Saturday, April 14, 2018

Roosevelt Island Main Street North Bound Traffic Backed Up All The Way To Blackwell House This Evening

Roosevelt Island's Main Street North Bound traffic was backed up all the way to Blackwell House this evening.

Don't know the reason.

Beautiful Saturday Afternoon for NYC Ferry Ride From Long Island City To Roosevelt Island - Take A Ride Just For The Fun Of It!!!!

Beautiful summer like weather today in NYC. Perfect time to take the NYC Ferry on an East River journey starting from

East 34th Street

to Long Island City

and Roosevelt Island..

Take a ride with me from the Long Island City ferry dock to Roosevelt Island.

Click on full screen icon for better viewing.

Here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route schedule. Take a ride just for the fun of it!!!!!

UPDATE 8:30 PM - More from Twitter.

Friday, April 13, 2018

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal Community Report On Roosevelt Island Infrastructure, Westview Privatization, Rivercross Ground Lease, Sportspark Renovation, Tram Station Elevators, Ambulance Service, Youth Center, Beacon Child Center, Helix Repair, Motorgate Striping, Radar Speed Signs & More

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

The position of Public Information Officer (PIO) was recently created by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) to increase communication between us and our residents, to create a basis for a natural exchange of information and ideas. RIOC understands the absence of relevant up-to-date information creates a sense of disempowerment, mistrust and frustration. We are working to change that. We’re learning the more accurate information about our work that we share with the island community, the more we will work together for the common good.

I hope you will try to get to know RIOC’s newest officer Alonza Robertson (

I’m often e-mailed, phoned and stopped on Main Street by residents, community leaders and business owners asking about the who, what, when, why or how RIOC is going to do something they believe we should. Often my answers seemingly disarm preconceived notions that RIOC is an indifferent political oligarchy. This President’s Message column is a means of me providing you information before the questions even are asked.

Let’s increase this dialogue so RIOC can continue improving our service to you.

NYS Budget $25 Million

With the passage of the State of New York’s FY 2018 State Budget two weeks ago, RIOC will receive a $25 million payment to supplement its existing capital infrastructure improvement program.

The payment is the tangible result of a unique 2013 land-swap agreement - regarding a 2.62-acre parcel to help facilitate the Cornell-Tech campus development - between the State and RIOC. The money, according to the budget law, “is to be used in support of the comprehensive, multi-year capital program for capital improvements on Roosevelt Island.”

RIOC plans to add the funds to its existing five-year $40-million major improvements schedule, an aggressive plan that works to immediately address aging island infrastructure and public facilities that have had neither improvements nor significant repairs since their original construction 40 years ago.

Some of those capital improvement items include: the 59th Street tram station elevator construction, island-wide seawall railing replacements, Southpoint Park seawall construction, repairs to the AVAC sanitation system, Sportspark and youth center renovations, Motorgate parking garage repairs, Blackwell and Al Lewis playgrounds renovations, and Octagon and Firefighters field improvements.


I recently received some questions from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) about existing parking space and traffic striping issues in the Motorgate parking garage.

Although it has yet to be announced, RIOC has finalized a Request for Proposals to repair concrete spalls and expansion joints, re-waterproof all surfaces, and redo striping at the southern end of the garage facility.

Our Capital Planning and Projects team has reviewed the scope of work with the Motorgate engineering consultant. We expect to issue that RFP by April 30.

Upon the bid approval, by the RIOC Board of Directors, of the winning contractor, the work will commence on floors 3, 4, and 8, which is Phase 1 of the total project. The repairs will be conducted in two phases, as to not overly disrupt the garage’s ongoing operation. Each phase is estimated to cost about $5 million; the work duration for each phase will be shared once the contract has been awarded.
RIOC’s plan also includes new signage.

In the meantime, we’ve recently replaced and installed 13 new closed-circuit TV surveillance cameras at the garage to bolster our efforts, in addition to regular PSD patrols, to keep you and your parked vehicles secure.

Sportspark Renovation

RIRA also recently asked us to review their report and ideas for the Sportspark renovation project. While we have more plans to solicit community input on this project, we first should update you on the plan’s current state.

The first Sportspark RFP, set to be released by mid-June, is for design services and biddable documents only; not for physical renovation (that will be addressed in a subsequent RFP). Once we have a firm in place, then we will engage you, and the RIRA committee (and utilize our Cornell community study on possible programs) to receive your input and ideas on the renovation.

Members of our staff have reviewed the information RIRA provided, of which a majority involves facility concerns that we are aware of and agree should be addressed with the design.

We recognize RIRA is excited about the project and so are we. We look forward to working together. I will share additional updates as the project moves along.

Did you happen to notice the new outdoor basketball backboards and hoops installed this week at Capobianco Field, Blackwell Field and Sportspark?

HELIX Repair Update

The first lane demolition of the Helix is about 70 percent complete. Now uncovered we’ve found that the top of the structural slab is in much worse condition in some areas than we anticipated. That deterioration was caused by insufficient maintenance and inspection in addition to much heavier truck loads traveling the road than what the Helix was originally designed for.

We have also hired an additional traffic engineer to review our existing traffic control plan during the Helix construction and to present their findings and/or recommendations to the RIOC Board and community.

24/7 Ambulance and NYPD Patrol Vehicle

You should also note that RIOC Public Safety Department Chief Jack McManus has successfully lobbied the New York City Police Department and NYC Office of Emergency Management to station an NYPD patrol vehicle and FDNY ambulance on the Island 24 hours-a-day during the HELIX construction period meant to allay concerns about potential emergency response times due to Helix construction traffic.

When additional emergency response vehicles are dispatched to the Island, PSD is safely expediting their entry and exit by freezing all Helix traffic, in both directions, to accommodate those vehicles.

We also appreciate several island businesses – Gristedes, Coler Memorial Hospital, Cornell Tech and the Department of Environmental Protection – for their cooperation working with PSD in safely coordinating deliveries coming from oversize tractor trailers until after 3:30 p.m. every day.

Manhattan Tram Elevators

The permits for the Manhattan Tram Plaza elevator project were awarded earlier this month and construction work will begin soon. As I mentioned in my last column, two new aesthetically-improved glass elevators – that are more efficient and ADA accessible - are being built to replace the existing elevators.

The project – which we will execute with minimal impact on the Tram’s operation - is expected to last a year.

Radar Speed Signs

Radar speed signs, also known as driver feedback signs, are designed to slow down speeding drivers by alerting them of their, speed. They are being used across the country and in the past week, you might have noticed that two have been installed here on Roosevelt Island; one near Coler Memorial Hospital and the other near the Cornell Tech loop. The signs are mobile and can be moved to different locations throughout the Island as needed.

We remind everyone that the Island-wide speed limit is 15 miles per hour. Please slow down; speeding is hazardous to yourself, other motorists and pedestrians. Island speed limits will be monitored and enforced by the Public Safety Department.

Southtown 8 & 9, Rivercross Arbitration Settlement and Westview Ground Lease

RIOC’s Real Estate Development Advisory Committee met on Tuesday, April 3 to discuss all three of this agenda items. I know many of you anxiously await the details of the settlement and lease agreements of which I am not at liberty to currently discuss. I do encourage you to attend our next full RIOC board meeting Wednesday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Cultural Center Theatre.

Though its required environmental impact study is not yet complete, I thought I should share some additional details about the Southpark 8 and 9 residential towers, located immediately north of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge along Main Street on the island.

Building 8 will consist of a 21-story residential tower, 227-feet-tall with 341 affordable units.

Building 9 will consist of a 28-story, about 287-feet tall mixed-use building with 300 market-rate units and 7,000 square feet of commercial office space.

Building 8 is expected to be completed and operational by March 2020, while Building 9 is expected to be completed and operational by March 2022.

Youth Center Update

We’re making more changes at the Roosevelt Island Youth Center.

Our objective, since assuming management of the center’s operations March 5, is to develop the center, and its programming, into something that parents, students and staff could all enjoy.

Two weeks ago, RIOC posted new guidelines, which we intend to enforce, to keep the facility safe, supervised, alcohol and drug-free. Parents and older teens will no longer be able to roam the facility unsupervised; “sign-in” and “sign-out” and appropriate behavior policies have been drafted and will be enforced. I’ve linked the complete set of new rules to this letter and email. Please review these with your children, and explain that these changes should be viewed as improvements.

I am happy to announce that Erica Spencer-El, a long-time RIOC community relations manager has been promoted to Director of Community Affairs and the youth center will be one of her new management assignments, in addition to oversight of Community Relations and Island-wide events. More details on additional staff and programming additions, the scheduled renovation of the center and RIOC’s efforts to create a youth soccer program will be forthcoming.

Additionally, RIOC is proud to announce that we’ve waived all field usage fees to allow for the Child Center Beacon at 217 in partnership with the Roosevelt Island Center for Community Development and the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities to relaunch the Roosevelt Island Little League for ages 5 – 13 at no cost to participants. I encourage you to join and enjoy your child playing in the league’s 10-game season. Learn more and sign up here.

As we also announced previously, we are making island residents and organizations’ field and room requests priority when booking space for our outdoor fields and indoor facilities, according to availability. Capobianca Field will remain open year-round with no permit required. The 440 square-foot Lighthouse and 320 square-foot Blackwell rooms in the Cultural Center are also available free of charge with only a certificate of liability required to make a reservation. Please visit our website,, to see availability for all our recreation and community spaces.

Beacon/Child Center

In response to several parents’ concerns about the Child Center Beacon program here on the Island, we recently invited the program’s senior vice president and the City of New York’s associate commissioner for Youth and Community Development (which funds the Beacon program) to meet with a small group of Roosevelt Island parents.

It was a positive meeting and our parents vented their frustrations about the new Beacon program. We discussed the timeline of the Beacon’s expanded programming including potential summer camps, improved parent/program staff communications, and staffing ratios, among other things. Another informational meeting will be scheduled to discuss their improvements by the end of this month.

Sign-up for the latest Roosevelt news advisories, upcoming meetings and facility availabilities by visiting our new website, And, remember I want to hear from you; email our PIO,, with your questions or concerns!

Roosevelt Island Resident Fay Christian Resigns From RIOC Board Today - That's Two Resignations This Week

Reported yesterday on the resignation of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director Margie Smith. This morning learned that RIOC Board Director Fay Christian resigned today.

According to  RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) announced today that Fay Fryer Christian and Margaret Smith have both officially resigned from their posts as members of the corporation’s Board of Directors.

Smith resigned Monday April 9 and Christian’s resignation is effective today April 13.

"We thank both Ms. Smith and Ms. Christian for all their contributions to RIOC and I personally will miss them both,” said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal.

“They helped our organization grow as we have expanded services and programs as well as the planning of our proposed, multi-year $90-million capital-improvement plan. We wish them both all the best going forward,” Rosenthal said.

Smith has been a member of the Board since 2010 and served on the Governance and Operations Advisory committees.

Christian has been a member of the Board since 2008. She served on the Real Estate Committee.
Image of Fay Christian From RIOC

I've asked Ms. Christian for comment on reason for her resignation.

Will update with more info.

Currently there are 5 RIOC Board members, 3 of whom are residents and 2 NY State representatives. All 3 remaining RIOC Board Directors terms are expired. There are 9 RIOC Board Director seats.

You're Invited To A Saturday Afternoon Roosevelt Island Jazz Jam At Gallery RIVAA Tomorrow April 14

The Saturday Jazz Jam returns tomorrow to Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA. According to the Jazz Jam session curator Susheell Kurien:

Saturday April 14th, 4.00pm

Gallery RIVAA brings back music with spectacular art and the sounds of the RJS Jazz Project!

This is a unique band that first played together and clicked at the November 2017 Combinatorial Equation jam session at Gallery RIVAA.. So the band is named RJS (Rivaa Jam Session) Jazz Project!

Lynn Beville on vocals astounded and uplifted us with her spoken word and song poetry, supported and enhanced by Tamiko Roberts on keys, Yoshiki Miura on guitar, and Lester Harper on bass. Magic happened and a new sound emerged between the musicians,. The musicians have stayed in contact and agreed to return to RIVAA to capture the magic once again, with the addition of Steve on drums! and RJS Jazz Project's singer/poetress Lynn Beville will be sharing her stage with her vocalist friends.

The Rivaa Jam Session Jazz Project

Come out and support the music and a band that exists only because of Gallery RIVAA, Donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.

April 14th, 4.00pm

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - Or Take A Very Quick Ride Over The East River On Roosevelt Island Tram

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Or, take a very quick ride over the East River On the Roosevelt Island Tram.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes April 20 - April 26 Sales, Specials, Diamond Value Reward Items - Free Delivery With $75 Or More Purchase, Fresh Sushi & Poke Bowls Too

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

invites you to check out their:
  • Groceries, 
  • Organic & Gourmet, Gluten/Soy/GMO Free
  • Snacks
  • Meat, 
  • Fresh Produce, 
  • Seafood, 
  • Frozen, 
  • Deli &;
  • Fresh Bakery
  • & Diamond Value Rewards Items 
Offerings for April 20 - April 26

Don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Wednesday and Sign Up for the Gristedes Diamond Loyalty Rewards Program.

Also, Fresh Sushi and Poke Bowls available 

at the Roosevelt Island Gristedes Cafe.

More Gristedes Supermarket information available at their web site, Facebook Page and Twitter feed.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Margie Smith Resigns From RIOC Board Of Directors - Roosevelt Island Loses A Strong Advocate For Residents

Margie Smith resigned her seat as a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director earlier this week.

RIOC Board Directors are unpaid volunteers who devote substantial amounts of time to important issues facing Roosevelt Island. 

According to Ms. Smith, her decision to resign was completely voluntary. Had she chosen to do so, she could have remained as a RIOC Director, even though her term of office expired long ago, as have the terms for all the other RIOC Directors.

Ms Smith writes in her letter of resignation:
When I first joined the RIOC board it was after an election where the residents of the Island chose the people they wanted on the board.

I strongly support elections for board members. It’s been 8 years since I was appointed to a 4 year term. During my tenure the Governor replaced one elected member with a non-elected, non-resident. Another board member has resigned and not been replaced in spite of the fact that there have been several elections where the residents have chosen new board members to fill the empty seats and replace some of the current board members.

 I see no sign that any action is contemplated any time soon. I don’t believe the residents intended for board members to remain in their seats years after their terms had expired. My leaving at this point gives the city and state time to fill my seat this June. Waiting any longer leaves the same board in place for another year.

Because of this, and because I see more State control over the board than ever, and certainly more control than what was told to us in our NYS board training, I find myself philosophically out of step with some of the decisions made by the Board.

I intend to remain involved in several projects that are on the table right now, specifically the Hope Memorial and the Island of Arts. My role will be that of an interested resident rather than a Board member. I wish the remaining board members luck in the future and will give them my total support in this very difficult job they’ve taken on for the community.
Ms Smith's was a fierce advocate for the interests of the Roosevelt Island community within the framework of her fiduciary duties as a RIOC Board Director and proper corporate governance. Also, she sought to strengthen the role of the RIOC Board to make major policy decisions, including the hiring and firing of RIOC senior executive staff.

However, she was not successful in establishing a practice of the RIOC Board hiring and firing senior RIOC staff.

Ms Smih's voice on the RIOC Board will be missed.

When RIOC is looking for a new President, Ms Smith should be considered, if she is interested.

Here's more on the 2017 RIOC Board Nominee recommendation elections and potential new RIOC Directors.

UPDATE 4/13 - RIOC Board Director Fay Christian resigned today.
According to  RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) announced today that Fay Fryer Christian and Margaret Smith have both officially resigned from their posts as members of the corporation’s Board of Directors.

Smith resigned Monday April 9 and Christian’s resignation is effective today April 13.

"We thank both Ms. Smith and Ms. Christian for all their contributions to RIOC and I personally will miss them both,” said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal.

“They helped our organization grow as we have expanded services and programs as well as the planning of our proposed, multi-year $90-million capital-improvement plan. We wish them both all the best going forward,” Rosenthal said.

Smith has been a member of the Board since 2010 and served on the Governance and Operations Advisory committees.

Christian has been a member of the Board since 2008. She served on the Real Estate Committee.

You're Invited To Community Board 8 Public Forum This Evening On Homelessness In NYC, What Is Being Done And How Can We Help?

Manhattan Community Board 8 (CB 8) represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. This evening the CB 8 Health, Seniors & Social Services Committee is presenting a public forum and panel discussion on:

Among the panelists are Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos.
The CB 8 Homeless Forum starts 6:30 PM at Ramaz School - Heyman Auditorium 125 East 85th Street (Lexington-Park).

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

RIOC Promotes Erica Spencer-EL To New Director Of Community Relations Position - Responsible For Community Relations, Events & Roosevelt Island Youth Center

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director of Public Information Alonza Roberson reports:
Erica Spencer-EL, an employee of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation since 2007, was promoted Tuesday to the new Director of Community Affairs position.

“We are happy to announce that Erica Spencer-EL, a long-time RIOC community relations manager has been promoted to the position of Director of Community Affairs,” said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal. “Erica’s new position will encompass oversight of the community relations department, Island-wide events and the Roosevelt Island Youth Center,” she said.

While serving in her previous positions as a Community Relations Specialist and Community Relations Manager, Spencer-EL demonstrated management success negotiating several internal and external RIOC partnership agreements, procedures and program agreements.

Some of those successes include:
  • The design and drafting of the first-ever operating procedures for the renovated RI Cultural Center
  • Establishing the Bike New York program on Roosevelt Island, a free bicycle workshop and training center for residents
  • Helping create several Island and Main Street beautification initiatives including seasonal street banners, holiday lamp posts and tree lights (working with co-sponsors Hudson Companies Inc.), the Motorgate Art Gallery and the soon-to-be unveiled Good Shepherd Garden rotating sculpture display featuring works from local artists.
RIOC Chief Operation Officer Shelton Hayes added, “during my time here, I’ve watched Erica grow professionally and I personally recommended her for this promotion with no hesitation.”

Other initiatives that Spencer-EL was responsible for include RIOC’s internal and external marketing and branding; the planning and implementation of eight annual community events, including Roosevelt Island Day, the Fall for Arts Festival and July 4th event; as well as creating and managing RIOC’s first community-wide emergency alert notification system and the recent redesign and launch of the new RIOC website.

“During my tenure here at Roosevelt Island, I’ve worked hard to build sustainable relationships which not only allowed me to connect with our residents, but also resulted in my gaining a deep understanding of the community’s needs,” said Spencer-EL, who will supervise a staff of five employees including Jessica Murray, RIOC’s current communications and events coordinator.

“I’m looking forward to providing professional and unique programming to benefit the Island’s evolving community of young adults, families, and our growing population of active and involved youth,” she said.

Spencer-EL is a Philadelphia native and a 2000 graduate of Temple University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Sports Science. She formerly founded an inner-city Fencing program in Houston, Texas and previously served in programs such as Nike P.L.A.Y. Corps and the National Youth Sports Program providing coaching, clinics and activities of non-traditional sports to children in underserved communities.

She was a collegiate varsity team fencer, is a New York Yankees and Rangers fan and spends her free time engaged in activities with her four children. She is also a member of A Better New York (ABNY), Black Women in Sports Foundation and the New York State Policy and Networking Group.

RIOC expressed thanks to former Roosevelt Island Youth Center Director Roy Magsisi and members of his staff for their work in keeping the center open with no service disruptions during this transition period.

Help Raise Awareness For Bone Marrow Transplant Registry - 8th Annual Roosevelt Island Icla da Silva Foundation 5 K Matchmaker Run/Walk Saturday May 5

According to the Icla da Silva Foundation:
The Icla da Silva Foundation originated on Roosevelt Island in 1992. Icla, a young girl from Brazil with leukemia, moved with her family to Roosevelt Island, where they began their US search for a life-saving bone marrow transplant. They never found a matching donor and the foundation began in her loving memory.

The mission of the Icla da Silva Foundation is to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors and by providing support services to children and adults with leukemia and other diseases treatable by marrow transplants. Since inception, the Foundation has registered over 500,000 potential bone marrow donors, facilitated more than 600 bone marrow transplants, and assisted over 2000 patients and their families with emotional, financial and logistical support as they go through the process of searching for a matching donor. The Icla da Silva Foundation is 501(c)3 nonprofit.
This is the 8th MatchMaker 5K Run/Walk on Roosevelt Island.

All proceeds aid in the search for matching bone marrow donors and to fund patient support services.

The Icla da Silva Foundation has opened registration to their annual 5K Run/Walk on Roosevelt Island. The race will begin Saturday May 5, 2018 at 10AM at Firefighters field. The link to register is:

Schedule of Events

Saturday, May 5th

Firefighters Field

9:00 AM Race Village Opens

9:15 AM Pre-race Stretch

9:30 AM Tot Trot (50 yard Dash for Kids age 4 and under)

9:45 AM 100 Yard Dash for Icla beginners (age 7 and under)

10:00 AM Matchmaker 5K Race Begins

11:00 AM Awards Ceremony
Watch this video and learn more about the Icla da Silva Foundation and how it began with a young Brazilian girl and her family coming to Roosevelt Island  seeking a life saving bone marrow transplant.

Click here to learn more about the Icla da Silva Foundation and register or donate to the Roosevelt Island May 5 Matchmaker Run/Walk.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Management Upheaval At Roosevelt Island Youth Center Continues - RIOC Removes Newly Hired, Well Liked And Respected Director Today

After a bitter and contentious community battle to remove the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) and it's Executive Director Charlie Defino as the long time operator of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) initiated an interim after school drop in program for children in grades 2-8 beginning March 5. On March 17, RIOC added an evening program for youth ages 13-21.

RIOC hired the well liked and respected former RIYP Director Roy Magsisi

 Roy Magisi (center) With RI Youth Center Kids at RIYP March 2 Last Day Farewell

to manage it's interim Youth Center.

Today, RIOC Director Of Operations Shelton Haynes informed Mr. Magsisi

that he was being fired effective immediately. At least one other former RIYP employee who RIOC hired for the Interim Youth Center was also fired. According to Mr. Magsisi, no reason was given by RIOC for his firing other than:
We are moving in a different direction.
After learning of his dismissal, Mr Magsisi sent this email to the families who rely upon the Roosevelt Island Youth Center:
I regret to inform you all that I have been terminated from my position at the Youth Center with RIOC, effective immediately.

It has been a remarkable and humbling experience serving the youth community of Roosevelt Island. I have seen many of them grow (so quickly!) in the past 5 years. Meanwhile, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of your younger children. The children, YOUR children give me so much hope for the future of the community, the Island and our society.

Unfortunately, the Piano classes and SAT Prep classes are suspended indefinitely.

I feel so terribly disappointed - in myself. I've let you all down. For that, I am so sorry and I will regret not doing or fighting enough.
During a March 4 community meeting, Mr Magsisi expressed his plans for the interim center including continuing the RIYP practice of keeping children in the Youth Center in the event parents are late in picking them up after 6 PM.

RIOC had no comment today regarding the reason for firing Mr. Magsisi. However, RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson reported:
...Erica Spencer-El, a long-time RIOC community relations manager has been promoted to Director of Community Affairs and the youth center will be one of her new management assignments, in addition to oversight of Community Relations and Island-wide events. More details on additional staff and programming additions, the scheduled renovation of the center and RIOC’s efforts to create a youth soccer program will be forthcoming.
Below are the new RIOC rules and regulations for the Roosevelt Island Youth Center:
The following guidelines and rules have been developed in an effort to help all of us achieve our objective of operating a safe, supervised, and drug/alcohol-free facility for the enjoyment and benefit of all Youth Center patrons and staff of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center.

All participants of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center agree to that the following rules apply to all and that disobeying them may result in a ban from the Youth Center program.

1. Most important: Join in, have fun, and let others have fun too.

2. All participants must sign in at the start of every session.

3. Generally, all participants must sign out at the conclusion of a session. In the event a participant does leave a session early, the participant must sign out, and leave the premises. Participants in the fifth grade or higher may sign out on their own; participants in grades below the fifth grade must be signed out by an authorized person listed on the participant’s Youth Center Contact Information Form.

4. RESPECT EVERYONE: members, staff, and visitors.

5. No bullying, fighting, swearing or theft.

6. No excessive rowdiness or other inappropriate behavior.

7. No discrimination: participants are to treat everyone fairly.

8. No alcohol, drugs, or smoking anywhere inside or around the immediate areas of the Youth Center– NO EXCEPTIONS! Anyone suspected by our adult staff to be under the influence of drugs, in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia, or having used drugs, alcohol or any controlled substance, of possessing a weapon, will result in their parents being contacted.

9. Anyone found to be in possession of drugs, alcohol or any controlled substance, including drug paraphernalia or any weapon, while inside the Youth Center or its surrounding areas, will be immediately reported to the Public Safety Department, parents will be called, and the participant will be prohibited from using the Youth Center.

10. No littering: Participants are expected to use all bins, trashcans, and exercise a reasonable effort to keep the Youth Center looking tidy, neat and clean.

11. No running inside the Youth Center facility.

12. No playing of dangerous games.

13. Health and safety rules apply at all times.

14. No damage, vandalism or graffiti of any kind to personal or public property.

15. Keep computer use clean and safe (If you don’t know, ASK!)

16. No food or drink is allowed on the 2nd Floor.

17. If you have an allergy, you must inform Youth Center Staff and also include such information on the Youth Center Contact Information Form.

18. Absolutely no products that contain nuts, or nut bi-products, will be allowed on the premises.

Stay tuned for more.

UPDATE 4/11 - RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson adds:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has scheduled an informational meeting for parents of the Island’s Youth Center participants this Saturday, April 14 at 5 p.m. to allow senior leaders to discuss and answer questions about recent staff and policy changes.

On Tuesday, RIOC promoted Erica Spencer-EL as its new Director of Community Affairs and made the center’s management her priority directive. Steven Ayala, Johanne Enama and Abhipsha “Abby” Mainali all joined RIOC as interim staff members in the past month and will continue to help run the Center’s operations.

Roy Magsisi, the Center’s previous director is no longer affiliated with RIOC and the Youth Center as of Tuesday, April 10. As a result, the piano and homework assistance classes, previously taught by Magsisi, are suspended temporarily. “We would like to thank Roy for his work in helping keep the Center open for our young people,” said RIOC Chief Operating Officer Shelton Haynes.

A detailed set of facility rules and policies has been recently released also. “Our objective is and remains, since assuming management of the Center’s operations March 5, is to develop the Center, and its structured programming, into something that parents, students and staff could all enjoy,” Haynes said.

At the parents meeting, to be held at the 506 Main St. facility, Haynes and Spencer-EL will discuss the recent personnel and policy moves, the creation of a Parents Advisory Committee, center hours (currently weekdays from 2:45 p.m. – 6 p.m. for students in grades 2 – 8; and 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. for youth ages 13 – 21), its planned renovation schedule and future programming, including an eight-week youth soccer skills workshop and tournament.

Take Home Free, Fresh, Compost For Your Roosevelt Island Gardening Projects At Big Reuse Food Scrap Drop Off In Good Shepherd Plaza Saturday, April 14 - Bring Your Food Scraps Too

Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn Founder Christina Delfico reports:

Congratulations Islanders - since 2015 over 65,000 pounds of food scraps have been collected each Saturday and transformed into compost.

The Roosevelt Island Garden Club, iDig2Learn, and Island Girl Scouts are thrilled to announce that our food scrap partner Big Reuse will host a compost giveaway on Saturday, April 14th, 2018.

Stop by the food scrap drop next to the Farmers Market this Saturday from 9:30 am until 2 pm and take home some compost for your houseplants, windowsill herbs, tree pits or garden projects. Bring your own container.

This RIOC approved partnership helped Islanders divert 32 tons of waste from landfill and is growing each Saturday as islanders add their food scraps.

Composting also means fewer trips to the garbage chute because separating wet organics out keeps your trash dry longer.

Want to try composting?

Fill a Tupperware with weekly coffee grinds, pasta, bread, egg shells, vegetable and fruit scraps in the refrigerator or freezer and drop each Saturday.

Even avocado and mango pits are okay to drop!

Keep dropping those scraps!

Big Reuse will host the Roosevelt Island Compost give away on Saturday, April 14, at the Roosevelt Island Food Scrap Drop Off location in Good Shepherd Plaza.
According to Big Reuse:
We compost food scraps locally at our processing site under the Queensboro Bridge in LIC. In 2016, we diverted over 1 million pounds of organic waste from landfills!
Watch this November 2017 Facebook Live video for more info on the Big Reuse food scrap compost processing under Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City.

More on Roosevelt Island food scrap composting at this previous post.

Monday, April 9, 2018

NYC Participatory Budget Voting This Week - Roosevelt Island NY Public Library Tech Upgrade And PS/IS 217 Cafeteria Renovation Among Projects On Ballot For Funding By Council Member Ben Kallos

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos is seeking your help in allocating $1 Million in 2018 Participatory Budget funding of Manhattan Council District 5 capital projects. According to Council Member Kallos:

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. In other words, the people who pay taxes decide how tax dollars get spent. Participatory budgeting is grassroots democracy at its best. It helps make budget decisions clear and accessible. It gives real power to people who have never before been involved in the political process. And it results in better budget decisions - because who better knows the needs of our community than the people who live there?...

... For the time being, PBNYC only deals with CAPITAL money. That means community members can propose projects like improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, and other public or community spaces....
Each year residents in my district ages 11 or at least in the 6th grade may vote on how to spend one million dollars in the community through Participatory Budgeting. You can see the ballot at, which was decided with the process is run by residents just like you who volunteer as Delegates. Learn more at

VOTING: April 7 – APRIL 15

Vote in our District Office, 244 E. 93rd Street:
Monday – Friday, 4/9 - 4/15, 9AM - 5PM

We will also make voting more convenient by bringing the ballots closer to you at mobile voting sites throughout the district with help from this cycle’s budget delegates who will be sponsoring even more vote sites as they continue to shepherd the process. We hope you will consider volunteering with our office:...
You can also vote online.
There are two Roosevelt Island capital projects on the Manhattan Council District 5 Participatory Budget Ballot:
1- NYPL District Libraries Technology Upgrade
E. 67th St, Webster & Roosevelt Island($200,000) New computers, printers, self-checkout kiosks, phone systems, network equipment and free high-speed WiFi.

7- PS/IS 217 Cafeteria Renovations
645 Main St, Roosevelt Island ($300,000) Re-tiling cafeteria floors and fixing cracks.
Roosevelt Island resident Irena Skuletic proposed Participatory Budget funding of the PS/IS 217 cafeteria. Ms Skuletic reports:
It’s that time of the year again! Roosevelt Island has another project on city’s Participatory Budget Ballot — PS/IS 217 cafeteria floor repair! Please make sure you cast your vote on April 11th or April 13th.

PS/IS 217 is not just our zoned school, but a place that is open to the whole community and hosts amazing events. From weekend children programs to adult classes, PS/IS 217 building continues to be an integral part of our everyday life.

Our proposed re-tiling of the cafeteria floors and fixing the cracks would benefit all children that visit the school and enjoy free summer meals (both breakfast and lunch)!

Make sure you cast your vote next week:

Polling sites will be at the Roosevelt Island Subway station on Wednesday April 11th from 4pm to 7pm, and at PS/IS 217 on Friday April 13th from 7am to 10am.

Kids 11 years and older are eligible to vote as well, so this can serve as a great civic duty lesson.

Please stop by and help us get funds for this amazing project. This is another chance for us to show the strength of our community!
Here's the NYC Council District 5 Participatory Budget Ballot including all 13 proposed capital projects. You may cast up to 5 votes.

Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 was the winner of $500,000 in Participatory Budget funds in both 2015 and 2016

 Image Of 2015 Green Roof Celebration From PS/IS 217 PTA

 for a Green Roof project.

UPDATE 4/12 Participatory Budget voting outside Roosevelt Island F Train subway station last night.
and you can vote Friday, April 13 at PS/IS 217 too.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Series Of Painting & Drawing Classes Begin Monday April 9 At Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center - Explore The Visual Arts And Create Your Own Masterpiece With Bethany

Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center Outreach Coordinator Yulisa Santana reports:

We’re excited to announce a new art class: Exploration in visual arts with Bethany, which will begin Monday, April 9th and end June 25th – 9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm . The class and instructor are generously brought to us by 92 Street Y.

Getting Started: Drawing & Painting at Roosevelt Island Senior Center

Join teaching artist Bethany Robertson for a series of drawing and painting classes. Create your own masterpieces in Drawing, Drawing with Color, and Watercolor and Acrylics. All artists will be invited to participate in a celebratory exhibition at the completion of the series!

In this four-session class, students will develop introductory drawing skills including proportion, mark making, value, line and line quality is explored. Students will work in black and white media on paper from still-life, photographs, and self-portrait. Materials to be used will be pencil, charcoal, and ink. The principles and techniques will be used in combination to develop a finished self-portrait, approached using some tricks and tips to make the process more accessible to beginners.

Mondays, April 9, 16, 23, 30. 9:30 AM – 12 PM or 1 – 3:30 PM, 4 Sessions


Using both chalk and oil pastels, students will focus on landscape and observational botanical drawings, with an emphasis on mark-making and line. We will look mostly at Impressionism and how the color and mark- making can be used to convey textures and form. Weather pending, we will go outside to draw a set of botanical studies from life, or draw real plants inside if inclement weather.

Mondays, May 7 & 14, 9:30 AM – 12 PM or 1 – 3:30 PM, 2 Sessions

Covering a variety of techniques for both paints, this course will start with more abstract techniques with watercolor and acrylic and build up to applying paint onto a canvas using a palette knife. Students will be encouraged to explore transparency/opacity, texture, and mixing color with paint. Ending the class we will paint from a found photo or photo of choice, using a simple transfer method to lay out outlines, onto a canvas!

Mondays, May 21, 28, June 4, 11, 9:30 AM – 12 PM or 1 – 3:30 PM, 4 Sessions

More info on the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center here.