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Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Wonderful Time At La Nueva Mesa Beta Pop Up Roosevelt Island Dinner Exploration Of Plant Kingdom Says Resident - More Pop Up Dinner Events Planned For Roosevelt Island's The Sanctuary Space

 As reported October 8:

... On October 14, La Nueva Mesa kicks off a pop-up dinner series with a wine-paired six-course locally sourced plant based meal crafted by Drew Shives, Matthew Taber and Amir Dholakia- the three ex-Jean-George culinary wizards behind Beta, the wait-list only popup in Queens...

 The Pop Up dinner was hosted at The Sanctuary,

Image From The Sanctuary

Roosevelt Island's new event space and restaurant that will open in the Spring.

Roosevelt Island resident Christine Delfico tweeted at the dinner

and told me afterwards:
Event was great
Another Roosevelt Island resident who attended the dinner tweeted:

and reported a few days later:
It was a lovely, very diverse group of New Yorkers gathered together on the Island for what proved to be a great vegetarian dinner by some dedicated young chefs, paired with really good Spanish wines. Most of the food was grown by a young first generation Chinese American farmer who runs a small vegetable farm in Astoria.

The venue has the potential to be a fabulous and popular with islanders once it’s up and running - it seems special enough that if they do it well, people might also regularly come from off Island to visit.

For this event, most people didn’t know where they were going in advance and were only told the location the day of. The people I spoke to were pleasantly surprised, and had either not been to Roosevelt Island ever before or not for a decade. (One woman, who lives in Manhattan, recalled that the last time she visited, about 13 years ago, she thought the island had a somewhat “spooky” feeling but that she didn’t have that impression at all this time.)

Only one other person looked familiar to me - Christina from IDig2Learn - I’m not sure if other islanders but most seemed to be from off island. The people I spoke to came on subway and planned to take the tram back. One asked me about getting a cab.
A La Nueva Mesa spokesperson adds:
We were thrilled with how the event turned out. The Beta team did an exceptional job, and it's such a special space. We had the very talented William Elliott from Maison Premiere and PM Spirits behind the bar, as well.

There were 32 guests at the table, and while we don't have exact numbers on who was from the neighborhood, I got the sense that it was an even split. It was encouraging to see that support from both residents, who are eager to welcome something like this to the community, and non-residents, who treated the dinner like a destination in itself. With that in mind, we do plan on doing more events at Roosevelt Island and The Sanctuary!
More photos from the event here and some contrasting comments from prior post about the event.

Roosevelt Island Severe Weather Storm Knocks Down Roosevelt Landings Courtyard Tree Narrowly Missing Apartment Windows Last Evening

A large tree was knocked down in the Roosevelt Landings Courtyard narrowly missing apartment windows during last evening's severe weather rainstorm.

According to a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) spokesperson:
A tree fell down last night due to the severe weather at the rear of 546 Main Street . There were no injuries and no property damage . The tree is on Urban American Property. and they are notified and responded. They will cut the tree and remove it at some point today.
Here's more pictures of the downed Roosevelt Landings tree.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Roosevelt Island To Be Home Of Muckraking Journalist Nellie Bly Monument, The Girl Puzzle At Lighthouse Park - RIOC Announces Today Selection Of Artist Amanda Mathews Of Prometheus Art To Construct Sculpture

Reported June 24:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is calling for artist proposals to create a Memorial to 19th century muckraking journalist Nellie Bly.
RIOC announced today:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has selected Amanda Matthews/Prometheus Art to construct the Nellie Bly Monument on the northern end of Roosevelt Island at Lighthouse Park. The sculptural installation will be known as “The Girl Puzzle” and invites the viewer to experience many facets of Nellie Bly’s talent, conviction and compassion. The ground-breaking journalist and women’s rights advocate exposed the horrors of the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum in 1887 on Roosevelt Island.

“I am proud of the selection committee’s dedication to choosing such a passionate artist to honor the accomplishments of a woman who was truly ahead of her time,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of RIOC. “The committee, made up of RIOC employees and community leaders, unanimously selected this bold installation that will not only represent Nellie Bly’s time here, but her impact on the world.”

The installation will allow the viewer to enter a long walkway where they will encounter four, seven-foot-tall female faces, representing different ages and ethnicities, cast in bronze. A fifth face at the far end of the walkway will represent Nellie Bly. Each face will show the depth of emotion and the complexity of being broken and repaired, which was significant to the conditions Ms. Bly encountered when she posed as a mental patient to report on the conditions inside the mental hospital where the Octagon now stands. Construction of the installation is scheduled to be completed in the Summer 2020.

“It is my great honor to represent Nellie Bly’s life and legacy,” said artist Amanda Matthews, “and to celebrate her passion for diversity and inclusion. Her voice remains timely and significant today.”

... About Prometheus Art

Prometheus Art is a design/build firm owned and operated by Amanda Matthews and Brad Connell. The award-winning artists partnered in 2009 and work on public art, metal sculpture, monuments, architectural metal work and historic sculpture restoration and conservation throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. Clients have included universities, municipalities, corporations, architects, engineers, the U.S. Government and the U.S. Department of Defense. For more information, please visit
RIOC plans a Town Hall meeting in December where the public will get an idea of what the artist is proposing and see the scale of the installation as it relates to Lighthouse Park.

More on the muckraking journalist Nellie Bly

at this prior post.

Roosevelt Landings Lease Assignment, Roosevelt Island Tram Elevator, Artist In Residence Program, Southtown Building Lot 9 Among Agenda Items For October 17 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting - Public Comment Session Prior To Meeting Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet 5:30 PM Thursday October 17, at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street).

 You're invited to  attend, ask questions and share concerns about Roosevelt Island during the opening Public Session before the start of the meeting. Sign up to speak here.

Items on meeting Agenda are:


I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes
1. September 5, 2019 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Authorization of Consent to Assignment of Lease by BSREP UA Roosevelt Landings LLC (The Eastwood Tenant) to Roosevelt Landings Owner Housing Development Fund Corporation, as Leasehold Nominee for Roosevelt Landings Owner LLC, Beneficial Tenant (Board Action Required)

2. Authorization of Southtown Building 9 Lot Reapportionment (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization to Amend Composition of Committees of Board of Directors (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Amend Contract with Elit Green Builders Corp. for Construction of Seawall Railing (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Amend Contract with Sea Crest Construction Corp. for Construction of the Elevator at the Manhattan Aerial Tramway Station (Board Action Required)

6. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. for Design Services in Connection with the Lighthouse Park Project (Board Action Required)

7. Authorization to Enter into Contract for Hope Memorial Construction Services (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)

8. Authorization of Grant Award and Disbursement for Artist-In-Residence Program (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)

9. President’s Report

10. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

11. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.

Roosevelt Island Family Halloween Parade Route March Will Stay On Main Street This Year - RIOC Staff Revises Plan After Board Member David Kraut Explains It's 40 Year Tradition - Roosevelt Island Is Nothing if Not About Our Kids Says Kraut

As reported last week, rumors that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) cancelled the traditional Family Halloween Parade were not true.

Image From RIOC

Rather, RIOC moved the Parade's final destination from outdoors at Capobianco Field to indoors at Sportspark, where it had taken place last year due to the rain.

However, RIOC decided to change the route of the 40 year old parade which traditionally had the costumed marchers walking north on Main Street passing crowds watching on the sidewalks in front of the WIRE buildings.

Instead, the new route would be:
... departing from the Lawn south of Rivercross (across from 500 Main St.), and proceeds to Sportspark for entry into the Halloween Extravaganza!...
The new route was not well received by the Roosevelt Island community. As one resident noted:
... is a walk past the train station as representative and inclusive as a stroll down Main Street, waving at bystanders who may frequent the businesses that we rely on

Do you know how many residents of our community live on that western road? None. The building entrances are on the eastern road. Maybe the subway attendant will wave and cheer us on.
At the end of yesterday's (October 15) RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting, I brought up the subject of the Halloween Parade and asked why the route had been changed?

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal replied:
... it was a question of PSD and Community Affairs together making that decision subject to Executive approval - seemed to make sense because of the traffic issues... I'm taking full responsibility....
RIOC Board Director David Kraut, attended by phone, interrupted to support the traditional Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade route. According to Mrl Kraut:
This Island had traditionally had two parades a year in which we watched our children grow. The Little League Parade in April and the Halloween Parade in October...

... We love to see our children parade on Halloween. We just do. It's been with us every year for the 40 years I've been on this Rock....

... You can't have a parade down where nobody lives. You need to have a parade where people can see it and if that means marching from Capabianco to Sportspark or something else ... let it be so.

Give the kids a chance to show off their costumes and give them festivities at the end of it.... Roosevelt Island is about nothing if not about our kids.... Considerations of traffic don't mean much to me. You stop the traffic and let the kids march thru....
Ms Rosenthal was convinced by Mr. Kraut and relented:
... I don't feel strongly about this issue and if you do am happy to go back and modify it....
Here's the discussion.

RIOC is expected to announce the specifics of the Halloween Parade route later today.

Here's the 2017 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade marching on Main Street.

Good job Mr. Kraut in explaining the importance of Halloween to RIOC staff and good job by RIOC in listening to community and revising their plan.

UPDATE 9:10 PM - According to RIOC:
We Heard You!

The parade begins on Saturday, October 26th at 11:00 AM, departing from Capobianco Field (across from 595 Main Street), proceed down Main Street to Sportspark where the Halloween Extravaganza will take place. For more information on the Halloween Extravaganza, click here.

Here’s how the parade will work:

1. 11:00 AM - Parade organizes at Capobianco Field. (Wristbands will be available for all participants will be given out in the park.)

2. 11:30 AM - Parade kick-off led by PSD. Parade will head south on Main Street, passing the business district, proceeding to the Blackwell turnaround. Once at Blackwell, parade will stay south on West Road, passing the subway and on to Sportspark.

3. 12:15 PM - Arrive at and enter Sportspark. Attendees wishing to park strollers will be directed to proceed to a designated area.

4. Wristbands for late-comers will be available at Sportspark.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Update From Hudson Related's David Kramer - Says All But 1 And Half Stores Currently Leased, Vacant Stores Will Open, Eventually

Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer gave a store leasing update to the October 7 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting.

According to Mr. Kramer, all the Main Street stores have been leased except for the former Bubble Tea Space and the former Urgent Care space which is currently occupied by Doctors Resnik and Grimm and seeking additional medical practitioners.

Mr Kramer noted that of the currently vacant space:

  • 503 Main Street space in Rivercross will hopefully open at end of year as some type of restaurant food use. They are finalizing their concept. The space has been unoccupied for 40 years,
  • 521 Main Street will be Yoga Studio hopefully open January 2020,
  • Tenant for the former Card shop at 563 Main Street has been secured but not ready to announce it yet,
  • 548 main street plan for Mexican restaurant has changed to a Mediteranean restaurant, open early this spring
Mr Kramer's colleague Alex Kaplan reported that the NY Public Library will open in the Summer of 2020, later than the December 2019 that had been scheduled.

Judy Berdy asked Mr. Kramer to make sure that Roosevelt Island restaurants comply with applicable Health Department inspections and regulations He replied that it's not his responsibility as landlord to do so but indicated that if he is made aware of problems, he can apply pressure on the tenant to insure compliance.

Mr Kramer noted recent announcement of Grannie Annie Irish Bar lease signing in former Riverwalk Bar space and opening of The Sanctuary Event space at former Dayspring Church.

Here's the entire presentation. Watch it - very interesting.

Check out the new Roosevelt Island Shops

web page.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Roosevelt Island Gardeners - iDig2Learn Unusual Edible Plant Workshop With John Paul Learn Of Mandala Farm Tuesday October 15 - RSVP A Must, Location Revealed Upon Confirmation

As part of the Celebrating Roosevelt Island's Nature series, IDig2Learn is hosting an Unusual Edible Plant workshop tomorrow, October 15.

RSVP to Subject Line Plant Location.

More info on edible plants from Mandala Farms web site and this video.

Roosevelt Island Blackwell House, Tram Elevator, Lighthouse Park, FDR Hope Memorial, Artist In Residence Grant, Seawall Railings Among Items On Agenda For October 15 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee Public Meeting

A Roosevelt Island resident asks"

Roosevelt Island's Blackwell House

is among the items on the Agenda for Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 4:30 P.M. at RIOC’s Operations Office, 680 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

  • Elit Green Builders Change Order for Seawall Railings Project
  • Sea Crest Construction Inc. Change Order for Manhattan Tram Elevator Project
  • Lighthouse Park Contract for Design Services
  • FDR Hope Memorial Contract for Construction Services
  • Blackwell Park Phase 1 Construction Services
  • Artist-in-Residence Program Grant
  • Status of Pending Projects
  • Any Other Committee Business that May be Brought Before the Committee

The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.
RIOC provides some information regarding status of current projects on Capital Projects Tracker web page.

For Blackwell House the Tracker says:
Blackwell House Roof and Exterior Painting Procurement <$500K Fall 2019
Blackwell House

This project has restored the interior of the house which includes waterproofing the building’s infrastructure and installing ADA complaint access ramps. The landmark restoration project has transformed the house into community space for Roosevelt Island residents, and tourist focal point on Main Street. - Construction $2.7M Fall 2019
We should have more info on status of Blackwell House and other Roosevelt Island projects at the Ops Committee meeting.

2 Roosevelt Island Assault Incidents Past Week - Roosevelt Landings Neighbors Arrested For Fighting Each Other Last Night And Manhattan Park Fist Fight Leads To Arrest Last Thursday

A Roosevelt Island tipster reported last evening:

... there's alot of NYPD, PSD and ambulances in front of 510 Main Street, Roosevelt Landings.
According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Incident Report:
10/13/19 – 1805 – 516 Main St – Assault – PSD/NYPD/EMS responded – PSD arrested the subject.
In response to my inquiry, a RIOC spokesperson adds:
We had 2 neighbors arrested for assault on each other at 516 Main Street. It started as a verbal altercation and police were called to residence apt’s ...  at 4:20pm. Condition was resolved at time and incident report was prepared.
Also, another Roosevelt Island assault last Thursday. According to RIOC Public Safety Incident report:
10/10/19 – 1234– 2 River Road – Assault – PSD/NYPD/EMS responded – Arrest made.
The RIOC spokesperson adds:
... individuals fighting at location at 6:05pm. PSD responded and observed fight being broken up with injuries to both parties, both parties stating the other repeatedly hit each other in face with closed fist causing swelling and lacerations.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Sponsored Post - Grow NYC Second Annual Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap Free Community Reuse Event Saturday November 9 - Bring Items You No Longer Need To Give Away, Take Something New Home With You & Help The Environment By Keeping Waste Out Of Landfills

Mark your calendar for this fun and environmental friendly event.

The Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap returns for a second year on Saturday November 9 from 12 to 3 PM at the Manhattan Park Theater Club (8 River Road)

GrowNYC and local partners Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), Manhattan Park, iDig2Learn &the RI Girl Scouts will host the free Stop N’ Swap.

Roosevelt Islanders are invited to drop off good quality items such as clothing, toys, kitchen items, flatscreen televisions even packaged food that has not expired, and then take home good quality items that are “new-to-you" rather than adding waste to the landfill or clogging up local building systems like our underground AVAC waste tube system.

 No one is required to bring something to take something — you can simply show up with a bag and see what’s free for the taking.

This event is good for our land and our wallets helping residents find items just before the holidays for free.

iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico reports
Fun Fact: last year, 2018, 4800 pounds of good quality items were dropped in 3 hours & nearly 70% went right back to the community the remaining when to Goodwill.
Ms Delfico and Grow NYC's Victoria Dearborn describe the very successful 2018 Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap

and our local Girl Scouts encourage us all

to recycle at the Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap.

You'll be glad to get rid of things you no longer use, may find some good new stuff and help the environment by keeping waste out of landfills.

More interesting info on Grow NYC Stop and Swap from this video,

 their web site here and check out more scenes from the 2018 Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap.

See you on Saturday November 9 for the 2019 Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap.

Oh No - Troubling Indications That RIOC May Cancel Annual Roosevelt Island Family Halloween Parade March Down Main Street

One of the great Roosevelt Island traditions that makes living here so special is the annual Family Halloween Parade with kids, moms, dads and other residents of all ages marching down Main Street. dressed up in their ghostly, goulish and very creative costumes (Click on full screen image at bottom right of video for better viewing of costumed parade marchers).

Many others enjoy just watching the Parade heading down Main Street.

That Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade tradition may not happen this year. Yesterday, RIOC sent out this flyer

announcing a Halloween Extravaganza taking place inside the Sportspark facility, but no mention of the Main Street Halloween Parade. Upon receiving the Halloween flyer yesterday, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal:
Rumor going around that RIOC is cancelling the Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade.

Is that true? I don't see any mention in the Halloween flyer about the Parade. Only events in Sportspark.

If true, what is reason for cancelling the Parade?

Any statement from RIOC about the Halloween Parade.
Also, a Roosevelt Island tipster reported:
Just got confirmation that RIOC has cancelled for this year (and possibly permanently) our RI Halloween Parade down Main Street...
A RIOC spokesperson replied that the matter is being looked into and will get back to me with info.

Here's the 2017 Roosevelt Island Halloween Main Street Parade.

Stay tuned - hopefully, the Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade will continue this year.

UPDATE 9:55 AM - Roosevelt Island residents react to news that RIOC may cancel Halloween Parade:
Say it isn't so Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York...Will all of those smiling faces be turned upside down this Halloween? Is it a budgetary decision? Has there ever been a crowd count based on past Halloween Extravaganzas'? This has to be the single most locally attended event we ever have on RI....and we don't need to worry about lines at the Subway.
Come on RIOC! This is a time honored tradition, for over 40+ years!! You really are just going to cancel it now and forever, without any to none community input?
What a shame. Shame on you!
The Sports Park event doesn’t compare and is not a replacement.
Let RIOC KNOW DON’T CANCEL THE PARADE call tweet or stop in the office let them know how the community feels
2:15 PM - More comments from residents:
Generations of Islanders have marched in this parade and look forward to it every year! Some of us remember Al Lewis “Grandpa Munster” who lived here serving as Grand Marshall! The parade means everything to this community!
Should be pretty easy to reinstate once they realize the community cares this much about it. It can’t be a huge burden or expense to shut down Main Street for an hour. The event at sports park is fun for older kids but potentially overwhelming for little ones - the parade was perfect for them, and also gave the community (especially elderly people) the opportunity to enjoy and participate by observing.
Write letter , after letter, after letter, flood them with letters
UPDATE - 3:10 PM -

But there may be good news.

According to a RIOC spokesperson:
The parade is most definitely not being cancelled this year. We were – and still are - in the process of finalizing the program, which includes a new parade route to accommodate the new indoor location at Sportspark. We hope to release more information later on today on the new route.
UPDATE - According to RIOC:
Yesterday, we shared the news about the Roosevelt Island Halloween Extravaganza.

Today, we’re sharing information on the annual Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade!

The parade begins on Saturday, October 26th at 11:30 AM, departing from the Lawn south of Rivercross (across from 500 Main St.), and proceeds to Sportspark for entry into the Halloween Extravaganza!

Please arrive at 11 AM if you’d like to join in. More Halloween Extravaganza details below.

We look forward to seeing all your costumes on display!

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend, Tram And Ferry Service Too - Watch Video Of MTA Rep Talking Roosevelt Island Subway Service

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Both Roosevelt Island Tram cabins are operating and here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule. 

During June 13 Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting organized by Council Member Ben Kallos, MTA representative Markus Book spoke about Roosevelt Island F Train subway service. Watch the full MTA Roosevelt Island presentation below.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

You're Invited To Latin Night Social Hosted By Roosevelt Island Seniors Association - Come Enjoy Night Of Food, Drink, Dancing & Entertainment On Saturday October 12

You're invited to a Latin Night Social hosted by Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA).

For more info and to RSVP, contact RISA.

Roosevelt Island US Chess Federation Rated Tournament For Kids 6-17 Saturday October 12 Hosted By RI Public Library And RIOC At Sportspark - Learn The Magic Of Chess

A Must Do event for Roosevelt Island kids interested in Chess - whether you're a top notch player or a beginner. The NYPL Roosevelt Island branch together with the Roosevelt Island Youth Center is hosting a US Chess Federation (USCF) rated tournament this Saturday October 12.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

The Roosevelt Island Youth Center will host its first rated tournament, in partnership with the R.I. Branch Library, this Saturday, October 12th at 1 PM inside the Sportspark gymnasium, located at 250 Main Street. The free tournament is open to children ages 6-17.

Tournament Format: Swiss system tournament of 3 rounds. Timed games with 25 minutes and a 5-second delay.

Three sections:

Unrated Non-USCF Member

Under 700 USCF Member

Under 1300 USCF Member

United States Chess Federation (USCF) rated tournament for Under 700 and Under 1300 players.

If you are a member of the USCF please include your USCF ID in the registration form.

All players will receive a medal for participating and the top three players at each level will receive trophies.

Click the link to register your child:
Check out this video on The Magic Of Chess

and learn more about the US Chess Federation.

The Roosevelt Island Library has a kids chess club that meets Thursdays at 4 PM in October and an adult chess club that meets Tuesdays at 3 PM

Click here to register
for Saturday's USCF tournament.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Roosevelt Island Yom Kippur Services Schedule At Chabad Of Roosevelt Island and Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation

The Chabad of Roosevelt Island and Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation are hosting Yom Kippur services this evening and tomorrow.

The Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Yom Kippur services schedule is here and Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Yom Kippur services here.

You're Invited To Learn About Human Interaction With Self Driving Cars At Cornell Tech Faculty Roosevelt Island Community Conversation With Professor Wendy Ju Thursday October 10

You're invited to learn about human interaction with self driving cars.

 Image From Cornell Tech

The Cornell Tech Faculty Roosevelt Island Community conversation begins a second year on Thursday October 10 with a presentation by Professor Wendy Ju on:
Interaction With Automation:
According to Cornell Tech

Where did this $^@#$! Autonomous Car Learn to Drive? Addressing Cross-cultural differences in Autonomous Car Design.

About this Event

Today’s autonomous cars are designed to follow the letter of the local law, but do not adapt to regional variations in driving behavior. At scale, this lack of adaptation can cause accidents and cost lives. Wendy Ju will talk about recent and on-going research to understand how cross-cultural differences should inform the design of autonomous cars.

About Wendy

Wendy Ju is an Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and in the Information Science field at Cornell University. Her work in the areas of human-robot interaction and automated vehicle interfaces highlights the ways that interactive devices can communicate and engage people without interrupting or intruding. Dr. Ju has innovated numerous methods for early-stage prototyping of automated systems to understand how people will respond to systems before the systems are built. She has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, and a Master’s in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT.

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Click here to register.
More about Professor's Ju's work with self driving cars here:
... To date, Ju has carried out most of her experiments around Stanford. She has found that people there are pretty nonchalant when they encounter robots. “A lot of people are very pro-technology and they also work in technology so they’re very much like, ‘Oh yeah, this is happening now,’” she said.

Having recently moved to New York City, she is curious to find out whether people will behave differently or the same way. One of her first projects at Cornell Tech will explore how people interact with a troupe of chair robots -— essentially chairs that can reconfigure themselves in a space. She will also carry out further on-road experiments with ghost drivers....
and this CBS Sunday Morning report on self driving cars.

Buckle up.

The first 2018-19 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Faculty community conversation was with Professor Serge  Belongie on Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality. Watch the video here.

The second 2018-19 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Faculty community conversation was with Professor Nicolai Dell on Creating Tech For Underserved Communities. Watch the video here.

The third 2018-19 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Faculty community conversation was with  Professor Mor Naaman on Tech, Media & Democracy. Don't have video of that presentation.

The fourth 2018 -19 Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Faculty community conversation was with Professor James Grimmelman on Law, Technology and the Sealand Data Haven. Watch the video here.

Am very much looking forward to this year's Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech faculty community conversation starting this Thursday.

Unique Beta Pop Up Dinner Event Comes To The Sanctuary On Roosevelt Island, An Exploration Of The Plant Kingdom, 6 Courses Each Paired With Exquisite Wine - Get Your Ticket For Monday October 14 Event

Roosevelt Island's new event space, The Sanctuary,

will be the venue for a unique Pop Un Dinner experience

on Monday, October 14:
An Exploration Of The Plant Kingdom
According to Edible Queens:
Japanese eggplants lacquered with berry kosho tare, baby potatoes cooked in a massam melon curry beurre blanc, each paired with exquisite wines, served at an intimate pop-up dinner on New York’s most intimate island. We're planning a very special Monday evening and you're invited.

On October 14, La Nueva Mesa kicks off a pop-up dinner series with a wine-paired six-course locally sourced plant based meal crafted by Drew Shives, Matthew Taber and Amir Dholakia- the three ex-Jean-George culinary wizards behind Beta, the wait-list only popup in Queens.

Indulge in a night to remember. Better act fast, there's limited seating and the location will only be given at time of purchase.

Date: October 14, 2019 6:30 PM-9:30 PM

Location: An Exploration of the Plant Kingdom | Manhattan


$125 per person, 30 seat limit
Click here for tickets.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Scenes From Roosevel Island Shops On Main Street Block Party - Nisi Restaurant Pancake Easting Contest, Sanctuary Silent Disco, Island Om Yoga, Gallery RIVAA Art & More - A New RI Tradition Begins

Let's hope that like Roosevelt Island Day, Fall Arts Festival, Halloween Parade and Holiday Tree Lighting, a new annual tradition has been begun for Roosevelt Island - the Nisi Restaurant Pancake Eating Contest.

The Nisi Pancake eating contest was part of this past Saturday's first annual Hudson Related Shops On Main Street Block Party.
Presented by Shops on Main, Main Street Block Party is the first festival of its kind on Roosevelt Island’s Main Street. The event brings together neighbors and visitors of all ages to celebrate Shops on Main through food, art, festivities and fun....
Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer describes the Shop On Main Street Block Party:
Anything we can do to throw a party, help the retailers out bring people on to the streets and sidewalks....

... It's great to see people on the streets of Main Street and hopefully it'll keep up. We have a bunch of new tenants who are working to open up their spaces we have some new tenants whether it's Pup Culture or Hotpot and so our hope is that Roosevelt  Islanders will continue to reinvest in their retail corridor.

Here's more from the Nisi Pancake Eating Contest

and interview with Nisi owner Alex Razaghi who says he would like to make it an annual event.

The winner of the first Roosevelt Island Pancake Eating contest was a young visitor from Brooklyn, Rufus Burns-Heath, who outlasted all the other competitors while working on his plate with numbers 10-12 pancakes served. Rufus received a Nisi $100 gift certificate for winning from Alex.

There were lots more activities during the Shops on Main Street Block Party.

Roosevelt Island's new event space/restaurant The Sanctuary hosted a Silent Disco on the Rivercross Lawn:

Jax Schott, owner of the not yet open Island Om Yoga Studio hosted Yoga

and Meditation sessions

with gorgeous view of the East River waterfront.

Gallery RIVAA artists were selling their work

and showing David Kramer the new Island Of Art mural on wall next door the the gallery.

Wholesome Factory showed residents how to make their own mini flower bouquets.

Roosevelt Island Shops on Main Street adds:
Doggie toys and treats at PupCulture / Tastings at Island Wine & Spirits / Mild to hot to sweet tastings at LiuKouShui Hot Pot Noodle / Arts and crafts for all ages at Gallery RIVAA / Make your own mini bouquet at Wholesome Factory / Free Nail decals + manicures with Roosevelt Nails / Free Empanadas + Lemonade at Bread + Butter / Tastings at Subway Sandwich / Musical entertainment / Face painting and much much more…
The Block Party was well done. Hope to see more events like this in future - particularly the Nisi Pancake eating contest.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Fantastic Performance Of Bob Marley's Get Up,Stand Up By Local Band Flux & The Do Good Family At Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival Last Saturday - See For Yourself, Watch The Video

Enjoy this great performance by local Roosevelt Island band Flux and the Do Good Family at September 28 Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival

Click the full screen icon at bottom right of video for better view.

Hope to see more of Flux and the Do Good Family.

Take a stroll through the Rivercross Lawn to view the Fall For Arts Festival

murals being painted.

Opening Night At The Sanctuary, Roosevelt Island New Event Space A Jam Packed Success For Titan Theater Group Fundraiser - Invited RI Residents Liked It Too

The Sanctuary,

Roosevelt Island's new community event space and restaurant (restaurant starting in Spring) had it's debut opening night Monday, September 30  as a venue for the Queens based Titan Theater Group Gala Fundraiser. The space was jam packed with supporters of Titan Theater as well as invited Roosevelt Island residents.

Meet The Sanctuary owner Frank (Turtle) Raffaele who spoke at the opening and describes his intent to develop The Sanctuary as a "community centric space" as well as his strong interest in helping local non profit organizations.

Among the local Roosevelt Island residents attending The Sanctuary's opening event were Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance Executive Director Kristi Towey, Assistant Executive Director Kimbirdlee Fadner and Director Jacki Lucid-Cusick. Ms Towey describes the opening night:
The event at The Sanctuary was very nice. It is a beautiful building. The space is still bare bones so the only complaint would be there were not chairs for most of the guests but I know that will change.

The event on Monday was quickly put together in that space from what I understand. I love that there is a little stage for musicians/singers to perform. The singers that performed Monday night at the event were great.

We were invited by Titan Theatre Company to attend. The company does amazing work in the Queens area producing classical theatre. We love supporting our theatre family and plan to meet with them soon to discuss future collaborations.

I really enjoyed meeting Frank Rafaelle, the charismatic owner of Glow Group and new manager of the space. He is on the board of Titan Theatre Company and is obviously passionate about the arts. His mission in other areas he has restaurants is to give a portion of the profits to local non-profits. I read a very interesting article about him and his company in Crain’s New York Business.

I look forward to hearing more about his mission and plan here on Roosevelt Island.
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy was at the event too: Ms Berdy reports:
I was pleasantly surprised the see "The Sanctuary" Monday evening at it's premiere event.

I have known Holy Spirit Chapel since I moved to the island It was built in the 1920's to serve the Protestant patients at Metropolitan Hospital. It was closed as a house of worship many years ago. The minister who was still a chaplain at Metropolitan Hospital Reverend Hemm lived there with his family (and dogs) until the late 1970's or early 1980's/ He was eventually evicted by RIOC.

The building lay empty until the Redeemed Christian Church of God moved in. Later it was renamed Dayspring Church. It had many structural issues and was flooded in Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The congregation has now left and anew chapter will be told. with that this building be used for various activities and that the owners support our community. From my brief meeting it seems that our goals are conforming. When all the start up chores are complete the building may offer a new gathering place.

We look forward to having a venue that the community can use and enjoying the improvements made. Time will tell the outcome.

We will be included a full history of the building in our November 1 issue of "Blackwell's Almanac To subscribe for free e-mail
Roosevelt Island resident and Founder of Wildlife Freedom Foundation Rossana Ceruzzi added:
Congratulations to Frank Raffaele on a wonderful event! It was a pleasure meeting him and Francesca.
I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal if there were any issues at The Sanctuary's opening event:
Any Public Safety problems with traffic, parking, noise complaints etc.
A RIOC spokesperson replied:
No issues, no complaints and everything went smooth thanks to the dedicated men and women of the Public Safety Department.
Here are some scenes from inside The Sanctuary's opening night fundraiser for the Titan Theater Company including wonderful performances by Bailey Seeker and Evan Harrington,

an overview of Titan by former NFL player Tony Richardson, currently on Titan's Advisory Board and Titan Artistic Director Lenny Banovez encouraging supporters to donate funds

and NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer showing his support for Titan and the Arts.

This was a great event and am looking forward to more Roosevelt Island events at The Sanctuary as well as opening the restaurant in the Spring.

Nisi Pancake Eating Contest, Island Om Yoga Demo, The Sanctuary Silent Disco & Music+Play Sing-A-Long Among Highlights Of First Ever Roosevelt Island Shops On Main Street Block Party Saturday October 5 - You're Invited

Hudson Related's Roosevelt Island Shops on Main Street is hosting it's first annual Block Party tomorrow, Saturday October 5 from 11 AM - 4 PM, rain or shine.

Presented by Shops on Main, Main Street Block Party is the first festival of its kind on Roosevelt Island’s Main Street. The event brings together neighbors and visitors of all ages to celebrate Shops on Main through food, art, festivities and fun. Each shop opens their doors to showcase their business through one-day only experiences. Main Street Block Party is a living testament to the coexisting uniqueness of Shops on Main.
The Shops On Main Street Block Party event schedule includes:
Rivercross Lawn Events

11AM - Yoga Kick-off with Island OM

12PM - Silent Disco with The Sanctuary
1PM - Sing-a-long with Music + Play Station
3PM - Closing Meditation with Island OM

Good Shepherd Plaza Events1

12PM - Music begins
1PM - Pancake eating contest outside of Nisi Kitchen

Throughout the day you won't want to miss...

Doggie toys and treats at PupCulture / Tastings at Island Wine & Spirits / Mild to hot to sweet tastings at LiuKouShui Hot Pot Noodle / Arts and crafts for all ages at Gallery RIVAA / Make your own mini bouquet at Wholesome Factory / Free Nail decals + manicures with Roosevelt Nails / Free Empanadas + Lemonade at Bread + Butter / Tastings at Subway Sandwich / Musical entertainment / Face painting and much much more…
Am looking forward to the Nisi Pancake eating contest.

On Monday, October 7, Hudson Related's David Kramer will give an update on Main Street retail spaces to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee. Hopefully there will be more good news of new retail openings in addition to the recent announcements about openings of The Sanctuary event space/restaurant at the former Dayspring Church and Granny Annie's Irish Pub in the former Riverwalk Bar space.

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend, Tram And Ferry Service Too - Watch Video Of MTA Rep Talking Roosevelt Island Subway Service

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

to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Both Roosevelt Island Tram cabins are operating and here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule. 

During June 13 Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting organized by Council Member Ben Kallos, MTA representative Markus Book spoke about Roosevelt Island F Train subway service. Watch the full MTA Roosevelt Island presentation below.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

RIRA Members Walk Out Of Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Last Night Protesting Lack Of Info & Transparency Over Financial Irregularities - Is This Beginning Of End For RIRA?

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Lynn Strong-Shinozaki reported September 5:

... On August 27, 2019 RIRA President Lynne Strong-Shinozaki discovered irregularities in the RIRA bank account.

Officers of the organization initiated an internal investigation, during which the Treasurer resigned.

An official investigation by law enforcement is underway and RIRA is fully cooperating with the authorities.

At present, there appears to be no loss of funds in the account.

Because an investigation is underway, there are limits to what may be publicly discussed. RIRA will provide updates as permitted....
On September 30, I asked Ms. Strong-Shinozaki:
.... It's been almost a month since Lynn announced RIRA Bank account irregularities.

To date, no further information has been disclosed to the Roosevelt Island community.

I've received reports that certain members of RIRA are covering up information about what happened.

Is there any statement from RIRA as an organization or individual members to explain to the Roosevelt Island community what happened and what is being done to make sure it does not happen again....
Ms Strong-Shinozaki replied October 1:
Following advice of RIRA’s Tax Accountant and during the course of the police investigation, I am unable to address questions about the former treasurer and the RIRA bank accounts. There were irregularities in the checking account and the funds have been recovered.

The police have been invited to attend the next RIRA meeting to give an update on their investigation, which may take up to 90 days.

The matter of the bank account and the former treasurer was discussed in Executive Session and should have remained among the members of the Common Council. Any allegation of a cover-up suggests that discussion has been inappropriately held with individuals outside the Common Council....
During last evening's (October 2) RIRA meeting, 7 of the 15 Common Council members present for the meeting walked out during the President's report to protest the lack of information made available to them about the allegations involving the community organization's financial irregularities.

RIRA Children, Youth & Education Ad Hoc Committee Chair Adib Mansour explained the group's action:
 ... We're walking out. It's a shame RIRA is now under the control of 5 people from the Cherry Blossom Festival.
 Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feeley-Nahem added:
It's a matter of transparency.
Here's the walkout during Ms Strong-Shinozaki's President's Report.

After the walkout, Ms Strong Shinozaki noted that she was willing to provide the requested information to RIRA members so long as they sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Following the walkout, there were only 8 RIRA members remaining, not enough present for a quorum to continue the meeting.

The remaining RIRA members continued their conversation about the non-disclosure agreement, though it was not an official meeting.

A short while later I was asked to leave the RIRA conversation so the members could continue their discussion in private. I left as requested.

Once outside in Good Shepherd Plaza, I spoke with the protesting RIRA members who explained the reason for the walkout and expressed concern that RIRA as a community organization may soon cease to exist because of the lack of transparency and internal turmoil.

The police did not attend last night's meeting.

Today, I asked RIRA members:
Any statement from RIRA or individual members regarding last night's walk out by almost half of the membership in what those members say is in response to the lack of information and transparency by RIRA President and other RIRA members regarding the discovery of financial irregularities?

Also, please confirm that RIRA President Lynn Strong-Shinozaki indicated that she would provide information about financial irregularities to those members if they signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and the NDA would be in effect for a period of time ending with what is described as a Police investigation.

Also, please confirm that those RIRA members who have previously been informed of the facts regarding the financial irregularities have already signed the same NDA. If not, why not?

Please let me know if there will be any answer provided by RIRA?
Adib Mansour replied:
An embezzlement was committed against the RIRA common council. A majority of common council members have been asking RIRA’s president for financial documents and bank statements that should have been submitted to the board months ago, even prior to the embezzlement. There is neither the need to disclose them in an executive session nor the need for the directors to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in order to review them. The aforementioned documents must be available to the Common Council members regardless of any investigation.

Adib Mansour, A.F.
RIRA Common Council
Children, Youth & Education Ad Hoc Committee
Ms Strong-Shinozaki forwarded her President's Report statement.
Moving forward, we need to keep in mind what is important to our community as a whole. We have experienced a lot of changes in the last few years.

Many of the things we would like to see happen, like the elevators on the Manhattan side of the Tram and the full completion of Octagon Field, are taking much longer than anticipated, yet there has been progress. We were very happy to hear that Octagon Field will be renamed in honor of Retired PSD Chief Jack McManus. His approach to community policing dramatically changed how Public Safety officers interacted with the residents and how people view our Public Saftey Department.

For our organization to function at its fullest, we need our time and energy to be spent in our committee meetings working toward the betterment of our community. The very keystones of a high functioning organization are trust, collaboration, and a willingness to participate.

Members of the Common Council are the ones who are mandated to focus on the quality of life issues and have a voice in what happens to our buildings and our community. Many are happy we will soon have more affordable housing on Roosevelt Island and there are some who are not. There are those who look forward to the Cornell Hotel and those who foresee traffic issues and dread its opening. Many Islanders are very unhappy that we seem to have a steady influx of tourists, yet this group may be the very vehicle to keep our small Island retail establishments in business. What we can do is listen to our neighbors, respond to them and bring their concerns to our Common Council for discussion and possible action.

How can we support the residents of Roosevelt Landings and Westview as their buildings change ownership? Have we heard the concerns of our neighbors about the bike ramp and east side bike lane? We are hearing about a new venue, “The Sanctuary” in the former Day Spring Church, next to Octagon. What lies ahead in terms of traffic and the quiet ambiance at the northern end if the Island with this new place?

Finally, as you may recall, I asked for your patience and understanding in regard to the irregularities in our checking account that were discovered and reported in executive session last month. Again, as was stated last month, there are outstanding Subpoenas as the police continue their investigation. We need to wait for the investigation to be concluded before relevant materials may be shared, as requested. Moreover, you will probably be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to the review of any materials as a reminder of confidentiality and to remove the potential threat of libel against RIRA as an organization.

I look forward to working with you and very much appreciate your work and ideas.
It's a real shame that RIRA appears to be breaking up. A well functioning community organization is needed to represent the interests of Roosevelt Island residents.

UPDATE 10 PM - RIRA Island Services Committee Chair Rossana Ceruzzi adds:
As a rule, all CC members should have full access to the financial data.

Historically, I am not aware there has ever been a requirement to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement to review any data pertaining to the operations of our 501c4 organization.

Well before the current matter, we have strongly requested to RIRA's President such documentation along with the last two years of bank statements and all data associated with the Cherry Blossom Festival 2019.

In conclusion, we are asking for full transparency.
UPDATE 10/7 - The group of RIRA members who walked out of the meeting jointly send the following statement:
RIRA is neither splitting up nor is it “the beginning of the end.”

The group of CC Members that walked out of the last RIRA Common Council meeting on Wednesday October 2nd is merely asking for transparency from the RIRA leadership and the SC&E/Cherry Blossom Committee.

We have been repetitively requesting bank statements and financial reports/materials at every CC meeting since April 2019.

While we all have been informed that the embezzlement act is undergoing investigation, we want to know why only a small group of five CC members was chosen by the President to act as “advisors” on the matter while the rest of the CC is kept in the dark.

We remain committed to Roosevelt Island, its residents and the projects we are working on.


Adib Mansour, A.F.
Rossana Ceruzzi
Dave Evans
Erin Nahem-Feely
Dimaura Cole
Stephanie Jackson
Enequa Lewis
Shirley Coley
Frank Farance
Cynthia Ahn

Sale Of Roosevelt Landings, Hudson Related Main Street Retail Presentation, Southtown Building 9 Lot & Southpoint Open Space Project On Agenda For Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Real Estate Development Advisory Committee Meeting Monday October 7 - Public Invited To Attend

Several very important local real estate issues will be discussed during the October 7 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee (REDAC).

According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. at RIOC’s Operations Office, 680 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

Amended Agenda:
  • Discussion of Transfer of Roosevelt Landings
  • Hudson Related Retail Presentation Regarding Main Street Commercial Spaces
  • Discussion of Southtown Building 9 Lot Reapportionment
  • Discussion of “RI” Sign
  • Langan Presentation of Southpoint Open Space Revetment Project

The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.
More info here on:
During the September 5 RIOC Board of Directors Meeting Public Session, Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk discussed the Giant RI Monument which residents were told was to be temporary and then voted upon by REDAC committee before a final decision to keep it permanently.

According to Ms Falk:
I am a representative of Southtown to the RIRA Common Council.

Believe it or not, I am here at the invitation of Susan Rosenthal.

You probably don’t remember, but we had an email exchange in May and the RIOC Board was copied on the correspondence. The subject was the re-installation of the RI Monument on Tram Plaza. I had believed it was a temporary installation, a three-month trial, starting on October 8, which would have ended on January 8 of this year.

But in fact, it was SEVEN months in May and is about ELEVEN months today.

In May, I asked Susan to report on the impact of the monument.

To my surprise, she could not provide ONE STATISTIC to prove that the monument had attracted
visitors, enticed them to stay longer on the island, spend more money, be more active on social media, or generate more favorable comments by residents.


She could only cite anecdotal reports by tram operators (and herself) that tourists enjoy it and took photos. Then she said, “But feel free to speak to the Board during any public comment period if you wish them to take action.” So here I am.

Susan, I have anecdotal evidence, too. HUNDREDS of people IGNORE the monument, and thousands actively detest it. RIRA voted UNANIMOUSLY AGAINST the monument.

Residents submitted comments AGAINST the monument and copied Judy Berdy of the RIHS, comments that RIOC and the board NEVER saw. Many wonder how those comments were misplaced.

This is background. Now, here are my FIVE QUESTIONS:

​1. On what date did the RIOC Board decide the “temporary” RI Monument would become permanent?

2. What criteria were used to arrive at that decision of permanent installation?

3. RIRA, as you may recall, voted overwhelmingly AGAINST the monument. What input did the residents have in that decision of permanent installation?

4. When and how was this decision communicated to residents?

5. What criteria and what process would reverse that decision?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

RIOC Names Kevin Brown As New Chief Of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, Intends To Continue Community Policing Programs Implemented By Retired Chief McManus - Congrats Chief Brown

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced today that former Public Safety Department Deputy Chief, currently Acting Chief Kevin Brown

has been named the permanent Chief succeeding recently retired Chief Jack McManus.

Image of Former Chief McManus (left) and Newly Named Chief Brown from Frank Farance

According to RIOC:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has selected Kevin Brown as Chief of the Public Safety Department (PSD) on Roosevelt Island. Chief Brown had been serving as Acting Chief since previous PSD Chief Jack McManus left earlier this year, and as Deputy Chief of PSD for three years before that.

“I am delighted to have an accomplished law enforcement professional of Chief Brown’s character leading the Public Safety Department,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of RIOC. “He was the best choice to continue the successful community policing programs first implemented by Chief McManus.”

Before joining PSD, Chief Brown held a variety of leadership positions during a thirty-two-year career in the New York Police Department (NYPD), including serving in the Special Operations Division during the September 11th tragedy. “I am honored to have been selected for such an important position,” said Chief Brown. “I have had the privilege of being here to witness the tradition of cooperation and respect that exists between PSD and the community. I intend on doing everything in my power to give the fine men and women of PSD everything they need to continue to uphold Roosevelt Island’s reputation as one of the safest neighborhoods in New York City.”
Chief Brown spoke about taking over for Chief McManus and his views on community policing during the June 25 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee meeting. An excerpt below.

RIOC recently profiled then Acting Chief Brown with a 10 question interview:
Ten Questions with: Acting PSD Chief Kevin Brown

Interviewed by:

Erica Spencer-EL, Director, Community Affairs / Jessica Murray, Supervisor, Community Affairs

Re-Introducing RIOC is a new way for RIOC to inform residents and stakeholders about the many new people who have come to work on the island in the past several years.

In a recent interview, Kevin Brown, the Acting Director of the Public Safety Department (PSD), took some time to answer a few questions about his life and his career.

Erica Spencer-EL: You were working with Jack for almost three years and most people in the community know you as “Deputy Brown”. I understand that you’ve had a very interesting career before arriving to the island. Tell us a little bit more about your background. Where were you born?

Kevin Brown: I was born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I attended New York City public schools and in my senior year of high school, NYPD recruiters came with the opportunity and I signed up. At 20 years old I became a police officer and served for 32 years, from 1984-2016. It was a dream job that gave me the opportunity to become a detective, sergeant, and a lieutenant.

Jessica Murray: That means you were with the NYPD during the 9/11 attacks. Could you tell us more about that tragic time?

KB: I was stationed at Ground Zero and had been inside the building only five minutes before they started to collapse. That day changed my life and career forever. I began looking at my job, at people, and at relationships differently.

Erica: In speaking with you, education has played an important role in your life. How so?

KB: A few years after I joined the NYPD, I decided to continue my studies and enrolled in LaGuardia Community College to obtain an Associate’s degree. Soon after, I took my Lieutenant’s test and passed. Years later, I went on to John Jay College to complete the remaining credits needed to obtain my Bachelor’s degree. After graduating from college, I thought about life after the NYPD and knew I wanted to give back to the community. I thought about becoming a high school teacher, but it wasn’t for me. In 2006 I was asked to teach at John Jay College and I loved it. I still teach part time now.

Jessica: What made you decide to work on Roosevelt Island?

In 2016, the Police Department was going through some changes and I decided to look for other opportunities. I got an interview at Roosevelt Island (but already had a good job lined up) and knew of Jack McManus, the Chief of Public Safety because I had served as Commanding Officer of The Operations Division during the 9/11 tragedy. Meeting with Jack was like catching up with an old friend and I started working for RIOC in September 2016.

Erica: What have you learned from working here so far?

KB: Jack and I view Roosevelt Island as a small town that could benefit from the community policing program. The dynamics of this island are unique. This is a passionate and tight-knit community. I admire the passion of Roosevelt Island residents.

Jessica: What do you think is the hardest part about working?

KB: The challenge is realizing that no two people are the same. Some can be more argumentative than others, but everyone deserves to be treated with courtesy, professionalism, and respect. Sometimes that means taking a few extra minutes to explain that PSD can’t do certain things or that residents aren’t allowed to do certain things. Either way, my golden rule is to treat people the way you want to be treated.

Erica: Can you give us an idea about crime on the island and where it stands right now?

KB: Reported crime is consistently low. Major crimes are very low. Quality of life drives perception; perception becomes reality. Low crime levels become a reality when you educate people on the facts. People are not going to travel here to commit a crime and residents on the island mostly know each other, so criminals are more likely to get caught.

Jessica: Do you see a difference in dealing with different people in the island and their perception of the capacities of Public Safety?

KB: The long-term residents come to PSD for service. They know us, they’ve lived here for a long time. New-comers wouldn’t think the PSD provides full service. We are here to improve the quality of life of people on this island. We are often mediators and problem solvers.

Erica: Could you tell us more about partnerships and initiatives to assure the island’s safety?

KB: Emergency preparedness is a hot topic. PSD has a number of resources we can reach out to at NYC Emergency Management (“NYCEM”), FDNY, NYPD, and other agencies outside of our department. We know who to call or reach out to in different situations. The office of Emergency Management is key during an evacuation or in other serious emergencies. All relevant agencies are aware of Roosevelt Island’s Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Jessica: What would you like to accomplish while Acting Director?

KB: The officers here should continue to be highly trained, should be respected, and perform their duties with professionalism. They should be well-trained and earn respect, so they can render good service to the community.
Congrats Roosevelt Island Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown.