Friday, January 25, 2019

Creepy Nighttime Red & White Lights Flashing Inside Blackwell House - What's Going On?

A Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) spokesperson explains the lights:
The alarms malfunctioned in Blackwell, which is being addressed by the alarm company on site today.
I saw the lights too over the last several days.

Adopt A Roosevelt Island Bench With Your Very Own Personalized Plaque For $75- $100 - Big Bargain Compared To $10,000 Central Park Bench Adoption

A Roosevelt Island tipster reports:

There is a program for people to have a plaque placed on a bench,...
According to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director of Parks & Recreation Mary Cuneen:
We have two benches on the island with plaques currently. Here is a sample of the bench plaques. It is located

along the West Esplanade by Cornell Tech.
Below is excerpt from RIOC's Park Bench Dedication Policy
Park Benches Dedications

Dedication plaques for existing island benches may be installed on the back or base of the bench depending on the park and site conditions. Donation rates are listed below:

Park Donation Element Existing Park Bench

Island Areas/Fields -  $75.00

Flagship Parks* $100.00

*Flagship Parks are the Lighthouse Park & Southpoint Park. Bench Donation Program Policy (Please read before signing)

1. This policy is designed to enable residents and park users to support Roosevelt Island parks. The plaque is symbolic of the donation and does not entitle the donor to ownership of the particular donated element.

2. Donation applications will be due by January 1st for summer installation and May 1st for fall installation.Due to the unpredictability of weather and staffing demands,RIOC cannot guarantee a specific installation date within a given season.

3. Complete funding for the donation must be processed before the commencement of any work.The current donation levels are stated herein. These amounts may be adjusted periodically.

4. A plaque will remain in place for 20 years. Within this time, RIOC will replace, at no cost to the donor, a bench dedication plaque one time if it is damaged or stolen. The cost of any subsequent replacement plaques will be the financial responsibility of the donor and must be coordinated through RIOC....
and complete policy with application form.

If you have any questions regarding the program, call the RIOC Parks & Recreation Department at (212) 832-4545.

Adopting a Central Park Bench will cost you $10,000:
The Adopt-A-Bench program was established in 1986 as a permanent fund to maintain and endow the care of Central Park's more than 9,000 benches and their surrounding landscapes. To date, more than 4,100 benches have been adopted. In recognition of contributions to the fund, Central Park Conservancy installs a personalized plaque on a park bench of the donor's choosing. Benches may be endowed for $10,000

A bench is a wonderful way to memorialize or honor a loved one. Adopt-A-Bench for a birthday, anniversary, new baby, graduation – it is the perfect gift for any occasion!....
Adopt a Roosevelt Island bench - What A Bargain!!!!

There was a time when you could adopt a Roosevelt Island tree with your own personalized plaque - not sure if you can still do that.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Open House Saturday January 26 - Reserve Spot For A Free Ballet, Tap, Musical Theater, Capoeira, Hip Hop & Breakdancing Open House Class

Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) Executive Director Kristi Towey reports:

 We will be hosting our free Open House on January 26th for the upcoming Spring semester. Classes are free but require a reservation.
According to MST&DA:
​Join us for a FREE class on January 26th at our Spring Open House.

New to MST&DA? Come meet teachers and staff to learn more about our programming and classes we offer for the whole family.

Currently a student? Try something new! We are so excited to have the whole family!

To reserve a spot in our Open House Demo Classes listed below, email with the class name, time, student name, date of birth, and contact for parent. Space is limited so reservations are necessary for entry to class. Limit two reservations per student.

Please note age requirements for the classes below.

9:30-10am Playmakers for ages 18 mos - 3yrs Renwick Room
10:30-11am Creative Pre-Ballet ages 3-4.5 Renwick Room
9:30-10:15am Ballet I & II ages 6+ Large Dance Studio
10:30-11am Mini Musical Theatre ages 6 & 7 Large Dance Studio
11-11:30am Pre-Ballet ages 4.5 yrs up to age 6 Renwick Room
10:30-11am Tap ages 4+ Renwick Room
11-11:30am Family Capoeira ages 2+ Large Dance Studio
11:30-12pm Open Level Capoeira - all ages 5+ Large Dance Studio
11:30-12pm Teen Hip Hop & Choreography Ages 13+ Renwick Room
12:00-1pm Introduction to Breakdancing Ages 10+ Large Dance Studio

You can also check our website schedule here -
More info on MST&DA available at its web site or send them an email.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Weekend And Every Weekend Thru End Of January

No Roosevelt Island F Train service  to Manhattan this weekend and every weekend thru end of January.

According to the MTA:
TRACK MAINTENANCE Weekends until Jan 28 From 11:45 PM Friday to 5 AM Monday 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 F service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St and 57 St.

Travel Alternatives:

For service to these stations, take the F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Jamaica-bound F.

For service from 21 St-Queensbridge and Roosevelt Island, take the F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Coney Island-bound F.
As previously reported, due to the Tram Overhaul project starting second week of February with only one Tram Cabin operating:
... RIOC officials received assurances that there will be no disruptions to the subway’s F Train line that services Roosevelt Island, including weekends through April 19.

Additional service will be provided via the E Train line, weeknights March 18 – March 22 and March 25 – March 29; and all four weekends March 23 – April 25.....
 Both Tram Cabins operating at full capacity this weekend.

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

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Impossible To Get On Manhattan Bound Roosevelt Island F Train From 8-9 AM Frustrated Residents Say - 8 Trains Go By And Not Able to Board

The Roosevelt Island twitterverse reports today on overcrowded morning F trains.


Jupioca Healthy Juice Bar Signs Lease In Riverwalk Offering Nutritious Smoothies, Teas & Acai Bowls - Latest Update On Roosevelt Island Retail

A new retail tenant, Jupioca,

Image From Jupioca

is coming to Roosevelt Island's Southtown area this spring offering healthy juices,

Image From Jupioca

smoothies, tea and Acai bowls.

Image From Jupioca

in the former Nail Salon Space next to Starbucks.

According to this press release from Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related:
Hudson Related Retail LLC today announced the signing of Jupioca, a new juice, smoothie and tea shop to a 10-year, 700-square foot lease at 455 Main Street, located in the retail portion of the Riverwalk Place Apartments in a space previously housing the Swan Nail Salon. The addition of Jupioca will add to the growing, eclectic mix of storefronts on Roosevelt Island. Jupioca at 455 Main Street is expected to open in spring of 2019. Jupioca will serve juices, superfood green smoothies, protein shakes and Acai bowls, inspired by high-quality, fresh and nutritious natural ingredients.

“Jupioca will be a fantastic complement to the other offerings on the island,” said Alex Kaplan, Project Manager at The Hudson Companies. “We are glad to have quickly occupied the former nail salon space with a new and exciting option for Roosevelt Island residents and visitors.”

“We are committed to introducing every American to incredibly nutritious drinks so that everyone can enjoy their benefits,” said Jin Zheng, owner of Jupioca. Just make our no-sugar, highly nutritious drinks a part of your daily routine and see the incredible difference they make to your lifestyle. And we are so happy to announce- we are going to have Thai Roll Ice cream, a very popular frozen dessert in Asia!”

Jupioca’s drinks will be sourced daily from fresh and locally grown vegetables and fruits. The drinks will support healthy diets, and help to detox and cleanse the body. With this lease signing, Jupioca adds to their eight locations in throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Joshua Strauss and Alex Arsenis of RKF represented both Hudson Related Retail LLC and Jupioca in the deal. The nearby Shops on Main also feature a salon, dry cleaner, wine shop, diner and Chinese restaurant, all of which add to the variety of retail along the corridor.

In March of 2018, Lisa Management, the property management arm of The Hudson Companies, Inc, took over all marketing and leasing for the remaining available storefront at the Shops on Main retail corridor. Since then, Lisa Management has signed two new retail tenants: the forthcoming Liukoshui hot pot restaurant and PupCulture pet care and spa service.
Hudson Related's Alex Kaplan adds:
We are looking forward to a spring/summer 2019 opening for Café Eleanor and Hot Pot.

We are still searching for a new user for the former Riverwalk Bar & Grill space.
I asked Hudson Related regarding status of Mexican restaurant Onda which was supposed to open in 2016 but was last reported in March 2018 to still be working on obtaining their permits. Rumors are that Onda will not open but Ms Kaplan did not respond to inquires about Onda.

Also, as reported earlier today. the Dayspring Church was evicted from its stone cottage last week and the Roosevelt Island Islamic Society leased space in the former Cabrini Chapel.

More info on Roosevelt Island's new Jupioca retail store at their web site.

Roosevelt Island Islamic Society Has New Home - Signed Lease For Former Cabrini Chapel Space Says Hudson Related

The Roosevelt Island Islamic community has been looking for a permanent home on Roosevelt Island for a long time.

They have one now at the former Cabrini Chapel 564 Main Street space.

In reply to my inquiry confirming the news, a Hudson Related representative said:
Yes – R.I Islamic Society is taking over the Chapel space.
In 2014, I spoke to members of the Roosevelt Island Islamic community at the Farmers Market about their seeking a permanent home on Roosevelt Island.

The Roosevelt Island St Francis Cabrini Catholic Church moved to its new and larger home last January 2018.

Roosevelt Island Dayspring Church Evicted - Actively Looking For An Exciting New Use For The Stone Cottage On Roosevelt Island East River Waterfront Promenade Says Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related

A tipster reported last week that the Dayspring Church, which occupied the stone cottage on the Roosevelt Island West Promenade next to the Octagon building,

 was evicted from its premises.

by Main Street Master retail leaseholder Hudson Related for non-payment of rent.

In response to my inquiry, a Hudson Related representative replied:
They were evicted and we are actively looking for an exciting new use for the space.
This Dayspring Church October 16, 2018 fundraising appeal explained their financial difficulties:
... Dayspring church in the last couple of years have been through ministry travails and trials, ups and downs, twist and turns that resulted in a considerable decline of membership and attendance.

This put the church in a situation where we could not meet our financial obligations. During this period that stretched about four (4) years, the church was only able to meet 40% to 50% of her monthly bills leaving us with a minimum of 50% indebtedness each month. This is with respect to rent payments.

Today, the church stands indebted to our landlords in accumulated rent and interest of almost $60,000. Our current situation is that the church has been taken to court by the State of New York; the owners of the building, through their management agents. This is to recover the past due rent and interest, evict the church from the property and retake it back before the lease ends, if the accumulated rent of $60,000 is not paid by October 31st, 2018.

We are also in need of financial help in the tune of $50,000 for needed repairs and renovations on the church building, which we have not been able to do due to the financial situation we found ourselves in recent times. We are calling on the people of God to come to the aid of Dayspring Church Family. This church building was shut down and abandoned in 1973 until the church came to reactivate and reopen it for worship services in 1997. The church has spent nearly a million dollars in the past 21 years in rent, repairs and updates....
According to Correction History report in the year 2000:
... services are held here by the congregants of the REDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD. The church refurbished and occupied the building in 1997 under minister and island resident Oloe Obed. It was originally the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, built in 1924 as a chapel for Metropolitan Hospital, with an attached rectory for the hospital's chaplain. The chapel was later rededicated to the Order of Saint Dennis.

When Metropolitan Hospital moved to Manhattan in 1955, the chapel stood abandoned for the next twenty years. In 1978 Richard Hemm, the chaplain of the relocated Metropolitan Hospital, occupied the rectory and remained there until the early 1990s.

Modeled on a church in England, the chapel's most noteworthy features are its stained- glass windows and steep- slate roof. It was the last of many island structures built out of island-quarried gray gneiss, and it blended nicely with Metropolitan Hospital's other buildings. Though its architecture is quite reserved, it maintains a handsome and charming distinction amidst the surrounding land....
It was later renamed Dayspring Church.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy has a very interesting chapter in her Roosevelt Island book about religion on Blackwell's (now Roosevelt) Island.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

How Does Trump Federal Government Shutdown Effect Roosevelt Island Residents With Housing Subsidies And Other Benefits?

The Trump federal government shutdown continues into its second month

with no expectation as to when it may end.

How does the Trump federal government shutdown effect Roosevelt Island residents? That was a concern expressed at the January 9 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) meeting by Common Council member Adib Mansour who noted there are alot of people living on Roosevelt Island that depend on food stamps and housing subsidies who may be harmed by the shutdown. Mr Mansour asked for ideas to help neighbors adversely effected by the shutdown.

RIRA Common Council Member Eneaqua Lewis added that the Manhattan Park 2-4 River Road affordable housing buildings

have not had their leases/subsidies renewed yet by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).

On January 17, Ms Lewis reported:
Manhattan Park. 2 & 4 River Road HUD subsidy expired on January 9. The last time I spoke with MP they said they would honor leases and also still renew leases in this time but they didn’t know what would happen if the shutdown lasted longer.

On January 18, I asked Manhattan Park ownership:
How does the government shutdown effect residents and building ownership of 2-4 River Road in Manhattan Park.

Are housing subsidies being paid and leases renewed.

I understand the HUD subsidy expired in January and has not been renewed due to the shutdown. Is that true?

Any statement from Manhattan Park on this issue?
Manhattan Park representative Brian Weisberg replied:
It's our hope that the shutdown will end soon. With that said, the financial impact of the shutdown will ultimately be on ownership. Tenants at 2-4 River Road in Manhattan Park won't be impacted.
Ms Lewis was quoted in a recent AP article on the government shutdown:
... People are really afraid right now and just don’t know what to do,” Lewis said. “I can’t afford market rate rent here. Where would I go? Where would everyone go? One side of the building is all elderly or handicapped. The other side is all families. Where would we all go?...
Here's Bronx/Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

expressing their stark differences on the government shutdown.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Roosevelt Island Capital Projects, Landscaping & Tram Repairs On RIOC Operations Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda For Wednesday January 23 - When Will Octagon Soccer Field Be Fixed?

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee is meeting tomorrow, January 23. Among the items on the Agenda are:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee Meeting of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 5:30 P.M. at RIOC Administrative Office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


1. Capital Projects – Key Projects Review

2. Discussion of Landscaping RFP

3. POMA Tram Repairs Update

4. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to Review Vendor’s Performance under the Contract

5. Any Other Committee Business that May be Brought Before the Committee
Among the current Roosevelt Island capital projects is the renovation of the Octagon Soccer Field which was supposed to begin in the Fall of 2018 so it would be ready in time for Spring 2019 Soccer season.

As of January 2019, renovation of the Octagon Soccer Field has not begun yet

and I'm told the field will be closed at least for the remainder of 2019.

Will update if any more info discussed at the Operations Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday.

UPDATE 7 PM - RIOC announced this evening that the Operations Advisory Committee meeting has been postponed until February 5:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the meeting of the Operation Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors previously schedule for Wednesday, January 23, 2019 has been rescheduled and will be held on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at RIOC Administration Office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York....

You're Invited To February 10 Sunday Tea With Mae West - Welfare Island's Bawdiest Prison Inmate Returns For Risque Repartee, Intimate Confessions, Gourmet Refreshments & Vintage Movies Hosted By Roosevelt Island Historical Society

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) invites you to Sunday Afternoon Tea With Mae West on February 10.

According to RIHS:
Welfare Island’s bawdiest Workhouse inmate returns, in person, for an afternoon of:
  • Gourmet refreshment
  • Intimate confessions
  • Risqué repartee
  • Vintage movies
LIMITED SEATING for a uniquely entertaining event. Get your tickets now by clicking the link Sunday Tea with Mae West: Credit Card & PayPal

Or, purchase at Visitor Center kiosk: Cash or credit card

There are a few spots left for a uniquely entertaining afternoon with Mae West!

Ticket Choices:
  • Friend of Mae West: $45
  • Drinking Companion: $60, includes vintage tea cup memento
  • Co-Star: $100, Includes tea cup plus Mae West biography “She AlwaysKnew How”
  • Producer $150, Includes tea cup, biography plus
  • “The Essential DVD Collection of 9 Mae West Films” (eg, the seductive and witty “She Done Him Wrong” and “My Little Chickadee”)
According to the NYPL:
... on April 19, 1927 Mae West was convicted at The Jefferson Market Courthouse on obscenity charges for her play Sex. The play, which she also wrote, produced, and directed, was her first starring role on Broadway. The production had been open for close to a year and playing to full houses before it was raided by the police. West received a $500 fine and was sentenced to ten days in jail. She spent one night in the Woman’s House of Detention before moving to Welfare Island (now known as Roosevelt Island). She was released after eight days for good behavior and the resulting publicity only increased her fame....
Why don't you come up and see Mae West for Sunday afternoon tea with the RIHS on February 10.

More info and tickets to Sunday Tea With Mae West available at RIHS web site.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Great Aerial View From Plane Above Roosevelt Island & NYC East River Waterfront Shared By NY 1 Morning Anchor Pat Kiernan

NY 1 morning anchor Pat Kiernan tweets:

A Roosevelt Island resident adds:

You're Invited To Come Meet Your Friendly Roosevelt Island Neighborhood Scientists, Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoc Pub Talk At Nisi Restaurant January 22 - Topic, Beautiful Minds: Brain Research From Cell Culture To Patients

The Postdoctoral Association of Weill Cornell Medicine is hosting a January 22 Pub Talk event at Roosevelt Island's Nisi Kitchen (559 Main Street).

You're invited to attend. According to the Weill Cornell Medicine Postdocs:
Pub Talk” Series; an outreach event featuring the research of WCM postdocs* to engage both fellow researchers and science enthusiasts from around New York City!

Come meet your friendly neighborhood scientists! Two researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine will discuss what they are doing in the lab and the clinic to advance the scientific frontier in psychiatric disease.

Up first, Michael Notaras will present "When does schizophrenia really begin?". Join Michael as he discusses cutting-edge research involving 3D stem cell bioengineering technology to design “mini-brains”, organoids that mimic the first trimester of brain development. Using this technology, he is able to study when mental disorders such as schizophrenia truly commence and the long term consequences for adult disease.

Next, Reed Maxwell will present "More than Ups and Downs: Everything You Didn't Know You Needed to Know about Borderline Personality Disorder". Reed will discuss the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of Borderline Personality Disorder, including best treatments, how to recognize friends and loved ones who might have it, and how to help them out.
Click here to register.

You're Invited To Indoor Seed Starting Workshop Presented By iDig2Learn & Grow NYC At Roosevelt Island Carter Burden Senior Center Thursday January 24 - Learn How To Grow Your Own Nutritious & Tasty Microgreens

The Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center (546 Main Street) is hosting a Seed Starting Workshop with iDig2Learn and Grow NYC on Thursday, January 24. You're invited.

Seed Starting Workshop

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24TH, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 P.M.
Want an early start on your growing season? Interested in growing nutritious and tasty microgreens?

Join iDig2Learn and Grow to Learn for this free workshop on how to start your seeds indoors, including proper timing and planting care.

Workshop limited to 20 participants. RSVP to Yulisa Santana

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day Today, Take A Moment To Remember And Honor His Legacy

The third Monday in January has been designated as a Federal holiday in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was born January 15, 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King is remembered and honored for many things including his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".

An excerpt:
... A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in it's application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest....
The full text of Letter From A Birmingham Jail is here and a short excerpt of audio below.

Here's an excerpt of Dr. King's last speech - I've Been To The Mountain Top.

Politcio has an excellent article on the last years of Dr. King's life.
... Almost 50 years after his death, we remember MLK as the transcendent figure who helped lift the South out of Jim Crow. We also remember him as almost preternaturally calm in the face of great pressure and danger. He was indeed all of these things. But the passage of time has obscured his dimensionality. In the last years of his life, King expanded his vision beyond the former Confederacy and took on a broader struggle to dismantle America’s jigsaw edifice of racial and economic discrimination—a struggle that took him deep into northern states and cities, where onetime allies became bitter enemies. He did so even as he strained to keep a fractious civil rights movement unified, and in the face of unremitting sabotage from federal authorities.

He was a young man, still in his 30s—foisted onto the national stage with actors many years or decades his senior, suspect in the eyes of both younger and older civil rights leaders—and the burdens of leadership took their toll on him....
Take a moment today to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

and the good work he accomplished to make our country a better place:
More on Dr. King from