Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fire At Roosevelt Island's Rivercross Building Tonight - Lots Of Smoke, Four Minor Injures

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

A reader reports:
The fire was in the blue wing of the building, is under control at this time.
Another reader:
An elderly couple had a fire in their apt. Lots of smoke. Blue wing of building. They are okay.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Jack McManus adds that there were four minor injures and:
EMS looked at 3 or 4 individuals however none required any further medical aid and left the scene accordingly. No one required transport to the hospital. Heavy FDNY response due to the fact that the involved building is considered a High Rise.
From RIOC Advisory:
Due to an earlier smoke condition which began from an electrical outlet on the third floor of River cross, Main Street Traffic was temporarily delayed. there were several persons attended to by EMS all of which refused medical attention. All Emergency Fire Apparatuses have left the Island allowing traffic on Main Street to resume to normal.

TD Five Borough Bike Tour Sunday May 4, Expect Delays At Roosevelt Island Bridge/ Vernon Boulevard - Bike New York Roosevelt Island Spring Kickoff Party May 17

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

Please be advised that the TD 5 Boro Bike Tour will be taking place on Sunday, May 4th 2014. Vernon Blvd. will be closed from 8:30 AM until 1:00 PM between Astoria Park and the Pulaski Bridge. Access to Roosevelt Island via the R.I. Bridge will be maintained at all times; expect increased traffic and delays.

For more information on road closures and transit options, please see the attached document from the event's organizers.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
The TD 5 Boro Bike Ride is organized by Bike New York. The Bike New York free Roosevelt Island bicycle programs, including May 17 Spring Kickoff Party,

Image From RIOC

are funded by revenues generated  from the TD 5 Boro Bike Tour.

Bike New York Roosevelt Island Community Outreach Manager Caitlin Goodspeed reported to the April 16 Community Board 8 meeting about the Bike NY Roosevelt Island programs. According to Ms. Goodspeed:

Here is the 2012 NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour in 3 minutes. You can watch the riders speed down Vernon B'lvd by Costco

and past Roosevelt Island Bridge at the 1minute 35 second mark.

Friday, May 2, 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.

Cornell NYC Tech Says Campus Residential Building Will Have No Impact On Roosevelt Island Transportation During Presentation Yesterday At CB 8 Meeting - Building Design, Height, Garbage Pick Up, Migratory Birds Safety And More Discussed

The Roosevelt Island (RI) Committee of Community Board 8 (CB 8) met last night for a presentation by Cornell NYC Tech of the proposed new residential building component of their Roosevelt Island campus.

Cornell NYC Tech Residential Building Rendering From You Tube Video

RI Committee Chair Larry Parnes began the meeting noting that after the presentation, the committee would decide whether or not to make any recommendation to the full CB 8 Board at its Land Use Committee meeting on May 14 and then after full CB Board recommendation the design will be reviewed by the NYC Public Design Commission.

There will be 356 units with up to 500 students, faculty and staff in this 26 story, 285 foot tall residential building. Here is the Cornell NYC Tech Residential Building presentation by Cornell NYC Tech Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations Jane Swanson and Blake Middleton of Handel Architects, representing The Hudson Companies, developers of the residential campus building (also the developers of Southtown).

Part A

Part B

Following the presentation there were questions from the audience. When it was my turn, I asked about transportation, garbage pick up and more. According to Ms. Swanson and Hudson Companies David Kramer, there would be no adverse impact on Roosevelt Island subway, tram and parking from the Cornell NYC Tech residential building.

The question and answers started here.

More questions on garbage collection, trucking construction materials and migratory bird safety

and concerns that the residential building is too tall creating a wall blocking the Cornell campus from the rest of the community.

Following the question and answer period the CB 8 RI Committee discussed whether they should make any recommendation to the full Community Board on the design of the Cornell NYC Tech residential building. A motion was made to approve the design with a modification to include a sidewalk curb cup for garbage pick ups. After some discussion and a straw vote, it appeared that the Committee would not approve the motion with 2 members approving (Mr. Parness and Ms. Polivy), 2 members disapproving (Ms. Berdy and Ms. Buck) and one member abstaining (Mr. Escobar).

Ms Berdy and Ms. Buck objected to the height of the building which they saw as creating a wall between the campus and the rest of the community.  (The building height was approved during NYC ULURP process). Mr. Escobar indicated in the straw vote that he was abstaining because he thought it important that the views of Ms. Berdy and Ms. Buck be presented to the full Community Board.

After much discussion among the Committee Members and with the Cornell representatives, Mr. Escobar voted to approve the motion with the condition added that the views of Ms Berdy and Ms. Buck be included in the minutes for the full CB 8 Board Members to review.

The motion to approve the design was approved.

Architect Blake Middleton responded to some of the community concerns noting:
The city is an ever changing place. NY will continue to grow. It is the nature of cities to do that. Successful cities. If this city, New York, stops growing, forget it, we're all in big trouble. The question is how do you plan, how do you do make it work in a way that is congruent with neighborhood needs as well as what the city and all who live and work here need...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New HBO John Oliver Program Shows Lisa Loeb Video Parody Of Oregon Health Care Site At Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park

 Image Lisa Loeb On Roosevelt Island From Tonight With John Oliver

Roosevelt Island tipster Jason Eng reports:
From the all things Roosevelt Island bin ... thought I'd mention that in the first episode of the new John Oliver show on HBO ... they featured a segment shot on RI. In case you didn't know.

It was on top of the hill in South Point Park. Some female folk singer was singing a song. Really short segment on the show. However, I did recognize the location.
The folk singer was Lisa Loeb. She appears singing on Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park at about the 2 minute mark.

First Sunday Night Of The Month Jazz Salon Returns To Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA May 4 - Come Hear Art & The Impressionists Swing To Bop, Enjoy The Art and Meet New And Old Friends

The First Sunday Of The Month Jazz Salon is returning to Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA this weekend, May 4:


Yes, the jazz is back at GALLERY RIVAA - 527 Main Street..

On Sunday , May 4th , at 5.00pm stop the house band "Art & the Impressionists" play a 2 hour set of jazz standards.. Celebrate spring with jazz !

According to Art & The Impressionists:
We have had a great 2 years of Jazz Salon and brought 2013 to an end with a terrific evening. We started the year with boom bop a shoo bop … on january 5, 2014

The band has worked hard the result is a tighter sound and constant additions to the set list

In 2014 we will be playing the First Sunday of every month, except in July and August

On Sunday, stop on by the Jazz Salon at Gallery RIVAA, dance,

enjoy the music from Art & The Impressionists,

and meet new and old friends.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Briefs Residents On Cornell Construction Task Force Meeting - Issues Discussed Include Demolition, Construction, Barging, Air Quality, PS/IS 217, Goldwater Murals & More

According to the the latest update from the Cornell Tech's Roosevelt Island Construction Project web site:

April 25 - May 9 Look Ahead
Work continues in multiple buildings across the site. Interior demolition is finished in buildings C, D, F, and H. Interior abatement is nearing completion in buildings C and H. Buildings on the southern half of the site are currently being prepped in anticipation of work that will start as buildings in the north reach completion. Barging will take place the week of April 28th to remove demolition debris.

The art conservation firms have made significant process with the three WPA era murals. The Ilya Bolotowsky mural canvas has successfully been separated from the wall. Removal of the Albert Swinden and Joseph Rugolo murals is ongoing and will be complete in early May. After leaving Goldwater, the murals will travel to conservation studios where restoration will begin.

The U.S. Geological Survey is in the process of taking final geothermal readings. Once complete, the data will determine the viability of a geothermal well field and ultimately guide the design.

Air quality monitoring data is available on the Cornell Tech construction website.
The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) Board of Directors met last night (April 29) to report on their efforts to advocate quality of life issues on behalf of residents with Cornell NYC Tech, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), elected officials and other decision makers as it pertains to the development of the new Cornell campus. Among the topics discussed at last night's RICC meeting was an overview by Christina Delfico and other RICC Directors of the April 28 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Construction Task Force.

Here's the overview by RICC of the April 28 Construction Task Force meeting.

Part A.

Part B.

Community Board 8's Roosevelt Island Committee will meet tomorrow 6:30 PM for a:
Presentation by Cornell NYCTech of the design for the residential building.
at 546 Main Street, 12th Floor Conference Room.

The meeting is open to the public and you're invited to attend.

May 2 Deadline To Apply For 2014 NYC Summer Youth Employment Program With Roosevelt Island Youth Program/Beacon - 14 To 24 Year Olds Eligible But Only 2 Days Left To Apply

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

According to RIYP's Adib Mansour:

Are you between the age of 14 and 24?

Want a paid job during the summer?
Work with the children of our community?

If you're 14-24 years old, want to work at the Roosevelt Island / Beacon Summer Camp, and you're looking to have fun and educate the children of our community, apply online:

Enter: Hellanic American Neighborhood Action Committee in order for you to get chosen for RIYP.

Please note it is a lottery system and you must enter the specific code/location (Hellanic American Neighborhood Action Committee) in order to be eligible to work at the Roosevelt Island Youth Program / Beacon site.;

Should you have any questions or need additional information, do not hesitate to call us at (212) 527-2505

Roosevelt Island Jobs Available - RIOC Seeking Payroll Manager, Compliance/Internal Control Officer And Deputy Director of Public Safety

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has several job listings posted at Monster. The positions include:
 Good luck.

Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 Wins $225,000 For Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Education Announces NYC Council Member Ben Kallos - PS/IS 217 Still Trying To Figure Out Relationship With Cornell NYC Tech

Roosevelt Island's New York City Council Member Ben Kallos

Image From Ben Kallos

announced the winners of Manhattan District 5's Participatory Budgeting program earlier this week. Among the winners are Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 which will receive $225,000. According to the announcement:
Thank you for voting in participatory budgeting this cycle. You, together with your neighbors, determined how some of your own tax dollars will get spent. This was the first year our community did participatory budgeting, and the process gave me great confidence in the continued success of this program....

... PS 217, The Roosevelt Island School ($225,000): Technology update to further support the STEM programs that will be incorporated into the curriculum. Need of updated Active Boards, computers, laptops, smart devices including tablets, iPads, chrome books, and document cameras....
Click here for the full announcement including other winners of the 5th District's Participatory Budgeting Program initiated by Council Member Kallos.

Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman was very happy to learn of the $225,000 STEM funding. According to Ms. Beckman:
I am excited to see that we will receive the funds. This funding is awarded to schools as a RESO A grant. I will have meetings with integrators about the specific technology we plan to order. Once the order is placed, it is filled sometime in the summer/fall of 2015.
Ms. Beckman's reference to a "Reso A grant" is described by the NYC School Construction Authority as:
Resolution “A” (Reso “A”) projects are school specific capital improvement or enhancement projects that are funded through individual grants which are allocated by the Borough Presidents or members of the New York City Council. These projects are very important to the school community because they provide enhancements and upgrades to existing facilities. The most common Reso “A” projects are upgrades to a school’s technology, auditorium, playground, science Lab and other specialty classrooms. The SCA has also been able to utilize Reso “A” funding to complete some unique and innovative projects such as a Challenger Space Center, an Edible Schoolyard (farm), planetarium upgrade and Green roofs. The SCA is grateful to our elected officials for entrusting us with this capital funding that has led to numerous enhancements in schools throughout the City.
During the April 28 meeting of the Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island Construction Task Force, the issue of Cornell's assistance to PS/IS 217 was raised. Cornell NYC Tech Director of Community Relations Jane Swanson reported that a Director of K-12 Education was hired last January and has been engaging with the PS/IS 217 Principal and PTA.

Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) Director Christina Delfico noted in response that while it is a great first start, PS/IS 217:
... wants more concrete information on what can be done and clarity. ... Good ideas are terrific but if there is no funding or assistance to help them in the execution...  Good start but how can we execute knowing there are obstacles.
Here's the discussion.

Ms.Delfico also reported the the Girls Who Code Program that was begun last year is not happening this summer.

Cornell NYC Tech's Cathy Dove discussed adoption of PS/IS 217 during this 2013 Community Board 8 Education Committee meeting. 

Will have more on the entire April 28 Construction Task Force meeting including information on demolition, construction schedules, air quality, presentation by Technion representative and more.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Another Roosevelt Island Burglary Of Unlocked Apartment - This Time At Westview Building

Another Roosevelt Island apartment burglary. This time the burglary took place in Westview building yesterday.

According to the Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Report;
04/28/14 - 1812 - 625 Main St. - Burglary - Referred to NYPD.
In response to my inquiry, a NYPD Press Spokesperson reports that entry was made through an unlocked apartment front door and that an Apple laptop was stolen.

There have been a series of Roosevelt Island burglaries recently, mostly at Roosevelt Landings, and the method of entry has been through unlocked apartment doors.

More on Roosevelt Island burglaries here and crime prevention tips from the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department:

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
UPDATE 10:15 PM - Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Jack McManus adds:
The resident opened the door to the apartment to ventilate it and while he was sleeping he heard some noise, got up, and saw the back of a hooded individual exiting his apartment. An ipad was taken.

Do It Yourself Roosevelt Island Tram Model - Young Transportation Designer Makes Aerial Tram With No Waiting, No Crowds But No View Either

Image From You Tube

You Tuber Mark Roth reports:
Simon's class had a recent field trip to the Roosevelt Island Tram. He was inspired to make a tram out of cardboard and connect it to a motor using LittleBits (
Here's Simon's Tram inspired by our Roosevelt Island Tram.

Good job Simon.

And the inspiration with views.

More Roosevelt Island Tram ride views from previous posts.

Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization April 30 Monthly Seminar - Healthy Living Tips, Dentist Dr Saul Presser Guest Speaker, Meditation, Refreshments And Please Bring A Friend.

The Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization (RIWHO) sends the following invitation for its April 30 Monthly Seminar.

According to RIWHO:
Roosevelt Island Women’s Health Organization (RIWHO)
Presents free monthly seminars for women age 18 and older Offering Health Tips on Healthy Living

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

Guest Speaker
Dr. Saul M. Presser

Sheryl Glenn
Will offer meditation

Please bring a friend

Refreshments will be served

Monday, April 28, 2014

Roosevelt Island Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Seek Holocaust Reparations From French Rail Company SNCF For Transporting Nazi Victims During World War 2

Roosevelt Island's NYC Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney reported yesterday on her efforts to secure Holocaust Reparations from the French Railroad Company SNCF for its involvement in the deportation of Jews and other victims of the Nazis during World War 2.

 Image Of Train Transporting Nazi Holocaust Victims From Voice Of America You Tube

Ms Maloney's remarks were made during a NY State Assembly Democratic Primary Candidates Forum on April 27 that she was moderating.

Here's what Congresswoman Maloney said

and a Press Release was issued today from her office on the subject.

Image Of Ben Kallos (Left) Carolyn Maloney (Center) and Mark Levine (right) today
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) today joined City Council Members Mark Levine and Benjamin Kallos to highlight their efforts to secure reparations from SNCF, the French rail company that transported 76,000 Jews and thousands of others to concentration camps during World War II, and to hold accountable any company that profited from the Holocaust.

Council Members Levine and Kallos will introduce a city council resolution that would call on the state legislature to pass legislation barring contracting with companies that profited from the Holocaust, but have never compensated victims. Maloney is working to pass the Holocaust Rail Justice Act in Congress, to give survivors their day in court by ending SNCF's ability to shield itself from litigation using the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

“SNCF has acknowledged its role in transporting victims, but has always refused to pay compensation for its actions, citing sovereign immunity,” Maloney said. “The government of France has paid compensation to survivors who returned to France or who live in 4 other countries with which France reached agreements: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom. But survivors who live in the United States have been denied their day in court and have never received a dime in compensation from SNCF or the French government. I will continue my work in Congress to make sure companies like SNCF pay reparations to Holocaust survivors, and will adamantly oppose any public contracts with companies like this. I commend Council Members Levine and Kallos for their resolution in support of barring companies like SNCF from receiving state money.”

“Our response to the Holocaust must not only be about remembering and mourning, but also about supporting the survivors still among us and seeking justice for their perpetrators. Preemptive action now by New York State would send a clear message that companies implicated in the horrors of the holocaust must pay restitution to their victims--or be disqualified from doing business with our State,” said Council Member Mark Levine.

“We are all survivors and must never forget. My family is among millions of others to lose our loved ones in the Holocaust. For those corporations that profited from those deaths but failed to make the families of victims whole, I say, 'we will never forget.' I call on my colleagues in government to tell these corporations that 'we will never forget,' and to stop doing business with the corporations until they finally remember!” said Council Member Ben Kallos.

The resolution from Council Members Levine and Kallos calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that would bar companies and their affiliates who profited from the Holocaust, but have not yet paid restitution, to receive government contracts.

Last year Maloney introduced the Holocaust Rail Justice Act with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to provide Holocaust survivors their day in court against SNCF. SNCF claims immunity from legal action due to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, yet the FSIA was passed 30 years after the action causing the harm for which the plaintiffs seek damages. The bill allows the plaintiffs to sue regardless of the strictures of the FSIA.

Earlier this year, Maloney and Ros-Lehtinen wrote to the Maryland Department of Transportation in opposition to a bid for the Purple Line rail project from Keolis North America, an SNCF subsidiary. The State Department is presently negotiating with the French government on the question of reparations.

During World War II, SNCF was paid per head, per kilometer to provide the trains, cars, and manpower necessary to deport approximately 76,000 Jews and thousands of other “undesirables” from France to Nazi death camps. Since the war, the company has refused to take responsibility for its actions or to provide any measure of justice or reparations to the surviving victims and families of those who perished.
Some additional background on this issue from Voice Of America.

The current President of SNCF told Voice Of America that the company was also a victim of the Nazis, not complicit in the actions of the Nazis, and noted that over 2100 employees were murdered by the Nazis.

A Texan Visits Roosevelt Island And Falls In Love With Our Little Slice Of New York City - RI Residents Have Best Of Both Worlds, Living On A Beautiful Island With Everything You'd Ever Want A 3 Minute Tram Ride Away

A really nice perspective on Roosevelt Island from a visiting Texan.

 Image From Legends Of America

 According to Marlo M:
This week, I finally had the chance to visit your island-twice! (I visited Sunday and Wednesday) and it just took my breath away.

Perhaps it is the Texan in me that appreciates wide open spaces and nature the island has to offer, but I was just completely blown away by the beauty of Roosevelt Island...from the blooming trees to the smallpox ruins and of course the FDR Four Freedoms monument (my husband said the monument is actually the thing he enjoyed most about the trip).

We had a goose who continually photobombed a bunch of skyline photos and I was able to take panoramic photos with the 1776, Chrysler, and Empire State Buildings in one shot. Those who state that the island lacks character truly makes me scratch my head...of course, I love nature and I have a deep appreciation for the minimalist style by which the island was designed.

I can see where living there can probably feel inconvenient at times but from what I saw, RI residents truly have the best of both worlds- living on a beautiful, quiet island with everything you'd ever want in the world literally a 3 minute tram ride away. If I ever came across the opportunity to move to NYC, after having literally walked all over that entire city and subwayed and cabbed pretty much the entire thing too, I'd definitely make RI my home.

What a beautiful island. I went twice because after we arrived Sunday I insisted that this be the first thing I do in NYC, but my mom didn't feel well so she took a nap and hubby and I went over. After that I told her I'd take her back and I did on Weds...we rode the red bus around the island and then walked down to Southpoint. She LOVED it. We fell in love with your little slice of NYC. :-)
Come back whenever you wish Marlo - Glad you had a good time and thank you for reminding us how good we have it.

You're Invited To RIRA Informational Seminar On Keeping Your Roosevelt Island Home Clean - Tuesday, April 29 At Westview Community Room

The Roosevelt Island Resident's Association (RIRA) invites you to their first Informational Seminar.

According to RIRA's Housing Committee Chair Susan Marcus:
Are you over-extended and do not have the time to clean and organize your home the way you would like?

Roosevelt Island Residents Association, through the sponsorship of the Housing Committee, will be offering a series of Informational Seminars to make your apartment living carefree, safe and habitable. The first seminar will tackle the problem of keeping your apartment clean and organized with the least amount of effort.

Our neighbor and founder of The Best Home Services, rated number 1 on Angie’s List for Cleaning Services, Mary Cavanaugh, will be giving us “Quick Tricks for Organizing and Cleaning Your Home” on Tuesday April 29, 2014 at the Westview Community Room from 7:00-8:30pm. Spend this time with us and you will be spending less time maintaining your apartment. All are welcome and the Housing Committee looks forward to seeing you at this very worthwhile event.

Light refreshments will be served.
The Westview Community Room is located at 625 Main Street.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Roosevelt Island Makes It To Radio City Music Hall - Sort Of, But Growing Roosevelt Island Popularity Makes For Very Crowded Tram

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Without the Queens bound F train service to Roosevelt Island this weekend, the Manhattan Tram station was packed with people. Here is what it was like waiting on the Manhattan Tram Platform at about 5 PM even after a fully occupied Tram just left the station.

As the people on the station boarded the Tram and left for the Roosevelt Island side, ofthers were left waiting

 for the next Tram.

I was told the crowds were like this for most of the day.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse asked: