Friday, September 23, 2016

RIOC Announces Late Friday Afternoon Request For Proposal For An Operator Of The Roosevelt Island Youth Center

Late on a Friday afternoon, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Community Relations Manager Erica Spencer/El reported:

"Please be advised that a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an Operator for the Roosevelt Island Youth Center has been posted to the New York State Contract Reporter’s website as well as the RIOC website. Visit to view the complete proposal and the schedule for this RFP."

Stay tuned for more. 

Roosevelt Island Bridge Closed In Both Directions - Mechanical Malfunction Says RIOC

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

"Due to a mechanical malfunction, the Roosevelt Island Bridge is temporarily closed to vehicular traffic in both incoming and outgoing directions. An advisory will be sent out when service is restored".

Twitter reports the Roosevelt Island Bridge was closed for 3 hours but opened about 7:30 pm. 

Check out the video too. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

You're Invited To Free Roosevelt Island Jazz & World Music Festival September 22 -24 At Gallery RIVAA And Outdoors At Mediation Steps - Come Enjoy Music From A Diverse Mosaic Of Cultures

The first annual Roosevelt Island Jazz & World Music Festival hosted by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Gallery RIVAA is taking place Thursday September 22 - Saturday September 24. The schedule of performers for the free festival are:

Bruce Edwards and The Uptown Groove - Thursday, Sept. 22nd @ 7:00 PM RIVAA Gallery (527 Main St.)

Julio Botti and the South American Jazz Ensemble - Friday, Sept. 23rd @ 7:00 PM RIVAA Gallery (527 Main St.)

Gallery RIVAA Jazz Salonists - Saturday, Sept. 24th @ 11:00 AM Meditation Steps (near 505 Main St.)

Kiran Ahluwalia Band - Saturday, Sept. 24th @ 12:30 PM Meditation Steps (near 505 Main St.)

Roni Ben-Hur Quintet performing Sounds of Brazil - Saturday, Sept. 24th @ 2:30 PM Meditation Steps (near 505 Main St.)

Roosevelt Island resident and musician Susheel Kurien is curating and co-producing the Festival which he plans to make an annual event. I spoke with Mr. Kurien about the Festival last evening at the Mediation Steps. Here's what he had to say.

RIOC press release adds:
First Annual R.I. Jazz & World Music Festival

In conjunction with the 11th Annual Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), in collaboration with Gallery RIVAA, will host the First Annual R.I. Jazz & World Music Festival on September 22-24, 2016. This unique New York City music event, with its variety of programming and venues, will kick-off with two evening performances at the RIVAA Gallery and conclude with a trio of acts on Saturday afternoon, September 24th, as part of the 11th Annual Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival.

Following this year’s Fall for Arts Festival theme, the R.I. Jazz and World Music Festival is programmed to reflect the cultural diversity of our city, particularly on Roosevelt Island.  On Thursday, September 22nd at 7:00 pm at Gallery RIVAA (527 Main St.) guitarist and award winning composer Bruce Edwards and his Uptown Groove band (Dan Walsh on Saxophone, Essiet Okon Essiet on Bass, and Reggie Nicholson on Drums) will lay down classic jazz/funk grooves, in addition to selections from the Great American Songbook.

On Friday, September 23rd at 7:00 pm, the same venue hosts innovative Argentinian saxophonist Julio Botti, joined by the South American Jazz Ensemble. Latin Grammy nominated saxophonist and composer Julio Botti has taken his love of South American rhythms and modern jazz and created an electrifying new quartet that fuses the ethnic rhythms of the Southern Cone with Tango. The quartet features three other young forces in the New York City Jazz scene; Andrew Baird (Guitar), Eduardo Withrington (Keys), and Tiago Michelin (Drums).

R.I. Jazz & World Music Fest will come to an eclectic conclusion on Saturday, September 24th, during the Fall for Arts Festival. The program resumes at 11:00 am with the Gallery RIVAA Jazz Salonists, who have entertained Roosevelt Island residents for over three years at Gallery RIVAA’s First Sunday Jazz Salon events. The band, which features electric violin, tenor sax, guitar, upright bass, and drums, shares their love of the classics with its repertoire of great jazz standards and straight ahead jazz.

We are also proud to present award winning vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia, performing her unique hybrid of Indian grooves and Saharan desert blues, mixed with elements of Jazz, starting at 12:30 pm. On stage she is accompanied by the beautiful harmonies and addictive guitar riffs of partner Rez Abbasi, the trancelike rhythms of the Sahara masterfully played by Nitin Mitta on tabla, and the melodic accordion player Will Holshouser.

The Festival will conclude with internationally acclaimed guitarist Roni Ben-Hur performing his Sounds of Brazil, with the Roni Ben-Hur Quintet, taking the stage at 2:30 pm. Renowned for his golden tone, improvisational brilliance, and compositional lyricism, Ben-Hur is a master of Brazilian Bossa Nova and Samba jazz. The quintet features internationally established Mexican vocalist Magos Herrera, drummer Helio Schiavo, and Itaiguara Brandão on bass.

All September 24th performances will take place on the Meditation Steps, just south of 501 Main St. R.I. Jazz and World Music Fest events are free to the public, however, there will be limited seating at Gallery RIVAA, with entrance on a first come, first serve basis. Music curated and co-produced  by Susheel Kurien/Half Diminished Productions.

The Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival is a much-loved tradition, featuring live mural painting, hands-on arts and crafts workshops for children and adults of all ages, and live entertainment. This year our mural theme is “Mosaic Vignettes: Scenes of New York City”, which will celebrate our collaborative and diverse community. All events take place at the Lawn South of Rivercross (near 505 Main St.) and Blackwell Park & Plaza (500 Main St.) on Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 11 AM – 4 PM. For more information visit

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island. With a focus on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, RIOC is committed to providing services that enhance the island's residential community. RIOC manages the two-mile long island's roads, parks, buildings, a sports facility, and public transportation, including the iconic aerial tramway. Additionally, RIOC operates a Public Safety Department that helps maintain a safe and secure environment for residents, employees, business owners, and visitors.

The Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA) is a non-profit organization comprised of an internationally diverse group of artists. RIVAA opened the first gallery on Roosevelt Island in March 2002 and is dedicated to elevating the quality of life in the community through art, music, poetry, dance, events and workshops.
Come and enjoy the First Annual Roosevelt Island Jazz & World Music Festival at Gallery RIVAA and the Mediation Steps from Thursday September 22 - Saturday September 24. Bring your family, friends and neighbors too.

You'll have a great time!!!

Wow, Spectacular NYC East River Sunset Seen From Roosevelt Island Last Night - Amazing Sky Colors, United Nations, Empire State Building & Chrysler Building Too


A photo posted by Zesti Yogi (@zestiyogi) on

You're Invited To Family Apple Picking Trip With Roosevelt Island Parents' Network And Chabad Lubavich Of Roosevelt Island Sunday September 25 - Please RSVP By Thursday September 22

Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator Eva Bosbach reports:

Please join us for a Family Apple Picking trip on Sunday, Sept. 25.
 Image From Outhouse Orchards

Families with children of all ages are welcome; most probably the most exciting age would be 2+.

Weather permitting we will meet at 9:30am by the bus stop between 425 and 455 Main Street. Bus will be $12 per seat, children under the age of 7 should be on a parent’s lap or in a booster or car seat.

We are going to go to Outhouse Orchards, about 1h 15min from Roosevelt Island. The farm offers apple picking, hay rides and a corn maze. Each family will be responsible for their own cost once we get there.

 Image of 2014 Roosevelt Island Apple Picking Trip From Nechama Duchman

Please pack a lunch and snacks; picnic tables will be available for us to sit down and eat.

We should be ready to leave about 1:00-1:15, getting us back to Roosevelt Island before 3:00pm.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Nechama at . Please RSVP by Thursday, September 22 to Nechama so that we know how many buses to rent.

Thanks to all who already RSVPed for our Family Apple Picking Trip this Sunday! We have 24 families registered as of now. The seats are filling up and will be on a first come first served basis since we will not be opening another bus.

This is a joint project of the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network and Chabad of Roosevelt Island.

Have a great week and we look forward to seeing you at the trip!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Roosevelt Island Westview Rental Building Moving Closer To Privatization And Exit From Mitchell Lama Affordable Housing Program - What's Next For Residents?

The last remaining Roosevelt Island Mitchell Lama building, Westview,

is moving closer to privatization and exit from the NYC and State affordable housing program.

The Westview Task Force reported to residents Friday September 17:
Friends, Neighbors, Westview Tenants,

Thank you to everyone who attended our first informational meeting this past Tuesday. There will be two more informational sessions scheduled to answer your questions and to follow-up on questions regarding clarification of terms including subleasing (will be permitted under the plan), MCI’s, and transfers to family members. Informational meetings are scheduled for:

Saturday Morning 9/17 at 10am in the Westview Lower Community Room

Tuesday Night 9/20 at 8pm in the Westview Lower Community Room

We urge all to attend!

The reality for Westview is that Mitchell Lama is going to end. No Mitchell-Lama project has ever remained in the program. The Owner has fulfilled his obligation to provide affordable housing under the Mitchell-Lama program and now has the legal right to take Westview out of the program. He intends to do so and will. We have a choice, to exit Mitchell-Lama with the Affordability Plan in place or risk exiting the program with no plan at all. Negotiations are over.

Voting YES for the Plan guarantees:
1) Rent protection for as long as a tenant chooses to occupy their apartment.
2) The opportunity to own at a heavily discounted price and build substantial equity.
3) The possibility of a buyout.
4) Complete funding of all present and future major capital improvements without assessments and/or MCI increases.

Voting NO does not keep us in Mitchell-Lama and does not get us a better deal down the road. A NO vote means risking exit from Mitchell-Lama with NO Plan, NO rent protection, NO ownership opportunity, NO buyout opportunities, NO funding for building repairs, only uncertainty and the very real risk of market rents.

There are some that do not share this point of view and with those individuals we respectfully disagree. We all share the same concerns. The fact is, we will not get everything we feel entitled to but the alternative is far worse. Having lived in a subsidized housing program for so long the prospect of coming out of Mitchell-lama is a frightening one for some. For most, you need only look next door. Island House has already done what we are going through and there have not been any adverse consequences. Keep in mind also that the Owner will maintain a big stake in the building for a long time to come and has no interest in creating circumstances that will impede the desirability of his own apartments.

Much has changed on Roosevelt Island since we started this journey and we feel this Plan is now the best opportunity we will have. We urge you to attend our scheduled informational sessions and look forward to answering any questions you may have.

Thank You.
In May 2015, Westview owner representative David Hirshorn told me :
Yes, the Red Herring was filed with the Department of Law and copies were provided today to all Westview residents. The Plan is very similar to the Island House plan. We have now asked RIOC to extend the Westview Ground Lease on the same terms that RIOC extended the Island House Ground Lease.
I've asked Mr. Hirshorn for comment on the latest developments in the privatization negotiations.

So far, no answer. Stay tuned for more.

I also asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for a statement about any Westview ground lease extension negotiations. RIOC Acting President Susan Rosenthal replied:
RIOC is coordinating with NY State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR), Empire State Development Corp (ESD), tenants and the sponsor to be ready to renegotiate the ground lease when necessary.
Some Westview residents are very scared for their future and doubt they can remain in their apartments based upon what they understand about the proposed plan. According to one long time resident:
... Very bad proposed 'deal' for a lot of residents.

This is just a proposed deal.. NO black book.

The WTF wants residents to vote next weekend.. "Yes" or "No".

I have no real clue where this latest negotiation is originating from.. the Landlord or the WTF or a combo of both.

The Lawyers are being paid by our Landlord.

Now a lot of residents are indicating through the Google group they will vote 'Yes'.

Most of them have the money to do it.

I know some other residents who are very upset and terrified and do not want this form of deal as the final blackbook....
The Roosevelt Island Daily has more information from Westview resident Eileen Gardiner. According to Ms. Gardiner:
... Tenants will have a chance to vote YES or NO to the new Affordability Plan on September 24 and 25. If the tenants reject the new Affordability Plan, it is possible that the owner will attempt to withdraw the building from Mitchell-Lama without any affordability plan.

The owner has a right to withdraw the building, and the Taskforce warned that there could be legal battles ahead if the plan was rejected. According to WTF attorneys, the vote will be decided, without any minimum, on the majority of votes cast — one vote/apartment.

NOTE: This is only a vote to approve the new Affordability Plan. When the Black Book (final offering) is presented, each apartment will have a choice: buy, rent or move (with the possibility of a “buy-out” similar to that offered to Island House residents, which was $100k average/apt.)...
Click here for the full Roosevelt Island Daily article on Westview Privatization.

Here's 2012 post about the Westview ownership's letter of intent to leave the Mitchell Lama Program, 2012 post about Island House leaving Mitchell Lama (same ownership interest as Westview) and 2013 post about Rivecross Coop building leaving Mitchell Lama.

Will follow up when more information available.

Upcoming Daily Schedule Of Events At The Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Seniors Center, Special Events Too - ADA Celebration, Fresh Food For Seniors, Emergency Preparation, Donation Drive For Children's Clothing & Metro Card Van

There's alot going on at the Carter Burden Center For The Aging program at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

For instance, today learn about the facts and myths of hearing loss.

Below is the upcoming daily schedule of events, including lunch, at the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center:
The Roosevelt Island Senior Center

A Program of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging

Address: 546 Main Street; Phone: 212-980-1888

Our updated schedule:


10:00 Zumba

1:00 Ping Pong

1:00 Jewelry Making


10:00 Computers

10:30 Salsa

11:30 Blood Pressure

1:00 Paint & Sculpt


9:30 Hunter Nursing Program

9:30 Seated Yoga

10:30 Health Is Wealth (Fitness)

1:00 Art Workshop

1:00 Bridge

1:30 Scrabble


10:00 Computers

10:30 Zumba

12:30 Movie & Discussion

1:00 Knit & Crochet

2:00 Birthday Celebration (every 3rd Thursday)


9:30 Forever Young (Fitness)

10:30 Computers

1:00 Seated Yoga & Dance

1:00 Art Workshop

1:00 Korean Social
Special Events at the Center:

Art Workshop Installation & Reception - Wednesday, September 28th, 2:30PM-4:00PM

Emergency Preparedness w/ Senator Serrano’s Office & The American Red Cross - Wednesday, September 28th, 11:00AM-2:00PM

Donation Drive for Children & Youth Foundation  - Wednesday, September 28th, 9:00AM-5:00PM

American Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration - Thursday, September 29th, 4:00PM-7:00PM

Fresh Food for Seniors Sign Up, $8 per bag of fresh produce - Monday & Tuesday, October 3rd & 4th, 11:00AM-1:00PM; bag pick is Wednesday, October 12th, 3:00PM-5:00PM

Every 2nd Monday, from 11:00AM-12:30PM, the MetroCard Van will be outside the Senior Center to help seniors sign up for reduced-fair MetroCards
More information on the Carter Burden Center for the Aging Roosevelt Island Senior Center available at their web site and at the Roosevelt Island Seniors Facebook Page.

Below is video from July 29 meeting of Carter Burden Center Executive Director Bill Dionne and Roosevelt Island program director Lisa Fernandez with Roosevelt Island seniors to review the Senior Center Survey of needs and wishes

as well as the hiring and firing of instructors

for popular programs.

If you are over the age of 60, check out the Carter Burden Center for the Aging Roosevelt Island Seniors Center. 

Also, if you would like to volunteer at the Senior Center, let them know as well.

Roosevelt Island Luxury Rental Building Residents Without Gas Since September 8 Due To Piping Replacement - Developer Hudson Related Providing Residents Complimentary Breakfast And Dinner From Riverwalk Bar & Grill

Residents of Roosevelt Island's newest luxury rental building, Riverwalk Point, at 480 Main Street, have been out of gas service since September 8. Last week, a Roosevelt Island tipster shared this photo of temporary gas trailer parked in front of 480 Main

and reported:
Emergency gas supply now on 5th cooking in building, Riverwalk Bar & Grill has been on contract supplying breakfast and dinner.
In response to my inquiry about the gas outage, a Riverwalk Point resident replied:
It has been 10 days (since the 8th), we didn't have hot water for 3, but they brought the generator pictured above last Saturday to heat water. On last report Con Ed will be here early next week to inspect and they warned us it may be a few days after that before the safety check is done. There was a gas leak in one of the mechanical rooms. Related has been providing continental breakfast and dinner for the building since last week. Riverwalk Bar and Grill has been supplying all of the food.
Yesterday, I asked Hudson Related's David Kramer, developer of Riverwalk Point:
I understand there was a gas leak at Riverwalk 480 Main Street and that residents have been without gas service for the last 10 days.

Also, due to the gas leak, residents have not been able to cook.

Is that true?

Any statement from Hudson Related on matter including when there will be a return to normal gas service.
Mr. Kramer replied:
We determined that some gas piping needed to be replaced in the gas meter room of Riverwalk Point. The work itself doesn't take particularly long, but there is extensive coordination necessary with both DOB and Con Ed. In the meantime, we've been providing some light fare for the residents at breakfast and dinner to minimize their inconvenience, and we've handed out free electric hot plates for resident use. Needless to say, we are communicating with residents daily about the progress of the coordinating efforts with the agencies.
Riverwalk Point opened on Roosevelt Island in the summer of 2015. Hudson Related plans 2 more buildings (Riverwalk 8 &9) to complete the Riverwalk development in Southtown. Mr Kramer described the placement of Buildings 8 & 9 from the top of Riverwalk Point

during its 2014 construction topping out ceremony.

Roosevelt Island Fire Hydrant Broken For More Than A Month - Who Is Responsible For Fixing Potentially Dangerous Situation Asks Resident?

A Roosevelt Island Southtown resident reported on September 16:

I submitted a complaint on the NYC E-311 online web system about the fire hydrant that has been knocked over next to the bus stop on Main Street near 425.

It’s been like this for at least a month, maybe longer. When I checked on the status of my complaint, the system marked it as closed with the explanation: “The Department of Environmental Protection determined that this complaint is a duplicate of a previously filed complaint. The original complaint is being addressed.”

This brings up the broader question: Is NYC responsible for the fire hydrants on Roosevelt Island, or is it RIOC’s responsibility?

In either case, this seems like a potentially dangerous situation which needs to be resolved fairly quickly. Not sure if there is someone else I can contact about this?
Later that day, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Susan Rosenthal and RIOC Directors who was responsible for fixing the broken fire hydrant, why it has not been done yet and when will it be done.

Ms Rosenthal replied the same day:
NYC Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations is responsible for the fire hydrant. The hydrant was called in on 8/10, and 8/16, and we spoke to DEP on 9/1 about this issue. DEP said the hydrant is on the list for repair.
As of today, the Roosevelt Island Fire Hydrant next to 425 Main Street is still broken.

Monday, September 19, 2016

RIOC Reports On Ongoing Roosevelt Island Safety And Security Precautions Following NYC Terrorist Attack Saturday In Chelsea - If You See Something, Say Something

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Ongoing Safety & Security Precautions on Roosevelt Island

In light of the recent terrorist bombing that occurred in Chelsea on Saturday, RIOC is taking all necessary precautions to maintain the safety of the island. The Public Safety Department (PSD) is expanding uniformed officer coverage to sensitive locations around the island. As a proactive measure, we will be conducting refresher training for our PSD staff, focusing on safe response to bomb threats and post explosion protocols.

PSD is maintaining contact with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies to keep up with any developments and requesting assistance as needed. If you have any information pertinent to this or other recent incidents, please call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

It is important to stay vigilant and immediately contact the NYPD if you see any suspicious activities or packages. Never touch, shake or attempt to move any suspicious items.

If you see something, say something.
NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neil, Mayor Bill deBlasio, FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney and other law enforcement officials held a press briefing this afternoon following the arrest of Chelsea bombing suspect.

Here's what happened.

President Obama said:

If you see something, say something.

No Late Night Roosevelt Island F Trains From Manhattan Monday September 19 - Friday September 23 Says MTA - No Indication RIOC Will Extend Tram Hours Service During This Time

According to the MTA:
F Jamaica-bound trains are rerouted via the after 47-50 Sts to Roosevelt Av Late Nights, 11:45 PM to 5 AM, Mon to Fri, Sep 19 - 23

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 nightly service advisory for the F train, which may affect travel plans. 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
No indication that RIOC will extend Roosevelt Island Tram service to 5 AM while the F Train is rerouted. The Tram normally stops operating at 2 AM Sunday - Thursday and 3:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.

Opening Day Of 2016 Fall Roosevelt Island Youth Program Soccer League Season At Octagon Field - 360 Kids Playing And Having A Great Time In Free Soccer Program For Boys And Girls

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) 2016 Fall Soccer League Season opening day took place Saturday, September 17 on a beautiful sunny day at the Octagon Soccer Field.

Image From Nataliia Ilnytska

360 Roosevelt Island

boys and girls

between the ages of 5 - 16

will play every Saturday

within their divisions through November 19 in the free RIYP Fall Soccer League at the October Soccer Field.

RIYP Sports Director/Beacon Deputy Director Andrey Chickagov took a break from his Opening Day responsibilities to talk with me about the upcoming RIYP Soccer League Season.  Mr. Chickagov said our young soccer players have:
...a great time like they always do at the Roosevelt Island Youth Program....
Here's Mr. Chicagov.

You're invited to come out and root for the RIYP Soccer players every Saturday this fall at the Octagon Field.

Also, adult volunteer soccer coaches are always needed and welcomed.

If interested you can contact RIYP here.