Friday, October 19, 2018

Report From RIOC President Susan Rosenthal - NY State $25 Million Cornell Tech Payment Not Received Yet, Roosevelt Island Youth Center Update, Halloween Parade Theme Rock Icons, Veterans Celebration & More

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

Various construction projects under way

NY State $25 million payment for Cornell Tech has not been received yet but will be coming soon.

Roosevelt Island Youth Center  update. Steady number of 40-50 kids using the facility daily. 220 kids have registered for Soccer program. Volunteer coaches needed. Basketball program to come. Robotics and coding program from Cornell Tech being planned.

Upcoming events.

October 27 Roosevelt island Halloween Parade theme is Rock icons yesterday and today.

November 10 Veterans Celebration.  RIOC leased space at 544 Main Street for a Veterans Center.

Holiday decorations. Ms Rosenthatl said:

... We heard what you liked and did not like last year. We've made improvements. Tell us what you think after they go up....
Improving ways of communications between RIOC and the Roosevelt Island community.

Ms. Rosenthal added:
... My door is always open. That's true for anyone on the Island....
Below is Ms Rosenthal's full RIOC President's Report.

The full Agenda and supporting Board material package for meeting is here.

RIOC Director David Kraut noted at the end of the Ms Rosenthal's report:
... The island is in better shape than its ever been and it's getting better, step by step, capital project by capital project.

Our main job is to sweep the streets, shovel the snow, cut the grass, take out the trash. We're doing very well....

Roosevelt Island Weekend Transportation - No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend And Next, Both Tram Cabins At Full Capacity And NYC Ferry New Fall RI Service Schedule

There is no Roosevelt Island F Train service to Manhattan this weekend. According to the MTA:
SIGNAL IMPROVEMENTS 11:45 PM Fri, Oct 19 to 5 AM Mon, Oct 22 Coney Island-bound F trains run via the E from Roosevelt Av in Queens to 5 Av/53 St in Manhattan

Trains resume regular service at 47-50 Sts.

No Coney Island-bound service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island and Lexington Av/63 St.

Travel Alternatives:
For service to 21 St-Queensbridge and Roosevelt Island, take the F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.

For service from these stations, take the F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F....
... STATION ENHANCEMENTS | Until December 2018 57 St F Station is closed...
Both Tram Cabins operating at full capacity.

There is Roosevelt Island ferry service on the Astoria Route. Here's the new Fall Schedule for Roosevelt Island ferry service.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Roosevelt Island Contaminated Water Supply, Octagon Soccer Field, Street Lamps Off, Holiday Lights, & F Train Schedule Among Items On Agenda For RIRA Island Services Committee Meeting October 19 - Public Invited To Attend

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee is meeting Friday October 19 at 5:30 PM. The Roosevelt Island public is invited to attend.

According to ISC Committee Chair Rossana Ceruzzi, the Meeting Agenda includes:

Preliminary Agenda

Contaminated Water/ Public water fountains/ Follow-up

Octagon Soccer field closure for renovations/ Follow-up/Update

Tree Removal: Irregularities-- Who is evaluating Trees' health on RI?

Planting a Cherry tree in memory of a young resident who lost her life in India rejected by RIOC.

Street lamps off for months near Lighthouse, Blackwell House, Southpoint Park

Railings: What is going on?

Garbage issues again across 425 Riverwalk

AVAC: Garbage removal. Complaints from 40 RR residents about odor, cleanliness and health hazards.

Holidays lights?

Transportation: F train schedule and weekends
If you would like to attend the ISC meeting, please email Ms Ceruzzi.

Roosevelt Island Resident Stephen Quandt Is A First Responder For ASPCA's Anti Cruelty Group Field Investigations & Response Team - He Describes Acts Of Kindness And Shared Humanity In Small Wisconsin Town, Homemade Cupcakes Too

Roosevelt Island resident Stephen Quandt has a difficult job and sees much pain and cruelty. But he also sees and recognizes acts of kindness. Mr Quandt reports:

How is Roosevelt Island like northern Wisconsin? Perhaps it sounds like an odd comparison unless like me you have spent time in both places.

I work as a professional first responder for the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response Team, a division of their Anti-Cruelty Group. The FIR Team responds nationwide to large-scale criminal cruelty cases like blood sports (dogfighting and cockfighting), hoarding cases and puppy mills often involving many hundreds of animals, sometimes thousands. We also respond to disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and fires.

I work in the Medical Dept. which involves doing everything from assisting on forensic exams (the collection of medical evidence on living animals) providing administrative support and giving treatments and medications to sick or injured animals. What I learned late in life and is so hard to explain is the profound experience of relieving suffering in others. For reasons I don't understand this deeply moving experience is not taught or given to our youth but is mysteriously saved for professional programs like medicine, ministry, counseling and the like.

During my first case in Wisconsin three years ago, I was on a crime scene for the first of several cockfighting cases there. We were on “a farm” of sorts for days collecting evidence, triaging and treating chickens. At one point I was in the woods under a pop-up tent in a thunderstorm helping to examine chickens. Our first chicken escaped through a hole in his coop and ran across the road never to be seen again. It was challenging work. One day perhaps to lighten our mood Sergeant Brent of the county Sheriff’s dept. brought us all cupcakes. Homemade cupcakes. Homemade by him he made a point of telling us, and not by a mix, and not by his wife. The cupcakes were all arranged on a tray, and on the icing was spelled THANKS ASPCA!

Photo by Stephen Quandt

This was my first time in Wisconsin and I was thinking “Where am I?”

Very recently I was back in Wisconsin for another cockfighting and dogfighting case involving 1700 chickens and twenty or so dogs. This would be my third trip to Wisconsin in as many years. When I got to the hotel in the small town I was staying in, I asked the hotel manager on duty if I could Uber or Lyft to the nearest grocery store for supplies. He chuckled and said that he was sorry but there was no Uber or Lyft in this town. There wasn't even a taxi company. I was completely mystified. But then he really rocked my world by saying, "If you like, you can borrow my car while I go swimming in the hotel pool after work." I stammered, "Ahhhh how long will you be swimming?" and he replied, "For about an hour." So, while my mind did somersaults I accepted his offer and again thought to myself, “Where am I?"

What I saw in Wisconsin was one farm rolling into another. Corn and soybeans being grown to within one or two feet of the edge of the properties, farmers demanding every possible ounce of produce from the soil. Our nation is fed by states like this. At first I didn't understand why the grocery stores didn't seem to have a lot of produce. Then someone explained to me that everyone grows food. That helped explain the signs by the road that said, "Free tomatoes, take as many as you want." Kindness helped explain it too. And on this trip I happily saw (now) Lieutenant Brent again.

Stephen Quandt (left) and Lieutenant Brent Standaert (right) of the St. Croix County, Wisconsin Sheriff’s department.

His school district's PTA would bring us treats!

What we share on Roosevelt Island with Wisconsin isn’t in the nightly news. It’s in our shared humanity. It’s in our ever-present opportunity to be kind.

After three trips to Wisconsin I was still asking myself the question, "Where am I?" when I finally figured out the answer.

I was in America.
Learn more about the ASPCA's Field Investigations & Response Team at their web site and from this video.

Mr Quandt has previously reported on similarities in Island life between Roosevelt Island and Little Cranberry Maine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Attention Ghosts, Ghouls & Goblins - Roosevelt Island Annual Halloween Parade Extravaganza Saturday October 27 - Community Groups Invited To Participate And Sign Up By October 22 Says RIOC

The annual Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade & Extravaganza takes place this year on Saturday, October 27. According to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson:


The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is proud to be hosting Roosevelt Island’s Annual Halloween Parade & Extravaganza on Saturday, October 27th, from noon - 3 PM. Every year, this FREE event brings our community together in a celebration of the costumes and fun the holiday brings.

This event would not be complete without the participation of Roosevelt Island community organizations. We write to invite you to join in on the Halloween spirit by walking in the parade as an identified community group and/or contributing with a giveaway/activity table at the Extravaganza portion in Capobianco.

Tabling includes, handing out complimentary gift bags, food, or other pre-agreed upon items. If you can’t make it on the 27th, we welcome any donations towards our amusements, gift bags, and food giveaways at the Extravaganza.

We will be starting the parade at Firefighter’s Field this year, and invite you to send a group from your organization to walk in costume (of your choice), with a banner identifying your group. We will be lining up at 11 AM!

If you are willing to participate in any way, please complete and return the Community Participant Form no later than this Monday, October 22nd.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions. Thank you!
Here are some scenes from the 2017 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade & Extravaganza.

More pictures and video of the costume Parade down Main Street.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Meet David Lawson, Candidate For Vice President Of Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council

As reported yesterday, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council is seeking candidates to run for election as President, Vice President and to represent the various building complexes.

Roosevelt Island resident David Lawson

is a candidate for RIRA Vice President and submitted the following statement to the community.
My name is David LAWSON. A father of two, I am a Westview resident and have been living on Roosevelt Island since 1998. I have worked 20 years at the United Nations on political, social and economic affairs, defending human rights, women’ and girls’ rights and minority rights. I have presided over a UN civil servant organization and worked with various international and US organizations and associations for civil rights.

I was elected a RIRA Common Council member for the first time in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. RIRA Planning Committee Chair since 2015, I have spearheaded work and significant progress on critical issues for the community, including transportation (ferry, bike use and infrastructure improvement, F-train service improvement, electric vehicles), environment protection (air quality control during Cornell construction, drinking water quality, South Point Park wildlife protection), reflections on the long-term impact of Cornell Tech and growing population dynamics on the island and its infrastructure, and I have established and entertain a constructive dialogue with RIOC President on those issues.

I run again this year because I strongly believe in the power of community and associative work for public interest. RIRA is an essential forum of dialogue for the Roosevelt Island residents with RIOC and allows for the voice of the Roosevelt islanders to be heard. I run for Vice President because, building on my experience with the Common Council governance and as Committee Chair, I want to help foster and promote further the work and outreach of the Council for the greater benefit of Roosevelt Islanders. With the newly elected RIRA President and Common Council members, I hope to contribute to more Roosevelt islanders participating to RIRA work and associate other RI institutions to its proposals, as well as enhanced visibility of its achievements.

If elected, as Vice-President, I will support the President and Council, enhanced RIRA communications with the community, sustained membership participation, widened participation in RIRA, fundraising, and I will work closely with relevant Committee chairs for enhanced coordination and effectiveness. I will continue to contribute to RIRA Common council debates, supporting enhanced communication with Roosevelt islanders, and support the on-going work of RIRA on environment protection, transportation, infrastructure, well-being and equitable treatment of our residents of all conditions and all ages, the future development of our Island and protection of our wonderful RI community.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns you would like to share or discuss, please reach out to me at

Against this background, I hope you will entrust me with your confidence and your vote on November 6th. I encourage you to go out and vote and to participate in RIRA Committees as these are open to all Roosevelt islanders! I thank you.

David LAWSON, RIRA Common Council Member and Planning Committee Chair
Will publish statement from other RIRA candidates as submitted.

If you wish to run for any RIRA Common Council seat, more info on nominating process here.

The RIRA election is Tuesday, November 6.

UPDATE 10/31 - Frank Farance is also running for RIRA Vice President.

What Is Needed To Make Roosevelt Island A Better Place For Aging Adults To Live, Please Take Online Carter Burden Advantage Initiative Roosevelt Island Senior Center Survey - Affordable Housing Would Help

The Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center is conducting an online survey of people 60 years and older living on Roosevelt Island to help understand:

... how to make Roosevelt Island a better place for aging adults to live.

According to the Survey:
AdvantAge Initiative Roosevelt Island Survey

Welcome to the AdvantAge Initiative Roosevelt Island Survey

About the Survey

This survey is for people 60 years of age and older who live on Roosevelt Island.

This survey was designed to gather information from people like yourself about your living arrangements, health, and your feelings in general about your community. We hope to use this information to make Roosevelt Island a better place for you and other older people to live.

This survey is sponsored by the Carter Burden Network in partnership with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), with funding from The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation. The Carter Burden Network offers a variety of programming and services to individuals aged 60 and older in New York City and operates four senior centers, including one on Roosevelt Island.

In appreciation for your responses, we offer a chance to win one of twenty-five $25 gift cards for those who complete the survey by November 30, 2018. To enter the drawing you will need to provide your name, address, phone number and email address, if you have one, on a separate secure form upon completion of the survey questions. Only one survey entry per person is allowed.

To protect confidentiality, your name will not be associated with your responses to this survey.

If you have questions about the survey call or if you need services, please call the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center at (212) 980-1888.
Please click here to take the survey.

Please feel free to share any thoughts in comments section too.

Roosevelt Island affordable housing for Seniors is one way to make our community a better place for aging adults to live.

More info on Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center at their web site.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Candidates Sought To Help Serve And Represent Our Community, Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council Building Elections Tuesday, November 6 - RIRA Nomination Forms Now Available, Fresh Ideas Needed And Welcomed

Are you interested in serving the Roosevelt Island community by becoming a member of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council?

RIRA's Election Nomination Committee Co-Chair Janet Falk tells us how.

According to Ms. Falk:

As a member of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) and one of its 44 members representing the various apartment buildings, I write to you.

You can play an important role in the future of our Island when you nominate yourself to serve on RIRA as advocate for your building.

Working with the other representatives, you will promote your neighbors’ interests and build unity among Island groups.

As Nominating Committee Co-Chairs, Rossana Ceruzzi and I encourage you to share this note with your neighbors through your internal communication system and in informal conversation.

Here are three reasons to serve as one of 44 RIRA Representatives:
  • Speak up for yourself and your neighbors
  • Strengthen your community
  • Make a difference
Nominees must be willing to volunteer and serve for FOUR hours per month.

Every resident of Roosevelt Island age 18 years or older is eligible to serve on RIRA and vote in the election. Learn more about RIRA and nominate yourself by completing the form at or email Janet Falk or Rossana Ceruzzi.

The election will be held on Tuesday, November 6.

Thank you for your support of RIRA.

With appreciation for your service to our Island community,

Janet Falk and Rossana Ceruzzi (RIRA Nominations Committee Co-Chairs)

New Roosevelt Island residents and any community member with fresh ideas are encouraged to be RIRA candidates for your buildings.

More info about RIRA nominations and responsibilities here.

Part 2 Of Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island Community Conversations With Faculty Members - Learn About Designing And Building Technologies For Underserved Communities With Prof Nicola Dell Wednesday October 17, More To Come

The second in a 4 Part series of Roosevelt Island community conversations with Cornell Tech Faculty members takes place Wednesday, October 17 with Professor Nicola Dell.

You're invited.

According to Cornell Tech:

Professor Dell will talk about her work designing and building technologies for under-served communities, both in the US and around the world. She will also take questions from the audience.

Community Conversations with Cornell Tech Faculty


Professor at Cornell Tech & The Cornell Information Science Department

Wednesday, October 17 @ 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Tata Innovation Center
Cornell Tech, 11 East Loop Road
To Register use link:
or email: or call 646-971-3744


Nicola Dell is an Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and a member of Cornell's Information Science Department. Professor Dell was born in Zimbabwe and received a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of East Anglia (UK) in 2004, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington in 2011 and 2015 respectively..


Professor Dell’s research interests are in human-computer interaction (HCI) and information and communication technologies for development (ICTD). Her main focus is on designing, building, and evaluating novel computing systems that improve the lives of underserved populations in the US and around the world. Professor Dell is broadly interested in understanding the social, technical, and infrastructural challenges faced by diverse populations and creating new technologies to address their uniquely-situated needs. To do this, she partners with numerous NGOs and government ministries to design and deploy novel computing systems that aim to have a positive impact in the world.

• Nov. 27th: Prof. Mor Naaman
• Dec. 11th: Prof. James Grimmelmann

These events are free and open to the public.
A sample of Professor Dell's current research projects are listed here and Professor Dell describes some of her work in this 2015 video, prior to coming to Cornell Tech.

During the August 16 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Construction & Community Task Force meeting,

Cornell Tech Assistant Director of Community & Government Relations Jane Swanson described the upcoming series of community conversation with Cornell Tech Faculty and Roosevelt Island residents.

Register here to attend the October 17 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Faculty Community Conversation.