Friday, May 24, 2019

Scenes From Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Annual Lag Ba"Omer Celebration At Blackwell Park - Kids Playing, Adults Kibitzing, Tasty Shmores, A Little Education And A Bonfire

The annual Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Lag Ba'Omer Bonfire Celebration took place yesterday in Blackwell Park. Scott Piro shares these photos and video of the event.

I’m not a #chabadnik, but I sort of am when I hang with the Duchmans. . I had a blast at their #LagBaOmer #bonfire. I had intended to stay only an hour...then that stretched into 90 minutes, and it wound up being a 3 hour outing. . ▪️Lovely buffet 🌽🍔🥗🌭 ▪️Cool education about this non-Biblical holiday 📚 ▪️Bonfire 🔥 ▪️”Shmores” — really s’mores, but the Duchmans have a cute tweak to make a reference to 🥯 shmears, I think ▪️Kids playing ▪️Adults kibitzing . I did not feel melancholy or regretful to be back on the island. Nor did I feel I had to move back. I only felt happy to be there. I stayed in Blackwell Park the whole time, so didn’t visit my building or see any of my non-Chabad Island friends — except for two who stopped to talk when they walked by. . But seeing ⛴ go by...Ravenswood 🏭 in the distance...glimpses of the red 🚌 going by — it only made me feel very sweet and happy, like a cozy slipper or something. . Watching Rabbi Zalman enthrall the kids with a good show combining education, spectacle and activities was enjoyable as ever. Chatting friends Oren and Nechama, meeting new friends Jo and Zvi — it was all such a happy occasion. . 🔥✡️🔥✡️🔥
A post shared by ScottyP (@scottpiro) on

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Help Save A Life - Roosevelt Island RIRA & RISA Blood Drive Advanced Sign Up Saturday May 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 2 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

I Could Get Used To This, 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 Fifth Weekend In A Row - Ferry Service Expanded To Brooklyn Navy Yard Now

Good news, for the fifth 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.

Here's the new NYC Ferry 2019 Ferry Summer Schedule.

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

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes May 31 To June 6 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Free Delivery With $75 Or More Order

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

invites you to check out their May 31 - June 6 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, May 23, 2019

Roosevelt Island Riverwalk 341 Unit Affordable Housing Building 8 Status Update On Public Agenda At RIOC May 29 Real Estate Committee Meeting - Also Riverwalk 9 And Manhattan Park Ground Lease Negotiations Agenda Items In Executive Session Closed To Public

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Advisory Committee (REDAC) is meeting next week to discuss the status of currently under construction

Riverwalk Building 8 (341 units of affordable housing) in a session open to the public. Followed by an Executive Session discussion, closed to the public, about ground lease negotiations for the future Riverwalk Building 9 (market rate rental) as well as amending the Manhattan Park ground lease.

According to the May 29 RIOC REDAC Agenda:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 5:30 P.M. at the RIOC Administrative Office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


Status Report on Southtown Building 8

Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to Discuss:

Ground Lease Negotiations for Southtown Building 9
Ground Lease Amendment Negotiations for Manhattan Park

Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee.
Will update when more is learned about these matters.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Roosevelt Island Residents Gathered Last Saturday Night To Moonwatch, Stargaze And Search For International Space Station With 2 Very Large Telescopes Courtesy Of iDig2Learn And OB Astronomy

Excited Roosevelt Island residents, young and a bit older,

gathered on a brisk Saturday evening at the Riverwalk Commons to gaze at the moon, stars and even the International Space Station from two large telescopes

brought to the Riverwalk Commons courtesy of iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico and OB Astronomy's Chris Vallo.
Christina Delfico, iDig2Learn’s founder who organized the event as part of the Celebrating Roosevelt Island’s Nature series reports over a hundred folks came out and definitely wants to invite Chris back. Ms Delfico adds:
Saturday night’s clear skies were all we needed for OBAstronomy’s visiting expert Chris Vallo to grab his high-powered telescope and set up on Roosevelt Island.

The night was cooler than expected but no one wanted to leave and with the telescope still on the hand truck crowds of curious residents of all ages were gathering wanting to look. Chris likes to say, patience and hope are key traits of budding astronomers and that was true as we waiting until 8:30 pm for the giant pink colored full moon to peak up

Image From Arsha Antony

over buildings in Long Island City.

Riverwalk Commons, the area between Fuji East restaurant and Duane Reade, provided great viewing grounds as old and new friends came out and patiently lined up twenty-five at a time behind each telescope for a glimpse of our Moon’s craters.

One very young viewer learning to talk uttered a few words as she squealed with delight saying, “Big, big, balloon,” and motioned her hands as if to hug the moon.

Friends we see on the sidewalk stopped and stayed for hours getting to know each other better.

As if the bright full moon weren’t enough, seeing Jupiter rising added to the excitement. One freelance casting agent said she had been at the home office all week and she just had to come out to see this. As she looked through the lens she noticed that the four moons of Jupiter were visible.

Luke a young resident savvy to all things space including the International Space Station’s flyover times and about 40 viewers shouted and pointed as it’s bright lights whizzed by making the arch between buildings in less than two minutes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

RIOC President Says Figment NYC June 1-2 Lighthouse Park Event A Test Case To See If Roosevelt Island Can Handle Large Crowd Events - PSD Hosting May 23 Town Hall Event To Discuss Safety Preparations For Figment, You're Invited To Attend And Share Concerns

Roosevelt Island is hosting the 2019 Figment NYC Participatory Art Project at Lighthouse Park on June 1-2.  The event is expected to draw large numbers of visitors to Roosevelt Island which is of great concern to residents who do not want a repeat of the Cherry Blossom Festival Transportation disaster with:

  • dangerously long lines at the Tram, Subway, Ferry, 
  • closure of the Roosevelt Island Bridge to traffic,
  • lack of bathrooms, food and water for the visitors.
Estimates of visitors for the Cherry Blossom Festival ranged from 35 - 40 thousand people overwhelming Roosevelt Island that day.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal reported during the May 9 Board Meeting that the Figment NYC event will be a test case to see if Roosevelt Island can handle large crowd events.

Ms Rosenthal said that the 2018 Figment NYC Festival at Governor's Island drew 12 thousand people but that they have no idea how many visitors may come to Roosevelt Island this year. Ms Rosenthal added that the Figment NYC Lighthouse Park event will be using tickets for entry. 

Following the Cherry Blossom Festival Transportation disaster, RIOC has been in discussions with NYC Emergency Management, NYPD, FDNY, MTA and Figment NYC organizers to develop safety procedures for the June 1-2 Lighthouse Park event.

On May 23, the RIOC Public Safety Department will host a community Town Hall Meeting to  discuss safety preparations for the June 1-2 Figment NYC Lighthouse Park event.

According to RIOC:


THURSDAY, MAY 23rd at 6 PM

The Chapel of the Good Shepherd

543 Main Street ADA accessible

Invited Guests:

NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM), NYPD, Figment NYC, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Council Member Ben Kallos

What: Figment NYC is a free participatory arts event that celebrates creativity by challenging artists and participants to find new ways to create, share, and dream.

When: Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd

Where: Various Island locations, including Lighthouse Park, along the West Promenade, the Motorgate Atrium, and the lawn south of Rivercross.
Here's May 7 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting discussion of plans

for Figments NYC event.

Also, click here if you are interested in volunteering to help at Roosevelt Island's Figment NYC participatory public art project.

Learn more about Figment NYC at their web site.

Happy Belated Birthday To Roosevelt Island Tram, 43 Years Old Last Friday, Started Service On May 17, 1976 - And No Jerry Seinfeld, It's Not An Amusement Park Ride

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) President Judy Berdy reported last Friday that May 17 was the Roosevelt Island Tram's 43rd birthday having started service on May 17, 1976.

There was no Tram party marking the occasion, but there was a big celebration in 2016 for the Tram's 40th Birthday

with speeches,


music and more festivities.

Roosevelt Island Tram Turns 40 from Michael Scotto on Vimeo.

At the 2016 Tram Birthday Ms Berdy talked about the history of the Tram:
... Way back in 1972, an architect of this soon to be community discovered that the MTA subway would not be completed in time to be ready for this new community. An alternate mode of transportation had to be developed.

The architect's name was Bill Chaffee, and apparently he was a ski enthusiast, who envisioned a gondola-style car connecting the two islands of Roosevelt and Manhattan.

Manhattan streets were surveyed to determine where to build a temporary tram station. East 72 St was a possibility, because it was wide and could accommodate a station in the middle of the road.

Luckily there was a vacant lot at East 59th Street, opposite the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge. This spot was the stage upon which the tram station would be built.

The tram, then called an aerial gondola, was ready in less than 3 years.

The history of the tram has been interesting; consider some of these highlights after it opened in 1976:

It was the site of many movies and TV shows
  • Night Hawks
  • Fear Factor
  • City Slickers
  • Turk 183 And, of course,
  • Spiderman !
In the 1980s, it seemed to run out of insurance and closed down for two weeks.

The first system was counterbalance, requiring both cabins to shut down simultaneously every week for maintenance.

In 2003, it finally accepted Metrocards.

Our new Poma system opened November 30th, 2010, on time.

While the tram was being re-built, the Roosevelt Island Historical Society’s Visitor Center kiosk was restored and our garden was planted to enhance the “neighborhood.”

The Tram is people, the professionals who daily climb the towers at 5 a.m. to check conditions, the cabin attendants who drive the cabins and deal with every kind of person, packed into the cabins, thankfully for just 4 minutes at a time.

The tram is Roosevelt Island. No matter who came with the message to cut or shorten service; that leader learned that our tram is sacred – and that person is gone.

The tram is here. It is curiously romantic, at all hours of the day and night. It is the site of marriage proposals, engagements and even weddings. One recent Sunday morning, 100 people cheered as their friends disembarked from the cabin, she wearing a new ring on her finger.

The tram brings us the world, dozens at a time. Since 2007, the Roosevelt Island Historical Society has welcomed thousands of people at the kiosk, from every state, country and continent. The tram is the attraction. Every week, Manhattanites tell us they are here out of curiosity. Some come into the kiosk, walk up Main Street, become enamored of our community and soon are our neighbors.

Many residents say the Roosevelt Island Historical Society’s Visitor Center kiosk is for tourists, which is partly true. Really, the visitor Center kiosk is for all of us.

Our staff complements the tram and makes every visitor welcome.

The history of Roosevelt Island emerges from the people who ride the tram and tell us their stories, their families, the who and why of a community.

The secret is long out. The tram is it.

Its loyal staff and riders make it part of our being.
Greg Paravati has been operating the Roosevelt Island Tram since it began service in 1976. He has watched generations of Roosevelt Island children grow up and even attended some of their weddings.

Mr. Paravati says the Tram is a wonderful way to travel. He tells us about it in this 2012 interview.

And Jerry Seinfeld jokes about the newly opened Tram

as an amusement park ride in 1977.

Happy Belated 43rd Birthday to the Roosevelt Island Tram!

Monday, May 20, 2019

RIOC Begins Phased Repairs To The Roosevelt Island Motorgate Garage Starting June 1 - Repair Concrete Surfaces, Install Slip Resistant Topping, Upgrade Drainage System, Waterproofing, Re-Striping, Install Electric Car Charging Stations & More

As reported May 7, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will soon start repairs to the Motorgate Garage.

 Today, RIOC announced that work on the Motogate Garage will begin June 1.

According to RIOC:
Motorgate Garage Improvements to Begin Week of June 3rd

As announced on April 30, 2019, a phased renovation for the Motorgate garage will be starting shortly. The improvements will address deficiencies in the space. The work will be phased to allow for the continued use of the garage as construction progresses.

What’s happening:
  • Repair concrete surfaces to remove cracked, spalled, and delaminated concrete.
  • Install slip resistant topping coating as needed.
  • Replace the existing expansion joint material.
  • Repair & upgrade the existing drainage system.
  • Apply a waterproofing system on the parking deck, ramps, walkways, and curbs.
  • Re-stripe the parking spaces and install new wayfinding signage.
  • Install electric car charging stations.
What to expect and when:

Effective June 1, 2019 and throughout construction of sections 3D, 4D, 5D, 6D, 7D & 8D, monthly rates for patrons with reserved parking spaces will be adjusted accordingly.

Beginning June 3, 2019, sections 3D, 4D, 5D, 6D, 7D & 8D in the south building will be closed.  No parking is allowed in these sections after midnight on June 2, 2019. Violators will be towed.

As a reminder, we expect phase 1 work to be completed in the fall of 2019. No work will occur during the winter months. Construction activities will resume in spring 2020. We anticipate completion of all construction activities in the fall of 2020.

What residents can do to help:
  • Your continued patience and cooperation is appreciated as we require residents to temporarily relocate their vehicles within the garage.
  • Please observe and comply with temporary modifications to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns.
  • For your safety, please stay out of construction areas and other areas as posted.
Community advisories with detailed updates on the Motorgate garage improvements will be sent out as the project progresses. To receive alerts visit and sign up for Island Community Advisories.
Here's the May 9 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting discussion

of the Motorgate Garage repairs.

Roosevelt Island Picnic Tables And BBQ Grills In Octagon Park Now Open After DEP Water Tunnel Access Road Fencing Removed Last Friday After Many Months Delay And Closed For More Than A Year

Last Friday May 17, after many months and delays, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Water Tunnel Access Road fence

surrounding the Octagon Park picnic tables and BBQ Grills was removed

and the area opened up

for use.

The next day, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the Octagon Picnic Tables

and BBQ grills

were being enjoyed.

There is currently a fence blocking access to the waterfront promenade adjacent to the Octagon Building

during the repair of the seawall in the area.

SPONSORED POST - You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Grilling Coming To The Cafe @Cornell Tech Every Wednesday 2-5 PM Starting May 22 - Come For The Tasty Meals Paired With The Perfect Beer And Great East River Waterfront Views

The Roosevelt Island Cafe @Cornell Tech will be welcoming summer with weekly outdoor grilling hours every Wednesday, starting May 22

According to the Cafe @Cornell Tech:









Come enjoy Wednesday afternoon outdoor grilling and a beer, or two,

with the folks from Cafe @Cornell Tech Constellation Culinary Team on the spacious Roosevelt Island campus patio

and enjoy the gorgeous East River waterfront views.

Also, check out the weekly Cafe @Cornell Tech Monday -Friday menus.

UPDATE 5/23 - Here's the Outdoor Grill Menu for Wednesday May 29