Saturday, February 1, 2014

First Sunday Live Jazz Salon At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA 5 - 7 PM Sunday Night February 2 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 Jazz Salon Sunday, February 2, 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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Everything You Want To Know About Beginning Of The Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Construction Process - And Plans For Open Space Landscaping Too

An update to yesterday's report on the January 29 meeting of the Cornell Roosevelt Island Construction and Community Task Force ("Task Force") meeting.

The meeting began with Cornell NYC Tech Director Of Capital Planning Andrew Winters telling the Task Force that construction barging operations have already begun followed by Mr. Winters introducing Aric Domozick from PAL Environmental Services to present plan for abatement and demolition of the Goldwater Hospital Site.

Image of Goldwater Hospital/Future Cornell NYC Tech Campus From Google Maps

Mr. Domozic prefaced his presentation to the Task Force by saying:
... We understand this is your community. We are coming into your community. We have a complicated project, we have a complicated mission to accomplish. However, we respect your community and we plan to work closely with you and make sure that we are as minimally intrusive to your lives as we can possible be.

We'll listen to everyone's concerns. We'll address concerns. We take very seriously your considerations and concerns as we address this project...

Here's the Cornell NYC Tech abatement and demolition plan for the site

with question and answers

followed by Karen Tamir of James Corner Field Operations presentation of the landscaping plan for the open public space on the Roosevelt Island campus

scheduled to open in the fall of 2017.

Don't forget the February 5 Town Hall Meeting on the Cornell Campus construction. You're invited to attend, learn about the project and ask questions.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cornell NYC Tech And Tishman Construction Answer Questions On Recent Undocumented Roosevelt Island Water Main Break - Will Use Metal Detectors And Ground Penetrating Radar To Prevent Future Occurrences

Reported January 20:

... that an undocumented water main pipe was cut on the northwest side of the former Goldwater Hospital site

Roosevelt Island Water Main Break On Site of Cornell NYC Tech Construciton

during construction drilling for the new Cornell NYC Tech campus....
... Unknown Roosevelt Island cables, pipes and other underground material beneath Goldwater Hospital may be a continual problem during Cornell NYC Tech construction....
During meeting last night of the Cornell Roosevelt Island Construction & Community Task Force, I asked Cornell NYC Tech Director of Capital Planning Andrew Winters and his contractors what is being done to insure similar occurrences do not happen again.

Mr. Winters asked Ted Musho, Vice President of Tishman Construction, who is overseeing the site work to explain what happened and measures being taken to prevent it from occurring again. According to Mr. Musho:
... metal detectors and ground penetrating radar...
will be used to prevent future similar occurrences but:
...the reality of it is that you got 70 years worth of utility work that is laid on top of the site that is not well documented. Its going to take alot of effort on our part when we go through there to do this...
Mr. Winters added:
... we've done about 12 or so borings around the site without incident ...    its an unfortunate occurrence. We're going to try and avoid it and do whatever we can in the future by being more aggressive...
Mr. Winters also explained that part of the construction project is to:
...upgrade every utility that's down there. Electric, water, sewer, storm, everything. Part of the upgrading is moving it into the right of way so that it is fully mapped and full accessible for the future.
Here's video of the full discussion.

Will have more video of last night's Cornell Roosevelt Island Construction & Community Task Force meeting including information on the demolition of Goldwater Hospital later.

Stay tuned.

Also, don't forget the February 5 Town Hall Meeting on the Cornell Campus construction. You're invited to attend, learn about the project and ask questions.

UPDATE 1/30 - Here's video of everything you want to know about beginning of the Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island construction process - and plans for open space landscaping too.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mayor DeBlasio's Transition Chief Carl Weisbrod and Other Roosevelt Island Residents Want To Know When We Are Getting Our Wine Store - Hudson Related's David Kramer Gives Status Update On Main Street Retail Progress

Site of New Roosevelt Island Liquor Store And Former Home of the Grog Wine Shop

Westviewer asks
Any word on retail, especially the liquor store? Work had begun on the site some time ago, then stopped while the walkway was being redone. Now, nothing. We remain the only neighborhood in NYC without a wine/ liquor store.
During the January 14 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee (audio web cast here), Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder David Kramer of Hudson Related provided an update on the status of Main Street retail.

Mr. Kramer began the update by reporting that he recently met Roosevelt Island resident and Mayor DeBlasio's Transition Chairman Carl Weisbrod. Mr. Weisbrod's first words to Mr. Kramer were:
When are we getting our wine store?
Mr. Kramer expects the Wine Shop to open soon. The Wine Shop is owned by the same owner as the Wholesome Factory organic grocer on Main Street. The Wine Shop lease was signed over two years ago, they are current on their rent, have their liquor license and are in process of getting building permit.

Mr. Kramer added:
... Hudson Related has successfully completed phase 2 of our program. Phase 1 was listening tour, strategy phase...

... Part 2 was the corridor upgrade ...  we're very pleased with how that turned out...

... Part 3  which is now we need some more retailers...
and using a football analogy:
... We're at the 50 yard line. We're not in the red zone yet but we're getting there...
Here's video of the Main Street Retail discussion with Mr. Kramer.

During January 15 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Main Street Retail Committee, Hudson Related's Arianna Sachs- Rosenburg reported:
  • Trellis has received an approval for its exterior improvements from RIOC and is presently interviewing contractors for the work.
  • The Hardware store continues to be under eviction process.
  • New tenants are being sought for the space currently occupied by the Thrift Store. If possible, the Thrift Store may be able to stay in a much smaller space.
  • The Wholesome Food Factory is performing well as are the Southtown stores. No specific mention of the Subway or Ice Cream store performances.
  • Hudson Related is seeking solutions for pigeons nesting on the new lamps at the Roosevelt Landings Main Street Arcade.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Very Cool Video Showing Split Screen View Of New York City Waterfront Skyline From Roosevelt Island Tram Looking North And South At Same Time

Image Of Roosevelt Island Split Screen View From Supermassive Works

We all know about and enjoy the spectacular views of the NYC Skyline seen from the Roosevelt Island Tram. However, one must make a choice - do you prefer looking north or south from the Tram Cabin?

Well, right now you don't have to make that choice because this split screen video shows us the views looking both north and south at the same time.

Great job with the video from folks at Supermassive Works.

More great Roosevelt Island Tram Ride views at night here and with the Valkyries here.

Roosevelt Island Bridge 15 Minute Daytime Full Closure Wednesday January 29 Says NYC DOT, Rehab Testing Program Continues - Learn About Roosevelt Island Bridge History Too

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:
According to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT)
The New York City Department of Transportation Division of Bridges will continue the testing program on the rehabilitated Roosevelt Island Bridge on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. Between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., the bridge will be fully closed for up to 15 minutes.

A second test will occur only after the first full test is concluded and any queue of traffic is dissipated. Testing requires a complete closure of the bridge to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic during lifts.

The work is weather sensitive and inclement weather may cause it to be rescheduled or delayed. Emergency services and first responders have been notified of the testing program.

Questions regarding the bridge closure may be addressed to Anne Koenig of the Office of Community Affairs at 212-839-6307 or You may also call the New York City Government Services and Information Hotline at 311. Please be prepared to give your name, your borough, and the project number, HBM1117, to be routed to the project management team.
UPDATE 12:50 PM - Brownstoner Queens has more on the history of the Roosevelt Island Bridge:
Roosevelt Island is technically part of Manhattan, although it is definitely “its own thing.” Tangibly, the island is connected by the famous Roosevelt Island tram on the western or city-facing side. All vehicles, including Emergency Services like the Fire Department, will find that the only game in town for getting onto the island is by going through Queens.

By the standards of East River Bridges, she’s a twerp. The tiny span is more than a bit overshadowed by it’s spectacular neighbors (Queensboro, Triborough, and Hellgate are nearby) and sits half hidden behind a power plant in Ravenswood. She’s the Roosevelt Island Bridge....
Click here for the full article.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Residents, Community Leaders And Elected Officials Celebrate Inauguration Of New Roosevelt Island/Upper East Side NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Yesterday

Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member Ben Kallos celebrated his first inauguration yesterday afternoon at the 92nd Street Y.

Mr. Kallos was sworn in by NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Below are remarks by Mr. Schneiderman followed by the oath of office, the inaugural speech by NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

and the Press Release from his office about the inauguration:
... more than seven hundred community leaders and guests joined United States Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia "Tish" James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger, Council Member Dan Garodonick, Former Public Advocate Mark Green, Former Council Member Jessica Lappin, Former Assembly Member Jonathan Bing, and Bill Samuels to celebrate the inauguration of Council Member Benjamin J. Kallos. Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, who is on an international trip, provided remarks by video message.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman swore in Benjamin Kallos on Mr. Kallos’ bar-mitzvah chumash as it was held by his sister.

The ceremony at the 92nd Street Y featured invocations from all three major religions as well as performances by renowned concert pianist and district resident Roy Eaton under slides of landmarks and community groups in the district, the national anthem by Talent Unlimited High School Men’s Ensemble, a ballet performance of Snow Pas de Deux from the Yorkville Nutcracker by Dances Patrelle, gymnastics performances by the 92nd Street Y GymStars and the Asphalt Green Wave Gymnastics Team, as well as readings of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s “First They Came…” and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” by members of the community.

The holocaust, survival, and standing up for those without a voice were prominent themes throughout the program, as were Roosevelt's Four Freedoms.

Themes of unity and equality ran through the Council Member Kallos' remarks, which touched on good government reform, his agenda for the Government Operations Committee, which he will chair, and his planned work in the district for the next four years. The following is excerpted from his remarks:

"I will heed the lessons of the 'greatest generation.' I will speak for those for whom there is no one else to speak, regardless of whether I am one of them. Four essential human freedoms that we heard about from Jim remain a generation overdue. But like FDR, I believe them to be 'attainable in our own time and generation.' And I believe that they start at the local level, in the community. I will focus on 'freedom from want' to ensure 'a healthy peace time life for inhabitants,' a living wage for all so that we may eliminate the ever-growing gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' in hopes of unifying our great city.

"I started this journey out of love for the neighborhood where I grew up and the conviction that government could be better. After thousands of conversations, hundreds of volunteers, dozens of special interest checks turned away, and your solutions for a better city submitted on my website and shared with me in person, I have been overwhelmed by the support for my vision: A government that is open, transparent, and accountable to you."

Kallos continued with his vision for the Government Operations Committee of the City Council: “Our mandate will be to make our city’s operations more efficient at seamlessly serving you.” Kallos highlighted reform of community boards, campaign finance, the Board of Elections and the Board of Standards and Appeals.

Kallos invited members of the community to join him in-person for “First Fridays” in his district office (starting February 7), offered his website and phone number, and promised to bring his office to the community with mobile hours at community centers and senior homes.

In stating his policy priorities, Kallos focused on education by proposing more schools by incentivizing their inclusion in new buildings and identifying new spaces. He also reaffirmed his support for universal pre-K, after school and summer programs, and loan forgiveness for CUNY students who graduate and stay in the City.

Kallos continued with a commitment to seniors, affordable housing, women’s issues and his opposition to the Marine Transfer Station in Yorkville.

The community slideshow featured images from Asphalt Green, Bike NYC, CIVITAS, Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Historic Districts Council, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, The Municipal Art Society of New York and New York Junior Tennis League.

Invocations were given by Reverend Dr. Peter Heltzel a Minister from the Park Avenue Christian Church who is also the Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary, Imam Shamsi Ali the Imam and Director for Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens and Rabbi Harold Einsidler a Talmud Instructor at Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School and Rabbi at Park East Synagogue.

The Talent Unlimited High School Men’s Ensemble were directed by Jevaughn Greenaway and included performers Anthony Buchanan, Quint Burke, Isaiah Bycinthe, Andreas Coca, Brendon George, Earnie Grant, Jerry Lancaster, Jr., Hakeem Miller, Michael Stewart, and Ngyasi Whitaker.

The gymnastics performance from the 92nd Street Y GymStars featured Sarah Bondy, Madeleine Berkowitz, Emilia Benenati, Allie Bobrow, Isabella Buonomo, Myeh Medina, Abigail O’Connell, Elizabeth O’Connell, Hana Prokop, and Lauren Reifowitz with Asphalt Green Wave Gymnastics Team featuring Kate Kaplin, Nadiya Khan, Solene Lezec, Karen Murai, Carolina Stocchi, Kiyoka Tokumasu, Saylor Vaught, and Anna Zweck-Bronner.

Poetry readings were given by community leaders Elsbeth Raymond and "Uncle" Jim Bates.
The full video from the inauguration of Mr. Kallos is here. 

Earlier this month, Mr. Kallos spoke to the January Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council meeting about some of his upcoming plans and programs. He spoke about:
  • a community representative who lives on Roosevelt Island, 
  • Citi Bike Sharing for Roosevelt Island ,
  • improving transportation options for the community, 
  • making sure that the MTA removes the snow in front of the subway station, 
  • having a social worker on his staff to help with constituent services and
  • more.  
 Here's what he had to say.

Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization January 30 Seminar On Benefits Of Yoga - Bring A Friend

The Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO) sends the following invitation to women 18 years and older for its January 30 Monthly Seminar.
Roosevelt Island Women’s Health Organization (RIWHO)
Presents free monthly seminars for women age 18 and older
Offering Health tips on Healthy living

DATE: Thursday, January 30, 2014
TIME: 6:30 PM
PLACE: 546 Main Street In The Community Room On The 12th Floor

Guest Speaker
Zen Holmes

Will speak on the benefits of Yoga and do a seated demo

We will also offer a Mediation session and a blood pressure reading by our resident Registered Nurse Eileen Sheehy

Please bring a friend
Refreshments will be served

Next Seminar Date: Wednesday, February 26 same time and location

Hold The Date: Sunday May 4 for a Fundraiser Spa day

RIOC President Charlene Indelicato Reports On Roosevelt Island Snowstorms, Cornell NYC Tech Water Main Break, Power Blackout & Phone Line Cut During Her Tenure - But At Least No Locusts She Tells RIOC Board

 Image Of January 20 Cornell NYC Tech Construction Water Main Break

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato discussed the recent snowstorm clean up, Cornell NYC Tech water main break and appointment of former NY Empire State Development Corp (ESDC) Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Frances Walton as RIOC CFO during the January 23 RIOC Board of Directors meeting.

First, Ms. Indelicato complimented Transportation Manager Cy Opperman and RIOC staff for the good job they did cleaning up Roosevelt Island following last week's snowstorm.

Followed by addressing the water main break at the Cornell NYC construction site.

Ms. Indelicato did not blame Cornell NYC Tech construction for the water main break which was due to undocumented pipes below ground. Ms. Indelicato noted that she met with Cornell NYC Tech about the water main break and reported that Cornell followed the "usual" construction protocols. However, Cornell now understands that "usual" is not satisfactory for construction projects on Roosevelt Island.

Ms. Indelicato added that Cornell will have:
... to go the extra distance. They will use every means possible to make sure when they are doing their boring, which they have to do, and looking for their utilities they will use the most current operational materials they can and equipment ... sonar ... that will supposedly help.

That doesn't mean we will not suffer anything, it just means, hopefully, won't be too often....
Ms. Indelicato's full remarks to the RIOC Board are below.

Well, at least no locusts invading Roosevelt Island

Image From AP Photo/Mori Chen via Examiner


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Report From Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove - Barging Construction Materials Begins For New Campus, Jane Swanson Joins As Community Liaison And Town Hall Meeting February 5

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.

Happy New Year!

2014 is barely underway but it is my great pleasure to share two exciting announcements related to construction of the Cornell Tech campus here on Roosevelt Island: the official start of barging operations, and the addition of a new team member who should be very familiar to Islanders.

Earlier this week, we launched the largest voluntary barging operation in New York City with the arrival of our first barge from New Jersey. The first barge brought over construction materials, empty containers to be filled with demolition materials, and the large crane that moves the materials to and from the barge. By the time this column is published we will likely have begun installation of a site fence, and removed our first load of demolition material via barge, signaling the start of construction and our ongoing effort to minimize the impact of construction on the Island. The first demolition work will be interior demolition, which will include the removal of partitions, walls and ceilings. All of the debris from the interior demolition that needs to be removed will be placed in containers and transported from the site by barge.

In order to maintain public safety during barging operations, the east roadway and promenade will be closed for the duration of the abatement and demolition project – anticipated to be about one year. In order to accommodate traffic to South Point Park and Four Freedoms Park, the west roadway will be modified to accommodate two-way traffic, including the creation of a temporary vehicle turn-around near the west entrance to South Point Park. The roadway modification and construction of the turn-around is expected to take several weeks and, during that time, the west roadway will be closed to all but emergency vehicles. Following the completion of this work, no later than April 1, the west roadway will be re-opened. The west pedestrian promenade will be opened for the entire duration of the abatement and demolition project, including the time when the west roadway will be closed.

The second piece of exciting news is the addition of Jane Swanson to the Cornell Tech team. Many of you know Jane from her years of service to the Island, most recently as chief of staff to Council Member Jessica Lappin. Jane joins the campus as Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations and will work directly with 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. We couldn’t think of a better person for this role and I know that you will join me in welcoming Jane.

Now that construction is underway, I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities Cornell Tech is providing to keep informed on the progress of the work. 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.

In addition, we will be 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.

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. As construction kicks off I hope that you will keep in touch with us, sharing any questions or concerns, and I hope to see many of you on February 5th.
Here's more on the Roosevelt Island construction barging process from Cornell NYC Tech Director Of Capital Planning Andrew Winters.