Saturday, March 9, 2013

Is Roosevelt Island Tram The Place To Be This Weekend - Long Line At Manhattan Tram Plaza Waiting To Board, Why?

Trevre Andrews shares this picture of people on line at the Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Plaza and Tram Station Staircase

Tram Station Line Image From Trevre Andrews

waiting to board the Tram this afternoon at about 1:30. Mr. Andrews adds:
I have never seen this before.
Any idea what the reason for the long line was? The F train was running from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island this weekend but not from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan.

UPDATE 3/10 - A Reader reports:
There was a long line at the tram at that particular time because there were "groups" of off island tourist who came all at once 3 separate groups came together and none of these groups made arrangements in advance so they all had to swipe their metro cards

Opening Reception For Gallery RIVAA's Vernissage 12 Exhibition Tonight 6 - 9 PM - Stop On By

Image From Gallery RIVAA

The Annual Gallery RIVAA Members Exhibition opens tonight with a reception from 6 - 9 PM. According to Gallery RIVAA:
Vernissage 12
Saturday, March 9, 2013 - Sunday, April 21, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday March 9th, from 6-9pm.
Imge From Peter Olszewski

Stop on by, enjoy the art with old friends and meet some new friends.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Christmas Tree Seen Floating Over Rainy Manhattan From Roosevelt Island Tram Window Last Night - Or Was It?

Lynn Hu was on the Roosevelt Island Tram last night. As she was looking out the window through the rain at traffic below, she snapped this very cool picture and tweeted:

It really does look like a Christmas Tree.

Check out Ms. Hu's web site.

No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend

Image of Blurred, Moving F Train From Venus in Furs

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

Weekend, 11:15 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Mar 8 - 11

Trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.

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

Snowy March Day On Roosevelt Island - Daffodils Covered By Snow And Is This The Last Snowman Of Winter?

Riverwalk Daffodils Covered By Today's Snow

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse shares pictures of a snowy March day.

Is this the end of snow for winter?

Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove Introduces Faculty Members Deborah Estrin, Rajit Manohar and Dan Huttenlocher - Video Presentation To NYC Planning Commission On Academic Goals And Everything Else

Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove Presentation To Feb 6 NYC Planning Commission Public Hearing

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.
As winter slowly transitions to spring, the Cornell Tech team continues to work on both our campus development plans as well as our academic program. Regarding the formal land use review process (ULURP), in January Borough President Stringer echoed the Community Board in supporting the approval of the campus plan. The plans are currently under review by the City Planning Commission, which is expected to vote later this month. The next and final step in the City’s land use review process is consideration by the full City Council, and we look forward to working with Council Member Lappin and her colleagues to continue what has been an excellent and serious discussion that has included many members of the Roosevelt Island community. We remain on track for groundbreaking early next year.

Regarding our academic programs, at the last time of writing we had just welcomed our inaugural “beta” class of computer science master degree students to the temporary campus in Chelsea. It’s been an exciting and rewarding couple of months as both the students and faculty jumped right into exploring the new academic model that we’re introducing at Cornell Tech. The students have already established close contact with a number of industry partners, learning about various facets of entrepreneurial life at the practicum sessions held each Friday. Sessions have included presentations from a wide array of disciplines, including architects, tech entrepreneurs and even a group of attorneys who helped the class understand the intricacies of tech transfer and intellectual property. The students are also working in teams on semester-long projects in direct collaboration with private companies. It is terrific having active students, faculty and community partners interacting at our site.

In the long term, as in any organization, the success of our campus is dependent on the people we attract – faculty, students and staff. Today I want to highlight our early faculty hires. We have been gratified to see the amazing level of faculty talent that has been attracted to Cornell Tech. Currently we are interviewing faculty in six fields that span areas as diverse as computer science to operations research to marketing. We are looking for a very special kind of faculty member – someone with established academic credentials in an area that is compatible with our campus, together with entrepreneurial/commercialization interests, and a demonstrated commitment to societal good. We want faculty that want to make an impact. Our first two full-time,tenured faculty members,Rajit Manohar and Deborah Estrin, are great examples, as is Dan Huttenlocher, founding Dean of Cornell Tech.

Dean Huttenlocher has been on the faculty at Cornell since 1988, most recently serving as Cornell’s Computing and Information Science (CIS) Dean, but it is his mix of academic and industry experience that makes him the perfect fit for Cornell Tech. He has worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and served as CTO of Intelligent Markets, and serves as a Trustee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He has taught in both the Department of Computer Science and the MBA program at Cornell, and has won recognition as the New York State Professor of the year, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

While Dean Huttenlocher is an outstanding academic and entrepreneur in his own right, it is unlikely he will be able to spend much time teaching and conducting research, as he is quite busy serving as the chief academic officer of the campus. Thus, our first full-time “true” faculty member is Professor Estrin, a pioneer in networked sensing, which uses mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world. Deborah joins Cornell Tech from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she was a professor of computer science and the Founding Director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS). Her work has shown how the data streaming from networks of devices such as smartphones and cameras can enrich our understanding and management of complex problems – from personal and public health, to traffic patterns and civic engagement.

Professor Estrin brings an award-winning pedigree to Cornell Tech, as the winner of the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame Award, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of CNN’s “10 Most Powerful Women in Tech”, among many honors. She is also a co-founder of Open mHealth, a non-profit organization working to create an open-source infrastructure for the growing field of mobile health, which uses the wealth of live data made possible by mobile technology to revolutionize patient care. Professor Estrin is already lending her expertise not only to our students but to clinicians from Weill Cornell Medical Center, as we all work together in an effort to use technology to improve healthcare. She has also shown a commitment to K-12 education, spearheading a groundbreaking internship program for Los Angeles high school students in mobile technologies and data.

Professor Manohar is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs on the campus, and he joins us from the main Cornell campus in Ithaca, where he served as the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in Engineering. Professor Manohar is the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Career award, five best paper awards, seven teaching awards, and was named to MIT technology review's top 35 young innovators under 35 for contributions to low power microprocessor design.

In addition to being an outstanding teacher, Professor Manohar is a great fit at Cornell Tech due to his experience partnering with private industry and building companies. He is currently part of a team with engineers from IBM that has worked to create microchips that help computers think more like the human brain. He has also created his own start-up firm: Achronix Semiconductor.

These amazing faculty are among the team that is shaping the academic program for the campus. Many of us will be on Roosevelt Island this year for some special programming, and we all look forward to joining you at our permanent campus in 2017, but in the meantime I hope you enjoyed “meeting” a few of the key members of our team. I’ll be back next month to provide another update on the review process and everything that’s happening with Cornell Tech.
Below is Academic presentation by Dean Dan Huttenlocher to the February 6 NYC Planning Commission Pubic Hearing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Transformed, It's Beautiful Says Long Time Resident - Owner John Catsimatidis Kept His Promise For Gristedes Improvements And Much More

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Grand Re-Opening

The long awaited transformation of the much maligned Roosevelt Island Gristedes is finally completed and this week is the Grand Re-Opening of our local supermarket. Have you been in Gristedes recently - what do you think?

On Tuesday, I asked a long time Roosevelt Island resident, 39 years, what she thought of the new Gristedes and she said:
... it was beautiful. Roosevelt Island should be proud of this store...

Almost one year ago today, Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis spent several hours speaking with Roosevelt Island residents at a Town Hall meeting (video of meeting is here) and promised:
... improvements to be made at Roosevelt Island's Gristedes include offering more fresh produce and organic products at affordable prices....
During the March 12 Town Hall meeting, Mr. Catsimatidis heard:
... complaints expressed to Mr. Catsimatidis included expired products on shelves, dirty floors, inadequate product offerings, counter conveyor belts not working, long lines at checkout counter, lack of a full service pharmacy, leaking roof, poor lighting among others....
and Mr. Catimatidis resolved:
... to fix the problems described and urged any resident to contact him with specific complaints which will be addressed. He also asked for suggestions as to how to improve the store. I thought a great idea was suggested by resident Deborah Beck who recommended that the new store design include moving the store entrance from the dark tunnel like side entrance to better lit Main Street directly across from Manhattan Park....
Now that the Roosevelt Island Gristedes renovation is complete - how did Mr. Catsimatidis and his colleagues do? Commenting earlier this week, one resident said:
I really dig the new Gristedes. I also see an "upgrade" in staff. It was a very pleasant experience yesterday. The renovations are not quite done, though. The exit door is still being worked on.
another reported yesterday:
There's a party going on! Lots of free samples, some of which are good! The store is well-stocked and looks nice. Many of the items are lower in price than they were in the past -- sometimes down to normal. I hope they keep it up.
Free Samples At Roosevelt Island Grand Opening Preview Yesterday

though one skeptic expressed concern that improvements might not continue:
when they became a superstore a few years ago . the first few weeks the prices were low just to get people in as they were trying to fool everyone but then after a few weeks it was back to the same high prices so i am sure this will be the same .long live the shoppers bus.
I've been there the last couple of days and I think the Gristedes folks did a FANTASTIC JOB. Gristedes even listened to resident Deborah Beck's suggestion made at the Town Hall meeting and moved the store entrance to the better lit side of Main Street.

I spoke with Mr. Catsimatidis at yesterday's Grand Opening. He promised that:
 ...the quality will be there ...we guarantee everything...  I answer every email. If you have any complaints let me know...
About Gristedes pricing, a Gristedes representative said:
... you're not going to see we open up with real hot prices and all of a sudden we raise prices...  what the market bears we're going to give you the price when we can make a deal we're going to pass it on to you... we're trying to give you a fair but better quality package...
Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder David Kramer from Hudson Related attended yesterday's Gristedes Grand Opening Celebration as well. I asked Mr. Kramer what he thought of the Gristedes renovation and he said:
It's Big...  Gristedes is the anchor to Main Street... I think it is a great big step for Gristedes and great big step for Main Street retail... Gristedes becoming a more successful anchor is going to have a multiplier effect for the rest of the corridor.
 Mr. Kramer added:
...Trellis is starting renovation sometime this calendar year.... two more stores are about to open... three or four in the pipeline...
Here's the full interview with Mr. Catsimatidis and Mr. Kramer

and reactions from Roosevelt Island residents as well as Gristedes meatball vendor Mama Mancini's.

Meet the new Roosevelt Island Gristedes offerings.

The  delicatessen,

International Foods,

Organic, Natural and Sugar Free,


Craft Beer,


with pizza, ice cream, fried chicken and meals to go

and the pharmacy.

It's a very good beginning for the Roosevelt Island Gristedes. Let's hope it continues.

RIRA Approves $100 Thousand Public Purpose Funds Allocations To 12 Roosevelt Island Organization Last Night - On To RIOC For Final Approval

Pile Of Money Image From Passive Income Genius

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council approved the recommendations of its 2013 Public Purpose Funds committee for the allocation of $100 thousand in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds during its monthly meeting last night. These recommendations will now be submitted to RIOC for its final approval.

Here are the recommendations.

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN)
Amount Requested $35 Thousand - Recommendation $4,250

PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
Amount Requested $32 Thousand - Recommendation $12,700

Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)
Amount Requested $30 Thousand -  Recommendation $10,500

Life Frames Inc.
Amount Requested $25,360 - Recommendation $3,250

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS)
Amount Requested $22 Thousand - Recommendation $7,000

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA)
Amount Requested $20 Thousand - Recommendation $14,700

Roosevelt Island Community Literary Association (RICLA)
Amount Requested $20 Thousand - Recommendation $3,500

Island Kids
Amount Requested $19 Thousand - Recommendation $13,100

R&R Concerts
Amount Requested $14,850 - Recommendation $11 Thousand

Amount Requested $10,500 - Recommendation $7,500

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA)
Amount Requested $10,500 - Recommendation $9 Thousand

Roosevelt Island Chamber Of Commerce
Amount Requested $10 Thousand - Recommendation $3,500

Roosevelt Landings Residents Association (RLRA)
Amount Requested $5 Thousand - Recommendation None

The rationale for the recommendations are here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Public Purpose Fund Allocations, Public Safety, Easter Egg Hunt, Young Adult Program & More On Agenda For Tonight's Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting - Come Learn What Is Going On

Image of June 2011 RIRA Common Council Meeting

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. Below is the Agenda for March 2013 Meeting.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association
Common Council Meeting
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Good Shepherd Community Center

Public session

Roll Call

Approval of agenda

Approval of minutes
  • December 2012,
  • January 2013,
  • February 2013
President’s report

Committee reports:

Public Purpose Funds

Social, cultural, Educational
  • request for seed money for Easter Egg Hunt fund raiser
Public safety
  • request for reimbursement for expenditures,
  • approval of two letters
Island Services Committee
  • explanation of the April presentation and discussion of proposed Young Adult Services.
Main Street Retail subcommittee


Housing Planning

Old business

New business

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Former Roosevelt island Public Safety Officer Reports On Amazing Buzzer Beating Half Court Basketball Shot That Won High School Basketball Game

Former Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officer John Malone reported on what might be one of the most amazing half court buzzer beating shots of all time that ended Sunday's New Rochelle/Mount Vernon High School basketball game.

Here's the shot.

Mr. Malone, reporting for MSG Varsity, wrote:

... The play began with 2.9 seconds left in regulation and the Huguenots trailing by two. Edney, positioned on New Rochelle's baseline, threw a baseball pass to teammate Joe Clarke near center court. The duo — with Edney at quarterback and Clarke at tight end — had hooked up countless times during the fall to lead New Rochelle to a state title in football. This wasn't one of those times. Mt. Vernon's Jalen David jumped into the passing lane and deflected the ball. Teammate Devonte Banner scooped it up and floated a pass forward to Traquann Scales. Edney jumped into action, reading the play perfectly. He then stole the ball and released the shot in practically the same motion....
Click here for the entire MSG Varsity article.

The NY Times has more on "The Shot" by New Rochelle High School basketball player Khalil Edney.

Roosevelt Island Constituent Service Hours Tomorrow 5- 8 PM With NY State Senator Jose Serrano's Office - Discuss Your Concerns Or Suggestions To Improve Community

According to Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano:

Constituent Services on Roosevelt Island TOMORROW

Serrano Roosevelt Island Constituent Hours

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association

546 Main Street #1

Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

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

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

*Constituent Services are also available Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, in Senator Serrano's District Office at 157 East 104th Street.
Here's Sentor Serrano speaking in favor of libraries throughout NY State.

Senator Serrano secured a $300 thousand grant for a new Roosevelt Island library at 504 Main Street.

Roosevelt Island Easter Egg Hunt Returns March 30 At Manhattan Park And Firefighters Field

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Social Cultural & Educational Committee Chairperson Lynn Strong-Shinozaki reports on the return of the Roosevelt Island Easter Egg Hunt.
Save the date March 30th 2013 
Little tikes up to 5 years old  Manhattan Park (Park)10am to Noon
Big Kids 6-12 years Firefighters Field 2pm-4pm
Some Bunny Loves you! Bring your good behavior and put on your FUN
Here are some scenes from the last Roosevelt Island Easter Egg Hunt

in 2010.

The next meeting of the RIRA Common Council is tomorrow, 8 PM March 6 at Good Shepherd Community Center.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Roosevelt Island Residents Present Complaints Of RIOC Public Safety Department Brutality Allegations At Board Of Directors Meeting - NY State Inspector General, RIOC Board and Outside Auditor Will Investigate

Interesting article in today's NY Times of relevance to current Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety controversy:

... The New York City Police Department has embarked on a novel approach to deter juvenile robbers, essentially staging interventions and force-feeding outreach in an effort to stem a tide of robberies by dissuading those most likely to commit them.

Officers not only make repeated drop-ins at homes and schools, but they also drive up to the teenagers in the streets, shouting out friendly hellos, in front of their friends. The force’s Intelligence Division also deciphers each teenager’s street name and gang affiliation. Detectives compile a binder on each teenager that includes photos from Facebook and arrest photos of the teenager’s associates, not unlike the flow charts generated by law enforcement officials to track organized crime.

The idea, in part, is to isolate these teenagers from the peers with whom they commit crimes — to make them radioactive....
Click here for the entire NY Times article.

Is this a good idea? Is it needed on Roosevelt Island?

Can such a policy of juvenile intervention be implemented here on Roosevelt Island by NYPD or the RIOC Public Safety Department either in its present configuration or revamped under new management as demanded by the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (The next monthly meeting of the RIRA Common Council is this Wednesday, March 6)?

The latest news on Roosevelt Island Public Safety issues is that RIOC Public Safety Sergeant Ingrid Veras resigned last week as confirmed by a RIOC Press Spokesperson. This morning, I asked RIOC Acting President Don Lewis and Public Safety Director Keith Guerra:
I am following up from my inquiry on Friday asking if it is true that Public Safety Department {Sergerant) Veras resigned last week.

Is that true?

Does RIOC have any comment on the matter? 
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
We can confirm that that is true.
During Public Session of February 28 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting, Roosevelt Island residents presented written complaints and gave oral testimony of Public Safety brutality allegations. Among the speakers were RIRA Public Safety Chairperson Erin Feely-Nahem who provided this written text of her remarks:
Good Evening,

My name is Erin Feely-Nahem. The Public Safety Committee has authorized me to speak to you on their behalf to express our concerns and to make clear our central demands.

In light of the growing crisis of the Public Safety Department, which if not resolved will become the crisis of RIOC, we are asking that RIOC and the RIOC Board, which has the authority and power to do so,to terminate Director Keith Guerra, Deputy Director Rene Bryan, and Captain Estella Saurez.

We further request that action be taken against a number of Officers who are the PSD's foot soldiers and practitioners, whose names continue to come up, in relation to the pattern of abuse, misconduct, harassment and brutality, which has been demonstrated over the past 4 years by the PSD. We are sure that a full investigation into the officers under Guerra's command, including but not be limited to: Officer Ralph Torrens, Sergeant Raul Hernandez, and Sergeant Ingrid Veras will find them involved.

We have complied and continue to gather dozens of documented accounts of such behavior, at the hands of your Public Safety Department, under the leadership of the present regime.

As residents, our patience is wearing thin. As the RIRA PSC, whose obligation to our constituents includes listening, investigating and speaking out against misconduct within the PSD, we can no longer continue to wait for action, we are beyond rushing to judgment, our patience is gone.

For over four years, the Public Safety Committee has explored and discussed issues presented to this committee with Director Guerra, with little or no changes seen in the policing tactics that his department uses. He has ignored our suggestions, and manipulated situations and reports, insuring that his Officer's side of the account is the only "accepted" side. He has refused to see the obvious patterns where the "targeting" of certain youth is reflected in an officers arrest jacket, praising the Officer's abusive harassment of these youth, by labeling them "proactive" and promoting them, despite the communities concerns.

The case of Anthony Jones has been a catalyst for a growing movement on this Island, of individuals who are now willing to come forward, as demonstrated by our magnificent rally on February 16, 2013. People are no longer afraid, atomized or content to passively accept their fate, as written by the PSD, instead they are uniting in the search for justice.

We come to you tonight because as the RIOC Board you are in a position to meet our central demand, the removal of the present Leadership of the Public Safety Department, starting with Keith Guerra.

As far as we are concerned, we are beyond debating this question. We respectfully present you with our concerns, supported by the RIRA Resolution, unanimously passed in February's session, and we expect you to act accordingly.

We are concerned with long term reforms; technological advances like the body cameras and the placement of cameras within the PSD offices are all good, passage of the Kellner bill is necessary for oversight in the future, but for us these solutions do not address the heart of the problem. The question that needs to be addressed is when will the RIOC Board take the necessary steps required to end this problem? Until when are we expected to ignore the abusive treatment of resident's, allowing this abhorrent treatment to flourish under the leadership of the PSD and your watch? Director Guerra must GO! Until that happens we will continue in our non-violent, legal campaign, tirelessly, gathering force, and reaching out beyond you, to our elected Officials on state and Federal levels. You have the power to act. We beseech you to do so now.
and here is the video of her testimony.

Another resident testifying before the RIOC Board was Jenna Steuber. The written text of her statement is below
My name is Jenna Stueber. I have been a resident here on Roosevelt island for 22 years now.

I left the last committee meeting held on Monday February 25th of 2013 feeling as though the R.I.O.C Board members believed residents had not properly filed their complaints nor did the residents present proper evidence that would justify them firing Guerra. Margie Smith stated "how could we (meaning the people) just expect them to fire Guerra. As if to imply that those actions would not be fair of them. What is not fair is how residents on Roosevelt Island have been intimidated, bullied and physically beaten by the Public Safety Department.

What I found to be even more absurd to hear at the meeting was discussion of wasting more money, and having cameras installed on PSD officers glasses. With all technology there are malfunctions, these cameras would have the same chance of "conveniently" not working when there is an arrest being made, much like the cameras in the main lobby of the PSD office.

My main point that I would like to address is this... my father Neal Stueber, was told the day after being arrested by PSD that he had to either resign or would be fired from his R.I.O.C position. Why were either of these options brought to my father? The incident did not occur while he was working. When my father questioned why he was being asked to resign or be fired, the response given to him was "well you know." No! we don't know, and we are still waiting on someone to give us a half way decent and intelligent response. Some years back a mini bus driver got into a physical altercation with a passenger, while working. Was he given the option to resign or be fired? No! he was removed from working on the mini bus and placed to work for the grounds crew for R.I.O.C. Why wasn't this an option for my father? Why wasn't my father's side of the incident ever heard by R.I.O.C? And why it is that the R.I.O.C board was under the impression that my father "voluntarily" resigned?

Why is the option for Guerra to resign or be fired not being brought up by the board? Why should residents have to endure anymore time with Guerra or these PSD officers? As Erin stated at the last meeting, if you won't remove Guerra for anything else, at least consider his incompetence as Chief of the PSD Department. After my incident with Sgt. Ingrid Veras, Guerra claimed in the Main Street Wire that she was such a great and noble officer because of all the experience and excellent training she had. What Guerra neglected to tell the public (which was only brought to life because of some investigating done by Frank Farance), was that since working for PSD Veras has been suspended 11 times, 3 of those times without pay. Why is it that under Guerra's knowledge of all this, Veras and officers much like her are still on the job and still patrolling this island?

Members of the board try to imagine having to see your parent slammed to the floor and dragged away, or having your child beaten to near death, by people you consider to be "peace officers", try to imagine that!"
and here is video of her testimony.

More video testimony from Roosevelt Island residents at the February 28 RIOC Board meeting here

and here.

In response to a "what's next" question from a resident in the audience, RIOC Director Margie Smith said that the allegations presented to the RIOC Board will be forwarded to the NY State Inspector General for review.

Acting RIOC President Don Lewis also reported that an independent outside firm will be doing an audit of the Public Safety Department (here's the RFP for audit firm) and RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki said that the Directors will review all of the cases as well.

A Roosevelt Island resident summarized the thoughts of many in the audience when she remarked:
... there are no complaints here about crime on Roosevelt Island right now. It is just astounding that we are spending hours every week speaking about the behavior of our public safety when none of us have any complaints about crime so what is the issue... the issue is the crime and situation that is being created by Public Safety... 
Here's video of that discussion.

Following the meeting, I asked RIOC Chairperson (and DHCR Commissioner) Darryl Towns to comment on the allegations directed at the Public Safety Department and strongly encouraged him to present any rebuttal to the allegations as I have done with the RIOC Directors, Acting President Don Lewis and Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra. The response has been the same. No comment on anything involving Public Safety due to the pending litigation.

In regard to the resignation by Sergeant Veras, I have dealt with her several times while covering Roosevelt Island news events and found her to be courteous and professional. I have personally not encountered her in situations similar to those described by residents above.

NYC Council Candidate Ben Kallos, who is seeking to represent Roosevelt Island in the next election, submitted this proposal for a Public Safety Review Board.
Dear Members of RIOC Operations Committee,

In response to repeated allegations of misconduct on behalf of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, and a recent incident in which misconduct was alleged, we sent a letter to the Inspector General calling for an investigation of the Public Safety Department’s behavior. Waiting for results is no longer an option. Roosevelt Island residents demand that fair treatment be made available immediately.

We wish to contribute to your discussion of new policies for the Public Safety Department by proposing the creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) under RIOC as a special
committee or a task force. The proposed board would be comprised of both elected Island
residents, residents nominated from the RIOC Board and the sitting RIRA President.

A summary of the duties of the CCRB, excerpted from our full proposal, follows:

(b) Powers and Duties of the Board
  1. The Board shall have the power to receive, investigate, hear, make findings and recommend action against Public Safety Officers.
  2. Any Board action shall be upon complaints against Public Safety Officers that allege misconduct involving excessive use of force, abuse of authority, or use of offensive language, including, but not limited to, comments relating to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
  3. The findings and recommendations of the board shall be submitted to the RIOC Board and the RIOC Board Operations Committee Chair. No finding or recommendation shall be based solely upon an unsworn complaint or statement, nor shall prior unsubstantiated, unfounded or withdrawn complaints be the basis for any such findings or recommendations. It is the responsibility of the RIOC Board to work with the Roosevelt Island Civilian Complaint Board and the Public Safety Department Director to resolve such complaints.
  4. (4) The board shall issue to the RIOC Board a monthly report which describes its activities and summarizes its actions.
  5. (5) The board shall have the responsibility of informing the public about the board and its duties, and shall develop a method of informing the public regarding the provisions of its chapter.
We also call for RIOC to provide free and fair mediation to Roosevelt Island residents in a manner such as the NYC CCRB provides. Because it treats incidents after the fact, mediation alone is not enough, but it can prevent pain and unjust treatment from continuing.

In closing, we ask the RIOC Operations Committee to assess the viability of creating a committee or task force to address Public Safety Department misconduct, and we offer our help toward this end in any way it may be needed. We will submit in paper our full proposal outlining the responsibilities and limits of the proposed CCRB.
Assembly Member Micah Kellner, who is also running for the same NYC Council Seat as Mr. Kallos has reintroduced his bill seeking a Civilian Review Board for NY State Police Officers including the RIOC Public Safety Department.

Whatever the results of the various investigations, it is clear that RIOC needs better communications and outreach between the Public Safety Department and members of the community.

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Gristedes Completes Renovation, Grand Opening 8 AM Thursday March 7

John Catsimatidis, Chairman & CEO of Gristedes Supermarkets, is very pleased to announce the complete renovation of the Gristedes Supermarket on Roosevelt Island.

We would like to invite you to come by and take a look for yourself at the Grand Opening, Thursday March 7th, 2013, 8am sharp! We hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Boys Of Summer Softball Spring Training At Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field - Join The MeetUp Group For Pick Up Softball Games

It's March already and despite the cold and snow flurries yesterday afternoon, a few hearty souls had their own version of Softball Spring Training at Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field.

You can be in Centerfield too

with the Roosevelt Island Adult Softball Meet Up group as long as the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) allows them to continue playing on Roosevelt Island fields.

Play ball!!!!