Saturday, March 30, 2019

Long Lines And 45 Minute Wait Times Today At Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station, No F Train Service From Manhattan And Only 1 Tram Cabin Working - It Was A Circus Says Resident, Can We Prioritize Residents Asks Another

As reported yesterday, there is no F Train Service to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan and only one Tram Cabin working this weekend due to the Tram Overhaul project.

How was your trip home to Roosevelt Island today from the Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station?

Unfortunately, it was a mess for many residents at the Manhattan Tram Station today. For instance, one resident wrote:

Mess on the Tram. Lines to stairs on Manhattan side. We (along with about 20 others) did not fit in and had to wait for next...
Others described the situation at the Manhattan Tram Station as a:
The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reported:


Friday, March 29, 2019

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend Not Good - No F Train Service From Manhattan And Only Single Tram Cabin Working During Tram Overhaul Project, Nothing RIOC Can Do About No F Train Service From Manhattan Says RIOC Spokesperson

There is no Roosevelt Island F Train service from Manhattan this weekend.

According to the MTA:
ELECTRICAL IMPROVEMENTS Mar 29 - Apr 1, 9:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon F Jamaica-bound trains run via the A from Jay St-MetroTech, Brooklyn to Canal St, Manhattan and via the E to Roosevelt Av, Queens...
Also, only 1 Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin working due to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Tram Overhaul project.

RIOC previously announced there would be no F Train service disruption during the Tram Overhaul project:
... In discussions with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority which operates the New York City subway and bus system, RIOC officials received assurances this week that there will be no disruptions to the subway’s F Train line that services Roosevelt Island, including weekends up until April 19....
I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
... RIOC had said that the MTA would not have any service disruptions during the Tram Overhaul with only single cabin working.

Is there anything RIOC can do to have MTA change plans about Roosevelt Island F change service disruption this weekend?
A RIOC spokesperson replied:
Unfortunately, RIOC cannot control MTA decision making to have no Queens bound service this weekend. However this is the only service disruption currently scheduled for the Tram maintenance project timeframe.
Here's the Schedule for Roosevelt Island ferry Astoria route service. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Roosevelt Island 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival Scheduled For Saturday April 13 Presented By RIRA, RIOC And FDR 4 Freedoms Park - Group Of RIRA Members Seeking More Financial Info And Transparency From RIRA Cherry Blossom Organizers

The 2019 annual Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival - presented by the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA), Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and FDR 4 Freedoms Park (FFP) - takes place Saturday, April 13.

According to the RIRA Cherry Blossom Festival Committee:
The Cherry Blossom Festival, organized by The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA), will be held on Saturday, April 13. SAVE THE DATE for a memorable afternoon.

To celebrate the magnificent cherry trees in bloom on the Island and the breadth of Japanese culture in New York City RIRA, will sponsor the Annual Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival, in cooperation with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) and Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.

Residents and visitors of all ages will see, hear, dance and even taste aspects of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture and performing arts.

Japanese culture has long venerated viewing the cherry blossoms of spring. Originally a private celebration hosted by the Emperor and select members of the aristocracy, today the activity of visiting the trees in bloom is seen as a metaphor for life, for the beautiful buds last but a short time and fade and die quickly. The government of Japan has donated cherry trees to many cities around the world as a symbol of friendship, and festivals like ours are held in many locations.

As in the past, the Tea Ceremony will be held in Southpoint Park; also, the Roosevelt Island Japanese Association will present a Japanese Cultural Fair at Gallery RIVAA. The Japanese tradition of picnics under the cherry blossoms will continue on the West Promenade across from Cornell Tech. Residents and visitors may bring their own food or supplement their picnics by purchasing refreshments from nearby food vendors.

New this year: The Noguchi Museum will present an art activity in South Point Park open to children and adults. Four Freedoms Park has an Eventbrite registration ( for updated information. Please note: No tickets are necessary to attend the festivities.

Here is the schedule and locations of these events, which are open to all guests for FREE:
  1. Japanese Cultural Fair at Gallery RIVAA: 11am - 2pm This is an interactive and multigenerational event; try on traditional kimonos and play a traditional Japanese children’s game.
  2. Community Picnics: 11am - 2pm and Limited Food Vendors (under the Cherry Blossom Trees on the West Promenade, across from Cornell Tech): 11am - while food is available. Picnicking under the Cherry Blossoms is the most traditional Japanese celebration of the Cherry Blossom season. There are many spots to picnic under the Cherry Blossom Trees that form a virtual necklace around Roosevelt Island. The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association and Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network will host their annual picnics, and all others are welcome to picnic under Roosevelt Island’s many cherry trees. Please feel free to bring your full picnic baskets.
  3. Tea Ceremony in South Point Park: 11am - while tea is available. Demonstrations of traditional customs are a delight to behold.
  4. Art Activity with Noguchi Museum in South Point Park: 11am - while materials are available
  5. Performances in Four Freedoms Park: 12:30pm - 5pm
For many residents and visitors, a highlight of the Cherry Blossom Festival are the performances at FDR Four Freedoms Park, which feature traditional and contemporary Japanese musical performances and traditional Japanese dance. This year’s Performances include:
  • Shamisen (Kicho Kai, Japanese String Ensemble), 
  • Japanese classical dance (IchiFuji-kai Dance Association), 
  • Koto (Masayo Ishigure and Koto Shamisen Ensemble), 
  • Modern Japanese blues (Kayo Yoshioka of Neo Blues Maki), 
  • Japanese Folk Dances (RI Japanese Association Yosakoi Dancers), 
  • Community Folk Dance Lesson (sponsored by Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance), 
  • Japanese Taiko Drummers (Soh Daiko).
The Cherry Blossom Festival was created by RIRA, an advocacy organization. Together, we create cultural awareness and educate residents and neighbors in an event that celebrates renewal, peace, civility and the beauty of nature and the arts.

RIRA thanks its many partners who contribute to the Cherry Blossom Festival’s success: The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has been most supportive, as have Cornell Tech, Four Freedoms Park, Gallery RIVAA, Girl Scouts, Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, Naguchi Museum, RESOBOX, Roosevelt Island Disabled Association and Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network.

RIRA’s goal is to continue to make Roosevelt Island the best place to live.
The preparation, financing and organization of the 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival has not been without the RIRA behind the scenes controversies as have also occurred in past years.

Prior to the March RIRA Common Council meeting to approve a budget for the Cherry Blossom Festival,  four Common Council Members, including the RIRA Treasurer, resigned over concerns related to the large sum requested that RIRA commit to raise ($25 Thousand) and a perceived lack of transparency by RIRA Cherry Blossom Committee organizers.

Following much discussion and email exchanges, the RIRA March Common Council meeting approved a much smaller budget of $9,520 for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Yesterday, I asked the RIRA Cherry Blossom Festival Committee:
... what is going on with several RIRA members calling an emergency RIRA meeting concerning problems with financing the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Has RIRA received any sponsor donations from residents, organizations, both local and off Island and from RIOC or any other entity? Can you name them?

How much money is RIRA spending on the Cherry Blossom Festival and how much has it raised to date.

Any comment from RIRA on the financial impropriety allegations made by other RIRA members ...?
RIRA Cherry Blossom Festival Co-Chair Lydia Tang replied:
Prior to RIOC agreeing to assume the Homeland Security requirements for our growing event, the Cherry Blossom Festival subcommittee distributed fundraising appeals for our best estimate of what projected costs would be. After RIOC’s agreement, we revised our estimate.

The Cherry Blossom Festival embarked on fundraising efforts that RIRA unanimously approved, in the following motion:
Motion: “RIRA authorizes the expenditure of up to $9,520 for the Cherry Blossom Festival, based upon the budget of $9,520. RIRA encourages fundraising and in-kind contributions to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.”
A donation incentive, based on recommendations by FFP and in consultation with RIOC, includes a new promotional opportunity. In keeping with prioritizing promised donation incentives, the Cherry Blossom Festival Subcommittee set a policy of an opportunity to share a display table to previously grandfathered organizations. The new promotional opportunities supersede previous fundraising documents that some Council Members viewed as malfeasance.

We are currently collecting donation commitments from Amalgamated Bank, Hornblower and Manhattan Park, among others. Some donors choose to remain anonymous.

The approved budget is up to $9,250. We currently have committed donations of that will cover most of our expenses and are hoping to receive additional commitments.

There are no financial improprieties, as no money has been spent or collected.
At least 8 RIRA Common Council members are seeking more information about Cherry Blossom Festival finances and practices. They met last Monday to discuss their concerns and share these minutes from their meeting:
The aforementioned RIRA Common Council Members discussed several issues regarding the Cherry Blossom Festival and have decided on the following:

1- There is no intention to sidetrack the festival nor personally criticize any Common Council Members. The intention is to fix a few issues and insure transparency.

2. We look forward for the emergency meeting called by the President for Thursday March 28 at 8 PM, and we expect to see a meeting announcement and the requested information well prior to the meeting.

3- We request that the CBF Committee supply the following written information during the upcoming Emergency Meeting 3/28/2019:

A- Transparency in CBF Committee's fund raising process: for example, we need to participate and agree upon the amounts and any sliding scale discounts, who is being solicited and what is being offered in exchange?, where are we permitting what we are being offered: a table in SPP, promenade? and appearance oin stage? what else?

B- Review fundraising material and correct them. (1) Some of the material sent by CBF Committee we’ve obtained from vendors include numerous misinformation and false advertising: material still says we’re trying to raise $60,000 for security (even though RIOC is paying for it) -see Picture 1. (2) All fundraising materials should say in bold lettering: "RIRA is an IRS 501(c)(4) corporation and donations to RIRA are normally NOT tax deductible (IRS W-9 forms will be provided upon request)"

C- Budget in Writing: A written version of the budget that was promised to the Common Council during the Feb. 24th Emergency Meeting, which we did not yet receive. In addition, we request an updated budget snapshot as it stands right now, including (1) delineating between monies spent/received, and expected additional monies to be spent/received; (2) breakdown/details of each total, e.g., if we received or were promised monies from 3 donors, then we need to see 3 separate lines, with each donor's name and amount.

D- Current insurance contract: Who’s paying for it? What does it cover (number of people etc.), the description of the event, and it’s price? In addition, provide the insurance’s application, the permits from RIOC, and agreements on RIOC's waiver of security, bag check, ambulance, etc..

E- Nature of RIRA’s Relationships: Describe the relationship and provide agreements, memoranda of understanding, supporting documents, etc with: RIOC, Four Freedoms Park, Jim Luce and his foundations, and any other entity we are partnering with to ensure we are operating consistent with our IRS 501(c)(4) status and with our NYS not-for-profit status.

F- Create an Audit and Finance ad hoc committee: Robert Leung, who is highly experienced, volunteered to lead this committee. At this upcoming meeting, we ask for (1) the establishment of an "Audit and Finance Ad Hoc Committee" for the purposes of reviewing financial transactions, reports, and policy for all RIRA projects; and (2) appointing of Robert Leung as chair of said subcommittee.

G- Letter of Dismissal of past Treasurer: Following BafodĆ©’s resignation, our bank requires a confirmation of dismissal (otherwise, anyone can come in and say I am the new Treasurer).

H- Appointment of new Treasurer: A new Treasurer should be nominated and voted in by the Common Council as soon as possible (including the upcoming Emergency Meeting).

I- Free Entrance: It was brought to our attention that in order to receive a ticket to the festival, you must download an application and go through the process. This should be reviewed and agreed upon by the Common Council.
The Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival began in 2011 as a fundraising effort to assist after that year's earthquake in Japan.

Here are some scenes from the first Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival

and from last year.

Sponsored Post - Get Your Tickets For Oh What A Lovely War Presented By Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance This Weekend March 29 -31

The Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance  (MST&DA) Adult Musical Theatre Studio is presenting Oh What A Lovely War his coming weekend - Friday March 29 - Sunday, March 31..

According to MST&DA:
Joan Littlewood's pioneering 1963 musical about the first world war not only changed attitudes towards the conflict, it remade British theatre” – The Guardian, UK

This is an epic musical developed by Joan Littlewood and her ensemble at London’s Theatre Workshop in 1963. Musical Hall songs of the day along with clever scenes are performed by an ensemble of male and female actors in Pierrot costumes. A counterpoint to the satirical and lighthearted performances is projected slides showing a moving display of First World War statistics and images – providing a sharp contrast with the comedy of the action taking place before it.
This groundbreaking production moved to the Broadway stage where it was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1965.

The show has enjoyed several Olivier Award-winning revivals, including the most recent London Revival in 2014 marking the 100th anniversary of the Great War.

Friday, March 29 @ 8pm
Saturday, March 30 @ 2pm
Saturday, March 30 @ 8pm
Sunday, March 31 @ 7pm

Recommended for ages 8+
General Admission $20
Seniors/Students $15 ​
Get your tickets here.

The MST&DA Adult Musical Theatre Studio shares this video from Oh What A Lovely War dress rehearsal.

Wow- a very talented cast.

Roosevelt Island photographer Irina Hage shares these photos from MST&DA Oh What A Lovely War dress rehearsal.

Get your tickets for MST&DA performances of Oh What A Lovely War here.

Here's how you get to MST&DA at 548 Main Street.

Gallery RIVAA Hosting Meet And Greet With Figment NYC Friday March 29 - Learn About Submitting Your Art Project Or Volunteering For Roosevelt Island June 1-2 Public Art Project At Lighthouse Park

Gallery RIVAA invites you to come learn about the Figment NYC Public Art project taking place June 1-2 at Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park. According to Gallery RIVAA:

Dear all,

You are cordially invited to a FIGMENT NYC "Meet and Greet" hosted by the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Assoc.

Call for Artists! Come Participate!

If you're thinking about submitting an interactive work, join us on Friday, March 29th from 6-9pm for our FIGMENT Meet and Greet on Roosevelt Island at Gallery RIVAA 527 Main Street, NY, NY 10044

Learn about bringing a project, volunteering and getting involved in the amazing community of creators and doers that help to bring free participatory art to NYC. Come explore the possibilities of our new Island.

FREE admission.

More info about Figment NYC Roosevelt Island project at this prior post and Figment NYC web site.

Sign of Roosevelt Island Spring - Subway Fruit Stand Vendor Is Back!! Yankees Back Today Too

You know spring is here and warm weather approaching on Roosevelt Island when the Subway Fruit Stand vendor returns

and he is here today.

Welcome back.

It's also opening day for the baseball season.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Roosevelt Island Celebrates Women's History Month This Weekend - Friday Night Shirley Chisholm And Nelly Bly Film Screening, Saturday Afternoon Crafts Featuring Images Of Women Throughout History

Roosevelt Island is celebrating Women's History Month this weekend.

According to the NYPL Roosevelt Island branch:

Celebrate Women's History Month with a film screening and discussion of two short films highlighting women who worked for change in New York City communities: Nellie Bly and Shirley Chisholm.

NELLIE BLY MAKES THE NEWS (2018, 23 min): Penny Lane's animated short documentary presents the story of Nellie Bly, a muckracking investigative journalist who changed the game for women in reporting before women even had the right to vote. Drawing from extensive primary sources including Bly’s own writing, and presenting both real-world interviewees and reenactments in several styles of animation and illustration, this short film investigates the porous line between reporting facts and telling stories, while creating a dynamic portrait of a woman who refused to accept the status quo.

SHIRLEY CHISHOLM: THE LEADER (1998, 30 min): This short film covers the life and career of former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, first black major-party candidate to run for President, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and first chair of the National Black Women's Political Caucus. Elected to Congress under the slogan "Unbought and unbossed," Chisholm fought to improve the living conditions of marginalized New Yorkers.

After the films, attendees are invited to stay for a discussion of women's impact in journalism, media, politics, activism, and change-making.

Friday, March 29, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Program Locations:

Roosevelt Island Cultural Center

For children, ages 5 to 12 years, ages 13 to 18 years, children
Here's more on Shirley Chisholm

Unbought and Unbossed: Shirley Chisholm’s fearless presidential run from Timeline on Vimeo.

and Nelly Bly.

Nellie Bly Makes the News ***excerpt*** from Penny Lane on Vimeo.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:

The Roosevelt Island Youth Center, the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, and the Roosevelt Island branch NY Public Library present- Persistence, Pride and Power! A series of Women's History Month events & more!

FRIDAY, MARCH 29th, 6:30pm

Unbought and Unbossed: The Lives of Nellie Bly and Shirley Chisholm

Do you want to change the world? Get inspired by these two short films about journalist Nellie Bly and Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, two women who fought for change right here in New York City.

The Lighthouse Room, Cultural Center, 548 Main St.

SATURDAY, MARCH 30th, 3:00pm

Crafting the Collections: Celebrating Women’s History Month

Join us for an all-ages crafternoon! Workshop participants will create their own collages on paper using elements collected from the Picture Collection, featuring images of women throughout history. Images from NYPL's Picture collection will be available for your use. You can also bring in your own images, pictures or magazines.

The Lighthouse Room, Cultural Center, 548 Main St.

TUESDAY, APRIL 9th, 7:15pm

Queer, There, and Everywhere: LGBTQ History-Makers

World history has been made by countless LGBTQ individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Queer author and activist Sarah Prager joins us to share the stories of people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing, gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.

The Cultural Center Theater, 548 Main St.

These events are FREE and open to the public. For more information call the Youth Center at 212-832-4559.

12-14 Year Old Kids Throwing Rocks At Red Bus, People And Vehicles Next To Roosevelt Island Octagon Building, Caught By RI PSD And Issued Youth Reports, Parents Notified - Not A Good Welcome For New Octagon Resident

A Roosevelt Island Tipster reported a dangerous situation of kids throwing rocks at people and cars by the Octagon building last Saturday March 23.  This was not a very nice Roosevelt Island welcome to one person believed to be moving into the Octagon that day. No injuries were sustained but at least one car window was smashed.

  Image Of Octagon NYC

The rock throwing at Octagon building continued yesterday. The Tipster added:
... kids getting arrested ... for throwing rocks at residents (older gentleman).

I asked the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department:
I understand arrests were made today of youths who have been throwing rocks at residents near the Octagon building in several occasions recently.

Is that true?

Was anybody injured.

Any more info and statement about this matter?
Roosevelt Island Public Safety Deputy Director Kevin Brown replied:
Tonight Four youths were issued youth reports for throwing rocks at the red bus. There were no injuries to any pedestrians and no property damage to any vehicles. The PSD youth officer responded to the scene and notified all of the youth ages 12,12,13,14 parents. The parents responded to PSD and picked up their children.
UPDATE 3/28 - An Octagon resident adds:
My husband while walking our dogs yesterday afternoon was the one that confronted the kids after he witnessed them throwing rocks at the city bus and consequently at an older gentleman. They then confronted him and followed him around yelling and saying extremely profane things - I can’t believe they were only 12-14 years old!

They threatened to shoot him and cut him and also threatened to kill his wife, me in this case. They also made very violent and sexual remarks, just so distasteful and low. The profanity and threats followed as my husband made his way towards the Octagon lobby and requested the concierge to call the police.

I hope they get more than just a slap on the wrist...

SPONSORED POST - Roosevelt Island Urgent Care Medical Facility, Just Walk In At 520 Main Street 7 Days A Week For Your Medical Needs - Check Out March Issue Of Kamin Sense Health Magazine Too

According to Roosevelt Island Urgent Care (RIUC):

Our Roosevelt Island facility is  located at 520 Main Street. Our Office hours are Monday to Thursday 9AM - 5PM, Friday 9 AM - 4 PM, Saturday and Sunday 10AM- 3 PM. Phone # 646-977-7974.

The medical needs of this 2 mile long historic island on the East River is a perfect landscape for our services.

RIUC is the first health care facility on the Island. Currently local residents must travel to either Manhattan or Astoria, for treatment—a trip that requires the use of a tram, subway, bus or car. Our facility in essence created a full-service medical center for a growing population of 15,000. RIUC is here to serve your needs.

These needs will increase in the near future with the addition of new multi-family developments and the new Cornell NYC Tech campus, which is under construction and due to open this year. The University is relying on our center to tend to the medical needs of the students and faculty. Roosevelt Island Urgent Care is also well positioned to provide services to the many construction workers who are on the Island during the next few years.

Other amenities include:
  • Hot and cold complimentary beverage center
  • Charging station
  • Flat screen TV in waiting room as well as every exam room
  • Childrens play area
  • And much more!
Take a tour of the Roosevelt Island Urgent Care facilities

and learn about the services offered at Roosevelt Island Urgent Care.

More info about Roosevelt Island Urgent Care

at their web site

and Twitter Page.
Check out March 2019 issue of the Kamin Sense Health Magazine too.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Brooklyn JHS Students Visit Roosevelt Island To Learn About The Four Freedoms At FDR Park - Seek Answers About Freedom And The American Dream

Last Friday, a group of Red Hook Brooklyn Junior High School students visited the Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms park to learn about the 4 Freedoms described by President Franklin D Roosevelt.

 Image From FDR 4 Freedoms Park

As part of the class project the students interviewed people at the Cornell Tech Cafe asking:
What does freedom mean to you?
What is the American Dream?
I asked two of the students I met, Jayla and Jalen the same questions.

Listen to their answer - the American dream is alive and well with these two young people and attainable despite challenges to be overcome.

Jayla and Jalen both liked Roosevelt Island, though the Tram ride was a bit scary.

Learn more about the Four Freedoms

at the FDR Park

web site.

School group tour info available here too.

Roosevelt Island Residents Invited To Attend NYPD 114 Precinct Sector D Build The Block Neighborhood Policing Meeting Wednesday March 27 - Local Residents And Business Owners Encouraged To Share Concerns And Maintain Lines Of Communication

Roosevelt Island residents are invited to attend the NYPD 114 Precinct Sector D Build The Block Neighborhood Policing Safety Meeting with Coordination Officers Keith Mathis and Joseph Esposito tomorrow, Wednesday, March 27 at the nearby Queens Public Library, 37-44 21 Street, Long Island City. Doors open at 4:30 with refreshments and the meeting starts at 5 PM.

Representatives of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department will attend as well.

Officer Esposito adds:
This meeting is designed for local residents and business owners to come voice their comments and concerns about anything within our sector so we may provide you with assistance in the coming year. Also to open and maintain a line of communication going forward....

During the September 20, 2018 Roosevelt Island Emergency Preparedness Town Hall Meeting, Officer Matthes described working with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department.

NYPD 114 Precinct Commander Deputy Inspector Osvaldo Nunes spoke to the Roosevelt Island community following the waterfront promenade gunshot incident last summer. Here's what he had to say.

Follow the NYPD 114 Precinct Twitter feed for safety tips.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Celebrates Purim and Performs The Trial of the Millennium Purimschpiel

Janet Falk reports on the annual Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) Purim celebration held last Wednesday. According to Ms. Falk;

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Presented The Trial of the Millennium for Purim

Purim, a joyous and comedic holiday celebration, filled with fun and parody based on the Biblical story of Esther, was celebrated by the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC)

on Wednesday night, March 20, with more than 60 people participating in a full evening of activities for all ages.

After a pizza dinner, Rabbi Joel Shaiman, dressed as Freddy Mercury,

led the worship service. It included the reading of the megillah or traditional scroll, which recounts the story of the holiday, marking the survival of the Jewish people at a time of a threatened massacre. Assisted by Keren Bachi, Gad Levanon, Anna Levenstein, Michal Melamed and Rachel Rekhter, the reading was interrupted by children

and adults wielding groggers to blot out the recitation of the name of the man who purportedly attempted to destroy the Jews. The congregation joined in singing prayers to music from Queen and Lady Gaga.

The service alternated with scenes from a Purimschpiel, or play based on this narrative. Written by Mickey Rindler and directed by Janet Falk, The Trial of the Millennium presented a courtroom drama in which witnesses pointed out the misdeeds of the villain Haman, who rebutted with his own interpretation. The cast featured King (and Chief Justice) Ahasuerus (Tsoni Peled),

Haman (Mickey Rindler),

Mordechai (Scott Piro),

Queen Vashti (Janet Falk),

Zeresh (Michal Melamed) and Esther (Emily Kalb).

Other cast members included children of the RIJC Religious School and Island community.

The Purimschpiel's broad humor and political-themed puns, plus references to Roosevelt Island affairs, drew laughter, groans and cheers from the audience, who applauded enthusiastically.

The evening concluded with refreshments and delicious Hamantaschen , a triangular holiday fruit pastry treat, baked by the Levanon-Seligson family, which has become an annual tradition.

For more information about the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, which is the oldest, active egalitarian congregation on the Island, please visit or call 212-688-0003.

The next Shabbat family Pot Luck Dinner is Friday, April 12 at 6:00 pm at a neighbor’s home, followed by worship services at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary at the Cultural Center, 548 Main Street.

The Spring Learning series, Fake News?: Scripture, Midrash, Story and History in Our Observances of Purim, Passover and Shavuot, with Rabbi Joel Shaiman, will begin on Monday, April 15 at 7:30 pm.
More info on the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation at their web site.

You're Invited To Meet Your Friendly Roosevelt Island Neighborhood Scientists, Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoc Pub Talk At Nisi Restaurant Tuesday March 26 - Topic, Critical Mass: Cancer Progression And Treatment Progress

The Postdoctoral Association of Weill Cornell Medicine is hosting their second neighborhood Pub Talk event at Roosevelt Island's Nisi Kitchen (559 Main Street) Tuesday, March 26.

You're invited to attend.

According to the Weill Cornell Medicine Postdocs:
The Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoctoral Association presents: the Postdoc “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! Three researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine will discuss what they are doing in the lab to advance the scientific frontier in cancer research. March 26, 2019 - 7:30 PM at Nisi Kitchen (549 Main Street, Roosevelt Island).

Up first, Fanny Vatter will present "Exosomes: tiny messengers for big discoveries". Exosomes are vehicles released from cells, carrying molecules. The contents of an exosome can be used as a biomarker to determine the health or disease of a cell. Join Fanny as she discusses her latest research investigating the role of exosomes in breast cancer progression.

Next, Brian Pickering will present “The Epitranscriptome: small marks with big effects”. Genes give our cells the instructions necessary for life are expressed as RNA, which then makes proteins, which provide the structure and carry out most of the chemistry in our cells. With advances in technologies, we have discovered small chemical modifications that decorate our RNA, informing how much protein to make and how long to stick around before being degraded. Cancer cells hijack this process to proliferate indefinitely and resist treatment. Learn how Brian’s research investigates these processes with the goal of developing a new generation of therapeutics to fight cancer.

To conclude, Wilhem Leconet will present “Controlled delivery and targeting, future’s keywords in cancer therapy”. Wilhems work focuses on a small therapeutic protein, named BiJ591, in prostate cancer. Come hear about how his research has provided new insights into the development of controlled delivery of small therapeutic proteins like BiJ591 in cancer, that once implemented, allow continued release of the therapeutic agent.

*What is a postdoc?? A postdoctoral scholar, or “postdoc” is a temporary mentored research position held by an individual with a doctoral degree. Postdocs engage in research and training that allows them to acquire the professional skills necessary to pursue a related independent career.
The Weill Cornell Postdocs hosted their first Roosevelt Island Medical Research Pub Talk last January 22 at Nisi Restaurant.

The subject was mental disease and brain research focusing on Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Here's what happend.

Weill Cornell Postdoc and event organizer Heidi Meyer began the program with introductory remarks

followed by neuroscientist brain researcher Michael Notaras presentation on Schizophrenia

and audience Q&A.

The Pub Talk's second presentation was by Weill Cornell Postdoc Reed Maxwell on Borderline Personality Disorders.

Sorry don't have video for the second presentation but here's summary of the talk.

So, come meet your friendly local scientist tomorrow evening at Nisi Restaurant for the Second Weill Cornell Postdocs Roosevelt Island Medical Research Pub Talk.