Saturday, April 30, 2016

First Sunday Of The Month Jazz Salon Returns To Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA On May 1 With The Metrocard Unlimited - On The Meditation Steps Played With Japanese Shakuhachi Performed At Gallery RIVAA Today For Cherry Blossom Festival Too

Gallery RIVAA's First Sunday of the Month Jazz Salon is back tomorrow, May 1, starting at 4 PM.

Come hear The Metrocard Unlimited Jazz Society perform. According to their web site:
The Metrocard Unlimited Jazz Society band brings a range of talent and music - from swing to bossa to funk !. This NYC band has deep roots in jazz and its members can be heard as featured artists in many local venues. Driven by rhythm and original arrangements of some the great jazz standards, Metrocard Unlimited Jazz Society also brings in the groove with contemporary sounds. Featuring the smooth and smokey vocal stylings of Allegra Levy, a rising star on the NY club scene, the definitive and distinctive Leah Gough-Cooper on Sax, the deep groove of Tim Norton on Bass, and the precision timekeeping of Matt Rousseau on drums. The band's Musical Director and featured Guitarist is Andrew Baird, an outstanding talent who is also a respected music educator and composer. The band is co-ordinated and includes,on Guitar, documentary filmmaker Susheel Kurien (Finding Carlton - Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India)
Also returning to the Gallery RIVAA First Sunday Of the Month Jazz Salon will be singer Allegra Levy.

Here's Ms. Levy performing with Art & The Impressionists at Gallery RIVAA in May 2014.

Earlier today, Gallery RIVAA was the site for a performance by Gerald Starlight

playing the Shakuhachi (a traditional Japanese Bamboo flute) as part of the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival. Mr Starlight performed

On the Meditation Steps.

Take a listen.

Interesting stuff happening at Gallery RIVAA. Check it out.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Roosevelt Island Trellis Diner Almost Ready To Re-Open, Plywood Covering Construction Site Removed Today - Union Medical Urgent Care To Open In Next Few Weeks Too

The plywood covering the Roosevelt Island Trellis Diner

Image From Judy Berdy

construction site came down today

Image From Judy Berdy

as a happy Trellis Diner owner Kai Razaghi stood in front of the

Image From Judy Berdy

brand new restaurant storefront

with its futuristic windows.

There is not a definite date yet announced

for the Grand Re-Opening but it should not be much longer. Hope to have more information on re-opening next week.

In other Roosevelt Island Main Street retail news, the Union Medical Urgent Care facility, located in the former Thrift Shop space is expected to open in the next few weeks.

No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend - Tram Will Run On Rush Hour Basis From 7 AM - 10 PM Saturday & Sunday

According to the MTA:
F Coney Island-bound trains run via the M from Roosevelt Av to 47-50 Sts

Weekend, 11:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Apr 29 - May 2

No Coney Island-bound F service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.
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

Roosevelt Island Sportspark Facility To Close For Renovations In August, Reopen By Thanksgiving Says RIOC - Will Future Roosevelt Island Sportspark Be Operated By Equinox Or Other Private Entity?

Sportspark Image From Google Maps

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee April 26 meeting discussed the upcoming renovations and temporary closing of the Sportspark Facility (full audio web cast of meeting here). According to RIOC Acting President Susan Rosenthal, the Roosevelt Island Sportspark Facility will close temporarily starting about August 15, 2016 for renovations to include the installation of a new roof, a new boiler and repairs to the pool. The Sportspark facility will probably re-open by Thanksgiving.

No work will be done during these renovations for improvements to the locker rooms and showers.

Ms Rosenthal added that although it need not be discussed during this meeting, future potential plans for the long term use and management of Sportspark should be addressed at a later date including possibly issuing a Request For Proposals seeking a private operator with the financial ability to undertake large capital improvements. Ms. Rosenthal noted that Sportspark:
... needs alot of work... a real renovation would cost a huge amount of money .... $50 million of capital...
... Once Cornell is open up and we have splashy new buildings over there,  Sportspark is going to look really lousy....
... the truth is the Island is going to change whether we like it or not...
RIOC Director Margie Smith expressed concerns about a private operator for Sportspark, including fees that would be charged to residents, as well as questioned the need for extensive renovations beyond what is necessary to fix Sportspark. Ms Smith advocated that:
... the people on the Island get to use it like the original intent was...
RIOC Director Howard Polivy added:
... when and if we seek out an operator we can require that the residents enjoy a very special rate...
to which Ms Rosenthal replied:
Here's the full April 26 RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee discussion on Sportspark renovations.

RIOC also wishes to conduct a users survey of Sportspark. Members of the Sportspark Users Group met with RIOC in 2014 to discuss issues about the facility. 

As reported last November 15:
At yesterday's November 3 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Audit Committee meeting discussion (audio web cast of meeting here) of the proposed RIOC 2016-17 Fiscal Year Budget, RIOC Director Howard Polivy noted that the budget included funds for:

.... an ambitious plan for Sportspark ....
I asked Mr. Polivy what were those ambitious plans for Sportspark. Mr. Polivy replied the ambitious plans listed in the proposed budget include::

  • HVAC
  • Electric
  • Roof
  • Pool
  • Concrete Restoration and Reconstruction
  • Replace Windows and Doors
  • New Flooring Squash/Ping Pong/Gym
  • Upgrade Locker Rooms/Bathrooms/Ceilings Sportspark -
  • Façade Repointing/Repair
  • Outdoor Basketball Courts
Mr. Polivy added:
... Basically,  It's a project that will go through the space and rebuild it...
It looks like the current Sportspark renovation plan is less ambitious than what was described last November.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association Has Part Time Job Available For Wheelchair Accessible Bus Driver

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Jim Bates reports:
Part Time Bus Driver Wanted

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association is looking for Driver for their Wheelchair Accessible Bus. We are looking for a driver who can drive One day a week between Monday and Friday. Must be available during the day.

This is a paid by the hour position.


Jim Bates

Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts Earn Snacks Badge By Learning How To Eat Healthy And Read Nutrition Labels With Help Of Cornell Cooperative Extension NYC

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3001 Leader Aiesha Eleusizov shares these photos and reports:

Brownie Girl Scouts Learning to Make Healthy Snack Choices

Last Monday, Yvonne Bravo, a nutritionist from Cornell Cooperative Extension New York City or CUCE-NYC,

helped Brownies from Girl Scout Troop 3001 earn their Snacks badge by teaching them how to read nutrition labels

on snack foods in order to make smart low fat and low sugar snack choices. The girls read labels on a variety of popular sweet and savory snacks and put them in order of lowest fat to highest fat and lowest sugar to highest sugar. We were surprised by how much fat and sugar were present in some popular snacks. The girls played a fun relay race game to try to collect snacks lowest in fat and then made a delicious and healthy apple and yogurt treat

called “Wrap and Roll.”

Special thank you to Yvonne Bravo for sharing her time and expertise in a fun and educational way, Jane Swanson at Cornell Tech for connecting us to CUCE-NYC and to Manhattan Park for continuing to sponsor our meeting space to allow for our island Girl Scouts to have learning experiences such as these.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Come Help Plan The Future Of Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park - You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park Open Space Advisory Committee Meeting 6:00 PM Thursday April 28

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) reports:
In March 2016, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation initiated a one-year project to develop a Community Plan for Southpoint Open Space. The project’s significant public engagement effort kicks off on Thursday, April 28th with the initial meeting of the Community Advisory Committee. The meeting will be held at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street, lower level) at 6:30 PM. The Community Advisory Committee has representatives from over 20 organizations on Roosevelt Island. The committee is scheduled to meet four times during the project, providing advice and input throughout. The project will also involve an extensive community engagement effort, which will include 1) outreach efforts at upcoming island Spring events 2) a series of public meetings and workshops; 3) a website, and 4) an online survey. The public is invited to attend the Community Advisory Committee meetings and observe the presentations, discussions, and activities with the Committee members. There will be a designated time at the end of the meeting for public comments. In addition, there will also be comment forms available for public attendees to submit their questions/comments in writing. We hope to see you there.
The RIOC Board of Directors Real Estate Development Advisory committee met last evening and discussed plans for the April 28 meeting (full audio web cast of meeting here).

Initially, the consultant facilitator (Fitzgerald & Halliday) hired by RIOC and RIOC staff would not allow members of the Roosevelt Island public who were not invited to join the Community Advisory Committee to attend the April 28 meeting.

However, after RIOC Director Margie Smith objected to this exclusion of the Roosevelt Island public,  RIOC Acting President Susan Rosenthal overruled the staff decision and invited the public to attend the meeting.

Here's the discussion.

You can take a video tour of the August 2,2011 Grand Opening of Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park here.

UPDATE 4/28 - According to RIOC:
Please note there is a time change for the first public engagement session tonight. It will be held at 6 PM, Thursday, April 28th.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival Saturday April 30 - Japaneses Tea Ceremony, Music, Dance, Martial Arts, Cultural Fair, Sake Tasting & More

Image From RIOC

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) invites you to the 6th Annual Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday April 30. According to RIOC:
Sixth Annual Cherry Blossom Festival!

You are invited to join the Roosevelt Island community for a festive day of events, celebrating the Cherry Blossoms in bloom and featuring an array of Japanese cultural activities. This free event will take place throughout Roosevelt Island, at various locations. For a detailed map, please visit.

Schedule of Activities:

Manhattan Park
11:00 AM: Tea Ceremony & Community Picnics (bring your own food and blanket) at Manhattan Park’s Central Park, 10-40 River Rd.

12:00 – 4:00 PM: Music, Dance, and Martial Arts Performances at Theater Club Plaza, 8 River Rd.

Westview Promenade Plaza

11:00 AM: Senior & Disabled Community Picnics

Gallery RIVAA
1:00 – 4 PM: Japanese Cultural Fair

5:00 – 6 PM: Sakuhachi (Japanese flute)

Island Wine & Spirits

4:00 – 7:00 PM: Sake Tasting
Sayuri is the representative of the Japanese community on Roosevelt Island for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Sayuri shares these photos of preparation and practice for the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival.

Practicing Yosakoi dance.


Girl with flower (for Yosakoi dance).

Kitsuke (Kimono wearing).

Sign of origami fishing

and Origami sample (how to make a samurai hat )

Here are some scenes from the 2015 Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Roosevelt Island Blue Dragon Children's Sculpture By Swedish Artists Ulla & Gustav Kreitz Unveiled Today At Southpoint Park - Kids Rush To Meet And Touch Their New Blue Dragon

The Roosevelt Island Blue Dragon children's sculpture

donated by Swedish artists Ulla and Gustav Kraitz

was unveiled this morning at the entrance to Southpoint Park. (Ulla & Gustav Kraitz pictured in front of from left to right, Consul General of Sweden in New York, Leif Pagrotsky, RIOC's Susan Rosenthal, Gallery RIVAA's Tad Sudol and Elisabeth Stapen)

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Susan Rosenthal hosted the Blue Dragon Unveiling Ceremony telling the assembled crowd:
... part of our mission is to improve the quality of life on this Island and I believe truly the introduction of art is one of the best ways....
Through a translator Gustav Kraitz added:
This is a sculpture that asks to be touched and is an invitation to all children to please come up and touch it....
Upon hearing that the sculpture was meant to be touched, the Roosevelt Island kids rushed forward to meet their new Blue Dragon.
Here's a portion of the Roosevelt Island Blue Dragon Unveiling Ceremony including remarks from Ms. Rosenthal, Mr. Kraitz and NYC Council Member Ben Kallos. Don't miss watching the Roosevelt Island kids rushing to meet the Blue Dragon.

Roosevelt Island resident Elisabeth Stapen was one of the prime movers behind the Blue Dragon coming to Roosevelt Island. Ms. Stapen said:
My collaboration with Gustav Kraitz started with the inauguration of the Wallenburg Monument in 1998 outside the United Nations at 47th Street and First Avenue - I was at the time working as Cultural Affairs Oficer at the Swedish Consulate. The Swedish Government and the Nobel Foundation had commissioned the Kratizes to create a monument to honor the life and work of diplomat and humanist Raoul Wallenberg in New York....

... I had moved to Roosevelt Island from Westchester in 2011 and the Island had made quite an impression on me with all the new art projects and Cornell Tech in the pipeline to be completed in 2017. I asked Gustav Kraitz if he wanted to have a tour of the Island and meet with Gallery RIVAA and its dynamic President, Tad Sudol, before Gustav went back to Sweden.

Said and done. We went there on the Tram and Gustav was impressed with what he saw. He said he had a sculpture in mind that he wanted to donate to Roosevelt Island. He made good on his promise and the next time he came, he brought a picture of a children's play sculpture which has now been named "The Blue Dragon".

We are gathered here today to celebrate the arrival of Ulla and Gustav's gift to the Island and we hope that this sculpture will be the symbol of the beginning of a new chapter in the plans of a sculpture park for the Island for everybody to enjoy.
Here are some more scenes from the Roosevelt Island Blue Dragon unveiling today

and the full ceremony too.

More on Island of Art for Roosevelt Island from previous post.

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association Executive Board Nominations, Membership Drive And Mother's Day Brunch

The Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA) at 546 Main Street will be accepting nominations for its Executive Board on Tuesday May 3.

Also, RISA is conducting their annual membership drive:

Annual Membership Drive - April 2016- March 2017

Initial Registration - Friday, April 1st – 12-1:30pm

Weekly Membership Registrations

Mondays 11:30am-1:00pm

Wednesdays and Thursdays 12noon-1:30pm

Administration Office

Monday- Friday 2:00pm-3:30pm

Yearly Membership Fee: $15.00

Ongoing membership registration throughout the year!

Ongoing membership registration throughout the year!

For questions and more information contact:
  • Barbara Parker 917-951-4137
  • Diane Lindeman 212-838-0860
  • Marilyn Atkins 917-664-1123
Don't forget the RISA Members Mother's Day Brunch on Saturday May 7.
More information on RISA at previous post or contact RISA.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Emergency Roosevelt Island Helix Ramp Pothole And Road Repairs Nightly Monday, April 25 Thru Friday, April 29 - Only One Lane Of Traffic, Expect Delays Says RIOC

For the second consecutive week, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will be doing late night emergency pothole and road repairs on the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp. According to RIOC:
Due to EMERGENCY pothole and road repairs the Helix Ramp will be reduced to one lane of traffic, beginning Monday, April 25th, 2016 thru Friday, April 29th, 2016 each evening from 9PM to 6AM. Expect delays.

PSD Officers and flag persons will be on site to direct traffic during these times, however extreme caution should be used when navigating this area.

Thank you for your cooperation during this time.

Very Sad News, Roosevelt Island Resident Brian Dorfmann Passed Away Saturday April 16 - Condolences To His Family And Friends

Roosevelt Island resident Brian Dorfmann died Saturday, April 16. Olya Turcihin remembers her friend Brian, and shares these photos.

When someone close dies, our first response of shock, turns to anger and then lastly, becomes the realization of the loss.  Last Saturday, sadness and anger overcame me as I learned Brian Dorfmann - my friend,

Image From Olya Turcihin

had passed away and was abruptly taken away from so many. The inability to have a conversation or hug him becomes real.

Brian moved to Roosevelt Island in 1976, one year before my family did. We met as many of us did - hanging out on Main Street. Good looking, tall, cool, and always genuine - we became friends. In our 20’s we kept in touch, and then after we both started families, we both eventually moved back onto the Island. Sitting at Trellis, our conversations and discussions ranged from philosophical questions to technical/artistic aspects of photography to how wonderful our respective children were. Brian was one of my biggest supporters, as I transitioned from unemployment and sadness to a more confident person and photographer. He inspired, coached and became instrumental in changing my outlook on life.

Brian coached Little League, as well as taught robotics to the Island children. Our friendship eventually spawned a company dedicated to inspire, especially children, the art and love of photography.

Image From Olya Turcihin

This company, Bouncelight Enterprises has changed my life, as well as successfully inspired countless Roosevelt Island children and teenagers. A Roosevelt Island force, Brian looked for ways to engage in our community, fostering so many lasting relationships with adults, as well as children.

At the memorial service held this past week, the chapel filled to capacity and spilling into the hallway, I found myself astounded by the number of people that Brian positively impacted, cared for, and loved. Through this large network of diverse people, I immediately understood that the man I called my friend, emanated an immense energy. A friend, who also grew up on the Island, sent me a message the other day that read “ this man grew his wings long before he took flight”.

Image From Olya Turcihin

Brian, a good son, a loving father to Max and Maia and uncle to Jackson, caring husband, a protective brother, a logophile, an excellent pool player, a chess aficionado, an expert artist/photographer, a loved member of so many communities, a devoted and staunch supporter of so many friends, as well as my friend, will be truly missed.
Brian will be greatly missed. Condolences to his family and friends.

Blue Dragon Sculpture By Swedish Artists Ulla & Gustav Kraitz To Be Unveiled At Entrance To Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park Tuesday April 26 - Beginning Of Island Of Art For Roosevelt Island

 Image From RIOC

Roosevelt Island is on its way to becoming the Island Of Art described by Gallery RIVAA's Tad Sudol. 

Tomorrow, April 26, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Gallery RIVAA will host an unveiling ceremony for the Blue Dragon sculpture

Blue Dragon At Southpoint Park Entrance With RIOC Staff & Tad Sudol From Gallery RIVAA

 by Swedish artists Ulla And Gustav Kraitz

 Image of Gustav & Ulla Kraitz From Wikipedia

at the entrance to Southpoint Park.

Image Of Blue Dragon Sculpture From Gallery RIVAA

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA reports:
Please join us for the unveiling ceremony of the BLUE DRAGON sculpture, donated to Roosevelt Island by world renowned Swedish artists Ulla and Gustav Kraitz, on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 11am at Southpoint Park Entrance.

The BLUE DRAGON embarked on a long voyage to its new home, departing from Hamburg, Germany on March 6, 2016 and arriving on Roosevelt Island on March 30, 2016. Cut from a Swedish quarry, the polished black granite diabase sculpture weighs just over 4,400 lbs. (2,000 k) and is 10 feet long.

Ulla & Gustav Kraitz, whose careers have been interwoven since their marriage in 1961, are among the world’s foremost sculptors and ceramicists, having their work featured in nearly 100 exhibitions internationally, including the United States; in Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York. The technique they have developed for firing large pieces in kilns modeled after those of the ancient Chinese style has allowed them to achieve shimmering ceramics in classic glazes, such as oxblood, cobalt, and celadon.
Elizabeth Stapien, Tad Sudol & RIOC Staff Resting On Blue Dragon From Gallery RIVAA

RIOC issued this April 18 press release about the Blue Dragon sculpture:
A dedication ceremony for the Blue Dragon sculpture, donated to Roosevelt Island by world renowned Swedish artists Ulla and Gustav Kraitz, will be held at Southpoint Park on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 11 a.m.

The Blue Dragon embarked on a long voyage to its new home, departing from Hamburg, Germany on March 6, 2016 and arriving on Roosevelt Island on March 30, 2016.

Images From RIOC

Cut from a Swedish quarry, the polished black granite diabase sculpture weighs just over 4,400 lbs. (2,000 k) and is 10 feet long.

In May of 2014, while working on repairs at the Wallenberg Monument, Hungarian-born Swedish sculptor, Gustav Kraitz was given a tour of Roosevelt Island by local resident Elisabeth Stapen and Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA) president, Tad Sudol. Kraitz was very taken by the island’s beauty, history, and family atmosphere.

“He’d made a few children’s sculptures, including the Blue Dragon which he’d initially intended to sell to a museum.” Stapen recounts. “It was quite a bit of fate, his visit to the island. Right then he decided to donate a sculpture.”

Sudol adds, “When we gave Gustav a tour of the island, including the RIVAA Gallery and the murals at Motorgate Gallery, he saw not only the uniqueness of our location between Queens and Manhattan, but also our vision of being a community for art and embraced it. That was something! This famous artist donating his work to our small but vibrant community.”

Image Of Tad Sudol At Blue Dragon Site From RIOC

Susan Rosenthal, acting President/CEO & General Counsel of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), says, “After many months of coordination with the Kraitz’s and RIVAA, a scenic location in Southpoint Park was chosen to display this generous gift, which we are delighted to accept from our neighbors across the Atlantic. Positioned directly towards the United Nations, the Blue Dragon is flowing out to the East River, connecting it to Kraitz’s symbol of hope.”

Ulla & Gustav Kraitz, whose careers have been interwoven since their marriage in 1961, are among the world’s foremost sculptors and ceramicists, having their work featured in nearly 100 exhibitions internationally, including the United States; in Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York. The technique they have developed for firing large pieces in kilns modeled after those of the ancient Chinese style has allowed them to achieve shimmering ceramics in classic glazes, such as oxblood, cobalt, and celadon.

RIOC and RIVAA are honored that the Roosevelt Island community has been presented with this gift. Visitors and residents alike will enjoy the Blue Dragon as a beautiful new landmark and a continuing representation of the island’s commitment to the arts.
Gallery RIVAA's Tad Sudol made this October 2015 presentation of his idea for an Island Of Art on Roosevelt Island to the RIOC Board Of Directors.

More Roosevelt Island art plans here too.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Bikeway, Youth Center Space Refurbishment, Southpoint Park Stakeholder Plan, Community Space Utilization & New Library Branch Buildout Among Items On RIOC Real Estate Committee Agenda For April 26

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee will be meeting Tuesday April 26. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 5:00 P.M. at the RIOC Administrative Office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


1. Presentation by New York Public Library Regarding the 501 Main Street Buildout.

2. Discussion of the Roosevelt Island Bridge Rampway and Eastern Promenade Bikeway Project.

3. Discussion of Landscaping on South East Corner of the Cornell Site.

4. Discussion on the Roosevelt Island Youth Center Space Refurbishment.

5. Update on Community Space Utilization.

6. Discussion of the Sportspark Boiler, Roof, and Pool Replacements and Repairs.

7. Review Status of Southpoint Open Space Community Stakeholders Plan Development.

8. Any Other Committee Business that may be Brought Before the Committee.
An audio web cast of the meeting will be available soon thereafter.