Saturday, October 31, 2020

Yummy Roosevelt Island Treats, Try The Avocado Toast With Poached Egg At Granny Annie's Brunch And Winter Warmer Kahlua Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate At Nisi Kitchen

Happy Halloween From Roosevelt Island - Annual RI Halloween Parade Cancelled This Year Due To Pandemic, But Watch MST&DA Special Thriller Dance Video, Take A Look Back At 2019 RI Halloween Parade Too

Happy Halloween From Roosevelt Island. Karine Wong shares this spooky and eerie Halloween themed rendering of the Roosevelt Island Tram

The annual Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade was cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic but that did not stop the talented and creative folks at Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) from celebrating with:

... a special "Thriller" Halloween themed pop up dance class for all ages on Tuesday, October 27th! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Special guest teacher, Makenzie Gomez taught choreography from the "Thriller" video plus some more fun moves. MSTDA families came out in costume and masks and were treated to a pop up dance class, followed by a performance and halloween treats. Space was limited due to covid restrictions, but those who attended had a thrilling blast of a time! Quarantine 2020 has challenged us all, but it will not stop us because MSTDA KEEPS MOVING!!!

Roosevelt Island photographer Irina Hage shares these photos from MST&DA Halloween Thriller Dance Class.

Here's the 2019 Roosevelt Island Main Street Halloween Parade.

Let's hope we can have a Hallowen Parade next year.

Join Island Kids And NYC Council Member Ben Kallos In Virtual Rally Sunday Afternoon To Bring NYC DOE Learning Bridges Child Care To Roosevelt Island - Sign Petition Too

According to the NYC Department Of Education

As the New York City Department of Education resumes in-person schooling, most schools and early childhood programs are operating on a blended learning model. This means that each week, students have some school days in person, and some school days remotely. Learning Bridges is a new program that provides free child care options for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning....

The Learning Bridges program would be of great benefit to Roosevelt Island families and our local Island Kids is trying to bring the program here but they need your help. According to Island Kids Executive Director Nikki Leopold.

Dear Parents,

Dear RI Families-

The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has rejected Island Kids' application to become a Learning Bridges site with no explanation. But we are not giving up!

It is clear that DYCD has no understanding of the unique child care needs of Roosevelt Island families due to our geographic location.  Providing parents with one option, away from the Island, exacerbates the stressful circumstances that families are currently living under. 


Councilmember Ben Kallos, has been a faithful supporter of Island Kids, and a partner in the fight to bring a Learning Bridges site to Roosevelt Island.   He takes this matter very seriously and is working diligently to put pressure on DYCD and the Department of Education to make Learning Bridges a reality in our community.  To that end, Councilmember Kallos and Island Kids are co-hosting a virtual rally to bring attention to this critical matter. 

Please join Councilmember Kallos, Island Kids and other elected leaders for a virtual rally to bring attention to this critical matter. 


Date: Sunday, November 1st

Time: 1pm-2pm

Zoom registration link:


It is very important that DYCD and the DOE see that this is an important matter to a large number of Island families.   


In addition, please sign the petition at the following link.

We need as many families to participate as possible. Please pass on the above Zoom link and the link to the petition to anyone who cares about this issue.  


Your support is critical in helping DYCD and the DOE understand the overlooked childcare needs of Roosevelt Island.  Please join us in this fight!!!

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.


Nikki Leopold

Executive Director

Island Kids, Inc. 

Petition to Bring Learning Bridges to Roosevelt Island is here.

UPDATE 11/1 - Here's video of today's Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges rally

and press release from City Council Member Ben Kallos.

Families and public school students at PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island serving 632 students rallied for a “Learning Bridges” - remote learning center - where there currently is none. Island Kids had been working since August to become a Learning Bridges site to serve 45 children, but was rejected on October 27, 2020 with a form letter that included no explanation. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and Acting RIOC President Shelton Haynes joined Council Member Ben Kallos and more than 40 families for a virtual rally with signs drawn by children calling for the city to open Learning Bridges on Roosevelt Island. An online petition for Learning Bridges started on October 30 has already exceeded 100 signatures.

“After not hearing anything for a month, I reached out and was told that we were on the waiting list, which basically gives us no chance of attending. We can’t afford additional child care because we already pay for my younger son. My husband and I are alternating schedules … It is extremely stressful and tiresome and requires additional energy from me … On Friday, my son turned 5 and he really didn’t want me to share this, because he doesn’t think his birthday wish would come true. His birthday wish when he went to bed that he told me was that we could all be together as a family … I worry that there is a growing disparity that is affecting our community and will affect the learning level of our children because we can’t facilitate their school work and work efficiently at the same time,” 28 minutes into the video cried Amy Rodriguez, a frontline worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a Roosevelt Island resident and parent of two-boys.


It is nothing short of a nightmare not to have Learning Bridges on Roosevelt Island and while I was really excited that she got a spot at the YMCA, when I looked and saw that it was at the Vanderbilt site, I was crushed because it was useless to me,” 32 minutes into the video said Kirstin Bruan, a Public Defender and essential worker who must still appear at the Kew Gardens Court House in a the Queens redzone, a Roosevelt Island resident and parent of a young girl.


“This is really needed for the community. We want to stress for pre-k kids that this is really needed. I feel that I am failing my daughter, we put her to watch screen time more than we have desire, that we would allow her to do it,” said 37 minutes into the video said Elizabeth Diago Navarro, a city employee living on Roosevelt Island with a 4 year old and infant child.


So far there are only 62 Learning Bridges locations in Manhattan to serve 195 elementary and middle schools with 78,002 public school students in 3K through 8th grades. Council Member Ben Kallos originally proposed the idea of remote learning centers to accommodate families who needed child care while students were learning remotely on July 10th 2020 in a letter to the Mayor and Chancellor as covered by the New York Post. On July 16, 2020, Mayor de Blasio announced the adoption of remote learning centers as “Learning Bridges” for up to 100,000 students from 3K to 8th grade. On July 23, 2020, Kallos was joined by Council Member Lander in demanding more seats as covered in the New York Post. By mid September Council Member Kallos joined parent sentiments in stating that Learning Bridges “was a mess” as they learned only 30,000 slots would be available.


“Our essential workers and families of color who have paid the highest price are owed more than a thank you together with lip service and the promise of free childcare 40 minutes away. 


Mayor de Blasio must provide more than one hundred Roosevelt Island families with Learning Bridges on Roosevelt Island and work with the providers we’ve lined up on the Island to serve our families and children,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.  “When Mayor de Blasio promised universal pre-kindergarten and then didn’t offer it on Roosevelt Island, we found a provider and got the school seats we needed, and we can do it again.”

Friday, October 30, 2020

Roosevelt Island And Upper East Side Get Additional Early Voting Location For This Saturday And Sunday At Marymount College To Alleviate Very Long Lines And Waiting Time At Robert Wagner School Thanks To Efforts Of NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

After today, there are 2 more days of NY State early voting, Saturday October 31 and Sunday November 1. Hours are 7 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 7 AM to 4 PM on Sunday.

There is no early voting polling station on Roosevelt Island. This week the Robert Wagner Middle School at 225 East 75th Street was the only early voting period polling location for Roosevelt Island.

 Voters reported long lines and waiting times at Robert Wagner School

But good news for Roosevelt Island early voters. Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright got an additional early voting site for this weekend at Marymount College (221 East 71 Street).
According to press release from Ms Seawright:

... Marymount Manhattan College will be available as an alternate early voting pollsite for Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1, according to an agreement she successfully obtained from the New York City Board of Elections. 

Seawright had previously contacted Marymount Manhattan College President Dr. Kerry Walk in order to help relieve the persistently long lines at Robert F. Wagner Middle School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Assembly Member Seawright had previously announced her intention to pursue legal action in the event that the New York City Board of Elections did not address what she described as “the horrendous treatment of the disabled, senior citizens, and working men and women-- voters who have stood in line for several hours to cast their ballots, including in the rain. The voters of the Upper East Side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island are grateful to Marymount Manhattan College for stepping up in this time of crisis. We simply cannot tolerate voter suppression of any kind and this action is exactly what is needed.

Roosevelt Island needs an early voting site here for our many elderly and disabled residents. 

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Shelton Haynes responding to an inquiry by a resident asking for an early voting site on Roosevelt Island answered: 

As an update, Judy Berdy introduced me to the Manhattan Deputy Chief Clerk from the Borough Administration’s  office in mid-September. We then arranged for their staff to tour Sportspark as a potential early voting location from October 23rd to November 3rd. Sportspark met all of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)requirements and was a large enough space but unfortunately they elected to not use this facility.

Next election, let's get an early voting location on Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 8;20 PM - 

Ms Seawright is interviewed on the additional Marymount College voting location.

Roosevelt Island Dog Almost Dies Ingesting Rat Poison On Ground - Birds, Squirrels And Rats Found Lying Dead Left For Days Without Being Picked Up, Not Our Job To Pick Up Dead Animals RIOC Staffer Tells Resident

Earlier this week, a Roosevelt Island dog owner told me her dog becoming very sick requiring expensive treatment from a vet after ingesting poison while walking in back of Roosevelt Landings.

Yesterday, Roosevelt Island resident Natasa de Luca reports:

Today, while walking my dog on the walkway looking at Manhattan, I came across 3 dead squirrels grouped together next to a tree on the patch of green area along pool next to the Jack McManus soccer field.

This was a rather alarming and concerning sight since residents use this area for relaxation, kids play nearby. 

It was also especially worrisome to someone like myself who is a dog owner. There was no “black box” near the carcasses that could indicate that squirrels may have eaten the rat poison and it seems to me that if poisoned, whatever they ate, was dropped on the grounds. 

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - Subway, Tram, Ferry & Citibike - Keep Your Social Distance And Wear Face Covering - MTA Has New Real Time Subway Data Map Too

According to the MTA


Oct 30 - Nov 2, Fri 9:45 PM to Mon 1 AM F Trains are replaced by the E between 21 St-Queensbridge and Delancey St/Essex St

There is a Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin 20 passenger Covid-19 Social Distancing limit.

 The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) was recently asked by a resident: 

There has been a lot of complaints again about terrible tram congestion and waiting times at weekends, with one resident saying that she waited an hour to get back from Manhattan in the tram queue. 

Can you look into the issue again and consider solutions such as a red bus service on weekends for tourists and retaining the tram for residents during this period ? 

The Red Bus Shuttle to Manhattan is hardly used during the week but really necessary at the weekend when limits on numbers inside each tram, alongside visitors, makes using it impossible 

RIOC spokesperson Jessica Cerrone replied:

Thank you for your feedback. We have notified the Transportation Director about this issue, however, we are not considering priority access to the Tram for residents.

Here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule which now extends to East 90th street on the Upper East Side.  

Also, Roosevelt Island has a new transportation option with the recent addition of Citbike docking stations.  

UPDATE 7:15 - RIOC adds: 

While we continue to follow social distancing and align our operations with New York Forward guidance, we also continue to incrementally increase the number of passengers permitted on the Tram. Tram capacity will increase on Sunday, November 1st, from 20 to 35 passengers per cabin, and we will continue to assess and gradually increase in phases. 

We understand the need for this mode of transportation, however, the health and safety of our riders and operators are our priority. We appreciate your cooperation.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket Halloween And October 30 - November 5 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons, Nutritional Tips & Social Media Facebook And Instagram Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket 

invites you to check out their October 30 - November 5 Weekly Flyer for Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items

 Click here to visit the Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket web site for online shopping, delivery options, digital coupons, weekly flyer and more.  

Follow Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket on Facebook

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Verdant Power Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project Deploys Latest Generation Of Water Turbine Technology To Generate Electricity From East River Currents Off The Banks Of Roosevelt Island

Since 2002, Verdant Power's Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project (RITE) has been developing water turbine technology to generate electric power from the currents of the East River next to the Roosevelt Island Foodtown (formerly Gristedes) supermarket on the Queens side of the East River.

Last Thursday, October 22, Verdant Power continued development of the technology by deploying their 5th Generation Water Turbine


in the East River.

This Verdant Power video show the 3 water turbines being installed in the East River after arriving on a a barge traveling from New Jersey.

 I spoke with Verdant Power CEO John Bannigan and Founder/Chief Marketing Officer Trey Taylor about the year long test project prior to the deployment of the 5th generation Water Turbines.


 Here's how the water turbine technology works. According to Verdant Power:

The East River is a tidal strait with strong water currents that change direction between flood and ebb tides approximately four times each day (with periods of little or noflow between tides, called “slack tide”). As shown in the figure below,
when the water velocity exceeds approximately 1.0 m/s (3.3 ft/s or 2 knots), the turbine blades begin to rotate and the units generate electricity for approximately 4.5 hours (red areas in figure). As the tide shifts direction, the turbines yaw (turn approximately 170 degrees) to generate power from the current flowing in the opposite direction. This cycle repeats in a very predictable manner approximately every 6 hours. The regular nature of tidal currents provides a significant advantage for tidal power as compared to other, less predictable resources like wind and solar power.
More info on Verdant Power and Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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 and lasts thru Novmeber 30.

The New York City Emergency Management Department (NYCEM) wants you to be prepared for Hurricane Season

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 - Zones 2 and 3.

Trader Joe's Opening 59th Street Queensboro Bridge Store At End Of 2021 Only 1 Block From Roosevelt Island Tram Says NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

Roosevelt Island residents have been asking when the new Trader Joe's planned for the Bridgemarket space underneath the Queensboro Bridge on 59th Street only one block from the Roosevelt Island Tram would open? Last month I asked Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos:

I was wondering if you knew anything about status of plans for new Trader Joe’s under Queensboro Bridge? 

A lot of Roosevelt island residents have been asking me about it?

I spoke to Mr. Kallos today who said the Trader Joe's lease for the space is signed and Trader Joe's plans to open by the end of next year, 2021. 

Mr Kallos reported that the Bridgemarket space has been empty since 2015 after the former occupant, Food Emporium supermarket, closed and he has been working since that time with community groups and the Empire State Development Corp to find a new tenant for the landmarked space. Potential tenants included Whole Foods, Fairway Supermarket and a public food hall similar to the Chelsea Market. But, according to Mr Kallos, the clear community favorite for the Bridgemarket space was Trader Joe's.

Mr Kallos added that Roosevelt Island residents will soon be able to grocery shop at Trader Joe's by the Tram, as well as at our neighborhood Foodtown supermarket and Costco in Long Island City.

Below are Trader Joe's Bridgemarket renderings from a February 26, 2020 presentation to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

 and the full presentation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission

More on Trader Joe's.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Meet Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival Artist Vanessa From Staten Island, Describes Her Mural Representing Blind Justice And Statue Of Liberty - First Time Visitor And She Loves Roosevelt Island

Artist Vanessa Kreytak from Staten Island describes her Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival mural representing Blind Justice and Statue of Liberty. This was her first time visiting Roosevelt Island and says she loves Roosevelt Island

More interviews with Roosevelt Island Fall For Arts Festival artists here.

Roosevelt Island Is Invited To NYPL Branching Out Presents Pandemic Stories Discussion Wednesday October 28 - Writers And Experts Explore Past, Present And Future Of Quarantine Writing

Roosevelt Island NY Public Library Branch manager Carlos Chavez reports on an upcoming event of interest to Roosevelt Island residents: 

The library is going to host an author talk on pandemic stories/writing. 

According to NYPL:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 6:30 p.m...

What draws us to pandemic stories? Writers and experts explore the past, present, and future of quarantine writing. What draws us to pandemic stories? Writers and experts explore the past, present, and future of quarantine writing. 


  • Moderator Richard Preston, author of Crisis in the Red Zone 
  • Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M 
  • Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me 
  • Mike Chen, author of A Beginning at the End 

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked overwhelming interest in books and films depicting pandemics, contagion, and other biological threats. From The Decameron to The Stand, pandemics have a long history in literature. Why are we drawn to these stories? What can they tell us about the moment we're experiencing? 

A panel of authors and editors convene (socially distanced!) to discuss the genre’s power and relevance. Bestselling author Richard Preston, whose book The Hot Zone chronicles the emergence of the Ebola virus, leads the conversation. This online program is presented by Inwood Library. 

 Ready to tell your story? Visit Pandemic Diaries to learn more about the Library's mission to capture stories and experiences related to COVID-19. Anyone 18 years or older can submit an audio Diary to be added to the Library's collections. ...


This program will be streamed live on Zoom. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided.

Watch this fascinating and alarming report from The Washington Post:

In a three-part documentary, The Washington Post explores a failed response to the coronavirus pandemic that’s left 225,000 Americans dead, despite decades of preparation in Washington.

and click here to register for tomorrow's NYPL Pandemic Stories Discussion.

Tell Your Pandemic Story in comments below or at the NYPL Pandemic Diaries Project.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Roosevelt Island Bike Safety Virtual Town Hall Thursday October 29, You Must Sign Up To Attend - Roosevelt Island Street Safety Advocates Start A Conversation For Pedestrian And Cyclist Safety

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is hosting a Bike Safety Virtual Town Hall Thursday October 29:

RIOC, along with local elected officials and guests from Citi Bike/Lyft, Bike New York, and 511NY Rideshare, will be hosting a Bike Safety Virtual Townhall to discuss questions and concerns, as well as provide needed information to cyclists riding on Roosevelt Island. Join us on Thursday, October 29th at 6:30 PM, via Zoom. Registration is required for this event. To register or submit questions, email:

With the increasing number of bicyclists on Roosevelt Island, safety has been a growing concern on the part of pedestrians, be they elderly, children or anybody walking on the sidewalk, waterfront promenade perimeter, park pathways or crossing the street. Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors (GRIN) founder Anthony Longo reported an incident this weekend which is, unfortunately, all too common. According to Mr Longo:

As I’m sure you have seen, issues with bike riders have increased on the island lately. RIOC’s signs seem to have only made it worse. I can’t even count the amount of near misses I’ve seen on the sidewalk behind 480. People live tweeting their Citi bike adventures while they ride between small children and pets. Or just dinging their bell without slowing down, expecting people to move out of their way. I had a guy the other day holler at me, as he rode past, that it was no longer a sidewalk. 

I witnessed an incident yesterday that I cannot ignore. It happened just passed the RIOC offices on the east promenade before the RI bridge. Ironically where the path is at its widest. I was speaking to an elderly friend of mine, and her caretaker. A south bound, unmasked, biker (not a Citi bike) approached. Instead of yielding to the pedestrians he chose to make a derogatory comment to the caretaker as he tried to blow right between them. I stepped in front of him so he had to stop. I asked him if he seriously thought that it was their responsibility to move out of his way. Apparently he did. He made another comment to that end and rode on....

... There is not enough time in the day for me to call PSD every time I see something like this. I filled out a RIOC tikkit just to have it on record. I do not expect much to come with that though. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.

A parent recently wrote:

The CITIBIKES freely operate wherever they want including the riverwalks/sidewalks even in presence of public safety. I called public safety and I was told to call RIOC and I did. I was told that it will be referred to management and look into the contract they had with CITIBIKE. 

There has always been posted rules and signs in the island to protect us all. There should be designated bike lanes only.

A group of Roosevelt Island resident bike riders recently got together to form "Roosevelt Island Street Safety Advocates (RISSA). The aim of RISSA is to start a conversation and develop a program for Roosevelt Island Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety. Take a look at their suggestions and let's start a conversation for the benefit of bike riders and pedestrians.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 School PTA Holding Elections October 29 For Executive Board and School Leadership Council - Nominations Accepted Until Election

The Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA is holding elections for their Executive Board and School Leadership Team (SLT) on October 29. 

Nominations for the positions are accepted thru the October 29 election date.
Current PS/IS 217 PTA President Irena Durkovic is not running for the upcoming term. Ms Durkovic reports:

I never had aspirations to be a PTA president, but was asked to do it since nobody else wanted to. I could see how 217 was improving and knew that the work PTA did had directly influenced that. I thought that instead of just enjoying the benefits of someone else's work, it was my civic duty to volunteer. 

Once on a board I continued to work alongside my fellow board members on organizing and simplifying the structure. There were a lot of small victories along the way, but the highlight has definitely been the PTA’s ability to support the school and help them safely re-open this fall. The most challenging part of being on a PTA board was facilitating effective communication between school, families and Roosevelt Island community. I consider it a great personal success being able to volunteer and help my community for the past two years, and I am looking forward to seeing new parents take the lead.

More info on Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA elections here.

NYC Department of Education PS/IS 217 School Quality report here.