Saturday, December 1, 2012

Purple Twilight Sky Over Roosevelt Island and NYC East River Waterfront Tonight - Did You See It?

Joohee Marie shares this photo of the Purple Twilight sky over Roosevelt Island and NYC East River 

waterfront tonight.

Thanks Joohee.

Roosevelt Island Zumbathon For Hurricane Sandy Relief With April Tonight Starting 6:30 PM At PS/IS 217 - Workout For A Good Cause

Are you in the mood for a Zumbathon workout tonight for a good cause - Hurricane Sandy relief. If so, here's a message I received from Aprilyn Goyzueta:
We are doing a fundraiser this Saturday

PS/MS 217 645 Main Street, New York, NY

This is going to be an amazing Zumbathon(r) at PS/MS 217, 645 Main Street on Roosevelt Island. Suggested donation is $20 at the door and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to help the relief efforts.

FINAL Instructor list: Aprilyn Goyzueta, Cody Mui, JoZee Merkersi, Maggie Marino, Fiona Anguesomo Nzamio, Nando Boogie Zee and Cryss Zumba!! Let's do this BIG!!

Anyone looking to make a donation (businesses looking to raffle off baskets, etc) should contact Aprilyn Goyzueta asap at
The Zumbathon is from 6:30 to 8 PM tonight. More information here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Still No Roosevelt Island Liquor Store Open, But Booze Carriage Online Liquor, Wine and Beer 30 to 60 Minute Delivery Service Available For Residents 21 And Over

A new option is now available for Roosevelt Island beer, wine and liquor drinkers. You can order your booze online and have it delivered to the comfort of your apartment from the folks at Booze Carriage. Your drink(s) of choice may not come from a specially designed Booze Tram

 Image Of Booze Carriage Tram From Booze Carriage

but it is promised to get to your Roosevelt Island door within 30-60 minutes of your order. According to Booze Carriage:
With, Roosevelt Island finally has a liquor store to call its own. Booze Carriage lets you order liquor, wine and beer online. Even better, is that it is delivered to your door with no delivery fee, within 30-60 minutes, and there are no hidden fees (same price that you would find in the store). All you need to do is log on, order $20 worth of liquor, wine or beer, and it will be at your door within 30-60 minutes. Beer is delivered 24 hours a day! also gives you the option to have your order waiting for you when you get home. You can choose to have your order delivered on any date and at any time.

Why carry heavy bags from the store to your apartment when someone else will do it for you! Give a shot!
 Image From Booze Carriage

As reported previously, still not know when the new Roosevelt Island Liquor store will open.

Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy Donations To Rockaways Head Start School Continue Sunday December 2 From 8-9 AM In Front Of PS/IS 217 - Laundry Detergent, Heaters, Housewares, Dishes Among Items Most Needed This Week

 Image of Roosevelt Islanders Collecting Donations For Rockaways  From Olya Turcihin

Here's the latest update on efforts of Roosevelt Island residents to donate and deliver supplies to the Community and Family Head Start School in the Rockaways devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  According to Karine Wong, who organized Roosevelt Island Hurricane donations and deliveries to the Rockaway:
Hi everyone,

We received some news from the Head Start School. The big news is that they will open next week for 2 classrooms of kids. 2nd floor approved by the Dept of Health to reopen! Plan is to transition children of highest need back to classrooms.

Just so you know what they are dealing with the priority list looks like this;

Children who are receiving special needs services
Children receiving related services (speech/ language, play therapy)
Children who receive SEIT services
Children who are in the process of an evaluation for services
Children who are homeless/doubled up families
Children who have siblings in the program

Here is what they really really need – as people are starting to try and put some sense of normalcy back into their lives;

Laundry detergent
Heaters (many homes have electricity but not heat still!)
Houseware Yes!!
Place mats

We will collect at the same time and location – Sunday morning 8 – 9am across the street from PS217. We will deliver at the same place, time and location – Community Parents Head Start School – Monday morning. Join in if you can.

Please come and contribute – bring what the need – if you haven’t got what they need – the 16 passenger van does use up a lot of gas – so you could contribute there…

Don't forget to "Like" our page:

See you Sunday!

PS: many of you have asked if we could put "a face" on Cynthia's name. Here she is on the left with short hair and white turtleneck with her amazing staff and your donations in the background.

Cynthia Cummings is the Executive Director of the Community and Family Head Start School.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Take A Trip To Socrates Sculpture Park With Roosevelt Island Blogger BuboBlog

 Image From BuboBlog

Have you ever taken walk over the Roosevelt Island Bridge, turned left and walked down Vernon Boulevard to Socrates Sculpture Park? Roosevelt Island blogger BuboBlog did recently and reports:
I recently heard that there was a sculpture garden within walking distance of Roosevelt Island, just across the bridge in Queens. So Elliot and I bundled up (it was in the 30s today) and set out to find it....

...The sculpture park, which is open every day during sunlight hours, is right next to the Costco.

The park doesn't feel as polished as some of the sculpture gardens I've visited — say, the one outside the DeYoung in San Francisco or the one in Minneapolis. But, hey, this is Queens. Apparently the site was an illegal dumping ground until 1986.

The sculptures themselves are engaging and exhibit a nice mix of styles...
Click here for the full report of BuboBlog's visit to Socrates Sculpture Park and take a look at this short video of what you can see when visiting.

I think Socrates Sculpture Park is a great place and highly recommend you go for a visit.

Land Grab By FDR Memorial Of Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park - ThirtyThousand Dollar Fence Placed Around Smallpox Hospital Without ApprovalBy RIOC, Removal Demanded By Directors

Image Of Fence Closing Off Smallpox Hospital From Southpoint Park

During November 15 meeting of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee (audio webcast of meeting here), it was learned that the FDR Four Freedoms Park Boondoggle (FDR) installed a $30 Thousand fence surrounding the Smallpox Hospital

Image Of Fence Closing Off Smallpox Hospital From Southpoint Park

in Southpoint Park outside the area of the Four Freedoms Park without prior approval of RIOC.

This is the fence.

A visibly angry and outraged RIOC Director David Kraut demanded that the fence be removed telling FDR's Executive Director Gina Pollara that the fencing surrounding the Smallpox Hospital of RIOC property was:
 ... a land grab...
... you just can't do that...
...I am furious you would put a fence across Roosevelt Island...
... you don't have enough law or friends in high places to make us abrogate our responsibility...
RIOC Director Margie Smith said that she did not think there was any land grab. That it was a good faith mistake but that she does not like the fence either.

Here's the Land Grab discussion from RIOC November 15 Operations Committee meeting.

and part 2.

Roosevelt Island resident April Ward attended the meeting and comments:
Southpoint park is the green space, planted with native New York plants and the fenced Renwick ruin, directly before the entrance to the FDR memorial.

FDR has unequivocally and unapologetically over stepped the boundaries of their park to claim a vast swath of land from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park, fencing it in to lock it off from visitors according to their limited open hours. The ___foot tall iron picket fence blocks the once beautiful view of the United Nations complex and cuts off the end of the island in an abrupt, massive, physical affront. This "land grab" is an insult to every islander and can not be tolerated.

They have planted two non-native invasive plant species adjacent to Southpoint, some where it appears to be in Southpoint. In addition they want an institutional metal "security booth" stationed in Southpoint Park for their use, just outside the new entry point of this offensive fence.

It seems they did not plan well and now want more space for themselves. Poor planning on their part is no excuse for their want of yet more land and their recent fence construction. And it is absolutely not a reason for Roosevelt Island to simply hand them a few more acres of our green space, let them plant non-native invasives in the park and host their eyesore hut.
Today's RIOC Operations Committee meeting will include a discussion of the fence and the operations of the Park. According to the Agenda for the meeting:
3. Discussion of Southpoint and Four Freedoms Parks Fence and General Operational Issues
According to the FDR web site, here are the rules they are seeking the public to obey.
Park Rules

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park is a Presidential memorial. To preserve its sanctity and keep the memorial clean, let us all observe the simple rules below. Thank you for honoring this shared public space. Have a wonderful visit.

Please Do

Carry out what you carry in; no littering
Quietly stroll, but leave bicycles, roller skates, scooters, skateboards and amplifiers at home
Enjoy Nature but no tree-climbing, fishing or feeding of wildlife
Leave dogs and pets at home
Enjoy water but no food, alcohol or other beverages
Observe No Smoking policy
For Your Safety

No climbing of embankments or walls
No glass containers
Do not obstruct entrances or walkways
Thank You
Certainly does not sound like much of a park to me.

It will be interesting to see who sets the rules for the operation of the so-called park,

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Skateboarding in Southpoint Park

RIOC which controls the land or FDR and "their friends in high places" to quote Mr. Kraut.

Interim RIOC Operations Vice President And Review Of All Open Roosevelt Island Projects On Agenda For Operations Committee Meeting Tonight - RIOC Hurricane Sandy Response, Four Freedoms Park Illegal Fence And Operations, Boat Prow Restoration and More Also On Agenda

 Image of RIOC VP Of Operations Fernando Martinez (center) at 11/15 Ops Committee Meeting

As reported last November 19, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez resigned his position effective December 21.
... Reasons for Mr. Martinez resignation are not known as yet. He will be difficult to replace since he is so familiar with all aspects of Roosevelt Island and nobody on the current staff has his detailed knowledge about Roosevelt Island.

This is a big deal, particularly with the many Roosevelt Island infrastructure issues that need to be addressed as well as coordination of the new Cornell NYC Tech Campus and Southtown Buildings 7-9....
According to the Agenda for RIOC Operations Committee scheduled for later today, Mr. Martinez will report to the Committee on:
... all Open Projects and Contracts for Turnover...
Also, there will be a:
... Chairs Motion for Executive Session to Review and Discuss:

a. Discussion of Possible Interim Vice President of Operations...
Below is the Agenda for tonight's RIOC Operations Committee meeting:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


1. Report on RIOC�s Response to Hurricane Sandy
2. Report from Fernando Martinez on all Open Projects and Contracts for Turnover
3. Discussion of Southpoint and Four Freedoms Parks Fence and General Operational Issues
4. Update on Prow Restoration Project
5. Update on Cultural Center Repairs
6. Update on Camera Project
7. Update on Parking Project
8. Discussion of Octagon Field Issues
9. Discussion of Additional Project Management Support
10. Chair�s Motion for Executive Session to Review and Discuss:

a. Discussion of Possible Interim Vice President of Operations

b. Discussion of Personnel Performance Review and Promotion Policy

11. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee


The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.
An audio web cast of the meeting will be available within a few days.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FANTASTIC Empire State Building LED Light Show With Alicia Keys Empire State Of Mind As Seen From Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park

Roosevelt Island resident John Lee shares this video he took from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park of spectacular Empire State Building LED Light Show.

According to Mr. Lee:

Last night {November 26} the world-famous Empire State Building in collaboration with Grammy Award winner, Alicia Keys, gave a gift to New York City and the world by revealing ESB's new LED tower lights with a first-ever light show on the Landmark. This show marks the official unveiling of a groundbreaking new LED lighting system, developed by the world's leader in LED lighting Philips Color Kinetics (PCK).

At 9:00 p.m. ET, Alicia Keys kicked off the light show by flipping the switch live in Clear Channel New York City studios with Elvis Duran, Z100; DJ Clue, Power105; Helen Little, 106.7 Lite fm; and Cubby, 103.5 KTU—a moment that will be synchronized on-air to two of Keys' tracks—her single from her new album "Girl on Fire," followed by her smash hit "Empire State of Mind."

I filmed the video clips from South Point Park on Roosevelt Island, edited part of the video and added Alicia Keys Empire State of Mind as the background music! Hope you enjoy my video.
Here's another version.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Accident Causes Traffic Jam Backing Up Main Street and Helix Traffic

An accident on the Roosevelt Island Bridge this afternoon at approximately 3:45 caused this traffic jam

Roosevelt Island Traffic Jam at Main Street and Bridge Helix This afternoon

and delays on the Bridge Helix as well as up and down Main Street.

According to this Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) advisory:
Please be advised due to a motor vehicle accident there is only one lane of traffic on the 36th Avenue bridge at this time. Please allow for extra travel time.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
A Department of Transportation worker on the scene told me that cleaning up an oil spill

from an earlier accident

was the cause of the delays.

I sent this inquiry to RIOC Acting President Don Lewis and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra:
What was the cause of the traffic accident on Roosevelt Island Bridge this afternoon causing traffic delays mentioned in Advisory below?

I was told there was an oil spill on the Bridge. Is that true?

Also, there was another accident last night around 9 PM on the Roosevelt Island Bridge causing traffic delays.

11/27 - 2245 - 36th Ave and Vernon Blvd - Vehicle Accident - No Injuries - NYPD filed a report

Are these two incidents related - was there a common cause of both accidents on consecutive days?

Thank you.
Will update when reply received from RIOC.

UPDATE 8:30 PM - From the Roosevelt Island Twitter-verse:
UPDATE 11/29 - According to RIOC spokesperson:
The two accidents were unrelated.

In the first accident, a truck was transporting a small crane. The crane's arm hit the bridge causing some hydraulic fuel to leak. DOT cleaned up the spill. Once the truck and crane were removed from the bridge, traffic resumed.

In the second accident, a yellow cab driver lost control of his vehicle and struck the dividers. No other vehicles were involved. There was no damage done to the bridge and the vehicle was removed.

Roosevelt Island Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony Friday December 7 At Blackwell Plaza - A Wonderful Tradition Of Lights, Songs, Hot Drinks, Family Fun And The Arrival Of Santa

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis reports:
Tree Lighting

We invite you to join us for our annual Tree Lighting event on Friday, December 7th at 7:00 p.m. at Blackwell Plaza. The Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance and children from Roosevelt Island Youth Center will provide entertainment. We also expect Santa Claus to stop by and be available to take pictures. We encourage you to attend and celebrate the holiday season with the Roosevelt Island community.
Take a walk around the lights from the ceremony last year,

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tree Lights

say Hi to Santa

and more from the 2011 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony here.

See you at Blackwell Park on December 7.

Also, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place later today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cornell NYC Tech Presents Update On Use Of Barges, Zoning, Open Space And Other Issues To Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Cornell/Technion Task Force - Here's Video Of What Happened

 Image Of Barge Transporting Trucks To Governors Island From Corning Museum Of Glass

The Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion Task Force met last night. Here's video of what happened.

It began with a presentation by Cornell NYC Tech Director of Capital Projects and Planning Andrew Winters discussing the use of barges in the demolition of Goldwater Hospital and construction of Cornell campus. Here's what he had to say

followed by comments and questions from community members here

and here.

Will have more on the individual issues raised at last night's meeting in the coming days.

According to Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) Co-Chair (also President of Roosevelt Island Residents Association and Community Board 8 Member) Ellen Polivy:
Regarding the CB8 Cornell-Technion hearing. It was a great meeting. Great job each and every member of our community who participated. Thanks all of you for speaking and sending in your comments. Tonight we demonstrated the awesome power of a coordinated community. We were organized, focused and strong, a force to be taken seriously. The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition welcomes all community groups. Any group that wants to become a coalition member can send an email to
RICC Board Member Christine Delfico adds:
... information about how the public can comment follows but technically the deadline is "no later than 10 days after the Formal Hearing is held" by the lead agency and "no less than 30 days after a Notice of Completion has been issued". Therefore, sooner these are filed, the better.  Ellen Polivy is also fine to cc so RICC has a copy and copying RICC at

Jeff Escobar spoke with the Deputy Mayor's Office this morning, there are three ways to submit comments to the Draft EIS:

1. Via Mail to: Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination, 100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor, New York, New York  10038

2. Via Email to:

3. Via the Webform at:
In any correspondence, reference should be made to "Comments to Cornell NYC Tech DEIS."

If people wish to submit their comments electronically, they should do so via the email above and copy

The comments/issues raised re the DEIS will help shape what recommendations or requirements will be tagged on to the Task Force's resolution.


Community members can and should attend the Dec 4th hearing - good for CB8 to see public scrutiny/present so that they do not rush into judgment.
Tuesday, December 4th
CB8 Meeting
6:30 PM
Manhattan Park Theater Club
Public can listen but not participate and this meeting is important because CB8 talks through their decisions.
Also, if you submit comments regarding the Cornell NYC Tech project, please send a copy to Roosevelt Islander so it can be shared publicly with the community.

More information on Cornell NYC Tech project at this previous post.

Eddie's Pizza Mobile Food Truck Returns To Roosevelt Island Tonight Next To Subway And Starbucks - Call Ahead And Pick Up Your Food

Cold and rainy out tonight but if you are looking for something different to eat tonight Eddie's Pizza Mobile Food Truck is back next to the subway station and subway. You can even call ahead and have it ready to be picked up at 917-439-7522.

Roosevelt Island Residents Continue To Bring Assistance To Rockaways Head Start School Damaged By Hurricane Sandy - Improvements Starting To Be Seen

Image of Roosevelt Island Donations Being Delivered to Rockaways From Isa Abdul

Here's the latest update on efforts of Roosevelt Island residents to donate and deliver supplies to people living in the Rockaways devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  As in previous weeks, donations are collected in front of PS/IS 217 Sunday mornings

Image From Karine Wong

and delivered to the Community and Family Head Start program

Image From Isa Abdul

on Monday. Karine Wong, who organized Roosevelt Island Hurricane donations and deliveries to the Rockaway, sends the following update yesterday:
For the Roosevelt Island community that has been participating in support of the Community Parents Head Start program in the Rockaways.

Just wanted to let everyone know a few things;

The kids will be back in school next week. A significant step in the community as you might imagine.

Sunday collection has been terrific.

Image From Karine Wong

Monday distribution has been even better.

This plan will be changing soon because the school hopes to be in session. We are trying to confirm what will work for the school in terms of dropping off collected materials. We believe that we will continue to drop off on Mondays. We do know that this is only the beginning of change and improvement, let us continue to find the focus and continue our efforts through these trying times.

The specific lists of things are really important, please remember to help with a purpose and follow the guidelines. It isn’t of course an opportunity to empty out closets.

People have recognized that this process has made an impact at the school and in the community around the school. The school community now refers to the Roosevelt Island community as their Roosevelt Island Family.

We know that there are families who are warmer and a bit less hungry from our efforts. We know that the school is getting cleaned up and that life is starting to move along again in the neighborhood. We know that a community wondering how they were going to make it to the next week is starting to try and figure out what might lie beyond. Perhaps a sliver of hope is a biggest gift.

Here is something that no one would have ever guessed would happen, the community with less need is gaining in unimaginable ways. Many people from all over Roosevelt Island have come each week and brought something. Each time they drop something off, they get a little news from the Rockaways and they know that in a very isolated and small way they have made a difference.

Image From Karine Wong

We have had people come from all over, walking by, stopping in cars, by coincidence, planned all week, just because…we have had people tell us that they are bringing us clothes held and cherished, from loved ones lost, but given because they knew that someone in the Rockaways needed to be warmer and the ones lost would have wanted to help. We have had people bring toys and books, lots of books, and one bear from a child who's now a mother, to help keep a child who had lost everything in their world company.

Through all of these gifts the people on both sides benefit. The recipient knows that someone cares. The provider knows that they can make some small change. Everyone gains in the knowledge that people care and that hope can exist. Everyone gains knowing that a difference can be made and that lives can move on. Nothing forgotten, everyone is better for the effort and as a result the world can be a better place with efforts like these.

Please stay tuned as this situation develops and we find out what these children and their families really need to keep on the path of moving on. Please stay tuned and know that your efforts have made the world a little bit better and someone on the other end really does appreciate what you have done.

Isa Abdul and her family offered to be our "elves" this week and went to the Rockaways this morning to deliver all your "goodies" to our families in need. See their photos attached and the note I just received from Isa.

A big thank you to them.

We will meet again next sunday between 8 and 9 am in front of PS 217.
Hi Karine!

Today went well. We zipped in and as usual, the employees (including contractors that were working to renovate the school for use). It was wonderful to see that the school now has power

 Image From Isa Abdul

and so much has been done in the area. They are busily cleaning and getting ready for the children that will be heading their way by Monday!

If you recall, a few short weeks ago, we drove down and through some of the side streets just near the school and saw the disaster that was all around. As we drove to the school, we watched bulldozers,

Image From Isa Abdul

backhoes and other heavy equipment carrying things off. Now, while the area still has quite a long road ahead of them, there is a semblance of order. Much of the debris that was scattered in front of many homes

Image From Isa Abdul

and lining the sidewalks/streets of Beach Channel Drive has been carted away. The presence of the National Guard has been replaced by various Electric Company trucks from far and wide! We saw trucks from nearby Rhode Island and not so nearby Florida ~ the workers were busily working to restore electricity to this hard hit area! It was very noticeable as so many traffic lights were brightly lit and even some of the businesses were up and running!

Sadly, though there are many businesses still suffering, their gates tightly shut, their future bleak. It is because of this that we stopped for lunch in the area. Trying to do our share for the area's economy. Granted, our $30 lunch is but a small drop in the bucket. While lunching, we saw FEMA workers and struck up a conversation. We talked about how far the area has come and how much more work there is ahead. As we all know, the area is mixed and many people are lower to mid income families. So many of the poor will receive assistance, however, the middle class is hardest hit. These people may not necessarily be insured, but do have a little savings stashed away for a rainy day, but nothing could have prepared them for the SUPERSTORM known as Sandy. These are the people that many of the FEMA workers are watching out for so they do not get 'lost' in the shuffle. It was nice to see some of the people in a relaxed setting. But within a short time, they were gathering up their things and heading off.

Anyway, we took a few photos ~ I have some from the trip you and I took and then today; it is striking how much has been done but one need just look across the street to see that there is still so much to do! It is an honor to deliver things to our Rockaway Family on behalf of our Roosevelt Island Family!!!

Image From Isa Abdul

Serena Thurston (Cynthia's Asst Director) gladly accepted all the items we delivered

Image From Isa Abdul

and promised to assess the needs of the community and advise Cynthia of said needs to be relayed to us. It was wonderful to see some people approach us as we unloaded and gratefully pick up a bottle of bleach, a mop, a broom and hurry off to continue cleaning their "palace". I KNOW we are making a difference! It is so wonderful to see!
Cynthia Cummings, the Executive Director of Community and Family Head Start in the Rockaways adds:
What a lovely description of Isa's visit today to document our progress. I guess being in the midst of everything my perception of progress is not clearly seen through my lens but it is good to know that it is viewed by others who come to visit. I am working hard to get the second floor inspected and approved by The Dept of Health so we can reopen the 4 classrooms. With that accomplished, I am simultaneously working on an alternative site with a kitchen to prepare the meals for the children when they return.

The renovations on the first floor will take some time but much has been accomplished in a short period. I am so grateful for my extended Roosevelt Island family that has shown unconditional support and love for us. Please extend my thanks to all- Cynthia
Here's how the Roosevelt Island relief efforts to the Rockaways began.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Cornell/Technion Task Force Update Meeting Tonight, Will Cornell Address Residents Health And Safety Concerns Over Main Street Truck Traffic And Use Barges For Demolition And Construction - What's The Benefit To Roosevelt Island Asks Resident?

Cornell NYC Tech Proposed Campus (page 23 CB 8 Presentation)

The Community Board 8 (CB 8) Roosevelt Island Cornell/Technion Task Force will be meeting tonight to receive an update from Cornell NYC Tech representatives and feedback from Roosevelt Island residents. According to CB 8:
Meeting Date:
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 6:45pm
Meeting Location:
The Manhattan Park Theater Club
8 River Road
Roosevelt Island, NY

1. An update by Cornell University on the Technology Graduate School on Roosevelt Island

Public Comment

2. A short presentation on green buildings and a request to use locally manufactured construction materials on the Cornell/Technion. Project by the Technical Services for the International Masonry Institute and Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Union.

3. Feedback from Roosevelt Island residents on their issues/concerns
During October 22 Roosevelt Island Cornell/Technion Task Force Meeting, Skidmore Owings Associate Director Colin Koop discussed the Master Plan For The Cornell NYC Tech Campus as part of full presentation by Cornell NYC Tech representatives.

During the October 22 meeting, Roosevelt Island residents expressed strong disapproval of plans by Cornell NYC Tech to use trucks in the demolition and construction process on Roosevelt Island's only street - Main Street. Great concern was voiced over the detrimental health impact as well as traffic problems caused by the use of trucks but some say these concerns could be mitigated by the use of barges instead of trucks. Here's what one resident, Ali Schwaryi had to say about the use of trucks on Main Street.

Another resident, Theresa Munfakh asked what benefit will Roosevelt Island receive from being the home of Cornell NYC Tech other than its mere presence - how will Cornell NYC Tech improve Roosevelt Island outside the area of its immediate campus she asked.

During the November 8 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) Ms. Munfakh made the following points regarding Cornell NYC Tech's Draft Environmental Statement (DEIS):
1) The DEIS/EIS should state clearly that Barging is the method of transportation during the construction to bring material in and out. Trucking method should not be considered.

2) During the demolition of the hospital, all the hazardous material should be transported by barging. RI should not accept any other way.

3) There is no specific information concerning the type of foundations to be used. The concerns is if and what explosive materials are needed and the method of transportation. We all remember what happened recently on Second Avenue Subway Project.

4) The DEIS/EIS should include the right of Residents of RI to hire engineering firm /law firm to protect and assure that whatever is agreed upon will be executed and shall be paid by the city.

5) By closing the hospital and during construction, the residents of RI will be losing around 1,000 persons between staff and patients. That relates to loosing in revenue to the island for few years. Is it possible to figure the amount and do something about it?

6) RI has many old and beautiful trees that have to be protected and saved during construction. DEIS/ EIS should state clearly the method of protection.

7) RI as is has its own charm and surrounded by natural beauty. Cornell Science Center should not claim that the Center would beautify the Island. In reality it might create a negative impact.

8) Cornell Center project should include as a good gesture the replacement of the railing along the promenade. The Center will be using it as much as and could be more than RI Residents. The existing railing is deteriorated and does not meet NY City Building Code.

9) The restaurants/ retails that the Center intents to share with the residents of RI is because the 6oo students will not generate the required revenue and profits to attract and maintain businesses . The opposite could be true. After the Center maximizes its occupants, there will be a strong possibility to exclude RI Residents from its use. The Center can use safety and security as excuses to do that. We see this happening in Octegon. Outsiders cannot use its facility freely. The DEIS/EIS should state that this will never happen.

10) The mitigation Chapter requires more detail information in relation to cost, resource of the budget and who will implement these recommended mitigations.

11) What will be the solution for the unmitigated areas? Are we supposed to accept a problem without a solution?

12) While Cornell Center received the ground lease for no cost and the cost of construction, the case is not the same to RI. The staff and students will be using our facilities and benefiting from RI without adding their fare share to the cost of operation and maintenance. Rivercross pays RIOC annual fees. Does this apply to Cornell Center? It should, and it should be mentioned in the DEIS/EIS. The operation cost is to cover for:

a) Maintenance of the infrastructure/ roadways/ Utilities.
b) Repair and Maintenance of the Promenade
c) Repair/replace the railing along the promenade
d) Operating cost to maintain the safety, cleaning, etc... e) Maintaining the Helix ramp....
Also during the November 8 RICC meeting, CB 8 member and RICC Counsel Jeffrey Escobar explained the process required for the Cornell NYC Tech project to be approved. (Update 5:15 PM - added to last sentence - "approved, denied or changed")

Let's see if Cornell listened to Roosevelt Island residents during the October 22 meeting and have come up with some solutions to address the concerns expressed.

Here's the link to the Cornell DEIS and full video from the October 22 CB 8 Roosevelt Island Cornell/Technion meeting.

Stay tuned.

Governor Cuomo Announces $27 Million Federal Grant For 5000 Hurricane Sandy Clean Up Jobs, Will Also Hire 700 Local NY'ers To Replace Out Of State FEMA Workers - Here's How To Apply

NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday in this press release:


Funds Will Help Localities Hire Young People and the Unemployed to Work on Hurricane Sandy Clean-Up Efforts

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the state has secured a $27 million federal grant that will help put more than 5,000 unemployed New Yorkers to work helping clean-up communities still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

The funding - provided by a National Emergency Grant - will be provided to communities hit hard by the storm so they can quickly hire young people and the unemployed to help with clean-up efforts in affected counties, including the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. The State Department of Labor, which is administering the funds, will work with communities to identify cleanup areas and deploy workers to job sites.

“As New York State begins to rebuild and clean-up after the incredible destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, the enormous amount of work to be done gives us a chance to provide young and unemployed New Yorkers with job opportunities cleaning up their communities ,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will not only provide young people and the unemployed with the opportunity to participate in cleaning up and rebuilding communities devastated by the storm, but it will provide valuable work experience and on-the-job training that can be useful in future careers."

In addition, Governor Cuomo today announced that the state has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to launch a local hire program to replace FEMA employees, often from out of state, with New Yorkers. The goal is to hire upwards of 700 New Yorkers.

“One of the ways we can help New York recover is to engage New Yorkers themselves in rebuilding their communities,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael F. Byrne. “We will have a stronger recovery by having employees who are personally vested in its success.”


The Department of Labor will assist local communities to identify and hire workers. Individuals who are interested in applying for a job under this grant are encouraged to contact the Department of Labor at 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365) or by visiting Individuals can also visit their local Disaster Recovery Center or One-Stop Career Center.

All individuals must be unemployed to be eligible. Once hired, workers will earn approximately $15 per hour to work on short and long-term projects. The work will include cleaning and repairing damaged public structures and property in each of the nine counties declared disaster areas.

In addition to offering benefits and on-the-job experience, each worker will be given assistance in finding their next job. Eligible youth will also be certified in the Governor’s New York Youth Works program.


Individuals interested in applying for a job with FEMA should visit Governor Cuomo’s Jobs Express website at

The full-time, temporary positions range from Community Relations Specialists providing outreach to the disaster-stricken communities, to administrative assistants.


Governor Cuomo has directed the Department of Labor to immediately contact local public officials in affected localities to identify areas in need and dispatch cleanup and rebuilding crews. Local public officials may also submit information on projects and project sites to the Department of Labor by emailing:

The State Department of Labor with its reemployment services and one-stop career centers throughout the impacted areas will work aggressively to connect unemployed New Yorkers to additional jobs. Following Hurricane Sandy, storm related unemployment insurance claims have risen to nearly 50,000.
Also, according to the NY Times City Room Blog:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has invited members of the state’s Congressional delegation to a meeting on Monday to discuss his request for federal aid to help with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, officials said on Sunday....
As reported in this previous post, Roosevelt Island could use federal assistance to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to Lighthouse Park, the Seawall and other areas.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

For Roosevelt Island Green Bay Packer Fans - BEAT THE GIANTS TONIGHT, GO PACK GO!!!!!

This says it all.

Here's an oldie but goodie Packer video from 2009. The Packers have not been a 6-10 team for a long time, Aaron Rogers is a great quarterback and still a pretty nice guy.

Brett who?

Roosevelt Island Cheeseheads may want to check out Tuesday's with Aaron podcast and the Cheesehead TV blog for the latest Green Bay Packer info.

UPDATE 11:55 PM - Final score Giants 38, Packers 10. Well, that was a completely horrible and embarrassing game for the Packers. Offensive Line better start to block in front of Rogers or no playoffs and Super Bowl for Packers this year.

Manhattan Roosevelt Island Tram Station Renovation Continues - South Staircase Closed Starting Monday, Use Center Staircase For Entrance And Exit

The Manhattan Roosevelt Island Tram Station South staircase will close to the public starting tomorrow as part of the Tram Station renovation.

Image of Manhattan Tram Station South Staircase

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Tram Enclosure Project - South Stairway Closure

Please be advised on Monday, November 26, 2012 work will commence on the handrail and roll-up gate at the south staircase of the Manhattan Tramway Station. During the construction period, the entire south staircase will be closed to the public. The two exit staircases, located at the center of the platform, will serve as entry and exit points to the Tram platform and sidewalk until the work is completed.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Image Of Manhattan Tram Station Central Staircase

Also, the Manhattan Tram Station bench has been gone for over a month. I asked RIOC when it will return?

Image of Manhattan Tram Station

RIOC's press spokesperson replied:
The bench was removed to install the glass enclosure. After the enclosures are finished, the next scheduled work is the resurfacing of the station floors. Once all of the work is done, in a few months, a new bench will be installed.
More on the Tram Station renovation

from previous post.

UPDATE 8:45 - Roosevelt Island resident Nina NYC comments:
It is hard to believe -- although not impossible -- that RIOC would make up a poor excuse for not having ANY type of bench safely installed -- on either side of the turnstile for Tram passengers --even while the work continues at a snail's pace. The large number of seniors and persons with disabilities who benefit from even a few minutes of sitting should not be overlooked by RIOC and Poma.

Give us a bench !!!!