Friday, January 23, 2015

No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend - RIOC Notification Alert System Still Needs Some Tweaking

According to the MTA:
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, Jan 23 - 26

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.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued this advisory regarding the Roosevelt Island weekend F Train subway service disruption:
Notification issued 1/23/15 at 9:45 AM. Please be advised that the MTA has issued a weekend service advisory for the F train, which may affect travel plans. The Tram will run on a rush hour schedule from 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM to accommodate any increase in traffic. Please plan your travel accordingly and visit or call 511 for more information.

For electronic updates on F Train service, sign up for MTA Alerts at
RIOC's new Everbridge notification alert system has come under criticism from some Roosevelt Island residents for providing incomplete information. Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk reported that recent RIOC alerts notifying residents of MTA F train service disruptions did not include specific information about the change in Roosevelt Island F train subway service. For example, this prior advisory from RIOC about F train service disruption.

 Ms. Falk asks:
... What is the MTA advisory? How does it affect Manhattan-bound or Queens-bound service or both? For today or for several days?

The RIOC advisory creates confusion and prompts questions with no answers in sight, except one: annoyance. The RIOC advisory points me to an external website and asks me to make a phone call, instead of providing a potential solution....
... Why does RIOC decide against sending an informative and resident-friendly, customer-service driven announcement...
... When additional demands for service are placed on the Tram, to compensate for the lack of F subway service, RIOC is responsible for Tram operations and SHOULD ANNOUNCE CHANGES IN TRAM SERVICE, especially when the MTA announces their service changes in advance....
A RIOC spokesperson replied to Ms. Falk:
The RIOC Advisories system is intended to inform the community about island-specific matters that may affect the daily activities of the people who live and work here, particularly those matters relating to services that RIOC oversees or provides. The MTA has a similar advisory system (MTA Alerts) that commuters can sign up for to receive timely updates on MTA disruptions or line service changes. Residents who are already signed up for MTA Alerts find the re-broadcasting and reinterpretations of the agency's announcements are redundant and sometimes confusing.

We are always open to suggestions, but would like to encourage our subscribers to utilize the MTA's resources to stay informed about NYC transit rather than directing island residents to look for MTA-related news through an intermediary. While this step may require a few more clicks, hearing directly from the issuing agency is a surer way to get the most accurate information available. If you would like to receive alerts directly from the source regarding F train disruptions, you can do so by visiting:
At least today's RIOC alert about the upcoming F train weekend subway service disruption now includes information about the added Tram service.

That's an improvement. Next time, hopefully, RIOC will include specific information about the change in subway service. All they need to do is a little tweaking with a cut and paste from the MTA advisory, like I did above.

Looking For A Mortgage To Buy A Roosevelt Island Apartment? - Island House Residents Listen To Amalgamated Bank Mortgage Presentation Last Night

Image of Island House Entrance

Roosevelt Island's Island House rental building exited the Mitchell Lama program in September 2012.  As reported October 20, 2012 by former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President and current General Counsel Don Lewis:
... We are very pleased to note that, as result of several years of negotiations, Island House, a 400-unit affordable housing development on Roosevelt Island, will continue to remain affordable to its residents for the next 30 years. The Island House deal is historic in nature and marks the first successful conversion of a State Mitchell-Lama rental to affordable home ownership as a solution to a market-rate exit from Mitchell-Lama. Without the State’s intervention in extending affordability, apartments within Island House, a development at the threshold of leaving the Mitchell-Lama program, would have been allowed to be rented at market rates, severely affecting residents.

Under the Island House Affordability Plan, Island House, constructed in 1975 as one of the first four modern housing developments on Roosevelt Island, will exit the Mitchell-Lama program. The Affordability Plan, however, protects all current tenants by allowing them to remain in their apartments with future rent increases calculated in a manner similar to rent stabilized apartments. Rent protection will remain in effect for 30 years. The owner of Island House will apply to convert the building to Co-Op ownership. If the conversion is approved, current tenants will be offered the option to purchase their apartments at below market prices.

The Affordability Plan was initially drafted and agreed upon by the Island House owner and tenants. The Plan was later approved by a multi-agency working group that included: RIOC, which administers operations on Roosevelt Island; New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the State’s housing agency, which administers both the Mitchell-Lama program and the State’s rent laws; and Empire State Development (ESD), which in 1969, as the Urban Development Corporation, first leased the land under Island House from the City of New York. The Affordability Plan was the result of several years of negotiations among the agencies, the Island House Tenants Association, and owners’ representatives....
Island House is currently in the process of converting to a Condop (Co-op for residential units and condo for commercial units) under a non-eviction Affordability Plan.

Last night, January 22, Island House residents interested in purchasing their  Roosevelt Island apartment listened to a mortgage presentation by Amalgamated Bank Vice President Eric Ruskiewicz.

Here's what happened.

Part 1. Discussion of
  • 20% down payment in two parts (10% at March 31 contract date and another 10% at closing date which is not yet known - speculation is June/July 2015),
  • Interest Rates,
  • Locking Interest Rates,
  • Closing Costs
  • issue regarding errors in names on apartment lease and 
  • pre-approval letters.

Part 2. Discussion of:
  • Locking Interest Rates,
  • Amalgamated Bank fully committed to mortgage lending at Island House,
  • Island House Ground Lease,
  • Commitment Letters,
  • Documents needed for mortgage application,
  • Credit Scores,
  • Amalgamated Bank keeps their mortgage loans and does not sell to secondary market.

Part 3. Discussion of:
  • Bringing lawyer to closings,
  • No minimum number of units in building need to be purchased in order to close on apartments,
  • What happens when building ground lease expires (Not known),
  • Apartment appraisals.

Part 4. Discussion of:
  • Down payments,
  • Meaning of pre-approval letter,
  • Locked in interest rate,
  • Application information,
  • Home Equity Loan on Island House apartment not allowed and
  • Mortgage discount for opening account at Roosevelt Island branch.

Part 5. Discussion of:
  • No Pre-payment penalty,
  • Allocation of principle and interest payment,
  • Non taxable income counted higher on application and
  • Credit checks.

More information on the Island House exit from Mitchell Lama program and Affordability Plan at this June 2012 post.

Also additional information on mortgages for Roosevelt Island apartments available at prior Amalgamated Band presentation.

Status Of Current Roosevelt Island Projects, Community Programs, Hearing Impaired Remediation At Public Meetings & More On Agenda Of January 26 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee Meeting

Image Of Captioning For Hearing Impaired At 12//14  Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Town Hall

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Operations Advisory Committee meeting of the RIOC Board of Directors previously scheduled for Tuesday, January 20, 2015 has been rescheduled and will be held on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

  • Review of Current Projects
  • Discussion of Community Programs
  • Discussion of Handicap Accessibility Issues (Hearing impaired remediation in meeting facilities)
  • Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee

The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.
During November 2014 RIOC Board of Directors meeting Public Session, Roosevelt Island resident Sharon Berman discussed making Roosevelt Island public meeting accessible for hearing impaired people

and during the December 2014 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Town Hall meeting, Cornell Tech's Jane Swanson thanked Ms. Berman

for her activism and efforts in helping to get captioning for the meeting.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association Sponsors Health And Wellness The Natural Way With Doctor Jordan Wolf On Nutrition, Exercise, Posture & More

The Roosevelt Island Seniors Association is sponsoring:

Health and Wellness the Natural Way!
With Dr. Jordan Wolff
Monday, January 26, 2015
546 Main St. (Senior Center)
at 4:00pm

Image From Roosevelt Island Seniors Association

You're invited.

UPDATE 1/26 - The Health & Wellness Seminar has been cancelled due to the blizzard.

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network RI MoM Walking And Exercise Group Meeting 10:30 AM Friday At Tram Kiosk - Dads Welcome Too

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:
Our next free Roosevelt Island Moms on the Move (RI MoM) walk and exercise will take place this Friday, January 23rd, starting at 10:30AM at the Tram kiosk.

We will walk to the south of the island on the Manhattan side and back, and end with some exercise with our fantastic coach and island mom of two Paulina, most likely at the 455 playroom. Come, check it out and have some fun with us.

All moms, moms to-be and moms of all ages are welcome, and dads as well of course.

If you are going to be late, please let us know so we can find each other in case the plan changes for whatever reason.

Looking forward to seeing you and your little ones on Friday,

Feel free to contact me for more information on the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Roosevelt Island Condo & Coop Mortgage Seminar Presented By Amalgamated Bank Thursday January 22

Are you interested in obtaining a mortgage for a Roosevelt Island apartment? Rivercross Co-ops and Riverwqlk Condos are currently for sale. Maybe someday soon the Island House and Westview privatization will become a reality and you can buy an apartment in those buildings too.

If you need financing for a Roosevelt Island Co-op or Condo, tomorrow night's Mortgage Seminar from the local Roosevelt Island Amalgamated Bank branch may be of interest.

According to Amalgamated Bank:

Join us at our free Mortgage Seminar
Thursday January 22 at 7 PM
Roosevelt Island Branch
619 Main Street
New York, NY 10044

Amalgamated Bank's Vice President Eric Ruskiewicz held a prior mortgage seminar last July 14. Here's what happened.

Part 1 - Introduction to the seminar including discussion of Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) products and Interest Rates.

Part 2 - Discussion of down payment, fixed and variable rates, appraisals, points, application process and individual Roosevelt Island building financing requirements.

Part 3 - Fixed and Variable rate loans, credit reports and credit scores, Fannie May and Freddie Mac Loans. Mr Ruskiewicz noted that Amalgamated Bank does not sell the mortgages it makes in the secondary market but holds on to the mortgage for the life of the loan.

Part 4 - End of the mortgage seminar.

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network And RIOC Work Together To Continue Baby And Toddler Swim Classes At Sportspark Pool - Registration Deadline For "Mommy & Me" January 23rd

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:
The registration deadline – January 23rd – for the next session of the Baby and Toddler swim classes at Sportspark is approaching. These lovely and fun classes are for children 6 months to 3 years of age and their caregivers. Classes are offered at four different times:
  • Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m.,
  • Sunday mornings at 11 a.m.,
  • and Sunday afternoons at 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.
A minimum of six families must register for a given time in order for the class to be offered. Classes run from February 1st to March 22nd and cost $5 per class (or $7 drop-in) for island residents and $10 ($12 drop-in) for non–residents.

Please let your friends know about this great offer!

Click here to register.

We would like to thank RIOC for working with us and continuing these popular swim classes for Babies and toddlers as well as addressing concerns about the temperature of the water and air at Sportspark. We highly appreciate the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp's (RIOC) commitment to keeping the exit door in the pool area closed at all times and to mounting temporary heaters inside the women's locker room until a new permanent heating system is installed. We also thank RIOC for adding a class at a time that our internal survey showed as the most convenient for interested island families. Thank you RIOC!
Remember, deadline to register is Friday January 23 so sign up here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Up Close And Personal Late Night Urban Exploring Inside Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital

It's 2:30 in the morning. What do you want to do?

If you are Steve Duncan, a determined urban explorer, you come to Roosevelt Island, climb over the locked Southpoint Park gate, get on your belly and crawl underneath a fence and show us this up close and personal view of the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital.

There are no current plans to destroy the Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital. The FDR Four Freedoms Park has talked about eventually rehabbing the Ruins for use as their visitors center. Other ideas include a restaurant inside the rehabbed space.

Roosevelt Island Concierge/Doorman Job Availabe At Hudson Related Luxury High Rise Riverwalk Building - Superior Customer Service Skills Required

Are you looking for a job on Roosevelt Island? Hospitality Online posted January 16 about a Concierge/Doorman position available with Related Management at one of their Roosevelt Island Riverwalk buildings. According to Hospitality Online:

Related Management, a premier national real estate management company, seeks exceptional full time lobby staff personnel for our luxury high-rise residential property on Roosevelt Island in New York.

Applicants must have superior customer service skills and the ability to set a positive example of service and integrity at all times. Personnel will be responsible for ensuring a professional and courteous environment for residents at their assigned locations, meeting and greeting residents and their guests, deliveries administration, general lobby access control/monitoring, door services and performing other applicable lobby responsibilities.

Job requirements
  • Prior guest services, customer service or resident services experience in a luxury residential building or hotel required
  • Effective written, oral and interpersonal skills
  • Working knowledge of computers
  • The ability to handle assigned levels of responsibility
  • The ability to apply good judgment and maintain composure in high pressured situations
  • High school diploma or equivalent, some college course work preferred
  • Must have the ability to maintain our company's professional standards.
We do not discriminate on the basis of disability

Compensation: $16.87/hour
Click here for more information and to apply for the job.

Reported last December that a Related Riverwalk Resident Manager's position was available too.

Good Luck.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Making Movie Magic - See How 1920s Astoria Came to Life in Filming The Great Gatsby in 2013 Tuesday January 20 At The Roosevelt Island Public Library

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) invites you to see:
Making Movie Magic: How 1920s Astoria Came to Life in Filming The Great Gatsby in 2013
tomorrow starting 6:30 PM at the Roosevelt Island Public Library.

According to RIHS:
One of the challenges facing Baz Luhrmann in his 2013 cinematic remake of the classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was how to recreate 1920s Queens. Robert Singleton, Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, will describe the behind-the-scenes research and movie magic in a lecture sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, on Tuesday, January 20 at 6:30 PM, at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island.

Mr. Singleton will discuss the pivotal role that the Greater Astoria Historical Society played in evoking the bygone era. The Society was a credited historical advisor on the film, which won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Production Design.

The event is FREE and open to the public. It is the first in a series of spring lectures sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

DIRECTIONS: Take the Tram at 59th Street and Second Avenue or the F train to Roosevelt Island. Take the free red bus or walk eight minutes north to the library at 524 Main Street.

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society promotes awareness of our Island’s unique story and pursues preservation of its landmarks and artifacts. For more information, please visit
Here's how some of The Great Gatsby film effects were made.

Learn more about The Great Gatsby movie magic tomorrow 6:30 PM at the Roosevelt Island Public Library.

Fight Back With Fitness Event Presented By American Cancer Society's Relay For Life Of Roosevelt Island and RI Youth Program Saturday January 24

The American Cancer Society's (ACS) Relay For Life Of Roosevelt Island in partnership with the Roosevelt Island Youth Program invites you to a Fight Back With Fitness program Saturday, January 24 from 5- 7 PM at the PS/Is 217 Gym.

Image From Relay For Life Of Roosevelt Island

The Relay For Life Of Roosevelt Island adds:
Volunteers Wanted!

Last April, over 100 members of the Roosevelt Island community came together at Relay For Life to raised over $27,000 for the American Cancer Society. We are proud of what we accomplished, but we need your help to accomplish even more!

We are in search of volunteers to join our Event Leadership Team. The Event Leadership Team is responsible for planning and executing a fun, successful, and meaningful Relay For Life event. The only requirement for joining the committee is that you are passionate about the fight against cancer!

If you'd like to get involved, please contact American Cancer Society Staff Partner Alex Schoeneck by email: or phone: 212.237.3886.

Together, we can finish the fight!
Here more on the ACS Relay For Life

and some scenes from the 2013 Roosevelt Island Relay For Life.

More information on the ACS Relay For Life Of Roosevelt Island available at their web site and Facebook page.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ambulance 4 Hours Late To Aid Roosevelt Island Tram Rider And Worker Injured Slipping On Ice At Tram Station Ramp This Morning

At about 7:30 this morning, a woman was injured slipping on the ice coated Roosevelt Island Tram station ramp. A Tram worker came to the injured woman's assistance and also slipped on the ramp causing an injury to her back.

Both injured people were instructed to stay on the ground because of their potential injuries. They remained lying on the Tram Station ramp, in the rain, covered by a tarp until an ambulance arrived at approximately 11:30 to take them to the hospital.

It was a very dangerous and accident filled day causing delays in EMS response.
Also, reported earlier today on a traffic accident at the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix caused by icy road conditions.

Image of Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Traffic Accident This Morning

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Jack McManus reports on today's icy Roosevelt Island road conditions:
There was a 6 car pile-up on the RI bridge with no injuries and minor damage to several vehicles.

Two women suffered slip and fall injuries on the Tram ramp. One was a Tram employee and the second was a visiting nurse who fell while attempting to help the female Tram employee up. Both women were removed by ambulance to Cornell-Weil Medical Center for evaluation and follow-up.

A Public Safety Officer was injured when he slipped and fell after exiting his vehicle while responding to the initial accident on the bridge.

The Grounds Department and the Sanitation Department have been addressing the icy roads with sand and salt.

In anticipation of potential problems this evening, we are checking the ramp and the bridge on the half hour, and maintaining a dialogue with the Department of Sanitation who has committed to assist us if the need arises.
There is a discrepancy whether the Tram worker was injured attempting to help the Tram Rider or vice versa.

A Roosevelt Island resident said about today's icy conditions:
Walking on Main St. pretty dangerous as well, wear shoes with some traction or else you'll be a human hydroplane. I saw it happen this morning, poor guy.

Icy Road Conditions Blamed For Traffic Accident On Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix This Morning Backing Up Main Street Traffic

Image From How Stuff Works

Received reports this morning of a traffic accident at the Roosevelt Island Bridge causing traffic stoppage on Main Street.

A resident reports:
Massive icy conditions this am on RI: DANGER!!

Ramp closed due to accident. No Cars on or off island.

Looks like water but is thin sheet of ice.
A second resident reports:
Traffic has been completely stopped since we woke up at 6.30 this morning, avoid the bridge at all cost for now.
And a third resident reports:
A car slid into a taxi and caused a major back up. I think the helix was probably Icy.
At 7:48 AM, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued this advisory:
Due to a vehicular accident near the helix, expect extensive delays on Main Street and the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
followed by this update:
Notification issued 1/18/2015 at 9:13 AM. Following a previous vehicular accident, traffic patterns have returned to normal in the vicinity of Main Street, the Helix and the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
UDPATE 2:40 PM - Scene from the helix accident this morning.

UPDATE 4:45 PM - Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department Director Jack McManus reports on today's icy conditions:
There was a 6 car pile-up on the RI bridge with no injuries and minor damage to several vehicles.

Two women suffered slip and fall injuries on the Tram ramp. One was a Tram employee and the second was a visiting nurse who fell while attempting to help the female Tram employee up. Both women were removed by ambulance to Cornell-Weil Medical Center for evaluation and follow-up.

A Public Safety Officer was injured when he slipped and fell after exiting his vehicle while responding to the initial accident on the bridge.

The Grounds Department and the Sanitation Department have been addressing the icy roads with sand and salt.

In anticipation of potential problems this evening, we are checking the ramp and the bridge on the half hour, and maintaining a dialogue with the Department of Sanitation who has committed to assist us if the need arises.