Saturday, June 9, 2012

Scenes From Roosevelt Island Day 2012 - Rain Stayed Away And Everyone Had A Great Time

 Image From Roosevelt Island Day 2012

A very nice afternoon spent at Roosevelt Island Day. Despite a few drops, the rain stayed away and kids of all ages had alot of fun. Here are some scenes.

Some credit for keeping the rain away has to go to the Third Wheel Band who performed Let It Shine when the weather was looking doubtful.

You Tube Video of Third Wheel Band At Roosevelt Island Day

Stay tuned for more pictures from 2012 Roosevelt Island Day.

Update 6/10 -  Roosevelt Island Day had many different types of activities. There were games,

inflatable slides,


and train rides,

strong man and mermaid posing,

a test of strength,

magic mirror,

face painting,


and balloon making.

There was also food. Ice cream Dippin' Dots


and cotton candy.

There was music from the Third Wheel Band

and blood donations too.

Roosevelt Island organizations were available at tables to talk about their activities including the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance,

Cornell University representatives Cathy Dove and Andrew Winters greeted their new Roosevelt Island neighbors with Roosevelt Island Operating Corp VP Fernando Martinez,

Roosevelt Island Business Networking Group,

Roosevelt Island Residents Association and Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department,

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association

as well as Big Allis Ravenswood Power Plant Operator TransCanada. (one of the event's sponsors).

Roosevelt Island elected officials participated in Roosevelt Island Day. Below is Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer with Doryne Isley of Urban American (owner of Roosevelt Landings and an event sponsor),

Assembly Member Micah Kellner speaking with constituents,

and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Kellner with Ms. Isley from Urban American.

It was a very nice day.

Thanks go out to those responsible for organizing Roosevelt Island Day.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Roosevelt Island Day Saturday June 9 - Volunteer Breakfast, Flower Planting, Blood Drive, Children's Concert, Games & Rides, Mammogram Scan Van, Petting Zoo & The Incrediband Concert

Received the following message from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
You’re invited to the annual Roosevelt Island Day event this Saturday, June 9th beginning at 9 am! The entire event will take place at the Good Shepherd Plaza (543 Main Street). Many exciting activities are lined up for the day so stop by and join in on all the fun. This year’s event will definitely be one to remember so bring your family & friends and enjoy an amazing day of free activities with the Roosevelt Island community!


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information on Saturday's Roosevelt Island Day from previous post as well as scenes from past Roosevelt Island Days.

Are Horses Coming To Roosevelt Island? RIOC Real Estate Development Committee Agenda Item Includes Presentation On Proposed Equestrian Center

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 Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.
1. Potential Uses of Sportspark Mezzanine;
2. Availability of Additional Community Spaces;
3. Retail Master Lease Performance;
4. Presentation Regarding a Proposed Equestrian Center; and
5. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee.
The Roosevelt Island Child School Director and RIOC Director Sal Ferrera has expressed interest in the past to develop an equestrian center on Roosevelt Island. According to this 2011 NY Daily News article:
... "We could create a miracle," said Sal Ferrera, the school's executive director. "All the research I've done tells me the equine therapy does wonders for kids that are facing learning challenges."

Ferrera said he'd like to see an indoor equestrian arena with a handful of horses and a circular 21/2-mile riding path built on the island
Here's a video showing the Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center from Ann Jessen on Vimeo.

No matter how beneficial therapeutic horse riding may be for special needs children, the question becomes if it is appropriate for a small residential community such as Roosevelt Island?

Report From Roosevelt Island Residents Association President Matt Katz - Roosevelt Island Day, Blood Drive, RIOC Directors Conversation, Cornell Relationship and Elections - He Will Not Seek Another Term As RIRA President

Below is Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz report to the June RIRA Common Council. Among the issues Mr. Katz discussed were:

  • Upcoming Roosevelt Island Day On Saturday June 9,
  • Blood Donation Drive Taking Place on Roosevelt Island Day - 62 pledges so far,
  • Recent RIOC Directors meeting with residents and hope that it continues in the future
  • RIOC Meeting On Red Bus Route,
  • Residents relationship with Cornell - Should RIRA abandon the Silicon Island Coalition Community Benefits Agreement process and establish dialogue with Cornell on its own,
  • RIOC Board of Directors election in November and
  • RIRA Common Council election in November
Mr. Katz also announced that he would not be seeking another term as RIRA President or as a member of RIRA's Common Council. Mr. Katz, who has served 4 terms as RIRA President, said that it was time to turn over leadership of RIRA to new people, new voices and new skill sets.

Mr. Katz should be thanked for all the time and effort he has spent trying to make Roosevelt Island a better place to live. One need not agree with Mr. Katz on any particular issue to acknowledge that he has helped make Roosevelt Island a better place to live for the residents.

I thank him.

You Tube Video of RIRA President's Report

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Public Safety Committee Report - Questions Raised On Parking Favoritism, Car, Bike & Pedestrian Traffic Safety, Motorgate and Vertical Building Patrols and Graffiti Among Issues Reviewed

Below is the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee report to the June 2012 RIRA Common Council:


Follow up Initiatives:

Vertical Patrols:

None of the committee members present stated that they had seen vertical patrols being conducted in their buildings. Members acknowledged that PSO’s were seen at the door station in Westview this month, but not on the floors or in the stairways.

The PSC Chair brought up the fact that there had not been any reports of robberies, to the committee members, in the buildings, and stated that she would follow up with the director on whether he was utilizing the same strategy as last quarter targeting the “hot spots”.

Traffic Control:

Although there appear to be several new officers who are not as well trained in traffic control as some of the more seasoned officers, there has been an officer presence during the morning hours on Saturday at the Green Market, and in the mornings during the week. A member of the committee questioned the school crossing guard’s assignment, noting that there had been one morning when she wasn’t present, before 9am, and expressed concern because cars were ignoring the stop sign. The PSC Chair stated she would ask the Director for clarification of the hours.

Other problems sighted by committee members continue to be about the pedestrians who ignore cross walks, walk out in front of moving cars, and the bicycles that continue to ride on the sidewalk. Committee members would like to see PSO’s take a more instructional role with the pedestrians, who create potentially dangerous conditions to themselves and others, by ignoring the traffic regulations. Committee members would like to see PSO’s educating pedestrians and those riding their bicycles illegally, on safety as well as on the rules and regulations, and the legal ramifications possible, if these laws are disobeyed. The idea of taking one day a month and stopping drivers who run through the stop, giving a verbal warning, was also suggested as a deterrent.

Motorgate patrols:

Officer Sitaras informed RIRA members during May’s meeting about the two recent robberies at Motorgate. Committee members expressed concern stating that they had not noticed an increase patrols during the past month, and some felt they had seen them less frequently. Concern over the use of the stairwells as urinals again, since the bathroom doors have been locked, brought up the question of who is responsible for patrolling the stairways, which are being vandalized, and why it doesn’t seem to be done. Individuals who park in motorgate have not seen patrols as frequently as in the past. Committee members shared interest in knowing why the stairways are not being patrolled as well, since now that the bathrooms at Motorgate are locked, they are again being used as urinals. Chair will email Director with this concern.

Parking Enforcement:

One committee member stated that Parking Enforcement continues to be problems at Southtown. Reports are that on the East Channel, cars are not being equally ticketed and are being allowed to park all day Sunday, straight through the night until Monday, without being given a ticket. The same cars continue to be given breaks. A Range Rover, with Pennsylvania plates, Door Station employees, restaurant owners who claim to utilize their vehicles for deliveries during the day, etc.

Tickets are being given out more often in the North Town areas, although cars, which brandish a “Public Safety 2012” card on the dashboard, are not being ticketed

Discussion ensued about the Public Safety 2012 cards, allegedly provided to PSO as an incentive, by management. It is alleged that each officer is given 12 cards, which they can give to their family and friends. These cards allow the owner of the card to park on the Roosevelt Island Street without paying the muni-meter or being issued a ticket. This card was seen on the dashboard of a BMW, in front of Westview. The car remained in that spot for several hours without the need to display a muni-meter ticket on their dashboard, and without getting a ticket. When Howard, a RIOC Board member was questioned about this procedure he stated that he was unaware of it. A RIRA member originally brought this issue to committee member’s attention after the May RIRA meeting. At her request the PSC Chair emailed the Director for information, which has not received a response yet.

Committee members questioned the legality of these cards, since they were taking capital away from the city, as well as the moral issue which concerns the limited number of parking spots available to residents. It was discussed that if RIOC felt that this perk was necessary for its Officers, and didn’t feel that they should have to pay for parking at Motorgate, then a location should be offered for them to park in, like a lot, as it does for the Dry Cleaner, rather then taking several of the very limited number of parking spots available on the streets. Chair will bring this issue up in the Operation Committee meeting in June.

New Business:
Concern was expressed for the Graffiti, which has increased, as pointed out in the letter in the WIRE. Chair will follow up on what PS is doing to eradicate this problem.
UPDATE 1:40 PM - RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra informs me that the incidents at the Motorgate characterized as "robberies" were larcenies - the difference being that robbery is a crime against a person, not a car as happened in this case.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

No Parking On Roosevelt Island West Drive In Southtown From 405 to 475 Main Street Friday June 8, 6 AM to 4 PM

 Image Of West Channel Road

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Please be advised there will be no parking on West Drive rear of 405 Main St to 475 Main St Friday, June 8, 2012 between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. due to maintenance. All vehicles in violation will be summonsed and towed.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Double Rainbow Seen From Roosevelt Island Today

Image From Tatiana Muzica

Roosevelt Island photographer Tatiana Muzica shares picture of double rainbow from earlier today. That's double rainbows two days this week.

Young Roosevelt Island Ballerinas Practice Outdoors On Southtown Ledge

Click On Image To Enlarge

The girls were on the way for refreshments at Starbucks.

Roosevelt Island Red Bus, Parking, Bikes Subject Of RIOC Operations Committee Meeting Today - Bike Sharing Coming To Manhattan Roosevelt Island Tram Station - What Do You Want To See From Transportation Department?

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Transportation Dep't Mission Statement

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee is meeting later today to continue their discussion of transportation issues. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The Committee will meet to discuss:
1. Parking issues on Roosevelt Island:
a. Bike parking
b. On-street parking
2. Issues related to Red Bus
3. Issues related to NextBus information system
4. Any other Committee business that may be brought before the Committee 
Roosevelt Island resident Mark Lyon shares these thoughts on Roosevelt Island transportation issues:
The next operations meeting is intended to cover bike and red bus issues. I hope that the Corporation will work with Alta Bike Share to get stations on the island (and that they take down the "no overnight bike parking" signs for private bikes).  Being able to take a bike from Motorgate to the Subway/Tram and back at the ends of my commute, instead of waiting for the Red Bus, would be awesome. I'm certain others would enjoy it as well.

While thinking about the Red Bus, though, I'm shocked by the silliness of paying my quarter each way. I often see people board and not pay (not just students), completely unchallenged, which makes me feel like a fool for ponying up my change each way. According to the budget, the fares will be going up this year to help recoup some of the $1,068,960 expected subsidy.  It appears that the Red Bus will cost $1,554,960 to operate in the 12-13FY.

Wouldn't it be easier and more effective to pass that cost along as an assessment for each residential unit?  I can't find anything on RIOC's site that gives an accurate count of residential units, but the USPS EDDM system shows 4,992 residential mail locations in 10044. That's around $312/year/unit.  Less than a dollar a day per apartment. Not a bad deal at all.  With a bit of balancing, the impact on low-income tenants could be reduced without having a significant impact on other apartments.  The bus would be faster, since it could operate like the MTA's Select Bus Service where people can board from any door, having already prepaid.
Below is an excerpt of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Transportation Department presentation to the RIOC May 21 Operations Committee.

More on the Transportation Department presentation at earlier post.

Here are photos of slides from RIOC Transportation Department presentation to May 21 RIOC Operations Committee meeting (RIOC would not provide a copy of the presentation unless I filed a Freedom Of Information Law Request).

Also learned at last night's Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting (RIRA) that there will be a bike sharing station at the Manhattan Roosevelt Island Tram Station at the start of the program. More info on bike sharing here.

UPDATE 6/8 - The Operations Committee agreed to keep the current Red Bus route extending to Southpoint Park without any modification at the present time. They will monitor the situation, gather metrics on how the new schedule is working and then reevaluate in a few months (3-6) to determine whether any changes are needed.

The Operations Committee agreed that bike racks should not be used for overnight storage and that bikes will be removed from the racks if they are there over a certain amount of time that is still to be established. Consideration will be given to those who work late night hours and use the bike racks. Overnight bike storage will be established by RIOC underneath the Motorgate Helix.

Here's the audio web cast of the meeting.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RIOC Operations Committee Receives Report On Status Of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department - Crime Low and Decreasing, Use Of Tasers Being Requested

The June 4 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee meeting held a review of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. Public Safety Director Keith Guerra reviewed the current state of the department as compared to how it was before he became Director four years ago. Mr. Guerra provided statistics showing that crime on Roosevelt Island is low and has been decreasing. I missed the meeting but here's the audio web cast of what happened. Mr. Guerra's remarks begin at the 3 minute 40 second mark and end at 1 hour 12 minute mark.

At the 25 minute mark, Mr. Guerra asks the RIOC Operations Committee Directors to consider allowing Public Safety Officers to be equipped with Tasers to better protect the officers from injuries caused by suspects resisting arrest, for help gaining compliance from suspects as well as preventing disturbed people from injuring themselves.

Here's an example of a taser demonstration:

On the other hand, Gothamist reported in October 2011:
Tasers, or "Conducted Energy Devices," are an increasingly popular method of "non-lethal" force in police departments across New York State, as well as being trusted companions at the ballgame. However, according to a new report [pdf] from the NYCLU, "police officers are using Tasers in inappropriate, irresponsible and downright deadly manner." As the saying goes: shoot 50,000 volts of electricity into somebody's chest first, ask questions later.

Studying 851 Taser incidents from eight police department across the state (including the NYPD), 60% of those cases did not meet the expert-recommended standards that restrict the use of a Taser to "situations where officers can document active aggression or a risk of physical injury." 40% of the incidents involved "at-risk subjects" like the elderly, children, the visibly infirm, or those who were seriously intoxicated or mentally ill....
Will have more on Taser issue in future posts.

Mr. Guerra also mentioned the possibility of bringing explosive detection dogs to monitor Roosevelt Island transportation facilities at the 22 minute mark.

Full audio web cast of RIOC June 4 Operations Committee meeting is here.

Below is the April 2012 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Blotter

and Public Safety Statistics for January - April 2012.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight 8 PM Good Shepherd Community Center - Come Learn More About 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 monthly 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 is Island Shakespeare's Thomas Kee. Island Shakespeare will be performing Much Ado About Nothing this summer at the Eastwood Amphitheater.

Below is the Agenda for tonight's meeting.

This will be the last RIRA monthly meeting before their summer break. RIRA meetings will resume in September.

Roosevelt Island 2012 Outdoor Summer Movie Series At Southpoint Park Starting June 30 With Captain America - Other Movies Include Grease, Tangled, The Help, The Lion King and Sherlock Holmes - Don't Be Afraid Of Foreign Films With Subtitles Says One Resident

Image From RIOC

The Roosevelt Island Outdoor Summer Movie Series at Firefighters Field Southpoint Park (venue has been moved to Southpoint Park)

 View of Firefighter's Field Outdoor Movie From Above

returns starting June 30 with a showing of Captain America and continues each weekend thru August 19.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Summer is finally almost here and that means it's time for the island's Outdoor Summer Movie Series! Beginning on June 30th to August 19th, a new movie will be featured each weekend at 8 PM. Don't miss out on the selection of featured movies including Captain America, Grease, Tangled, The Help, The Lion King, and Sherlock Holmes! Along with these exciting movies, there will also be food, drinks, games, prizes, and more! Bring a blanket or chair, sit back, relax and enjoy several fun-filled evenings with the community!
During the May 24 RIOC Directors conversation with Roosevelt Islanders, one resident asked that more diverse movies such as the foreign films shown at LIC's Socrates Sculpture Park be shown at the Roosevelt Island Outdoor Movie Series.

UPDATE 6/24 - RIOC has changed the site of the movies to Southpoint Park. According To RIOC:
Come out this summer and enjoy an awesome line-up of family friendly movies at Roosevelt Island’s 2012 Outdoor Summer Movie Series Event. The free event will take place at Southpoint Park.

Save the dates- From June through August, the following movies will be featured on a 3 story inflatable screen:

June 30th- Captain America: The First Avenger
July 7th- Grease
July 20th- Tangled
July 21st- The Help
August 4th- Lion King
August 11th- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

The fun starts at 7 PM, with music & movie trivia. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Bring friends and family along with lawn chairs or blankets and watch movies at Southpoint Park under the stars. This is an experience you don’t want to miss!

This event is sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

UPDATE 7/20 - Received this cancellation notice yesterday from RIOC regarding July 20th showing of Tangled:
Please be advised due to the threat of rain tomorrow evening, the scheduled movie Tangled has been rescheduled for Sunday July 29th at 7 PM at Southpoint Park.
UPDATE 7/21 - The Roosevelt Island Outdoor Movie Summer Movie Series continues tonight at Southpoint Park with the showing of The Help. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
...on Saturday, July 21st enjoy the Academy Award winning Disney film The Help.

Arrive at 7 PM to get a good spot, enjoy music & participate in movie trivia. Food and drinks are available for purchase on site.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Roosevelt Island East River Waterfront Restaurant Taking Shape, Riverwalk Bar & Grill Bringing In John Brown Smokehouse BBQ and Um Segredo Chef David Santos - Community Board 8 Reviewing Liquor License Tonight

You Tube Video of NYC Waterfront Skyline at Night

Last April, I asked:
... Will East River waterfront dining be coming to Roosevelt Island's Subway Pier 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...
Good News - turns out the answer to that question is YES, at least for this summer season and on an experimental basis to see how it works out. As previously reported, following a Request For Proposal, the  Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) awarded the right to operate a temporary waterfront food concession at the Subway Pier to the owners of our local Riverwalk Bar & Grill.

Riverwalk Bar & Grill Co-owner Salvatore Hoo shares some preliminary plans for Roosevelt Island's new waterfront restaurant:
We opened Riverwalk Bar and Grill almost 3 years ago and took a risk on Roosevelt Island that few were willing to take.  From the first time we stepped foot here we thought that the West Promenade was a unique space with a beautiful view.   Living here and doing business here since 2009,  we have realized that although unique, the space itself is very run down and underused. The metal gates are rusted and the paint was coming away in many spots. The wood railing had lost the luster it most certainly once had, covered in bird droppings as well as the marble ledge and floor of the space.

We thought it would be a great idea to use the space as a waterfront cafe and call it The Pier NYC, serving great food and summery drinks. We are working in collaboration with John Brown Smokehouse and Chef David Santos formerly of PerSe and Bouley to give the residents of the island new food options that they have been desiring. Earlier this year, John Brown Smokehouse was named best brisket in NYC and we will bring that along with other great BBQ menu items. Chef David Santos will bring his expertise of seafood to The Pier NYC and we will be serving items such as raw oysters, shrimp cocktail and lobster rolls. The exact menu is not yet set in stone, but these are the types of things residents can expect from us in this new venture. Being a resident myself I know this can be a great addition and look forward to further serving Roosevelt Island.
Wow - I am certainly looking forward to BBQ from Long Island City's John Brown Smokehouse. I've been there several times over the last few months and the food is GREAT.

You Tube Video of John Brown Smokehouse

Equally exciting is the participation of Chef David Santos who, in addition to experience at Per Se and Bouley, has been holding extraordinary well reviewed Um Segredo private dinners in his Roosevelt Island apartment.

Here's what the subway pier space looks like in the daytime.

You Tube Video of Walk Around The Subway Pier

Certainly looking forward very much to the opening. I hope the Wi-Fi extends to the Pier. 

Later tonight, Community Board 8 will be reviewing a liquor license application for Roosevelt Island's subway pier waterfront restaurant:
h. Roosevelt Island Hospitality Group, LLC d/b/a Pier NYC, West Promenade Pier, Roosevelt Island - New application for an liquor, wine and beer (on-premises) liquor license
Below is a location map for the Subway Pier Area from Appendix A of the RFP

According to a RIOC spokesperson, the only other submission responding to the RFP for the Roosevelt Island Subway Pier Waterfront Food Concession other than the Riverwalk Bar & Grill was:
The second bidder for the West Promenade Waterfront Food concession was D/G Partners and its request was disqualified out of hand for failing to meet the RFP requirements.  If you would like further information concerning the RFP, please submit a FOIL request.
RIOC's original RFP for the waterfront food concession prohibited any alcohol and seating was limited to 30 all within the designated Area 1. That is not now the case. There will be alcohol served, seating for more than 30 (I was told 60 but that is unconfirmed) and tables outside Area 1 on the Boardwalk area 2. Picture below of subway pier south side with chairs and tables from yesterday is for illustrative purposes only and not necessarily how the area will be set up.

 In a reply to this question submitted to the RFP,:
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.
RIOC provides an explanation for the discrepancy:
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.
Whatever difficulties and problems involved in the issuance of this RFP, it will be wonderful to have a waterfront restaurant at the Roosevelt Island subway pier and the plans announced by Mr. Hoo sound terrific.

RIOC Directors and staff have said if all goes well and the community likes this use of public space, RIOC will issue another RFP for the location next year.

UPDATE 6:40 PM - Riverwalk Bar & Grill co-owner Jonathan Hoo adds that chef Alyssa Gangeri of Ally Cakes:
will also be creating new desserts especially for Pier NYC. The menu should be similar to what is attached.