Monday, December 31, 2012

RIOC Directors Question & Answer Session With Roosevelt Island Residents - Discuss RIOC Management Upheaval, Cornell NYC Tech, Ferries, Parks & More

Reported previously on the December 20 Question and Answer session between resident members of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors and members of the Roosevelt Island community.

Here's more. Among the issues discussed was the management upheaval at RIOC, land use/construction/ barging/air pollution negotiations with Cornell NYC Tech, ferry service, future of Steam Plant site, RIOC's relationship with NYC and NY State, residents/Zog corporate use of the ball fields among other items. Here's what happened

and Part 2.

Previous Question and Answer sessions between RIOC Directors and residents available here.

Meetings like this are a very valuable tool for both residents and RIOC Board Directors. I hope they continue and urge others who are interested in Roosevelt Island issues to attend and participate in the discussion.

Roosevelt Island Larcenies Reported Past Week - Two Incidents At Motorgate Parking Garage

According to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Daily Reports there have been 6 larceny incidents this past week, two of which occurred at the Motorgate Garage.

12/30 - 1350 - 250 Main St - Larceny - NYPD refused

12/29/12- 1423 - 688 Main St - Larceny - NYPD refused

12/29 /12- 1852 - 400 Main St - Larceny - NYPD on scene

12/28/12 - 0415 - 540 Main St - Grand Larceny - PSD and NYPD responded

12/26/12 - 1358 - 513 Main St - Petit Larceny - NYPD refused

12/24 - 1232 - 688 Main St - Larceny - Criminal Mischief - Central Parking report filed - NYPD refused
The daily Roosevelt Island Public Safety incidents are listed and archived on the blog's sidebar.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Corruption, Dissent, Public and Private Morality - Come Visit Vienna of Early 1960's With Island Shakespeare Immersive Presentation Of Measure For Measure At Good Shepherd Chapel Starting January 19

Last summer, Roosevelt Island's local resident theater company Island Shakespeare took us on a trip to Garibaldi's Italy of 1860 with their wonderful outdoor production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing at the Eastwood Amphitheater. Director Thomas Kee explained the setting.

Starting this coming January 19, Island Shakespeare will again whisk us off to another time and place, this time Vienna in the 1960's, with their immersive presentation of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure at Roosevelt Island's historic Good Shepherd Chapel.

Island Shakespeare describes the performance as:

Island Shakespeare presents an immersion exploration of "Measure for Measure" by William Shakespeare.

Vienna in the early 60's is the "IT" city of Europe, the intersection of elegant classicism and blossoming counter culture. You're a stranger, an outsider, and you are about to witness the facade crumble. Whether you follow the music, follow the story or simply explore the beautiful 19th century stone chapel, everywhere you encounter Shakespeare's tale of corruption and comic dissent.

Kristi Artinian directs a veteran cast of company members and new aspirants to Island Shakespeare's unique brand of story driven environmental theatre. Audiences familiar with their previous production of "Much Ado" will recognize their signature approach of delivering a crystal clear, utterly accessible version of the play while immersing the audience in a thoroughly  dimensional world that transports them the minute they enter the space.

"The quartet leads you into this beautiful sanctuary (the historic Chapel of the Good Shepherd on Roosevelt Island) but if you wander off you'll find yourself in a jail cell, or an illegal bar or brothel. It's full of counterpoints." says Kristi Artinian, artistic director of Island Shakespeare and graduate of RADA. The acting company features performances by Brian Keith MacDonald (The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino) as Angelo, Carl Danielsen (Stratford Festival) as the Duke and Patrick Toon (NJ Shakes) as Barnadine.

"Measure for Measure" performs Saturdays and Sundays at 8pm beginning January 19 and closing February 10 at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd an unmissable historic site in the middle of Roosevelt Island. Just one stop out on the F train from 63d & Lex. Or take the Tram like Spiderman. Directions available

Only a limited number of people are admitted to each performance. Booking is recommended online or (866) 811-4111

These actors are appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity Association.

Equity approved showcase.
Ticket information is here and scenes from Island Shakespeare's summer performance of Much Ado About Nothing here.

Chicago's Goodman Theatre Artistic Director and director Robert Falls talks about why he thinks MEASURE FOR MEASURE is one of Shakespeare's greatest plays.

I am very much looking forward to seeing Island Shakespeare's version of Measure for Measure at the Good Shepherd Chapel here on Roosevelt Island.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Big Changes Coming To Roosevelt Island Garden Club In 2013 - Take The Survey And Tell The Garden Club What Improvements You Would Like To See

Incoming 2013 Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC) President April Ward introduced herself to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) December Common Council meeting. Ms.Ward reported on some exciting new changes and programs coming up in 2013 at the Community Garden.

I asked Ms. Ward what the new RIGC Board is planning

Image Of Roosevelt Island Community Garden Picnic Area

and she replied:
We are not in office until January 1, 2013, so the (mostly) new Board won't make statements about policy for the Club until then. We have issued a survey to Members and the Wait List seeking suggestions and requests to improve everyone's experience in the garden.

Visitors and people who would like to join the Club are welcome to fill it out. I, personally, am heading discussions to abolish the wait to join the club then let Members choose from several gardening options, according to the time and skill they have.

To that end, over 60 new beds will be designated along the borders in the garden. Applications will be available in January, so watch the WIRE and this blog. The Wait List for the Interior Plots will remain intact, but people will be able to join the Club and start gardening instead of sitting on a wait list for years. The new Board is embarking on implementing exciting new programs and we are seeking committee leaders for composting and vermicomposting, garden design, education and events and many more.

Though it is geared mostly towards members, anyone can fill out the survey.   

We look forward to hearing from anyone interested in gardening or looking at nice landscapes. So who does that include? Well, everyone!
Here's Ms.Ward speaking at the December RIRA meeting about the new Garden Plots, composting program and urging that the FDR Four Freedoms Fence be removed from Southpoint Park property.

More on the RIGC from previous posts and click here to take their survey.

Roosevelt Island Job Available At PS/IS 217 For English Language Teacher - Start 2013 With A New Job

Are you looking for a job on Roosevelt Island? If so, here's a chance to begin 2013 with a new job.

According to this December 14 posting on Craigslist:
PS/IS 217 located on Roosevelt Island, is seeking a grade 6 through grade 8 English Language Arts teacher to fill a position from January 2013 to June 2013. Candidates must have New York State certification and posses a grades 7 though 12 ELA license. Candidates who wish to apply must email resume and cover letter to
If the job is not suitable for you, perhaps you know someone who is qualified?

Here's the listing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Mass At Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Chapel - Also, A Song From Great Big Sea, Come And I Will Sing You (The Twelve Apostles)

Resident Frank Farance shares these photos of 2012 Christmas Mass at Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Catholic Church services. From Mr. Farance:

Father Morris and the Christmas Mass.


Eucharistic Prayer

Communion Rite



Here's a traditional Christmas song from another Island community, Newfoundland Canada, sung by Great Big Sea. The song is Come and I Will Sing You (The Twelve Apostles)

Roosevelt Island New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner Reports On Second Avenue Subway And Hurricane Sandy Damage - He Reports Coler Hospital Patients Left Alone and Forgotten Without Power For Days

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner was recently interviewed by:

Greg Floyd about the Second Avenue Subway, the new science center on Roosevelt Island and his work in the state legislature to raise the minimum wage. The series host of "Reaching Out," on NYC & Long Island cable TV and WWRL Radio, is Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd.
Mr. Kellner also reported on how Roosevelt Island was damaged by Hurricane Sandy with major flooding at the northern portions of the Island

as well as week long power loss at Coler Hospital and the Octagon Buildng. According to Mr. Kellner, Coler Hospital patients were left alone and forgotten in the dark without power for a few days.

Mr. Kellner indicated that designating Roosevelt Island as a Hurricane Evacuation Zone A instead of B should be reconsidered.

Here's the full interview with Mr. Kellner.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's On His Way To Roosevelt Island Ho Ho Ho - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays And A Wonderful Festivus For The Rest Of Us

Reports are coming in of Santa Claus sightings from all around the world. You can even track him with the aid of Google's Santa Tracker and a Santa Tracker from NORAD.

Santa will arrive on Roosevelt Island in a couple of hours. When he does, it may be on his specially designed, Reindeer powered, Roosevelt Island Tram sled using one of the old Tram cabins.

Roosevelt Island Reindeer Driven Tram (more info here)

Hope you've taken Bruce Springsteen's advice and were good this year.

You Tube Video of 1978 Springsteen Version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Don't forget to leave some cookies out for Santa tonight. MERRY CHRISTMAS - Ho HO Ho!!!!!!!!

If you're interested in the history of Santa, here you go:

Roosevelt Island photographer Olya Turcihin (Olya's Urban Journal) shares this recent scene of Christmas and Hanukah Lights in front of Blackwell House

Image From Olya Turcihin

happy holidays from Roosevelt Island ...
and then there's Festivus for the rest of us.

Roosevelt Island Motorgate Renovation Project Starting Wednesday December 26 - Work Includes Waterproofing, Installing New LED Lights and Restriping Parking Spaces

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised an extensive renovation project will commence at the Motorgate Parking Garage beginning on Wednesday, December 26th. The renovation will require some disruption to the current parking arrangements on several levels.

Expected Start Date - 12/26/2012

Scope of Work - In order to prevent water from leaking onto the lower levels, waterproofing the 3rd and part of 4th floor of Motorgate Parking Garage will be necessary. In addition, replacement of deteriorated lighting will be upgraded to LED light fixtures which are brighter and more durable than the current lighting.

Area's of Work- South Portion of the Motorgate Parking Garage
3rd Floor over Gristedes and Bus Garage
3rd Floor - Sections 3B, 3C, 3D and 4A part
4th Floor - 4C only

Striping- Existing parking lines will be removed during the preparation work for waterproofing. New lines will be stripped after the waterproofing is complete.

Lighting- All lighting throughout Motorgate will be replaced with new LED light fixtures.

Expected Completion Dates-

- Waterproofing, striping and lighting upgrade on Level 3 - April 1, 2013
- Lighting upgrade throughout Motorgate - August 31, 2013

We appreciate your cooperation and patience during this project.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
In November 2011, former RIOC Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez took me on a tour of the Motorgate garage and explained the Motorgate Waterproofing Project and making the parking spaces uniform with straight lines. Here's what happened.

You Tube Video of Motorgate Parking Garage Improvements

More on the Motorgate Waterproofing project and uniform parking spaces here and here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Geese Visiting Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park

Dmitri Aleevski visited Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park a few days ago and shares this photo of other visitors - the Geese, enjoying the grass and view

Image From Dmitri Aleevski

like everybody else.

Roosevelt Island 10 Year Old Boy Missing Since Friday Afternoon - Last Seen At PS/IS 217, Please Call 911 If You Have Any Information

According to Notify NYC:

12/22/2012 5:49:00 PM
Missing Child Alert - Reginald Matthews
Alert issued 12/22/12 at 5:30 PM. New York State has issued a Missing Child Alert for a 10 year old black male, Reginald Matthews. He was last seen at P.S. 217 in Queens. He has black hair with corn-rows and a mole behind his right ear, 5'01" tall and 150 lbs. Reginald was last wearing a red polo shirt, blue jeans, neon green Adidas sneakers, a black jacket, and a blue winter hat. He wears black and green glasses. Please find a photo attached. If you have any information, please dial 9-1-1.
Notify NYC mistakenly locates PS/IS 217 in Queens. It is in Roosevelt Island.

Image From Pix 11

More information, including video from Pix 11.

Roosevelt Island Free Holiday Concert Today 7 PM Presented By R&R Concerts - 3 Bradenburg Bach Concertos and 12 Players

The folks from our local R&R Concerts are presenting their biggest concert ever tonight, 7 PM, at the Good Shepherd Community Center with a Holiday Concert featuring three of Bach's Bradenburg Concertos and 12 players. According to R&R Concerts:

7pm Sunday, December 23 at Good Shepherd Center.
12 players. 3 Brandenburg Concertos. 1 great evening.
Image From R&R Concerts

In the meantime, enjoy Bach's Brandenburg Concertos No.3

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Roosevelt Island U.S. Flags At Half Mast This Past Week - Respect Shown

Roosevelt Island resident C. Grant shares this photo of US flag at half mast over the Octagon Building on December 21

 Image From C. Grant

and comments:
respect for today's moment.
According to Governor Cuomo's office:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday, December 21, 2012 in honor of a soldier from Baldwin who died Dec. 14 in Logar Province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin E. Lipari, 39 as assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Bamberg, Germany.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I send my deepest sympathy to the friends, family, and fellow soldiers of Sgt. 1st Class Lipari," Governor Cuomo said. "We regret his death but we will remember and honor his service to our nation and his dedication to duty."

Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state's service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.
Roosevelt Island photographer Olya Turcihin shares this December 17 photo of Blackwell House Turnaround Flag at Half Mast.

Image From Olya Turcihin

According to the White House:
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, December 18, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Update On Roosevelt Island Giving Tree To Children Of Rockaways Community And Family Head Start Program - Presents Delivered And Thanks Received

Kai and Alex (Trellis Owners) In Front of Roosevelt Island Giving Tree At Trellis Restaurant via Karine Wong

Received update last Monday from Karine Wong, who organized Roosevelt Island relief donation and deliveries to Rockaways Community and Family Head Start School, on the Roosevelt Island Giving Tree.
Hi everybody,

As you may know we went to the Rockaways this morning to deliver all your wonderful presents. LOTS of them.

Images From Karine Wong

The principal and the staff of the school were just amazed and touched by the amount of bags and could not find words to thank us enough.
Images From Karine Wong

We agreed that they should be the ones distributing the presents to the kids and the teachers (yes we had presents for the teachers too) and they will send us photos to share with you. The principal's husband have been Santa Claus for few years now and will be again this year on our behalf.

We felt it was right not to disrupt their "routine" and thanked them on your behalf for allowing us to be part of their family.

The emotion was very high as we entered the school and walked the hallways where the little guys were sitting, reading and singing.

Hard for us not to think about what happened just few days ago in Newton in a school just like this one.

None of us could explain or put into words the feeling we all had at that particular moment and we decided to simply enjoy the moment and hug each other.

They offered to give us a tour of their first floor totally closed to the kids because of the flood and the growing mold. We can still see on the wall how high the water was. A few tables are sitting there with all the donations or I should say what's left of all your donations.

Images From Karine Wong

Families are still coming on the daily basis to pick up supplies or clothes.

2 classes have been completely closed on that floor meaning 40 kids are not able to come to school still and teachers are going from home to home to teach them.

At present, the school has made a priority of serving kids with special needs first and hopes to be able to rebuild and fix the first floor as soon as possible so all the kids can come back. It will take time effort and money.

We are hoping to share with you very shortly the smiles and the happy faces but also more news about how we intend to keep going with our project and help this school to get back on its feet. Keep in mind that this school MUST reopen fully in order for these kids to come back and for moms and dads to keep their jobs. It's like a domino effect and we are playing a very big part in this "game".
Ms Wong adds:
The school is partially open and running – serving about half of the children in need. There are some significant hurdles to overcome to get the school back into full operation. The school administration is trying to get the mold remediation done as fast as possible so that occupancy of the full building can take place.

Once that happens the long process of rebuilding the infrastructure starts. The school lost all of its infrastructure, phones, computers, office systems, offices, office equipment, desks, chairs…everything. There is partial telephone service (they can call out but others cannot call in), There are 2 classrooms functioning and some level of offices open. All the building supplies were lost, all the classroom supplies were lost, most of the class room infrastructure has been lost.

The school will close for the holidays at the end of this week. They will reopen after the new year.

We are compiling a list with the help of the school and some experts in early childhood development and education of the tools, toys and supplies that will help the school get back into full function.

We will not make another delivery until after the new year. We will make the regular Sunday collection once we get the list published – so please stay tuned and watch out for the notice.

Please have a happy and safe holiday and we look forward to the continuation of your efforts with the goal or re-supplying the school and getting them one step closer to full service and function as soon as possible.
There will be NO collection this coming sunday since the school will be closed for the Holidays. Keep checking our FB page ( and your emails for the next one right after the break.

As for the Giving Tree please keep bringing your presents to Trellis.
More on Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to the Rockaways from previous posts.

RIOC Directors Speak On Roosevelt Island Management Upheaval - NY Governor Cuomo In Control, RIOC Directors Do Not Know Why RIOC President And Vice President Resigned

Among the topics discussed at last night's Question and Answer session between Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) resident Directors and members of the community were the recent management upheavals at RIOC with the unexplained departures of former President Leslie Torres and former Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez.

Residents expressed concern about the lack of management running Roosevelt Island.

RIOC Director David Kraut said that there was an upcoming RIOC Governance Committee meeting that will address executive staff issues.

RIOC Director Margie Smith was more forthcoming expressing frustration because:

... We're in a tough position ... we hear things in Executive Session that we can't say to anybody...
and that Governor Cuomo is:
... very much in control of what's going on, he's now looking at Public Authorities...
... we see Leslie resigning, we see Fernando resigning. We don't know if there was something behind the resignation or they chose to resign. They didn't share that information with us. there's not much we can do about it
... we're trying to get those positions filled ... we're trying to keep this place running to the degree we can...
Here's the discussion on Roosevelt Island management upheaval.

More information on Roosevelt Island management upheavals from previous posts.

Will have full video of RIOC resident Directors Question and Answer session with residents soon. Here's previous Q&A session with resident Directors from May 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Did You See Strange Circling Lights Over Roosevelt Island And New York City East River Waterfront Tonight?

At approximately 9:45 PM tonight, I was walking near the Roosevelt Island subway and Riverwalk Commons when I looked up in the sky and saw two lights rapidly circling each other.

Another person who saw the lights speculated that it might be the Bat Signal, or more ominously, the end of the world.

Did you see the Lights too? What the heck was it?

Roosevelt Island Questions & Answers With RIOC Directors Tonight 8 PM Following RIOC Board Meeting

Do you have any questions or comments regarding how Roosevelt Island is governed? If so, tonight is an opportunity to get answers from some of your neighbors, the resident members of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors, to your concerns. RIOC Board Members will be conducting a question and answer session with residents tonight starting at 8 PM following the RIOC Board meeting.

 According to the Agenda for RIOC Board Meeting tonight:
A question and answer session with general public and certain Board members will commence at 8:00 p.m.
A similar question and answer meeting between RIOC Directors and Roosevelt Island residents took place last May. Here's an excerpt of what happened

and the full meeting is here.

The full Agenda is below:

5:30 P.M.1

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
1. September 20, 2012 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
2. October 3, 2012 Special Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
3. October 25, 2012 Special Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Approval of the Proposed RIOC Budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 (Materials to Follow - Board Action Required)
2. 2013 Meetings of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors (Board Action Required)
3. Authorization to Enter into Contract with ENVAC for On-Call AVAC Repair Services (Board Action Required)
4. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Nelson & Pope Engineers & Surveyors, PLLC for Blackwell House Mechanical, Engineering and Plumbing Re-Design (Board Action Required)
5. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Scientific Electric Company, Inc. for Electrical Installation at Motorgate Garage (Board Action Required)
6. Ratification of Change Order to Contract with Shawn Construction, Inc. for Waterproofing of Motorgate Garage
(Board Action Required)
7. Authorization to Enter into Amendment of License Agreement for Octagon Composting Area
(Board Action Required)
8. Authorization to Enter into Side Letter Agreement with New York City Public Library (NYCPL) in Connection with the Lease Agreement between NYCPL and Hudson Related Retail, LLC for 504 Main Street
(Board Action Required)
9. Authorization to Enter into Contract with FDR Four Freedoms Park, LLC for Maintenance Services for the FDR Four Freedoms Park (Board Action Required)
10. Ratification of Change Order to Contract with Quintal Contracting Corp. for Motorgate Ramp Drainage Improvements (Board Action Required)
11. President's Report
12. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
13. Public Safety Report
VI. Adjournment

A question and answer session with general public and certain Board members will commence at 8:00 p.m.
Come ask your questions.

Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Land Use Application Overwhelmingly Approved By Community Board 8 Wednesday Night ... With Conditions - ULURP Land Use Process Continues, Next Step Borough President, City Planning Commission and City Council

The Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Land Use Application passed its first test of the NYC Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) Wednesday night with the overwhelming approval of Community Board 8 (CB 8). The vote was 32 in support, one opposed, 3 abstaining and 1 not voting though there was an exhaustive list of conditions attached to the approval resolution representing the concerns of Roosevelt Island residents and the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC)

Here's  Part 1 of what happened beginning with a brief review of the project by Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove followed by CB 8 members discussing the resolution including conditions

and Part 2 (about 1 minute is missing between Parts 1 and 2)

According to the ULURP process, CB 8's approval has no decision making authority but its recommendations are advisory and establishes a record as part of the ongoing ULURP process.

Cornell's ULURP Land Use Application now goes on for review by the Manhattan Borough President's office, Planning Commission, NYC Council and the Mayor's office.

Will have more later including the CB 8 Approval Resolution, with conditions, and statement form Cornell NYC Tech.

Stay tuned.

Received this statement from RICC Co-Chair, CB 8 member and Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Ellen Polivy:
Congratulations to all the Island organizations who are members of the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) for thinking through your needs and expectations,  read the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and spoke at the public hearings. Thanks to the RICC Board who spent hundreds of hours compiling and organizing and fought so hard at all the hearings and meetings to give Cornell an accurate picture of our community and our expectations. And thanks to the Roosevelt Island CB8 members who accurately represented the Community's concerns in writing the report that was voted on tonight. Cathy Dove's speech was a beautiful example of what can happen when a big development and a community works together. Tonight's vote was a win for everyone. We've got a long way to go, but we have a good start.
Ms. Polivy adds:
Here is the draft report that we voted on with a minor friendly amendment that requests that Cornell take the community's requests into account when dealing with parking spaces. The official document will be produced in a few days and you can replace this with that when we get it.

The other is a nice letter from Cathy Dove in response to our last meeting.

Tonight the Community showed its power. Thanks to RICC, Larry Parnes, Jeff Escobar and I were able to write a very good report that passed the Community Board overwhelmingly. It was a very successful document that creates a win-win-win-win. Everyone is happy right now. Us, Cornell, the elected officials....

The RICC Board is continuing our conversations with Cornell and Jessica Lappin and soon will be meeting with Scott Stringer's office for another stage in the process. It will be important for the City Planning hearings to get a huge showing from the Island.
The CB 8 Draft resolution with conditions set forth is here. It was approved with the addition of a "friendly amendment" not yet available in printed form. The "friendly amendment" was a recommendation to Cornell to increase the number of planned parking spaces for the project which Cornell wishes to limit in order not to encourage increased automobile traffic on Roosevelt Island. (Will have more on this subject soon)

Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove's letter to CB 8 is here. An excerpt:
On behalf of the entire Cornell community, many thanks to the members of the Community Board Task Force and the numerous residents, community groups and civic organizations of Roosevelt Island that we have met with over the past several months. Our meetings with the community began even prior to being named as the university who will build this transformational campus. To date, our Cornell team has participated in dozens of meetings with members of the Community Board, the Roosevelt Island Task Force, and various Roosevelt Island organizations including the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC). These meetings have been extremely informative, and will help ensure that Cornell is the best neighbor possible to the Roosevelt Island community

As part of this process, Cornell has received a number of questions from Roosevelt Island residents, board members, and organizations, and has responded in detail to those questions in forums, as well as in two separate documents. Those questions ranged from questions on the environmental review, to questions about the land use proposal and campus plans, to questions about Cornell’s role in the broader Roosevelt Island community. While we understand that the Community Board Office has distributed the written questions and our responses, we are also attaching them to this memo.

At the last public hearing, Linda Heimer did a wonderful job of summarizing resident questions and concerns. She appropriately recognized that Cornell cannot “fix everything on the Island,” but wants to make sure that we work closely with the community and “support positive improvements.” We completely agree and are committed to doing so.....
The written responses from Cornell NYC Tech referenced by Ms. Dove are here and Cornell NYC Tech Press release is below.
Manhattan Community Board 8 approved Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus plan last night as part of New York City’s public land use review process. The plan now continues through the process with review by the Manhattan Borough President, followed by the City Planning Commission and City Council. The Community Board’s approval came exactly one year after Cornell University, with its academic partner the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, was selected by the City to develop the applied science and engineering campus. The Roosevelt Island campus will sit on a 12-acre site and is slated to open in2017, with full build out in 2037.

“Roosevelt Island has a fantastic history of innovation and civic participation, and we were still gratified by the interest and support of so many Islanders from day 1,” said Cornell Tech Vice President Cathy Dove. “We are appreciative for the support of our new neighbors and assure them that the construction and operation of the campus will be handled in a way that protects, respects and welcomes the rest of the Island. We look forward to continuing the dialogue about this innovative new campus with New Yorkers during the public review process and beyond.”

The Community Board approval caps a first year full of milestones for Cornell Tech, which will welcome its first “beta” class of students in January:

· Leadership Put in Place: In February, Dan Huttenlocher and Cathy Dove were chosen as co-leaders of the campus, and Craig Gotsman was chosen to lead the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute. Soon after, former Twitter CTO Greg Pass joined Cornell Tech as the founding Entrepreneurial Officer to lead the campus’ collaboration with the tech industry and Deborah Estrin, an applied sciencetech pioneer, became the first full-time faculty member.

· Three of the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Qualcomm Founder Irwin Jacobs, and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt – announced in September that they will provide ongoing guidance on the programmatic and physical development to help shape the vision for the campus.

· Temporary Campus Opens: Google allocated space in its Chelsea building free of charge to Cornell Tech while the university completes its campus on Roosevelt Island. The space allowed Cornell to launch its presence in NY in close proximity to tech companies and entrepreneurs with whom it will collaborate.

· Campus Plan Developed: Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis was chosen to design the first academic building for the planned campus on Roosevelt Island. The 150,000-square-foot building will serve as the flagship academic structure for the new campus. Other award-winning architects are contributing to the campus - the campus plan is being designed by Skidmore,Owings and Merrill and the landscape architect is James Corner Field Operations.

· Academic Programs Launched: Classes will start in January 2013 at the Chelsea campus for a “beta” class of computer science Masters of Engineering students.

· Partnership Formed with Dept. of Commerce: Cornell Tech announced a partnership with the U.S. Commerce Department to give students and researchers direct access to resources that will help them bring their ideas to market and grow their businesses.

“This is such an exciting time and place to be launching Cornell Tech, with the support of the City, our neighbors and the tech community,” said Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher. “When our beta class arrives in January we’ll be debuting a new curriculum built on academic excellence, interdisciplinary focus and entrepreneurial spirit, all with the goal of spurring innovation and supporting economic growth in New York and beyond.”

Cornell Tech’s new campus is offering a distinctive model of graduate tech education that fuses educational excellence with real-world commercial applications and entrepreneurship, rooted in the latest academic research. Students, faculty and industry experts will learn and work together to launch ideas and create new ventures that have global impact. The campus will attract the best and brightest in technology, immerse them in an entrepreneurial culture with deep ties to the local business community, and spur the creation of new companies and new industries in New York City. The campus master plan reflects Cornell Tech’s commitment to innovation not only in the academic program for the campus but also in its physical development. The new campus will include up to 2.1 million square feet of development, housing approximately 2,000 full-time graduate students, by full build-out in 2037. The first phase will include up to 790,000 square feet of development, including the first academic building and reflecting all of the uses that will be in place at full build-out.
As Ms. Polivy stated, there is still lots to be done.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roosevelt Island Management Upheavals Continue, RIOC Parks and Recreation Manager Out - What's Coming Next?

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) management upheavals continue today although not on the Senior Level staff as has happened twice in the last several months. Today, I sent the following inquiry to Acting RIOC President Don Lewis and the RIOC Board of Directors:
I understand that Parks and Recreation Manager Michael Smith has resigned or been fired from RIOC. Is that true?

Does RIOC have any comment on the departure of Mr Smith and the continuing management upheaval at RIOC?

Also, is Mr Smith's departure related in any way to the departure of former RIOC president Leslie Torres or former Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez....
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
We can confirm that Michael Smith is no longer with RIOC.
As previously reported:
... There have been rumors flying around Roosevelt Island for awhile about big changes coming to RIOC, particularly since:
Also, departing this month from RIOC was the Vice President of Operations, Fernando Martinez, without an explanation for the reason.

During RIOC Real Estate Committee meeting discussion yesterday on allocation of Roosevelt Island Community Space, I asked whether there were any inquiries by NY State investigatory bodies on dispostion of Roosevelt Island real estate. Acting RIOC President Don Lewis said not that he was aware of but RIOC Director Howard Polivy added that all NY State Public Authorities are now under heightened scrutiny though he did not know the reason for it.

Here's the exchange.

RIOC certainly appears to be under heightened scrutiny.

Also, here's the audio web cast of the full RIOC December 18 Real Estate Committee meeting.

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin Announces Run For 2013 Manhattan Borough President

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin announced last Friday that she will be seeking the 2013 Democratic Party nomination for Manhattan Borough President. Here's Ms. Lappin's announcement.

Among the supporters of Ms. Lappin at Friday's announcement were Roosevelt Island residents Howard and Ellen Polivy, Margie Smith and Jonathan Kalkin. Ms. Smith and Mr. Polivy are members of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors, Ms Polivy is the new President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) and Mr. Kalkin is a former RIOC Director.

According to this Press Release from Ms. Lappin's campaign:

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Assemblymembers Micah Kellner and Dan Quart today endorsed City Councilmember Jessica Lappin to be Manhattan’s next Borough President.

“Jessica Lappin understands that no issue is more important for Manhattan than creating new jobs and spurring economic development,” Maloney said. “And she has a record that shows she knows how to do it. She played a key role in bringing the Cornell-Technion Applied Sciences and Engineering campus to Roosevelt Island, which is expected to create more than 30,000 high-tech jobs over the next three decades.”

Congresswoman Maloney also pointed to the Biotech Tax Credit that Jessica authored, and was just renewed, which has helped keep good, cutting-edge jobs in Manhattan and throughout the City.

“Jessica has led the fight to reduce overcrowding in our schools and reduce class sizes by overseeing the approval of 20,000 new classroom seats across the City,” Maloney said. “And she played a key role in opening three brand new elementary schools on the East Side, including PS 151, which we’re standing in front of today.”

Maloney added: “Jessica has also been a champion of reform and progressive causes—from her landmark law to regulate crisis pregnancy centers to her support for marriage equality to her leadership strengthen- ing New York City’s model campaign finance program which I’m proud to have helped create.”

“I am proud to stand here with Assemblymembers Micah Kellner and Dan Quart and so many other community leaders and endorse Jessica Lappin for Manhattan Borough President.”

Assemblyman Micah Kellner highlighted Councilmember Lappin’s commitment to building and pre- serving affordable housing in Manhattan. “Jessica has worked tirelessly to ensure that buildings on Roos- evelt Island remain permanently affordable,” Kellner said. “And she is a strong voice for tenants and for strengthening New York’s rent protection laws that are so critical for keeping Manhattan affordable for the middle class.”

“Jessica Lappin has taken the lead on so many key environmental issues,” Assemblyman Dan Quart noted. “From securing funding for three new waterfront parks in Manhattan to writing the laws that created textile recycling and street corner recycling in Manhattan, Jessica has moved the city forward and made a real difference in improving our quality of life.”

Jessica Lappin was elected to the City Council (5th District) in 2005 and represents Manhattan’s East Side and Roosevelt Island. She serves as Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Aging and also serves on the Education, Transportation, Cultural Affairs, and Land Use Committees. Jessica has received numerous honors and awards for her leadership on neighborhood preservation and the arts. In addition, last year she was chosen to be a Rodel Fellow by the Aspen Institute, a respected international think-tank focused on helping young leaders forge new solutions to pressing governmental problems.

Jessica is a lifelong New Yorker and a graduate of New York City’s public schools. She received a Regents Diploma from Stuyvesant High School and a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude.

Jessica is married and lives in East Midtown with her husband and two sons.
Here's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's enthusiastic endorsement of Ms Lappin for Manhattan Borough President

as well as endorsements from Assembly Member Micah Kellner and Dan Quart.

According to DNA Info:
... Lappin is expected to face a crowded field, including Upper Manhattan City Councilman Robert Jackson, former Community Board 1 Chairwoman Julie Menin and Upper West Side City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, in a contentious battle to replace outgoing Borough President Scott Stringer, who is running for comptroller...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Roosevelt Island Larceny Reported Yesterday Near Fire Station - RIOC Refuses To Provide Relevant Information, Again

I sent the following inquiry earlier today to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra:

The Roosevelt Island Public Safety report for 12/17 - 18 indicates
12/17 - 1452 - Opp 750 Main St - Larceny - NYPD Filed a report
Where is 750 Main Street - is that opposite Octagon Field, Tennis Court etc?

Also, what was the age and gender of the victim and subject.

What was the item stolen.

Please provide any other relevant information so that the community is aware of what happened.

Thank you.
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
The FDNY firehouse is 750 Main St.
Nothing else.

View Larger Map

According to NY State Penal Law:
S 155.05 Larceny; defined.
1. A person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof.
Very little info from RIOC, again.

Roosevelt Island Finally Getting An Ice Cream Store - Coach Scot's Main Street Sweets Grand Opening Tomorrow December 19

What's the latest on Roosevelt Island Main Street retail stores? I asked that question of Hudson Related's David Kramer (the Main Street Master Leaseholder) last Thursday who reported:

The wine store got its liquor license recently. I think the ice cream store and market are going to open shortly. We’re working on a bunch of things, but nothing until they’re finalized.
The ice cream store is indeed about to open - tomorrow. According to Roosevelt Island resident Scot Bobo, owner of Coach Scot's Main Street Sweets:
Grand Opening December 19, 7am!

The place is looking great!
and they will be serving
The Best Ice Creams, Yogurt, Hot Drinks, Breakfast Foods, and Delicious Low-Cal Alternatives

As soon as tomorrow, Roosevelt Island will have its very own ice cream store to enjoy like this young man had during a recent training session

 at Coach Scot's

Main Street Sweets.

Good luck with your new business Scot!!!

Le'ts get the other stores open soon as well!!!! Please.

Monday, December 17, 2012

2 Roosevelt Island Arrests For Criminal Weapon Possession This Weekend - RIOC Refuses To Say What Type Of Weapon

I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis, Public Safety Director Keith Guerra and RIOC Directors this morning

The 12/15/16 Daily Public Safety Report lists 2 incidents regarding arrests for possession of a weapon this past weekend.
12/15 - 0000 - F/O 200 Main St - Criminal Poss of a Weapon - Criminal Poss of Marijuana - PSD arrested two subjects

12/16 - 0503 - 4 Riverroad - Assault - Criminal Poss of a Weapon - Obstructing Governmental Administration - PSD arrested three subjects and 6 issued c summonses and 2 released to their parents.
Please provide information on these incidents including:

1- What weapons were involved in these incidents,

2- was anybody injured,

3 - did the incidents take place in the buildings or on the street,

4- what time of day

5- were Roosevelt Island residents involved

6- were the two incidents related and

any other relevant information.

I will be publishing post on this today so please let me know if you wish to make any further comment.
Later in the day, I sent this inquiry:
As a follow up to earlier weapons possession email inquiry, were these Disorderly Conduct arrests for 12/15 -16 related to the weapons possession arrests?
12/16 - 0300 - 550 Main St - Disorderly Conduct - PSD arrested subject

12/16 - 0330 - 4 Riverroad - Disorderly Conduct - PSD arrested three subjects
Please provide details on these incidents as well.
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
Both of the 4 River Rd. incidents initiated from the same fight. There were two minor injuries. The 550 Main St. incident was related in that the subject who engaged in the disorderly conduct had come from the 4 River Rd. incident on his own. The 200 Main St. incident was unrelated and resulted in no injuries. The time of each incident is provided in the report.
I followed up with:
Will there be any comment on the weapons possession incident I asked about as well?
The answer from RIOC Press Spokesperson:
Both weapons possession incidents are referred to in our response to your previous email. RIOC has no any additional statement about those incidents.
So, RIOC is silent as to whether the criminal weapon possession arrests were for a gun, knife or something else.

I also asked RIOC about this incident:
The 12/16 -17 Public Safety Report indicates
12/16/12 - 2230 - 540 Main St - Forcible Touching - NYPD filed a report.
What is a "forcible touching". Was there an arrest?

Please provide additional details as to what happened.
No reply yet from RIOC.

Hot Food Delivered And Served For Howard Beach Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts By Roosevelt Island Residents Association And NY State Senator Jose Serrano

RIRA and Senator Serrano Hurricane Sandy Hot Food Relief Effort In Howard Beach Last Saturday

Reported previously of efforts by the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) and Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano to help after Hurricane Sandy by donating and serving hot meals to those in need.

Last Saturday a busload

Image From Romano Reid

of Roosevelt Island residents together with staff from Senator Serrano's office went to Howard Beach in Queens. Senator Serrano's staffer Justin Rush reports on what happened:
Senator Serrano and the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA)

RIRA's Romano Reid And Ellen Polivy with Cordell Reid

sponsored a Hurricane Sandy Relief event today in Howard Beach. The event was sparked by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, who represents sections of Queens, identifying his district as one hit particularly hard by the storm. In response, a call for volunteers was issued by Senator Serrano and RIRA; the result leading to the donation and distribution of hot meals to those in need at the West Hamilton Beach Firehouse in Howard Beach.

Image From Romano Reid

“It is very important that when New Yorkers are in need, fellow New Yorkers are ready and willing to help,” said Senator Serrano. “Though Hurricane Sandy occurred over a month ago, there are still people suffering and unable to receive hot meals and other resources.

Today we stand with members of the Howard Beach community to help heal and rebuild.

Image From Romano Reid

Many thanks to Ellen Polivy, President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, for helping coordinate the event, as well as all other volunteers for your time and efforts,” continued Serrano.

Image From Romano Reid
By the end of the day 68 people received a hot meal from the Roosevelt Island volunteers and some families and volunteer firemen had enough leftovers to last a few days

RIRA's Romano Reid, an organizer of the Roosevelt Island/Howard Beach relief effort, adds:
I would like to acknowledge all the residents of the Island who have taken time out of their schedules to either cook a pan of hot food or contributed countless hours in volunteering for this Hurricane relief effort in Howard Beach. I would like to also personally thank the office of Senator Jose M. Serrano for assisting residents of Roosevelt Island in spearheading this event."We had a ball"...

Thanks To the Staff Of Senator Serrano:

Gregory Meyer
Justin Rush

and Special Thanks to John Catsimatidis (Owner of Roosevelt Island's Gristides Mega Food store)

Also, Extended Thanks to :

Laila Amatullah
Ellen Polivy,
Barbara Allen
Ethel Romm
Julie Polermo
Julina Hooks
Erin Feeley Nahem
Juyana Armstrong
Sharon pope
Lynn Shinozaki
Francesca Whittaker
Maureen Leong

PS: I hope to work with our community Elected officials to coordinate another event at some point in the very near future.

RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting Tomorrow - Roosevelt Island Community Space and Cultural Center Flooding On Public Agenda, Cornell NYC Tech, Steam Plant, Main Street Retail Progress and Westview Privatization Discussed In Executive Session Without Public Present

 According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


1. Discussion Concerning Issues With Provision of Community Space
2. Update on 548 Main Street Cultural Center Rehabilitation
3. Chair's Motion for Executive Session for Update on Pending Negotiations Regarding
a) Cornell NYC
b) Steam Plant
c) Main Street Retail Progress
d) Westview
4. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee

The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.
An audio web cast of the Public Session will be available a few days after the meeting.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Report From RIOC Acting President Don Lewis - Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, Donations To Hurricane Sandy Victims, Main Street Construction, Meditation Steps Resotoration & Public Purpose Funds

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
Our annual Tree Lighting event last weekend was a festive way to kick off the holiday season. Undeterred by the rainy weather and fueled by the Roosevelt Island positive energy, the event took place as scheduled and turned out to be yet another fun filled and joyous holiday Island occasion. Thank you to both the Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance and the youngsters from the Roosevelt Island Youth Center for their terrific performances, as well as RIOC’s own Erica Spencer-EL whose efforts were integral to making the event such a success. Last but not least, thank you to Santa for making a special appearance and spreading his holiday cheer.

Update on Donations to Sandy Victims

In a previous column, I mentioned the formation of a partnership between RIOC and Team Rubicon USA to help individuals in New York City who are suffering as a result of the storm. By way of update, the response from the Roosevelt Island community continues to be outstanding. With the assistance of Team Rubicon and various Island organizations, we have delivered over 200 bags of food, clothes and other items to heavily affected areas such as the Rockaways. There is still work to be done and if you would like to still contribute to our continuing efforts, please drop off items for donation between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday at our 591 Main Street office. For more information, please call 212-832-4540 ext 349.

Main Street Reconstruction Complete

We are delighted to report that Phase II of our Main Street Reconstruction Project was completed on November 26, more than three months ahead of schedule. During Phase I, which was completed in 2009, we replaced Z-Bricks with asphalt pavement on the roadway from 40 River Road to the Fire House Station. Phase II continued the same work from 40 River Road to the bottom of the Helix ramp. The asphalt surface is better equipped to handle heavy vehicle traffic, as well as unfavorable elements, and also requires less maintenance.

Meditation Steps Restoration Complete

We are also pleased to announce that the Meditation Steps reopened last month. While we hoped the steps would have reopened earlier, the contractors encountered certain unforeseen structural conditions, but overcame the same to deliver a beautiful finished product. The sidewalk above the steps has also been repaired and in the near future, the surrounding lighting will be enhanced. The views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline are as breathtaking as ever, but now the restored steps provide a perfect place for Island residents and visitors to take in the amazing views.

Applications for Public Purpose Funds

The 2013 application for Public Purpose Funds are now available online. Public Purpose Funds are allocated to not-for-profit organizations that provide services that enhance the quality of life of the Roosevelt Island community. To obtain a copy of the application and to review current guidelines, visit The deadline to apply for Public Purpose Funds is Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle and Russell Crowe Perform Fairytale Of New York At Joe's Pub - A Beautiful Christmas Song

One of my favorite Christmas songs of all time is Fairytale of New York by the Pogues. One of my favorite all time bands is Great Big Sea from the tropical Island of Newfoundland Canada. The two were combined last Saturday when Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle performed Fairytales of New York with Russell Crowe at Joe's Pub.


Great Big Sea will be playing a concert at Town Hall in NYC on April 19 and Alan Doyle will be at BB King's on January 11.

Here's the original version from the Pogues

You Tube Video Of The Pogues Fairytale Of New York

and story from the Guardian on the song's origin.
Once upon a time a band set out to make a Christmas song. Not about snow or sleigh rides or mistletoe or miracles, but lost youth and ruined dreams. A song in which Christmas is as much the problem as it is the solution. A kind of anti-Christmas song that ended up being, for a generation, the Christmas song....
Click here for the entire article.

Roosevelt Island 12 Days Of Starbucks Serenade - What Did You Get From Your Barista?

12 Days Of Starbucks Serenade

NYC Starbucks District Managers got on the Tram earlier today and made their way to the Roosevelt Island Starbucks to serenade staff and customers.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Report From Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove On Academic Goals And Vision For Roosevelt Island Campus - Video Presentation Of Project At CB 8 Land Use Committee Hearing With Questions And Comments From Residents Including 9 Year Old Girl Asking For Cornell's Help

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove

Image of Ms. Dove at December 12 CB 8 Land Use Committee Public Hearing

sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.
It was almost exactly one year ago – December 19, 2011 – that Cornell was chosen to build the applied sciences graduate campus on Roosevelt Island that we have now named Cornell Tech. For everyone at Cornell Tech, and for me personally, it has been a whirlwind year as we’ve worked hard to create an innovative new academic program and plan an open, sustainable physical campus here on the Island.

So for this week’s column I wanted to take a step back and share some thoughts about why Cornell is so committed to this campus and the impact it will have on economic development and higher education in New York and beyond. Over time we estimate that the impact from this campus alone will create thousands of jobs and have a huge impact on New York’s economy. Our mission is important and so we wanted to share some details of our approach with you.

First, though, let me share a quick update on our conversations with the Roosevelt Island community that are occurring right now as part of the official land use review process (ULURP). It has been wonderful to see so many people attend each of the meetings we’ve held with Community Board 8. We’ve heard a clear and consistent message from the community: Roosevelt Island strongly supports Cornell Tech but wants to make sure that the construction and operation of the campus are handled in a way that protects, respects and welcomes the rest of the Island.

We’ve been working hard to fully answer every question that we’ve received, and we’re pursuing potential solutions on some of the most commonly raised issues, including barging of materials to reduce the impact of construction. As I’m writing this column we’re preparing for a Community Board hearing on December 12, and I hope to see many of you at future meetings throughout this process.

But my goal for this column is to provide a deeper understanding of the academic goals and vision for the new campus, which can sometimes get lost in all of the vital conversations going on about the details of planning the physical campus.

Cornell Tech is designed to address two significant issues slowing innovation and economic development in New York and around the country. The first issue, identified by the City, is that the enormous growth of our tech sector is being held back by a shortage of top-level tech talent in New York. The second, broader challenge is that the way we innovate and commercialize research ideas in this country is changing, and universities and companies both need to adapt to remain at the forefront of technology innovation. It is time for new thinking about how industry and academia work together.

Cornell Tech is being designed with these challenges in mind. It is a graduate- level campus focused on the applied sciences and engineering, particularly those areas related to the information economy that play such a central role in New York City. With a burgeoning tech sector, the City is increasingly home to local technology firms as well as offices of national and global technology companies. In addition, almost every NYC-based industry is highly reliant on technology to drive its business. Cornell Tech is creating the academic environment to help power these companies, grow new companies, and develop whole new industries driven by technology and information.

We’re creating a distinctive approach to graduate education and research in technology. Our campus will foster the development of technologies that are rooted in the latest academic research and address real-world problems. We will create a campus culture that blends academic excellence and commercial impact together with societal good. Students and faculty – in close collaboration with industry experts – will learn and work together. And, befitting New York City’s role as the “capital of the world”, Cornell has forged an academic partnership with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Together the two universities will be offering dual degrees and innovative programs on the campus.

Research and education at Cornell Tech will be undertaken with potential commercial and societal outcomes in mind from the outset. The campus will be highly interdisciplinary, bringing both deep disciplinary excellence in core technology fields such as computer science and electrical engineering, and creating cross-cutting focal areas that we term “hubs”. Initially three hubs are planned, in Connective Media, Healthier Life, and the Built Environment.

The hubs serve as focal points for the research and educational mission of the campus, bringing together particular sets of disciplines that are most relevant to domains of particular commercial relevance in New York City. Thus all three initial hubs focus on areas where information technology is rapidly affecting large industry sectors in the city – the advertising, media and entertainment industries for the Connective Media hub, the health care and insurance industries for the Healthier Life hub, and the building, architecture and urban planning industries for the Built Environment hub. As technology and its relation to particular industry sectors changes, so will the interdisciplinary focal areas; thus the lifetime of hubs is expected to be from a few years to a decade or two.

In addition to conducting research that addresses real-world problems, the campus will offer a number of graduate degrees. The State of New York has approved five one year professional degrees including Masters of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Operations Research, a Master of Professional Studies in Information Science, and an Accelerated MBA for students with technical backgrounds. We are launching the first of these – the M.Eng. in Computer Science, in January 2013 on our Chelsea campus. In addition to these Cornell degrees, with Technion we anticipate offering three unique two- year dual degrees focused on the hub areas, which will result in both a Cornell and Technion diploma. Finally we will also have a number of Ph.D. students on our campus.

This is a new approach and a rare opportunity to create a new campus and curriculum from scratch. We’re extremely excited about the possibilities and so grateful to be creating this campus in a community with a history of innovation.
Below is video from the December 12 Community Board 8 (CB 8) Land Use Committee meeting referenced by Ms. Dove. During the meeting a motion was approved to vote on Cornell NYC Tech's ULURP application at the December 19 CB 8 Full Board Meeting. Also, here's a 40 page question and answer sheet on the Cornell NYC Tech Project and a letter from Ms. Dove setting forth the benefits of the project to Roosevelt Island and the rest of NYC.

The December 12 CB 8 Land Use Committee meeting began with a young Roosevelt Island girl asking for Cornell's help and continued with Ms. Dove and other Cornell NYC Tech representatives presenting their plan

followed by questions and statements
from Roosevelt Island residents

and Community Board

8 members.