Saturday, January 26, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Updates Status of Cornell Negotiations, Urges Attendance at February 6 Planning Commission Meeting, Requests Answers To Roosevelt Island Emergency Preparedness Poll And More

RICC Co Chair Ellen Polivy Discusses Cornell NYC Tech Status during 1/21 meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
When I ran for RIRA President, my goal was to foster an involved, compassionate, and politically powerful community. We are moving faster than I envisioned. In this column I want to talk about the impact a large group makes. I hope this moves you to show up to the Cornell NYC Tech New York City Planning Commission meeting described below. Roosevelt Island needs to have a huge turnout for the Planning Commission meeting on February 6.

RICC is a sprint

The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) is an expanding umbrella group of 35 organizations including RIRA that wants to make sure that our community is treated fairly when important decisions are being made about zoning, land use and construction of the Cornell campus. We are in discussion with Cornell to discuss our needs and concerns and give them the opportunity to be good neighbors. I’m pleased to report that we are making progress and our efforts have impressed all elected and appointed officials and Cornell.

We have developed a positive working relationship with key people at Cornell as well as the ultimate decision makers - elected officials and staff members in NYC agencies and departments. Elected officials have given us time to express our concerns and have been seriously advocating for us. Many of our requests are not simple. We can’t expect that they will happen overnight. Many of them require agreement and movement by multiple agencies. But we have put things in motion.

RICC is directed by a group of talented people who each bring their unique skill. This small group has collectively donated thousands of hours to volunteer on a project that they believe will determine the future of Roosevelt Island.

Perhaps our most important accomplishment is bringing together representatives of thirty-five community organizations to create our document of wants and needs. These groups were willing be give input and time to be involved in this incredibly long but never boring process of planning, negotiating and testifying. We want to bring more people to the table.

If you’re an architect, a city planner, an engineer, or a builder or have any skills that might be helpful– we hope you will become involved. If you’re not in any of those professions, but you’re smart and willing to work, let us know! RICC Board members have been working hard on this. But, now it is your time to help. We need your help showing up at the City Planning Commission hearing for a show of support. Many in our group have developed testimony that will be useful for the the City Planning Commission hearing. We will be meeting at 8:45 on Wednesday, February 6 at the Senior Center to travel on the subway together.

Forty meetings in Five months

What’s been happening since August when we held our first focus group? We’ve spoken at eleven Community Board 8 meetings , orchestrated two public hearings, had our requests passed unanimously by the Community Board spoke at the Astoria/LIC community board (CB1 Queens). We met three times with City Councilmember Jessica Lappin and her staff, met staff members at Borough President Scott Stringer’s office, spoke with State officials Assemblymember Micah Kellner and his staff, Senator Jose Serrano and his staff and Acting RIOC President Don Lewis and staff . We regularly meet with the folks from Cornell. All have remarked that our preparation and large turnouts have been an impressive show of community involvement. We have been treated with the respect that this preparation deserves.

I am awed, seeing how quickly a community can come together for a common goal. Being involved with this process has been a privilege. I have had the opportunity to work with some very smart people who all pull in the same direction. Try that experience some time. It’s a hoot. As a community, we all should be very proud of our successes and our ability to mobilize. I hope that more people will start to join us and come out to the public hearing or send in comments. For a comment template, email .

RIRA is the Marathon

If RICC is a sprint, RIRA is a marathon of community involvement. Your representatives work hard at lots of activities for the Island.

I would like to highlight two RIRA Common Council committees that work incredibly hard to make a difference for the residents of the Island. Their efforts are crucial as they pay attention to the day to day life on the Island and to activities that bring joy to our lives. To volunteer or ask questions, You can reach me and both committees through .

Social Cultural and Educational committee headed by Lynne Shinozaki is in the process of planning an Easter Egg Hunt (March 30), the annual Cherry Blossom Festival (April 13), and a new event based on a grant received by Christina Delfico, “Love Your Block.”(April 20) More about these activities coming up .

Island Services Committee headed by Aaron Hamburger keeps an eye on the services that make our Island run. Its members intervene when a service doesn’t work as well as it could. Currently the members are paying attention to our red bus routes and schedules, our new Public Library plans, parks and playgrounds, the Main Street corridor development and Motorgate. It is also advocating for a full service pharmacy. For more information on issues or bring to our attention new issues and concerns e-mail or phone (212-758-2623). Aaron will deal with the issue or direct the resident to the proper person on the committee who can handle the item.

The RIRA poll. In my last column, I announced the first RIRA poll to help each other in the event of another natural disaster and for civic activism. Click here to fill out the poll.

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Snowing On Roosevelt Island Tonight

At Good Shepherd Plaza

and Southtown.

No F Train Service From Manhattan To Roosevelt Island Again This Weekend

Image of Blurred, Moving F Train From Venus in Furs

According to the MTA:
F Jamaica-bound trains run via the M from 47-50 Sts to Roosevelt Av

Weekend, 9:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Jan 25 - 28

Trains run express from Queens Plaza to Roosevelt Av

No Jamaica-bound service at 57 St, Lexington Av/63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge.
More information on subway service disruptions this weekend from the MTA's Weekender.

Roosevelt Island Exposure Arrest Reports RIOC Public Safety Department

I sent the following message yesterday to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra:

According to 1/23 Public Safety Report, an arrest was made on Roosevelt Island for Exposure.

1/23/13 - 0415 - Exposure of a Person - PSD conducted Arrest

Please provide additional details regarding this incident including:
  • where did it occur,
  • did the incident occur at 4:15 AM or is that when the arrest took place
  • what were the ages and gender of victim and suspect
  • is the incident related to previous exposure incidents on Roosevelt Island and
  • any other relevant information.
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
The incident occurred at 11:44 pm in the lot of 900 Main St. (Coler Hospital) and it was unrelated to any prior incidents. (4:15 am is when the Incident Report was completed.) We can also tell you that there were no injuries.
RIOC's November Incident Blotter indicated an indecent exposure incident took place at the Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station:
11/12/2012 62nd St & 2nd Avenue Manhattan Tram Plaza - Female reported male exposed himself to her while riding in the elevator on 11/12/12.
This Tram incident was discussed during the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) January Public Safety Committee meeting:
... 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....
More information on the RIRA Public Safety Committee January meeting here.

Deception TV Show Filming On Roosevelt Island Tram Friday NIght - No Interruption In Service Says RIOC

Earlier this week Roosevelt Island was transformed into Berlin during a film shoot for the Person Of Interest TV program. Later tonight, the Roosevelt Island Tram will be used as a site for the new TV program Deception.

Not known at this time if there will be any jumping from Tram Cabin to Cabin as there was during an episode of White Collar.

But back to tonight. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised the NBC television crime drama series Deception will be filming on 1 of the Roosevelt Island Tramway cabins on Friday, January 25, 2013 from 8 PM to 12 Midnight. Regular Tram service will not be interrupted anytime during filming.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Here's some background on Deception.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Robbie Hershey Memorial Friday January 25 At Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Sanctuary

Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance Executive Director Owen Johnston sends the following message:

Hello MST&DA families and friends,

We would like to invite you to the Memorial Service honoring our dear friend and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance,
Robbie Hershey.

The service will be held tomorrow, Friday January 25, at 7pm in the Sanctuary of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Please join us to say goodbye to our dear friend.

Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Receives Conditional Approval By Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer Today - Recommendations Include Construction Mitigation, Open Campus, Red Bus Expansion And Study Pedestrian Access To Queensboro Bridge

Just received the following Press Release from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office:

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer today issued conditional approval for the proposed Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island by Cornell University and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. In developing his Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) recommendation, Stringer secured commitments to pursue several modifications to the project, which include construction mitigation, the creation of a community advisory committee on open space, expanding the hours of the campus open space, expansion of the red bus line, and commitment to study co-generation and pedestrian access to the Queens Borough Bridge.

“I am proud today to announce my recommendation for conditional approval of the Cornell NYC Tech, which will help integrate this important economic development project with the local community,” Borough President Stringer said. “I believe the modifications agreed to today will bring this proposal further in line with sound planning and community preferences.”

"Borough President Stringer has been a true leader in supporting and guiding the growth of New York's tech sector and we're extremely grateful for his support of Cornell Tech," said Cornell President David J. Skorton. "Cornell Tech will help drive economic development in New York for years to come, but we know the campus will only be a success if we are good neighbors. We are grateful for the Borough President's support, and are committed to addressing the matters he raised as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that this campus respects and partners with the Roosevelt Island community”

In his comments, Borough President Stringer cited the need to focus on expanding and strengthening the technology sector. New York City has become one of the nation’s fastest growing technology markets and universities play a key role in advancing research and development in those fields. He further acknowledged that the Cornell University has already committed to working with local middle schools to create a new pilot program tech education program, which was a key recommendation in the Borough President’s recently-issued Start-up City report.
Among Borough President Stringer's recommendations are:
  • Mitigate construction by actively pursuing barging, and agreeing that if it is not feasible, protocols will be developed to limit noisy deliveries; to have independent monitoring and air quality monitoring through demolition and excavation; and pursue a construction remediation plan for potential soil contaminants;
  • Increase Red Bus service on the island through construction, develop programs to encourage its employees to use mass transit; and study pedestrian access improvements to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge;
  • Ensure the proposed open space on the campus remains open until 10 PM, cannot have private cafĂ© seating, and its design will be informed by a new community advisory committee;
  • Continue to work on potential parking impacts, conduct a study of potential parking impacts from the hotel and corporate co-location building, create a new certification process to evaluate parking impacts if no parking is created,
  • Commit that all new laboratories will comply with all performance standards outlined in the zoning resolution for M1 zoning districts to minimize impact on surrounding residents.
“The proposed project will have significant benefits to New York City as it will expand our ever-growing tech sector,” said Borough President Stringer. "I am pleased that Cornell University has been willing to work with our office and the local community."

In December, Community Board 8 voted to conditionally approve the proposed actions based on similar issues of concern. The project will continue to move through the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure; the next step will be a review by the City Planning Commission and then final review by the City Council.
Click here for Borough President Stringer's full recommendations on the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech project.

The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) provided this update on the status of negotiations between Cornell and Roosevelt Island community residents during January 21 meeting

followed by questions and answers.

Part 2 of Q and A. (a few moments between part 1 and 2 of Q and A are missing.

The Cornell NYC Tech project was conditionally approved last December 19 by Community Board 8 prior to Borough President Stringer's approval today. Next step in ULURP process is

review by the NYC Planning Commission.

A Plea For Compassion And Better Prices To Gristedes Owner John Catsimatidis From A Roosevelt Island Resident - Mr. C Says We Will Like The New Renovated Supermarket When Finished In A Few Weeks

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Renovations

Roosevelt Island resident Nina Lubin shares this plea she sent to Roosevelt Island Gristedes

 owner John Catsimatidis earlier today regarding ongoing renovations

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Renovations

and pricing at our local supermarket. From Ms. Lubin:
Good Morning Mr. C.

Or perhaps not.

I came to your construction site -- oops, I mean the Roosevelt Island Gristedes -- at 5 pm last night. The store remains one big, hot mess.

At the front, near the pharmacy, was an open, unsecured construction area with no barricades, tape, or any markings to prevent someone from walking or tripping. The floor at the pharmacy remains uneven and bumpy, and someone could easily trip or fall -- please remember we are an Island of people with many motor disabilities and challenges.

The relocated meat and poultry area could only be reached by walking past open ladders with no protections, and again, active construction with dust and debris unprotected by any plastic or vinyl sheeting. The temperature in the relocated poultry case was not cold enough to safely store anything perishable (and was reported to one of the managers).

We are now in the 3rd or 4th month of being held captive by your senior staff and disorganized demolition and construction crew and it is unfair and not safe for the staff and your customers.

Really, Mr. C, have a little compassion for us on Roosevelt Island. Because this morning, it sure seems like you have more compassion for the folks in Kips Bay and on the Upper East Side than for us Islanders who have few choices. With your big full page ad in today's New York Post, declaring WAR ON INFLATION, it is clear that you are really declaring war on the new Fairway store on East 30th Street and 2nd Avenue, conveniently located in between two of your stores, in the midst of a big residential neighborhood and 3 major hospitals, as well as the Fairway on E.86th Street. Some of those prices in that ad are the same prices we on Roosevelt Island have been hoping for for many years and are still waiting:

Corn Flakes - $ 1.49 for 18 oz
Cheerios - $2.99
Bumble Bee Solid White Tuna - $ 5 for 4 cans
Chicken Cutlets - $ 1.99 / lb

A start -- with a $ 5 off coupon -- but only for the 3 stores in in Manhattan in direct competition with Fairway. Unfair to us, who should be getting some price breaks while our store is a construction site and for many the only place we can shop.

If you really are the businessman you claim to be, if you are thinking about running for Mayor, if you really want to declare war on inflation, if you really want to not further alienate or aggravate the Roosevelt Island residents, show us a little concern and favoritism and get the work done already, lower some prices, and work to get us back in the store.
Mr. Catsimatidis replied:
You will Have a New store in a Few weeks that we will all be Proud of
A corporate Gristedes official told me that the renovations should be completed by middle of February.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Roosevelt Island Tram Enclosure Canopy Project Began Yesterday - No Weekday Tram Service During Off Peak Hours 10 AM - 3 PM Thru February 6- RIOC Providing Red Bus Service To And From Manhattan

The Roosevelt Island Tram Enclosure Canopy project began yesterday. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Please be advised work has commenced today on the Canopy Installation of the Tram Enclosure Project.

The work will be conducted during Tram service off-peak hours from 10 AM to 3 PM Monday- Friday, January 22nd- February 6th.

Please note Tram service will be suspended during off-peak hours only. During that time, Red Bus service will be provided from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan (Please see attached schedules). The Tram will resume normal service during the weekend.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information available at previous post.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Person Of Interest Film Crew Transform Roosevelt Island Into Berlin - It's Easy With A Little Bit Of German Signage

Image Of Person Of Interest Filming Today On Roosevelt Island From David Enock

It's been said many times before that:
... Roosevelt Island's drab, dreary and depressing Main Street has often been compared to East Berlin prior to the fall of the Wall or even The Village from the great British Television program The Prisoner....
Apparently, the Person of Interest TV program currently filming

Image Of Person Of Interest Filming Today On Roosevelt Island From David Enock

on Roosevelt Island agrees:
Despite the freezing weather, Main Street next to the Trellis Diner was transformed into an outdoor Berlin coffee bar

and Good Shepherd Plaza became Leipziger Plaza

Image From David Enock

Image From David Enock

Mark Lyon tweets:

David Enock shares more Main Street and Motorgate Garage photos of Roosevelt Island's transformation to Berlin via the magic of TV.

UPDATE 1/23 - Pop Culture Brain adds:
I used to live on Roosevelt Island so I just wanted to chime in here and say 1) it’s sad how easily they were able to make it look like East Berlin but 2) it’s even more sad that it looks better as East Berlin.

Roosevelt Island Webcams - View Up and Down East River, Roosevelt Island Tram and Queensboro Bridge From Anywhere In The World

Thanks to a tip from Mark Lyon, I learned about a third webcam view of Roosevelt Island. Click here to see the East River waterfront facing south with views of the Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island Tram from Dropcam.

Roosevelt Island webcams already exist for the Roosevelt Island Tram Station

and looking north towards the Octagon and East River/NYC skyline.

Wherever you are in the world, now you can find a view of Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 2/16/15 - The Roosevelt Island webcams are no longer working.


Monday, January 21, 2013

President Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Address Today

An excerpt:

... The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

And for more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.
The full text is here.

Person Of Interest TV Show Filming On Roosevelt Island Tomorrow - No Parking In Area Says RIOC

 No Parking Here Tomorrow For Person Of Interest Film Shoot

Reported previously that:
...the CBS television action drama series Person of Interest will be filming at the Good Shepherd Plaza AND at the Motorgate Parking Garage on Friday January 18th from 7 AM to 4 PM. Filming will also take place on Tuesday, January 22nd....
According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Please be advised that due to a film shoot on the Island on January 22nd, 2013, there will be No Parking at the following locations

No Parking between 527 Main St and 591 Main St from 7:00AM to 4:00PM
No Parking opposite 694 Main Street from 12:00PM to 9:00pm.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Roosevelt Island Jobs Available - Porter At 465 Main Street and Disability Specialist/Residence Manager With NY Foundling Hospital

Are you looking for a job on Roosevelt Island? Maybe one of these jobs are suitable for you.

Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) is seeking a Porter for 465 Main Street. According to WCMC:
Porter Roosevelt Island-19366

Position Summary
Under the direction of the resident manager performs custodial functions throughout the WCMC Roosevelt Island building located at 465 Main Street; a 136 apartment sixteen-story tier residential property in addition to the 88 riverwalk Condominuum apartments owned by WCMC at 455 Main Street. Duties includes general cleaning and painting of vacant units, moving of furniture/equipment and exterior maintenance of facility, assist with provision of security and concierge services for the building....
Click here for more information and to apply for the job.

Also, the NY Foundling Hospital is seeking Roosevelt Island Disability Specialists/Residence Managers. According to Craigslist:
...We are currently looking to hire Disability Specialists and Residence Managers in our new residential program for developmentally-disabled adults on Roosevelt Island. Responsibilities will include:

• Implement program plans for consumers with mental retardation and developmental disabilities;
• Supervise consumers in a residential setting as well as during community activities;
• Observe and monitor consumers' progress toward developmental goals and complete daily progress notes;
• Administer medication;
• Assist with daily living skills, like food preparation and some housekeeping;
• Transport consumers to and from medical appointments, family visits and community activities using agency vehicle

The Foundling offers an excellent comprehensive benefits package, including paid vacation, tuition reimbursement, in-service training, flexible work schedules and competitive salaries.....
Click here for more information and to apply for the job.

Good Luck!