Saturday, August 9, 2014

Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Movie Showing The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug Tonight, Saturday August 9 - Location Moved To Firefighters Field

The Roosevelt Island 2014 Summer Outdoor Movie Series continues tonight with The Hobbit:Desolation of Smaug.

Image Of July 12 Showing Of Marvel's The Avengers At Firefighters Field

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
This Saturday, August 9th, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation presents the fifth film in the Roosevelt Island Outdoor Summer Movie Series: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug! Join us on Firefighter's Field at 7 PM for music, film trivia and night of movie fun under the stars. Food and drink will be available for purchase, bring a blanket or lawn chair.

Also, don't miss the final screening in the series: On Saturday, August 23rd, RIOC will present a showing of the James Bond movie Goldfinger, as well as a unique short film shot on Roosevelt Island that showcases local talent: A Necessary Music. We hope to see you there!


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Here's the trailer

There was a power outage at Southpoint Park during July 11 weekend deflating the outdoor screen

Images From Frank Farance

which forced the moving of Marvel's: The Avengers from Southpoint Park to Firefighters Field. Don't know if there is still a power issue at Southpoint Park or if RIOC decided to change the outdoor movie site for other reasons.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Roosevelt Island Sikh Resident Assaulted Near Blackwell House 8 PM Last Night - NYPD Investigating Possible Hate Crime Says RIOC

 Image From The Sikh Coalition

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Report listed today:
8/7/14 - 2015 - 500 Main St. - Assault - PSD/NYPD responded. NYPD report filed.
A NYPD spokesperson reported that a group of 12 - 13 year olds punched a male victim in the head at approximately 8 PM last night in front of 500 Main Street.

 Image Of Area Surrounding Blackwell House (500 Main Street)

The victim suffered minor cuts and bruises, was sent to Cornell Hospital and then released.

This evening, I received the press release below from the Sikh Coalition:
A Sikh resident of New York City was attacked and injured on Roosevelt Island last night in an apparent hate crime. The attack occurred just days after another suspected hate crime, in which Sandeep Singh—a Sikh American—was run over and dragged on a public street in Queens by a driver in a pick-up truck. The Sikh Coalition is calling on the NYPD to investigate both attacks as hate crimes and urges witnesses to come forward.

The target of the Roosevelt Island attack was treated at a local hospital and is recovering from his injuries. Although he has chosen to remain anonymous, he issued the following statement:
I am a physician scientist living and working in New York City. My mom and I were walking to dinner last night on Roosevelt Island. Both of us wear turbans and maintain uncut hair in accordance with our Sikh religious beliefs. As we passed a playground around 8:15pm, we were confronted by approximately 10 teenagers. They called us “Osama bin Laden” and told us to “go back to your country.” They called my mother a “bitch with facial hair.” I told them to stop, but they surrounded me. One of them punched me in the face. Another one punched me in the back of the neck. Another one tried to throw a filled soda bottle at me. As they ran away, I tried pursuing them but was dizzy and felt a lot of pain. I called the police and was treated at a hospital.

I want the New York Police Department to investigate this attack as a hate crime and arrest the people who attacked me before they hurt someone else. I want witnesses to come forward and contact the police immediately. My mom is visiting me from India. She thought that Americans respect religious freedom and that the police and the government here do everything in their power to prevent violence and arrest criminals. I don’t want her to lose faith that justice will be done.
The Sikh Coalition urges witnesses to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. The attack occurred at approximately 8:15pm on Thursday, August 7th near a playground on the Queens side of Roosevelt Island. The attackers consisted of approximately 10 teenagers. Of these, one was a white male on a small bicycle who initiated the hate slurs; the rest were black; and three were female. The Sikh Coalition has requested the intervention of the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force and urged investigators to preserve surveillance footage that may have recorded the crime.

“We’re tired of being targeted again and again by bigots, but Sikh Americans aren’t afraid and aren’t going to let a small group of narrow-minded individuals get us down,” said Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition. “We look forward to working with the New York City government, including the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio, to arrest the attackers, stop hate crimes in New York City, and make all of our communities safe.”

Headquartered in New York City, the Sikh Coalition is the largest Sikh American advocacy organization in the United States. For more information, please visit our website at
In response to my inquiries, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department Director Jack McManus said:
The NYPD 114th precinct is investigating and treating the incident as a possible hate crime.
RIOC President Charlene Indelicato added:
In our very diverse community on Roosevelt Island, hate crimes are unacceptable and RIOC will work diligently with the NYPD to make sure Roosevelt Island is a safe community for everyone.
UPDATE 8/11 - Statement from members of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association.

UPDATE 5:20 PM - A NYPD spokesperson confirmed today that the incident is being investigated by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force.

The Huffington Post has more on the incident:
Doctor Jaspreet Singh Batra came forward on Monday as the victim of an alleged Sikh hate crime that took place in New York City...

... As he continues to process what happened, Batra said he hopes for justice -- but not for vengeance.

"I know that these kids live in my neighborhood," Batra said. "I know they're teenagers, and they're still in the process of making sense of the world. For me to have closure, I would prefer that these young people come forward and accept their fault, and that we take a positive approach to involve them in the community."

As part of a long lasting path to justice, Batra said he would like to see a mandatory diversity education program in schools and colleges that teaches young people about the value of all faiths and ethnicities.

"I think there should be a school program where a diversity education course is mandated to make sure all youngsters attend because that's the age you start making opinions. That's the right time to catch these young minds, to make them explore the beauty that lies in diversity."
Click here for the full Huffington Post article.

No Roosevelt Island Manhattan Bound F Train Service This Weekend

According to the MTA Weekender:
F Coney Island-bound trains run via the M from Roosevelt Av to 47-50 Sts

Weekend, 11:15 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Aug 8 - 11

Trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.

No Coney Island-bound F service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.

Former RIOC President Steve Shane Comments On NY State Inspector General's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Corruption Report - Will RIOC Directors Comment?

Reported yesterday on the NY State Inspector General's (IG) corruption investigation of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC). According to this excerpt from the IG Report Press Release:
... Three executives of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation were engaged in misconduct ranging from steering contracts to relatives and taking kickbacks from them, using RIOC vehicles for personal use, chronic absenteeism, and inappropriate expenses including the use of RIOC funds for unauthorized meals, according to a report released today by New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott. Inspector General Scott’s investigation, which covered the years 2007 to 2012 focused on Fernando Martinez, then Vice President of Operations for RIOC, former President/Chief Executive Officer Leslie Torres, and former Chief Financial Officer Steven Chironis. As a result of the investigation, all three no longer work for RIOC....

... The Inspector General’s investigation revealed that Martinez received kickbacks for steering a contract to Bright Cleaning Solutions (BCS), Ramos’s company, in November 2008 for shoreline cleanup. He steered another contract to BCS in September 2010 for an office renovation project and received $9,390.

Additionally, Martinez utilized a brother-in-law’s printing company for RIOC projects and hired a second brother-in-law for the position of Parks and Recreation Manager in violation of state ethics policy and RIOC’s anti-nepotism directive. Following the Inspector General’s discoveries, Martinez resigned his RIOC employment in December 2012.

Former President/CEO Torres violated RIOC policy by utilizing a RIOC vehicle for commuting and personal travel. In addition, she inappropriately charged expensive meals to her RIOC credit card, with one lunch costing $355. Finally, Torres was consistently absent from RIOC’s offices, instructing staff to keep her office lit while she was away. She resigned in September 2012.

Former CFO Chironis tacitly approved Torres’s misuse of the RIOC vehicle, and miscalculated her taxable fringe benefit in violation of federal law and state policy. He also permitted Torres to inappropriately charge meals to her credit card, incorrectly classifying them as “business expenses” in violation of RIOC policy. In fact, Chironis and Martinez engaged in the same misuse of their RIOC credit cards shortly after Torres began doing so. Chironis resigned his RIOC employment in August 2013....
The IG also reported (Page 1):
... The investigation further found that Martinez received kickbacks totaling over $183,000 for hiring his friend’s janitorial cleaning service....
and (Page 3):
... Martinez was able to effectuate his scheme because he and other RIOC executives failed to follow New York State procurement law and RIOC procurement policy. RIOC procurement policy, which is overseen by the chief financial officer, required RIOC to publish in the State Contract Reporter and competitively bid any procurement contract estimated at $15,000 or more. Instead, Martinez and other RIOC executives improperly invoked exceptions to the competitive process that ostensibly permitted Martinez to select a vendor on a non-competitive basis. In this way, Martinez selected Bright Cleaning Solutions for what grew to be a large cleanup project at Roosevelt Island....
Click here for the full IG Report.

Steve Shane was the President of RIOC immediately prior to Ms. Torres and hired Mr. Martinez and Mr. Chironis.

Yesterday, I asked Mr. Shane:
As you may know, the NY State Inspector General issued a report today finding criminal conduct, kickbacks, nepotism and more at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp involving former RIOC President Leslie Torres, VP's Fernando Martinez and Steve Chironis.

You are mentioned several times in the report and provided testimony to the Inspector General.

Do you have any comment on this matter...
Mr. Shane replied yesterday:
I have now read the IG's report. I have no comment about the events which occurred after my departure, except as to Mr. Martinez. He was and is a friend. He has expressed his deep regrets for his actions, plead guilty and paid his debt to society. I feel great sadness for him, his wife and three daughters.

As to the matters during my tenure:
1. I had no knowledge of Mr. Smith's relationship and have no recollection of ever hearing a rumor or a direct conversation on the subject. Certainly, no approval on my part.
2. I had no part in the bid process or the selection of Bright Cleaning Solutions ("BCS") or the rating or ranking of the responders to the posted RFP as to their original selection. There was, as was the case for all bidding for State contracts, extra points for minority contractor qualifications, in keeping with standard State policy.

When Fernando and I toured the site to look at the ongoing site clearing, it was obvious to me that the original contract limit lines set to avoid involvement with the State EPA along the actual shore of the East River were inadequate for the vision of Southpoint Park. Garbage in large quantities including refrigerators, tires, slabs of demolition debris, etc. clogged the view and access to the east towards Queens. Expanding the contract limits to the eastern shore was, in my judgment, the right thing to do. BCS was on site doing the original work and seemed the logical party with whom to negotiate an expanded scope, both in terms of expediency and cost efficiency. I authorized Mr. Martinez to negotiate accordingly and I took the result to the Board of Directors for approval and got a unanimous vote in favor after full discussion as to the underlying rationale. The resulting Southpoint Park, in my opinion, continues to justify the process and I make no apologies.

I had no knowledge of Mr. Martinez' relationship with BCS and was proceeding on the contracting process in place.

I directly addressed the issue of ethics and propriety and demanded the Caesar's wife standard of behavior during my tenure.

In direct response to the comment on your blog as to the reason for my sudden departure, I refer you to the members of RIOC's Board in whose hands, chaired by former Commissioner Lawlor, my fate was determined. I challenge anyone to cite any issue of my personal impropriety. I considered my position as President of RIOC as a matter of a trust for which I was fortunate to receive the privilege of serving.
See pages 13 - 24 of the IG Report for Mr. Shane's testimony regarding nepotism involving Mr. Martinez and Mr. Smith as well as the Southpoint Park shoreline bid process.

I also asked the RIOC Directors yesterday:
As you may already know, RIOC President Charlene Indelicato has released a statement in regard to today's report by the NY State Inspector General detailing criminal conduct, corruption, kickbacks, nepotism among other charges during the prior RIOC administration.

Here's the link.

Ms. Indelicato was not working for RIOC during the time detailed in the report, but all the current RIOC Directors were serving.

Does any RIOC Director have a comment or statement on the Inspector General's Report including what monitoring and oversight role the RIOC Board conducted during this period and why did it fail?

Please let me know if there will be any comment from RIOC Board members.

Thank you.
Will update if RIOC Directors comment.

Will Official Citi Bike Docking Station Come To Roosevelt Island? There's An Unofficial One At Roosevelt Island Subway Station.

Roosevelt Island has no official Citi Bike docking station but that did not stop one user from adopting the Roosevelt Island subway station bike rack as a personal Citi Bike dock station. According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse

Also, Michael Hocke shares this picture of the personal Citi Bike docking station at the Roosevelt Island Subway Station Bike Rack

 Image From Michael Hocke

and adds yesterday:
Somebody seemed to have claimed a Citibike as his/her own.

I snapped this picture yesterday morning. The bike was still there this morning and notice the lock! I’ll let Citibike know so they can reclaim it but it will probably take a while according to reports on the Gothamist.
The Citi Bike was still docked at the Roosevelt Island subway station this morning.

Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk reports on her conversation with a Citi Bike Program Manager:
Citi Bike, the bicycle sharing system in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is enormously popular, exceeding expectations. I have used it numerous times to take short hops between appointments in Manhattan. It's fast, a light work-out and saves the cost of subway fare on these interim trips.

Of course, it could be even more convenient. The northern-most docking stations are very close to the tram at 58 and 2nd Avenue

and 58th and 3rd Avenue. In the morning, the bikes at these stations are quickly snapped up, according to my neighbor.

On Saturday, August 2, I spoke informally with a manager of the Citi Bike program and congratulated him on its success. I asked when the program might be extended to Roosevelt Island. Unfortunately, our Island, flat and scenic as it may be, does not appear to be on the Citi Bike radar screen. The next areas of expansion are likely to be Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, followed by the area between 58th and 79th Streets, on both the East and West sides of Manhattan.

In 2009, RIOC briefly considered an Island-based bike sharing program, which at the time struck me as doomed. Anyone who wants to zip around the Island probably has their own bike already. Riders using the proposed bicycles could transport very few items from a store in the carriers provided. As someone who once hoisted a backpack laden with a 10-pound bag of frozen chicken breasts on a bike ride from the nearby Costco, I know the folly of shopping by bicycle.

A bike program that communicated with Manhattan, however, would be viable and might even bring more tourists and visitors to the Island's restaurants and stores. If REQX Ventures, an affiliate of real-estate giant Related Cos, completes the anticipated investment in the Citi Bike program, that might make the Island an attractive location for some Citi Bike stations at the Tram, subway, Good Shepherd Plaza and under the helix.
According to the NY Times, REQX is:
...a venture formed by some principals of the real estate firm Related and the fitness chain Equinox....
Related Companies is a joint venture partner with Hudson Companies (Hudson Related) as developers of Roosevelt Island Southtown Riverwalk buildings and as Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder.

A Citi Bike location on Roosevelt Island would make a great connection to Long Island City and Astoria, as well as Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The August 4 WNYC Brian Lehrer radio program

has more on the future of Citi Bike.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cornell NYC Tech And Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA Sharing Main Street Space And Costs - Cornell NYC Tech Staff On Site Wednesdays and Fridays

Reported last Friday:

... Gallery RIVAA was a subject during July 30 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting update (full audio web cast of meeting here) from Main Street Master Leaseholder David Kramer Of Hudson Related. During a discussion on the use of the second floor space of 504 Main Street, Mr. Kramer reported that Gallery RIVAA has partnered with Cornell NYC Tech to share its premises. Cornell NYC Tech will share the space for public events and exhibits as well as contribute to the rent for the premises...

Yesterday, Cornell NYC Tech sent out this press release:
Cornell Tech announced today that it will open a space at the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA), 527 Main Street on Roosevelt Island. Starting September 3rd, Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations Jane Swanson, as well as other Cornell Tech staff, plan to be on site at the gallery on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Members of the public are encouraged to stop by to learn about the Cornell Tech campus and talk to staff. To celebrate the opening, Cornell Tech will host an open house with light refreshments at the space throughout the day on Wednesday, September 10th.

Through the gallery space, Cornell Tech plans to bring its vision, and its interplay of technology and creativity, to the wider community, as well as to share information about the progress of the academic programs and campus construction.

“As Cornell Tech’s campus on the south end of Roosevelt Island begins to take shape and we’re less than three years away from opening, I am thrilled that we will soon have a presence on Main Street,” said Jane Swanson, Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations at Cornell Tech.

"I am very excited to welcome Cornell Tech to the RIVAA gallery, and hope the Roosevelt Island community will come out to learn about the campus and see the other exciting works of art we have on exhibit,” said Tad Sudol, President of RIVAA.

Members of the public can stay up to date on the hours of operation of the gallery space by signing up for campus updates at

Cornell Tech is a revolutionary model for graduate education that fuses technology with business and creative thinking. Cornell Tech brings together like-minded faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in a catalytic environment to produce visionary ideas grounded in significant needs that will reinvent the way we live. Cornell Tech’s temporary campus has been up and running at Google’s Chelsea building since 2012, with a growing world-class faculty, and master’s and Ph.D. students who work with tech-oriented organizations and on their own start-ups. Construction is underway on Cornell Tech’s permanent, sustainable 12-acre campus on Roosevelt Island, with a first phase due to open in 2017. When fully completed, the campus will include 2 million square feet of state-of-the-art buildings, over 2 acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and nearly 280 faculty and staff.
Here's David Kramer discussing the Gallery RIVAA and Cornell NYC Tech space and cost sharing arrangement

at the July 30 RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not revealed.

Blockbuster News, NY State Inspector General Finds Criminal Conduct, Kickbacks, Nepotism, Abuse Of Vehicles And Credit Cards At Prior Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Administration

Reported in March 2012 that the NY State Inspector General's Office

was investigating the leadership and management structure of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC). In December 2013 I asked when the Inspector General's report would be released.

Well, the answer is today.  Here is the full 53 page NY State Inspector General's Report on RIOC, which I am still reading, and below is the press release from the NY State Inspector General   describing the report.

Inspector General’s investigation results in two guilty pleas and systemic changes to RIOC Policies and Procedures

Three executives of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation were engaged in misconduct ranging from steering contracts to relatives and taking kickbacks from them, using RIOC vehicles for personal use, chronic absenteeism, and inappropriate expenses including the use of RIOC funds for unauthorized meals, according to a report released today by New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott. Inspector General Scott’s investigation, which covered the years 2007 to 2012 focused on Fernando Martinez, then Vice President of Operations for RIOC, former President/Chief Executive Officer Leslie Torres, and former Chief Financial Officer Steven Chironis. As a result of the investigation, all three no longer work for RIOC.

Additionally, as a result of the Inspector General’s investigation, Martinez pleaded guilty to charges associated with contract steering and kickbacks. He was ordered to pay approximately $86,000 in restitution to the state and sentenced to six months incarceration. An associate, Javier Ramos, was ordered to pay $7,500 for his part in the scheme.

“As my investigation of RIOC makes clear, illegal and unethical behavior was common at the very top of RIOC’s executive chain of command,” said Inspector General Scott. “Officers charged with governing and delivering services to residents and businesses on Roosevelt Island used RIOC to enrich themselves, family and friends to an astonishing degree. This may not have occurred had there been effective oversight at RIOC.”

Charlene M. Indelicato, President and Chief Executive Officer of RIOC said: “RIOC can best represent and deliver important services to the people who live and work on Roosevelt Island only when we maintain a high degree of integrity, accountability and transparency in government. This is why I am very pleased with Inspector General Scott’s completed investigation and grateful for the guidance and recommendations her report provides to ensure past mistakes and misconduct are not repeated.”

The Inspector General’s investigation revealed that Martinez received kickbacks for steering a contract to Bright Cleaning Solutions (BCS), Ramos’s company, in November 2008 for shoreline cleanup. He steered another contract to BCS in September 2010 for an office renovation project and received $9,390.

Additionally, Martinez utilized a brother-in-law’s printing company for RIOC projects and hired a second brother-in-law for the position of Parks and Recreation Manager in violation of state ethics policy and RIOC’s anti-nepotism directive. Following the Inspector General’s discoveries, Martinez resigned his RIOC employment in December 2012.

Former President/CEO Torres violated RIOC policy by utilizing a RIOC vehicle for commuting and personal travel. In addition, she inappropriately charged expensive meals to her RIOC credit card, with one lunch costing $355. Finally, Torres was consistently absent from RIOC’s offices, instructing staff to keep her office lit while she was away. She resigned in September 2012.

Former CFO Chironis tacitly approved Torres’s misuse of the RIOC vehicle, and miscalculated her taxable fringe benefit in violation of federal law and state policy. He also permitted Torres to inappropriately charge meals to her credit card, incorrectly classifying them as “business expenses” in violation of RIOC policy. In fact, Chironis and Martinez engaged in the same misuse of their RIOC credit cards shortly after Torres began doing so. Chironis resigned his RIOC employment in August 2013.

Inspector General Scott also found that since May 2011, RIOC has not had an internal control officer, as required by the Public Authorities Law. This position is charged with safeguarding RIOC’s assets, checking accounting data, and ensuring RIOC is adhering to its own policies.

Inspector General Scott recommended that RIOC:
  • Follow state procurement laws and strengthen its own policies;
  • Review all procurements, monitor credit card usage to ensure conformance with RIOC policy, and issue credit cards only to employees whose daily activities require them;
  • Designate an internal control officer; and
  • Ensure vehicles are used appropriately and consistently with RIOC’s vehicle use policy.
  • Take measures to recoup moneys improperly spent by RIOC employees
Inspector General Scott reviewed her report with RIOC’s new management, which has agreed to take corrective action, including:
  • Instituting stronger, more effective oversight measures of state procurement law to prevent unauthorized procurement and strictly bar nepotism;
  • Incorporating layers of review and reconciliation of procurements made by RIOC personnel:
  • Retrieve and discontinue all credit cards used by RIOC personnel who made unauthorized purchases and act to recoup those purchases from the cardholders;
  • Recruitment of an internal control/compliance officer; and
  • Revision of the vehicle use policy to reflect state policy which strictly prohibits personal use of
  • vehicles and requires travel logs be maintained for each vehicle.
In addition, RIOC has issued demand letters for reimbursement of inappropriate expenditures.

Inspector General Scott thanked Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. for prosecuting the Martinez and Ramos cases, and for assisting in the investigation.

RIOC was created in 1984 as a public benefit corporation to assume responsibility for the development and operation of Roosevelt Island, a 147-acre state owned island property that sits on the East River between the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. RIOC is governed by a nine-member board.

A copy of the Inspector General’s report can be found here

UPDATE 8/8 - More info here including comments from former RIOC President Steve Shane on IG Report.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You're Invited To Thursday Sunset Concerts At Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park This August - Laoulu Senbanjo, Jose Conde Quartet, Tom do Brasil And Brooklyn Nomads

You're invited to Sunset Performances at Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park (FDR Park) during the month of August.

 Image From FDR Park

According to the FDR Park:
Join us for live music by internationally renowned musicians.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park comes alive with music Thursdays in August.

Performances are free and will take place rain or shine!

The Katchke Farm food station will be selling beer, wine and tastes from around the world from 4pm-7:30pm.

Sunset Performances are presented with generous support from City Councilman Ben Kallos.

Sunset Performances are Thursday evenings, from 6:00-7:45pm on the following dates:
August 7th: Laolu Senbanjo

August 14th: Jose Conde Quartet

August 21st: Tom do Brasil

August 28th: Brooklyn Nomads
More information available at the FDR Park web site.

Here's AK performing at FDR Park



Hudson Related Topping Off 266 Unit Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 - Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital To Rent 88 Units, Remaining Market Rate Rentals, Building 8 Will Have Large Percentage Of Affordable Units Says Developer David Kramer

Rendering Of Completed Roosevelt Island Rivewalk Building 7

The Hudson Related Southtown Riverwalk building 7 construction site was only a hole in the ground last March 3.

On July 30, developer Hudson Related held a traditional Topping Off ceremony with the construction trade workers, bankers and others to mark the completion of building vertically and pouring the last floor

 Image Of Riverwalk Buiding 7 on July 30, 2014

for the 266 apartment unit, 22 floors, Roosevelt Island Riverwalk building 7 expected to be completed near the end of 2015.

I spoke with Hudson Related Developer David Kramer and Monadnock Construction's Louis Schwartz on the 19th floor

 View From Riverwalk Building 7 19th Floor

after the Topping Off.

Riverwalk Building 7 Topping Off T Shirt Logo

Mr. Kramer reported that the lower four floors of Riverwalk Building 7, comprising 88 units, will be occupied by staff of Memorial Sloan Kettering and the remaining apartments will be market rate rentals.

Mr. Schwartz noted a construction challenge working with the Department of Environmental Protection to relocate a sewer force main, which pumps sewage from the southern portion of Roosevelt Island, during the laying of the foundation. Mr. Schwartz also said that there was no gigantic rock that needed to be broken up as there was for an earlier Riverwalk construction site.

There is no affordable housing component to Riverwalk Building 7 but Mr. Kramer added that the next Riverwalk building, number 8, will have a large percentage of affordable units.

After our interview, I asked Mr. Kramer:
... how will the affordable housing units be made available? Will they be made available to anybody who meets income criteria (with a lottery or some other system) or will they be restricted to some other criteria such as working for a particular institution?
Mr. Kramer replied:
The current plan is to work with the publicly financed programs, not with any particular non-profit institution....
Here's the interview with Mr. Kramer and Mr. Schwartz high atop Riverwalk Building 7.

Mr. Kramer also describes the future layout of Riverwalk buildings 8 and 9.

Here's a rendering of entrance to Riverwalk Building 7

Riverwalk 7 Entrance Rendering From Future Green Studio

and more.

Roosevelt Island Assault In Front Of Westview Apartment Building - Male Victim Struck From Behind Causing Minor Cuts And Lacerations

According to the 8/4 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report:
8/4/14 - 0028 - 595 Main St. - Assault - PSD/NYPD/EMS responded. NYPD report filed. EMS refused.
A NYPD spokesperson reported that the male victim was struck from behind shortly after midnight, August 4, at 595 Main Street by an unknown number of subjects and suffered minor lacerations.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Jack McManus adds that the victim was struck by a group  of teenagers and suffered minor cuts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Possibly The Best Roosevelt Island NYC East River Waterfront Rainbow Picture Ever - Is It Real?

Image From NYC Travel Tips

RIRA Hosting Town Hall Meeting Tonight For Democratic Party Candidates Seeking To Represent Roosevelt Island In NY State 76 Assembly District At Good Shepherd - Meet And Ask Questions Of David Menegon, Ed Hartzog, Gus Christensen & Rebecca Seawright

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Governance Committee will host a Meet The Candidates For the NY State Assembly 76 District Democratic Party nomination tonight from 8 - 10 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street).

The 76 NY State Assembly District comprises Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side. We are currently represented by Assembly Member Micah Kellner who declined to run for re-election.

According to RIRA President Jeff Escobar:
... As fall approaches, election season draws near. This year will be pivotal for Roosevelt Island -- our District will be electing a new Assemblymember to represent us in Albany. The Democratic primary for the seat is Tuesday, September 9. Understanding its importance, the Government Relations Committee of the RIRA Common Council is sponsoring a Town Meeting on Tuesday, August 5, at 8 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, to give all of you the opportunity to meet the candidates. Come and directly ask the tough questions of Gus Christensen, Ed Hartzog, David Menegon, and Rebecca Seawright, to see if they truly understand the stakes here on the Island, and if they have what it takes to represent us....
More information on the candidates available at their web sites.

David Menegon,

Image From David Menegon

Ed Hartzog,

Image From Ed For Assembly

Gus Christensen,

Image From Gus Christensen

and Rebecca Seawright.

David Garland is the only announced Republican candidate for the Roosevelt Island/Upper East Side 76th NY State Assembly seat.

Our Town has a Q&A with the candidates and more info from previous posts.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Chain Owner John Catsimatidis Hosts Sunday Radio Talk Show Too - Guests Include Congresswoman Maloney On Getting a Panda From China, Former CIA Station Chief, Donald Trump And PBA President Pat Lynch

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket chain owner, real estate developer, billionaire oilman, former NYC Mayoral candidate and entrepreneur John Catsimatidis is also host of a Sunday morning radio talk show - the Cats Round Table on AM 970.

Yesterday, Sunday August 3, the Cats Roundtable discussed costumed characters in Times Square, pedicabs, horse carriages in Central Park, NYC politics and more. Mr. Catsimatidis also interviewed:
  • Gary Bernsten, former CIA, Operations Officer and Chief of Station,
  • Donald Trump on Central Park Horse Show,
  • Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney on her upcoming trip to China to get a Panda for New York City and
  • Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch
Here's the Cats Roundtable from Sunday August 3.

and my March 2013 interview with Mr.Catsimatidis

at the Grand Re-Opening of the Roosevelt Island Gristedes following its renovation.

Hurricane Season Is Here - NY State Citizen Preparedness Corp Offering Free Roosevelt Island Disaster Preparedness Training Class And Emergency Supplies Wednesday August 6 - You Must Pre Register To Attend

Be advised:

The NY State Citizen Preparedness Corps is hosting a free disaster preparedness class for Roosevelt Island residents at the Manhattan Park Theater Club (8 River Road) on Wednesday August 6 beginning at 6 PM.

Image From RIOC

According to NY State Prepare:
New York State is offering two hour training sessions for residents to have the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.

Each family participating will receive a free Citizen Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit....
Image From NY State Prepare

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
On Wednesday, August 6th, the NYS Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will be offering a FREE Citizens Preparedness training workshop at the Manhattan Park Theater Club (8 River Road) at 6 PM. In addition to valuable information about how to prepare for a natural or man-made disaster, each family participating will receive a free Citizens Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit for attending. The kit includes a first aid kit, emergency food and water, AM/FM radio, flashlight, and more items that are useful in case of a man-made or natural disaster.

We strongly encourage all Roosevelt Island residents to register for this valuable free training. When members of a community are well-prepared for an emergency, the neighborhood stays safer and bounces back more quickly from a disaster. This workshop will help you and your family create a plan, decide what you need to have on hand, and provide vital information about emergency preparedness.

In order to attend, all participants must register in advance at:

We hope to see you there!

This event is presented by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York in Partnership with the Citizens Preparedness Corps and the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Remember, you must pre-register to attend the free disaster preparedness training class.

In December 2013, the Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) conducted emergency disaster training drills under the auspices of NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Here are some scenes.

Click here to register for the NY State Disaster Preparedness Class on Wednesday August 6 and be ready.

Unfortunately, the long promised Roosevelt Island emergency evacuation plan has still not been made public.

Last Report From Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove - Introduces K-12 Education Director Diane Levitt, Community Engagement, Barging And Demolition & Says Goodbye To Roosevelt Island

 Image OF Cathy Dove Waving At 2014 Roosevelt Island Day

As previously reported, Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove

 Cornell VP Cathy Dove and President David Skorton Before April 2012 Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting

is leaving Cornell and Roosevelt Island to become President of Paul Smith's College. Below is her final report to the Roosevelt Island community:
I hope everyone is enjoying the summer! At Cornell Tech, we have had several great community meetings since we last checked in, most recently at our Cornell Tech Community and Construction Task Force meeting.

At the task force meeting, we were very pleased to introduce everyone to Cornell Tech’s Director of K-12 Education, Diane Levitt. Diane has great experience with K-12, and already is already making an impact at Cornell Tech and in the broader NYC educational community. Prior to joining Cornell Tech, Diane was the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Belkin, the global consumer electronics organization. She managed the company’s philanthropy, community engagement, employee volunteerism, and served as an advisor to the Chairman and CEO. She helped develop Belkin Education, products designed to maximize the learning opportunities technology offers and was deeply engaged in supporting the growth of high-achieving schools for low-income students in Los Angeles, including several STEM schools.

In the United States, there are 1.4 million computing jobs, yet only 400,000 computer science students. Implementing computer science programs in our schools is critical to our city and country’s future. Diane has been working closely with the principal, teachers and PTA at PS/IS 217 to identify programs that will enhance computational literacy learning in middle-school classrooms, to help students gain an understanding of software and hardware. This summer, a middle school math teacher is attending professional development on Bootstrap, a curricular module that teaches algebra and geometry concepts through computer programming. Diane is also working with the school to identify a coding/computational thinking curriculum for students, and looking for great tech-rich afterschool options for The Beacon Program. We hope to test new computing curriculum and professional development with PS/IS 217 teachers and students during the 2014-15 school year.

Cornell Tech and several of other Cornell organizations were pleased to participate in this year’s Roosevelt Island Day, I know we join many Islanders in thanking Urban American, RIOC and the many Roosevelt Island organizations and businesses who contributed to this day and made it so special. Everyone had something unique to offer the day. Among the many healthy food and fitness activities was the “smoothie bike” that Cornell University Cooperative Extension 4-Hers demonstrated – energy expended by the rider runs a blender that makes a smoothie. Participants got a little exercise and were immediately rewarded with a smoothie of their own making! It was amazing to see such enthusiasm among young and old alike who walked away wearing Cornell Tech pedometers and counting their steps to a healthier life. And I was one of many who took a lesson in hands-only CPR, sponsored by Weill Cornell’s Clinical and Translational Science Center and the Perelman Heart Institute. More than 100 people were trained in this life-saving technique. Hats off to the American Heart Association and the Roosevelt Island CERT organization for coordinating so much of this effort.

As demolition on the campus is well underway, I wanted to provide an update on our barging efforts. As you know, at the beginning of the year we launched the largest voluntary barging operation in New York City. I’m sure many of you have seen the barge arriving at and leaving the island, located on the east side of the construction site. I am very happy to report that through our aggressive use of barging, we have avoided over 1,500 truck trips to-date, and that number is growing every week.

Finally, on a personal note, it is with mixed emotions that I inform you that this will be my last column. Recently I accepted a position as president of Paul Smith’s College located close to Lake Placid in Upstate New York. I treasure the friendships I have made on Roosevelt Island, and will miss living here. But I’m not worried about our campus development - we have a wonderful team who is fully committed to Cornell Tech being a great addition to the Island. I will be watching their progress, and keeping abreast of all the Roosevelt Island news from afar. Many thanks to all of you for making me feel so welcome, and please look me up if you are ever in the beautiful Adirondack region.
During July 28 meeting of Roosevelt Island Cornell Construction & Community Task Force, Cornell NYC Tech Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations Jane Swanson reviewed Cornell's Roosevelt Island community engagement this summer. Here's what Ms. Swanson said.

During the same meeting, Cornell NYC Tech Director of Capital Planning Andrew Winters provided an update on the barging operation for the campus demolition

and construction.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Latest Info On Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail, Hudson Related's David Kramer Gives RIOC Board And Residents Update On Leasing Progress - Another One Or Two Years To Fill All Currently Vacant Stores

On July 30, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee (audio web cast of meeting here) received an update on Main Street leasing progress from Master Retail Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer.

 Image Of July 30 RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee Meeting (David Kramer On Far Left)

Earlier that day, it was reported here that Hudson Related signed a lease with an urgent care medical facility for the space occupied by the St Cabrini Thrift Shop.

Mr. Kramer began the retail update with a summary of progress to date including:
  • the new urgent care facility,
  • possible relocation of the Thrift Shop to a smaller space,
  • the soon to open wine store,
  • Trellis renovation to begin in the Fall (hopefully in September),
  • looking for a new hardware store tenant,
  • frustrated with pace of RIOC's renovating windows for Public Library at 504 Main Ground Floor,
  • does not want to break up 2nd Floor of 504 Main Street for two tenants, seeking one tenant for entire floor,
  • Gallery RIVAA partnering with Cornell NYC Tech to share space and costs and
  • difficulty encouraging Southtown Riverwalk residents to walk north to shop on Main Street.
Here's Part 1 of Mr. Kramer's retail update.

Mr. Kramer then spoke about (Part 2) the waterfront concession at Eleanor's Pier, hoping to make it a more permanent concession for next summer and creating Roosevelt Island way finding signage

followed by questions (Part 3) from RIOC Directors about:
  • a new bakery,
  • pressuring Trellis to start renovation or evict them (Trellis is technically in default under its lease for not starting renovation yet. Hudson Related expects them to start renovation in the Fall).
Mr. Kramer said that Hudson Related has not lost one deal because of asking for too much money and was willing to do a below market, loss leader deal, for the right tenant.

Mr. Kramer then took questions from residents (Part 4) about:
  • the Public Library,
  • flyers and "crappy stuff" on store windows,
  • cleaning up the stationary store (Mr. Kramer says they may be moved to another space),
  • desire of some for a pet store, ( H-R almost signed 2 different Pet Stores but it did not work out) and
  • Main Street restaurants (Rivercross will not allow restaurants needing ventilation in building).

and (Part 5):
  • Roosevelt Island Islamic Society seeking space at 504 Main Street Second Floor for Mosque and
  • co-working space for second floor of 504 Main Street.

And then the meeting was over (Part 6).

Mr. Kramer said that he believes it will take another one or two years for the 4 -6 currently vacant store spaces to be leased.
 ... We're going to continue along at a semi-sluggish pace and then something is going to tip...
Mr. Kramer encouraged residents to be ambassadors for Roosevelt Island and to tell favorite retailers that Roosevelt Island was open for business. Mr Kramer emphasized that there will no longer be sweetheart deals for politically favored tenants but that new leases will be based upon "market transactions."