Friday, October 18, 2019

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal Roosevelt Island Community Report - Southpoint Park East River Waterfront Access Project, Blackwell House Opening Not Yet, Motorgate Repairs, Electric Car Charging Stations, New Tram Elevator Construction Starting, Youth Center Renovations Nearly Complete, Halloween Parade & Town Hall With Nellie Bly Memorial Artist

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal reported to the October 17 RIOC Board of Directors meeting on the following subjects:

  • Southpoint Park project to open up both East and West Side sides between fence and East River giving access to the waterfront.

    More info here.
  • Blackwell House - no definite date yet when it will reopen. FDNY Fire inspection scheduled in middle of November and Department of Building inspection as well. Exterior painting currently being done. Hope to open by end of year but can't be sure.
  • Motorgate repairs waterproofing phase 1 done. Phase 2 to begin
  • Electric Car Charging Stations will be on 4th level by entrance to Motorgate Garage
  • New Tram elevator construction will start at end of October
  • Youth Center renovation will be completed next month.
  • Halloween Parade will march from Capobianco Field to Sportspark on Main Street
  • December 3 Town Hall with artist about the Nellie Bly Memorial.
Here's Ms Rosenthal's October 17 Roosevelt Island President's Report

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Gallery RIVAA Opening Reception For New Exhibit - Inversions: Contemporary Art Inspired By The Architecture of Louis Kahn Saturday October 19, Featuring Painting, Sculpture, Film, Dance, Installation And Sound By 24 Artists

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA invites you to the opening reception for it's new exhibition - Inversions: Contemporary Art Inspired By The Architecture of Louis Kahn on Saturday October 19.

According to Gallery RIVAA
Dear all,

You are cordially invited to the opening reception of:

Inversions: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Architecture of Louis Kahn

Group Exhibition

Curated by Melinda Wang October 19 – November 11, 2019

Date: October 19, 6-8pm

Address: Gallery RIVAA 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 19, 6-8pm

Gallery Hours: Wednesdays and Fridays, 6-9pm;

Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-5pm

Best wishes,


According to press release for the event:
MW Projects is pleased to present Inversions: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Architecture of Louis Kahn, a group exhibition featuring painting, sculpture, photography, film, dance, installation and sound by 24 artists. The exhibition will be on view from October 19 through November 11, with a public opening reception on Saturday, October 19, 6-8pm. The gallery is located on Roosevelt Island, a short walk to Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park, Kahn’s only design in New York City.

The visual artists are: Dara Alter, Richard Bottwin, Graciela Cassel, Tim Gowan, John Greig Jr., Carrie Johnson, Andres Koort, Stephanie Land, Arne Maasik, Jamie Martinez, Marisol Martinez, Gelah Penn, Urmo Raus, Jonathan Rider, Tariku Shiferaw, Sara Silks, Helen & Sandra Sirp, Christopher Stout, Nicholas Szymanski, Margaret Inga Urias, Michael Wolf and Audra Wolowiec.

The exhibition also includes a site-specific sound piece by Micah Frank to listen to while walking between the gallery and Four Freedoms Park. The exhibition is organized by MW Projects, with support from the Consulate General of Estonia in New York and the Estonian Ministry of Culture.

Architectural historian William J.R. Curtis wrote, “Kahn’s architecture is full of inversions: masses which suddenly seem weightless, materials which dissolve into immateriality; structures which reverse load and support; rays of light which reveal the realm of shadows; solids which turn out to be voids.” Known for combining Modernism with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments, Kahn used simple shapes and simple materials to design preternaturally beautiful structures that sought to create transcendent experiences. He believed that structure, space and light must always be in harmony, and that it is through the material that we can understand the immaterial and universal.

Taking these concepts as cues, the artists in the exhibition created works that explore the different “inversions” for which Kahn is known. Each work in the exhibition considers the dualities of material and immaterial; logic and intuition; heavy and light; light and shadow; or presence and voids, and how these dualities balance and co- exist.

Inspired by Kahn’s multi-disciplinary approach, the exhibition will include an evening of dance and poetry, a film screening and a music listening event. Details for these events will be posted at and on social media channels.

About Louis Kahn

Born in Estonia in 1901, Louis Kahn was one of the most important and influential architects of the second half of the 20th century. His work and writings represent a profound search for the very meaning of architecture. His designs include Four Freedoms Park (New York, NY), the Salk Institute (La Jolla, CA), National Assembly Building (Dhaka, Bangladesh) and Phillips Exeter Academy Library (Exeter, NH).

About MW Projects

MW Projects is a cultural production and art advisory firm dedicated to bringing contemporary art to historic sites, non-traditional venues and liminal spaces. We work with emerging and established artists to transform environments and encourage dialogue about contemporary art and culture. For more information, please visit

Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Holding Rally At Queensbridge Park Saturday October 19, Right Across East River From Roosevelt Island

Democratic Party Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders will be holding a rally this Saturday at Queensbridge Park, right across the East River from Roosevelt Island.

Senator Sanders will receive the endorsement of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Queensbridge rally.

A Roosevelt Island resident supporter of Senator Sanders invites him to visit Roosevelt Island

before or after the Queensbridge rally.

More info at Senator Sanders web page.

Roosevelt Island F And E Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend, Tram And Ferry Service Too - Watch Video Of MTA Rep Talking Roosevelt Island Subway Service

According to the MTA, there will be Roosevelt Island F Train service

to and from Manhattan this weekend. Also, Roosevelt Island E Train service to and from Manhattan.

Both Roosevelt Island Tram cabins are operating and here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule. 

During June 13 Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting organized by Council Member Ben Kallos, MTA representative Markus Book spoke about Roosevelt Island F Train subway service. Watch the full MTA Roosevelt Island presentation below.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Wonderful Time At La Nueva Mesa Beta Pop Up Roosevelt Island Dinner Exploration Of Plant Kingdom Says Resident - More Pop Up Dinner Events Planned For Roosevelt Island's The Sanctuary Space

 As reported October 8:

... On October 14, La Nueva Mesa kicks off a pop-up dinner series with a wine-paired six-course locally sourced plant based meal crafted by Drew Shives, Matthew Taber and Amir Dholakia- the three ex-Jean-George culinary wizards behind Beta, the wait-list only popup in Queens...

 The Pop Up dinner was hosted at The Sanctuary,

Image From The Sanctuary

Roosevelt Island's new event space and restaurant that will open in the Spring.

Roosevelt Island resident Christine Delfico tweeted at the dinner

and told me afterwards:
Event was great
Another Roosevelt Island resident who attended the dinner tweeted:

and reported a few days later:
It was a lovely, very diverse group of New Yorkers gathered together on the Island for what proved to be a great vegetarian dinner by some dedicated young chefs, paired with really good Spanish wines. Most of the food was grown by a young first generation Chinese American farmer who runs a small vegetable farm in Astoria.

The venue has the potential to be a fabulous and popular with islanders once it’s up and running - it seems special enough that if they do it well, people might also regularly come from off Island to visit.

For this event, most people didn’t know where they were going in advance and were only told the location the day of. The people I spoke to were pleasantly surprised, and had either not been to Roosevelt Island ever before or not for a decade. (One woman, who lives in Manhattan, recalled that the last time she visited, about 13 years ago, she thought the island had a somewhat “spooky” feeling but that she didn’t have that impression at all this time.)

Only one other person looked familiar to me - Christina from IDig2Learn - I’m not sure if other islanders but most seemed to be from off island. The people I spoke to came on subway and planned to take the tram back. One asked me about getting a cab.
A La Nueva Mesa spokesperson adds:
We were thrilled with how the event turned out. The Beta team did an exceptional job, and it's such a special space. We had the very talented William Elliott from Maison Premiere and PM Spirits behind the bar, as well.

There were 32 guests at the table, and while we don't have exact numbers on who was from the neighborhood, I got the sense that it was an even split. It was encouraging to see that support from both residents, who are eager to welcome something like this to the community, and non-residents, who treated the dinner like a destination in itself. With that in mind, we do plan on doing more events at Roosevelt Island and The Sanctuary!
More photos from the event here and some contrasting comments from prior post about the event.

Roosevelt Island Severe Weather Storm Knocks Down Roosevelt Landings Courtyard Tree Narrowly Missing Apartment Windows Last Evening

A large tree was knocked down in the Roosevelt Landings Courtyard narrowly missing apartment windows during last evening's severe weather rainstorm.

According to a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) spokesperson:
A tree fell down last night due to the severe weather at the rear of 546 Main Street . There were no injuries and no property damage . The tree is on Urban American Property. and they are notified and responded. They will cut the tree and remove it at some point today.
Here's more pictures of the downed Roosevelt Landings tree.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Roosevelt Island To Be Home Of Muckraking Journalist Nellie Bly Monument, The Girl Puzzle At Lighthouse Park - RIOC Announces Today Selection Of Artist Amanda Mathews Of Prometheus Art To Construct Sculpture

Reported June 24:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is calling for artist proposals to create a Memorial to 19th century muckraking journalist Nellie Bly.
RIOC announced today:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has selected Amanda Matthews/Prometheus Art to construct the Nellie Bly Monument on the northern end of Roosevelt Island at Lighthouse Park. The sculptural installation will be known as “The Girl Puzzle” and invites the viewer to experience many facets of Nellie Bly’s talent, conviction and compassion. The ground-breaking journalist and women’s rights advocate exposed the horrors of the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum in 1887 on Roosevelt Island.

“I am proud of the selection committee’s dedication to choosing such a passionate artist to honor the accomplishments of a woman who was truly ahead of her time,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of RIOC. “The committee, made up of RIOC employees and community leaders, unanimously selected this bold installation that will not only represent Nellie Bly’s time here, but her impact on the world.”

The installation will allow the viewer to enter a long walkway where they will encounter four, seven-foot-tall female faces, representing different ages and ethnicities, cast in bronze. A fifth face at the far end of the walkway will represent Nellie Bly. Each face will show the depth of emotion and the complexity of being broken and repaired, which was significant to the conditions Ms. Bly encountered when she posed as a mental patient to report on the conditions inside the mental hospital where the Octagon now stands. Construction of the installation is scheduled to be completed in the Summer 2020.

“It is my great honor to represent Nellie Bly’s life and legacy,” said artist Amanda Matthews, “and to celebrate her passion for diversity and inclusion. Her voice remains timely and significant today.”

... About Prometheus Art

Prometheus Art is a design/build firm owned and operated by Amanda Matthews and Brad Connell. The award-winning artists partnered in 2009 and work on public art, metal sculpture, monuments, architectural metal work and historic sculpture restoration and conservation throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. Clients have included universities, municipalities, corporations, architects, engineers, the U.S. Government and the U.S. Department of Defense. For more information, please visit
RIOC plans a Town Hall meeting in December where the public will get an idea of what the artist is proposing and see the scale of the installation as it relates to Lighthouse Park.

More on the muckraking journalist Nellie Bly

at this prior post.

Roosevelt Landings Lease Assignment, Roosevelt Island Tram Elevator, Artist In Residence Program, Southtown Building Lot 9 Among Agenda Items For October 17 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting - Public Comment Session Prior To Meeting Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet 5:30 PM Thursday October 17, at the Cultural Center (548 Main Street).

 You're invited to  attend, ask questions and share concerns about Roosevelt Island during the opening Public Session before the start of the meeting. Sign up to speak here.

Items on meeting Agenda are:


I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes
1. September 5, 2019 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Authorization of Consent to Assignment of Lease by BSREP UA Roosevelt Landings LLC (The Eastwood Tenant) to Roosevelt Landings Owner Housing Development Fund Corporation, as Leasehold Nominee for Roosevelt Landings Owner LLC, Beneficial Tenant (Board Action Required)

2. Authorization of Southtown Building 9 Lot Reapportionment (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization to Amend Composition of Committees of Board of Directors (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Amend Contract with Elit Green Builders Corp. for Construction of Seawall Railing (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Amend Contract with Sea Crest Construction Corp. for Construction of the Elevator at the Manhattan Aerial Tramway Station (Board Action Required)

6. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. for Design Services in Connection with the Lighthouse Park Project (Board Action Required)

7. Authorization to Enter into Contract for Hope Memorial Construction Services (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)

8. Authorization of Grant Award and Disbursement for Artist-In-Residence Program (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow)

9. President’s Report

10. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

11. 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.

Roosevelt Island Family Halloween Parade Route March Will Stay On Main Street This Year - RIOC Staff Revises Plan After Board Member David Kraut Explains It's 40 Year Tradition - Roosevelt Island Is Nothing if Not About Our Kids Says Kraut

As reported last week, rumors that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) cancelled the traditional Family Halloween Parade were not true.

Image From RIOC

Rather, RIOC moved the Parade's final destination from outdoors at Capobianco Field to indoors at Sportspark, where it had taken place last year due to the rain.

However, RIOC decided to change the route of the 40 year old parade which traditionally had the costumed marchers walking north on Main Street passing crowds watching on the sidewalks in front of the WIRE buildings.

Instead, the new route would be:
... departing from the Lawn south of Rivercross (across from 500 Main St.), and proceeds to Sportspark for entry into the Halloween Extravaganza!...
The new route was not well received by the Roosevelt Island community. As one resident noted:
... is a walk past the train station as representative and inclusive as a stroll down Main Street, waving at bystanders who may frequent the businesses that we rely on

Do you know how many residents of our community live on that western road? None. The building entrances are on the eastern road. Maybe the subway attendant will wave and cheer us on.
At the end of yesterday's (October 15) RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting, I brought up the subject of the Halloween Parade and asked why the route had been changed?

RIOC President Susan Rosenthal replied:
... it was a question of PSD and Community Affairs together making that decision subject to Executive approval - seemed to make sense because of the traffic issues... I'm taking full responsibility....
RIOC Board Director David Kraut, attended by phone, interrupted to support the traditional Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade route. According to Mrl Kraut:
This Island had traditionally had two parades a year in which we watched our children grow. The Little League Parade in April and the Halloween Parade in October...

... We love to see our children parade on Halloween. We just do. It's been with us every year for the 40 years I've been on this Rock....

... You can't have a parade down where nobody lives. You need to have a parade where people can see it and if that means marching from Capabianco to Sportspark or something else ... let it be so.

Give the kids a chance to show off their costumes and give them festivities at the end of it.... Roosevelt Island is about nothing if not about our kids.... Considerations of traffic don't mean much to me. You stop the traffic and let the kids march thru....
Ms Rosenthal was convinced by Mr. Kraut and relented:
... I don't feel strongly about this issue and if you do am happy to go back and modify it....
Here's the discussion.

RIOC is expected to announce the specifics of the Halloween Parade route later today.

Here's the 2017 Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade marching on Main Street.

Good job Mr. Kraut in explaining the importance of Halloween to RIOC staff and good job by RIOC in listening to community and revising their plan.

UPDATE 9:10 PM - According to RIOC:
We Heard You!

The parade begins on Saturday, October 26th at 11:00 AM, departing from Capobianco Field (across from 595 Main Street), proceed down Main Street to Sportspark where the Halloween Extravaganza will take place. For more information on the Halloween Extravaganza, click here.

Here’s how the parade will work:

1. 11:00 AM - Parade organizes at Capobianco Field. (Wristbands will be available for all participants will be given out in the park.)

2. 11:30 AM - Parade kick-off led by PSD. Parade will head south on Main Street, passing the business district, proceeding to the Blackwell turnaround. Once at Blackwell, parade will stay south on West Road, passing the subway and on to Sportspark.

3. 12:15 PM - Arrive at and enter Sportspark. Attendees wishing to park strollers will be directed to proceed to a designated area.

4. Wristbands for late-comers will be available at Sportspark.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Update From Hudson Related's David Kramer - Says All But 1 And Half Stores Currently Leased, Vacant Stores Will Open, Eventually

Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer gave a store leasing update to the October 7 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting.

According to Mr. Kramer, all the Main Street stores have been leased except for the former Bubble Tea Space and the former Urgent Care space which is currently occupied by Doctors Resnik and Grimm and seeking additional medical practitioners.

Mr Kramer noted that of the currently vacant space:

  • 503 Main Street space in Rivercross will hopefully open at end of year as some type of restaurant food use. They are finalizing their concept. The space has been unoccupied for 40 years,
  • 521 Main Street will be Yoga Studio hopefully open January 2020,
  • Tenant for the former Card shop at 563 Main Street has been secured but not ready to announce it yet,
  • 548 main street plan for Mexican restaurant has changed to a Mediteranean restaurant, open early this spring
Mr Kramer's colleague Alex Kaplan reported that the NY Public Library will open in the Summer of 2020, later than the December 2019 that had been scheduled.

Judy Berdy asked Mr. Kramer to make sure that Roosevelt Island restaurants comply with applicable Health Department inspections and regulations He replied that it's not his responsibility as landlord to do so but indicated that if he is made aware of problems, he can apply pressure on the tenant to insure compliance.

Mr Kramer noted recent announcement of Grannie Annie Irish Bar lease signing in former Riverwalk Bar space and opening of The Sanctuary Event space at former Dayspring Church.

Here's the entire presentation. Watch it - very interesting.

Check out the new Roosevelt Island Shops

web page.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Roosevelt Island Gardeners - iDig2Learn Unusual Edible Plant Workshop With John Paul Learn Of Mandala Farm Tuesday October 15 - RSVP A Must, Location Revealed Upon Confirmation

As part of the Celebrating Roosevelt Island's Nature series, IDig2Learn is hosting an Unusual Edible Plant workshop tomorrow, October 15.

RSVP to Subject Line Plant Location.

More info on edible plants from Mandala Farms web site and this video.

Roosevelt Island Blackwell House, Tram Elevator, Lighthouse Park, FDR Hope Memorial, Artist In Residence Grant, Seawall Railings Among Items On Agenda For October 15 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee Public Meeting

A Roosevelt Island resident asks"

Roosevelt Island's Blackwell House

is among the items on the Agenda for Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 4:30 P.M. at RIOC’s Operations Office, 680 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

  • Elit Green Builders Change Order for Seawall Railings Project
  • Sea Crest Construction Inc. Change Order for Manhattan Tram Elevator Project
  • Lighthouse Park Contract for Design Services
  • FDR Hope Memorial Contract for Construction Services
  • Blackwell Park Phase 1 Construction Services
  • Artist-in-Residence Program Grant
  • Status of Pending Projects
  • Any Other Committee Business that May be Brought Before the Committee

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.
RIOC provides some information regarding status of current projects on Capital Projects Tracker web page.

For Blackwell House the Tracker says:
Blackwell House Roof and Exterior Painting Procurement <$500K Fall 2019
Blackwell House

This project has restored the interior of the house which includes waterproofing the building’s infrastructure and installing ADA complaint access ramps. The landmark restoration project has transformed the house into community space for Roosevelt Island residents, and tourist focal point on Main Street. - Construction $2.7M Fall 2019
We should have more info on status of Blackwell House and other Roosevelt Island projects at the Ops Committee meeting.

2 Roosevelt Island Assault Incidents Past Week - Roosevelt Landings Neighbors Arrested For Fighting Each Other Last Night And Manhattan Park Fist Fight Leads To Arrest Last Thursday

A Roosevelt Island tipster reported last evening:

... there's alot of NYPD, PSD and ambulances in front of 510 Main Street, Roosevelt Landings.
According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Incident Report:
10/13/19 – 1805 – 516 Main St – Assault – PSD/NYPD/EMS responded – PSD arrested the subject.
In response to my inquiry, a RIOC spokesperson adds:
We had 2 neighbors arrested for assault on each other at 516 Main Street. It started as a verbal altercation and police were called to residence apt’s ...  at 4:20pm. Condition was resolved at time and incident report was prepared.
Also, another Roosevelt Island assault last Thursday. According to RIOC Public Safety Incident report:
10/10/19 – 1234– 2 River Road – Assault – PSD/NYPD/EMS responded – Arrest made.
The RIOC spokesperson adds:
... individuals fighting at location at 6:05pm. PSD responded and observed fight being broken up with injuries to both parties, both parties stating the other repeatedly hit each other in face with closed fist causing swelling and lacerations.