Saturday, April 28, 2012

Roosevelt Island Mountain Bike Rider Travels West Promenade From Octagon To F Train Subway Platform - Take The Virtual Ride

Take this virtual bumpy trip with a Roosevelt Island Mountain Bike Rider along the West Promenade from the Octagon to subway station with a stop for some fresh fruit and then down the escalator to F Train for parts unknown.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Bike Ride

Gallery RIVAA Opening Reception For Valeriu Boborelu's Red, Blue, White: Bodies Of Light Tonight 6- 9 PM - Come Enjoy The Art And Meet Your Roosevelt Island Neighbors

Image of Valeriu Boborelu Painting From Gallery RIVAA

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA (527 Main Street) will be hosting an opening reception later today, April 28 from 6PM - 9PM for a new exhibition - Red, Blue, White: Bodies of Light. The exhibition will continue thru June 3. According to Gallery RIVAA:
Red, Blue, White: Bodies of Light
Paintings by Valeriu Boborelu
Saturday, April 28, 2012 - Sunday, June 3, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday April 28th, from 6-9pm.

A Romanian art educator, whose creative spiritual vision brought him to the US in 1983, Boborelu paints fractal layers of space/time. Luminous beings gesture and vibrate in the cosmic dance of karma.

Curator: Johanes Ruta
Image of Valeriu Boborelu Painting From Gallery RIVAA

Come meet your Roosevelt Island neighbors and enjoy the art.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Update On Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail - Organic Grocer and Wine Shop Leases Signed, Subway Sandwich, Europan Bakery and Child School Still Not Signed Says Hudson Related

Reported last week on 5 new leases signed by retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related for Roosevelt Island's Main Street:

...Retail leasing activity includes new tenants and renewals, including:
·         Island Spirts, a new wine and liquor store will open at 605 Main St. The island has been without a wine store for several years.
·         Wholesome Direct, a gourmet and organic natural food market at 530 Main St.
·         Europan Bakery Cafe at 503 Main St. will offer fresh gourmet foods, beverages and baked goods.
·         Subway Sandwich at 513 Main St. will offer sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
·         The Child School is opening a 7,000 square foot fine arts center at the upper floor of 504 Main St, which will be complementary space to the School’s other existing facilities on Roosevelt Island and will include art, music, drama and dance studios....
Last Wednesday, Hudson Related representative Andrew Jackson met with a group from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Main Street Retail Committee to discuss what is happening with the Main Street retail situation.

During the meeting it was learned that the announcement of 5 new signed Main Street leases was a bit premature. Mr. Jackson reported that the only leases for Roosevelt Island's Main Street that have been signed are for the Wine Store and Organic food market, which are owned by the same person, at $45 per square foot. The Subway Sandwich Shop, Europan Bakery and Child School leases are close to being signed but not yet signed. A handshake deal has been made with Trellis and Gallery RIVAA but no signed lease yet.

The discussion included these topics among others:
  • the fate of existing stores such as Trellis, Gallery RIVAA and the Thrift Shop, 
  • the removal of windows from Roosevelt Landings Arcade, 
  • garbage removal from sidewalk in front of Rivercross if the Subway and Europan Bakery or any other restaurant leases are signed, 
  • sit down restaurant,
  • a full service drug store (prohibited in Norhtown by Gristedes lease provision and prohibited in Southtown by Duane Reade lease provision, 
  • pet stores don't seem to be interested in Roosevelt Island due to lack of foot traffic,
  • Status of Public Library for first floor of 504 Main Street,
  • the issue of a conflict of interest if the lease with the Child School is signed for 504 Main Street because the Child School Executive Director Sal Ferrera is a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) director who will be involved in issues concerning Hudson Related's Ground Lease Modification for Southtown Buildings 7-9
Here's what happened during the meeting.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Meeting

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Meeting

Roosevelt Island Subway Pier Waterfront Promenade Food Concession Q & A - 30 Seats, No Alcohol, Boardwalk and Pathway Area Open To Public, Maybe

You Tube Video of Walk Around The Subway Pier

Reported last week that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued a Request For Proposals to operate a West Promenade Subway Pier Food Concession pilot project for this summer
... Imagine being able to sit, relax and eat some good food right next to the East River with these stunning NYC Skyline, Waterfront and Queensboro Bridge views in the evening...
Here are questions submitted by potential bidders and answers provided by RIOC.
Questions and Answers

1. What is the duration of the project?

This is a pilot beginning May 15, 2012 through October 15, 2012. The term of the project will be for one year.

2. Will alcoholic beverages be allowed on site?

No alcoholic beverages are permitted or allowed to be sold on the site.

3. What are the hours of operation?

The hours of operation are from 11 am through 9 pm as stated in the RFP; proposers should clearly designate their intended hours of operation within these hours in their proposal.

4. Will advertising be allowed?

The display of third-party advertisements on signage or menus will not be allowed. Signage to promote the saleable items will be allowed.

5. What format should the bid be presented in?

All proposals should be typed and presented on your company letterhead.

6. What is the allowed seating capacity?

The seating capacity on the intended site of operations (Area 1) as laid out in the site plan included in the RFP is for up to 30 patrons.

7. What is the maximum boundary that the vendor will be held responsible for cleaning and maintaining?

The vendor will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining Area’s 1 and 2 as laid out in the site plan included in the RFP, as well as removal of any refuse generated by customers in the area immediately adjacent to these areas.

8. Is the space delivered as is or will RIOC clean the area?

The space will be power-washed prior to the selected vendor beginning services. Graffiti removal will not be included.

9. Is Area 2 as laid out in the site plan included in the space to be leased to the vendor?

Only Area 1 will be leased to the vendor for the term of the project.

10. Is water or electrical supply available?

There is no water supply in the area; the successful proposer will have to provide their own. As indicated in the RFP, limited electrical supply is available at a rate of $500 per month to be added to the fees owed to RIOC for operating the venture.

11. Can we submit alternate proposals?

Alternative operational plans or elements will be considered. Please clearly identify any such alternatives within the proposal.

12. Can bathrooms be located away from the area?

If a location adjacent to Area 1 or 2 for the ADA compliant portable bathrooms is included in the proposal it will be considered, if an alternate location is it must be approved by RIOC.

13. Will smoking be allowed in the area?

There is no smoking allowed in the area licensed to the vendor.

14. Why is menu pricing subject to RIOC approval?

RIOC will require menu pricing to be maintained at the quoted price during the term of the project. Therefore, the proposed pricing must be recorded. Any proposed changes during the term of the license will be subject to RIOC approval.

15. Will RIOC reimburse expenses for costs incurred in preparation of proposals?

As with all other RFP’s, RIOC will not reimburse any expenses incurred in connection with this project for preparation of proposals.

Additional Questions and Answers 4/25/2012

1. Question and Answer 2 states that no alcohol will be permitted or sold on the site. Question and Answer 6 states that seating is limited to 30 patrons. However, question and answer 11 states that alternative operational plans or elements will be considered.

The specifications per the RFP are clearly stated that there will be no alcohol and the seating is up to 30 seats. However, the prospective bidder may, in addition to submitting a bid per the specifications in the RFP, submit an alternative operational with changed elements as part of their proposal. This does not mean that the alternative will be approved. The seating is limited to area 1. Area 2 is open to the public.

2. Area 1 is the vending area. Area 2 is an area that you can not vend in but are responsible for cleaning? Is this correct?

This is correct. You are responsible for cleaning Area 1 and 2, as well as any refuse generated by customers in the area immediately adjacent to these areas.

3. Area 1 is the designated area licensed to the vendor and there is no smoking. Is smoking allowed in area 2?

Smoking will be allowed in Area 2, and any area outside the area licensed to the vendor.

4. Does RIOC consider the total square footage for this project solely the 2272.92 sq. ft in Area 1 or is it the square footage for Area 1 + Area 2 (4143.25 sq. ft)?

The total square footage to be licensed to the vendor (“the project area”) is the 2272.92 square feet identified as Area 1.

5. Can you please define the differences between "term of the project" vs "duration of the project" as mentioned in question #1

There is no difference between the “term of the project” and “duration of the project”. The term/duration of the project will be May 15th through October 15th as specified in the RFP.

Below is a location map for the Subway Pier Area from Appendix A of the RFP

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bike Sharing Stations On Roosevelt Island To Be Discussed At May 2 Community Planning Board 8 Transportation Committee Meeting

Image of Potential Roosevelt Island Bike Sharing Station from Hunter College Access RI(Page 39)

Would you like to see Bike Sharing come to Roosevelt Island? If the answer is yes, make sure you attend the Community Planning Board 8 Transportation Committee May 2 6:30 PM meeting. On the Agenda is a:

Discussion of having a station or stations on Roosevelt Island as part of the DOT pilot Bike Share Program
Here's the flyer announcing the meeting.

More on Roosevelt Island Bike sharing from previous post and NYC Department of Transportation.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer On Future Transportation Needs For Roosevelt Island, Manhattan And All Of New York City - Calls For A Transportation Infrastructure Bank

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer With Roosevelt Island Residents At Trellis Diner March 23 2011

According to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer:
The future looked rosy 100 years ago, when New York undertook a revolutionary plan to build a vast network of subways and elevated trains. But it looks considerably different today, as we struggle to meet urgent transit needs.

Anyone who’s crammed their way on to a crowded tram at rush hour, waited for the F train to the Roosevelt Island station or struggled to find alternate ways to get on and off the island on the weekend understands that while Manhattan is blessed with tremendous public transit, there is still room for needed improvement and expansion.

One million more people will be living in our City by 2025 and to put it bluntly: We are not ready. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority -- the central nervous system of our regional transportation network -- is a fiscal house of cards.

This crucially important agency is being held together with a combination of unprecedented borrowing, and fare hikes as far as the eye can see. That’s no way to run a railroad, much less the nation’s largest transit system.

What’s needed is a new, more stable stream of revenue for the MTA, one that stabilizes its operating budget but also allows us to expand the system to reflect where people live and work today, not 100 years ago.

Here’s my plan: an infrastructure bank for mass transit that I call the “New York City Transit Trust.”

Mayors across the country are recognizing that cities cannot rely solely on state and federal funding for infrastructure. In Chicago, Rahm Emanuel has launched the Chicago Infrastructure Trust to leverage private capital for needed projects.

The New York City Transit Trust will also leverage private dollars, by tying New York City’s infrastructure bank to a dedicated revenue stream – our existing Mortgage Recording Tax -- which now helps fund the MTA”s operating costs.

Today, the Lexington Avenue line on the East Side of Manhattan alone carries more passengers per day than any other subway system in the United States. The Second Avenue Subway (SAS) will alleviate this overcrowding when it opens in 2016. However, today, we’ve funded only one of four phases of the SAS train. The Transit Trust could help us fund phase 2, linking SAS to the Metro-North at 125th Street and providing additional service in East Harlem.

The Transit Trust could provide capital for a range of projects, many of which can improve the lives of thousands of Manhattan residents. We must do more to unlock the potential of the City’s 6 borough: the waterfront. The Transit Trust could allow us to explore how ferry service can help alleviate commuting time for Roosevelt Island and other waterfront neighborhoods as well as improve the region's economy.

In addition, our crosstown buses, which are consistently the slowest in the entire City, could be upgraded with new technology, which has already improved service on 34th Street. Bus Rapid Transit could also be expanded to the West Side, after its successful debut on First and Second Avenues. And the Trust could underwrite a renewal of light rail—once a pillar of public transit in Manhattan—that could speed commutes and improve connectivity throughout the borough. the Trust could benefit riders all over the City by paying for new subway cars and buses and improving safety and reliability by replacing track and upgrading outdated signals.

Of course, if we are going to redirect the Mortgage Recording Tax to the MTA’s capital needs, we have to replace it on the operations side with a new, reliable funding stream.

I believe we should start by getting back what we lost when the City’s commuter tax was repealed in 1999.

The commuter tax, which affects people who work in NYC but live outside the five boroughs, produced billions of dollars in revenue for New York City between 1966 and 1999. If we reinstated it at the same rate as when it was killed 14 years ago, we would raise $725 million a year to support the region’s transportation network.

It’s the right thing to do. Every day, close to a million commuters pour into New York City, using our roads, bridges and rails to get here and relying on our police, fire and sanitation services when they arrive.

All we need is leadership – leadership that recognizes that real investment in transit projects always pays huge dividends down the road, and that there are new, more creative ways to fund those projects.

That’s how you create a true, five-borough transportation network and prepare New York for the next century of growth.
Here's more on the Chicago Infrastructure Bank.

You Tube Video From Chicago Business

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Whole New View Of Roosevelt Island Tram From Bicyclist On Queensboro Bridge

Image From Astoria HD You Tube Video

According to Astoria HD:
Cresting the 59th Street Bridge, and pacing a Roosevelt Island Cable car until it passes another cable car from the other direction....

Rat Poison Found Near Roosevelt Island Cat Shelter Last Month and More Public Safety Incidents From March Blotter

You Tube Video Of January 2012 RIOC Discussion On Roosevelt Island Dog Poisoning

Reported last January on two Roosevelt Island dogs being poisoned, one killed and other badly injured, by rat bait traps.

The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Monthly Blotter for March 2012 noted:
3/22/2012 - S/O 200 Main St - Rat poison found by cat shelter at location. Substance was removed. Search of area yielded negative results for subject who placed it there.
The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report for March 22 - 23 reported the incident as follows:
Investigation - Unknown substance placed by cat shelter. It was removed.
Here's the Monthly Roosevelt Island Public Safety Blotter for March 2012

and monthly 2012 Public Safety Statistics thru March.

Update On Roosevelt Island Mitchell Lama Island House Privatization Status, Final Process For Implementing Affordability Plan About To Begin Says Tenants Association - RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting Today To Discuss

Image of Roosevelt Island's Island House Entrance

As reported in this post last Monday, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Committee is meeting later today in Executive Session. Among the items on the Agenda is:
Status of Privatization/Affordability Plan and Ground Lease Extension for Island House;...
Earlier this week, the Island House Tenants Association (IHTA) distributed this update regarding the privatization status of their building.
Update on Island House

We are pleased to be able to tell you that there has been significant progress in moving forward the Island House Affordable Conversion Plan.  Through the efforts of the Governor's Office For Economic Development, RIOC, DHCR, ESDC, our elected officials, and the owner, there is agreement on the plan and moving it ahead.  We understand a letter from RIOC to the New York State Legislature confirming this will be delivered very shortly.

Once the RIOC letter is transmitted, the final process for implementing the Affordability Plan can begin.  The State, DHCR and RIOC will put together a process for "next steps" for moving ahead including a ground lease vote by RIOC, the exit of the building from Mitchell Lama into the affordable rent and purchase structure and protections in the plan, and the submission of the conversion plan to the NY Attorney General for his required review.

We will be announcing a date, time and location for a tenant meeting on all this in the next few days.  IHTA, our lawyer, and the agencies will be in a position to provide more specific, detailed information on what will happen over the next few months.

As we move into what we are all hoping is the final phase -- we want to thank you, the tenants, for all your support and encouragement over the last couple of years.  Despite the frustrations we have all shared at the slowness of the process, you should know that your steadfastness and overwhelming support for staying focused on the need for an affordable solution that protects the interests of all tenants, whether as renters or purchasers, has been critical in moving our plan to this stage.

We are also delighted to able to let you know that the first fully modernized elevator cab is going into service this week at 555 and that the second new cab will go into service at 575 next week.  Work on the next two elevators will start promptly thereafter.   Also, with a lot of thanks to our Assemblyman Micah Kellner, FIOS is now on track (shortly) to be available as an alternative cable service.

The IHTA Board
More on the Island House Privatization plan from previous post last January including this December 2011 excerpt from IHTA letter to Governor Cuomo:
... Working under the auspices of DHCR for several years, the tenants and owner have crafted a groundbreaking Plan that, first and foremost, secures aggressive rent protections and affordability for tenants who wish to stay and not purchase their apartments while allowing tenants who wish to buy their apartments the opportunity to do so at a 65% discount below market pricing, with additional provisions to ensure affordability for future generations of purchasers. This Plan was overwhelmingly endorsed by the tenancy in a building-wide vote in September 2009.

Through the efforts of your Office for Economic Development, which has been engaged for nearly a year, the tenants and owner have recently agreed to substantially modify the previously agreed upon Affordability Plan in a way that is projected to result in payments to RIOC of over $20,000,000. This is in addition to the $15,000,000 or more that will be paid to ESDC from increased real estate tax payments under the Plan. In addition to these payments aggregating in excess of $35,000,000, ESDC will also be promptly repaid the full outstanding mortgage of $20,000,000....
Island House appears to be moving forward with an affordable privatization exit plan from the NY State Mitchell Lama program. As to Westview, nothing much seems to be happening since Crains NY reported last November:
... David Hirschhorn, who is a principal at two of the complexes, said he is committed to making sure one of the developments, Island House, remains at least 70% affordable. He is less certain about the second development, called Westview.

“Westview [negotiations are] not nearly as advanced as Island House,” Mr. Hirschhorn said....
Information on Roosevelt Island Rivercross privatization efforts available at this previous post.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Parachutist Stopped From Jumping Off Roosevelt Island Hill By Public Safety Department - Not The First Time Daredevil Parachuting Tried On Roosevelt Island

The 4/21 -22 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incident Report indicated:

Parachute - Male wanted to jump from a hill with a parachute. He was not allowed to do so for safety reasons.
Yesterday, I sent the following inquiry to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department:
Can you provide more info on this incident - where did it take place, what time, did it involve a Roosevelt Island resident, did the person ask permission to jump from hill or was he/she just spotted before jumping and any other relevant information.
Have not received a reply yet but will update if I do.

This was not the first incident of its type on Roosevelt Island. As reported in this post from June 2010:
It looks like some Roosevelt Island residents may be missing the Tram Ride soaring over the East River and getting a little sick of the subway so they are taking matters into their own hands by trying to paraglide off of Roosevelt Island.

If you were walking around the Riverwalk Commons area in Southtown yesterday you may have seen this daredevil trying to capture a little bit of wind so that he could take off from Roosevelt Island and fly over the East River to who knows where.

After many attempts at getting the canopy up in the air and then running down the short hill, our intrepid Paraglider got a few feet off the ground but never made it off of Roosevelt Island.

Maybe next time when there is more wind he will succeed! Maybe not.

Here's how paragliding take-off is supposed to work.

Yeah, I'm sure that will work on Roosevelt Island - aren't you?

Brooklyn Dumbo NYU Applied Sciences Campus Joins Roosevelt Island Cornell Site On NYC F Train Technology Corridor - More On Stanford's Bid Withdrawal and Entrepreneurial Academic Cullture

Excerpt of Interview With Cornell President David Skorton and VP Cathy Dove

The New York City F Train Technology Corridor got another anchor to join the Roosevelt Island Cornell - Technion Applied Sciences & Engineering School with the announcement yesterday by Mayor Bloomberg of a Jay Street Brooklyn based Applied Sciences Center led by NYU. According to this Press Release from Mayor Bloomberg's office:
...  Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York University President John Sexton, Polytechnic Institute of New York University President Jerry M. Hultin and MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota today announced an historic agreement among the City, MTA, and a consortium of world-class academic institutions and private technology companies that will lead to the creation of the NYU Center For Urban Science and Progress, to be located in Downtown Brooklyn. The announcement is the next milestone in the City’s groundbreaking Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which seeks to increase New York City’s capacity for applied sciences and dramatically transform the City’s economy. The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) will be a partnership of top institutions from around the globe, led by NYU and NYU-Poly, and will focus on research and development of technology to address the critical challenges facing cities, including infrastructure, tech integration, energy efficiency, transportation congestion, public safety and public health....
... The NYU proposal was selected through this highly competitive process due to its bold vision to provide solutions for the world’s growing cities in the 21st century. CUSP will establish itself as a world leader in this important field of study, and will complement the City’s many other leading institutions, including the previous Applied Sciences NYC selection of the partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which will build a campus on Roosevelt Island. Collectively, these institutions along with other potential winners will further strengthen New York City’s global competiveness – including its growing technology sector – and ensure that the City establishes itself as a global hub of science, research, innovation and world-class urban solutions for the future.
Click here for the entire Press Release from and video of the NYU Applied Sciences announcement.

At one time, Stanford was considered to be the frontrunner to develop the NYC Applied Sciences and Engineering School here on Roosevelt Island but they withdrew their bid. The New Yorker has a fascinating article on what it takes to create an entrepreneurial academic center and why Stanford withdrew from the NYC competition. According to the New Yorker:
... the entrepreneurial spirit is part of the university’s foundation, and he attributes this freedom partly to California’s relative lack of legacy industries or traditions that need to be protected, so “people are willing to try things.” At Stanford more than elsewhere, the university and business forge a borderless community in which making money is considered virtuous and where participants profess a sometimes inflated belief that their work is changing the world for the better. Faculty members commonly invest in start-ups launched by their students or colleagues....

... But Stanford’s entrepreneurial culture has also turned it into a place where many faculty and students have a gold-rush mentality and where the distinction between faculty and student may blur as, together, they seek both invention and fortune. Corporate and government funding may warp research priorities....

... It would be solely an engineering and applied-science school. Hennessy proposed that each department base three-quarters of its faculty in Palo Alto and a quarter on Roosevelt Island....

....Not everyone on Stanford’s campus shared Hennessy’s enthusiasm. Members of the humanities faculty were upset that Stanford proposed to create a second campus without including liberal-arts faculty or students. Casper, the former Stanford president, asked whether the Roosevelt Island project would “reinforce the cliché that we are science and engineering and biology driven and the arts and humanities are stepchildren.”...
As to why Stanford withdrew its bid, The New Yorker reports:
... On December 16, 2011, Stanford announced that it was withdrawing its bid. Publicly, the university was vague about the decision, and, in a statement, Hennessy praised “the mayor’s bold vision.” But he was seething. In January, he told me that the city had changed the terms of the proposed deal. After seven universities had submitted their bids, he said, the city suddenly wanted Stanford to agree that the campus would be operational, with a full complement of faculty, sooner than Stanford thought was feasible. The city, according to Debra Zumwalt, Stanford’s general counsel and lead negotiator, added “many millions of dollars in penalties that were not in the original proposal, including penalizing Stanford for failure to obtain approvals on a certain schedule, even if the delays were the fault of the city and not Stanford. . . . I have been a lawyer for over thirty years, and I have never seen negotiations that were handled so poorly by a reputable party.” One demand that particularly infuriated Stanford was a fine of twenty million dollars if the City Council, not Stanford, delayed approval of the project. These demands came from city lawyers, not from the Mayor or from a deputy mayor, Robert Steel, who did not participate in the final round of negotiations with Stanford officials. However, city negotiators were undoubtedly aware that Mayor Bloomberg, in a speech at M.I.T., in November, had said of two of the applicants, “Stanford is desperate to do it. Cornell is desperate to do it. . . . We can go back and try to renegotiate with each” university. Out of the blue, Hennessy says, the city introduced the new demands.

To Hennessy, these demands illustrated a shocking difference between the cultures of Silicon Valley and of the city. “I’ve cut billion-dollar deals in the Valley with a handshake,” Hennessy says. “It was a very different approach”—and, he says, the city was acting “not exactly like a partner.”....
Click here for the entire New Yorker article.

More on Stanford's withdrawal from previous post.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital Named One Of Seven To Save Historic New York State Resources - Hope For Adaptive Reuse Study and Additional Stabilization

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

Roosevelt Island's Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital has been named to a list of threatened NY State historic resources. According to this Press Release from the Preservation League of New York State:
The Preservation League of New York State has named Manhattan's former Smallpox Hospital, located on Roosevelt Island, to its list of the Empire State's most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save.

James Renwick designed the Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island, which was completed in 1854. In 1976, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission referred to the Hospital as a "great Gothic ruin" and noted its incorporation into plans to develop a park on the south end of Roosevelt Island.

A portion of the northernmost wall collapsed in 2007, serving as a wake-up call for immediate and necessary stabilization, a project championed by a colleague organization of the Preservation League, The New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), owner of the Smallpox Hospital, commissioned a stabilization plan for the site, although only had funds to complete phase one of the proposed three-phase stabilization.

"Since 1999, Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. "A Seven to Save designation from the League delivers invaluable technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness, and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties."

The Four Freedoms Park Conservancy nominated the Smallpox Hospital to the Seven to Save list in recognition of the site's importance and location between a future Cornell University applied sciences campus to the north and the soon-to-be-completed Louis Kahn-designed Four Freedoms Park to the hospital's south. The park conservancy wishes to see a completed feasibility study for adaptive use of the Smallpox Hospital, as well as additional site stabilization.

"The Smallpox Hospital ruin is important architecture, important to the island's history, and has a beauty and presence that will enhance the new Four Freedoms Park," said Peg Breen, President of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. "It deserves complete stabilization."

According to Gina Pollara, Executive Director, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, "FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy looks forward to working with our advocacy groups as well as all our State and City agencies to preserve the Smallpox Hospital, as we recognize it takes the collaborative energies and devoted support of many constituencies to safeguard our architectural heritage."

The inclusion of the Smallpox Hospital on the Seven to Save list provides the opportunity for the League to work with local advocates to protect the complex. "With this program, we provide targeted support to seven of New York's most important and endangered historic resources," said Erin Tobin, the Preservation League's eastern regional director for technical and grant programs. "Whether sites are threatened by insensitive, ineffective or insufficient public policies, general neglect, or, in some cases, outright demolition, we have a proven record of working with community advocates to save a number of significant properties."

The 2012-13 Seven to Save Designees are: The Smallpox Hospital, New York; The South Village, New York; The IRT Powerhouse, New York; The Garnerville Arts and Industrial Center (GAGA Arts Center), Rockland County; Historic & Cultural Resources in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Gas Regions; Bent's Opera House, Medina, Orleans County; and Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora, Erie County.

Since 1999, publicity and advocacy resulting from Seven to Save designation has led to the rehabilitation and reopening of the Oswego City Public Library, the rebirth of Montauk Manor on Long Island, and the rededication of the once-abandoned George Harvey Justice Building in Binghamton along with successes at several other locations.

The Preservation League of New York State is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1974. The League invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of New York's historic buildings and landscapes. It leads advocacy, economic development, and education programs all across the state.
More on Roosevelt Island's Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital from Roosevelt Island Historical Society, a previous post and this You Tube Video.

Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group Meeting Tomorrow Night 7:30 PM - Local Entrepreneurs Come Meet, Share Ideas and Potential Opportunities

The Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group (RIBN) will be holding their fourth meeting on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 PM.
Please RSVP to Tom Wood

We have three members lined up to speak. To be one of three members to present your business or service in a six-minute spotlight at a future meeting, please contact Tom.
Here is a report from the RIBN from their last meeting.
About 20 residents, with professions ranging from event designer and financial advisor to chef and yoga teacher, gathered on Tuesday morning, April 10, at Riverwalk Bar & Grill, where Jonathan Hoo provided coffee. As usual, the meeting kicked off with informal conversations and a business card exchange, as familiar faces and new members shared ideas about their respective small businesses and solo practices.

The member presentations featured remarks by Alan Siegal, who outlined the many links in the logistical chain that Genghis Khan Freight Service Inc. manages as a customs broker. Janet Falk, co-founder of the group, explored the impact of media coverage for a growing business or nonprofit, as well as communications, marketing and writing services. Airam da Silva told of the bone marrow matching network that the Icla da Silva Foundation has developed and urged members to register and also to participate in the upcoming 5K Run/Walk on May 12.

Attendees were invited to submit a listing of their contact information and services to The WIRE and to the Roosevelt Islander online. 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 group plans to participate in Roosevelt Island Day, on Saturday, June 9th with a table in Good Shepherd Plaza. Details will follow.

The next event will be held on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 pm. Please contact Tom Wood 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.
More information on the Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group and how you can join available at Linked In and previous posts.

If you would like to attend, please remember to RSVP to Tom Wood  at for location.

Roosevelt Island Communty Space Purchase, Southtown Ground Lease, Island House Privatization and Waterfront West Channel Eatery On Agenda For Executive Session (Non-Public) RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting April 25

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.  


     1. Chair's Motion for Executive Session to Review and Discuss:

               a.  Proposed Acquisition of Community Space Facilities;

               b.  Proposed Modifications to the Ground Lease for Southtown Buildings 7, 8 and 9;

               c.  Status of Privatization/Affordability Plan and Ground Lease Extension for Island House; and

               d.  Status of the RFP for the Use of West Channel Promenade.
More information from previous posts on Southtown Building construction starting next year, Island House privatization and proposed use of West Channel Promenade for eatery.

Take a walk around the subway pier.

You Tube Video of Walk Around The Subway Pier

I don't know anything yet about Agenda Item A, the proposed acquisition of Community Space Facilities - is RIOC adding to community facilities by acquiring or reducing community facilities by conveying.

This real estate committee meeting is planned to be held in Executive Session which means the public will not be allowed to attend. Here's more on the criteria for RIOC holding meetings in Executive Session.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

East River Ducks Exploring Roosevelt Island - No Aggressive Tendencies Shown By The Ducks But Watch Out For The Geese

Have you seen any East River ducks coming ashore and waddling around Roosevelt Island recently?  In the past few days, I've noticed ducks on the West Channel Road being fed by passersby

and following others on the Riverwalk Commons.

Fortunately, our Roosevelt Island ducks have not exhibited any aggressive actions toward people but watch out for the geese.

You Tube Video of Man v Goose via Presurfer