Friday, February 2, 2018

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal Reports To The Roosevelt Island Community - Helix Repair, New Public Information Officer & Web Site, Capobianco Field Public Open Play, Elevator Repair, Building Managers Meeting, Monument Sign And #1 Safest Neighborhood In Entire Country

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal reports to the community:

Last year, in its rankings of America’s best communities, - an online neighborhood data survey site - ranked Roosevelt Island as the #1 “Safest Neighborhood” in the entire country!

As for New York City, the site reported the Island was the 18th “Best Place to Live” ahead of several other familiar Burgs, Sides, Points, Greenes and even DUMBO.

We can no longer ignore the fact that Roosevelt Island is the city’s best-known secret. An odd oxymoron yes, but the recent recognition has only added to the renewed energy of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s staff and our positive outlook for 2018.

As we look forward to a banner year of new capital projects, facility improvements and community programs, RIOC remains committed to more tangible progress; as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is apt to say, “we can do better, we must do better and we will do better.”

My main goal of pursuing this new, bi-monthly column is to speak directly to you – the residents and businesses – to grow your trust and increase our capacity to administer the Island’s business with transparency and common sense.

Toward that aim, our most recent exciting news is that the Governor’s FY 2019 Executive Budget, unveiled in January includes a $25 million payment to RIOC to support capital infrastructure improvements. The payment is the tangible result of a unique land-swap agreement - regarding 2.62-acre parcel to help facilitate the Cornell-Tech campus development - between the State and RIOC.

The payment is subject to approval by the State Legislature currently in session in Albany. In a call last week with State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, she pledged her full support to lobby her colleagues and champion this item to be passed. A final budget is expected to be complete by April 1.

The Helix Repair
We are moving forward with the long- anticipated plan to repair the crumbling Helix Ramp and Flat Plaza.

The $3 million construction project will begin next month. As to be expected, the pace and volume of vehicular traffic – cars, school buses, deliver trucks – will be impacted. We are coordinating with Cornell Tech which has begun their mobilization for construction of their new hotel and conference center. The current repair plan, submitted by Specialty Construction Systems Inc., will restrict travel to one lane while the adjacent lane is repaired.

New Public Information Officer

At our December Board of Directors meeting, I noted that RIOC was beginning the process of hiring a Public Information Officer who will be RIOC’s main liaison to the community and media.

We conducted an extensive search and interview process, and filled the position with Alonza Robertson, who joined us on Jan. 8. He comes, with more than 25 years of experience as a former newspaper journalist, corporate communications strategist and government and non-profit media manager.

I am optimistic that Alonza, in this new position, will streamline conversation between RIOC citizens and various RIOC managers and directors to help ensure that the community is kept informed and its inquiries are streamlined and answered in a timely and professional manner.

He will also be a main contributor to our website and social media pages.

New Website

We plan to launch a brand-new RIOC website – with a series of new user-friendly features – by March 1. RIOC retained CivicPlus – a municipal organizations web-design company, to help us build and re-structure the site.

A major feature of the website is a new online portal that will make it easier for residents and visitors to reserve facilities, parks and sites for special events.

The interface - run by RIOC’s Department of Parks and Recreation - allows citizens to access needed information without searching through web pages or placing calls to the permit department. Residents, who will receive priority, will now be able to conveniently view availability, book and confirm when they want to use any of our parks and facilities.

To help ease the transition and help orientate our users, RIOC staff will be offering on-line and in-person training in the weeks leading up to launch.

Cappobianco Field

To ensure access for Roosevelt Island residents, the play area at Cappobianco Field will not be subject to any permitting and will always be open to the public for free play. A room space in the RI Cultural Center will also be available for free public use at scheduled times.

Elevator Repair

RIOC has moved forward on a RFP posting and call for bids to evaluate RI’s nine public elevators and the now defunct Motorgate escalator for subsequent repairs. Stay tuned for more updates.

Building Managers Meeting

At the upcoming February 6 building managers meeting, we will have representatives from the city’s Department of Sanitation in attendance. We will discuss the state of the Island’s AVAC system, the anti- car speeding program, snow removal policies and the Island’s upcoming rollout of its emergency management plan.

The RI Monument sign

The prototype for the proposed RI Monument sign will be on display again near Tram Plaza on Saturday, Feb. 3 from noon to 4 p.m. We encourage residents to come out, view the monument and share their opinions via on-site comment cards as well as via this email:

In addition to providing you timely updates, I hope also to use this space to answer your questions directly. Send your questions to the by February 12 and we’ll select as many as possible to answer in my next column.

Giant RI Monument Mock Up Returns To Roosevelt Island Saturday, February 3 For Viewing - What Do You Think, Unnecessary Obstruction To Panoramic Views Or Fun Welcome Landmark For Tourists?

The Giant RI monument 

proposed by Roosevelt Island Riverwalk developer and Main Street Master Retail Leaseholder Hudson Related is back again with another effort to obtain community approval for installation at the Tram Station Plaza.

According to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Informtion Officer Alonza Robertson:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is now soliciting public comments to gauge community support for the proposed 3-D, 10-foot-tall RI welcome-monument.

A prototype of the fire-engine red sign – one part of a three-part way finder project that will include directional signposts and vertical informational kiosks – will be on public display at Tram Plaza this Saturday, Feb. 3, from noon to 4 p.m. RIOC staff will be soliciting opinions from the public via comment cards that afternoon. Residents not able to attend can submit their opinions on the RI monument to

The project is a joint venture between RIOC and Hudson Related Retail LLC, the company that also manages the Island’s commercial real estate holdings.

The proposed RI monument is reminiscent of the landmark LOVE and HOPE sculptures in Midtown Manhattan and the recently-installed OY/YO sculpture in Williamsburg which salutes Brooklyn’s Yiddish and hip-hop cultures.
Approval by the RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee (REDAC) is required for the Giant RI Monument to be installed.. Hudson Related's David Kramer and his staff made a presentation seeking approval of the Giant RI Monument during the November 9 RIOC REDAC meeting. As previously reported:
... Following a presentation by Mr. Kramer and his staff in support of the Giant RI monument, RIOC's REDAC postponed any final decision in order to obtain views of the residents on the monument....
You can take a look at the Giant RI Monument tomorrow and give your views.

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) is opposed to the Giant RI Monument.


TOMORROW, Saturday, February 3rd from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm, RIOC and The Hudson Companies are again trying to popularize the obstructing "RI" art-piece dubbed a "Welcome Monument" proposed for placement outside the RIHS Visitor Center Kiosk.


Also, please send copies of the comments you make to RIOC to

  • The structure interferes with the panoramic view of the tram, the lawn, the landmark quality Visitor Center Kiosk and the city beyond.
  • The structure serves no purpose other that to have 10 feet tall letters.
  • The structure is a tempting object for kids to climb on.
  • Roosevelt Island is a community not an amusement park attraction.
  • People are already on Roosevelt Island: RIHS sees no reason to shout; people know they are here.
The community members of the RIOC Board all voted against this structure. You can vote NO as well.


Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Kiosk Image From Judy Berdy

RIHS President Judy Berdy adds:
Months ago, before the signage discussion David Kramer was asked to help us pay for better fencing around the RIHS Visitor Center Kiosk.

He agreed to pay for half the cost.

When told that the "RI" letter was a done deal Mr. Kramer agreed to pay for new signage for the kiosk as well as the full cost of the fencing.

When we learned that the "RI" was not approved by the board and that it was not a done deal, we expressed our opinion to Mr. Kramer that we did not support the "RI" sign.

Recently, he advised us that he is not funding any of our improvements to the kiosk.

Hudson Companies has not supported the RIHS, since being donors to our map project years ago.

We regret that commercial interests are more important than supporting a not-for-profit community group that welcomes over 50,000 visitors (and many prospective residents) yearly.
I asked Hudson Related's David Kramer:
I am preparing a story on the proposed Giant RI monument mock up sign to be displayed again at the Tram Station.

Is there anything you want to add about why you believe it should be placed at the Tram Station? Will you consider any location other than the Tram Station?

Also, RIHS President Judy Berdy reports that you withdrew your prior offer to pay the cost for better fencing around the Visitors Center Kiosk after Judy publicly opposed the Giant RI Monument.

Is that true. Any comment on this matter?
Hudson Related spokesperson Alex Kaplan replied:
We believe the Tram is the ideal and only real option for the RI monument.

In order to truly say “Welcome to Roosevelt Island” to the many visitors coming daily, we want the monument to be in a heavily trafficked and highly visible area that serves as a great photo opp spot.

We think it will provide a fun landmark that says Roosevelt Island is a destination worth visiting (and not just turning around to take a return trip on the tram). Ultimately the decision will be made by the Board. 
Here's the discussion from the November 9 REDAC meeting.

Part 1- Presentation by Hudson Related David Kramer and staff.

Part 2 - RIHS President Judy Berdy expresses her opposition to the RI Monument.

Part 3 - RIOC Director David Kraut says residents have different needs than tourists. Committee decided to get more feedback from community.

More from previous posts here and here.

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Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - No Metro Card Vending Machine Credit Card Transactions Next Weekend

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.
Also, plan on no credit card transactions at Metro Card machines for next weekend. MTA originally scheduled Metro Card machine upgrade for this weekend but postponed to next weekend after protest about lack of notice.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

NBC's Today Show Visits Roosevelt Island Tram Yesterday For Upcoming Segment Celebrating NYC Public Transportation

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson reports:

The Today Show’s Al Roker, Sheinelle Jones, Dylan Dreyer and crew visited Roosevelt Island Wednesday afternoon to tape an upcoming feature on the Island’s iconic red Tram. This segment, for the NBC morning show’s ongoing feature called, “FAVORITE THINGS”, celebrates New York City’s public transit.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Vice President of Operations Shelton Hayes and Armando Cordovo, of Tram operator Leitner-Poma, briefly greeted the news team during their shoot and shared information about the Tram’s history and operation. The piece is set to air on The Today Show the week of March 19th.

Image From RIOC's Alonza Robertson

From left, Sheinelle Jones, a Today Show and MSNBC news anchor; RIOC Vice President Shelton Hayes and Dylan Dreyer, an NBC News meteorologist; chat Wednesday during a Today Show taping at the RI Tram Station. Also present, but not pictured, was NBC weather anchor Al Roker.

Roosevelt Island Resident Says Westview Pool Sauna Taken Over With Roaches - Building Management Inspects Area, Says No Infestation And Employs Weekly Extermination Services

A Westview resident reported last Saturday:

I don’t know who to report to but I joined the Westview pool only to discover the sauna infested with roaches, completely taken over! When asked, I was told ; it’s common knowledge and in the men’s room also. I was told they can’t spray in the saunas because of toxic fumes.

The pool should be shut down until this infection is completely clear. It puts all Westview residents in jeopardy! Why is no one reporting? It’s a health hazard!...

I forwarded the message to Westview management. According to Westview Management:
Since receiving your email we immediately investigated the pool area, sauna and locker room - there is no infestation.

In fact, we had building staff inspect these areas on multiple occasions at multiple times and except for one inspection in the early morning when 1 roach was observed, no roaches were observed.

The super and I also frequently inspect the pool and related areas and have never observed a problem nor have we received other complaints. The building has weekly exterminating service and the pool area and sauna is treated as part of this service.

We will continue to monitor the pool and sauna area and we have also relayed the anonymous complaint to our exterminating company who will do a special treatment on the sauna.

The resident followed up yesterday:
Looks like they sprayed, a temporary fix! Found 3, dead or close to it.

Nice to have a pool and sauna in your building - as long as it is properly maintained.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Jupiter Joe's Sidewalk Astronomy Shows Roosevelt Island Up Close View Of Super Blue Blood Moon On A Chilly Evening Tonight

Jupiter Joe's Sidewalk Astronomy came to

Roosevelt Island tonight

to share with residents 

a peek at the Super Blue Blood Moon through

his telescope

and to discuss fascinating questions about the moon and astronomy.

According to the Jupiter Joe's Sidewalk Astronomy web site:
... the goal of Jupiter Joe's Sidewalk Astronomy is to help cultivate an interest in learning, an aptitude for questioning and a chance to witness the awe of our great universe. My hope is that for every person that leaves the eyepiece of the telescope having seen the rings of Saturn, the great red spot of Jupiter, or the crater filled surface of our moon, asks themselves one question... "What else is out there?" It's that question that can spark a lifetime of knowledge and inspire career goals.

We hope that you can come out and experience a stargazing event and learn to love the solar system along with your family.

Roosevelt Island looks forward to Jupiter Joe's next visit.

Good People Help Sick Passenger On F Train At Roosevelt Island Subway Station This Morning

The Twitterverse reports on a sick subway rider receiving assistance at Roosevelt Island F Train Station

 this morning by fellow passengers including nurse getting on Train at Roosevelt Island.
As Great Big Sea sings, Good People

are all around us.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Roosevelt Island Snowmen Enjoying A Good Smoke Today - Cough, Cough

Roosevelt Island received a light dusting of snow today.

Still, it was enough snow for this Riverwalk Family of Roosevelt Island snowmen/women to arrive

and one even enjoyed

a smoke.

Cough, Cough.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Upcoming Events This Week At Roosevelt Island Senior Center Carter Burden Network - 1/30 Financial Literacy Class, The Basics Of Budgeting And 2/1 NYPD Presentation On Scams & Frauds

The Roosevelt Island Senior Center Carter Burden Network program (546 Main Street) is hosting a Financial Literacy Class tomorrow afternoon, January 30.

Also, on Tuesday, February 1:

• Informational Presentation by Crime Prevention Officer Gabriel Tovar with the 114thPrecinct in Astoria
• Learn how to protect yourself from current schemes targeting seniors!
• Anti-crime goodie bags!

NYPD's 114 Precinct Crime Prevention Officer Tovar spoke to the November 1 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) meeting Public Session about Frauds, Scams and

other safety issues.

Scenes From Yesterday's NYC First Roosevelt Island STEM Center Open House - Future STEM Programs For Roosevelt Island Community Including Kids And Adults May Be Coming

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....
Yesterday, NYC First hosted a STEM Center Open House,

inviting Roosevelt Island residents

of all ages

to learn about

robotics, 3d printing and more at the new STEM Center.

NYC First CEO Michael Zigman welcomed Roosevelt Island residents describing the new facility as:
... This space is the first of what we hope to be many spaces across New York City. Kind of like a Maker Space. We have a broader vision of what it could be but this is our first.

We came to the Island for a bunch of reasons but the Cornell Tech relationship was an important one for us to put a stake in the ground here.

We want to do more with the community. We're trying to figure that out. We run programs at the High School Level, several high schools we're working with, but we want to think more expansively of working with the community around us - ideally kids and adults....

.. Bare with us as we're figuring it out. We got into this space in the last couple of months. We've been setting it up. It's just about set up. There are a a couple of pieces of machinery that we are still waiting on.

As soon as everything is in here, we can be a little more forward thinking in how to work with you all....

Take a tour of the NYC First Roosevelt Island STEM Center temporarily located on Main Street until it move to permanent home on Cornell Tech campus..

More info on NYC First programs available at their web site.

SPONSORED POST - Roosevelt Island Urgent Care Medical Facility, Just Walk In At 520 Main Street 7 Days A Week For Your Medical Needs, Flu Shots Available - Your Health, Your Schedule

According to Roosevelt Island Urgent Care (RIUC):
Our Roosevelt Island facility is  located at 520 Main Street. Our hours are Monday to Thursday 8AM - 7PM, Friday 8AM-4PM, Saturday and Sunday 10AM- 4PM.

The medical needs of this 2 mile long historic island on the East River is a perfect landscape for our services.

RIUC is the first health care facility on the Island. Currently local residents must travel to either Manhattan or Astoria, for treatment—a trip that requires the use of a tram, subway, bus or car. Our facility in essence created a full-service medical center for a growing population of 15,000. RIUC is here to serve your needs.

These needs will increase in the near future with the addition of new multi-family developments and the new Cornell NYC Tech campus, which is under construction and due to open this year. The University is relying on our center to tend to the medical needs of the students and faculty. Roosevelt Island Urgent Care is also well positioned to provide services to the many construction workers who are on the Island during the next few years.

Other amenities include:
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  • Charging station
  • Flat screen TV in waiting room as well as every exam room
  • Childrens play area
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