2009 Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings Submetering Forum

According to Mr. Kellner: 
The Fight Against Submetering Continues

I have long questioned the appropriateness of submetering in affordable housing, particularly in a building like Roosevelt Landings. The building's poor insulation and clunky electric heat will result in enormous electric bills for tenants who are just trying to keep warm in the winter.

In 2008, Urban American, the owner of Roosevelt Landings, applied to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for permission to submeter tenants. The PSC initially approved the application because they were not aware of the negative impacts submetering would have on tenants living in affordable housing. I immediately led a coalition of local elected officials and tenant leaders to request a stay preventing submetering from moving forward. The PSC granted the stay requiring Urban American to complete several different tenant protection and energy efficiency measures before they could unilaterally submeter tenants.

After a year of refusing to negotiate with elected officials and tenant leaders, Urban American filed a new submetering plan that claimed to meet the PSC's requirements. I submitted hundreds of pages of documents to the PSC outlining how this plan continued to fall short of the Commission's order. At the recent September 15th hearing, the PSC gave Urban American's plan conditional approval with the stipulation that they return to the commission with evidence that they have met the following requirements:
  • Install a thermostat in each apartment
  • Install EnergyStar refrigerators
  • Complete comprehensive energy efficiency improvements in the building through NYSERDA's Multi-Family Performance Program
  • Fully inform tenants of things they can do to save electricity
To date, Urban American has not made any effort to fulfill these measures. The landlord has been given three years and they have still not even installed a single thermostat. At present, I have no reason to believe that Urban American has, or will, comply with the PSC's order.

Throughout this process, I have fought to ensure robust protections for tenants. I helped Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) apply for and receive a voucher from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allow them to set utility allowances that reflect actual utility usage in the building. A utility allowance is a type of rent roll-back awarded to tenants who are now bearing the costs of utilities that were previously part of their rent. As opposed to the previous plan, which determined rates on a community wide basis, these new utility allowances will be based on electricity usage for similarly sized apartments in Roosevelt Landings and will include additional allowances for seniors and people with disabilities.

Submetering at Roosevelt Landings is not moving forward until Urban American satisfies the PSC's requirements. It is unconscionable that landlords are trying to dump their energy costs on tenants who are barely getting by, especially in these economically challenging times. I will continue to fight against submetering in affordable housing and for the protections that all tenants deserve.
I asked Mr. Kellner if the electricity charges would be included as additional rent for purposes of any potential eviction proceedings brought against a tenant. Mr. Kellner replied:
HCR will not allow Urban American to treat electric charges as added rent.
HCR is the NY State Homes and Community Renewal Agency which oversees the subsidized apartments at Roosevelt Landings.

I followed up by asking Mr. Kellner:
What about the market rate tenants and LAP tenants at Roosevelt Landings. Will their electricity charges be considered additional rent for purposes of possible eviction proceedings?
Mr. Kellner replied:
That is unclear, but we are working to insure it isn't considered rent. 
I asked Roosevelt Landings Residents Association President Joyce Mincheff to comment. Ms. Mincheff replied:
Our Assemblyman, Micah Kellner, has ducked the slings and arrows of Urban American to champion our cause once again! The tenants of Roosevelt Landings owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude!

No one from the Public Service Commission stepped foot in our building. If they had, they would know what a Professional Engineer and Certified Energy Manager knows about submetering our building: the building is so poorly constructed that even if thermostats were installed, the room temperature would rarely rise to the temperature they were set at in order to turn off the heaters.

1. The construction of the building, while architecturally unique, requires elevated levels of insulation, not the insulation level required by state code, the weakest level possible in the state of NY. Without appropriate insulation, rooms will simply not get warm.

2. Repeated jut-outs throughout the facade, varying roof heights, multiple exposures, concrete floors that conduct the cold, leaky window lintels, cheap windows, an overabundance of unrepaired expansion joints, antiquated heaters and an antiquated heating system all contribute to the barbaricness of the Public Service Commission's decision.

3. Common usage bundled into apartment wiring, regardless of the sworn self-serving affidavit the landlord submits, is evident to anyone who knows 1970s construction. The assumption that by some miracle, the 4 sets of buildings covered by Urban American's sub-metering application, even though they were built with the vission that the landlord would cover all electric costs regardless of where such wiring existed, is beyond absurd.

4. Education..... please! Our tenants don't need to be educated to know to put on a sweater to cut their energy costs.....They already wear them because their apartments are just plain cold. How cold? if you go to the laundry rooms in the winter, you'll see them wearing their gloves and jackets to wash their clothes. Heat simply is not retained inside our walls. Our elderly wear sweaters to bed at night. The insult of being educated to reduce your TV use by $3 per month while the landlord rips hundreds of dollars from your pocket by its failure to repair the insulation in your walls is outrageous. Shame on this landlord, and shame on the Public Service Commission!

The fact that the Public Service Commission reversed itself on the issue of not allowing the landlord to evict tenants when they can't pay their outrageous electric bills is downright Barbaric. It shows just how low the institutions of government, that one would think of as protective, will sink for a price. The old-boy network still reigns supreme and, for the affluent who can put big bucks in the right pockets, even Barbaric decisions can be bought.

While DHCR and HPD may have a solution to the eviction problem for subsidized tenants, and we will all pray that's the case, it may not solve the issue of eviction for non-payment of unfair and outrageous electric bills among LAP and Fair Market tenants.

The Roosevelt Landings Tenant Association has joined with all the former Putnam Portfolio buildings to oppose the landlord's farce masquereding as "greening" the building. Rather than reducing the carbon footprint by earnest conservation methods, the Public Service Commission has given permission to Urban American to lock in outrageous, wasteful energy practices and shown us all how blind they are to the needs of the public they are sworn to serve. We are not throwing in the towel. It is only a battle, not the war.

Joyce Mincheff
Roosevelt Landings Residents Association
I asked Urban American's representative at Roosevelt Landings Doryne Isely to comment. Ms. Isely replied:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
We’re pleased with the Public Service Commission’s decision and believe it reflects the work we did with residents, community leaders and elected officials to improve the plan. We’re committed to making Roosevelt Landings as environmentally sound a building as practically possible and look forward to working with the residents to achieve that goal.

Are You Interested In Good Lessons From A Bad Woman? Come To Roosevelt Island Public Library Tonight at 6:30 To Learn More

You Tube Video of Good Lessons From A Bad Woman

The Roosevelt Island Public Library (524 Main Street) is presenting Good Lessons From A Bad Woman, a one-woman show starring Dorothy Leeds tonight at 6:30 PM. According to Ms Leeds:
Good Lessons from Bad Women, a devilishly funny one-woman show, our lead character, Dorothy, wrestles with the concept of goodness and dives deep into a world where good is bad and bad is good.
Instructed from childhood by her mother to be a “good girl” like the ever-virtuous Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy wonders what might be on the other side of goodness.  As she begins a journey from rebellion to reconciliation, she visits a series of infamous, disreputable women from different time periods and backgrounds.
In seven vignettes and frequent conflicts with Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy learns from these fascinating women by becoming each one and imparting the subtle lessons they teach.  By the play’s triumphant ending, she has gleaned wisdom from the original sinner, Eve, the guilt-free Mae West, the opportunistic Emperor Wu, the image-building Kathryn Kelley, the litigious Elizabeth Freeman and the nymphomaniacal Anne Bonney.
Good Lessons from Bad Women celebrates the good and bad in all of us.

Roosevelt Island 5K Run For Congo Women This Saturday September 24 - You Can Still Register And Run For A Good Cause

You Tube Video of Lisa Shannon on Run For Congo Women

If you usually do a run on Saturday mornings, why not combine your run with helping out for a good cause? Roosevelt Island will be the site for a 5k Run or Walk For Congo Women this Saturday morning September 24. From the Run For Congo Women event organizers:

Since war began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998, Congolese women have lived through the almost unimaginable: poverty, gang rape, torture, the loss of their husbands and children in front of their eyes. But while they’ve lost a lot, what the war hasn’t taken from them is their resilient spirit. Over 10,000 Congolese women are currently enrolled in our year-long program, learning job skills to earn a sustainable income, gaining an awareness of their rights, and receiving direct financial assistance to get back on their feet.

Right now we’re asking you to help them on their journey by joining us at our Run for Congo Women on September 24, 2011 on Roosevelt Island! Register and set up your personal or team fundraising webpage today, and then start asking your friends and family to join or support your effort!

To REGISTER TODAY & find more information about the run, click this link:

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Way To Work At Roosevelt Island, RIOC Employee Sees Something, Says Something and Arrests Are Made

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El reports today on the good deed accomplished by one of her RIOC colleagues. From Ms. Spencer-El:
I wanted to share a recent incident that occurred on the island and the remarkable action taken by one of my fellow co-workers in response to witnessing the event:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation would like to praise a member of its staff, Rudy Rajaballey, whose quick actions in notifying the Public Safety Department upon observing that something did not quite look right, led to the arrest of two off-islanders.
While coming to work this morning, Rudy noticed two men loading scrap metal into a Burgundy work-van from beneath the Motorgate Garage. He had seen this same van parked in the entranceway of the bottom level just the day before. His knowledge that the materials being loaded into the van belonged to the Corporation was vital in recognizing that a crime was being committed. Rudy immediately called PSD and the two men were apprehended and placed under arrest. They are being charged with Burglary, Grand Larceny and Criminal Trespass.
The men under arrest indicated that the 5 metal doors and pipes (valued at over $1,000) were going to be sold at a scrap yard. Our thanks go out to Rudy for his keen observation and speedy response in notifying PSD.  He definitely followed the saying, "If you see something, say something."

Update On New York State Housing Commissioner/Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Chairman's Arrest For Driving While Intoxicated - Pleaded Guilty To Misdemeanor Drunk Driving Charge

Here's an update on the arrest of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Chairperson and NY State Housing Commissioner Darryl Towns July 4 weekend arrest for driving while intoxicated. According to a September 19 article in the NY Daily News:

Gov. Cuomo's housing commissioner avoided jail time but cannot drive for six months after pleading guilty this morning to a misdemeanor drunk driving charge.

Darryl Towns has to pay a nearly $900 fine and complete two alcohol-abuse treatment programs....
Click here for the entire article.

The New York Times City Room Blog adds:
...A lawyer for Mr. Towns, who entered his plea in Mount Vernon City Court, did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — who named Mr. Towns in February to run the state housing agency, known as New York State Homes and Community Renewal — said at a news briefing in Albany that he needed to review the plea before commenting further.

“I’m not aware of what the specifics are,” Mr. Cuomo said.

Mr. Towns remains in his position as commissioner....
Click here for the entire article

RIOC Board Chair Darryl Towns, (on left)  RIOC President Torres & CEO Chirois on Roosevelt Island Tram

The RIOC Board of Directors September meeting is taking place this afternoon.

Below is the Agenda:


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.

Gristedes Considering Bankruptcy & Latest On Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Revitalization - Master Leaseholder Hudson Related Listening To Resident Concerns and Town Hall Retail Meeting On October 20

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Image From Roosevelt Island 360

The NY Post and Gothamist both recently reported that Roosevelt Island's favorite (cough,cough) supermarket chain, Gristedes, may consider entering bankruptcy. According to the NY Post:
This billionaire is crying poverty.

Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis has threatened to shutter the supermarket chain if he can’t renegotiate terms of a $3.5 million wage settlement with his workers.

The once -- and possibly future -- mayoral hopeful recently told a judge that “Gristedes is suffering” due to the weak economy and last year’s bankruptcy of grocery giant A&P and its Food Emporium chain....
{UPDATE 9/22 -  Had a telephone conversation with Gristedes Chairman John Catsimatidis who emphatically stated that Gristedes is not considering in any way going into bankruptcy. Mr. Catsimatidis was very pleasant and emphasized that if there are problems with the Roosevelt Island store he wants to know about it. Will have more on this later.}

Back to the original story from 9/21.
Many Roosevelt Island residents over the years have expressed the fervent wish that the Roosevelt Island Gristedes be replaced with another supermarket. If Gristedes does go into bankruptcy, that may present an opportunity for new Main Street landlord Hudson/Related to bring in another Roosevelt Island supermarket operator.

One of the benefits of having Hudson/Related as the new Master Leaseholder and operator for the Roosevelt Island Main Street stores instead of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is that, unlike RIOC, Hudson Related has the expertise and ability to enforce lease provisions that Gristedes and other current tenants may not be complying with and evict them if legally feasible.

What's the latest on the Roosevelt Island Main Street retail situation? Hudson/Related took over Main Street retail operations from RIOC in August. Hudson/Related representatives have been meeting with  residents and store owners recently including a September 15 meeting with Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz, Island Services Committee Chair Aaron Hamburger and Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance. I asked the RIRA meeting participants to comment on the meeting.

According to Mr. Katz:
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association has arranged a Town Meeting to supplement the retail surveys distributed throughout the Island by the Hudson Company. The purpose is to offer residents an opportunity to meet with the Master Lease holders and to engage in a conversation as to what kind of shopping and restaurants we want and how to make our retail corridor more attractive. We have set Thursday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. for this important meeting, which will be held in the main sanctuary of the Good Shepherd Community Center. This forum may be the only opportunity for the Roosevelt Island community to share their needs and preferences with the developers and we hope for a large turnout.

Matthew Katz

President, RIRA
Mr. Hamburger added:
We had a very good meeting with Dave Kramer and Andrew Jackson. Basically, Dave talked about his concept of making Main St the vibrant center of our "village".
We didn't get any details, just his general thinking. We did help him plan a community meeting which will probably occur in late October. We're having troubling scheduling  at Good Shepherd - they seem all tied-up every Tuesday & Wednesday evening . 
Anyway, the meeting will likely start with a power-point presentation by Hudson-Related, then thrown open for the questions, comments, etc. from the public.
and Mr. Farance:
Matt Katz (RIRA President), Aaron Hamburger (RIRA Island Services Chair), and I (RIRA Planning Committee Chair) met last Thursday with David Kramer and Andrew Jackson.  Mr. Katz had called the meeting so we could plan for community meetings on the Retail Master Lease effort.

Here's some of the key points discussed in the meeting:

- Mr. Katz would call for a town meeting (since scheduled for October 20, 7:30 PM at the Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street) where the community could provide input.  We agreed that Mr. Kramer would "set the stage" with his own Powerpoint presentation to inform the community of his ideas and plans.  (Note: A similar approach was taken with Hunter College and Public Safety in prior town hall meetings.)
- There was a lively discussion on the removal of the windows in the arcades in Eastwood and Westview.  I made the point that the arcade, and the weather protection afforded by the windows (rain, snow, wind), is REALLY important to Northtown residents.  I think Mr. Kramer now understands this.  Regardless, Mr. Kramer will have to get permission from the building owners to do some of his refurbishment work.  I pointed out the residents have a close relationship with the owners of each building (Westview, Island House, Eastwood have tenants associations; Rivercross is a co-op), so Mr. Kramer will need their support if he wants to make changes.

- Mr. Kramer envisions the merchants all paying "market rates".

- Mr. Katz noted that the mom-and-pop operations have been more connected with the community, while the chain stores don't really participate.  Mr. Hamburger disagreed with this perception.  Mr. Kramer said he's OK with mom-and-pop operations as long as Roosevelt Island is their third or fourth store, not their first store.

I've asked for the raw data from the survey so we can do other analyses.

In a follow up E-mail with Mr. Kramer, I pointed out that Northtown and Southtown are different marketplaces with different clientele: China 1 has a $4 meal for kids, and Trellis has a $6 kids meal with drink and dessert, meanwhile a kids meal at the Riverwalk Bar and Grill is about $12 (with drink/dessert), and Fuji East is about $20-25 per person.  A good number of people I know (including from Southtown) don't/little patronize Southtown restaurants because of the higher prices.  Alphonse, Sal, and Jonathan are nice guys and I wish them well, I'm just pointing out that there are different markets and different price points.  In other words, we still need that $4-6 kids meal (or maybe we still need two nail salons).

Mr. Kramer responded with "As far as I'm concerned, there's a wide range of incomes throughout the entire neighborhood, and the retail mix should reflect that", and I think that is a fine response.  Mr. Kramer feels that higher rents would be offset by higher volume, which he hopes will come through his refurbishment of the Northtown retail area.  As a followup, I posed the following:

To Mr. Kramer: Just out of curiosity, would you agree that the steady state of businesses is reaching the right equilibrium of growing while maximizing profit?  Or said differently, if there is no growth potential, then all that is left is maximizing profitability ... money spent on anything else (e.g., fancy store windows) that doesn't add to growth or profitability is wasted money, right?  So when Jennifer Connelly's "Dark Water" was shot on Roosevelt Island [circa 2005] and they dressed us up as a "dump", some of that dumpiness is still present: the cleaners didn't change their store front from the dumpy one the movie crew painted on.  The cleaners made their fee from the movie, yet even a dumpy painting didn't diminish their business ... certainly the movie crew would have restored/refurbished it.  <-- supports my equilibrium comments, right?  My hunch is that there aren't many retail dollars to spend.  I would be happy to be proven wrong.  Good luck to you!

I haven't yet received a response from Mr. Kramer.  My sense is: the higher volume necessary to support the higher rents isn't there in Northtown.  Or said differently, if Mr. Kramer moved Riverwalk Bar and Grill to Northtown and spent as much money as Mr. Kramer wants to make its outside look fancy, do you think Riverwalk Bar and Grill would be doing the same level of business?  I don't think so because their present location is a positive factor in their business: Southtown residents can just as easily hop on the subway/tram to Manhattan or Queens.  Years ago, Manhattan Park residents grumbled that going to Northtown (Trellis, Pizza, Back Page Sports Bar) was just far away enough to discourage their patronage, yet when they moved into Northtown their patronage increased.

Anyway, the community should voice its opinion.  And the WIRE buildings' tenants associations will need to get active on negotiating the kinds of changes Mr. Kramer is proposing.
Below is video from September 19 RIRA Island Services Committee discussion with Mr. Hamburger, Katz and Farance reporting on the Main Street retail meeting with Mr. Kramer.

You Tube Video of RIRA's ISC Main Street Retail Discussion

I have been told that Hudson/Related is seeking $50 per square foot for new Roosevelt Island Northtown Main Street leases. I asked Mr. Kramer earlier today to confirm that but have not received a reply yet. Gristedes is currently paying $7 a sq. ft for more than 25,000 sq. ft. of space with a lease through 2032

I asked Mr. Kramer for permission to attend the meeting with the RIRA members so that I could report on it to the Roosevelt Island community. Mr. Kramer declined, stating that he wanted an open discussion and did not want those attending concerned that their comments would be made public. I then asked the RIRA members I knew would be attending if they objected to my presence at the meeting. Neither Mr. Hamburger or Mr. Farance had any objection but Mr. Katz did object to my presence because he did not want anything to "impede the free flow of ideas". So I was not allowed to attend.

I asked Mr. Katz:
By excluding the press from a meeting composed only of the RIRA President, and two RIRA committee chairs with Hudson for the reason that it may "impede the free flow of ideas" can only increase the public perception that something is being kept secret.

Is there anything you might say at this meeting that you are not willing to say in public? i doubt that and I doubt that applies to Frank or Aaron either.
Mr. Katz later wrote to me:
The discussion was frank and informative. I really think that it would have been less so had the press been present. Nevertheless, we discussed dates for a community Town Meeting in October, and I’m working to finalize a date. I’ll let you know just as soon as that’s accomplished.

Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park Closed Until Saturday During United Nations General Assembly Week

Image of Bike Rider At Southpoint Park

Received the following advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised Southpoint Park will remain closed for the duration of the UN General Assembly, Monday, September 19th through Friday, September 23rd. The park will reopen Saturday, September 24th.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

MTA Reports NO Queens Bound F Train Service To Roosevelt Island From 6 AM to 12 AM Until Further Notice - M Train Rerouted To Roosevelt Island

Image of Blurred, Moving F Train From Venus in Furs

Looks like there will be no Queens bound F Train Service to Roosevelt Island for most of the day until further notice. Last night, several readers alerted me to this notice sent from the MTA:
Sent: Tue, Sep 20, 2011 1:01 pm
Subject: F Line - Weekday and Weeknight Planned Service Change

6 AM to 12 midnight, every day until further notice
179 St-bound F trains run on the M from 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza.
I was not able to confirm the information at the time but the MTA is now reporting:
F Jamaica-bound trains run via the M from 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza
M Forest Hills-bound trains run via the F from 47-50 Sts to 21 St-Queensbridge
Days, 6 AM to 12 midnight, until further notice

F trains run express after Queens Plaza to Roosevelt Av then resume normal service.  

M trains resume normal service at 36 St, Queens.  

Take the F for the 5 Av/53 St, Lexington Av/53 St, Court Sq-23 St and Queens Plaza M Stations.

Take the M for the 57 St, Lexington Av/63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge F Stations.

• Transfer between F and M trains at 47-50 Sts or Roosevelt Av.
Got that?

UPDATE 10:35 AM - A Roosevelt Island resident reported this to the Roosevelt Island 311 See Click Fix system:
9/20, evening, the Tram was running one car at 15-minute intervals despite a huge amount of people waiting on the Manhattan side to get home. No F train service to the Island and the Tram did NOT add cars or increase frequency of service. Please assign someone to monitor MTA problems so you can improve service to the Island via the Tram. Thank you

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baby Squirrel Rescued By Roosevelt Island Wildlife Rehabilitator

Image From Frank Farance

Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance reports on a baby squirrel tended to recently. From Mr. Farance:
Rossana Ceruzzi, Island House resident and wildlife specialist, helped rescue a baby squirrel who fell from a nest in the trees behind the church.  I don't remember the name of the man who helped her, but the two of them climbed the tree and put the squirrel back home while the baby's mother watched from a distance.  They said the family was reunited afterward.
Ms. Ceruzzi adds:
Alex is the name of the man who helped me returning the baby to the nest.

In a nutshell...this is the story.

In addition to warmth, the most important first treatment the baby squirrel needed was rehydration. The baby was about 4 weeks old.

I re-hydrated him with electrolyte fluids. Electrolyte fluids are administered to repair damage from dehydration, refill reserves, and re-establish body chemistry.

Any baby has encountered trauma by being separated from Mama: the separation may have been just a few hours but even the healthiest looking baby should first be rehydrated.

As a general advise to the readers:
When a wild baby loses its mother it is in desperate trouble. Its best chance for survival will be for a rescuer to find a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.

Wildlife rehabilitators are community volunteers, licensed by State Government Wildlife Agencies.

I am very happy to be one of them!
More information on NY State Wildlife Rehabilitators available here.

Thursday Evening Robbery and Assault At Roosevelt Island's Blackwell Park

I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra last Friday:

The 9/15 -16 Public Safety Report notes the following robbery.

Robbery - Possible subjects know to this department. NYPD notified and prepared report. Search of the island made with negative results.

Can you provide any further details or information on this incident as well as this one from the 9/11 -12 Public Safety Report that I asked about in the email below.

Robbery - Search made with negative results. NYPD filed a report.

Thank you.
I received the following response today from RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El (formerly Wilder):

On Thursday, September 15th, two young adults were robbed near Blackwell Park by three subjects. The three subjects assaulted the young adults, forcibly removing several items from their backpack and purse including a cell phone. One of the victims was a Roosevelt Island resident who was able to recognize the perpetrators.
After descriptions of the robbers were gathered, Public Safety apprehended two of the three subjects and processed their arrest at the 114th precinct on Saturday, September 17th. There is currently an arrest warrant out on the 3rd subject. 
I followed up asking:
What time of day did this incident occur? How old were the victims and subjects arrested? Young adults is a bit vague. 
Ms. Spencer-El replied:
The incident occurred at 6:13PM. The victims are both 18 years of age.
UPDATE 4:40 PM - The NY Post Daily Blotter adds:
Two teen punks were busted for beating and robbing a pair of victims on Roosevelt Island, cops said.

A 15-year-old thug and his accomplice set upon the victims at 6 p.m. Thursday on Main Street, court papers say.

They bit the male victim’s arm, punched him in the face and yanked his backpack away before slapping his female friend, bending her fingers and ripping off her purse, cops said.

The teens were arrested and charged with assault and robbery.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Roosevelt Island Post Office Still Being Considered For Possible Closing - Report Last Week Was Wrong - I Apologize For Incorrect Conclusion

Image of Congresswoman Maloney Exiting Roosevelt Island Post Office

I reported last Thursday that the Roosevelt Island Post Office was no longer being considered by the US Postal Service for closure based upon this CNN article and announcement from the USPS on possible facilities to be closed.

I asked Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's office to confirm that the Roosevelt Island Post office was no longer in danger of being closed. Today I learned that my previous post was incorrect.

Responding to my inquiry, Congresswoman Maloney reports:
The USPS announcement last week involved processing facilities being considered for possible closure 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.

NYPD Boat Patrolling East River Security Zone During General Assembly Week Stops At Roosevelt Island Subway Pier To Pick Up Take Out Lunch This Afternoon

Due to the United Nations General Assembly being in session this week, the East River channel between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan is closed and is being patrolled by Coast Guard and NYPD boats.

When the NYPD officers patrolling the East River are ready for lunch, where else do they go but to Roosevelt Island to pick up some take out,

Image of NYPD Boat Docking at Roosevelt Island Subway Pier

hand it over the rail to another officer

hop back in the boat

and then continue their patrol.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Roosevelt Island Mentioned By Former President Bill Clinton This Morning On This Week As Possible Site For New York City's New World Class Applied Sciences and Engineering Center

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Former President Bill Clinton was interviewed earlier today and asked how to put Americans back to work. Mr. Clinton referred to Mayor Bloomberg's New York City Applied Sciences and Engineering school initiative as one solution and specifically mentioned Roosevelt Island (at about the 8 minute mark) as one possible site together with Governor's Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

More information available on the proposed NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering School from previous posts


Click here to enlarge graphic from

Stanford University and Cornell University have been making a big push to be selected by NYC to create the new Science and Engineering School. Both schools have sent representatives to meet with Roosevelt Island residents and community groups. Will have more on those meetings soon.

UPDATE 11 AM - Stanford University President John Hennessey speaks with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo on Mayor Bloomberg NYC Applied Sciences school initiative. An excerpt from the interview transcript:
new york city is known as the financial capital of the world, of course. now mayor michael bloomberg is hoping a new initiative called applied sciences new york city will position the city o overtake silicon valley as the global capital for technology innovation? what's at stake? so far this year, venture firms throughout the country have invested more than $6 billion in close to 900 technology deals. new york's piece of the pie, just over $600 million and about 6% of total deals. mayor bloomberg is looking for the right university to expand the city's engineering and applied sciences education programs. stanford university has thrown its hat into the ring. i'm joined by the ceo of the university, john hennessy...

... i think the mayor certainly has a great vision about what can be done here. our view is that we want the next major innovation center to be built in the us of a. from stanford's viewpoint, new york is the place to do this. in the end, it's about attracting people to a place they want to live, study and work. we think new york has it's possibly the only place that has some of the attractiveness that silicon valley has. it's a different kind of setting, urban setting. but its cultural aspects, all the tremendous things that are in the city, make it attractive to people from around the world...
and the video below. Watch the whole interview - it's very interesting.

Power Cleaning Of Roosevelt Island Waterfront Promenade Entrance Near Southtown Riverwalk Restaurant Garbage Dumpster - More Needs To Be Done

Image of Power Cleaning On Promenade Next To Southtown Restaurant Garbage Dumpster

Reported last Tuesday on the Southtown Riverwalk restaurant garbage dumpster causing an ugly, stinking mess and leaking waste on the waterfront promenade:
... 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...
Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance referred to the waterfront promenade's entrance as:
It's like Roosevelt Island's own Yellow Brick Road begins with smelly dumpster juice and a trail of dumpster giblets.

Yes, it is disgusting and they need to do something about it...
The Southtown owner's representative from Hudson/Related, Andrew Jackson, responded to the restaurant garbage problem later on Tuesday:
... I wasn’t aware the garbage area was a mess but we will get it cleaned asap....
Last Friday, some heavy duty power cleaning was taking place on the promenade area adjacent to the Garbage Dumpster.

When the cleaning was finished, this is what the area looked like on Saturday.

UPDATE 9:55 PM - A Roosevelt Island resident adds:
The area is still stained. fyi they used acids to clean the really oily part that looked like an oil slick (cooking oil I think) anyway it still isn't clean and the guys washing it said that they can try some more acid. Acid? ok so they will pour acid in this area where the strollers and dogs run? is that healthy? safe? c'mon..