Friday, June 28, 2019

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Chief Jack McManus Retiring At End Of Month Due To 9/11 Health Reasons - Residents Show Him Love, Respect And Appreciation For Service And Bringing Real Community Policing To Roosevelt Island

As previously reported, Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department (PSD) Chief Jack McManus is retiring at the end of June after 6 years of service. Deputy Chief Kevin Brown will serve as Acting Chief until a permanent Chief is announced.

Chief McManus and Deputy Chief Brown At June 25 PSC Meeting Image From Frank Farance

Last May, Chief McManus explained the reason for his retirement:
Hello. This is Jack McManus from your Public Safety Department (PSD). Some of you may know that I was diagnosed with a serious World Trade Center related illness approximately five (5) months ago. Due to ongoing treatments, side effects from the treatments, and a lot of doctor appointments, I have been forced to make adjustments to my work schedule. Most weeks I am on the Island and in my office on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Recently, my physician informed me that I will have to continue these treatments for the foreseeable future, which will necessitate the continuation of my abbreviated work schedule. PSD Deputy Director Kevin Brown has been standing in for me and doing a phenomenal job. Deputy Brown has been with us for almost three (3) years, and he has a solid commitment to the Roosevelt Island Community -- to keeping everyone safe, improving the quality of life on the Island, and continuing to police within the Community Policing Model which has proven to be successful on Roosevelt Island.

After discussions with the RIOC Executive Team, we have agreed that as of June 30th my position as Chief/Director of PSD will come to an end, but I will continue to actively participate in significant public safety activities on the Island.....
On Tuesday June 25, members of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee and other residents

Image From Frank Farance

gathered together to tell Chief McManus how much he has meant to our community and to thank him for his service. It was a remarkable occasion of residents expressing their deep personal affection and respect for Chief McManus and appreciation for the positive transformation and professionalism he brought to the Roosevelt Island PSD after years of tension and conflict between many in the community and the PSD. There was much love, laughter and even tears in the room.

Watch the video of what happened. It was a wonderful time and Chief McManus deserves all the respect, appreciation and love that was shown in the room.

Resident Adib Mansour was one of about 20 people thanking Chief McManus Tuesday evening. According to Mr. Mansour:
I was part of the RIRA Public Safety Committee when we took upon us to document the harsh regime of Chief Guerra’s Public Safety. Every morning I used to tell my kids “be aware of Public Safety”. After the ousting of Guerra, the committee had numerous meeting to decide what does it take to have the perfect Public Safety Chief? The answer came to us on a silver platter.. it took Chief Jack McManus!

He was kind, generous, friendly and quickly got the love of the community. He was good at his job and mostly went out of his way to help and make sure everyone was safe… and happy.

Coinciding with my hire to run the soccer league for the Youth Center, I had the idea to have Public Safety coach some of the teams. Jack jumped at the idea and decided to coach the older kids (ages 15-16)

along with officer Laszcyzch. He immediately took upon himself to teach his team the meaning of teamwork and its responsibility. He often went to a few of the players’ homes in the morning to make sure they attended the games. I often heard him say “You are a crucial member of your team”, or “you have responsibility to your teammates”. He was crucial in making the soccer program a huge success for 3 years when I had 400 players in the league.

Jack made Roosevelt Island his home, and its residents his friends and family. I welcome him to my home any time!

The island gained a wonderful Chief and a great person, and my family gained a friend!

He will be missed… but I am sure we won’t stop texting each others.
On July 25 RIOC will be hosting a Celebration for Jack McManus that the entire Roosevelt Island community is invited to attend.

Below is RIOC Press release announcing retirement of Chief Jack McManus and naming Deputy Chief Kevin Brown Acting Chief:
RIOC Public Safety Department Chief Jack McManus Retires Deputy Director Kevin Brown named Acting Chief

Jack McManus, who has served as the Chief of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s (RIOC) Public Safety Department (PSD) since 2013 will officially retire as of Sunday, June 30th. Deputy Director Kevin Brown will serve as Acting Chief until a permanent replacement is announced in the near future.

Chief McManus’s implementation of community policing is credited for not only making Roosevelt Island one of the safest neighborhoods in New York City, but for improving the department’s relationship with the community.

Despite his retirement, Chief McManus will continue to serve Roosevelt Island as an invaluable advisor on the planning and implementation of various security initiatives.

“Jack came to the Island at exactly the right time,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “His constant professionalism and dedication to duty not only turned around the department, but also changed the way our residents and peace officers interact with each other. The mutual respect Jack was able to foster between PSD and the community should serve as a model for other departments in similar communities across the nation. I am confident that Acting Chief Brown will continue the great work that Jack has started.”

Before coming to the Island more than three years ago, Acting Chief Brown was a thirty-two-year veteran of the New York Police Department. He held a variety of key roles within the NYPD, including serving as the commanding officer of the Operations Division during the 9/11 tragedy.

“(Kevin) has a solid commitment to the Roosevelt Island community,” outgoing Chief McManus said in a recent interview. “His main goal is to continue to keep everyone safe and help improve the quality of life on the Island.”


Roosevelt Island Transportation - Good News Again, This Weekend F Trains To And From Manhattan, Both Tram Cabins Working And Ferry Service Too, That's 10 In A Row - Watch Video Of MTA Rep Talking Roosevelt Island Subway Service

Good news, for the 10th 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 June 13 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.

Watch the full MTA Roosevelt Island presentation below.

Roosevelt Island Inter-Generational Social Evening Benefits Young And Somewhat Older Residents - RI Girl Scouts And RI Disabled Association Chat, Make Jewelry, Waterpaint And Learn From Each Other

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3001 (middle school) and 3244 (High School)  Leader Aiesha Eleusizov reports:

The Roosevelt IslandI Girl Scouts and Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) held their second inter-generational social evening last Friday.

Judy Berdy led a jewelry-making session with several Girl Scouts and senors that are RIDA members.

 It was a lovely evening of chatting and socializing to create relationships between the generations.

The jewelry-making event was the second event. Our first one was held on March 29. Troop 3244 (high school girls - Brianna, Charlotte and Olivia along with co-leader Jasmine Castillo) planned and let an evening of watercolor painting and socializing.

RIDA President Wendy Hersh added:
We have been trying to incorporate a lot more inter-generational activities into RIDA programming.

 We find it a good match  and our members love working with

the teens and kids.

More pictures here.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

What's That Blue Box Structure In Front Of Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station For?

Are you wondering what the blue box in front of Roosevelt Island F Train subway is for?

Yesterday, I asked the Roosevelt island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Do you know this blue structure is in front of subway station. It was out up today.

Are they putting in second entrance/exit?

Did Mta ask for Rioc approval to put it up?
A RIOC spokesperson replied today:
Just wanted to let everyone know the big blue structure that’s being built at the F Train Station is not a RIOC structure. It’s a MTA structure that will be used as a storage shed to house some of the equipment the MTA will be using to fix the escalator. They were given permission to build it back in April .... Fingers crossed they get it fixed ahead of schedule.
According to the MTA's Elevator and Escalator Status web page, the Roosevelt Island escalator from the street

to mezzanine platform

is scheduled to be fixed

by July 13.

Sponsored Post - Atlantic Hurricane Season Is Here, NYC Emergency Management Department Wants You To Know Your Hurricane Zone, Be Ready And Be Prepared - Roosevelt Island Is Zone 2 & 3

The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1.

The New York City Emergency Management Department (NYCEM) wants you to be prepared and Know Your Zone.

According to NYCEM:
There are six hurricane evacuation zones, ranked by the risk of storm surge impact, with zone 1 being the most likely to flood. In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, residents in these zones may be ordered to evacuate.
Roosevelt Island is located in two zones - Zone 2

and Zone 3.

All but one of the Roosevelt Island residential building and the Cornell Tech campus are located in Zone 3. The NYCEM KnowYour Hurricane Zone Map below shows Zone 2 in cream color and Zone 3 in yellow.

The Octagon Building, Coler Hospital, Lighthouse Park and FDR Park are located in Zone 2.

Check out the NYCEM web page for more info:

on Hurricane Zones and preparedness.

Here's some scenes of what Roosevelt Island looked like during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012

and report on damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Coler Hospital Open Doors Reality Poets New Original Play Titled FADE This Weekend At Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance - Come Experience Realness, Resilience & Healing With A Hip Hop Beat

Open Doors:

... is an arts and justice initiative, on Roosevelt Island, based in the long-term care facility where many members live and work. Collaborating with established artists, members use storytelling, hip-hop and spoken word to challenge audiences to combat the injustice that breeds violence in our cities....
The Roosevelt Island Coler Hospital based Open Door Reality Poets are presenting a new original play titled FADE

this weekend at the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (548 Main Street).

According to Open Doors:
Based on the experiences of men who use wheelchairs because of gun violence, FADE takes you into The Barbershop—a place where humor, courage and wisdom transform tragedy and injustice into a redemptive force. Co-written by OPEN DOORS Reality Poets and World Slam Finalist Joel François, FADE moves through time “before and after the chair” to deliver a message of realness, resilience and healing with a hip-hop beat!

“We gave our bodies to the block and the streets took half.” - OPEN DOORS Reality Poet King Tito Love


When: Saturday, June 29th, 3pm & 7pm; 6pm reception with Reality Poets

Where: Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, 548 Main St., Roosevelt Island

Transportation: F Train, Ferry, Air Tram or Drive/Bike/Walk over the Roosevelt Island Bridge. (Street parking is limited on the island.)

Saturday Tickets: Available online at; box office opens one hour before show

Contact: to inquire about reserving seats for Sunday’s special show for young people and mentors.

Hope to see you there!
Get your tickets now to see the Roosevelt Island Open Doors Reality Poets new play, FADE.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

10 Roosevelt Island Non Profit Organizations To Receive Share Of $150 Thousand In RIOC Public Purpose Funds - RIOC Board Of Directors Voting Today On RIRA Recommendations, Check Out Who Got What

Among the items on agenda for today's Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors meeting is:

8. Authorization of Expenditure of the Public Purpose Funds for Fiscal Year 2019-20 (Board
Action Required)
Below is June 18 RIOC memo in support of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) recommendations for allocating $150 thousand in Public Purpose Funds to 10 Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations.
Attached please find the Roosevelt Island Resident Association (“RIRA”) recommended Public Purpose Grant awards for the fiscal year 2019‐20. RIRA conducted evaluations through its Public Purpose Funds Committee (“Committee”). The Committee took into account information in the applications, as well as information provided by each applicant at a public interview session. The Committee also considered the extent to which the program or project demonstrated benefits to the community, as well as whether the applicant would be able to carry out their proposed project if Public Purpose Funds were awarded.

The table below summarizes the committee’s recommendations:

Based upon the foregoing, I recommend the Board’s approval of Public Purpose Grants along the lines and purposes reflected in RIRA’s recommendations.
and the RIRA recommendations rationale summary for each non-profit organization:
The RIRA Common Council’s PPF Committee reviewed the RIOC-provided applications of ten Island 501c(3) organizations seeking funds for their respective programs. The Common Council approved the attached report during the week of June 10th, 2019.

Voting for PPF Recommendations Approved

Yes 15

No 0

Abstentions 2

Not Voting for Cause 5

No response 4

We continue to hope that future funds availed will be at or close to three percent of the RIOC operating budget as allowed in NY legislation and approved by Governor Cuomo . As evidenced by this and prior reports, qualified Island 501c non-profits continue to lack funds sufficient to fully meet their goals beneficial to the Island.

Please note that the PPF Committee has made a special recommendation for the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association.

It is with pleasure that we provide you the funding recommendations for your review and approval.
Further, we thank RIOC for its continued support to the community and for allowing the RIRA-Common Council to provide inputs to the PPF process.

Warm regards,

Dave Evans PPF Committee Chair
Members: Erin Feely-Nahem, Shirley Coley, Enequea Lewis)

Lynne Shinozaki
President, Roosevelt Island Residents Association

Roosevelt Island Residents Association – Common Council

FY 2019 – 2020 Summary of Public Purpose Fund (PPF) Committee Funding Recommendations Date Committee Finalized (June 5, 2019)/RIRA/Common Council Approved – June !3, 2019

PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA)

Amount Requested: $31,550 (Prior $33,500)

Amount Recommended: $13,000 (Prior $15,500)

Committee Decision and Recommendation: Funds are only for: (1) primarily the Middle School Enrichment Residency (Salvadori Center) for 6th/7th grade students and (2) some support for the Hawks wrestling team.

The PTA remains an active supporter of PS-IS/217. The PPF Committee believes that in order to retain students in the middle school, additional enhancements are required. The Salvadori Center adds value, especially the focus on 6th and 7th grade students. The goal is aimed at enhancing their understanding of mathematics concepts through hands-on project based learning. This will be valuable to these students as they transition to the next grade levels. Further, the fact of the Hawks wrestling program resonated with the committee. Overall, it is hoped the broad PTA fund raising efforts will help enhance the ability to retain students at the school.

Life Frames, Inc.

Amount Requested: $27,150 (Prior $27,150)

Amount Recommended: $13,500 (Prior $11,250)

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds recommended are to help support the continuation of the Life Frames program on the Island.

The Life Frames program has a long, noteworthy history on the Island. It avails gardening activities beneficial to children of all ages. Parental support is available, and observations confirm that many children participate in the gardening activities, often seen on a plot north of the Blackwell house. More so, as noted in its application, the program also offers gardening to adults of all ages and capabilities. Such inclusiveness is part of the mosaic fabric of life on our Roosevelt Island.

Wildlife Freedom Foundation (WFF)

Amount Requested: $10,000 (Prior Yr: $10000)

Amount Recommended: $10,000 (Prior Yr: $9750)

Committee Decision and Recommendation: The funds recommended are to provide help to the WFF in performing its mission, i.a., of rescuing, assisting, and rehabilitating stray animals on Roosevelt Island.

The WFF seeks to increase its capacity to help various types of stray animals on the Island. It is led by an energetic and caring individual. The animals (strays, abandoned, homeless – dogs, cats, birds, etc.) are treated as needed, some at great expense, at all hours. Some of the work effort, depending upon the situation, is coordinated with the Public Service Department led by a caring Chief and his Deputy. WFF is basically active/on call 24/7 and much appreciated on the Island.

Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)

You're Invited To iDig2Learn Celebrates Roosevelt Island Nature Series Meetup, Greening Our World Thursday Evening June 27 - Learn About RI Green Map, Keeping Our Air & Water Clean, Sustainability Tips And What The Heck Is Plogging?

iDig2Learn is continuing it's Celebrating Roosevelt Island's Nature Series with a Green Meetup on Thursday June 27 at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street)

According to iDig2Learn:

Greening Our World ​Thursday,​ ​JUNE 27th, 2019

Good Shepherd Church / Roosevelt Island

All Ages Welcome

5-6 PM​ - Snacks / Good Shepherd basement
​6-8 PM​ - Meetup / Good Shepherd sanctuary ​Eco-Drop Off from 5 PM until 9 PM

Interested in keeping our air, water & land clean? Curious how art plays a role and local sustainability efforts underway? Wondering what you can do at home, school and work? Have sustainable day-to-day tips to share? Want to know what Plogging is?

Come meet a Big Reuse Food Scrap Drop Off expert too.

Bring used batteries and clean plastic bags no longer needed for proper disposal​ and join iDig2Learn at the Free Public Green Meetup RSVP to ​​ for snack headcount.
iDig2Learn Founder Christina Delfico spoke to the June 5 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Public Session about the Greening of Roosevelt Island. Here's what she had to say.

Also, learn more about iDig2Learn's Roosevelt Island Green programs and initiatives from Ms Delfico's presentation

at the May 28 RIRA Public Purpose  Grants Community Review meeting.

Monday, June 24, 2019

RIOC Artist Call To Create Roosevelt Island Memorial For Legendary 19th Century Muckraking Journalist Nelly Bly Who Exposed Horrors Of Blackwell Island Insane Asylum - Initiative Of Governor Cuomo To Bring Attention To Contributions Made By Woman To NY State History

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is calling for artist proposals to create a Memorial to 19th century muckraking journalist Nelly Bly. According to RIOC


Will be placed near site of former Blackwell Island Insane Asylum

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has issued a formal Call for Artists to create a memorial for Nellie Bly, the ground-breaking journalist who exposed the horrors of the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum in 1887 her on Roosevelt Island. The proposed memorial is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ongoing initiative to bring attention to the many contributions that women have made to New York State’s history.

While working as an investigative reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World in 1887, Ms. Bly went undercover as a patient at the infamous insane asylum for ten grueling days. Upon her release, she went on to publish a harrowing account of her experiences in the book titled Ten Days in a Mad-House. The work not only made Ms. Bly famous, but also led to reforms at other mental health facilities throughout the United States. She went on to have an impressive career as a journalist, where she covered important historic events such as the women’s suffrage movement in the early twentieth century and the Eastern Front during World War I.

“Nellie Bly’s life serves as an inspiration that transcends history,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “Her commitment to reform, whether in the workplace, in healthcare, or as an important voice in the suffrage movement serve as an example to the women of today. Since her impressive career began here, I believe Roosevelt Island is the ideal place for a memorial that honors her achievements.”

The Call for Artists is open from now until July 12, 2019. Anyone who would like full details about participating in this project should visit
RIOC adds:

Although RIOC is open to other locations, it is intended that the proposed piece will be in the vicinity of the Octagon Building, which sits on the foundation of the former Blackwell Insane Asylum (Attachment A). The prospective areas for the art piece are the following:
  • Octagon Park- located on West Road of the island. The current park provides passive recreation activities for picnic and barbecues and a great view of New York City Skyline.
  • Lighthouse Park- located on the northern most tip of the island, the 3.78-acre park will be expanded early next year to include additional passive and active recreation opportunities for the public.

The due date for Roosevelt Island Nelly Bly Memorial proposals is July 12. More info below

Learn more about the legendary

Nelly Bly.

It's Getting Hot Outside - RIOC Announces New Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool Summer Hours, Lap And Family Use Lanes Available - Swim Classes For All Ages And Skills Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced new Sportspark Pool Summer Hours

 Image From RIOC

According to RIOC:
Sportspark Summer Pool Hours:

Due to the increase in pool use during the summer months, Monday Morning Open Swim (7 – 11 AM) will be changed to adults only, 18+. This will allow for enough lap lanes to remain open during our Aquatic Aerobics class. We will continue our Aquatic Aerobics class on Sundays and Mondays only during the summer months, eliminating Thursdays. This policy will go into effect on Monday, July 1st and remain in effect until Labor Day.

All Ages Open Swim:

- 7 AM – 11 AM: Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri

- 7:30 PM – 9 PM: Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri

- 12 PM – 3 PM: Sat & Sun

18 + Adults Only Open Swim:

- 7 AM – 11 AM: Mondays

- 7:30 PM – 9 PM: Tuesdays

- 4 PM – 7 PM: Sat & Sun

For more information about Sportspark’s pool hours, please visit
RIOC adds:
... Open Swim

Trying to escape the brutal summer or freezing winter? Come down to Sportspark and swim! Our recently refurbished, ADA accessible, pool is available for lap-swimming seven days a week. The pool sits amid stadium seating, giving the vital adult swimmer an ambiance of competition for their laps, or energetic kids added grandeur to their play. Lifeguards are on duty to ensure everyone is playing safely. Kickboards and other supplies for specific swim exercises are available poolside. Locker rooms with showers are available for men and women. Locks are not available but are required. Swim Caps are also sold for $5 and are required for entrance.

Lap lanes are to be used exclusively for swimming laps. Individuals who are not swimming laps should not enter or cross the lap lanes. There will always be a family lane available for relaxed swimming and lounging around. Swim lessons may only be provided by RIOC’s personal. RIOC’s coaches and others who are authorized are allowed to provide swim lessons. Swim lessons may not be provided by members or their guests who are not employed by the pool management company. Management and Authorized personals management reserves the right to refuse entry or to deny pool privileges to anyone at its sole discretion...
... Use of Facilities Generally

Entry Procedures

All members seeking to use the Sportspark facility must abide by the following entry procedures:

Each member must properly check in at the admission desk every time he or she enters the facility. Membership cards/keytags/numbers may be used only by the individuals to whom they were issued. Membership cards/keytags/numbers may not be transferred to non-members.

To properly check in, a member must provide membership information subject to verification by pool staff.

No child under the age of 18 may enter the Sportspark facility unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or other suitable individual age 18 or older.

Visitors attending to use the facility during Open Swim for additional activities besides the program at hand (Swim Meets, Swim Try-Outs, Interpretive Dancing, E.T.C) are not permitted and require a permit in order to book the space and time.


Permits are required from any group/organization or individuals in order to use the facility. We will not allow a group/organization or individual to utilize the facility during our scheduled public hours in order to ensure the public’s safety and satisfactory. Please contact the permit department.


$5 drop-in per session

$10 for a family (per five members)

$150 Six month membership (Allows unlimited access during Open Swim as long as the membership is active.)

$250 Six month family membership (Allows unlimited access for the family during open swim as long as the membership is active.)

Jeff Escobar, Conway Ekpo & David Kapell Join Roosevelt Island Board Of Directors - Manhattan Park Lease Amendment, MTA's Use Of Strecker Lab, Public Purpose Funds, Annual Report Among Agenda Items For June 25 RIOC Board Meeting

As reported June 18, 3 new members have been appointed to long vacant seats on the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors.

Image Of May RIOC Board Meeting

RIOC issued this June 20 press release announcing the appointments:
Governor Cuomo Appoints Three Members to RIOC Board

The New York State Senate has confirmed Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s appointments of David Kapell, Conway Ekpo and Jeffrey Escobar to fill three vacancies on the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s (RIOC) Board of Directors.

“I am delighted that Governor Cuomo has named three highly qualified candidates to our board,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “I enjoyed working with Mr. Escobar when he was the president of the Roosevelt Island Resident’s Association (RIRA) and I look forward to working with Mr. Kapell and Mr. Ekpo in serving the interests of our residents and stakeholders.”

David E. Kapell

Mr. Kapell has recently served as a board member of the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). He previously served the Village of Greenport on the North Fork of Long Island, NY for twenty-seven years in the positions of Community Development Director, Village Trustee, Planning Board Chairman and Mayor from 1994 until his retirement in 2007. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Conway Ekpo

Mr. Ekpo is in-house counsel at Morgan Stanley where he is an Executive Director covering Morgan Stanley’s international Wealth Management business. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Rutgers School of Law, where he teaches a course on New York civil procedure. Mr. Ekpo earned his B.S. in architectural engineering at the University of Kansas and his J.D. at Rutgers School of Law where he was Managing Editor of the Rutgers Law Review.

Jeffrey Escobar

Mr. Escobar, a former president of RIRA, is a Senior Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright, US LLP where he advises project owners, real estate companies, and joint ventures throughout the Americas on their deployment of capital on the most complex and large-scale projects. Mr. Escobar earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and in Spanish from the University of Washington and his J.D. from the New England School of Law.

About RIOC

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island. With a focus on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, RIOC is committed to providing services that enhance the island's residential community. RIOC manages the two-mile long island's roads, parks, buildings, a sports facility, and public transportation, including the iconic aerial tramway. Additionally, RIOC operates a Public Safety Department that helps maintain a safe and secure environment for residents, employees, business owners, and visitors.
Mr Escobar is well known to the community as the former Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President, However, neither Mr. Kapell nor Mr. Ekpo are known to the community. According to a very reliable source, our elected officials were not involved in the RIOC Board Directors appointment process, at least as regarding Mr. Ekpo and Mr. Kapell.

None of the 3 new RIOC Board members participated in the 2017 RIRA sponsored RIOC Board Nominee elections.

It's not known at this time if the new RIOC Board Directors will attend tomorrow's meeting of the full RIOC Board. Among the items on the Agenda for the June 25 RIOC Board Meeting are:
  • Manhattan Park Lease Amendment
  • MTA Sublease Amendment For Use of Strecker Lab and 
  • Approval of 2019 Fiscal Year Annual Report
  • Authorization Of 2019-20 Public Purpose Funds among other items
RIOC is supposed to have Board Materials for Agenda Items publicly available on its web page prior to Board Meetings but as of today, the materials are not available for June 25 meeting.

You're invited to  attend and ask questions during the opening Public Session before the start of the meeting. Sign up to speak here.

Below is the full Agenda for June 25 RIOC Board Meeting:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a Board of Directors meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center Theater, 548 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York 10044.

The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.




5:30 P.M.1

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
1. May 9, 2019 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Authorization of Seventh Amendment to Manhattan Park Lease (Board Action Required)

2. Authorization of First Amendment to Sublease with the New York City Transit Authority
for Use of Strecker Lab (Board Action Required)

3. Presentation of RIOC's Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year Ending March 31,

4. Approval of Annual Report for Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2019 (Board Action

5. Approval of Report on Procurement Contracts for Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2019
(Board Action Required)

6. Approval of Report on Investments for Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2019 (Board Action

7. Approval of Property Report for Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2019 (Board Action

8. Authorization of Expenditure of the Public Purpose Funds for Fiscal Year 2019-20 (Board
Action Required)

9. Authorization to Enter into Contract for Octagon Comfort Station & Site Work (Board
Action Required – Materials to Follow)

10. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Apple Restoration & Waterproofing, Inc. for
Blackwell House Exterior Repairs Project (Board Action Required)

11. President’s Report

12. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

13. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment
1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.
UPDATE 4 PM - Former RIRA President Matt Katz writes:
I have read the listing of new hires for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC). I am glad to see that all three live (or at lest have domiciles) on Roosevelt Island. Jeff Escobar has been involved with the critical issues of this community for many years and has proved his value to this residential community time and again. I don't know Mr. Ekpo or Mr Kappel and have to wonder what credentials they carry, what familiarity they have with ongoing issues, and who put forward their names. I do know that, over the last seven years, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) has mounted four elections (referenda? plebiscites?) to fill those long-vacant seats and that none of this community's choices have been included. Having been one of many Islanders who have worked for decades to bring some semblance of democracy, and through the ballot box, to the administration of this State-operated Island, I am disappointed that, yet again, our efforts bore no fruit and we are saddled with a fait accompli. We deserve better.

Matthew M. Katz

RIRA President and CEO 2000, 2002, 2006, 2010
Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright responded to Mr. Katz with the following:
Dear Matthew,

Thank you for your email dated June 19 regarding the new RIOC members nominated by the Governor. I am much relieved that the new appointees will fill long vacant positions, facilitating the conduct of important Roosevelt Island related business. Nevertheless, I too am disappointed that thoughtful recommendations previously submitted did not yield the results we hoped for. The process is deficient, in my view, and raises unanswered questions separate and apart from the qualifications or positions of the new appointees. I retain, of course, an enduring commitment to work with them to promote the very best interests of Roosevelt Island residents.

It seems to me that consideration should be given to a screening or search process that incorporates or involves community input in a more formal way. I am speaking with colleagues about instituting a requirement or statute that establishes the rubric for such a process. Although the RIOC appointments are currently the sole province of the Executive, the voices of the people of Roosevelt Island must not be ignored. I intend to explore introducing legislation that will ensure a more responsive and transparent process for the nomination, consideration and selection of RIOC board members.

Again, I much appreciate your interest and your views. Thanks for writing.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

You're Invited To Meet Your Friendly Roosevelt Island Neighborhood Scientists, Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoc Pub Talk At Nisi Restaurant Monday June 24 - Topic, The Fast and the Furious: Talks About Sperm Migration And Social Dominance

The Postdoctoral Association of Weill Cornell Medicine is hosting their third neighborhood Pub Talk event at Roosevelt Island's Nisi Kitchen (559 Main Street) Monday June 24..

You're invited to attend.

According to the Weill Cornell Medicine Postdocs:
Come meet your friendly neighborhood scientists! Two researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine will discuss what they are doing in the lab to advance the scientific frontier in sperm migration and social dominance research. June 24, 2019 - 7:30 PM at Nisi Kitchen (549 Main Street, Roosevelt Island).

Up first, Katherine Lopez will present "Top Mouse: The Development of Social Dominance". Social dominance is an essential component of social behavior across a multitude of species, from insects to primates. The emergence of a dominant individual can be linked to genetics; however, this behavior develops even in genetically identical individuals in controlled laboratory settings. So, what makes an individual dominant? Is it nature (innate) or nurture (learnt)? Are all socially dominant individuals alike (e.g., are all dominant individuals aggressive/bullies?). These are a few of the questions that will be discussed.

Next, Melanie Balbach will present “Survival of the fittest: A sperm's journey to fertilization”. The sperm overcomes a number of barriers on its way from ejaculation to an oocyte. Melanie will discuss how the physiology of the sperm adapts to overcome these barriers on it’s journey to fertilization, as well as how the uterus and the oocyte provide assistance to help the sperm reach its destination. Her research into how the sperm fuels it’s engine to reach the oocyte can be used to develop male contraceptives and treat reproductive diseases.

We hope to see you there!

RSVP Here (not required for entry)
Here's video from a previous Pub Talk on Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorders.