Saturday, November 19, 2011

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Roosevelt Island Tech Campus, Best Place To Live, Capabianco Retaining Wall, Good Shepherd Plaza Restoration Update, MTA East Side Access Project Work, PSD/Youth Center Basketball and More Trees

You Tube Video of RIOC President Supporting Roosevelt Island Tech Campus

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. 
Before getting into the issues of the day, I want to offer a belated Thank You to all of Roosevelt Island’s Veterans for their service to our country and community. Hope you all had a great Veterans’ Day.

Roosevelt Island: One of NY’s “Best Places to Live”
The New York Daily News recently featured a two-page spread about Roosevelt Island in its “Best Places to Live in NYC” series. The article basically told readers what every Roosevelt Islander already knows. In fact, the reporter quoted a resident who said, only half- jokingly, “Don’t tell anyone about Roosevelt Island. We want it for ourselves. It’s very quiet, great for families, and the views of the city are tremendous. You get more space for your money.”

Preparing for a Possible High-Tech Campus
We are coming down to the wire. In a few weeks, the city will select a school, or schools, and a site to build an applied science school.

As part of the city’s planning process, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has retained AKRF, a consulting firm, to conduct a Transportation Feasibility Study for Roosevelt Island as it pertains to the redevelopment of the Goldwater Hospital Site.

Similar Feasibility Studies are being conducted at the other potential sites as outlined in the Applied Sciences Facility in New York City RFP issued by NYCEDC on July 19th, 2011.

As part of this study both a manual and automatic traffic count are being conducted. During the week of November 13th, automatic count strips were placed throughout Roosevelt Island to collect traffic volumes. On Tuesday, November 15th and Wednesday, November 16th from 7 am to 6:30 pm, a team of surveyors conducted counts at various locations throughout the island. The surveyors counted vehicles, pedestrians, and transit ridership.

We eagerly await the City’s decision.

PSD and Island Youth Basketball Game
The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department hosted its 3rd Annual PSD~Youth Center~Connect Basketball Game on November 8 at the Child/Legacy School Gym.
Public Safety Officers played for the Purple Team, while the Beige Team consisted of young men from the Roosevelt Island community, all of whom participate in the Young Adult Sports Program at the RIOC Sportspark facility.

It was a well-played game with the Beige Team squeaking out a 65-58 victory. Players from both teams mingled over food & refreshments after the game, allowing PSD officers to interact with young adults in an informal environment. Thanks to RIOC Board Member Sal Ferrera for providing the venue, to RIOC Vice Presidents Fernando Martinez and Donald Lewis who were in attendance, and to PSD Director Keith Guerra for his ongoing leadership.

Island Repairs and Construction
If you are wondering about the reconstruction of the Capobianco field retaining wall, we anticipate that the contractor will complete the work within the next two weeks. Aside from reconstructing the wall, the contractor will also lay a limestone ledge on top of the brick and create sitting space along the structure.

A second contractor will make repairs to the z-brick sidewalk. Repairs to the wall are being conducted now in order to accommodate future plans to construct professional size and quality ballpark at Capobianco field.

I also wanted to provide you with an update on the repairs to the Good Shepherd Plaza, adding to the information I provided in my column a few weeks ago.

I want to assure all of you that we at RIOC recognize the need to complete work at the plaza, and we share the frustration of residents who feel the project is taking longer than expected.

Unfortunately, the project has been delayed by unexpected problems, including discovery that water had infiltrated the chapel's foundation, causing deterioration. We also found that some of the plaza's concrete substrate had collapsed. These issues have been added to the contractor’s scope of work.

The project was also delayed when RIOC project engineers determined trench drains and the concrete substrate were poorly completed and rejected that portion of the project. As a result, the contractor's staff was replaced and the trench drains were ripped out and reinstalled correctly, at the contractor's expense.

When the project shuts down for the winter, the entire plaza will be opened to the public except for a small staging area in the North West corner of the plaza. The contractors will come back in March to compete the North side of the plaza and the sidewalk in the front of plaza.

East Side Access Project
As part of the East Side Access Project being undertaken by MTA's Capital Construction Team, work is scheduled to be completed on the ventilation facility, near the Roosevelt Island F- Train Station. The Capital Construction team will be performing modifications to the existing ventilation facility commencing on November 28th, 2011. The project is expected to last 9-12 months.

There will be a staging area for the construction in the space that Duane Reade currently uses for unloading. A temporary unloading area will be created on the East side of West drive that will take up a couple of the metered spaces.

NYPA Tree Power Program

In 2010 Roosevelt Island was recognized once again as a Tree City U.S.A. Community. To maintain that status, our Parks and Recreation Department worked with Dr. Ali Schwayri and the Roosevelt Island Tree Board to implement a Tree Replacement program (Tree Power Program). This program will allow RIOC to replace trees as needed and move in the direction of maintaining sustainability on our Island.

In 2009 through our implemented Tree Replacement Program, the Parks and Recreation Department ordered 31 trees through the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association program (NYSNLA) which matched our order, given us a total of 62 trees that were planted Island-wide. This year an order was placed for 21 additional trees which will give us a total of 42 trees to be planted during the fall season. These trees will be in addition to the already replaced trees that were destroyed as a result of Hurricane Irene.

NYSNLA has been partnering with NYPA (New York Power Authority) since 1991 and has planted over 50,000 trees throughout New York State. RIOC looks forward to continuing our work with NYSNLA in order to make the Island a beautiful place for Island residents and visitors.
The links in text of Ms. Torres report were added by me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

No Queens Bound F Train To Roosevelt Island Again This Weekend - Would You Prefer Weekend Or Late Night Service Disruptions?

Received this F Train subway advisory from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised there will be no Queens bound F train service from 12:01 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Saturday, November 19th to Monday November 21st.  
Tram and Red Bus Service will run until 5:00 a.m. during this time frame.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
The MTA Weekender has more information on subway service disruptions this weekend.

The constant weekend subway service disruptions is not just a pain for Roosevelt Islanders but for all New Yorkers. According to this NY Times November 14 article:
They are the three words no subway rider wants to see: weekend service advisory, a sure sign that smooth travels do not lie ahead

But a new approach by New York City Transit to reduce weekend disruptions has a catch: the solution may make weekday service a whole lot worse.

In an unorthodox plan unveiled on Monday, transit officials said they would experiment with shutting down long swaths of the major subway lines in Manhattan during overnight hours, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., for several weekdays in a row, to ease and expedite required maintenance.

For more complex repair work, the agency would consider closing some track segments for up to 16 days at a time, with no service day or night....
Click here to read the entire NY Times article.

So what would you prefer, weekend or late night subway service disruptions?

Softball Still Being Played On Roosevelt Island Saturdays At Firefighters Field - Boys and Girls Of Summer Still Playing In November, How About That

The 2011 Major League Baseball season is long gone but the Roosevelt Island Adult Softball Meetup Group at Firefighters Field keeps going on.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Pick Up Softball

They are playing tomorrow too.

Here's how the softball game got started way back in the spring of 2010 through the efforts of one Roosevelt Island resident and the very first game. Great job Jason!

The Roosevelt Island Softball players may not get the cheers or money that Derek Jeter gets,

You Tube Video of Fans Cheering Jeter's 3000 Hit

but they sure look like they are having fun.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tell The Mayor and EDC That You Want Roosevelt Island To Become Silicon Island, the Site For NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School Says Council Member Lappin & Assembly Member Kellner - One NYC Venture Capitalist Thinks Roosevelt Island Is An Idiotic Choice For School

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island as Silicon Island

New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin and Assembly Member Micah Kellner, together with Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz and others, held a press conference yesterday morning on the steps of City Hall announcing their support for Roosevelt Island to be selected as the site of Mayor Bloomberg's proposed New York City Applied Sciences & Engineering School and a new media campaign to demonstrate that support.

Ms. Lappin announced in a subsequent email:
I want Roosevelt Island to become Silicon Island. So I’ve launched a new media campaign to help make that happen. And I need your help.

As you may know, Mayor Mike Bloomberg has solicited bids to build an engineering and applied sciences campus in New York City. The city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is currently reviewing seven offers. But only two of the applicants, Cornell and Stanford Universities, want to build this campus on Roosevelt Island.

The Island is accessible by train and tram, has housing, world-class parks, and other great amenities. It’s the perfect fit for any world-class university and a logical place to put this project.

Join my Facebook, Twitter and Email campaign to tell the EDC what you think – and to urge them to select a bidder that will build on the Island. Here's how:

Facebook: Visit and write “Pick RI” on wall
Twitter: Tweet @AppSciNyc and include the hastag #PickRI
Email: To or and
include “Pick RI” in subject line
***NOTE (The email address is having some technical issues at the moment, which should be resolved soon)
What are the other sites and schools being considered for NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School? According to this October 31 Press Release from Mayor Bloomberg's office:
... The responses to the Applied Science NYC Request for Proposals were from the following institutions and for the following sites:

Amity University (Governor’s Island)
Carnegie Mellon University/Steiner Studios (Brooklyn Navy Yard)
Columbia University (Manhattanville)
Cornell University/Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Roosevelt Island)
New York University/University of Toronto/University of Warwick (UK)/The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay/City University of New York and Carnegie Mellon (Downtown Brooklyn)
New York Genome Center/Mount Sinai School of Medicine/Rockefeller University/SUNY Stony Brook (Midtown Manhattan)
Stanford University/City College of New York (Roosevelt Island...)
Stanford and Cornell certainly agree with those assembled at yesterday's City Hall Steps Press Conference that Roosevelt Island is a great location for the Applied Sciences & Engineering school but a leading New York City Venture Capitalist disagrees. On his excellent blog A VC, Fred Wilson had this to say:
the location on roosevelt island is idiotic. it will be isolated and marginalized.

downtown brooklyn, on the other hand, is already vibrant, well served by mass transit, and the borough of brooklyn is the desired place to live for most young people in NYC these days.
Its not anywhere near the tech community in NYC
In response to whether west coast venture capitalist would follow Stanford to NYC, Mr. Wilson wrote:
i highly doubt anyone from silicon valley will follow stanford to NYC. for one, they are already here. top silicon valley firms have invested in about a half dozen of our NYC based portfolio companies in the past year.

and sadly, i think the choice of roosevelt island is not smart. stanford benefits from being right on El Camino Real, the hub of Silicon Valley.

that hub in NYC is Broadway from 34th street down to City Hall then across the Brooklyn Bridge to Dumbo and into downtown Brooklyn.

to recreate the magic that Stanford has in the bay area, you would want to put a new engineering school in downtown manhattan or downtown brooklyn
Mr. Wilson does not seem to be aware that Stanford and Cornell want to be on Roosevelt Island precisely because of it's beautiful waterfront 10 acre campus setting and close proximity to the NY Tech community. Broadway and 34th street is less than 15 minutes away on the F train and Dumbo less than 30 minutes.

So remember:
Below is the Press Release from Ms. Lappin's office supporting Roosevelt Island becoming Silicon Island:
Councilwoman Jessica Lappin wants Roosevelt Island to become Silicon Island. And she's taking her appeal online by launching a Facebook, Twitter, and email campaign.

Lappin is asking Roosevelt Island residents in her district, and other interested New Yorkers, to tell Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to choose a plan that would build the high-tech campus on Roosevelt Island. They can do that in three ways: 1) by visiting the AppSciNYC Facebook page and writing ‘Pick RI’ on the wall; 2) by tweeting @AppSciNYC, with the hashtag #PickRI; 3) and/or by emailing with a note in support of the RI location. Lappin is also using her own Facebook page, Twitter account, and email lists to spread the word about the campaign.

The EDC is currently reviewing seven applications from seventeen top-tier academic institutions responding to the city’s Request for Proposals (RFP), and is expected to choose a winner in the next few months. Universities had the option of a privately-owned site or one of three city-owned parcels, including Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island. Only two applications—one from Cornell University/Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the other from Stanford University/City College of New York—selected Roosevelt Island as the location of its campus.

“Roosevelt Island is a world-class community and the perfect fit for a world-class applied sciences campus,” Lappin said. “We have housing, parks, shops, and unparalleled views. Not to mention, we have a subway stop, bus lines - even a tram. We want Mayor Bloomberg to know we want this campus here."

“There is no question that the Goldwater Hospital site is the perfect location for the new applied sciences campus,” said Assembly Member Micah Kellner. “Whether it is transportation options, housing, or a vibrant and diverse population, Roosevelt Island has it all. I hope everyone reaches out to the Mayor and the EDC to let them know how much this community has to offer.”

"Roosevelt Island is undoubtedly the best location in New York City for a high-tech applied sciences campus," said Senator Serrano. “New York City has always attracted a great wealth of talent from all over the world, and the Island’s accessibility to the heart of Manhattan and its supportive residents make it the perfect place for an institution of higher learning. Roosevelt Island has grown a great deal over the years and, without a doubt, having a world-class academic campus will be a great addition to an already flourishing community."

Leslie Torres, president and CEO of RIOC, said, "Roosevelt Island is the best location in NYC for a high-tech applied sciences campus. We offer great access and proximity to Queens and Manhattan, and have the space and infrastructure necessary to get this project off the ground quickly. It is estimated that the new campus could generate $6 billion dollars in economic activity over the next 35 years, along with more than 30,000 permanent and construction jobs for New Yorkers. With that dramatic impact in mind, I urge all residents to support Councilwoman Lappin's efforts to bring a high-tech campus to Roosevelt Island."
and a letter from RIRA President Matt Katz to the NYC Economic and Development Corp. President Seth Pinsky.
Dear Mr. Pinsky and the EDC:

My name is Matthew Katz and I represent the Roosevelt Island community as President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). Currently, I am half-way through my fourth two-year term.

I have been a part of the discussion of and planning for a potential research facility here for the better part of a year. We have met with the project principles from Stanford and Cornell Universities on multiple occasions and, frankly, we are thrilled with the opportunities the venture may provide this community of 12,000 people. Both schools have made it apparent that they see the benefits of joining this planned community, founded in the late 60s on the premise of innovation, and we look forward to working with the eventual winner.

To that end, my organization is creating a Community Benefit Association (CBA) to represent the interests of the many Island organizations and stakeholders whose voices need to be heard. I wish to add my voice to the many Islanders’ voices that will be expressed over the coming weeks in favor of utilizing our home for this purpose. I see it as a win-win proposition and the very best use of that soon-to-be-vacated 10-acre site. We wish you wisdom in your deliberations.

Best wishes,

Matthew Katz, President

Roosevelt Island Residents Association

Take A Trip To Detective Arkady Renko's Moscow With The Roosevelt Island Book Club Discussion of Martin Cruz Smith's Three Stations Tonight At 6:30 PM

Three Stations Image From Martin Cruz Smith

Spend some time tonight (6:30 PM) with Russian detective Arkady Renko at the Roosevelt Island Public Library Book Club Discussion Group featuring Martin Cruz Smith's Three Stations.  According to the Library:
The Roosevelt Island Book Discussion Group will discuss Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith.
From the Economist:
... Martin Cruz Smith knows his Russia. Every page reeks of Moscow: dirty snow, the stink of cigarette and vodka fumes, the cynicism and tasteless opulence of the mafia, the all-pervasive corruption....
Mr. Smith discusses his character Arkady and Three Stations in this interview.

You Tube Video of Martin Cruz Smith Three Stations Interview

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roosevelt Island Capabianco Park Retaining Wall Reconstruction Should Be Fixed Within Next 2 Weeks, With Seating Space Too - Future Plans For Improved Capabianco Ballfield

Image of Capabianco Field Retaining Wall Construction From Last Sunday

On October 27 a Roosevelt Island resident sent this question to Roosevelt Island 311 See Click Fix:
Why is it taking months to replace retaining wall? Never more than 2 or 3 workers. This is a disgrace.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) replied to RI311 question the next day:
Issue Closed The contractor has been notified regarding the pace of work, and will take steps to speed up construction.
Thank you
Commenting on RIOC President Leslie Torres report of the Blackwell Plaza restoration delay, a Roosevelt Island resident asks:
Any idea when the construction will be done at Capabianco Field and if they're planning on replacing the seats that was once there or removing them all together (as they love to do around here!) ? I really hope they plan on replacing them. Many need the rest stop and it's a wonderful spot to socialize with our neighbors. 
Image of Capabianco Field Retaining Wall Construction From Last Sunday

Ms. Torres provides the following update on Capabianco Retaining Wall:
We anticipate that the contractor will complete the work within the next two weeks. Aside from reconstructing the wall, the contractor will also lay a limestone ledge on top of the brick and create sitting space along the structure.

A second contractor will make repairs to the z-brick sidewalk. Repairs to the wall are being conducted now in order to accommodate future plans to construct professional size and quality ballpark at Capobianco field.
While walking by Capabianco Field last Sunday afternoon I noticed that even this squirrel was willing to pitch in trying to speed up the retaining wall construction by working the construction digging equipment.

 Image of Squirrel On Heavy Lifter

FDNY Conducting Safety Drills On The Roosevelt Island Tram Today - Nothing To Worry About But First Step Out Is A Doozy

Don't be concerned if you see the New York City Fire Department out in force today on the Roosevelt Island Tram. They are there to conduct safety drills. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Please be advised the FDNY will be practicing on one Tram cabin on Wednesday, November 16th, from the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Please note regular Tram service will not be interrupted during this time frame.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Here's a previous FDNY Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drill.

You Tube Video of FDNY Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drill

That first step out of the Cabin is a doozy.

More information on FDNY and NYPD Roosevelt Island Tram rescue drills available from previous posts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roosevelt Island Criminal Justice Presentation By Manhattan District Attorney's Office and RIOC Public Safety Department - Here's What Happened

You Tube Video of DA Responding To Question On Roosevelt Island Crime Stats

On November 9, representatives from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office (DA) and the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department conducted a joint presentation on the:
Criminal Justice System & Arrest To Sentencing Process
The video at top of the post shows my question specifically regarding crime on Roosevelt Island and response from the DA's representatives. According to the DA's Community Coordinator, Roosevelt Island is pretty much like the rest of New York - there are some violations, low level drug cases, marijuana cases and some serious drug arrests in the past.

Here's the entire presentation beginning with introduction by RIOC's Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra,

You Tube Video of DA/RIOC Public Safety Department Criminal Justice Presentation (Part 1)

followed by Manhattan Assistant District Attorney describing the criminal arrest and processing system,

You Tube Video of DA/RIOC Public Safety Department Criminal Justice Presentation (Part 2)

then a presentation about the Family Court System for juveniles

You Tube Video of DA/RIOC Public Safety Department Criminal Justice Presentation (Part 3)

and finally a discussion on preventing juveniles from entering the criminal justice system in the first place but if they do what reentry programs are available.

You Tube Video of DA/RIOC Public Safety Department Criminal Justice Presentation (Part 3)

Here's a link to Roosevelt Island Public Safety Monthly Blotters and Statistics thru September 2011.

United Nations Soccer League Plays On Roosevelt Island's Octagon Field With International Rescue Committee Team Of Refugees Fleeing Oppression

 Image of UN Soccer League at Octagon Field From Eric Michael Johnson of NY Times

The New York Times City Room Blog reports today on a team made up of refugees playing in the United Nations Soccer League at Roosevelt Island's Octagon Soccer Field:
In a Wednesday night league held on Roosevelt Island, the sidelines are clearly marked, but the games are very much without borders.

This is especially true for the refugee team that plays in this United Nations soccer league made up of players who work at the U.N.

The refugee team is fielded by the International Rescue Committee, a nongovernmental international relief organization that works with immigrants fleeing oppression. The refugee team has six players who have come in recent months from countries including Guinea, Mauritania and Sierra Leone....
Click here for the entire NY Times article.

According to the International Rescue Committee:
... September 14th marked the kick-off of the season, and the IRC Soccer Team made up of recently arrived refugees and asylees from Afghanistan, Guinea, Iraq and Mauritania as well as IRC staff played its first game on Roosevelt Island. The excitement on the field was palpable, a mixture of nervousness and anticipation. Most of the recently arrived refugees had never played soccer in the US before; some hadn’t had a chance to play in over a decade; all were thrilled to simply be given the opportunity to enjoy the game. As Ely, the eldest of 3 brothers who arrived from Mauritania 3 weeks ago, phrased it “for the first time since I arrived in New York, no heavy thoughts, no worries. I feel good.”

Soccer transcends borders, nationality, race and culture. The only common language necessary is the fondness for the sport and the camaraderie that ensues between the players. For individuals who have gone through tremendous hardships such as the refugees the IRC assists on a daily basis, playing a game of soccer offers not only great solace but a renewed sense of freedom....
More on the Octagon Soccer Field from previous posts.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NYC Economic Development Corporation Conducting Roosevelt Island Transportation Feasibility Survey Tuesday and Wednesday As Part of Applied Sciences and Engineering School Proposal - Is There A Pedestrian Bridge To Manhattan In Roosevelt Island's Future?

Proposed Roosevelt Island Campus From Stanford University/Ennead Architects, image by Redsquare, Inc.

Received the following advisory from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that on Tuesday, November 15th and Wednesday, November 16th the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will be conducting a transportation survey on Roosevelt Island.  There will be surveyors located throughout the island collecting data including traffic volumes, pedestrian volumes and transit ridership.  The survey is being conducted as part of an overall Transportation Feasibility study as it pertains to the redevelopment of the Goldwater Hospital Site.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

More information on the NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering school that Stanford and Cornell University are proposing for Roosevelt Island available at these previous posts.

In 2009, Columbia University conducted a Roosevelt Island Transportation Study. The Hunter College Access RI Study commissioned by State Senator Jose Serrano also examined Roosevelt Island's transportation infrastructure and proposed, among other ideas, a pedestrian bridge from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan (Page 63).

And of course my all time favorite version of a Roosevelt Island pedestrian bridge to Manhattan from the Italian architectural students who developed what Curbed called the Roosevelt Island Tower of Death.

UPDATE 11/15 -Let's not forget the Columbia University proposal for a Queensboro Bridge Cultural Center adjacent to the Tram Station that would bring back elevator access to the Queensboro Bride from Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 11/16 - From RIOC:
Please be advised the transportation survey being conducted by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will continue on Thursday, November 17th from approximately 7:00 am to 6:30 pm. There will be surveyors located throughout the island collecting data including traffic volumes, pedestrian volumes and transit ridership. This survey is being conducted as part of an overall Transportation Feasibility Study as it pertains to the redevelopment of the Goldwater Hospital Site.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Governance Committee of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Meeting This Afternoon

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Governance Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The Committee will meet to discuss:
     1. Chief Financial Officer position objectives;
     2. Board review of contracts; and
     3. Public Authorities Law requirements.
An audio webcast of the meeting will be available several days later.

If you are interested in becoming a RIOC Director, here's a discussion among current resident RIOC Directors describing what this volunteer position entails.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Offering We Are New York English As A Second Language Classes For Adults and Science/Math Mentoring For Kids Through NY Academy Of Sciences STEM Program

These previous posts reported on the the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) We Are New York English As A Second Language (ESL) instructional classes.

We Are New York ESL Class Image From Roosevelt Island Youth Program

On Tuesday, November 15 RIYP is starting a new ESL instructional series.
We Are New York English As A Second Language
Program Being Offered By
The Roosevelt Island Youth Program @ 506 Main st. The Youth Center-

Tell Someone Who May be Helped By It

Roosevelt Island Beacon


For Adults Only

Tuesdays & Thursdays

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Meets on the following dates:

November 15, 17, 22, 29 &

December 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20

at Roosevelt Island Youth Center

506 Main Street
RIYP Executive Director Charlie DeFino adds:
We Are New York TV Program will be offering a nine-episode series developed by the City University of New York and the Mayor's Office of Adult Education for the second year and third session. We are using the series as the basis for conversation groups to help adult immigrants practice English while learning more about City services. The conversation groups are not traditional ESL but they do help people gain sorely needed skills. The groups are one way to help the City’s many immigrants who cannot enroll in existing ESL courses—at no cost. The information below is in English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Indian and Haitian Creole.

Registration Starts Now!!! Call Hassan Wazani at 212-527-2505

The Mayor's Office of Adult Education explains more about the We Are New York Adult English as a second language program: We Are New York is intended to help people learn English that will be useful to them. Each week, a new story will show people speaking English in important and realistic situations, like going to the doctor or talking with a child's teacher.

The characters speak the English of everyday life. But, they speak a little slower than the average English-language television show. The show also has subtitles in English, helping people to understand and learn the language.

The We Are New York Community Project organizes free conversation groups across the City. Volunteer language leaders are trained and placed at community organizations, and they use the show to help immigrants practice their English.
RIYP is also offering science and math mentoring programs for students in the 4th to 8th grades. Mr. DeFino reports:
We are pleased to tell you the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) funded Roosevelt Island Youth Program @PS/IS 217 is participating in this year’s NY Academy of Sciences (NYAS) STEM Afterschool Mentoring Program.

 STEM Mentoring Image From RIYP

As a result, graduate students Tamar Hermesh, Michael Wheelock and Hyung Jin Ahn from Rockefeller University, Michael Urbanski from CUNY, and Cindy Puente from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, have been assigned to the Beacon program to facilitate science activities for program participants. Please check with Beacon Program Director Hassan Wazani 212-527-2505 for details.

Approximately one year ago NYAS partnered with DYCD to launch the NYAS STEM Afterschool Mentoring Program. The program trains post doctorate and graduate student members from NYAS’ Science Alliance program to facilitate math and science curricula, and mentor 4th through 8th grade students attending DYCD funded afterschool programs. Curricula topics are genetics, space science, earth science, birds and math. Some mentors are also trained on LEGO Mindstorms NXT to support afterschool programs participating in FIRST LEGO Robotics competition.

 STEM Mentoring Image From RIYP

Mentors are scientists in training from academic institutions located throughout NYC. Mentors volunteer their time and are fingerprinted for background checks before beginning to volunteer in afterschool programs. They also attend a 6-hour workshop on strategies for working with youth and approaches for teaching science and math in informal learning environments. Each mentor is partnered with an afterschool program staff person who supports the mentor with facilitating the curriculum and managing the classroom.

To learn more about NYAS and its Science Education Initiative click here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Do You Want To Become A Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director? Current Resident Directors Discuss Position and Answer Questions

On Monday November 7, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) conducted a question and answer session for residents interested in participating in elections to become Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Director nominees. RIRA President Matt Katz moderated a panel of current resident RIOC Board Directors discussing the election process including campaigning, candidate vetting by NY State and what they do as Directors.

Mr. Katz began the session describing the history of RIOC Board elections, the controversial appointment of a recent Director who is not a Roosevelt Island resident and reported that elections are scheduled for February 7, 2012 and again in November 2012. Here's what happened.

You Tube Video of RIOC Nominee Election Q & A Part 1

You Tube Video of RIOC Nominee Election Q & A Part 2

You Tube Video of RIOC Nominee Election Q&A Part 3

Click here from more information on the RIOC Board Nominee elections.