Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pop Up Beer Garden, Jazzmobile And Theramin Mass Appeal At Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park Make Music New York Sunday June 21

According to the FDR Four Freedoms Park:
Make Music New York
Sunday, June 21, 2015
2:30pm 6:00pm

Four Freedoms Park Conservancy will participate in Make Music New York - the live, free musical celebration, encompassing over 1,300 concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the five boroughs. Rain or Shine!

Performances are free and will take place throughout the Park from 2:30-6pm. This year's performers include:

Jazzmobile Presents the Winard Harper and the Jelli Posse

... Join us at this event to listen to Drummer and virtuoso balafon player, Winard Harper. Harper is passionate about jazz. "This music is powerful," he says. "It can do a lot of good for people. If they'd spend some time each day listening to it, we would see many changes in the world."...

Theremin Mass Appeal

Mass Appeal Theremin is your chance to experience the strange and beautiful world of the theremin, a century-old electronic instrument that's played without physically touching it, well known for it's eerie, gliding sound as utilized in countless scary movie scores. This event will bring together a dozen players, creating lush and ominous waves of sound in a new piece by composer Alexa Dexa. This event will be sponsored by Moog, and after the performance, audience members will have opportunities to try out Moog's amazing new theremini, an easier-to-learn version of the theremin.
There will also be a pop up beer garden tomorrow at the FDR Park:
The season of beer gardens has arrived, and this Sunday, June 21st, we're hosting our very own pop-up beer garden! Beer and wine lovers should head down to the Park from 4pm - 6pm for brews, wine, and sangria available for purchase.

As part of Make Music New York, two bands will perform between 2:30 and 6pm so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds of summer music at the Park. Katchkie Farm Food Station will be onsite from 11am-6pm serving delicious sandwiches, hot dogs, and other snacks.

Friday, June 19, 2015

You're Invited To Opening Reception Of Peter Gerakaris Tropicalia Immersive Mixed Media Exhibit Celebrating Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Campus Groundbreaking Saturday June 20 At Gallery RIVAA

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA will be hosting an opening reception Saturday evening June 20 for an exhibition Titled Tropicalia by Peter Gerakaris. According to Gallery RIVAA:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - Friday, July 31, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 6-9 PM.

Tropicalia, art exhibition, a site-specific mural installation by Peter D. Gerakaris, sponsored by Cornell Tech, Tuesday, June 16th until Friday, July 31st

Image of Gallery RIVAA Tropicalia Exhibit From Peter Gerakaris

More photos of the Gallery RIVAA Tropicalia exhibit by Peter Gerakaris.

Cornell Tech issued this press release on the Tropicalia exhibit.
Cornell Tech is excited to announce the debut of Tropicália – an immersive, mixed media, site-specific installation created by artist Peter D. Gerakaris – on Tuesday, June 16 at Gallery RIVAA, run by the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (527 Main Street). Cornell Tech commissioned the artwork to commemorate the historic groundbreaking of its new tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

“Peter’s project is a magnificent example of the kind of creativity and innovation we plan to bring to our campus on a regular basis and we’re proud to feature a fellow Cornellian while doing so,” said Jane Swanson, assistant director of government and community relations for Cornell Tech. “This is one more step towards our commitment to bring public art to the Roosevelt Island community.”

Tropicália represents a bellwether for the university’s presence by fusing art, technology, place and community. This sprawling 1,000 square foot installation of kaleidoscopic imagery engages the public in visual play as new layers, patterns, and connections are revealed with each viewing. Covering nearly every wall of the gallery, including parts of the floor, the artwork is cleverly peppered with hidden surprises: some elements are only visible from certain vantage points, while others are heightened through the use of 3D glasses, therefore enticing the public to embark on an exotic voyage. The exhibition will be on view until July 31st with an opening reception for the public on June 20th, from 6-9pm.


By transplanting tropical motifs in NYC, Tropicália seeks to stimulate our notions of the exotic. Gerakaris’ “pop-botanic” style tickles the retina and mind, presenting a “postnatural” vision of nature as if diffracted through a pop-cultural lens. His energetic, global iconography is further inspired by myriad travels throughout islands in West Africa, Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean. Sited on Roosevelt Island – a place remaining largely unknown to most New Yorkers – this exhibit strives to provide a sense of transport and discovery for visitors and residents alike.

Showcasing lush vignettes through the gallery’s ground-floor windows, Tropicália invites the public to explore. The labyrinthine interior is loosely subdivided into four “intertropical zones” in which visitors may navigate at leisure. Each zone contains a distinctive color palette, or “visual surround sound” abuzz with morphing pollinators, atomic sunsets, and neon tsunamis. Flowing like the equator along the visual horizon, certain elements suddenly veer onto the floor, around a corner, or into an unexpected alcove to generate visual disruptions. Other trenchant juxtapositions – such as an evaporating honeycomb situated next to a Mayan ruin, or a bee swirling into a cosmic spiral – call into question our fractured relationship with the environment.

Curator Kendal Henry suggests, “The installation gets hotter as you move toward the core environment. As you explore, you apprehend the work’s layers, literally and metaphorically – some being more obvious, while others are hidden. As the super-graphic effect pulls you in toward smaller details, you see the imperfection of the hand – perhaps a metaphor for how life in paradise is not all it seems when inspected under the microscope.”

Additionally, Henry has selected a group of medium to small-scale works from the artist’s Mask Series, which are displayed on gallery columns like islands amidst a sea of imagery. Nearly all of the visual content of the installation derives from these smaller works, whose presence helps illuminate the process and cosmology behind the work.

Gerakaris adds, “The Mask paintings invert the notion of a mask by projecting our inner psyche on an exterior meant to conceal. By conflating an abundance of disparate cultural icons into one aesthetic, I aim to construct ‘Global Masks’ for our era. Perhaps this installation also parallels the hypercoherence of our contemporary world – a global civilization that is growing almost as wildly and chaotically as nature itself.”

Wrapping over gallery walls and floors, the imagery is derived entirely from the artist’s analog paintings, which he has digitally scanned and playfully remixed like a visual DJ. Enlarged into enormous murals through an industrial printing process, these collage-like tableaus are then installed throughout the gallery like a second-skin. On site, the artist subsequently applies all finishing touches by hand through a meticulous, yet improvised process of cutting, painting, and collaging – in essence, restoring the analog spirit of the source images. The artist further seeks to generate a full sensory experience by embedding a softly looping, ambient soundtrack of exotic tonalities co-produced with composer/producer Trevor Gureckis. Visitors are also invited to view the individual artworks with the 3D stereoscopic glasses provided.

Note: The artist shall donate a percentage of any sales garnered from this exhibition to the Cornell Annual Fund. This fund assists students with financial need, in addition to subsidizing academic travel stipends and other resources essential for a creative student to flourish.

Gallery Hours

Wednesday & Friday: 10am-12pm, 1pm-4pm, 6pm-9pm

Saturday & Sunday: 11am-5pm

Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

* To arrange a private viewing, please contact:

Peter D. Gerakaris is an American interdisciplinary artist whose work is showcased in prominent institutional collections including: the U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies Program Permanent Collection in Libreville, Gabon; Citibank; the Shirley L. & Herbert J. Semler Foundation; the Waskowmium; and the Schomburg Center; in addition to numerous private collections such as Beth Rudin DeWoody.

In addition to solo shows at Wave Hill and iSolAIR (Cape Verde Islands, Africa), Gerakaris has exhibited at the Bronx Museum of the Arts; Chinese Contemporary Gallery; Loretta Howard Gallery; Daniel Weinberg Gallery; the National Academy of Fine Arts; and the Mykonos Biennale. The artist has also created public commissions, including a large site-specific window installation at BERGDORF GOODMAN, curated by Grey Area.

Gerakaris earned a BFA from Cornell University and MFA from Hunter College, where he also received the Tony Smith Prize. Additional distinctions include: the Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship at the National Academy of Fine Arts; the Clowes Foundation Full-Fellowship Award at the Vermont Studio Center; Red Gate Gallery Residency in Beijing; and the iSolAIR U.S. Embassy Praia Artist in Residence Fellowship.

For more information visit:;;

Kendal Henry is an artist and curator who lives in New York City and specializes in the field of public art. Through the projects and programs he has initiated around the world, Henry illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride, and economic development. He believes that the most successful public artworks take into account the audience and surrounding environment in the creation of the artwork, and start with the question, “What do you want the artwork to do?

For more information visit:;

The Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA) is a non-profit organization comprised of an internationally diverse group of artists. Supported by public, private donations and artist contributions, RIVAA opened the first gallery on Roosevelt Island in March 2002. RIVAA is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the community through art, community events and workshops.

For more information, please visit

No Roosevelt Island F Train Service From Manhattan This Weekend Says MTA, Tram On Rush Hour Service And 5/10K Race On Saturday

According to the MTA:
F Jamaica-bound trains run via the M from 47-50 Sts to Queens Plaza

Weekend, 9:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Jun 19 - 22

No Jamaica-bound service at 57 St, Lexington Av/63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
Please be advised that the MTA has issued a weekend service advisory for the F train, which may affect travel plans. The Tram will run on a rush hour schedule from 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM to accommodate any increase in traffic. Please plan your travel accordingly and visit or call 511 for more information.

For electronic updates on F Train service, sign up for MTA Alerts at
A 5/10K race will take place around the perimeter of Roosevelt Island beginning at 8:30 AM on Saturday, 6/20/15.

There will be No Parking on Saturday, 6/20/15 from 5 AM to 1 PM on the West Roadway between the Tram and the Blackwell turn around (rear of 405 to 475 Main Street).

The race will be completely contained to a protected perimeter of the Island. Expect minor disruptions in Q102 and Red Bus service during that time.

NY State Senator Jose Serrano and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright Pass Legislation Allowing RIOC To Provide Public Purpose Fund Grants To Roosevelt Island Non Profit Organizations - Next Step Is Governor Cuomo's Signature

The New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation earlier this week to allow the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to continue allocating Public Purpose Fund grants to Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations. The legislation was sponsored by Roosevelt Island's State Senator Jose Serrano and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. and sent to Governor Cuomo for signature.

As reported last March:

... the annual distribution of approximately $100 Thousand in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds

to Roosevelt Island non profit organizations has been jeopardized because of the New York State Authorities Budget Office (ABO) January 13, 2015 Policy Guidance Statement saying in part:
... 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 or local authority, unless otherwise empowered under the law, may not grant or loan its monies to public or private corporations, private businesses or interests, civic associations, charitable groups, educational institutions, not-for- profit corporations, or any other social, religious, fraternal or cultural organization....

... 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.
Senator Serrano issued this June 18 Press Release:
On Monday, June 15th, the New York State Senate passed Senator José M. Serrano's bill, S5813, which authorizes the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) Board of Directors to continue to provide grants to not-for-profit organizations that provide services to the Roosevelt Island community.

Since 1989, The RIOC Board has distributed funds for capital improvements and other community needs through the Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund program. In January 2015, the Authorities Budget Office issued a broad policy guidance, which due to it's ambiguity, temporarily halted this longstanding practice and prohibited RIOC from distributing grants. Serrano's legislation would expressly clarify that the RIOC Board has the authority to distribute the public purpose funds, and continue to provide this much needed financial assistance to deserving local non-profits.

"For over 25 years, The RIOC Board has been providing much needed funding of vital services for the Roosevelt Island community. I am pleased to have worked with my Roosevelt Island colleagues Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright and Council Member Ben Kallos on this important issue. I'm grateful that this bill has passed both houses of the legislature," said Senator Serrano.

"I am pleased that my office was able to work closely with the Roosevelt Island Residents Association's Government Affairs Committee and Senators Serrano and Golden to draft a bill that will support local not-for-profits and government agencies that serve Roosevelt Islanders," said Assembly Member Seawright.

With time running out until the end of session, getting this legislation through the Republican controlled Senate was no easy feat. Having passed both the Senate and Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, the bill now heads to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's desk to be signed into law.
According to the Senate Bill 5813 sponsored by Senator Serrano and Brooklyn Senator Martin Golden, the RIOC grants are not to exceed 3% of its operating budget (approximately $25 million for fiscal year 2015 -16):
Section 1. Legislative intent. This act shall authorize the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation to distribute public purpose funds to not-for-profit community organizations whose purpose is to benefit Roosevelt Island residents by enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health or better environment.

S 2. Chapter 899 of the laws of 1984, relating to the creation of a public benefit corporation to plan, develop, operate, maintain and manage Roosevelt Island, is amended by adding a new section 4-a to read as follows:

The bill was sent to Governor Cuomo
for his signature.

American Cancer Society Roosevelt Island Relay For Life Saturday June 20 - Still Time To Sign Up To Walk Or Make A Donation

The American Cancer Society's Roosevelt Island Relay For Life takes place tomorrow, June 20 at the Octagon Soccer Field from 10 AM - 10 PM

 and you're invited to participate.

#RelayCountdownOne day to Relay at Roosevelt Island. See you all tomorrow! If you haven't already please register...
Posted by Relay For Life of Roosevelt Island on Friday, June 19, 2015

Alex Schoeneck, Relay For Life Community Manager reports:
Relay For Life is a community walking event to fight cancer. Individuals participate in teams, with one participant from each team walking a track at all times. In between laps, participants do three very important things: celebrate, remember, and fight back. They celebrate cancer survivors and their caregivers, remember loved ones lost to the disease, and fight back by raising critical funds for the life-saving mission of the American Cancer Society.

This Saturday, June 20th, over 100 Island residents will unite in the fight against cancer at the third annual Relay For Life of Roosevelt Island, sponsored by Riverwalk Point and Amalgamated Bank. The event, which takes place at the Octagon Field (755 Main Street), starts at 10AM and lasts until 10PM. Individuals interested in attending can register on-site from 10AM until 8PM, free of charge.

Below is the family-friendly schedule of events. Highlights include the official event kick off at the 11:30AM Opening “Celebrate” Ceremony, followed by a survivor lap and caregiver lap, as well as the 9PM Luminaria “Remember” Ceremony. After the Island community helped us raise $27,000 for the American Cancer Society in 2014, the planning committee set a goal of raising $35,000 in 2015! We are well on our way to making this dream a reality, but we can’t do it without you, so stop by and walk a lap with us this Saturday! For more information, visit

You can sign up to walk or make a donation here.

Here are scenes from the 2013 Roosevelt Island Relay For Life.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Students, Teacher & Principal Meet Mayor Bill de Blasio Following June 16 Cornell Tech Groundbreaking Ceremony

Following the June 16 Cornell Tech campus groundbreaking ceremony, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

met with students from Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 and school Principal Mandana Beckman.
Ms Beckman adds:
Here is the picture we took with Mayor DeBlasio following the Cornell Tech Ground Breaking:

Mandana Beckman, Ursula Fokine , Instructional Coach, Jennifer Bartolino , AP Students: Felicia Einhorn, Principal for A Day & Elyes Bouchik, Assistant Principal for a Day
Here's what Mayor de Blasio said about PS/IS 217 during his remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Complete coverage of the Cornell Tech Groundbreaking ceremony at this post and more on the Cornell Tech PS/IS 217 Hackathon here.

Will Safety And Security Concerns Close Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park And FDR Four Freedoms Park To Public For July 4 East River Fireworks Celebration? - RIOC Operations Committee Will Discuss Monday June 22

For the first time since 2008, the Macy's July 4 Fireworks celebration

will be visible from Roosevelt Island. Not just visible, but great views of the July 4 East River Fireworks can be seen from the southern portion of Roosevelt Island at Southpoint Park and FDR Four Freedoms Park. Here's the view from Southpoint Park in 2007

and 2008

before the FDR Park was built. The advocates for building the FDR Park, prior to it being approved, promised that the Park would be open to the public for the July 4 Fireworks celebration.

 According to this May 20 Press Release from Mayor deBlasio:
Macy’s and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that on Saturday, July 4th, the 39th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® will rumble to life over New York City, igniting the skyline over the East River with the nation’s largest Independence Day pyrotechnic display. This year, extending to two locations, the show will begin at approximately 9:20 PM and dazzle the shorelines of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with an unparalleled spectacle of color, light and sound set to commemorate the holiday with a very big bang!

America’s most explosive party will take place from two locations on the East River in midtown and within the South Street Seaport historic district. Brave, the theme of this year’s show, will fire more than 40,000 pyrotechnic shells during a 25-minute synchronized display. Designed in collaboration with PyroSpectaculars by Souza, the show will be fired from four barges positioned between 23rd and 37th Streets in Midtown and from one double-barge positioned below the Brooklyn Bridge....
At this time, it is not known if the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will open Southpoint Park or, if, the FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy will open the FDR Park to the public for viewing the July 4 Fireworks.

We may learn about plans for Roosevelt Island July 4 Fireworks Celebration viewing during the June 22 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting. Among the items on the agenda is a discussion of July 4 events:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, June 22, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


Review of Current Projects
Discussion of Seawall and Railings Issues
Discussion of July 4 Events
Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee
Last year when the Macy's July 4 Fireworks Celebration returned to the East River south of the Williamsburg Bridge, the views from Roosevelt Island were blocked and RIOC President Charlene Indelicato:
... recommended to the RIOC Board Of Directors that Southpoint Park be closed during the July 4 Macy's Fireworks Celebration for safety and security reasons particularly since there will be no view of the fireworks available at that location.
which was agreed to by the RIOC Board.

Among the security concerns were the Cornell Tech campus construction next to the parks and lack of resources to keep everyone wishing to view the July 4 fireworks safe.

This year the views will not be blocked but will safety and security concerns still keep the public from viewing the July 4 Fireworks at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.

Across the East River from Roosevelt Island in Long Island City, the LIC Post reports:
With 50,000 people expected to come to Long Island City to celebrate the July 4th fireworks, the police are putting together a comprehensive plan to deal with transportation issues and security threats....
Will there be a comprehensive plan for viewing July 4 Fireworks from Roosevelt Island or will the parks on southern tip just be closed?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Roosevelt Island Is Living Embodiment Of Issues Hillary Clinton Wants To Champion Says Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy In Politico Article

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy penned an excellent article for Politico. According to Ms. Berdy:

... Roosevelt Island is a community of 14,000 located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. It’s widely associated in popular memory with its namesake, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his (increasingly distant) dream of a thriving American middle class—themes of an era, no doubt, that the Clinton campaign wishes to project in the popular mind.

Team Clinton deserves credit for the choice. They’ve handpicked a location that is far more than a mnemonic reference to the 1930’s president and economic champion that Clinton wants to be associated with. At its heart, Roosevelt Island is an American social experiment with a rich past—a living, historical embodiment of many major issues that Clinton wants to champion. Look closer at Roosevelt Island, and you’ll find a vision of the kind of American history Clinton draws upon—and a hint of the coming campaign that will talk about it....
Click here for full Politico article by Ms. Berdy and here for Ms. Clinton's June 13 Roosevelt Island speech.

Mayor Bloomberg Takes Tram And Announces $100 Million Gift To Cornell Tech At Roosevelt Island Campus Groundbreaking Ceremony Yesterday - Here's What Happened

Another big day for Roosevelt Island.

Last Saturday, Hillary Clinton launched her Presidential campaign from Roosevelt Island and yesterday, June 16, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Mayor Bill deBlasio came to Roosevelt Island

 Mayor deBlasio Talking With Mayor Bloomberg And Cornell President David Skorton

to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of Cornell Tech's new Roosevelt Island campus scheduled to open in 2017.
Oh, and for the cherry on top of this cake, Mr. Bloomberg announced a gift of $100 million for construction of the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island campus.
Mr. Bloomberg arrived by Roosevelt Island Tram

as did Mayor deBlasio.

Mr. Bloomberg also left by Roosevelt Island Tram
Before the groundbreaking ceremony took place at FDR Four Freedoms Park, there was a walk through

of the construction site

by Mayor Bloomberg,

Mayor de Blasio,

Cornell President David Skorton and Forest City Ratner President MaryAnne Gilmartin

as well as (pictured from left to right below) NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark- Viverito, Mayor de Blasio, Mayor Bloomberg, Cornel Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher, Ms. Gilmartin, Hudson Companies David Kramer and NYC Council Member representing Roosevelt Island Ben Kallos.

Cornell Tech Director of Capital Planning Andrew Winters briefed Mayor deBlasio on construction plans for the campus including solar panels, geothermal wells and the beloved Roosevelt Isladn Cherry Trees.

Then on to the the FDR Four Freedoms Park for the start of the ceremonial groundbreaking passing a family of Roosevelt Island geese on the West Promenade

under the Cherry Trees.

Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher began the groundbreaking ceremony.
Dean Huttenlocher noted that:
... even though physical construction of the campus here has just started, we're already working to be an active part of the community here on Roosevelt Island in our future home...

Followed by:

Mayor de Blasio,

Cornell University Board Chairman Bob Harrison,

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul,

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito,

Cornell President David Skorton,

Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg,

Forest City Ratner President Maryanne Gilmartin, developers of the Bridge at Cornell Tech,

Hudson Companies David Kramer describing Cornell Tech's new passive energy high rise residential building.

Mr. Kramer gave a shout out to
... the heart and soul of Roosevelt Island, Judy Berdy...
President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

Dean Huttenlocher then thanked the audience for attending the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island campus groundbreaking ceremony.

Following the ceremony Mayor de Blasio

met with students from Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 and school Principal Mandana Beckman.
Ms Beckman adds:
Here is the picture we took with Mayor DeBlasio following the Cornell Tech Ground Breaking:

Mandana Beckman, Ursula Fokine , Instructional Coach, Jennifer Bartolino , AP Students: Felicia Einhorn, Principal for A Day & Elyes Bouchik, Assistant Principal for a Day
The Twitterverse is concerned about impact of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island affordable housing.
During press conference after the Cornell Tech Groundbreaking, I asked Mayor de Blasio about that issue. He said this.

Perhaps affordable housing on Roosevelt Island and elsewhere in NYC was the subject of this conversation between Mayor de Blasio

 and Hudson Companies David Kramer

after the Cornell Tech groundbreaking ceremony.

Here's June 16 Press Release from Cornell Tech on the Roosevelt Island campus groundbreaking ceremony.
Cornell University President David J. Skorton, Cornell University Board Chair Robert S. Harrison, Cornell Tech Dean Daniel P. Huttenlocher, New York State Lt. Governor Kathleen Hochul, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, and The Hudson Companies Principal David Kramer today celebrated the groundbreaking of Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island and announced a $100 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies to fund construction of the campus. The first academic building on the campus will be named The Bloomberg Center – in honor of Emma and Georgina Bloomberg. Cornell Tech is a revolutionary model for graduate tech education, developing pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age. Three years ago, Cornell and its academic partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology won New York City’s competition – led by former Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel – to build an applied sciences institution in partnership with the City. Today’s groundbreaking and the announcement of the generous donation mark a major milestone in this effort, with the first phase of the campus due to open in the summer of 2017.

Cornell Tech began classes in January 2013 at its temporary campus in space donated by Google in their Chelsea building. There are currently approximately 15 world-class faculty members, an additional 15 research and development staff, two dozen Ph.D. students in several disciplines, and four master’s programs: the MEng in computer science; the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA; the dual degree Connective Media program at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, the academic partnership between Cornell and the Technion; and starting this fall at the Jacobs Institute, Healthier Life, which will bridge the gap between healthcare and technology. The majority of Cornell Tech’s nearly 100 alumni are pursuing their own startups and working at companies in New York City.

“Cornell Tech isn’t just one of the world’s leading research institutions – it's a pioneering model for using tech to solve real-world problems, and an economic game-changer that will drive smart, powerful, and equitable growth in New York City for generations,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The new Roosevelt Island campus will bring together academia and industry in the service of invention and innovation – and the result will be hundreds of homegrown companies that provide a pathway to opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers. We look forward to continued partnership with Cornell Tech, and commend Mayor Bloomberg's commitment to this effort, and to this groundbreaking institution.”

“We are so grateful for the generosity of Bloomberg Philanthropies. This gift holds special meaning because Mayor Bloomberg first envisioned the Applied Sciences initiative and has seen this project through since its inception in 2011,” said Cornell University President David J. Skorton. “At Cornell Tech we are creating a high-tech entrepreneurial hub for the benefit of the city, the state and the world, and I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor de Blasio and many others for their trust, vision and partnership as we work to reinvent graduate education for the digital age and build a pipeline of tech talent right here in New York.”

"New York became the greatest city in the world because we dared to dream bigger than anyone else, and this project – and the challenge it represents to Silicon Valley – are part of that tradition,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “After talking with leaders from every industry, we launched a competition to bring an applied science campus here, to help lay an economic foundation for the next century -- creating jobs and opportunity for New Yorkers on every rung of the economic ladder. I believe in the importance of this public-private partnership to our city’s future, and it's why the contribution is in honor of my daughters, as there is no better gift I can leave them than to help make the world -- and their hometown -- a better place. This is a gift to support a brighter future for our city and for every young person who grows up here or comes here with a dream, like I did."

“Cornell Tech has come so far in just over three years, with new degree programs, faculty, 100 graduates and our developing campus on Roosevelt Island. We are extremely grateful to all of our partners in this effort, including the NYC tech community, the City, Roosevelt Islanders and many more who are helping us bring our vision to life,” said Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher.

"This is a historic day for Cornell University and for New York City. Cornell has had an unwavering commitment to innovation over its rich history, and Cornell Tech is a prime example of that. We are achieving something revolutionary here, and this very generous gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies is symbolic of our shared values and dedication to the future," said Robert S. Harrison, Cornell University Board Chair.

"Cornell Tech, which is the home of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, will be one of the most fascinating campuses ever built. It is extremely gratifying to know that the Technion is part of it. It will be one of the most modern and advanced research institutes in the world -- a citadel of innovation. When I visited Roosevelt Island recently, I felt that I was standing on a bridge between the Technion and Cornell University. I think everyone in Israel and New York should be proud of what has been accomplished here. I congratulate Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his vision and for his extraordinary gift that will help make this vision a reality," said Technion President Peretz Lavie.

“New York City is a global hub for innovation and there is no better home for Cornell Tech's new state-of-the-art campus than right here in the tech capital of the world. From its unique fusion of technology, art, open space and community to its commitment to sustainability and energy conservation, the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island Campus represents the new frontier in education for the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers. The New York City Council is proud to welcome Cornell Tech to New York City and looks forward to its great success,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

To commemorate the groundbreaking, Cornell Tech commissioned Cornell University alumnus Peter Gerakaris to create a site-specific installation at the RIVAA Gallery on Roosevelt Island. The exhibition opens today and represents the university’s presence by fusing art, technology, place and community. The sprawling 1,000-square-foot installation of kaleidoscopic imagery engages the public in visual play as new layers, patterns, and connections are revealed with each viewing. The exhibit is supported by a generous gift from the Eisenberg Family.

The first phase of Cornell Tech’s campus includes:

The Bloomberg Center, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects. The building is a departure from traditional academic facilities with an open plan and extensive collaborative as well as private work spaces, adapting open plan offices from the tech world to the academic arena. Cornell is aspiring for the building to be among the largest net-zero energy buildings in the United States, with all of its power generated on campus.

The Bridge at Cornell Tech, designed by WEISS/MANFREDI and developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, will be a first-of-its-kind building that will house an ecosystem of companies, researchers and entrepreneurs who are focused on catalyzing innovation and the commercialization of new products and technologies, driving economic growth for New York.

“The Bridge at Cornell Tech is a place for companies looking to test and launch products and ideas, a place where research comes to life and technology meets the market,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies. “For the right companies committed to innovation and collaboration, The Bridge will provide a massive competitive advantage at the center of the campus and the heart of New York City.”

A residential building, designed by Handel Architects and developed by Hudson and Related Companies, that will be the first Passive House high-rise in the world. Passive House is the strict international building standard that drastically reduces energy consumption while creating a healthier and more comfortable living environment for a fraction of residents’ usual energy costs. The residential building will be for faculty, staff and students to ensure the campus is active 24/7.

“We have spent the past 2 years working with an incredible team of engineers and designers to establish this new standard for a 26 story building,” said David Kramer, Principal of the Hudson Companies. “We hope that this boundary-pushing development will serve as a living lab and enduring inspiration to the community of next-generation problem solvers who will live within its (well insulated) walls.”

The first phase of the campus will open summer 2017. When fully completed, the campus will span 12 acres on Roosevelt Island and house approximately 2,000 students and hundreds of faculty and staff. The campus master plan was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with James Corner Field Operations, and includes a number of innovative features and facilities across a river-to-river campus with expansive views, a series of green, public spaces, and a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor areas. The campus will be one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient campuses in the world.

In May, 73 master’s students in computer science and business and 2 PhD students graduated from Cornell Tech, and more than half stayed in New York for job opportunities and to pursue their own startups. Almost one-third of the graduates are pursuing their own ventures that were developed on campus, including the winners of Cornell Tech’s first-ever Startup Awards. Through the awards, five groups of students are now working full-time on the companies they built during their academic program with pre-seed funding from the Blackstone Foundation and free co-working space at Forest City Ratner’s New York Times building.

Cornell Tech was founded when it was selected in December of 2011 as the winner of the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative. The Economic Development Corporation, then led by Executive Director Seth Pinsky, sought proposals for a university to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for City capital, access to City-owned land – and the full support and partnership of City government. Cornell’s proposal was selected ahead of submissions from 17 world-class institutions from around the globe. The Cornell and Technion partnership was selected by the City as the first winner of the competition and was provided with land on Roosevelt Island and $100 million in City capital to build the $2 billion, 2 million square foot tech campus.

Cornell Tech is already fulfilling its promise to New York City to spur tech education in New York City public schools. Cornell Tech has partnered with more than a dozen local schools, including PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island, and is coordinating professional development opportunities for teachers to gain experience in incorporating tech thinking into their teaching.

Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech develops pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age. Cornell Tech brings together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in a catalytic environment to produce visionary results grounded in significant needs that will reinvent the way we live in the digital age. Cornell Tech’s temporary campus has been up and running at Google’s Chelsea building since 2012, with a growing world-class faculty, and about 150 master’s and Ph.D. students who collaborate extensively with tech-oriented companies and organizations and pursue their own startups. Construction is underway on Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island, with a first phase due to open in 2017. When fully completed, the campus will include 2 million square feet of state-of- the-art buildings, over 2 acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.
Say goodbye to Goldwater Hospital

Cornell Tech Cornell - Bridge Cam 2015-04-22 162358 from Curbed on Vimeo.

and hello

Cornell Tech.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Women's Movie Group Showing Of Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me - Thursday June 18, Please RSVP

From the Roosevelt Island Women's Movie Group:

The Women's Movie Group invites you to our fifth and final movie of the season.

Actor and comic Elaine Stritch -- and her admirers -- will royally entertain you on Thursday, June 18. 2015 at 7:00 pm in the Party Room at 425 Main Street.

ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME is a hilarious, off-beat and poignant portrait of the one-of-a-kind Broadway legend at age 87 who, as usual, wears her trademark white blouse as she grabs the spotlight.

In this revealing documentary combining performances and one-on-one interviews, the uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award winner is showcased both on and off stage via rare archival footage and intimate cinéma vérité.

Suggested minimum donation is $10 to cover our room rental costs.

Please RSVP to and plan to bring healthy snacks or drinks for six guests.

We ask that you consider attending this film and inviting a guest who will enjoy the evening.

Please RSVP if you plan on attending.

Monday, June 15, 2015

NYC Mayor de Blasio and Former Mayor Bloomberg Attending Ceremony Tomorrow Celebrating Start Of Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Campus Construction - Forest City Ratner Developing Bridge Co Location For Digital Tech Start Ups and Hudson Companies Building First Passive Energy Residential High Rise

Guess who's coming to Roosevelt Island tomorrow? No, not Hillary Clinton returning. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg,  among others, will attend a ceremony celebrating the start of construction for Cornell Tech's Roosevelt Island campus.

Earlier today Forest City Ratner, the developer of Cornell Tech Co-Location building

Image of The Bridge at Cornell Tech Corporate Co-Location Building From Cornell Tech

Forest City Ratner Companies today launched The Bridge at Cornell Tech, a first-of-its-kind building that will be located at the heart of Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island. The Bridge at Cornell Tech, developed by Forest City Ratner Companies and designed by WEISS/MANFREDI, will offer an opportunity for a limited number of start-ups and established companies pushing the edge of digital technology to be on campus. The Bridge will house an ecosystem of companies, researchers and entrepreneurs who are focused on catalyzing innovation and the commercialization of new products and technologies, driving economic growth for New York. The Bridge will be the only building in New York City designed and built to leverage the resources of a cutting edge research university, and to remove all barriers to collaboration and innovation with the world’s most cutting-edge companies. Construction commenced in May on the Bridge, which will be part of phase one of Cornell Tech’s campus, due to open in summer 2017. A video trailer introducing the building is available at

“The Bridge at Cornell Tech is a place for companies looking to test and launch products and ideas, a place where research comes to life and technology meets the market,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies. “For the right companies committed to innovation and collaboration, The Bridge will provide a massive competitive advantage at the center of the campus and the heart of New York City.”

“Cornell Tech has already made great strides in fusing academia and industry in our academic and research programs, and The Bridge will be the physical manifestation of that mission on our campus on Roosevelt Island,” said Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher. “The Bridge will be the epicenter of this fusion on campus, putting practitioners, companies, students, faculty, and researchers in close proximity to one another in a design that encourages collaboration.”

From MetroTech in Brooklyn to the 5M project in San Francisco and University Park at MIT, Forest City has been at the forefront of place-making for the innovation economy, bringing together creative industry leaders and higher education to create truly 21st century places.

The Bridge will house a mix of cutting-edge companies working alongside groundbreaking Cornell academic teams: from recent Cornell Tech graduates spinning out new company ideas, to startups on the verge of explosive growth, and established companies testing their next product.

Designed with flexible spaces and loft-like common areas, the building will encourage random interactions and deep collaborations that solve problems, build partnerships and accelerate new products to market. The result will be one of the greatest concentrations of talent in the country, and an unparalleled community of entrepreneurs eager to collaborate and test new ideas, launch new products, and start new businesses.

“The Bridge is a crystalline incubator with river-to-river views and creates a three dimensional crossroads, an ecosystem of innovation that catalyzes collaboration between academics and entrepreneurs," said Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, design partners at WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism.

From demo days, hackathons, lectures and conferences, to opportunities to collaborate with faculty and students and to participate in special events for the tech and creative community, companies at The Bridge will be part of and will thrive on the entrepreneurial energy at Cornell Tech and the larger NYC tech community. It will serve as a model for future tech sector growth and innovation.

The building is being designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, and, situated on the east side of Roosevelt Island, will feature expansive views of the waterfront, Queens and Manhattan. It will be one of the three main buildings as part of phase one of Cornell Tech’s campus, which also includes the First Academic Building, a residential building that will be the first Passive House high-rise in the world, and substantial open space. The campus will be one of the most environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient campuses in the world.
On June 12, Cornell Tech issued this press release:

Cornell Tech announced today that the first residential building on its Roosevelt Island campus, developed in partnership with the Hudson Companies, will become the first high-rise residential building in the world built to Passive House standards. Passive House (PH) is the strict international building standard that drastically reduces energy consumption while creating a healthier and more comfortable living environment for a fraction of residents’ usual energy costs. The building will become the beacon of the Cornell Tech campus and a symbol of the school’s unwavering commitment to innovative sustainability. Construction is set to begin this month on the 270-foot tall building that will house approximately 350 residential units and is slated to open as part of the campus’ first phase in 2017.

To achieve Passive House standards, Cornell Tech Residential will incorporate a number of sustainability-focused design elements. The façade, constructed of a prefabricated metal panel system, acts as a thermally insulated blanket wrapping the building structure. At the southwest façade, facing Manhattan, the exterior façade opens to reveal a louver system that extends the entire height of the building. This reveal is designed to be the “gills” of the building, literally providing an enclosed exterior space where the heating and cooling equipment live, allowing the building system to breathe. Low VOC-paint, which limits off-gassing and improves indoor air quality, will be used throughout the building, among many other elements. Compared to conventional construction, the building is projected to save 882 tons of CO2 per year, equal to planting 5,300 new trees.

“Constructing the first Passive House residential high rise in the world is the latest and most exciting example of our effort to set new benchmarks in sustainability and innovation,” said Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher. “We hope this will serve as a model for how Passive House standards can be brought to scale in the United States and create a new template for green design here in New York City.”

“We have spent the past 2 years working with an incredible team of engineers and designers to establish this new standard for a 26 story building,” said David Kramer, Principal of the Hudson Companies. “We hope that this boundary-pushing development will serve as a living lab and enduring inspiration to the community of next-generation problem solvers who will live within its (well insulated) walls.”

The plans to achieve Passive House standards at Cornell Tech Residential were developed by a team of experts, including Handel Architects, Steven Winter Associates, Buro Happold, Monadnock Construction and co-owner Related Companies.

Luke Falk, Assistant Vice President of Sustainability for Related Companies said, “We are quite literally breaking new ground with the development of the world’s first high-rise residential passive house and it signifies the deep commitment by the entire project team to create a paradigm-shifting campus in New York City. This milestone is also the culmination of unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sector and demonstrates the energy-saving potential of high rise residential architecture that can be achieved with forward thinking partnerships.”

Considered the most rigorous energy efficiency standard in the world, PH buildings consume 60 – 70 percent less energy than typical building stock, surpassing modern standards like LEED and NYSERDA. The design also has a tremendous economic benefit for residents: Cornell Tech Residential tenants can expect to see this savings reflected in their electricity bills.

Passive buildings incorporate a super insulated building façade, an airtight building envelope and an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system to create a comfortable interior climate without drafts and cold spots. The ERV system constantly pulls in fresh air and removes stale air, while recovering the energy in the climate-controlled air leaving the building. The PH requirement for the airtight facade (measured as air changes per hour or ACH) is 0.6 ACH, ten times tighter than typical new construction; new construction buildings average 6-8 ACH, while typical brownstones average 25 ACH.

The new structure, which is being designed by New York City-based Handel Architects LLP, will be the tallest building on Cornell Tech’s campus and an iconic marker. The building’s exterior will shimmer, using a state-of-the-art, color-changing paint that, when reflecting light, naturally shifts color from silver to warm champagne. The interior is designed to provide a comfortable living experience that reinforces the social and intellectual connectivity that is at the heart of the school’s mission. It is geared to further a dynamic environment in which students and faculty can benefit from the synergy of their peers. The building features a number of collaborative spaces, both inside and outside, to facilitate collective academic creativity.

“High-rise multifamily housing is a vital part of the solution to the challenges we are facing with increasing world populations and a changing climate,” said Blake Middleton FAIA, Handel Architects LLP. “The Cornell Tech commitment to innovation was the impetus to rethink how these buildings are designed and built, and we expect this project to be a game-changer, creating a new paradigm for affordable, high-performance buildings to meet this challenge.”
Last April 27, Cornell Tech's new Chief Administrative Officer Julliet Weissman met with members of the Roosevelt Island Cornell Construction & Community Task Force. Ms.Weissman was welcomed by the Task Force

and asked by Task Force Member Christina Delfico to help provide financial resources for Roosevelt Island organizations.

UPDATE 9:35 PM - The Observer reports:
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg will announce tomorrow that he has donated $100 million to the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

The donation, made through Bloomberg Philanthropies, will fund construction on the $2 billion campus and come with a nice perk–the first academic building will be named The Bloomberg Center, in honor of the billionaire’s daughters, Emma and Georgina....
Click here for full Observer article.

Scenes From 2015 Roosevelt Island Day - Here's What Happened

Last Saturday, June 13, was a pretty big day for Roosevelt Island and I'm not talking about Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign launch at FDR Four Freedoms Park.

June 13 was Roosevelt Island Day

when many in our community come out for a fun family day of flower plantings, blood drive, games, rides, activities, a petting zoo, music, CPR training and much more.

Frank Farance shares some scenes from the activities at Good Shepherd Plaza.

and the Roosevelt Island Explorers show us what happened at Blackwell House.

Lots of fun with creative projects on Roosevelt Island Day! We built wood structures using violin wood scraps from a...
Posted by Roosevelt Island Explorers on Sunday, June 14, 2015
Some more scenes from Roosevelt Island day.

Cotton Candy,

Crafts with Roosevelt Island Day Nursery,

Pop Up Piano,


and hands only CPR training.

Urban American's Doryne Isely, who organized Roosevelt Island Day, introduced Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. Ms. Maloney let everybody know that she:
Loves Roosevelt Island
and talked about Hillary Clinton's campaign announcement earlier in the day.

Ms Seawright reported on NY State legislation to restore Public Purpose Funds that she hopes will pass this week.

The traditional Roosevelt Island evening concert was missed by some,
but took place in the afternoon this year.

Roosevelt Island Day is sponsored by Urban American,

Image Of Doryne Isely (Center) With Urban American Staff from Frank Farance

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and Roosevelt Island Youth Program.

More Roosevelt Island Day photos from Frank Farance here.