Friday, January 26, 2018

You're Invited To NYC First Roosevelt Island STEM Center Open House Sunday Afternoon, January 28 - Come Learn About Robotics, 3D Printing & More

NYC First is hosting a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics) Open House for Roosevelt Island residents of all ages:



544 Main Street

Sunday, January 28th 1pm - 4pm

Are you curious about what is happening in this space?

Now is your chance to explore, make and learn during the NYC FIRST STEM Center Open House! Please join us on Sunday, January 28th from 1 pm - 4 pm. You can laser cut keychains, cut vinyl stickers, and 3D print pins. Our high school robotics teams will also be showing off their robots (you might even be able to drive one) and the projects they are working on.


As reported last November:
... NYC First will be taking space in Roosevelt Landings temporarily. NYC First runs educational programming related to STEM including robotics classes and competitions for youth. They will be in our space through the spring when they will take a permanent space in the Cornell Tech campus....

Welcome NYC First to Roosevelt Island.

More info on NYC First available at their web site.

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

 Image From MTA

Click here for more MTA Weekender info.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

RIOC Board Adjourns And Postpones Vote On Selecting Roosevelt Island Youth Center Operator Tonight- We Have A Serious Community Problem

After a long public session in which supporters and opponents of the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) receiving contract to operate the Roosevelt Island Youth Center spoke,

the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors

decided to punt, adjourning the Agenda Item and not voting on the subject. Of those that spoke during the Public Session, by my count, 12 speakers were in favor of the RIYP being selected to operate the Youth Center and 6 opposed.

Acting RIOC Board Chair Alex Valella, who knows very little, if anything, about the history and background of Roosevelt Island proposed the decision to adjourn the vote on the Youth Center operator.  According to Mr. Velella, sufficient questions were raised and community discord evident, to delay the vote. He was joined by RIOC Director Fay Christian in favoring the adjournment.

RIOC Directors David Kraut, Margie Smith and Howard Polivy appeared ready to vote in favor of the RIYP as Youth Center Operator but the vote did not occur.

Following the adjournment, the majority of attendees were visibly angry and disappointed. Unlike the RIOC staff and Directors, Mr. Valella did not stay to explain his decision in any greater detail.

Here's the discussion of the RIOC Board.

Will update with entire video of speakers at the Public Session.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 1/26: The Roosevelt Island Daily interviewed RIOC Director David Kraut shortly after the meeting was adjourned. Mr. Kraut was highly critical of the action by Acting Chair Alex Valella saying:
... In my nearly 25 years on this Board of Directors, I have never seen such a high handed tabling or refusal to address a matter. The Board was ready to vote. We heard from a number of people on both sides...

... You can't kick the can down the road just because the Chair is afraid of the noise in the room. There's always noise in the room on Roosevelt Island....

Roosevelt Island Daily also interviewed RIYP Executive Director Charlie Defino who said:
We fairly won in both processes and now they want to table it again because a couple of people are mad. The people that are mad are all linked together...

UPDATE 1/26 Here are the statements made during RIOC Board meeting Public Session.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

UDPATE 1/26 5:35 PM - RIOC issued the following statement minutes ago:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation announced plans Friday to hire an outside counsel, Bond Shoeneck & King, to investigate allegations made against the operator of the Roosevelt Island Youth Program that was close to being approved for a three-year grant to operate youth programs at a drop-in child care program that requires no state licensure.

The RIOC Board chairman made the decision to delay the vote after the Board received numerous email claims in the days leading up to Thursday night’s meeting. More than 20 passionate parents, employees and young people spoke at the Thursday night meeting making their cases in favor and against the awarding of this grant.

“Prompted by statements made at last night’s Board meeting and emails received from the public, RIOC is hiring outside counsel to investigate,” said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal. “We expect this to be completed in advance of the next Board meeting March 1.”

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) received the highest score in the grant competition rated by two members of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and Island worker Patricia Pell, currently the interim director of Roosevelt Island Day Nursery.
UPDATE 2/1 - According to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program Board of Directors:
Executive Director Charlie DeFino has the full support of the RI Youth Program’s Board of Directors and we are confident that RIOC’s investigation will conclude that the allegations made are without merit.

Roosevelt Island Racquet Club 18 Month Construction Project Begins - Upgrades To Facility And Much Needed Improvements For Lighting And Walkways Between Tennis Bubble And Tram Station

Have you noticed the construction going on at the Roosevelt Island Tennis Bubbles between the Tram Station and Sportspark?

The construction is for facility upgrades being made to the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club which will include improvements to the walkways and lighting between the Tram Station and Tennis Bubbles.

As previously reported by Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk, the area is in desperate need of better lighting.

 Image From Janet Fallk

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson adds:
The year-round indoor tennis facility has recently started its second stage of capital improvements.

Current construction upgrades include installation of more LED lighting for the courts, repair and replacement of corroded piping, new insulation, clubhouse improvements and a new water cooler for cooling.

These projects, which were permitted by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, have been in the design and engineering phase for the past 15 months. The facility’s management, in a binding resolution agreement with RIOC, also will make significant improvements to the walkways and lighting from the Tram Plaza to the entryway of the racquet club.

The construction work is expected to continue for 18 months.
As previously reported, in 2007 the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club received a very advantageous license extension from 2031 to 2046 for the approximately 70,000 square foot facility currently paying, according to the License Extension, the greater of  $275,000 or 10% of the Gross Receipts.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Roosevelt Island Youth Center Operator Contract & Helix Ramp Repairs Among Items On Agenda For RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting Thursday January 25

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet 5:30 PM Thursday January 25 at at the Manhattan Park Community Center (8 River Road). Among the items on the Agenda are:

... 3. Authorization to Enter into Contract with the Roosevelt Island Youth Program for the Operation of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center (Board Action Required)...

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

The proposed Roosevelt Island Youth Program contract to operate the Youth Center is expected to be a contentious topic for the Public Session and perhaps during the Board meeting too.

Below is the full January 25 RIOC Board meeting Agenda for tomorrow with links to supporting materials for each Agenda Item added.


I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
1. December 19, 2017 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Hawkins Webb Jaeger, PLLC for Engineering Consulting Services (Board Action Required)
2. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Specialty Construction System, Inc. for the Helix Ramp and Flat Plaza Repairs (Board Action Required)
3. Authorization to Enter into Contract with the Roosevelt Island Youth Program for the Operation of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center (Board Action Required)
4. President’s Report
5. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee
6. Public Safety Report
VI. Adjournment

1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Take A Tour Of A 3 Bedroom Apartment At Roosevelt Island's Manhattan Park - A Mere $5150 Per Month - Construction Of Roosevelt Island 340 Affordable Rental Units Starting This Spring

More info at Manhattan Park's web site.

$5150 per month for a Roosevelt Island 3 bedroom apartment would not be considered affordable housing for most New Yorkers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says NYC has a plan for affordable housing.

Roosevelt Island's Southtown Building 8 is scheduled to start construction this spring and will contain 340 middle and low income affordable rental housing units.

Roosevelt Island Cafe At Cornell Tech New Menu And Hours - It's Italian Food Week, Saturday & Sunday Brunch Too, Check It Out

The Cafe At Cornell Tech winter recess is over and they have come back with a new menu:
We are back to our normally scheduled hours. Please see below for some details on this weeks menu.

Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

Saturday – Sunday 8am to 3pm with brunch as the main feature.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Only 1 Roosevelt Island Question Asked At NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio & Council Member Ben Kallos District Town Hall, But It's An Important One - Resident Asks What Is Future Of Coler Hospital And Will It Be Closing?

On January 17, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio attended a Town Hall Meeting hosted by NYC Council Member Ben Kallos to answer questions from residents of Roosevelt Island, Yorkville, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Sutton Place, and El Barrio in East Harlem.

Resident Lynn Strong-Shinozaki asked the only Roosevelt Island question during the 1 1/2 hour Town Hall meeting. Ms Strong Shinozaki asked about the future of

  Image From NYC HHC November 9, 2015 Roosevelt Island Coler Hospital Flood Management Presentation

 NYC Health & Hospital Corp's Coler Hospital, the patients and:
.... it looks like they are moving towards closing that Hospital and where will those people go ....
Mayor de Blasio did not answer the specific question of whether or not Color Hospital is closing. Mayor de Blasio told Ms. Shinozaki:
... We have to figure out what we are going to do with the future of our public health system. Some of our premier facilities, we are going to in many cases re-purpose, but we have alot of different uses for them....

.... Whatever we do in any case, we do protect the interests of the patient. That's the whole reason it's there....

I asked Council Member Kallos today:
During the January 17 Town Hall meeting, Lynn Strong-Shinozaki asked Mayor de Blasio if there were any plans to shut down Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island.

The Mayor did not give any specific answer to that question.

Are there any plans to shut down Coler Hospital or make any changes to it's current service?
Council Member Kallos replied:
I have ongoing concerns that under utilization of space, a failure to invest in maintaining key infrastructure, laying off of doctors and key staff, and empty wings, is setting Coler Hospital up for failure and a self imposed financial crisis that will result in its closure and sale.
I also asked Mayor de Blasio's office for comment. Have not heard back yet but will update with more info.