Saturday, October 5, 2013

First Sunday Live Jazz Salon At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA 5 - 7 PM Sunday Night October 6 With Art & The Impressionists - Come Dance, Listen To Music, Admire The Art, Hang Out With Old and New Friends

Gallery RIVAA will be hosting its monthly First Sunday Live Jazz Salon With Art & The Impressionists tomorrow, October 6 from 5-7 PM.

Stop on by, dance, enjoy the music and art as well as meet new and old friends.

Here's a sample of Art & Impressionists performing at a previous Gallery RIVAA Sunday Jazz Salon.

A $5 donation is requested at the door.

Friday, October 4, 2013

RIOC Real Estate Committee Meeting Today For Update On Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Project - In Executive Session Closed To The Public

Image Of Goldwater Hospital Campus Future Home Of Cornell NYC Tech From Google Maps

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Friday, October 4, 2013 at 3:15 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


1. Chair's Motion for Executive Session for Update on Current Negotiations Regarding Cornell NYC;

2. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
More on Cornell RIOC negotiations at this earlier post.

When will RIOC update the Roosevelt Island community on negotiations with Cornell?

Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival At Southpoint Park and Rivercross Lawn Saturday October 5 - Music Art Food And Fun

Don't forget that tomorrow is the annual Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Join us for a free, family-friendly afternoon of art & music at the 8th Annual Fall for Arts Festival! The Festival will take place this Saturday, October 5th from 11 AM to 4 PM, at Southpoint Park and on the lawn south of Rivercross.

Come on out for music, mural paintings, food and more! Participate in the many make-and-take art workshops and explore your creativity with the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association, Materials for the Arts, Roosevelt Island Explorers, the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery and students from the School of Visual Arts. We hope you join us for this fantastic celebration of art!


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Here are some scenes from past Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festivals.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Young Roosevelt Island Man Passes Away - Give A BEN HUG In His Honor

Roosevelt Island resident Lynn Strong-Shinozaki is asking you for a hug. Not for her, but for a young Roosevelt Island resident who recently passed away and his family. From Ms. Strong-Shinozaki:

Ben Imbrogno was born and raised on Roosevelt Island.

Image Of Ben Imbrogno

His mom and I were a part of a mom's group in the 1990's. I babysat for him and he was a lifelong friend of my children. Ben had a heart attack and died this summer at 21 years of age. What I loved about him is he was always giving people hugs. I have decided to personally be much more generous with hugs and for the next few weeks in honor of this sweet boy gone way to soon.

Ben was a young man who was always generous with his hug ....something we all LOVED about him. I am asking people to BEN-HUG. All hugs count and if you could tell the hugee that it's a BEN-HUG even better. I am hoping that giving his family a BEN-HUG number at his Sat October 5th Memorial will help them feel lifted up in their grief.

We are asking everyone to help us to honor this young man ....whose life ended way to soon. Please start HUGGING
Ms. Strong-Shinozaki reports that as of yesterday there have been 899 Ben Hugs.

Community Forum On What You Need To Know About Health Care Reform Co-Sponsored By Roosevelt Island State Senator Jose Serrano Tuesday October 8

Roosevelt Island's State Senator Jose  Serrano invites you to a community forum moderated by NY State Senator Liz Kreuger on what you need to know about heath care reform.  The Forum is being held October 8 at Lighthouse International on 59th Street close to the Tram and 63st subway station. From Senator Serrano's office:
Senator José M. Serrano is co-sponsoring an important community forum held by Senator Liz Krueger entitled "New York State of Health: What You Need to Know About Health Care Reform." Join this important discussion focused on the new federal health care laws and hear from a panel of experts who can help inform you on what you need to know.

As of January 1, 2014, New York will run a health care marketplace, called New York State of Health. Individuals, families, and small business owners will be able to enroll in new, affordable health insurance plans. Find out if you are eligible, how and when to apply and more! Counselors will be on site to assist you with enrollment.

Please join us on October 8th, and help us spread the word about this important and timely event!

Elected Officials Co-Sponsoring this Important Event:

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney

State Senator José M. Serrano

State Senator Brad Hoylman

Council Member Dan Garodnick

Council Member Jessica Lappin

Council Member Rosie Mendez


Tuesday, October 8, 2013
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Lighthouse International
111 East 59th Street
(between Lexington & Park Avenue)
New York, NY 10022

*RSVP* to Susannah from Senator Krueger's office at: or 212-490-9535
More information available from Senator Kreuger.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Meeting Tonight 8 PM - Land Use Discussion Of Proposed Korean Pavilion At Southpoint Park and Island Shakespeare Theater Home

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting tonight, 8 PM, at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street).

 Image Of September 2013 RIRA Meeting

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 October RIRA meeting.
RIRA Common Council Agenda

Date: Wednesday October 2 , 2013
Time: 8pm-Finish

Place: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street

1. Public Session:

2. Roll call

3. Approval of minutes

4. Approval of agenda

5. Treasurers Report

6. Presidents Report

7. Seat Southtown representative Article III, Section 6, Vacancies "If a district has no alternate, one may be appointed pursuant to b), c), and d) above.

8. Elect RICC representatives

9. Volunteers for the Public Purpose Fund Committee

10. Rules of order proposal / bylaws review of rules of order proposal

11. Land use discussion:

Korean pavilion,

Island Shakespeare,


12. Committee reports:

Constitution/ By laws

13. New business
During the RIRA September 11 Meeting Public Session, Roosevelt Island resident Sonia Jang made a presentation seeking the support of RIRA for building a 500 (20x25) square foot Korean Pavilion at Southpoint Park facing the United Nations. The estimated cost of the project was stated to be three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) and would be raised by the Korean community.

Preliminary Rendering of Proposed Southpoint Park Korean Pavilion Shown At 9/11 RIRA Meeting

Ms. Jang stated that she hoped RIRA's support for the Korean Pavilion at Southpoint Park would encourage the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to approve the project. When asked if another site outside of Southpoint Park would be satisfactory for the Korean Pavilion, Ms. Jang said no because it was important to the project to face the United Nations. Here's the September 11 RIRA discussion on the Korean Pavilion.

The Korean Pavilion Proposal was previously discussed (watch video) during July 13 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Committee meeting.

In addition to the land use discussion of the Korean Pavilion Proposal, tonight's RIRA meeting will also discuss a proposal by Island Shakespeare to find a more permanent home on Roosevelt Island for their theater company. Island Shakespeare produced two wonderful theatrical events on Roosevelt Island recently, Much Ado About Nothing outdoors at the Eastwood Amphitheater

 Image Of Island Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing At Eastwood Amphitheater

in the summer of 2012 and Measure For Measure at the Good Shepherd Community Center last January - February.

During the September 11 RIRA meeting, Island Shakespeare sought the support of RIRA for a new stage home. In response to Island Shakespeare's request, questions were raised by some regarding the condition that the Good Shepherd Community Center was left in after the Island Shakespeare production of Measure For Measure. Island Shakespeare vehemently denied that the Good Shepherd Community Center was damaged by their production. Here's video of the Island Shakespeare presentation to September 11 RIRA meeting and subsequent discussion.

The Korean Pavilion at Southpoint Park and Island Shakespeare stage land use issues are scheduled to be discussed further at the RIRA meeting tonight.

One Lane Of Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp Closed Today Through Monday October 10 for Inspection From 9:30 AM To 2:30 PM - Exercise Caution Says RIOC

 Image Of Roosevelt Island Helix Ramp

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised: Beginning Weds., October 2 and continuing through Mon., October 10, one lane of the Helix Ramp will be closed between the hours of 9:30 AM and 2:30 PM for inspection. Please pay attention to directions given by flag persons and exercise caution during these times.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
As previously reported:
... Concerns have been raised about the impact of numerous, large, heavy construction trucks using the the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix during the construction of the Cornell NYC Tech campus. That question was asked to Cornell during the Community Board 8 ULURP review process. Here's the question and Cornell's answer:

... Q -How is the helix ramp leading from the bridge to the island going to be improved to handle the huge heavy truck traffic anticipated? What would be the impact if the ramp had to be closed for repairs? (Page 18)

A- No improvements to the helix are proposed as part of the project. As with any transportation facility, including local roads, highways, and bridges, necessary repair would be conducted with the appropriate maintenance and protection of traffic and pedestrian flows, subject to review and approval by the entity having jurisdiction over the facility, which in this case would be RIOC. Cornell will be complying with the reduced load limits on the bridge and helix as approved by DOT....
Cornell has promised to reduce the amount of truck traffic going over the Roosevelt Island Bridge and Helix by using more barges for transporting construction materials.

More information on the condition of the Roosevelt Island Helix available in this 2011 report by Liro Engineers commissioned by RIOC attached to 2013 RFP for Structural Evaluation and Engineering & Design Services for the renovation of the R.I. Helix Ramp.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Roosevelt Island Assembly Member Micah Kellner's Bill to Increase Funding For NY State Libraries Signed By Governor Cuomo - Kellner Testifying Today At NYC Council On Sale Of Library Properties

Received the following report yesterday from Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side Assembly Member Micah Kellner:
Legislation streamlining New York’s research libraries’ preservation and conservation efforts authored by Assembly Member Micah Kellner (D/WFP-Manhattan & Roosevelt Island) was signed into law on Friday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The law (A4664) increases the statutory amount of annual funding for each of New York State’s “Big Eleven” research libraries from $126,000 to $158,000. The new law also eliminates the burdensome, labor-intensive requirements of the competitive grant process for preservation and conservation programs, a change sought by the research libraries and the NYS Education Department for several years.

“I am proud to have written a law that will help New York State’s outstanding research libraries streamline their efforts to preserve and conserve important materials,” said Assembly Member Kellner. “In this difficult economic and budgetary climate, these vital educational and cultural institutions need to operate as efficiently as possible, and this new law will help them do just that,” he said.

The “same-as” companion measure to Assembly Member Kellner’s bill in the New York State Senate, S02856-B, was introduced by Senator Hugh Farley (R/C/I-Schenectady).


New York State's administrative requirements for competitive grant programs become increasingly stringent in recent years, with multiple and costly layers of review and approvals. These costly layers of review drain limited staffing resources and result in long delays in grant approvals by control agencies. The administrative burden consequently outweighs the benefits of these relatively small, targeted competitive grant programs. SED and the research libraries believe increasing the statutory formulas for the Big Eleven research libraries is a better use of State funding than the conservation/preservation grant program.

New York State’s “Big Eleven” research libraries are:
  • Columbia University Libraries
  • Cornell University Libraries
  • New York State Library
  • New York University Libraries
  • University of Rochester Libraries
  • Syracuse University Libraries
  • The Research Libraries of the New York Public Library
  • University at Albany Libraries, SUNY
  • Binghamton University Libraries, SUNY
  • University at Buffalo Libraries, SUNY
  • Stony Brook University Libraries, SUNY
Assembly Member Kellner chairs the New York State Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology. He will be offering testimony at the New York City Council hearing on “Capital Construction Needs and the Potential Disposal of Libraries in New York City” that is being convened at 1:00 p.m. today at the Council hearing room on the 16th floor of 250 Broadway in lower Manhattan.
Here's Mr. Kellner advocating for increased Library funding and objecting to the selling of library properties during rally at City Hall organized by Citizens Defending Libraries

 last April.

Cool Helicopter Aerial View of Roosevelt Island, East River Waterfront & Manhattan Skyline - A Terrific Photo

Photographer Pat O'Brien shares this aerial photo of Roosevelt Island and the East River Manhattan skyline

Taken from the helicopter during a steep left hand turn. That’s why you’re able to see one of the blades in the shot.
The view of Roosevelt Island is looking south from the Octagon Building/Tennis Courts to the Queensboro Bridge.

Terrific photo. Thanks for sharing.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Jack McManus Reports To The Community - Emphasizes Communication With Residents And Training For Officers

 Image of PSD Director Jack McManus At September 24 RIRA PSC Meeting

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Interim Public Safety Department (PSD) Director Jack McManus sends the following report to the community.
A little over three months ago, I accepted the position of Interim Director of Public Safety for Roosevelt Island. That being said, I wanted to take this opportunity to update the Roosevelt Island Community on where I feel we are at, and where I feel we should be heading. In my opinion, there are many elements to be considered when effecting change in an organization. In Public Service, it is important that a manager maintain open lines of communication with those that are affected or influenced by change. I have made myself available to the Roosevelt Island community, and have attempted to be open, honest, and direct, whether in private discussion, at an open meeting, or a chance encounter on the street, realizing that I must also take steps to make effective changes based upon my managerial experience and the community’s input.

Recently, an issue arose which caused some confusion. On a daily basis, the Public Safety Department issues a short recap of the incidents reported to Public Safety over the prior 24 hours. Those incidents were listed with a time stamp, which should have indicated the time that the incident occurred but instead, indicated the time the report was prepared. I apologize for any confusion created by this administrative issue, and would like to state that it was corrected the same day.

As we move forward, I have a lot of work in front of me. A few of the larger undertakings include a comprehensive training initiative for all Public Safety Department Personnel which will include, Public Safety-Community Interaction, Continuum of force, De-escalation Techniques, Alternatives to Force, to name a few. Additionally, we are presently examining the use of body cameras to ensure that officers and the public will be well protected. We are working with the new RIOC Information Technology Director and her staff on issues like creating a new Records Management System, Computerization of Incident Reports and, designing a Public Safety Department Command Center for the monitoring of Closed Circuit TV equipment, especially when considering the additional safety cameras being installed on the island, which includes a large installation at Motorgate. Additionally, I am working with my staff on a youth forum, where I will meet with the younger people of Roosevelt Island, get to know each other a bit, and hopefully begin a constructive dialogue between us. I am particularly excited about this initiative.

This list of projects is not all- inclusive, but is meant to give a short overview of some of the projects that we are currently working on. The support of the Roosevelt Island community is critical to any eventual success we might enjoy on these projects. I will continue to do my part in keeping the lines of communication open with the Roosevelt Island community by listening when you speak and addressing your concerns. Additionally, I pledge my full support and the full support of the men and women of the Public Safety Department, whose daily efforts I wholeheartedly appreciate, in keeping the residents, visitors and workers of the Roosevelt Island community safe. Thank you for your continued support.

Jack McManus

Director of Public Safety

Roosevelt Island
Mr. McManus spoke to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee Septmember 23 meeting. Here's some of what he said.

Mr. McManus also answered questions from the PSC Committee. Here's the full presentation from PSC meeting.

During the September 12 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Meeting Public Session, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Chair Erin Feely-Nahem spoke

about the improvements to PSD under Mr. McManus as well as her belief that additional change is still needed.

Free Public Wi-Fi Service Coming To Roosevelt Island From Queensboro Bridge To RI Bridge Says Mayor Bloomberg - But Not For Manhattan Park, Octagon, Southpoint Park, Lighthouse Park And Surrounding Areas

Way back in 2007, I asked when Roosevelt Island would be wired for free public Wi-Fi service. There was a plan from Verizon in 2009 for Roosevelt Island public Wi-Fi but that never got developed.

Today, Mayor Bloomberg announced an initiative to bring free public Wi-Fi to several New York City neighborhoods including our own Roosevelt Island. According to tweet from NYC Mayor's Office:
The Roosevelt Island free public Wi-FI coverage area will be from the Queensboro Bridge to the Roosevelt Island Bridge and is expected to start in December 2013. Apparently, free public Wi-Fi on Roosevelt Island will not cover Manhattan Park, the Octagon. Lighthouse Park, Southpoint Park and surrounding areas. The service will be provided by GOWEX.

Below is Press Release from Mayor Bloomberg's Office describing this initiative in greater detail:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced new initiatives to further expand wireless and broadband connectivity in New York City by addressing key challenges to ensure the city continues to grow as a global hub of technology and innovation in the 21st Century. Free public WiFi will be launched in Brooklyn along the Fulton Street corridor, BAM Cultural District, Brownsville, and Downtown Brooklyn; in Manhattan in the Flatiron District, along the Water Street Corridor and the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan, the 125th Street corridor in Harlem and on Roosevelt Island; in Queens in Long Island City; in Staten Island in the St. George commercial district; and in the Bronx on Fordham Road, as well as other areas citywide. Today also marks the launch of WiredNYC, a rating platform that evaluates the broadband connectivity and infrastructure of office buildings. The program is designed to encourage and accelerate deployment of broadband technologies and create transparency about broadband infrastructure in the commercial real estate market by creating a “LEED for broadband” certification, giving businesses information about a building’s connectivity, and allowing landlords to better market a building’s assets. WiredNYC, which is being operated on behalf of the City by Jared Kushner, CEO of Kushner Companies, has enlisted the participation of ten of the city’s largest real estate owners, including Rudin Management, SL Green Realty, Forest City Ratner and Vornado, with over 150 buildings currently signed up for the program representing approximately 100 million square feet of office space. The announcement is part of the latest technology summit with the City of San Francisco, hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which brings together civic and industry leaders in order to address key issues facing the industry and cities. The Mayor made the announcement in Downtown Brooklyn at MetroTech Center, which has a platinum Wired Certification rating from WiredNYC.

“If New York City is going remain competitive in the global economy, we must find ways to support the entrepreneurs who are driving technological advances and creating jobs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “With these new initiatives, we are making targeted investments to improve our city’s wireless infrastructure and expand Internet access. We’re also measuring how connected our city’s buildings are and sharing that information, so that entrepreneurs are empowered to make the best decisions about where to open a business.”

“Staying connected is critical to success in the 21st Century knowledge economy – whether you are building an office for your tech start-up or trying to take your small business to the next level,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “The Bloomberg Administration has prioritized connectivity infrastructure so that all New Yorkers can have access to the networks of information that make our economy run. These initiatives move us forward on the path to constant connectivity.”

“Free public wireless networks in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, along with the new broadband rating program, will advance our goal of equipping all New Yorkers with the tools they need to participate in the innovation economy,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball. “At the same time, in order to develop and attract the talented workforce that our economy depends upon, we are training New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds in technology and entrepreneurship, which will strengthen our economy for decades to come.”

The Wireless Corridor Challenge, which was led by the City’s Economic Development Corporation, was awarded to five organizations known for achievements in improving quality of life throughout the City, including the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Alliance for Downtown New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, GOWEX, and Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership. The challenge was initially announced in the Mayor’s State of the City address and involved a competitive process that began in the spring of 2013. The program will increase wireless connectivity in New York City commercial and residential districts, which is a critical step in attracting new businesses to a neighborhood, increasing foot traffic and marketing within a business district, connecting residents and visitors within a neighborhood, improving quality of life, and bridging the digital divide. The selected consultants are responsible for developing a neighborhood plan to identify commercial corridor area, potential users in the area, and projected impact on populations such as businesses, residents and visitors; designing, installing, and launching a wireless network by obtaining requisite approvals for installation, partnering with sponsors, and marketing the program to users; and operating and maintaining the free, public access wireless network for a minimum of three years.

The Wireless Corridor Challenge will leverage private-sector partnerships to maximize the reach of the program. Targeted impact areas include growing technology centers such as Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, more established technology centers like the Flatiron district, cultural and educational centers such as BAM, as well as low- and middle-income areas and NYCHA housing in Fort Greene and Brownsville. All of the corridors are expected to launch in December of 2013. The City’s investment will be leveraged by private sector commitments totaling over $3.4 million dollars, with the City providing a total of $900,000 in additional funding to assist with the implementation. Each of the selected consultants have developed sustainability plans to insure the continuation of these corridors beyond the City’s initial investment. The selected consultants and areas throughout the City include:

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership: Downtown Brooklyn, the area bordered by Schermerhorn St, Cadman Plaza West, Flatbush Ave and Tillary St, and anticipated select public spaces in the NYCHA Ingersoll and Whitman houses

Alliance for Downtown New York/LaunchLM: Lower Manhattan, along the Water Street corridor between Whitehall and Fulton Streets, extending to lively neighboring side streets including Stone Street and Front Street, and along the East River waterfront and piers in Lower Manhattan.

Brooklyn Academy of Music: Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Fulton Street between Rockwell Place to Classon Avenue

GOWEX: Long Island City - Area bordered by Queens Plaza, Jackson Blvd and Vernon Blvd; Brownsville - area bordered by Sutter Avenue, Mother Gaston Boulevard, Pitkin Avenue and Howard Avenue; Harlem - 125th Street from Broadway to Second Avenue; Roosevelt Island, between the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island Bridge; Staten Island - Hyatt Street between St. Marks Place and Stuyvesant Place; the Bronx - East Fordham Road from Grand Concourse to Arthur Avenue.

Flatiron 23rd St. Partnership: Flatiron District - 23rd Street from Sixth Avenue to Third Avenue.

“Dramatically expanding public WiFi throughout Downtown Brooklyn and bridging the cost of the ‘last mile’ needed to bring fiber connectivity to office buildings in the district were key priorities outlined in the recent Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed. “The City’s visionary commitment to expanding access to wireless and broadband in commercial districts not only helps to support the growth of the innovation economy in Downtown Brooklyn, but also ensure that the entire Brooklyn Tech Triangle is a dynamic, engaging place for residents, workers, and students alike.”

“With over 103,000 workers and 12,000 residents working and living upstairs, the Water Street commercial corridor is vital to the economic pulse of Lower Manhattan,” said Downtown Alliance acting President William Bernstein. “As we nourish and grow Lower Manhattan’s tech sectors through our newly announced LaunchLM initiative, expanding connectivity and free public Wi-Fi is a tremendous step forward in advancing Lower Manhattan as a global hub of technology and innovation. Thank you to Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel and EDC President Kyle Kimball for their leadership in providing free, public Wi-Fi across our city.”

“As the BAM Cultural District continues to evolve into the model of a 21st century cultural center, we are excited to provide this Wi-Fi access to our neighborhood and those who visit our community each day,” said BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins. “We’re grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and the City for including us in this project and look forward to the advancements that this free wireless network will foster.”

“GOWEX is excited to partner with New York City to bring free WiFi to all. WiFi is like water: it is essential to modern life and everybody should be able to benefit from it” said Jenaro Garcia, CEO of GOWEX. “New York understands how free WiFi leads to Smart Citizens and how Smart City services lead to better quality of life and opportunities for all.”

“The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative,” said BID Executive Director Jennifer Brown. “Expanding the wireless network in our district will further enhance the vibrancy of the neighborhood for those who live, work, and visit here. The Flatiron BID already offers free WiFi in our public plazas, but this new initiative broadens the services we provide, and right in the heart of the district that is increasingly home to tech entrepreneurs and creative services. On behalf of my board and all of our constituents, I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his vision and EDC for selecting us for this important venture.”

“The City’s 67 Business Improvement Districts help keep neighborhoods in all five boroughs clean, safe, and attractive, but BIDs are going even further and the Wireless Corridor Challenge is a great example of that,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Increasing wireless connectivity in commercial districts will help strengthen neighborhoods by attracting even more businesses, visitors, and residents to the City’s vibrant commercial corridors.”

“NYCHA is working on many levels to help our residents bridge the digital divide,” said New York City Housing Authority Chairman John B. Rhea. “We look forward to working with our partners to make wireless access more available for public housing residents.”

WiredNYC, part of the City’s suite of broadband initiatives announced last year, is a building certification program that evaluates the broadband connectivity and infrastructure of New York City buildings in order to encourage and accelerate deployment of leading broadband technologies. This program will create transparency about broadband infrastructure in the commercial real estate market, giving businesses information about a building’s connectivity when choosing where to locate, and allowing landlords to market their buildings’ assets and compete for tenants. This program, and the associated grading standards, was developed by leaders in the real estate, technology, and telecommunications communities, and launched by Jared Kushner, CEO of Kushner Companies, who is overseeing the program’s rollout and operations. Rudin Management, SL Green Realty, Forest City Ratner and Vornado Realty Trust are among WiredNYC’s first adopters – using the certification system to evaluate their buildings.

The certification rating system, titled “Wired Certification,” will include grades of Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Connected, and broadband information will be shared publicly through a web platform, Presently, ten of the City's largest real estate owners have committed to participating in WiredNYC, with more than 150 buildings signed up for the program, comprising approximately 100 million square feet of office space, including 50 City-owned buildings. Other participating owners include Tishman Speyer, The Feil Organization, RXR Realty, Jamestown Properties, and Shorenstein. Many additional real estate companies are currently in the process of finalizing their participation, with a goal of over 500 participating buildings throughout New York City. The program has received the official endorsement from the Real Estate Board of New York, Building Owners and Managers Association of New York, and the Association for a Better New York. It is also supported by a number of technology-focused institutions, including the Telecommunications Industry Association, NY Tech Meetup and General Assembly.

Wired NYC is also designed to serve as a template for other cities across the country, with a goal to expand the program into additional cities by the end of 2014. Other participating buildings are located in emerging technology centers across the City’s five boroughs, including Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Chelsea, Midtown Manhattan, and Hudson Square.

“Mayor Bloomberg has done an incredible job transforming New York City into a center of technology and innovation,” said Jared Kushner, CEO of Kushner Companies. “Every day it becomes clearer that tech is the future economy of our city and in that economy, we fundamentally rely on connectivity to operate our businesses. I am excited to work with the Mayor on uniting the real estate and tech worlds through WiredNYC which will bring transparency to broadband connectivity in NYC commercial buildings."

“World-class infrastructure has fueled the enormous growth of innovation companies at MetroTech and throughout the Tech Triangle, and these new programs will provide even more momentum,” said Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin. “We are thrilled to receive a Platinum broadband designation for MetroTech and proud to be playing a role in the broader growth of New York’s tech sector, including our partnership with Cornell Tech to construct its new campus on Roosevelt Island.”

“Expanding wireless and wired connectivity across the five boroughs is a key component of the Bloomberg Administration’s strategy to enhance digital inclusion and ensure our city becomes an even greater center for technology and innovation,” said New York City Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul Merchant. “The initiatives announced today will benefit residents, businesses, and visitors, and help enhance New York City’s position in today’s competitive marketplace.”

In addition to WiredNYC, the City’s suite of larger broadband initiatives features a variety of other innovative programs that have previously been launched or will continue to be implemented in the future. These include: ConnectNYC, a competition to build out fiber connectivity for commercial and industrial buildings across the five boroughs; NYC Broadband Connect Map, a crowd-sourced, dynamic website in which businesses can learn about connectivity availability and capabilities in a given building or neighborhood; Broadband Express, an initiative led by Deputy Mayor Steel in partnership with the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and the NYC Department of Transportation, designed to simplify operational issues as well as regulatory hurdles for Internet Service Providers (ISPs); and CitizenConnect, a competition to be led by NYCEDC and DoITT - to develop mobile applications that will help City residents access workforce development opportunities, jobs listings and worker support programs such as childcare, healthcare and transportation.
UPDATE 10 PM - Here's Mayor Bloomberg's press conference announcing the Wireless Corridor Challenge.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Hugs For Ben, Good Bye To Former CFO Steve Chironis, Ferry Service, Public Advocate Runoff Questions, Land Use Deliberations & More

East River Ferry Trip From Long Island City To Greenpoint

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

Something wonderful is happening on our island. A hugging project has been started by friends of Benjamin Imbrogno who passed away this summer. He was only 21. Lynne Shinozaki writes “In memory of Ben we are collecting BEN-HUGS. Ben was a young man who was always generous with his hugs, something we all loved about him.” For his memorial on Saturday October 5, we are asking everyone to honor this young man whose life ended too soon. Please start HUGGING. Count the hugs and let Lynne know the number by October 4. You can contact her through the website. Click on the “RIRA” button and then click on “Council”. You will see the list of all council members. You can then send a note to Lynne with your hug count.

I wasn’t lucky enough to know Ben, but I wish I had. I was moved to ask people about him. Friends and family described him as a loving and generous young man who really cared about people. His happy greetings made friends and strangers feel important and acknowledged - a young man who made a difference to everyone around him.

So Roosevelt Islanders, start hugging today. We are hoping that hugging becomes a habit.

Another loss to the Island.

Steve Chironis, RIOC’s Chief Financial Officer resigned last month. His departure is a big loss to the residents. Steve helped us in so many ways. He went beyond his strict job description and became a part of the community helping with youth and sports and supporting RIRA functions. Since he was here six years, he had the institutional memory that none of the present leadership has, knows what was tried and what worked and what didn’t. He will be missed.

Your vote counts for the Public Advocate runoff

October 1 is the runoffs for Public Advocate between Letitia James and Daniel Squadron. The turnout is expected to be sparse. Each and every vote really counts! If you are a Democrat, do Roosevelt Island a favor and vote. Elected officials pay attention to the locations that get out the votes. The people who vote are considered the base and treated very respectfully.

RIRA’s government relations committee has tried unsuccessfully to get the two candidates to have a debate on Roosevelt Island. But apparently Roosevelt Island is considered small. Can you imagine that? We need to change that perception. We may be small, but we vote.

On August 27, RIRA held a candidates night in which we asked candidates a set of questions that were intended to help each candidate understand and consider answers to our unique challenges. I have sent both Letitia James and Daniel Squadron’s campaigns the questions and asked for a written response. I will post the responses on the website. So far, no responses.

Questions to candidates

Affordable Housing - The new Roosevelt Island residential developments are all luxury rentals or condos. Even the "affordable housing" component of these buildings are made up of apartments only for hospital personnel at Cornell Weill and Memorial Sloan Kettering and not available to the general public. Within a few years Roosevelt Island’s earliest buildings will all have left the Mitchell Lama program. What will the candidates do to preserve affordable housing on Roosevelt Island?

Roosevelt Island was designed to be wheelchair accessible. One formerly Mitchell-Lama building, Roosevelt Landings, has a floor of accessible apartments enabling quadriplegic residents to live in the community. Former Goldwater patients have lived in these apartments for years on portable respirators, hospital gurneys and electric wheelchairs. A community doctor and nurse visit them as needed. This concept became a national model for mainstreaming handicapped people back into the community. In this now privatized building, rents are in the process of increasing to market level when existing tenants leave. The result: new handicapped tenants will no longer be able to afford to live in that building, and will have fewer options for living in on Roosevelt Island. What can we do to bring in subsidies so that disabled people can continue to live in our community? Today, when the national focus is on community treatment of very handicapped people, it would be an embarrassment for Roosevelt Island, once a model for mainstreaming, to regress.

Cornell - The Cornell campus is going to have a significant impact on the island, both during construction and once classes begin. Here are some questions we need answered:

-How do you make sure that Cornell will act as a good neighbor, protecting the needs of existing island residents and giving back to the local community? One of the hot button issues for the RI community is barging construction materials. Will you make sure your staff is aware of this issue so you can work with our community.

-How will you help enforce the agreements that are in the lease Cornell NYC Tech has negotiated with New York City?

-Cornell will be using Roosevelt Island resources but has yet to agree to pay any money to help with their share of costs of running the Island. What ideas do you have for ensuring that either Cornell pays or New York City returns to the Island enough resources from the PILOTs of the collocated businesses to pay for their share of the maintenance?


Roosevelt Islanders want ferry service. We feel strongly that a stop on the East River Ferry will be good for our community and tourists – who are increasingly discovering the Tram – will love it. Will you support this needed service?

Ben Kallos meet and greet

Ben Kallos candidate for City Council for Jessica Lappin’s seat will be doing a meet-and-greet with donations optional on Tuesday October 15 from 7 to 9 at Riverwalk Café. Come meet him and tell him what is important to you. I am sending him the same set of questions and hope he will answer them in writing.

NEXT RIRA MEETING: Land use deliberations

At our September Common Council meeting we heard three presentations about use of land in the city and on the Island.

Island Shakespeare would like to renovate a pier to bring their creative theater productions to Roosevelt Island

The Korean Association presented a very compelling gazebo design for Southpoint Park with a view of the United Nations.

The United Nations Development Corporation made a presentation on a office building they would like to build next to the United Nations Secretariat building. It requires purchase of a section of a city park but, if deal is approved, will result in among other things, completion of a section of the Greenway along the East River.

To achieve major change in the city takes deals, major cooperation of lots of groups and the inconvenience of many individuals. Sometime in the near or distant future, we will have a Second Avenue Subway, a beautiful Greenway along the river, AND we will have a ferry stop on Roosevelt Island. All good things to look forward to!

Please join us on October 2.