Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tugboat Pulls House Past Roosevelt Island On East River Today

We get to see a variety of East River boat traffic passing Roosevelt Island - barges, tankers, sailboats, motorboats, jet skis, kayaks, ferry boats, party boats, tourist boats and even the Staten Island Ferry on occasion but I don't ever recall seeing a house being pulled by a tugboat on the East River. This morning, Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk reports seeing:

Tugboat bringing house upriver
and shares this picture.

Wonder where the house was going?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Here We Go Again, No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend - Expect Crowded Tram Cabins

Manhattan Bound F Train Arriving At Roosevelt Island Subway Station, But Not This Weekend

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, Apr 26 - 29

Trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.

No Coney Island-bound service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.
Plan accordingly - expect crowded Roosevelt Island Tram cabins to Manhattan this weekend.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Don't Truck Roosevelt Island Is Message of Roosevelt Island Community Coalition To NYC Council - Show Up And Support Roosevelt Island At April 30 NYC Council Public Hearing On Cornell NYC Tech Campus

Cornell NYC Tech Proposed Campus (page 23 CB 8 Presentation)

A message from the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC):

Show Up - Show Support - #'s Count!

TUESDAY APRIL 30 - City Hall - (located in City Hall Park)

City Council Open Meeting (Land Use Subcommittee)

Session from 9:30 am - throughout the day

The Cornell NYC Tech project has reached the last step in the ULURP process to which the public is invited to testify: review for approval by the Land Use Subcommittee of The New York City Council.

Tuesday, April 30th, RICC and Island residents will use this last chance to testify -- although negotiations on many items will continue.

The hearing begins at 9:30 am -- but projects other than Cornell will be discussed and there's no way to know exactly when Cornell NYC Tech will be presented.

We want to get as many people out to fill the room.

RICC Speakers will testify on topics familiar to all of you, including:
  • the use of barges/ferries in place of trucks that pollute our air and congest bridge, helix and street
  • creating cement mixers on site -- or some alternative -- to reduce or eliminate presence of especially noxious cement trucks
Please email friends, alert neighbors: find a few hours to come to City Hall on Tuesday, April 30th!

Note: City Hall informs us that taking the 4, 5 or 6 train is best. Get off at Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall Stop. Emerge at City Hall Park and go to City Hall (no address -- the only building in the Park). Police will direct you to the Council Room. Bring ID -- you will go through security.

Hope to see you there! Thank you.
RICC members raised many of these issues and more during the February 6 NYC Planning Commission Public Hearing. RICC's main message to the NYC Planning Commission was:
 Don't Truck Roosevelt Island
as it will be to the NYC Council.

Here's what RICC had to say about truck traffic, barging construction materials, on site cement mixers, financial support for Roosevelt Island services and more.

Part 1

and Part 2.

Following the March 20 NYC Planning Commission approval of the Cornell NYC Tech application, Cornell NYC Tech's Director of Capital Projects and Planning Andrew Winters reiterated Cornell's position on barging and temporary cement batch plant for the Roosevelt Island campus. According to Mr. Winters:
BARGING: Cornell is actively exploring the feasibility of utilizing barging techniques to help limit construction traffic on to the Island. We are considering two barging techniques: a floating harbor barge for bulk materials and a fixed platform for driving trucks directly from barges to the site. The use of barges in the construction process will require approvals and permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the US Army Corps of Engineers. As part of this investigation, we have been meeting with NYSDEC to discuss regulations regarding temporary installations and to determine pre-application procedures for expedited review. NYSDEC has requested a series of studies, including water depth, sea-wall conditions, and preliminary engineering, which we have initiated. In addition to working with the regulatory agencies, engineers, and others, in the Final Environmental Impact Statement we have included an assessment of the environmental consequences of barging as an alternative construction measure to make sure that all effects have been fully considered in the event that barging proves to be feasible.

CEMENT: We do not believe that hosting a batch plant on site is the most effective way to limit impacts of construction and have a number of specific concerns about the feasibility of a batch plant for this project. The volume of concrete that we're going to be using, particularly in the first phase, is very small. Two of the first four buildings will be steel frame buildings, limiting the total amount of concrete construction to 400,000 square feet at a maximum. We've researched other projects in the City and found that even on dramatically larger projects, including the World Trade Center and Hudson Yards, construction managers have found the challenges of using a batch plant overwhelming and have chosen not to use them. Finally, DEC has noted additional concerns, including the possibility of runoff due to the site's proximity to the edge of the island, which is only 800 feet wide at its widest. Though we are still looking at it, the feedback we've gotten is that the combination of the volume, the industrial issues and the cost, make it an extremely challenging route for this project.
Come out and show support for Roosevelt Island at the April 30 NYC Council Public Hearing on Cornell NYC Tech.

Help A Roosevelt Islander Fight Blood Cancer Disease - Join Team Abe's Leukemia And Lymphoma Society's Man And Woman Of The Year Campaign

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is conducting a Man and Woman of The Year Campaign

to raise funds for:

  • Lifesaving blood cancer research
  • Financial assistance to cover patient expenses for transportation, medication and testing
  • Free educational materials and events for patients and their families
  • Local programs such as Family Support Groups and First Connection, a peer-to-peer counseling program
  • Comprehensive, personalized assistance through our Information Resource Center
According to the LLS:
Each year, in communities across the country, dynamic, passionate candidates are nominated to compete for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year titles and to raise funds for blood cancer research....
Former Roosevelt Island resident Abe Hassan is one of the 2013 New York City LLS Man & Woman of the Year Candidates.  Mr. Hassan writes:
I had been a Roosevelt Island resident for 20 year. I am part of the generation that saw the development of RI from the construction of PS 217 to the new buildings by the tram. My family and I lived in 4 River Road initially then we moved to 560 then 580. I briefly lived in 510 before we once again settled in 556 then we moved off the island in 2008 (I currently live in Harlem).

I am part of a nation wide fundraising campaign with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ( that lasts for 10 weeks. Its called Man & Woman of the Year.

I am currently competing against 16 other men and women for the title here in the NYC chapter.

I got involved with LLS originally through Team In Training back in 2008 when my mother was diagnosed with Liver cancer. Team in Training gave us an opportunity to compete in a triathlon be it your first time or season veteran. Its also a great place to meet someone if you are single.

Since 2009 I have raised a total of about $20,000. Money that goes towards research and research equipment for a cure for blood cancers.
and on April 23 made this birthday video.

If you would like to help Abe in his LLS Man & Woman of the Year campaign please click here for more information.

Roosevelt Island resident Lynn Shinozaki was a good friend of Abe's mom.

Ms. Shinozaki adds:
Victoria and I were single Moms who struggled to take care of our kids on Roosevelt Island.. her children Abe and Felicia babysat my kids so I could work... She called and came and sat by my bedside many days when I was extremely Ill... Then about 4 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer... I went with her to her doctor appointments because she trusted me and I was very honored... I miss my friend.

Please help me help Abe to honor her!
Learn more at Team Abe.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Short Animation Of Roosevelt Island History From 1637 To Present - It's Nice To Be Here Still

Roosevelt Island resident Joohee Marie shares this senior year school project showing a brief history of Roosevelt Island.

Brief History of Roosevelt Island from Joohee Marie on Vimeo.

Good job Joohee!!!

Here's a timeline of Roosevelt Island history starting in 1637.  Did you know the original Indian name for Roosevelt Island was Minnahannock meaning:

It's Nice To Be Here?
It still is.

Update On Roosevelt Island Public Safety Deli Incident - Does Video Show Fabricated Public Safety Testimony About Incident?

During the April 21 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Rally and March presentations, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Member (and member of Public Safety Committee) Frank Farance charged that the written testimony given by Public Safety officers about the December 9, 2012 incident at the M&D Deli was fabricated.

Mr. Farance compared the written Public Safety report obtained through a Freedom Of Information Law request with security video taken at the time of the incident to show differences between the video and the testimony.

Here's Mr. Farance's presentation.

This previous post shows the deli security video of the incident. (Click on Full Screen to enlarge)

Part 1. According to Mr. Farance:
This is the first person being arrested.  The key points are the employee P and employee Q in the next two videos.

Part 2. According to Mr. Farance:
In this video while person X is being arrested, employee P is trying to keep his friend, person Y, out of the arrest process.  At time 02:14:39, you see Public Safety officer #3 come back, holding a cup of coffee in hand, then put the coffee on the top of the fridge and arrest employee P who was trying to protect Public Safety.  By 02:15:02 employee P is already handcuffed and not resisting arrest, but at 02:15:06 PSO #3 is striking employee P with a baton on his knees.

Part 3 According to Mr. Farance:
As Public Safety officers are walking out with Person X, Person Y, and employee P handcuffed, at 02:16:47 the second employee Q appears to ask (presumably) about why they are taking the other employee.  The last two Public Safety officers then arrest employee Q for asking about his fellow employee.

Here's more video of the April 21 Roosevelt Island Public Safety March and Rally.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Roosevelt Island Jobs Available - Real Estate Project Manager For Cornell NYC Tech Campus, RIOC Maintenance Manager, RI Historical Society Greeters and RI Youth Program Summer Jobs

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

Cornell NYC Tech is seeking:
Cornell University is looking for an experienced project manager for a 5-year term position to work closely with selected development partners to ensure the delivery of quality buildings on the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. The successful candidate will have excellent technical and communication skills, and demonstrated success in managing the development of large scale projects in a complex urban environment....
More info available here.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is seeking a Maintenance Manager. According to the NY Times/Monster:
DEPARTMENT: Roosevelt Island Engineering Department

TITLE: Maintenance Manager


Under the general direction of the Director of Engineering, the incumbent will maintain all RIOC facilities, and supervise all facility department employees.​

  • Supervises the safe and efficient maintenance and operation of all facilities....
More information available here.​ RIOC will soon be looking for a new Director of Engineering since that position is vacant as of last week.

From the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS):
The RIHS Visitor Center Kiosk is accepting applications for backup workers.

We need Island residents who:
  • Love their community
  • Have a good knowledge of the island
  • Can work 12 noon to 5 p.m. one or two days a week, including weekends
  • Reliable and cheerful
  • Are professional and organized
Applicants are responsible for money and must be over 18.

If you meet the above, please send your resume to:

Judith Berdy
President, Roosevelt Island Historical Society
Information about RI Youth Program summer jobs is here.

Good Luck.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg Announces $133 Million Gift To Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion NYC Tech From Qualcomm's Jacobs Family Today - What Will Roosevelt Island Get At April 30 NYC Council Public Hearing Besides Truck Traffic And Construction Headaches?

Here's the latest news on the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech project. NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin, who represents Roosevelt Island, reports in her April Community Bulletin:

... Community Board 8 and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have already approved the Cornell-Technion project’s rezoning application. Now, it must be approved by the City Council.

The City Council Zoning Committee will hold a public hearing on the Cornell-Technion project on April 30th at 9:30 a.m. at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007. This campus will be a game-changer for Roosevelt Island and New York City. However, I have serious concerns about the impact of truck traffic on the Island during construction. At the hearing I will push the university to use barging for significant percentage of its materials to minimize the disruption to residents....
More on the NYC Planning Commission, Manhattan Borough President and CB 8 Cornell NYC Tech approvals and concerns from previous post.

Earlier today, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $133 million gift to the Technion component of Cornell NYC Tech.

According to Cornell NYC Tech press release:
Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs, today announced a $133-million gift to Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII). The JTCII is a key component of Cornell Tech, whose permanent campus will be located on Roosevelt Island. The funds will help support curriculum initiatives, faculty and graduate students, and industry interactions in a two-year graduate program. The gift was announced at City Hall with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cornell President David J. Skorton and Technion President Peretz Lavie.

The Jacobses are both Cornell alumni who have a long history of supporting both Cornell and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. They have established the Irwin M. and Joan K. Jacobs Scholars and Fellows Programs and the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Professorship, both in the College of Engineering, as well as the Joan Klein Jacobs Cornell Tradition Fellowship in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell. Dr. Jacobs is a former member of the Cornell University Council and Mrs. Jacobs served on the President’s Council of Cornell Women. In recognition of their distinguished service to Cornell, Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs were both elected Presidential Councillors in 2005. The Jacobses’ visionary support of the Technion includes the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Graduate School and the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Center for Communications and Information Technologies. A member of the Technion International Board of Governors, Dr. Jacobs is a Life Trustee of the American Technion Society (ATS) National Board of Regents, and a member of the ATS San Diego Chapter. Dr. Jacobs, along with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, serves as an advisor to Cornell Tech.

Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs are among the world’s most generous philanthropists. Their support has had a significant impact on numerous cultural, medical, educational, and civic organizations. The engineering school at the University of California, San Diego bears Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs’ names, as do the performing arts center of the campus La Jolla Playhouse and the new UCSD Medical Center.

“We are delighted to partner with Cornell and the Technion on this unique educational initiative,” said Joan and Irwin Jacobs. “We believe strongly in the mission of this international collaboration to drive innovation and to foster economic development. We are proud of our long association with both of these distinguished institutions and share their dedication to inspire and train a next generation of entrepreneurs, forming new companies and strengthening existing ones including, of course, Qualcomm.”

“Cornell Tech will bring a sharp increase in science and engineering teaching, attract students from around the world, and spin off new local companies and thousands of new jobs, and inject billions of dollars into our economy,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Irwin and Joan Jacobs have helped pave the way for innovations that improve our world, and the endowment they’re creating at Cornell Tech will do the same. We’re grateful for their investment in the future of New York City.”

“This transformative gift will support the distinctive international partnership between Cornell and the Technion that is already creating a new model of graduate tech education in New York City,” said Cornell President David J. Skorton. “We are overwhelmed by the continuing generosity of Joan and Irwin Jacobs, whose commitment to Cornell and to innovation in engineering and related disciplines is deeply appreciated.”

“Joan and Irwin’s magnificent gift will play a major and decisive role in fulfilling Mayor Bloomberg’s vision of creating a leading global center of innovation in the heart of New York, enabling the city to become the technology capital of the world,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie. “The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute will also serve as a bridge between Israel and the USA and Haifa and New York. We are also very grateful to theAmerican Technion Society for their continued support and help in securing this gift.”

Craig Gotsman, the Founding Director of JTCII and the Technion’s Hewlett-Packard Professor of Computer Engineering, said, “I am proud to lead this endeavor that will help bring a global startup culture to New York and encourage the entrepreneurial efforts of our faculty and students. Together with our partners at Cornell Tech, we look forward to nurturing the next generation of applied technology leaders who will meet the needs of New York’s economy.”

“Today marks another important step forward for an initiative that we believe will transform ourCity for generations to come,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Applied Sciences NYC is a key piece of our larger innovation strategy that includes ongoing efforts to foster research and training at all levels of education. I would like to thank Dr. and Mrs.Jacobs for their generosity, as well as Presidents Skorton and Lavie, for their partnership and collaboration. ”

The JTCII plans to offer a two-year interdisciplinary program where students earn dual master degrees concurrently — one from Cornell and one from the Technion. This degree program will allow students to specialize in applied information-based sciences in one of three hubs focused around leading New York City industries – Connective Media, Healthier Living and The Built Environment–while honing their entrepreneurial skills. The first area of specialization will be in Connective Media and is slated to begin in the fall of 2014. Research will also be focused on the hub areas.

A novel program for Postdoctoral Innovation Fellows will launch in Fall 2013. The aim is to support individuals who seek to commercialize their research ideas in the stimulating environment at the JTCII while taking full advantage of the entrepreneurial network of Cornell Tech and the proximity to New York City-based markets.

Cornell Tech offers a distinctive model of graduate tech education that fuses scientific excellence with real-world applications and entrepreneurship, rooted in the latest academic research. Students, faculty and industry experts learn and work together to develop ideas and create new ventures that have global impact. The campus is attracting the best and brightest in technology, immersing them in an entrepreneurial culture with deep ties to the local business community, aiming to spawn new companies and tech ventures in New York City.

This gift marks another major milestone for the campus. Cornell Tech launched its first degree program in January – a Cornell University Master of Engineering in Computer Science and is rapidly rolling out new academic programs, recruiting star faculty, developing a distinctive new model of tech entrepreneurship, and designing its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island, which will break groundearly next year.

The City's Applied Sciences NYC initiative was designed to capitalize on the considerable growth presently occurring within the science, technology and research fields in New York, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s dedication to creating a more diversified and competitive economy for the future. In December 2011, the Cornell and Technion partnership was selected by the City as the first winner of the Applied Sciences competition. When completed, the Roosevelt Island campus will house approximately 2,000 full-time graduate students.
The NY Times has more on the Cornell Technion curriculum:
... Information technology is the common thread through the eight degrees the school plans to offer. Three will be dual master’s degrees from Cornell and the Technion, based on three “hubs” rather than traditional departments. One hub program, “connective media,” has largely been mapped out — though professors warn that it is subject to change as technology changes — and will deal with designing the mobile, fragmented and endlessly malleable technology that makes everyone a media creator as well as consumer. The other hubs, still under development, are being called “healthier life” (systems to improve health care delivery as well as personal technology) and “built environment” (computing applied to the physical world around us, from robotic devices to smart building design to real-time traffic information)....
Click here for the entire NY Times article and more from Cornell President David Skorton on the new Roosevelt Island school.

Quack Quack, Pair Of Roosevelt Island Ducks Visit Local Starbucks For Refreshments Today

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Roosevelt Island March And Rally To Protest Reports Of Public Safety Brutality Incidents - NYC Council Member Lappin and NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner Urge Removal Of Public Safety Director

Image From Olya Turcihin

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee held a march and rally

Image From Olya Turcihin

this afternoon to protest against reported allegations of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department brutality incidents.

Image From Olya Turcihin

The march and rally began at Good Shepherd Plaza with Roosevelt Island elected representatives NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin and NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner calling for the replacement of current RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra.

Ms. Lappin told the crowd:
... there is no place for brutality on Roosevelt Island or anywhere else. We need to get to the bottom of what has been been happening here but the Roosevelt Island Safety Department is here to protect you, they are here to help you and hanging out is not a crime and quite clearly there is a crisis in confidence so I think we need new leadership and we are here to demand justice...
Mr. Kellner added:
... the Public Safety Department under Director Keith Guerra is no longer legitimate...
... there are investigations, there are audits going on and I think we all know what they are going to find, that he has not been doing things by the book and the fact is we need someone to come in here to rebuild trust within this community, we need somebody to run Public Safety who understands its their job to protect this community. This is not a high crime community. This is a very low crime community so the idea that kids hanging out in front of a store is somehow a great danger is just ridiculous. Mr. Guerra you can go by your own free will or you will be fired but it's time we had a change on Roosevelt Island.
Here's the start of the protest rally at Good Shepherd Plaza and remarks by Ms. Lappin and Mr. Kellner

followed by protesters marching down Main Street.

At the conclusion of the Main Street March, the protesters gathered inside the Good Shepherd Community Center

Image From Olya Turcihin

to hear from a variety of speakers including Civil Rights attorney and former head of the NY Civil Liberties Union Norman Siegel

Image From Olya Turcihin

talk about the 60 year struggle to implement a civilian review board to investigate incident of police brutality.

Prior to Mr. Siegel speaking, RIRA President Ellen Polivy asked the audience for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, RIRA Public Safety Chair Erin Feeley-Nahem

Image From Olya Turcihin

reviewed the current situation with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department and a participatory poem was read titled "Ode To Guerra".

Image From Olya Turcihin

Here's what happened.

There were additional speakers including Michael Warren (the attorney for the Central Park 5),

Image From Olya Turcihin

Michael Lamonsoff (the attorney representing Roosevelt Island resident Anthony Jones who was allegedly beaten nearly to death by Public Safety Officers last January),

Image From Olya Turcihin

State Senator Jose Serrano, NYC City Council Candidate Ben Kallos and others. Video from their presentations will be available soon.

Near the end of the rally, Roosevelt Island resident and RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki asked to speak to the audience about what the RIOC has done regarding the allegations of Public Safety Department brutality incidents. Here's what Mr. Shinozaki had to say.

Will have additional video soon.

UPDATE 4/22 -An excerpt from Mr. Shinozaki's remarks yesterday:
... We are investigating, I have read through all the cases you guys have sent ... There is alot of passion in this room as their should but from my standpoint, as an officer of the state, I have to dig through the actual facts. How many number of cases, which officers were involved. We have some excellent officers, we have some good officers, maybe we have some problem officers, but I have to, as an employer as well figure out who's good, who's a problem.

Is this a problem with leadership? Is this a problem with particular officers? I have emails from members of the community saying what a great job Guerra is doing...

I have to look at what are the facts and circumstances of the case...
and video from attorney Michael Warren talking about how to deal with the issue of police brutality, the Civilian Police Review Board process and past cases including that of graffiti artist Michael Stewart.