Friday, March 6, 2015

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA - That's 4 In A Row - Bad News, Problems On Roosevelt Island F Train This Morning

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

That's 4 weekends in a row.


But, problems at the Roosevelt Island F Train this morning.

Tell Mayor de Blasio Your Big Idea For NYC and Roosevelt Island, Take Online Survey - Mayor Gives His Views At ABNY Breakfast Yesterday

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio asks:
What's your big idea for the future of New York City, friend?

Every four years, New York City updates PlaNYC to make sure that we're building toward a future that's resilient, sustainable, and makes sense for the lives of all New Yorkers.

This year, we're making equity a lynchpin of PlaNYC -- and we've made the process more inclusive than ever before. Every New Yorker has a voice in this plan and can participate in building our city's future.

What's your vision for New York City in the years and decades to come? Take this survey now to let us know.

Your idea could be about anything: from the environment to jobs to education to affordable housing to transportation.

You have the power to shape the future of our city if you speak up -- for yourself and for future generations of New Yorkers.

Leave your mark on the future of New York City. Take the survey now:

Thank you,

Bill de Blasio
Tell us too.

Mayor de Blasio spoke about his ideas yesterday

at the Association For A Better New York Breakfast (ABNY).

UPDATE 6:40 PM - Mayor de Blasio was scheduled to hold a press conference on Roosevelt Island this morning but it was cancelled due to inclement weather.
According to the Mayor's Press Office, tourism was the subject of today's cancelled Roosevelt Island press conference. No information when or if the Mayor's Roosevelt Island press conference will be rescheduled.

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Celebrates A Frozen Purim - So Do The Maccabeats And The Fountainheads In Song

Janet Falk reports on the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) March 4 Purim celebration. From Ms. Falk;

Shushan Island is Frozen: A Purim Celebration on Roosevelt Island

Purim, a joyous and comedic holiday celebration, filled with fun and parody based on the Biblical story of Esther, was celebrated by the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) on Wednesday March 4th, with about 50 people participating in a full evening of activities for all ages.

Image From Judy Berdy

After a communal pizza dinner, Rabbi Leana Moritt, dressed as a nun, Sister Fruma Sarah,

Image From Judy Berdy

led the worship service; it included the reading of the Megillah, or traditional scroll, which recounts the story of the holiday, marking the survival of the Jewish people at a time of a threatened massacre. Ably assisted by Gad Levanon, Anna Levenstein, Michal Melamed and Doron Betel, her reading was interrupted by children and adults wielding groggers to blot out the recitation of the name of the man, Haman,

Image Of Mickey Rindler as Hamen By Judy Berdy

who purportedly attempted to destroy the Jews. With great humor and parody, the congregation joined in singing prayers and novelty songs to popular music and show tunes.

Later, a Purimschpiel, or play based on this narrative, was performed. Written by Mickey Rindler and Janet Falk, Shushan Island is Frozen placed the four principal figures of the familiar tale on an ice-cold (Roosevelt) Island. Virtually every line of the play featured a reference to catch phrases like cool cat, cold hearted and frozen assets, plus King Ahablasio lived in Iceland House, near Coach Mordechai's Ice Cream Shop.

Image of Scot Bobo As Coach Mordechai, Owner of the Local Ice Cream Shop

The audience was invited to join in a song to a very familiar melody, here called I Must Go, as Queen Esther gathered her courage to petition the King and secure the safety of the Jews. The cast featured Scot Bobo, Mickey Rindler, Charlie Schwartz and Rabbi Moritt, plus students of the RIJC Hebrew School and some of our older children.

Image of RIJC Hebrew School Children From Judy Berdy

The Purimschpiel's broad humor and cold-themed puns, plus references to Roosevelt Island affairs, drew much laughter, groans and many cheers from the audience.

Judy Berdy & The RIJC maintained its long standing tradition of making Shaloch Manos gift bags for the residents & patients of Coler Hospital; congregation donations of socks, gloves, hats, toiletries, writing materials and other little items will be distributed by Rabbi there.

The evening concluded with delicious Hamentaschen, a traditional fruit pastry treat, baked by the Levanon-Seligson family.

For more information about the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, please visit or call Nina Lublin, RIJC President, at 212-688-0003.

UPDATE 4:50 PM - A Reader commented below:
... I find the rabbi's use of a nun's habit in this manner very offensive....
Nina Lubin, President of the RIJC replies:
Rabbi Moritt's costume for Purim, a fun & joyful holiday whose celebration that includes the telling of a story that is an important part of Jewish history and dressing up in costumes, was not, and is not, intended to offend anyone. Taking the name of a character from "Fiddler on the Roof", and wearing a costume which, by the way, has been seen by many of us at our annual Holloween parade for the 32 years I have lived here, is just one way to celebrate an important holiday.

I am sorry if Ms. Markey was disturbed by that image, but no harm was meant.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Community Update - Committees Work On Tram Elevator Status, Easter Egg Hunt, Cherry Blossom Festival, Relay For Life, Hands Only CPR Training, Skills Exchange & More

Below is the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA)

Image Of 2014-16 RIRA Common Council (RIRA President Jeff Escobar Kneeling Wearing Suit)

Community Update, formerly known as the RIRA President's Report.
Friends and Neighbors – With Spring almost in sight, we continue to battle freezing temperatures by day and blustery, stormy winters by night. Although recent forecasts hint at 50 degree temperatures on the way, it is hard to believe that we will be shedding our winter layers of clothing anytime soon. Despite the wintry weather, however, RIRA has been hard at work laying the groundwork for the upcoming spring, while addressing some of the Island's most pressing issues. Here is a taste of what RIRA and its committees have focused on these past couple of weeks:

Tram Elevator Update from Island Services Committee

Together with the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network, the RIRA Island Services Committee has been diligently working on addressing the long standing issue of prolonged out-of-service elevators on the Manhattan side of the Tram. For those who do not know, for the past year, both of the elevators have been intermittently placed completely out of service for prolonged periods, the most recent being the last two weeks. This unreliable and, often times unannounced, status makes life for many residents particularly difficult, especially for those parents and child caregivers with strollers, seniors and the mobility disabled. Whenever the elevators were placed out-of-service, neither RIOC nor the tram operators provided assistance to those unable to get down the stairs, nor was an alternate means of access to and from Manhattan made available. The situation had been aggravated by the winter weather conditions and those weekends and evenings when no Manhattan bound F-Train service was available from Roosevelt Island. With the street level elevator at the 63rd St/Lex Ave Subway station out of service at least until May 31, 2015, Island residents who rely on the Tram and Subway elevator system to give them access on and off the Island have been left with no good alternative.

Since last year, we have been pressing RIOC for a solid and long term solution to both the current state of the Tram elevators and to their eventual replacement. So far, we have been successful in reaching the following sub-goals: (1) the Board approval by RIOC to replace the aged and faulty elevator system as part of the 2014/2105 budget, (2) the replacement of the Tram elevator door and the repair of the “red lift”, (3) the consistent placement of signage informing residents when one or both elevators units are out of service, both at the RI side of the Tram and at the Manhattan station, and (4) for when both the Tram elevator and the red lift simultaneously go out of service, the immediate provision of Red Bus Shuttle Service to and from Manhattan until at least one unit is repaired.

Unfortunately, regarding the provision of Red Bus shuttle service to and from Manhattan, RIOC has failed to keep its promise to address the community’s needs. The Red Bus Shuttle Service, when provided, has only been provided to date on weekdays. We urge RIOC to change that practice so that, whenever and so long as both elevator units are out of service, Red Bus Shuttle Service is also provided consistent with the Tram’s schedule, including on evenings and especially on weekends. In addition, we have asked that, during these times, a Public Safety staff member be stationed on the Manhattan side of the Tram to assist residents with mobility issues.

Moreover, we have demanded that at least one of the elevator units be immediately repaired, so that the constant outages of service cease. We sincerely hope RIOC will do as promised and press the servicing company to either repair the presently out-of-service elevator quickly or hire another company to install a temporary moving platform next to the Red lift. As many have noted, both elevators are very old (they should have been replaced much sooner) and the replacement parts have proven hard to get. Moreover, with the constant break-downs and the overall replacement of the elevators now predicted to be completed in 2016 (at the earliest), we have urged RIOC or order all of the replacements parts now and store them appropriately so that the servicing company can use them right away for any repairs when necessary rather than having residents waiting for weeks to have at least one unit back in service. We continue to work for a quick and permanent solution to this very inconvenient situation.

RIRA Social, Cultural and Education Committee (SC&E Committee) Program Agenda for 2015

The Social, Cultural and Educational Committee of RIRA has defined this term as a celebration of this great community. Our goal is to create programs and events that give islander opportunities to enjoy the island and get to know each other better. We have tasked ourselves with a really ambitious goal we want to connect and unify this wonderfully divers community. We can only do this with your help support and participation.

Which of these events interests you? You can help out, in the planning of the event or on the day of the event itself. From community organizing to the stuffing of donated give-aways and hiding plastic eggs at the Easter Egg event, any and all community volunteerism is strongly encouraged.

Roosevelt Island Easter Egg Hunt: The Roosevelt Island Easter Egg Hunt, a favorite event in our community, returns this year to Roosevelt Island on Saturday, March 28th. 10:30 -1:30 pm at Manhattan Park please mark your calendars as space will be limited and pre-registration will be required. This year, we will endeavor to encourage our Island children to become good citizens by taking only a few eggs, so that everyone gets at least one this year. We will distribute books to encourage reading, have family games for the older children, and once again have Easter Bonnet Making for all. The Reading Bunny will be back in his tree this year, and we will have a very special guest return this year. We ask for children's book donations from Islanders, as in the past. The event is designed for children up to the age of 8.

Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival: The Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival is back this year!! Scheduled for Saturday, April 25, from 11:00 am-4:00 pm. We will focus this year on celebrating our Roosevelt Island community, the Festival’s tradition of spectacular performances, beautiful Cherry Trees and a chance to come out and enjoy your community. This year’s festivities will be kicked off with a community-wide picnic at Southpoint Park to meet your neighbors. Activities will help build deep community connections amongst the Island’s different age groups, everyone from young adults, 20's and 30's year olds, families to seniors during the event to and get to know each other.

Relay For Life: We plan do to our part to see that, for the 3 year, Roosevelt Island's Relay For Life is the most successful one yet; Islanders either participate in the day's events, pledge a donation or do both.

Relay For Life is a national fundraising event sponsored by the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research and services. Each team member solicits donations to raise money. At the event, each team member takes a turn walking the track. The Relay For Life event is scheduled for Saturday, June 20 from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm at the Octagon soccer field; participants are welcome to walk or run for any part of the day. It’s a fun day, with a lot of community spirit, entertainment and great raffles! Our goal is to have a RIRA Team and to also have a representative from each building or district on the island build their own team. Family and friends are welcome join any team.

The following programs are already underway:

Hands Only CPR Training: The Hands Only CPR skill training program returns for its second year of classes. Having trained more than 400 Roosevelt Islanders in the life saving skill of hands only CPR, our goal this year will be to train as many Roosevelt Islanders as possible, as well as to grow our team of trainers. Hands Only CPR does save lives, and we want the wonderful people of Roosevelt Island to stand out as a community who cares, and is ready to care, for others. A calendar of classes will be posted on the RIRA website and Facebook page.

Roosevelt Island Skills Exchange: The Roosevelt Island Skills Exchange (RISE) aims to provide an opportunity for residents who have a certain or unique skill to impart that skill to other residents who would like to learn it. Our Island has people with a rich array of teachable skills that includes many languages, styles of cuisine, work skills and hobbies. Through RISE, Islanders can earn RISE credits from teaching a skills course, which then can be used to take a skills class from another skilled Islanders. The skills courses will be offered online with full descriptions of teachers, schedules, locations, course offerings and expectations. There will be skills discounts for young people and seniors, as well as systematic evaluations of courses to help ensure quality. A forum will also be provided for participants to request a skills topic of interest that another in the community may be able to offer. This is a new way to get to know your Island neighbor, while learning a little on the way!

Looking ahead, we plan two more events:

Celebration of Lights: We are planning the first ever Celebration of Lights in November of this year. Details will be forthcoming, including the planned festive fundraising dinner as well as activities for community participation.

RIRA Showcase: We hope to again bring you our RIRA Showcase where members of Roosevelt Island take the opportunity to perform and share their entertainment talents with the community. 

Remember, these events and programs happen because you volunteer. Please officially participate in and join any of our planned events by writing to us at and let us know how you would like to help! Invite your neighbors and members of your community organizations to also get involved. So please, reach out! Any and all help is appreciated, and we can’t wait to see all of you at one, some or all of our planned events!

RIRA contributors to the update are:
Jeffrey Escobar, President
Aaron Hamburger, Chair, Island Services committee
Eva Bosbach, member ISC
Lynne Strong Shinozaki, Chair, Social, Cultural & Educational Committee
Anthony Longo, member SC&E
Rossana Ceruzzi, member SC&E
John Dougherty, member SC&E
Maria Newkirk, member SC&E
Sharon Williams, member SC&E
Lydia Tang, member SC&E
Julia Palermo, member SC&E
The next monthly meeting of the RIRA Common Council is Wednesday April 1.

Find Out What Your Roosevelt Island Treasures Are Worth By Capo Auctions Experts At Gallery RIVAA Saturday March 7

Image From RIHS

Roosevelt Island's own version of the Antique Road Show is coming to Gallery RIVAA tomorrow, March 7. The Roosevelt Island Historical Society invites you to bring your treasures to have their worth evaluated. According to RIHS:
Bring Your Art, Antiques and Glassware for a Professional Valuation by the Experts from Capo Auctions

Saturday, March 7, 2015
12 noon to 5:00 p.m.
Gallery RIVAA
527 Main Street
Sponsored by the
Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Bring your:
These are oral valuations, not for legal purposes.Two items will be valued for a $20 donation to the RIHS. (For large items, bring a photograph)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Roosevelt Island's St Cabrini Catholic Parish Objects To New RIOC 3 Month Fee Policy For Use Of Good Shepherd Community Center - RIOC Says All Community Groups Must Be Treated Equally For Limited Space

Roosevelt Island's landmarked Chapel of the Good Shepherd

is managed and operated by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and used as a community center by local organizations including religious
Image of Catholic and Episcopalian parishes Thanksgiving prayer service from Frank Farance

and secular groups. According to the NY Landmarks Conservancy:
The Chapel of the Good Shepherd has been a community center for Roosevelt Island residents... but it was originally built in 1888-9 to serve as an Episcopal mission to the Almshouse on then-named Blackwell’s Island....

... From 1997 to 2002, state assembly representative Pete Grannis and the New York State legislature allocated a series of state grants, totaling $312,000, towards the restoration of Good Shepherd...
The Roosevelt Island Historical Society adds:
... The chapel was commissioned by George M. Bliss (1816-1896), an important New York banker, who began his career in the dry goods business. Through successful speculation during the Civil War, he amassed a large fortune, and in 1869 he joined Levi P. Moron, later a Vice-President of the United States, in a banking business under the firm name of Morton, Bliss & Company. In his later years he served as Treasurer of the Protestant Episcopal Mission Society which administered the Chapel of the Good Shepherd.

Today the chapel serves a new and more general purpose, as a community center for the residents of the island’s new housing complex. It has also been rededicated to serve as an ecumenical place of worship....
In 2013, RIOC completed a 8 hundred thousand dollar restoration and renovation of the Good Chapel roof.

Among the religious organizations that use the Good Shepherd Community Center for worship services are:
During last evening's March 5 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Meeting Public Comment Session, Sue Pirard read the following statement

on behalf of St Francis Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church priest Thomas Kallumady:
Fr. Thomas Kallumady cannot be here tonight so he has asked me to go on record and explain what is happening to our faith community at Good Shepherd.

We have been asked by RIOC several months ago to pay up front for our use of GS by a term of six months. Fr. Has explained to RIOC that we don’t receive our collections 6 months in advance and that it is not possible for us to pay for our mass times 6 months in advance. After much negotiation RIOC agreed, but stated they want three months in advance and if we don’t give that to them, we would lose our mass times. Fr. Again informed RIOC that we don’t get our collection three months in advance, but only monthly. We could not do this. We had not heard back from RIOC and continued to make our monthly payments.

For those here tonight who are not Catholic, our mass times are universal, international mass times. They do not change parish to parish, state to state, country to country.

At our parish council meeting last night, Fr. Shared with us the email he received from Donna Moseley. It stated that we were to pay three months in advance by April 1st or we would be locked out of GS and they would have personnel at the door to make sure we could not enter.

Not only were we deeply offended with the tone RIOC took with us, the timing of their negotiations puts us out of our worship space at the beginning of Holy week, with Easter Sunday on the 5th.

When Good Shepherd Chapel was built it was built with the intent of being used as a worship space. However and why ever worship space changed into a community center left us with a serious issue. RIOC states to us that anyone who rents space at GS must pay in advance for that space. We are sure that RIOC understands the differences between for profit and not for profit. How can any church that depends on its collections to pay the rent be treated as a for profit that can pay in advance.

We have lost revenue by the closing of our thrift shop. We are operating on a month to month basis. We would like our faith communities of residents on Roosevelt Island to come together to discuss with RIOC a way we can continue to worship in our space and have the respect of RIOC while we additionally respect the requirements of the for profits that also occupy the same space. We are NOT asking that we not pay rent, only that we pay as we and other faiths in the same space have always paid, month to month.

Thank you. 
Here is the email sent from RIOC to Father Kallumudy regarding fees for the use of Good Shepherd Community Center:
Good Afternoon-

Attached you will find your invoices for April, May, and June. The total permit fee is $2540.00. Payment must be received IN FULL before you may enter the Good Shepherd Community Center in April. We will have staff present to ensure compliance with our permitting policies.

Just to reiterate, as is RIOC policy across the board for ALL permits, no one will be permitted into the Good Shepherd Community Center if the permit fee is not received prior to your first scheduled date.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Today, I asked RIOC President Charlene Indelicato:
During last night's RIRA meeting, it was reported that RIOC is seeking 3 months rent in advance from the local Catholic Parish for their Mass times at the Good Shepherd Community Center.

It was also stated that if the 3 month rental fee was not provided to RIOC by April 1, the parish would be "locked out" of using Good Shepherd.

Is that true?

Any comment on this matter.
Ms. Indelicato replied that RIOC must treat all organizations seeking to use RIOC controlled premises, such as the Good Shepherd Community Center, on a first come equal basis.

She added that if the St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Parish wants to pay for the use of Good Shepherd Chapel on a monthly basis they may do so but that will not guarantee the Catholic Parish's use of the Chapel for the next month if another group pays for it before Cabrini.

During last evening's RIRA meeting, the RIRA Common Council approved a motion asking RIOC to maintain the monthly fee

for Roosevelt Island religious organizations using Good Shepherd Chapel.

Roosevelt Island is a growing community with a variety of organizations, both established and new, seeking low cost or no cost meeting space. It is an ongoing issue not only with the Catholic Parish's use of Good Shepherd but other groups such as the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance's use of the recently renovated Cultural Center.

Commuting By Lamplight At The Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station Today - It Looks Pretty

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Roosevelt Island Vintage Memorabilia For Sale On Ebay - Tram Jacket, Q102 Motogate Bus Sign & Lighthouse Replica Available

Are you interested in buying some Roosevelt Island memorabilia? These tchotchkes are now available on Ebay.


Image From Ebay

a Vintage-Extra-Large-Work-Uniform-Union-Roosevelt-Island-Tramway-New-York-Jacket

Image From Ebay

and Harbour Lights Roosevelt Island NY New York Lighthouse 1998 Special Exclusive

Image From Ebay

among other Roosevelt Island Ebay memorabilia.

UPDATE 11:55 - The buying time for the Tram jacket ended.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Roosevelt Island Residents Association VP Rebukes RIOC For Cultural Center Fee Policy - Says NY State Is Not A Friend To Roosevelt Island Community

  Image Of Roosevelt Island Cultural Center Entrance At 548 Main Street

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) plans on charging fees to organizations using the newly renovated and about to be re-opened Cultural Center. Before the renovation, organizations were not charged fees for use of the Cultural Center by RIOC.

During the February 26 RIOC Board of Directors Public Session, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Vice President Sherie Helsien criticized RIOC for instituting any new Cultural Center fees, particularly as it applies to the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance.

According to Ms. Helstien, RIOC should be:
... asking for no more than a Dollar a month compensation if they must have something from this long time community service.
and added:
... RIOC and the State want our money. It seems at almost any cost to this community. Shame on RIOC but they have no shame and they have no backbone to stand up for us.

The State is, and I am not talking necessarily about the RIOC Board members, our neighbors, I am talking about RIOC the corporation. The State is and almost never has been a friend to this community and we all know this well....

... Is there anyone on the RIOC Board or staff looking after the interests of this beleaguered community?...

RIOC Director Margie Smith responded to Ms. Helstien saying:
There was a mandate by the State that has to do with grants and the way we can spend money. We have been knocking ourselves out trying to come up with a way to get everybody back in there for as little as possible....

... You say we don't have your back - believe me we have your back...

... As a group these guys are doing everything they can to get everybody back in the cultural center, all the groups and to make it as fair as possible. And to do it without breaking the law of NY State and without going against the mandate.

The NY State Authorities Budget office issued this January 13, 2015 policy guidance:
...State and local authorities, as defined by Section 2 of the Public Authorities Law, whether created as public benefit corporations or formed as not- for-profit corporations, have only those powers explicitly granted or necessarily implied by statute. Accordingly, state and local authorities may engage in only those activities and exercise those powers which are expressly authorized in law or which are incidental to performing their statutory purposes.

Authorities Budget Office Policy Guidance: This limitation applies to the power of a state or local authority to award its monies in the form of grants and loans to public or private interests. Such financial assistance is prohibited unless expressly authorized in statute.

A state and local authority (other than an industrial development agency) formed as public benefit corporation may not award grants or issue loans of its own funds unless such power is expressly permitted in its enabling statute. The authority to make grants and execute loans is not an implied power of a public benefit corporation....
Apparently, RIOC can no longer subsidize Roosevelt Island organizations with below market rent for space it controls under this new NY State mandate.

More on Cultural Center fee issue from previous post.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) March 2015 Common Council Monthly Meeting Tonight, You're Invited To Attend And Raise Issues Of Concern

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting this evening at 8:00 PM in the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street).

 Image Of December 2014 RIRA Common Council Meeting

As always, prior to the start of each monthly meeting there is a public session in which residents can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern.

All residents are encouraged to attend RIRA meetings.

Below is the full Agenda for tonight's RIRA Common Council meeting.

New York Junior Tennis League President's Week Doubles Tournament Held At Roosevelt Island Racquet Club - RI Resident Coaches Young Tennis Players

The New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) held it's President's Week Doubles Tournament

Image From NYJTL

at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. According to NYJTL:
NYJTL’s mission is to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court. Through tennis, academic enrichment, healthy living, and character development programs, NYJTL teaches life skills to underserved youth in New York City.

The experience and culture of tennis, along with academic support services, have helped hundreds of thousands of young people improve their performance in school and raise their aspirations, inspiring success both on and off the court.
Here's the NYJTL report on the President's Week Doubles Tournament:
The snow that blanketed New York City last Tuesday morning couldn’t stop nearly 50 excited youngsters from trekking to the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club for the first day of NYJTL’s Presidents’ Week Doubles tournament.

Image From NYJTL

A total of 112 boys and girls, ages 9 to 18, from all across the city competed over the course of this three-day event, which was held during schools’ mid-winter break.

Image From NYJTL

Each morning began at 6:30am with registration periods that NYJTL Community Tennis Programs Manager, Scott Daly, called “organized chaos.” After registration kids hit the courts each playing between four and six games in a round robin format. At the end of several hours of fun competition, the pairs who accumulated the most points in their groups were awarded winners’ medals.

Image of Tennis Players And Coach Joyce Short From NYJTL

For Shawn Yon, his son’s enjoyment of the game is the most important thing.

Image From NYJTL

His son, also named Shawn, competed in the 9- and 10-year-old division. “My son loves the NYJTL program,” he said. “The coaches are great and they push him to get better. He’s fallen in love with tennis.”

Waking up early to play tennis is nothing new for these kids. They’re up before dawn every Saturday and Sunday morning to participate in NYJTL’s 20-week Winter Program at indoor venues throughout the city.

Presidents’ Week Doubles is one of 80 special events that the Community Tennis Programs will hold in 2015
Roosevelt Island resident Joyce Short is the NYJTL District Manager for Manhattan and Queens. She

was recently profiled for the NYJTL Coaches Corner. According to NYJTL Coaches Corner:
Few things thrill Joyce Short more than watching the kids she coaches at the Roosevelt Island Community Tennis Program learn and grow. But there’s added significance for her when she sees girls, in particular, excel.

Joyce grew up before the 1972 Title IX legislation created equal opportunities for girls to participate in sports. She played tennis and competed in citywide tournaments as a one- and three-meter springboard diver in her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. She was the City Champion in the 16-and-under category. But her high school had no varsity teams for girls. As a University of Georgia co-ed, she was only allowed to use the diving board in the “men’s pool,” two hours per week.

Today, Joyce relishes the opportunity to be a role model for all young people, but especially girls. “I hope that the fact that I’m here coaching as a female athlete will speak volumes to them about their potential,” she says....

... In 1988, she was coaching a little league team and giving private tennis lessons when a youngster on Roosevelt Island asked her to start a youth program. She agreed, and the next day he came back with 35 of his friends, eager to learn the game.

Two years later, Skip Hartman opened the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club and enlisted her to create a NYJTL program. Every year since, Joyce has directed the club’s NYJTL winter program, and has run the other seasonal programs as often as her other job responsibilities have allowed....
Click here for the full article on NYJTL's Joyce Short.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Roosevelt Island Retail Update - New Ownership Coming For Nonno's Focacceria Says Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related

There will soon be a new owner of the Roosevelt Island Nonno's Focacceria.

I asked Hudson Related Main Street Retail Leaseholder representative Arriana Sacks Rosenberg:
I am told that Nonno's Focacceria is changing ownership. Alphonse is selling to one of the employees. The change in ownership is pending Hudson Related's approval and a lease extension.

Is that true?
Ms Rosenberg replied today:
Yes, Nonno’s is changing ownership, not to one of his employees. The ownership and assignment has been approved and we are finishing up the documents.
I followed up:
Is the new owner of Nonno's an experienced pizza store owner with NYC stores?

I was told the new owner has a store in Philadelphia but not NYC.

Can you tell us anything about the new owner?
Ms Rosenberg said:
They don’t own any stores in New York right now, but the new owner and his partner have experience in this market in New York.
Nonno's first opened on Roosevelt Island January 2, 2008. As reported at the time:
Image Of Nonno's Focacceria Grand Opening

I never in my life thought I would write these words but here goes.

I tried to get into a Roosevelt Island restaurant this afternoon for lunch but it was too crowded. Every seat was occupied and there was a long line at the counter for the opening of the much anticipated and long awaited Nonno's Focacceria at 455 Main Street (212-753-2300 or 2307).

I look forward to going back later today.

A great big WELCOME to Roosevelt Island for Nonno's!!
Regarding the Card & Gift Shop, Ms. Rosenberg noted:
As I mentioned in the meeting at RIOC, we are working on a deal with Island Newsstand for a new lease. Nothing has been finalized yet.
and whether M&D Deli has changed ownership, she added:
It has not changed yet, but we are working with the owners on this. With any assignment, there will be a major renovation of the store.
More information on Roosevelt Island retail from Ms. Rosenberg available at this previous post from the January 29 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.

Help Save A Life - Take A Roosevelt Island Hands Only CPR Training Class

 Hands Only CPR Training During June 2014 Roosevelt Island Day

Roosevelt Island Resident Association (RIRA) Common Council Member Lynn Strong Shinozaki is leading an effort to teach Roosevelt Island residents Hands Only CPR. According to the American Heart Association:
Hands-Only™ CPR Can Save Lives.

Most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location die because they don't receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. As a bystander, don't be afraid. Your actions can only help.

When calling 911, you will be asked for your location. Be specific, especially if you’re calling from a mobile phone as that is not associated with a fixed address. Answering the dispatcher’s questions will not delay the arrival of help.

How to Give Hands-Only CPR
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song "Stayin' Alive." CPR can more than double a person's chances of survival, and "Stayin' Alive" has the right beat for Hands-Only CPR.
Here's a Hands Only CPR demonstration from the American Heart Association

and the upcoming schedule for Roosevelt Island Hands Only CPR training.
Ms. Shinozaki talked about Hands Only CPR Training during September 10 RIRA meeting Public Session.

Kids can save a life with Hands Only CPR training too.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Watch Next To Last Goldwater Hospital Building Demolished - Latest Update From Cornell Tech On Roosevelt Island Campus Construction

Here's the latest on the demolition of Roosevelt Island's Goldwater Hospital to make way for the new Cornell Tech campus.

A video posted by Johnny J (@jipdome10) on

According to the latest Cornell NYC Tech Roosevelt Island construction update:
February 20 - March 6 Look Ahead

Building J’s foundation removal, crushing, and backfill is fully complete. The crews have moved north to Building A, where sorting of the demolition debris is ongoing. Foundation removals have recently begun on Building A.

The Building E façade removal operation continues as the weather permits. Façade brick has been completely stripped from the northern and western faces of the building. The remaining façade removal on the east side and portions of the south side should be complete within the coming two weeks, at which point more structural demolition will resume.

Agency approval for the new water main installation was received. The pipe installation will require temporary closures to the North Road. The work is sensitive to extreme temperatures so the schedule cannot yet be finalized. The contractor has been closely coordinating with Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation staff to minimize impact to bus service and private vehicles that use the North Road.

Mobilization for the First Academic Building has begun and will continue in the coming weeks. The start of excavation is imminent.

Please note: as you know, Cornell Tech has a community space in Gallery RIVAA at 527 Main Street on Roosevelt Island and office hours are normally Wednesdays and Fridays. However, because the gallery is quite chilly in the winter, office hours for the remainder of February and throughout the month of March will be held on Wednesdays only, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Beginning in April, office hours will once again be held two days a week.
Cornell Tech will be providing a project status update to the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Community and Construction Task Force tonight 6 PM at 546 Main Street 12th floor conference room.

Here's December 8, 2014 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Town Hall Meeting presentation by PAL Environmental Services Arik Domozick on the demolition of Goldwater Hospital campus

Roosevelt Island Meditation Steps Lights Repaired Reports Resident, Thanks RIOC - Nice Picture Too

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Upcoming Events At The Roosevelt Island New York Public Library - Science Fiction Book Discussion, English As Second Language Conversation Class, Navy Waves Talk, St Patrick's Day Crafts, Capital In The 21st Century Book Discussion & More

 Below are upcoming events at the Roosevelt Island NYC Public Library branch including:
Roosevelt Island Library
524 Main Street
Phone 212-308-6243

Tuesday, March 3, 6:30pm - Science Fiction Book Discussion - Adults - We will discuss "Button, Button: Uncanny Stories" by Richard Matheson. The Science Fiction Book Discussion Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month.

Fridays, March 6, 13, 20, 27, 10:30am-12:30pm - "We Are New York" Intermediate English Conversation Class - Adults - Learn and practice speaking English by watching and discussing "We Are New York" videos about everyday situations.

Tuesday, March 10, 6:30pm - Serving the Country: Women in Service During World War II - Adults - In commemoration of Women's History Month, Lincoln Hallowell will discuss Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and the duties performed by these brave women at Floyd Bennett Field, a Naval Air Station in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Hallowell is a National Park Service Ranger at the Gateway Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay Unit. Presented in partnership with the Roosevelt Island Historical Society and its president, Judith Berdy.

Wednesdays, March 11 & March 25, 3-6pm - NY State Senator Jose M. Serrano's Offsite Services Constituent Hours - Meet with a representative from NYS Senator Jose Serrano's office to discuss your concerns.

Thursday, March 12, 3-4pm - St. Patrick's Day Craft - Ages 3-12 - Make a leprechaun with construction paper, scissors, and glue.

Tuesday, March 17, 6pm - Movie Night: The Man With the Golden Gun (1974; PG; 125 minutes) - Adults - James Bond takes on Scaramanga, the Man with the Golden Gun, who kills his victims with golden bullets. Starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, and Britt Ekland

Thursday, March 19, 6:30pm - Book Discussion - Adults - We will discuss "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty.
UPDATE 3/3 - From the Roosevelt Island NY Public Library:
The March 19th title for the Book Discussion (Thursday March 19th, 6:30 PM, at the Roosevelt Island Public Library) has been changed to Vacationland by Sarah Stonich.
UPDATE 3/12 - From the Roosevelt Island Public Library:
Movie Night for next Tuesday, March 17, 6PM, has been canceled because the NYPL lost the rights to show the film "The Man With the Golden Gun."