Friday, January 6, 2012

RIRA President Matt Katz Reports To January Common Council On Roosevelt Island 2012 Issues - Community Benefit Agreement Negotiations With Cornell, 2 RIOC Board Elections, RIRA Election, Main Street Retail & More

You Tube Video of January 2012 RIRA President's Report

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz reports to the RIRA Common Council January 2012 meeting. Mr. Katz discusses RIRA agenda issues for 2012 including:
RIRA Southtown representative Aaron Hamburger continued the discussion regarding the RIOC Board Nomination and Petition process. Mr. Hamburger reported that there are at least 7 candidates, including former RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin, running in the election for 3 expired seats.

You Tube Video of RIOC Board Nomination Discussion

The deadline for submitting Nominating Petitions for the RIOC Board Elections is January 22.

Woman And 3 Children Stuck In Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Elevator For 10 Minutes Yesterday - Residents Having Ongoing Problems With Manhattan Park Elevator Service, Cabins Shake And Doors Take Long Time To Open

 Image of 30 River Road Manhattan Park Elevator Bank from Mark Lyon

Roosevelt Island's Manhattan Park complex has five 21 story building with over 1100 apartments in total. A Manhattan Park resident reports yesterday on elevator service problems at one of those buildings - 20 River Road:
In light of all the elevator problems happenening in the city, residents in 20 River Road (so called luxury building) are getting no answers from management on why their elevators have been out of service off and on since November, forcing tenants to either use the freight elevator that stops at every floor or have the elevators manually operated. When they are working, they shake or take a long time to open. Management doesn't return phone calls or send updates explaining this. DOB's website shows 2 complaints issued against this building for this reason.
It's a matter of time before someone gets hurt by their lackadaisical attitude.
I asked Manhattan Park management for a comment yesterday on the elevator situation but have not heard back yet.

Another Manhattan Park resident adds:
Yes, I live in building 20 as well, and the elevators have been an issue. I  actually had to explain to a woman on my floor that the elevators were out  of order, and she needed to call the Concierge to have them send one up. She was waiting for 15 minutes, and running late for a doctor's appointment, because she had no idea they weren't working. The only reason why I knew, was because my boyfriend left the apartment before me this morning and told me they were out (again). The last time we had this issue I took the stairs down 8 flights, which did not make me happy. If the elevators are out of service, the least management could do is put a sign on each floor indicating such, so tenants aren't standing there wondering why it's not coming. When they are working, the doors close very quickly, and don't have a very accurate sensor, which can cause serious injury if someone is trying to get on when the doors are closing. They start to close before people are even finished getting out... I agree, this isn't something that should be taken lightly, especially in the case of an emergency. 
We constantly have elevator issues in 40 River Rd as well.  There seems to be a downed elevator frequently. 
This morning, I received an update from the original reporter:
just to update that yesterday afternoon they put the elevators back in service and a few hours later a woman and three children were stuck in the elevator for 10 minutes until authorities pried it open. One child became frantic. After that the woman got three calls from ... management, finally they call someone back.
Stay tuned.

UPDATE 6:10 PM - Received the following statement from Manhattan Park Management:
Dear Residents:

The safety of our tenants and their visitors are our primary concern at Manhattan Park. Building management responded immediately to assess the issue at 20 River Road and our elevator contractor and consultants are on site repairing the issue.

First and most important, we would like to ensure those living in and visiting Manhattan Park that the elevators’ safety systems are sound. We have, however, been experiencing issues with the dispatch control system. Although this issue in no way compromises rider safety, we are working as expeditiously as possible to address it and limit any inconvenience it causes.

We have distributed flyers throughout the building informing our tenants of the issue.

In addition to the repairs made in the short-term, we are planning a major rehabilitation to the elevator systems at all of the buildings in Manhattan Park. We expect to begin work later this year.

We regret any inconvenience the elevator system at 20 River Road has caused and encourage our tenants to reach out to building management with any questions or concerns.


Manhattan Park Management

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's Cold Outside So Soccer Being Played Indoors At Sportspark Gym On Roosevelt Island

It may be too cold to play soccer outdoors right now, so some are playing soccer indoors at Roosevelt Island's Sportspark Gym.

You Tube Video of Fubles NYC Soccer at Roosevelt Island Sportspark

More information on indoor soccer at Roosevelt Island Sportspark from Fubles NYC.

Winter's Here, Roosevelt Island Fruit Stand Gone Until Spring - Fear Of Scurvy Outbreak Grips Roosevelt Island?

Received this question from a Roosevelt Island Resident:
The fruit stand by the subway is gone. Does it always disappear at this time of year? I only moved to RI last year, so I don't know whether this is the usual pattern.

I fear an outbreak of scurvy on the island.
Here's the empty space where the Fruit Stand was located.

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez last Tuesday:
Reader asked me today about the Fruit stand being gone from subway area.

Is this for the same reason as last year - license expired and will be back in spring? Or some other reason?

Mr. Martinez replied:
The fruit stand permit ran through December 31, 2011. The vendor may return when the weather improves, say March.
The resident is happy the Fruit Stand will return but worries about health for next few months.
Thanks. It’s comforting to know the fruit will likely return. But in the meantime, I suspect the healthiness of my diet will go down the tubes.
One of the first signs of spring will be the return of the Roosevelt Island Subway Fruit Stand.

RIOC is currently evaluating its street and mobile food vendor permitting process as reported in these previous posts.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee Report - Parking For Disabled, Motogate, Meters and Signage, Vertical Building Patrols, Interaction With Young Adults, Use Of Pepper Spray, Trespassing, Visibility of Public Safety Officers, Filing Complaints, Working With NYPD Officer & More

Pepper Spray Image From PSI EDU For Illustrative Reasons Only

 Below is the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee report to the January 2011 RIRA Common Council.
Committee Chair reported to members in attendance the following: Meeting was scheduled on 11/28/11 with Director Guerra to follow up on several concerns that the committee had expressed during the last meeting in October. Erin Feely-Nahem, Howard Polivy and Chief Guerra attended the meeting. The following minutes reflect the Chair’s verbal report to the committee members in attendance on 11/30/11 of the meeting held on 11/28/11.

Handicap Parking: Discussed and clarified regulations for handicap parking on Roosevelt Island. The two types were specified, NYS and DOT NYC regulations. Clarified the designated area where handicap vehicles are permitted to park on Roosevelt Island. Director Guerra informed me that Public Safety has extended permission for vehicles with hang tags to park in the designated area in front of the post office, which in the past was solely for the use of vehicles with placards or handicapped license plates. Director Guerra did acknowledge that handicap parking, with placards is legal and free on the street, in legal parking areas, but also emphasized that for those handicap vehicles that either have handicap license plates, or placards it is free for them to park on the bottom floor of Motorgate. Procedure for taking advantage of this service requires that the individual request a parking pass from the RIOC office. This free service is not available to individuals who have hang tags. Since the majority of the street parking spaces in North Town are often taken by vehicles with placards, a discussion about having an educational campaign regarding this free service, as a possible solution to the lack of parking in front of Westview.

Discount Parking for Holidays: When I presented the committee’s desire to have some sort of discounted parking, especially during the holidays Director Guerra informed us that the fee for parking in the Motorgate for 24 hours is already $20.00. If Central Parking is called there will be a reduction of that price. The pass can be purchased through Central parking directly by calling the main office @ 212-321`-7500.

Parking meter regulations/signage: When I brought up parking regulations, signage, and possible changes in the present meter policies I was directed to Yvonne “ Evie” Przybyla who was newly hired at RIOC and who has been placed in charge of parking/transportation issues. A part of her duties include reviewing the current meter policies and addressing issues around meters being more uniform throughout the Island. Committee Chair was provided with the email for Ms. Przybyla and will be contacting her to discuss the concerns presented to this committee.

Vertical patrols in WIRE buildings: We discussed PSO visibility in the WIRE buildings with Director Guerra. Director Guerra informed us that in response to an increase in break ins, in June, he had changed his strategy and has increased the number of plain clothes PSO who are assigned to the “hot spots” in the buildings. He stated that crime statistics are down Island wide since this strategy was implemented, and that he may change the strategy in the future, depending on need. He assured us that he has not eliminated the vertical patrols. Director Guerra also mentioned that the number of arrest for trespassing had increased during this period as well. Statistics for the past quarter were requested, which Director Guerra agreed to provide.

Vertical Patrols in Motorgate: Director Guerra mentioned that by utilizing the cameras that are set up on the Island, including the ones at Motorgate’s entrance, they are able to monitor the PSO vertical patrols, ensuring that they are completed efficiently and effectively. He assured us that Vertical Patrols are being conducted regularly.

Officers Interaction with Young Adults: Reports brought to the committee by residents, alleging an increase in the number of incidents during which pepper spray was utilized in the arrest of young adults, or where it was felt that PSO “over reacted” in arrest situations, were discussed. Director Guerra explained that his officers have experienced an increase in the number of youth who act aggressively, resist arrest, and challenge his officers, refusing to comply with their requests. He explained that the number of Officers injured in the line of duty has increased. He stated that Officers when injured on the job becomes eligible for a three day medical leave, which leaves his force short- handed. In an effort to protect his Officers from injury he discourages them from getting in the middle of a physical altercation. During an arrest if a suspect refuses to obey the Officer’s directive, reacts aggressively, or attempts to flee, after verbal warning, he feels that pepper spray is justified. Committee Chair requested Officer Injury statistics, which Director Guerra agreed to furnish.

Trespassing: In response to the feeling of some community members that young adults who are not engaged in criminal activities are getting caught up in trespassing sweeps, he again emphasized that they are not allowed to be in hallways hanging out, even if they live in the buildings. Their leases are for their apartment units only.

PS Officer Visibility: We discussed the concern of some community members that there is a lack of PSO visible presence on the streets and in the PS office during the early morning hours. Director Guerra is aware that when officers are writing their chairs are lowered and that they are not visible behind the desk. RIOC is looking into a solution to this problem.

Working with the CPOP: Director Guerra discussed the relationship between PS and the new CPOP from the 114th. He stated that they are working well together. He described him as a seasoned officer and hopes to develop a relationship with him as close as the one they had shared with Officer Fernandez.

Issues raised by Committee members during the 11/30/11 meeting:
Satisfaction was expressed with the traffic enforcement as provided by Public Safety Officers during the Saturday Farmer’s market.

Some concern still expressed by Roosevelt Landing residents that PSO are not targeting the more dangerous criminals on the Island, instead focusing on more petty issues which involve the teenagers on the Island. Chair reminded members to inform their constituents that if they have issues which they feel were not handled properly, or are unethical, that they should file complaints. Committee member stated that complaint forms have been unavailable at the Public Safety office, when requested. Members were directed to the RIOC office in this case or asked to contact Committee Chair who would obtain form for them.

Update from P.O. Sitaras: 12/6/11
Office Sitaras reported that he continues to patrol the hallways of Roosevelt Landings and on one occasion encountered several youth who lived in the building hanging out. After a lengthy conversation with them, they moved on without the need for a summons. Officer Sitaras did mention that he has been getting complaints from tenants about individuals smoking in the hallways, and has found loose cigar tobacco in the stairway. He stated that he will issue summons or arrest individuals if he catches them smoking in the hallways. He stated that some residents are calling 911 but suggests that for quicker results tenants should contact the Public Safety office. He stated that by the time the 911 call is filtered to him, the violator is gone. Officer Sitaras also stated that crime is down, at least while he is posted on the Island, and that he has had one “snatching” while stationed here, but that there haven’t been any robberies reported while he was on duty. He tries to be visible, with the lights on when he has a car, and visits the youth center to make his face known. His goal is not to instill fear in the youth, but to develop an awareness of his presence, by making his face known. I spoke to Officer Sitaras about the different methods for “taking down” a perpetrator, and his opinion on the use of pepper spray. Officer Sitaras shared that in the police force they are trained in the use of pepper spray. He stated that he feels that it is effective and less harmful than other methods that might be utilized when a perpetrator is resisting arrest. He expressed some apprehension concerning the use of Taser guns because of the potential for self-injury to the perpetrator if they fall down on to the ground after being stunned.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gossip Girl Filming At Roosevelt Island's Coler Goldwater Hospital On Thursday

You Tube Video of Gossip Girl Opening

On Location Vacation Tweets:
#GossipGirl is filming at Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island tomorrow
According to IMDB, Gossip Girl is about:
... New York's Upper East side where the wealthy and connected mingle at benefits and try to deal with their always dramatic love lives, not to mention picking colleges....
More on Gossip Girl from its official site.

Patients May Languish For Years In NYC Hospitals Because No Place Else To Go - Roosevelt Island Goldwater Hospital Patients Will Be Moved In Next Two Years But Not Because Of Cornell Technion Engineering School Says Mayor Bloomberg

The NY Times reported yesterday:

Hundreds of patients have been languishing for months or even years in New York City hospitals, despite being well enough to be sent home or to nursing centers for less-expensive care, because they are illegal immigrants or lack sufficient insurance or appropriate housing.

As a result, hospitals are absorbing the bill for millions of dollars in unreimbursed expenses annually while the patients, trapped in bureaucratic limbo, are sometimes deprived of services that could be provided elsewhere at a small fraction of the cost....
An example from Roosevelt Island's Coler Goldwater Hospital:
... One patient, a former hospital technician from Queens, has lived at the city’s Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island for 13 years because the hospital has no place to send him, Ms. Brown said. The patient, who is in his mid-60s, has been there since an arterial disease cost him part of one leg below the knee and left him in a wheelchair. The city’s public health system declined to provide the names of any long-term patients or make them available for interviews, citing confidentiality laws....
Click here for the entire NY Times article.

This previous post reported on:
... what life is like for some patients at Roosevelt Island's Coler Goldwater Hospital and the attempt by others to obtain independent living outside of the hospital...
and here's a video showing how some patients live at Coler Goldwater.

The NY Post reported:

The city’s hospital system has promised to empty Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island within two years to make way for the new graduate engineering campus envisioned by Mayor Bloomberg — and now it’s scrambling to find places for more than 500 long-term patients....
... The HHC said it will make room at Coler Hospital at the north end of Roosevelt Island, at three other long-term facilities it operates, in community housing, or at new apartments it might build on land at Metropolitan Hospital in East Harlem.

“By the end of 2013, the capacity of Coler, Goldwater North and other HHC long-term care facilities will be adequate to meet the needs of our long-term [Goldwater] patients,” said HHC spokeswoman Evelyn Hernandez.

One person involved in the process said that would require a herculean effort.
“It seems unlikely,” said the source. “At the least, this is a really ambitious target date given how far they’ve gotten so far.”
Click here for the entire NY Post article.

During the Press Conference announcing Cornell/Technion being selected to build the NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering School at the Roosevelt Island Goldwater Hospital campus site, Mayor Bloomberg was asked about what will happen to current patients. Mayor Bloomberg said that the closing of Goldwater Hospital was planned for a long time and had nothing to do with the NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering School being located on Roosevelt Island. Here's what he had to say.

Roosevelt Island Doctor Jack Resnick reported on ways to provide independence and treatment for some patients at home rather than in hospitals in this previous post.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight 8 PM At Good Shepherd Community Center - Come Learn What Is Going On And Add Your Voice To The Process - State Senator Jose Serrano Constituent Office Hours Today Too From 4 - 7 PM

You Tube Video of RIRA December President Report

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting later today, 8 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). As always, prior to the start of each meeting there is a public session in which any resident can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern. The Agenda for the meeting is here.

One issue to be discussed at tonight's meeting is the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Nominating Election process. The election is scheduled for February 7. Click here for more information from RIRA on the RIOC election process and additional info from previous posts.

Roosevelt Island State Senator Jose Serrano's staff will also be holding their monthly constituent office hours today.

Senator Serrano's Roosevelt Island Constituent Hours! 
Serrano Roosevelt Island Constituent Hours*
Wednesday, January 4, 2012  
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
591 Main Street 
Roosevelt Island, NY 10044 
Meet with Senator Serrano's staff to discuss any concerns or suggestions you may have to improve your community.

*Constituent Services are also available Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, in Senator Serrano's District Office at 157 East 104th Street.
If you have any questions to ask Senator Serrano's staff or are in need of any assistance that may require the help of your elected representative stop on by RIOC HQ. Also, bring photocopies of any paperwork related to your situation so that the Serrano staff can effectively and efficiently address the issue.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Barge Of Effluence - East River Honey Boat Passing Roosevelt Island Carrying Liquid Sludge

We see boats passing Roosevelt Island all the time on the East River. Blogger The Newtown Pentacle reports on one.
... Pictured above is the DEP Sludge Vessel M/V Newtown Creek. A veteran, she was was laid down by the Wiley Manufacturing Co. in 1967. Just under 324 foot long, M/V Newtown Creek can carry 102,000 cubic feet of cargo and weighs in at 2,557 gross tons.

The largest vessels, M/V Newtown Creek and M/V North River, are semiautomated motor vessels with more than twice the capacity of the original sludge vessels....
... from
Presently, NYC-DEP Marine Section uses these three sludge vessels for the transportation of liquid sludge from wastewater treatment plants without dewatering capabilities.

The DEP people actually refer to these ships as “Honey Boats”, by the way, or at least some of the ones that I’ve interacted with have.

It’s gallows humor, the refined and thickened sludge that these vessels carry does not have the appearance and seeming viscosity of honey, rather it is said to be darkly colored and resemble pea soup....
Click here for entire post from The Newtown Pentacle

Roosevelt Island November Public Safety Blotter - Unleashed Dog, No Dog Carrier On Tram, Illegal Eviction, All Building Mailboxes Left Open, Wrestling Video, Car On Fire, Marijuana Possession, Public Urination, Stolen Property & More

Below is the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Monthly Incident Blotter for November 2011. The Monthly Blotter Reports are a bit more detailed than the Daily Public Safety Reports included every day and archived on the middle sidebar column but they report on incidents 4- 8 weeks old. Included in the November Blotter are these incidents:
  • ANIMAL NUISANCE 11/13/2011 Opp 645 Main St Report of unleashed dog at location.  Upon arrival dog found and taken to PSD.  Owner contacted and came in to retrieve the dog.
  • 11/26/2011 300 Main St Passenger attempted to gain entry with her dog who was not contained in an appropriate sized dog carrier.  Passenger was denied entry. (On Tram - added by me)
  • EVICTION11/11/2011 20 River Rd Female victim advised male subject illegally evicted her from the apartment she rents from him.  Subject changed the locks.  Victim states and proves she has lived in residence for more than 30 days.  Subject was advised to allow victim to enter residence as he can be arrested for illegal eviction.  Subject complied and provided victim with a key.  Victim states she will move out shortly. 
  • 11/7/2011 510 Main St Reporter turned in a photocopied sheet of paper with Islam references written on it.  Search of area for any suspicious activity or persons yielded negative results. 
  • 11/27/2011 580 Main St All mailboxes observed open at location.  Postal Office contacted to correct the condition. 
  • 11/15/2011 400 Main St Report of a group of youths involved in a physical altercation at location.

    Upon investigation youths advised they were shooting a wrestling video for You Tube.  Youths were advised if this behavior continues they will receive summonses for disorderly conduct.
  • 11/29/2011 R/O 900 Main St Car on fire at location.  FDNY on scene to put out the fire.  No injuries to report.  
  • 11/9/2011 R/O 20 River Rd ARREST  Two male subjects observed at location in possession of marijuana.  Subjects were taken into custody issued summonses and released.  Marijuana vouchered at the 114 Precinct.
  • 11/12/2011 546 Main St ARREST  Male subject observed in stairwell of location with a bag of marijuana.  Subject taken into custody, issued summons and released.  Marijuana vouchered at 114 Precinct.
  • 11/21/2011 F/O 645 Main St ARREST  Male subject found in possession of stolen property.  Subject was taken into custody and transported to the 114 Precinct for arrest processing.
  • 11/22/2011 560 Main St ARREST  Male subject observed urinating in public.  Subject was taken into custody, issued summons and released.
  • 11/27/2011 F/O 425 Main St ARREST  Two male subjects observed at location smoking a marijuana cigarette in public view as well as possession of a zip lock bag of marijuana.  Both subjects taken into custody and transported to Manhattan Central Booking for arrest processing
Below is the RIOC November Public Safety Blotter

RIOC Public Safety November Blotter

Click here for the Roosevelt Island Public Safety statistics for 2011 thru November.

Still no comment from RIOC or the 114th NYPD precinct on whether a gun was present at any time prior to the arrest of Child School student during December 13 incident. Child School denies a gun was present but there have been reports from others who claim otherwise.

Stunning Olya Picture of Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital - Renwick Ruins Will Not Be Removed For New Cornell/Technion School

Roosevelt Island photographer and Photo Blogger at Olya's Urban Journal Olya Turcihin shares this stunning and spooky image of the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital in Southpoint Park and the eerie sky above it.

Image of Renwick Ruin Smallpox Hospital From Olya's Urban Journal

Did anyone notice that the Aerial View Video Rendering for the Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion Engineering School Campus did not include the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital. A reader of this Beta Beat article noticed and was concerned that the Smallpox Hospital ruins would be lost to make way for the new school.
yes, definitely referring to the SmallPox Hospital .. my favorite part of any drive down the FDR
Image from this You Tube Video Artist Rendering of Cornell/Technion (Renwick Ruins Should Be To Right of Campus Pictured)

There is no need to worry that the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital will be removed for the Cornell/Technion School. The Southpoint Park Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital is not part of the current Goldwater Hospital site that is the planned location for the Cornell/Technion School. Below is aerial view of new Southpoint Park with Renwick Ruins on right.

More on Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital and recently restored Southpoint Park.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Deadline For Submitting Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds Application To RIOC Tomorrow, January 3 at 5 PM - Get Those Applications In!!!!

 Pile Of Money Image From Richwealthpig

If you are a Roosevelt Island 501 (c) 3 or 4 not for profit organization seeking Public Purpose Funds from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) be sure to submit your application before 5 PM tomorrow in order to be considered for funding.

More information on Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds available from RIOC and from this previous post.

Application is here.

Good Luck!!!!