Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Passover From Roosevelt Island and President Obama - And Now For Some Good Matzo Ball Soup

You Tube Video of President Obama's Passover Message

And now the Matzo Ball Soup.

You Tube Video of Matzo Ball Soup Throwdown wiht Bobby Flay

Jalapeno Matzo Ball Soup - Sounds good!!!!!

UPDATE 4/8 - Happy Easter too.

Friday, April 6, 2012

F Train Technology Corridor Coming To Roosevelt Island - Cornell President David Skorton Talks About Plans For New Roosevelt Island NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School, Then On To Town Hall Meeting

Cornell Vice President Cathy Dove and President David Skorton Before Town Hall Meeting

Cornell President David Skorton, Vice President Cathy Dove, Dean Dan Huttenlocher, Provost Kent Fuchs and other Cornell representatives, together with elected politicians and NYC officials, came to Roosevelt Island last night. In front of a jammed pack crowd of residents for a Town Hall Meeting,

they discussed the very early stage plans for the new Cornell Technion NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering School that will be located on Roosevelt Island.

Prior to the Town Hall Meeting, President Skorton and the other Cornell officials sat down with me for an interview. We discussed the reasons why Cornell selected Roosevelt Island as the site for the new technology school, what the new campus may look like, how Cornell will interact with the community, transportation issues, employment opportunities, open space, RIOC Governance and much more. Throughout the discussion Mr. Skorton emphasized Cornell's strong desire to be a good neighbor, that they don't have all the answers to our questions right now but that they were here to listen and learn from the community residents as the planning process moves forward.

Here's the interview.

The Town Hall meeting began shortly after the interview.

Below are President's Skorton's prepared remarks for the Town Hall Meeting.

and the Town Hall presentation by Dean Dan Huttenlocher, and Cathy Dove

followed by a question and answer period with Roosevelt Island residents

Capitol New York reported on the Town Hall Meeting:
... Huttenlocher said they expect 30,000 to 120,000 permanent jobs over the next three decades, and coined another technology district for Silicon Island to sit upon.

"We view the F train as sort of a technology corridor in New York City,” he said. “If you think about Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, the tech companies there, then coming up 6th Avenue, you’re heading near Union Square and Chelsea and Flatiron with a lot of tech companies. And then here, where there’s going to be a new tech campus, and then into Long Island City, Queens, where there’s an incredible opportunity for the companies that will spin from on this campus to locate themselves and build the… economic development in Western Queens.”...
Click here for the entire article.

NY 1 was also at the Town Hall meeting adding:
 ... The first building will open in five years on the northern side of the 11-acre site and Cornell will build out south....
Click here for the entire NY1 Report.

Will have video from the beginning of the Town Hall meeting with remarks by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin, Deputy Mayor Robert Steele, NYC Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky, Assembly Member Micah Kellner and Cornell President David Skorton later.

UPDATE 4/8 - Cornell President David Skorton's presentation to the Town Hall Meeting

and the remarks of elected representatives and NYC officials.

Roosevelt Island Ducks Making Their Way Home Last Night In Southtown

Not only were residents of Roosevelt Island's Southtown Riverwalk Buildings making their way home last evening but

so were a couple of ducks

as they managed to cross the street

and avoid oncoming traffic

before settling in for the evening.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Recommendation For $100 Thousand In Public Purpose Fund Allocations To Roosevelt Island Organizations Approved By RIRA Common Council Last Night - On To RIOC For Final Approval

 Pile Of Money Image From Richwealthpig

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council approved the recommendations of its Public Purpose Funds committee for the allocation of $100 thousand in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds during its monthly meeting last night. These recommendations will now be submitted to RIOC for its final approval.

Here are the recommendations.
Summary of 2012 RIRA Public Purpose Fund Recommendations

Island Kids
Amount Requested $16,000
Recommendation $11,000

The Island Kids program continues to be managed effectively and to offer a well-received program. The request is for scholarships for the summer camp that the program runs. With an income eligibility test to receive a camp scholarship, the program benefits low and moderate income residents. Last year, the number of applicants for full and partial scholarships exceeded the funds available. This year, the participation in the program is expected to grow again.

Amount Requested $26,558
Recommendation $14,000

The PTA request represents a continuation of the program that was partially funded from PPF funds last year. Budget cuts continue to leave no room for art instruction at the school, but the mandate to include such instruction in the curriculum remains. The PTA membership and school leadership have had good results with fundraising and believes strongly in the benefits that the program brings to the environment at the school. The committee’s recommendation is less than last year’s because of the increase in competing requests.

Amount Requested $25,000
Recommendation $7,000

The LifeFrames program has expanded the involvement of the local community and has increased its funding from outside sources. It is well received by its participants and the leadership of its participating programs. The recommendation is a slight increase from last year’s modest allocation.

Amount Requested $20,000
Recommendation $8,500

RICLA has done a good job of expanding their outreach to Island organizations to increase awareness of the program for matching funds for advertising and fund-raising efforts. This improvement was a recommendation by the committee last year. This year, the program allocated their PPF funding much sooner than they did the previous year. Because of this success, the committee recommends a modest increase in funding for the coming year.

Amount Requested $20,000
Recommendation $11,500

The committee feels that funding of computers for the Senior Center will be a significant benefit to RISA members. Existing computers in the Senior Center are very old. While RISA makes good use of volunteers for maintenance, updating the computers with faster, more functional machines will increase the availability of computer resources to the users. Full funding of their request, however, is not possible because of the competing priorities of other PPF applicants. The committee recommends fully replacing the machines over a period of 2-3 years using this year’s allocation to start the upgrade process.


Amount Requested
Recommendation $9,000

The RIDA request represents a continuation of an extremely well-received and beneficial program that permits Roosevelt Island disabled citizens to go on trips that significantly improve their quality of life. Without this program, such travel is extremely difficult. The past success of the program, in the view of the committee, justifies continued funding. The recommendation is for the same amount as last year.

R&R Concerts

Amount Requested $14,400
Recommendation $ 8,500

R&R Concerts continues to produce high quality and highly regarded concerts for the RI community. The program is well-run and brings musical events that Island residents might not otherwise get to enjoy. The leadership of R&R Concerts has done a good job of expanding non-PPF funding sources. Despite the success of the program, the committee recommendation is a slight decrease from last year’s allocation.

Amount Requested $26,000
Recommendation $8,000

RIHS has done a good job of utilizing the funds allocated to them from Public Purpose Funds. The committee wishes to see the progress continue that the organization has achieved in archiving Island historical documents and items. Compare to other Island organizations, however, the direct benefit to Island residents, in the committee’s view is not as great as other organizations.

Amount Requested $35,000
Recommendation $7,500

The RIDN program has a number of unique features, including the use of a third-party organization to vet applications for their scholarship recipients. Because of the overall high cost of the program, however, the committee did not feel that the benefit of these scholarships was as great as other similar programs on the Island. Nevertheless, the committee wished to provide some funding to the organization to permit some participation by Island residents in their program.

Roosevelt Island Swimming

Amount Requested $53,000
Recommendation $6,000

The RI Swimming program has shown a great deal of staying power, having provided swimming lessons to Island youth for over seven years. While the program is makes good use of limited resources, the committee feels that the rate of participation for the funds provided is not as great as other programs.


Amount Requested $28,800
Recommendation $9,000

The committee recognized the benefit of permitting RIVAA to adjust to the new environment under which they must pay rent for their space under the Master Lease. The committee believed however that funding the entire amount of their rent was not possible given other priorities. The committee wishes to encourage the organization to expand their fund raising efforts further to cover their lease expenses.

More on Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds from previous posts.

The request by Roosevelt Landings Residents Association for Public Purpose Funds in the amount of $2800 to pay a previously incurred bill of a submetering consultant advising the residents in their dispute with Urban American landlord was rejected in a close vote after a lengthy discussion. The Roosevelt Landings Residents Association application was initially rejected by RIOC because they did not have 501 (c) (3) status which is a requirement for receiving Public Purpose Funds but a sponsoring 501 (c) (3) organization was later obtained, though after the deadline for applications. Will have more on this later.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cornell President David Skorton Coming To Roosevelt Island Tomorrow For Town Hall Meeting On NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School - Come Ask Questions, Comment and Find Out What Is Going On

Image of Proposed Roosevelt Island Cornell Campus From You Tube

Are you interested in learning more about the Cornell - Technion NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering School that will be located right here on Roosevelt Island? Do you have any questions, comments or concerns that you would like to have answered by Cornell officials? If so, please come to tomorrow night's Cornell Town Hall Meeting. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
You are invited to attend the Cornell University Town Hall meeting on Thursday, April 5th, 6:30 PM at the Manhattan Park Theater Club located at 8 River Road. There will be a brief presentation discussing the plans for Cornell University’s Applied Science Campus. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask Cornell's leadership representatives questions during the Q&A session.
Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin adds:
I invite you to join me at a town hall meeting with Cornell University President David J. Skorton, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Assembly Member Micah Kellner, and others to discuss Cornell-Technion’s plans for a new applied sciences and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island.

What:Cornell-Technion Town Hall Meeting
When:Thursday, April 5th at 6:30 p.m.
Where:Manhattan Park Community Center
8 River Road, Roosevelt Island
Cornell Vice President Cathy Dove (a new Roosevelt Island resident) and other Cornell representatives met with a group of Roosevelt Island residents last March 22.  Among those Roosevelt Island residents present for the meeting with Cornell was Community Planning Board 8 and Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) member Jeff Escobar. During a March 28 meeting of the Silicon Island Coalition, Mr. Escobar presented a brief review of the March 22 meeting with Cornell. Mr. Escobar reported that Cornell:
  • intends to enter their ULURP Application in November 2012 to Community Planning Board 8 and Manhattan Borough President's Office
  • intends to take possession of Goldwater Hospital site in December 2013
  • intends to demolish Goldwater Hospital in 2014
  • intends to begin construction in 2015
  • intends to have first Class on Roosevelt Island in 2017
  • is committed to building only a single building by 2017
  • is committed to an open campus - no wall around campus
  • will be leasing space in Manhattan this fall to create a mini campus for first school until Roosevelt Island campus is ready 
  • is looking into ferry service and other Transportation mitigation ideas and
  • only several hundred students on Roosevelt Island in the first stage
Here's Mr. Escobar giving his report at the Silicon Island Coalition meeting. (more from the March 28 Silicon Island Coalition meeting here).

RIRA member and Chair of the Silicon Island Coalition Susan Marcus attended the March 22 meeting with Cornell representatives and reports:
While there was really no new news coming out of this meeting, it was very reassuring to hear that Ms. Dove and colleagues are not interested in being appointed to RIOC. That was very important.
RIVAA Gallery's Tad Sudol was also at the March 22 Meeting and reports:
Excellent meeting.  Bravo! to Micah Kellner for arranging it. It was very encouraging and exciting to hear  positive responses from Kathy Dove and  Peter Krokondelas regarding the many challenges the planners for the new campus  and Islanders are facing. The good will of close cooperation was  tangible.
Assembly Member Micah Kellner who hosted the meeting adds:
It was a very productive meeting and I look forward to Dr. Skorton's presentation on April 5t
Queens organizations, politicians and residents are also interested in joining Roosevelt Island's Silicon Island Coalition. During the March 28 Silicon Island Coalition meeting, members of the Queens Coalition expressed that interest.

Also discussed during the March 28 Silicon Island Coalition meeting was making sure that Roosevelt Island children were helped by the presence of Cornell University.

More video of the March 28 Silicon Island Coalition meeting here.

UPDATE 4/8 - Here is video of interview with Cornell President David Skorton and other Cornell representatives as well as April 5 Town Hall meeting.

NYPD Performing Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drills Today

Don't be worried if you see a Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin motionless just below one of its Tower Tops with NYPD vehicles below

and NYPD officers on the Towers Tops.

There is no problem with the Tram. The NYPD is conducting Tram rescue drills today. According to this Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) advisory:
Please be advised the NYPD ESU, will be practicing on one Tram cabin on Wednesday,
April 4th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Please note regular Tram service will not be interrupted during this time frame.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information on NYPD and FDNY Roosevelt Island Tram Rescue Drills from previous posts.

Public Purpose Fund Committee Recommendations, Roosevelt Island Open Space and Bike Sharing Among Items To Be Discussed Tonight At Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Meeting - Come Learn What Is Going On

Image of June 2011 RIRA Common Council Meeting

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 residents can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern. Among tonight's Public Session speakers will be Community Board 8 member Benjamin Kallos talking on bike sharing issues and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Margie Smith talking on Roosevelt Island Open Space.

Included on tonight's RIRA Agenda is the approval of Public Purpose Funds Committee recommendations to RIOC for allocation of $100 thousand to Roosevelt Island organizations.

Below is the Agenda for the meeting.

More on New York City Bike Sharing from NYC Department of Transportation

and these previous posts.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Awesome NYC Skyline and East River Waterfront View From Up On A Roosevelt Island Roof Tonight

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Rooftop View

Views do not get much better than that. Who knows - one time I may break out in song, thought not likely, but until that day comes, here's England's Robson & Jerome Up On The Roof.

You Tube Video of Robson & Jerome Up On The Roof

Update On Roosevelt Island East River Kayaking And Rowing Facility - RIOC Decides To Issue Expedited Request For Proposals During Real Estate Committee Meeting Yesterday

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Committee met yesterday (audio webcast of full meeting here) to discuss the NY Rowing Association proposal to establish a seasonal rowing and kayaking facility beneath the Queensboro Bridge just south of the Oil Dock Pier facing Queens. The subject had first been discussed at the March 21 Operations Committee meeting in which the RIOC Board Directors present expressed approval for the concept but asked for additional information prior to giving approval.

During yesterday's Real Estate Committee meeting, the RIOC Board Directors reported reservations that safety concerns from objects falling from the Queensboro Bridge on to the proposed boating facility and the strong East River currents have not yet been adequately addressed. Another concern was that other NYC kayaking and rowing groups should be given the opportunity to express interest in a Roosevelt Island facility.

The RIOC Real Estate Committee decided to issue an expedited Request For Proposals for interested parties to operate a seasonal rowing and kayaking boating facility near the Oil Dock Pier.

Here's the full discussion.

No mention was made during the discussion of RIOC Director Sal Ferrera's undisclosed membership on the New York Rowing Association Board of Trustees or that the NY Rowing Association official making presentation to RIOC was a member of the Child School's Board of Directors in which Mr. Ferrera is the Executive Director.

Also, during the meeting I asked for an explanation regarding the dispute between the NY Rowing Association and its former location at the Peter Sharp Boathouse but received no answer.

Following this Agenda Item, the RIOC Real Estate Committee went into Executive Session, meaning it was closed to the public, to discuss the privatization and ground lease extension for Island House.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Report From Second Meeting Of Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group - Local Entrepreneurs Meet, Share Ideas, Potential Opportunities and Stella & Dot Jewelry Presentation

The Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group was recently formed to provide local entrepreneurs an opportunity to meet each other, share ideas and potential opportunities. As reported in this post on the inaugural meeting of the Group:

... About 30 residents, with professions ranging from photographer and architect to travel agent and caterer, gathered on Tuesday morning, March 13 to swap business cards and consider how they might be able to help each other grow their small business and solo practices. ...
The Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group reports on what took place during their second meeting on March 27:
About 25 residents, with professions ranging from travel agent and interpreter to interactive digital comic book artist and personal assistant/errands manager, organizing and special projects, gathered on Tuesday evening, March 27 to swap business cards and discuss their respective small businesses and solo practices.

Organized by Tom Wood, a financial specialist, and Janet Falk, a public relations professional, the group included members who had attended the March 13 breakfast meeting and others joining for the first time.

Capitalizing on the momentum of the kickoff event, this session featured six-minute presentations each by three members to share their expertise. Dick Lutz, Editor and Publisher of The Main Street WIRE, described the opportunity to promote local business, through both special on-Island advertising rates and possible article submissions. Sharon Pope spoke about writing and community activism, especially the Upper East Side esplanade. Sharon Williams presented samples of the jewelry she sells as a stylist for Stella and Dot.

Members are encouraged to meet with others in the group and consider what they have to offer and what they might need from a colleague. The Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group on LinkedIn continues to grow.

The next event will be held on Tuesday, April 10 at 7:30 am at Riverwalk Bar & Grill for BYOB (bring your own breakfast). Please contact Tom Wood at to RSVP. Members are welcome to bring Island friends and neighbors who are also small business owners and solo practitioners and expand the networking group.
Here's an example of products offered by one of the presenters -  Stella & Dot jewelry from Ms Williams

and Ms. Williams presentation to the Roosevelt Island Business Network Group

More information on the Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group and how you can join available at Linked In.

Innovative Participatory Budgeting Process In Brooklyn Profiled By NY Times - Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds Allocation Has Been Doing Same For Several Years

You Tube Video of Brooklyn Participatory Budgeting

The NY Times reported yesterday on residents in some Brooklyn neighborhoods participating in an experimental participatory budgeting process allocating NYC Council member funds to local projects. According to the NY Times:
... The event in Brooklyn was part of something called participatory budgeting, in which constituents in four City Council districts were given control over a slice of their council members’ discretionary budgets — $1 million in each district. In a process that began in October, they proposed projects, researched their viability and ran them by city agencies. This week, voters will finish choosing which of the proposals can move forward. Results are expected to be released this week....
... This is only the second time that participatory budgeting, originally developed in Brazil, has been tried in the United States, and the first time in New York City, said Josh Lerner, executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, a nonprofit organization. Whether it will become entrenched here is unclear. But what is known is that over the past six months, 250 regular New Yorkers jumped into the trenches and dirtied their hands with democracy. The point of the experiment in October was to counter people’s cynical view of government by inviting them to participate in the very process they mistrust. To some extent, it worked.

Of the more than a dozen participants interviewed for this article, all said the process had emboldened them to stay involved in their communities and to continue pushing their representatives to work on the projects they thought would benefit their neighborhoods. Still, skepticism runs deep. Some said they were concerned that they would ultimately be defeated by the powers that be....
Click here for the entire NY Times article.

Except the Brooklyn process is not the first time a Participatory Budgeting process has been utilized in New York City. We on Roosevelt Island have been using a Participatory Budgeting process for several years in the annual allocation of $100 Thousand Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds via recommendations by the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). As reported in previous post:
... The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) has been delegated by RIOC to make recommendations to the RIOC Board for the allocation of available Public Purpose Funds.  RIRA created a Public Purpose Funds Committee that will interview and evaluate the applicant organizations and then make recommendations as to how the funds get distributed to the full RIRA Common Council. Upon approval by the RIRA Common Council, the recommendations are forwarded to the RIOC Board for approval....
The RIRA Public Purpose Funds Committee interviewed 12 Roosevelt Island organizations seeking a portion of the $100 Thousand Public Purpose Funds this year and will present their recommendations to the RIRA Common Council this week at the April 4 RIRA Monthly meeting. RIRA will then vote on the recommendations and forward their findings to RIOC for final approval.

Below are the organizations requesting Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) 2012 Public Purpose Fund Grants and the amounts sought.

Roosevelt Landings Residents Association - $ 2,800.00
Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, Inc. -  $ 10,500.00
R&R Concerts Inc. -  $ 14,400.00
Island Kids, Inc. - $ 16,000.00
Flannigan Chiropractic Offices -  $ 19,200.00
Roosevelt Island Seniors Association, Inc. - $ 20,000.00
Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates, Inc. -  $ 20,000.00
Life Frames, Inc. - $ 25,000.00
Roosevelt Island Historical Society - $ 26,000.00
Parent-Teacher Association PS IS 217M, Inc. -  $ 26,558.00
Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association, Inc. - $ 28,800.00
Roosevelt Island Day Nursery, Inc. - $ 35,000.00
Roosevelt Island Swimming, Inc. - $ 53,000.00
Total Amount Requested - $ 297,258.00

The Task of the RIRA Public Purpose Funds Committee is to determine which Roosevelt Island organizations will receive the funds and how much of the $100 thousand they will receive.

The Participatory Budgeting Project has more information on the concept and there was an international conference held March 30 - 31 on subject

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Stanford To Announce Establishment Of Roosevelt Island Law School Campus Monday April 2

Wow, what do you think about this. Stanford may have withdrawn its proposed Roosevelt Island NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering school proposal last December but that does not mean Stanford is done with Roosevelt Island. According to this report from The Faculty Lounge, Stanford will announce tomorrow plans to establish a Law School campus right here on Roosevelt Island.

... The school's plan is to build a 280,000 foot law school that will house approximately 450 JD students and another 200 international graduate law students.  In addition, Stanford will also offer an L.L.B. program which will allow many European students to move directly into practice in their home countries.

While this plan has been developed in secrecy, it also explains why Stanford was so quick to exit the earlier competition for a place on Roosevelt Island.  The law school will cost literally billions less to build than the research center.  And it also turns out that the three universities will achieve an economy of scale, developing a single student center, and athletic complex on the island.

The law school is apparently part of a broader plan to expand Stanford's footprint into Europe, Africa, the Middle East and, ultimately, Palau.
Proposed Roosevelt Island Campus From Stanford University/Ennead Architects, image by Redsquare, Inc.

Click here for entire article from The Faculty Lounge.

Can you believe it? Well, actually no  - Happy April Fool's Day!!!

You Tube Video on History Of April Fools Day