Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bluegrass Band Hot Rize Perform A Cowboy's Life For Roosevelt Island Tram Riders Over East River On Way To Manhattan - Did You Notice?

Boulder based Bluegrass band Hot Rize performed the song A Cowboy's Life from their new album When I'm Free for some nighttime passengers on the Roosevelt Island Tram

heading over the East River to Manhattan. According to The Bluegrass Situation:
For a band that's been around since 1978, Hot Rize shows no signs of letting up. In their new video, Nick Forster, Tim O'Brien, Pete Wernick, and Bryan Sutton take "A Cowboy's Life" high above New York City's East River, performing the tune from their latest album, When I'm Free, live on the Roosevelt Island gondola.

The team at Mason Jar Music conceived and crafted the project. According to Wernick, they told the band, “'We like the idea of doing the song 'A Cowboy's Life' from the latest record and shoot it on the tram that goes over the East River in New York City … at night.' When I first heard that, I thought, 'That is so weird.' But we gave it a shot.”

Wernick continues, “It was quite interesting to be in our suits and have our instruments out and get on a tram in New York City filled with unsuspecting people. Even though we were, at first, told we were not going to be able to do it, the video people talked the security guy into letting us have one shot at it. So we had the duration of a four-minute ride to fit in a song that's just under four minutes. So … we did it. We started right at the right time and, then, as the tram kept moving through the side of Manhattan heading over the East River, our job was to stay put and not fall over as the tram was moving and play the song, 'A Cowboy's Life.'”

A reader of The Bluegrass Situation noted:
And of course the New York commuters on the tram have to pretend they don't even notice 4 super cool bluegrass musicians performing among them. Classic.
Were you one of the Tram Riders during the Hot Rize performance?

More information on Hot Rize and Brooklyn based Mason Jar Music at their web sites.

Roosevelt Island Community Update From RIOC - Community Egg Hunt, Free Bike NY Commuting Class, Council Member Kallos Participatory Budget Voting, Motorgate Murals And MTA Metrocard Van

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

Image From RIOC

formerly known as the Report from the RIOC President.

Community Egg Hunt

On Saturday, March 28th, save the date for a community egg hunt, sponsored by the R.I. Residents Association! Fun and games are planned for toddlers and children up to age eight. Many members of the community have already volunteered their time and effort, from filling eggs with surprises for children to helping with all parts of the project. For more information, or to find out how you can get involved, contact

Free Bike Commuting Class

Bike New York is offering a FREE Bike Commuting 101 Class on Wednesday, March 25, 7 PM - 8:30 PM at Sportspark (250 Main Street). In a 1.5-hour presentation and discussion, the instructor will cover topics such as picking the right bike, what to wear while commuting, what kind of gear you will need to ride at night, how and where to lock your bike, and much more. For more information and to register, please email Bike New York’s Community Outreach Manager, Caitlin Goodspeed, at or call 212-870-2075.

Bike New York is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which has received a grant from a private family foundation to provide innovative pilot programs and free bike education classes to residents on Roosevelt Island. Learn more about their offerings at

Participatory Budget Voting: Roosevelt Island Projects

New York City’s participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. As a part of New York City’s 5th district, Roosevelt Island residents over the age of 16 are eligible to vote on how the district’s funds are spent. Next week, you’ll have the chance to vote for projects, such as the PS/IS 217 Green Roof project and A/V looping in the new R.I. library, that benefit your community directly. We encourage all residents to exercise their right to vote and to help decide how tax dollars are spent. Last year, residents voted to bring over $200,000 in funding to PS/IS 217 for upgrades to its educational technology. For more information, please visit

Multiple opportunities to vote will be provided on the Island:
PS/IS 217 - Mon 4/13, 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Senior Center - Tues 4/14, 10 AM – 1 PM
NYPL Roosevelt Island - Wed, 4/15, 3 PM – 7 PM
Visitors Kiosk/Tram - Sat 4/18, 11 AM – 2 PM

Or in Manhattan:
Ben Kallos’ District Office (244 E93 str.) – Mon-Fri, April 13-18, 9 AM – 6 PM

Murals at the Motorgate Gallery

Every year, murals that were painted at the annual Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival are put on display in the Motorgate Gallery, located in the Motorgate Garage Atrium (628 Main Street, underneath the Helix Ramp). In the spring, the collection is updated with newly painted masterpieces from the most recent festival. We invite you to stop by the gallery and to take at look at the artwork before it is replaced in the upcoming weeks.

MTA Metrocard Van

On the second Monday of each month from 11 AM until 12:30 PM, the MetroCard Neighborhood Outreach Van stops at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center (546 Main Street). At the van, you may apply for or refill a Reduced-Fare MetroCard, buy or refill a regular MetroCard, or ask any MetroCard- related questions. For more information on this service, call (718) 330-1234.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA - Thrillist Real Manhattan Subway Map Asks Roosevelt Island Why Aren't You Taking The Tram

According to the MTA Weekender, there will be Roosevelt Island F train service to and from Manhattan this weekend.

That's 5 weekends in a row.


Thrillist created The Real Manhattan Subway Map  to:

... Tell you the best bar near every station, or where all the secret entrances are, or really anything you need to know about any of the stops. That’s why we put together this actually useful subway map, which tells you what to expect at virtually all of Manhattan’s stops....
Image From Thrillist

Thrillist says about the Roosevelt Island subway station:
Why aren't you taking the Tram?

Legendary Subway Inn Dive Bar Opening Soon Opposite Roosevelt Island Tram Station - Neon Sign Up, Bar Opening Soon

Image Of Subway Inn Opposite Roosevelt Island Tram Station

Good news for Roosevelt Island Dive Bar patrons. The legendary Subway Inn, formerly at 59th & Lexington, is soon to open opposite the Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station at 2nd Avenue & 60th Street.

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

NY Eater reports:
... The well-loved neighborhood dive was kicked out of its 77-year-old home by developers last year, and its owners, the Salinas family, have been gradually moving everything over to the new location and documenting it all on Facebook. The booths? They're in place. The restored bar? It's there too. As for that sign, the owners promise, "yes, that is the exact same neon sign....

... no word yet on an exact opening date...
Zagat's tell us more about hte Subway's Inn survival move to opposite

the Roosevelt Island Tram.

Oldest NYC Video Footage From 1896 - 1905 Shows Roosevelt (Formerly Blackwell's) Island Seen From A Passing East River Boat And Construction Of Queensboro Bridge Over Blackwell's Island

The oldest available video footage of NYC, taken between 1896 and 1905, contains shots of Roosevelt (then Blackwell's) Island seen from a passing East River boat

and the construction of the Queensboro Bridge over Roosevelt (Blackwell's) Island.

Take a look. Wow.

Oldest footage of New York City Ever from Luis Chaluisan WEPAwebTV on Vimeo.

The East River boat passing Blackwell's Island footage

was filmed by none other than Thomas Edison. According to the Library Of Congress:
Panorama of Blackwell's Island, N.Y. /
This film was photographed from a boat heading south along the eastern shore of Blackwell's Island (known today as Roosevelt Island). The island lies in the East River, between Manhattan (which can be seen in the background) and Long Island City, Queens. It is approximately one and three-quarters of a mile long, extending from 51st Street to 88th, and at the time of the filming was the location for a number of New York City's charitable and penal institutions. The film opens showing the lighthouse at the north end of the island (Hallet's Cove) [Frame: 0186]. As the boat enters the east channel of the river, the stacks of a large brewery on Manhattan are visible in the distance [0542]. The camera pans along the island's granite seawall (built by inmates of the Penitentiary and Workhouse) and the following buildings, in order of appearance, are shown: the New York City Lunatic Asylum [0956]; the Workhouse [1274]; the Almshouse [1524]; piers for the Queensborough (or 59th Street) Bridge, which upon completion in 1908 will span 135 feet above the island [2388]; the Almshouse Keeper's House (originally the home of the Blackwell family, who had once owned the island) [2730]; the Penitentiary [3646]; Charity Hospital [4140]. The film ends before reaching the southern tip of the island.
Created / Published
United States : Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1903.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Roosevelt Island Red Bus Tram Station Stop Moved Across Street Tomorrow For Cornell Tech Construction Says RIOC

Image Of Temporary Red Bus Stop Opposite Visitors Kiosk

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
The North Loop Road between Sportspark and the Cornell Tech construction site will be closed tomorrow, Friday March 13th, from 7 AM until 6 PM due to construction. Flag persons will redirect traffic.

The northbound Red Bus Stop at the Roosevelt Island Tram Station will be relocated on this date from 7 AM - 6 PM. During this time, the Red Bus will not travel the east-west road behind Sportspark (250 Main St.) but will instead turn west at the Tram Station plaza after dropping off southbound passengers, then continue north. Riders may board the Red Bus at the northwest corner of the Tram Station plaza, opposite the R.I. Visitor's Kiosk. Normal service is planned to resume on Friday evening at 6 PM.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

RIOC Board Of Directors Review Roosevelt Island Snow Removal Policies And Procedures During Operations Advisory Committee Meeting

 Image Of 2015 RIOC Snow Removal

This past winter on Roosevelt Island seemed as though it would never end with freezing temperatures, East River ice floes and frequent snowstorms. Fortunately, none of the snowstorms reached blizzard like proportions.

How did the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) do this winter dealing with the snow? The subject was an Agenda Item of March 9 RIOC Operation Advisory Committee (full audio web cast) meeting:
... RIOC’s Snow Removal Efforts and Discussion of Future Strategies....
RIOC Directors David Kraut and Michael Shinozaki as well as  President Charlene Indelicato, Operations Director Cy Opperman and Public Safety Director Jack McManus discussed Roosevelt Island snow removal this past winter during yesterday's Operations Committee meeting.

Mr. Kraut said of RIOC:
... our people did an excellent job...
and that he heard plows going by his building at 6 or 7 every morning.

RIOC Operations Director Cy Opperman added that the:
... backbone of the snow removal is our maintenance Department - our three mechanics...
RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus praised the responsiveness and cooperation of the NYC Sanitation Department in assisting with vehicles spreading salt on the streets as well as coordination among RIOC staff and other agencies.

Ms Indelicato noted that without the Steam plant tunnels operating this year, snow built up on the streets more so than in the past.

Ms. Indelicato also reported that the cooperation of residents was very helpful in keeping the streets clean and removing snow but acknowledged:
... there's always room for improvement ...  we've learned alot even from last year, ...with Everbridge it gives us a better sense of communication, better notifications and yes we screwed up on some of them but it happens....
Ms. Indelicato concluded that:
... in my estimation, these guys did an unbelievable job...
Here's the March 9 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee snow removal discussion.

Hopefully the snow is over until next winter. Bring on the Spring.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Roosevelt Island Resident Ethel Romm Celebrates 90th Birthday At RIRA Meeting - Common Council Members Sing Happy Birthday To Her

Roosevelt Island Resident Association (RIRA) Common Council member Ethel Romm recently celebrated her 90th birthday. She was serenaded with Happy Birthday by the RIRA Common Council at the March 4 RIRA meeting. For her birthday, Ms. Romm challenged the Common Council Members to make a financial donation to RIRA. Ms. Romm donated $900.

As previously reported, Ms Romm has attributed much of her longevity to an exercise routine which includes climbing 20 flights of stairs every day in her building.

Happy Birthday Ethel.

Roosevelt Island Sidewalks In Urgent Need Of Repair To Avoid Tripping Hazards After Winter Damage - RIOC Says Repairs Will Be Done

Image From Roberta Kleiman

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee is reviewing the conditions of Roosevelt Island sidewalks.

Image From Roberta Kleiman

According to the ISC:
Condition of Roads and Paths – ISC adopted this as a new issue. There has been much damage to sidewalks and paths throughout the Island this winter. Repairs are badly needed to eliminate tripping hazards. Frank will be the Lead Person on this issue. First, he will inspect the bad places and take a photo showing the condition of the sidewalk. Then a list will be presented to RIOC with a request for rapid repair work.
Images From Roberta Kleiman

Roosevelt Island resident Roberta Kleiman reports:
I wiped out while running 3 weeks ago and severely sprained my wrist and bruised my ribs and knees. It was on the section of sidewalk between Manhattan Park and Octagon. My foot got caught in the uneven pavement, and I went flying forward (there was no ice in the vicinity). The sidewalks and perimeter of the island seem to have taken a beating this winter. I don't think repairs for them were mentioned in the 37 million recently discussed, though I've been told that perhaps this sort of repair would be covered in the maintenance budget. The RIRA Island Services Committee is currently looking into this matter.

Also, though less urgent in my opinion, there are sections of the perimeter that are in bad shape as well. There's a section near the Fire Station where I've seen several runners fall. There are sections of the pavement above the Avac path that are quite uneven and bumpy. Heading south from the Fire Station towards Southtown, there are also some bad sections. A woman I know who uses a wheelchair told me she can no longer travel on that part of the perimeter. I would also think these irregularities could pose problems for the runners in the many races held on Roosevelt Island.

I hope that the sidewalk repairs will be made as soon as possible, and that the perimeter will also be repaired soon!
Images From Roberta Kleiman

The conditions of Roosevelt Island sidewalks were discussed during yesterday's, March 9, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee (full audio web cast of meeting). RIOC Director Margie Smith raised the issue to RIOC President Charlene Indelicato and RIOC Engineering Director Jim Mortimer (by phone) who reported that sidewalk damage would be repaired.

One of the Starbucks Barista's was hurt from a fall on a Roosevelt Island sidewalk and I took a spill tripping on raised sidewalk by Rivercross lawn, though not hurt other than scrapes, bruises and embarrassment.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Beacon After School Robot Building - Classes Held After School Monday And Thursday

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) reports:

RIYP Youth Program: Building a Robot in 3 minutes?

This team of three kids built a robot from parts in 3 minutes,

Image From Frank Farance

based upon Lego robots. The robotics class is part of the RIYP PS/IS 217 Beacon Program, Mondays 4-5 PM after school. There are about a dozen students in total, with robotics coach/mentor Frank Farance and science teacher Kelly Huang. Lessons and experiments based upon STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and supportive of Core Curriculum.

On Thursday night, 7-8 PM at RIYP Youth Center (506 Main Street, 2nd floor), we have robotics and electronics. We use Lego robotics, Little Bits electronics, and some advanced robots. In this video, the RIYP kids are using the robot for the first time

and will be experimenting with Lego construction for add-on pieces/tools for the robots' missions.
Frank Farance is the instructor in video.

Contact RIYP (212 527- 2505) if you know a child interested in learning robotics.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Women's History Month On Roosevelt Island, Commemoration Of Women Serving In World War 2 at Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field - Presentation At NYPL Tuesday March 10

Image From RIHS

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) invites you to a commemoration of Women's History Month at the Roosevelt Island NY Public Library (RI NYPL) Tuesday, March 10. According to the RI NYPL:
In Commemoration of Women's History Month, The Roosevelt Island Historical Society Presents Serving the Country…. Women in Service During World War II

Learn about the women and the jobs they held at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, in a presentation by Lincoln Hallowell.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.
NYPL Branch, 534 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY
This program is free and open to the public.
Sponsored in conjunction with The New York Public Library

Lincoln Hallowell is a National Park Service ranger, who currently works at the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.  He has been interpreting national park sites since 1994.
The Library of Congress has more on the role of women workers during World War 2.

Roosevelt Island Flood Management Emergency Procedures, Snow Removal, Current Projects, Public Safety & More On Agenda For RIOC Operations Advisory Committee Today

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee is meeting later today. Here's the Agenda:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, March 9, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.
  1. Discussion of Flood Management (Water Management and Emergency Procedures)
  2. Island Operations Department Review
  3. Update on RIOC’s Snow Removal Efforts and Discussion of Future Strategies
  4. Review of Current Projects Status
  5. Public Safety Department Review
  6. 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.
An audio web cast of the meeting will be available soon after.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Joins With President Barack Obama, Congressman John Lewis And Many Others To Commemorate 50th Anniversary Of Bloody Sunday Selma March Across Edmund Pettus Bridge

Yesterday, March 7, marked the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday Selma March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The New York Times reports:

As a new generation struggles over race and power in America, President Obama and a host of political figures from both parties came here on Saturday, to the site of one of the most searing days of the civil rights era, to reflect on how far the country has come and how far it still has to go.

Fifty years after peaceful protesters trying to cross a bridge were beaten by police officers with billy clubs, shocking the nation and leading to passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, the nation’s first African-American president led a bipartisan, biracial testimonial to the pioneers whose courage helped pave the way for his own election to the highest office of the land....
Click here for the full NY Times article.

Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney went to commemorate the Selma March.

According to this Press Release from Congresswoman Maloney, she:
... joined Rep. John Lewis (GA-05), civil rights leaders, and more than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate in Selma, Alabama to mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” On March 7, 1965, a group of brave civil rights marchers, including Rep. Lewis, marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on their way to Montgomery to demand that African American citizens be finally given their constitutional right to vote. At the bridge, the marchers were attacked by Alabama State troopers, with billy clubs, cattle prods, and tear gas. Many of the marchers were injured, some of them severely.

“It is an honor to join with civil rights leaders to mark ‘Bloody Sunday’, a dark day in US History but a crucial turning point in the civil rights movement,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “What started as a peaceful march intended as a symbol for full voting rights quickly degraded into a display of horrific brutality. Hundreds of demonstrators were beaten bloody. While we have made great strides since that day, there is still much to be done. Voter suppression is alive and well, and Voter ID laws across the country are an upsetting reality. I hope that our trip to Selma will refocus the country’s attention on the necessity of equal voting rights for all, independent of color, creed, or financial status.”

The images of “Bloody Sunday” galvanized the nation. On March 15, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson addressed a Joint Session of Congress, urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. On March 21, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march across the bridge – this time joined by 30,000 people from across the country, including national civil rights leaders like current Congressman John Lewis and Hollywood and other celebrities, and protected by federal troops. On March 25, the marchers reached the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, where Reverend King and the other marchers called for voting rights legislation.

“Five short months after ‘Bloody Sunday,’ President Johnson signed the landmark Voting Rights Act,” Maloney said. “It outlawed discriminatory voting practices, but much of it has unfortunately been weakened by the Supreme Court. Congress must take action to update the Voting Rights Act, and I’ll be fighting to make sure that happens. The heroes of the civil rights movement fought with everything they had to achieve the Voting Rights Act. We cannot not dishonor their sacrifice by letting these landmark protections slip away.”
Here's remarks from Congressman John Lewis

and President Barack Obama

from the March 7 Selma Bloody Sunday commemoration.

Listen to stories from some of the people who were at the Blood Sunday march 50 years ago.