Friday, April 26, 2019

Good News For Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - F Train To And From Manhattan, Both Tram Cabins Running & East River Ferry Service Too - But How To Solve Ridiculous Tram Overcrowding? Separate Lines, Congestion Pricing For Tourists?

Yay, for a change Roosevelt Island residents will have weekend F Trains running to and from Manhattan, both Tram Cabins operating as well as the East River Astoria Route Ferry service.

But there is still a huge overcrowding problem with Tourists on the Roosevelt Island Tram at what seems to be all times of day and not just on weekends.

Residents are looking for answers from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to alleviate the Tram overcrowding. Many residents have asked that separate lines for Roosevelt Island residents/workers be formed for priority boarding over tourists.

A long time resident wrote:

... wouldn't it be fair to have residents and island employees board first, then tourists? So you have two lines. Might stop the groaning. It is getting out of control!
A Tram Staffer responded:
When will people realize a residents-only system would never work?

There's also the possibility of the tourists becoming fed up from waiting themselves and creating unnecessary conflict with the residents as a result. This has happened at the tram before.

Also it might seem fair in hindsight but you have to keep in mind that the tram is a form of public transportation, meaning first come; first serve. The tourists may be overbearing but priority service could cause more problems than solve the pre-existing ones....
I asked the Tram Staffer:
Do you think it is possible to discourage tourists by charging them more to ride the Tram? Say $10 each way. That's much cheaper than going to the Top Of Empire State Building. The MTA has a residents discount program for Verrazano and other Bridges - Why not for the Tram and charge tourists more than residents and workers? Although in practice, not sure how it could work.
Tram Staffer replied:
Well, seeing as how tourists are gullible enough to purchase overpriced food on the island, I could somewhat see this working.
The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse continues the conversation.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes May 3 To May 9 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Free Delivery With $75 Or More Order

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

invites you to check out their May 3 - May 9 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales items.

Don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Sign Up for the Gristedes Diamond Loyalty Rewards Program.

More Gristedes Supermarket information

available at their

 web site, Facebook Page and Twitter feed

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Interview With East River Catholics Roosevelt Island St Francis Xavier Cabrini Pastor Richard Baker - Serving 3 Communities In One Merged Parish, Slovak Speaking, English Speaking And Roosevelt Island, Also, Importance Of Outreach To Ethnic Groups

The Roosevelt Island St Cabrini Church

is part of the merged East River Catholics parish that also includes St. John Nepomucene and St. John the Martyr on the Upper East Side.

Father Richard Baker is the pastor of the East River Catholic churches and was interviewed in early April by Father Louis Scurti of Friends Of The Word.

The discussion was very interesting and shown below in three parts.

Take a look.

Part 1 - Father Baker discusses the merging of East River Catholic Churches 3 years ago and serving three communities in one parish -  the Slavak speaking community, English speaking community and Roosevelt Island community.

Part 2 - Father Baker discusses his previous ministry as Pastor of the St Malachy's Actors Chapel.

Part 3 - Father Baker gives an overview of the Catholic Church in Manhattan, specifically the East Side including Roosevelt Island's Cabrini Church which he says is:
... predominantly people that are connected to the UN as well as the medical world....

... over on Roosevelt Island we're beginning to build a family ministry
Father Baker also speaks about the historic importance of ethnic/immigrant group churches and notes the failure of the Catholic Church to reach out to the Laino and Asian communities.

Here's more info on East River Catholics, Roosevelt Island's St Francis Xavier Cabrini Church as well as Cardinal Dolan's January 7, 2018 visit to

and opening dedication

Father Baker Welcoming Cardinal Dolan To Cabrini Church Dedication

of Roosevelt Island's Cabrini Church.

Also, Father Scurti celebrating Easter Mass last Sunday

at Roosevelt Island's Cabrini Church.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo Announced Funding Today Of $5 Million For Roosevelt Island East Side Promenade Bike Lane And Bridge Ramp Project

NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced funding of $5 million for the Roosevelt Island East Side Bike Lane Promenade

Image From Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

 and Bike Ramp project.

As reported in November 2018:
... The proposed Roosevelt Island Bike Ramp and Eastside Bike Lane Promenade project aims to construct a bike ramp connecting bicyclists from the top of the Roosevelt Island Bridge down to the East Promenade and provide a two-way ¾-mile safe path for bicyclists along the waterfront of the Island away from Main Street vehicular traffic.

In April 2017, RIOC was approved for a $2.96 million award from the New York State Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) – Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) towards the estimated $4 million ramp construction.

In 2018, RIOC applied for a second TAP award, $5 million; to be applied to the potential $10 million construction costs of the bike lane which includes infrastructure improvements, electrical needed for lighting, storm water/bio-infiltration management; along with pavement, landscape, lighting and signage finishes....
According to this press release from Governor Cuomo's office:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $14.6 million in new funding has been awarded for four projects that support bicycle and pedestrian enhancements, as well as projects specifically targeted toward improving air quality in New York City. This new infrastructure investment, which is part of a $144.6 million investment for 72 projects statewide, will support the construction of new multi-use bicycle and pedestrian facilities, new ADA accessible sidewalks, improved access to public transportation and enhanced roadway safety.

"New York State is making historic, nation-leading investments in cleaner and more sustainable transportation infrastructure which is crucial to the growth of local economies," Governor Cuomo said. "These investments in bike and pedestrian enhancements across the state will help revitalize communities, reduce our carbon footprint and demonstrate once again that New York is building for the future."

"We're investing in infrastructure initiatives across the state to improve transportation and quality of life in our communities," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We are committed to providing funding to ensure that enhancements are made to increase access and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. These projects are improving air quality and revitalizing communities, helping to increase tourism and strengthen the economy of New York State."

Statewide, these projects will spur additional investment of more than $215 million, including public and private support, in local enhancements that will revitalize communities, promote tourism and enhance regional economic competitiveness.

The projects announced today were selected through a competitive solicitation process. Awardees presented plans that will increase options for non-vehicular transportation, reduce vehicle emissions or traffic congestion, or both. The funding, which will provide up to 80 percent of the cost of each project, is made available through the Federal Highway Administration and administered directly by the New York State Department of Transportation.

This funding also supports Governor Cuomo's initiative to advance Health Across all Policies in New York State. Health Across all Policies is a collaborative approach that integrates health considerations into policymaking across all sectors to improve community health and wellness.

Projects in New York City include:
  • $5 million to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation to construct a new bike lane on the east promenade of Roosevelt Island
  • $793,000 to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to construct a new pedestrian and bicycle connection on Randall's Island
  • $2.1 million to the New York City Department of Transportation toward construction of new bicycle and pedestrian facilities identified for the Harlem River Bridges Plan
  • $1.7 million to the New York City Department of Transportation for construction of new pedestrian refuge islands, median extensions and other pedestrian accessibility enhancements
Additional projects will be announced at a later date.
Stay tuned for more.

Roosevelt Island Is Celebrating Earth Love Day Saturday April 27 At Good Shepherd Plaza Farmers Market - Compost Food Scraps, Recycle Batteries,, Safe Medication Disposal Info, Sustainable Giveaways Too - Keep Our Neighborhood Clean & Green

Roosevelt Island is celebrating Earth Love Day on Saturday April 27 from 9 AM - 2 PM at the Good Shepherd Plaza Farmers Market.

According to Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico
SAT April 27th - 9am - 2pm #EarthLove day event

We are bananas about banana peels! Already dropping off food scraps? Want to learn how? It's easy. Stop by Good Shepherd Plaza SAT April 27th for a free compost giveback, sustainable giveaways and eco-friendly activities. Roosevelt Islanders have diverted 100,000 pounds of food scraps which have been transformed into healthy compost. Find out what islanders are doing to reduce waste and make our island's land, air and waters clean and green. Bring your food scraps and an empty container for compost, drop off used batteries for recycling, enter to win giveaways, learn about plant dyes, Smile Cards, plant plants and more! Join us to celebrate kindness to the Earth and each other! It's free, easy and fun.
Also, as previously reported:
... During the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Meeting Public Session, Ms. Delfico reported on the Saturday April 27 Roosevelt Island Earth event as well as additional Roosevelt Island sustainability, composting, and electronic/clothing recyclying opportunities.

Ms Delfico asked the Common Council Members if they knew how many plastic bags are used each Saturday at the Farmers Market - the answer was .... 7 thousand plastic bags.

In order to reduce the number of plastic bags, 1 thousand re-usable tote bags will be given away at the Saturday April 27 Farmers Market as well as a drawing to give away 10 kitchen countertop compost bins.

For more info check out the iDig2Learn web site, twitter feed or email Ms Delfico.
Let's keep Roosevelt Island Clean and Green!

UPDATE 4/25:

UPDATE 4/26 - Press release from iDig2Learn:
Led by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) and community organizations working to create a healthy island environment,​ #EarthLove ​Day arrives with a compost giveback at Good Shepherd Plaza to spotlight ongoing island sustainability efforts and encourage more.

In September 2018, Big Reuse, iDig2Learn, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club and Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors joined the RIOC’s building manager meeting to convey the success of the island’s weekly Food Scrap Drop Off (FSDO) in removing heavy, wet food waste from island buildings to broaden awareness of this free resource to residents. RIOC President and CEO, Susan Rosenthal said, “We don’t talk much about reduction until Earth Day rolls around but efforts such as using LED lighting, painting rooftops light colors to reduce energy costs, and dropping food scraps off every Saturday are year round endeavors which are good for the earth and our AVAC system which can get overloaded as it moves waste from island apartment buildings.”

Giving back compost is a thank you that recognizes resident’s success in having diverted 100,000 pounds of food scraps from landfill since the program began in November 2015. The fact that Big Reuse transforms island organics, like banana peels, into compost just under the Queensboro Bridge and returns it to island landscaping and gardens projects, shows the value created by food scraps, material previously deemed waste.

“The best way to collect and drop food scraps is with a reusable container that can be washed and reused weekly,” says Project Manager, Leah Retherford of NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse. She added, “Compostable and paper bags can go in too but to make our machine run smoothly it is best to rip any bags open upon dropping your food scraps, and please, no plastic bags.”

"Returning organic matter to the earth just makes sense, we only need to think about it a little differently. Trimmings from Christmas trees and six months worth of coffee grounds have also been returned to the earth in Roosevelt Island’s community garden. Taking a full plastic bag on a long trip to landfill via fossil fuel burning vehicles comes at an enormous cost to our planet but handled locally it saves time, energy and money," said Green Roosevelt Island Neighbor (GRIN), Anthony Longo who will share composting tips and planting activities throughout the day.

“Instead of throwing away all the food scraps, they can also be reused to make beautiful natural dyes for fabric,” said Sara Qihan Dong, the project manager of World Human Accountability Organization (WHAO), who will be offering a colorful interactive plant dye activity in support of sustainability efforts on this earth day.

“Everything is connected. It is great to see Islanders and landscapers planting more native plants and trees, which have evolved to thrive in our area. These important host plants for pollinators provide food and habitat for birds and ultimately support a healthier ecosystem for us all,” said Julia Ferguson of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club. Ferguson will be on hand with the ever-popular worm bin to demonstrate the compost cycle.

“Kindness to the earth includes kindness to each other,” said Niti Parikh, who heads the Maker Lab at Cornell Tech, and was inspired by ​​ to introduce “Circle of Kindness” and Smile Cards to islanders. “When someone does something nice for you just because they want to, you feel so good to receive that gift it makes you want to go out and do something nice for someone else, and a Smile Card, passed to another, encourages kind actions. It is like a positive chain reaction.”

“It is easy to forget our connection to nature and that keeping our land, air and water clean helps keep us healthy too,” said Christina Delfico, Emmy-Nominated Producer and Founder of iDig2Learn, a nonprofit which encourages exploration of science and food through plant life. “Plastic pollution now affects marine life and has entered the fish we consume, so it is wonderful that Wengerd Farms will give away one thousand reusable tote bags to help show #EarthLove as we near the March 2020 New York State plastic bag ban. And the market will be replacing thousands of plastic bags with compostable bags for the day which residents can use over the following week to collect their food scraps in. iDig2Learn will also give away kitchen countertop compost bins every half hour to lucky residents,” Delfico added.

The Roosevelt Island Youth Center invites residents to drop off their used batteries throughout the day and produced a sustainability map of Roosevelt Island to spotlight resources, like free clothing drop bins and E-cycle electronic waste boxes in apartment buildings, Duane Reade’s new Safe Medication Disposal box, and invite residents to share news of other sustainable practices.

Market regulars like Kitchen 36 Inc. (aka “The Soup Lady”), Ibari, Hoboken Farms and Vesco Foods will list ways their businesses show #EarthLove. Whether sourcing organic ingredients, not using plastic bags or supporting local farmers, all agreed on the importance of reducing and reusing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Community Conversation With Cornell Tech Faculty On Law, Technology & Democracy Monday April 29 - Professor James Grimmelmann On HavenCo, Pirate Radio, Machine Guns, Rampant Copyright Infringement & More

The Roosevelt Island Community Conversations with Cornell Tech faculty begun last fall, continues next week.  On Monday, April 29, Professor James Grimmelman will speak on Law and Technology.

According to Cornell Tech:

James Grimmelmann: Law and Technology

Community Conversations with Cornell Tech Faculty

Cornell Tech

Monday, April 29, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM (EDT)

Does it seem like the Internet is out of control? Are technology companies undermining government control and freeing people to do absolutely anything they want online? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?

James Grimmelmann studies law and technology. He tries to understand today's digital controversies by looking for times when similar things have happened in the past. He will explain current struggles to regulate technology by telling the unbelievable real-life tale of HavenCo, one of the unlikeliest startups of all time. Its headquarters was an abandoned World War II anti-aircraft platform seven miles off the British coast — and the story just gets weirder from there. It includes pirate radio, machine guns, rampant copyright infringement, a Red Bull skateboarding special, perpetual motion machines, and the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States.

James will use the story of HavenCo as a jumping-off point for a conversation about technology and democracy.

James Grimmelmann is a Professor at Cornell Tech and in the Law School at Cornell University. James writes about search engines, social networks, data havens, hackers, trolls, copyright-infringing robots, and magical 3D printers, among other things. He is the author of the casebook Internet Law: Cases and Problems, now in its eighth edition, and of over fifty scholarly articles and essays.

Here's more on the Cornell Tech Law Program

and Professor Grimmelmann's essay - The Platform Is The Message.

Click here to register for the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Community Conversation with Professor James Grimmelmann.

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

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

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

Fascinating video here on HavenCo and efforts to avoid government regulation of data

Monday, April 22, 2019

Roosevelt Island Moving Forward Initiative From Island Kids - Includes Free 6 Week Vocational Training For Young Adults 18-30 Starting April 26, 10 Week Song Writing & Music Video Production Program For Teens Starting April 26 And Cooking/Culinary Arts Programs For Teens Too

Island Kids' Nikki Leopold reports on the start of the Moving Forward free initiative for Roosevelt Island that includes a vocational program for young adults ages 18-30 and 2 teen program for 14-18 year olds.

According to Ms Leopold:

Moving Forward is the newest Island Kids initiative. The goal of Moving Forward is to help teens and young adults successfully navigate the personal, social and emotional growth necessary to reach their full potential. Based on a series of focus groups held in 2018, the following programs were implemented

Moving Forward Vocational Program: (aged 18-30)

We are very happy to announce the beginning of the Moving Forward Vocational Program. Participants will take part in a series of workshops designed to address possible barriers in finding employment and staying employed. The workshops will focus on work readiness and anger management and run for 6 weeks. Topics will include interviewing skills, attitudes towards work, preparation for the work environment, stressors and demands of family, self-sabotage and adapting to the work environment. At the completion of the workshops, participants will receive a certificate and have an opportunity to choose from vocational programs including security guard training, flagging, painting, and training to receive their drivers license. All vocational training will be free of charge for the participants and paid for by the Moving Forward program. Registration is open now and workshops begin on April 30th.

Moving Forward Teens (aged 14-18)

Island Kids Teen Cooking Club

The Island Kids Teen Cooking Club began in the fall of 2018. The club is for teens aged 14-18 and is free of charge. The cooking club teaches teens to cook delicious meals while learning the benefits of healthy eating. In addition, the club hope to spark interest in some of the teens to pursue a career in the culinary arts. In the spring of 2019, teens will go on "field trips" to colleges with culinary arts programs to learn more about the field. The club meets once a week throughout the year. At the end of each semester, the teens prepare and serve a meal free of charge to the community. In December, we held our first annual winter celebration dinner, open to the entire Roosevelt Island Community. This year, we will collaborate with Carter Burden and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association to hold a Mother's Day brunch for seniors at the senior center.

Teen Song Writing and Video Production Workshop

Island Kids is partnering with Open Doors to implement a song writing and music video production program for teens aged 14-18. The program is free of charge. The 10 week pilot program will begin on April 26th . Teens will work with members of Open Doors to learn song writing and music production techniques including use of samples, understanding tempo and rhythm, editing lyrics, collaborative song writing, vocal editing and arrangement, storyboarding and performance technique. The program will culminate in students performing their song in their own music video. Students are also introduced to song writing and Video production as a possible career path.

Those that are interested in registering should email
Ms Leopold discussed the needs of Roosevelt Island Teens and Young Adults during the October 2018 RIRA Public Purpose Fund Grants application process shown in video below.

Learn About Cornell Tech Makers Lab From It's Creative Lead And Roosevelt Island Resident Niti Parikh At RI NY Public Library Tonight, April 22 - Empowering Learners Of All Ages And Backgrounds Through Making

Roosevelt Island resident and Creative Lead of the Cornell Tech MakerLab Niti Parikh will give a presentation this evening at the Roosevelt Island NY Public Library (524 Main Street).

According to the Roosevelt Island NY Public Library:
Cornell Tech MakerLAB Presentation

Monday, April 22, 2019, 6 p.m.

Roosevelt Island Library

Niti Parikh, Creative Lead of the MakerLAB at Cornell Tech, will present her work as a designer, maker, and educator. She will present on how we can empower learners of all ages and backgrounds to express their ideas and build new relationships through making. Examples include teaching ‘3D Printed Life Hacks” with senior citizens, medical school students and engineering / design students, exploring low-tech fabrication through the ‘Maker’s Corner’ with kids ages 5-13 at public schools in CA and NY and ‘npstudio’ where we practice modern day crafts to solve design problems big and small.
More Roosevelt Island NY Public Library events here.