Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fun In The Roosevelt Island Snow - Sledding, Snowman, Snowbunny & More

Roosevelt Island Snow Bunny Image From Sarah Michener

Roosevelt Island got just the right amount of snow - enough to have fun but not to cause any hardships.

Some of us went sledding at Southtown hill,

others built snowmen

Image From Karine Wong

or shopped at the Farmers Market.

I was surprised to see the Farmers Market open. The Farmers Market Manager told me they came to NYC last night and stayed at a hotel in Queens in order to be open today explaining that they did not want to disappoint any of their Roosevelt Island customers by not being here.

It was good to see the streets were cleared of snow for traffic

though some car owners did not obey the Main Street no parking advisory.

Image From BEC

UPDATE 1/10: Irina Hage shares this photo of a Roosevelt Island snowman

Image From Irina Hage

and reports:
It is so sad, there was a hit and run last night and this cute little snowman in the front of the drycleaners got plowed.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Roosevelt Island Tram Operating On Normal Schedule During Snowstorm Tonight, Until Further Notice - Share Your Pictures of Snowy Roosevelt Island

A Roosevelt Island resident asked earlier today:

do we have an estimate as far as how long the tram will be running tonight? Just worried about getting home from work with the trains not running regularly.
I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis about today's Tram schedule and just received this RIOC advisory:
Please be advised Tram service is currently operating on its normal schedule and will remain so until conditions deem it necessary to discontinue service. Tram personnel are tracking the progress of the storm closely and will discontinue service if conditions become too severe to operate the Tram safely.

We will send out an advisory immediately if weather conditions warrant a discontinuation of service.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
If you have pictures of a snowy Roosevelt Island to share, just send them in or place in comment section.

Stay warm inside or have fun in the snow.

UPDATE 5:30 PM - Been advised that the Roosevelt Island New York Junior Tennis League:
Early Morning Program will be CLOSED due to inclement weather tomorrow morning. We will be OPEN on Sunday. 
and RIOC reports:
...all programs scheduled after 7 PM tonight at the Sportspark facility have been canceled. The facility will close promptly at 7 PM.

Bring Cash To Roosevelt Island Gristedes To Stock Up On Snowstorm Supplies - Gristedes Store Credit Card System Not Working - Maybe Later

Be aware that if you are going to the Roosevelt Island Gristedes today to stock up on supplies for the oncoming snowstorm, you better bring cash. I was at the checkout counter this afternoon ready to pay for my groceries when I learned that their credit card payment system is out of order. I was told by Gristedes empoyees that the credit card transaction outage is intermittent so it may be working later but maybe not. Be prepared with cash.

NYPD Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi Speaks To Roosevelt Island Residents - Answers Questions On Policing Strategies, Public Safety Brutality Allegations & More, Officer Sitaris Receives Commendation and Manhattan DA Rep Reports On Trespass Affidavit Program

NYPD Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi, Commander of the 114th Precinct in Queens (which covers Roosevelt Island) spoke to the February 6 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) meeting held at the Good Shepherd Community Center.

Inspector Cirabisi began his presentation saying that Roosevelt Island is one of the safest neighborhoods in NYC and presented crime statistics for Roosevelt Island showing a decrease in major crimes from the previous year - a total of 3 robberies, 7 assaults, 10 grand larcenies (mostly credit card fraud), 5 burglaries and 2 rapes (victim and complainants were known to each other said Inspector Cirabisi). Inspector Cirabisi also noted that the NYPD has a good relationship with Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department.

Inspector Cirabisi then took questions from the audience mostly dealing with brutality allegations against the Public Safety Department as well as his thoughts on alternative policing strategies for Roosevelt Island including using off duty NYPD officers paid by RIOC to patrol Roosevelt Island (as is done at banks and other retail establishments). Inspector Cirabisi did not think using off duty NYPD officers to patrol Roosevelt Island was a feasible tactic but indicated that he will research the issue further.

Inspector Cirabisi was also asked if NYPD would respond to residents calls for assistance if residents were being assaulted by Public Safety Officers. Initially, Inspector Cirabisi indicated that NYPD would not investigate another law enforcement agency but later said that if a call was placed to 911, NYPD responds to all 911 calls including those on Roosevelt Island.

Here's Inspector Cirabisi's full presentation including questions from residents.

After Inspector Cirabisi's presentation, NYPD's Roosevelt Island Community Officer Dino Sitaris was presented a commendation for his service to Roosevelt Island by RIRA Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feeley-Nahem.

Officer Sitaris then spoke about helping to improve relationships with NYPD, Public Safety and the community followed by Inspector Cirabisi's invitation for residents to attend the 114 Precinct Community meetings held on the 4th Tuesday of every month at Riccardo's restaurant 21- 04 23rd Avenue in Astoria.

After Inspector Cirabisi and Officer Sitaris spoke, Manhattan District Attorney Community Affairs Officers Linda Janneh-Jones reported on the Trespass Affidavit Program (TAP) which many Roosevelt Island building are enrolled in at the request of their building managers. TAP allows NYPD and Public Safety officers to enter buildings enrolled in the Program to conduct vertical patrols without receiving a 911 call and arrest people for trespass who are not permitted to be in the building.

Here's Ms. Jones presentation on TAP.

Will have more later today tomorrow soon on the February 6 RIRA meeting including unanimous approval resolutions calling for the removal of top management at RIOC Public Safety Department and a February 16 public demonstration to address Public Safety Concerns.

Also, it was announced at the RIRA meeting that residents have created a Facebook Page, Roosevelt Island Citizens Blotter, to document allegations of Public Safety brutality.

UPDATE - More here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Roosevelt Island Snow Advisory From RIOC - No Motorgate Rooftop Or Main Street Parking Starting Tomorrow - Parks Also Closed

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

In preparation of the anticipated snowstorm expected to hit New York City tomorrow evening, please be advised of the following:

Motorgate Rooftop Parking:
The rooftop of the Motorgate Parking Garage will be closed tomorrow, February 8th, beginning at 5 PM. The rooftop will reopen on Monday, February, 11th at 3 PM. Patrons who normally park on the roof may park in any of the non-reserved sections during the closure.

All Parks will be closed Friday, February, 8th to Monday, February 11th. Lighthouse Park will remain closed until further notice.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
In preparation of the anticipated snowstorm expected to hit New York City tomorrow evening, please be advised that there will be "No Parking" on Main Street from 11:00AM Friday, February 8th, 2013 to 6:00PM Saturday, February 9th, 2013.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
The NY Times reports:
... The latest forecasts, he said, called for between 12 and 20 inches of snow in the New York City region and wind gusts that could exceed 60 miles per hour.

However, with the storm still some distance away, forecasters warned that predictions could change. The first sign of the storm will be a dusting of light snow that is expected to start falling across the region Friday morning....
... The morning commute on Friday could be affected by light snowfall. Temperatures are expected to rise during the day, which could mean a snowy, rainy mix — or just rain, Mr. Morrin said.

However, by Friday night, temperatures are expected to drop precipitously as cold air from the north moves down, turning the precipitation into snow....

... “The good news, I guess, if you like snow, is that we’re going to have snow,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

“The better news is that if it’s going to happen, having it happen overnight Friday into Saturday is probably as good timing as we can have,” he added, “because the Sanitation Department then has the advantage of being able to clean the streets when there’s normally less traffic.”...

Here are scenes from a January 2011 Roosevelt Island snowstorm.

Sal Ferrera Resigns As Executive Director of Child School/Legacy HIgh School - Will Mr. Ferrera Remain As Director Of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)? Update, Sal Ferrera Resigned From RIOC Board

Reported last Friday of job layoffs at Roosevelt Island's Child School/Legacy High School ("Child School") Just learned today that Sal Ferrera resigned yesterday as Executive Director of the Child School. Below is letter from the Child School/Legacy High School Board of Directors announcing Mr. Ferrera's resignation:

February 7th, 2012

To: Staff, Students, Parents and Friends of The Child School/Legacy High School
From: Board of Directors

Yesterday Dr. Salvatore Ferrera tendered his resignation as Executive Director of the School, which the Board accepted with gratitude for the energy and inspiration he has brought to the school, and most of all his tireless devotion to every one of our remarkable students. We look forward to Dr. Ferrera's remaining a member of our school community even as he relinquishes executive responsibility.

Responsibility for the management of the school will be assumed by a newly-formed Management Committee comprised of the Directors of the lower, middle and high schools -- Regina Wessel, Tina Staiano and Vishu Grover -- and Chief Financial Officer Curtis Newman. The Committee will be chaired by Ethan Kahn, CPA, who has been working for several months with the staff and the Board. Pending the appointment of a new Executive Director, Mr. Kahn will assume the duties of that office.
Mr. Ferrera is also a member of the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors (RIOC). His stealth, patronage appointment by Governor Cuomo at the behest of a Brooklyn State Senator to the RIOC Board of Directors in June 2011 was strongly disapproved by many Roosevelt Island residents because he was not elected by the residents and did not live on Roosevelt Island.

I sent the following inquiry to Acting RIOC President Don Lewis and the RIOC Board.
 I understand that Sal Ferrera resigned as Executive Director of the Child School yesterday.

Has he also resigned from the RIOC Board?

If not, will he still be a member of the RIOC Board even though he no longer work at the Child School or on Roosevelt Island?
Will update when more is learned.

UPDATE - 3:10 PM - Though not officially confirmed by RIOC, Sal Ferrera has resigned from the RIOC Board.

UPDATE 6:55 PM - According to RIOC Press Spokesperson:
Please be advised that Dr. Salvatore Ferrera has resigned from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors effective immediately. We thank Dr. Ferrera for his service, including his work as a Board member and as Executive Director of The Child School/Legacy High School. Dr. Ferrera has been, and will continue to be, a valued member of the Roosevelt Island community. We wish him well.
UPDATE 2/23 -Child School gave back its lease for new 504 Main Street Arts Center/Auditorium to Master Leaseholder Hudson Related.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Commander Of NYPD 114 Precinct Stephen Cirabisi To Speak At Tonight's Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Meeting - Come Learn What Is Going On Here

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.

NYPD Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi, Commander of the 114th Precinct in Queens (which covers Roosevelt Island), will speak at the RIRA meeting tonight. Inspector Cirabisi previously spoke at the April 2011 RIRA meeting.

NYPD Inspector Cirabisi(second from left) and Colleague Speaking With RIRA's President and Public Safety Chair

Here's what happened at that meeting.

Also expected to be discussed tonight is the relationship between the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department and the community as well as the recent brutality allegation brought against the Public Safety Department.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

NYC Planning Commission Public Hearing On Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Project Scheduled For Tomorrow February 6

The NYC Planning Commission Public Hearing on the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech project is being held tomorrow morning. Here's the Agenda for tomorrow's Public Hearing.

The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) sends the following message:

Dear RICC participating members and concerned residents,

Numbers count, please attend the City Planning Commission hearing to show your support for Roosevelt Island.

Bring Photo ID
Wednesday, February 6th,
10 AM start
Department of City Planning
22 Reade Street, ground floor
Spector Hall
Travel via Tram & Subway
Easiest way to get there is Tram then 4,5,6 trains to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop.
If you don't want to use the stairs take 6 to 42nd then 4/5 on the same platform.
Exit Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Subway station on the North side exit, cross the street.
Walk 1 block north to Chambers Street (cut North through on Elk St) and 22 Reade Street is directly across the street between Broadway corner of Elk Street (west of Lafayette).

Thanks again for your vital participation.
Roosevelt Island resident and Community Board 8 member Larry Parnes explained the ULURP review process and Planning Commission Public Hearing during January 21 RICC meeting. Here's what Mr. Parnes had to say.

Latest information on Cornell NYC Tech project including Borough President Stringer's recommendations and full video of January 21 RICC briefing of the Roosevelt Island community available at this previous post.

No Roosevelt Island Late Night F Train Service To Manhattan Monday To Friday This Week - No Roosevelt Island F Trains From Manhattan This Weekend

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

Late Nights, 11:45 PM to 5 AM, Mon to Fri, Feb 4 - 8

No Coney Island-bound F service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.
Also, 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, Feb 8 - 11

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.
Long-term construction projects impact train service between Queens and Manhattan
Multiple projects require the rerouting of trains while work is done, which include:

• Switch replacement and the modernization of the signal system at Roosevelt Av, 71 Av and Union Tpke
• Radio communication upgrade at Parsons Blvd
• Replacement of tracks at 36 St and Lexington/53 St stations
• Connection of the Second Avenue subway to the Lexington Av-63 St station

NYPD and FDNY Rescue Worker Injured On Top Of Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin This Afternoon

Tram Rescue Image From Eric Mellinger

According to this Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) advisory sent out at 12: 24 PM:
Please be advised that due to FDNY and NYPD activity, Tram service has been temporarily suspended. We will immediately send out a notice when service resumes.

Images Of NYPD And FDNY Rescue Units At Roosevelt Island Tram

A little bit after 12 PM today, I started receiving phone calls and messages asking what was going on at the Roosevelt Island Tram with some readers reporting:
SIX PSD cars and ONE FDNY ambulance at Tram
UPDATE: THREE FDNY Trucks, SIX PSD cars and ONE FDNY ambulance at Tram
the tram is stuck with people on it and the island is flooded with fire and police vehicles.
Image From Paul Callendrillo

Image From Eric Mellinger

I arrived at the scene and tweeted:
 Image of Tram Rescue

It turns out that a tram worker got his foot stuck on top of the Tram Cabin. He was rescued by NYPD and FDNY.

Tram Rescue Image From Eric Mellinger

Extent of injuries not known at this time.

Tram service was back to normal at about 1:45 PM.

UPDATE 9:45 PM - According to MYFoxNY:
An iron worker was doing routine maintenance on the Roosevelt Island Tram when his leg got stuck above some machinery in Tower 3, nearly 250 feet in the air, at around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday....

... The workers right leg was badly damaged, but rescuers said that he was talking and awake through it all.

New York News | NYC Breaking News

Update On Roosevelt Island Brutality Allegations - Assembly Member Micah Kellner Calls For Civilian Review Board For Public Safety Department/NY State Police Forces - City Council Candidate Ben Kallos Requests State Inspector General Investigation And Resident Board To Oversee Conduct Of Public Safety Department

Logo of New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board from

I asked Roosevelt Island City and State elected officials if they had:
... any comment on the recent allegations of brutality by the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department?...
and any:
 ... position on a civilian review board for the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department?...
Roosevelt Island Assembly Member Micah Kellner replied:
The recent allegations against the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department are greatly concerning if they prove to be true. RIOC acted correctly in swiftly in referring this matter to the State Inspector General for review; however, this incident proves once again that New Yorkers need a state civilian complaint review board to investigate any alleged misconduct by state police forces like Roosevelt Island Public Safety .
On January 9, 2013, Mr. Kellner re-introduced his 2010 bill to:
... amend the executive law, in relation to creating the New York state civilian complaint review board..
Full text of bill (A00956) is here.

Ben Kallos (NYC Council Candidate for the 5th district which includes Roosevelt Island), shares this January 30, 2013 letter he sent to NY State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott regarding the alleged brutality incident.
Re: Complaint Regarding Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Public Safety Department

Dear Inspector General Scott,

Yesterday, the Daily News in an article titled "So-called 'peace officers' on Roosevelt Island are being sued over savage beating of 20-year-old who claims he was just waiting in front of a building" reported that Roosevelt Island resident Anthony Jones suffered fractured ribs and a pierced lung in an 'unprovoked' attack without being charged with a crime at the hands of state employees and officers of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation's Public Safety Department.

Under New York State Executive Law Article 4-A the Public Safety Department and its employees are a part of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation which is a State entity under the jurisdiction of your office.

On behalf of Anthony Jones and the residents of Roosevelt Island, I am writing to request that the Office of the Inspector General investigate the incident alleged in this article as well as previous incidents relating to the conduct of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Public Safety Department.

We respectfully request that any resolution to your investigation include the implementation and ongoing support for a body comprised of residents of Roosevelt Island to oversee and review the conduct of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Public Safety Department.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in ensuring that State government, its employees and those who work with the state meet the highest standards of honesty, accountability, and efficiency.
Full text of letter from Mr. Kallos is here.

As reported previously, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has submitted the brutality allegations which are subject to pending litigation to the NY State Inspector General's Office for review.

Mr. Kellner and Mr. Kallos are currently both seeking the 2013 Democratic Party nomination for NYC Council District 5.

On February 1, I sent the following inquiry to RIOC Acting President Don Lewis, Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra and RIOC Directors:
What is the current work status of any officer or supervisor involved in the recent alleged Public Safety brutality incident?

Are the officers/supervisors currently on duty or in some other status pending results of any investigation.

If their status has changed since the incident, what was the date the status changed.
No reply yet.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Roosevelt Island Tram Enclosure Canopies Now In Place - Provide Protection From Cold And Rain

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

Please be advised the canopy installation at both Tram station platforms has been completed ahead of the February 6, 2013 completion date. Tram service will resume its normal off-peak schedule starting Monday February 4, 2013.

The remaining planned work on the enclosures will be completed during the off-peak schedule and will not require any disruption to Tram service.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Job Layoffs Reported At Roosevelt Island's Child School/Legacy High School Last Friday

In response to my inquiry about possible job losses at the Child School Legacy High School,  a reader reported last Friday:
It is my understanding they have had a lay-off today.
Last Friday, I also asked Child School Director (also a Director of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Sal Ferrera if reports of Child School layoffs were true and if he had any comment.

No response received yet from the Child School but will update when more information is available.

UPDATE 2/7 - Mr. Ferrera resigned from Child School and RIOC Board. More info here.

UPDATE 2/23 -Child School gave back its lease for new 504 Main Street Arts Center/Auditorium to Master Leaseholder Hudson Related.