Friday, March 8, 2019

Roosevelt Island Community Report From RIOC President Susan Rosenthal - Update On Tram Overhaul Project, Cherry Blossom Festival, New Capital Planning Director And Public Information Officer, Blackwell House Opening Ribbon Cutting, Youth Center Building Needs More Work, Motorgate Garage Waterproofing & New Murals Displayed At Motorgate Gallery Opening

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal reported to the March 7 RIOC Board of Directors meeting on the following subjects.

  • Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul Project - Ms Rosenthal thanked RIOC project manager Prince Shah for developing plan to keep Tram operating during Overhaul project. The Tram Cable overhaul aspect of project is on schedule for completion. However, gear box renovation may be delayed because parts coming from Europe have not cleared customs yet. Rope work may be finished before Gear Boxes arrive. In that case, both cabins will operate until work starts on Gear Boxes and then 1 cabin in operation again.
  • Cherry Blossom Festival scheduled for April 13. F Train and both Tram Cabins are scheduled to be operating that day and RIOC is trying to get added ferry service. RIOC working with RIRA on Cherry Blossom Festival. 10 thousand people attended last year.
  • New RIOC Capital Planning Director hired. Has over 30 years working experience with NYC Parks Department.
  • New Public Information Officer hired.
  • Blackwell House opening and ribbon cutting ceremony coming up soon.
  • Youth Center building needs alot more work than originally thought. New RFP issued for work.
  • Motorgate waterproofing project contractor to be selected soon - garage will be open during work.
  • Motorgate Gallery opening April 5 - murals from 2018 Fall For Arts Festival will be displayed.
Here's Ms Rosenthal's complete community report.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - F Train To And From Manhattan, Only 1 Tram Cabin Working, No Tram Service On Sunday & Winter NYC Ferry Astoria Route Schedule

Good news. There is Roosevelt Island F Train subway service to and from Manhattan this weekend.

Bad news, as previously reported, due to a major Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul project, only a single Cabin will be operating each day for at least 12 weeks starting last February 14.

Also, no Roosevelt Island Tram service at all on Sunday March 10.

More on the Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul project at this prior post.

Here's the Winter Schedule for Roosevelt Island ferry Astoria route service.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

R & R Concerts Name Change To Roosevelt Island Concerts As It Begins 12th Season Bringing Outstanding Chamber & Classical Music To Roosevelt Island, All Mozart Concert March 23 At Good Shepherd - Seeking Donations To Support Providing World Class Music For Entire RI Community

For the last 12 years, Roosevelt Island residents have been very fortunate to be the home of the R&R Concerts free classical music series at the Good Shepherd Community Center.

Take a listen.

Today, R&R Concert Series organizer and Roosevelt Island resident Marc Diamond announces a new name for the classical music concert series - Roosevelt Island Concerts -

 and reports the following:
The concert series that has been presenting extraordinary performances of classical music on Roosevelt Island for more than a decade will now be known as Roosevelt Island Concerts. As one of the few New York series presenting both chamber music and orchestral concerts, its rich repertoire draws audiences from Roosevelt Island and throughout New York City.

The first event presented as Roosevelt Island Concerts — on March 23 — will feature an all-Mozart program, with Benjamin Hochman conducting the Roosevelt Island Orchestra and soloing in two piano concertos. First up on the program is the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro. All events in the series take place at Good Shepherd Church, the 1888 acoustically wonderful NYC landmark at the heart of Roosevelt Island.

Season XII will continue with the Summer Series, organized by Israel Philharmonic Orchestra cellist Iris Jortner and Israeli Opera violinist and violist Ralph Allen. Guest performers will be announced in the late spring.

The series has maintained a goal of providing world-class music to all New Yorkers and to everyone in its home community of Roosevelt Island, whose diverse population includes residents of subsidized housing as well as million-dollar condominiums. Beginning in March, concertgoers will be asked for a donation of a suggested amount, which will help keep the series affordable to all. Complementing the concerts, outreach events at area healthcare and senior facilities bring the joy of beautiful music to those who might not otherwise be able to experience it.

The series is now in the midst of a major fundraising campaign with the aim of compensating performers at appropriate and competitive levels, expanding the number of creative and tireless individuals who help produce our events, and providing pianists with an instrument of high quality on which to perform.

Founded as R&R Concerts, the series continues to honor the memory of its namesake Robin & Rosemary Russell, who brought to Roosevelt Island a highly regarded series of concerts and a music school. Building on their spirit, and with the deep support of the community as a vital part of its cultural life, Roosevelt Island Concerts will continue to bring extraordinary classical performances to Roosevelt Island as it expands its geographic and artistic reach.

The newly redesigned website is at
Check out future Roosevelt Island Concert events, learn about the Orchestra and help support the concert series.

Here's 2008 post from the first Robin & Rosemary Russel Roosevelt Island classical music concert.

Roosevelt Island Capital Projects Owner Rep, Motorgate Repairs, Landscaping, Dollar Sculpture Gift, Lighthouse Park Repairs, Lighthouse Restoration, Tram Overhaul, Blackwell House Renovation & Firefighters Field Renovation Among Items On RIOC March 7 Board Of Directors Meeting Today

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors  will hold their first meeting of 2019 (excluding committee meetings) today, 5:30 PM Thursday, March 7, at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street). You're invited to  attend and ask questions during the opening Public Session before the start of the meeting. Sign up to speak here.

(Image Of May 17 RIOC Board Meeting)

According to RIOC:





5:30 P.M.[1]

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes

1. December 13, 2018 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

New Business

1. Presentation by LiRo Program & Construction Management P.E., PC

2. Authorization to Enter into Contract with LiRo Program & Construction Management P.E., PC for Owner's Representative Services for Capital Projects & Strategic Planning (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization of Architectural and Engineering Task Order to The Lawrence Group Architects of New York, P.C. for Architectural and Engineering Services in Connection with the Motorgate Garage Repairs Project (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Enter into Contract with U.Arias, Corp. for Landscaping and Maintenance Services (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Accept Gift of “One Dollar” Sculpture (Board Action Required)

6. Ratification of Amendment of Contract with Saratoga Associates Landscape Architects, Architects, Engineers and Planners, P.C. in Connection with the Blackwell House Interior Restoration Project (Board Action Required)

7. Ratification of Supplemental Architectural and Engineering Task Order to Cameron Engineering & Associates, L.L.P. for Architect of Record Services in Connection with the Lighthouse Park Repairs Project (Board Action Required)

8. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Thomas A. Fenniman Architects for Architect of Record Services in Connection with the Lighthouse Restoration Project (Board Action Required)

9. Ratification of Task Order to Leitner-Poma of America O&M, Inc. for Overhauls to Aerial Tramway Rope and Gearbox (Board Action Required)

10. Authorization of Architectural and Engineering Task Order to MP Engineers and Architects, P.C. for Architectural and Engineering Services in Connection with the Firefighters Field Renovation Project (Board Action Required)

11. Authorization of Architectural and Engineering Task Order to Cameron Engineering & Associates, L.L.P for Architectural and Engineering Services in Connection with the Sportspark Renovation Project (Board Action Required)

12. President’s Report

13. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

14. 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.

UPDATE 3:20 - The Agenda has been amended to include:
... 12. Authorization to Enter into Contract with The LandTek Group, Inc. for Octagon Field Renovation (Board Action Required)...

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

History of Roosevelt Island's Spooky Gothic Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital - Off Limits To Visitors But Still A Tourist Attraction, Will It Be Saved With $20 Million Stabilization Cost?

The Manhattan Neighborhood Network Youth Channel (YC) recently visited Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital. Here's their video report.

According to YC:

Right in between Manhattan and Queens lives a little island called Roosevelt Island. This island is a historically residential area but in the past has been home to an important Smallpox hospital for NYC.

The Youth Channel is a production from Manhattan Neighborhood Network's Youth Media Center. The YMC has a mission to develop 21st-century communicators and critical thinkers and provides New York City youth with high-quality media production education classes and training programs to encourage critical analysis of local, national and international social justice issues; community activism; and personal and professional development.

The Youth Channel is cablecast Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on MNN Channel 4. Learn more at
Here's more on the Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital from this 2017 video

and info from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

As reported in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosental's November 30,2018 Hey Susan column:

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?

Roosevelt Island Tram Station Entrance Is This Way, No It's That Way - Perfect Metaphor For Living On Roosevelt Island

This tweet of Roosevelt Island Tram entry signage during Tram Overhaul project is perfect metaphor for life on Roosevelt Island.

This way, that way - where are we going?

Resident Stephen Quandt shares this interesting close up view of the North Tram Cabin last Saturday:
We were in the tram yesterday when the other tram was doing a riderless test run with water tanks inside it.

Click on full screen icon at bottom right of video for great view.

More on Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul project at this prior post.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

5 Local Roosevelt Islanders Honored As Women Of Distinction By NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright On Thursday March 7, You're Invited To Women's History Month Celebration

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright is celebrating Women's History Month by honoring Women Of Distinction. You're invited to attend.

According to Assembly Member Seawright:
Dear Neighbor,

March is Women's History Month. In March we honor women who live or work in the 76th Assembly District, who are making a difference every day with the Women of Distinction Awards. Join us on Thursday, March 7 at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Auditorium, 430 East 67th Street (between First and York Avenues) for the celebration!
Among the honorees are five members of the Roosevelt Island community. Namely:
Below is full announcement from Ms. Seawright.

Here's a 2014 video about the history of Women's History Month from the National Women's History Museum

and the 2017 Roosevelt Island Women of Distinction.

Roosevelt Island Wild Kingdom - Watch Hawk Swoop Above Community Garden Hunting For Prey In Our Local Urban Nature Paradise

The Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC):

... is a community of gardening enthusiasts who work together to beautify our Roosevelt Island home, to increase gardening knowledge, and to impart an appreciation for gardening, nature, and environmental stewardship among our members and our neighbors....
... we have an eco-system where we can see beautiful birds at spots across the Island. Birds are especially abundant at the Roosevelt Island Garden Club. Let's work together to keep pesticides off our Island plants as we do at RIGC. Let's keep RI, our beautiful urban nature paradise, as a healthy home for all our living neighbors.
According to RIGC's Julia Ferguson:
One of our many local birds at the Roosevelt Island Garden Club. This handsome hawk swoops by regularly and Anthony Longo made this film. Native plantings, garden plots, and trees keep the birds healthy with plenty of insects for their food.

Click on the full screen icon at bottom right of video for a great view of the Hawk soaring above the Roosevelt Island Community Garden.

The Roosevelt Island Community Garden opens:

Come Back & See Us in Spring!

Saturdays & Sundays 9am-7pm

April 15 through October 15
More info on the RIGC at their web site and check out Outdoors On Roosevelt Island - stories about Roosevelt Island residents favorite spots

Monday, March 4, 2019

Update On Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul Project - Work Begins On South Cabin, New Passenger Entry/Exit For North Cabin & No Tram Station Elevator Service For Next 3 Weeks Says RIOC - Will Be Hardship For Elderly, Disabled And Stroller Users

The Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul project switched work from the North Cabin to the South Cabin and will be operating only the single North Cabin.

There will be new Tram pedestrian entry/exit at both Manhattan

and Roosevelt Island Tram Station.

Also, no Manhattan Station Elevator Service at all for the next 3 weeks which will be a big hardship for Roosevelt Island elderly, disabled and parents with strollers.

According to  the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised that beginning Tuesday, March 5th, there will be new pedestrian entry and exit patterns for both the Roosevelt Island and Manhattan Tram stations. Please continue to follow the directional signage to board and exit the Tram. Due to these required changes, the elevator at the Manhattan Tram station will be out of service for the next 3 weeks. A separate advisory will be sent when the station elevator is accessible.

Roosevelt Island Public Safety officers will be on hand to assist riders.

What are my travel alternatives?

Red Bus Shuttle service will be available to and from the Manhattan Tram Station every weekday from 3 PM to 8:30 PM, beginning from the R.I. Tram Station.

Red Bus Shuttle pick-up locations:

Manhattan: Southwest corner of 58th St. and 2nd Ave.

Roosevelt Island: Tram Station Plaza

MTA subway F line ( and the NYC Ferry service ( are available to and from Manhattan.

Q102 bus service is also an option to connect to Midtown Manhattan-bound trains at Queensboro Plaza.
During the February 21 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting, RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki asked:
... Is there going to be a situation where the elevator is not going to be available?...
RIOC Director David Kraut added:
... I can't use the stairs, what are you going to do for me?
RIOC Tram Overhaul Project Manager Prince Shah answered that there would be times when the elevator is not available but that the Red Bus Route to Manhattan Station would be available as an option

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal replied:
... we're looking into option of emergency situation where there would be a stop of work in order to operate the elevator...

It' s not clear what will be considered an emergency situation to operate the Tram Elevator.

There will be Tram fare collection at the one station where the MTA turnstiles are used.

Today, the ride on North Cabin from from Roosevelt Island was free but fare was collected at Manhattan Station.

More info on the Roosevelt Island Tram Overhaul project

at this prior post.

UPDATE - 3/4 - Lines this morning

at Roosevelt Island Tram Station.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Roosevelt Island Winter Snow Storm Coming Tonight And Tomorrow Morning, Remove Your Cars From Main Street So RIOC Can Plow - RI Resident Asks For Businesses And Buildings To Clear Snow From Their Sidewalks

NYC is expecting snow this evening thru tomorrow morning.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RICO):
National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for our area, Sun, 3/3/19. Wind chills at or below 32 degrees and snow accumulation of 3”- 6”.

There will be “NO PARKING, NO STOPPING OR NO STANDING” on Main St. or the East and West Roadways from, Sun, 3/3/19 at 4:00PM THRU Mon, 3/4/19 at 6:00PM in order for snow preparation and subsequent removal to take place.

Free parking for residents ONLY at Motorgate Garage during this time. Proof of residency and vehicle registration must be presented upon entering. Vehicle must be registered to Roosevelt Island residents. Vehicles may utilize the Motorgate parking starting at 4PM, Sunday, March 3, 2019 and must be moved by 6PM on Monday March 4, 2019 when Main Street reopens for parking.

Call PSD for more info: 212-832-4545 or call Motorgate: 212-832-4585
There has been very little snow this year. So when we had a bit of snow yesterday, it was time for some to play Roosevelt Island Snow Basketball

and peaceful serenity for others.

But, a long time Roosevelt Island resident, who moved here during a blizzard, noticed some areas of Roosevelt Island were not cleared of snow on Saturday morning and reported.:
I called Public Safety at 10 am from Nisi, where I arrived after the most awful, dangerous, and treacherous walk past the Dry Cleaner & Bubble Tea folks. I asked them to please send a Sargent out to both establishments to remind them they are required to clean, salt & sand their sidewalks after a snowstorm. I also asked them to contact Island House about the fact that no one had cleaned the sidewalks outside their building fronting Main Street.

What happened to RIOC, who usually plows, sands & salts most of the sidewalks from Manhattan Park to the subway & Tram? They seem to have bypassed both Island House & that one short stretch of east sidewalk just past 580 Main just past the crosswalk.

After 36 years here, I'm kinda sad that 3 inches of snow seems to have made everyone stupid.

I was surprised to see the sorry state of most of the crosswalks between 8:30 & 10:30 am. Glad to see the Bus Stops in good condition.

I was a little surprised & annoyed that RIOC did not request folks to get their cars off Main Street last night so plowing, salting & sanding could be curb-to-curb. So a blizzard wasn't forecast, but letting folks keep their cars on the street overnight just makes everything after it stops snowing a little worse.

Wondering what they will do for tomorrow evening thru Monday morning.

Also, here's an engineering question for the next big snow or rain.

Going north on Main Street by the original WIRE buildings, the Z-bricks on the street by the curbs continue their sinking into the sand under the, causing huge puddles & possible vehicular hazards as the water & run off gets deeper & deeper. Didn't RIOC try to correct this after the gas lines were laid? The Red Bus drivers pull out from the north-bound stops as far to their left as is safe (since there are no visible yellow lines in the middle of Main St since the last hack paint job) to avoid a possible sinkhole or other disaster.

Just asking.
Here's some pictures taken Saturday morning of the good and bad of Roosevelt Island snow clean up.