Friday, August 26, 2016

SPONSORED POST - Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Bonus Savings Card Diamond Rewards Loyalty Program August 26 To September 8 - Get Exclusive Offers And Earn Points On Hundreds Of Items To Be Redeemed On Next Order

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

brand new Diamond Rewards customer loyalty program for August 26- September 8 is now available .
Gristedes representative Bob Capano explains the new Customer Diamonds Rewards Loyalty Program, how to sign up to receive exclusive offers and earn points that can be redeemed on your next order.

According to Gristedes:
Start Earning Points Today

Join the Diamond Rewards loyalty program today! Get exclusive offers and earn points on hundreds of items! Get $5 Coupons for every 500 points earned, redeemable on next order.

Look for the Diamond Rewards label on the shelf or the product
Examples of featured items purchased from August 26- September 8 that earn you big points include
  • Dunkin Donuts K-Cup Coffee earn 100 points,
  • Oscar Meyer Bacon earn 50 points,
  • Apple & Eve Cranberry Juice Cocktail earn 50 points,
  • Hellman's Mayonnaise earn 25 points and
  • many more shown in flyer below.

If you have a Gristedes Bonus Savings Card and provided your email address, you are automatically enrolled in the Diamond Loyalty Program.

You can sign up for a Gristedes Bonus Savings Card online or in store - just make sure you give your email address, whether a new or existing Bonus Savings Club member, in order to be eligible for the Diamond Rewards Loyalty program.

Also, Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket invites you to check out their:
  • Groceries, 
  • Organic & Gourmet, 
  • Snacks
  • Meat, 
  • Fresh Produce, 
  • Deli &;
  • Fresh Bakery
Department Offerings for August 26 - September 8 (Pages 1-4)  and Perishable Items August 26- September 1 (Pages 5-6)

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

Don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Wednesday and Sign Up for the Gristedes Diamond Loyalty Rewards Program.

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

Standing Puddles Of Water Remain For Weeks At Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field Reports Riverwalk Resident - Concerned About Mosquitoes And Zika Virus

A Roosevelt Island Riverwalk resident is concerned about the puddles

of standing water

next door

at Firefighters Field.

The Riverwalk resident reports:
What's with all the standing water on Firefighters Field? There's been standing water for weeks.

It's a breeding ground for mosquitoes. We've noticed way more bugs this summer in our building, mosquitoes and others.

I think the sprinkler system is broken.
Yesterday, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Susan Rosenthal:
Received message today from a resident concerned about standing water puddles at Firefighters Field that have been there for several weeks. Worried that they could attract mosquitos and Zika virus.

Any statement from RIOC on the matter?

Also, is there any spraying to prevent mosquitoes on Roosevelt Island? According to NYC Health Department, it does not look like Roosevelt Island gets any spraying.

6 Sq Ft shows locations where NYC is spraying for mosquitoes

Image From 6 Sq. Ft.

and more from NYC Health Department on mosquito spraying.

Will update when response received from RIOC.

UPDATE 9/7 - Acting RIOC President Susan Rosenthal replied on August 31:
We have adjusted the timer for the sprinkler system from 20 minutes to 5 minutes per zone to ensure the fields are not saturated. We also put soil and reseeded the areas that were ponding to alleviate that potential puddles of water. Please let me know if you have any additional questions as we will be monitoring the area closely.
Awaiting response regarding mosquito spraying.

Oh Crap, No Roosevelt Island F Train Service From Manhattan This Weekend - RIOC Will Run Both Tram Cabins 7 AM - 10 PM But Expect Very Crowded Trams

According to the MTA:
F Jamaica-bound trains are rerouted via the E after 47-50 Sts to Roosevelt Av

Weekend, 11:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Aug 26 - 29

No Jamaica-bound service at 57 St, Lexington Av/63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge.
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
Expect very crowded Trams this weekend.

Oh Crap.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Island House Co-Op Getting New Windows, Terrace Doors, Facade Waterproofing, & More Improvements - Apartments Available From $1.395 Million To $445 Thousand At This Former Roosevelt Island Mitchell Lama Rental Building

Habitat Magazine reports on the window replacements and other improvements currently in progress at Roosevelt Island's Island House Co-Op. 

 Image Of Island House

According to Habitat Magazine:
“Everybody loves getting new windows,” says Steve Greenbaum, the director of management at Mark Greenberg Real Estate, discussing the mammoth window-replacement job that is only one of many projects under way at the Island House on Roosevelt Island. This 400-unit, three-building co-op is also currently replacing terrace doors and terrace railings, and applying waterproofing to the facade.

After that’s done, the co-op will put in new circuit-breaker panels, then redo the lobbies and hallways. Most of the money for these projects comes from a capital fund that was set up during co-op conversion talks with the sponsor. Greenbaum declines to give cost figures.
Click here for the full article.

According to the Island House Corcoran Sales Team web site:
  • 3 bedroom apartments are available for $1.395 million and $1.165 million,
  • 2 bedrooms for $850 and $755 thousand,
  • 1 bedroom for $595 thousand and
  • a studio for $445 thousand.
More here and here on the exit of Roosevelt Island's Island House building from a Mitchell Lama rental building to a private co-op.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Recently Passed Roosevelt Island Residents Laila Amatullah And Patricia Stovell Honored Today By NY State Senator Jose Serrano & RI Seniors Association - Proclamations Presented To Family Members

NY State Senator Jose Serrano honored Roosevelt Island residents Laila Amatullah and Patricia Stovell who recently passed away.

According to Senator Serrano's Facebook Page post:

I knew Laila. She was a very kind lady. I did not know Patricia Stovell.

Condolences to their family and friends.

UPDATE 8/25 - Senator Serrano sent this statement today:
Senator Serrano attended a memorial service for Laila Amatullah and Patricia Stovell at the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association on Roosevelt Island. These two remarkable women touched the lives of many Roosevelt Islanders , which was evident by the large crowd that gathered to pay their respects and remember these great women. Senator Serrano spoke to the crowd and presented Laila Amatullah and Patricia Stovell's family and friends with official New York State Senate proclamations honoring their dedication to the community.

“Yesterday we honored the lives of two great Roosevelt Islanders who've sadly recently passed away. Laila Amatullah and Patricia Stovell worked closely with the senior citizens on Roosevelt Island, and were committed to improving women's health on the island," said Senator Serrano. "The Roosevelt Island Seniors Association paid tribute to Laila and Patricia, and I was happy to present proclamations to their family members.”

Patricia Stovall and Laila Amatullah co-founded the Roosevelt Island Women’s Health Organization (RIWHO) to encourage and inspire others to take a proactive role in their healthcare.They offered quality lectures on health treatments, as well as tools to encourage better communication between patients and doctors.

Fox TV Show Gotham Filming Today At Roosevelt Island Decommissioned Steam Plant - Take A Look Inside The Steam Plant

Roosevelt Island residents asked why a large, windowed, air conditioned white tent

was placed in the Southtown Commercial garbage lot yesterday.

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Susan Rosenthal about the tent. Ms. Rosenethal replied:
We have a film shoot at the Steam Plant. This tent is permitted through Thursday morning for catering/holding. We usually use Sportspark for this kind of stuff, but that's currently not an option.
The Sportspark is currently closed for renovations and scheduled to open before Thanksgiving.

The film shoot

at the decommissioned Roosevelt Island Steam Plant

Image Of Steam Plant 8/24/16

today is for the Fox TV Show Gotham.

Information on Roosevelt Island film shoot location fees available at the RIOC web site.

Here's an inside look of the Roosevelt Island Steam Plant in 2013

before it was decommissioned. (Click on full screen icon for better view)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Free Roosevelt Island Digital Mammogram And Clinical Breast Exam From American - Italian Cancer Foundation Mobile Care Clinic Saturday, September 3 - Preregistration Required

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Image From RIOC

The American-Italian Cancer Foundation is bringing the Mobile Care Clinic to Roosevelt Island! On Saturday, September 3rd from 9 AM – 4:30 PM at the 591 Main St. Plaza the scan van will be offering free digital mammograms and clinical breast exams to eligible registrants.

Registrants must be at least 40 years of age, a current NYC resident, and have had no mammogram for the past 12 months. Preregistration is required, so make sure to sign up before all the spots are taken.

Uninsured patients are welcome. No co-pays required and deductibles are waived.

For an appointment, call: 877-628-9090

... For details visit
More information on the American-Italian Cancer Foundation Mobile Care Clinic available at their web site.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Roosevelt Island Frisbee Players Share Firefighters Field With Flock Of Geese

Click full screen icon for better view.

UPDATE 8/23 - The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reacts:

Gristedes Supermarkets Stops Accepting NY State WIC Checks Saying Over 700 WIC Checks Bounce Monthly - Roosevelt Island Residents Protest And Gather Petition Signatures To Request Return Of WIC Program For Low Income Mothers And Children.

Earlier this month, Gristedes supermarkets 

announced they will no longer participate in the NY State Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The Roosevelt Island Gristedes posted this flyer in their store informing residents about the change in policy to stop accepting WIC Checks.

According to the NY State Department Of Health, WIC offers:
... a variety of nutritious foods to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum women, infants and children up to age five to promote and support good health.

WIC improves the health of pregnant women, new mothers and their infants and children. The foods provided through WIC are a good source of nutrients often missing from the diets of women and young children. WIC participants have longer, healthier pregnancies and fewer premature births.
Roosevelt Island resident Cheshire Kitty reported:
Just heard there's now a sign up at Gristedes stating that the store no longer accepts WIC coupons....

If Gristedes is no longer honoring WIC coupons, then the matter should be brought to the attention of the elected officials pronto - considering the hundreds of low-income families who reside on RI. Also, if it is true, then it's simply unconscionable, cruel, of Gristedes to stop accepting the coupons.
Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance added:

"Vendors play a vital role in the WIC Program by:

- Ensuring that participants have access to safe and nutritious foods.

- Ensuring that participants receive exactly what is prescribed on the WIC checks.

- Respecting WIC participants and offering a positive shopping experience.

- Offering competitive prices to help the WIC Program contain costs and reach the greatest number of eligible women, infants and children."

WHAT CAN YOU BUY WITH YOUR WIC CHECK? Answer: A short list of milks, cheeses, eggs, fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, rice, peanut butter, etc.. Here is the food card:

WHY IS THIS SO APPALLING? Because these basic foods are the low profit items, Gristede's is making their profits selling high-profit fancier foods. But now, according to their flier, Gristede's wants to make Manhattan-size profits on the very very few customers who are most needy (women, infants, and children). Note: This necessary benefit is relatively short-term as WIC only permits a limited time-frame for eligibility (mothers up to 1 year old of child, children up to 5 years old).

FOR ROOSEVELT ISLAND: There really aren't any other places to shop.

Gristede's should be investigated: they need to explain the financials on why they cannot continue in the WIC program. Given the program requirements, there are probably relatively few WIC clients on Roosevelt Island. I'm guessing we're talking about a total profitability difference that is a tiny number.

And RIOC and Hudson-Related should see if Gristede's has violated their terms of the lease.

And State legislators should look into Gristede's actions and their profitability claims....
I asked Gristedes supermarket owner John Catsimatadis:
The Roosevelt Island Gristedes announced that the store will no longer accept NY State WIC Checks.

I have received several messages and comments on the blog objecting to this change in policy.

Do you have any comment on why Gristedes will not accept WIC checks?

What is the difference between how Gristedes is treated by the WIC program and those outside of Manhattan?...
A Gristedes spokesperson answered:
State Run WIC program bounces over 700 checks a month to Gristede’s Supermarkets - forcing Gristede’s to stop participating in program

Earlier this month, Gristede’s announced it would no longer accept WIC checks following decades of participation in the program.

“We try very hard to service the needs of the community, and were very sad to stop taking WIC after supporting the program for decades” said John Catsimatidis, Chairman and CEO. “This decision was not made lightly, but the current implementation of the WIC program has made our continued participation impractical. In the end, we could not justify the burden it placed on our organization.”

What changed?

The State has gone to a system of “blind WIC checks”. The WIC check shows the items eligible to be purchased - but no longer has “an amount not to exceed”. The merchant is responsible for filling in the retail amount of the purchase, and then accepts and deposits the check in payment of the goods.

In the past, if the price of the product listed by the Retailer exceeded what the Program was willing to pay, the Program would simply pay the Retailer the price it deemed appropriate – often representing a 30%+ discount to the Retailer’s normal retail price. For decades we accepted that in full payment.

The Program now instructs its bank to return the check if the amount listed exceeds what they are willing to pay. While the Program ultimately does pay the Retailer for the product at the price they deem appropriate, the revised procedure, in the case of Gristede’s, resulted in over 700 returned deposit checks every month – resulting in significant return deposit check bank fees and a strained relationship with the branch that handles the company’s accounts.

“The thousands of dollars of unnecessary bank fees generated by ‘blind’ WIC checks distributed by the state is a significant added cost and make the program extremely ineffecient” said John Catsimatidis. “If you add all the fees and administrative expenses to the cost of the product it can cost over $70 to provide the customer with $20 in groceries”

Why are your prices higher than the state wants to pay?

We are running full service union stores in some of the most expensive retail space in the United States. Included in the ‘Urban Chain Store’ reimbursement group that the state WIC administrator is using to determine appropriate reimbursement are operators in places like Rochester and Buffalo NY. Those are fine places to live and shop but operating costs for things like rent and utilities in those areas (just like residential rents and utilities) are nothing like they are in our city.

Are other programs effected?

No. Gristede’s continues to accept EBT, SNAP, and FOOD Stamps.

“We understand the need to provide these programs and are pleased to serve all members of the community” stated Mr. Catsimatidis.

What did Gristede’s do to try and remain in the program?

We worked for months at the local and the state level to try and find a solution to our problems with the administrators of the NY WIC program. The onerous rules and procedures coupled with the very low reimbursement rates made it unwise to stay in the program.

Are you the only chain that is not in the program?

We believe nonunion operators Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are not in the program and suspect other grocery chains and stores have opted out as well.

Will Gristede’s take WIC in the future?

Gristede’s would like to take WIC checks again in the future and hopes the state can adjust it’s program so as to not make so unfair for operator in the New York City area.

Background on WIC

WIC is a supplemental support program run by the USDA and administered in NY by the NY State department of health. The goal is to ensure that certain at risk members of the community get proper nutrition.
The Gristedes spokesperson added that the Roosevelt Island Gristedes store took 3-5 WIC checks a week.

On Saturday, August 20, Mr. Farance protested Gristedes cancellation

of the WIC program and asked Roosevelt Island residents

to sign a petition

asking for the return

of the program to Roosevelt Island.

I asked Mr. Farance about the reasons for the protest.

Mr. Farance adds:
Thanks to Helen Chirivas and Ellen Polivy who helped with Saturday's protest ... both Helen and Ellen did a fantastic job! As I said, the goal was to engage with residents and inform them of the problems and potential solutions. We had petitions that stated "I WANT THE WIC PROGRAM RETURNED TO ROOSEVELT ISLAND". We had the opportunity to inform residents about WIC, its importance in providing healthy foods to poor families, and how our neighbors were dependent on it. We got over 100 signatures in about an hour's effort....

... I ran into Israel Wengerd who runs the Amish market, and he might have some interest in taking WIC (I'm getting him info to help him understand more about the program). Regardless of whether the Amish market can make it work or not, it is truly wonderful to hear Israel's Excellent Neighborly Attitude.

For some of the people they were really upset with Gristedes (Yet Another Reason To Dislike Gristedes), for other people they really felt WIC was important, and some people held both points of view.

Many people were already aware of Gristede's withdrawal from the WIC program thanks to the RI Blog and Roosevelt Island Daily (there hasn't be a WIRE issue or bulletin since the issue started).

And I will have more news to report soon (mostly good ideas/options).

So that's the Good News.

Here's the Bad News: Our engagement with residents also means that we hear what they are thinking, and I will be blunt (some of this is disgusting thinking).

- "I Don't Have Children": This was a reason given for not wanting to support this. After the event I ran into neighbor Jim Bates, who has worked on several food efforts/drives. Jim told me, as head of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association: this is what I get when I ask for help, people say "But I'm Not Disabled".

- "I Might Lose My Benefits If I Complain": They fear reprisal ... there must be some credibility to this concern because, certainly, these people know the importance of WIC. It is worth understanding the basis for this fear.

- "I Don't Want To Boycott Gristedes": This is interesting because it reveals how many people are really dependent upon Gristede's and have few other practical options.

- "Only 27 Participants, It *Should* Be Smaller": Not it "is" smaller, but it "ought to be" smaller, i.e., we need less low income people on Roosevelt Island. Truly disappointing, I am disgusted reporting this kind of thinking.

- "We Shouldn't Be Trying To Make Gristede's Look Bad/Stupid": While Gristede's might have the right to make this decision, it doesn't mean it is a good decision. In fact this is a very poor decision, based upon looking to maximize the profits (of a billionaire's business) to the extreme that it can't participate in a government food distribution program (who is paying for the food, Gristede's is not paying for the food) and there are poor families dependent upon it. I guessing that it cost more to brand "Catsimatidis Water" for sale at Gristede's than to provide WIC for our neighbors....
The Roosevelt Island Daily has more on Saturday's protest.

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright wrote to April Hamilton, NY State Department of Health WIC Director, to:
... request that you provide incentives to keep a WIC authorized store on Roosevelt Island....
Here's Assembly Member Seawrights August 19 letter to Ms. Hamilton in full:
Gristedes Supermarket located at 686 Main Street, New York, NY 10044 is the only store that accepts the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) on Roosevelt Island. Since Gristedes decided to opt-out of the program, my constituents on Roosevelt Island are left with no alternative to redeem checks for nutritious foods that help keep pregnant and breastfeeding women and children healthy, without having to leave the Island.

I ask that you consider Roosevelt Island separately from Manhattan and Queens when grouping vendors, and specifically, to give it your special consideration due to its geographic location. With Gristedes leaving the WIC program, the closest location to Roosevelt Island where participants can redeem their WIC checks is Long Island City. Although approximate distance from 10044 zip code is only within two miles, it represents a significant burden for my constituents to have to leave the island to meet their basic needs. Therefore, I request that you provide incentives to keep a WIC authorized store on Roosevelt Island.

I appreciate all that you do to provide healthy nutrition options for woman and children in our state and I hope that we can work together to maintain the nutrition programs that my constituents rely on every day. Thank you for your consideration. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
More info from NY State WIC Program Guide

Image From NY State Health Dep't WIC Foods Guide

and this 2012 video.

Let's hope Gristedes, our elected officials, NY State Department of Health and Roosevelt Island residents can work together to bring the WIC program back to our community.

UPDATE 8/23 - NY Post has more.

UPDATE 8/25 - Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis adds:
We tell the truth.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network RI MoM Walking & Exercise Group Meeting Monday Morning August 22 At Tram Kiosk - Dads Welcome Too

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:

Hi all,

The RI Parents' Networks' next free RI Moms on the Move (RI MoM) walk, exercise, chat and play will take place Monday August 22, 2016 at 9:30am at the Tram kiosk.

Please join us for some exercise, chat and play outside.

Since we will be exercising on the grass, bring a blanket/mat for you and the kids and some toys to share to keep them busy.

The walk and exercise will be lead by Saskia.

We hope you can join us!

Please send me a short e-mail if you are interested in joining us.