Friday, June 14, 2019

Largest NYC LGBTQ Pride Flag Unveiled Today At Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park Celebrating World Pride - You're Invited To Family Friendly Ascend With Pride Picnic At FDR Park Tomorrow Afternoon

As reported earlier this week, Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park is hosting a free World Pride celebration tomorrow. According to the FDR Four Freedoms Park:

On Saturday, June 15 from 12:00-6:00 PM, FDR Four Freedoms State Park will host #AscendWithPride: An Afternoon with Friends & Family. This free World Pride celebration for all ages will include food trucks for a special picnic on the lawn (with wine and beer available for purchase), VideoOut onsite all day capturing coming out stories for their online library and Drag Queen Story Hour, at 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM, reading books that focus on diversity and inclusivity, from Little Bee Books.

The event serves as the official unveiling of New York City’s largest pride flag. From Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 30, the Park’s monumental staircase will transform into a massive, 12’ x 100’ LGBTQ Pride Flag to celebrate the universal human rights articulated in FDR’s Four Freedoms Speech: freedom of speech & expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Today, the largest Pride Flag was unveiled on the FDR Four Freedoms Park monument stairs and it was stunning. Take a look.

FDR Park Conservancy Director of Strategic Partnerships Madeline Grimes describes the Ascend With Pride activities going on this weekend and the flag will remain up thru June 30.

Click on the full screen icon at bottom right of video for great view of the Flag and Manhattan skyline behind it.

According to Ms Grimes:
... the Flag was made using an eco-friendly vinyl that is adhered to the risers of the stairs. It was done by a fantastic company called Looks Good Looks Great.
More info on the Ascend With Pride event at this prior post and the FDR Park web page.

UPDATE 6/15:

MTA Comes To Roosevelt Island Town Hall, Talks And Listens To Residents About F Train Problems - Promises No Weekend F Train Disruptions Until August 16 - This Weekend, F Train To And From Manhattan, Both Tram Cabins Working And Ferry Service Too

Good news, for the eight week in a row, Roosevelt Island residents will have weekend F Trains running to and from Manhattan, both Tram Cabins operating and East River Astoria Route Ferry service.

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

More good news. During last evening's Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting organized by Council Member Ben Kallos, MTA representative Markus Book reported that there are no planned Roosevelt Island F Train weekend disruptions until August 16 weekend.

Mr Book took questions on a variety of Roosevelt Island subway and bus issues including morning rush hours overcrowding and promised to look into suggested solutions to relieve overcrowding.

Asked about the best way to receive info about service disruptions, escalator and elevator outages Mr. Book suggested following the MTA twitter feed or MyMTA app.

Also,  the MTA is undergoing a redesign of the Queens Bus Network but Mr Book had no info on how that might effect Roosevelt Island residents using the Q102.

Here's video of Town Hall discussion with MTA's Mr. Book.

Will have full video of Town Hall shortly.

Report On June 8 Roosevelt Island Day Blood Drive - 19th Annual Blood Drive Will Positively Help 125 Lives Says RIRA Blood Drive Committee Chair Janine Schaefer

Every Saturday since May 18 the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Blood Drive Committee was signing up volunteers to donate blood during the June 8 Roosevelt Island Day celebration. RIRA Blood Drive Committee Chair Janine Schaefer reports on the results of their efforts. According to Ms Schaefer:

Another Successful Blood Drive on Roosevelt Island Day

A large number of Roosevelt Island residents turned out for the 19th Annual Blood Drive, held on Saturday, June 8, as part of Roosevelt Island Day activities.

The New York Blood Center reported that:
  • There were 39 people who made whole blood donations and two other people made Alyx donations, meaning twice as many red cells were donated. This made a total of 43 donations.
  • As a result, more than 125 lives will be positively affected by our blood drive.
  • In addition, there were 46 people who, for various reasons, were turned away and were unable to donate blood that day.
It is important to note that it is difficult for the New York Blood Center to obtain usable blood.

"Donating blood is literally giving the gift of life. The New York region needs almost 2,000 volunteers to donate blood each day to meet the demand. There is simply no substitute for donated blood," according to the New York Blood Center.

“The New York Blood Banks always face a shortage of blood during the summer months. One of the reasons is that there are fewer blood donations made during this time of year. That is why our annual June blood drive is so important,” said Joan Ogden, the Co-Chair of this year’s blood drive.

RIRA thanks:
  • the community members who took the time to donate blood
  • the RIRA members and residents who volunteered to make this event such a huge success
  • the RISA board members for supporting RIRA by graciously hosting this event
  • RIOC for all their support and its employees who donated blood
  • the local media who promoted awareness of the Blood Drive.
Special thanks to the Island businesses who stepped up and gave 10% appreciation discounts to donors:
  • Bread & Butter Market
  • China 1 Kitchen
  • Fuji East
  • Island Wine & Spirits
  • Nisi Kitchen
  • Piccolo Trattoria Pizza & Ristorante
  • Pupculture
  • Roosevelt Island Cleaners
  • Roosevelt Nails
  • We Are One
  • Wholesome Factory
The staff of The New York Blood Center told us that there is always an urgency for donations, so we plan to sponsor another blood drive in early December, so stay tuned for further details.
The blood donations

were hosted by the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA) at the Senior Center (548 Main Street)

Ms Schaefer reported to the June 5 RIRA Common Council on the Committee's efforts.

You can also sign up online now to donate blood and help save one life, maybe more.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

You're Invited To Global Water Dance Day Performance June 15 At Roosevelt Island Tata Innovation Center On Cornell Tech Campus With Andrea & The Dancing Rubies - Aim to Ensure Availability And Sustainable Management Of Water For All By 2030

Andrea and the Dancing Rubies will be performing as part of the Global Water Dances initiative on June 15 at Roosevelt Island's Tata Innovation Center on the Cornell Tech campus. According to Andrea Beeman:

Please  join us at an exciting, free event on Roosevelt Island. On June 15th, Global Water Dances, a global community of choreographers and dancers, will perform at 3pm around the world to inspire action and international collaboration on water issues using the universal language of dance.

My ensemble, the Dancing Rubies, & I will be dancing for water outside of the Tata Innovation Center (Cornell Tech Campus) facing the East River & East Loop Road. Live percussion will be played by Michael Evans. The entire audience will be invited to participate in the finale. The event is FREE & open to all.
More info on the Global Water Dance project from this press release:
On June 15th, 2019, dancers at more than 170 sites around the world will perform to honor and protect water in a biennial event called Global Water Dances.

“This year’s Global Water Dances promises to be the biggest one since we began back in 2011,” said Vannia Ibarguen, Artistic Director of Global Water Dances. People are planning to perform at rivers, lakes, beaches, parks, pools and other places related to water.

The performances bring together the geography of a particular place, a call to environmental action, and the creative arts. “Local choreographers create site-specific dances,” said Marylee Hardenbergh, former Artistic Director of Global Water Dances. “All of these events are free of charge, and every performance ends with the opportunity for the audience to join in the dance. The performances are filmed locally, and made available online globally”. For a short video on the 2017....

Providing reliable supplies of safe drinking water is one of the great global challenges of our times. “This year, Global Water Dances aligns with the United Nations’ motto “Water for All” and the Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030”, says Ibarguen. “To leave no one behind, we must focus our efforts towards including people who have been marginalized or ignored.”

“We are very excited about our plans to dance outside Cornell Tech’s Tata Innovation Center, facing the East River,” said Andrea Beeman. “We welcome this opportunity to use movement to remind everyone of the power of water as it moves through our lives in so many different ways.”

Global Water Dances is housed at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (LIMS) in New York City. LIMS’ international network of dancers and choreographers is aspiring to cultivate a new generation of socially aware artists, who use dance to actively care for our planet and people. Dance is a powerful channel that connects human beings and makes visible what is invisible.

Anyone who wishes to participate in this event should contact to receive more information.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Thursday Night Outdoor Music Programs This Summer At LIC Landing On East River Waterfront In Hunters Point South Starts June 13- Just 1 Ferry Stop From Roosevelt Island

Just a 5 minute NYC Ferry ride from Roosevelt Island and then a short 10 minute East River waterfront walk is the gorgeous Hunters Point South Park in Long Island City. It's a great place to explore and enjoy the beautiful views.

Take a look.

There's plenty to do at Hunters Point South Park including a Thursday evening outdoor music program at LIC Landing.

According to the Hunters Point Park Conservancy:
The months of June, July, and August will see six free outdoor musical programs held in the event space at LIC Landing in Hunter’s Point South Park on the East River waterfront. This will be the 4t​h​ year in a row of the Live at the Landing series featuring live music on the Long Island City waterfront.

The events are being planned and organized by the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and are co-sponsored by the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) and LIC Landing by COFFEED. The musicians will also represent different musical styles and hail from multiple Queens neighborhoods. Shows will be held every other Thursday evening from 6-8pm, beginning on June 13th. The full schedule of events and descriptions of artists can be found below.
  • June 13 - Arun Luthra’s Konnakol Jazz Project - Arun Luthra is one of the premier saxophonists and composers on New York's jazz scene, and one of the small group of American jazz musicians of Indian heritage who have continued to explore to possibilities of fusing the modern post-bop sound with elements of Indian classical music – especially konnakol (South Indian classical music vocalised rhythms), as well as drawing from a wide variety of modern & classic influences to create a vibrant new sound & style.
  • June 27 - Joe Knipes Trio - Jazz Guitarist Joe Knipes performs in the NY Metropolitan area, exploring the jazz tradition, sharing the stage with longtime friends and bandmates. Joe is also the founder and director of the Jackson Heights Jazz Festival, which takes place throughout the neighborhood this summer.
  • July 11 - Tom Shane - Tom Shaner is a critically acclaimed songwriter, producer, performer and video director based in New York City. He calls his music “ghost songs, waltzes and rock and roll.” He usually performs with his dynamic band, but also solo. His songs have been featured in TV shows and movies. Most recently ABC’s “The Rookie” made great use of his ballad “The Tide of Love” in Episode 8.The music moves from rootsy American rock and roll, with an occasional hint of old blues and country as well more modern rock dynamics.
  • July 25 - Pam Reyes is a singer-songwriter from Sunnyside, Queens. It has been said that Pam’s performances are an exercise in collective vulnerability—a roomful of strangers in concerted reminiscence. Her frank, bordering on dark, songwriting meets her stirring voice in a match made not quite in heaven or hell, but some place just in between. In October 2019, Pam independently released her most ambitious project to date. In an emotive style all her own, the new single and music video, “Dear Dreamer,” explores her own family’s migration to America and stands in solidarity with young immigrants threatened by the current White House administration.
  • August 8 - Shelly Bhushan - Honest, soulful, empowering...all words to describe singer/songwriter Shelly Bhushan. Gifted with an incredibly powerful voice, Shelly draws on a depth of emotion that ranges from desire to defiance, longing to exhilaration. It’s as if her soul reaches out to yours when you hear her sing--real, without a trace of pretentiousness. Fans have likened Shelly and her band to Donny Hathaway, Bonnie Raitt, Emily King, Aretha, Etta James. It's hard to pin down, but the inability to classify her is the very thing that makes Shelly's music so interesting.
  • August 22 - Gabriel Guerrero & ​QUΔΠTUM - Led by Colombian pianist Gabriel Guerrero, QUΔΠTUM is a musical force featuring Cuban saxophonist Hery Paz, Chilean drummer Felix Lecaros, and Massachusetts born Will Slater on bass. “Music can be perceived from many perspectives, sounds and colors can change suddenly, take unexpected directions. Music from the past can be alive at any moment by the magic of recordings. The natural randomness of nature and universe is the perspective of QUΔΠTUM as a musical force. Unveiling the power of improvisation by the solos and constructions of the compositions QUΔΠTUM makes justice to each unique moment.”
These events are all outdoors and weather dependent.
The Thursday Night Music Series takes place at LIC Landing:
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Manhattan's skyline, LIC Landing by COFFEED features a spectacular 2000 sq-ft outdoor event space and a high-quality outdoor cafe. It is located in Long Island City's beautiful, brand-new waterfront park at Hunters Point South....
It would be great if we could have similar outdoor music programs here on Roosevelt Island

2017 Performance by Jon Christopher Allen at LIC Landing Courtesy Of Hunters Point South Park Conservancy

but, for now, we can take the quick trip to Long Island City.

Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms Park Ascend With Pride Celebration Saturday June 15 - Unveiling Of NYC Largest Pride Flag On Monument Staircase, Afternoon Lawn Picnic, Video Out Stories, Drag Queen Story Hour, Little Bee Books Diversity & Inclusivity Readings & More

A reader asked:

Is Roosevelt Island doing anything special for World Pride this month?
The answer is yes.
Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park is hosting a free World Pride celebration. According to the FDR Four Freedoms Park:
On Saturday, June 15 from 12:00-6:00 PM, FDR Four Freedoms State Park will host #AscendWithPride: An Afternoon with Friends & Family. This free World Pride celebration for all ages will include food trucks for a special picnic on the lawn (with wine and beer available for purchase), VideoOut onsite all day capturing coming out stories for their online library and Drag Queen Story Hour, at 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM, reading books that focus on diversity and inclusivity, from Little Bee Books.

The event serves as the official unveiling of New York City’s largest pride flag. From Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 30, the Park’s monumental staircase will transform into a massive, 12’ x 100’ LGBTQ Pride Flag to celebrate the universal human rights articulated in FDR’s Four Freedoms Speech: freedom of speech & expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

FDR Four Freedoms State Park, located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, is best accessed using public transit. Options include the Roosevelt Island Tram, New York City Bus & Subway and the NYC Ferry.
Free registration info can be found here.

Here's more info on Video Out.

And register here for Saturday's Ascend With Pride: An Afternoon With Friends & Family at Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Manhattan Community Board 8 Invites You To 2020 Census Jobs Workshop Tomorrow, Wednesday June 12

Manhattan Community Board 8 is hosting a 2020 Census Job Opportunities workshop tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, from 1:30 - 3:30 PM at the Stanley M Issacs Neighborhood Center (415 East 93rd Street)

Click here for more info.

RIOC Update On Long Delayed $6.1 Million Roosevelt Island Tram Manhattan Station Elevator Project - Also Updates On RI Bike Ramp/Lane, Blackwell House Renovation Ribbon Cutting And Youth Center Renovation Work Begins This Month

What is the status of the long delayed Roosevelt Island $6.1 Million Tram elevator project

 Image of GC Eng Eng & Associates Tram Station Elevator Rendering From April 12, 2016 CB 8 Preeentation

first announced in April 2016 with projected construction start date in October 2016, but to date, still delayed? The Manhattan Tram Plaza park area is surrounded by fencing with no apparent work being done.

A Roosevelt Island resident tweets:
I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for a status update on the Tram Elevator Project. A RIOC Spokesperson replied today:
Manhattan Side Tram Elevators:

Unfortunately, this project has been delayed due to a subsurface geotechnical concern that required a complete re-design of the foundation system. Although the public has not seen much activity at the sight recently, RIOC has not been idle. We have been conducting soil boring tests and redesigning the foundation of the elevators.

We have also been working to obtain necessary approvals of our new drawings from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB). The contractor is currently filing for work permits with DOB, MTA and the Department of Environmental Protection. RIOC hopes to obtain these permits in mid-summer 2019.

The contractor will need 12 -14 months to complete the elevators once work on the elevators resumes.
RIOC's Spokesperson updates us on various other infrastructure projects:
Bike Ramp Update:

As you know, this project is being funded with Federal grants administered by the New York State Department of Transportation. The grant requires four (4) reviews during the design process:
  • A historic analysis review
  • A concept review
  • A 50% development review
  • A final construction review
We are at the second review point, which is the concept review. The design of the ramp is likely to undergo several changes throughout the approval process. RIOC will hold a public information session at a board meeting this fall. We hope to complete all four stages of review by the end of 2019, at which point we will have a better sense of when construction may begin.

Bike Lane Update:

In May, 2019, RIOC received money for the construction of a bike lane on Roosevelt Island. This summer, RIOC staff will be meeting with the New York State Department of Transportation and our consultant to develop a construction schedule. Please note that the Bike Lane project, like the Bike Ramp project, must also undergo several reviews during the design process:
  • A historic analysis review
  • A concept review
  • A 50% development review
  • A final construction review
  • A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) review for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) certification and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) certification.
As with the Bike Ramp project, all plans can change at any point in the approval process. RIOC will show its preliminary plans to the public at a board meeting once the project begins to take form.

Blackwell House Update:

Final inspections and oversight regulatory permit close-outs are ongoing. We hope to have a date for a ribbon cutting ceremony in the near future.

Youth Center Update:

The contractor is set to mobilize on the site on June 17th. Work is scheduled to be completed in fall of 2019. We will keep you apprised of updates when we receive them.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Historical Society Free Public Lecture By Anthropologist/Archaeologist Scott Warnasch About Forensic Search And Recovery Excavation Projects Including Mysterious Woman In The Iron Coffin Thursday June 13 At RI Public Library Branch

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) is hosting a free public lecture titled Woman In the Iron Coffin June 13 (6:30 PM) at the NY Public Library Roosevelt Island Branch (524 Main Street).

According to RIHS:

W O M A N  I N  T H E  I R O N  C O F F I N

T H U R S D A Y , J U N E 1 3 T H | 6 : 3 0 P. M.

R I  N Y P L  B R A N C H

S P E A K E R :

S c o t t W a r n a s c h

As a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Scott Warnasch has also served as director of the Human Remains Recovery excavations at the World Trade Center site and consultant to the NYPD and FBI on crime scene search and recovery operations. He will discuss several forensic search and recovery excavation projects, including the mysterious woman in the iron coffin.

The lecture is presented by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island, on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

The event is FREE and open to the public. It is the third in the Society’s annual series of spring lectures which is supported by Amalgamated Bank, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation's Public Purpose Fund and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, with funding from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

DIRECTIONS: Take the Tram at 59th Street and Second Avenue or the F train to Roosevelt Island. Take the red bus (no charge) or walk eight minutes north to 524 Main Street.
Copyright © 2019 Roosevelt Island Historical Society, All rights reserved.

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society promotes awareness of the Island’s unique story and pursues preservation of its landmarks and artifacts. For more information, please visit
Here's a snipped from the PBS series Secrets of the Dead about the Woman In The Iron Coffin

and more from Metrofocus

including interview with Scott Warnash.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Roosevelt Island 2019 Summer Outdoor Movie Series At Southpoint Park Schedule Announced - Begins Friday June 21 With Spiderman Into the Spider-verse, Followed By Crazy Rich Asians Friday July 12 And 4 More Movies

The Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park

Image Of June 22 Outdoor Movie Showing of Wonder Woman at Southpoint Park

2019 Outdoor Summer Movie Series

begins Friday June 21 with showing of Spiderman- Into the Spider-verse

followed by Friday July 12 - Crazy Rich Asians,

Friday July 26 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind,

Saturday July 27 - Captain Marvel,

Friday August 2 - Ready Player One

and Friday August 23 - Clueless

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Movie Night Fun Begins at 7pm (showing begins after sunset)

Food vendors on site. Bring blankets & lawn chairs!

Sponsored Post - You're Invited To The Cafe @Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Grilling Every Wednesday 2-5 PM, Come For The Tasty Meals Paired With The Perfect Beer And Great East River Waterfront Views - June 12, Jerk Chicken Kebabs With Sweet Potatoes & Onions

The Roosevelt Island Cafe @Cornell Tech is welcoming summer with weekly outdoor grilling hours every Wednesday.

According to the Cafe @Cornell Tech:






The Wednesday June 12 Menu Is:

Jerk Chicken Kebab -$7

Paired Beer - $5

Beer & Kebabs $10 
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.

Outdoor Grilling is weather dependent and will be cancelled if raining at time.

If bad weather on Wednesday,  event will be moved to Thursday.

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

The Summer Hours for indoor service are:
  • Monday - Friday 8AM - 3 PM
  • Saturday -Sunday 11AM - 3PM
  • Monday - Friday 8AM - 5 PM
  • Saturday - Sunday 11AM - 5PM

UPDATE 6/14 - The Cafe @Cornell Tech will be doing outdoor grilling on Saturday, June 15 from noon to 4 PM.

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Town Hall With Our Elected Officials Thursday June 13 - Come Meet Local Pols, Ask Questions And Share Concerns

The annual Roosevelt Island Town Hall with our local elected officials takes place 6 PM Thursday, June 13 at Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street)

Affordable housing was the main topic of last year's Town Hall particularly regarding the Westivew Privatization and Manhattan Park's 2-4 River Road building.

Come meet our local Pols at the June 13 Roosevelt Island Town Hall, ask questions and share your concerns.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Roosevelt Island Margarittaville Moment At The Waterfront Pier As East River Kayakers Pass By On A Gorgeous Hot Sunday Afternoon

Enjoyed a Roosevelt Island Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville moment today - well almost with a Fruit Smoothie substituting for a Margarita and the Roosevelt Island Waterfront Pier instead of a beach.

On a beautiful hot summer Sunday afternoon, was sipping a Jupioca Fruit Smoothie at the Roosevelt Island Waterfront Pier with friends and listening to the East River tide hitting the rocks and seawall. Then these kayakers passed by. It was perfect.

Yes it would.

For now, the closest Kayak launch to Roosevelt Island is the LIC Boathouse at Hallets Cove on Vernon B'lvd opposite the Octagon Building.

For the Roosevelt Island