Friday, November 30, 2018

Scenes From Tonight's Roosevelt Island Holiday/Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony - Santa Claus, Beautiful Tree, & Music, A Fun Family Night

Santa Claus arrived on Roosevelt Island this evening

and first thing he wanted to do was sing Jingle Bells with Roosevelt Island kids

before beginning countdown to light up the Roosevelt Island Holiday/Christmas Tree.

It was a wonderful night and good job by RIOC.

Stay tuned for more pictures and video.

UPDATE 9:30 PM -

There was also music from the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance singers,

Beacon program First Graders

and Hotel Heads.

Hey Susan - RIOC President Susan Rosenthal Answers Questions From Roosevelt Island Residents On Next Bus App, Red Bus Route, Smallpox Hospital, Reckless Bike Riders& More - Send In Your Questions Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has started a new communication feature for residents, - Hey Susan - in which RIOC President Susan Rosenthal

will answer questions you ask her.

Here's the third installment of Hey Susan.

An occasional column of questions and answers to and from RIOC President and CEO Susan Rosenthal


Can we get the NextBus app to be more reliable? I’ve found that it sometimes doesn’t have all the buses on there, sometimes shows them early or later than they are and lately it’s even been showing the express octagon bus like it’s going to stop at the church when that isn’t a stop for it. I rely on this app daily when deciding whether to wait for the bus with my kids or walk and it’s so frustrating when it’s not working properly.

SUSAN: This app has been the subject of many questions. I get it, I really do. First of all, when we received our two new buses, this past summer, they were delivered without the pre-installed GPS equipment. Those parts have been ordered.

We’ve also had to make updates to the equipment as the buses’ signals were being dropped when driving under the 59th Street Bridge. And then, the signals would mysteriously re-appear once they went past the MTA subway station.

Know that we’re working to get these issues corrected quickly. As an alternative, give the Moovit and Transit apps a try.

They offer real-time information not just about the Red Bus, but the Tram, NYC Ferry and the MTA subway too. They use the GPS data when it’s available and use our bus and Tram schedules to fill in the gaps and insert the vehicles where they’re supposed to be, according to the official timetable.


Is there any way to add just ONE additional stop to the Express Red Bus morning service? A Southbound Stop at the current local stop across from GRISTEDES by Manhattan Park would alleviate the crowds on the local bus, and not be too great a delay to Express bus riders (after all, even NYC Express buses make more than one pick-up stop.) The local buses are overcrowded in winter and bad weather and it’s so very FRUSTRATING to watch 3/4 empty Express buses pass us local riders by.

SUSAN: Thank you for your question. I’ve asked Transportation Director Cyril Opperman to review this situation, so stay tuned.


Just wondering how the stabilization work on the Smallpox Hospital is going and when it might be completed and open to the public. Can you direct me to an information source? Thanks very much.

SUSAN: In the summer of 2017, RIOC applied to the NYS Environmental Fund for a $500,000 grant (the maximum allowed under that program) to undertake planning and create construction drawings for stabilization. A previously-completed schematic design report concluded that the stabilization costs were estimated to be approximately $20 million. RIOC and all our public officials believe we should save the Smallpox Hospital.

Last year, we visited with NYS Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and discussed several potential ideas for the future of the Smallpox Hospital. Is the greater community ready for a $20 million fund-raising challenge which should start sooner rather than later?


Do you have a place for lost items from the Tram? I may have lost a grey/fur mitten/glove 21 November. Would be happy if I got it back. Thank you!

SUSAN: All lost items we receive are taken to the Public Safety Department's office on 550 Main Street, 212.832.4545. Our officers keep a log of all items turned in.


Yesterday, November 25, my nine-year-old daughter was swiped by a bicyclist who made no attempt in yielding as he was proceeding down the ramp to the path (West side of Island), heading north.

My husband tried pulling her out of the way, yet the bike still nipped her in her ribs and ankle. There were at least two other witnesses, who also almost got hit. My husband asked him to stop, and asked for his ID. At that time, he cussed my husband out dropping F bombs everywhere (there were many kids around), and then sped off. The EMS arrived quickly with PSD. Luckily, she only had a few abrasions and was just a bit shaken.

PSD said they didn’t find him, and would look at cameras, but we never heard from them. I asked them about the rules for bikers versus pedestrians assuming bikers should always yield, and pedestrians always have right of way. They stated on the path, there are no rules?!!!

Which brings me to my biggest concern/request. On an island where many people use bicycles as transportation why aren’t there bike lanes on the path?! I find the path dangerous at times as PSD vehicles or other authorized vehicles speed down in either direction. Many bicyclists have no regard for common courtesy, and do not abide by any rules.

Driveways just off Main Street or the path do not have yield signs, and cars have sped through or turn quickly on more than one occasion. My 9.5-year-old is at the age where I should be allowing her to walk around on her own. Especially on the path where it should be safe.

When will we have bike lanes and why haven’t they been implemented yet? I feel pedestrian safety should be a top priority.

SUSAN: I’m so sorry that this happened to your daughter. It seems that whenever pedestrians and cyclists share the same spaces – whether that be sidewalks, or promenade paths as is the case here on Roosevelt Island, there seem to be conflicts as well as complaints.

Would the addition of more signage help? Maybe. Would increased enforcement of common sense courtesy and the law decrease the number of encounters? Perhaps. While I’m discussing these issues with the Public Safety Department, here are some of the rules:

Bicycles must follow the rules of the road just like motor vehicles. When entering or exiting from an alleyway, building, private road or driveway, they must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian.

Bikes on the promenade must travel on the right side of the path. Bike riding is not allowed on sidewalks (unless the wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and the rider is 12-years-old or younger).

Bicycles that violate these rules may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions.

As for bike lanes, we announced earlier this month our bike ramp and bike lane project that is being planned for the East side Promenade first (READ MORE HERE) and our plan is to eventually extend the lane so that it encircles the entire Island.

Explore Job Opportunities Close To Roosevelt Island At Long Island City Career Open House Tuesday December 4 With Local Industrial Businesses And Workforce Organizations

Are you looking for a job and would like to work close to home in nearby Long Island City? You may be interested in attending a December 4 Career Open House being held at the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement (10-25 41st Ave Long Island City) right across the East River from Roosevelt Island.

According to the Long Island City Partnership:
Please join the LIC Partnership, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, Urban Upbound, and the Queensbridge Tenant Association for a Career Open House, sponsored by the TD Charitable Foundation. This event is aimed at job seekers and residents who are interested in exploring career opportunities at local industrial businesses.

Roundtable Discussions
The event will feature roundtable discussions. Job seekers and residents will hear, directly from business owners and employees, about the long range of career opportunities available at local industrial businesses in LIC.

Meet Your Local Workforce Organizations
Job Seekers - come meet your local workforce organizations who will table at the event. They will share information about their programs and services that can help you get a job to build a successful career. Bring your resume!

...  Participating Businesses Boyce Technologies, Brooks Brothers, Lady M Confections, Quadlogic.

Participating Workforce OrganizationsAndromeda Community Initiative, CUNY Laguardia Community College, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, Queens Connect, Queens Library, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NOW), Urban Upbound.
Click here for more information and to register for this free Career Open House.

Good luck.

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

No Roosevelt Island F Train service from Manhattan this weekend.

According to the MTA:
TRACK MAINTENANCE Until Dec 10, Weekends, 11:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon Jamaica-bound F trains are rerouted via the E after 47-50 Sts in Manhattan to Roosevelt Av in Queens

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

Travel Alternatives ... To Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge, take the F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Brooklyn-bound F. From these stations, take a Brooklyn-bound F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F....
And there will be Manhattan Bound R Train service from Roosevelt Island this weekend:
Bay Ridge-bound R trains are rerouted after 36 St, Queens to 21 St-Queensbridge and run via the F to Lexington Av/63 St , resuming normal service at 57 St-7 Av.
... 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 Winter Schedule for Roosevelt Island ferry service.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sad News, Justin Van Poelvoorde, Long Time Librarian At Roosevelt Island New York Public Library Branch Passed Away Last Monday - Condolences To His Family, Friends & Colleagues

Sad news. Justin Van Poelvoorde,

the long time New York Public Library Roosevelt Island branch librarian, passed away last Monday. According to a spokesperson from the NYPL:
Justin Van Poelvoorde served the Roosevelt Island community for over 14 years and throughout his time with the Library he was a dedicated and trusted colleague and friend. The Library was stunned by the news of his passing and we appreciate the community's support as we grieve his loss and honor his memory.
Justin Van Poelvoorde's colleagues at the Roosevelt Island Library remember him:
Justin was a wonderful member of the Roosevelt Island team. His unique sense of humor and vast knowledge of movies and genre fiction made working with Justin a pleasure and a whole lot of fun. He will be sorely missed by the entire Roosevelt Island community. - Anthony Americo

I worked with Justin for the past eight years, he was a kind and generous person. He was always buying the staff treats and other nice unexpected trinkets.

He was funny and always pulling pranks on the staff, he will be missed. -Yolanda Boggan

It was a pleasure to work with Justin. He was a very cool Adult Librarian. His taste for hats, ties, and blazers was unique and only he could pull off. His smile, presence, and uncanny sense of humor will be missed. His professional service to the library and community will always be remembered.
-Carlos Chavez

Justin was the first person to make you laugh about the silliest things. He was always there to cheer you up with treats from his favorite bakery. He touched so many lives every day with his service to librarianship and the Roosevelt Island community.
-Jennifer Minehardt
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President (RIHS) Judy Berdy said:
Justin always worked with our RIHS programs. It is a sad loss.
A remembrance at the Roosevelt Island branch library was set up for him, along with a condolence book that will be given to his family.

On Tuesday, NYPL President Anthony Marx sent this message:
Dear NYPL Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that our colleague, Justin Van Poelvoorde., suddenly passed away yesterday. Justin was the Adult Librarian at the Roosevelt Island Branch, where he has worked for nearly 15 years.

Justin began his career at the Library as an Information Assistant at the Yorkville Branch and, shortly after, realized that he had a passion for librarianship and decided to pursue his Masters in Library Science. He was dedicated to the Library and his profession and he truly made a difference—from the patrons and communities that he served, to the relationships he built with his colleagues. He will be missed.

... Over the coming days and weeks we will find ways to honor Justin’s life and his contributions to the Roosevelt Island community. We will also share details on the funeral arrangements as they develop.

Please join me in sending our deepest condolences to the Van Poelvoorde family and his colleagues at the Roosevelt Island Branch.
Justin Van Poelvoorde's brother Timur adds:

First, my deepest thanks for all the expressions of sympathy, support and love in this, the worst week in memory for me and my family. My brother was widely admired and his death was a shock to us all.

If you are in NYC or are likely to make the journey here, Justin’s memorial service will be held at:
Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker Street, NYC 10012 this Sunday December 2nd at 10:30 AM.

A reception will immediately follow at:20 Charlton Street NYC 10014.

If you are inclined to send flowers, we would like to offer you the opportunity to contribute instead to:

The Friends of the New York Public Library, on whose website a donation page in Justin’s name will shortly be available.

Thank you again for all your kind texts calls and emails and don’t hesitate to send any photos you might have for display at the memorial.


Condolences to Justin Van Poelvoorde's family, friends and colleagues.

UPDATE 11/30:

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Holiday/Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony At Rivercross Lawn Friday November 30 - Music, Gifts, Prizes & Santa Claus

It's that time again for a wonderful Roosevelt Island tradition - the lighting of the Holiday/Christmas Tree tomorrow night, Friday November 30. As was the case last year,

the Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting will take place on the Rivercross Lawn, while Blackwell House is still under renovation.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

... you're invited to attend Roosevelt Island's most whimsical event of the year - Our Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony - Friday, November 30 at 7 p.m. at the Lawn South of Rivercross, 501 Main Street.

Live music by the Hotelheads band, Christmas caroling, free gifts, raffle prizes and more including a very special visit by (shhhh!) Santa; (free pictures with him as well).

Come early, stay late, it's going to be a great party!

Special thanks to all of our generous contributors including Verizon, Amalgamated Bank, The Cafe' at Cornell Tech, Hudson Related, Urban American, Piccolo Trattoria, Island Wine and Spirits, The Wholesome Factory, The R.I. Navigators, Sylvain Coulon Hypnotherapy, Starbucks, Island Kids, Roosevelt Nails, Bread & Butter Market and Bubble Cool.
Here's a sneak peek at the lit Roosevelt Island Holiday/Christmas Tree.

Also, a group of Carolers from the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, together with members from the Hope Church, will greet Roosevelt Island commuters coming home at the Tram (5:30 PM) and F Train Subway Station (6:15 PM).

Sign Up For Free Breast Cancer Screening Mammogram At Roosevelt Island Carter Burden Senior Center Provided By Mount Sinai December 5

The Roosevelt Island Carter Burden Senior Center is hosting free breast cancer screening mammograms provided by Mount Sinai. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Mount Sinai will be offering free mammograms to women and men, age 40 and over, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center. Advance registration is requested, call 212.980.1888.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts Learn About ASPCA's Field Investigation And Response Team From Stephen Quandt, A Local Resident And Response Team Member - Girl Scouts Working On Animal Helpers Badge Too

Roosevelt Island resident Stephen Quandt works as a member of the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Team. Last month, Mr Queandt wrote about his work:

... 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....
Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3001 Leader Aiesha Eleusizov read Mr. Quandt's story. She asked him to speak to her Girl Scout Troop who are working on their Animal Helpers Badger.  Mr. Quandt was happy to speak with the Girl Scouts.

Ms Eleusizov reports:
Roosevelt Island resident Stephen Quandt from the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Team visited Girl Scout Troop 3001 on November 5

to talk about the important work he does to rescue large numbers of animals around the country.

The girls learned a lot about the work of the ASPCA and the importance of caring for animals (and worked on their Animal Helpers badge!). They were inspired by his touching stories of animals he has rescued and the work of the ASPCA to help them to find new, loving homes.

We were really sad to find out how many animals have been mistreated and victims of dog fighting, cat hoarding and abuse and heartened by the huge adoption events with hundreds of animals all finding new homes in a single day. The girls were excited to learn that so many people adopt animals from shelters in NYC, that NYC is now a no-kill shelter city.

Stephen's team sent a group photo

and a shout out to our troop from his last mission.

The girls had fun sending a thank you shout out back to them!

Mr Quandt adds:
I had a GREAT time, it was totally uplifting and the best part of my day - a day that actually wasn't all that easy. Earlier in the day I had to take a friend's cat, a cat that I cared for very much to the vet to be euthanized - the owner being too infirm to make the trip. So to end my day with a bunch of delightfully high energy kids who were caring and kind was lovely.
You can earn more about the ASPCA's Field Investigations & Response Team at their web site and from this video.

Roosevelt Island Octagon Soccer Field, Youth Services, Sportspark Fees, Public Water Fountain Contamination Update, Tree Maintenance, F Train Schedule, Dog Run Among Items On Agenda For RIRA Island Services Committee Meeting Friday November 30 - Public Invited To Attend

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

According to ISC Committee Chair Rossana Ceruzzi, the Meeting Agenda includes:
Octagon Soccer field/Some Good news/UPDATE from RIOC

Youth Services: Reinstating the music program/s for kids and adults that have been discontinued

Sportspark: Higher Rates, New & old issues

Public water fountains/Any Follow up

Tree Maintenance (proposing a plan to RIOC to be implemented asap to care and maintain our trees on regular basis vs. chopping them)

Dog run Update

F train schedule and weekends / Follow up

RIOC vehicles parking on grass and sidewalks
If you would like to attend the ISC meeting, please email Ms Ceruzzi.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sponsored Post - Professional Holiday Photos For All Roosevelt Island Residents From Local Party Planners Bespoke My Heart - Register Now For Pop Up Studio Saturday December 1 & 8, And Get Your Holiday Photos

Roosevelt Island based Party Planners Bespoke My Heart are offering:

Professional Holiday Photos For All Roosevelt Island Residents

Haven’t taken your Holiday photos yet? Get them taken by a professional on Roosevelt Island at a pop-up photo studio. Saturday December 1st and 8th, located at 504 Main Street (2nd Floor), appointments available from 9am - 6pm.

Reserve your photo session now: Click here.

Cost: $50 for a 20 minute session with different props and backdrops.

Walk away with the photos on a USB drive ready to print or upload for holiday cards.

Register Now for you Roosevelt Island professional Holiday Photo Session.

Sponsored Post - Brunch With St. Nicholas, Dec 2, 11:30am At Roosevelt Island's St Francis Xavier Cabrini Church

Roosevelt Island's St Francis Xavier Cabrini Church reports:

Brunch With St. Nicholas, Dec 2, 11:30am

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church invites all Parishioners to Brunch with St. Nicholas. The event will be held Sunday, December 2nd at 11:30am in the Parish Hall directly following 10:30am Mass.
  • Enjoy some breakfast treats.
  • Make a family gingerbread house.
  • AND get your photo taken with St. Nicholas!
RSVP Required to

This is a Free Event though Donations are gratefully accepted.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish Hall
504 Main Street, 2nd Floor

Monday, November 26, 2018

Watch Video Of Second Roosevelt Island Community Conversation With Cornell Tech Faculty - Prof Nicola Dell On Creating Tech For Underseved Communities, Pregnant Kenyan Women, Indian Health Care Workers & NYC Intimate Partner Violence Victims

Cornell Tech has initiated a series of Roosevelt Island Community Conversations between residents and Cornell Tech Faculty. The second conversation took place October 17 with Professor Nicola Dell. According to Professor Dell:

I do research at the intersection of human-computer interaction (HCI) and information and communication technologies for development (ICTD). My high-level goal is to create new technologies that empower underserved populations to overcome global challenges in critical domains like healthcare, security and privacy, accessibility, and more....
Here's the October 17 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Community Conversation with Professor Nicola Dell. (Click full screen icon at bottom right of videos for better view)

Part 1 - Cornell Tech Assistant Director of Government and Community Affairs Jane Swanson introduces Professor Dell.

Part 2 - Professor Dell describes her work creating technologies for underserved communities on a global and local basis including here in NYC. Projects discussed are:

Part 3 - Questions from the Roosevelt Island audience including:
  • How projects are chosen,
  • Working with policy makers and governments,
  • Other NYC projects,
  • Cyber bullying in schools and
  • Unintended consequences of introducing tech.

The final two Cornell Tech Faculty Roosevelt Island Community Conversations are:
The first Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Faculty conversation was with Professor Serge 
Belongie on Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality. Watch the video here.

The Cornell Tech Community Conversations are very interesting. Try to attend. You'll find it fascinating.

Roosevelt Island's First Stop N Swap Community Reuse And Recycle Event - iDig2 Learn, Grow NYC, Local Girl Scouts And Others Collect Over 4 Thousand Pounds Of Items To Be Shared Or Donated And Avoid Landfill

On Sunday afternoon, November 18th our local Roosevelt Island organization iDig2Learn welcomed partner GrowNYC for Roosevelt Island’s first Stop “N” Swap

Image From Christina Delfico

to reuse items no longer wanted by some, so others could use them. Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3233 announced the message of the Stop N Swap event as:


IDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico shares these photos and reports:
During the three hour event weigh stations were set up and 383 neighbors donated 4808 pounds of good quality items, 67% of which was taken back by the community the same day! After the event items went to partner charity Goodwill in search of new owners.

There is a real need for a community to have a way to exchange goods and keep them out of the landfill, especially on a small island. Partners and teamwork were the key to the GrowNYC Swap’s success, RIOC spread the word

and encouraged employees to donate, Jack McManus and PSD supported logistics, City Council Member Ben Kallos donated reusable orange bags for attendees,

Girl Scouts Troop 3233 created reuse

and recycling messaging

and welcomed everyone,

Gristedes donated food,

residents were excited to both declutter and do some free shopping, and the Manhattan Park Theater Club space

was ideal.

It was amazing to see flat screen TV’s, evening wear, brand new shoes, toaster ovens, books and toys find new homes. These sustainability events are kind to neighbors and kind to the Earth. Special thanks to Victoria Dearborn, Yazmine Mihojevich and GrowNYC volunteers, President and CEO Susan Rosenthal, Jessica Murray, Alonza Robertson of RIOC, Jack McManus and PSD officers, Brian Weisberg and Elaine Chin of Manhattan Park, Angel from Gristedes, City Council Member Ben Kallos and his team, Girl Scout leaders Aiesha Eleusizov and Susy del Campo Perea alongside Janine and Olivia Schaefer for helping make the Swap a success.”