Friday, June 2, 2017

NYC Department Of Health Says Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Garbage And Rat Infestation Is A Severe Crisis Reports RIOC - Roosevelt Island Rat Academy Course June 29

I had hoped to avoid any Roosevelt Island rat stories today, but it was not to be.

According to statement late this afternoon from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) is working diligently with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to correct the rat infestation problems in the northern courtyard outside of P.S./I.S 217. We are pleased that all entities have come together with the Department of Sanitation, recognizing the dangers of this issue on Roosevelt Island, which the DOHMH has called a severe crisis.

Working with the Department of Sanitation, P.S./I.S. 217 has changed its garbage handling procedures and DOE is procuring new garbage containers for the school. DOE’s exterminator has also modified its procedures and will be securing bait boxes around the facility in addition to following up each week. Based on yesterday’s meeting, the exterminator worked at the facility this morning. While RIOC is somewhat frustrated by the lack of a clear schedule from the DOE for completing all tasks needed to destroy the rats’ habitat, the DOE Intergovernmental Affairs office has committed to presenting us a timeline early next week. RIOC will communicate any updates on the situation as the information is received. RIOC’s facilities department stands ready to assist DOE, if necessary.

In addition, the DOHMH has coordinated with RIOC to present a Rat Academy course to encourage best practices in rat prevention. The course will be held on Thursday, June 29th at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd (543 Main St.), from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. All Roosevelt Island building managers, facility managers, property owners, and residents are encouraged to attend.
RIOC President Susan Rosenthal adds:
Unfortunately, PS/IS 217 did not bring this issue to our attention until recently and but for Frank Farance's involvement, I would not have known.
Mr. Farance provides these pictures of rats seen yesterday in the PS/IS 217 schoolyard area.

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos noted today:
I am concerned about the ongoing rat problem at P.S./.I.S. 217 and am grateful to residents who have reached out as well as coordination with President Susan Rosenthal at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation with whom we've had daily communication.

I am disappointed that City agencies had been slow to respond and have personally escalated this issue to Mayor de Blasio's office at City Hall. My office has worked with others to set up and join a group of experts from the Department of Education, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Sanitation for a walk through to be followed by direct action. We have been working closely with Roosevelt Islander which first brought this issue to our attention and will continue to monitor.
I asked PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman and PTA President Erin Olavesen for comment. They declined to comment. I've been told that Ms Beckman does not intend to reply to my inquires. Apparently, Ms Beckman believes she is being treated unfairly on Roosevelt Islander because I allow Mr. Farance to post comments criticizing conditions at the school.

Below is a statement from Ms Olavesen sent this morning to others that I obtained regarding steps the school is taking regarding the rats:
A few things to note:
  • The DOE exterminator was at school this morning to secure and set new bait. He is here weekly.
  • The DOE is going to scrape out the planters and pave part of the area next to the cafeteria. The plan for the the remaining area is to add mesh/gravel so the area can not be tunneled into by rodents and vermin. The school is hopeful that this work will be completed by the end of June, with the start date being in the coming days. With anything in the DOE we haven't been guaranteed of this timeline.
  • The DOE is expediting the request for bins to store garbage. They should be here next week.
  • The representative from the Department of Health said that the process of exterminating rats would take 6-8 weeks.
Read the previous posts, including videos, on PS/IS 217 garbage and rat infestation.

Stay tuned.


Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes Bonus Card Diamond Rewards Items For June 2 - June 15 - Weekly Sales & Specials Too

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

Diamond Rewards customer loyalty program items for June 2 - June 15 are now available .
Examples of featured items purchased from June 2 - June 15 that earn you big points include
  • Pompeian Oil earn 100 points,
  • All Liquid Laundry Detergent or Pacs earn 90 points,
  • Enlightened Ice Cream earn 50 points,
  • Ball Park Franks earn 40 points and
  • many more shown in flyer below.
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
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 and whether you are 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, 
  • Seafood, 
  • Frozen, 
  • Deli &;
  • Fresh Bakery
Department Offerings for June 9 - June 15

and shop at Gristedes for your Spring & Summer Cleaning needs

including a $5 off coupon.

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.

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - Hopefully Not Another RI Station Power Outage This Weekend

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

 to and from Manhattan this weekend.

F Jamaica-bound trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av Weekends, 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon, Jun 3 - 5 • Jun 10 - 12

Trains stop at 36 St, Steinway St, 46 St, Northern Blvd and 65 St.
Hopefully, no more Roosevelt Island F train subway station power outages this weekend.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

President Donald Trump Withdraws The United States From Paris Climate Agreement - What Is There To Say Except We're Sorry Earth

President Donald Trump announced today that he is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

What is there to say except:
From Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney:
The President’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement is a huge mistake that will cause significant and lasting damage for the U.S. and the world. Climate change is the single greatest threat to humanity. Sticking our heads in the sand and deliberately ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change will only hasten and worsen the damage that climate change will cause.

“Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement puts the U.S. in the company of Syria and Nicaragua as the only two nations who did not sign the agreement and will significantly harm our country’s standing with the rest of the world. The U.S. should be leading the effort to combat climate change, not standing in the way.

“Pulling out of this deal ignores our country’s moral responsibility to leave a sustainable planet for our children and future generations to come. I remain committed to doing everything I can to combat climate change and will work with my colleagues in Congress to use every tool at our disposal to prevent this Administration from undermining the worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo:
"The White House's reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change. New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington's irresponsible actions. We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change, which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York's leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet."

Governor Cuomo, along with California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay R. Inslee, also announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.
NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio:
Former President Barack Obama:
and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Take A Video Ride On The Roosevelt Island Red Bus Route Loop And See The Sights

Let's take a virtual ride on the Roosevelt Island Red Bus.

Start at the Tram Station travelling North To the Octagon building via Main Street and return south To Cornell Tech And back to the Tram Station.

Something Is Rotten In The State Of Roosevelt Island Dog Parks Says Resident - Petey's Dog Dad Offers Suggestions For Improvements

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council member for the Octagon building and dog dad to Roosevelt Island’s most famous black lab mix Petey, Scott Piro reports:

Something is rotten in the state of our Dogparks

It’s hard to believe dogs have only been sanctioned in the island’s residential buildings for just over a decade. The Octagon was first to implement a pro-dog policy when it opened in 2007, and most of the other buildings followed suit after that except for Manhattan Park, which I understand does not allow dogs..

Many of our open spaces - both public and private - prohibit dogs,

and the island’s strict leash policy means where they are permitted, it’s not for free play. Owners who want their pooches to have socialized, off leash play in a legal environment, enclosed and protected from potential harms of traffic have two options: a pair of no-frills, fenced-in patches of land unofficially known as the the South Dog Run and the North Dog Run.

A post shared by ScottyP (@scottpiro) on

Both are located on the eastern side of Roosevelt Island. The South Run is just south of Riverwalk Point buildings at 480 Main Street,

down the hill from the construction trailer and NYPD dog agility enclosure. The North Run is located at the end of Main Street, just north of The Octagon and before Coler Hospital’s northeast parking lot.

 Image From Google Maps

How are these twin doggy playgrounds holding up? The don’t need to be fancy to be well maintained and safe for people and dogs. So, are they? Let’s have a look:

The South Run

The South Dog Run boasts a “double-gate” entry, designed to prevent dogs from escaping the run when new people and their pets enter or leave. However, the inner gate does not operate properly. Its axle is warped, causing the gate to dig into the dirt and restricting its movement. Its latch is too narrow to properly close around the fence poll - meaning, it does not lock or close properly. Finally, it suffers from poor placement. It’s located in a corner, allowing dogs entering the run to be cornered by those already inside - a situation which can lead to dog fights.


Photo Apr 30, 11 12 16.jpg

The South run’s base is 100% dirt, making every trip either a dusty one (in good weather) or a muddy one (in poor weather).

There is no shade in the park, due to the lack of trees and landscaping around it. Nor is there a running water supply - a condition that makes the run especially hazardous in the summer.

Photo Apr 30, 11 16 22.jpg

The run is not divided into separate areas for large and small dogs, to the detriment of small dog owners, who lack a safe zone for dogs requiring more protection.

There is not adequate seating for people in the park. The lone picnic table was not designed with dogs in mind. The surface is metal mesh, which can catch dogs’ nails and accidentally rip them off. A recent modification topped the surfaces with two-by-fours. While well intentioned, this still leaves some of the dangerous mesh exposed, and because the wood is untreated, there is now a risk of splinters for children and adults.

Photo Apr 30, 11 14 38.jpg
Photo Apr 30, 11 14 45.jpg

Wire mesh was extended down below the fencing in a few sections where the fence is too short and does not touch the ground. This is a relatively recent improvement. There is a poop bag dispenser, a wise move which aids in the run’s self-cleaning by owners.

There is no signage with rules and regulations posted in the run.

The North Run

The North Run is in comparatively better condition, but it shares some issues with its southern counterpart - and has unique problems of its own.

Like the the South Run, the North Run’s gate suffers from poor placement. It’s corner-placed and can foster dog fights from new entries to the run.

The land is in better condition, yet the same alternating dirty and muddy conditions prevail. There is a separate area for small dogs, yet RIOC is not mowing it. This creates a hazardous tick situation for dogs. It’s very unkind - why is RIOC mowing all around the dog run, but not inside?

Photo May 07, 12 37 11.jpg
Photo May 12, 17 13 57.jpg

There is some shade, thanks to one adjacent tree - but no running water source. There is a poop bag dispenser for the small dog section, but not one in the main area. Someone is using an ad-hoc solution of threading bags through the wire mesh, but it creates a litter problem more than anything else.

Seating is inadequate - just a single bench.

Dogs have dug holes throughout the park, creating multiple threats. People can easily twist or break an ankle. And, where the mesh no longer fully extends down to the ground on the southern side and below the bench on the eastern side, smaller dogs can fit through and escape. The gate poses the same problem, because the gap between axle and fence is wide enough to allow smaller dogs a way out.

Photo Apr 15, 12 31 49.jpg
Photo May 01, 16 33 22.jpg

There is no signage with rules and regulations posted in the run.

Looking ahead

The thousands of tax-paying dog owners on Roosevelt Island deserve dogparks that are not only safe from traffic, but also:
  • Clean
  • Shaded
  • Have a running water source
  • Have adequate seating
  • Clearly marked with rules and regulations
Instead of band-aids, both parks should be fully redesigned with:
  • Decomposed granite surface
  • High-low water fountains
  • Properly functioning double-gates, situated on a side (not in a corner)
  • Separate areas for large & small dogs
  • Durable signage of rules & regulations
  • Shade
  • Adequate seating

Dog owners who would like to join the Roosevelt Island Dogs chat group on Whatsapp should visit:  Click on the link from your phone to join.

We use the group to arrange play sessions in the runs, exchange veterinarian and dog food information, etc. If you don’t have Whatsapp, it’s a popular mobile chat app, owned by Facebook. Download it here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Center Kiosk Welcomes All - Geese Too

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) Visitors Center Kiosk receives all kinds of guests. RIHS President Judy Berdy shares these photos

of visiting Canadian Geese

and other guests admiring the newly planted flowers

courtesy of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club.

RIHS has a part time job available at the Visitors Center Kiosk if you are knowledgeable about Roosevelt Island and enjoy customer service.

Roosevelt Island Carter Burden Senior Center Volunteer Recognition Celebration Thursday June 1 - Covello Dancers Perform June 2 At Roosevelt Island Senior Center Too

Roosevelt Island Senior Center Carter Burden Program Outreach Director Hallie Shapiro reports:


Senior Week Volunteer Recognition Celebration w/ Live Jazz Performance to follow! 12:30pm. Everyone welcome – come help us honor all of our special volunteers – and if you’re one of them, get ready to be celebrated!!!

FRIDAY, 6/2:

The one and only, super famous, Covello Dancers will perform at 1:30pm. They hail from one of our sister senior centers, Leonard Covello in East Harlem. Please come join the fun! We promise your face will hurt from smiling…in a good way of course J

Ms Shapiro adds:
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you that my last day here at the Senior Center is next Friday, 6/2. It has been a pleasure meeting and getting to know so many of you. My goal as Director of Outreach & Community Engagement has been to help cultivate and grow the programming and services offered here, as well as to create a welcoming and engaging environment for the community. I believe we have begun to accomplish this, in collaboration with all of you. And of course, there’s always more work ahead to continue to improve! On that note, please give a warm welcome when you see Samantha Romero, who will take over the position in the coming weeks. I’m sure she will bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the role!

Wishing everyone the absolute best in life and health – and, perhaps our paths will cross again one day!
Ms Shapiro will be missed at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

Want To Learn More About Composting - You're Invited To The Roosevelt Island Garden Club & NYC Compost Hosted By Big Reuse Weekend Organics Recycling Mission Saturday June 3

Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC) Board Member for Publicity and Outreach Julia Ferguson reports:

Roosevelt Island is fortunate to have NYC Compost hosted by Big Reuse offering our weekly Food Scrap Drop Off Site near the Farmer's Market. As of a last count in March, Roosevelt Islanders had diverted over 35,000 pounds from landfill. (That's about the weight of an 18 wheeler semi truck!) RI has also received give backs of hyper local compost from the Queensboro Bridge site for gardens, trees, and schools on Roosevelt Island.

Want to learn more about composting? Please join Roosevelt Island Garden Club and NYC Compost hosted by Big Reuse this Saturday, June 3rd for a Compost Connection Event. Stop by the RIGC community gardens (across from 750 Main Street) between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

Join our Weekend Organics Recycling Mission + Sifting!
The Roosevelt Island NYC Compost hosted by Big Reuse weekly Food Scrap Drop Off Site near the Farmer's Market began in November 2015. At that time, Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop Leader Aiesha Eleusizov explained to us how it works.

In Febrauary 2016, Roosevelt Island Garden Club members Anthony Longo and Karen Lee demonstrated

how to compost.

The Times They Are A Changing - Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Condo Priced At $2 Million, $1 Million Plus Coops For Sale At Rivercross And Island House Too

According to this May 30 Bloomberg article:
... The Corcoran Group agent has listed a three-bedroom condo there for $2 million, the highest price ever sought -- or paid -- for a residence on the island, once home to a smallpox hospital and now bustling with construction of a new Cornell University campus.

With three-bedroom apartments in Manhattan selling for a median of $3.15 million, Garama says his potentially record-setting price is a bargain for homebuyers hunting for more space and who might consider the island over the more traditional alternatives of Queens and Brooklyn....
The $2 million apartment ($1395 per sq ft) is located in Riverwalk Court, 415 Main Street.

Real Estate web site Streeteasy reports of several million dollar plus apartments for sale at Roosevelt Island's Riverwalk, Rivercross and Island House buildings including:
Streeteasy currently lists two apartment for sale less than $1 Million:
Streeteasy lists Roosevelt Island monthly rental prices ranging from $5950 for a 3 bedroom Manhattan Park apartment to $1960 for a Roosevelt Landings studio apartment

There is a growing concern among many current Roosevelt Island residents that they will soon be priced out of their homes.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 New York City Outdoor Summer Movies At Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field - Beautiful NYC East River And Queensboro Bridge Views Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced the upcoming 2017 Summer Outdoor Movie Series schedule at Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field.

Image From 2016 Firefighters Field Outdoor Movie Showing Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Below is the Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Movie Schedule .

Up Close And Personal View Of Rats Scurrying Around Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Courtyard Beneath School Window

The 4 River Road Tenant Tipster shares video taken this morning of rats scurrying around Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 courtyard right beneath a school window.

Click full screen icon for a better view.

As previously reported Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Presdient Susan Rosenthal discussed the issue during May 25 RIOC Board Meeting. Here's what she had to say.

Complete coverage of the PS/IS 217 courtyard garbage and rat issue here.

UPDATE 5:05 PM - Frank Farance shares PS/IS 217 Courtyard garbage and rat video taken this afternoon

Click on full screen icon for a better view.

Mr. Farance reports on a conversation he had today with a NYC Department of Health representative. According to Mr. Farance:

I followed up with my Dept Health and DSNY contacts (as I promised parents I would), but DoHMH does not have jurisdiction over a sister agency, such as DoE. DoHMH can only make recommendations, and the hope that DoE will comply. Here is what the DoHMH rep said:

"I can understand how frustrating this situation is, but I also want to make clear that it is the responsibility of the DOE and the school to fix this problem. We are happy to offer constructive advice on how best to mitigate this problem, but we do not have jurisdiction over another agency's property. Again, we are readily available to provide information on proven methods of rodent abatement, but it is entirely up to the school to follow through with our recommendations and for them to take responsibility of their site. Please make this clear to your constituents so they know we are willing to assist a sister agency but the DOE needs to do the work for this problem to be solved."

I will follow up with Ben Kallos's office, and other City agencies who can further investigate and compel DOE to clean up the problem.

You're Invited To Chabad Lubavitch Of Roosevelt Island Shavuot Divine And Dairy Celebration Of Ten Commandments Wednesday May 31

The Chabad Lubavitch of Roosevelt Island invite you to a Shavuot Divine And Dairy celebration 6:00 PM Wednesday, May 31 at the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center (548 Main Street). According to Nechama Duchman:

For the 3,329th time, we reaffirm and re-experience our eternal bond with All-mighty, that was formalized by the giving, and our accepting, the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, in all Jewish communities worldwide, including here on Roosevelt Island. It is of infinite importance that each man, woman and child take part; equivalent to the Shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

More info available at Chabad Of Roosevelt Island web site.

A Shavuot Song.

Monday, May 29, 2017

It's Memorial Day, Thank You For Your Service To All Members Of U.S. Military and Their Families From Roosevelt Island

Please take some time today on Memorial Day to remember the men and women of the United States Military who are currently serving our country, those veterans who have done so in the past, those who gave their lives and their families.

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer...

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves...
More on Memorial Day from

Did you know there is a Roosevelt Island Veterans Association and over 300 veterans live on Roosevelt Island?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Power Outage At The Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station - No Trains, Lights, Escalators Or Elevators Working, MTA On Scene Trying To Fix.... Again

In a repeat of what happened early Saturday morning, April 29, this morning the power went out at the Roosevelt Island F Train subway station. F Trains are bypassing Roosevelt Island and no lights, elevators or escalators are working.

Roosevelt Island residents arriving at the F Train this morning

are being told to use a shuttle bus to 21st Queensbridge to get the F train

or take the Tram.
Plan on a crowded Tram ride.

MTA, What's going on with the Roosevelt Island F Train power?

UPDATE 8 PM - Roosevelt Island F Train service was restored at about 2 PM.

NY 1 reports leaking water was the cause of the Roosevelt Island subway station power outage.