Saturday, March 28, 2020

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Visits Roosevelt Island Nisi Kitchen In Support Of Local Restaurants - You Can Support Our Open Businesses Too, Nisi, Foodtown Supermarket, Island Wine, Piccolo Trattoria, Wholesome Factory Organic Market, Bread & Butter Deli And Cafe @Cornell Tech

As previously reported, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Roosevelt Island last Tuesday to view the additional hospital beds being created at Coler Hospital. Mayor de Blasio made another Roosevelt Island stop that day at Nisi Kitchen to support our local restaurants according to this tweet by Nisi owner Alex Razaghi.

You can support our open Roosevelt Island businesses too including:

  • Foodtown Supermarket (212) 371-2680. Please prioritize the hours of 7am-8am on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s for our senior citizens, immunocompromised and disabled neighbors. It will be greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Very Sad News, Roosevelt Island Resident Mark Blum Dies From Coronavirus - Condolences To His Family, Friends, Neighbors And Colleagues

Roosevelt Island Riverwalk resident Mark Blum has died of complications from the Coronavirus.

According to the Screen Actors Guild:
... Blum, who joined the union in 1978 and became known for roles in Crocodile Dundee and Desperately Seeking Susan, had a prolific career on screen and stage. The Obie Award-winning actor was also an ardent supporter of his union; he served as a Screen Actors Guild New York Board member from 2007 to 2013, was elected for a three-year term to the National Board in 2008, and served as an alternate member in 2007 and 2011. Additionally, he served on dozens of national committees over the years, including the SAGindie, Organizing, Agent Relations and various contract committees...

... He was a visionary. Mark will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to his wife, Janet Zarish, his friends and all of his loved ones.”...

You Can Order Girl Scout Cookies To Thank Essential Workers Caring For Us And Support The Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troops

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3001 Leader Aiesha Eleusizov reports:

As you know, Coronavirus hit right as we are in the middle of our cookie booth season.

For safety, we are not holding any more cookie booths nor are we doing any in-person sales. The five troops on Roosevelt Island currently have about 650 packages in cookies in stock to be sold. We would like to invite Roosevelt Islanders to purchase Girl Scout cookies to be donated to Essential Workers here on Roosevelt Island.

People can purchase cookies electronically (through PayPal, Venmo or Zelle) and we will deliver the cookies with a "Thank You" to the many essential workers here on RI - the staff at Foodtown, Wholesome Factory, Nisi, Piccolo, Bread and Butter, USPS, UPS and FedEx delivery drivers, public safety, red bus drivers, tram operators, building staff, nurses and doctors. (obviously we will be delivering these in as safe a way as possible - for example bringing them on a trip we are making to the store anyway). This simple purchase will both thank those who are helping us as well as support the Girl Scout troops and our Council that rely on our annual cookie sale to provide much needed programming for girls.

Here is a flyer with the basics

and people can complete this form to place their order.

If anyone has any questions, they can reach out to me at
More info on the Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts at these prior posts.

Roosevelt Island F Train Service To And From Manhattan This Weekend - But Stay Home Unless You're Providing An Essential Service Or An Emergency

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

 to and from Manhattan this weekend.

The Roosevelt Island Tram is operating and here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Winter Schedule. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mayor de Blasio Says Shooting Hoops Is Fine But No Pick Up Basketball Games During Coronavirus Pandemic - Be Warned Roosevelt Island Basketball Players To Keep Your Social Distance And No Pick Up Games

A Roosevelt Island Tipster sends in these photos of a basketball game at Roosevelt Island Sportspark court and reports:
They were playing together with the same ball.

Yes, it's a beautiful day, but

by now everyone should know how to behave in this situation.
Another resident adds:
They’re all sweating on that ball and each other! This is not Social Distancing

Roosevelt Island Coler Hospital Patients Test Positive For Coronavirus

As previously reported:
...the additional Coler beds will be used for lower acuity patients freeing up beds at other hospitals for Coronavirus patients....
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus has struck residents at the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island:
My older sister ...  just tested positive with coronavirus and she's at the Coler nursing home in Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island social media adds:

I asked an informed Coler Insider about conditions at the Hospital who replied:
It is true. There has been a couple of confirmed cases.

It is no worse here than any where else if anything I believe we are better off than most people. Rest assured Coler is doing everything possible to keep the population safe.

As for the part about nurses refusing to feed someone with a cough I find truly ridiculous. If they do they would not be working here. If it is one thing I know about the administration is they have Zero tolerance for abuse.

Do not believe everything that you hear because believe me if I know of any such.abuse I will be the first one to blow the whistle. I speak to staff on a daily basis and they tell me what is going on in here

Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Talent Has A You Tube Channel, Take A Look - Also MST&DA Starting Virtual Zoom Dance,Theatre & Fitness Classes

Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) Executive Director Kristi Towey reports:

MST&DA's Got Talent YouTube Channel

Hi all.....thought I'd share this. We will keep adding videos from our instructors, students, and friends. Right now, we have Kimbirdlee (Assistant Executive Director/Children's Theatre Director),

Jill Clough (Children/Teen Theatre creative team staff member),

Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market Closed Until Further Notice Due To Coronavirus Pandemic Says RIOC Today

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced today:
Farmers Market CANCELLED Until Further Notice

The Roosevelt Island Farmer’s Market has been cancelled until further notice. The decision was made that it would be extremely difficult to create an environment that not only ensures social distancing, but controls possible contamination of produce. Israel Wengerd, the market organizer, said, “I’m so sorry I will not to be there with you this weekend, but my prayers are with you and I can’t wait to be back on Roosevelt Island as soon as possible.” In the meantime, Foodtown, The Wholesome Factory and Bread and Butter continue to get regular deliveries of groceries and other goods. They also make deliveries to your home if needed.

Food Scrap Collection Has Also Been CANCELLED until Further Notice

Please do not leave food scraps on Saturdays.
Mr Wengerd of Wengerd Farms adds:
It was a very difficult decision. But it seemed the best for now with the current situation. I would just like to tell the community that I will be back as soon as situation permits.
UPDATE 3/28 - Roosevelt Island residents have been asking why the Farmers Market has been shut down. Israel Wengerd explains today:
Travel restrictions after leaving NYC was the reason for the final decision to close the Saturday farmers market. We want the Roosevelt Island community to know that we will be back as soon as we have an open door to do so

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Roosevelt Island's Got Talent Virtual Performing Show Every Friday Starting March 27 On Zoom - Sign Up Now To Perform Or Watch The Show

So, you want to be a local star, or maybe just have a little bit of fun staying home on a Roosevelt Island Friday night during the Coronavirus Pandemic shutdown?

Roosevelt Island residents Kaja Meade and Kristin Braun have an idea for you and report:

Roosevelt Island's Got Talent - Inviting all Talents from Roosevelt Island

Each Friday the show will begin at 7pm on Zoom. This regularly scheduled show is open to all Roosevelt Island residents to perform OR watch. Professional quality talent is NOT necessary. The purpose is to HAVE FUN, and connect with each other as an island community.

RIRA President Calls For Roosevelt Island Coronavirus Rent Moratorium On Commercial And Residential Leases - Also Urges Residents To Stay Home As Much As Possible, Support Local Front Line Community Heroes And Thanks NYC DOE For RI Children At PS/IS 217

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Interim President David Lawson reports on local response to Coronavirus Pandemic emergency:
Dear Fellow Roosevelt Islanders,

The Covid-19 pandemic is storming the entire world stronger and faster. We are confronted to an unprecedented worldwide humanitarian crisis. As of 24 March 2020, some 410,000 people from 170 countries have been infected. This is more than the entire population of the United States. More than 18,000 people have died in three months, including a third in Italy that now accounts for more deaths than China since the beginning of this epidemic. With 21,000 people infected in New York State, and some 15,000 and 131 deaths in New York city, we are the epicenter of the US epidemic.

The United States is usually, every year, the country the most affected by natural disasters. Natural disasters kill between 300-500 Americans every year. The cost of natural disasters in the US in 2019 was $15 billion for 14 major natural disasters across the country. The US federal Government is currently working out with Congress a $2 trillion bill. This is 130 times more than the costs of all the natural disasters hitting the United States altogether every year. This bill represents 40% of the 2019 national federal budget!! The current bill, which is aimed at supporting American workers, small businesses, corporations and the whole national economy is unprecedented in peace time.

The mobilization and coordination of all federal, State and local authorities all fighting and facing up this epidemic together at different levels everywhere in the country at once is also unprecedented. This is an US national emergency. Even though it is Spring break here, it is not a vacation. At the end of Spring break, students will not go back to schools and universities. All year-end exams have been cancelled by the federal government. It is unlikely that students go back to school this school year. We will all have a role to play in rebuilding the economy. We do not know when this crisis will end. But let us be realistic, it will take several months. It is going to be way worse…before it can indeed get better.

Rent moratorium on commercial and residential leases

Governor Cuomo has declared a moratorium on mortgages and prohibited eviction during the current crisis. Housing advocates have called on the city and state to develop a $10 billion relief package that includes a moratorium on rent, mortgage and utility payments to abate financial strain on New York households amid the growing economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. We strongly support this request. Meanwhile, we call on all commercial and residential building owners on Roosevelt Island to take it upon themselves to implement such a moratorium and waive the payment of leases and utilities for those businesses currently closed as a result of the forced shut down, as well as for all tenants who lost their job or will not receive a paycheck at the end of this month and any subsequent months, as a result of this Covid-19 pandemic. This is an extraordinary humanitarian crisis that calls for extraordinary humanitarian-type response and measures. This is not only a demonstration of solidarity, but it is also a demonstration of leadership through these times of crisis. And strong solidarity and leadership is all we need.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Open Doors Artists Want To Make Sure Roosevelt Island Coler Hospital Residents Protected During Coronavirus Pandemic - Mayor de Blasio Adding 340 Beds For Lower Acuity Patients To Free Up Beds In Other Hospitals For Coronavirus Patients

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio reported yesterday:

... I had the opportunity today to be on Roosevelt Island visiting the Coler hospital facility and there – right this minute – new hospital beds are being created right now so that we will have additional capacity to handle this surge in coronavirus cases and to make sure that everyone else who needs hospital care for other diseases and challenges will have support as well. On Roosevelt Island at Coler, 100 new beds will be available this week, 240 will be available next week....
and the City of NY tweets.

As previously reported, the additional Coler beds will be used for lower acuity patients freeing up beds at other hospitals for Coronavirus patients.

What are the concerns of our Roosevelt Island neighbors at Coler Hospital about the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Coler resident members of the Open Doors NYC arts program tell us.

According to Media Lab Director Dexter Cirian
As an artist myself, I find that in times of uncertainty, when fear and anxiety can overwhelm us, art is an incredible refuge and source of generative life-giving support. It affords us an opportunity to discern what really matters, and too look into the unknown with courage, compassion and a sense of curiosity. I see that in our members everyday. Even through these trying times, they are showing up. Let us show up as well.

On Monday, March 16, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference in which he mistakenly stated that Coler Hospital is “empty” and planned to bring hundreds of COVID-19 patients here. We wrote a letter to the mayor voicing our concerns and many neighbors tweeted on our behalf. We’ve since heard the plan has changed—We’re happy about this! Now let’s make sure everything possible is being done to protect the Coler community. Join us in voicing your concern by writing directly to the Mayor:

Mr Mayor, what steps are you taking to protect the residents at COLER, home to more than 500 people who are among the most at risk during this pandemic,
And from Open Doors artist Jay Molina:

RIRA President Urges Roosevelt Island Residents To Fill Out 2020 US Census - Everybody Counts In Our Community And Everybody Should Be Counted

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Interim President David Lawson reports on the importance of filling out the 2020 US Census for all Roosevelt Island residents.
Every Roosevelt Islander counts… and should be counted

While we are all struggling and directly impacted in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, I wish to draw your attention to an essential matter that will have even greater importance as we will rebuild the society, the social fabric and local economy of our Roosevelt Island community and New York city when this crisis is over: the 2020 census.

In addition to a presidential election year, 2020 is also a census year in the United States. All Roosevelt islanders should have received an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census online, by the US Census Bureau. If not, you should receive the questionnaire by mail in a few weeks. Otherwise, please visit or call 1 844-468-2020. The deadline to complete the online census questionnaire online is April 1st, 2020.

The 2020 Census online questionnaire should be completed by the person who owns or rents the living quarters, or any other person who is at least 15 years of age with knowledge of the household. It literally takes 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Given the current Covid-19 outbreak, the questionnaire will be mostly completed online or by mail. There is no correlation between the Census Bureau and the US immigration services. It is essential that all Roosevelt Islanders complete this Census questionnaire.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Roosevelt Island, Stand On Your Balcony Or Behind Window, Clap Your Hands, Sing, Bang Pots And Pans Together With Your Neighbors Nightly At 8 PM To Thank Health Care Workers On Front Line Battling The Coronavirus - SolidarityAt8

According to Today:

Even as people are separated within their own communities, they’re still coming together to support those on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

Thanks to a viral Twitter campaign called #Solidarityat8, at 8 p.m. local time for the past few nights, Americans have opened their doors, stood on porches and made noise — some by applauding, others by banging pots and pans — to express their gratitude to health care workers....

And not just in the United States, but all over the world.

Roosevelt Island has joined the #SolidarityAt8 effort too. Roosevelt Island resident Karine Wong reports:
If you can, please share this Facebook group - Roosevelt Islanders, Make Some Noise! - with your RI friends and neighbors and ask them to make noise every night at 8pm for 5 minutes.

Stand on your balcony or behind your window and clap your hands or bang on pots and pans.

There is a lot of healthcare professionals living on the island. They can hear us and their families MUST know how grateful we are to have them.
Please share widely.

People have been posting wonderful videos of their side of the building and it’s very moving.

Be Safe be Strong and be Loud.
According to Roosevelt Island resident Vicki Feinmel:
A little before 8:00 pm, a woman in my building plays the violin 🎻 from her terrace, then people clap and bang on pots and pans in appreciation of our healthcare professionals. They are trying to expand to all the buildings.... Please join us.
Here's Roosevelt Island #Solidarityat8 pot banging, violin seranade and Sweet Caroline in tribute to the health care workers and others helping us through the Coronavirus Pandemic Emergency.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Roosevelt Island Resident Asks Why Is McManus Field Being Closed By RIOC Public Safety Department As Long As Coronavirus Social Distancing Practices Maintained - RIOC Says All Permitted Fields Closed Per Governor Cuomo's Order, But Is That What He Really Said?

A Roosevelt Island resident ask why is Roosevelt island Operating Corp Public Safety Department (PSD) saying McManus Field (formerly Octagon Park) is closed?

I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenhtal:
PSD is telling residents that Octagon Park is closed.

Why is that - Is RIOC planning to close other Roosevelt Island parks?
RIOC Public Information Officer Terrence McCauley replied:
All permitted spaces will be closed until further notice. This includes McManus Field and Firefighters Field. This precautionary measure is being taken as part of the Governor’s order for everyone to practice social distancing and remain indoors during the coronavirus outbreak.
I followed up:
Just because it's a permitted space does not mean it's not also an open space park that can be used as long as Social Distancing practices are followed.
Mr McCauley replied:
But people are not using it as an open space park. They are playing organized games where they are violating the social distancing guidelines. The fields are closed until further notice. We encourage residents to enjoy the rest of the island’s outdoor spaces.
Here's transcript excerpt of what Governor Cuomo said during his briefing today about parks and social distancing:

Roosevelt Island Wife Describes What It Has Been Like For Her And Husband Who Tested Positive For Coronavirus - Does Not Have To Be Deadly And They Received Wonderful Care And Concern From Friends And Neighbors She Says

Roosevelt Island resident Barbara Packer describes what is has been like for her and husband Joel who tested positive for the Coronavirus.

According to this message Ms Packer posted on the Rivercross Building online bulletin board:

Some of you know that Joel was the person who tested positive for COVID-19. We are keenly aware of how lucky we are to be part of the Rivercross community. We have been the recipients of wonderful care and concern from friends and neighbors and, for that, we are so grateful. I wrote "Corona, Contagion, Confusion" about our experience for a friend of mine, publisher of PULSE: Voices from the Heart of Medicine, an online e-magazine where you will find it.

If you read it, you will see that Joel never left our apartment from the moment we arrived home at 10 pm on Monday the March 2nd. I did not isolate the first week because we were under the impression that Joel did not have the virus. I was rarely out because of caring for him, and any close friends/neighbors with whom I was in close proximity, were told. Thus far, no one has had any symptoms. Hopefully, that remains the case; Tomorrow will be 2 weeks that I have also been self-quarantined. I hope that the piece gives you solace in knowing that it does not have to be deadly. I also hope that you don’t have to know that firsthand.
Here's an excerpt from Ms Packer's March 20 Pulse article:
My husband Joel, age seventy-six, has tested positive for the virus--the new big C.

Joel developed a low-grade fever on March 1. We were in San Francisco, visiting our ten-month-old grandson and his parents. They'd all had bad colds, and our grandson was still coughing and producing large amounts of sticky nasal stuff, so I wasn't surprised when Joel got sick. (I figured that I eventually would, too.)

We went to a local urgent-care clinic. A competent physician assistant examined Joel, then assured us that he didn't have the coronavirus: His vital signs were all good, and except for a 100.5° fever, he had no symptoms.

We flew home to New York City on March 2. That was two and a half weeks ago, and Joel has been in bed ever since.

For the first week, his main symptoms were a low-grade fever and fatigue, with no cough or respiratory distress. At that point, he started to feel short of breath and developed a dry, intermittent cough (which he generally gets every winter).

He grew more and more anxious, and by Wednesday, March 11, we knew that we needed to get him to an ER. We chose one where we'd previously had a good experience....