Saturday, September 7, 2013

Manhattan Borough President Candidate Jessica Lappin Speaks At Roosevelt Island Candidates Forum - Lappin's Election As Manhattan Borough President In Best Interest Of Roosevelt Island Community

Jessica Lappin is well known on Roosevelt Island having served us in the NY City Council since 2005. Ms. Lappin is currently seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Manhattan Borough President.

Ms. Lappin was the only Manhattan Borough President candidate to appear at the August 27 Roosevelt Island Candidates Forum. Ms. Lappin spoke about her history representing Roosevelt Island, support for affordable housing, enforcing Cornell NYC Tech's commitments to Roosevelt island and improving Roosevelt Island transportation infrastructure. Here's what she had to say.

Ms. Lappin has served Roosevelt Island very well during the last eight years and in my view, despite my differences with her on some issues such as the FDR Park, her election as Manhattan Borough President would be in the best interest of Roosevelt Island residents.

The NY Daily News has a guide to the Manhattan Borough President's race:

The race for Manhattan Borough President is wide open, with four strong candidates battling it out.

In the free-for-all Democratic primary to replace Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Julie Menin, a businesswoman and former Community Board 1 chairwoman, is facing upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer, upper East Side Councilwoman Jessica Lappin and Harlem Councilman Robert Jackson. Menin has raised the most money, though Brewer, Lappin and Jackson have deeper roots in the political establishment. There is no clear front-runner...
and here's a debate among the candidates from the Manhattan Neighborhood Network 

More information on the Democratic Party Manhattan Borough President Candidates available at their web sites.

No Roosevelt Island F Trains From Manhattan This Weekend

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

Weekend, 9:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Sep 6 - 9

No Jamaica-bound service at 57 St, Lexington Av/63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
The MTA has advised that there will be no Queens bound F trains this weekend, September 6th-9th from 9:45 PM Friday to 5 AM Monday. Trains will be rerouted via the M line.

For service to Queens, take the Manhattan-bound F train to 47-50th Sts. and transfer to a Queens- bound F train.

For up to the minute F train service updates, visit or call 511. To sign up for real time alerts on planned service changes, visit


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Friday, September 6, 2013

Roosevelt Island Tram Getting Alot Of Love - Instagram Tram Photo Is Fan Favorite Says I Love New York But That Means More Tourists and Crowded Tram Cabins

The Roosevelt Island Tram is getting alot of love recently. It was the cover photo of NYC Facebook page and today is the I Love New York fan favorite Instagram photo. According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Here's a fantastic view from a nighttime ride on the Roosevelt Island Tram.

Of course, the more known it becomes about how terrific a ride on the Roosevelt Island Tram is, the more inconvenient it becomes for residents as the Tram fulls up with more and more tourists.

Roosevelt Island Amish Farmers Market Now Accepting Credit And EBT Cards

A Roosevelt Island tradition for many of us is a Saturday Farmers Market walk to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables and other good stuff as well as to chat with our friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, the Roosevelt Island Amish Farmers Market did not offer the convenience of accepting credit card transactions. As reported in this 2010 post:

...I'd like to see all of Roosevelt Island's merchants, including the Farmers Market vendors, using Square or something similar to it. Would be very convenient....
That has now changed.

Last week, Israel Wengerd told me that the Amish Market is now accepting credit card and EBT transactions.

Grow NYC has more on the acceptance of EBT payments at Farmers Markets and here's how to become a vendor at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

NY Times Endorses Ben Kallos To Represent Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side In NYC Council Over Assemblyman Micah Kellner And Ed Hartzog - Kallos Criticized For Hypocricy Over Anonymous Campaign Flyer

The NY Times endorsed Ben Kallos in the race for the Democratic Party nomination to represent Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side in the NY Council. According to the NY Times:
MANHATTAN’S DISTRICT 5 (Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island): A few months ago, this race looked as if it would be an easy win for Assemblyman Micah Kellner. Then came the accusations against him of sexual harassment — charges now being investigated by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics in Albany. Fortunately, there is a better candidate in this race: Ben Kallos, a lawyer and activist. Mr. Kallos has government experience as a legislative aide in Albany, where he worked to begin putting voting records online. He has impressive proposals to help students who attend the City University of New York by forgiving college loans to those who work and stay in the city, and to require developers to build more affordable apartments to get tax abatements. He wants to expand broadband service and revisit congestion pricing. Ben Kallos brings fresh ideas and merits this seat.
Mr. Kallos had this to say about the NY Times endorsement:
I am honored to receive the endorsement of the New York Times, and excited to put the ideas they pointed to into action on behalf of New Yorkers. With just five days left in the City Council race to represent the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, the confidence of the New York Times is crucial.
I asked Assembly Member Micah Kellner if he had any statement:
... on the NY Times Kallos endorsement, your absence from last week's Roosevelt Island Candidate's Forum or any other issue regarding the campaign that you would like to share with the Roosevelt Island community.
Have not received an answer yet from Mr. Kellner, but will update if he responds.

Mr. Kallos has received criticism recently over an anonymous mailer sent to Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side residents. According to the NY Observer's Politicker:
... In a new, biting campaign mailer, rival Ben Kallos blasts Mr. Kellner for admitting to sending inappropriate communications to a female staffer and allegations of even more misconduct. “Those around Kellner tried to bury the charges, keeping them secret for years as the harassment continued–a massive Albany cover-up over which one Assembly lawyer has already been forced to resign,” the mailer rages.

But in a move that raised some eyebrows in the district, the ad does not disclose that it came from Mr. Kallos, who has been explicitly branding himself as one of the most good government-touting, pro-transparency candidates anywhere in the five boroughs....
Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk, commenting on the Roosevelt Island Candidate's Forum post, adds:
It's great that Ben Kallos said the behavior of Micah Kellner four years ago ". . . made me sick to my stomach and its (sic) harmful to democracy because as I am trying to run a great campaign all people can think about is how rotten politicians are..."

Now that I've received two postcards about Kellner's sexual harrassment past, sent by an unamed person or group, and one phone call, also paid for by an unnamed person or group, it turns out these three efforts were created by Ben Kallos.

I'm sick to my stomach, too-- about these anonymous attacks by someone who claims to support transparency in government.
I asked Mr. Kallos if he had any comment on the Politcker article. A Kallos spokesperson replied:
Micah Kellner has a shameful history of abusing his power to sexually harass his staff in the Assembly, and voters deserve to know. We're proud to get this information out.
During September 3 NY 1 debate  Mr. Kallos responded to questions about the anonymous campaign flyer saying:
I take full responsibility for it. I am not about cover up ... I take full ownership of it I am proud to have done it. The voters deserve to know what you did...
During the NY 1 debate, Mr. Kellner told Mr. Kallos:
... You're running a campaign on the politics of personal destruction. You don't have a record to run on so you're trying to destroy me....

... The fact is people are recognizing you for what you are, a fraud...
Click here for the full video of the NY 1 Debate between candidates Kellner, Kallos and Ed Hartzog.

During the debate Mr. Kallos and Mr. Kellner spent most of their time attacking each other. Mr. Hartzog tried to talk about real estate development issues in the district.

More on the NYC Council District 5 Democratic Primary race from previous posts.

Roosevelt Island AVAC Garbage System Out Of Service On East Side Of Island - NYC Sanitation Dep't Picking Up Garbage By Trucks During Outage

 Image Of Closed Building Garbage Chute Connected To Roosevelt Island AVAC System

Related Management sent the following message to some residents of its Southtown Riverwalk Buildings:
Dear Resident:

We have been notified by the NYC Department of Sanitation that they are having issues with their AVAC system, which performs the garbage removal for the residents of Roosevelt Island. Currently the Department of Sanitation is scheduling manual garbage pick up collections until further notice as they work to rectify the issue.

Residents are encouraged to try to refrain from filling the compactor rooms with garbage, unless absolutely necessary. Please report unsanitary or overcrowded conditions to the concierge staff as we work together to deal with this situation.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation and we will bring you more information regarding this matter as it becomes available. We respectfully request that you adhere to the guidelines listed above.
Yesterday, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato:
Is there any problem with the AVAC garbage system? I have been receiving reports from residents of Riverwalk Southtown buildings that AVAC is out of service and that the Sanitation Department will be picking up garbage by trucks.

Any statement from RIOC on the AVAC problem? Is the AVAC problem limited to Southtown?
Shortly thereafter RIOC issued the following advisory:
Please be advised that the AVAC system is down for repairs on the East side of the Island. The NYC sanitation department will be performing trash pickup for the affected buildings until the issue is resolved.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Reported in 2010 on a previous shutdown of the AVAC system due to something being stuck in the pipe and more on the Roosevelt Island AVAC system here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

View Of East River And Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park, Smallpox Hospital And FDR Four Freedoms Park From Top Of United Nations

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Jobs Available With Roosevelt Island Youth Program - Assistant Beacon Director To Help Establish New Programming, Activity Specialists For After School And Music Teacher To Establish Drum Corp

Are you looking for a job on Roosevelt Island? Maybe one of these positions with the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) are suitable for you. According to the RIYP:
Roosevelt Island Youth Program Inc. Fall Hiring

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program is looking to fill part-time positions at the Beacon program, located at PS/IS 217 and Youth Center at 506 Main Street. All applications should be e-mailed to

Positions Available are:
P/T Assistant Beacon Directors: two positions are available, these positions are to help establish new programming and oversee the daily operations of the Beacon.

P/T Activity Specialist: work with youth ages 5 to 14 in our after-school program at PS/IS 217 and Youth Center. The activities are both educational and recreational, the after-school operates from 3pm to 6pm, Monday – Friday.

P/T Music Teacher: to teach youth how to play the drums in an effort to establish a drum corps at the Beacon/Youth Center programs
Good Luck

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Looking Back At Past Accomplishments, Moving Forward To Improve Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:

We urge everyone to come to our first meeting of the season on September 11 at 8pm. Judging from what happened last year, this promises to be a great season.

Looking backwards- Going forward

All our RIRA activities happened because some people decided to make a difference in their community. It’s easy to complain. But it is far more satisfying to achieve goals. More activities will happen this year. If you have ideas on what you would like to see happen, come share them. Our ideas are the drivers of the activities. If you would like to be part of making them successful please show up. If you have an idea, you can get involved in RIRA by emailing me at, or by coming to a committee meeting or the common council meeting.

Below is a sample organized by committee of what happened this past year at RIRA. It is impossible to acknowledge all the people who provided their skills and efforts Each activity requires many hands. If I left something out, please post a friendly addition.

We organized a CERT class to ensure that our community has additional community based support during emergencies. Thanks to the publicity of the Roosevelt Islander and the WIRE and all the people who sat at the RIRA table on Roosevelt Island Day our class is full. Thanks to all the new CERT members who stepped up when they saw the opportunity. The new CERT team is a quality group with varied experiences from all different buildings. It will be a very interesting training for them. We look forward to a robust CERT team and more classes in the future as the team grows.

Social Cultural Educational Committee

We created the best and biggest Easter egg festival anywhere in NYC.

We produced a huge Cherry Blossom Festival that attracted 10,000 people.

We sent a busload of volunteers to Hurricane Sandy struck Rockaway to deliver and serve home cooked hot food. Thanks again Romano for arranging this with Senator Serrano’s office.

We worked with other groups to beautify the parking garage and the plaza. Thanks to iDig2Learn’s founder Christina Delfico and RIOC’s Fernando Vargas, Margie Smith and Steve Chironis and RIVAA's President Tad Sudol the plaza and parking garage open spaces now have plantings and paintings and is much more attractive. Thanks also to the unknown people who created the artwork at The last Fall For Arts and planted the beautiful landscaping. This is the kind of community involvement we encourage in RIRA and we were happy to see the collaboration between all these community groups.

We co-sponsored the OEM Hurricane Evacuation meeting with Jessica Lappin and RIOC. I don’t have to go into detail on this presentation as Rick did a fabulous report on it. I urge everyone to read his report and watch the videos. OEM gave us important information about our evacuation status.

We invited candidates for City office to talk to the community at a candidates forum that we held at the end of the OEM meeting to allow the crowd a chance to remain a short time more, meet candidates for City office and ask them about Island issues.

Communications Committee

We have a new and developing website and are looking into best ways to reach everyone in the community and how to elicit community opinion. This year, all common council agendas and minutes will be posted on the website. We are planning to have the committee agendas posted as well.

Are you a writer? The communications committee needs you.

Public Safety Committee

We advocated for a change of leadership at public safety and believe we succeeded. RIOC has hired an interim Director of Public Safety who is using a community policing model and training his officers in this model.

To make this happen was a mammoth organizational task requiring the work of many dedicated people. We reached out to victims of abuse and convinced the entire Common Council to support us by telling the victims stories.

Committee members attended every RIOC operations meeting and RIOC full Board meeting to tell the victims stories.

We held two educational community forums each attended by hundreds of people.

We posted a series of professionally created educational posters on the kiosks. Thanks to the creations of two artists on the committee Adib Mansour and Chris Enock.

A number of years ago, Erin Feeley-Nahem and Romano Reid saw a need for the older youth to have extended hours of indoor basketball at Sports Park . RIOC’s Steve Chironis took up the idea and created professionally staffed extended hours at Sports Park that still exists. This program is still going on.

Government relations committee

We have made contact with our elected officials and have working relationships with them.

Roosevelt Island Community Coalition was created by a tag team of RIRA members and became a separate organization to negotiate a community benefits agreement with Cornell with not just the residents, but with a coalition of 33 other groups in the community so that we have the most clout.

Housing committee

We have started planning a forum with Amalgamated Bank about mortgages and home buying.

Island services Committee

Our Island Services committee, often in collaboration with the Chair of planning committee keeps tabs on all the mundane services that make our lives normal. This includes, parking, streetscape, stores, transportation, services and infrastructure. When something goes wrong, they work with the right people at RIOC or the City to correct it.

We encouraged MTA to move a bus stop, worked with RIOC transportation coordinator Cy Opperman to give us the most useful red bus service and advocated at the Community Board 8 for a more reliable City bus schedule. With the backing of the CB8, we had more clout with the MTA to look at our unreliable Q 102 bus timing.

RIRA Council member Eva Bosbach knew parents wanted their children to learn to swim. She encouraged RIOC to create the “Mommy and Me” swim classes at Sports Park.

Raye Schwarz saw a need for better pharmacy services and she worked on it through the committee. With the backing of RIRA, her advocacy was taken more seriously.

Public Purpose Fund Committee

This hard-working committee reviewed over 20 proposals and gave out $100,000 in RIOC public purpose money that beautified our streets, and parks, educated our residents and enhanced our experiences of living on the island.

All it takes is a good idea and the willingness to work to make something useful happen. Please join us on September 11 and at the committee meetings.

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Rosh Hashanah And Yom Kippur Services At Manhattan Park Theater Starting Wednesday September 4 - RIJC Begins 30th Year On Roosevelt Island

You Tube Video Of Masai Blowing Shofar

According to the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC):
Come celebrate the Jewish New Year with the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, starting its 30th year on RI.

Image From Judy Berdy

For the second year we will be observing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at the Theatre at Manhattan Park, 8 River Road, starting Wednesday evening September 4 at 7:30 pm, & continuing on September 5 & 6.

Image From Judy Berdy

Yom Kippur services will start on Friday evening September 13, at 6:45 sharp, with Kol Nidrei, and continue on Saturday the 14th. A complete schedule is available on our website,

Services will be led by our Rabbi, Leana Moritt, and assisted by Rabbi Tammy Crystal. Roosevelt Islanders Charlie Schwartz and Judi Arond will also lend their talents. Children's Services will be conducted on the 5th and the 14th, led by Michal Melamed, Amber Levanon Seligson & Anna Levenstein, our Hebrew School teacher. Child care is available.

We invite you to join your friends and neighbors for prayers, readings, singing, chanting, shofar blowing -- and all that the Days of Awe inspire.

For all the specifics, please visit our website, or contact our President, Nina Lublin, at or 212-688-0003.
UPDATE 9/4 - The Chabad of Roosevelt Island  ( Chabad and RIJC are separate organizations) add:
High Holiday Services with Chabad of Roosevelt Island

Are you unaffiliated? Unfamiliar or uncomfortable in a typical synagogue setting? Join us to explore the prayers, liturgy, hear Shofar, followed by Kiddush in a comfortable setting.

No Hebrew Reading Needed

No Membership Needed

No Charge

Wheelchair Accessible

For more information, please contact

All programs and prayers will be held at

425 Main Street, Rooftop Party Room*

Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 4 - 5

7:30pm Maariv, evening prayers

Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 5 - 6

10:00am Shacharis and children’s program

11:00am Shofar followed by Kiddush

Yom Kippur eve, Sept. 13

7:00pm Kol Nidrei and evening prayers

Yom Kippur day, Sept. 14

10:00am Shacharis and children’s program

6:45pm Neilah

7:49pm Shofar blowing and break fast buffet

*In adherence to the halacha of Yom Tov, there will be a non-Jewish elevator operator

Roosevelt Island Red Bus Crash With MTA Q102 This Morning At The Octagon Building

Received reports this morning of an accident between a Roosevelt Island Red Bus and MTA Q102 Bus happening about 7:40 AM including:

A reader reports:
Red bus had collided smack into the front of the MTA bus in front of the octagon driveway.  Tons of public safety and an ambulance.
 According to this Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) advisory issued at 7:59:
North bound traffic is delayed on Main St. due to vehicle accident at 888 Main St.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
At 8:45, RIOC updated advisory:
North bound traffic is flowing normal.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
I've asked RIOC for more information on what happened. Will update when additional information available.

UPDATE 9 PM: RIOC Public Safety Department Director Jack McManus reports that it is unclear whether the Red Bus hit the MTA Bus or vice versa. Mr. McManus adds that the Q102 Bus Driver and two Q102 passengers were taken to the emergency room but their injuries were not considered serious.

C. Grant shares these pictures of Red Bus and Q 102 crash at the Octagon this morning.

Images from C. Grant

Monday, September 2, 2013

Island Kids Free Programs For Roosevelt Island Moms And Those Expecting - Baby Groups, Postpartum Emotional And Special Needs Support & More

More information on these and other Island Kids programs available at their web site.

Roosevelt Island Sidewalk From Blackwell House To 504 Main Street Closed Tuesday From 7 AM To 5 PM For Construction Work

Image Of 504 Main Street

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Due to construction work front of 504 Main Street, the sidewalk from the front of 500 Main Street (Blackwell House) to the front of 504 Main Street will be closed to pedestrian traffic on Tuesday September 3rd 2013 from 7 AM to 5 PM. The MTA Q102/RIOC bus stop front of 504 Main Street will be relocated to 510 Main Street. Please expect delays. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Fire On Queensboro Bridge Over Roosevelt Island This Morning - Second Time In Past Three Weeks, Fourth Since Last April

Just before 10 AM this morning a fire broke out on the Queensboro Bridge just above Roosevelt Island

Image From Eva Bosbach

in approximately the same spot as three weeks ago.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse was on scene and reported:

A few minutes later the fire was out

Image From Eva Bosbach

but expect traffic delays in both directions on the Queensboro Bridge.
Information on August 16 Queensboro Bridge truck fire available

Image of 8/16 Queensboro Bridge Fire from Heart Ashley

at this previous post.


 Image of 9/2 Queensboro Bridge Fire From Sonal Bhatia

According to an FDNY spokesperson, the fire was contained to a tractor trailer cabin. Asked whether there was any correlation between today's Queensboro Bridge fire and the three other recent Queensboro Bridge fire incidents on:
the FDNY spokesperson said that today's fire was undergoing a "routine investigation".

CBS New York adds:
... Firefighters were called at 9:47 a.m. The flames were under control about 15 minutes later.

The city Department of Transportation checked the bridge for structural damage but found none.

Another truck caught fire on the same bridge and damaged a floor beam Aug. 16. And in April, the bridge was closed briefly after a truck caught fire and caused an oxygen tank in the back to explode near the Manhattan entrance. One lane of the Queens-bound upper level is still closed as a result of that fire....