Saturday, March 24, 2012

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Roosevelt Island Increased Con Ed Gas Service Plans For Cornell Arrival, FEMA Reimbursement For Hurricane Irene Repairs and Preventive Measures, Emergency Preparedness Workshop & Outdoor Field Permits

March 21 RIOC Ops Committee Discussion of Con Ed Plans (video/audio out of Sync)

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I want to wish you a happy beginning to the spring season. It’s a wonderful time to get outside, to take advantage of the warmer weather and the longer days, and to be reminded of what a beautiful place Roosevelt Island is to live and work.

Discussions about Gas for the Island

RIOC is in on-going discussions with Con Edison about their plans to supply increased gas services to Roosevelt Island with the arrival of the Cornell-Technion campus. We will be working with Con Edison to develop the best strategy for providing gas service for the long-term future.

FEMA Reimbursement for Irene Repairs and Preventative Measures

As you all remember, last summer Roosevelt Island weathered Hurricane Irene. Earlier in 2011, RIOC underwent companywide FEMA training so that when storms and other potential disasters strike, we would be able to execute FEMA’s emergency management command procedures. That’s exactly what we did during Irene to minimize damages, and as a result we are eligible to receive reimbursement dollars from FEMA to help cover the cost of repairs after the storm. The process takes an estimated six months from the date of reimbursement submission.

Additionally FEMA will help cover mitigation costs, providing reimbursement for the preventative measures that RIOC plans to take in order to limit losses and damages during future emergencies. We are working to identify potential weak spots on the Island and then we will make the necessary repairs in order to ensure that our residents and properties are safe. For example, we are currently assessing plans to shore up the Seawall – a project that will be reimbursed, in part, by FEMA because RIOC Staff completed their preparedness training last year.

Emergency Preparedness Workshop

On a related note, State Senator José M. Serrano and the American Red Cross in Greater New York are sponsoring a free workshop designed to prepare individuals and families for emergencies on the Island. The event is Friday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Community Center and it’s co-sponsored by Council Member Jessica Lapin and Assembly Member Micah Kellner. Attendees will learn how to create a family disaster plan, build and maintain a supply kit, and keep loved ones safe and informed during times of disaster. For more information and to RSVP, please call the District Office at (212) 828-5829.

Dr. May Edward Chinn Play

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Dr. May Edward Chinn earlier this month at the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance. The play told the inspirational story of Dr. Chinn, a pioneer in cervival cancer research and treatment who broke barriers as the first African-American woman to graduate from Bellevue Hospital Medical College and the first to intern at Harlem Hospital. It was a terrific show and a poignant way to celebrate Women’s History Month!

Spring Season Begins for Outdoor Sports Fields

The weekend of March 31-April 1 marks the opening of the spring season for our outdoor fields. To apply for a permit, visit or contact
The video discussion at top is of March 21 RIOC Operations Committee meeting (full audio web cast of meeting is here - Con Ed discussion starts at 2 hour 32 minute 45 second mark). VP of Operations Fernando Martinez briefed the RIOC Board Directors on early stage plans of Con Ed for possible increased gas usage on Roosevelt Island with the development of new Cornell Technion campus. Video is missing last minute and half of discussion.

One Steppe At A Time - A Roosevelt Island Resident Shares Her Peace Corps Experience In Kazakhstan Sunday Afternoon At Gallery RIVAA - New Exhibit of Buddhist Mandalas Opening Today At Octagon Gallery Too

From Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA:
One "Steppe" at a Time
An Islander's Peace Corps Experience in Kazakhstan
Sunday, March 25, 2012

R.I. resident Rebecca Dougherty shares her experiences serving in Kazakhstan.
Sounds like an interesting event. Come listen to Ms. Dougherty's Peace Corps adventures , enjoy the art, time with your friends and meet some of your neighbors you don't currently know.

Last week Gallery RIVAA celebrated its 11th Anniversary. Roosevelt Island resident David Stone attended and shares this brief tour of the festivities.

You Tube Video of Gallery RIVAA Vernissage 11 Crowd Scene from David Stone

There's also a new exhibit at the Octagon Gallery (888 Main Street) - a collection of Buddhist Mandalas from Nepal opening today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Roosevelt Island Emergency Preparedness Workshop Tonight 6 PM Sponsored By State Senator Jose Serrano and American Red Cross - Learn What To Do and Be Ready

Just a reminder that Roosevelt Island's State Senator Jose Serrano will be conducting an Emergency Preparedness workshop tonight, 6 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center.

I am advised that Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin and Assembly Member Micah Kellner will be in attendance as well.

More information on tonight's Roosevelt Island Emergency Preparedness Workshop available at this previous post.

Roosevelt Island Kayaking And Rowing In The East River May Soon Be Available - NY Rowing Association Wishes To Set Up Boat Club On Roosevelt Island

A post from way back in March of 2008 asked:
... Wouldn't it be great if Roosevelt Island could get a boat house to launch kayaks! From an earlier Roosevelt Islander post:
Several years ago I inquired of RIOC about the possibility of a Kayak launch here and was told that the currents were much too strong to safely permit. But others with practical experience of such matters advised that with proper guidance a kayak launch could readily be created on Roosevelt Island....
Well, hold on to your oars and paddles because Roosevelt Island may just get a boat house and seasonal dock to launch kayaks and boats into the East River this spring/summer. The New York Rowing Association current lease on the Harlem River is ending.  They are looking to open a new facility right here on Roosevelt Island just south of the Oil Dock Pier underneath the Queensboro Bridge and presented a proposal to the March 21 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee meeting (audio webcast of meeting is here). The RIOC Board members expressed approval for the idea of the Boat House and program but requested additional information from the NY Rowing Association before they give final approval which they hope to be able to do within 2-3 weeks.

Here's what happened at the meeting.

More on this issue to come.

Here's what it is like rowing around Manhattan.

UPDATE 9:20 PM - Earlier this afternoon, I sent the following inquiry to RIOC Director Sal Ferrera, President Leslie Torres, VP of Operations Fernando Martinez and the other resident RIOC Board Directors:
I am preparing a post on the March 21 NY Rowing Association presentation at RIOC OPS meeting.  The NY Rowing Association web site indicates that Sal Ferrera is a member of their Board of Trustees. Click here for info. Is that true?

If so, was that ever disclosed to RIOC Staff or Directors. I don't recall that it was mentioned during the meeting?

Is Sal being a member of the organization's Board of Trustees relevant to RIOC whether or not to approve the NY Rowing Association permit/license/lease?

Please let me know if anyone wishes to comment for Roosevelt Islander Online.

Thank you.
RIOC Director Sal Ferrera responds:
In response to your email, I am a member of the NYRA board and Vince Paparo is a member of The Child School board.

The Rowing association has been a wonderful addition to our co curricular program, when they wanted to relocate to RI , I felt the community and the Child School will benefit. Issuing a one year provisional permit will allow our board to evaluate the program.

I remained silent during the presentation and discussion and did not try to curry favor. Our Operations committee did a fine job in asking relevant questions
UPDATE 11:15 PM - Received the following response from RIOC's spokesperson:
The discussion and presentation about a potential rowing launch site under the Ed Koch bridge was at an Operations subcommittee meeting and Sal is not on that subcommittee.

Additionally, if any Board vote is taken concerning the NYRA, Sal intends to recuse himself from voting on the issue.
So far, no response from RIOC on whether Mr. Ferrera disclosed his relationship with NY Rowing Association to RIOC Staff or Directors prior to the Operations Committee meeting.

Sign Of Spring - Roosevelt Island Historical Society Magnolia Blossom Walking Tour This Sunday March 25

A sure sign of spring is the return of The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) Magnolia Blossom and Cherry Blossom walking tours. According to RIHS:

Two Great Walking Tours
Led by The Roosevelt Island Historical Society

5th Annual Magnolia Blossom Walk

Sunday, March 25th, at 11 a.m.

Meet at The Octagon, 888 Main St.

5th Annual Cherry Blossom Walk

Saturday, April 21stat 11 a.m.

Meet at the R.I.H.S.Visitor Center

Tram Plaza, Roosevelt Island

Image from RIHS


We accept PayPal for payment

Suggested Donation $10 to RIHS



Take a 75-minute walk of scenic sites on Roosevelt Island and rejoice in the abundant color of the magnolia trees in full bloom

Judith Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, offers close-ups on the Island's flowering trees for photographers and flower-lovers alike. This is the first in a series of two walks offering botanical insights about Roosevelt Island.