Saturday, March 1, 2014

More Snow Coming - No Parking On Both Sides Of Roosevelt Island's Main Street Beginning Monday 12 AM Say RIOC

 RIOC Plow Removing Snow From Roosevelt Island's Main Street

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
The National Weather Service is forecasting for snow to begin falling in the NYC Metropolitan area after midnight tonight through Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 at 12:00 A.M. with an accumulation of anywhere from 6 - 12 inches.

Thus, effective at 12:00 A.M., Monday, March 3rd, 2014, there will be no parking on both sides of Main St. on Roosevelt Island until 12:00P.M., Wednesday, March 5th, 2014.

Free parking will be available at the Motorgate garage and underneath the Helix Ramp beginning at 12:00 A.M., Monday, March 3rd, 2014 through 12:00 P.M., Wednesday, March 5th, 2014. This accommodation is for Roosevelt Island residents ONLY. It is imperative that vehicles parked underneath the Helix ramp be moved by 12:00 P.M. Friday, March 7th, 2014 in order to accommodate the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, March 8th, 2014.

Vehicles that do not abide by the aforementioned regulations may be summonsed and subject to being towed at the owner’s expense.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department at 212- 832- 4545. You may also visit the Motorgate Parking Garage offices located on the 4th floor of the garage.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
UPDATE 3/3 - According to RIOC:
Be advised Main Street is open for parking.

If you have parked your vehicle in the Motorgate Parking Garage due to the snow emergency, please remove your vehicle at your earliest convenience.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Friday, February 28, 2014

Gorgeous Black And White View Of Queensboro Bridge And New York City East River Waterfront Seen From Roosevelt Island

No Roosevelt Island F Train To Manhattan This Weekend - Get Your No F Train Door Magnets

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, Feb 28 - Mar 3

Trains resume regular service at 47-50 Sts.
Another reason to stop by and get your No F Train Subway Service door magnets

from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Center Kiosk.

Dead Roosevelt Island Rat In Front Of RIOC Office Courtyard For Last 3 Days Reports Resident - Who Will Remove It?

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

UPDATE 7:45 - The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) reports that the dead rat was removed this afternoon.

View Of Early 1970's Roosevelt Island From Harry & Tonto Film - Passenger Elevator Storehouse To Queensboro Bridge, Nurses Residence And Ravenswood Power Plant Coal Chute

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse gives us a look at Roosevelt Island from the early 1970's in this screenshot from the movie Harry and Tonto.

I asked Roosevelt Island Historical Society President (RIHS) Judy Berdy:
What are the buildings next to queensboro bridge in picture?
Ms Berdy replied.
According to Neil Tandon writing for the RIHS:
... The Elevator Storehouse, opened in 1919, housed an elevator that transported cars and people from the Queensboro Bridge down to the present-day Tramway Plaza. In addition, it contained storage space and a reception ward for the island's Metropolitan Hospital. The building, whose main lobby was on its top floor, was nicknamed the upside-down building and was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not for its peculiar design. With the opening of the Welfare Island Bridge, the building closed in 1955 and was demolished in 1970....
The Greater Astoria Historical Society provides this picture of Elevator Storehouse on Roosevelt (then Blackwells) Island

Here's more on the Queensboro Bridge passenger elevator to Roosevelt Island from Ms. Berdy's Book Images of America Roosevelt Island.  An excerpt:
Perhaps, one day in the future a passenger elevator from Roosevelt Island to the Queensboro Bridge will return.

Harry and Tonto was a very good film starring Art Carney. According to Rotten Tomatoes:
In Paul Mazursky's rueful character drama, 57-year-old Art Carney plays Harry, a 70-plus Manhattan widower who loses his tiny apartment to the wrecking ball. Accompanied by his pet, an aged cat named Tonto, Harry sets out on an odyssey to Los Angeles....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Roosevelt Island Door Magnets Reminding You To Check Weekend F Train Service To And From Manhattan Available At Roosevelt Island Historical Society Kiosk

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) adds another addition to it's collection of Roosevelt Island memorabilia. RIHS President Judy Berdy reports:

Are you frustrated with the continual planned services changes in our weekend subway service?

Here is a solution.

Put a magnet on your door to remind you that there is no service in one direction.

There are two magnets available:
No Manhattan Bound Service
No Queens Bound Service
Image Of Magnets From RIHS

The ultimate in Roosevelt Island memorabelia has arrived. Our two new magnets are now on sale in the RIHS Visitor Center Kiosk. $5- each (We accept charge cards)
You can also purchase a Tram magnet

as well as other items at the RIHS Kiosk.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting With Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, NYPD 114th Precinct Commander Kevin Maloney And NY State Senator Jose Serrano - Here's What Happened

Last evening, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, NYPD 114 Precinct Commander Kevin Maloney and NY State Senator Jose Serrano held a Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting to discuss criminal justice and public safety issues effecting our community.

Senator Serrano tweeted:

The Town Hall began with an introduction by Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar followed by brief presentations from DA Vance, State Senator Serrano and Deputy Inspector Maloney.

DA Vance addressed the recent arrest and sentencing of the former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President Of Operations for falsifying payroll records, the allegations of Public Safety Department (PSD) Officers misconduct (it's currently under investigation so he would not comment publicly on allegations) and issues of domestic violence.

Senator Serrano complimented Mr. Vance for the work of the DA's office noting that in addition to "taking down criminals", the DA's Office is concerned with keeping kids "from getting involved in any types of crime". Mr. Serrano also complimented the DA's office on how they serve and protect the immigrant community here on Roosevelt Island and the rest of Manhattan.

Deputy Inspector Maloney reported that he was recently appointed to his position at the 114 precinct last November and that this was his first official trip to Roosevelt Island though he has been working with RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus on Roosevelt Island issues. Deputy Inspector Maloney also said that there is one full time NYPD officer assigned to Roosevelt Island.

PSD Director McManaus (left) Next To NYPD's Maloney, DA Cyrus Vance And State Senator Serrano

Following the presentations, there was a one hour session of questions from the Roosevelt Island residents in attendance. Questions included issues of:
  • Safety at Roosevelt Landings,
  • The District Attorney's Trespass Affidavit Program,
  • Misconduct Of Public Safety Department Officers as well as statements about improvements at PSD under new Director McManus,
  • Allegations of PSD Officers fabricated testimony under prior PSD Administration and more.
There were also questions asked on non criminal justice issues such as:
  • affordable housing
  • emergency preparedness in the event of another Hurricane Sandy and
  • making public meetings accessible for the hearing impaired.
Here's video of the entire 75 minute Town Hall Meeting.

It was a very informative Town Hall Meeting. Thanks to Senator Serrano, DA Vance and Deputy Inspector Maloney for participating and the Roosevelt Island audience for their excellent questions.

Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization Monthly Seminar Wednesday February 26 - Bike New York Presentation On Benefits Of Biking And Identifying Healing Effects Of Chakras

The Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO) sends the following invitation to women 18 years and older for its February 26 Monthly Seminar.

More information on Bike New York's Roosevelt Island programs at this previous post.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Talks District Issues With CB 8 Speaks But No Specific Questions On Roosevelt Island Asked - Kallos Hears Panel Of Open Data Experts Explaining Ways To Improve Functioning Of NYC Council Today

Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member (5th District Manhattan) Ben Kallos appeared on Community Board 8 CB8 Speaks program.

Mr. Kallos addressed issues on the
  • East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, 
  • Second Avenue Subway, 
  • Chairmanship of NYC Council Committee On Government Operations,  
  • Affordable Housing,
  • Seniors Citizens,
  • East River Esplanade,
  • Women's issues (He's only man on Women's Committee),
  • Pre Kindergarten education and more.
Unfortunately, no questions were asked about specific Roosevelt Island issues.

Here's the CB 8 Speaks interview with Mr. Kallos

Today, Mr. Kallos organized a panel on the use of technology to improve the functioning of the NYC Council. His office issued the following Press Release:
Today, technology experts and open data leaders Andrew Rasiej, Noel Hidalgo, John Kaehny and David Moore testified before members of the City Council on innovative technology reforms that will improve the transparency, openness and accountability of the legislative body. The reforms focused on improving legislative transparency, constituent services and the discretionary funding process using technology.

Proposals included:
  • Improving constituent service with interactive tools that empower Council Members and residents to have more open communication;
  • Transparency for the legislative process so that it is more publicly accessible, with all information centralized and easy to find.
  • Opening the City Council Legislative website’s API (the code that allows programmers to share information and build new applications) so anyone can access the information however they wish, using software that the Council is free to improve upon and redistribute;
  • Supporting Participatory Budgeting with a standard technology and communications infrastructure to encourage more residents to vote on how capital funding is spent in their neighborhoods; and
  • Transparency for the application and distribution of discretionary member item grants to community organizations.
Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer, organized the panel with in close coordination with Council Member Brad Lander, the Chair of the Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Elections, as part of panels on a series of reforms to improve the fairness, transparency and efficiency of the New York City Council. Last October, more than 30 Council Members signed on to Rules Reforms, which this hearing aims to implement.

Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Media and Sunlight Foundation, David Moore of the Participatory Politics Foundation, Noel Hidalgo of Beta NYC, and John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany are international, national and local advocates for increased participation and open information in government through the lens of technology.

“We commend the City Council for taking this time to review and adapt its rules for the 21st century. For a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, FOR the 21 century, the City Council needs to embrace the role of a Chief Information Officer who is empowered to adapt 21st century tools and business practices,” said Hidalgo. “In 2009, the New York State Senate created such a team, and I was honored to be a part of it. Using modern, safe, secure, open-source tools, we were able to adapt tools to increase transparency, efficiency, and participation for all New Yorkers. Now, it is the time for the City Council to embrace that same business practice and tools to make NYC the true digital capital of the world."

"We hope this hearing is the first step in a new process of continuous improvement, and public outreach, which will allow council to better harness the speed of light changes in technology. In particular, from today's hearing, we'd like to see the Council recognize the huge opportunities in mobile and two-way text technology to reduce the digital divide,” said Kaehny.

“My experience with shows that there is a huge public appetite for accessible information about what's happening in government. By making its legislative data fully accessible to the public, the New York City Council has an opportunity lead the nation in open government,” said Moore.

"New Yorkers are now competing in a 21st century global economy where access to real-time online information resources is a prerequisite for success,” said Andrew Rasiej, Chairman of NY Tech Meetup and founder of Personal Democracy Media. "The New York City Council has a responsibility to operate in ways that make sure all New Yorkers have a 21st century government that is transparent, accountable, and truly representative of the modern and fast changing world in which they now live.”

Council Member Ben Kallos said: “These top minds in the technology field have always been innovators, and their solutions for the New York City Council are no exception. Along with my colleagues, I am excited for real change in the way the Council operates—making it a more effective, open body where the best ideas rise to the top. After posting state legislative records online, I saw the benefits of opening information to the public so they can hold representatives accountable. Since then, I’ve been fighting to reform government through technology that improves communication between government and the people we represent.”...

Report From New Roosevelt Island Resident Association President Jeff Escobar - RIRA Can Do Better, District Attorney Town Hall Meeting Tonight And Amalgamated Bank Mortgage Seminar Wednesday

 Image Of Jeff Escobar (standing) at 10/12/22 Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar sends the following Report To The Community:
As many may or may not know, at the February 5, 2014 Common Council Session, RIRA President Ellen Polivy had announced that she would step down from her role as president of RIRA due to personal reasons. As an organization whose heart, soul and success lies in those who choose what little time they have outside of their own personal and professional lives to represent and advocate for the interests of those who live on this tiny island we all share as our home, every respect and appreciation must be given to Ms. Polivy not only for her past service and her continued work on behalf of this community, but also her foresight to recognize her need to step down.

Thusly, inasmuch as I was elected by all of you in a contested race in November 2012 as RIRA Vice-President, I am tasked to not only carry on the duties and office of the RIRA Presidency, but also right this ship. I have no equivocations of the place RIRA has put itself since the inception of this term: once a home where a sense of community lived with a sense of purpose and relevance, it is now rudderless and a place where personal politics and past conflicts are carried under the delusional flag that it is saving RIRA from its members. Some would rather have such strife pervade over the work that it should be doing. I, as its new President, am not one of them.

“We Can Do Better”

Each Common Council member has had a hand in the state that RIRA is currently in. Each Common Council member, however, also has the choice of either rebuilding what was lost or continuing the path that has led RIRA to its dismal state. For the sake of this Island and for those who call it home, we can and must do better.

Respect. Civility. Relevance. Community. These four pillars are what should and shall be the bedrock of RIRA. As the direct conduit not to only RIOC but the City at large, it is time that the Common Council members come together and work for the community and be its voice, to do its work, and to meet as a community to tackle and address Island issues in a setting where all is invited. Because, isn’t that what this little ship in the middle of the East River always been about?

Eight months remain in the terms of the current Common Council members, with five Common Council Meetings to be convened. As I have indicated before and reiterate now, it will be up to those Common Council members who choose to remain how much, or how little, will be done during this time. To those who wish to continue their past “work” which has veered RIRA off of its course this past year-and-a-half, such past is past and should either be checked at the door or be tabled to be undertaken in November when the newly elected RIRA board take its seat. Until then, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, respect your neighbors, treat each other with the civility that each person deserves and make RIRA relevant again. If RIRA finally leads, then the community will follow.

Community Events

As life continues on, so do many community events. Of note, I strongly urge to attend the two following events occurring in the next week or so:

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting with New York State Senator Serrano and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office --Monday, February 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center. Voice your concerns and questions directly to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano and New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner as they relate to life on Roosevelt Island and the City at large. This is a unique opportunity to ask questions and advocate for solutions to problems that affect us all.

Mortgage Seminar at Amalgamated Bank– Wednesday, February 25 at 7:00 PM at Amalgamated Bank. For those who have questions and concerns about buying a home, obtaining a mortgage and how to finance a purchase, Amalgamated Bank on Main Street is offering an opportunity to directly ask such questions and a comfortable setting. Please contact Al Salas, Manager at Amalgamated Bank, if you are interested in attending: or 212 413 8775.

Do you have a community concern, question or initiative that you wish to undertake or need help? Have an upcoming community event? Please do not hesitate in emailing me directly at
More on the new RIRA President at this previous post which includes video of Mr. Escobar speaking to the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) in October 2012 on issues regarding the Cornell NYC Tech project.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Series Of Recent Roosevelt Island Burglaries At Roosevelt Landings - Residents At Home In Several Incidents, Double Lock Your Apartment Door Says RIOC Public Safety Director

Image Of Credit Card Used To Open Door From Paxton Locksmithing (For Illustrative Purposes Only)

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Jack McManus sends the following message to the community:
A series of burglaries have occurred at the Roosevelt Landings over the past several weeks. There are no indications that forced entry was used to enter these apartments.

Instead, entry appears to have been made by compromising apartment doors that were not double-locked. In several of these incidents, residents were at home while the Burglary occurred.

The suspect(s) have removed property that can be easily carried such as Laptops, Pocketbooks and Purses.

Thankfully, there were no injuries to any residents during the course of these crimes. We cannot overemphasize the importance of double-locking your door upon exiting or entering your apartment.

Additionally, the Public Safety Department has created a document entitled "Crime Prevention Tips For Our Island Residents". The information included in this document is time-tested by Law Enforcement Agencies, and deemed to be quite helpful. Copies are available at the Public Safety Department (PSD). Please take the time to read this document.

The Public Safety Department along with our NYPD partners are working diligently to locate those responsible for these crimes and to help prevent future occurrences. Please call the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department at (212)832-4545 if you have any questions.
The RIOC January 2014 Public Safety Blotter shows these 3 Roosevelt Landings burglaries:
  • 1/7/14 540 Main Street - Resident reported items were missing from his apt. NYPD on site took report. No sign of forced entry, search made for subj/property with neg results. Bldg. Management to change door locks.
  • 1/16/14 - 540 Main Street - Resident reported items were missing from his apt. NYPD to investigate; no sign of forced entry
  • 1/18/14 - 540 Main Street - Resident reported a laptop was missing from the apt. NYPD responded and filed report; no signs of forced entry.
and December 2013 RIOC Public Safety Blotter shows another 2 burglaries at Roosevelt Landings.
  • 12/9/13 - 540 Main Street - Tenant stated she found her door open and her 2 laptops missing. No signs of forced entry; NYPD notified and filed report.
  • 12/17/13 - 546 Main Street - Resident reports that she stepped out to throw trash and that upon her return her book bag was missing, Search made with neg results; report filed with NYPD
Also, reported last July that there were a series of burglaries at Manhattan Park.

The RIOC Public Safety Department has these Crime Prevention Tips to follow for your safety:

Crime Prevention tips for our island residents:

1. Keep front doors, patio doors and windows locked. If you have a patio, Burglar-proof your glass patio doors by setting a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. The pipe should be the same length as the track.

2. Have your key ready before you approach your apartment door. Don't leave extra keys under doormats, potted plants or any other obvious outdoor location. Burglars will generally find them. Find an inconspicuous place to hide the keys, or give a set to a neighbor you can trust

3. Store cash, jewelry and other valuables in a safe or safety deposit box instead of leaving them lying around the home.

4. Do not leave notes on the door for service people or family members when you are not there. These alert the burglar that you are not home.

5. Be sure to use a dead bolt lock on your doors.

6. Look through your door peep hole before answering the door.

7. Use the door chain when answering and before opening the door.

8. Be sure your apartment door is dead bolt locked before retiring for the night or leaving your apartment.

9. Do not open the door for strangers until you have established their identity and purpose.

10. If you cannot establish their identity, call the PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT at (212) 832- 4545. We are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

11. Report any suspicious persons loitering or soliciting to the PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT.

12. Be aware of your surroundings.

13. Lock your door immediately upon entering your apartment.

14. Be sure the entrance outside your apartment door is well lit.

15. If you feel unsafe during late hours, call the PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT and we will walk you to your residence.

John B. McManus, Director

Joyce Short, the head of the Roosevelt Landings Tenants Association, commented on building security issues at this previous post last week on arrests inside the building for criminal possession of a gun:
As the Head of the Roosevelt Landings Residents Association, I'd like to voice my opinion on this issue.....

Roosevelt Landings is the only building on Roosevelt Island that does not have doormen or someone specifically on-site to deal with security issues in the building. When the Island was fashioned, the Public Safety Department was assigned that task, and our building's management pays a high price tag for that ongoing support.

We have 49 doors leading to our building. And because of our very quirky layout, nefarious access through any one puts residents at risk. Unfortunately, we have residents who live in our midst, who consistently disable the locks so they can come and go as they please, infringing on the safety of their neighbors. No one should tamper with locks for their amusement of selfish access.

People who live in other buildings are guarded from erroneous entry, where Roosevelt Landing's folks are not. Therefore, it is imperative that Roosevelt Landings have the protection of the District Attorney's Trespass program to deter offenders. And I believe Director McManus has instilled a proper approach to dealing with those issues in the men and women on his force.

Children loitering in hallways should be asked to "go home," not get arrested. People who are waiting at the doorway for their buddy to arrive should be escorted out of the building, not handcuffed and thrown into a cell.

People who demonstrate harmful intent should be dealt with in a manner befitting the danger they present.

A public safety officer should never have to put their life at risk by confronting a person with a weapon. That is the job for the police force, which, I believe is grossly under served in this community. When a problem involving a gun, knife, or other weapon comes up, resolution is urgent, and Public Safety Officers put themselves on the line to handle the situation. They should not have to do so.

Instead, we should have at least two permanent booths for police officers on Roosevelt Island. Our volume of population warrants at least that amount. It is unconscionable, and the failing of the City of New York, that this protection is not available to us.
I have been told that the criminal possession of weapon charges have been dismissed but am waiting for confirmation from the District Attorney's office.

Don't forget that tomorrow, February 24 is the Roosevelt Island Criminal Justice/Public Safety Town Hall meeting sponsored by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and NY State Senator Jose Serrano. You're invited.

UPDATE 2/24- The RIOC Public Safety Report noted these burglary incidents this past weekend.
  • 2/22/14 - 0100 - 531 Main St - Pass Burglary - PSD & NYPD responded - Report filed.
  • 02/22/14 - 1100 - 510 Main St. - Burglary - PSD and NYPD reports filed.
UPDATE 2/26 - According to a Manhattan District Attorney's Office representative, the weapons charge was dismissed. The weapon was a BB gun. A charge of marijuana possession remains.

UPDATE 2/27 - 2 more burglaries reported at Roosevelt Landings this week:
  • 02/26/14- 1044 - 510 Main St - Burglary - PSD responded. Referred to NYPD.
  • 02/25/14 - 1644 - 560 Main St - Burglary - Referred to NYPD.
UPDATE 3/11 - Another incident:
  • 03/08/14 - 1146 - 510 Main St - Attempted Burglary - PSD Responded
and another:
  • 03/10/14 - 1240 - 536 Main St - Burglary - PSD & NYPD responded - Report filed.