Friday, May 17, 2019

Help Save A Life - Roosevelt Island RIRA & RISA Blood Drive Advanced Sign Up Saturday May 18, 25 & June 1 At Good Shepherd Plaza Farmers Market - Blood Donation On June 8 Roosevelt Island Day

You can help save a life by donating blood.

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be signing up volunteer donors at Good Shepherd Plaza next to the Saturday Farmers Market tomorrow and the next 3 Saturdays for the annual Roosevelt Island Day June 8 Blood Drive hosted by the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA).

According to this year's RIRA Roosevelt Island Blood Drive Committee Chair Janine Schaefer
RIRA Blood Drive

Sponsored by Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) and hosted by Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA)

The Blood drive is a big part of Roosevelt Island Day and has been an annual event for years. Volunteers will be sitting at Farmer's Market every Saturday from May 18th until the day of the event June 8th, to help people to sign up to donate in person from 10am to 4pm at the Community Room Senior Center 546 Main Street.

RIRA donated 36 pints of blood positively affecting the lives of over 105 New Yorkers in June 2018. If each donor this year brings a colleague, a family member, a friend or foe. We can double these results.


All donors must provide identification and should eat and be well hydrated prior to blood donation. Appointments are appreciated, but walk-ins welcome.

There is also a link for making online appointments for donating blood during the June 8 Roosevelt Island Day.
Here's a report from 2018 Roosevelt Island blood drive including video explaining how to donate

by two of the RIRA volunteers, Frank Farance and Bafode Drame.

Please help if you can - Donate Blood

Must Be Heaven? Good News For Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - F Train Service To And From Manhattan, Both Tram Cabins Working And East River Ferry Service For Fourth Weekend In A Row

Good news, for the fourth week in a row, 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.

The new NYC Ferry 2019 Ferry Summer Schedule starts Monday

as well as service to the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the Roosevelt Island Astoria route.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Giant RI Monument Eyesore Returns To Roosevelt Island Tram Plaza After Repairs, Ugghhhhh - 3 Month Trial Period Over, Let's Get Rid Of It Or At Least Move To Middle Of Island For Tourist Instagram Photo Moment

Sadly, the Giant RI Monument Sign in front of the Roosevelt Island Tram Station that was removed for repairs several weeks ago returned yesterday

so that tourists can take pictures for, as described by Hudson Related and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), an "Instagram Moment".

The Giant RI Monument Eyesore was installed in October 2018 against the objections of many residents - though there are some residents who say they like it. As reported at the time:
... Hopefully, this Gigantic Eyesore, initiated by Roosevelt Island real estate developer Hudson Related, and opposed by the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, will be removed at the end of the 3 month trial period....
The  3 month trial period is over. It's up to the resident RIOC Board Members on the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee to decide if the Eyesore stays or goes. Make a decision.

Or at least try moving it to another Roosevelt Island location such as Blackwell Plaza

or Mediation Steps

where it does not obstruct sight views and might encourage tourists to visit the middle of the Island for their Instagram Photo.

2 Canoes Paddling East River Passing Roosevelt Island This Morning - Nice Way To Commute, If Roosevelt Island Had A Kayak/Boat Launch Dock

Spotted 2 canoes paddling on East River passing Roosevelt Island this morning.

Next time the F train subway and Tram go out of service, maybe we can all

hitch a canoe ride

across the East River.

Would be great if Roosevelt Island could get a kayak/canoe dock. In 2012, RIOC issued a Request For Proposals for a Kayak/Rowing facility but that did not work out well.

At least for now, we can kayak across the river in Queens at the Long Island City Community Boathouse at Hallets Cove at Vernon B'lvd and 31st Avenue and

Roosevelt Island Original Pioneers And Long Time Residents Planning September "The Rock" Reunion 2019 At Lighthouse Park - But Stumbling Block Is $7,500 Permit Fee Sought By RIOC, Planners Requesting Waiver Fee As In Previous Years

Roosevelt Island original pioneers and current long time Roosevelt Island residents are planning a reunion at Lighthouse Park for September 7.

150 - 200 people are expected to attend the event. But a problem has occurred obtaining a permit for the reunion from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC).

I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenthal and RIOC Directors:
I am preparing a story about an upcoming reunion of current and former Roosevelt Island residents planned for this September at Lighthouse Park. 200 to 300 people are expected to attend.

I'm told that RIOC is seeking $7,500 as a permit fee from the group of current and former residents to use Lighthouse Park for their reunion. I'm also told there were previous similar reunions of this group and that no permit fee was required.

is this true?

Any statement from RIOC regarding why a permit fee is being charged and why in the amount of $7,500?
RIOC Community Affairs Supervisor Jessica Murray replied:
RIOC is conducting internal discussions to evaluate and decide upon fee structures for these types of activities. We will communicate with the applicant and the community as soon as possible. RIOC is committed to supporting community activities at all of our island amenities.
Long time Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance shares this message he sent to RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
... We'd like to have the permit fee waived, as RIOC has done in the past, including SPP and FFP (before it was developed), Lighthouse Park, Blackwell Park (a tree was planted Paula Spiaggia, in Memoriam, at that event), and the Meditation Steps.

One of our parks Capobianco Field is named after one of us originals Tony Capobianco, and his children are part of our reunions. Brian Dorfmann, whose chess table is in Al Lewis Park, was one of us "originals". Judy Berdy and David Kraut are of us "originals". The original movie "Fame" featured Island residents, as Performance Arts high school (along with other specialized schools) had many students on the Island (and PS/IS 217 graduates, too) -- and they return for Roosevelt Island reunions. There have been reunions in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017.

We started planning this reunion in 2018, and Larry Slade contacted RIOC, and RIOC suggested Lighthouse Park for this kind of event (as it worked well in the past). Larry applied for the permit the first day it was possible to apply (February 1, 2019) for the event on September 7, 2019. The insurance was already purchased on February 1, we're about 200-300 people looking to have a picnic, as you can see in the following video.

Here's a video of one of the songs that us musicians played, "Born On The Bayou" (Credence Clearwater Revival - CCR, a 1960s band), and if you watch the first 2 minutes you can see the RIOC tents ... this was a pretty pleasant event.

Each reunion, we have a slideshow presentation from our community and history on the Island and, unfortunately-but-inevitably, a longer "Necrology" segment of the presentation. Here was the RI Blog's coverage in 2010:

I ask that you waive the fee so we can commit to planning for this site, and not have to look for another site. Thank you.
Here are some scenes,

courtesy of Mr. Farance,

of the 2010



Lighthouse Park.

And here's some scenes from the 2009 Reunion

and what it was like living on Roosevelt Island

in 1980.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Get Your Tickets For People Of Platonovka: Actors At Work Based Upon Chekhov Play - Presented By Mihut Studio Founded By Local Roosevelt Island Resident At Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliiance This Weekend Friday May 17 to Sunday May 19

Roosevelt Island resident Mihaela Mihut is an actor, teacher and founder of the Mihut Studio,  This weekend, Friday May 17 - Sunday May 19 the Mihut Studio is presenting People of Platonovka: Actors At Work hosted by the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (548 Main Street).

According to the Mihut Studio Facebook Page:
‘People of Platonovka; Actors at Work' is the first project that will be presented by an ensemble of actors from the Mihut Studio.The creative process began at the 'Mihut Studio' classes, held at Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance on Roosevelt Island. The rehearsal process was and will be uncovered and explored in depth throughout the journey of various individuals guided by the Mihut Method Acting Technique.

For the first time the audience will be able to witness live character exploration within the guise of an official live performance in May. Performances will be held on the 17th, 18th and 19th of May 2019 at Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA).

Cameras will follow talented, successful, yet perhaps lesser known, as well as 'known' artists from different backgrounds, showing their personal struggles, with life, family, facades, habits, showing their personal fears, doubts, hopes, dreams, as well as the intrinsic passion underneath that sustains them towards exploring the characters as part of the production. Ultimately it is a celebration of life in spite of all the obstacles an artist faces on and off stage -- in search of the characters. All will be revealed.

For the first time, the actors work is being shown in service of the story, with the awareness that the work is never complete. There is no 'final destination'. Within the process of our continual striving of Chekhov's characters -- we present to you this production.

The Mihut Method technique; an interpretation and adaptation of Strasberg’s Method Acting Technique, has assisted in the process of self-discovery for many artists of different backgrounds, to create memorable characters, both on stage and in film. The technique reflects and guides this process and replicates real, surprising, dynamic human behavior. Throughout this process the Mihut Method challenges a worldwide audience to recognize and connect with its own humanity.

'People of Platonovka; Actors at Work' is based on Chekhov’s ‘Platonov’, and is the first showing in which actors run into the obstacles of themselves as well as their characters in order to illuminate the work of the actor as well as the story. The element of ensemble, a defining feature of the work, is fully present in this play.

‘Mihut Studio Classes’ are for artists of varying levels and artistic backgrounds – amongst them are actors, writers, directors, dancers, along with other professionals -- sharing their journey with the common goal of reaching their highest human potential.
Performances are:
  • Friday May 17, 8 PM
  • Saturday May 18, 2 & 8 PM
  • Sunday May 19, 7 PM
General Admission - $20
Seniors & Students - $15
Click here to purchase tickets.

Prior to a People of Platonovka; Actors at Work rehearsal last week, Ms Mihut prepares and describes her acting training methods

and shares snippets

from the play's rehearsal.

Here's more info on the show and to purchase tickets.

Report Of Roosevelt Island Man Pepper Sprayed By Woman On Crowded Red Bus Last Night - RIOC Public Safety Department Seeking Witnesses

 Received the following advisory last night from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Please be advised that the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department has received a report of an alleged assault with pepper spray which may have occurred on a RIOC Red Bus in front of the F Train Station at or around 9:45pm Tuesday May 14th 2019. Anyone with information in regards to this alleged assault is encouraged to contact the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department by phone at 212-832-4545 or in person at 550 Main Street. All information provided will be handled with the utmost confidentiality.
This morning, RIOC Public Safety Department Chief Jack McManus added some more info. According to Chief McManus a man walked into the PSD office last evening saying that he was just pepper sprayed by a woman on the Red Bus that was full of other passengers. The man said he had a dispute with the woman on the subway that continued on to the Red Bus where she pepper sprayed him. 

The Bus Driver did not see anything. If you have any info on this incident, please contact the Roosevelt Island PSD. The NYPD 114th precinct was also informed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Upcoming Events At Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park - May 18/19 Pop Up Library Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage, May 30 More Or Less I Am Musical Theater Performance Celebrating Walt Whitman's 200th Birthday & June 15 Ascend With Pride Afternoon Picnic, Coming Out Stories & Drag Queen Story Hour

You're invited to the following upcoming free public events at the Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms Park.

May 18 - 19 Pop Up Library celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage.

May 30 Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth, Compagnia De' Colombari presents a free performance at the Park: More Or Less I Am (MOLIA), a music-theatre piece adapted from Whitman's first major work, Song of Myself.

June 15 Ascend with Pride: An Afternoon with Friends & Family at FDR Four Freedoms State Park

The FDR 4 Freedoms Park is open 6 days a week 9AM -7 PM and closed on Tuesdays.

Take a look at this interesting 2016 video of Harriet Pattison

discussing the design of the FDR 4 Freedoms Park.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Roosevelt Island Community Dog Advocate Asks RIOC To Keep Promise For Shaded Structure At South Dog Run During Board Meeting Public Session - RIOC Replies Temporary Shade Structure Will Be Installed Later This Month

Roosevelt Island Community Dog Advocate Scott Piro has been working with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to improve conditions at the Southtown Dog Run. Last January, Mr. Piro reported on successful efforts to find a solution for the muddy mess that becomes the South Dog Run following any rain.

Mr Piro also noted last January that RIOC would:
.... erect a shade structure for the southern run before summer, so the animals can be comfortable.
Image of South Dog Run Taken Last Saturday

But, Mr Piro reported during the May 9 RIOC Board of Directors Meeting Public Session being told the South Dog Run structure would not be built.  Mr. Piro urged RIOC to keep the promise made by former RIOC Director of Capital Planning Steve Noone to install a shade structure for the dogs using the South Run. Here's Mr. Piro speaking during the Public Session.

Today, I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
During the Roosevelt Island May 9 RIOC Board of Directors Meeting Public Session, Roosevelt Island Dog Advocate Scott Piro asked about a prior RIOC promise to erect a shaded structure over the South Dog Run.

Mr Piro said the promises was made by former RIOC Director Of Capital Projects Steve Noone and was planned to be in place before this summer.

Mr Piro added that he was recently informed that RIOC no longer intends to build the South Dog Run Shade Structure. Is that true?

Any statement from RIOC on building the South Dog Run Shade Structure?
Newly hired RIOC Assistant VP of Capital Planning and Projects Jonna Carmona-Graf replied:
Regarding your inquiry, RIOC has contracted for design services to relocate the South Dog Run into Blackwell Park. As such, a permanent shade structure will not be installed in the current dog run. We found a product that can be installed as a temporary means to provide shade for the dogs at the current location of the dog run this season. This should be installed as a pilot later this month.
Mr Piro shares this message he sent to RIOC Director David Kraut, President Susan Rosenthal and Ms Carmona-Graf earlier today:
David and Susan, thank you for hearing my presentation during the public session of last week's board meeting.

Jonna, please allow me to introduce myself: my name is Scott Piro, and I am the former secretary of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association. I'm also the unofficial representative for the Island's dog-owning community.

I hope to begin collaborating with you soon on "Petey's Dog Run" -- the name dog-owning residents are using for the Hudson Related-funded dog run coming in Q4 2019 to the redesigned Blackwell Park. My activism was central in moving the project ahead to 2019 from its original 2021 completion date. It was I, who initially scouted the locations for what was originally intended to be a temporary south dog run -- when Hudson Related's run was originally slated to be built inside the upcoming "Commons East."

Last week Mary Cunneen told me of RIOC's decision to scrap plans to erect a no-frills shade structure along one side of the temporary south run. Island residents are very unhappy with this decision, and my objection to it was the focus of my public session presentation last week. As I pointed out:

1) RIOC's Steve Noone promised the organization would build the shade structure -- despite the temporary south run's lifespan expected to last only until Q4 2019.

2) The dogs don't know or care that the south run is temporary. They only know how hot it gets in there starting at this time of year -- so hot, in fact, that they will squeeze themselves under the benches inside for any relief. There is no running water inside the temporary run, and of course the animals cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature, because they do not sweat.

3) When residents pointed out earlier this year that the south run had become an unusable mud pit for days after it rained -- because of downhill water runoff -- RIOC intially threw its hands up and said it could do nothing. Mary had discussed solutions with the grounds teams, and they concluded a cost-effective solution was impossible. But residents persisted and brainstormed -- and eventually we persuaded RIOC to build a no-frills, low wooden barrier around the dog run. The response has not only kept the water flow out of the run, it has also enhanced incomplete fencing that had been allowing smaller dogs to escape.

We call upon RIOC to honor its promise and erect a no-frills shade structure along one side (probably southern or eastern sides -- where resulting shadows would be longest and fall upon locations inside the dog run). Despite the southern dog run's temporary status, erecting a solution remains an imperative upon wihch RIOC should make good.

Mary and Jonna -- please keep me in the loop on the timing of implementing the solution you come up with. The dogs have caught a lucky break with all this cool weather. But it's going to get unbearable for them very soon.

Thanks everyone -- have a great week!
A permanent Southtown Dog run is planned to be built just south of 480 Main Street in Blackwell Park.

Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Students Celebrate Hindu Holi Festival Last Friday, Welcoming Spring And Summer With Colorful Body Paint, Music & Dance

Last Friday, May 10, Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech students were spotted joyously dancing, running around campus in colorful face and body paint.

What was going on? Did the stress and tension of the academic year finally cause some to crack up?

No, what happened was a celebration of the Hindu Holiday of Holi - meant to welcome the coming of Spring and Summer as well as to spread happiness and love.

According to Cornell Tech Students Sat:

... It's a Festival to spread love and inclusivity, where you let go of your pain and suffering and make friends as a group....
and Anmol:
It's a very fun Festival where we put color on each other's faces and everywhere and then we hose them down with water. It's a lot of fun. You guys should try it.

Holi was traditionally celebrated on March 21 this year but Anmol explains why Cornell Tech celebrated last Friday:
Cornell Tech celebrated it last Friday as weather is a bit kinder (it’s not freezing outside ) and the festival of Holi is preferably celebrated outdoors. Also we thought it would be the perfect way to end the semester, which it was.

Almost all universities ( Stanford, Harvard, etc) have their own version of Holi and we were glad to start this tradition at Cornell Tech.
More on the Holi tradition here.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Stargazing, Astronomy & Astrophotography May 13, 14 & 18 Evenings At Riverwalk Commons - Presented By IDig2Learn Celebrating Roosevelt Island's Nature Series With Chelsea NYC Astronomy

You're invited to 3 upcoming evenings of Roosevelt Island Stargazing courtesy of iDig2Learn and Chelsea NYC Astronomy.

According to iDig2Learn founder and Roosevelt Island resident Christina Delfico:

Stargazing, Astronomy + Astrophotography

​Free Open to the public - families encouraged.

Roosevelt Island has clear views of the daytime and night sky. Join us for fun outdoor evenings as we use high-powered telescopes to view + learn more about the Sun, our Moon, Mars and other sights of our universe. Dates dependent on cloud cover. Look up and ​if the skies are clear​ we’ll be there on these evenings!

MON May 13 ​(Sunset 8:04 pm)
TUES May 14 ​(Sunset 8:05 pm)
SAT May 18 ​(Sunset 8:08 pm)
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

In January 2018, Jupiter Joe Sidewalk Astronomy came to Roosevelt Island

to view the Super Blood Moon and give an astronomy lesson.

So, stop by the Riverwalk Commons on May 13, 14 and/or 18 for some fun and educational stargazing.

UPDATE 5/13:

Happy Mother's Day From Roosevelt Island, Say Thank You To Your Mom - What Do Moms Really Want And Learn How The Day Got Started

Happy Mother's Day wishes for all the moms out there.

Give your Mom a Great Big Hug and Kiss today and tell her how much she is loved and appreciated.

Here's a History Of Mother's Day

And what Moms really want today.