Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fantastic Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms Blooming Today, It's Favorite Time Of The Year For Many - RI Historical Society Cherry Blossom Walk April 26

Image Of Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms From John Lee

Roosevelt Island resident Isaac Humphrie reports that:
... it was a lovely day on the island...
and shares these photos

Image From Isaac Humphrie

of our magnificent Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms

Image From Isaac Humphrie


Image From Isaac Humphrie

The Twitterverse was very impressed with the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms as well:

Don't forget that next Saturday, April 26, the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) will lead a Cherry Blossom walk. According to RIHS:
Roosevelt Island Historical Society
6th Annual Cherry Blossom Walks
Saturday, April 12th & Saturday, April 26th
11:00 a.m.
Tours leave from the Visitor Center
Tram Plaza, Roosevelt Island
Suggested Donation: $10.00
Reservations requested:
You can take your own Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Selfie


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA

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

Judgmental Map Of New York City Neighborhoods - Roosevelt Island's A Question Mark But That's Better Than Prior Shut In Characterization

Urban Omnibus reports on a newly released Judgement Map for New York City neighborhoods. According to Urban Omnibus:

In March, we posted the first Judgmental Map of NYC by Joe Larson. Though hilarious, his colorful comments were mostly located to Manhattan, which Untapped reader Ivan also pointed out in the comments “Hey look at that someone who thinks NYC doesn’t extend past Manhattan how cute.” As if responding to that cue, Larson released an all new judgmental map this week....
Here's the new map from Judgmental Maps

Image From Judgmental Maps

which shows a question mark (?) for Roosevelt Island.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse responds:
A question mark is probably a better characterization than the previous NYC Judgment Map which described Roosevelt Island

Image From Judgmental Maps

as "Shut Ins".

When Will North End Of Lighthouse Park Be Open Asks Roosevelt Island Resident - RIOC Says End Of June

Jonathan Clements comments on the What's On Your Roosevelt Island Mind post:

Why is it -- a year and a half after Sandy -- that the north end of the island is still fenced off? Surely it can't be that replacing the small wooden bridges that were washed away is somehow insurmountable? During the summer, I love wandering through the park by the lighthouse because it feels like half the residents are there picnicking, playing and partying -- and yet a major chunk of the park still can't be used. Shouldn't somebody be embarrassed by the park's continued closure?

Image Of Northern Section Of Lighthouse Park Closed Since Hurricane Sandy In October 2012

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato:
I have had several inquiries regarding the opening of northern most area of Lighthouse Park and the installation of the pedestrian Bridges.

When does RIOC anticipate the bridges to be installed and the full area of Lighthouse Park to open?
Ms. Indelicato replied:
I believe that the work is to start on April 21st and completed by June 9th - of course , if we have another late snowstorm .....
RIOC's Engineering Director James Mortimer clarifies:
At a meeting we held with the contractor, City and County Paving, back on March 28, 2014, , they indicated they would start at the end of April.  The contract time is 60 days, which would put the completion at the end of June.
The northern section of Lighthouse Park was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012

which washed away the bridges to the Lighthouse
Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park Under Water From Hurricane Sandy Via Kate Williams Tweet

Let's hope there is no more snow so work can begin soon and the northern part of Lighthouse Park opens by the end of June, if not sooner.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roosevelt Island Mom And Daughter Team Compete In NPR Ask Me Another Shaquille O'Neal Word Pun Triva Quiz With Hannibal Buress

Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk reports on her recent appearance at NPR"S Ask Me Another radio quiz show program. Ms Falk and her daughter Rebecca Rindler were tested on their knowledge
of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neil and word pun skills in a game called

Shaq To The Future

According to Ms. Falk:

One in 1,000

My Moment of Fame on NPR

As a contestant on Ask Me Another, I joined an elite group of trivia-loving competitors.

I went head-to-head with my daughter Rebecca in a battle of the wits on my favorite radio show.

It was seven minutes of fame and butterflies-in-the-stomach-inducing glory in front of an audience of 200 envious bar patrons, each one wanting my place in the spotlight.

The activity was wordplay and involved Shaquille (Shaq) O'Neal.

How did I do?

Well enough that members of the audience cheered "Go, Janet!"

Listen to the segment starting at minute 6:00 -- or enjoy the entire show, which was broadcast on Saturday, April 11 at 3:00 pm in New York City.

Please let me know if you figure out one of the questions I did not get. It is easier when you're not in front of a microphone, of course.
The audio web cast of the show is here (starting at 6 minute mark)

 and  transcript of the show is here.

Shaqtastic job Ms. Falk and Ms. Rindler! 

You're Invited To Come Together To Help Fight Cancer At 2nd Annual Roosevelt Island Relay For Life Fundraiser On April 26 - Honor Survivors, Remember Loved Ones

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is inviting Roosevelt Island residents to organize and participate in a Relay For Life on Roosevelt Island.

According to ACS:
At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!

Relay For Life teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track or path at a local high school, park, or fairground. Events are up to 24 hours long, and because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times....
ACS's Roosevelt Island Specialist Alex Schoeneck reports:
Help Finish the Fight Against Cancer During Relay For Life of Roosevelt Island

Join the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Roosevelt Island on Saturday, April 26th at the Octagon Soccer Field from 10AM to 10PM and help finish the fight against cancer. This day-long event celebrates cancer survivors, remembers those we have lost and provides the community with an opportunity to unite and fight back against this disease.

There will be entertainment from Gotham Rock Choir, James Humphrey, and Luck & Senses, among others. Silent auction and raffle items will include Jazz at Lincoln Center tickets, a St. Andrew’s Country Club golf and lunch package, music lessons, one week to Island Kids summer camp, and more!

You can join the fight against cancer by visiting to register. Funds raised through Relay For Life support the American Cancer Society’s efforts to make this cancer’s last century.

Anyone interested in learning more about the event is invited to attend the Relay For Life Interest Meeting on Monday, April 21st at 7pm in the Good Shepherd Chapel at 543 Main Street.

For more information on the Relay For Life of Roosevelt Island, contact Alex Schoeneck at 212-237-3886 or

Thanks so much!
Ms Schoeneck spoke at last night's Community Board 8 Public Session about the April 26 Roosevelt Island Relay for Life and April 21 organizing meeting. Here's what she had to say.

This will be the second Roosevelt Island Relay For Life. Last June 15 members of the Roosevelt Island community

gathered and walked around Octagon Field in the first Roosevelt Island Relay For Life.

It was an incredibly moving and powerful experience just watching the Relay and hearing the stories from cancer survivors and family members who lost loved ones.

Here's some of the 2013 Roosevelt Island Relay For Life.

If you wish to participate in the 2014 Roosevelt Island Relay For Life, click here for more information and remember there is an organization meeting on April 21 at the Good Shepherd Chapel.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Solar Technology, Japanese Know How And Local Gardeners Grow Vegetables At Roosevelt Island Community Garden Hoop House This Past Winter

Despite an extremely harsh winter this past year, Roosevelt Island residents Ron Davidson, Kyoko Abe and Jennifer Dunning grew fresh vegetables at their Roosevelt Island Community Garden plots by using solar technology together with traditional Japanese rituals and practices to heat their "Hoop House".

According to Eco Watch
Looking to grow more of your own food year-round? A hoop house could be the answer.

A hoop house is a series of large hoops or bows—made of metal, plastic pipe or wood—covered with a layer of heavy greenhouse plastic. The plastic is stretched tight and fastened to baseboards with strips of wood, metal or wire. A hoop house is heated by the sun and cooled by the wind. Hoop houses can be erected over a patch of ground or rows of raised beds. They can cost as little as a hundred dollars or as much as a couple thousand dollars...
Mr. Davidson reports that the Roosevelt Island Hoop House:
  • was built for about $60 each with pvc pipes, transparent plastic drop cloth sheeting and bubble wrap,
  • inspired by the similar structures in the Tohoku region of northern Japan which was devastated by the tsunami of 2011 and the White House Hoop House built by First Lady Michelle Obama,
  • Solar power only used to maintain growing space during harsh winter weather,
  • Construction process included Japanese rituals and practices ... example, pre-construction himorogi 神籬 to invite the blessings of the local spirits.
  • Spinach, chard, sorrel and hearty Japanese vegetables (mizuna, shiso, komatsuna, hakusai and shungiku) survived and thrived,
  • Ground used for composting winter kitchen scraps in preparation for spring planting and
produced vegetables that:
taste astonishingly good and fresh.
Photographer Kurt Wittman shares

Image From Kurt Wittman

these photos

Image From Kurt Wittman

of the Hoop House

Image From Kurt Wittman

this past winter

Image From Kurt Wittman

at the Roosevelt Island Community Garden.

I spoke with Mr. Davidson last March 31 as he was taking the Hoop House down. Here's what he had to say.

Mr. Wittman shows us the winter Hoop House before it was taken down and speaks with Ms. Abe, who responds in Japanese, and Mr. Davidson. The audio with Mr. Davidson is not the best because of the wind but understandable.

Looking forward to the Roosevelt Island Hoop House for next winter and learning about future innovative plans for the Roosevelt Island Community Garden from Mr. Davidson.

You're Invited To Manhattan Community Board 8 Full Board Meeting Tonight On Roosevelt Island, Update On Cornell Technion Project Among Items On Agenda - Also, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Urges Reform Of Community Board Recruitment And Appointment Process

 Image From Community Board 8

Manhattan Community Board 8 is meeting on Roosevelt Island tonight. Here's the Agenda:
Full Board Meeting
Meeting Date:
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 6:30pm
Meeting Location:
Chapel of the Good Shepherd
543 Main Street,
Roosevelt Island, NY

Public Session – Those who wish to speak during the Public Session must register to do so by 6:45 pm

Public Hearing-BSA Application No. 42-14-BZ, 783 Lexington Avenue, Block 1396, Lot 22-Application for a Special Permit to operate a Physical Culture Establishment (PCE), Lush Cosmetics, filed pursuant to Zoning Regulation 73-03. The application seeks authorization to occupy a total of 2,310 square feet on the cellar, first and second floors of a five story building in a C1-8X zoning district.
Update on the Cornell Technion Project
Adoption of the Agenda
Adoption of the Minutes
Manhattan Borough President’s Report
Elected Officials’ Reports
Chair’s Report – Nick Viest
Committee Reports and Action Items:
Parks Committee-Margaret Price and Barbara Rudder, Co-Chairs
Landmarks Committee-David Helpern, David Liston, and Jane Parshall Co-Chairs
Street Life Committee-Jonathan Horn and Domenico Minerva, Co-Chairs
Transportation Committee-A. Scott Falk and Chuck Warren, Co-Chairs
Old Business
New Business- Borough Board resolution on reforming Department of Buildings After Hour Variance Authorization process
Roosevelt Island's NY Council Member Ben Kallos tweets:
and issued this April 10  Press Release:
Council Members Ben Kallos, Jimmy Vacca and Mark Levine introduced a resolution today adopting sweeping reforms to the recruitment and appointment process for community boards and calling on borough presidents to do the same. Resolution 164, co-sponsored by Council Members Danny Dromm, Antonio Reynoso, Carlos Menchaca, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Ritchie Torres and Debi Rose, includes recommendations for instituting member term limits, instituting independent screening panels for applicants and requiring conflict of interest forms of applicants.

Stemming from recommendations culled at a March 3rd hearing of the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, which Kallos chairs, the resolution seeks to create inclusive, apolitical boards that truly represent communities.

"Term limits, conflicts of interest disclosure, youth participation and ending automatic reappointment will not only reduce absenteeism but reinvigorate our community boards with members using their precious time to improve their neighborhood," said Council Member Kallos. "I have already been instituting reforms to the appointment process by rigorously evaluating reappointees, giving consideration to their attendance and participation."

“As a former Community Board District Manager, I know how important it is to make sure citizens are engaged through the Boards and members realize how important what they do is. This resolution codifies best practices and will serve our city well, as the 59 Community Boards truly represent little City Halls in our local communities," said Council Member Jimmy Vacca.

“The introduction of Resolution 164 calls for vital improvements to the systems currently in place by our Community Boards. As a community organizer, I know that sharing best practices is the lifeline of progress, and so many of the recommendations based on this shared information would promote more transparency, diverse representation, and more accountability," said Council Member Reynoso.

"I commend Councilmember Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations of The City of New York, for the thorough work his committee has done in preparing its report, 'Improving Community Boards in New York City.' It is the first report of its kind to delve into the important issue of how to make our community boards function more efficiently. The report contains best practice recommendations for borough presidents with respect to the recruitment and appointment of community board members, and I am a proud co-sponsor of this resolution.

"The recommendations contained in the report are common-sense, such as creating an independent screening panel, updating technology to create interactive forums, and creating a formal, transparent process for filling community board positions.

"Participation on a community board is for many their first foray into our political process. Community boards make recommendations with respect to quality of life matters that impact on our day-to-day life, such as noise pollution, restaurants and bars with unruly patrons, placement of traffic lights, and zoning and development.

Having appropriate community representation on community boards that is truly reflective of the diversity of the local community is critical to having a broad spectrum of interests and concerns a part of the deliberations of a community board. It is my hope that this resolution will be adopted, and the processes it recommends adopted," said Council Member Rose.

Recommendations for adoption citywide include:
  • Term limits of five consecutive two-year terms for full board members
  • Online application and technology infrastructure
  • Conflict of interest disclosure by all applicants
  • Requiring reappointment applications with evaluation of attendance, service & participation
  • Ban on political appointments specifically staffers of elected officials and executive board members of a political party
  • Filling vacancies within 30 days
  • Independent screening panels modeled after Comptroller Scott Stringers’
  • Improved outreach and recruitment focusing on diversity, geography and experts
  • Youth representation by 16- and 17-year olds as public members of youth committees and as full board members
  • Mandatory reporting by borough presidents to the council on appointments
The March 3 hearing included testimony from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, as well as community board chairs and district managers from all five boroughs, good government groups and youth advocacy organizations. Kallos’ office then released a report entitled "Improving Community Boards in New York City: Best Practices in Recruitment and Appointment to New York City’s 59 Community Boards," containing dozens of recommendations for reform to New York City's community boards.

Between April 1st and May 30th of this year, four new borough presidents and twenty one new city council members, along with their previously elected colleagues, will be making 1,475 appointments to 59 community boards spanning all five boroughs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Exercise With 89 Year Old Roosevelt Island Woman Ethel Romm - No More Flabby Arms If You Follow Her Advice

During the March 26 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO), 89 year old Roosevelt Island resident Ethel Romm

demonstrated her technique for keeping her arms in shape and preventing flabby or Hadassah Arms.

Here's Ms. Romm's advice.

During July 2013 RIWHO meeting, Ms. Romm described another facet of her exercise routine - climbing 20 flights of stairs every day in her building.

That's one healthy lady!!!

Roosevelt Island Woman Robbed In Roosevelt Landings Elevator - Iphone And Wallet Taken

Image Of Roosevelt Landings 510 Main Street Entrance and Elevators

According to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Daily Report:
4/11/14 - 0235 - 510 Main St. - Grand Larceny - NYPD and PSD respond. Report generated
In response to my inquiry about the incident, a NYPD Spokesperson said that as a woman was coming down an elevator at 510 Main Street (Roosevelt Landings) shortly after midnight on April 11, one male took an iphone from her hand and another male removed a wallet from her purse.

The NYPD spokesperson added that an investigation is ongoing.

I asked Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Jack McManus about the incident as well. Will update when answer received.

Reported previously on a series of recent burglaries at Roosevelt Landings.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Walk Thru Roosevelt Island - Taking A Closer Look At Nature, Wildlife & Views

Roosevelt Island resident Freddy Ortiz reports:

 I have lived on Roosevelt Island for a little over a year now and just recently went out with my camera the other day since it was so nice out. I made this little video just because and thought I'd share it with you to share on your page. We walk around this island everyday and sometimes don't pay attention to the things around us. This is what I see when I take a closer look. 

Nice job. Thanks for sharing.

Fantastic News For Roosevelt Island, Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks Celebration Returning To East River Says Mayor DeBlasio - Where To Watch On Roosevelt Island?

 Image Of Macy's Fireworks Seen From Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park

NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio Tweets:
According to Mayor DeBlasio's Press Release:
Macy’s and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that on Friday, July 4th, a national historic landmark will set a dramatic stage for dazzling pyrotechnics as the 38th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® return to the East River. Set to deliver the nation’s largest display of patriotic firepower and ready to dazzle more than 3 million spectators and millions more on television nationwide, Macy’s Fireworks this year will be launched from the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge and from barges positioned on the lower East River.

“We’re grateful to Macy’s for lighting our skyline every 4th of July—and I’m thrilled that, after years of working with Macy’s and my colleagues to make this a reality, the fireworks will return to the East River this year!” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Now even more New Yorkers will get to take part in this extraordinary celebration, against the backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge, the harbor, and our skyline.”

“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks are a one-of-a-kind spectacle that will once again inspire audiences nationwide as we illuminate the shores of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn with stunning effects, color and sound,” said Amy Kule, Executive Producer of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. “We are thrilled to be working with our partners in the City of New York to have the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge as our canvas and stunning backdrop for this year’s bigger-than-life display.”...
Click here for the full Press Release. Mayor DeBlasio has been advocating for the return of the Macy's Fireworks to the East River since he was the Public Advocate.

The last time the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Celebration was held on the East River was in 2008. Here's the view of the 2008 Fireworks from Roosevelt Island's southern tip at Southpoint Park, now the site of the FDR Four Freedoms Park

and a report of the Good, Bad and Ugly from that day.

Earlier today, I asked the FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy:
I understand that the Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks celebration will return to the East River for 2014.

Any comment or statement from you regarding the FDR Four Freedoms Park policy on viewing the Fireworks at the FDR Park?

Will the Park be open to the Public? Will there be any sort of fee?
A Conservancy representative replied:
We just learned about the return of the Fireworks to the East River this morning. We will let you know as soon as any decisions have been made with regard to the Park policy regarding the 4th of July fireworks.
I also asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato and RIOC Directors:
The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks celebration will be returning to the East River this year.

As you know, Roosevelt Island will have some of the best views of the fireworks particularly at the southern tip from Southpoint Park to FDR Park.

Any comment from RIOC regarding policy of the public viewing Fireworks from Southpoint Park and FDR Park?

Will the public be allowed access to the parks? Will there be a fee?

Here's what it was like during the 2008 Macy's July 4 Fireworks celebration on Roosevelt Island.
Have not yet received a reply from RIOC. Will update when one is received.

The issue of viewing Macy's July 4th Fireworks celebration and my objection to RIOC charging $18 to watch it from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park was the subject of this blog's very first  post way back in 2007.

UPDATE 4/23 - Here's Mayor DeBlasio's press conference announcing the return of the Macy's 4th of July fireworks to the East River.

UPDATE 5/28 - Looks like no East River Fireworks viewing on Roosevelt Island this year.

Free Roosevelt Island Youth Program Summer Camp For 6 - 13 Year Olds - Special Focus On World Sports, Visual & Performance Arts With Swimming And Trips Too

A message from the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP).

According to RIYP's Adib Mansour:
This year marks the Roosevelt Island Youth Program’s 35th anniversary and we are delighted to introduce a new concept in Summer Camp. As part of our celebration, this year’s camp will pay tribute to world cultures with 2 emphasis / electives:

This will have emphasis on sports from around the world. We will cover different sports from different cultures (such as Korean hacky-sack, Basketball shootout competition, FIFA soccer tournaments, Bicycling, yoga, etc).

LivingArt/Performance & Visual Arts:
This will have emphasis on performing and visual arts. Included are Art History (where campers will discuss and learn about famous paintings from the Renaissance to Modern Art), dance and vocals, comedy improvisation, cooking, etc.

Campers will have common activities such as swimming, reading clubs, etc. Every Thursday, the camper will take trips around the city based on their electives: for example, the Arts Campers will take trips to the different NYC consulates or cultural centers, museums and exhibits, etc. The Sports Campers will attend baseball games, visit sports related exhibits, etc.

All students must be registered prior to enrollment. Staff must review the forms with the parent/guardian and participant to ensure that they are filled out completely, signed in the appropriate places and that they understand the contents thoroughly.

Submission deadline for completed applications is: May 9th, 2014. Please make sure to pick up an application now at the Beacon Desk in PS/IS 217 (645 Main Street) and fill out the complete packet (including Participants/Parents/Guardian information, Photo/Video Consent Form, Evaluation Form, Health Record and Physical Examination.)

We’re looking forward to having you spend a fun and educational summer with us.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mad Men Returns To TV Tonight - Roosevelt Island Resident Roy Eaton. First African American Mad Man, Tells Us What Advertising Business Was Really Like

The final season of AMC's Mad Men begins tonight. CNN reports on a real life Mad Man, Roosevelt Island resident Roy Easton, the Jackie Robinson of the advertising industry.

More on Mr. Eaton as an advertising pioneer (he wrote the Beefaroni jingle) and concert pianist from previous posts.