Saturday, January 28, 2012

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Coro Fellows Visit Roosevelt Island, Motorgate Lights Out, New Tram Red Bus Stop Waiting For Spring and Public Safety Officer Appointed to NY Fire Department

You Tube Video of Coro Fellows

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I hope you enjoyed our moderate snowfall last weekend. With the mild weather we’ve been having, it was a nice – and brief – reminder that it really is winter.

Coro Fellows Visit

I was honored to spend last Friday morning talking with young people in the Coro Fellows program who came to Roosevelt Island as part of their case study on our Main Street retail corridor. With the program’s group interview format, we had a lively discussion about RIOC and leadership in the public affairs arena. I talked to them about RIOC’s role in helping commerce thrive on the Island, and shared our unique insight into the interplay between the City and State. These young people are a testament to the bright future for civic leadership in New York.

Light Outage in the Motorgate Staircases

Earlier this week there was a lighting outage in the staircases at Motorgate, which has been known to happen during bad weather. This time the culprit was water from melting snow. Electricians are working to replace the panel that feeds the staircases and should finish the job next week. In the meantime, we have increased Public Safety patrols at Motorgate. Ultimately, we’re planning to replace all the lights at the facility with LEDs, which should provide a long-term solution.

Red Bus Tram Station Stop

As part of RIOC’s goal to improve Red Bus service, we created a new bus stop on the side of the Tram station. While the bus has been stopping at the station for the past year, the bus stop itself, as you probably noticed, is not yet complete.

The new bus stop will include a shelter, street lighting and ADA compliant crosswalks. We are also adding a sidewalk along the power plant and angled parking spaces for Tram employees.

While we are in the design and build stage of the process, we cannot move forward with construction due to the cold weather. We expect the new stop to be completed in the summer. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

Public Safety Department officer moves to FDNY

Congratulations to PSD Officer Edgar Moretta, who was recently appointed to serve as a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department.

Officer Moretta admirably served the Island for one year and was a certified EMT.
We thank him for his service and wish him well.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fantastic New York City East River Sunset As Seen By Olya From Roosevelt Island Tram This Evening

Did you see some of the incredible colors in the sky late this afternoon and early evening? Roosevelt Island photographer Olya Turcihin did and shares this photo adding:

tonight's sunset from the tramway
Image From Olya Turcihin

More great photos from Ms. Turcihin at these previous posts and Ms. Turcihin's photo blog Olya's Urban Journal.

Going Out Tonight? Coming Home Not So Easy - No Queens Bound Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Service From Manhattan This Weekend Starting Friday 10 PM - Tram and Red Bus Service Running Until 5 AM During F Train Service Disruption

If you are coming home to Roosevelt Island tonight after 10 PM be aware that there will be no Queens bound F Train subway service from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island starting tonight at 10 PM. Queens bound Roosevelt Island subway service from Manhattan is suspended thru 5 AM Monday. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
The MTA has advised the following:

No Queens Bound

F-Train Service

From 10:00 p.m. - Friday, January 27th to 5:00 a.m. - Monday, January 30th

Tram and Red Bus Service will run until 5:00 a.m. during these service disruptions.

For more information please visit


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More weekend Roosevelt Island subway information available from the MTA.

Broken For 10 Years, Roosevelt Island Motorgate North Elevator About To Be Fixed Says RIOC - Work Commences April 2012 - Staircase Lights Should Be Working By Next Week

Reported earlier this week about a hazardous condition of lights not working at the Motorgate Parking Garage. Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres explains what happened:

Earlier this week there was a lighting outage in the staircases at Motorgate, which has been known to happen during bad weather. This time the culprit was water om melting snow. Electricians are working to replace the panel that feeds the staircases and should finish the job next week. In the meantime, we have increased Public Safety patrols at Motorgate. Ultimately, we’re planning to replace all the lights at the facility with LEDs, which should provide a long-term solution.
Responding to the original post, a reader comments:
they will never fix it.. Oh maybe they will the same time they fix the elevator at the far end of the parking garage.. near 40 river road..
Image of Broken North Motorgate Parking Elevator

and another reader asks:
Have they fixed the escalator in Motorgate yet?
Image Of Broken Motorgate Escalator

Well, hold on to your hats because the Motorgate North Elevator is about to get replaced according to a resolution approved at the January 2012 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors meeting (Video web cast here).

As shown in the video below, RIOC Chief Financial Officer Steve Chironis explains that after 7 years of RIOC negotiations with Motorgate Garage partner Roosevelt Island Associates a/k/a Manhattan Park (Manhattan Park owns 39%, RIOC 61%), a tentative agreement has been reached to replace the Motorgate North elevators damaged by water infiltration and out of service for approximately 10 years. Mr. Chironis reports the agreement calls for sharing the approximately $575,000 cost to totally replace the North elevators in the same percentage as ownership with RIOC paying $384,000 and Roosevelt Island Associates $190,000. At Roosevelt Island Associates request/insistence, included in the cost to RIOC will be payment of about $89,000 to correct original defects in Motorgate North Elevator design. According to Mr. Chironis, work will commence in April 2012.

You Tube Video of Motorgate North Elevator Replacement

RIOC Director David Kraut said that over many years Roosevelt Island Associates had demonstrated recalcitrance in maintaining and upkeeping these elevators at their own expense though he still voted to approve the agreement.

Mr. Chironis mentioned that a stumbling block in the negotiation to fix the Motorgate North Elevator has been that Roosevelt Island Associates wanted RIOC to fix the Motorgate escalator. I am not sure what that is about but RIOC has wanted to remove the escalator for a long time.

Mr. Chironis added that Manhattan Park is also replacing the elevators in their building.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Are You Blue Roosevelt Island? Tatiana's Perspective

Roosevelt Island photographer Tatiana Muzica's blue perspective on Roosevelt Island.

More blue pictures from Ms. Muzica.

Are Pooping Pigeons Gone From Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station? A Cleaner Subway Entrance, What Happened - Sonic Repellent System?

Image of Cleaner Roosevelt Island Subway Entrance Ceiling Today

Have you noticed the Roosevelt Island F Train Subway station entrance is much cleaner recently? There are less pigeons, less pigeon poop and the netting on the ceiling has been removed.

Do you remember what the Roosevelt Island F Train Subway used to look like - this:


Today, the ceilings are now relatively clean of pigeon poop and the disgusting netting is gone.

I've asked the MTA what was done to reduce the pooping pigeon problem and will report back when they answer.

Similar pooping pigeon problems plague neighborhoods throughout New York City.

You Tube Video of Pix News Pigeon Poop Patrol

The Bronx Times reports that at the Pelham Bay Subway Station the MTA:
... is installing systems to deter pigeons, such as spikes, repellent gel and a sonic repellent system. It also pledges to clean all pigeon droppings at the station and will install a “Do Not Feed the Pigeons”... sign.
Despite the cleaner Roosevelt Island subway station, the pigeons are not gone. I saw one up in the rafters this morning - just hanging out waiting for.....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hazardous Condition - Lights Out At Roosevelt Island Motorgate Parking Garage, When Will They Be Fixed and Turned On?

The following Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports indicate problems with lighting at the Motorgate Parking Garage:
7:00 AM 01/23/12 - 7:00 AM 01/24/12
Hazardous Condition - At the Motorgate Garage. Lights out. Increased patrols. Referred to Central Parking personnel and to RIOC Engineering Dept.

7:00 AM 01/21/12 - 7:00 AM 01/22/12
Lights Out in Motorgate Garage - Referred to Central Parking and to RIOC Facilities. Increased patrols in area.

7:00 AM 01/20/12 - 7:00 AM 01/21/12
Hazardous Condition - Multiple lights out in Motorgate. Motorgate personnel notified.
Residents have reported that Motorgate lights being out is a constant problem, Yesterday, I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for an explanation of the Motorgate Lighting problem and an estimate as to when it will be fixed. Will update when answer received.

An archive of Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Reports is listed on Roosevelt Islander middle sidebar.

UPDATE 1/27 - RIOC President Leslie Torres explains what happened with Motorgate Lights here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Roosevelt Island Flag Down At Blackwell House Turnaround This Morning

While walking towards the subway this morning at about 7:30 AM, Roosevelt Island 360 observed the American Flag laying on top of bushes at the Blackwell Turnaround and reports:

Flag down needs fixing

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Report for 7:00AM 01/23/12- 7:00 AM 01/24/12 notes:
Condition - At Blackwell House. The flag is down. Corrected by RIOC Grounds personnel.
Later in day, around noon, the Flag was removed from bushes but still not back on Pole.

Verdant Power Gets Approval To Proceed With Roosevelt Island East River Turbine Project - Comprehensive Green Energy Plan For Roosevelt Island Needed Says Former RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin

You Tube Video Of Verdant Power East River Energy Project

An update on previous posts regarding Verdant Power Roosevelt Island East River Tidal Energy project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced yesterday:
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today issued its first pilot project license for a tidal energy project located in New York City’s East River.

The project, owned by Verdant Power and known as the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project, is 1,050-kilowatts and uses the East River’s natural tidal currents to generate electricity. Turbine generator units are mounted on the riverbed and capture energy from the tidal flow. The pilot license issued to Verdant Power is for 10 years.

“Issuing a pilot license for an innovative technology is a major step in the effort to help our country meet our renewable energy goals,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. “FERC’s pilot process is doing what it should: allow for exploration of new renewable technologies while protecting the environment.”

FERC developed the pilot license process in 2008 to allow developers to test new hydrokinetic technologies, to determine appropriate sites for these technologies and to confirm the technologies’ environmental effects without compromising FERC’s oversight....
According to Green Tech Media:
... About ten years in the making, the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project is owned by Verdant Power and looks to mount turbines on the riverbed and use tidal currents to generate about a megawatt of electricity. The project will use up to 30 of Verdant's turbines, installed in stages.

The license allows Verdant Power to build out the RITE Project and to commercially deliver the energy generated by the turbines to local customers. Earlier phases of the project involved prototype testing from 2002 to 2006 and demonstration from 2006 to 2008. During the demonstration period, Verdant operated six full-scale turbines and delivered 70 megawatt-hours of energy to two end users in 9,000 turbine-hours of operation with no fouling or damage to the turbines from debris....
The RITE two end users were the Motorgate parking garage and Gristedes supermarket.

A few days prior to yesterday's Verdant RITE Project announcement, former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director Jonathan Kalkin shared these ideas regarding future Roosevelt Island energy usage:
Roosevelt Island needs a comprehensive green energy plan. The Island has grappled with many issues that threaten the purpose and mission of this place. Energy and how we use it is really something that we have saved for another day while some larger issues were addressed. However I believe we have reached a moment and an opportunity where we can dramatically change the lives of every resident on the Island. Long term affordable housing has been an issue on this Island since the Mitchell-Lama clock has started ticking. However, a long term affordable housing plan will not be able to overcome the reality that we heat, cool, and power our homes in an inefficient way.This is also bad for the environment and thanks to modern solutions completely unnecessary. This creates the scenario of an affordable home without affordable power. A person should not lose their home because they can’t afford their electric bill.

Currently, most buildings on Roosevelt Island use electricity to provide heat. This system uses electricity to heat a coil in your unit which then heats your apartment. At first this sounds like a good method, but it is very inefficient. In fact it is probably one of the most expensive and inefficient ways to heat your apartment. It is basically just like heating your apartment using a hair dryer. There are three major goals when using energy. First is to waste the least amount of energy to heat, light, and cool your home. The second goal is to do it in the cleanest way possible. The final goal, hopefully in pursuit of the first two goals, results in a lower utility bill. The good news is that on Roosevelt Island we have options to achieve all three goals.

We can achieve part of the first goal by producing our own energy. The hospitals on the island produce their own heat via the steam plant,

Image of Roosevelt Island Steam Plant From Michael Minn

the Octagon produces heat and electricity via a fuel cell and even Motorgate has become partially independent by using tidal energy. Most of the other buildings rely on electric heat and are at the mercy of whatever rate Con Edison charges for electricity. In the 1970’s electricity was cheap and so this may have made sense at the time. Now, electricity prices in New York are some of the most expensive in the country and having electric heat is the equivalent of taking showers with bottled water. The most efficient way to meet our energy goals would be to have a central energy source for the Island. Or, we could adopt the same method as the Octagon fuel cell and each building or set of buildings could have its own energy plant near the building.

The Octagon, A Case Study for Fuel Cells in Multi-Family Buildings from Bill Kavanagh on Vimeo.

The second way we can reduce energy waste would be to find another way to heat and cool our homes. One method that has worked in New York and in Europe is called district energy. This approach uses hot and cold water in pipes distributed throughout the building to warm and cool the apartments. This hot and cold water is generated at a centrally located plant that supplies several buildings.

The next step to achieve these goals would be to combine our heat and power production (CHP). Most power plants produce a large amount of excess heat during electricity production. Most of this heat is usually wasted, but if you distribute it throughout the island you now are producing electricity and powering your lights, perhaps running your air conditioning (if not using chilled water to do so) and heating your apartment mostly with the excess heat usually wasted in energy production.

You Tube Video on District Heating

Now this all seems very simple and will benefit both landlords and tenants and RIOC so why now and why hasn’t this come about before? Well, there are several things needed to move this forward. If we are using a distributed model where all the buildings have an energy source like the Octagon then each building can move at its own pace. However, the most efficient way would have some cooperation with RIOC and hopefully the new university that is coming to the Island. The good news is that Cornell has shown an interest in a green energy plan for the Island in their proposal and the RFP's 100 million dollar infrastructure plan talks about the natural gas and other energy changes that would be needed to sustain a world class university. This kind of infrastructure is crucial because we lack the natural gas supply to move this kind of project forward.

RIOC controls most of the land that can make this possible. The steam plant’s land is controlled by RIOC and this could be a great opportunity for RIOC to fulfill its development mission and affordable housing preservation goals at the same time. The university could simply provide the infrastructure and oversight of the project and would have to make just minor changes to its natural gas expansion plans. This energy plan could be supplemented by renewable and experimental projects (Solar, Geothermal) from the university in addition to our own like tidal energy.

Even if a university did not come to the Island, we should not ignore this opportunity. The landlords want to reduce their energy costs. Tenants need this to happen to preserve affordability. And, RIOC has the chance to fulfill its mission and purpose on the island. This is our moment to lead.
According to Fast Company Co Design, the Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island campus will have a net zero energy footprint:
... Net-zero energy would be achieved by sipping power from a 150,000-square-foot photovoltaic array (the largest in NYC, the architects say) and geothermal wells. It would also draw on passive heating and cooling strategies. “The [zig-zagging] layouts have to do with harvesting daylight and mitigating heat gain,” SOM partner Roger Duffy says. A caveat: The net-zero goal would be confined to the campus’s academic architecture. That’s because, as SOM’s Colin Koop explains, PVs aren’t efficient enough to generate adequate energy for proposed housing units and a hotel. Those structures would earn LEED Silver certification....
Proposed Cornell Energy Usage Image From Fastcodesign

The Cornell Chronicle adds:
... The campus's planned solar array will generate 1.8 megawatts at daily peak -- the largest such array in New York City. A four-acre geothermal well field -- composed of deep-earth wells -- exceeds any current geothermal heating system in New York City....

... the campus will take full advantage of power from the sun. It has been designed to face solar south, and its buildings will be situated to avoid shading each other. Electrical power from a fuel cell will further reduce the impact of the campus on the supply-limited electric grid.

The structures will be heated and cooled by a central, geothermal heat pump system, which provides heat more efficiently than boilers or electricity. Heat generated by the fuel cell will also be gleaned to supplement the non-academic campus needs, for added economy and energy savings.

The geothermal system -- an array of 400 wells spread out over four acres -- will use 500-foot deep holes to extract heat from the earth to warm buildings in the winter. During the summer, the system will transfer excess heat from inside the buildings back into the ground to provide air conditioning....
Roosevelt Island may be leading the way for clean, affordable energy.

UPDATE 6:30 PM - On the Verdant RITE project, DNA Info adds:
... Those six turbines produced energy that powered a Gristedes and a parking garage on Roosevelt Island. It has not yet been determined what the expanded grid of turbines will power, Taylor said, suggesting that some of it could power electric car stations inside Roosevelt Island's parking garages.

He also is looking forward to collaborating on research and design with faculty from Cornell University's new tech campus coming to Roosevelt Island. He's already had discussions with the school, he said.
Click here for entire DNA Info article.

UPDATE 2/2 - Roosevelt Island resident Trevre Andrews sends in this illustration of NYC Power Consumption.

According to Modi Research Group:
The map represents the total annual building energy consumption at the block level (zoom levels 11-15) and at the taxlot level (zoom levels 16-18) for New York City, and is expressed in kilowatt hours (k Wh) per square meter of land area. The data comes from a mathematical model based on statistics, not private information from utilities, to estimate the annual energy consumption values of buildings throughout the five boroughs. To see the break down of the type of energy being used, for which purpose and in what quantity, hover over or click on a block or taxlot.
Click here for the interactive map and Roosevelt Island power consumptions statistics.

Monday, January 23, 2012

RIOC Does Not Want You To Have Full and Timely Information About Roosevelt Island Public Safety Events - Why?

Surveillance Image From Hawkinspi

Reported previously on the refusal of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to provide timely and full reports concerning Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incidents. The problem continues. For example, last week I sent the following request to RIOC's Press Spokesperson (RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra is no longer permitted to respond to press inquiries):
I am following up on my inquiry regarding the 1/3- 1/4 unlawful surveillance arrest.

Please advise what was the nature of the unlawful surveillance.

Also, please provide additional details as to what happened regarding these incidents from the 1/18 - 1/19 daily public safety report.

Malfunction Con Edison Transformer - At 560 Main Street. FDNY shut off the power to it. Con Edison notified.

Investigation - At Lighthouse Park. Complaint against NYPD K-9 Training.

Oil Spill - At R.I. Bridge walkway. Corrected by Dept of Bridges personnel. No injuries.
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
as we agreed to a while back, all the detail I can provide you with is time, location, and information about whether or not someone was injured. For everything else, you'll need to go through a FOIL request.
I responded to the Press Spokesperson copying RIOC Senior Staff and RIOC Directors:
Nothing was agreed to that precludes RIOC staff from providing additional information about Roosevelt Island Public Safety incidents in a timely and complete manner.

By requiring FOIL requests to be submitted for such simple questions regarding particular events which do not involve any individual or personal privacy interests merely increases the perception of many residents in the Roosevelt Island community that RIOC Staff is attempting to hide unpleasant or embarrassing incidents from becoming public.

Why is it necessary to FOIL what type of complaint was made about the NYPD K9 training at Octagon, what happened with the oil spill at RI Bridge Walkway and the Con Ed Transformer issue? Also, why won't RIOC provide further details about the unlawful surveillance arrest mentioned below or the Public Safety Officer who for no apparent reason crashed into 2 parked cars in front of PS/IS 217 recently.

There has been speculation that the officer may have been texting while driving. By providing timely and accurate information, RIOC will prevent unfounded rumors from spreading throughout the community. I find it difficult to understand why RIOC does not understand this simple concept.

I know this is not your decision but RIOC staff can easily provide this information without requiring any FOIL process. To do otherwise, only contributes to the appearance that RIOC staff is deliberately hiding information from the public.
 I also asked RIOC:
The RIOC December Public Safety Blotter reports on the 12/13 Child School Gun incident as follows:

12/13/2011 566 Main St NYPD ARREST Male student threatened staff with a gun and fled the scene.  Male was apprehended by NYPD and taken into custody.  Parents notified and on scene.

Does this report confirm that there was a gun present during the incident or that the student only claimed to have a gun and did not in fact have one? Also, why is this categorized as a Juvenile Related Incident? According to RIOC's statement, the student was 18.
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
blotter doesn't confirm anything, just says there was a threat. It was categorized as a juvenile incident because it  happened in a school and psd did not know the student was 18.

Attention all Teens and Parents- Free Fitness Classes Offered By Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Cardio, Dance, Stretching and Yoga - 7 PM Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

New Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Opening Soon And Agreements With Existing Stores To Remain In Place Says RIOC President During January Board Meeting

RIOC President Leslie Torres provided the report below to the January 2012 Roosevelt Island Board of Directors Meeting. Ms. Torres oral report was similar to previously published written report though Ms. Torres did add some additional information about the future leasing of Roosevelt Island's Main Street retail store corridor. According to Ms. Torres, Main Street Master Leaseholder Hudson/Related principal David Kramer assured her that:

... there are stores in the pipeline that should be opening soon and other agreements with existing stores to remain in place...
Also, according to Ms. Torres, the FDR/Louis Kahn Memorial Boondoggle at the southern tip of Southpoint Park is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2012. Makes me ill every time I see this ugly, horrid concrete mausoleum from the Tram defacing the tip of Southpoint Park.

The RIOC President Report to January Board of Directors meeting:

You Tube Video of RIOC President Report to January 2012 Board of Directors Meeting

Here's a copy of the Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Agreement and current rents for existing tenants as of August 2011.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Roosevelt Island Sidewalks and Roads Cleared Of Snow But Not Roosevelt Island Bridge Pedestrian Walkway - Whose Responsibility, RIOC or NYC Department Of Transportation

 Image of Snow Covered Roosevelt Island Bridge Walkway Today

Following Saturday's snow, the sidewalks and roads of Roosevelt Island were mostly cleared the same day

but the Roosevelt Island Bridge pedestrian walkway had not been shoveled as of this afternoon.

 Image of Snow Covered Roosevelt Island Bridge Walkway Today

The snowy pathway was slippery this afternoon so be careful if you are walking on it.

I believe responsibility for removing snow from the Roosevelt Island Bridge is not with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) but with the NYC Department of Transportation.