Saturday, April 16, 2016

Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park Celebrates 500 Thousand Visitors Today

The Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park Celebrated it's 500 Thousandth visitor today. According to the Twitterverse:

The FDR Four Freedoms Park opening in October 2012.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Gifted & Talented Workshop Sunday April 17 - G&T Scores Are Out, Now What?

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:
Dear RI Parents,

We would like to invite you to the 5th workshop in the "Parents for Parents" series by the RI Parents' Network:

"G&T scores are out. Now what?"

The ad hoc workshop will take place this Sunday, April 17, 4:30 to 6pm.

Many RI parents just learned their children's Gifted & Talented (G&T) scores and have to decide soon which G&T schools or programs to apply to for their children. Other RI parents recently went through the same process and successfully placed their children in both district-wide and citywide G&T programs. They are willing to offer their experience both with the application process and with their current school to answer your questions and help you navigate the process. What are the differences between the citywide and district-wide programs? What are important specifics of the respective schools and programs? Which schools have a bus to RI? What is the commute like if there is no bus?

Parents with children in the following schools will be joining the panel: NEST+m, PS/IS217, Lower Lab school, PS85Q, PS11 and PS33.

We are looking for parents who can answer questions about the following schools and programs: Anderson, TAG, Q300, and any other G&T programs that RI parents send their children to and would like to tell about to other parents. Please let us know if you know of any.

Here are some resources:

The NYC Department of Education G&T website:

2016 G&T program tours and open houses (please check the websites of the school to confirm and register (Click Image to Enlarge),

The city's summary of 2016 G&T results by district, grade and eligibility (Click Image to Enlarge),

 and a chart showing a comparison of testers scoring 99 in 2015 and 2016 (Click Image to Enlarge).

The Parents Alliance for Citywide Education is hosting a panel discussion next Wednesday, April 20, at 6.30pm, where you can learn about the five citywide schools from other parents.

An overview about the district wide programs for our district two is included in the DoE's G&T Program Handbook for students born 2008 to 2011.

We would also like to let you know that PS/IS217 here on Roosevelt Island is offering tours on Monday and Tuesday at 8.45am, with a formal presentation from current parents, a teacher, and an administrator. 10-15 G&T parents from grades K-5 will be at each tour to answer questions and show families around the building.

Please reply to RSVP for our Sunday "G&T scores are out. Now what?" workshop by tomorrow, Saturday April 16. The location of workshop will be sent to those who RSVP,

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Aiesha, Chaya, Firuza, Irena, Kristin, Michal and Eva
More info on the NYC DOE Gifted & Talented Program from this 2015 post.

Report From Acting RIOC President Susan Rosenthal - Upcoming Roosevelt Island Fun Events, Infrastructure Repairs, Capital Improvements & Future Projects

Susan Rosenthal reported to the April 14 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors meeting (Full video web cast here) on her first month as RIOC Acting President.

Image Of RIOC President Susan Rosenthal At 4/14 RIOC Board Meeting

Ms. Rosenthal said:
... We got alot of repairs going on, alot of capital improvements going on ... and alot of really fun activities going on...
The Roosevelt Island fun activities Ms Rosenthal mentioned during her report include:
  • April 26 installation and ceremony for the Gustav & Ulla Kraitz Blue Dragon sculpture at Southpoint Park,
  • April 28 Southpoint Park Stakeholders meeting to develop a plan for the park and Smallpox Hospital,
  • April 30 Cherry Blossom Festival and
  • May 17 Roosevelt Island Tram 40th Anniversary.
The Roosevelt Island infrastructure repairs and improvements include:
  • Repairs to Motorgate Helix potholes starting in next 2 weeks,
  • New boiler and roof installation for Sportspark starting on or about August 15 which will require closing of Sportspark for a period of time,
  • New Tram Station Elevators construction to begin in September 2016 that will take a year to construct and
  • Four Freedoms Park will pay for and install new bike racks for about 30 bicycles near their entrance.
Future projects include
  • Possibility of Bike path from the Motorgate Helix and
  • Face Lift for the Roosevelt Island Youth Center
In response to a question from RIOC Director Margie Smith, Ms. Rosenthal replied that there was no new information about plans for Coler Hospital Flood Mitigation Plan berm that was presented last November.

RIOC Director David Kraut asked about plans for the Sportspark facility and its future use by Cornell Tech. Ms Rosenthal said a renovation of Sportspark will require a huge amount of capital. Ms Rosenthal added:
...It's a gigantic project...
and RIOC will:
... have to enter into either a long term arrangement with some kind of health club facility that will infuse capital or do it ourselves which I don't think we are in a position to do....
According to Ms. Rosenthal, Cornell Tech is not going to take over responsibility for renovating Sportspark.

Here's Ms.Rosenthal's full report.

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

That's 3 weekends in a row.

Roosevelt Island New York Public Library Recognized As Literary Landmark By Empire State Center For The Book - Ceremonial Plaque Unveiled April 12

Image Of April 12 Roosevelt Island NYPL Branch Literary Landmark Ceremony

As previously reported by Roosevelt Island New York Public Library Branch manager Nicole Nelson:
The New York Public Library is pleased to have the Roosevelt Island Library named as a "Literary Landmark" by the Empire State Center for the Book and United for Libraries. It's a recognition not just of Nellie Bly's Ten Days in a Mad-House, but of the island's appearance in works by Horatio Alger (Ragged Dick), Stephen Crane (Maggie, A Girl of the Streets), O. Henry (The Cop and the Anthem) and Eugene O'Neil (The Hairy Ape)
Image Of Literary Landmark Books Available At Roosevelt Island NYPL Branch

On Tuesday, April 12, a ceremony was held unveiling the plaque

recognizing the Roosevelt Island New York Public Library branch as a Literary Landmark.

Here's what happened at the ceremony.

Part 1. Christopher Platt, Vice President Of NYPL Library Services, and a Roosevelt Island resident, introduced the Literary Landmark ceremony and congratulated the excellent staff at the Roosevelt Island branch library.

Part 2. Rocco Staino, Director of the Empire State Center For The Book described the Literary Landmark program. Mr Staino said that the Roosevelt Island library is the 17th Literary Landmark in NY State and 2 other Literary Landmarks are in our NYC Council District 5 - Carl Schurz Park for Harriet The Spy and Yorkville Community School for the children's book The House On East 88th Street.

Part 3. Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos remembers reading Harriet The Spy and encourages people to read. Mr. Kallos provided $5 Thousand in member item funding for the Roosevelt Island Literary Landmark plaque.

Part 4. NYPL's Christopher Platt reads a Proclamation from US Senator Kristin Gillibrand commemorating Roosevelt Island Library as a Literary Landmark.

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright's Chief of Staff Katerina Matic congratulates Roosevelt Island NYPL branch staff on being named a Literary Landmark and reads a proclamation from Ms. Seawright.

Part 5. NY Historical Society representative Liz Stern spoke about journalist Nelly Bly, author of 10 Days In A Madhouse, one of the books cited for Roosevelt Island's Literary Landmark award.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy gives a historical perspective on Roosevelt island literature.

Congrats to the Roosevelt Island New York Public Library Branch.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Free Spring Crafts With Kids Saturday April 16, RSVP Today - On Roosevelt Island We ... Make Our Community A Better Place Initiative

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:

Dear RI parents,

We would like to invite you to another event in the free "Crafts with Kids" series by the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network.

Join us for "Spring Craft and On RI We..." next Saturday, April 16, 10-11 AM at the Senior Center, 546 Main Street.

Children of all ages and their parents are invited to participate in a discussion of what makes this Island a special place to live and then draw some contributions to the "On RI We..." initiative (more information about the initiative can be found further below).

As you can see in the attached drawings from two 4 year old girls, we already learned that "On RI We see the future"

Image From Aja

and "On RI We come together".

Image From Theresa

We are excited to see what else our children like, don't like, think about or wish for in regards to our Island! Posters with the children's work will be reproduced and distributed on Main Street and on the Red Bus.

In the second part of the craft we would like to welcome the Spring! We are sure all of us love watching the cherry blossom trees and wish that they could stay for a longer time. So let's make some more cherry blossom trees with our kids. The children will learn printmaking while creating beautiful pink flowers.

Image From Pinterest

Our tiny toddlers can use their tiny fingers. Please bring along an old soda/pop bottle if you have one.

Special thank you goes to Leila Vujosevic and the RI Explorers for donating crayons for children who want to participate in the "On RI We.." project, to the HOPE Church for donating part of our supplies for the Spring Craft, and to Dolores Green, Barbara Parker, Wendy Hersh and Marylin Atkins from the Senior Center for letting us use their space for the event.

Please RSVP to by Thursday, April 14.

"Crafts with Kids" is a free workshop series for children organized by the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network. The monthly events included "Tram art and necklaces", "Matisse for Kids", "Valentine's Craft", "Black History Month Craft", "St. Patrick's Craft", "Earth Day Craft", "Easter Craft", "Mothers Day Craft", "Fathers Day Craft", "Summer craft - a lady bug", a "Back to school craft", a "Halloween craft", a "Lantern making workshop", a "Thanksgiving Craft" and a "Holiday Craft".


Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network (RIPN) and the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) invite the children to participate in the ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND WE campaign by sharing ideas about what makes our Island so special! We believe in creative power of children and their genuine desire to be useful. We also know how much they appreciate Roosevelt Island and wish to make it a better place for all. Please use the space above to make a drawing and description of your proposal and deliver it to 455 Main Street front desk, attention: Leila. Posters with children’s work will be reproduced and distributed on Main Street and Red Bus.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Neha, Christina and Eva
 For more info on RIPN and the On Roosevelt Island We campaign, contact here.

Roosevelt Island Board Of Directors Meeting Today - Approval Of Public Purpose Grants Extension Period, Octagon Composting Site, Blackwell House Restoration, Landscaping & More On Agenda

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will be meeting 5:30 PM today, April 14. It is the first RIOC Board meeting with Susan Rosenthal as Acting President. Below is the Agenda:





5:30 P.M.[1]

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes

1. March 7, 2016 Special Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

2. March 10, 2016 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Ratification of Insurance Binders for FY 2016-17 (Board Action Required)

2. Approval of Amendments to Procurement Guidelines (Board Action Required)

3. Approval of Extension of the FY 15-16 Public Purpose Grants Period (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Saratoga Associates Landscape Architects, Architects, Engineers and Planners, P.C. in Connection with the Blackwell House Interior Restoration Project (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Amend the License Agreement for Octagon Composting Site (Board Action Required)

6. Authorization to Amend the Contract with U. Arias, Corp for Landscaping and Maintenance Services (Board Action Required)

7. President’s Report

8. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

9. 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
A video web cast of the meeting will be available shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Get Your Tickets For Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits Performed By Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Friday April 15 To Sunday April 17

The Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&;DA) Performs Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits this weekend:
  • Friday April 15, 8pm
  • Saturday April 16, 2pm & 8pm
  • Sunday April 17, 7pm
Image From MST&DA

The MST&DA Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits is:
  • Directed by Jacqueline Lucid-Cusick
  • Music Director Paul L. Johnson
  • Choreographer Mary McCatty
Ticket prices are:
  • General Admission $15
  • Seniors/Students $10
I attended a MST&DA Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits rehearsal. The cast was terrific. Take a look.

Click here to purchase tickets for this weekend's MST&DA performance of Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits

The MST&DA is located in the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center at 548 Main Street.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station Elevators Presentation Given Tonight At Community Board 8 - Work Planned To Start In October 2016 And Take One Year To Complete Says Engineering Consultant

The Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee heard a presentation this evening about plans for the new

Roosevelt Island Tram Manhattan Station elevators

by Consulting Engineers from the firm of GC Eng & Associates.

According to the presentation, the Tram Station modernization project will not start until September/October 2016 and will take one year to complete.

Here's GC Eng & Associates Shigehiro Shishido answering questions from a resident about the new Tram Station elevators.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) had previously said the new Tram Elevators would be operational by Autumn of 2016.

Will have more video of the presentation soon.

UPDATE 10:30 PM - Tram Station elevator presentation (Part 1).

Question & Answer (Part 2)

More video to come.

UPDATE 4/14 - Presentation by GC Eng & Associates.

UPDATE 5/23 - Resident Helen Chirivas attended the Tram Station elevator presentation and reports:
The meeting gave RIOC an opportunity to present to the Roosevelt Island  Committee of CB8 the design RIOC has selected, by CG Eng & Associates. It’s not a bad design, although it does look like it’s slapped on to the tram station structure rather than being integrated into it design-wise, i.e., either conforming in some way to the old 40 year old structure or the old 40 year old structure being updated in some way to conform to the brand-new glass elevator design.

Why wouldn’t the stairs be enclosed by glass if the elevator is enclosed by glass – the stairs will look a little incongruous beside the new glassy elevator structure. These questions were the essence of my remarks. There were other critiques as well.

A Manhattan resident complained about the possibility of light disturbing the residents of that intersection, including those who live above the bar at the NE corner of 60th & 2nd Ave. Also, Larry Parnes, Co-Chair of the CB8 Roosevelt Island Committee, indicated that the park would lose some space – and since it’s a mapped park, various permissions would be needed before the public parkland could be taken over for the elevator structure.

Also, four trees would need to be removed from the park to make way for the elevator structure or perhaps removed and relocated within the park. A possible trade-off of RIOC installing a fountain at the center of the swirl pattern in the decorative pavement of the park – evidently a fountain there was always part of the original plan – to compensate the public for the loss of parkland, was discussed.

Let’s see if RIOC goes for this, because when a water feature at Southpoint Park was suggested, RIOC turned the idea down saying a water feature would only promote the propagation of potentially harmful mosquitoes – this despite the fact that RIOC actually operates fountains at Blackwell House and at the tram turnaround! If RIOC does provide a fountain at the tram plaza park, it’ll have no excuse to deny us a fountain at Soutpoint Park. The Manhattan resident also questioned whether pedestrian traffic would be hindered or facilitated at the tram plaza by the addition by the elevator structure.

In the end, Jeff Escobar and Lawrence Parnes – co-Chairs of the RI Cttee of Manhattan CB8 did not take a vote on the RIOC proposal, and instead resolved to invite CG Eng & RIOC to a joint meeting of the CB8 Parks and Transportation Committees to be scheduled at some future date. The RFP has not yet been issued, and if various permits are needed to encroach on parkland, remove trees, and so forth, it may take another year before these permits are obtained. The lack of Park Department permission made me scratch my head – since it’s pretty obvious this permission must be obtained before RIOC touches the tram plaza, which is a mapped park.

So the next step is for Mr. Eng and RIOC to present the plan, which includes removing some of tramway park from the public domain, that is, from use as a public park for use as an elevator structure, to the CB8 joint Parks and Transportation Committee meeting TBA.
Manhattan Community Board 8 (CB 8) will meet tomorrow for a Roosevelt Island Tram Station elevator presentation update. According to CB 8:
Joint Meeting of Transportation, Parks & Recreation, and Roosevelt Island Committees

Parks and Recreation Committee Roosevelt Island Committee Transportation Committee

Meeting Date:
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 7:00pm
Meeting Location:
New York Blood Center
310 East 67th Street, Auditorium**,
New York, NY

Presentation by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) and consultants GC Eng & Associates, PC regarding RIOC's Manhattan Tram Station Elevator Modernization Project. This project involves the replacement of the existing elevator and stair lift with 2 new ADA Compliant Elevators relocated adjacent to the Manhattan Tram Station at 60th Street and 2nd Avenue, and impacts Tramway Plaza.

**Wheelchair-accessible access is through the Blood Center’s garage entrance at303-319 E. 66th Street (betw. 1st & 2nd Ave.). Security will guide you to the Auditorium.

A Scott Falk and Charles Warren, Transportation Committee Co-Chairs
Susan Evans and Margaret Price, Parks & Recreation Committee Co-Chairs
Jeffrey Escobar and Larry Parnes, Roosevelt Island Committee Co-Chairs

Non Traditional Employment For Women & Cornell Tech Host NYC Construction Jobs Recruitment Presentation Thursday April 14 At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA

Are you a woman 18 years of age or older and in good physical condition interested in a NYC construction industry job? If yes, come to the Non Traditional Employment For Women (NEW) Roosevelt Island Recruitment Event 6:30 PM Thursday April 14 at Gallery RIVAA (527 Main Street).

Cornell Tech's Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations Jane Swanson reports:
Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), is a wonderful organization that trains, and places women in construction careers – including carpentry, plumbing, and electricity. NEW serves as a direct pipeline for construction trades unions, providing women with skills and access to high paying jobs.

Cornell Tech, in conjunction with the Cornell Tech Community and Construction Task Force, is hosting a free outreach/recruitment event for women on Roosevelt Island. All are welcome! The event will be held on Thursday, April 14th 6:30 pm at Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street. Please note that you must rsvp to 212-627-6252.
NEW adds:
Founded in 1978, NEW is a sector-based workforce development program that prepares women for careers in the construction, transportation, energy, and facilities maintenance industries. NEW focuses on skilled, unionized jobs in the trades with starting wages averaging $15 per hour, benefits, and a path to higher-wage employment. NEW primarily serves low-income minority women from all five boroughs in New York City. These careers enable NEW graduates to provide a secure future for themselves and their families.

The number of women construction workers in New York City has grown substantially as a result of a coordinated effort between NEW, labor unions, contractors, and government. With a commitment by these partners to place women in 10 percent of all new apprenticeship slots, more than 600 NEW graduates have found work as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, painters, ironworkers, operating engineers, and sheetmetal workers since 2005. An additional 225 women have found careers in the energy, transportation, and facilities maintenance industries. These women are changing their lives and the skyline of New York City.
Representatives of NEW, Kathleen Culhane and Jessica Suarez, spoke about construction job opportunities during the January 25 meeting of the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Community & Construction Task Force meeting. Here's the very interesting discussion.

NEW also has a construction summer apprenticeship program for High School students as well.

More information on NEW available at their web site and this previous post.

If you or anyone you know is interested in attending the Thursday April 14 Roosevelt Island NEW Recruitment event at Gallery RIVAA (527 Main Street), please RSVP to to 212-627-6252

Monday, April 11, 2016

Hudson Related Completes $75 Million Mortgage Refinancing Of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Point Building 7 - Currently Negotiating With RIOC For Final 2 Roosevelt Island Southtown Building Development Sites

Hudson Related began construction of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Point Southtown Building 7 in March 2014 with a hole in the ground.

By June 2014, construction looked like this

and in July 2014, Hudson Related held a topping off ceremony to mark the completion of Riverwalk Point building vertically.

The 266 unit Riverwalk Point rental building

opened for residents in the Summer of 2015.

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reports:
According to the Commercial Observer:
Developers Hudson Companies and Related Companies refinanced Riverwalk Point on Roosevelt Island with a $75 million mortgage from MUFG Union Bank, both developers confirmed to Commercial Observer.

The financing, which closed on March 24, replaces the original $64.3 million construction loan Union Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch provided in November 2013 on the 22-story rental tower, according to David Kramer, the president of Hudson Companies. The new loan carries a seven-year term.

“We completed construction [and] leased up the building, so it was time to refinance out the construction loan,” Mr. Kramer said....
Click here for the full Commercial Observer article.

Hudson Related is currently negotiating with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to develop the final 2 sites in Southtown - Riverwalk Buildings 8 & 9.

 Future Site Of Building 8 - Building 9 Will Be To The Right Of NYPD K9 Obstacle Course

No information available yet on the terms for developing Buildings 8 & 9.

I spoke with David Kramer in July 2014 at the topping out ceremony for Riverwalk Point Building 7. Here's what he had to say about the new building construction, plans for a large percentage of affordable housing to be included in future Riverwalk building 8

and the layout

for Riverwalk Buildings 7-9.

UPDATE 5:45 PM - I asked RIOC:
Does RIOC get a fee for this transaction similar to what happened at Manhattan Park, Octagon & Roosevelt Landings when there was a refinancing?
A RIOC representative replied:
No. The original deal with Southtown is different and it does not require a payment to RIOC in this instance.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Chain Owner John Catsimatidis Hosts Sunday Radio Talk Show Too - Today Interviews Donald Trump On Presidential Politics, Archbishop O'Hara On Pope Francis, Congressman Peter King On Terrorism & NASA Scientist John Charles On Human Space Exploration

Image Of John Catsimatidis From The Cats Roundtable

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket chain owner, real estate developer, billionaire oilman, former NYC Mayoral candidate and entrepreneur John Catsimatidis is also host of a very interesting Sunday morning radio talk show - the Cats Round Table on AM 970.

Take a listen. Today, Mr. Catsimatidis interviewed Donald Trump on the Republican Presidential Primary,

Archdioces Of New York Bishop John O'Hara on the recent statement from Pope Francis on Family issues,

Long Island Congressman Peter King on terrorism

and NASA's Dr. John Charles on human space exploration.

Here's Mr. Catsimatidis at the March 2013 Grand Re-Opening of the Roosevelt Island Gristedes and 2012 Roosevelt Island Gristedes Town Hall Meeting.