Saturday, December 8, 2012

Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy Donations To Rockaways Head Start School Continue Sunday December 9 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,

Just wanted to remind you about our next Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy collection this coming Sunday December 9 From 8-9 AM In Front Of PS/IS 217.

The list is basically the same as last week since the families are still cleaning up their homes.

Food (always),
Laundry detergent,
Place mats,
glasses/mugs among Items Most Needed, but of course anything you feel like donating is greatly appreciated.

I just got an email from someone donating his own laptop... this is one email among many....

Please come and contribute – bring what you can – if you haven’t got what they need – the 16 passenger van does use up a lot of gas – so you could contribute there… See you Sunday and don't forget to enjoy the holiday season!
Roosevelt Island resident Nina Lubin reported last week:
I will stop by tomorrow morning with a cash donation towards gas for the van, and a check for the Head Start Program.

I have been affiliated for 30 years with many of NYC's Head Start programs and know many of the hard working Directors. Recent changes by the city to the way Early Childhood services are delivered have wreaked havoc for child cares, Head Starts and other programs. Programs in Red Hook, Coney Island, Staten Island and the Rockaways have been hard hit by both Administration For Children's Services (ACS) and Sandy.

I have known Cynthia for over 20 years and she is one of my heroes. Our Island could not have found a better partner to work with on behalf of low-income families and children at risk or with special needs.

Few Early Childhood leaders work harder than she does on behalf of families and her staff -- they deserve our support.

Santa Claus Comes To Roosevelt Island Last Night For Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony - A Wonderful Time, Here's What Happened

The Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony

 Roosevelt Island 2012 Christmas/Holiday Tree Lit Last Night

took place at Blackwell Plaza last night under less than ideal weather conditions. Fortunately, the rain did not stop anyone from having a good time - particularly when Santa Claus was spotted on a nearby roof just before making his way to greet Roosevelt Island children.

Here comes Santa Claus and the Tree Lighting.

The hosts for the Tree Lighting Ceremony were Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Specialist  Erika Spencer-El  and Roosevelt Island Seniors Association President Delores Green who welcomed everybody and provided introductions for the speakers and entertainers including Acting RIOC President Donald Lewis, Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Ellen Polivy, and Owen Johnston of the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MST&DA). Members of the MST&DA adult and children's programs performed songs for the crowd

followed by kids from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) singing favorite Christmas songs including Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

It was a very nice time.

Kudos to RIOC and all the performers.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Roosevelt Island Volunteers And Food Donations Requested For December 15 Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts In The Rockaways - Hot Meal Initiative Sponsored By RIRA And State Senator Jose Serrano

Received the following request from Roosevelt Island's State Senator Jose Serrano's office:
Senator Serrano and the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) are co-sponsoring a Hurricane Sandy relief event in the Rockaways. The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has left many communities in New York still in need of resources. Senator Joseph Addabbo, who represents the Rockaways, has identified an area hit particularly hard by the storm, with an ongoing need for hot meals.

Please consider joining us for the day or donating food that can be served as part of a hot meal. On the day of the event, volunteers will be driven from the Church of the Good Shepherd on Roosevelt Island to St. Camille's Church in Rockaway Park. Upon arriving in the Rockaways, volunteers will be joined by the Office of Senator Addabbo to distribute hot meals to members of the Rockaway community.

To register as a volunteer or make a donation of food or supplies, please contact Justin T. Rush at 212-828-5829 or email
State Senator Serrano's representative Justin Rush spoke to the December Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) about the Rockaway Hurricane Sandy Hot Meals effort. Here's what he had to say

and an example of other volunteer efforts to provide hot food for Hurricane Sandy residents in the Rockaways. This is from Occupy Cooks for Sandy Victims.

More on Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy relief efforts from this post describing assistance brought to Rockaway's Community and Family Head Start School.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Roosevelt Island Public Menorah Lighting Ceremony Saturday December 8 In Front Of Blackwell House - Enjoy Chanukah Song From Matisayahu And Dreidel Song With A Texas Twist

Roosevelt Island Public Menorah Lighting Ceremony takes place Saturday, December 8 at 6:30 PM in front Blackwell Plaza. There will be music, Hot Latkes, Doughnuts, Hot Drinks and Chanukah Gelt.

Here's a Chanukah song from Matisyahu

You Tube Video of Miracle - Matisyahu Hanukkah Song

and the Dreidel Song with a Texas twist.

You Tube video link is here.
If you are in the mood for some Chanukah food, the NY Times asked in a recent article:
 ... every year I wonder: Is there something different I can make that still says Hanukkah? Two new excellent cookbooks can help answer that question: “The Mile End Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter, 2012), which the Bernamoffs co-wrote, and “Jerusalem” (Ten Speed, 2012), by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The books exemplify two current trends in Jewish cooking: Ashkenazi Brooklyn hipster (in the Bernamoffs’ case, by way of Montreal), and cross-cultural, vegetable-based Israeli. Both volumes have recipes for classic latkes, but the overlap pretty much ends there....
and shows how to make potato latkes.  

Eat up.

Roosevelt Island Boy Scout Christmas Trees On Sale Starting Tomorrow At Motorgate Garage - Support Local Boy Scout Troop Or Not Because Of National Organization's Anti Gay Policy?

Are you looking to buy a Roosevelt Island Christmas tree like the reader below who asked as others have:

I'm a resident at 540 Main street and last year we had such wonderful luck with the Boy Scouts selling Christmas tree's under the bridge by the super-market...and was wondering if that was happening again this year?
A Roosevelt Island Boy Scout leader reports:
The Boy Scouts will be selling trees again this year.

The schedule is the following.
Friday, Dec. 7th, 6-8pm
Saturday, Dec. 8th, 10am-6pm
Sunday, Dec. 9th, 1pm-6pm
Friday, Dec. 14th, 6-8pm
Saturday, Dec. 15th, 10am-6pm
Sunday, Dec. 16th, 1pm=6pm
Friday, Dec. 21st, 6-8pm
Saturday, Dec. 22nd, 10am-6pm
Sunday, Dec. 23rd, 1pm-6pm

I have seen posts in the past talking about cheaper trees at Costco. However, the trees the Scouts sell are locally grown and transported the day after they are cut. That's why they look and smell fresh and last well. Most other trees sold in NYC are transported from the west coast and spend weeks in transit.

For those sensitive to environmental concerns, the trees being locally grown and transported means that the net carbon footprint is negative. During their 6-9 year growing period, the trees sequester more carbon dioxide than is emitted in processing and transporting them.

Lastly, I have seen criticism of the Boy Scouts as an organization. I share those concerns. I have been associated with Troop 59 for decades. We had to think long and hard after a national policy was adopted discriminating against gay scout leaders. If we had disbanded the Troop, the only ones hurt would have been our local scouts. If we had separated from Boy Scouts, we would have lost insurance coverage among other things which would have rendered it nearly impossible to carry on. We decided to continue while upholding our own views about diversity and inclusion. Virtually all the Scout leaders I have come to know in the New York area feel similarly and refuse to go along with the narrow-minded policies promulgated by the national organization. I believe that supporting our local Roosevelt Island Scout Troop 59 does no harm to a philosophy of inclusion.
There has been quite a robust discussion on the December 7 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting thread regarding whether to purchase a Christmas Tree from the the local Roosevelt Island Boy Scouts troop because, as stated by reader Yet Another RI'er:
... of their open anti-gay policies.
which drew this reply from m president:
That is the fault of the administration of the organization, not the kids selling trees. Let them have their camping trip or whatever they do with the money, and protest the scouting organization in another way.
and from Jesse Webster:
The administration of BSA has not listened to other forms of protest, so those of us who disagree with their policies have no choice but to vote with our wallets. Money tends to get the attention of non-profit leaders (recall Susan G. Komen for the Cure's experience in re: Planned Parenthood).

The Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies are not only discriminatory against openly gay adults. They are also incredibly damaging to the scouts who might be gay themselves. Even though most of the youngest kids have no idea about their orientation, the older they get the more such anti-gay rhetoric has the potential to negatively affect them. Even years later, the experience can have a terrible impact.

According to Wikipedia (, "Clinical social worker Caitlin Ryan's Family Acceptance Project (California State University, San Francisco) conducted the first study of the effect of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well-being of LGBT youth, including suicide, HIV/AIDS and homelessness. Their research shows that LGBT youths 'who experience high levels of rejection from their families during adolescence (when compared with those young people who experienced little or no rejection from parents and caregivers) were more than eight times [as] likely to have attempted suicide, more than six times [as] likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times [as] likely to use illegal drugs and more than three times [as] likely to be at high risk for HIV or other STDs' by the time they reach their early 20s."

Beyond the risk to the kids who might be gay, participating in an organization that is openly anti-gay demonstrates a tacit approval of the anti-gay views, even for non-gay kids and even if you as a parent or community member don't share them. This contributes to bullying in schools and in the community in general.

For me, this is enough of a reason to refrain from supporting an organization with openly anti-gay views. I agree with YetAnotherRIer and will not give my money to BSA, and if I had kids I wouldn't allow them to participate in the organization on any level.
 and from Frank Farance:
Both you and Jesse misunderstand the nature of a protest: if your complaint doesn't get heard by the people you want to change, then that's a poor protest. I agree with you that the top-level organization has a bad policy, but your protest on the fundraiser only hurts the boys and not the central organization.

The fees that go back to the administration are the $15 annual registration fee and the $20 unit charter fee, which are most likely paid already by the boys. See ""

Here's a sample spreadsheet ("", see third page) from ANOTHER troop with 25 scouts and fundraisers with a total budget of approximately $6600 of which $395 goes back to BSA in registration ($375) and charter ($20) fees. Most of their budget is going for a week long summer camping trip ($4000) plus equipment ($800 for tents, stoves, etc.).

That's what it looks like: very little of their money goes to BSA, which (to take both of your points) is probably why BSA "Central" is insulated against your kind of protests.

So not buying Christmas trees has NO PROTEST VALUE and wrecking the fundraising only does harm to the boys *LOCAL* activities. Camping/hiking/skiing trips, etc. are helped by fundraisers, but the money to the administrators are unrelated to fundraisers.

The whole idea of boycotting their fundraiser (1) is misguided, (2) only hurts the boys, (3) has no effect on BSA policy.

Presumably when the military had its Don't Ask Don't Tell policy (which is similar to BSA), you'd feel thankless towards vets and look at closeted soldiers as hypocrites because you disagreed with the national policy at the time, right?
More comments on topic begin here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Return Of The Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station Bench - South Staircase Open Too

After an absence of almost two months, the Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station Bench has returned.

I was told that the bench was put back in place last night.

The south staircase in now back in use as well.

Roosevelt Island Main Street Traffic Is Getting Worse, Worse And Worse According To RIOC Transportation Manager - Future Problems Coming Up With Cornell NYC Tech Construction - Proposes Red Bus Route, Stop and Separate Bus Lane Changes

During the November 15 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee meeting (audio webcast is here), RIOC Transportation Manager Cy Opperman

 RIOCTransportation Manager Cy Opperman at Red Bus Stop From Jonathan Kalkin at Yfrog

reported that Roosevelt Island Main Street traffic:
...  is getting worse, worse, and worse with trucks, cars, school buses everywhere, now limos during day and increase at night, cyclists running around the Island and the Access A Ride parking anywhere they want to park ... future problems coming up with the Cornell construction... with 50 more cars going down Main Street, the buses will never make their schedule...
Mr. Opperman's remarks begin at the 2 hour 46 minute mark.

Mr. Opperman proposed the following changes to the Red Bus system in order, he says, to improve it's efficiency.

1 - For safety reasons due to building pillar obstruction, move southbound bus stop at 40 River Road to across the street by the park.

Image of 40 River Road Southbound Bus Stop

2 - Delivery Trucks parked on Main Street Near Gristedes delay northbound traffic. Mr Opperman proposed eliminating the southbound Gristedes Turnaround Red Bus Stop

Image Of Gristedes Turnaround Bus Stop

allowing delivery trucks to park in the turnaround

Image of Gristedes Turnaround

which will improve Main Street traffic flow. Several RIOC Directors pointed out that eliminating the Southbound Gristedes Turnaround Bus Stop may be an additional hardship for elderly and disabled residents who will have to cross the street to the park to get on the southbound bus.

3 - Create a separate bus lane from PS/IS 217 to Good Shepherd Community Center from 7 AM - 10 AM. The separate bus lane will eliminate parking spaces in the area during that time.

4 - Have Octagon Express Bus stop at the Good Shepherd Community Center on way to the subway. However, that may be difficult to get the Octagon owners to agree to since they pay for the bus.

5- Better coordination between the MTA Q 102 bus and the Red Bus Schedule. Mr. Opperman would like the Q 102 Bus to turn South at the helix in the afternoon/evening so it can pick up passengers coming home at the subway and drop them off at Manhattan Park and the Octagon. (Q 102 currently turns north at the helix all the time.)

6 - Eliminate dollar bill in fare box because it causes jams in the fare box and increases lines to get on the bus. Dollar bills are also filthy. (Blue gloves that are put on to count the dollar bills are no longer blue when count is finished)

Mr Opperman suggested that it would be cheaper to run the bus without a fare but RIOC Directors are not likely to go along with that suggestion. According to RIOC Chief Financial Officer Steve Chironis, Red Bus annual revenue is $300 hundred thousand from riders and $100 Thousand from the Octagon Express for a total of $400 thousand annually. The annual Red Bus expenses are $1.2 million for a net annual loss of $800 thousand.

Mr. Opperman also noted that he is seeing more grafitti on the Red Buses, that they are getting dirtier at night and has received complaints by Bus Operators that they have been threatened and cursed at by some passengers. There was even an incident of a kid shining a laser light in the eye of a Bus Operator.

Regarding coordination of Cornell construction transportation issues, Mr. Opperman reported that after an initial meeting several months ago, there has been no follow up with Cornell representatives.

Here's the audio web cast of the November 15 RIOC Operations Committee meeting. The Red Bus discussion starts at 2 hour 46 minute mark.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight 8 PM, Come Learn What Is Going On - Also, State Senator Jose Serrano Constituent Office Hours This Afternoon From 4 to 7 PM

Image Of 2012 -14 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting tonight, 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.

Also, Roosevelt Island State Senator Jose Serrano's staff will be holding

 Image Of State Senator Serrano With Constituent At June 9, 2012 Roosevelt Island Day

their monthly constituent office hours today.
Serrano Roosevelt Island Constituent Hours*

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

RIOC Offices

591 Main Street

Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

Meet with Senator Serrano's staff to discuss any concerns or suggestions you may have to improve your community.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our office at (212) 828-5829. We look forward to meeting with you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

40 Pages of Question And Answers on Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech - Also, Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Cornell Task Force Meeting Tonight To Discuss Recommendation To Full Board

Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion Task Force will be meeting tonight. According to CB 8:

Meeting Date:
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 6:30pm
Meeting Location:
Manhattan Park Theatre Club
8 River Road, Roosevelt Island
New York, NY

Executive Session of Task Force to craft Cornell-Technion resolution
While the meeting is open to the community and anyone is allowed to attend, there will no public statements or comments taken. The purpose of this meeting is for the Task Force members to discuss among themselves the information they received from Cornell and all other interested parties in order to draft a resolution recommending action by the full board.

During the November 26 Cornell Roosevelt Island Task Force meeting, Community Board 8 Chair Nicholas Viest explains what will happen at tonight's meeting

Below are some answers from Cornell NYC Tech to questions submitted during the November 26 CB 8 Roosevelt Island Task Force meeting. (Full video of meeting is here). The full question and answer response from Cornell NYC Tech is here.
Q -  Looking for partnerships to support early childhood education (Page 1)

A - We are willing to work with all age groups of children on Roosevelt Island, although we plan to focus our efforts on students who are in middle school as this is a pivotal time to interest them in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Our interaction will involve direct student interaction, support for teachers, and family engagement. We have initiated discussions with, and look forward to continuing to work closely with PS/IS 217 to determine the specific programs that will be most useful to make that school a model in STEM education. Re: timing, while significant programming requires faculty and graduate student involvement, in advance of having significant numbers of those resources we will be partnering with several NYC institutions who have demonstrated expertise in K-12 programming. We would be happy to have the next planning meeting with PS/IS 217 within the next 90 days to begin more detailed planning.

Q - Community needs its own environmental consultant, to be paid for by Cornell
An Environmental Management Report should be prepared for this project and be reviewed and concurred by all stakeholders. Should have independent consultant monitor construction (Page 2-3)

A - During the abatement, demolition and excavation of the site, a third party monitor will be appointed and information will be available to the community. As a requirement of the Remedial Action Plan (RAP)/Construction Health and Safety Plan (CHASP) governing hazardous materials, reviewed and approved by NYCDEP, third- party monitoring will be conducted to ensure compliance with these Plans. A P.E.-certified Remedial Closure Report will be prepared at the completion of each phase of the project to document and demonstrate that all remedial activities have been properly implemented.

In 2013, we will establish a Construction Task Force with the community which will receive regular and detailed updates and will ensure an on-going dialogue with the community about environmental concerns and construction generally.

Q - Should commit to security plan to address terrorism concerns (Page 3)

A -  All major universities, including Cornell, take security very seriously. Given our existing presence in NYC, we are familiar with some of the challenges of balancing the needs for security, with the desire for an open campus in the City. We have already begun planning and we will work with the appropriate experts and agencies on security issues.

Q - Should use barges. Barging is preferable, could expand to include ferry service and construction of permanent dock; explore ferry service as mitigation for traffic impacts; RIOC completed a ferry study (Page 4)

A - Cornell presented our work to date on barging to the community on 11/26/12. As indicated at that meeting there are several options that look promising and we are continuing the analysis as well as meeting with appropriate agencies to discuss the feasibility of the various options.

While the Cornell project is not dependent on ferry service, we agree that ferry service would be great for the island and therefore would like to work with other owners and stakeholders to achieve this goal.

As we continue to explore barging we will look for opportunities to utilize those facilities for passenger service. Currently our analysis shows that barging requires a set-up very different than passenger-oriented infrastructure, but we will continue to look for synergies.

Q - 50% of materials should be locally sourced (within 100 miles of site) (Page 6)

A - We are committed that our campus will be a minimum of LEED-silver. LEED provides credit for materials sources within a 500-mile radius (which for NYC includes a lot of water!), and all of our past LEED projects have achieved this LEED objective. We typically encourage both architects and contractors to help in achieving this goal – architects by specifying materials that can be supplied locally/regionally, and contractors by including local suppliers in the bid process. To achieve one LEED credit point, 10% (by cost) of the total materials have to be locally sourced and manufactured. To achieve two, 20% is the goal. We typically achieve both points as there is enough regional manufacturing to allow this without cost impact.

Q - Will Cornell be making concrete on site? ( Page 6)

A - Although we are reviewing the possibility, it is unlikely there will be a concrete batch plant on site. Extended permitting periods, environmental impacts (control of truck wash out, noise and dust, etc.) and the delivery of raw materials (gravel, portland cement, chemical additives) are all factors that are significant obstacles to making a plant a reality.

Q - Will Cornell help with the cost of the seawall that we all need to keep the Island intact and safe during storm surges? (Page 7)

A - We will not own nor control any portion of the promenade or seawall. The best protection against storm surges is raising the level of the site, as we are planning to do. To the extent that a barging plan impacts the seawall, we would make any necessary repairs at that location.

Q - Provide pedestrian access to 59th St. bridge (Page 8)

A - We think it is a great idea and are happy to initiate a study to examine the feasibility of pedestrian access to the 59th Street Bridge. However, construction of such a facility would be a significant capital investment beyond the scope of the Cornell campus.

Q - Disabled community is well respected on island and Cornell should make provisions for disabled, e.g. priority on buses (Page 8)

A - The Cornell campus is being designed in recognition of the needs of the disabled community and will be fully accessible.

Q - There would be 1,000+ vehicle trips each day on Main Street during the construction period for Phase 1. (Page 14)

A - The Draft EIS considers a worst-case scenario at the period of most intensive construction activities, and assumes that all materials will be brought in by truck (versus barging or other alternative methods that continue to be studied). With these conservative assumptions, the highest number of trucks in the peak construction period – the third quarter of 2015 – would be 67 per day, and the number of worker vehicles would be approximately 334. The number of trucks and worker vehicles would be less at other periods.

Moreover, not all of these vehicles would necessarily be on Main Street, as many of the workers would park at the Motorgate Garage because there will be only 100 parking spaces available at the Cornell site.

Q - What type of explosive materials will be used and its method of transportation to the Island? Method of handling the excavated soil, the existing ash layer (usually includes high level of metal including mercury), and the dust control? (Page 16)

A - Explosives will not be necessary to complete the rock excavation. All the rock material anticipated on site should be of a type that can be excavated by mechanical means.

Q -How is the helix ramp leading from the bridge to the island going to be improved to handle the huge heavy truck traffic anticipated? What would be the impact if the ramp had to be closed for repairs? (Page 18)

A- No improvements to the helix are proposed as part of the project. As with any transportation facility, including local roads, highways, and bridges, necessary repair would be conducted with the appropriate maintenance and protection of traffic and pedestrian flows, subject to review and approval by the entity having jurisdiction over the facility, which in this case would be RIOC. Cornell will be complying with the reduced load limits on the bridge and helix as approved by DOT.

Q - Why is there no modeling of traffic during AM and PM peak hours in the Study? Will there be traffic jams and backups across the entire bridge, on Vernon Blvd, and especially on Main St in the PM rush (it seems that there will be)? (Page 19)

A - The DEIS includes a detailed traffic impact analysis for the AM, midday, and PM peak hours and provides recommendation on potential mitigation measures where significant adverse traffic impacts were identified. On Roosevelt Island, no significant adverse traffic impacts were identified for Phase 1 and the impacts identified for Phase 2 could be addressed with the installation of traffic signals at two on-island intersections.

Q - Why is there no consideration of Cornell running its own shuttle buses for staff parking at Motorgate during peak hours rather than using overcrowded red buses? (Page 20)

A - The DEIS analysis identified the need to increase Red Bus service during peak construction and in Phase II to address anticipated increase in ridership, the cost of which would be paid for by Cornell.

Q - Construction trucks will be a truck every 8 minutes. (Page 23)

A -  During peak construction in the 3rd quarter of 2015 when an average of 67 daily truck deliveries were estimated, it is correct that there would be on average approximately one truck delivery every 8 minutes. However, as shown in Table 20-3 on page 20-12, the average daily truck deliveries during Phase 1 and Phase 2 construction were estimated at 37 and 21, respectively, which would be substantially less than what may be experienced during the peak quarter of construction.

 Q- Cornell must contribute to the Public Service Department in order to adequately increase the manpower that will be needed for maintaining security and safety for new residents and its facilities (referring to DEIS 4-4) (Page 24)

A - Cornell will have a security department that will work cooperatively with the Public Service Department and NYPD. As described in the DEIS, the proposed project does not meet the CEQR Technical Manual threshold for an analysis of police and fire protection services.

Q - No hazardous materials should be transported on main street (only barge) (Page 26)

A - To the extent that trucks are used either to bring in hazardous materials (e.g., fuels) or take out hazardous materials (e.g., asbestos removed prior to demolition or petroleum contaminated soil during tank removal or subsequent excavation), it would only be performed in strict accordance with the RAP/CHASP (e.g., covering of trucks containing soil) and applicable regulatory requirements, including those relating to state waste transporter permits and state/federal placarding rules.

Q - Privately Owned Public Spaces generally have 24 hour access – why should the public space on the campus be limited to certain hours? Concerned whether open spaces will be publicly accessible, and whether portion of waterfront connection will be enclosed (Page 37)

A - The public access area hours in the zoning text (open daily from 6am to 10pm between April 15th and October 31st and from 7am to 8pm for the remainder of the year) are the hours that apply to waterfront access areas under Article VI, Chapter 2 and accordingly are proposed for the development site given its proximity to the river on two sides. Hours of operation are included in the Zoning Resolution in virtually all cases where publicly accessible open space is required for development, as opposed to public plazas generating a floor area bonus. The reason for having stated public access hours is that there is a benefit to having hours of operation to control noise and promote a secure campus.

A maximum of 20% of the required open space may be covered, and some of this space could be located within buildings, provided that the space remains open and publicly accessible, and complies with the minimum height and other design requirements applicable to public access areas.

Q - What kind of academic research and what kinds of business will be here? (Page 38)

A - Because this is a tech campus, the research will be around data, software, and related hardware such as robotics and basic electronics. The businesses interested in locating on the campus are ones that will benefit from collaboration with the campus in these areas, either in the tech sector or in related industries.

Q - What is meant by "corporate co-location" use? (Page 39)

A - The first phase of the campus likely will include 100,000 square feet of corporate co- location space. The campus is designed to directly connect academic research with industry. The corporate co-location buildings will provide space for private companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs and other tech- related organizations that want to be located on campus with close access to the Cornell Tech students and faculty. Under our lease with the city, we are required to develop an academic campus including at least 620,000 sf of academic space, which will prevent the site from becoming a business district.
Click here for all 40 pages of questions and answers and here for the Cornell NYC Tech Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Roosevelt Island 2013 Public Purpose Fund Applications Now Available From RIOC - Application Deadline January 11

 Pile Of Money Image From Richwealthpig

It's that time of the year again. No, I am not referring to Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and the Holiday Season but the beginning of the Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund process.

Are you a Roosevelt Island not-for profit 501(c)3 or 4 organization seeking additional funds for your organization next year? If so, this announcement from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El is for you.
The 2013 application for Public Purpose Funding is now available online. To obtain a copy of the application and to review current guidelines, visit If you have bookmarked last years application, please do not use it as new items have been added to the current application. Please note that applicant organizations must be not-for-profit incorporations as defined by 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 Status

The deadline to apply for Public Purpose Funds is Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM. Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.

The 2013 Public Purpose Grant application can be downloaded or completed online at your convenience. Please submit your completed application and necessary attachments to the RIOC office located at 591 Main Street.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding completing the PPG application please contact Erica Spencer-EL at or by calling 212-832-4540 EXT# 349. 
According to RIOC:
Public Purpose funds first became available after the construction of Manhattan Park in 1989 when New York State allowed the fund to be established in lieu of the developers paying sales tax on construction materials. The RIOC Board of Directors awards these funds upon the recommendation of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA).
Not-for-profit community organizations are welcome to apply for these funds by following the application process below.

RIRA Mission Statement
Public Purpose Funds should be allocated to benefit Roosevelt Island residents, enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health or a better environment....
The RIOC 2013 Public Purpose Grant Application is here and guidelines here.

As reported previously, here's how the Public Purpose Funds process works:
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) has been delegated

by RIOC to make recommendations to the RIOC Board for the allocation of available Public Purpose Funds.  RIRA created a Public Purpose Funds Committee that will interview and evaluate the applicant organizations and then make recommendations as to how the funds get distributed to the full RIRA Common Council. Upon approval by the RIRA Common Council, the recommendations are forwarded to the RIOC Board for approval. The total amount of Public Purpose Funds available  is $100 Thousand to be allocated among the recommended Roosevelt Island organizations.
The 2012 Public Purpose Fund recommendations are here, 2011 here, 2010 here and 2009 here.

Good Luck to all the organizations.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fantastic View Of Roosevelt Island, Central Park, NYC & Hudson River As Seen From Qantas Airplane High Above In Holding Pattern Waiting To Land

From the Twitterverse.
Looks like the electronic devices were not turned off on this flight.

Here's an aerial view from a small plane flying over NYC and East River.

Is Review Needed For Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Management And Personnel Practices? Resident Calls For Overhaul And Use Of Metrics To Improve Efficiency - Also October Monthly Incident Report

The issue of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department management and personnel practices was a scheduled Executive Session (Closed to the Public) Agenda Item for the November 29 RIOC Operations Committee meeting. Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance shares this statement he sent to RIOC Chair Darryl Towns and Acting President Don Lewis concerning the operations of the Public Safety Department on November 29, prior to the Operations Committee meeting.From Mr. Farance:
Summary: PSD is about one third of RIOC's employees yet operates so inefficiently that approximately 43% of PSD staff are not patrolling (assumes 7/24 coverage, three shifts). In other words, for a department that has a $1.2 million deficit (approximately 41% of PSD's $2.9 million expenses), that deficit money goes towards paying non-working (non-patrolling) officers. RIOC (43% not being used) is at the same point as Camden, NJ (30% absenteeism). RIOC should consider a major overhaul of how it provides security services.

I spoke to Director Guerra about two months ago to understand why the vertical patrols were not being done. He felt that with 4-5 officers available per shift, only 20 minutes could be allocated to one of Island House, Westview, and Rivercross and 40 minutes for Eastwood (Roosevelt Landings). Just like 20 minutes isn't enough time for Island House, Westview, and Rivercross, 40 minutes is definitely not enough time to patrol all 1,003 apartments of Eastwood. I asked: Why not get more resources? But Mr. Guerra felt there were limitations (board, State, etc.).

Since my meeting, I have read more on the proposed RIOC budget, which explains this (see excerpt below). However, once you grok the numbers and look at the metrics (which I did below), a bunch of problems present themselves (see my prior comment on staffing and low utilization).

Really, something isn't right here, even if we ignore the operating deficit. It seems like PSD has the resources, but it is very poorly managed.

Here's the excerpt from PDF page 5 of proposed fiscal 2013-2014 budget:
Public Safety – management is committed to limiting the current Public Safety level to 41.50 employees (PS Director, Deputy Director, Captain, 37 Public Safety Officers, and an administrative assistant and a part-time crossing guard), the same level that has been maintained the past four years. Even though a number of recent events have placed additional demands on the public safety department: (i) The NYPD request to post a public safety officer at each Tram station during rush hours (7am-10am & 4pm-7pm). (ii) The full occupancy of Southtown Buildings 5 & 6 has increased overall population. (iii) Multiple construction projects, construction workers, traffic and dangerous work sites. (iv) Opening of Southpoint Park has increased more areas to patrol and an increase of visitors to the Island. (v.) Increase in gang activity requiring special training, overall crime has decreased on the Island. As discussed in last year’s budget, the “Island Security Camera Project” will enable the increase in demands to be met through enhancing patrols and also strategic Island surveillance. For the 5 year period below the Public Safety net loss has essentially remain constant as follows:
[all figures are net losses]
2009: ($1,209,257)
2010: ($987,862)
2011: ($1,171,083)
2012: ($1,203,126)
2013: ($1,167,726)
2014: ($1,212,250)


PSD has 37 FULL-TIME PAID officers available, I still don't see how that translates into only getting 4-5 patrol officers per shift. And even at 4-5 patrol officers per shift (32-40 staff hours), it would be possible to do a full patrol of the WIRE buildings (over half the Island's population) utilizing just 10-13% of that staffing resource (see my numbers above plus a 2 hour estimate for patrolling Eastwood). That's a small amount of effort compared to the resource available, which itself (4-5 patrol officers per shift) a small amount compared to the resources available (37 full-time paid officers).

PSD has six levels in the hierarchy (director, deputy director, captain, lieutenant, sergeant, officer). That's way too much for a force of 40 people. A maximum of five levels is recommended for very large organizations. See International Association of Chiefs of Police, "The Police Chief", article "Span of Control for Law Enforcement Agencies" (see "http://www.policechiefmagazine...").
The ratio of supervisors to staff (also known as Span Of Control ratio) is recommended in the range of 1:15 to 1:25, which would mean we might only need to have a Director and a Deputy Director. Presently PSD's span of control ratio is approximately 1:3.36 ((1+1+2+3+3+6*(27/6))/11). NYPD-FDNY-EMS are around 1:7 for their span of control ratios. Even in smaller forces where rank (but not salary) are used to reward staff, there might be a 1:3 ratio, but **supervisors are expected to work**.


PSD has a very low utilization. With Mr. Guerra's explanation of 4-5 officers available for patrol, during a 24-7 week, some back-of-envelope numbers are: 17-21 officers are working, yet we have to pay for 37 officers (approx. 76% EXTRA officers) to accommodate all the days off, sick time, vacation, and injuries. Or said differently, of the 37 people we pay full time, only about half (approx. 57%) are actually working ... that's a low utilization. That means 43% of the officers are not working (again, back-of-envelope numbers). I point out in Camden, their absenteeism rate was 30% (see: In Camden, Not Fighting Crime Pays; "") and they disbanded the Camden police force. We have a similar problem in PSD with a lack of performance, high expenses, and terrible utilization.


PSD's union works against PSD's efficiency. A couple years ago in prior contract negotiations, RIOC CFO Steve Chironis gave budget for salary increases, but it was up to the union to determine how these increases would be applied. Mr. Chironis and Mr. Guerra (along with others in RIRA) wanted to increase the starting salary for PS officers (to get better staff and "grow" them over time), but the union kept the starting salaries low and focused the money on more senior union staff. As pointed out in the article I cited above, having better people affords a higher Span of Control ratio, and higher efficiencies. Having less qualified people reinforces the lower ratio (less qualified people need more supervision). So, in some respects, the union's preferences make this worse in the long term.


The Public Safety Department, which is one third of the RIOC staff, operates at a $1.2 million deficit. Clearly this is being managed poorly and needs a major overhaul.

I suggest that RIOC use these kinds of metrics and analyses (which are commonplace and easy to calculate) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of PSD.


These metrics are based upon numbers supplied by Mr. Guerra. If it turns out there are more than 4-5 officers patrolling per shift, then it would take even less than the 10-13% utilization of their shift (32-40 staff-hours/shift) to do proper Vertical Patrols, i.e., PSD should do proper Vertical Patrols regardless.
More on Roosevelt Island Public Safety management and recruiting from previous posts.

Here are the Daily Public Safety Incident reports for the past weekend:
11/30/12 - 7:00 AM to 12/1/12 - 7:00 AM

11/30 - 0249 - 1 Main St - Missing Patient - Returned to hospital.

11/30 - 0635 - 531 Main St - Aided -No injuries/EMS refused.

11/30 - 1235 - 580 Main St - Criminal Mischief - UA notified.

11/30 - 1640 - 425 Main St -Petit Larceny/ Trespass -PSD issued a summons.

11/30 - 1930 - 684 Main St - Found property - Returned to owner.

11/30 - 2015 - 560 Main St - Criminal Mischief - UA notified.

11/30 - 2200 - 575 Main St -Possible Attempted Burglary - PSD investigated the condition. RY Management notified.

11/30 - 2235 - 531 Main St -Aided - No Injuries/EMS refused.

11/30 - 2259 - 560 Main St - Disorderly Conduct - PSD issued Summons.

12/1 /12-7:00 AM to 12/2/12-7:00 AM

12/1 - 0130 - 680 Main St - Alarm - Area checked - Alarm reset

12/1 - 0630 - 540 Main St - Aided - Removed to hospital

12/1 - 0900 - F/O 579 Main St- Aided - EMS refused - No Injuries

12/1 - 1930 - 575 Main St - Odor of Marijuana - Search made negative results.

12/1 - 2125 - 888 Main St - Aided - Removed to hospital

12/1 - 2241 - 910 Main St - Property Damage - Referred to RIOC Engineer

12/1 - 2300 - 400 Main St - Complaint - Referred to UA

12/2 - 0659 - 300 Main St - Found Property - Secured in PSD

12/2/12-7:00 AM to 12/3/12-7:00 AM

12/2 - 2012 - 546 Main St - Suspicious Male - Search made negative results

12/2 - 2245 - 425 Main St - Illegally Parked Bike - Referred to Facilities Dept

12/3 - 0052 - 531 Main St - Aided - EMS refused - No Injuries

12/3 - 0514 - 540 Main St - Trespassing - PSD arrested the subject

12/3 - 0530 - 576 Main St - Criminal Mischief - UA Notified

12/3 - 0530 - 686 Main St - Criminal Mischief - Store Manager notified
and the most recent Public Safety monthly report available - October 2012 including these incidents:
10/7/2012 F/O 531 Main St Report of rabid squirrel at location. Upon arrival report was unfounded.

10/11/2012 556 Main St Report of barking dogs at location. Owner/tenant is hearing impaired. Tenant advised to keep the dogs inside.

10/13/2012 688 Main St Dispute between parking employee and motorist with regard to payment. Matter was resolved and both parties came to an agreement.

10/28/2012 425 Main St Dispute between restaurant owner and customer with regard to paying the bill. Bill was paid and all in order.

10/28/2012 531 Main St Dispute between two parties at an association meeting. Male was escorted from the location without incident

10/11/2012 550 Main St Found Laptop computer. Owner information obtained and owner came into PSD to retrieve property.

10/17/2012 686 Main St Con Edison on scene for live wire activity due to construction at the location. Area was cautioned off until the condition could be corrected

10/1/2012 S/O 1 Main St Report of type of shrine observed at location. Search of area yielded negative results for persons responsible. Pictures taken. Grounds personnel removed the items from the area.

10/27/2012 888 Main St Youth male reported other male youths were acting in a threatening manner. Youth was escorted to the MTA bus for safety purposes.

10/5/2012 540 Main St Report of loud hollering and music at location. Upon arrival tenant stated her daughter and friends were playing. Tenant advised to lower the
noise. Tenant complied. All in order.

10/22/2012 579 Main St ARREST Male subject acting in a disorderly and threatening manner to passersby as well as Officers. Male taken into custody and summons issued. NYPPD and EMS on scene. Male transported to hospital for evaluation

10/7/2012 580 Main St ARREST Two male subjects observed at location unlawfully taking power tools from basement area. One male subject apprehended and taken into custody. Other male subject fled the scene. Subjects parent notified and on scene. Subject was taken to 114 precinct for arrest processing.

10/18/2012 560 Main St FEDERAL ARREST US Dept of Agriculture police arrived with search warrant. Two subjects placed in custody.

10/1/2012 560 Main St Male youth victim reported male youth subject took his cell phone. Victim and subjects mothers were contacted and on scene. Victim refused to
press charges if item was returned or money was paid to reimburse. Subjects mother made restitution and charges were not pressed.

10/20/2012 30 River Rd NYPD on scene for report of $3,000 in jewelry taken from apartment. Report was taken. NYPD Officer advised this is the second incident with
regard to this matter

10/26/2012 250 Main St Report of stolen Iphone, wallet and identification from locker at location. Search of area for items and subject yielded negative results. Victim
advised he did not secure the locker. NYPD on scene for report.

10/4/2012 425 Main St Report of male subject assaulting a male victim at location. Search of area for subject yielded negative results. Subject identified and NYPD
Detectives on scene for report and investigation.

10/14/2012 686 Main St Female victim reported male subject assaulted her at location. NYPD on scene for report. EMS on scene for treatment which was refused by victim.

10/30/2012 2 River Rd ARREST Male observed assaulting female at location. Upon attempting to take male subject into custody female subject struck Officer in the face
causing injury. Both subjects resisted arrest causing further injury to Officer. Additional units on scene. Both subjects taken into custody and transported to Central Booking for arrest processing. Officer transported to hospital for treatment and evaluation.

10/28/2012 546 Main St Victim advised of an attempted robbery by male subject placing a phone call for food order and attempting to rob victim threatening him with a kitchen knife. No injuries or property taken. NYPD contacted for report. Search of area for subject yielded negative results.
as well as the Public Safety Incident statistics for 2012 thru October.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy Damage Update - Lighthouse Park Still Closed For Unknown Amount Of Time, Soil Erosion Collapsed Ground At Southpoint Park Seawall

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez (who resigned effective December 21) updated the November 29 meeting of the RIOC Board Operations Committee on damage suffered by Roosevelt Island from Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Fernandez repeated his earlier report to the Operations Committee that Lighthouse Park was severely damaged with the pedestrian bridges washed away and light poles damaged requiring the park to be closed for an indefinite period of time.

Image of Closed Lighthouse Park Entrance From Volker Hage

Mr. Martinez added that there was additional damage to the Cultural Center that had some of its windows blown out and significant soil erosion damage to Southpoint Park seawall area. RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki confirmed the soil damage noting that he noticed during a walk of the area that the ground was collapsing in portions of Southpoint Park and urged that warning signs be placed in the area.

Mr. Martinez also recommended that the Feral Cat Shelter in Southpoint Park, which is located near the area of the unstable ground, be moved.

Here's the full Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy Update briefing from November 29 Operations Committee

and earlier November 15 Hurricane Sandy briefing as well.

What does Cornell NYC Tech think about potential damage to Roosevelt Island from future Hurricanes? According to the Cornell Daily Sun:
... In order to ensure that the tech campus will withstand the damage caused by any future storms, officials said architects are taking as many precautions as possible in constructing the campus.

To prevent damage from hurricanes and other weather-related events, the windows, panels, roofing and other elements that surround buildings will “meet or exceed the latest codes,” David Keating, a spokesperson for CornellNYC Tech, said.

The possibility of flooding and rising sea levels as a result of climate change are also being taken into consideration, according to Keating.

“For the Roosevelt Island site, our plans have always included provisions to raise the current level of the site and locate sensitive systems high above floodplain levels,” he said.

Central walkways and the ground floor of all buildings will be raised to an elevation of 19 to 21 feet in accordance with various regulations and guidelines, he said.

Officials are still considering how to implement other elements — including “emergency warning systems, security, communications, lighting and other campus systems” — to safeguard the Roosevelt Island campus against natural disasters, Keating said....
The Real Deal adds:
... construction plans have not changed drastically in the wake of Hurricane Sandy because Cornell had already taken a fairly conservative approach, with all entrances planned for 19 feet above sea level.

“We believe global warming is real. It’s going to get worse and worse,” he said. The university may now require entrances to be slightly higher, he said....
As previously reported:
... New RIRA President Ellen Polivy said that suggestions have been made to Cornell NYC Tech (and Cornell is considering) that the design of their new campus include plans to "Shelter In Place" for the Roosevelt Island community in the event it becomes necessary in a future emergency....
Crains NY Business also reports that Cornell is considering Ms. Polivy's suggestion:
... The remaining question is whether the university can take on island residents in a crisis—a population that would dwarf the 2,500 students and 300 faculty members who will eventually inhabit the two-million square foot campus.

"One thing that Sandy has done for us is that it put these sorts of issues in the forefront," Mr. Winters said.
Mr. Winters is the Cornell NYC Tech Director of Capital Projects and Planning.

First Sunday Jazz Salon At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA Tonight December 2, 5-7 PM - Come Dance, Listen To Music, Admire The Art, Hang Out With Old and New Friends

Image of Art & The Impressionists From Jazzbo

Gallery RIVAA will be hosting its monthly First Sunday Jazz Salon later today from 5-7 PM.

Stop on by, dance, enjoy the music and art as well as new and old friends.

 Image Of Gallery RIVAA Sunday Jazz Salon
Here's a sample of Art & The Impressionists performing

at previous Gallery RIVAA Sunday Jazz Salons.

Art & The Impressionists are:
Daniel 'Art' Yalisove - Clarinet
Dan 'Art' Schlesinger -Alto Sax
Susheel 'Art' Kurien -Guitar
Sri 'Art' Viswanath - Bass
Matt 'Art' Matysik - Drums
According to Gallery RIVAA:
We ask a contribution of $5.  For the $5 we offer refreshments and a raffle ticket for a $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE to one of our local restaurants, wine can be purchased at $2 per glass.