Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spectacular Aerial Photos Of Snow Covered Roosevelt Island From Lighthouse To FDR Park - East River Freezepocalypse Too

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse, snow from North to South

and the NYC East River Freezepocalypse:

Helen Clark is the former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

More Roosevelt Island Freezepocalypse pictures here.

Roosevelt Island Community Update From RIOC - Cultural Center Space Available For Local Groups, Cold Weather, Island Construction, 2015 Events Schedule and Fitness Programs

Below is the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Update,

  Image From RIOC

formerly known as the Report from the RIOC President.
The past several weeks have brought extreme temperatures to Roosevelt Island, accompanied by snow, ice, and other issues caused by the freezing cold. RIOC’s Grounds and Maintenance crew has been kept busy; working to keep the streets and walkways clear and to make sure that the Island is as safe and accessible as possible. While the Manhattan Tram Station elevator and lift remain out of service, we are continuing to offer a special Red Bus shuttle for those with limited mobility. This service runs between the Roosevelt Island Tram Station and the Manhattan Tram Station from 7 AM until 8 PM on weekdays only. To see past advisories issued regarding this service or to sign up for electronic alerts, please visit "".

Community Cultural Center

In preparation for the reopening of the Cultural Center at 548 Main Street, we are reaching out to local groups who may be interested in permitting the space in order to assess the needs of the community. In addition to meeting spaces, the Cultural Center will also have limited storage available to groups that use the facility. If your group or organization is in need of meeting, storage, or other activity space, we invite you to contact us at and" or by calling 212-832-4563. We would be pleased to hear your input.

Island Construction

Despite the chilly temperatures, construction projects on Roosevelt Island remain active through the winter weather. On the south end of the Island, the Cornell Tech’s campus construction project has continued to move forward. Due to utility work related to the project, the North Road – a loop road that circles underneath the Queensboro Bridge, around the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club and Sportspark facilities – has been closed periodically. These temporary closures sometimes require a re-routing of the Q102 and Red Bus lines and can result in the Roosevelt Island Tram Station bus stop being moved across the East-West roadway, opposite the Visitor’s Kiosk. For the latest information on traffic disruptions, road closures, and other construction updates, you may sign up for RIOC Advisories, Roosevelt Island’s community and emergency electronic alert system. For more information, please visit

Special Events

Every year, RIOC sponsors a series of free, on-Island community events. These events are a wonderful opportunity for local groups and businesses to get involved, volunteer, and get exposure to the greater Roosevelt Island community. A list of events and event dates is below. If you are interested in volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, or if you have an idea that you’d like to see brought to life at one of these events, please contact Anna Rankin, our Communications and Event Coordinator, at

Island Fitness Programs

Although the cold may be discouraging for those who wish to exercise, the Sportspark Gym & Pool facilities (250 Main Street) are available year-round. Current offerings include yoga, Zumba, open swim, basketball and ping-pong, Mommy & Me water safety classes, Master Swim classes, and more. Classes and pool memberships are available for all ages, and are offered at a lower rate for Roosevelt Island residents. For more information on any of these programs, or if you have any questions, you may visit our website at, email us at, or call the facility at 212-832-4569.
Note that one Tram Elevator was fixed and returned to service after this report was submitted.

UPDATE 5/5 -  The RIOC Schedule of events has been revised below.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Good News - Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA - That's 3 In A Row

According to the MTA Weekender, there will be Roosevelt Island F train service

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

That's 3 weekends in a row.


Roosevelt Island Seniors Association Celebrates Black History Month Saturday February 28 Starting 5 PM - Guest Speakers, Dancers, Music & Refreshments

The Roosevelt Island Seniors Association invites you to a celebration of Black History Month starting 5 PM Saturday, February 28, at the Seniors Center (546 Main Street).

According to
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.

Roosevelt Island resident Ike Nahem reflects on the legacy of Malcolm X at this post last Monday.

Roosevelt Island Stroller Moms Express Frustration To RIOC Board Last Night About 2 Week Manhattan Tram Station Elevators Service Outage - Good News, One Elevator Fixed Today

 Image Of Manhattan Tram Station Staircase

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced today that service on one of the two broken Manhattan Tram Station elevators is back. According to RIOC:
Notification issued 2/27/2015 at 12:44 PM. Following a previous outage, the Manhattan Tram Station elevator is back in service. The passenger lift remains out of service. An advisory will be issued when service is restored.
Ratso 123 confirmed a Manhattan Tram station elevator is working today:
I took the 12:30 tram from Manhattan. The elevator was just turned on.
During last night's RIOC Board of Directors Public Comments Session, RIOC President Charlene Indelicato reported that the Tram elevator maintenance company would be here today with a new part to, hopefully, restore the elevator service.

Fortunately, the new part worked and one Manhattan Tram Station Elevator is now working.

The RIOC Board of Directors Public Comments Section last night was dominated by members of the Roosevelt Island Parents Network expressing their concerns and frustrations about the Manhattan Tram Station elevators being out of service for the last two weeks.

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator and Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee member Eva Bosbach spoke during the Public Comments session saying:

and provided this statement:
Roosevelt Island is such a lovely place for families, seniors and the disabled because getting around is easy and all places are so well accessible. However, it is almost impossible to get to RI without the use of a mobility help like a car or an elevator. It would be very useful to have a footbridge to Manhattan or a pedestrian access to the Queensboro bridge. Or a ramp on the Manhattan side of the Tram, even if it takes years of negotiations with the City to get all permits needed to use the park land, as such ramps have to follow strict requirements and cannot be too steep.

As long as there is no ramp on the other side of the Tram, our goal is to have at least one operating elevator on the Manhattan side at all times when the Tram is running. It is too bad that the elevators did not get replaced during the recent major renovation of the Tram cabins and stations. The elevators keep breaking frequently for the past three winters, often both at the same time. In the past, families and other residents with mobility issues like seniors or the disabled could use the F-Train and the elevator at the 63rd St/Lex Ave Subway station as an alternative. Unfortunately, the F-Train is now not servicing Roosevelt Island on many weekends, and the street level elevator at the 63rd St/Lex Ave Subway station is planned to remain out of service at least until May 31 2015.

On behalf both of the RI Parents Network and the RIRA Island Services Committee, with help of many parents and after many interactions with RIOC and POMA/Leitner, we have been successful in reaching the following sub-goals: The necessity of an entire replacement of the elevators finally got on RIOCs agenda and got approved for the 2014/2015 budget. Last summer, the elevator door was replaced and the red lift repaired, since then both were functioning much better. Signs have been produced to inform residents when one or both units are out of service and are mostly being placed on the RI side of the Tram. And, in case that both the Tram elevator and the red lift simultaneously go out of service, RIOC accepted our suggestion and committed to providing immediate Red bus shuttle service to and from Manhattan until at least one unit is repaired. Thank you, RIOC!

With the recent break-down of both elevators starting Friday February 13 shortly after 9 AM, we appreciated that RIOC provided Red Bus shuttle service on Friday afternoon 4pm - 8pm and starting again on Tuesday for the weekdays. But many residents with mobility issues could not get on and off island easily during the long weekend as there was no Red bus shuttle service on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (and again no service this past weekend), despite RIOC promising that the shuttle would run whenever both units are out of service. Another problem arose on the Manhattan side of the Tram whenever a resident with mobility issues would get off the Tram and would need assistance to get down the stairs. This assistance was not available. There were also problems with the Red bus shuttle itself: it should have run every 30 minutes but parents reported that it was running less frequently, with one frustrated mom waiting with her baby getting cold in the stroller for over 45 minutes. This might have been on the coldest day of the year, with lot of snow accumulated at the shuttle stop area, so that strollers and wheelchairs had to be carried over in order to board the bus. No sign was posted on the Manhattan side at the bus stop location (until today). Another parent reported the bus on the island side did not even stop for her to get on at the Tram stop, which later we learned was due to unclear instructions to the drivers as to what the Red bus shuttle stops should be.

Finally, the repairs of the elevators take very long - both units are still out of service as of today, 11 days (!) later. This is a scandal for a community of well over 10.000 residents. It makes the daily commute for those who rely on elevators very difficult. We understood that there was a new service contract between RIOC and a maintenance company which would make repairs quick and the maintenance company financially responsible for any delays. But the service seems to be worse now, not better. And the replacement of the elevators is now predicted to be completed in 2016 the earliest. We are thankful to RIOCs' Cyril Opperman and Jack McManus for working with us and adjusting the service whenever possible. We sincerely hope that this experience will finally label the overall elevator replacement project as an emergency and allow for an expedited process.
Also speaking were RIPN and RIRA member Susana del Campo Perea

and Kaja Meade.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy defended RIOC regarding the repair of the Tram elevator noting the outside pressures being placed upon RIOC by NY State.
... Blaming our current administration does no good. It's a tired story. This thing should have been replaced years ago. Do you think that anyone wants residents inconvenienced? No....

... Do to the less than honest dealing of other State agencies, RIOC is under a microscope. Every action is micromanaged by other agencies. One reason for this is some of our neighbors are constantly complaining about every single action taken on this Island....

Following the Public Comment Session, RIOC President Charlene Indelicato responded to the parents who spoke emphasizing that fixing the Tram elevators and replacing the old elevators with new ones is a very high priority and explained in detail what RIOC is doing to accomplish these tasks.

More on RIOC's plan to replace the Tram station elevators at this previous post.

United Nations Diplomats Living On Roosevelt Island Treated Maid As Indentured Servant Says Lawsuit Reports NY Daily News

  Image Of United Nations From Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park

According to this NY Daily News article yesterday:
An illiterate maid from Burkina Faso was treated like an indentured servant by two United Nations diplomats from that West African nation living in New York, a new lawsuit charges.

Fatoumata Ouedraogo, 24, says she worked for the couple, Leopold Bonkoungou and Lucile Bonkoungou Ouedraogo, as a domestic servant from roughly 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week between 2008 to 2012.

The Bonkoungous promised the orphaned woman all the opportunity she’d never had in her native country: an education, steady income and the chance to score a green card for the U.S. while caring for their kids at their Roosevelt Island apartment, Ouedraogo claims in the suit filed Monday in Manhattan Federal Court....
...The job ended in 2012 when the couple’s term at the UN ended.

A woman who answered the phone at the Burkina Faso UN Mission confirmed the pair no longer worked there and were out of the country
Click here for the full NY Daily News article.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Roosevelt Island Parents With Strollers Want Action On Repairing Manhattan Tram Station Elevators - RIOC Replies With Status Update

As previously reported, on February 13 the Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram station elevators broke and have remained out of service to date. In order to assist those who are not able to climb the stairs

 Image Of Manhattan Tram Station Staircase

to the Manhattan Tram station - parents with strollers, the disabled, seniors -  the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) provided hourly (7 AM - 8 PM weekdays) Red Bus Shuttle service to and from Manhattan.

Image Of RIOC Red Bus Shuttle On Queensboro Bridge To Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island resident Katherina Hayat shares this message she sent to RIOC today
As you know the two elevators at the Roosevelt Island tramway have been out of order for 2 weeks now. The two elevators are crucial for the residents of Roosevelt Island in order to leave the island.

It’s no secret that there is a demand for more elevators in the whole of NYC but I believe that especially at this station the elevators need to work. It’s not only parents or caregivers with children in strollers who use them in order to reach Manhattan but it’s also elderly people and especially the many people bound to wheelchairs who use the tram regularly.

Apart from using the F-line instead, there are no other options for these people to leave the island unless they pay for expensive taxis, which is probably in any case hard to do when you are sitting in a wheelchair. Since the F-Line elevator at 63rd and Lexington is also under construction there are no other possibilities to reach the Upper East Side and the surrounding areas. For people with strollers buses are also no option, as the MTA requests all strollers be folded up, which for some models just won’t work.

I have a baby in a stroller myself and having no elevator makes it really hard to get around in the city. I am sure you are aware of the problem and you understand our situation, but we surely can’t wait several months until the elevators are fixed. It should be a priority to make it easier for residents (especially those in wheelchairs) to leave the island.

A few days ago, when it was very cold and slippery outside, I followed three parents who were traveling on the tram with strollers in order to find out how they manage to go down the stairs and also to offer my help if needed. I was horrified to see a caregiver who was just pushing the child in the stroller down the stairs. Not everyone of the other passengers is willing to help and not everyone can always have someone on their side to help them with a stroller. I would suggest that either someone can be there to help parents with kids or that a ramp be installed so both parents and people in wheelchairs can exit the tram in a safe way. Maybe having a ramp could also be a long term solution for this problem.

We all love living on Roosevelt Island but not having any elevators in Manhattan has influenced our quality of life here substantially.
Roosevelt Island resident Susana Gardete shares this message she sent to RIOC today.
I am a resident of Roosevelt Island and a mother of two children. I commute everyday from RI to the upper east side (using the tram) with my two children sitting on a double stroller.

It has been 12 days that the tram elevators are broken and it has been 12 days that my life has been a nightmare regarding commuting. Luckily, I have been helped by my husband to carry the stroller up and down, but as you can imagine this is a very stressing situation since we have to leave home together in the morning and we have to organize our work schedules to be at the same time in 60th street and 2nd avenue in the afternoon (I work at Weill Cornell medical college and my husband at Mount Sinai school of medicine).

However, there are even worse situations than mine. I spoke with other mothers while in the tram who told me about their " upsetting adventures" these days. They have to commute by themselves with two or three children everyday and they are carrying one of them in the stroller through the stairs.

Also I saw old people and very pregnant women carrying very heavy suitcases and shopping carts through the slippery stairs and pray that a major accident won't happen... The saddest part of it is that no one is willing to help them because people have to rush to to work or are too busy with their lives....

How hard is to fix two elevators when you have 10000 people depending on them?! We are in the NYC, a city that does not stop! Why we have to wait forever to have a solution for this problem?!

I would appreciate if you could take this situation into serious consideration before a tragic accident happens in those stairs!
Earlier today, RIOC sent this update on the Tram Elevator/Red Bus Shuttle status:
Last year, it became clear to many that the elevators at the Manhattan Tram Station were becoming increasingly unreliable. The current service outage has posed a serious inconvenience to those who rely heavily on the Tram to travel to and from Manhattan and who are prevented, for one reason or another, from using the stairs at the station. This issue is further complicated by the MTA elevator outage at 63rd Street/Lexington Avenue, which has been out of service since July 2014 (

Early on in the replacement process, RIOC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a contractor to design and build two new ADA accessible elevators. Due to a lack of qualified vendors with an interest in a project of smaller scope compared to larger, city- wide construction projects, the design and construction phases of the project must be performed by separate vendors. While this necessity has caused a delay, the New York State procurement process mandates that we issue an RFP for both phases of this project to ensure that vendors are evaluated and selected fairly, using a comprehensive set of criteria.

Current Conditions

The main station elevator is subject to frequent outages due to issues with its hydraulic system; in particular, with water leaking into the elevator’s housing, which affects the moving parts that raise and lower the elevator cabins. Once water has seeped into the machinery, it must be pumped out before any work can be performed. Our elevator maintenance and service contractors, the KONE Corporation, will be on site tomorrow, Friday February 27th, to perform repair work. Once the work is completed, barring any underlying issues, we expect the elevators to return to service before the end of next week.

The inconvenience caused by the main elevator outage is further aggravated by the red accessible lift being out of service as well. The lift and the elevator are both older models, having been installed when the station was first constructed. As such, replacement parts are carried only by a limited number of contractors. They can be difficult to find, and generally are not available on short notice. The necessary parts to repair the lift have been ordered and we are currently waiting for them to arrive. Once the parts are delivered, contractors will be able to repair the lift to working order.

Replacement Process

As the elevators are due for an overhaul, the most efficient way to deal with these issues is through a total replacement of the current system. Two new elevators are planned to replace the current elevator as well as the red accessible lift, improving the station’s accessibility. After rating and ranking responses to an RFP to design two larger ADA- accessible elevators, RIOC has selected Wank, Adams, Slaven Associates LLP (WASA) as the most qualified contractor. A kickoff meeting with the contractor and our Engineering department was held in early February; the final design for both new elevators is scheduled to be completed in 90 days.

Next Steps

Once WASA’s design is approved, RIOC will seek a qualified contractor to build the elevators to the plan’s specifications. Once responses to an RFP are received and a contractor is selected, the project will enter the construction phase. Contractors will work on one elevator at a time in order to allow elevator service to continue throughout the construction process.

Shuttle Service

During the elevator outage, a special shuttle bus service runs between the Roosevelt Island Tram Station and the Manhattan Tram Station, from 7 AM until 8 PM, on weekdays only. The bus departs hourly from the northwest corner of the Tram Station Plaza, next to Visitor's Kiosk, from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM. Additional stops are located at 546 Main St. (opposite Good Shepherd Plaza) and 580 Main Street (opposite P.S/I.S. 217).

On its return trip to Roosevelt Island, the shuttle bus departs hourly from the southwest corner of 58th Street and 2nd Avenue from 7:30 AM until 8:30 PM. Additional stops are located at 645 Main St. (P.S./I.S. 217), 579 Main St. (M&D Deli), 543 Main St. (Good Shepherd Plaza), 425 Main St. (Riverwalk Bar & Grill), and the Roosevelt Island Tram Plaza.

Temporary weekday Shuttle Service is planned to continue until either the elevator or accessible lift return to service. To see past advisories issued regarding this service or to sign up for electronic alerts, please visit

The replacement of the Tram elevator and lift is a top priority for RIOC. We understand the inconvenience an outage poses to who rely on the elevators for transit, and we are pushing to expedite the process as far as possible. We will continue to make any repairs necessary to the current system while the new system’s design and build period continues. Thank you for your patience as we work to bring new, more reliable elevators to the Manhattan station.
Below are the ridership statistics for the weekday Manhattan Red Bus Shuttle from 2/17 -2/24:
  • 2/17 - 21 riders
  • 2/18 -25 riders
  • 2/19 - 8 riders
  • 2/20 -2 riders
  • 2/23 - 15 riders
  • 2/24 - 8 riders

More on RIOC's plan for new Tram Elevators at this previous post.

UPDATE 8:10 PM - During RIOC Board Of Directors Public Comment Session this evening, members of the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network expressed their concerns regarding the broken Tram Station elevators. Kaja Meade told the RIOC Board:
I am a mother of two children (3.5 years old and 9 months old.) We’ve lived on the island for over 2 years, and moved here from mid-town east. And this is my stroller.

I need to go to the city every day. Because my children can not walk the distances necessary – without a stroller, I take cabs. Perhaps you'd like to see our recent taxi expenses... When we take a taxi, I have to pay up for Uber with a car seat, or I have to take this car seat (frame) and this belt/carrier/air seat.

This is an issue (as most disagreements are) of priorities. I know that some of you think this is not a priority issue because:
  • I don’t live on the island;
  • I don’t need an elevator (and most don’t);
  • We’re doing something already/at least;
These are not excuses or reasons, and they will not suffice

I think you need to consider your image

What I want you to hear tonight is that no matter what you THINK or SAY you may be doing – to us on the ground it feels like you are DOING NOTHING.

Every day, every one of us that needs help negotiating stairs, thinks of YOU – MULTIPLE times a day. Then we TALK about you to others around us.

These thoughts and comments are not good. We are frustrated, confused, marginalized, saddened, hurt (physically and emotionally), scared, stressed, and annoyed. We blame YOU for this. As public servants you need to focus on this very regular very real frustration as a urgent top priority....

... I realize this is bureaucratic  process, nonetheless I'm asking that you:

1. Figure out some way to expedite the 90 days to develop plans?! Buildings are developed in less time.

2. SIMULTANEOUSLY talk to multiple prospective contractors (in a transparent and fair way) to find out what type of contract would be attractive to them. Your previous attempts at RFPs were unsuccessful. Show that you learned from that. Find out why no one bid. Was it too little money?

3. Be open with us on how we can advocate for city support to expand the footprint or approve design plans.
Here's what Ms. Meade had to say.

RIOC President Charlene Indelicato responded to Ms. Meade and the other parents who spoke emphasizing that fixing the Tram elevators and replacing the old elevators with new ones is a very high priority and explained in detail what RIOC is doing to accomplish these tasks.

Here's what Ms. Indelicato said tonight.

Will have more video from discussion tonight on the Tram Elevators later.

UPDATE 2/27 - Service on one Tram elevator restored today. More video from the Public Comments Session here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Board Of Directors Meeting February 26 - Public Comment Session Prior To Board Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors meet tomorrow February 26.

 Image Of December 11 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting

A public comment session is held prior to the start of the meeting.

Below is the Agenda.
5:30 P.M.
I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes
1. December 11, 2014 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business
1. Presentation of the FY 2014-15 QTR 2 Procurement Report
2. Authorization to Amend Contract with Singh Landscaping & Lawn Sprinkler Corp. for Good Shepherd Community Center Plaza Landscaping (Board Action Required)
3. Authorization to Amend Contract with Nelson & Pope Engineers & Surveyors for
Design and Construction Services in Connection with Permanent Heating System for Sportspark (Board Action Required)
4. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Sprague Operating Resources LLC for the Purchase of Gasoline (Board Action Required)
5. Authorization to Adopt Policy for Personally Owned Vehicle Usage (Board Action Required)
6. Authorization to Adopt Project Sunlight Policy (Board Action Required)
7. President’s Report
8. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
9. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.
RIOC Board Materials package here.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp Repair Plan - RIOC To Close Bridge From 11 PM - 6 AM But Insure Access For Emergency Vehicles Through The Motorgate Garage During Helix Repair Work

Repair of the The Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp

was discussed during the February 9 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee meeting (full audio web cast of meeting here).

RIOC Director of Engineering Jim Mortimer (speaking by phone) told the Operations Advisory Committee that the repair work was being re-bid due to previous bid withdrawal by contractor.

Mr. Mortimer added that the repair work on top of the ramp would be done at night from 11 PM to 6 AM requiring the closing of the ramp during those hours. Work beneath the ramp would be done during the day and would not disrupt traffic.

RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki  expressed concern regarding emergency vehicle access to Roosevelt Island during the late night closure of the Helix ramp. Mr. Shinozak said that provisions need to be made to insure emergency vehicle access to Roosevelt Island by weaving through the Motorgate Garage.

RIOC President Charlene Indelicato agreed on the importance of maintaining emergency vehicle access to Roosevelt Island during the Helix repair.

RIOC has approved $2.5 million for the Helix repair (Page 4).

No date has been set yet for the start of work repairing the Helix.

Pamela Stark Named Executive Director Of Roosevelt Island Day Nursery

 Image From RIDN

According to this Press Release from the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery:
Roosevelt Island Day Nursery Announces New Executive Director

The Board of Trustees of Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN), a progressive independent community preschool serving Roosevelt Island families since 1975, is pleased to announce the appointment of Pamela Stark, Ed.M., M.S., as the school’s​ E​xecutive Director.

Ms. Stark’s comprehensive knowledge of early childhood education, her success in building RIDN’s infant­ toddler program, and her leadership as Interim Executive Director since May 2014 have been outstanding. The Board is confident that under her direction RIDN and its exceptional faculty will continue to serve the Roosevelt Island community with one of the very highest quality child­centered preschool programs in New York City.

Reem Berro, Chair of the Board of Trustees, notes, “I am thrilled that Pam accepted her new role as RIDN’s Executive Director. The board and I are confident that she is the best person for the job given her long history with the school and proven record of exceptional leadership.”

A thorough recruitment process was conducted by the Board’s hiring committee, which was composed of current and former RIDN parents, faculty, and alumni. Three of the committee members also have experience as preschool directors. This search process made it evident that Ms. Stark’s outstanding qualifications and experience uniquely position her to advance the mission and vision of the school, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Pamela Stark received her B.A. from St. John’s College, her Ed.M. in Early Childhood Special Education from the Bank Street College of Education, and her M.S. from Columbia University’s School of Social Work. Ms. Stark served as a consultant to RIDN for fourteen years, leading trainings and workshops and advising parents and faculty on a wide range of early childhood developmental and educational issues. She joined the school in 2011 as the Director of RIDN’s new Infant ­Toddler program at 405 Main Street, building on her knowledge and expertise to shape and lead an outstanding child­centered program for RIDN’s very youngest learners.
UPDATE 2/26 9 PM - Ms. Stark
Image From RIDN

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More NYC Freezepocalypse Today - East River Covered In Ice As Ship Passes Roosevelt Island

Wow - there was alot of ice

flowing by Roosevelt Island today

as ships maneuvered their way on the

East River.

More NYC Freezepocalypse pictures of Roosevelt Island East River Ice Floes from previous post.

According to the East River Ferry:
All this ice in the river has been annoying, right? Totally. We thought we'd explain (to the best of our ability) what's been going on.

The funny thing about the East River (technically not even a river, but an estuary) is that the tide changes multiple times per day, enabling ice to enter from different major bodies of water, making it nearly impossible to predict what it's going to do, or where it's going to be. In the winter, when it's so cold that there are large chunks of ice floating in the river, one minute N. Williamsburg could be totally socked in by ice and (literally) another 20 minutes later, DUMBO could be experiencing the same problems, but N. Williamsburg is OK...
UPDATE 2/25 - Diana Desrocher shares this great picture of a ship passing Roosevelt Island through the East River ice yesterday afternoon

Image From Diana Desrocher

and Rossanna Ceruzzi shows us a duck

Image From Rossana Ceruzzi

trying to deal with the East River ice this morning.

UPDATE 2/25 8:30 PM - Eva Bosbach shows us the ice flowing

Image From Eva Bosbach

on the Queens side

Image From Eva Bosbach

of Roosevelt Island.

Sleep: From Newborn To Preschool Age Workshop Presented By Roosevelt Island Parents' Network March 1 - Please RSVP By February 27

Are you a Roosevelt Island parent with questions about your child's sleep? If yes, Roosevelt Island Parents' Network (RIPN) Coordinator Eva Bosbach invites you to a March 1 workshop on the subject.

According to the RIPN:
Join other Roosevelt Island parents in a safe, judgement-free environment to share your experience and learn what has worked for others. The workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Resnick, a 2nd year Pediatrics residents of the Children's Hospital of Montefiore.

Dr Resnick, born and raised on Roosevelt Island, looks forward to connecting with parents from the community. We welcome participants to submit questions ahead of time with RSVP.

Please RSVP by email no later than February 27.
Here's more on sleep issues for children from Montefiore Medical Center.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Roosevelt Island Resident Reflects On Malcolm X 50 Years After His Assassination

Roosevelt Island resident Ike Nahem reflects on the legacy of Malcolm X. Below are excerpts from article by Mr. Nahem appearing in Dissident Voice:

On February 21, 1965 – 50 years ago this week – Malcolm X, the great African-American and US freedom fighter and outstanding world revolutionary leader, was gunned down in the Audubon Ballroom in upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights on Broadway and 165th Street in New York City. Commemorations of this bitterly sad anniversary that truly altered US and world history have been held in New York City, Malcolm’s home base, across the United States, and throughout the world.

Malcolm X was a peerless orator of tremendous wit and power as well as an indefatigable and effective political organizer. On that fateful and horrible 1965 day he was murdered in cold blood, in front of his wife and six daughters, while addressing a full house of over 400 people, under the auspices of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the non-religious political formation he founded after his split from Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam (called the “Black Muslims” in the US media)....

... A Hero of My Youth and Always

My first lasting memory of Malcolm X was when, as a 13-year old boy in southern Indiana I was shaken by a graphic photo-spread of his assassination in the old LOOK magazine which my parents subscribed to. I had developed the habit of reading newspapers and following what was called "current events" in school so I was aware of and instinctly sympathetic to the Civil Rights Movement, as were my parents, although they had no direct involvement. A year or two later, we moved to the relatively big city of Cincinnati, Ohio and I went from a segregated small-town high school to a late-1960s urban cauldron.

The racial and social composition of my new high school was, more or less, about 40% “white” working class and middle class, 40% Black working class, with the rest, including me, mostly Jewish. It was a volatile mix in extremely volatile times, with the Black rights struggle literally exploding nationally as the Vietnam War -- and mounting opposition to it -- escalating. Interesting alliances and struggles formed in my new high school alongside racial antagonisms and tension. Black and white students united to change the schools draconian dress code; T-shirts, long-haired “hippies,” and Afros proliferated. My high school was even written up in LIFE magazine in one of the era’s ubiquitous pieces on the alienation and rebelliousness of “today’s youth.”

A few of my radicalizing Jewish friends and I gravitated to some of the outspoken Black students. I started sneaking off to attend civil rights protests. At one point we organized a controversial protest over the required recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the US flag at morning homeroom. Where the closing line says, “One Nation Under God, With Liberty and Justice For All,” we added, “”If You’re White.” That landed us in the Principal’s office.

When Martin Luther King was assassinated, the Black ghetto in Cincinnati exploded and my High School was shut down by students who refused to attend classes, considering it an insult to King’s memory that schools remained open.

One day in 1967 I was looking to spend my sparse allowance money on some music at a rock-and-roll and "soul music" store in downtown Cincinnati when there in the stacks, in a section called "Spoken Word," I saw an LP titled "The Wit and Wisdom of Malcolm X," excerpts from his speeches. At $1.49 I could afford it. It was an earthshaking experience for me. What eloquence and logic I found within those grooves. What powerful use of language, what masterful employment of analogy and metaphor. What uncompromising exposure of hypocrisy and duplicity. What passion and compassion

Perhaps most unexpected for me was the profound and brilliant humor. At the time I had ambitions to be a comedian and I devoured comedy albums and movies as well as books on comedy “theory” -- Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Slappy White, the Marx Brothers, Burns and Allen, Flip Wilson, Don Rickles, and all the regulars on Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson. I found out that the feared and hated (by some) Malcolm X was funny as hell! I played that soon-to-be scratchy album on my rickety record player to the point where I'm sure I drove my mother crazy. Soon after that purchase I stayed up all day and night and read The Autobiography of Malcolm X nonstop barricaded in my room. Like so many millions of others, reading The Autobiography was a real turning point in my life outlook and in the development of my political and social consciousness....

... From Pariah to Icon

It would be hard to find a figure in US history more slandered, vilified, and misrepresented while he was alive than Malcolm X. He was labeled a “hatemonger,” a “racist-in-reverse,” a promoter and man of violence, and worse. This was not confined to blatant racists and segregationists but was the standard line in more respectable and genteel liberal society. When it came to Malcolm X, especially after he broke free from the dogma and narrow confines of Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, moved sharply to the left, and began to speak out and organize freely, the gloves came off among most liberal voices, and a furious hatred came to the surface. This was captured in the classic Phil Ochs satiric ballad, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” whose opening stanza goes, “I cried when they shot Medgar Evers, Tears ran down my spine, And I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy, as though I’d lost a father of mine…But Malcolm X got what was coming, He got what he asked for this time, so love, love me, love me…I’m a liberal.”...

... Today, fifty years after his murder Malcolm X has become as icon. There is a US Stamp issued with his likeness, major streets are named after him, the legendary Autobiography is considered a classic, still selling briskly and assigned to numerous high school and college classes. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and numerous other liberal and conservative political figures have cited it as a major influence on their lives....

... Nevertheless, this latter iconization of Malcolm X, more often than not, is the other side of the coin that previously disparaged him when he was alive, in the sense that he has been transformed by “mainstream” forces into a harmless icon, with his sharp revolutionary anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist political program diluted and softened. The conscious or unconscious operation strains to turn Malcolm X, who was above all else a genuine revolutionary, into a conventional liberal or conservative, someone who can be folded into the traditional spectrum of bourgeois Democratic and Republican party US politics. This is a travesty of the actual Malcolm X and his actual political and moral trajectory....
Click here for the full article by Mr. Nahem in Dissident Voice and more on Malcolm X from PBS documentary Make It Plain (Video here).

Mr. Nahem describes himself as:
a longtime anti-war, labor, and socialist, and activist. Nahem is the coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York and a founder of the New York-New Jersey July 26 Coalition ( Nahem is an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the Teamsters Union. He can be reached at with comment or criticism.

Roosevelt Island Organizations Fear No More Annual $100 Thousand Public Purpose Funds - RIOC Says Funds Are On Hold Pending Further Clarification From NY State

What is the status of Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds distribution for 2015?

As described by Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato:
... Every year, RIOC awards a set amount of Public Purpose Funds to non-profit organizations whose programs benefit Roosevelt Island residents. These funds are provided for the educational, artistic, environmental, and cultural enrichment of the community, with an aim to deliver services to those who need them most....
In past years, a portion of approximately $100 thousand was distributed annually among Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations.

However, as reported last January 17, the 2015 RIOC Public Purpose Funds distribution is in jeopardy due to this January 13 NY State Authorities Budget Office Policy Guidance stating:
... All state and local authorities which, as a matter of practice or policy, grant or loan their monies to such entities without specific legislative authorization are directed to immediately end such practice or policy so as to comply with applicable state law and the opinions of the State Attorney General and State Comptroller...
Apparently, there is no specific legislative authorization for RIOC to  grant Public Purpose Funds.

Last Saturday, a leader of a Roosevelt Island organization that has previously obtained RIOC Public Purpose Funds reported receiving a phone call from RIOC saying that there are no Public Purpose Funds available this year.

Today, I asked RIOC President Indelicato:
I understand that Roosevelt Island organizations were told definitively that there would be no RIOC Public Purpose Funds this year.

Is it true that RIOC will not allocate Public Purpose Funds this year?...
Ms. Indelicato replied:
No, we just said it was on hold until we can get further clarification.
During February 4 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Public Session, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos spoke

about funding for Roosevelt Island community groups noting that the deadline to apply for expense items, such as those allocated by RIOC Public Purpose Funds, was February 20.

Mr. Kallos added that funds for capital projects through the Participatory Budgeting process are available for Roosevelt Island.