Saturday, January 18, 2014

Roosevelt Island Marriage Of Real Estate And Money Sculpture Puts Smile On Face Of A Visitor - How About You?

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

The picture is one of the three sculptures in the East River near Manhattan Park by Tom Otterness that depict The Marriage Of Real Estate And Money

According to the Modern and Contemporary Design blog: 
Otterness specializes in creating large-scale pieces, mostly of bronze, which is why his work is so well-suited to the realm of public art. The Marriage of Money and Real Estate is a sculptural installation he did just off Roosevelt Island in New York, a set of three sculptures that depict very simply how money and real estate are connected. In a cartoon-like manner, Otterness manages to make this capitalist reality look cute.
Are you


Friday, January 17, 2014

Here We Go Again, No Roosevelt Island F Train Service From Manhattan This Weekend - Long Island City 7 Train Weekend Outage Too And They Don't Like It Either

 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, Jan 17 - 20

No Jamaica-bound service at 57 St, Lexington Av/63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge.
Our neighbors across the East River in Long Island City will begin to experience weekend subway service outages too. According to LIC Post:
... the MTA will be shutting down No. 7 train service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for 22 weekends this year.

Furthermore, some of the local service between Queensboro Plaza and Flushing will be suspended for some of those weekends.

“22 weekends of closures in 2014 is outrageous and will hurt hundreds of thousands of people and threatens to kill our small businesses,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Enough is enough.”

Rebecca Trent, who owns the Creek and the Cave at 10-93 Jackson Avenue, said the weekend service outages are devastating to local businesses. “I’m trying to elevate the scene in Long Island City,” she said, “but it’s tough if people can’t get here.”

Trent, who also runs LIC Eateries, a group comprised of a number of neighborhood restaurants, said that the members are extremely unhappy.

“The MTA just comes on in and says: ‘Here’s the schedule [of closures], now go F-yourself,” Trent said. “The MTA has to start to recognize that we can’t be treated like this—that business people have families to look after… and businesses have to survive.”...
The Long Island City Twitterverse adds:

Letter From Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove - Roosevelt Island Construction & Community Task Force Town Hall Meeting February 5, You're Invited To Come Learn What Is Going On And Ask Questions

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove sends the following letter to the Roosevelt Island community:
Dear Neighbor:

As we get close to beginning construction, we want to make you aware of the activities that will be occurring in the coming weeks and months. This is an exciting time, and we know that Islanders will have questions and will want to keep informed on the progress of the work. Therefore, along with our Construction & Community Taskforce, we’re hosting a town hall meeting on Wednesday, February 5, from 6-8 p.m. at the Manhattan Park Community Center. At this forum, we will introduce ourselves and our partners, provide a full briefing on our plans, and answer any questions that you may have.

The central clearinghouse for all information related to campus construction is a new website that Cornell Tech created, On the website you can view a map of the worksite, sign up to receive a bi-weekly look-ahead via email that will contain updates on our progress, milestones, and occasional meeting notices; and contact us.

We have spent over a year doing detailed planning on our approach to construction, with the goal of minimizing the impact of construction on the community. We are so pleased that we are able to commit to the largest voluntary barging program in New York City. We are beginning to fulfill this commitment by putting a plan in place in which all demolition materials will be removed by barge. In addition, our plan includes many other important construction-related approaches, such as strict oversight of environmental conditions and public reporting on these topics.

We wish you a very Happy New Year and we hope you can join us on February 5th.


Cathy Dove
Vice President
Cornell Tech

Women In Prison On Roosevelt (Welfare) Island - Come To RIHS Fundraiser Theater Night With Performance Of Island Girls At Theater For The New City On Sunday January 19

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) is holding a Theater Night Fundraiser with a performance of Island Girls at the Theater For The New City on Sunday, January 19 at 3 PM. Tickets are $25. According to RIHS:
Island Girls: before Orange Is the New Black, women in 1927 were incarcerated in the Women’s Penitentiary on Welfare Island. A short ferry ride from the hustle and bustle of mid- town Manhattan, on what is now Roosevelt Island, the prison became a revolving door for many women from varying ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds who found themselves on the wrong side of the law. A newly-graduated social worker comes face to face with her own biases grounded in her white, upper class background while she gets to know the prisoners. Carefully researched, Island Girls brings to life examples of the unknown or forgotten stories of thousands of women of New York City nearly a century ago.
For tickets and more information email

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Goldwater Hospital Demolition And Construction Of Cornell NYC Tech Campus Begins, RIRA Member Expulsion Motion Continues And $700 Donation For Hurricane Sandy Relief

Image Of Ms. Polivy (Standing) Speaking At October 2, 2012 RICC Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
Motions Passed at last RIRA meeting

1.A motion passed to donate $700 to the hurricane relief organization “you are Never Alone”. We on Roosevelt Island are fortunate that we got off easy in Hurricane Sandy.

2. A motion passed to postpone the expulsion vote to the February meeting as the parliamentary maneuvering and financial discussions that needed to happen took too long. During the preceding month, I consulted with a respected parliamentarian and attorney to get further clarity about our constitution and rules of order. I learned that the prior motion to remove the item from the agenda was unconstitutional as the RIRA Constitution is very specific on how the expulsion process is to proceed. According to the Constitution, the expulsion is a two-part process. On month one, the Bill of Particulars is presented. In month two, the Bill of Particulars is refuted by the accused and then a discussion and vote is taken. A motion to table to a date after the RIRA term is over was declared equally out of order. Two Council members quit in protest.

Cornell construction and RICC

Judy Buck, my newly elected Co-chair on the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition has asked me to add this update:

As 2014 begins, so does the life-changing construction of the Cornell complex on Roosevelt Island. In order to make this transition as painless, and as scrupulous, as possible, RICC renews its pledge to advocate for the community and its organizations.

RICC will work to hold Cornell responsible for its written and verbal promises to our community (most of which came from RICC's term sheet), to hear and address members' concerns, (including new concerns), and to stay connected to elected City officials, RIOC, and Cornell Community representatives, when appropriate.

At the moment, we're working on ideas that include a here-and-now term sheet that reflects the needs of all of us, including disabled, children and seniors. And we're identifying ways to bring home some of the tax money the City receive from Cornell co-locations.

Construction Starts Now

The first phase of construction, the demolition of Goldwater Hospital, is planned for mid-January 2014. We urge you to follow the construction process, so that Cornell, RIOC and NYC know that Roosevelt Island is present, alert, and watching.

RIOC urges residents to express questions and concerns directly to Cornell, then to copy them to RIOC on the RIOC website so that they can follow up with Cornell.


For ongoing information about construction:

To express your questions and concerns:

The Demolition Process:

Goldwater debris will be removed via barges anchored off the seawall on the east side of the river. Some details (such as continuity of Red Bus to Four Freedoms Park) to be worked out, but RIOC has control over process. Bulk materials will be loaded into 40-foot containers for barging, each barge to transport 40 containers, saving 40 truck trips; 2) asbestos to be removed by hand, as required, into special containers for barging; and 3) demolition of structures will occur from south to north.

The East Road will close temporarily, limiting scope of " the Loop." At a later point, the West Road will close, leaving East Road open. Cornell will reconstruct the Loop, and pedestrian access will remain. Metered street parking is planned (possibly limited; to be worked out). Cornell will protect their site, including guard booths, barrier fence, roadway barriers, and air quality monitors. RIOC will ensure Public Safety presence and has an independent engineer for oversight.

How RICC Helped

RIOC negotiated an extremely complex deal, and this is a significant victory. It is also a win for RICC. When Charlene Indelicato took office as RIOC president, the RICC board provided her with a detailed list of all community issues, a history of each request, and a priority list, for which Ms. Indelicato thanked us. When negotiations got under way, she hit the ground running.

Ongoing Cornell Connections

Cornell will keep us updated as they continue the approval processes at the design commission and during demolition and construction.

Town Hall Meetings. Cornell has planned a series of presentations on the Island to show residents plans for each phase of construction. All are invited.

The Cornell-Tech Construction Task Force. Originally proposed by RICC, this committee was reshaped by Cornell and New York City. It was created to ensure that Cornell meet commitments made during the ULURP process. The public and press may attend meetings, but may not speak. Minutes from the first meeting are posted on the Cornell website:

CB8 Roosevelt Island Committee. Community Board 8 has designated a Roosevelt Island Committee to review Cornell design and construction plans. Committee votes on whether or not designs will be passed on for review by full CB8 board.

The Community Needs you to attend this meeting!

Numbers count! Please "blast" your members and friends. A sea of faces sends a powerful, public message!

February 5th (Wednesday) Cornell Town Hall Presentation
Manhattan Park Theatre Club, 8 River Road 6-8 PM

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Not A Roosevelt Island Sequel To Alfred Hitchcock Movie The Birds, Just Nina Da Bird Whisperer At Meditation Steps

No, a sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds was not being being shot yesterday on a foggy Roosevelt Island. Rather, Vadim Malinsky filmed Nina as she whispered to Roosevelt Island pigeons

on the Meditation Steps.

Cornell NYC Tech Hires Former NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin's Chief Of Staff Jane Swanson As Liaison To Roosevelt Island Community

Last December 2, leaders of Roosevelt Island organizations gathered together to thank former NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin for her service to the community. Also thanked by Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy was Jane Swanson, Ms. Lappin's Chief of Staff.

Cornell NYC Tech announced today that Ms. Swanson will continue working with Roosevelt Islanders as the Cornell liaison to the community.

According to this Press Release from Cornell NYC Tech:

Cornell NYC Tech today announced that Jane Swanson, former Chief of Staff to Councilmember Jessica Lappin, has joined Cornell Tech as the Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations. Swanson has 17 years of experience working with the Roosevelt Island community, including at Councilmember Lappin’s office and previously handling constituent services for former City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. Swanson will work directly with Roosevelt Islanders and others in the City as Cornell Tech’s community liaison. She will spend time at Cornell Tech’s Chelsea Campus and on Roosevelt Island.

“Cornell Tech is pleased to welcome a familiar face back to Roosevelt Island,” said Cornell Tech’s Director of External Relations Meghan French. “Jane Swanson has a deep knowledge of Roosevelt Island and Cornell Tech’s campus plans, having worked with us every step of the way with Councilmember Lappin. She will be a tremendous asset to Cornell Tech and to the Roosevelt Island community as we embark on campus construction.”

“I have been working closely with the Roosevelt Island community for almost two decades, and I am thrilled to be spending more time on the island in my new role at Cornell Tech,” said Jane Swanson. “I look forward to working with Roosevelt Islanders and the City to ensure that the tech campus is a great neighbor to the community.”

Cornell will break ground early this year on a sustainable 12-acre Roosevelt Island campus. The first phase of the campus will open in 2017, including the first academic building, a corporate co-location building that will foster interactions and collaboration between tech companies and Cornell Tech, an innovative sustainable residential building and public open space. The completed campus will include 2 million square feet of academic,residential and corporate research and development space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and nearly 280 faculty and staff.

Cornell Tech is up and running with world-class faculty and students who are working with industry and on their own start-ups. The first class of students graduated at the end of 2013. Cornell Tech has also launched its commitment to partnership with New York’s public school students, working with numerous organizations to bring tech education to a diverse audience.

In January 2014 the Jacobs Technion-Cornell InnovationInstitute at Cornell Tech launched a postdoc fellows program and is admitting students for its degree program in Connective Media. Students in this two-year program will receive degrees from both Technion and Cornell. Also in 2014, Cornell Tech will launch an MBA program in collaboration with Cornell’s Johnson School. The program will fuse business, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in a fast-paced, hands-on learning environment.

Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won New York City’s Applied Science competition in 2011 to build a world-class campus as a way to capitalize on the growth in the science, technology and research fields in New York City and create a more diversified and competitive economy for the future.

NY Empire State Development Corp Chief Financial Officer Frances Walton To Be Appointed CFO Of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp - Subject To Approval At January 23 Board Of Directors Meeting

As reported Monday, January 13:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has been without a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since September 2013. Later today, the RIOC Board Of Directors Audit Committee will meet to discuss the position of CFO in executive session which is closed to the public.
It appears RIOC has found a new CFO subject to approval by the full RIOC Board Of Directors. According to Item 1 of the January 23 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting Agenda:
...1- Appointment of Frances Walton to the Position of Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Financial Affairs of the Corporation (Board Action Required)...
Ms. Walton is currently the CFO of the NY Empire State Development Corp (ESDC). According to the ESDC:
Frances Walton is the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of Empire State Development (ESD). She has almost 30 years of experience in public administration and the financial services industry. Her broad range of expertise includes strategic planning, capital financing, debt management, credit enhancement, asset management, real estate and capital project analysis, budgeting, cash management, banking, treasury operations, administration, human resources management and management information services.

Since 1997, Frances has directed all financial functions including financing and debt issuance on behalf of the Corporation, its subsidiaries, Job Development Authority, and LDCs aggregating approximately $10 billion. She directs the Treasury function, Controller/Accounting, Portfolio Management, Contract Administration and Subsidiary Finance, Loans and Grants, Real Estate & Project Finance programs...
Ms. Walton's full bio is here.

On January 9 Susan Arbetter of WCNY's Capital Pressroom tweeted:
Ms. Walton was also the President of the Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corp (BALDC), a NY State entity formed to issue bonds for the Forest City Ratner Atlantic Yards (Barclay Arena) project.

Image Of Ms. Walton (on right) Being Interviewed About BALDC From Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner is the Master Developer for the Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island campus.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Update On Roosevelt Island Tram Manhattan Station Elevator Problems - RIOC President Apologizes For Service Outage, Reports New Elevator In About A Year And Repairs For Current Elevator

The frequently broken and out of service Roosevelt Island Tram Manhattan Station elevator

Image Of Broken Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station Elevators

was a subject of discussion during the January 14 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.

RIOC President Charlene Indelicato began the discussion by apologizing to Roosevelt Island residents for the Tram Elevator and handicap lift being out of service so often and described measures RIOC is taking to fix the current situation. As to a more permanent solution, Ms Indelicato reported that a Request For Proposals for a new tram elevator will be issued by the end of this month and it should take a year from that date for a new Tram Station Elevator to be in service which will be installed where the red handicap lift is currently located.

Ms. Indelicato reported that when RIOC is informed of the Tram Elevator being out of service, a Public Safety Officer or other RIOC employee will be sent to the Manhattan station. However, the RIOC employee will not lift Wheelchairs or large strollers up the stairs, but at the discretion of the RIOC employee, may be able to help with small strollers.

Ms Indelicato and the RIOC Directors also discussed ways in which Tram riders could be advised when the Manhattan Tram elevator was not in service before passengers got on the Tram at the Roosevelt Island station.

Here's the full Tram Elevator discussion at yesterday's RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.

No Roosevelt Island F Train Service This Morning Due To Water Main Break At West 4th Street

According to this 6:41 A.M. Advisory From the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Please be advised due to a water main break on 14th street there is presently no F train service.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
At about 7:45 AM the Roosevelt Island Subway Booth Attendant told me that there were still no F Train service but that the M train was running with delays and stopping at Roosevelt Island.

The Tram was not overly crowded at 8 AM.

The MTA Tweets:

Latest updates available at the MTA Service Status Page.

UPDATE 8:45 AM - A resident reports:
... there are no F trains this morning leaving RI for Manhattan. The bus drivers are not announcing it. The Tram is packed...
I asked the reader:
What time were you at the tram?
The reader responded at 8:38 AM:
8:15 am and I just crossed now.
UPDATE 2:30 PM - According to the MTA:
Service Restored After Water Main Break

An early morning water main break at 13 St and 5 Av in Greenwich village flooded subway tunnels servicing the A, B, C, D, F and M lines with thousands of gallons of water causing service disruptions into the morning peak period affecting tens of thousands of subway riders.

The break occurred shortly before 1:00 a.m. Press reports indicated that the 36-inch cast iron main that ruptured dates back to before 1900. NYC Transit personnel were “at the ready” and once the water was contained at approximately 5:30 a.m., they got to work.

Two pump trains were dispatched but were not needed. A pump room located at 9 St as well as portable pumps that were positioned into the area were able to pump water that had risen 24-30 inches along 300 feet of track north of the West 4 St station. Drains along the tracks were able to absorb much of the water that had entered the system. The drains performed well as a result of the attention they have received during FASTRACK work along that corridor.

Workers then sprang into action to clear muck and debris from the tracks, assess damage, and make necessary repairs. After test trains ran through the area, full service was restored around 10:25 a.m.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NY State Senator Jose Serrano Asks RIOC To Promptly Fix The Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station Elevator

The broken Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station elevator

was the subject of the following January 13 letter sent from Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano

 to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato.
I am writing to you as the State Senator of the 29th Senate District, representing Roosevelt Island, to express my concerns regarding the lack of an adequate elevator or wheelchair lift at the Roosevelt Island Tram’s Manhattan-bound station.

Wheelchair lifts and elevators provide vital means of accessibility for our disabled and elderly residents of Roosevelt Island. In addition, a properly functioning elevator can be an extremely valuable service for parents of small children who are carrying their children or pushing a stroller. Thus, it is extremely troubling for me to learn that both the elevator and wheelchair lift have been experiencing regular breakdowns and disruptions of service over the course of the last several months. This creates major problems for residents of the Island planning to use the tram and prevents many residents from returning to the tram station out of fear that the elevator or wheelchair lift will not be working.

Certainly, a properly functioning wheelchair lift and elevator will help make the tram a more desirable transportation option. Yet, when the trams were renovated in 2010, the wheel chair lift and elevator were seemingly ignored which has led to the current state of disrepair. Moreover, while I am pleased that RIOC plans to build a new wheel-chair accessible elevator, the plan calls for funds to be used from the 2014-2015 budget. I do not believe we have the luxury of waiting any longer to provide the Island with proper accessibility to the tram. Thus, I respectfully request that you promptly develop a plan to service and fix the existing elevator and wheel chair lift at the Island’s Manhattan-bound tram station.

Thank you very much for your consideration. If you would like to discuss this with me, please do not hesitate to contact me in my office at (212)828-5829.

Here's the full letter.

Senator Serrano's staff will be conducting constituent office hours on Roosevelt Island later today at the Seniors Center from 4 to 7 PM. Stop by and let them know of any issues or concerns you may have. Senator Serrano was recently interviewed by Community Board 8 Speaks on a wide variety of issues concerning his district including Roosevelt Island. Here's video of the interview.

Also, the RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee will be meeting later today and one of the Agenda Items is the Manhattan Tram Station elevator.

Problems with the Tram elevator go back to at least November 2011.

Roosevelt Island Master Retail Lease, Steam Plant, Cultural Center, Tram Elevator, Way Finding Signage & Renwick Ruins Art Project On Agenda For RIOC Real Estate Committee Today

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 Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


I. Updates and Discussions Regarding:
  1. Proposed Renwick Ruins Art Project
  2. RIHS Historic Lamp Base Installation Status
  3. Way-finding Signage and Information
  4. Master Retail Sublease Progress
  5. Manhattan Tram Elevator Issues
  6. 548 Main Street Cultural Center Repairs
  7. Steam Plant Status
II.Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee


The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
An audio web cast of the meeting will be available soon thereafter.

As previously reported:
... Concerns have been expressed recently by some Roosevelt Island residents regarding the closing, even temporary, of the Sportspark facility when the Steam Plant closes...
In response to questions raised by a Roosevelt Island resident regarding the status of Sportspark, RIOC Community Relations Assistant Anna Rankin wrote
Sportspark Temporary Heating System Update

The contract for the construction of Sportspark’s temporary heating system has been finalized and sent out for signature. Once the contract is signed, a notice to proceed will be issued by the end of this month. Installation of the piping and boiler system is scheduled to be completed 45 days after the notice is issued. Actual closure time for Sportspark, if any, will be less than two weeks. RIOC is committed to keeping Sportspark open and available to the community as much as possible.
We should learn more today about the status of the Steam Plant and Sportspark following the Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Roosevelt Island NY State Senator Jose Serrano Constituent Office Hours Tuesday January 14 4 -7 PM At Senior Center, Stop By If You Have Any Questions Or Concerns - Watch Serrano Interview On CB 8 Speaks

From the office of Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano:
Senator Serrano's

Roosevelt Island

Constituent Hours

Senator José M. Serrano regularly provides community constituent hours in different neighborhoods throughout his 29th Senate District. Senator Serrano's staff will be providing Constituent Services on Roosevelt Island TOMORROW.

When: TOMORROW, January 14
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Roosevelt Island Seniors Association
546 Main Street #1
Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our office at (212) 828-5829. We look forward to meeting with you.

*Constituent Services are also available Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, in Senator Serrano's District Office at 157 East 104th Street.*
Senator Serrano appeared on the January 2 2014 broadcast of CB 8 speaks. He discussed issues of concern to his district including the Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island and the importance of constituent office hours. An excerpt:

Mr. Serrano also discussed issues including State Senate member item reform, gun control, hydrofracking, heath care, historic districts, domestic violence, immigration, puppy mills, his signature bow tie and meeting Prince Harry of Great Britain. Here's the full CB 8 Speaks interview

with Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Without Chief Financial Officer Since September 2013 - RIOC Audit Committee Meeting Today To Discuss

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has been without a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since September 2013. Later today, the RIOC Board Of Directors Audit Committee will meet to discuss the position of CFO in executive session which is closed to the public. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Audit Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 5:15 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.
1. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session Regarding the Chief Financial Officer Position;
2. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
RIOC has undertaken a complete overhaul of senior management during the last 18 months beginning with the still unexplained departures of its President in September 2012 and Vice President Of Operations in December 2012 and then followed in 2013 by the departures of the head of Engineering, Public Safety Department Director and CFO.

Currently only the positions of RIOC President and Interim Public Safety Department Director have been filled.

According to RIOC (Page 3)
... Proposed Budget for FY 2014-15 eliminates the position of Vice President/Chief Operating Officer and replaces it with the position of Vice President/Compliance Officer to facilitate RIOC’s compliance with the applicable statues, regulations, rules, policies and procedures...
and (Page 3):
...Engineering & Maintenance – as discussed in the Capital Projects section below, there are many major capital projects that are budgeted for the next 2 years. An engineering firm, Hill International, was engaged in FY 2014 to provide consulting services to oversee these projects. These services are expected to continue and budgeted for in FY 2015....

NYC Fire Department Conducting East River Swift Water Rescue Drills Next To Roosevelt Island Today

The New York City Fire Department conducted water rescue drills in the East River next to Roosevelt Island earlier today.

Imageof FDNY on Roosevelt Island Preparing For Water Rescue Drill From Bill Long

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Be advised that the FDNY will conduct a swift water rescue exercise today, January 13, 2014 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM, in the East Channel rear of 750 Main Street.

Expect an increased presence of emergency personnel in the area. This is only a drill.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
and the

Image Of FDNY Water Rescue Drill From Bill Long

NYC Office Of Emergency Management

Choosing a Kindergarten For Your Child: Two Workshops Hosted By The Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network About Options for Roosevelt Island Families

Reported last October:

Are you a Roosevelt Island parent about to choose a kindergarten for your child? If so, two upcoming question and answer sessions hosted by the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network and Main Street Sweets are for you....

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach provides the following recap of the Choosing A Kindergarten panel discussion. Ms Bosbach reports:
Together with Main Street Sweets, the Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network hosted two free panel discussions about choosing a Kindergarten as part of the “Parents for Parents” workshop series.  About 50 RI parents attended the workshops on Nov. 5 at Main Street Sweets and Nov. 10 in the Rivercross lounge. The seven panelists were RI parents who investigated different options, successfully placed their children in a variety of schools and programs including G&T and IEP, serve on PTA boards, are active in parent advocacy and were happy to share their knowledge with other RI parents. I moderated both events which were co-hosted by Coach Scot from the Main Street Sweets. The handout with online resources and deadlines was kindly provided by Emily Gohn-Barnill, Director of the Bright Horizons/MSKCC Children’s Center/475 Main Street, RI. Jen Reyes designed the event flyer.

Image of Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Choosing A Kindergarten Panel Discussion

Workshop topics included: Public vs. Private schools, Multilingual children, Application process and deadlines, Prepping and testing, Gifted and Talented program, Individualized Education Program, Things to consider (commute, finances) and Further resources (tours, fairs, websites).

The following information consists of selected personal notes from the Nov. 10 workshop taken by one of the participants. The notes have been edited by the panel speakers.

The workshop started at 4pm.

Eva Bosbach asked about the audience’s interest: A few were interested in private schools, most were interested in G/T, perhaps half were interested in PS 217 information.

Introduction of the speakers by EB and their up-front statements:

Michal Melamed: Michal has one child at G/T who used to be at Midtown West before. One child is in 3rd grade in STEM at PS 85 in Queens (one of five citywide g/t schools), another child at Harlem Hebrew, a charter school in Harlem dual language in Hebrew. Lots of choices for kindergarten citywide! Midtown West, Ella Baker, and Tribeca Learning Center are the three non-zoned district-wide schools in district 2. For G/T, take test and if have a great score, there are two crazy weeks to tour schools and rank them. Charter schools: not many in district 2 – a daughter goes to one in district 3 in Harlem. Success Charter schools have two in our district, Union Square and Hell's Kitchen. Parochial schools are usually less expensive than private schools. Hunter and Special Music School, a music-focused school are selective public schools. Son was in Midtown West. At Midtown West, Ella Baker, and Tribeca, students fill out an application and then get in via a lottery. Her older child was not fully challenged at Midtown West and the commute was hard, then got an offer from a G/T school in November, moved to the G/T school, and all went smoothly. Younger child got a district G/T eligible score but not a citywide G/T eligible score and she enrolled in a charter school.

Olga Shchuchinov: VP of PS217 PTA. You should look beyond the data to find good schools. Do not focus only on rankings. Many schools are similar in the sense that they follow statewide curriculum and offer a safe space. Think of your financial resources and your specific commute. Make three groupings of tiers for schools you like rather than focusing just on your top tier. Keep in perspective that kindergarten placement is not the hugest impact on someone's life.

Shirley Payne: One child in ps217, one at charter, one in public school. Youngest child has IEP for physical therapy and probably has a similar experience to parents with kids who have an autism diagnosis. For the child, Shirley focused on the level of support for physical therapy and IEP along with which school had the best nurse for therapeutic purposes. Online reviews are all negative for schools generally but the true views of parents are usually not as bad as the online reviews. Took tours, checked what resources were available, checked how much reading done per day. Chose PS217 for that child. See if the setting is right for your child, if your child would be happy, if the commute is ok, and see if the school looks like it has a family atmosphere that is tight-knit. Elementary school choice has a bigger impact on one's life than kindergarten.

Matthew Matasar: Two kids in G/T at Lower Lab. For G/T there are five "citywide" schools and many "district" programs in district two. For citywide G/T schools, you can apply if score at 97th percentile but most schools end up only accepting kids with a 99th percentile score. Different citywide schools go up to different grade levels (many have middle or both middle and high schools). District-wide schools require a qualifying score of 90, but most fill with kids with a 99th percentile score. Take tours because many schools give different impressions such as how NEST-M seems great to some parents but seems too strict/cold to other parents. Trust your instincts on the tours. G/T scoring takes into account how old the child was on the day of the test (down to how many years plus quarter-years the child is old). Some buy a $30 KTSS packet on G/T sample questions. More intensive test prep programs can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Lauren Blankstein: Son in kindergarten, daughter in 4th grade at the Ella Baker School, a pre-k to 8th grade progressive public school on the Upper East Side. Lauren spoke about the progressive approach to education. Information about this and Ella Baker's admissions process can be found at"  Lauren also recommended watching the video 180 Days Well Spent.

Kristi Towey: Kids at The Garden School and Poly Prep Country Day School. Two kids in private school – one of which initially went to PS217 for pre-K through 1st grade. Private schools love Roosevelt Island children because they bring uniqueness to the school geographically. Look at how your child interacts with other children and adults. Think about whether a small or large environment would be better. Consider what is important to you as the parent. We chose private school for our children because one needed more attention in his schoolwork from the teacher and the other needs more nurturing and emotional support.  Both are provided better in a small than in a larger classroom.  Private schools also commonly offer extra curriculum enriching courses and a wide variety of after school activities.

Nancy Ibrahim: Works in UNIS admissions. Some private schools have a great parent-student ratio. Many have application deadlines around mid-November. For busing, for $2,000 per year students can pay to ride on a private UNIS school bus but there also is the no-cost public school busing option (but it requires leaving earlier in the morning and has less flexbility).

Q/A, started at 4:55pm:

1. Q: Is it true that ERB is no longer being required in future years for Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York schools and most schools are dropping it?
A: Yes, the ISAAGNY is looking for an alternative to the ERB. Please check with each school on their requirements.

2. Q: What happens at private school play date tryouts?
A: You should call and ask a specific school what to expect and then you can tell the child what will happen. At UNIS, they assess in groups of 5 playing together and also through a one-on-one meeting with a teacher. They are assessing numerous factors, probably including how well the kid separates from the parent, the kid’s social skills, and if the kid already took schooling then how much the kid has learned/how well behaved the kid is.

3. Q: How/when did one parent on the panel find out ADD diagnosis?
A: Different parents answered that one family found out at 11 years old and another family found out at 4 years old.

4. Q: How is the typical teacher to student ratio?
A: K at ps217 is 24 per teacher for general K and 17 or 18 per teacher for G/T. At one point there was around 31 for one teacher but then the school hired a second teacher and now there are around 16 per teacher. NYC maximum for Kindergarten is 25 per class. Allowance in Sept. and Oct. tends to go over the limit in order to see how many kids join or transfer out of the school. Only exception to the class limit is Midtown west, where it seems nobody complaints about having 28 children per class. In older years, some G/Ts have more students per teacher but it works fine because they might do work in groups of four with the teacher stopping by each group.

5. Q: For those parents with one child in G/T and one not in G/T, do you see any difference?
A: In G/T you notice a difference in the other students because they had to be able to sit and focus on that G/T test to qualify (although it is still possible for a kid in G/T to be misbehaved despite, if the kid frequently chooses not to exercise the ability to focus quietly). Another impact is that many G/T schools have committed parents willing to donate more money so that there are more resources.
A: Another parent says she sees a difference trending more as the children get older and thinks it might be due to the commitment level of the parents, not necessarily that there is better instruction.

6. Q: If not G/T qualified at first, what are the odds of getting back on the advanced track after doing non-G/T studies?
A: At UNIS, they look at many factors so they are not completely shutting out a child who had a specific pathway for K and first grade when applying for sixth grade, for example.
A: One parent says that for some schools, there are almost no slots open for the higher grades because so many students in the lower grades continue studying at the school and take up the slots.

7. Q: It seems funny to have lots of transfers around Sept. and October with students getting into G/T or switching public schools.
A: It does not happen much at private schools but it does happen in public schools. Probably not such a big deal if a school has only 3 or 4 new kids. But with 8 new kids (as once pretty much happened at ps217), it can be disruptive -- but various parents point out that having that many new kids is very rare so people should not worry about that too much.

8. Q: Other zoned schools seem to have better fundraising from PTA than ps217.
A: But at ps217, recently parents really came together to rescue an arts program, the school already has a music teacher and enough support that musical instruments are provided at no cost to students and the music program has been there for 20 years. The offer of no-cost musical instruments has some common sense limits, though – the PTA is not giving out pianos of course. PS217 has yoga and movement in class. It has gardening. It has some after school programs, too, that require families to pay to participate. Odds are that art and music classes will stay for a while.

9. Q: How is applying for public school pre-K?
A: Fill out a questionnaire and then it is pure lottery.

10. Q: Do you have any tips on figuring out whether a school is good at supporting specific special needs of kids?
A: The process actually begins in pre-school if your child has attended. If your child requires speech physical , and or occupational therapy they may need evaluations to determine the correct placement for them. Also children who have been diagnosed with Autism or ADHD or ADD may need certain classroom accommodations that your local school may not be able to offer. Your child may be eligible for services granted through a individual education plan. This plan helps address the needs of the student and gives then supports while in the classroom . If your child carries any of these diagnosis but you are unsure the school based team once in a school can evaluate your child if you address concerns. To answer your question more specifically: Look at the number of students serviced with special needs. For example, if they offer group therapy for ADHD, check how many are in their group. A school might say it can only take 8 minimum per group but at the kindergarten level a kid might really need a group of six or less people. Look for more details about what kind of equipment they have such as whether physical therapy is done by having a kid walk up a staircase. Schools with great therapeutic staff usually have staff that stays (so you can ask about the years of service of the staff).

11. Q: If born in fall and start public school but not old enough to meet the cutoff to apply for private school and the following year the child applies and gets accepted to private school, will every private school force every child in that situation to redo the kindergarten level?
A: One child repeated fifth grade when the child switched over. When older, school will check testing results to assess whether to move forward or repeat the level. For UNIS, at the kindergarten level the child in that situation will also be forced to take a year in kindergarten at UNIS but it is not really repetitive for the child because UNIS has a very different teaching method and will give more attention than the child probably had before.
A: At the kindergarten level, private schools are usually not flexible with admission age.  There are some private schools that follow the same age guidelines as public school.  At the higher grades, if you are coming from public to private, they will be more flexible.  They will assess your child's test scores, etc. and make a decision with the parents. My niece missed the cutoff for kindergarten by one day at Sacred Heart and they were not flexible at all with the date.  My son at Poly Prep was not even considered for the higher grade level even though he already completed fifth grade. As far as repeating kindergarten or any other grade level in private school, every school has a unique curriculum and your child will not be bored.  The adjustment to the new school curriculum and environment will keep them engaged.  Also, the smaller classroom will allow a teacher to give more one on one attention and challenge one student where needed while teaching others at another level.

12. Q: What happens if a child starts at private school and then shifts to public school and the child is born in the fall?
A: The public school often exercises flexibility by checking the kid’s skill level rather than purely applying a formula that would force the kid into a grade level based purely on the kid’s age.
A: If you are in private school first and then go to public school, the public schools will put your child in the next grade level after what they just completed in private school even if they are aged for the next grade.  Your child will not be forced ahead a grade level.

The workshop ended at 5:40pm.
You can find a handout with different kindergarten deadlines and resources here.