Saturday, January 12, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Outreach, Elected RIOC Board Members, RIOC Executive Staff Appointments & Emergency Preparedness

Image From RIRA

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
Dear neighbors, I hope that you had very happy holidays, and that you’ll have a happy and healthy new year. I received a New Year’s card with a wish that I’d like to pass along: “May your dreams turn into your reality, and your efforts into great achievements.”

Enhanced RIRA Outreach to the Community

Over the holidays, our Communications Committee Co-Chairs and I worked on the RIRA website, and planned improved ways to communicate with Islanders. We decided to set up a building-by-building email list in order to efficiently and effectively reach every resident on Roosevelt Island, for three specific purposes: with emergency information in case of a disaster, for civic matters requiring a fast response, and for community polls and surveys.

The disaster information is obviously of utmost importance. It allows communication in times of emergency, when people need rapid assistance and information. One such use, discussed after Hurricane Sandy, is that the unaffected residents could have provided supplies or shelter to people who needed help.

The value of the list for civic activity is equally compelling. Too many times in the past, some governmental action affecting residents has caused great consternation, and it has been difficult to disseminate information and organize the community response.

A near-term need for such civic action could be the appointment, by the governor, of unelected residents to the three seats on the Board of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) for which the community voted in February 2012. Of the three winners, two are incumbent elected residents who continue to serve but in expired terms, and the third is a former Board member, an elected resident who would replace an unelected resident. It is even possible for the governor to appoint a non-resident to one of these three seats.

Why Would It Matter if the Governor Appoints Unelected Board Members?

The RIOC Board supervises the organization that provides all local community services. Elected Board members have to answer to their neighbors -- during their terms when solving vexing problems and addressing competing needs, and during re-election campaigns when running on their records.

The Island has been fighting for a long time for a genuinely democratic voice in local government, and advances have been slow. We got legislation mandating that five of the seven public Board members be residents. And Eliot Spitzer’s and David Paterson’s administrations respectively suggested and then supported elections to nominate residents for gubernatorial appointment. But, despite many attempts, we’ve never succeeded in getting legislation passed by both the Senate and the Assembly and signed by the governor that would require direct resident elections of RIOC Board members.

As a consequence, any governor still has enormous power over our community. He can ignore some or all of our nominees, including a re-elected Board member who doesn’t please him. He has full sway over the appointments.

What Can the Governor’s Power Mean for Residents?

When Board members answer to the governor’s office instead of to fellow residents, they may be told what to vote on, or how to vote. Those decisions are not always in our best interest. And when a Board member doesn’t live in our community, s/he doesn’t experience our needs. Outsiders put the needs of the State in front of the needs of the residents, and they go home to somewhere else after the Board meetings.

We’ve already had an example of the current governor’s power:
removal of Jonathan Kalkin -- an active, elected, resident Board member -- when his appointment expired (even though two other expired appointees remained in office);
replacement of Kalkin with unelected non-resident Salvatore Ferrera (whose good leadership of The Child School is irrelevant in terms of representing residents);.

The recent departures of top RIOC executives without replacements in sight is also a cause for concern. With Cornell coming to the Island, with important RIOC staff vacancies, and with no appointments to the three expired Board terms, our community is vulnerable.

Will we still have elected Board members in a year, after three more appointments expire in mid-2013? Will we return to the days when Roosevelt Island was a dumping ground for political favors? Or will we be able to keep, and build on, the gains that we’ve made, and have a real voice in our community and in our future? Right now, we really don’t know how our governor will treat us. Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

What Can We Do?

My solo voice shouting is too soft to be heard in Albany. For me to be effective, you must back me up and shout with me. Are you willing to let your voice be heard, to do what it takes to be heard? Imagine if every adult on Roosevelt Island were actively watching Albany -- 10,000 individuals alert to government sleight of hand and willing to shout about it. The more voices we have, the louder the message.

We need to be ready to send a message to Albany that we’re watching closely. Right now, we have nothing specific to shout about. We’re waiting and watching. Will our RIOC Board elections be honored? When will the new RIOC President and Vice President be selected, and what will be the selection process?

The First RIRA Poll

To get the Island prepared both for emergencies and for civic action and occasional surveys, please return the information requested in the poll, as indicated below.

Be sure to register at least your contact and location information, so that you can be reached in an emergency, even if you don’t currently want to be contacted for civic action and/or surveys.

You can access the poll at
If you don’t have email, we’ll contact you in the future by either phone or flyer under your door.

Those who can’t fill out the poll online can use the form below. Submit it in an envelope addressed to RIRA POLL, and drop it off at your door-station or Public Safety
(550 Main St.).
Name _______________________
Phone _______________________
Apartment ___________________
Address _____________________
Building/complex _____________
Please specify any disabilities that may need special assistance in emergencies:
Providing the information above automatically enrolls you on the emergency list.

Are you willing, when asked, to take the following grass-roots action?
(It could be either to thank someone or to complain.)
Send an email? yes no
Send a post card? yes no
Send a letter? yes no
Make a phone call? yes no
Answer an occasional survey or poll? yes no

Friday, January 11, 2013

New York City Flu Epidemic - Roosevelt Island Doctor Says Worse Flu Season He Can Remember, How Are You Feeling?

The New York Post reported today:

A ferocious flu “epidemic” has New Yorkers rushing to doctors, hospitals and drug stores — with emergency-room visits up 150 percent over last year, city health officials said yesterday.

“It’s a bad year. We’ve got lots of flu,” said city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, who noted influenza-related cases spiked from 2 percent of all emergency-room visits for the peak of last year’s flu season to 5 percent this year....
I asked Roosevelt Island's Doctor Jack Resnick:
How is the Flu impacting Roosevelt Island this year?
Dr. Resnick replied:
These last three weeks have been the worst flu season I can remember.
Flu shots are available at the Roosevelt Island Duane Reade.

Hope you avoid the Flu but if not, take care of yourself.

Report From Acting RIOC President Don Lewis - Roosevelt Island New Tram Bus Stop, Good Shepherd Roof Restoration, Motorgate Renovations And 2012 Review

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I hope everyone had a healthy and happy New Year's, is sticking to their resolutions and enjoying 2013! Roosevelt Island certainly had an eventful 2012, highlighted by the opening of Four Freedoms Park, exciting progress on Cornell’s Tech campus plans, the historic Island House Affordability Plan, and many collaborative and successful community events. We will remember the devastation of Sandy, but also our community’s resilience and generosity in the aftermath. With much to look forward to in 2013, RIOC continues to work diligently to make it yet another prosperous year for Roosevelt Island.

New Bus Stop Location by the Tram

As you likely know, we have moved the Tram West bus stop from its previous location near the Roosevelt Island Historical Society kiosk back to its original location just outside the entrance of the Tram Plaza, by the Tram Ramp. We believe the new stop will be more convenient for passengers since they will no longer need to hurry down the hill from the Tram to catch the bus by the kiosk. I would like to say a special thank you to Cy Opperman, RIOC's Transportation General Manager, for spearheading the efforts to get this done.

Roof Replacement at Good Shepherd Community Center

We are pleased to note that the installation of the beautiful new slate shingles atop the Good Shepherd Community Center is complete. The building was designated as a historical landmark in 1975 and the original slate material is fitting for such an important Island site.

Motorgate Renovations

Our renovation project at the Motorgate parking garage is underway. The extensive renovations are twofold: waterproofing on the third and fourth floors will prevent leaks onto the lower levels; meanwhile the installation of new LED light fixtures on each floor and the stairwells will increase visibility. The LED lights are environmentally friendly, as well as more durable and cost efficient than the outdated incandescent lights. The project will require certain parking disruptions and we will provide advanced notice concerning the same.

RIOC on Twitter and Facebook

For the latest information about news and events on Roosevelt Island, follow RIOC on Twitter @RIOCny and visit our Facebook page at

RIRA Public Safety Committee Recommends Studying Replacing Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department With Off Duty NYPD Officers, Seeks Greater Access To Public Safety Incident Information and Results of Prior Investigation

Below is the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee report to the January 2013 Common Council Meeting:

Follow up Initiatives:

Vertical Patrols of Wire buildings. Report from member’s constituents is that if the patrols are being done, they are not visible. One member spoke of seeing the patrol for the first time on the 7th floor in 560. Westview and Island House representatives have not seen Officers anywhere but at the door station of the buildings. Discussion focused on PS staffing issues, as presented in the WIRE article by Frank. Committee is interested in obtaining a break down of how the 37 Officers are utilized, and their ranks.

Traffic Control: PS Officers are being seen at bottom of the ramp on Saturday, during the Farmer’s Market, usually directing traffic. Week day shifts vary in quality with a couple of days a week when the PS vehicle is parked at the bottom of the ramp, with the lights going, but with the officer sitting inside the car rather then outside it directing traffic.

Motorgate Patrols: There appears to be less visibility of vehicles driving through Motorgate than in the past. Members stated that they never see PS Officers on the stairs, or on foot patrols in other areas inside Motorgate, where individuals urinate creating quality of life issues.

Parking Enforcement: A member stated that there are still problems around South Town with unauthorized vehicles not been ticketed. In one instance a vehicle was illegally parked, with Jersey Plates, and a Florida Hang Tag. When PS Officers had it brought to their attention they did not take any action. Residents complain that they never see officers on foot patrols. Another member mentioned that she had not been seeing flagrant abuse of parking enforcement in the North Town area.

Investigation into the Stueber incident: The Committee discussed the Resolution which was adopted by the RIRA Common Council in October 2012 requesting an investigation into this incident . Committee members' noted that they were unaware of any investigative action that might have been taken by RIOC, concerning this incident. Following a discussion on tactics It was decided that the Committee Chair would write a letter to RIOC requesting an update on what steps had been taken to investigate the Public Safety Officer's handling of this incident.

Women's Safety: Laila voiced her concern, for the women on the Island, following the incident she experienced when a young man exposed himself to her while they were on the Manhattan side elevator of the Tram, then came across to the Island. She reported it to PSD but has not heard any updates. The Committee agreed that they would follow up with Director Guerra on what progress had been made on the case. Other ideas discussed for actions that might be explored were as follows: an educational campaign on Women's safety, creation of flyers for distribution within the community, a discussion with Director Guerra on what his department can do to make the women feel safer.

Committee’s Goals for the new term:

The following motion was put to the committee, seconded and adopted by a unanimous vote. The committee agreed to make a Public Call for volunteers to be part of this study group.

“To create a study group whose purpose is to explore the viability of replacing the PSD with an off duty detail of NYPD officers.”

Committee as would like to see the following changes initiated:


a) Increase the community’s access to information concerning the changes within the PSD, as well as information of the specifics of crimes on the Island.

b) Hold quarterly Town Hall Meetings with Public Safety Director to allow a forum for the community to be kept informed of updates and where residents are able to bring their concerns to the table.

c) Respect and answer questions from the Community's media, to allow the dissemination of facts through the community's media channels.

Visibility: More foot patrols of Officers throughout the Island.

Professionalism: Increased training of Officers focusing on: de-escalation techniques, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Sensitivity.

Community Safety Education: Increase public safety education campaigns to include women's issues.

Next Meeting set for 1/16/13 @ 7:30pm in the Senior Center

Minutes respectfully submitted by Erin Feely-Nahem
and the letter sent by RIRA Public Safety Committee to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis requesting an investigation into the Steuber arrest.
Also, video of RIRA discussing the Steuber incident during October 2012 Common Council meeting is here.

RIRA Common Council member Frank Farance adds:
I've heard parents complain that they fear Public Safety more than any gang influence. Some recent events are on-going problems that parents have known for years.

On New Years Eve, eight teenagers (ages 15-19) were arrested for trespassing: waiting in a Westview stairwell (because it was too cold outside) for one of their friends to come down from his apartment so they could go to an event off-Island. None of the kids were making noise, drinking, smoking pot, or making a nuisance. They were all handcuffed and, rather than walk from 591 to Public Safety, were put in police cruisers to drive 200 feet (for a big perp display), then put in holding cells. They were all issued summonses for trespassing and released later on. One of the adult teenagers possessed unopened bottles of alcohol, another adult teenager possessed pot, the remainder kids had done nothing wrong, they were just waiting for a friend to then leave.

The kids need to have their Miranda Rights read to them as soon as they were in custody, i.e., somewhere between putting their hands up against the wall and being handcuffed. Public Safety officers should be reading them their rights because Public Safety (as we can see from its criminal complaints and testimony) can, has, and will use their statements against them. Lieutenant Yee was on duty that night and supervised the arrests. Yee has two decades of experience and there were a handful of officers that helped, but none of them have the training to read Miranda Rights properly? PSD needs to train their officers to read Miranda Rights at the point in time when the suspect no longer has the freedom to move (they are in custody). Also, the under 18 kids need to have their parents called (which was not done for all kids).

As for trespassing, this is both a problem for Public Safety (way too aggressive enforcement) and the managing agents. Did you know you could be arrested for going to the Good Shepherd Church? Walking down the alleyway next to the September 11 memorial to the west promenade, you could be arrested for trespassing ... and that applies to many areas that we believe are public spaces but, in fact, they are not. You can arrested for trespassing walking in the hallways in building you live in (as discovered by some Roosevelt Landings parents). I spoke to Jennifer Jones at RY Management to get a better understanding of where/when one can just merely "stand" (assuming no noise, no alcohol, no drugs, etc.). She believes there is no such place on Roosevelt Island where one has the "right" to stand. She might be right, and this requires study, but Public Safety is the big problem here because they enforce this unreasonably and harshly.

A single 114th Precinct officer on his scooter is able to do more to create quiet and shoo away kids (the right approach) than all of Public Safety. Public Safety doesn't see the damage they do to the kids: a 16-year-old girl in Island House who grew up here, has never had any problems with Public Safety, has been back and forth in all the building with her friends is now traumatized by being handcuffed, put in cell, and having a complaint she must defend in court (taking a day off from school, possibly hiring an attorney, etc.). Creating these criminal complaints means either (1) the kids or parents have to spend thousands of dollars defending them, or (2) if they can't afford an attorney, pleading (which creates a criminal record that has a life-long effect).

As another example, some boys were skateboarding by the church, a PS officer asked them to move to the Island House courtyard. After they moved, another PS officer picked up one of their skateboards, said nothing, and walked away. He wouldn't explain why he took away their skateboard. So now they have to get a parent involved to get their skateboard back when there was nothing that they did wrong.

At this point, really, Public Safety is not the helpful neighborhood force, they are the entity that takes away your possessions without explanation, the entity that your teenage kids get ensnarled in that gives you handcuffs, arrests, cells, and a criminal record ... when you've been doing nothing wrong. It's easy to see why parents find Public Safety more troubling than gangs, and rightfully so.

RIRA's Public Safety committee, chaired by Erin Feely-Nahem, will be convening a study group to investigate how NYPD might replace PSD. Residents are welcome to participate in the meetings.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Roosevelt Island Residents Receive Certificates Of Merit For Howard Beach Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts From NY State Senator Jose Serrano

During January 9 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) meeting, Justin Rush of NY State Senator Jose Serrano's office awarded Certificates of Merit to Roosevelt Island Residents who donated and served hot meals to Howard Beach Queens residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Here's what happened:

RIRA Common Council member for Roosevelt Landings Romano Reid reports:
The Community Advocates who received a Certificate Of Merit from Senator Serrano for outstanding service to the Island Community were,

Ellen Polivy
Ethel Romm
Laila Amatullah'
Sharon Pope
Romano Reid
Juyana Armstrong
Erin Feely Nahem
Julie Palermo
Lynn Strong Shinozaki

The Names of the Island Community Advocates who received a "Certificate of Appreciation" from Senator Joseph Addobbo's office for "Efforts in Assisting others in Hurricane Sandy were as follows:

Romano T.Reid
Barbara Allen
Ethel Romm
Julina Hooks
Romano Reid
Juyana Armstrong
Cordell Reid
Maureen Leong
Sharon Pope..
More on the Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy hot food relief effort to Howard Beach from earlier post.

Main Street Retail And Island Services Committee Reports To The January 2013 Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council - Stores, Red Bus, Library, Playgrounds, Motorgate, Strollers, Parks, Q102 Among Items To Be Addressed

Below is the Island Services Committee and Main Street Retail Advisory Committee reports to the January 2013 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council.


Both committees met in a joint session on 1/7/13. 18 members attended, 8 were absent.

  • Susan Marcus and Elisabeth Stapen were nominated as Co-Chairs of the committee. The Common Council needs to approve them as Co-Chairs at tonightʼs meeting. 
  • The immediate action for the MSRAC is to schedule a meeting with the Hudson-Related Retail Stores Project Manager, Arianna Sacks, to get an update on the project and to discuss community reaction to the first two new stores that have opened – Subways and Main St. Sweets.

The ISC discussed key issues we will work on over the next six months:
  • Proposed Changes in Red Bus Stops and Operations Frank Farance (Chair-Planning Committee) and Aaron Hamburger (Chair – ISC) will work directly with RIOCʼs Cy Opperman to resolve these issues. 
  • New Public Library Marilyn Atkins will follow developments on this issue. 
  • Parks & Playgrounds Eva Bosbach will be our lead person on Parks and Playground issues. Some current concerns are improvement in Southpoint Park, Rules for use of FDR Memorial Park, and future relocation of the Blackwell Park tot playground. 
  • Motorgate Mickey Rindler will be our “point person” on Motorgate. Motorgate is currently being renovated with new lighting and waterproofing the structure. 
  • Full-Services Pharmacy Raye Schwartz will be our lead person on this continuing issue. 
  • O-102 Bus Romano Reid was successful in negotiating with the MTA to get another bus stop, mainly to aid residents of Roosevelt Landings. The extra stop will be in front of 504 Main St. Reid has established a good contact with MTA which we can use for future bus and subway issues. 
 Other Issues and Concerns
  • Easy and quick access to the Tram for strollers.
  • Use of rat poison on Roosevelt Island. 
  • Baby & Toddler swim classes at Sportspark.
ISC has a new problem in dealing with RIOC. Previously, our principal contact was Fernando Martinez, VP Operations. With Martinezʼs departure and no replacement as yet, we must develop new contacts at RIOC who have the authority to deal with and resolve issues and concerns from residents.

Aaron Hamburger, Chair - ISC
Let your RIRA representatives know what you think about theses issues.

Run Up To The Top Of The Empire State Building With A Roosevelt Islander

Are there any Roosevelt Island runners out there planning on participating in the 2013 Run Up to the Top Of The Empire State Building? Well, there's at least one and Angelique is asking what you are doing to prepare.

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:
I would say take the elevator - but that's just me.

Here's what the 2011 Run To The Top of the Empire State Building was like.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Roosevelt Island Residents Meet With NY State Governor Cuomo's Secretary Larry Schwartz - Discuss Democracy, RIOC Board Elections And Appointment Of Non Residents To The Board

On the Friday before Christmas, December 21, I learned of a meeting scheduled that day between Larry Schwartz, Secretary to NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and certain residents of the Roosevelt Island community.  I asked to attend the meeting and was told it was closed to the press. Since that meeting, I have been seeking comment about what was discussed and was told a statement would be made available after the holidays.

Yesterday, I received the following statements from former Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz who was one of the attendees at the meeting. From Mr. Katz:
This report to the community of the December 21 meeting with Lawrence Schwartz has waited a long time to be shared with you, and we apologize for that. A statement that would be inclusive of the material discussed but sensitive to the provisos stipulated by Mr. Schwartz and the other State officials attending the meeting took us some time to draft. In addition, and as a courtesy to the officials who agreed to meet with us, we offered the attached report to Schwartz’s office with today as a deadline for comments. Having received none, we are pleased to offer this account, which follows twenty months of work since the appointment of a non-resident to the RIOC Board of Directors and a year of work mounting two Board elections.
To the Community:

Since the February 2012 RIOC Board election, a small group of Islanders has been steadily following up about appointment of the nominees with Assembly Member Micah Kellner and State Senator Jose Serrano, and pressing for a meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo or his staff in order to explain the importance and context of the elections. (The effort to engage with gubernatorial staff via these elected representatives dates from the June 2011 formation of The Democracy Team, following Cuomo’s appointment of unelected non-resident Salvatore Ferrera to the Board.)

As reported both on the Roosevelt Islander blog (October 26, 2012) and in The Main Street WIRE (November 3, 2012), there was a special meeting of the RIOC Board on October 25, 2012, with Lawrence Schwartz, Secretary to Governor Cuomo, at which Schwartz promised to work more closely with the Board and with residents. This small group of Islanders attended the public session of that meeting. Then-President of RIRA Matthew Katz gave Schwartz his card, and said that he would follow up to request a meeting with him. When contacted, Schwartz's office responded that he would meet with the group, and it was arranged for December 21, 2012, at New York State premises in Manhattan.

In order to provide background for the meeting -- whose purpose was to discuss the two elections that RIRA mounted in 2012 to fill seats on the RIOC Board of Directors -- we, the undersigned Island attendees, sent a two-page briefing document in advance (copy available from It consisted of an historical timeline of the Island’s efforts to attain representative local democracy, and an updated version of the related goals that had been provided to Kellner and Serrano by The Democracy Team in July 2011: restoration of the Island’s electoral precedent; documented agreement to the goals; regularization of the expiration dates of Board terms; and, ultimately, legislation providing that all seven public RIOC Board members be Roosevelt Island residents elected by the community.

At the December 21 meeting, attended by several other NYS staff, we were pleased to learn that the State recognizes the responsibility that residents were given in earlier administrations to act as a “search committee" for gubernatorial appointments to the Board. They also recognize that the June 2011 appointment of a non-resident to the Board was seen by the community as a setback to the objective of “a government .... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (per the Declaration of Independence) that would give residents more inclusion in decision-making. Schwartz noted that Board appointees must satisfy the fiduciary responsibilities imposed upon them by statute, and we noted that the residents elected to serve on the Board are all professional people, all dedicated to serving this community to the best of their abilities, and all carefully vetted by the State prior to appointment. He agreed that the Island’s elected nominees would be considered when Board appointments are made.

The conversation was cordial, frank, and wide-ranging, including fundamental questions regarding the appropriateness of local government by Public Authority, and even whether New York State should be in the business of running a locality. We spent considerable time on a detailed discussion of the 1984 law that created RIOC, and current and historical personnel questions. We hope to sustain and build on the new relationship with these State officials who determine the Island’s future.

In alphabetical order by last name:

Ashton Barfield David Bauer Vicki Feinmel Linda Heimer Sherie Helstien Matthew Katz Ellen Polivy
Below is the briefing document submitted to Mr. Schwartz referenced above.


1984 - Legislation creates the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), a public benefit corporation, to administer and further develop the residential community.

1984-97 (and beyond) -  Many decisions that adversely affect the community and residents are made by non-resident Board members and managers, who are ill-equipped to grasp and solve local problems and capitalize on local opportunities. In addition, patronage and/or conflicts of interest characterize most Board and executive appointments.

1997 - Fed-up residents begin seeking both better Island administration and representative democracy, with direct election of residents to all seven public Board seats. (In advisory referenda conducted during the ensuing years, large turnouts repeatedly indicate overwhelming community support, ranging from 80-96%.)

2002 - Governor George Pataki endorses legislation mandating that residents occupy five of the Boardʼs seven public seats. (There are two ex officio seats.)

2007 - Governor Eliot Spitzerʼs administration offers residents the opportunity to create an Island-wide election to nominate residents for his appointment to Board seats.

6/2008! & 5/2009 - Governor David Paterson appoints four of the top vote-getters from the first election (2/2008), and reappoints an unelected resident first appointed in 1994.

1/2010 - Governor Paterson appoints the top two vote-getters from the second election (5/2009), and reappoints a 2008 elected appointee whose term was only one year. Of the seven public Board members, all are residents and six are community nominees.

6/2011 - Governor Andrew Cuomo appoints an unelected non-resident to the just- expired seat of an elected resident. The other two resident Board members with expired appointments (one of them unelected) continue to serve.

2/2012 - Residents hold a third election, for three expired seats, and send Governor Cuomo the names of the three top vote-getters as the communityʼs nominees. The highest vote-getter is the former elected-resident member who was replaced in 6/2011 by the unelected non-resident; the other two are incumbents. There is no gubernatorial response.

11/2012 - Residents hold a fourth election, for the three seats whose appointments will expire in mid-2013, and send Governor Cuomo the names of the three top vote-getters as the communityʼs nominees for this separate group of seats. One nominee is an incumbent. The resumes of the two non-incumbents are requested by, and provided to, the Appointments Office.


In light of this history of Roosevelt Islanders striving for local democracy, and with knowledge of Governor Cuomoʼs commitment to "strong and vibrant urban communities," we are respectfully seeking the following:

Ultimate Goal

Legislation providing that all seven public RIOC Board members be

• Roosevelt Island residents

• elected by the Roosevelt Island community

• seated in order of election results (even if executive appointment and legislative approval must
be retained because Board members are State officers)

Intermediate Goals

Restoration of our recent electoral precedent

• by having the nominees from our February 2012 election be appointed to the three expired seats. (Two nominees are incumbents; the other, a former Board member, would replace an unelected resident. See related request below, in Regularization of Board term expirations.)

• by having the nominees from our November 2012 election be appointed in June-July 2013 to the three seats that will expire then. (One nominee is an incumbent.)

A Memorandum of Understanding

• documenting agreement to the Intermediate Goals.

• agreeing to honor our Ultimate Goal, while the legislation is sought, by continuing the process of recognizing our elections (which, in the future, will always precede expirations).

Regularization of Board term expirations (related to February 2012 election goal, above)

• Durations of Board terms are covered by the legislation governing RIOC, but expirations are not. They appear to have been set by the timings of the first appointments.

• The term expirations of two of the seats contested in the February 2012 election are out of synch with those of the other five public seats.

• If the nominees for those seats, who are incumbents, are reappointed, we hope that a simple administrative adjustment in term expirations can be accomplished at the same time.

• The two requested changes are illustrated by arrows and dashed-line boxes on the second page of the attached table (RIOC BOARD TERMS), which contains detailed information about elections, appointments, and term expirations for Board members and nominees since 2008.

• Further context will be provided when relevant.
Of course, this statement does not really tell us anything about what really happened in the meeting and what NY State's position is on, as Mr. Katz puts it:
... fundamental questions regarding the appropriateness of local government by Public Authority, and even whether New York State should be in the business of running a locality. We spent considerable time on a detailed discussion of the 1984 law that created RIOC, and current and historical personnel questions....
Hopefully, in the coming days, our fellow Roosevelt Island residents will be more forthcoming in what was said during the meeting with Mr. Schwartz and the other NY State officials.

Here's previous post on earlier meeting by RIOC Directors with Mr. Schwartz and background on the appointment of the non-resident to RIOC Board in June 2011.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight 8 PM, Come Learn What Is Going On - Meetings Conducted Using Roberts Rules Of Order

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.

RIRA meeting are conducted using parliamentary procedures according to Roberts Rules Of Order. During the December 2012 RIRA meeting, Common Council Members Trevre Andrews and Frank Farance presented a brief review on conducting meetings under Roberts Rules.

Here's the presentation by Mr. Andrews and Mr. Farance.

RIOC Operations Committee Meeting Today - Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park , Boat Prow, AVAC, New Library Premises and Parking Meters On Agenda

 Image Of 504 Main Street, Future Home Of Roosevelt Island NYPL

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee will be meeting later today. Here's the Agenda:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


1. Change Order to Contract with Scientific Electric Company, Inc. for the Lighthouse Park Electric & Lighting
Repairs Project;
2. Change Order with Meli Contracting Corp Inc. for the Steel Boat Sculpture Restoration Project;
3. Contract with Quintal Contracting Corp. for the AVAC Piping Repairs;
4. Contract with Steve DiSisto General Contractors, Inc. for the Resetting Z-Brick Pavers;
5. Contract with Shawn Construction, Inc. for the 504 Main Street Interior Demolition Project;
6. Chair's Motion for Executive Session to Discuss Negotiations with Streetline for Parking Meters; and
7. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
RIOC will provide an audio web cast of the meeting soon thereafter.

UPDATE 1/10 - Here's the audio web cast of January 9 RIOC Operations Committee meeting.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Middle Eastern Restaurant Coming To Roosevelt Island Reports RIOC Director During Real Estate Committee Meeting This Evening - UPDATE, REPORT PREMATURE, NO LEASE SIGNED YET

During this evening's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting, RIOC Director Howard Polivy provided an update on Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's leasing efforts.

According to Mr. Polilvy, Hudson Related is bringing a Middle Eastern restaurant to Roosevelt Island. No further details about the restaurant are known yet.

Mr. Polivy noted that the storefront signage will not be the blue on grey as shown in the prototype

but will have visible colors and the signage will be lit at night.

Also being pursued by Hudson/Related and RIOC is the way finding signage as reported in this previous post.

Here's Mr. Polivy's update on Main Street retail progress.

Full audio webcast of the Real Estate Committee meeting will be available soon from RIOC here including discussion of Community Space at the Cultural Center (for use by the Main Street Theater, Roosevelt Island Jewish Community, Islamic Center and any other future user) as well as Composting at the Octagon Building.

Update 10:40 PM - Just heard from Hudson/Related's David Kramer who reports that no lease has been signed with a Middle Eastern restaurant yet. The report was premature.

UPDATE 1/9 - Here the audio web cast of the meeting from RIOC.

Roosevelt Island At The Center Of New York City - Take A Look At Amazing Current Aerial View And A Trip Back On 1924 Air Mail Plane Over Blackwell's Island And Manhattan On Way To California

Don't believe Roosevelt Island is the center of New York City? Take a look at this aerial view from Zohar Manor-Abel via Brownstoner.

At least in this photo, Roosevelt Island is the center of NYC.

Also, here's an aerial view of Roosevelt (then, Blackwell's) Island from a 1924 Air Mail Service film. Only the southern tip of Roosevelt (Blackwell's) Island is shown but you can clearly see the current Goldwater Hospital site (future home of Cornell NYC Tech) as the 1924 Air Mail Plane makes its way across Long Island City, Roosevelt Island, the East River, Manhattan and the Hudson River on way to California.

According to the You Tube description of the film:
An unusual feature length film from the 1920s about the Air Mail Service which, essentially, began civil commercial aviation in the U.S.

An air mail plane flies from New York City to San Francisco, making various stops. Consists mostly of aerial views of the plane and the terrain. Reel 1 shows the handling of a letter preparatory to the flight. The airplane leaves New York and flies over the Allegheny Mountains. Reel 2, the plane flies to Iowa City, Iowa, making stops at Bellefonte, Pennsylvania; Cleveland; and Maywood, Illinois. Reel 3 shows the flight from Omaha to Salt Lake City, with stops at North Platte, Nebraska, and Rock Springs, Wyoming. Reel 4, from Reno to San Francisco. Reel 5, Army planes are reconditioned for air mail service and night landings are made at the Air Mail Service Depot at Chicago. Shows Harry S. New and an aerial panorama of Washington, D.C....
Click here for the entire trip from NYC to San Francisco and additional info including names of the pilots.

You can also take a boat ride past 1903 Blackwell's Island with Thomas Edison at this previous post.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Update On Speeding Roosevelt Island Car Crash Last Night - RIOC Says Little, NYPD Gives Account Of Unlicensed Driver DWI Arrest

Reported earlier today that:
...Observers reported a car speeding south along Roosevelt Island's Main Street in Southtown last night at about 11 PM and crashing into several parked cars at 425 Main...
I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra:
I understand there was a car speeding incident and crash last night (around 11 PM) in Southtown adjacent to 425 Main. It reportedly involved a drunk driver.

Observers reported that the car was moving at approximately 50mph on Main Street before the crash.

Any comment?

Thank you.
RIOC's Press Spokesperson answered:
We can tell you that there were no injuries related to this incident.
I responded:
Can you confirm if the driver of the car was drunk and the approximate speed of the car traveling on Main Street?

I was told that the driver may have been drunk and that the car was traveling at approximately 50 mph.
No further response from RIOC.

I spoke with a NYPD Press Spokesperson who reported that the driver of the car involved in this incident is a Roosevelt Island resident without a license to operate the vehicle. The driver was found with empty beer bottles in the car, refused to take a breath analyzer test and was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and resisting arrest.

Later in the day, RIOC posted this description of the incident on the Daily Public Safety Report:
01/06/13 - 2247 - F/O 425 Main Street - DWI - Property damage - No injuries - Subject arrested by PSD
Also listed on the 1/6 - 7 Daily Public Safety Report was this incident:
01/06/13 - 1944 - R/O 1 Main St - Solicitation - People advised no solicitation permitted
Will try and find out what that was about.

RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting Tomorrow - Agenda Includes Roosevelt Island Southtown Riverwalk Ground Lease Extension, Cultural Center Space, Main Street Master Retail Sublease & Octagon Composting

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Committee is meeting tomorrow. Below is the Agenda:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to Review Proposed Board Resolution Regarding Ground Lease for Southtown Development

Discussion of 548 Main Street Cultural Center Space
Update on Master Retail Sublease
Discussion of the Octagon Composting Site Permit
Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
An audio webcast of the Public Session portion of the meeting will be available soon thereafter.

According to Page 15 of RIOC's Approved 2013/14 Approved Budget:
...As noted in last year's budget, the development of Southtown 7, 8 & 9 will have a significant impact on the future cash flow of the Corporation.

The developer, Hudson/Related holds an option to develop the site which expires on December 31, 2012. On-going discussions with Hudsion/Related appear to be positive although development would depend on market conditions. If Hudson/Related did not go forth with development of 7,8 & 9 they would owe the Corporation a de-designation fee of Approx. $1,500,000...
Not know at this time if Hudson/Related exercised its option for the Southtown 7-9 site.

UPDATE 1/9 - During January 8 RIOC Real Estate Committee meeting, I asked whether Hudson Related exercised the option on Southtown Buildings site 7-9. The RIOC Directors and Staff declined to comment.

Late Night Car Speeding And Crashes On Roosevelt Island's Main Street In Southtown Yesterday - Possible Drunk Driving Incident

Image of Southtown Car Crash Last Night

Observers reported a car speeding south along Roosevelt Island's Main Street in Southtown last night at about 11 PM

Image of Southtown Car Crash Last Night

and crashing into several parked cars at 425 Main. The car was reportedly moving at approximately 50 mph and there may have been a drunk driver behind the wheel. NYPD and Public Safety Officers were on the scene.

Image of Southtown Car Crash Last Night

Thankfully, nobody appeared to be injured.

I have asked RIOC for more information and will update when received.

UPDATE 7:40 PM - NYPD gives an account of what happened.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Sunday Jazz Salon At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA Tonight January 6, 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.

Up Close And Personal Roosevelt Island Encounter With Red Tail Hawk In Capobianco Park Tree

William Knox published this You Tube Video of his encounter with a Red Tail Hawk at Roosevelt Island's Capobianco Park and reports:

Seems as though I've been having too many encounters with this Bird, first time getting this close to one, and first time seeing one in the city too