Saturday, August 12, 2017

Roosevelt Island Honored As Historic Site By Society Of Professional Journalists Sunday August 13 At RIHS Visitors Kiosk - Work Of Nelly Bly's 10 Days In A Madhouse Cited For Significance

According to the Society Of Professional Journalists:

Friday, August 11, 2017

RIOC Board Rejects Motion By Director To Suspend Distribution Of Funds To Roosevelt Island Seniors Association - No Current Evidence Of Pending Investigation Concludes Majority Of Board

As the August 9 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors meeting was nearing it's end, RIOC Board Director Michael Shinozaki raised an item that was not on the original Agenda (Video web cast of meeting here).

Mr. Shinozaki made a motion to suspend any distribution of previously allocated $12,000 in Public Purpose Funds by RIOC to the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA) until any investigation of RISA is finalized.

RIOC's General Counsel Jaci Flug advised the Board that she spoke with the Manhattan District Attorney's office and was told that the former Director of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center recently plead guilty to 1 count of Grand Larceny and 1 Misdemeanor arising out of activities at the Senior Center. Ms Flug added that the Manhattan District Attorney said the investigation is closed and no charges or investigations are pending against RISA or any of it's Board members.

Ms Flug asked Mr Shinozaki if he had any information that an investigation is currently pending. Mr. Shinozaki replied:

I can't disclose that at this time.
The RIOC Board did not approve the motion to suspend payment of allocated funds to RISA.

Yesterday, I asked Mr. Shinozaki:
... As you recall, Rioc's General Counsel reported that her conversation with the DA's office indicated that the investigation regarding RISA was completed.

You disagreed implying investigation into RISA was continuing.

Is that a correct description of your understanding.

Do you have any further comment?...
I have not yet received any response from Mr. Shinozaki.

Here's video of the RIOC Board discussion.

More information on the Manhattan District Attorney's Roosevelt Island Senior Center investigation and plea agreement of former Director at this August 7 post. Roosevelt Island Daily has more here too.

RIOC Shortens Time For Roosevelt Island Tram Station Repairs By Authorizing Up To Additional $160,000 To Contractor For Increased Work Week - RIOC Hopes Work Completed By End Of 2017

Roosevelt Island Tram riders may not have to suffer with long lines at the Tram Station through the winter of 2018 as originally planned.

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has begun Tram Station Repairs causing only 1 Tram cabin to be in service resulting in long lines

and frustrated Roosevelt Island residents.

During the August 9 RIOC Board of Directors meeting (video web cast of full meeting here), the RIOC Board approved an expenditure of up to an additional $160,000 to extend the Tram Station repairs work week to include Saturday's.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes Bonus Card Diamond Rewards Items For August 11 - August 24 - Weekly Sales & Specials Too

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

Diamond Rewards customer loyalty program items for August 11 - August 24 are now available .

No Need To Worry - Planned Black Helicopter Flyover East River & Roosevelt Island Today Reports NYC Office Of Emergency Management

The NYC Office Of Emergency Management tweets:

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - Bad, News. Only Single Tram Cabin Operating Due To Continued Tram Station Platform Repairs.

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Bad news. only single Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin operating due to ongoing Tram Station repairs.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Movie Showing Coming To America Friday Night August 11 At Firefighters Field, It's Very, Very Funny - Stuf'd And Wafels & Dinges Food Truck Too

The 2017 Roosevelt Island Outdoor Summer Movie Series continues Friday night, August 11, at Firefighters Field

Image Of August 4 Showing of Rebel Without A Cause At Firefighters Field

with the showing of Coming To America.

Image From ROC

According to RIOC:

Roosevelt Island Ferry Service Overview Presentation By NYC Ferry Hornblower Operator - Service Starts August 29 On Astoria Route

Roosevelt Island Ferry service was the topic of a presentation at yesterday's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors meeting (full web cast of meeting should be available here).

As previously reported,

the Roosevelt Island ferry service on the Astoria Route is on schedule to begin August 29 and will cost $2.75, same price as a Metro Card but the Metro Card  is not accepted for payment on the ferry. Reduced fare options are available.

Ferry service will be from 6:30 AM to 10 PM and include food and beverage service, wifi and is wheelchair, stroller and bike friendly.

Below is info from presentation by NYC Ferry operator Hornblower

Chelsea Couple Find A New Home On Roosevelt Island - Enjoying Small Town Life In Little Apple NYC And Little Cranberry Island Maine Too

Stephen Quandt recently moved to Roosevelt Island. I asked him for his impressions of his new home here on Roosevelt Island.

He kindly agreed and reports:

Moving On Island

Soon after closing on our new apartment on Roosevelt Island this July (my husband Thom and I lived in Chelsea for twenty-four years) we ran away to the Maine coast for a week of stress relief and escape.

When we arrived on Little Cranberry Island, our twentieth summer there, we were greeted by many old friends the same way over and over, "Welcome Home”, they said.  Welcome home. And it was like coming home, to our magical place.  Little Cranberry has a year round population of around sixty people, and in the summer the population swells to about four hundred. It’s roughly the size of Roosevelt, maybe a little wider, and not as long.

There is one restaurant. One small grocery store about the size Roosevelt’s Subway shop, a post office, a library not much bigger than a postage stamp, a couple of art galleries and gift shops, a pottery shop and a couple of churches. That's it.

Tuesday is movie night (free) downstairs at the Neighborhood House (upstairs they show kids movies, and in the morning there is yoga.)  And if you're walking through "town" you often get delayed because you will invariably see a friend and will want to stop and talk. If you see someone in a hurry they're probably trying to "make the boat" which means they're trying to get to the Tram, oops I mean the ferry before it leaves. People who wear helmets while bicycling are definitely day-trippers.

Speaking of day-trippers, when they get off the boat and amble down the dock they'll walk into the dock shops not unlike going into the Historical Society kiosk. They buy little island maps (one dollar, supports the historical society) and tee shirts and stuffed lobster toys and homemade fudge. They ask for directions and we happily give them.  We bask in belonging but we are glad they visit.

Sometimes when I'm on the boat returning to the island I can feel the difference between us and them, the residents and the day-trippers. I know I'm coming home, and they're just visiting. They don't yet know the joy of belonging.  They don't know what it's like when the last boat leaves for the day and it's just "us". Unless of course someone misses the last boat and then one of us will put them up for the night.

I'll never forget one perfect July afternoon “on island” (don’t ask me why, but residents always drop the “the” before “island”, maybe it’s a part of belonging). That glorious day the clouds were rushing by, the just warm sun on our faces, what many of us call “sailing weather.” The annual Maypole dance was being performed in the town field by the ocean with live music and a nice crowd watching (it's too chilly in May so we always wait until July to perform it). And there was this Norwegian family, parents and two young kids, just off the boat and who had wondered into the field. Maybe they heard the music wafting towards the dock? Try to picture them. All four standing in a line staring at the dance. All four, mouths agape. All four watching the kids and grown ups weaving the maypole streamers to the notes of flutes and violins. Perhaps wondering…."Where are we?"

Thom and I have always wanted something like this year round. Our own Little Cranberry but close to the city.  And we’ve realized we've found it here on Roosevelt. Realized it when we told a Roosevelt Island friend of ours that we had just closed on our new apartment “on island” -- realized it when he sweetly and innocently said just two magical words to us. He said, "Welcome home.”
© Copyright 2017 Stephen Quandt
Another similarity between both places. At one time, Roosevelt Island was known as the "Little Apple".  Let's take a visit to Little Cranberry Island Maine and see what life is like.

Meet some of the people. Affordable housing is an issue on Little Cranberry Island too.

The local fresh lobster business is trying hard to make it a success.

The view from above

Maypole: Little Cranberry Island, Maine from The Knowles Company on Vimeo.

and Little Cranberry Island's version

of Jimmy Buffet.

Welcome home on Roosevelt Island Stephen and Thom.

UPDATE 8:10 PM - The NY Post reports today on another Island community, Newfoundland, Canada - also known as The Rock.
Roosevelt Island has also been known as The Rock.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

NYC DYCD Selects Child Center Of New York As Winning Operator Of Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program Request For Proposals At PS/IS 217 - Community Invited To Meet Child Center Of NY 6 PM Tonight At School

The NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) selected Queens based Child Center of New York (CCNY) as the winning operator of the Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program Request For Proposals at PS/IS 217 replacing the current long time operator Roosevelt Island Youth Program.

Yesterday, I asked CCNY Chief Executive Officer Traci Donnelly:

I understand that the Child Center of New York has been named as the new operator of the Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program.

Please let me know if you have any comment or statement to make to the Roosevelt Island community about your plans for the Roosevelt Island Beacon After School program.
Ms. Donnelly replied:
Since 1953, The Child Center of NY has worked to provide multicultural, multilingual, and whole child services to 26,000 New York City kids and their families annually. We are consistently called upon to expand our services, and we consistently respond in the positive, so that we can, as we aim, "strengthen children and families with skills, opportunities, and emotional support so that they can build healthy, successful lives."

We are truly honored to have been selected for the Beacon RFP on Roosevelt Island. We will endeavor to continue to prove ourselves worthy of the confidence placed in us by our communities, the City and State, and, most importantly, the children and families of Roosevelt Island.

The Child Center of New York invites interested Roosevelt Island community members to a meeting tonight, August 9, 6 PM, at PS/IS 217 auditorium to learn more about their plans and programs for the Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program.

Here's information about the Child Center of New York programs & services, other locations and more available at their web site.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Long Lines Past The Turnstyle And Down Stairs Continue To Greet Frustrated Roosevelt Island Tram Riders With Only Single Tram Cabin Running During Tram Station Repairs

The Roosevelt Island Tram Station Platform repairs continue to cause long lines and frustration for residents going to and from Manhattan.

This evening, long lines at the Manhattan Tram Station greeted residents trying to come home. A resident reports:

Lines at the Tram go into the Park.

Tram staff says it's going to stay this bad until 2018.

There is Mom with 4 little kids who are by now getting wild from all the waiting in crowded line and with a folded stroller - feeling so sorry for her.

Can't RIOC President Susan Rosenthal do anything about this?

Finally made it on Tram after 25 minutes waiting. Tram driver said one lady said she waited 30 minutes for Tram.

Long lines outside turnstiles on Roosevelt Island side too.

Long lines earlier today at the Roosevelt Island station tool
A post shared by ScottyP (@scottpiro) on

UPDATE 8/9 - About the Roosevelt Island Tram station crowding:

Roosevelt Island Ferry Service Presentation, Seawall, Playground & Basketball Court Repair Among Agenda Items For August 9 RIOC Directors Board Meeting - New Red Buses & Tramway Platform Equipment Relocation Too

An August 9 Special Meeting of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will take place August 9 starting 5:30 pm at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street).


Prior to the start of the RIOC Board meeting, there will be a public comment period. Sign up here to speak at the meeting.

Among the items on the Agenda are:
Seawall Railing Construction and Design Services,

Al Lewis and Blackwell Park Playground Flooring Replacement,

Resurface Capobianco Field Basketball Court

MTA Tramway Equipment Relocation 

New Red Buses

Tramway Station Renovations and

 Roosevelt Island Ferry Service Presentation NYC Ferry Operator Hornblower.
According to RIOC:

You're Invited To Share Ideas To Help Roosevelt Island Senior Community With Cornell Tech Women In Technology & Entrepreneurship In New York Program Tea And Cookie Chat Wednesday August 9

The Cornell Tech Women In Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York program is hosting a Tea and Cookie Chat seeking your ideas to help Roosevelt Island Seniors.

According to Cornell Tech:

One More Opportunity to Participate!

Will you help with a student project?

Are you an older adult?
Do you have parents or grandparents on RI?
Are you interested in volunteering with older adults?

Cornell Tech’s WiTNY Summer Guild students want to hear your ideas about how to help the Senior Center better serve older adults on RI.

Please join us for
Tea, Cookies and Conversation
Wednesday, August 9th
10am - 12 noon
Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main St.

Drop in anytime between 10:00 and 12:00
Questions? or 646-220-1505

WiTNY (Women in Technology & Entrepreneurship in NY) is a partnership between Cornell Tech and CUNY to increase the number of women in tech in NYC. Summer Guild is a program for recent high school graduates who will begin a CUNY college in the fall.
The Twitterverse reports:

and a Cornell Tech Spokesperson added:
The WITNY Summer Guild students came up with a range of ideas to support seniors, including digital platforms to share news and stories, ways to access public programming and information, and opportunities for seniors and young volunteers to come together and explore technology together.
Here's more on WITNY

and a presentation by WITNY Founding Program Director Judith Spitz to the July 25, 2016 Roosevelt Island Construction and Community Task Force meeting.

What are your ideas for using technology to help Roosevelt Island Seniors?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Former Director Of Roosevelt Island Senior Center Pleads Guilty To Grand Larceny

As previously reported in June 2016, the NYC Department For The Ageing (DFTA) replaced the long time operator of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center with the Carter Burden Network. No reason was announced by DFTA for the change in the Roosevelt Island Senior Center operator but rumors of improprieties were widespread.

At that time, I asked Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA) President Barbara Parker if:

... an investigation is being conducted regarding Roosevelt Island Senior Center practices.
Ms Parker replied:
No. There is no investigation being conducted regarding the Roosevelt Island Senior Association.
Last week, I received a tip and then confirmed it's accuracy with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. According to the Manhattan District Attorney's office,  former Roosevelt Island Senior Center Director Rema Townsend:
... pleaded guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and one count of Petit Larceny in satisfaction of all the charges...
arising out of activities involving the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

According to this report from the NYC Department of Investigations filed with the Manhattan District Attorney:
... I have spoken with defendant. She informed me that from prior to 2010 through in or about June 2016, she was the Director of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, which is located in New York County and which provides services to senior citizens. Defendant stated that the Senior Center was funded and overseen by the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association ("RISA"), a not-for-profit organization located in New York County.

I have reviewed business records of Amalgamated Bank for accounts in the name of Roosevelt Island Seniors Association, which have a New York County address. They show that approximately 109 checks drawn on those accounts were made payable to _____ [Individual #1]. The first check was dated January 27, 2012, the last check was dated May 27, 2016, and the remaining checks were dated throughout 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The aggregate value of the checks was over $22,900. I have reviewed business records of [Redacted By Editor] Bank for an account in defendant's name. They show that 91 of those checks, with an aggregate value of over $18,500, were deposited into defendant’s bank account.

Defendant stated, in sum and substance, that she caused all of the checks to be issued. _____ [Individual #1] is defendant's son's father, and defendant had attempted to hire _____ [Individual #1] to make food deliveries for RISA. After some period of time, _____ [Individual #1] stopped working for RISA, and defendant then temporarily split the food-delivery responsibilities with a man named _____ [Individual #2]. _____ [Individual #2] requested payment in cash, so, in order to accommodate him, defendant paid _____ [Individual #2] $50 a week in cash - approximately half the value of the checks made payable to _____ [Individual #1]. The cash came from the checks made payable to _____ [Individual #1], which defendant either negotiated into her personal bank account or which she gave to _____ [Individual #1], who then gave her cash. For the time she was splitting delivery responsibilities, defendant paid herself the balance of those _____ [Individual #1] checks - the amount that had not been paid to _____ [Individual #2]. Defendant also acknowledged that she had previously been told by an auditor representing the New York City Department for the Aging, which provided nearly all of the funding for RISA, that defendant was not allowed to collect both her salary as Director and also funds for food deliveries.

Defendant stated that at some point in time she began relying exclusively on _____ [Individual #2] to make the food deliveries, that she continued paying him $50 a week in cash from the _____ [Individual #1] checks, and that she took the remaining funds from those checks and placed them in RISA's petty cash drawer, which she alone supervised.

I have reviewed RISA "Weekly Homebound Deliveries/Route Sheet[s]", which defendant stated were used to record food deliveries to seniors. There are multiple sheets that identify "_____ [Individual #1]" as the deliverer, and sheets in 2014 and 2015 that appear to have been initialed or signed by _____ [Individual #1]. Defendant stated that she signed _____ [Individual #1]'s name on Route Sheets after he ceased working there.

I have spoken with Gretchen Robinson, the Compliance and Internal Controls Officer at Roosevelt Island Operation Corporation ("RIOC"), which manages Roosevelt Island and, among other things, issues grants. Robinson supplied me with a grant application submitted to RIOC by RISA and RIOC business records relating to that application. Defendant stated that she had prepared the application and sent the documents. The RIOC records show that RIOC issued two $6,500 checks to RISA, dated August 26, 2014 and February 6, 2015, in response to defendant's grant application. They show also that defendant subsequently submitted, in support of those payments, a $3,323.36 invoice for the purchase of a refrigerator, a $1,420.59 invoice for the purchase of a stove, and a $1989.11 invoice for painting services.

I am informed by Sasha Fishman, the Associate Commissioner of Budget and Fiscal Operations at the New York City Department for the Aging, that the Department funds various goods and services paid for by RISA. According to Fishman, and based on my review of business records maintained by the Department, on or about February 22, 2016, the Department received from RISA the same stove, refrigerator, and painting invoices in support of a funding request. On or about April 12, 2016, the Department issued a $6,408.70 payment to fund those invoices. I am informed further that the Department was not told that the items had previously been funded by RIOC, and I am informed that the Department would not have reimbursed RISA for those invoices had it known that they had been funded by a separate organization. Defendant acknowledged that she submitted the invoices to the Department in support of the $6,408.70 payment. She stated further that she believed it was permissible to request and receiving funding from two different agencies for the same goods and services.

I have spoken with Anthony Caputo, the Chief Executive Officer at Concepts of Independence, an organization headquartered in Manhattan that is a fiscal intermediary and that administers consumer directed personal assistance services. I have also reviewed business records of that organization. According to Caputo and the business records I reviewed, from on or about May 2010 through on or about July 6, 2012, defendant was employed as a Personal Assistant and provided services under the supervision and direction of the consumer in accordance to a Medicaid plan of care. I have reviewed weekly timesheets from the week ending March 25, 2011 through the week ending July 6, 2012, all of which bear what appears to be defendant's signature. They show that during each week in that time period, defendant was working ten hours a day, Monday through Friday, for a consumer who resided in the Bronx. As a result of her timesheet submissions, defendant received $50,000 dollars from Concepts of Independence. According to defendant, during that time period, she was also a full-time Director of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center with a salary of tens of thousands of dollars.
Sentencing is scheduled for January 2018.

Here's Ms. Townsend describing Roosevelt Island Senior Center activities and programs during an October 14, 2015 presentation to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Purpose Funds (PPF) Committee.

The Roosevelt Island Daily has more.

Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team Finish Regular Season With Outstanding Performances At Junior Olympics Adding New Medals To Trophy Collection Reports Head Coach

Roosevelt Island Marlins

Head Coach Roman Sludnov shares these photos and reports:

RI Marlins Swim Team

Congratulations to all the swimmers who completed their regular season with an outstanding performance at the Junior Olympics hosted at the Nassau Aquatics Center on July 28-30. RI Marlins added three new medals to their annual trophy collection with Sophia Seliger

taking gold on the 200 breaststroke and Denys Mialkovskyi (pictured on right with Finn Olsen on left)

capturing two bronze medals on the 100 back and 100 fly. Taking into account the awards won during the winter Junior Olympics championship by another Roosevelt Island resident, Strahinja Maslo,

the Marlins brought home in total five bronze, one silver, and three gold medals.

These accomplishments have a special meaning for the team who had to train outside of their home pool for almost nine months due to the closure of Sportspark. Thank you to all the swimmers, their parents, administrators, and coaches who worked hard to make this result possible. The new season promises to be even more exciting as more Marlins will join our Champions in climbing to new heights in their athletic performances.
More information on the Roosevelt Island Marlins Swim Team available at their web site.