Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Forward With Roosevelt Island Yoga Instructor Keren Messer At Octagon Workshop Sunday March 30 - Music, Wine, Chocolate & Nap Time Too

An invitation from Roosevelt Island Yoga instructor Keren Messer:

Spring is finally here!

Come celebrate with me, enjoy a fun and comprehensive yoga workshop!

Sun Salutations, hands-on adjustments... yoga, music, wine & chocolate!

Date: Sunday, March 30th

Time: 1:00-3:30 (Yes, nap time!)

Location: The Octagon, 888 Main St.

Price: $45

Bring a friend, save $5 each!

* To register please email or call 212-614-9181.

* Limited space available

* Open level

Come play!


Roosevelt Island Yoga classes are also available at Sportspark

Friday, March 28, 2014

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan Again This Weekend Says MTA, That's Four 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

Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins Coming To Roosevelt Island For "A Mayor's Life" Book Signing Saturday March 29

Joyce Short sends the following invitation to the Roosevelt Island community.

The book signing with Mayor Dinkins will take place from 12:30-2:30 PM at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club (281 Main Street).

Mayor Dinkins discusses his book, A Mayor's Life, during this October 2013 interview.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Celebrate Women's History Month With 5 Phenomenal Roosevelt Island Women Honored By RI Women's Health Organization And NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

To celebrate Women's History Month, the Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO) and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos honored 5 of our neighbors at RIWHO's monthly meeting yesterday.

 NYC Councilmember Kallos Honoring 5 Roosevelt Island Women At RIWHO Meeting

Here's the presentation of the Proclamation by Councilmember Kallos

and the text.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Ben Kallos, Council Member of the 5th District, is proud to join the Roosevelt Island Women’s Health Care Organization in honoring a select group of women, our elders—Clarissa McCraley, Naomi Silverman, Ethel Romm, Rosalind Fernandez and Ena Shinnery—for inspiring us all with their character, commitment and courage; and

WHEREAS: Clarissa R. McCraley, 85, was born in Greenville, South Carolina, and raised by her aunt and uncle, she grew up on a farm with no running water and no electricity, but abundant with love. She has called Roosevelt Island home since 1975, making her one of our community’s pioneers. In addition to her own career in retail and health, she has excelled in her work as a generous volunteer. Over the years, she has fed the homeless at Good Shepard Church, led Bible Study groups, and worked at the island thrift store. She has also volunteered for the Red Cross, March of Dimes, Joint Disease Hospital, the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and at P.S./I.S. 217; and

WHEREAS: Naomi Silverman, 88, was born in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, and has been a proud resident of Roosevelt Island since 1977. She has been extremely active in a wide range of areas and remains so today. A few previous endeavors included owning a manufacturing woodwork firm and playing piano for a musical group. For the last 35 years, she has served as the dedicated coordinator of a poetry group. Today, she is an active member of the biblical study group Chavarah and also helps coordinates the Rivercross 5th Anniversary Party, a celebration with more than 600 attendees; and

WHEREAS: Ethel Romm, 89, was born in Massachusetts and grew up in New Hampshire. During World War II, when men were drafted and women were needed to build the planes and other machines, she was assigned to an Air Force Base where she supervised construction and building. Her unwavering commitment to learning led her to become CEO of her own construction and engineering company. Ms. Romm has now been a Roosevelt Island resident for more than 25 years and a member of Roosevelt Island Residents Association for more than 12. She also belongs to the Garden Club and continues to have an infectious enthusiasm for exercise, good nutrition and learning; and

WHEREAS: Rosalind Fernandez, 94, was born in Brooklyn and raised in Barbados. At 19, she returned the States and had a successful career in the insurance industry before retiring in 1982 to raise her granddaughter. Since 1976, she has been a champion for Roosevelt Island, whether working as a polling site coordinator, as a parishioner, or as a volunteer at Coler-Goldwater Hospital for the last 32 years. In recent years, she has new proud title: devoted great-grandmother; and

WHEREAS: Ena Shinnery, 94, was born in St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands, moved to New York in 1944, and has been a resident of Roosevelt Island since 1989. Prior to retirement, she worked in numerous jobs including 18 years in textiles. At her previous church, she excelled as a Sunday school teacher and Sunday school superintendent. Today, she continues to faithfully attend church on the island today and impresses all of the younger parishioners with her warmth and life experience; now, therefore

BE IT KNOWN: That Ben Kallos, Council Member of the 5th District, gratefully honors our Roosevelt Island Elders:

Clarissa McCraley, Naomi Silverman, Ethel Romm, Rosalind Fernandez and Ena Shinnery

for their extraordinary contributions to our community.

Signed this 26th day of March in the year Twenty Fourteen.
It was a wonderful event. RIWHO's Laila Amatullah hosted the proceedings which also included:
  • an excellent home health care presentation by Dr. Jack Resnick,
  • a letter of appreciation by Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Charlene Indelicato,
  • a greeting from RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus,
  • Councilmember Kallos reviewing constituent services available from his office,
  • a wellness talk
  • exercise advice from Ms. Romm and
  • a terrific recitation of Maya Angelou's poem Phenomenal Women by Ms. Amatullah.
There was also food, drink

good company

and a birthday celebration for Ms. Romm.

Here's video of the full Proclamation Ceremony.

Will have Dr. Resnick's Home Health Care presentation in a separate post soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA Silent Auction Raises Over $13 Thousand For School Enrichment Programs - Watch PS/IS 217 Third Graders Perform African Dance

The Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA) held their annual Spring Fling Silent Auction Fundraiser on March 15. According to the Roosevelt Island School G & T Blog (RIG&T):

Thank you to all the supporters of P.S./I.S. 217 who came to our 5th Annual Silent Auction! We raised over $13,000 for enrichment programs that benefit our children every day.
Image of PS/IS 217 PTA Silent Auction From RIG&T Blog

RIG&T shows some results of arts enrichment programs with these PS/IS 217 third graders performing an African dance earlier this month.

More info on Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 from the PTA, RIG&T, the school portal and previous posts.

Sponsored Post -Sign Up For 2014 Roosevelt Island Youth Program Little League Baseball Season Now - Field Evaluations For Kids 6-13 Saturday March 29 At Firefighters Field

Don't forget that baseball registration is currently underway for the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) Little League Season. 

Registration information is here.

You wanna have a catch?

Play ball.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wow, Wow Wow - Watch Aerial Drone Hover Then Soar High Above Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park Showing Fantastic NYC East River Waterfront Views

This is very cool. Last November, an aerial drone hovered over Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park

and then soared high over Roosevelt Island providing fantastic views of Roosevelt Island and the NYC East River waterfront.


Could it be a test of Amazon's Drone Delivery system?

Probably not but still very cool demonstration.

Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization March 26 Meeting Honoring 5 Phenomenal Women, Guest Speaker Dr. Resnick, Rewards Presenter Councilmember Kallos, Elder Appreciation Speech By Magella Samory And Poetry From Laila Amatullah - Refreshments Too

The Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO) sends the following invitation for its March 26 Monthly Seminar.

According to RIWHO:
Roosevelt Island Women’s Health Organization Inc.
Join us on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 546 Main Street, 12th Floor at 6:30 P.M.

Guest Speaker: DR. JACK RESNICK
Elder Appreciation Speech: MAGELLA SAMORY

One of our special ladies will have a birthday to celebrate
Let’s toast these beautiful women
Refreshments served

Monday, March 24, 2014

High Monthly Electric Bills Worrying Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Residents - Building Agent Grenadier Realty Says Cold Weather Only Part Of Explanation For Increased Costs

Understanding Your Con Ed Electricity Bill from NY Times

Have you experienced a large increase in Con Ed electricity bill for your Roosevelt Island apartment recently? Some Manhattan Park residents answer yes. Earlier today, Manhattan Park building management sent the following notice to their residents concerning increases in monthly electricity charges:
Notice to 10, 20, 30, 40 River Road Residents

Re: Electricity Charges

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As you are aware properties serviced by Consolidated Edison, including Manhattan Park, have experienced an unexpected and significant increase in monthly electric charges. However, there may be some misconceptions about the causes of these increases.

Management and ownership are concerned about the impact of these rates on our residents as well as our own electric charges for the Property’s common area. We purchase electricity directly from Con Ed at a bulk rate, which is cheaper than the rate that would be charged to individual residents by Con Ed on a direct meter. The Con Ed billing then is passed on to residents based on submetered individual unit usage. We are prohibited from making a profit on submetering by applicable legal requirements, but we are permitted to charge an administrative/service fee. It is important to point out that our submetering authorization policies and procedures have been approved by the New York State Public Service Commission (the “PSC”).

The Northeast has had an extremely cold winter, exacerbated by what is called a polar vortex. As a result, demand for heating has been very high. The cold weather, however, only tells part of the story of the increased electric bills. Con Ed recently significantly increased their billing by 54%+ in January, purportedly because of its increase in costs of purchasing electricity, that Con Ed passes on to its customers.

These increases are not unique to Manhattan Park, but rather apply broadly to Con Ed customers and would have been even higher if Manhattan Park did not purchase electricity at Con Ed’s bulk rate.

According to a March 7, 2014 article in the Albany Times Union, New York State regulators, including the PSC, have formally requested the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) to investigate the reasons for these increases. We intend to monitor the FERC complaint closely and will consider involvement to the extent it would be productive. For your information, a copy of this article is enclosed.

Finally, we would like to remind all residents to review the annual Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA) Notice that was distributed to the Tenants and the HEFPA Submeter Rider attached to all leases, which provide for a billing dispute resolution process that was required by and approved by the PSC, and also calls for a level billing option if requested by a resident or a deferred payment agreement based on a means/needs test on the terms provided therein.

High electric bills are of great concern to our residents, as well as to us. We are taking all necessary steps within our power to support the efforts to reduce electric costs. We will share useful information about these efforts with our residents.


Grenadier Realty Corp. as agent for

Roosevelt Island Associates
A group of about of about 20 Manhattan Park 2-4 River Road residents recently met with with a representative of NY State Senator Jose Serrano to express their concerns about the recent high electricity bills and fears that they would be evicted from their apartment for not being able to afford the increases. The Serrano representative said that his office would look into the matter.

More on Manhattan Park electricity charges from previous posts and here's September 2013 Manhattan Park submetering filing with the Public Service Commission.

Roosevelt Island Resident Asks For Safer Bike Lanes On Roosevelt Island Bridge - NYC Department Of Transportation Announces Intermittent 15 Minute Daytime Closing Of Roosevelt Island Bridge Tomorrow

According to the NYC Department Of Transportation (DOT):

Please see the attached Important Notice announcing full closures of the Roosevelt Island Bridge for operational testing. On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., the bridge may be completely closed for up to 15 minutes at a time. Sufficient time will be allowed between closures to clear any traffic queues.

Safety for bicyclists on the Roosevelt Island Bridge was the subject of this message sent yesterday to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato by resident Janet Falk:
I ride my bike over the Roosevelt Island bridge and notice the accumulation of gravel in the bike lanes.

I have posted this complaint to RI 311 periodically for more than one year and have noticed little change. If anything, the problem is worse, perhaps because of the recent repair of the potholes in the westbound lane (for which I am appreciative).

On Thursday, March 20, because the eastbound bike lane was so full of gravel it was dangerous to ride there, I rode my bicycle in the automobile lane, which also is dangerous because cars do not expect to see a bicyclist there.

How often does RIOC conduct a scheduled cleaning and sweeping of the gravel from that area?

The notices on RI 311 are either ignored or responded to as noted and closed, yet the problem persists.

Please direct this matter to the appropriate member of the RIOC staff and let me know who that person is, so that I can contact them directly in the future.
Ms Indelicato replied that the Roosevelt Island Bridge is under the jurisdiction of the NYC DOT and that she will contact the appropriate person about the issue.

 Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Metal Grill Bike Path and Roadway

Safety for bicyclists on the Roosevelt Island Bridge has been an ongoing issue. As reported back in August 2011:
... I'm a Roosevelt Island resident. I'm also an avid bicyclist -- and I have a suggestion. It's great that a lane is set aside for cyclists crossing the bridge into Queens. But it would be helpful if the bridge's metal grill were covered by some sort of mat. You may not be aware of this, but -- when it rains -- metal-grill bridges are like sheets of ice if you're a cyclist, especially if you're on a road bike with thin tires. I was reminded of this on Sunday: My son and I were crossing the bridge on our bicycles early on Sunday morning, after the rain had stopped, and as soon as we hit the metal grill, we both started sliding. We immediately got off our bikes and walked them across....
and the twitterverse cautions:
In 2011 a Roosevelt Island resident received this response from a DOT spokesperson regarding bike safety on the Roosevelt Island Bridge:
Thank you for your email regarding the improvement of bike mobility and safety on the Roosevelt Island Bridge. We have forwarded your message to the appropriate unit in DOT Bridges for review. We will provide you with their determination...
We're still waiting.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Report From RIRA President Jeff Escobar - You're Invited To Join A RIRA Committee, Help Serve The Roosevelt Island Community

 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:
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

As residents of our little ship floating in the East River, we are very fortunate to have a vibrant community filled with leaders who care for Roosevelt Island and its residents. Whether involved through local politics and governance, the PTA and our local schools, religious institutions, after-school and childcare programs, the Senior Center, building tenant associations, or other community organizations, Islanders work tirelessly, day in and day out, to better our lives. For many, the call to serve is not a question but a command. For others, it is more of a wandering suggestion. Regardless of whether the call is an irresistible urge or an inquisitive desire, the maze of how to get involved can be a daunting one.

As I have said in prior columns, the work of RIRA is done largely through its committees, which meet monthly, sometimes weekly or even daily, to address resident concerns and find ways to better the community. From Housing to Public Safety to Island Services and Planning, there is a RIRA committee working in service of our interests and concerns.

What seems to be forgotten, however, is that you, as an Island resident, can – and should – serve on a RIRA committee. Each and every resident of Roosevelt Island, by way of the RIRA Constitution and Bylaws, is a member of RIRA. Any RIRA member can serve on any RIRA committee. You do not need to be an elected Common Councillor. Are you concerned about the loss of affordable housing and housing issues on the Island? The RIRA Housing Committee is calling for you. Do you want to get involved in the planning of infrastructure for the Island as the Cornell campus is being built? The RIRA Planning Committee needs your services. The following is but a small slice of the active RIRA committees that you and your neighbors can and should join:

• Government Relations Committee, chaired by Sharon Pope of Rivercross: As the representative of RIRA and the Roosevelt Island community to the various local, state, and federal representatives and agencies having jurisdiction over the Island, the Government Relations Committee ensures the establishment of ongoing relationships with officials and governmental departments.

• Housing Committee, chaired by Susan Marcus of Westview: Addressing the issues and concerns of Island residents regarding the management, living conditions, and rental polices of the residential buildings on the Island, the Housing Committee serves as the liaison for RIRA and the Roosevelt Island community to various building committees and housing task forces.

• Island Services Committee, chaired by Aaron Hamburger of the Riverwalk buildings: While supervising and reviewing the delivery of transportation, parks and recreation, sanitation, postal, and commercial services, and common facilities, the Island Services Committee assists individuals and organizations who may experience problems obtaining Island services due them, and seeks to provide solutions on how current Island services can better serve the Roosevelt Island community.

• Planning Committee, chaired by Frank Farance of Island House: Tasked with all matters involving future development of the Island, including but not limited to commercial development, housing, vehicular access, transportation, social services, and energy, the Planning Committee monitors and recommends positions on planning matters, as well as recommends and implements policies relating to energy conservation, distribution, and generation.

• Public Safety Committee, chaired by Erin Feely-Nahem of Westview: Charged with recommending and implementing RIRA and community positions on all matters related to safety, security, vehicular traffic, and parking on the Island, the Public Safety Committee works with our Public Safety Department and New York Police Department Precinct 114 on behalf of the community to address Island residents’ concerns about law enforcement.

• Social, Cultural and Educational Services Committee, chaired by Julie Palermo of Westview: Tasked with creating, or coordinating with, social, cultural, and educational programs and events that promote and improve community bonds on the Island, this committee is also the fund-raising arm of RIRA.

I strongly encourage anyone and everyone who has even a remote interest in serving on any of the above committees (or, for that matter, on a committee that may not have been mentioned) to contact me at, and I will connect you directly with the aforementioned chairs, who will be more than happy to recruit you to join and participate in the work of the committees. By participating in a RIRA committee, not only will you become more engaged in the Island community, and have the opportunity to really get to know your neighbors on our tiny ship in the East River, but you will also be providing an important service to the Island and to everyone who lives here.

RIRA, the Common Council, its committees, and its work are not mine or yours, but ours, as a community. Moreover, RIRA, the Common Council, and its committees cannot do this work without volunteers, like you, who understand that when a community is doing well as a whole, all of its individuals are better off. Like any investment, your return depends on how much you put in. Put a little in, and join a RIRA committee.

If you want more information or have a community concern or question that you would like to discuss, or an event for which you seek RIRA’s help, please reach out via email at