Saturday, November 2, 2013

Roosevelt Island Autumn Leaves Raked And Bagged Today

Earlier today I noticed how nice the autumn leaves looked on the Southtown Lawn facing Manhattan and planned on taking a picture on my way back.

I was too late.

Lesson learned.

First Sunday Live Jazz Salon At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA 5 - 7 PM Sunday Night November 3 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, November 3 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.

The current exhibition at Gallery RIVAA is Ten Naratives.

According to Gallery RIVAA:
Ten Narratives
Saturday, November 2, 2013 - Sunday, December 1, 2013
Reception: Saturday, November 2, 6-9.

"Ten Narratives” explores the art of visual storytelling through painting, drawing, collage and sculpture, to tell of the challenges, struggles, tragedies, and triumphs of everyday life -- stories that pulsate with Energy that is saturated in color and psyche, and are infused with light

Friday, November 1, 2013

No Surprise, MTA Says No Manhattan Bound Roosevelt Island F Train This Weekend But Check Out These Train Conductors

Image Of MTA Weekend Work Being Done On Roosevelt Island

According to the MTA:
F Coney Island-bound trains run via the E from Roosevelt Av to 5 Av/53 St

Weekend, 11:15 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Nov 1 - 4

Trains resume regular service at 47-50 Sts.

No Coney Island-bound F service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.
Did you ever notice the F Train Conductor pointing at you while waiting on the Roosevelt Island station? Here's why Train Conductors point

and life lessons from a very happy MTA Subway Conductor

Heyward will be missed on the subway.

Roosevelt Island Cultural Center Closed Due To Flooding Damage Since July 2012 - RIOC Provides Update, Expects To Complete Renovation By End Of Summer 2014

Reported last August:

... The Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) and the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) have been unable to use the space they formerly occupied at the Cultural Center following a July 2012 flooding incident which caused substantial damage to the premises.

Since that time RIOC has been in the process of repairing the damaged Cultural Center and establishing procedures for future use of the space by Roosevelt Island community groups including former occupants such as the MST&DA, RIJC and other groups seeking space. To date, the additional community groups seeking to share space in the Cultural Center are the Roosevelt Island Islamic Community and the Jewish Chabad congregation who are seeking places of worship for their members...

... If you know of a Roosevelt Island non profit community group seeking space, have them contact RIOC so that RIOC is aware of their needs....
Today, RIOC sent the following update:
Construction on Roosevelt Island Cultural Center

In 2012, the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center suffered water damage from flooding and unfortunately, was severely harmed several months later during Hurricane Sandy. Work is ongoing to restore the Center in order to make it available to the community once more. Debris and damaged areas will have been cleared as of this Friday; restoration work is currently in the design stage.

Currently, RIOC is working to complete the construction plans and specifications by the end of November 2013. Once these documents are complete, a formal Request For Proposals will be issued and final bids to complete the work should be received by January 15, 2014. RIOC will review the bids, select the contractor and award the contract for the necessary construction during the month of February. Renovation is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2014.

Our main priorities for the renovation of the Cultural Center are to restore the space for community use and to prevent water damage in the future. We know that the Center is an important space on Roosevelt Island, and RIOC is working hard to make sure that the work is conducted accordingly.
Here's a discussion of Roosevelt Island Cultural Center space needs and allocations from the July 16 RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.

Roosevelt Island Southtown Riverwalk Building 7 Begins Construction - 266 Unit Market Rate Rental, Here's What It Will Look Like

The Hudson Related Companies have started construction on their seventh Riverwalk Southtown Roosevelt Island building.

It will be the first of three buildings planned for the Queens side of Southtown completing the 9 building Roosevelt Island Riverwalk project.

Image of Riverwalk Building 1-6 and future site of 7-9 from Wall Street Journal

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that starting November 1, site work and foundation preparation work will commence at the Southtown Building 7 location. Excavation work has already begun on the sewer force main at the site. Expect construction vehicles in the area.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
When completed, Riverwalk Building 7 is expected to look like the rendering below.

According to the Hudson Companies, the Riverwalk Building 7 at 480 Main Street will be a 266 unit market rate rental with a total of 215,000 square feet. Anticipated construction completion is in 2015.

Landscape designers Future Green Studio describe Roosevelt Island's newest luxury rental as follows:
This project includes an entrance garden, ground floor rear terrace garden, walking paths to the esplanade, shaded destinations near the waterfront, open lawn areas and meadows, and shaded forest areas with large deciduous trees and structural evergreens.
An entrance garden includes a driveway with a passenger drop off and turnaround. Mid-sized specimen flowering trees will provide a showy front to the building and help to soften the transition from the street to the building edge. A distinctive paving pattern of concrete pavers and attractive bollards will address the ground plane. Large landscape beds may anchor the base and corners of the building and be planted with large swathes of low-lying perennials and grasses.

The roof garden will be designed to include dining areas, grill stations, open areas for sunbathing and shaded areas for comfortable lounging. Rooftop garden elements may include concrete pavers, wood deck areas, a pergola, an outdoor kitchen, wood planters, and plantings. The plantings may be low maintenance evergreen shrubs, perennials, grasses and a few specimen trees. A south facing green wall adjacent to mechanical areas creates an impactful moment for the roof garden while buffering the noise created by the mechanical units. 
Riverwalk 7 Entrance Rendering From Future Green Studio

Riverwalk 7 Garden Rendering From Future Green Studio

Riverwalk 7 Rooftop Rendering From Future Green Studio

Hudson Related will be paying RIOC for Riverwalk building 7:
... 1. Ground Rent:
- Prepaid Ground Rent ($50/SF@ 201,600SF) - $10,080,000
- Starting Annual Ground Rent w/ 3% escalation - $765,760.00...

... 4. Public Safety Fees: $20/unit/month w/ 4% escalation (est. 200 units)
- starting annual public safety fee - $48,000.00...
More on the development agreement for Riverwalk Building 7 between Hudson/Related and RIOC from previous post and additional building renderings here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Roosevelt Island One Year After Hurricane Sandy - And Update On Roosevelt Island Volunteers Relief Efforts For Rockaways Head Start Program

It's been a year since Hurricane Sandy devastated many sections of New York City. Fortunately, compared to others, Roosevelt Island

was not badly damaged from Hurricane Sandy other than the loss of power at the Octagon

and Coler Hospital which resulted in the evacuation of some Coler patients.

As reported last December 2:
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez (who resigned effective December 21) updated the November 29 meeting of the RIOC Board Operations Committee on damage suffered by Roosevelt Island from Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Fernandez repeated his earlier report to the Operations Committee that Lighthouse Park was severely damaged with the pedestrian bridges washed away and light poles damaged requiring the park to be closed for an indefinite period of time.

Mr. Martinez added that there was additional damage to the Cultural Center that had some of its windows blown out and significant soil erosion damage to Southpoint Park seawall area.  ...

One year later, most of Lighthouse Park is open except for the area from the washed away pedestrian bridges north to the Island tip.

RIOC still has not replaced the washed away bridges nor has the Cultural Center reopened.

A few days after Hurricane Sandy, Roosevelt Island residents pitched in to help our fellow New Yorkers living in neighborhoods that were severely damaged by the storm. Among those efforts were providing and delivering supplies to the Community and Family Head Start Program in the Rockaways section of Queens.

Roosevelt Island Rockaway Donation Image From Cynthia Cummings

Roosevelt Island resident Karine Wong led the efforts to help out the Head Start Program in the Rockaways.

 Image From Karine Wong

Ms. Wong sends us this update one year later:
A year ago, the Roosevelt Island community answered my call to help 110 kids and their families and they should know that their contributions had a really big impact few miles away from here.

Saturday we went to a re-opening celebration at the Community Parents Head Start School out in the east end of the Rockaways.

Like our entire involvement, what we found was not what we thought would be there;

We figured we would find the school repaired, painted, all shiny and new. We did but there was a lot more there to see and we were fortunate to have been given a brief glimpse of what has been accomplished.

We learned that the Bank Street College for Teachers has developed a curriculum called the Teddy Bear method. We learned that the process used is a home based model. We learned that the teachers thought at the beginning that they would be teaching more than learning.

All these things adding up to the fact that the community has taken the opportunity to take advantage of the misfortunes that arrived with the hurricane to bring neighbors together and to build a stronger and better community.

We were provided some insight how the Teddy Bears help the children at the school to communicate the things that they experienced and felt through and after the hurricane. For many it is not until months later that they could explain how terrified they were and how the storm had changed their lives. Through the process the teachers all learned about themselves, their students and the families of the students. The head of curriculum barely holding together through her explanation, many of the audience growing emotional at the telling of the story and how it has changed the lives of the children and their community.

In the end we learned that the months of support the Roosevelt Island community provided to this community out at the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula had a lasting effect. The road to recovery is certainly slow. The message that they wanted everyone to hear was that they are thankful to the Roosevelt Island community for reaching out and sticking with them through those difficult times. They wanted to say thank you. Also to say so much more than words can express as shown in the words and artwork the children are creating.

Here’s to the ripple effect of hope and support that will continue for years to come and outlast the receding water and memories of that storm a year ago.
More here on Roosevelt Island residents helping out the Rockaways.

Roosevelt Island Included In New Green NYC Taxi Pick Up Areas, Have You Tried It Yet? Also Hailing Yellow Cab From Phone Test Approved By NY Court

Have you noticed the new Green NYC Taxis and wondered what the story was?

Wonder no longer. Here it is. From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:
You will also be able to hail a yellow cab from your cell phone. According to the NY Post:
New York City’s experiment with taxi-hailing smartphone apps got a green light Tuesday from an appeals court.

The state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division said the city can continue a yearlong test of “e-hail” services, one of several recent changes to the taxi network in a city known for its yellow cabs....
and from Channel 11 News:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roosevelt Island Broken Subway Entrance Doors Finally Fixed After 3 Years Of Complaints - Its About Time

A familiar sight to Roosevelt Island residents these past several years has been the broken entrance/exit door to the F train subway station. Way back in April 2010, I asked:

What will it take for the MTA to fix the street level entrance/exit door of the Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station? I don't recall how long the door has been broken but it has been at least a month if not longer....

Last Sunday, Trevre Andrews reported:
... looks like the f train subway doors have finally been replaced after nearly 3 years of complaining. They are much better.
Image of New Roosevelt Island Subway Entrance/Exit Doors

Another Roosevelt Island resident noted:
I did see today the new exit / entry doors at our subway station.

And I think I saw the new "automatic" door for wheelchair users, and other folks with disabilities and other challenges.

I think I saw the Push button inside the station near the new door.

I am certain I did not see a Push button outside the station near the door.
Image of New Roosevelt Island Subway Entrance/Exit Doors

Hopefully, the new doors will work for a while longer.

Latest On NYC Council Election To Represent Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side - Ben Kallos Endorsements Growing, Micah Kellner Loses Support Of Working Families Party And Republican Ed Garland In Race Too

What's the latest on the NYC Council Manhattan District 5 election race to represent Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side? As previously reported, Ben Kallos

won the September 10 Democratic Party Primary for the seat defeating current Assembly Member Micah Kellner and Community Board 8 Member Ed Hartzog. Mr. Kallos is now running as the Democratic Party candidate in the November 5, 2013 General Election against Republican Candidate Dave Garland

and Mr. Kellner who is running on the Working Families Party election ballot line.

Following his primary win, Mr. Kallos was endorsed by Democratic Party elected officials including Senator Charles Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Jerome Nadler, current NYC Council Member for the district Jessica Lappin,

Manhattan Borough President and NYC Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer, primary opponent Ed Hartzog and a host of other Democratic Party elected officials and Unions. (Video of endorsement announcements below).

But not Mr. Kellner.

Despite his loss in the primary to Mr. Kallos, Micah Kellner chose to remain in the race on the Working Families Party ballot line claiming to be "the REAL Democrat"

Image From Kellner Campaign Literature

for election to represent Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side in the NYC Council. According to Crains Insider, Mr. Kellner:
... applied for and received nearly $88,000 in taxpayer matching funds for a quixotic general-election run on the Working Families Party ballot line against Mr. Kallos, raising eyebrows among political observers....
Mr. Kellner no longer has the support of the Working Families Party in the race to represent Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side in the NYC Council. According to this email sent today from the Working Families Party to its supporters:
We didn't think we'd ever say this:

In one City Council race on the East Side of Manhattan, for the first time, we're asking you NOT to vote on the Working Families ballot line.

Very early in the race, we endorsed Micah Kellner for the seat. It turns out that was a mistake. After sexual harassment charges surfaced against Kellner, he lost both his Democratic primary as well as the support of the WFP.

We're proud to support Ben Kallos, an outstanding progressive candidate who will represent the community well.

Despite losing our support, Kellner just won't quit. And unfortunately, we have no mechanism to remove his name from our ballot line. He's waged a nasty attack-filled campaign. And worst of all, he's doing it on the Working Families line.

On Election Day, after you vote for Bill de Blasio, Letitia James and Scott Stringer on the Working Families ballot line, make sure to skip over Micah Kellner and vote for Ben Kallos on the Democratic line.

If we can count on you to vote for Ben Kallos, click here to pledge your vote for the candidate you can be proud to support: Ben Kallos.

Thank you,

Bill Lipton
Working Families Party
This campaign has gotten very nasty. According to Politicker
... Anonymous mailers currently being circulated on the Upper East Side attack City Council candidate Ben Kallos for being endorsed by Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist–or in the words of the mailer, “a child prostitution promoter”–among other charges....
Below is the front and back side of an anonymous campaign flyer found in Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side mailboxes recently.

I asked Republican NYC Council Candidate Ed Garland if his campaign was at all responsible for the mailing above. Mr. Garland replied that he was not.

I sent the following October 28 email inquiry to Mr. Kellner:
Many Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side residents of NYC's Manhattan 5 Council District have received an anonymous anti Ben Kallos campaign flyer in the mail over the last several days which alleges among other charges:
"Mr. Kallos is Reckless and Irresponsible. Our Next City Councilman shouldn't be proud of endorsements from an anti-semite, child prostitution promoter and the leader of a group that called the Upper East Side a bastion of "racism and xenophobia.Ben Kallos doesn't share our values. He's too extreme. Ben Kallos is unfit to serve"
I asked Dave Garland, the Republican Candidate for the NYCM 5th Council district seat if he was responsible for the anonymous flyer and he said that he was not.

Do you have any comment to the charge that the Kellner campaign is responsible for this anonymous mailer?...
Earlier today I followed up with an email to Mr. Kellner asking if he would like to comment on the anonymous campaign flyer as well as the statement from the Working Families Party urging their supporters to vote for Mr. Kallos. Mr. Kellner has not responded yet. If he does respond, will include it as an update to this post. For the record, Mr. Kellner has been attentive and a very good Assembly Member for the interests of Roosevelt Island.

Here is a video taken last September 15 on 93rd Street off Third Avenue of Democratic Party elected officials, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Kreuger and others endorsing Mr. Kallos for City Council.

More information about the candidates available at links below:
and from this NY 1 debate between Mr. Kallos and Mr. Garland.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Zombies Spotted On Roosevelt Island Last Saturday - Run For Your Lives!!!!!!

The Roosevelt Island Zombies were part of NYCRuns Haunted 5K Race last Saturday.

Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Annual Meeting Tonight - Update On Cornell NYC Tech Issues And Election Of New Board Of Directors on Agenda

Image Of Current Goldwater Hospital and New Cornell Campus Site From NYC Economic Development Corp

From the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition:
Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC)
Annual Membership Meeting
Date: Tuesday night, October 29th, 2013
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Place: Westview, 625 Main Street, Lower Community Room


Elect a board of directors, as mandated by RICC bylaws

Update on Cornell issues

For more than a year, your board of directors has fought hard in an attempt to make Cornell's construction as safe and unintrusive as possible for our community.

We hope to see you on October 29th so that we may report on our ongoing efforts -- and plan for the future.

See you soon.


Ellen Polivy, Co-chair
Jonathan Kalkin, Co-Chair
More on RICC from previous post and here is the June 5, 2013 NYC Economic Development Corp memo summarizing the Cornell NYC Tech project including commitments made by Cornell NYC Tech to the Roosevelt Island community.

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network And RIOC Work Together To Bring Back Mommy & Me Swim Classes To Sportspark

Image of Roosevelt Island Sportspark Toddler Swim Program

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
We are pleased to announce the return of Mommy & Me Water Safety Classes to Sportspark! Mommy & Me classes teach the basics of swimming to children aged 6 months to 3 years alongside their parents. The online registration period has ended, but there are still spaces available! If you're interested in signing up for classes, please visit for more information.

We'll see you at the pool!


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Monday, October 28, 2013

One Version Of The History Of Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park From PBS Channel 13

Another version of this history is here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Crowded Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin And Station Due To No Manhattan Bound F Train Service and Tram Evacuation Drill On Same Day - RIOC Says They Will Try To Improve Communications With MTA In Future

Reported on Friday there would be no Manhattan bound Roosevelt Island F train service this weekend and that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) would be conducting Tram Cabin Evacuation Drills on Sunday but, according to RIOC,:

...Tram service will not be disrupted....
Unfortunately, Tram service was disrupted today as only one Tram cabin was in service because the other cabin was being used for the Evacuation Drill. The Roosevelt Island Tram Station and Cabin in use were very crowded. According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse
Images From Trevre Andrews
One Roosevelt Island resident reported:
They were suppose to be doing a drill on the tram today. But when they realized that it was on a weekend with no Manhattan F, they should've postponed the drill. Also, the tram was filled to capacity, while I was waiting I counted people and there were over a 110 that boarded. The red percentage meter said 95. Dangerous.
Earlier today, I asked RIOC President Charlene Indelicato:
I am receiving complaints from residents about the scheduling of Tram Evacuation Drill today, which takes one Tram cabin out of service, during the same time that there is no subway service to Manhattan.

Any statement from RIOC regarding why the Tram Drill is being done during the subway service disruption?
Ms. Indelicato replied:
RIOC will try to improve communications with the MTA to minimize any inconvenience to residents and visitors