Friday, March 30, 2012

What's The Latest On Roosevelt Island Mobile Food Trucks? RIOC Still Working Out Details - I Hope To See Awesome Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Here Soon!!!!!

You Tube Video of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

What's the latest on Roosevelt Island Mobile Food Trucks? After being approved during the March 21 Operations Committee meeting for up to 3 food truck locations on the West Channel Road near the subway station, when will they be able to serve hungry Roosevelt Island residents looking for some variety in their take-out food options? Yesterday, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez:
Can you provide an update regarding the permitting process for Mobile Food Trucks on the West Channel Road north of the subway that was agreed to at the last Operations Committee meeting?

Are the permits now available and if not, when will they be available?
Have not received an answer yet from Mr. Martinez but Roosevelt Island resident Mark Lyon reports:
RIOC called me. I actually asked about whether I could buy a permit and allow pre-approved vendors to operate under it for one month, to drive interest in serving the island.

In a very friendly call, the staff member indicated that they lack adequate guidance to issue permits now, are seeking clarification and will reach out to those who have contacted them as soon as possible.

I've communicated with several trucks and they seem to be interested in getting the permits. All have contacted RIOC and are waiting on a response.
The Long Island City Partnership reports that our Queens neighbors across the East River will soon have Mobile Food Trucks returning to their area:
Beginning Monday, April 2, food trucks will be coming back to the lot on Crescent Street. It is expected that some of last year’s favorites including Rickshaw Dumplings, Eddie’s Pizza, and Coolhaus will be back to serve LIC’s hungry lunch crowd.
I've had the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream at both their Greenpoint store and food truck. It is awesome. Hope they make it here to Roosevelt Island soon!!!!


Westviewer said...

You're dreaming.  Van Leeuwen is fabulous, but I'm afraid the professional Roosevelt Islanders would find it too upscale.   The desire to cater only to the lowest common denominator is a factor in the difficulty of attracting business here. 

Ratso123 said...

What is a professional Roosevelt Islander?  Who are those in the lowest common denominator?  These statements don't sound very complimentary.

Westviewer said...

A professional Roosevelt Islander is someone who speaks and acts as if his/her identity is primarily that of a Roosevelt Islander.  The lowest common denominator doesn't refer to anyone specific; only to the kinds of goods that are very, very basic or cheap, as opposed to something that might be a bit more expensive, but of higher quality.  Believe it or not, there is a market here for something beyond what is available at present, as anyone who observes the shopping bags in the hands of people exiting the subway can attest.  

Westviewer said...

It's true that there is a limited population to draw on, but if there were some interesting stores here, and appropriate publicity,  people from other neighborhoods would come here to shop.  We are only one subway stop from midtown Manhattan on the F train.  It's shocking and depressing to me how many people still don't realize that you don't need to come here by the tram. 

Westviewer said...

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have the basics (we are even lacking that), only that we need not be LIMITED to the basics, 

CheshireKitty said...

Westviewer has hit on a very interesting and true insight about the RI population:  There are the poor people that live in subsidized apartments in all the projects on RI (i.e. Manhattan Park, Northtown, the few "affordable" apartments in Southtown).  These are people that really need cheap housing because they are not rich, and these are people that may not be in a position to afford upscale products, even if the products are superior to the cheaper versions.  Think fake Mr. Softee vs. Van Leeuwen.  Of course van Leeuwen is better - but it's not necessarily affordable.  For poor people, every penny counts - that's why food pantries are serving so many these days, that's why families may need to buy the generic products at Pathmark or Trade Fair (which are quite often just as good as the branded products).  

Then, on RI, there are the rich people who may feel they have been sucked/suckered into a fairly expensive apartment on an island with wonderful views but not much else.  For these people, who can obviously afford the expensive apartment, van Leeuwen on RI would be the equivalent of manna from heaven - since they can afford it.  

The rich people are continually moving in and out of apartments throughout RI because once they move in, they realize that the hype about the place, its wonderful scenic beauty and so forth, doesn't make up for the lack of street life, including a variety of  businesses - any kind of businesses, cheap or expensive or in-between.  If Riverwalk is doing well, it's because it's the only sports bar on RI.  Where else can residents go?  

One last thought:  Think of the popularity and land-office business dollar stores such as Jacks do in NYC, throughout NYC, which is supposedly one of the most expensive, upscale cities on earth.  Why is that?  Because the city is filled with people that are just scraping by and for them, anything for a dollar - even if it is not a superior product - is manna from heaven.  

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Westviewer said...

In fact, there are no "rich" people on Roosevelt Island.  Our most expensive apartments are bargain basement compared to those on the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Greenwich Village and Tribeca, where rich people actually live. 

CheshireKitty said...

Cheaper than Manhattan but not exactly bargain basement - not by a long shot.  I would say somewhat cheaper, so as to make RI "alluring" to those looking for a bargain compared to Manhattan.  

So either you have several moderate income people sharing these more expensive (market-rate) apartments, or you have individual renters (or families) that can afford them - maybe not rich, but certainly richer than the subsidized tenants.  And certainly, those with the higher income in the more expensive units are in a much better position to afford the more expensive products.  

Westviewer said...

Even the most expensive apartments on RI  are much less than "somewhat" cheaper.  Peruse the real estate section of the NY Times one Sunday and compare the prices size by size and you'll see that, as always, the rule that still counts in real estate is "location, location, location."  

NYCIslander said...

 This is the dumbest conversation ever.  Go check out the apartments (or should I say rents) at Manhattan Park, The Octagon & South Town.  Trust me, it's not poor or moderate income people living there.  Are they rich, well rich is a relative term, it depends on your definition of rich.  WIRE Town may be more on the affordable housing end b/c of the Section 8 tenants & the Mitchell Lama buildings but even in those buildings there are tenants who are not struggling.  I know tenants in those building clearing 6 figure salaries easily. 

Westviewer said...

I agree that the rents at Octagon, South Town and Manhattan Park are higher than the WIRE buildings, but still much, much less than comparable apartments in Manhattan proper.  That being said, your argument supports my point that RI could support some more upscale establishments here (once the basics are taken care of) if only those who are in charge of filling the empty spaces use some marketing creativity. 

CheshireKitty said...

Rich people are ineligible for Section 8 subsidies - of course. At least with the definition of poor, or moderate income, or fixed income = Section 8 eligible, there are hundreds of these households on RI.  Probably half of the total population of RI is poor - since the Section 8 apartments tend to be packed whereas the more upscale units may be single-occupied, or with fewer children.  If you add up the total number of remaining Section 8 households in the Landings, to those of the MP Section 8 building, along with the "lottery" awarded low-income apartments in Southtown & Octagon (although there were so few) as well as the scattering of Section 8 tenants within IH & WV, and figure that these apartments will generally contain more occupants than the higher-income apartments, it seems that there are more poor residents than rich residents on RI. Of course if you add in the more "middle-income" ML residents of Rivercross, IH, & WV, then the income distribution is definitely skewed toward  low- to moderate income on RI.  Lumping these folks together with the Section 8 tenants = more low + moderate people on RI than rich.  Not to belabor the issue, but there are many low/moderate groups of people sharing the expensive apartments throughout the island - in all the projects. If you add this population into the total, then the island truly seems to be more closely akin to the outer boroughs, like Queens, which has a huge number of struggling residents, than Manhattan.

With their low-to-moderate incomes, these people cannot afford the market rate rents on RI, and for them, every penny counts.   If they are receiving a Section 8 subsidy and their household income eventually exceeds the Sec 8 guidelines due to for example a child eventually contributing income to the household, they are switched to market rate rents.

There is of no way a Section 8 tenant can clear a 6 figure salary and remain in Section 8.  A Mitchell-Lama tenant can clear a high salary - they will then pay a rent surcharge because of their high income.  

Anybody in the MP Section 8 building clearing 6 figures in salary would have been thrown off Section 8 due to high income.  These apartments are not under vacancy decontrol so that even if a market rate tenant is occupying a unit, the next tenant will be a Section 8 tenant.  

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