Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dark And Stormy Clouds Over Roosevelt Island Today

Roosevelt Island residents share these photos of today's weather. From Greg Avola:

Also, C. Grant shows us the dark clouds over Lighthouse Park.

Report From RIOC President Leslie Torres - Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officer Performs Heimlich Maneuver On Choking Victim, Bicycle Parking Policy Change, Tramway Plaza Rat Update and Main Street Reconstruction Replacing Z Brick

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Lesie Torres sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
Greetings Roosevelt Islanders! I want to start this week’s column by thanking you for your cooperation while we renovated the Tram stations last month. We have a little bit more work to do, but the main portion of the project was completed last Friday, as scheduled, so there will be no more disruptions to the regular Tram schedule.

PSD Officer Saves Choking Victim

On the night of August 27, RIOC’s Public Safety Department received a call for assistance in the lobby of 625 Main Street. Four officers – Lt. Gary Yee, Sgt. Raul Hernandez and Special Patrol Officers Frensheria Michael and Leonard Bunbury – hurried to the scene to find a woman who was choking. SPO Michael quickly examined the woman, who was turning blue and unable to speak, and saw the imprint of an object in her throat. She performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman twice, causing her to cough up a piece of beef that had been lodged in her throat. Later, Emergency Medical Services arrived and confirmed that the woman’s vitals were good. I’m thrilled that she’s okay and grateful to SPO Michael for her terrific work!

Bicycle Parking Policy Change

Overnight bicycle parking is currently not permitted on RIOC bicycle racks, but that’s about to change. Starting on September 17, overnight parking will be allowed on our bicycle racks with two exceptions: the rack located on the West Drive at the F-train station and the rack located in the Roosevelt Island Tramway Plaza. Overnight parking between 2:00 am and 5:00 am will still be prohibited on those two racks in an effort to reduce overcrowding and ensure space for daily commuters.

Please note that long-term storage is not permitted on any RIOC bicycle rack. Any bicycle that appears to be abandoned will be tagged by the RIOC Transportation Department with a warning tag. The owner will be given seven days to claim their bicycle before it will be removed and held by Public Safety for seven days. After seven days any unclaimed bicycles will be donated to the Roosevelt Island Thrift Shop located at 520 Main Street.

Tramway Park Rat Extermination Update

In the June 16 edition of the RIOC column, I wrote about the rat problem at Tramway Park on the Manhattan side of the Tram. As I said then, Tramway Park is the property of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and thus not RIOC’s jurisdiction, but we would work with the Parks Department to assist in their extermination efforts as much as we could.

Last month, with the Parks Department’s approval, the East Midtown Partnership, which is the Business Improvement District covering the Manhattan side of the Tram, agreed to assume the responsibility for a major rat extermination effort in Tramway Park. As part of this initiative, they have hired a new extermination company that has already begun its work. RIOC representatives met with representatives from the Midtown East Partnership and the Parks Department, and we are optimistic that their work will be thorough and successful.

Main Street Reconstruction to Begin

The street work for Phase II of our Main Street Reconstruction Project will begin on Wednesday, September 12. During Phase I, completed in 2009, we replaced Z-Bricks with asphalt pavement on the roadway from 40 River Road to the Fire House Station. Phase II will continue the same work from 40 River Road to the bottom of the Helix ramp. The asphalt surface is better at handling heavy vehicle traffic and the elements, and it won’t require the frequent and costly repairs involved in maintaining the Z-Bricks.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hazardous Riverwalk Commons Skateboarders, No Volleyball Court and Drug Prescriptions Reported On By Roosevelt Island Residents Association Island Services Committee

Below is the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Service Committee report to the September 2012 Common Council Meeting.


The ISC didn’t meet over the summer. Updates on ISC issues:

Full-services Pharmacy As reported in the WIRE and the Roosevelt Islander, Duane Reade will again accept prescriptions from Express Scrip effective 9/15/12. This will bring Duane Reade much closer to becoming a full-services pharmacy. They will still not deliver to customers.

Parks RIOC will not install a planned volleyball court in the empty lot across from 455 Main St. The estimated cost of about $25K can’t be justified.

Skateboarding & Pedestrian Safety RIOC will investigate the high speed skateboarding on the hill road from Fuji East to Starbucks. This skateboarding creates a potentially serious hazard to pedestrians especially to people going to or away from Starbucks.

Aaron Hamburger, Chair
The issue of potentially hazardous skateboarding at the Riverwalk Commons

was discussed during the July 24 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Operations Committee meeting. Here's what happened (full audio webcast of meeting is here).

You Tube Video of July 24 RIOC Operations Committee Skateboard Discussion

It sure would be nice to have a Volleyball Court or at least a net here on Roosevelt Island like this one

I saw at McCarren Park in Williamsburg.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Roosevelt Island Interview With Verdant Power President Trey Taylor As Next Generation East River Turbine Installed - Plans To Create A Virtual Power Plant On Roosevelt Island Using Wind, Solar, Turbine and Bio Energy

Reported on August 30 that:

... Verdant Power installed its latest prototype water turbine in East River next to Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket yesterday afternoon. The new turbine will undergo tests for the next two weeks....
Image of Verdant Power Water Turbine Being Installed On Roosevelt Island August 29

As the water turbine was being installed, I spoke with Verdant Power President Trey Taylor. Mr. Taylor explained that the energy produced from the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project (RITE) when fully built out (1 Megawatt of Power) is intended for Roosevelt Island uses as a form of distributed generation in a demonstration of decentralized power. According to Mr. Taylor, previous testing of RITE brought energy to the Gristedes Supermarket and the intent in the future is to bring energy to the new Cornell Campus as well as Roosevelt Island buildings.

You Tube Video of Interview With Verdant Power Trey Tower on Roosevelt Island

Mr. Taylor also talked about ultimately creating a Roosevelt Island Virtual Power Plant using solar, wind, bio and tidal energy creating our own sustainable energy community and an example for the entire world.

You Tube Video of Interview With Verdant Power President Trey Taylor On Roosevelt Island

Wow - I agree with Mr. Taylor, that would be pretty cool.

Here's the installation of the turbine into the East River on August 29.

You Tube Video of Verdant Water Turbine Being Installed In East River

More on the decentralization of energy from this April 2012 article in The Atlantic and this previous post on Roosevelt Island energy issues.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Roosevelt Island Z Brick Repair Work Starts Tomorrow at West Drive and Lighthouse Park

 Image Of Z Bricks On West Drive Next To Historical Society Kiosk

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised on Thursday, September 6, 2012, Z-Brick repair work will begin at two locations:

1) On the West drive and sidewalk in front of the R.I. Historical Society Kiosk (between the kiosk and the tennis bubble).

2) Inside Lighthouse Park (z-brick replacement around tree pits)

During the Z-brick repair work on the West Drive, flag men will be on-site and will assist with vehicular traffic as necessary. The work is estimated to be completed at both locations by Friday, September 14, 2012.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight 8 PM Good Shepherd Community Center, Should RIRA Join Community Coalition In Discussions With Cornell NYC Tech - 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 Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) Co-Chair Jonathan Kalkin.

RICC is the new name for what had previously been the Silicon Island Coalition that sought to organize and represent Roosevelt Island and other NYC organizations in discussions with Cornell University regarding the development of Cornell's new Applied Sciences and Engineering School to be located on Roosevelt Island. Mr. Kalkin will be asking RIRA to become a member of RICC.

RIRA, which is the recognized elected representative organization of Roosevelt Island residents, will decide tonight to either join the RICC coalition or act independently in any discussions with Cornell.

Below is the September 2012 RIRA Common Council Agenda.

Date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish

Place: Chapel of the Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street

(If convenient, would you please arrive 10 minutes in advance to help set up chairs, or stay 10 minutes late to help clean up? We are guests in the building and need to be good neighbors. Thanks in advance!

1. Public Session (8:00)

RI Community Coalition – Jonathan Kalkin

2. Roll Call (8:30)

X 3. Approval of Agenda (8:35)

X 4. Approval of Minutes– June 6, 2012 (8:40)

5. Treasurer’s Report (8:45)

6. President's Report (8:50)

7. Committees (9:05)


X Silicon Island – motion to join Coalition

Government Relations/MTG sub-committee

X Election of election/nominations committee chairs



Island Services/Main St. Retail

Public Safety

Social, Cultural and Educational Services


8. Old Business (10:05)

9. New Business 10:10)

10. Adjourn
UPDATE 9/6 - After a long discussion with some RIRA members expressing disappointment in the lack of progress made to date by RICC, the absence of RICC organizational bylaws and voting procedures among the coalition members, RIRA voted by a large majority to join RICC.

Roosevelt Island Resident Goran Veljic Featured As New Yorker of the Month By Ask a New Yorker - New Home Is One Of The Most Beautiful Spots In New York City He Says!

Image of Goran Veljic From Ask A New Yorker

Recent Roosevelt Island resident Goran Veljic was featured as the September 2012 New Yorker of the Month by Ask A New Yorker. Mr. Veljic spoke with Ask a New Yorker about life on Roosevelt Island. Here's an excerpt from the interview.
Ask a New Yorker: Where are we? What’s happening? I’m, like, in another world.

Goran: We are on Roosevelt Island, a small island between Queens and Manhattan. It is one of the most beautiful spots on New York City. I moved here in March 2010. I would like to stay here for a long time. It has great views and is a very friendly, clean place to live. We don’t have a lot of restaurants or bars. This bar-restaurant Pier NYC opened recently and where we are sitting is one of my favorites. Roosevelt Island also has soccer fields. I’m from Europe so I’m a big soccer fan.
Goran: If you have an artist feeling in your soul then New York is the best place to be. New York is extremely energetic place to live for artist. I used to think Paris but after a few years in New York is the world center for art, photography, film, painters and writers too. New York is like a big diamond. One place I really like to hang out in is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s very laid back and open minded. You never know who you are going to meet. The best in the world come here and they could be painting on the corner. New York is a leader in art!
Click here for the entire Ask a New Yorker feature with Roosevelt Island resident Goran Veljic

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Roosevelt Island Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Speaks In Support Of President Obama Tonight At Democratic Party Convention, Being A Woman No Longer A Pre-Existing Medical Condition She Says

Image of Congresswoman Maloney Speaking at Democratic Convention From Twitter

Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney spoke this evening at the Democratic Party National Convention. Here's the text of her remarks.
I'm Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from the great state of New York.

When President Obama made health care a right, not a privilege for all Americans, it was a change that gave hope to millions

Now: Women are beginning to get the preventive services... including birth control, that they deserve.
If they get sick or pregnant, they won't lose their insurance.

And soon, for the first time, no longer will being a woman be a pre-existing medical condition!
Healthy moms mean healthy families.

When my Republican colleagues held a hearing about birth control and refused to include a single woman on the first panel as a witness,

I asked, Where are the women?

Where are the women? The women are here!

And we are on our way to re-elect our President.

The Democratic women of the House are committed to women's health and to moving America forward.
Ms Maloney Tweets:
and asked "where are the women" at Congressional Hearings last February.

Let's Make A Roosevelt Island Movie Short For On My Block NYC Neighborhood Film Project

Are you a novice or experienced filmmaker with a story to tell about Roosevelt Island? If so, consider participating in the On My Block neighborhood film project. According to On My Block:
“On My Block” is a film challenge that brings communities closer together by inviting filmmakers of all levels to create short narrative or documentary videos on their block using only their block’s residents as cast and crew.
Although we live in a city of over 8 million people, a lot of us don’t even know our neighbors. When you’re not connected to the people living on the other side of the wall, it’s hard to have any sense of belonging within a community. “On My Block” creates an opportunity for neighbors to introduce themselves, work together, and create trusting relationships through the collaborative filmmaking process. The films created will live on past the festival window as a source for community pride and as a living map of the world’s most creative city.
Click here for more information about On My Block and Co-Founder Ryan O'Hara Theisen explains the project in greater detail below.

The deadline for submitting your film is October 31, 2012 and must be shot between August 1 and October 31.

Roosevelt Island does not really have street blocks in the traditional NYC grid model. I would think that any filmmaker would need to clarify what makes a Roosevelt Island block to participate in this project.

There are plenty of talented storytellers here on Roosevelt Island. For example, this 2008 Roosevelt Island Talking Elevator short film from Jeff Lee.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Talking Subway Escalator from Jeff Lee

RIOC Reports No Injuries During August 15 Roosevelt Island Unauthorized Distribution Of Written Materials Incident, More Info On July Blackwell Fountain Exposure Incident and July Public Safety Botter

Reported August 19 on a Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department incident involving the:
08/15 - 1210 - 591 Main St. - Distribution Of Unauthorized Written Material - Condition Corrected
Comments on the incident from readers included:
Written material must now be authorized? Do we need to procure stamps for our documents from PSD to demonstrate that our writings have been approved?
That's bizarre ... What could PSD possibly determine to be "unauthorized" written material? Seems like a great opportunity to request the full reports via FOIL.
i suspect PSD isn't making determinations of what's "unauthorized" based on the content of the written material. my assumption is that the incident involved somebody trying to post a handbill or something on a tree, lamp post, or the like, which is generally prohibited. at a minimum, this shows the need for more transparent descriptions of violations in the police blotter when we're talking about violations of obscure administrative code provisions.
On August 16 I sent the following inquiry, with subsequent follow-ups to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Public Safety Department Chief Keith Guerra:
The 8/15 - 16 Public Safety Report indicates:
08/15 - 1210 - 591 Main St. - Distribution Of Unauthorized Written Material - Condition Corrected
What was being distributed and what does "distribution of unauthorized written material" mean?

Please provide additional details as to what occurred during this incident?

Thank you.
On August 30, received the following reply from RIOC's Press Spokesperson:
the incident took place on Wednesday, August 15 at 9:54 am in the 591 Courtyard, and there were no injuries.
No other response regarding the incident.

 On Wednesday, July 18, I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra:
The 7/17 -18 daily Public Safety Report indicates:
Exposure of a Person - PSD arrested the subject
Please provide information as to where the incident occurred, what time of day, what were the ages of the subject and victim and any other information that the Roosevelt Island community should be made aware of regarding this incident.

Also, was this incident related to any of the previous Exposure incidents occurring on Roosevelt Island recently.

Thank you.
and received this response on July 20 from RIOC's Press Spokesperson:
With regard to the exposure of a person, the incident took place on 7/17/12 at 3:17 p.m. at 500 Main Street (Blackwell Park). No injuries there either.
RIOC's July Monthly Public Safety Blotter has some additional information regarding the Exposure Incident:
7/17/2012 500 Main St ARREST Male observed at fountain in his under clothes exposing his intimate area. Male was issued summons and released.
Below is the full RIOC Monthly Public Safety Blotter for July 2012. Other incidents include:
  • 7/3/2012 540 Main St Female victim stated dog feces was found in front of her door as well as in the elevator. Maintenance on scene to correct the condition. Search of area for source yielded negative results.
  • 7/22/2012 465 Main St NYPD, FDNY, OEM and DEP on scene for report of hazardous substance at  location after female found three deceased squirrels.  Female suggests these animals were poisoned.  Upon investigation no poison was detected.
  • 7/16/2012 N/O 888 Main St Father of youth male involved in a dispute with female tennis instructor at location due to instructor yelling at youth for accidentally hitting her with a tennis racket.  Instructor was spoken to and both parties went their separate ways.
  • 7/3/2012 1142 2nd Avenue Manhattan Tram Plaza Dispute between Tram employee and passenger over not paying the fare for her son.  Upon arrival to the RI side of the Tram the passenger swiped her metro card. 
  • 7/5/2012 R/O 900 Main St Male observed using an unauthorized grill at location.  Male was advised of parks rules and regulations and complied without incident.
  • 7/12/2012 400 Main St Male reporter advised unknown male subject shoved his wife on 7/11/12 but did not report it right away.  No injuries to report.  Reporter entered  PSD again stating he was waiting at location to see if he saw unknown male.  Reporter was advised to not take matters into his own hands.  Reporter left the location.
  • 7/15/2012 540 Main St Report of female in laundry room of location with two dogs.  Upon arrival female was advised of regulations and female complied.
  • 7/17/2012 888 Main St Flyer observed at location indicating a bbq to take place at Lighthouse Park.  Area to be monitored.
  • 7/27/2012 900 Main St Report of unauthorized grill at location.  Upon investigation grill was
    authorized via permit for private party.  All in order.
  • 7/5/2012 579 Main St ARREST  Male subject observed striking male victim in the face.  Subject was placed into custody, issued summons and released
  • 7/1/2012 851 Main St ARREST  Dog observed unleashed at location.  Upon investigation dog did not have license.  Summonses issued.
  • 7/14/2012 R/O 900 Main St Male was in possession of cooler filled with alcoholic beverages which are prohibited at location.  Alcohol contained inside cooler was confiscated and male was warned and admonished
  • 7/19/2012 910 Main St ARREST  Two male subjects observed in vehicle unlawfully.  Subject #1 in possession of marijuana and an open container under the legal drinking age.  Subject #2 observed with open container under the legal drinking age.  Subject #1 taken into custody and transported to 114 Pct for arrest processing.  Subject #2 issued summons and released.  Owner of vehicle contacted and on scene to pick up vehicle.
  • 7/22/2012 576 Main St ARREST  Report of unleashed dog at location.  Upon arrival dog was
    observed unleashed and without an owner.  Owner has been warned and admonished several times for the same incident.  Owner contacted and arrived at PSD to retrieve the dog.  Owner was issued summons
  • 7/3/2012 400 Main St Report of two males being assaulted at location.  Both victims stated their cell phones were stolen and they struggled with the subjects but they fled the scene. Search of area for subjects yielded negative results.  NYPD notified.
  • 7/5/2012 510 Main St NYPD on scene for report of burglary.  Victim states laptop computer,
    wallet, jewelry and various items of clothing were taken.  Apartment was in complete disarray.
  • 7/11/2012 506 Main St Reporter advised upon arrival to location several gaming systems.  NYPD on scene for report.  Finger printing squad responded to lift finger prints as well.  No alarm system at location.  Other incidents of this nature has taken place in the past.
  • 7/19/2012 546 Main St Reporter advised on 7/18/12 when he returned home his ipad and camera were missing.  Victim advised he only had the slam lock on the door.  No other items missing.  Neighboring tenant saw an unknown male at location.  No signs of forced entry or door tampered with.  Service to change locks.

The up to date Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety reports are included on Roosevelt Islander's sidebar column.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Jon Stewart Learns Of An Invisible President Obama Seen Only By Republicans, Stephen Colbert on Paul Ryan's Convention Speech And Obama's America 2016 Movie Scenes Filmed From Roosevelt Island Tram

I have know idea why but scenes for the trailer of the anti-President Obama movie Obama's America 2016 were filmed from the Roosevelt Island Tram. Here's the trailer.

You Tube Video of Obama's America 2016 Trailer

Returning to the reality based universe, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert review the 2012 Republican Convention. Jon Stewart discovers that there is a President Obama that only Republicans can see

and  Stephen Colbert on Paul Ryan's blatant lying. Here's are the Republican Convention Speeches of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Clint Eastwood. The Democratic Party Convention starts tomorrow.

Roosevelt Island's River Road By Manhattan Park Closed To Parking And Traffic Due To Necessary Construction Starting Tomorrow And Regular Off Peak Tram Service Back To Normal Advises RIOC

Image Of River Road By Manhattan Park

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC);
Effective Tuesday, September 4, 2012 and until further notice, due to necessary construction River Road will be completely closed to parking and traffic, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for your cooperation.
RIOC also reports that regular Tram service has returned:
Please be advised the Tram Station Renovations have been completed and Off-Peak Tram Service has been restored.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group