Saturday, March 22, 2014

NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowdon Talks On Taking Back The Internet At TED Conference And NSA Responds - Balancing Privacy Versus Security

Edward Snowden Telepresence Image From TED 2014

Very interesting presentation by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden filmed this month at the TED 2014 conference. According to TED 2014:
Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. "Your rights matter,” he says, "because you never know when you're going to need them."...
Here's Mr. Snowden (transcript here)

and a reply by NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett.


Friday, March 21, 2014

NYC Runs 5 & 10 K Roosevelt Island Spring Fling Race Tomorrow Morning - No Parking 6AM To Noon Saturday On West Roadway Between Tram And Subway

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Please be advised there will be a 5K and 10K Race on Saturday, March 22, 2014 beginning at 9:00AM that will take place around the perimeter of Roosevelt Island.

Please note that there will be no parking from 6 AM to 12 PM Saturday on the West Roadway between the Tram and the Subway (rear of 405-455 Main Street).

The race will be completely contained to a protected perimeter of the Island. Expect minor disruptions in Q102 and Red Bus service during that time.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information on tomorrow's race

from NYC Runs:
NYCRUNS Spring Fling 5K & 10K
Mar 22, 2014
Start time: The 5K begins at 9:30 AM; The 10K begins at 10:00 AM
Firefighters Field, Roosevelt Island
Address: 425 Main St. New York, NY
Online registration is now closed. You may register with cash or credit card at the race beginning at 8am.

Kick off spring at the 2nd annual NYCRUNS Spring Fling on Roosevelt Island! This fast flat race is a great tune-up for the season.

More Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA, That's Three In A Row - Service To Astoria Too

According to the MTA Weekender site, there will be Roosevelt Island F train service to and from Manhattan this weekend.


F Jamaica-bound trains make local stops at 36 St, Steinway St, 46 St, Northern Blvd and 65 St

Weekends, 12:30 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon, until Apr 7

RIOC Bus Expert Asks MTA To Put The Roosevelt Island Q 102 Where The Customers Are - Residents Suggest Better Bus Route Service To Long Island City And Astoria

On March 3, MTA Bus representatives met with a joint Community Board 8 (CB 8) Roosevelt Island/Transportation Committee and local residents to discuss Q 102 bus service on Roosevelt Island.

 Image of Q102 Bus From Wikipedia

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Of Operations, formerly RIOC Transportation General Manager and before that a long time MTA bus employee  Cy Opperman asked the MTA to better coordinate the Q 102 Roosevelt Island bus service with the RIOC Red Bus service. Mr. Opperman suggested that the MTA Q 102 bus stops at every RIOC Red Bus stop and to also change its route for the evening rush hour.

For the evening rush hour service, Mr. Opperman would like the Q102 bus to make a left after coming down the Roosevelt Island Bridge and head south, instead of north, to pick up passengers coming home from work at the Tram and Subway Station and then head north to the Octagon before going back over the Roosevelt Island Bridge to Queens.

According to Mr. Opperman, this Q 102 route change would be a tremendous benefit to Manhattan Park and Octagon residents as well as shorten lines at the evening rush hour bus stops.

Mr. Opperman emphasized:
Put The Buses Where The Customers Are
Here is the video of Mr. Opperman's remarks.

I asked the MTA representatives about providing better Q 102 bus service to the vibrant shopping districts of Long Island City and Astoria from Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance suggested that the Astoria bound Q 104 and Long Island City bound Q 103 could stop at the top of the Roosevelt Island Helix by the entrance to the Motorgate Garage.

Also discussed was service to Coler Hospital, Bus Driver Courtesy and changes to route due to Cornell construction.

Here's video of almost all of the hour long meeting.

This was a very informative meeting. Good job by the MTA officials, Community Board 8, Mr. Opperman and residents in attendance.

Report From RIOC President Charlene Indelicato - Roosevelt Island Red Bus Fare Eliminated April 1, Temporary Sportspark Closure, West Pier Repaired Soon, Octagon Tennis Court Resurfacing & More

 Image Of Roosevelt Island West Pier Reconstruction

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato sends the following report to the community.
Spring has arrived on Roosevelt Island after a particularly severe New York Winter. With the warmer weather’s return, several construction projects are moving forward and our staff has begun preparing the parks and fields for spring. The fare on the Red Bus will soon be eliminated, smoothing out Main Street traffic and making traveling on the Bus simpler as we begin the season. Down at Sportspark, the final installation of the facility’s temporary heating system is taking place – more information is below.

Red Bus Fare Elimination

As March comes to an end, RIOC would like to remind the community that the Red Bus will be free to ride beginning April 1. The elimination of the fare will help keep traffic on Main Street moving with faster boarding times, encouraging the use of mass transit on the Island. Making the Red Bus free to ride will also reduce operating costs by eliminating the need to collect fares from the buses. If you have a fare change card, please be advised that March is the last month these cards will be accepted on the bus. Once the fare is eliminated, refunds for any unused value remaining on the cards will be available at the RIOC Bus Garage (680 Main Street) until April 30, 2014.

Temporary Sportspark Closure

For many years, Roosevelt Island’s Steam Plant has supplied steam to Goldwater Hospital, the Sportspark facility, and several additional RIOC properties. Due to the closure of Goldwater Hospital, the City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation intends to close the Steam Plant permanently. In preparation for the potential closure of the Plant, RIOC is currently in the process of installing a temporary heating system at Sportspark.

This Monday and Tuesday, March 24−25, the Sportspark pool and gymnasium will be closed in order to finalize the installation of the temporary system. During this two-day closure, contractors will be installing the boiler and performing the required tie-ins to the existing system. We regret the inconvenience to the community during this time and thank you for your patience as this necessary work is completed. Please note that this will be the only closure of the facility during this installation process. Sportspark will re-open on Wednesday, March 26 at 6 a.m.

Construction Projects

Work is moving forward quickly on the West Pier. The lumber required for the repairs was delivered in the beginning of March and the installation of the decking is expected to be completed shortly. Damaged wiring has been replaced and work on the railings is in progress. Repairs are scheduled to be completed by March 31. We are pleased to be able to restore the Pier for the community’s enjoyment.

This Spring, the Octagon Tennis Courts will be undergoing resurfacing to repair and improve the playing surface. The Tennis Courts are currently open for free play and will be closed when construction begins in the first week of April. The closure is anticipated to last for approximately two months. New 2014 permits will be issued once work is completed. We will continue to notify the community of any changes or developments.

Parks & Fields

RIOC’s Grounds, Facilities and Maintenance staff are hard at work preparing the Island for Spring. New clay and grass seed is being applied to the athletic fields to ensure an optimal playing surface when the season starts on April 1. The Octagon Soccer Field will also be re-striped. The parks and fields are undergoing a general cleanup – grassy areas are being reseeded, plant beds will be fertilized, irrigation systems will be tested and inspected, and any debris left over from the Winter will be removed.

Sportspark Classes

During the Winter, many residents kept warm and stayed active with fitness and swimming classes at Sportspark. Yoga, Zumba, and Mommy & Me classes, along with free basketball and ping pong play, are a fun way to keep in shape all year round. Visit our Parks & Recreation website at to see a list of available programs and a class calendar. If you would like to see more programming, different classes, or if you have any questions about what is offered at the gym or pool, we welcome your feedback. You may contact us at

In addition to offering instructed classes, the Sportspark Pool is open daily for two Open Swim sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. You can drop in to any session (resident drop-in rates are $5), and Pool Memberships are available for those who would like to make swimming a part of their weekly routine. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that improves strength and flexibility while being easy on joints. Both Individual and Family Memberships are available. For more information on rates and the Open Swim schedule, you can visit, email, or call Sportspark at 212-832-4569.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Has Sprung Today, Roosevelt Island Blackwell Tot Lot Closed Earlier Today For Fence Repair - May Be Open Now

Spring has sprung and Roosevelt Island parents and their kids are ready to start using our local playgrounds. This afternoon, a Roosevelt Island Mom wrote:
Blackwell Toddler park closed.

Just thought I would share, since I went to the park and didn’t know – didn’t see it written anywhere…

The guys said the park would be closed today and also tomorrow.

I am sure this can help someone else plan their day properly!
I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato about the closed Blackwell Playground. Ms. Indelicato responded:
The fence around the Tot Lot constructed by Monadnock was loose. Workers were on the site today to repair the fence by adding more support the fence posts. The work will be completed by tomorrow.
This evening, there were parents and kids enjoying

Blackwell Playground.

Hopefully, tomorrow too and the rest of the spring and summer.

Conflict Of Interest Policy Being Developed By Roosevelt Island Residents Association Ethics Committee - Public Meeting Tonight

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Ethics Committee Chair Mickey Rindler submitted the report below to the March RIRA Common Council. The RIRA Ethics Committee is meeting tonight 8:15 PM at 425 Main Street Party Room. The public is invited to attend.

From Mr. Rindler:
Report of the Meeting of the RIRA Ethics Committee, Feb. 20, 2014, in the Roof Party room, 425 Main St, 7:30 pm
  • Mickey gave a brief history of the committee’s work on a Code of Ethical Conduct (COE) since December. The CC voted in a five member committee at the February meeting but Nicole Walden will need to be replaced as she has not responded and did resign from the CC.
  • The consensus was to begin working first on a Conflict of Interest policy as this was straightforward and required to be in place by July due to a new state law requiring nonprofit corporations to have one that includes several specific components. The Code of Ethical Conduct will also need to be finished by June as well if it is to be implemented in the next term. Also, there was discussion of the need to inform the public and to train council members concerning to a the new policies.
  • The committee discussed a draft proposal written by Mickey base on a version he obtained that met the new state law. Some minor changes were recommended (these will be in the next draft).
  • There was extensive disagreement about Article II, in particular the paragraph concerning potential conflict of interest with CC members who have relationships with government entities, RIOC in particular. A spectrum of views was expressed on this issue. While most seemed to agree that we need to have something in the code, there was no a consensus on the language. It may need to be settled by the CC itself at the next meeting.
There was general agreement that the requirement that those with a conflict, especially if it involves RIOC, be asked to leave the room, as is required by the new law is unreasonable for us. Ultimately, several attendees agreed to look into the possibility of consulting an attorney about this point through any of the following: Ben Kallos, Micah Keller, the CB8 attorney, or the state ethics board to see whether how strictly this requirement would apply in our specific case.

The committee agreed that secretary will keep the forms (not the ethics committee) and it was agreed that for voting purposes, an individual who was not voting due to a COI would be recorded in the minutes as such but would count towards a meeting quorum.
  • Other general issues that arose were whether the first part of article II should include a statement to the effect that CC members are to be encouraged to recuse themselves if a potential conflict exists and whether passage of a COI will require a 2/3 vote of the council. These issues were not settled at the meeting.
  • Article V on Violations was problematic as well. How does it work practically? There was general agreement that this article needs substantial revision to be workable for the CC. Mickey and Frank agreed to work on correcting it.
  • The group went over the two COI forms that each member will be required to sign – one stating that they received the policy and the other a disclosure form. There was agreement that the disclosure document should include relationships with all business entities on the Island and not just Cornell Tech.
The Ethics Committee will schedule another meeting for mid-March.

Considering A Legal Career? Roosevelt Island High School Rising Junior & Senior Students Invited To Apply For Manhattan District Attorney's Office Summer Internship Program

Roosevelt Island rising junior & senior High School students are invited to apply to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office

Summer Internship Program. According to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office:
Our office’s Legal Bound High School Summer Internship Program is a rigorous six-week internship that provides students with an insider’s view of the criminal justice system and law enforcement in New York County. This internship is open to rising juniors and seniors in high school who reside in Manhattan. Our interns attend a variety of public, private and parochial schools representing the diverse communities of the borough.

Interns are assigned to various units within the office and assist attorneys and support staff with projects and other responsibilities. They also attend many law-related presentations and trips and prepare for a mock trial throughout the program....

The application deadline is April 18.

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Scenes From Opening Reception Of Roosevelt Island Gallery RIVAA Vernissage Exhibition By Photographer Mircea Nicolescu

Roosevelt Island photographer and photoblogger at Manhattan - Faces & Places Mircea Nicolescu

shares these photos of attendees

admiring the art

on display

at last Saturday's Gallery RIVAA opening reception of Gallery RIVAA's Vernissage X11 exhibition.

More photos from the Vernissage X111 opening reception at Manhattan - Faces & Places.

What's My Shtick Purim Celebration With The Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation - Name That Person

Janet Falk reports on the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) Purim celebration last Saturday. From Ms. Falk;

What's My Shtick?: A Purim Celebration on Roosevelt Island

Purim, a joyous and comedic holiday celebration, filled with fun and parody based on the Biblical story of Esther, was celebrated by the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) with about 70 people participating in a full evening of activities for all ages on March 15. After a communal pizza dinner, children formed a parade to display their costumed finery. Every child received a book, donated by Julia Chang, and prizes were awarded to children who correctly answered Purim-themed trivia questions.

Rabbi Leana Moritt led the worship service; it included the reading of the megillah or traditional scroll, which recounts the story of the holiday, marking the survival of the Jewish people at a time of a threatened massacre. Assisted by Gad Levanon and Doron Betel,

Image Of RIJC Purim Celebration From Judy Berdy

her reading was interrupted by children and adults wielding groggers

Image Of RIJC Purim Celebration From Judy Berdy

to blot out the recitation of the name of the man who purportedly attempted to destroy the Jews. With humor and parody, the congregation joined in singing prayers and novelty songs to popular music and show tunes.

Later, a Purimschpiel, or play based on this narrative, was performed. Written by Mickey Rindler and Janet Falk, What's My Shtick? took the format of the well-known What's My Line? television game show. After Rabbi Moritt read a short biographical sketch of one of the four principals in the Purim narrative, who were panelists seated before the audience, members of the congregation used their groggers to vote for the panelist they thought had been described.

The four panelists would make motions to stand until finally the appropriate one would stand up. After each round, a commercial advertised RIJC-themed products that the audience might purchase, theoretically raising money for the congregation. The cast featured Marilyn Atkins, Judith Berdy, Scot Bobo, Janet Falk, Emily Kalb, Maya Levanon, Anna Levenstein, Mickey Rindler, Richard Wagreich and Rabbi Moritt, plus students of the RIJC Hebrew School.

The Purimschpiel's broad humor, plus references to Roosevelt Island and RIJC affairs, drew laughter and cheers from the audience.

The evening concluded with delicious Hamentaschen, a traditional fruit pastry treat, baked by the Levanon family.

For more information about the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, please visit or call 212-688-0003.

Roosevelt Island Sportspark Closed Temporarily For 2 Days To Install Temporary Heating System Starting Monday March 24 Says RIOC

 Sportspark Image From Google Maps

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that the Sportspark facility will be closed Monday, March 24th and Tuesday, March 25th while the installation of its temporary heating system is finalized. We regret the inconvenience to the community during this time and thank you for your patience as we complete this necessary work. Please note that this will be the only closure of the facility during this installation process. Sportspark will re-open on Wednesday, March 26th at 6 AM.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
As reported in October 2013:
... RIOC Director Howard Polivy and President Charlene Indelicato reported that the Roosevelt Island Sportspark facility may have to temporarily close ... because of the scheduled closing of the Steam Plant.
and earlier this month RIOC President Charlene Indelicato promised that Sportspark temporary heating solution would be completed before March 31 and take no longer than a week.

Spectacular Sunrise Over Roosevelt Island This Morning - Did You See It?

Did you see the sunrise this morning? I missed it but am told it was spectacular.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse shows us:


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Roosevelt Island Question And Answer Session With RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus - Will Not Tolerate Abuse, PSD Audit, IG Report, Officer Training, Security Cameras, Coaching Youth, Dog Poop & More

 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Jack McManus At March 12 RIRA PSC Meeting

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director (PSD) Jack McManus participated in a question and answer session with the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee and other members of our community on March 12.

Mr. McManus discussed a wide variety of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Issues including:
RIRA PSC Chair Erin Feely-Nahem and just about everybody else at the meeting acknowledged and complimented Mr. McManus on the great improvements to the Public Safety Department in the short time he has been here but made clear that improvements still need to be made and that justice for past wrongdoings must not be forgotten.

Mr. McManus emphasized that he will not tolerate any abuse coming from the Public Safety Department and that complaints are down 85% from the 9 months prior to his arrival. He also stressed that its up to everybody, the residents together with the Public Safety Department, to improve the relationship.

Here's the RIRA PSC question and answer with Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Jack McManus.

Prior to the Q and A with Director McManus, there was a Q and A with NYPD 114  Precinct Commander Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney.

Here's video from September 2013 Q&A with Director McManus.

Manhattan Tram Station Elevator Out Of Service Again Today, Wheelchair Lift In Service Reports RIOC

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

The main elevator is still out of service. The wheelchair lift is in service.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

UPDATE 9 AM - Roosevelt Island parent K.E. describes experience at Tram Station yesterday morning:
Apparently, it has been out since Saturday according to the tram personnel. At about 11 AM, there was only one person working at the Manhattan side station.

A woman is operating the elevator (there were @ 6-7 strollers waiting to go down and others coming up) and no one at the gate to open the door for us, so bunch of us waited a long time and missed the tram. PSD staffs were just standing "right in front of the gate", and my mom asked them to open the gate, but they did not want to open the gate for us (they pointed at the lady who was working on the elevator, wanted us to wait for her.) until we all missed the tram.

I still do not understand who can open the gate and cannot. PSD staffs are not allowed to open the gate? (they eventually opened it for all of us reluctantly though..)

We hope things will go on little more smoothly,, (since it is so cold to wait out there!!)

Roosevelt Island Street Lights At Blackwell House, Meditation Steps And West Pier Fixed Says RIOC - Good Shepherd Main Street Lights Still Out, Con Ed Is Working On It

Reported last week on the Roosevelt Island Street lights being out behind Blackwell House and the replacement temporary lights


into some nearby apartments.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato updates us on the status of the street lights repair by sharing this report today from the RIOC Engineering Department:
After spending a few more hours with Con Edison this evening, all of the lights around Blackwell House and Park have been restored as well as the promenade from the West Pier to Meditation Steps. In addition Good Shepherd Community Center experienced an outage earlier this evening but has now been restored, as for the light poles around the chapel plaza and crosswalk I believe they have also been re-energized but will look into the panel breakers in the morning
During February 20 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting (full audio web cast here), RIOC Director David Kraut reported that Street Lights were out on Main Street near the Good Shepherd Community Center.

RIOC's Engineering Department updates us on the Good Shepherd/540 Main Street lights as well:
... this morning we checked the breakers in our panel box and we still have no power. ... The 2 Ballard's and 3 or 4 street lights at the 540 crosswalk/ bus stop were not restored, they are fed from a different electrical vault which Con Edison is continuing to locate the problem as well as the lights on the chapel plaza.

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery Upcoming Open House Schedule - Programs For Ages 3 Months To 5 Years

Click here for more information about the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery.

Monday, March 17, 2014

One Roosevelt Island Squirrel Hunting For Food, Another Squirrel Chows Down

Squirrel looking for food at Roosevelt Island subway bike rack.

Another squirrel enjoys a meal.

Happy St Patrick's Day From Roosevelt Island With The Pogues, Dubliners, Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem and Dropkick Murphy's - Remember Where You Came From And Have A Good Time

Here's a little St Patricks Day history,

a guide from the Dropkick Murphy's

and great songs from the Pogues and Dubliners

Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

and the Dropkick Murphy's.

Have a good time.

Law And Order SVU Filming On Roosevelt Island Bridge And Tram Station This Morning - Don't Be Alarmed By Uniformed Police Officers Firing Weapons, They're Actors With Blanks

Roosevelt Island resident Vadim Malinsky reports:

Law and Order on my island
Image From Vadim Malinsky

and from the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Law and Order SVU

was filming on the Roosevelt Island Tram last Friday.
This morning, Law and Order SVU is filming on the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

The NYC Office of Emergency Management tweets:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
Please be advised that on Monday, March 17th, there will be a film shoot on the Roosevelt Island Bridge from 10 AM until 12:30 PM.

The scene will include actors dressed as uniformed police officers with blank fire adapted weapons. During this time, traffic will be held intermittently. Please plan accordingly for minor delays in the area.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Law and Order SVU is also filming at the Tram Station today.

Image From Karine Wong

Image From Vadim Malinsky

According to On Location Vacations:
Law and Order: SVU is filming on Main St in Roosevelt Island. They will also be filming around Tramway Plaza.
Trevre Andrews shares these photos of the production crew at the Tram Station.

Images From Trevre Andrews
Another resident trying to get to work this morning adds:
The movie trucks are here, and with construction and fresh direct driving is difficult.
Are you interested in obtaining a permit for filming on Roosevelt Island? If so, here are the rates established by RIOC.

UPDATE 3:45 PM - Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares these photos of the Visitors Center Kiosk turned into the F Train Subway Station

Image From Judy Berdy

with Law and Order SVU actor Ice T (Detective Tutuola)

Image From Judy Berdy


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Joins NYC Ukrainian Community Rally At Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park Protesting Russia's Plan To Annex Crimea

Congresswoman Maloney At Roosevelt Island Ukrainian Protest Via Mirceani Manhattan Faces & Places

United States Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined representatives from the NYC Ukrainian community at Roosevelt Island's FDR  Four Freedoms Park yesterday afternoon to rally and protest Russia's attempt

to annex Crimea.  

Yesterday, Congresswoman Maloney's office issued this Press Release:
As Russia continues its aggressive and illegal attempt to take over Crimea with a sham referendum that would forcefully annex Ukraine’s Crimea, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) led a massive Independence Rally today at Four Freedoms Park, which was attended by many Ukrainian New Yorkers and organizations. The Ukrainian community joined Congresswoman Maloney on the eve of the March 16 referendum and called for the cancellation of the so-called vote to join the Russian Federation, and for Russian forces to leave Crimea.

The Congresswoman and the demonstrators denounced Russia’s actions and noted that, in addition to violating Ukraine’s constitution and the Budapest Memorandum, the latter of which specifically requires Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, they ran counter to the spirit of the Four Freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear – the principals to which this park is dedicated, and which President Roosevelt said should be the right of people “everywhere in the world.”

“This so-called referendum is nothing more than thinly veiled Russian imperialism. Russia is putting lipstick on a pig by arguing that Crimeans should be able to vote to join the Russian Federation. This is not democracy; this is an illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation. It violates Ukrainian law and international law. It also runs afoul of the spirit of the Four Freedoms that President Roosevelt famously articulated; the freedoms that this park honors, and the freedoms that President Roosevelt likely conveyed at the storied Yalta Conference, in Crimea, when the Russians agreed to join the United Nations. I urge the Russian-controlled Crimean local government to abide by Ukrainian and international laws, and abandon this faux referendum,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).
Here's what happened at Saturday's demonstration. FDR Four Freedoms Park President Sally Minard introduced Congresswoman Maloney who said:
... America Stands With Ukraine...

followed by the singing of the Ukrainian and American national anthems.

After the national anthems, members of the NYC Ukrainian community spoke:

Congresswoman Maloney then announced breaking news that at the United Nations, 13 countries voted  to condemn the Crimean referendum as illegal for sanctions against Russia with China abstaining and Russia vetoing the resolution. I then asked Ms. Maloney what the United States should do about the Ukrainian situation and if she supports the admission of Ukraine into NATO.

The NY Times reported today:
With thousands of heavily-armed Russian troops occupying this perennially embattled peninsula, an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted on Sunday to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, resolutely carrying out a public referendum that Western leaders had declared illegal and vowed to punish with economic sanctions.

The outcome, in a region that shares a language and centuries of history with Russia, was a foregone conclusion even before exit polls showed more than 93 percent of voters favoring secession. Still, the result deepened the conflict over Ukraine, forcing the United States and its European allies to decide how swiftly and forcefully to levy threatened sanctions against Russian officials including top aides to President Vladimir V. Putin....
Click here for full article.

Congresswoman Maloney issued the following statement after today's vote in Crimea:
Today is a painful day for many Ukrainian Americans. After the removal of a corrupt and oppressive leader, this should be a time to honor those who gave their lives and to celebrate a chance at democracy, freedom and prosperity.

"But instead, the Russians have trampled on Ukraine's sovereignty, created a totally unnecessary crisis, and divided a peaceful people.

"As a result of its unlawful aggression and illegal actions, Russia will find itself increasingly isolated, alone, and distrusted. This will be a pyric victory for the Russians and a bitter day for a noble people. I hope Americans will keep the people of the Ukraine in their thoughts and prayers.
Former United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock has an interesting article in yesterday's Washington Post on American/Russian relations:
... I don’t believe that we are witnessing a renewal of the Cold War. The tensions between Russia and the West are based more on misunderstandings, misrepresentations and posturing for domestic audiences than on any real clash of ideologies or national interests. And the issues are far fewer and much less dangerous than those we dealt with during the Cold War.

But a failure to appreciate how the Cold War ended has had a profound impact on Russian and Western attitudes — and helps explain what we are seeing now....
Click here for entire Washington Post article.

UPDATE 3/19 - In response to my question whether Congresswoman Maloney supports the admission of Ukraine into NATO, Ms Maloney replied:
I believe that Ukraine needs all the support it can get from the United States and our allies, including NATO. However, the focus right now needs to be on diplomacy and economic sanctions as a way to curb this crisis. President Obama has increased sanctions on Russia, sending a strong message that the United States supports Ukrainian sovereignty, and that we will not accept Russia’s encroachment on Crimea.

Celebrate Purim In the African Jungle With Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Today - Pass The Hamantaschen Please

 Image of Hamantaschen From The Shiksa In The Kitchen

An invitation from the Chabad Lubavitch Of Roosevelt Island:
For those that would like to celebrate Purim, please join the Jewish Community for Purim - African Jungle style, Sunday, March 16th at 5:00pm.

* African Buffet * Craft * Multimedia Megillah Reading * Music

No membership - all are welcome

Suggested $18


Nechama and Zalman Duchman

Chabad Lubavitch of Roosevelt Island
According to the Huffington Post:
Purim is a spring holiday that commemorates the Jewish community's narrow escape from collective destruction in the ancient Persian Empire. The word itself, purim, comes from the Persian word for "lots" and is a reference to the fact that the date set for the Jews' annihilation was chosen by casting lots.

There are several major components of the Purim holiday, including public readings of the Book of Esther (k'riat megillah), giving charity to the poor (matanot la'evyonim) and delivering gifts to friends (mishloach manot). But Purim is most obviously characterized by a boisterous feast (se'udah) during which participants dress in costumes and drink to excess....
and celebrate with the Maccabeats