Saturday, April 21, 2018

Long Line Stretching To Second Avenue For Roosevelt Island Tram Today, Main Street Traffic Jam Too - 10 Thousand People Visited Roosevelt Island Today For Cherry Blossom Festival Says RIOC

Long lines for the Roosevelt Island Tram at Manhattan Station this afternoon.

Also, car  traffic was backed up from the Motorgate Ramp Helix to Blackwell House.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) reports 10 Thousand people

came to Roosevelt Island today

for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Also, the Riverwalk Commons area was packed with crowds leaving trash on the sidewalk

and overflowing garbage cans.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Take A Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Tree Walk Along East River Promenade Next To Cornell Tech Campus

Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms are in bloom. I took a Cherry Blossom Tree walk today along the West Promenade next to the East River and Cornell Tech campus. Come along.

The Cherry Trees are blooming right in time for tomorrow's annual Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival.

Roosevelt Island Visitor Trapped In Southpoint Park Bathroom - Says More Unlocked Outdoor Bathrooms Needed For Tourists

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares message she received from a visitor complaining about the Southpoint Park bathrooms.

According to the visitor:
Day before yesterday I went to Roosevelt Island for a walk. I had to use the bathroom but half of them were closed. I got into one bathroom and then got locked inside because the door was jammed.

I tried to push the door but that was so hard to push The bathroom was so hot i was about to lose my sense.

Then I screamed and a guy came and opened the door by the third time.

Do you think its a best way to welcome our tourists? I know I'm from New York.

What if someone from outside of New York got this same situation????

I hope you will unlocks all the door from the back and repair your door.
Ms Berdy adds:
... a common complaint that half the bathroom at the Southpoint entrance are closed and locked.
With the weather warming up, and Cherry Blossom Festival tomorrow, expect alot of Roosevelt Island visitors looking for a bathroom to use.

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Gridlock Sam Schwartz To Consult On Roosevelt Island Helix Repairs Traffic Problems Among Items In RIOC President's Report To Board Directors - Also, Tram Platform Repairs, Tram Elevator Update, Bike Ramp, Youth Center & Thanks Former Directors For Service

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal reported to the April 18 Board of Directors meeting on the following:

Also, Ms Rosenthal thanked Public Safety Department Chief Jack McManus for arranging to have a NYPD car and FDNY ambulance stationed on Roosevelt Island during the Helix ramp construction repairs. Chief McManus added that it was Deputy Chief Kevin Brown who made the arrangements.

Good News, Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival Tomorrow

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Plan on a crowded Roosevelt Island for Saturday's Cherry Blossom Festival. Schedule here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Registration Begins Today For New Roosevelt Island 8 Week Spring Soccer Program For Kids In Grades 6 -12 - Skills, Drills, Scrimmages & Games Says RIOC

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

The new Roosevelt Island Youth Soccer program is extending an open invitation to boys and girls, of all skill levels in grades 6-12, to “get in the game.”

On Thursday, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), announced registration is now open for their nine-week spring soccer program that will feature skills training, fundamental drills, scrimmages and games to be led by New York City-area collegiate soccer players and parent volunteers.

The program is open to both residents and non-residents of Roosevelt Island.

“There are more than three million young people playing soccer in the United States and that number continues to rise every year,” said Erica Spencer-EL, RIOC’s newly-appointed Director of Community Affairs and managing director of Island’s Youth Center.

“Interest in youth soccer is just as high here on Roosevelt Island,” she said. “We’re excited to debut something popular, fun and physically beneficial for our children.”

Like many youth sports, experts agree that soccer teaches life lessons about collaboration and cooperation.

“Besides mastering the ability to control, shield, juggle, and dribble the ball with both feet, we want to teach our young people how to work together,” said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal.

The free program will run every Saturday from May 5 through June 30 at the Island’s Octagon Field. Starting at 9 a.m., there will be eight different workshop sessions, organized by age and skill level, lasting up to 90 minutes.

Click here to sign-up. Registration ends Monday, April 30. Parents interested in volunteer coaching are encouraged to email the program at

“Soccer is the first of, what we hope will be, many new program options for our Youth Center and community as a whole,” Spencer-EL said.
RIOC previously announced that the Roosevelt Island spring soccer program would partner with St Johns and Fordham University.

RIOC plans for the operation of Roosevelt Island Youth Center was discussed at April 14 meeting with parents. Video of meeting here.

Click here to sign-up for the Roosevelt Island Spring Summer Soccer Program.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Welcome Sign Of Spring, Roosevelt Island Subway Fruit Stand Returns

You know spring is here and warm weather approaching on Roosevelt Island when the Subway Fruit Stand vendor returns

and he is here today.

Welcome back.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Roosevelt Island Rivercross Arbitration Settlement Agreement, Southtown Riverwalk Development Zoning Override, FDR Hope Memorial Among Items On Agenda For RIOC April 18 Board Meeting - Public Comment Period Prior To Meeting Start

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet 5:30 PM Wednesday April 18 at at the Cultural Center Theater, 548 Main Street.

As previously reported, RIOC Directors Margie Smith and Faye Christian resigned last week leaving only 5 of the 9 RIOC Board seats filled with 3 resident Board members and 2 NY State representatives.

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:

  • Authorization to “Override’ the New York City Zoning Resolution in Connection with the Development of Southtown Buildings 8 & 9
  • Authorization to Enter into Settlement Agreement in Connection with the Rivercross Arbitration and Second Amendment of the Rivercross Ground Lease 
  • and Authorization to Take Certain Actions to Assume the Responsibility for the FDR Hope Memorial Project Execution within the Southpoint Open Space Area

Below is the April 18 RIOC Board meeting full agenda and Board Materials on each Agenda Item.





5:30 P.M.[1]

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes

1. March 1, 2018 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

New Business

1. Authorization to “Override’ the New York City Zoning Resolution in Connection with the Development of Southtown Buildings 8 & 9 (Board Action Required)

2. Ratification of Insurance Binders for FY 2018-19 (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization to Enter into Settlement Agreement in Connection with the Rivercross Arbitration and Second Amendment of the Rivercross Ground Lease (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Gardner & Theobald, Inc. for Owner's Representative Services for Capital Projects & Strategic Planning (Board Action Required)

5. Approval of Extension of the FY 2017-18 Public Purpose Grants Period (Board Action Required)

6. Ratification of Contract with Derive Technologies LLC and EIA Datacom, Inc. for the Purchase of Surveillance Cameras (Board Action Required)

7. Authorization to Enter into Contract with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officers Benevolent Association (Board Action Required)

8. Ratification of the Amendment of Contract with New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. for Cleaning Services at RIOC’s Facilities (Board Action Required)

9. Authorization to Take Certain Actions to Assume the Responsibility for the FDR Hope Memorial Project Execution within the Southpoint Open Space Area (Board Action Required)

10. President’s Report

11. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

12. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

By chance, I ran into two Rivercross residents separately yesterday and today and during our conversation both asked:
... why wasn't I aware of the Rivercross arbitration settlement and RIOC meeting tomorrow on subject?
I did not have an answer for them.

Also, note that the Westview ground lease agreement, which was the subject of an April 3 Executive Session RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting, is not on tomorrow's RIOC Board meeting agenda.

UPDATE 4/19 - Agenda items were approved.

Roosevelt Island NIsi Restaurant Launches New Menu Today Combining Classic Trellis Diner Items With New Favorites - 14 Pages Of Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Happy Hour, Vegan Corner & Kids Menu Too

Roosevelt Island Nisi Restaurant owners

Kaie & Alex Razaghai report:
After many requests from island residents & loyal customers we have been working around the clock to change our menu and revert to a diner format.

We launched our new menu today. It is a combination of all the classics we used to have as Trellis as well as certain dishes that have been a hit with our original menu as Nisi.

The new menu can be viewed on our Nisi Restaurant website site. We are currently working on Online Ordering and it should be ready early next week through our website

This is in no way our final menu, to date we have been open around 5 months and this is the 9th variation to the menu since we opened. It is our goal to never become complacent with our food or our service, but to gradually keep improving everyday.

With the support of our community as well as regular feedback, Nisi will keep transforming for the better.
The 14 page menu includes Breakfast

and Lunch Specials,
Happy Hour,

a Vegan Corner
and a Kid's Menu.

Here's the full 14 Page new Nisi Restaurant Menu.

Stop by the new Nisi Restaurant, try the new menu and and say

Hi to Kaie and Alex. Bring some friends and meet some new friends at Roosevelt Island's Nisi restaurant.

UPDATE 8:15 PM - A Roosevelt Island residents asks for a longer Happy Hour:
Just wanted to suggest that Nisi might benefit from extending their Happy Hour to 7 pm.

After all, most people who work full time are unable to take advantage of the deals which means the owners lose the entire after work crowd who might otherwise stop by for a drink. Just seems like something they should consider, I've spoken to quite a few younger working Islanders about this and we all agree!

Monday, April 16, 2018

You're Invited To The 2018 Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival Saturday April 21, Japanese Cultural Performances, Fair, Food, Tea Ceremony & Picnic - It's The Prettiest Time Of Year

It's the prettiest time of the year on Roosevelt Island when the Cherry Blossoms bloom.

The annual Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Cherry Blossom Festival takes place this Saturday, April 21.
The schedule is as follows:
South Point Park
11:00 am: Tea Ceremony

West Promenade across from Cornell Tech
11:00 am: Community Picnics (food vendors available)

Four Freedoms Park

12:30 pm Opening Remarks and Performances

Shamisen (Kicho Kai) Japanese String Ensemble

Japanese classical Dance (IchiFuji-kai Dance Association)

Koto (Masayo Ishigure and Koto Shamisen Ensemble)

The Molice

Japanese blues (Kayo Yoshioka of Neo blues maki)

Japanese Folk Dances (RIJA Yosakoi Dancers)

Community Folk Dance Lesson (sponsored by MSTDA)

Japanese Taiko Drummers (Soh Daiko)

Gallery RIVAA 527 Main Street

12:00 - 3:00 pm Japanese Cultural Fair (kimono try-on, origami fishing game; craft with kids sponsored by RI Parents Network; hat making and painting sponsored by RIVAA)

Here are some scenes from 2017 Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival.

UPDATE 4:45 PM - Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson adds:
Thousands are expected to pack several Roosevelt Island parks this coming Saturday, April 21 for the 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival which will feature a Japanese cultural fair, a tea ceremony, music, dance and food.

This annual free event was first organized by the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) in the wake of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake that hit northern Japan. That spring, the group joined with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), the Japanese Association of Roosevelt Island and the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA) to dedicate a grove of cherry blossoms in a display of solidarity for the Japanese people. Today there are more than 600 Japanese cherry trees planted on the Island, the largest single collection in New York City.

The festival’s schedule is as follows:

Southpoint Park
11 a.m. Tea Ceremony - The traditional Japanese tea ceremony, which is a symbol of peace, harmony and happiness, involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha or powdered green tea.

West Promenade across from Cornell Tech
11 a.m. Community picnics (food vendors will also be available).

FDR Four Freedoms Park
12:30 p.m. - Opening remarks by Masaru Sato, deputy consul general Consulate General of Japan in New York, New York State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation President Susan Rosenthal and Jeffrey Escobar, RIRA president, among others.

12:45 p.m. - Traditional Japanese folk songs by the Kicho Kai Japanese String Ensemble. The group, also known as the Happy Butterfly Group, is comprised of students of the late Kiharu Nakamura, who was a famous geisha in her earlier life. The members maintain Nakamura’s spirit by playing the shamisen music she taught them.

1:15 p.m. – Dance performance by the IchiFuji-kai Dance Association. Founded in 1961, IchiFuji-kai is one of the few Japanese cultural organizations that performs purely classical Japanese dance in full costumes.

1:55 p.m. - Performance by the Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble, a New York-based group founded and headed by accomplished musician Masayo Ishigure and consists of members of the Sawai Koto Academy which is one of the United States’ most prominent schools for contemporary koto and shamisen music.

2:40 p.m. - Music performance by indie rock band The Molice. This female-fronted trio recently released a new six-track EP entitled, “Signs.” The Molice have a unique musical style that incorporates elements from some of rock’s most influential bands, such as The Police, The Doors, and The Pixies.

3:20 p.m. – Neo Blues Maki performance: Led by vocalist Kayo Yoshioka, this band's unique contemporary approach to old school Japanese soul music has been a New York City festival-circuit favorite since 2009.

3:50 p.m. - RIJA Yosakoi Dancers

4:15 p.m. - Community folk dance lesson, sponsored by the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance.

4:40 p.m. - Soh Daiki taiko drummers; this group was founded in 1979 as the first East Coast taiko drumming group under the guidance of the New York Buddhist Church.

Gallery RIVAA
12:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Japanese Cultural Fair

Visitors are encouraged to take the iconic Roosevelt Island Tram, the new NYC Ferry Astoria line, or the F-train to Roosevelt Island, and then walk or take the Island’s free Red Bus to the events.
UPDATE 4/20 - I took a Cherry Blossom Tree walk today along the West Promenade next to the East River and Cornell Tech campus. Come along.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

What's Going On At The Roosevelt Island Youth Center - RIOC Hosts Information Session On Current And Future Plans For Parents Yesterday, Watch Video Of What Happened

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) hosted a Youth Center informational session for parents yesterday, April 14, in the aftermath of last week's management upheaval at the Youth Center.

RIOC Chief Operating Officer Shelton Haynes and Director of Community Affairs Erica Spencer-EL presented RIOC's current and future plans for the Youth Center to concerned parents.

Ms Spencer-EL told the parents:

We're going to make it our priority to make sure that we have sufficient programming at the Youth Center....
She added:
  • current hours will stay the same for younger (2:45 - 6 PM) and older kids (6:30 - 8:30 PM) for now and may be reevaluated in the future. The music and SAT program will continue too,
  • there will be a RIOC Summer Youth Center program but hours are not set yet. Also, there are discussions to partner with the Beacon Program for a summer camp,
  • there will be an 8 Week summer Soccer Program beginning May 5 in partnership with Fordham and St John's University to provide clinics, workshops, drills and scrimmages for 6th - 12th graders,
  • formation of Parents Advisory Group to improve communication between RIOC and the Youth Center families.
Mr Haynes and Ms. Spencer-EL emphasized that RIOC does not want the Youth Center services to compete with services offered by the PS/IS 217 Beacon Program.

Here's video of the RIOC presentation (part 1)

followed by a question and answer session.

Part 2. What services will be offered to the older Roosevelt Island youth?

Part 3.
  • RIOC will run the Youth Center going forward with no plans to hire an outside group.
  • Decision to not allow younger and older kids to be in the Youth Center at same time was made for safety reasons though when asked,, no answer was given for specific examples of past safety problems. That decision may be reevaluated in the future.
  • Parents expressed dissatisfaction with the services offered by current PS/IS 217 Beacon Center operator.

Part 4.
  • A Parent asked for a return to the clubhouse feel at the Youth Center with a choice of activities for kids rather than being "warehoused" in a cafeteria setting as they are at the PS/IS 217 Beacon Program.
  • Mr Haynes and Ms.Spencer-EL asked for continued feedback with the community to provide the best possible Youth Center services for Roosevelt Island youth.

RIOC is looking for a dialogue with Roosevelt Island parents and kids to best utilize the Youth Center. Let RIOC know what you think?