Friday, January 3, 2020

Update On Changes To Roosevelt Island NYC Bus Route Proposed By MTA Queens Bus Network Redesign - RIOC Says They Don't Want Reduction In Service And Will Discuss With MTA, Resident Blasts MTA For Lack Of Knowledge About RI, LIC And Astoria Q102 Bus Riders

Reported yesterday on the new Roosevelt Island NYC Bus Route to replace the current Q102 proposed by the MTA's Queens Bus Network Redesign:

Roosevelt Island will be served with a new QT78 NYC Bus Route

under the Queens Bus Network Redesign Draft Plan proposed by the MTA replacing the Q102 route currently serving Roosevelt Island.

The proposed Roosevelt Island bus route will travel on 36th avenue to and from Roosevelt Island bringing better access to Astoria but will no longer travel the current circuitous route to Queens Plaza.

It appears that the new Roosevelt Island NYC Bus Service does not cover area north of the Roosevelt Island Bridge including Coler Hospital and the Octagon Building or south of the Tram Station as the current Q102 service does
I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenhtal:
... Is RIOC giving any input to the MTA on proposed new route?

Any statement from RIOC on the proposed new MTA Bus route?...
RIOC Public Information Officer Terrence McCauley replied:
RIOC staff is in contact with the MTA to discuss these proposed changes. We certainly do not want to see any reduction in service. We also encourage our residents to contact the MTA directly to voice their concerns.... The map you got from their website certainly looks like there are changes to the route on the Island, but those maps aren’t always accurate.
The MTA asks for your online comments on the new Roosevelt Island bus route.

Longtime Roosevelt Island resident and retired Public Transit advocate Nina Lublin responded to the MTA's proposed new Roosevelt Island NYC Bus route:
My rage towards the MTA, Mr. Byford & the dopes who came up with this plan is the seemingly total lack of regard -- or knowledge -- of the Roosevelt Island community, and the many LIC & Astoria folks who depend on the Q102 to get to Queens Plaza (or RI) for both Bus & Subway access to Queens, Brooklyn, & especially the 3 buses that go to & from Manhattan.

Coler Hospital  employees without cars? Or the folks who visit them? I'm sure HHC & 1199 are not happy

What about the many folks from who depend on wheelchair-accessible / disability friendly bus service to & from Roosevelt Island -- especially when there is no F Train service?

The folks at the Queensbridge Houses will be impacted severely as for many of them the Q102 gets them to & from shopping, doctor appointments, the F train at 21st street & much more.
You too, can tell the MTA what you think of the proposed plan.

More on the proposed change to Roosevelt Island NYC bus service here.

You're Invited To RIOC Community Workshop January 8 To Help Plan Vision For $11 Million Lighthouse Park Improvements And Nearly Doubling Size To Include Additional 3 1/2 Acres Of Coler Parking Lot For Passive And Active Recreational Space - Also, Take The Online Lighthouse Park Survey

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is hosting a January 8 community workshop

to help plan improvements to Lighthouse Park and expanding

it's footprint to include portions of the adjacent Coler Hospital parking lot.

According to RIOC:
Let your voice be heard! On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, RIOC will be sponsoring a workshop about the planned work for Lighthouse Park. The workshop will take place at the Good Shepherd Community Center (Upper Level) 543 Main Street. Please share this with all of your neighbors. Children are welcome! Please take the survey by clicking here:
and some background about the project from this October 7, 2019 memo excerpt to RIOC President Susan Rosenthal from RIOC Assistant VP Of Capital Planning & Projects Jonna Carmona-Graf:
... Lighthouse Park is a 3.5‐acre passive park that provides panoramic views of New York City. The park offers barbeque grills, a picnic grove and rolling lawns with mature canopy trees. The park also includes the historic light house designed by James Renwick and erected in 1842.

Recent improvements to the park include upgrades to the seawall railings, reconstruction of the foot bridges and general repairs of damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. However, many areas of the park including the adjacent parking areas have deteriorated over time and need repair. We are committed to investing approximately $11M in transformative capital improvements to the park and its’ parking area. As a result, RIOC sought for design services to repurpose the parking lot into useable park space that better serves the community, as well as, complete needed upgrades to the existing park amenities. When complete, the park will expand to nearly 7 acres of passive and active space....
Take the Lighthouse Park Survey - questions include:

Answer the full survey here.

After 4 Consecutive Months Of Full Weekend F Train Service Here We Go Again, No Roosevelt Island F Train Service From Manhattan This Weekend

There is no Roosevelt Island F Train service from Manhattan this weekend.

According to the MTA:
... SIGNAL MODERNIZATION Jan 3 - 6, Fri 9:45 PM to Mon 5 AM Jamaica-bound F trains run via the E after 47-50 Sts, Manhattan to Roosevelt Av, Queens

No Jamaica-bound F service at 57 St, Lexington Av/63 St, Roosevelt Island and 21 St-Queensbridge....
Roosevelt Island has had 4 consecutive months of weekend F Train service to and from Manhattan up to this weekend.

Both Roosevelt Island Tram cabins are operating and here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Winter 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, January 2, 2020

New Roosevelt Island Bus Route Proposed By MTA's Queens Bus Network Redesign - Replaces Current Q102 Route For New 36th Ave Route Thru Astoria To Middle Village, New Plan May Not Cover All Of Roosevelt Island

According to the MTA:
For the last few months, we’ve been diligently working to completely redraw the Queens Bus Network to create a faster, more reliable system of interconnected routes. To do this, we wiped the map clean and started from scratch, which means there are a lot of changes proposed in this proposed Draft Plan. Read it carefully, and make sure to review the new routes, see what your commute would be like in the new network, and most importantly, let us know what you think

Read the introduction and next steps, and download the entire Draft Plan here....
And about the new Roosevelt Island bus route:
... Route Statistics

Length: 7.1 miles
Number of turns per mile: 0.6
Priority Corridor: No

Route Summary

We propose the QT78 - Roosevelt Island-Middle Village route, the purpose of which is to link neighborhoods, key transit connections and important destinations. It operates between Middle Village/Fresh Pond Road and Roosevelt Island....
Roosevelt Island will be served with a new QT78 NYC Bus Route

under the Queens Bus Network Redesign Draft Plan proposed by the MTA replacing the Q102 route currently serving Roosevelt Island.

The proposed Roosevelt Island bus route will travel on 36th avenue to and from Roosevelt Island bringing better access to Astoria but will no longer travel the current circuitous route to Queens Plaza.

It appears that the new Roosevelt Island NYC Bus Service does not cover area north of the Roosevelt Island Bridge including Coler Hospital and the Octagon Building or south of the Tram Station as the current Q102 service does and:
... Bus stops on the QT78 - Roosevelt Island-Middle Village are spaced approximately 1,325 feet apart, excluding non-stop portions of the route...
The Draft Plan also eliminates the Q103 Vernon B'lvd route that has a stop at the foot of the Roosevelt Island Bridge on 36th Ave.

You can tell the MTA your thoughts

on the proposed new Roosevelt Island bus route here.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best Wishes For A Happy And Healthy New Year From Roosevelt Island - Goodbye 2019 With A Last Party Song, Welcome 2020 With Peace, Love, Understanding, Auld Lang Syne & A New Year's Eve Silent Disco Dance Party At The Sanctuary

Best Wishes to all for a Happy And Healthy New Year in 2020.

There's no better way to party out 2019 than with a traditional last song from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes together with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band .

We're havin' a party
Everybody's swinging
Dancing to the music
On the radio
So listen, Mr. DJ
Keep those records playing
'Cause I'm having such a good time
Dancing with my baby

You Tube Video of Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen Having a Party in 1978

Here's hoping for much 2020 Peace, Love and Understanding from Elvis Costello.  

And Auld Lang Syne.


Best Wishes for a Happy & Health New Year to you all.


You can still get tickets for a Roosevelt Island New Year's Eve Bash at The Sanctuary tonight

and dance in the New Year.

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket To Be Rebranded As Foodtown Supermarket, Transition To Be Completed By February 2020 - End Of An Era, Gristedes Signage Removed From Motorgate

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes supermarket will soon complete it's transition and rebranding to a Foodtown.

Last Sunday,  the Gristedes signage was removed

and yesterday was completely gone.

I'm told that the transition to Foodtown

will be completed by February

and include a lower pricing structure for items.

According to this September 18 Real Estate Weekly article:
... As part of that effort to stay ahead of the competition, Catsimatidis revealed he is switching some of his Gristedes stores to the D’Agostino brand — and vice versa.

In addition, the company may decide to open more Foodtown supermarkets, a brand Catsimatidis doesn’t own but does license in suburban areas....

... Catsimatidis said, “It’s getting tougher and tougher to do business and the community should support their local supermarkets, because if there’s no supermarkets at all, it’ll get much worse.”
Stay tuned for more info on the Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket coming soon.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Roosevelt Island Homeless Using Riverwalk Commons Bench To Defecate Says Southtown Resident - It's A Health Hazard, RIOC Does Nothing And A Public Discussion Needed Say Residents

Last Friday, a Roosevelt Island Southtown resident took this picture of human excrement

on a Riverwalk Commons bench and sidewalk noting:
... This is a significant health hazard for the public community....
The feces remained thru at least Sunday afternoon,

before being washed away by the rain.

Another Southtown resident reported on Saturday:
The last four days as I have been leaving the island, there has been human excrement on the seats of the benches that flank the walk to the subway.

Apparently a number of homeless have stopped using the bushes due to the rat population and are now using the benches at night.

This is what we're up against with a growing homeless population and no social service to speak of. The same gentleman (who was seen doing this) spit at me Wednesday, ...  he screamed, "what, you too good for me now?" He also urinated in front of a young child, and became menacing when asked by the parent not to. Public safety declined to take any action, under DeBlasio's policy of not intervening unless they witness the event. video/pictures are not sufficient.

RIOC has done nothing to clean. There is also accumulating litter to the north of 475, and the cigarette butts in the Commons between 425 and 455 are in the thousands last time i photographed.

The dog run is never cleaned, and more folk are not cleaning after their dogs elsewhere.

Cleaning is not a priority on this Island: the Commons is never cleaned, the area north of 475 is awash in litter, the fruit stand has grease stains and food that attract rats,

...  I pulled a boat load of Starbucks trash out of the West Garden yesterday (the reason we have rats).

RIOC saw fit to spend $225,000 on useless holiday decorations, but can't clean or re-plant damaged grounds.

I'm not sure how to approach this, but i believe some action (beginning with a public discussion) is preferable to none.
The homeless issue was discussed during October 22 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (PSC) meeting with Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety (PSD) Chief Kevin Brown and Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso

UPDATE 9 PM - Comments from readers:
  • I have asked the homeless outreach team responsible for RI , to try to engage with the few homeless we have here. Sadly the homeless here are generally going to be 'hard to reach' and difficult to house/move on for various reasons. Stop and talk to them to find out why, they are all happy to chat (except the lady in black 😟) they are also happy to receive some food. We have no proof who πŸ’© on that bench ,it could have been someone drunk or an animal ?
  • We seem to have more homeless people in the train station! This needs to be a topic for discussion in our community.
  • Homelessness is a SEVERE health hazard for the homeless.
  • Maybe there should be more public restrooms?
UPDATE 12/31 - More reader comments:
  • A while back I asked a PSD officer what he was going to do about 2 homeless persons sleeping on the benches under the arcades. The answer was: As long as they don’t bother the others, we’re not doing anything about it. What do you think, PSD, are we bothered now?
  • I have seen a quite sick homeless man for long time. He is installed between the subway building and Starbucks, leaving dirty clothes and belongings on the Starbucks outdoor chairs and tables, so no more enjoying that for me.
  • That bum has been there since September. I have complained specifically to sbux. No action. I m going to start calling 311 soon. It is a disgraceful corporate policy to permit vagrants to domicile in the cafes. Nothing humane about it. They are mentally ill and should be removed. I don't care where to, just not sitting among paying customers. When public order is not maintained, your entire elected local and state government has failed. How these people use the franking privilege to boast about their dubious legislative achievements is beyond me. We also pay for our own 'public safety ' force, which is utterly ineffective. A pox on all their houses.
  • I hope you never find yourself in such circumstances.
  • BTW who do we speak with about all the people who let their animals pee and poop in the commons. There are kids and humans that lay down on the grass as well as play😣.The tiny no animals on the grass is not working. Perhaps some tickets are needed.
According to NYC Department of Homeless Services:
... What should I do if I see an individual or a group of individuals that appear to be street homeless?
For the most immediate response, New Yorkers who see individuals they believe to be homeless and in need should contact 3-1-1 via phone or mobile app and request outreach assistance. You should call 911 if the individual appears to pose an immediate risk to themselves or others or there is criminal activity.

What happens when I call 311 to report a homeless New Yorker in need of assistance?
  • Individual calls 311 and a Service Request (SR) is created
  • SR is evaluated and assigned to a service provider or a partner Agency, like NYPD, as needed
  • If assigned to a service provider, outreach team is dispatched within an hour of receiving the request
  • Service provider outreach teams attempt to locate that individual and if found directly engage the individual, assess for safety and encourage them to accept services and transition off the streets.
How do outreach teams engage a homeless New Yorker in need of assistance?
Experienced outreach teams from not-for-profit service providers canvass the five boroughs 24/7/365 as part of our citywide effort to identify and engage individuals who may be homeless, encourage them to accept services, and ultimately help them transition off the streets. Additionally, DHS performs joint outreach operations with community stakeholders and Agency partners, including the NYPD, the Parks Department, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Transportation to utilize each Agency's expertise, engage more New Yorkers, and offer more supports. Outreach teams have helped approximately 2,000 homeless New Yorkers off the streets citywide, thanks to new investments and a doubling of the size of those teams.

More from NYC Department of Homeless Services here.

UPDATE 11:40

Good New Year's News For Roosevelt Island Swimmers - Sportspark Pool Renovations Delayed To Later In 2020, Will Close Temporarily First Week Of 2020 But Reopen January 6

Earlier this month the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced plans to close the Sportspark Pool 

beginning January 1 for renovations. Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool swimmers were unhappy to learn that there were no other pools available during the time Sportspark Pool was closed unless they lived in one of the indoor building pools in Rivercross and Westview buildings.

A Roosevelt Island Tiptster reported last Saturday that the Sportspark Pool renovations were being delayed and would not close this winter for renovations. According to the Tipster:
... the pool will close on January 1 and re-open about a week later. The locker room renovations have been postponed until April.
I asked RIOC today about the status of the Sportspark Pool. RIOC Public Information Officer Terrence McCauley replied with good news for Roosevelt Island Sportspark swimmers:
After reviewing responses for the Requests for Proposals (RFP) it received for the planned Sportspark renovations, RIOC has made the determination to re-issue the RFP. This will delay closure due to renovations until later in 2020. Sportspark will remain open until then.

However, the east side (pool) of Sportspark will be temporarily closed from Wednesday, January 1, 2020 through Sunday, January 5, 2020 so that our staff may undertake extensive cleaning of that part of the facility. The west side (gym/multipurpose) will operate on a normal schedule throughout this time.

The Pool

The pool is now available for permitting from Monday, January 6, 2020 through Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Please contact Lt. Wanda Coleman or Stephanie Patino at PSD at 212-832-4545 for details.

Open Swim hours:

Monday – Friday 7AM – 11AM

Saturday – Sunday 12:00PM – 7:00PM

We thank you for your cooperation and apologize for any inconvenience.
More info on Sportspark Pool at the RIOC web site.

UPDATE  12/31 -  A Roosevelt Island Parent asked:
Does that mean the kids swim classes will continue?
RIOC Public Information Officer Terrence McCauley answers:
Since we do not know exactly when the facility will close for renovations, we will not be able to offer any swim classes at this time.