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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy A Devastating Storm For New York City Reports Mayor Bloomberg - What About Roosevelt Island RIOC?

Roosevelt Island Rivercross Tree Down From Hurricane Sandy

Earlier this morning, I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis and Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez:
Any comment or statement regarding damage to Roosevelt Island from Hurricane Sandy?

When will the Tram and Roosevelt Island Bridge be back in service?

I have been told that the power in Coler Hospital is out. Is that true?

Any details on Public Safety incidents from yesterday?

Also, happy to include any other comment or statement you may wish to communicate with the Roosevelt Island community on regarding Hurricane Sandy.

Thank you
Received this response from RIOC's Press Spokesperson:
RIOC intends to continue to keep the Roosevelt Island community apprised of relevant Sandy related events through our public advisories.
Mayor Bloomberg reported that Hurricane Sandy was:
... a devastating storm, maybe the worst we have ever experienced...

An Octagon resident reports:
Octagon lost power about 830pm last night and we are still without it. Our family is fine, hoping for restoration soon and napping the time away.

There is a huge tree uprooted outside the building, and people (kids too!) are walking around out there. Very unsafe due to remaining high winds and loose branches or limbs.
Be careful everyone and I recommend staying indoors for a while longer.

Be safe!
Another Roosevelt Island resident adds:
So far no tram. Just investigated myself. I see a lot of people walking over the 59th street bridge though. Duane reade and gristedes are open. But no starbucks. Rivercross blue wing lost power but not orange or yellow and in Eastwood/Roosevelt landing only 510 lost power.

From what I hear island house and westview are fine. Water went way up into tot lot and a lot of trees are down over there, big trees.
UPDATE 12:45 PM - Roosevelt Island NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner tweets:
UPDATE 1:13 PM - Here's a summary of current Roosevelt Island conditions from RIOC:
Please be advised we are continuing to assess damage to the Island as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Below is a summary of the current conditions of the Island:

We are aware that Lighthouse Park experienced substantial flooding. There is damage to multiple Island trees, and certain locations on the Island are without power, including the Octagon and Coler Hospital. In addition, several Island street lights are out of service.

We note that Lighthouse Park, Southpoint Park and Four Freedoms Park remain closed and we implore Island residents and visitors not to attempt to circumvent the closure of these parks.

We are in the process of inspecting the Tram and monitoring road conditions, and expect to restore both Tram and Red Bus service, and also reopen the parks, as soon as it is safe to do so. We will immediately advise the public when the parks will reopen and when Tram and Red Bus Service is restored.

The NYC Department of Transportation has reopened the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

We are pleased to note we have not received any reports of injuries incurred on the Island as a result of the storm.

We will keep the community informed of relevant Sandy related developments as we learn of the same.

For additional information, please call Public Safety at 212-832-4545. In the event that the phone line is busy, please use the following alternate numbers: 917-541-9156 or

Only use 9-1-1 for true emergencies.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
UPDATE 1:45 PM -Roosevelt Island resident Eva B reports:
Starbucks still closed - We are in front of their door and this is what it says

Riverwalk Bar, Nonnos and Fuji are open, as well as the Duane Reade.
Another resident reports that Trellis, Gristedes and China 1 are open too.

UPDATE 2PM - Unconfirmed by RIOC but a reliable source informs me that the Roosevelt Island Tram and Red Bus will be operating by 4 PM today.

UPDATE 3 PM - RIOC confirms that Tram and Red Bus operating by 4 PM today.
We are pleased to note that both Red Bus and Tram service will be restored today at 4:00 PM. We note that due to flooding Red Bus service will not extend to Southpoint Park. The bus will turn around at Sportspark and proceed northbound.

For additional information, please call Public Safety at 212-832-4545. In the event that the phone line is busy, please use the following alternate numbers: 917-541-9156 or

Only use 9-1-1 for true emergencies.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
UPDATE 3:40 PM - RIOC reports that Tram will be free today and tomorrow.


SThia said...

A big thank you to those who opened their stores to serve our island residents. Some of them came from areas of the tri-state area that were hit hard and they still found their way here to help us. Their dedication is to be applauded!

Jesse Webster said...


deetelecare said...

Hey thing you could do a lot better is communicate. There's this new thing called social media and texts....residents could sign up for emergency messages, go to Twitter, etc.

Trevre Andrews said...

Agreed, and tell PSD what is going on. They seem to be a broken record of misinformation or no information.

Terrance said...

Hey Trevor, I didn't see you out there during the storm. While you got to stay home from work, PSD was out there helping people, like my aunt who is on a ventilator, and whose power went out.
Some of you will never give credit where credit is due.

Frank Farance said...

You can sign up for RIOC advisories. On RIOC's home page ( on the very bottom, you'll see a link Advisories, click on that, and the next page will have a link at the top to subscribe. Or you can skip straight to it and send an E-mail to "".

As for "social media", it's mostly useless for this kind of stuff -- very very low signal to noise ratio. Ditto for much of the weather news coverage, exaggerations and hype everywhere. The best info I had on storm monitoring (etc.) was:

(1) "" for official notifications, including if we'd have to evacuate. These notifications can also arrive in text message, recorded message, and/or E-mail (I get all three). This is my main authoritative source. Refresh/reload every hour.

(2) "", click link on flood zone areas and evacuation sites, see "". No need to refresh this map because it doesn't change. However, it is handy to have with other maps/info, such as "If the subway and buses are out, what's the best way to get to an evacuation center?".

(3) "", the main site for other stuff you might need.

(4) "". Incredibly helpful, it's where almost all the weather people get their info, and it's authoritative. Just put in your zip code, and you'll get the next seven days of weather. Right click for a new tab on its hourly weather (where you could have seen 36 hours in advance that the rain/wind were not going to be major issues like (say) Irene was). And on the hurricane warning, you'll find some USEFUL weather products like the Warnings Cone - Static Images (really handy to get a sense of timing), and the Storm Surge Exceedence charts which is a Google Maps app and you can zoom right into Roosevelt Island and get a sense of how high the storm surge might be: 90% likely, 3-5 feet, 50% likely 5-7%, 10% likely 11-13 feet (don't forget to hit the Load Data button). You can refresh/reload the links every couple hours.

(5) NY Times continuing story on the hurricane, for Sandy it was "", just refresh/reload the link every couple hours. This page is a good sanity check on the storm itself and storm predictions.

So with a half dozen or so windows, you can be in the know and manage it all on a tablet, smartphone, or laptop ... and feel less stressed than all the people hyping the storm.

Frank Farance said...

And members of RI CERT (Gwendolyn Ryals and myself) were helping staff the OEM evacuation center at Aviation HS. As I said last year for Irene, these facilities are good and people should consider them if they are out of power or can't (or don't want to) shelter in place. Here's a picture, Gwen on right, me in center.

deetelecare said...

Yes Frank I know all about that. I just don't want the inbox tonnage on RIOC 'advisories' on movies and events. How about this: RIOC putting their advisories on a feed on their website? They should also work with places like Manhattan Park to have MP pick up important advisories on the Building Link system that already exists--that calls me on two phone lines and sends email.

Frank Farance said...

Deetelcare, yes, I've spoken with Mr. Martinez about that. Essentially,

Frank Farance said...

Deetelecare, yes, I agree. I spoke to Mr. Martinez over the summer about having the critical ones also go out over NotifyNYC if you subscribe to zip code 10044. For example, the tram outage due to the NYPD/FDNY rescue drill was distributed via NotifyNYC. In other words, no movie announcements.

Krisse Mansfield said...

Why are grown men and women having a bitch fight over who did what when all via a blog's comment section? Did I stumble on a fanpage for Real Housewives of New Jersey on accident? No wonder all of New York treats Roosevelt Island like it doesn't exist. It's apparently where the whiny adults go to have hissy fits instead of working together to come up with real solutions. Get it together people. SMH.

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Mansfield, I think you've missed the point (although I can understand why you have your impression). In My Opinion, you have anonymous people (sometimes the same actual person with different Aliases) writing a variety of comments that, because we don't know who they are, can easily avoid accountability for what they write. Take for example Terrance who has 9 posts, who likes to aimlessly b*tch ... not griping with actual substance, just b*tchy whining. In Terrance's only attempt to add something constructive (like reporting a different number of patrol officers than the numbers I heard from Mr. Guerra), he declined to share these numbers with us. You'll also see people like Jimmy LaRoche who are rabid defenders of PSD and law enforcement. For example, you can't complain about PSD's performance without Mr. LaRoche demanding the prerequisite that the complainer wear a police uniform before complaining.

My comment was (1) to remind people that we do have a CERT on RI, (2) the evacuation centers should be included in the decision-making. I made similar points with Irene last year. Maybe other residents are interested in volunteering, too, for RI CERT.

As for Terrance's complaint about Mr. Andrews, it seems to me: because PSD did something good at some point, then complaints are off limits. Or maybe because a PSD officer happened to be working that day while Mr. Andrews happened to have the day off, people who are working that day are off limits from complaining about people who are not working that day, regardless of how inefficient PSD works or takes sick days when they aren't sick (possibly not too different than union/HR issues in other organizations). Or maybe you could ask Terrance about the reasoning behind his complaint.

My hunch is that we'd have less of these kind of comments if people had to identify themselves.

Krisse Mansfield said...

We all know who the anonymous posters are - let's not waste our energy on them. They are ridiculously sad, bored people that were clearly nerds in high school and this is their way of feeling powerful. I, however, am not interested in island politics. To be frank with you, I've seen doggie day cares run more effectively and with less noise. Let's focus on providing the folks who are willing and able to act like grown ups some information on how they can help the community in an efficient manner. We have a building full of people at the Octagon that have been proactively asking what they can do to help - yet there's no one there to respond or provide any direction. So in the interest of stopping the cycle of tomfoolery, who do we need to call and/or organize a sit-in at their office in order to get some direction regarding where we can help out on the island? Or should we just go ahead and start a rogue volunteer group and roam the island spreading cheer instead of bitchassness? Eagerly awaiting your reply...

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Mansfield, not sure which problem you are referring to. Assuming it's the power outage issue (I don't know if this is still a problem in the back side of Eastwood), then:

(1) The power problem is with your managing agent, there's not too much we can do to help get the power on, but we can help with other items that provide comfort, e.g., arrange for comfort station, showers, power, heat. If that is your concern, contact me (see below).

(2) To be precise, RI CERT members can't "self-deploy", but we can respond to OEM's and RIOC's/PSD's requests for assistance, e.g., if PSD calls our team chief and says "they need help at Octagon", then we're deployed. I'm sure some members would be happy to help Octagon/Eastwood neighbors.

Regardless of whether or not it is official, Gwen and I are happy to help round up neighbors. Call me on my cell: nine one seven, seven five one, two nine zero zero.

Now if I've misread your concern and it is about the anonymous "high schoolers", then it is helpful when a non-anonymous person (like yourself) speaks out. I ignore much of their baloney, but I try to participate in discussions that inform/help the residents.

Pat Walker said...

Actually, I've been reading this blog for a while, and you Frank seem to be the one who does a whole lot of b*tching. Now, there are times where you are informative and I would hope that you sincerely care about others. But, sometimes your b*tching seems like you have your own agenda.

Frank Farance said...

Pat Walker, I do care about the Island and its residents. I do it with honesty and ethics. I make an effort to inform myself. I volunteer on a regular basis to many Island efforts. So if that is an agenda, then what is wrong with that? (As a side issue, many people and groups have organizing principles, which they call an agenda -- not sure what you find problematic.)

However, the meta-complaining (complaining about complaining), such as Terrance's comment attempting to invalidate Mr. Andrew's complaint, just reeks of problematic aesthetics. So PSD doesn't give info to Person X, but person Y rallies against this complaint. Why? We yet don't know why, but we might infer that Person Y is against sharing information and government transparency (at least, related to PSD). If Person Y were in favor of sharing information (and the information itself is correct), they would recognize Person X has a legitimate concern (and possibly rebut it directly), and they would recognize that both can co-exist: there are good things that PSD does, and there are things that need improvement. But that's not what we have with many of the meta-comments that seek to invalidate or hide complaints.

This is an illustration that applies to many anonymous comments: they reveal a lot about themselves. Maybe over time it will evolve to something better.

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