Saturday, May 11, 2013

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association Casino Night Fundraiser At Manhattan Park Tonight - You're Invited

Come join the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association for their May 11 Casino Night Fundraiser at the Manhattan Park Community Theater (8 River Road) -perhaps James Bond will be there too.

If Mr. Bond is not there, you will still have a good time with your neighbors and new Roosevelt Island friends.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Public Safety Officer Says Not Her Job To Open Roosevelt Island Tram Gate Entrance For Dad With Daughter and Stroller Despite RIOC Policy That Says It Is Her Job

A Roosevelt Island Dad reports on the ongoing difficulties of parents with baby strollers at the Roosevelt Island Tram gate entrance. According to the Dad:

On or about 815am on Wednesday morning, May 9, 2013, I approached the tram with my daughter as we do each morning as I take her to preschool in Manhattan as I go to work. That morning, like many mornings, there was no attendant stationed at the booth to open the security gate for parents who have young children with strollers.

That morning, there was a female Public Safety Officer stationed in the booth.... I swiped my card and I asked the Officer if she would open the gate so I could enter with the stroller. My daughter wanted to go in to be with her friends who were waiting for the tram with their mother and she also wanted me to come with her.

The Officer said it was not her job to open the gate. I then asked her if she would contact someone who would and she refused to do that. Meanwhile my daughter was getting anxious to enter to be with her friends and asking me to come.

 I told the Officer that other Public Safety Officers open the gate when the tram employees are not around but she still refused and became very un professional and hostile towards me. My daughter started to cry and panic reacting to the Officer’s un professional conduct and temper.

Finally the tram came and the operator opened the gate but the Officer continued her hostility towards me and my poor daughter cried all the way over on the tram. The Officer blamed me for causing my daughter to cry when in fact it was her misconduct which created the situation. Public Safety is to assist the public. It is not their job to treat us like thugs or criminals but to help us. 
Last month, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Member Eva Bosbach sent the following letter to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
A few months ago on behalf of the Roosevelt Island Parents Network and the RIRA Island Services Committee I brought up the problem of the access to the Tram boarding area for parents with strollers, which also affects people in wheelchairs and bikers.

Parents with strollers have to wait until someone from the Tram personnel, usually the Tram conductor, comes to open the gate for them. While the cabins are not in the station, all other passengers can go through the turnstiles and pre-load. Especially during long winter months like this year, this can affect the health of the residents and their babies. For example, mothers who just gave birth and their newborns have to wait in the cold in front of the gate and cannot get to the heaters of the pre-boarding area. But even in warmer times, the current situation is unfair and affects timing: Especially in rush hour a parent or another care-giver can miss the Tram even though she or he was the first one at the station – but had to wait for the gate to be opened while everybody else pre-loaded – causing the parent to be late for work or another appointment.

We suggested a number of solutions to RIOC and we are very pleased to have received a positive progress report last week by RIOCʼs Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El. As a short-term solution, an additional staffer has been assigned who should now assist with opening the gate during rush hours. Unfortunately there is still feed-back from parents that this is not always the case. In the long run the plan is to hire an extra person designated to opening the gate and supervising the whole area permanently. We hope this can happen as soon as possible. On behalf of the many parents who live on Roosevelt Island or visit it, as well as the wheelchair- users and bikers we would like to thank RIOC for the progress already made and for further acting on this issue!
The issue of Baby Stroller access to the Roosevelt Island Tram entrance gate

was discussed during the February 13 RIOC Operations Committee meeting. RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki said:
... all Public Safety Officers should be instructed to assist parents, when feasible, with opening the Tram Station Entrance Gate door when the Public Safety Officer is stationed in the area....

Apparently the message has not been received by all of the Public Safety Officers as discovered by the Roosevelt Island Dad last Wednesday morning.

Here's the full RIOC Operations Committee discussion of the Roosevelt Island Tram Gate Entrance Baby Stroller Issue.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mythery & Mayhem Perfomed Tonight Thru Sunday May 12 By Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance At Good Shepherd Community Center - Travel Back To Ancient Greece To Discover Magic And Mayhem of Mythology

Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) will be performing Mythery & Mayhem tonight thru Sunday at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street).

Written by Kim Esop-Wylie and Directed by Mihaela Mihut and Cornelius Horgan, Mythery & Mayhem is set in ancient Greece. According to MST&DA:
To humans 3000 years ago the world was a strange and mystical place. What is lightening? Why are there seasons? Where does fire come from? The ancient Greeks had an answer - it must be the Gods. Travel back to ancient Greece and Mount Olympus to discover the Magic and Mayhem of Mythology. Adventure around in Kim Esop-Wylie's newest creation, a funny and fast paced exploration of nature, love and life in the stories that shaped civilization itself.
Tickets are $15 or $10 for students and seniors tickets.

Give it a try.

Roosevelt Island New Main Street Organic Grocer About To Open - Wholesome Direct Grand Opening On Monday May 13, Soft Opening Tomorrow

Hold on to your hats for this news. Another new retail store will open for business next week on Roosevelt Island's Main Street.

Reported over a year ago that Wholesome Direct, a gourmet and organic natural food market, signed a lease with Roosevelt Island Master Retail Leaseholder Hudson Related for the empty storefront at 530 Main St next to the Public Library. Learned today that the Grand Opening for Wholesome Direct will be on Monday May 13.

Wholesome Direct owner Dave Nasser was busy (Mr. Nasser pictured below standing next to cash register)

this afternoon with final preparations

for Monday's Grand Opening of Roosevelt Island's new organic grocer.

Mr. Nasser told me that Wholesome Direct will be open tomorrow for a "soft opening" in order to make sure everything is in order and right for serving the Roosevelt Island public.

Welcome to Roosevelt Island Wholesome Direct and Mr. Nassar!!!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Approval Announced Today By City Council Member Jessica Lappin With Cornell Reps and Roosevelt Island Residents - Next Step For Cornell To Conclude Ongoing Negotiations For Land With RIOC

Today, the NYC Council announced approval of the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech ULURP application. As previously reported:
... The Cornell NYC Tech ULURP application will now proceed to the full NYC Council and Mayor Bloomberg for expected approval.  However, even after final approval from NYC, Cornell NYC Tech still  needs to negotiate and come to an agreement with the Roosevelt Island  Operating Corp (RIOC) for the approximately 3 acres of land controlled  by RIOC within the planned Cornell NYC Tech campus on the site of the  current Goldwater Hospital....
Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin tweeted:
This morning, Ms Lappin, NYC Council Speaker and Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn, Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove, Cornell Dean Dan Huttenlocher, Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) Co-Chairs Ellen Polivy and Jonathan Kalkin as well as Roosevelt Island resident and Community Board 8 Member Larry Parnes appeared at a Press Conference to announce the vote to approve Cornell NYC Tech coming to Roosevelt Island and to congratulate each other on working together to bring the project to this stage of the process.

Here's what happened beginning with Ms. Lappin

followed by questions about barging construction materials, ferry service, ongoing negotiations with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for land controlled by RIOC, financial contributions to Roosevelt Island by NYC and more.

Click here for the Letter Agreement detailing the commitments made by Cornell NYC Tech to City Council Member Jessica Lappin, the entire City Council and the Roosevelt Island Community which are included as part of the lease agreement between the NYC and Cornell for the Goldwater Hospital site.  In addition to the commitments included in the lease agreement, NYC Deputy Mayor’s Robert Steel sent this letter dated May 2 2012 to Ms. Lappin regarding NYC contributing operating funds for a  pilot Roosevelt Island ferry service and NYPD monitoring security concerns for the new campus.

Here's the Press Release from Ms. Lappin's office:
Today, City Council Member Jessica Lappin, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove, Cornell NYC Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher, and Roosevelt Island community members announced that the City Council will vote to approve the Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

“Cornell NYC Tech is about the future of New York—it will drive innovation and economic growth for generations to come. When this idea was first proposed, I formed a community coalition to champion building the campus in Manhattan, and specifically Roosevelt Island. The new school will be a tremendous boon, not only for my City Council district, but for the entire Big Apple,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin, whose district includes Roosevelt Island.

Today’s City Council vote is the final step in the city’s land use review process for Cornell NYC Tech, two million-square-foot applied sciences and engineering campus that will be located at the Goldwater Hospital site on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan. The project is expected to have a $33 billion economic impact, creating 48,000 new jobs and 1,000 spin-off companies over the next three decades.[1]

Council Member Jessica Lappin negotiated to secure many commitments from the Administration and Cornell NYC Tech. The city has pledged to contribute funding to a one-year summer ferry service pilot program and has designated an NYPD liaison to ensure continued safety and security on Roosevelt Island. The university has committed to:

· Undertake the most aggressive voluntary use of barging in New York City, which will reduce the number of construction vehicles on Roosevelt Island by more than half, as compared to traditional building techniques.

· Partner with New York City middle schools to create Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM) programs, with a special focus on girls. Initial pilot programs will begin at P.S./I.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island, M.S. 406 in East Harlem, and I.S. 204 and P.S. 111 in Long Island City, Queens. Starting this summer, Cornell NYC Tech will sponsor an immersion program for girls in these schools to learn coding, web design, robotics and mobile development under the mentorship of some of the industry’s top engineers and entrepreneurs.

· "Adopt" the local school on Roosevelt Island, PS/IS 217, by providing programming such as teacher training and support, after school programming, tech events, career day options, and hardware and software programming development.

· Conduct air monitoring throughout the project, including demolition, excavation and construction. The results of this monitoring will be posted on the construction website.

· Engage extensively with the Roosevelt Island community by creating a construction task force with residents and others; researching ways that technology can enhance the lives of the disabled and the older adults on the Island; providing computers and training to senior center members and the disabled community; providing a tech fair to advance technology education for the disabled; working with the community to program outdoor space for children.

Speaker Christine C. Quinn said “Cornell NYC Tech is a win for the City of New York, Roosevelt Island community and our local economy. This campus will help New York City continue to attract more of the brightest minds, which in turn, will attract more of the best businesses. The City Council is proud to approve the final steps necessary for construction to commence, and we look forward to the completion of this new state-of-the-art campus.”

Cathy Dove, Vice President, Cornell NYC Tech said “We are extremely grateful for the leadership of Council Member Lappin and Speaker Quinn, for the support of the City Council, and for Mayor Bloomberg's vision. We worked throughout the public review process to incorporate input from the community into our approach– that input has resulted in a stronger campus plan. We are confident the result is a Cornell Tech campus we can all be proud of and that will benefit both the Roosevelt Island community and the entire city. We look forward to breaking ground next year and continuing to work closely with the community as our campus develops.”

Ellen Polivy, Co-Chair of the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) said “Council Member Lappin did an amazing job fighting for us. Cornell NYC Tech’s “adoption” of our local school was much appreciated by everybody. I want to thank Cornell for all their work to plan for the future, and we look forward to a successful partnership going forward.”

Jonathan Kalkin, Co-Chair of Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) said “It’s been exciting to work with Council Member Lappin and Cornell. Cornell NYC Tech will be a game changer for Roosevelt Island and for New York City. We can’t wait to see what innovations will come from the school, and we look forward to greeting our new neighbors.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Roosevelt Island Geese Hatch New Family at FDR Four Freedoms Park - Will Geese Family Still Be At Park For June $10 Thousand Dollar Ticket Summer Garden Party Fundraiser?

Image Of Roosevelt Island Geese With Babies From Irina Hage

The Geese Family nesting at the Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park have some new members. Stephanie Rohlfs shares this picture

Image From Stefanie Rohlfs

and reports:
The goslings hatched! We got a few snaps of them when we were walking in Four Freedoms Park. We could not get too close because papa gosling was hissing at us mad-like.
Irina Hage snapped this photo and the one at top of page

Image From Irina Hage

The new Resident on our Island. They are so cute!
Denise Shull shares these pictures and adds:
Can you believe these and the twisted priority of Four Freedoms Park Conservancy - "Please excuse our barricades" - REALLY?? What happened to Please marvel at this miracle of nature? (Look closely in the 3rd picture to see just that).
Images From Denise Shull
The FDR Park barricade sign says:
Please excuse our temporary barricades.

A mother Canada goose is currently nesting under one of our Littleleaf Linden Trees. The father Canada goose is protecting the nest and can be very aggressive.

To protect both the goose family and our visitors we have barricaded the nest until the eggs hatch. Please respect the barricades and follow the directions of Four Freedoms Park Rangers during this time.
Did you know the FDR Park Conservancy is holding a Summer Garden Party fundraiser on June 4. Tickets range from $250 to $10 Thousand. Will they allow people to eat and drink on their Kahn "Sacred Space" at the fundraiser? As one Roosevelt Island resident put it:
No food and drink in the Park -- unless you buy a $250 ticket to a fundraiser.
Wonder how much the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will charge the FDR Park Conservancy for this event?

Monday, May 6, 2013

No Open Baby Strollers On Roosevelt Island Red Bus But Yes To Open Dog Stroller Complains Roosevelt Island Mom - RIOC Policy Is Strollers At Discretion Of Bus Driver

A Roosevelt Island Mom, Mrs Borjas, reports:

Dogs can be in strollers but not babies Incredible!! RIOC allows dogs in strollers to ride the Red Bus (and they sure can walk), but they make parents close the strollers and carry their babies during rush hours.... So now dogs have more rights than persons?
and shares this photo taken last Saturday afternoon on the Red Bus.

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Red Bus baby stroller policy is:
Revised Bus Policy

Hand baggage, instrument cases, bundles and parcels may be carried onto RIOC buses by customers provided that these articles can be carried on without inconveniencing other customers and/or the driver and does not obstruct the bus aisle or doors. Persons with unfolded strollers and/or shopping carts are not permitted to board RIOC buses unless the driver, at his or her sole discretion, determines that it will not cause an inconvenience or safety hazard to other customers or the driver. Orthopedic (wheelchair type) strollers for children with disabilities are permitted on buses just as wheelchairs are and must be secured in the wheelchair area. Bus operators must check strollers carefully to ensure that children with disabilities are not denied accessible service.

Updated signage has been posted on buses stating:

"Strollers and Shopping Carts must be folded upon operator’s request".

Roosevelt Island Garden Club Permit, Cultural Center Rehab, Steam Plant Future, Southpoint Park & More On RIOC Real Estate Committee Public Meeting Agenda Today - Also Cornell NYC Tech and Southtown Riverwalk Building 7 Negotiation Update In Executive Session Closed To Public

A busy Agenda for today's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


I. Updates and Discussions Regarding:

1. 548 Main Street Cultural Center Rehabilitation
2. Good Shepherd Community Center Permitting
3. Sportspark Condition and Refurbishment Analysis
4. Steam Plant RFEI Status
5. Roosevelt Island Garden Club Permit
6. Southpoint Park

II. Chair's Motion for Executive Session for Update on Current Negotiations Regarding:

1. Southtown Development (Building 7)
2. Cornell NYC

III. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
An audio web cast of the meeting will be available soon after the meeting.

More on when RIOC Board meetings can be held in Executive Session closed to the public available at this previous post.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech ULURP Application Approved Last Thursday By NYC Council Land Use Sub Committee - Full NYC Council and Mayor Bloomberg Next Then Final Determination by RIOC

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

The NYC Council Land Use Committee approved the Roosevelt  Island Cornell NYC Tech ULURP application last Thursday May 2. The Cornell NYC Tech ULURP application will now proceed to the full NYC Council and Mayor Bloomberg for expected approval.  However, even after final approval from NYC, Cornell NYC Tech still  needs to negotiate and come to an agreement with the Roosevelt Island  Operating Corp (RIOC) for the approximately 3 acres of land controlled  by RIOC within the planned Cornell NYC Tech campus on the site of the  current Goldwater Hospital.

Click here for the Letter Agreement detailing the commitments made by Cornell NYC Tech to City Council Member Jessica Lappin, the entire City Council and the Roosevelt Island Community which are included as part of the lease agreement between the NYC and Cornell for the Goldwater Hospital site.  In addition to the commitments included in the lease agreement, NYC Deputy Mayor’s Robert Steel sent this letter dated May 2 2012 to Ms. Lappin regarding NYC contributing operating funds for a  pilot Roosevelt Island ferry service and NYPD monitoring security concerns for the new campus.

As previously reported, the NYC Land Use Committee held Public Hearing on the Cornell NYC Tech application on April 30. Witnesses at the hearing were representatives from NYC, Cornell NYC Tech and Roosevelt Island residents. Click here for the full video of the hearings. (the video is from the NYC Council and includes all Land Use Committee hearing for the day. The Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech hearing begins at the 2 hour 28 minute mark).

Just about everything you want to know about the Cornell NYC Tech project and how it will impact Roosevelt Island is discussed in the video. Watch it.