Saturday, February 13, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies - Republicans Say Senate Should Not Confirm Any Replacement While Barack Obama Is President

Any thoughts?

Friday, February 12, 2016

SPONSORED POST - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Product Specials & Sales February 12 Thru February 25 - 10% Seniors Discounts Tuesdays & Wednesdays And Sign Up For Bonus Savings Card Too

 Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket invites you to check out their:
  • Groceries, 
  • Organic & Gourmet, 
  • Snacks
  • Meat, 
  • Fresh Produce, 
  • Deli &;
  • Fresh Bakery
Department Offerings for February 12 - February 25 (Pages 1-4). Perishable Items (Page 5, 6) are for February 12 - February 18.

Gristedes representative Bob Capano invites Roosevelt Island residents to check out their various product departments for all of your shopping needs.

Also, don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Wednesday and Sign Up For Gristedes Bonus Cards online or in person at the store.

More Gristedes Supermarket information available at their web site and Twitter feed.

I Married Grandpa Munster And Lived On Roosevelt Island - Al Lewis Remembered In New Book Authored By His Wife Karen Lewis

Roosevelt Island has its fair share of interesting characters. None more so than Al Lewis who played Grandpa on the 1960's TV show The Munsters.

His wife, Karen Lewis, has written a book titled "I Married A Munster" about her life with Grandpa Munster Al Lewis.

According to Karen Lewis:

Al and I were seriously worried that if we moved from Manhattan in 1989, to that funny little island in the middle of the East River, that we'd be isolated and cut off from the action. After all, Al had his Greenwich Village eatery to get to and we were both seeking work as actors. However, as you Roosevelt Islanders know, nothing could have been further from the truth. Moving to the Island was one of the smartest things we ever did. We found many new friends and organizations to share our lives with. In I MARRIED A MUNSTER, My Life with "Grandpa" Al Lewis, (which you can purchase online at Amazon or order from B&N stores)

Image From Amazon

you will see that our home there was magical glue. Our love affair with Roosevelt Island is still echoing that magic in 2016.
Grandpa Al Lewis was often seen at the Trellis Diner holding court with his friends and neighbors

and relaxing at the Rivercross lawn.

In a 2007 post about Grandpa Al, the Bowery Boys reported:
... According to a recollection by Cohen, “I remember when Al was already sick, a Reclaim the Streets party/demo had ended up on Roosevelt Island. We marched past Al and Karen’s apartment, and I started the chant: “We love you

Grandpa, we miss you, get better!” and pretty soon the hundreds of us took up the chant, lights came on in the apartments, people looked out the windows, and everyone waved, knowing whom we were chanting about as we snaked by.”

He died at his Roosevelt Island home on February 3, 2006. At his funeral, one friend said,
“Who was Al Lewis? A raconteur. The de facto mayor of Roosevelt Island. The best-dressed man on Roosevelt Island. He held court in front of 546 Main Street, the senior citizens center…” It should be noted that Grampa Munster’s signature ride, the ‘dragula’ gold coffin on wheels, rolled up to the door of the church.
The Twitterverse remembers Grandpa Al running for NY State Governor as the Green Party candidate in1998.
and here's a Grandpa Munster Al Lewis documentary.

Roosevelt Island resident Lynn Strong-Shinozaki adds:
Al came onto my life when I was going through an incredibly hard time. He had compassion and I was a recipient of his love, companionship and kindness and I am forever in his debt. But I was one of many people he personally mentored. I love Al and Karen Lewis and they are my family! I don’t know how I got so lucky to be apart of these wonderful peoples lives but I am forever in their debt for how they positively contributed to my life and my children's life!
Karen Lewis was interviewed about her book, I Married A Munster by CPR's Don DeBar in October 2015.

I think Al would have gotten a few laughs at this tweet.
You can purchase I Married A Munster at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Member Frank Farance Volunteers And Reports On NYC Hope Overnight Homeless Count Earlier This Week

The annual NYC Hope Homeless Count took place overnight on February 8-9.

One of the NYC Hope Homeless count volunteers was Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member Frank Farance. Mr. Farance shares these photos and reports on his experience assisting in the NYC Hope homeless count.
As a NYC CERT member, we were asked to volunteer for the NYC HOPE count,

which counts homeless people who are living on the street at night. The purpose of the survey is to get an accurate count of people, estimate need and services, and reach out to bring homeless into shelters. The event starts at 10 PM, there is some training, walking the streets for 2-3 hours, follow-up paperwork at the home base, and you're done around 4 AM.

There were approximately 20 centers in the 5 boroughs, and approximately 3000 volunteers City-wide. I was in the Hunter College center, with approximately 120 volunteers who discovered and counted approximately 120 homeless people in our survey zone.

Before the evening started, Council Member Ben Kallos

introduced the topic and emphasized the importance of calling 311 to report homeless: the City will send an outreach team. Even if the homeless person remains night after night and refusing the shelter, he encouraged repeat calls to 311 because the outreach team will keep coming back and, hopefully, at some point the homeless person might develop some level of trust with the outreach people and finally accept shelter.

The temperatures were below freezing and it was snowing, so we had a different procedure: Code Blue. In this condition, we are not just surveying homeless, we are also assessing their safety: Do they have enough clothing to stay warm? Are they away from any immediate dangers? Normally, if a homeless person were "bedded down for the night", we would not wake or disturb them. However, because it is so cold, we must gently wake them to make sure they are OK and, if in danger, we must wait by them until the situation is corrected.

The survey involves a particular canvas methodology that results in covering each street and sidewalk once.  If you're a mathematician, familiar with graph theory, and the Seven Bridges of KΓΆnigsberg problem (a puzzle involving walking path that only crosses each bridge once), well that's sorta the frame of mind you need to be in, which is not easy walking the streets of Manhattan at 2 AM on a cold and snowy night (Park Avenue).

Our team was testing a new mobile phone app for survey-support technology. Once out in the field, pulling out a cell phone is impractical, and the app didn't work in the subways.

Our team was given an extra assignment: Looking for homeless people in a portion of Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, between 79 and 85 Streets.

If you find it easy to get lost in Central Park during daytime with all the trails, transverse roads, and horse carriages, well nighttime can be easily disorienting.

We had police escort (NYPD) for the Central Park and subway portions of our survey.

Fortunately, I was the team's "navigator" and I got to use some "nighttime pilotage" techniques for figuring out where we were in the park and where to go -- all without GPS. Our Central Park patrol ended with a search for homeless on Fifth Avenue abutting the park.

The next assignment was the subway, and we were to meet NYPD are a particular place and time on a subway platform. We found two homeless people.

It turns out, that these homeless people are "decoys": they are planted there to test how accurately we are doing the survey and whether or not we've covered our territory. And, very interestingly, they are in fact homeless people but they are making money this night ($75) as a City-employed "decoy" to assist in the survey Quality Assurance -- what a novel idea!

Last assignment was 58 to 64 Streets from Park Avenue to Fifth Avenue, sounds simple, but it is actually 48-block segments (as per graph theory), and that is about 2.5 mile walk.

I highly recommend volunteering for this effort next time around. It was nice to be part of a large City-wide effort to help the homeless, the volunteers were all in good spirits and excellent to work with.
More information on the NYC Hope Homeless Count and how you can help here.

No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend And Next Says MTA

The MTA Weekender reports:

F Coney Island-bound trains run via the E from Roosevelt Av to W 4 St.Weekend & Holiday , 11:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Tue, Feb 12 - 16

No Coney Island-bound service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St, 57, 47-50 Sts, 42 St-Bryant Pk, 34 St-Herald Sq, 23 St and 14 St.
According to the MTA sign posted at the Roosevelt Island F Train subway station,

there will be no F Train service to Manhattan next weekend as well.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Getting On Roosevelt Island F Subway Train Weekday Mornings Is Like Mission Impossible Says Rider - Resident Dreams Of Another Station For E & M Trains Being Built Under Southpoint Park

The picture below shows NYC subways lines superimposed over map of Queens and Manhattan. You can see the subway lines that travel beneath Roosevelt Island.
  • The F train and LIRR East Side Access Project use the 63rd street tunnel,
  • N, Q and R Train use the 60th Street Tunnel and
  • E and M Train use the 53 Street Tunnel.
A Roosevelt Island resident dreams of:
WOW! I dream of a day when we have access to the E/M subway lines under Southpoint Park. [I can dream can't I]. Maybe once Cornell is up and running.
How many people use the Roosevelt Island F Train subway station?

According to the MTA, the average annual weekday Roosevelt Island subway ridership statistics have been declining since 2010.
  • Year 2009 - 5,816    
  • Year 2010 - 7,870    
  • Year 2011 - 6,576 
  • Year 2012 - 6430 
  • Year 2013 - 6,321
  • Year 2014 - 5,998
 According to the MTA, the annual Roosevelt Island ridership statistics are:
  • Year 2009 - 1,875,228
  • Year 2010 - 2,580,003
  • Year 2011 - 2,114,468 
  • Year 2012 - 2,026,567
  • Year 2013 - 1,948,925
  • Year 2014 - 1,870,476
In 2011, the Second Avenue Sagas Blog had an interesting article and comments about improving Roosevelt Island subway by:
... exploring a new subway stop for the island. The 53rd St. tunnel passes directly underneath what will be the southern end of the Cornell campus. There’s no station right now, and I have no idea if one is even technically or economically feasible....
Capt Subway commented on Second Avenue Sagas:
The proper grading for a stop in the 53rd St tubes is simply not there. You need essentially a level grade for about 600 ft, or as close as possible to 600 ft. Besides there is ample capacity at the Roosevelt Island stop. Ample train capacity would be achieved by putting the “F” back in 53rd St, where it belongs, and routing the much more lightly loaded “M” into 63rd St. In so doing you’d eliminate all the ridiculously slow and delay generating switching moves at Queens Plaza & 36 St. Nights & weekends when the “M” quits the “F” could be be rerouted to 63rd St....
Click here for the full Second Avenue Sagas discussion.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Roosevelt Island Resident Yawa A Gem Of Bike New York - Here's Why

Bike New York profiles Roosevelt Island resident Yawa Kurkiewicz. According to Bike New York:

Yawa Kurkiewicz lives on Roosevelt Island, which she considers to be “a gem” of New York City. As a committed student, fierce National Bike Challenge competitor, and volunteer, we consider Yawa to be “a gem” of Bike New York. Yawa’s also an avid knitter, and, yes, she did knit that beautiful cowl she’s wearing in the video.
Meet Yawa as she describes learning to ride a bicycle and volunteering with Bike New York.

In 2014, reported on Yawa 

 Bike NY Learn To Ride Team Winner Yawa Image From Caitlin Goodspeed

learning to ride a bike and racking up the most miles in Bike NY's Learn To Ride Challenge.

Bike New York is hosting a Bicycling Basics class Tuesday February 16 at Roosevelt Island's Sportspark gym:
A 3-hour on-bike class for adults and mature teens who have recently learned how to ride a bike or who want to improve their core cycling skills. You’ll learn how to adjust your helmet for a safe, comfortable fit, choose an appropriately sized bike, adjust the seat, perform a simple mechanical inspection to ensure the bike is road-ready, start & stop with confidence, shift gears, scan & signal, and navigate around common road hazards.
Click here for more info on Bike NY free education classes.

Roosevelt Island Job Available - Great Bookkeeper Needed For Art/Gift Wholesaler

Are you a great bookkeeper interested in a job right here on Roosevelt Island? If yes, this position  may be of interest to you.
We are a small Art/Gift wholesaler located on Roosevelt Island looking for a great Book Keeper.

Responsibilities include:
- Prepare and maintain accounting documents and records
- Reconcile accounts
- Enter daily financial transactions
- Research, track and resolve accounting discrepancies

- Strong organizational and administrative skills. Detail-oriented, ability to multi-task and manage time well
- Proficient in Quickbooks and Excel a must
- Experienced, Independent thinker and well-organized
- Good Work Ethics, Professional attitude & Team Player

To apply, please send cover letter and resume to

We look forward to hearing from you!
Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Great Picture Of Snowy Day On The Roosevelt Island Tram Over The East River

From the Roosevelt Island Twittervese:

When Is Roosevelt Island Red Bus Scheduled To Arrive At Your Stop? Check Out Current Version Of Next Bus App To Find Out

A reader asked today about the status of the Next Bus Roosevelt Island Red Bus App:

Just wondering if you happen to know what happened to the Red Bus app...? It was great to have:)
I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Several residents have asked me why the Next Bus Red Bus app is no longer working.

They found it very helpful to know when the next Red Bus is arriving.

Has it been discontinued without any replacement?

My app was installed when service first began.

Is there a more current Roosevelt Island Next bus app?
RIOC responded that the Next Bus Roosevelt Island Red Bus App is working

but make sure you download the most recent version.

 According to RIOC:
The RIOC Red Bus makes all local stops every fifteen minutes from 5:45 AM until 2:30 AM every day. Please see the tables below for Regular, Rush Hour and Octagon Express service schedules. There is no fare to ride the Red Bus. Friday and Saturday night service is extended until 3:30 AM.
Image From RIOC

Click here for more information

Image From RIOC

on Roosevelt Island transportation from RIOC.

Neapolitan Express Food Truck Coming To Roosevelt Island 7 Days A Week And They Deliver Too - Organic And Eco Friendly Clean Energy Pizza And Sandwiches Ready In Minutes

Great News - I spotted a new food truck serving Roosevelt Island last night.

Neopolitan Express plans to serve

organic and eco-friendly pizza and sandwiches

seven days a week from 11 AM to 9 or 10 PM on Main Street near the F train subway station or at the Tram Station. Check them out.
They will deliver too.

According to Neopolitan Express:
Launched in New York City by legendary energy magnate, T. Boone Pickens, and former mayor, Mike Bloomberg, Neapolitan Express started by creating the first eco-friendly food truck, powered by Clean Energy Fuels. Neapolitan Express' business model encompasses the fast casual dining movement in the culinary world and the sustainable, environmental, and social responsibility movement of today's consumer. Our mantras "Fast food should be good food" and "Doing well by doing good" guide the decisions we make, from choosing only the highest quality organic, 100% non-GMO ingredients to our commitment to cleaner, greener planet.

Our Culinary Director is renowned master pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani, who brings 30 years of experience to the table. Born and raised in Naples, Adriani is considered one of the best pizza makers alive and the world's leading expert in dough and flour innovation. Unlike traditional coal and wood burning ovens, we use the only open mouth electric oven, uniquely designed and hand build in Italy, to reach 900 degrees with zero emissions. Our highly-trained pizza makers and innovative approach & technology give our customers authentic Neapolitan pizza in 60 seconds.

Roosevelt Island is a very eco friendly neighborhood at the forefront of clean energy development.

Reported previously that Roosevelt Island is a leader in clean energy development including the:
And now, Roosevelt Island has the clean energy Neopolitan Express Pizza Truck.

Welcome Neopolitan Express to Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island Youth Program Beacon Celebrates Chinese New Year Of The Monkey With Traditional Dance, Swordplay, Stories And Face Painting

Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) Executive Director Charlie Defino shares these photos and reports:

Celebrating Chinese New Year

“The Year of the Monkey”

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program Beacon at PS/IS 217 celebrated the Chinese New Year on Friday afternoon with a performances by Master Jamie H.J. Guam

 and his assistant Ms. Shok Tamai.

The Youth also learned about the Chinese New Year traditional celebrations, traditional face painting

and the history of animals associated with the Chinese New Year. The children and staff had a great time, this program is part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative funded by a grant from City Councilman Ben Kallos.
Here's how the Chinese New Year of the Monkey was celebrated in NYC's Chinatown.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Roosevelt Island Is Safest Place In New York City Says RIOC Public Safety Director To RIRA Public Safety Committee - Vertical Patrols, Roosevelt Landings Hallway Marijuana Smoking, Dog Waste, Helix Bike Signage, Officer Training Discussed Too

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Jack McManus told the January 27 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee meeting that according to the FBI's seven index crime statistics, Roosevelt Island is:

... the safest place in New York City....

Below is the RIOC 2015 report of Roosevelt Island Index Crimes

and Calls For Services/Responses.

Roosevelt Island PSD Stats

The RIRA Public Safety Committee submitted the following reports to the February RIRA Common Council meeting.
RIRA Public Safety Committee (“PSC”) Meeting Minutes December 30, 2015

The RIRA Public Safety Committee met on 12/30/15...

Erin reported that the Helix ramp signage is in the works, according to an email from Charlene. Erica was on vacation so no further update was possible.

Chief McManus provided updates on various agenda items:

Vertical patrols statistics were not provided. Update on the implementation of the Access system revealed that RIOC was still looking for a vendor able to be inclusive of all sites, at a reasonable cost.

The scaffolding is down and work completed on time at Roosevelt landings. PSD is focusing on ensuring emergency access with the façade work and Con Ed work on Main Street. This requires a significant amount of PSO time. In the event of a terrorist attack, or shooting, Deputy Director Marmara indicated that there are response teams located in NYC and Queens that would allow efficient response time in an emergency by FDNY, and NYPD.

During the past year crime statistics indicated that crime was minimal on RI in 2015. There have been very few complaints, QOL complaints (e.g. noise and marijuana complaints) have been decreasing. Grand larceny: 5, Assault, 13, Burglaries 13, and Robberies 6. This brought attention to the number of calls that are coming out of Roosevelt Landings and the collaborative work between Chief McManus and Urban America in apprehending the perpetrators. Romano provided the committee with building updates. With respect to new doors/locks at RL, new shareholders mean more money will be available for upgrades – possibly including cameras. Urban American is doing a better job at notifying tenants – with Notices to Cure and Notices to Cease and Desist due to collaboration with McManus. There are about 25 complaints a month at RL. Access control is crucial.

Chief McManus reported that there are currently 34 PSOs on the PSD, 5 more PSOs were hired. Collaboration with the 114th is strong.

PSC will reach out to Officer Mathis, the new CPOP officer to invite him to meet with the PSC.

Officer Cabassa is now the training officer of PSD. This topic was controversial. Romano questioned the choice of having Officer Cabassa in charge of training, referencing behavior RL residents had observed when interacting with residents recently in their building. It was noted that historically Officer Cabassa was named in civilian complaints when Guerra was PSD director. Chief McManus expressed his confidence in Officer Cabassa’s ability to handle this role.

Although informed by Chief McManus that there were mandatory trainings in 2015, such as on de‐escalation, the number of officers’ trained, and specific trainings that were held was not stated. This request will be submitted for the next PSC meeting.

With respect to the Explorer program, only four kids were recruited – though transportation was provided. It was thought there may not have been enough publicity about the Explorers program.

There is a looping device at the PSD office. Issues around the “policy” requested by Ron were tabled until the next meeting. Frank mentioned that the CERT has a training program focusing on emergency response with respect to the ADA.

The question of parking areas for unloading on Main Street will be discussed at the next meeting, as will a discussion of TAP.

Respectfully Submitted,
Erin Feely‐Nahem, PSC Committee Chair
RIRA Public Safety Committee (“PSC”) Meeting Minutes January 27, 2016


Helix Signage: Two signs have been completed and are to be hung shortly. One is a yellow, diamond shape sign with a picture of a bicycle going up a steep incline, and reads, “Steep Incline”. The second is a grass green rectangle, with a picture of a pedestrian and a bicycle, with a hand below the picture pointing with “Elevator” written next to it. Comments from committee members were minimal, except for Frank who stated he would send his remarks via email. Once the signs are hung, the committee will request feedback from members if they are adequate to enhance safety.

Officer Training: Deputy Director briefly outlined trainings. She will send Chair break down on training that are conducted annually, differentiating between trainings conducted by an outside vendor and those conducted by Sgt. Cabassa.

Vertical Patrols: Provided number of vertical patrols which totaled 1200, including Motor gate patrols. WIRE building patrols numbers are as follows: IH 91, WV 96, RL 460, RC 59, and Motorgate 483.

Roosevelt Landings (RL) issues: A number of tenants from RL came to discuss quality of life issues in their buildings, which focused around the use of marijuana being smoked in front of their doors, in the hall ways and stairwells. Doryne Isley was called by Romano and put on speaker phone. Doryne suggested they work collaboratively to address the issues and informed the RL tenants that she was willing to hold a separate meeting to discuss the issues and possible solutions. Later on, after hearing input from tenants and Chief McManus Committee members offered suggestions which included calling PSD, documenting incidents and sending them to UA via certified mail. It was concluded that even with PSD submitting incidents to UA the installation of cameras or door station personnel would be beneficial in addressing this problem

Dogs / clean up / playground rules / enforcement: Many had complaints by dog owners not using leashes, cleaning up after their dogs, and letting them play on the fields. PSD has difficulty enforcing the ECB ordinance as the Officer must witness the violation. Lynne spoke about the educational campaign initiated by SC&E. Deputy Director discouraged residents from taking matters into their own hands. Rossana suggested that RIOC post the laws which state that all dogs are required to be vaccinated when using dog runs etc.

Parking Areas for unloading: Jack has brought this to the attention of RIOC President who is investigating if and how this can be done.

Respectfully Submitted,

Erin Feely‐Nahem, PSC Committee Chair

Roosevelt Island Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance Spring Registration Open, Demo Classes For 18 Months Old To Adults This Week And Free Theater Tech Workshop Coming In March

Image From Main Street Theater

Roosevelt Island Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) Executive Director Kristi Towey reports:
We currently have registration for the spring semester open. Classes are offered for ages 18 months to adults.

A schedule, pricing and registration can be found on our website or during one of our registration dates listed on our home page.

If you are interested in trying a class at MST&DA this coming week, email to get a schedule and make a reservation. We have classes for 18 months old to adults in acting, dance, and fitness.

Also, we have a FREE theatre tech workshop every Monday in March from 6:30-8 PM. It is open to any teen or adult interested. To sign up, email with name, contact information, and age of participant.
More information on MST&DA available at their web site and from this previous post including video presentation describing MST&DA programs and activities.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Scenes From Opening Reception For Afrocentric Images Exhibition At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA Honoring Black History Month

 Image From Gallery RIVAA

Gallery  RIVAA's Tad Sudol shares these pictures

from last night's opening reception

 for Afrocentric Images exhibition

celebrating Black History Month

curated by Lorraine Williams and the Guest Curator Andrew Nichols.

Gallery's RIVAA's Afrocentric Images Exhibition will continue thru February 28 at 527 Main Street.

Hours are Tuesday & Thursday: 6pm-8pm and Saturday & Sunday: 12pm-4pm.

I had a wonderful gallery event with my sister Tiana Scott last night. Celebrating black history month on Roosevelt...
Posted by Nia Imani Scott on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Check it out.