Saturday, October 24, 2015

iDig2Learn Hosts Roosevelt Island Monarch Butterfly Corridor Milkweed Planting With Kids Of All Ages At Lighthouse Park - Archaelogical Dig, Crafts, Face Painting, & Storytime Too

Roosevelt Island's iDig2Learn hosted a Monarch Butterfly Corridor Milkweed planting at Lighthouse Park last Saturday, October 17.

iDig2Learn 10/17 Milkweed Planting At Lighthouse Park Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

Free family friendly iDig2Learn

Vicki Feinmel & Judy Buck Welcome iDig2Learn Planters Image By David Stone & Deborah Julian

activities included an archaeological dig box to hunt for shark's teeth and fossils,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

story time by Eva Bosbach,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

face painting by Liyan Chen,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

butterfly themed art with Neha Sharma,

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

 and of course, planting milkweed plants for the Monarch butterflies.

Image From David Stone & Deborah Julian

According to iDig2Learn Founder Christina Delfico:
... In the past two decades, the Monarch butterfly population has decreased in North America by 95%. Planting milkweed, the plant Monarch butterflies depend on, will increase their chance of survival. Monarch butterflies travel over 3000 miles from Mexico to Canada and back and they fly through New York City. We can help restore their habitat by planting the milkweed plant to create a flight corridor for Monarch butterflies on their migrations south to warmer weather every fall. If we plant it they will come!....
Here's more on the Monarch Butterfly migration


and October 23 Press Release From iDig2Learn:
Citizens Committee for New York City, Grow to Learn, and The City Gardens Club of New York City recently awarded iDig2Learn several grants in order to enable the Roosevelt Island-based initiative’s efforts to build a monarch butterfly corridor on the island. These destinations will serve as a flight corridor for monarch butterflies on their migrations north in spring and south to warmer weather every fall.

iDig2Learn, an initiative that promotes green spaces and provides children with hands-on education using plant life, TEAMS UP with residents and community groups to bond while working with nature.

The Citizens Committee for New York City (CCNYC) chose iDig2Learn’s restoration event as its corporate service day and pitched in to plant milkweed, the one plant monarch butterflies depend on to survive, this past Saturday. Its CEO, Peter H. Kostmayer, said, "We're thrilled to provide a 2015 Neighborhood Grant for iDig2Learn's volunteer project that helps restore wildlife micro-habitats right here in the city and we would like to acknowledge Wells Fargo for the 2015 idig2learn grant. When neighborhood groups team up with local schools to better the environment, the entire community benefits and young student leaders are born. We're grateful for their dedication and happy to be a small part of these remarkable local efforts."

The City Garden Club of New York City’s grants committee member, Vicki Hartman, who was on hand to support the transformation, said "It is great to see our grant funds in action, our club has been a long time supporter of Roosevelt Island, and projects like iDig2Learn's habitat restoration effort, are exactly the type of endeavors we want to encourage."

Grow to Learn also awarded iDig2Learn a grant for this important educational project. Grow to Learn NYC was established by The Mayor's Fund and GrowNYC. Grow to Learn NYC supports the citywide school garden initiative and community efforts to inspire young people and promote garden learning across New York City.

Christina Delfico, who, as iDig2Learn’s founder, had the vision to create a monarch butterfly corridor on Roosevelt Island, stated, “It is such a thrill to receive support from Citizens Committee for NYC, Grow to Learn, and The City Gardens Club of NYC to build out a corridor of milkweed plants for the butterflies. Monarch butterflies are an indicator species, meaning loss of their population is a warning sign to us. When you think about monarch butterflies traveling 3000 miles from Mexico to Canada, and the danger of losing them, I wanted to do something. Roosevelt Island is the perfect community to get behind a big endeavor like this because they love to mobilize. If it wasn’t amazing enough that caterpillars become butterflies, knowing that humans can plant milkweed to help monarchs seems like a no brainer.”

Notes the Roosevelt Island Garden Club's Secretary, Julia Ferguson, "In addition to actively partnering with iDig2Learn for the phase one site just outside the community garden, many of our members are already growing milkweed plants in their own garden plots and more members are stepping up to join them. As gardeners we are excited to share knowledge of pollinators' needs and of local and native plants with our Roosevelt Island community. Knowing we have lost 95% of the monarch butterfly population in the past two decades, we are committed to participation with this important project."

"We are always enriching the offerings for our students” said 217PTA president, Olga Shchuchinov, “and working in the community to restore wildlife builds on our science curriculum."

“Congratulations to iDig2Learn for continuing to build a stronger community through green initiatives, these are exactly the kind of projects RIRA likes to support,” said Jeffrey Escobar, President of the Roosevelt Island Residents’ Association, who was also in attendance with his family.

Girl scouts were among those who spent hours learning about the plight of the monarch butterfly and its loss of habitat, along with ways to raise awareness and to encourage residents to attend the milkweed planting event. Aiesha Eleusizov and Heather Smith, Girl Scout leaders of Troop 3001, sponsored by Manhattan Park, said "It's been so exciting to learn that monarch butterflies come through New York City on their eastern migration, and for our troops to work together to restore the butterfly’s habitat makes a real difference in our world." Janine Schaefer, leader of local Girl Scout Troops 3244 and 3245, sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Beacon Youth Program, added, "We learned that monarch butterflies only eat and lay their eggs on milkweed – that's why it's so important to create these milkweed gardens. We also learned some fun facts, like if a monarch butterfly has two black spots on its wings, it is a boy. We enjoyed being a part of this event. It builds on what we already know: that nature is amazing and needs to be preserved."

Stated Eva Bosbach, founder of the Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network, “Thank you to iDig2Learn for bringing the community together for a beneficial and fun cause that will beautify our island and help nature. This project will teach our children that no matter how small they are they can do something big to help nature thrive"

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) fully supported this endeavor and made every effort to make this idea a reality. “The iDig2Learn team is an absolute pleasure to work with and has a clear vision and understanding of community green and sustainable initiatives. We value resident led initiatives and admire the wealth of knowledge and leadership that Christina and all our volunteers bring to Island projects strengthening the social fabric of the Roosevelt Island community,” said RIOC's President & CEO, Charlene M. Indelicato.

Groups and individuals involved in this project include funders Grow to Learn, GrowNYC, Citizens Committee for New York City, and The City Gardens Club of New York City. Partners include RIOC, 217PTA, Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Roosevelt Island Garden Club, Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network, Liyan Chen, Neha Sharma, Kim Massey, Judy Buck, Vicki Feinmel, Ellen Polivy, Dawn Price, Dr. Ali Schwayri, Vaughn Anglesey, Jose Leon, Anthony Longo, Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts (troops 3244 and 3245 sponsored by RI Beacon Youth Program and troop 3001 sponsored by Manhattan Park), RIHS, RIRA, The WIRE, Roosevelt Islander Online, Rivercross Tenants’ Corp., Manhattan Park, Urban American, Riverwalk, Shops on Main, Island Kids, Gristedes, Wengerd Farms, New Yorkers for Parks, North Creek Nurseries, Pinelands Nursery, Greenbelt Native Plant Center, Fantastic Gardens, Butterfly Project NYC, and iDig2Learn.
As previously reported, the planned Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Green Roof will include a managed milkweed haven to serve as a flight corridor for monarch butterflies.

More information on iDig2Learn available at their web site.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Roosevelt Island Pooch Greets Owner With Love At The Tram - Very Happy Homecoming For Dog And Owner

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse shares a happy moment.

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Gristedes Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Ham, Organic Red Delicious Apples & Haas Avocados Weekend Sale, Check It Out

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket invites you to it's Weekend Sale Friday October 23 - Sunday October 25. Sale items include:

Rotisserie Chickens $7.99ea. and get a free 8oz container of your choice Potato, Macaroni or Cole Slaw Salad

Store Baked Ham $4.99lb

Organic Red Delicious Apples $1.69lb

and Haas Avocados 2 for $3.00.

Also, Gristedes representative Bob Capano invites Roosevelt Island residents to sample their Deli & Bakery,

Fresh Produce

and Organic Foods sections.

Also, don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sign Up For Gristedes Bonus Cards and the Gristedes International Foods Section too.

Check out the Roosevelt Island Gristedes Deals For October 23 - November 5.

More Good News, Fourth Weekend In A Row For Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan - E Train Stopping At Roosevelt Island Too This Weekend

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend. That's 4 in a row.

Also, E Trains run via the F in both directions between W 4 St and 21 St-Queensbridge stopping at Roosevelt Island.

RIOC President Charlene Indelicato Says Roosevelt Island Construction Permits At Record High, RIOC Seeks To Minimize Residents Inconvenience And Prods Utilities To Get Permits

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato reported to the October 22 RIOC Board of Directors meeting on current construction projects

 Image of Main Street Con Ed Riser Construction Work Taking Place Past Summer

 taking place on Roosevelt Island including:
  • Local Law 11 building facade work scaffolding on Main Street,
  • Cornell Tech,
  • Con Ed High Pressure Gas Line and Risers,
  • Emergency and regular maintenance work on Transformers and 
  • Verizon High Speed Internet Connection To Sportspark
Ms. Indelicato said:
...  I feel like an Air Traffic Controller because we have so many things going on and all of it has to be coordinated.

I know that it impacts the residents. I am very, very concerned, as is the rest of RIOC staff, that the various construction, which has to be done, is done in a manner that is least intrusive. That takes alot of work.

Permits were not required when I first got here.... since change is very hard, we are still in the process of sometimes discussing with various utilities, sometimes prodding various utilities, sometimes threatening various utilities into getting permits that in the rest of the world is as of course.

... We take complaints about the trucks and flag people and we appreciate people telling us what the issues are so we can address them.... PSD has gone above and beyond in the escorting and traffic control to make sure that it is as least intrusive as possible...
Here's RIOC President Charlene Indelicato's October 22 Board of Directors report .

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What's The Deal With Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail - Full Update From Master Leaseholder Hudson Related & Broker Cushman & Wakefield Begins Roosevelt Island Re-Branding To Retailers

As reported September 17, Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Retail Leaseholder Hudson Related hired Cushman & Wakefield as the new leasing broker to try and rent the long vacant Roosevelt Island Main Street stores.

 Image Of Vacant Rivercross 503 Main Street Store

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Main Street Retail Committee met September 25 with Hudson Related representative Pedram Mahdavi and Main Street Retail Stores new leasing broker Michael Azarian from Cushman & Wakefield to get a status update.

I asked Mr. Azarian how Cushman & Wakefield will market Roosevelt Island Main Street stores to retailers and overcome the problem of potential store owners coming to Roosevelt Island on a weekday afternoon and seeing very few people on the street.

Mr. Azarian and Mr. Mahdavi spoke with the RIRA Main Street Retail Committee for about an hour.

Here's the full update of meeting.

Part 1.

Part 2.
  • Discussion of Shops on Main Street leasing program, 
  • Potential new tenants such as hardware store, pet care and
  • Way finding signage.

Part 3.
  • Discussion of signage, 
  • Attracting tourists and Southtown residents to Main Street stores and
  • Need for more restaurants.

Part 4.
  • Attracting residents to Main Street Stores, 
  • Re-branding Roosevelt Island to retailers,
  • Lack of foot traffic, 
  • Asking rents for space, 
  • Problems with Trellis renovation and 
  • Island Wines window visibility signage.

Part 5.
  • Potential tenants including fitness center, restaurants etc,
  • No restaurants with venting currently allowed in Rivercross bulding and
  • Opening of new library and Catholic Parish in 504 Main Street.

Part 6.
  • Update on 504 Main Street new Public Library and Cabrini Church.

Here's Cushman & Wakefield Roosevelt Island Shops On Main Street Brochure.

The Roosevelt Island Main Street Trellis Dine hopes to re-open in January 2016 and has started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to help them complete renovations.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors Meeting Today - Presentation Of Gustav Kraitz Sculpture Installation, Sportspark Repairs, Leitner Poma Tram Temporary Operating Extension, Teamsters & More

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors will be meeting later this afternoon.

Image Of September 2015 RIOC Board Meeting

According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a Board of Directors meeting will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center Theater, 548 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York, for the purpose of transacting such business as shall come before the Board.

* * *

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.


5:30 P.M.[1]

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
1. September 10, 2015 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Presentation of the Kraitz Sculpture Installation on Roosevelt Island
2. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Architectural & Engineering Group for Sportspark Repairs Design (Board Action Required)
3. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Boilermatic Welding Industries for Temporary Heating of the Sportspark (Board Action Required)
4. Authorization to Adopt Section 41(j) of the Retirement and Social Security Law (Board Action Required)
5. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Teamsters Local 210 (Board Action Required)
6. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Local 32BJ (Board Action Required)
7. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Leitner-Poma of America O&M, Inc. for Operation and Maintenance of the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway (Board Action Required)
8. President's Report
9. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
10. Public Safety Report
VI. Adjournment

[1]The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.
More info on:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Twitterverse Loves Watching Cute Roosevelt Island Squirrel Munch On Snack

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

A video posted by 食肉动物不爱吃草 (@carnivore_lia) on

UPDATE 10/22:

Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Fire Hydrant Broken Since August Now Fixed And Standing Upright Today

A Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park representative reports today that the broken fire hydrant lying on its side across from 20-30 River Road for several months has been fixed and is standing upright.

Image of Fixed Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Hydrant

A Manhattan Park resident reported last September 17 that the broken fire hydrant had been lying on its side at least

Images From Dottie Jeffries

since the middle of August.

Now its fixed.

Amalgamated Bank Renews Lease For Roosevelt Island Branch & Seeking To Engage More With Community & Sponsor Local Organizations - Hosting Imagination Playground For Kids With FDR Four Freedoms Park Sunday October 25

Image Of Roosevelt Island Amalgamated Bank Storefront

Roosevelt Island's Amalgamated Bank reports:
Roosevelt Island’s only bank, Amalgamated Bank, Imagination Playground and Four Freedoms Park Conservancy are coming together today to host a fall festival in Four Freedoms Park on Sunday, October 25. The event, which includes giveaways such as children’s books, is geared toward children twelve and under with the goal of encouraging them to learn through cooperative play. Prior to the event, Amalgamated Bank provided a $15k sponsorship to Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, which went toward buying permanent, oversized construction blocks for the park. The park had previously rented the blocks.

Amalgamated Bank is the only bank on Roosevelt Island. The branch is currently undergoing renovations, though it remains open, and is expected to have completed such renovations by November of this year.

Who: Amalgamated Bank

Imagination Playground

Four Freedoms Park Conservancy

What: Fall festival recommended for children 12 and under

When: Sunday, October 25 from 11am-4pm

Where: FDR Four Freedoms Park (southern tip of Roosevelt Island)
Amalgamated Bank's Bryan Trevino, Director of Retail Banking, and Albert Salas, Roosevelt Island Branch Manager, spoke to the October 7 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Public Session.

Mr. Trevino noted that Amalgamated Bank has renewed its Roosevelt Island Main Street lease, is currently remodeling their Roosevelt Island bank branch and wish to become more engaged with the Roosevelt Island community. Amalgamated Bank is looking for suggestions from the community on how they can best serve and contribute to Roosevelt Island.

Mr. Salas reported that Amalgamated Bank will be sponsoring efforts by local organizations including the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, RIRA, Roosevelt Island Historical Society and PS/IS 217.

More information on Amalgamated Bank available at their web site and from previous post on Amalgamated Bank Roosevelt Island mortgage offerings.

UPDATE 10/26 - Amalgamated Bank tweets scenes from the 10/25 Imagination Playground event
and shares



Roosevelt Island Explorers Kids And Parents Celebrate Fall For Arts Festival By Creating Cardboard Cars, F Train, Tram, Airplane, Coach & More

Roosevelt Island Explorers (RiEX) Leila Vujosevic shares these photos and reports on the Roosevelt Island 2015 Fall For Arts Festival held Saturday October 10:

Many Island families came to Blackwell Park on a perfect fall day to take part in the annual Fall for Art Festival organized by RIOC and RIVAA.

This year’s theme was: Roosevelt Island: Celebrating Our History and Our Future.

Roosevelt Island Explorers invited families for an engaging, creative and fun workshop – creating vehicles that take us to, from and around the Island, including new inventions.

Materials: cardboard boxes, tubes, cake circles and tape.

It did not take long before imaginative creations filled the Blackwell Park lawn:

 cars in variety of shapes,


 and colors,

 dozens of trams suspended from a rope,

a coach,

 F train,

even an airplane

 and a helicopter.

Everybody had a great time - children and their parents.

This was another demonstration of the rich possibilities our beautiful Island offers to its residents – Roosevelt Island Explorers will continue to engage families in similar activities spreading the joy of being together.
More on Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival from previous post.

More on Roosevelt Island Explorers at their Facebook Page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Roosevelt Island East Roadway From Tram To North Loop Road Opens For Vehicles Wednesday October 21 - West Roadway Returns To One Way Northbound Traffic From Sportspark

Image Of Roosevelt Island East Roadway

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Effective Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 6:00 AM, the East Roadway will reopen to vehicular traffic between the Tram Station Plaza and North Loop Road. Access to the Racquet Club, Steam Plant and Cornell Construction site will be available via the East Roadway.

The West Roadway in front of 250-281 Main St (Racquet Club and Sportspark) will return to one-way traffic heading northbound.

Southbound Q102 and Red Bus service will resume normal routes stopping at Sportspark and on the West Roadway front of the RIHS Kiosk for northbound service.

Pedestrian traffic will remain open on the West Seawall for access to South Point and Four Freedoms Parks.

Metered Parking along the West Roadway front of 250-281 Main St (Racquet Club and Sportspark) has been restored and can be accessed from the East side as the West Roadway has returned to one way traffic heading northbound.
Image Of Roosevelt Island West Roadway

Weirdest Roosevelt Island Tram Trip Ever - And I Do Mean It's A Trip

Lyndon Lorenz took this video of a trip on the Roosevelt Island Tram. According to Mr. Lorenz:

About one-half of a real-time mid-October passage on New York City's Roosevelt Island Tram, mirrored horizontally. The sound is directly from the source footage, with added echo, reverb, and pitchshifting.

Click on the full screen icon for a better view.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Manhattan Park Lawn Turned Into Giant Pumpkin Patch Extravaganza For Roosevelt Island Kids

Video from Nick Turner.

Roosevelt Island Trellis Diner Hopes To Re -Open In January 2016 Says Owner And Starts A $50 Thousand Community Kickstarter Fundraising Campaign

 Rendering Of New Trellis When Open From Kickstarter

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by Roosevelt Island residents is when will the Trellis Diner complete their renovations, which began in September 2014, and re-open?

 Image Of Trellis Construction Fence & New Exterior Top

Trellis Diner owner Alex Razaghi sends in this update today:
Just an update in regards to Trellis, we are getting a lot of work done and will hopefully get the restaurant up and running soon. A rough estimate would be around January.
Trellis has started a Kickstarter campaign thru December 8 to raise $50 Thousand.

Mr. Razaghi writes on Kickstarter:
Along with every venture in life, the threat of risks and challenges is always present. However nothing is impossible to those that dare. In attempting to see our dream come to fruition we did indeed dare. This project was not taken lightly. Countless hours of research and hard work have gone into preparing for this endeavor. After 17 years of running a successful business, we decided that the 50 year old establishment did not live up to the standards we strive to offer our customers. So we closed down September 9th 2014 to start our project.

We almost immediately started to run into problems. However due to our preparation we quickly resolved issues as they arrived. Until the most profound issue arrived, a stop works order. The order was due to a structural weight bearing wall that was previously not found in the original blueprints. Having encountered the wall we had to wait on multiple entities for approval, until ultimately we were forced to change the blueprints to accommodate the wall and rearrange the interior layout of the store. This new layout also required approval.

In total the issue postponed work on the restaurant by well over 6 months. The suspension of work led to other issues. Contractor prices rose, we had to continue paying premium rent, and personal expenses added up. Through all the issues our resolve remains, if anything it has been strengthened. We feel that this is not only our chance to give back to the community but also a chance to be a part of its history. We have been fortunate enough to be provided with the unique ability to grow with our community, with all the recent changes and future developments coming in the near future, we want to do our part. We would like to extend the opportunity to our neighbors as well as investors to join in, and contribute to the future of Roosevelt Island through us.

Although we have set the goal at $50,000 we have hopes of achieving our real goal of $250,000. With that kind of pledge we would be able to finish the project within two months of receiving the funds. Regardless of the outcome I would like to thank everyone for simply taking the time to visit this page. I hope you have enjoyed our vision of the future Trellis on Roosevelt Island.
Click here to back the Trellis Kickstarter campaign, choose your reward and for more information.

A look inside the Trellis construction fence.

Did you know that one of the Kickstarter founders, Perry Chen, grew up on Roosevelt Island?