Saturday, January 9, 2021

Roosevelt Island Residents Wait In Frigid Cold And Long Line For Tasty Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck, But RIOC Shuts Them Down In Less Than An Hour For Failure To Have RI Permit Even Though They Have NYC Permit

If a business offers an appealing and desirable product on Roosevelt Island, residents will come out  and spend money for quality offerings, even if they have to stand on a long line in frigid temperatures.

That's what happened this afternoon as the Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck made an unexpected arrival at Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Plaza. 

Unfortunately, about 45 minutes after the Food Truck began serving hungry residents, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department ordered the Food Truck to shut down and leave Roosevelt Island. 

The reason for the PSD order was that the Food Truck did not have a Roosevelt Island Food Truck permit. The Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck operator had a NYC Food Truck permit but did not know they also needed a Roosevelt Island Food Truck permit.

So they were forced to leave Roosevelt Island and set up on Vernon B'lvd in Long Island City near the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Many frustrated and disappointed Roosevelt Island residents waiting on line said they would follow the Truck to Long Island City to order some food.

Matt Katz was the last resident to buy from the Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck before they were shut down. Mr Katz wrote to RIOC Acting President Shelton Haynes this afternoon:

I'm writing regarding an old problem that has reasserted itself. I learned that there was a food truck, Cousins Maine Lobster, parked in front of the Good Shepherd Plaza today. Not surprising, the line to take advantage of this new treat stretched halfway down the block despite the cold weather and bitter winds blowing off the river. As my wife and I finished receiving our order, two Public Safety officers came over and told them to close up shop as they didn't have RIOC permits. This has got to stop.

Many food trucks, providing foods not found in our few groceries or even fewer restaurants, have left, unwilling to pay a second fee to RIOC despite having already paid for a City permit. Roosevelt Island is, after all, owned by New York City and only leased to the State for 99 years. City permits should be sufficient for them to do business here. And further, RIOC needs to live up to its designation as a "public benefit corporation" and find more and better ways to serve Roosevelt Islanders. Chasing away food trucks does not satisfy this requirement. The dozens of my neighbors willing to brave the elements so as to buy a lobster roll (delicious!) should be accommodated, not thwarted, by RIOC regulations. You can certainly afford the piddling loss of revenue. ...

Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos heard about the incident and wrote to Mr Haynes:

Could food trucks be offered a warning on the first day together with an application for them to complete on site so that they can return the following day or following week?
RIOC Acting Presdident Haynes replied to Mr Katz: 

Good afternoon everyone,

Thank you for your email Mr. Katz. After looking into this matter, I was informed that our Public Safety team responded to a complaint regarding a food vendor blocking a fire hydrant.

The vendor presented PSD with a NYC permit, which is not applicable on R.I. as we have a separate process from NYC. We are certainly open to exploring the option of modifying our permit approval process when NYC permits are in place while taking into consideration other factors like vendor location, line monitoring and traffic control before approval.

Our team will work with this vendor to secure a permit and invite them back to vend on the island.

Mr Haynes also replied to Mr Kallos:

We will explore all options as we examine our current permit process. Our team is willing to work with any vendor to help expedite the approval process and ensure that we have special locations in place for them. The ultimate goal is to attract more vendors to Roosevelt Island and we feel that we can accomplish that.

How tasty were the Lobster Rolls? Vicki Feinmel was one of the few lucky residents who ordered 

before the Food Truck was shut down and told me:

The food was delicious.

Matt Katz agreed reporting:

Having braved the bitter cold and long line in front of the Good Shepherd Plaza, Sherie and I placed and received our order quickly. We scooted home to sample our now-revised lunch.  

We ordered two lobster rolls, a Maine (with mayonnaise) and a Connecticut (with butter and lemon) that came to a total of just over $40. The rolls were smallish but crammed with lobster and absolutely delicious.  

I speak as one who has celebrated every birthday for 35 years with a lobster dinner (I give my lobsters names, usually Hortense if they are female).  

I hope RIOC will have the good sense not to chase these folks off the Island and that Cousins Maine Lobster will be impressed with our enthusiasm and return on a regular basis.

Here's the Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck Menu

More on RIOC's Roosevelt Island Food Truck policy at this 2012 and 2015 post.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Congrats To Local Roosevelt Island Kid Jon "Boog" Sciambi Named TV Play By Play Announcer For Chicago Cubs - Hosts Annual Project Main Street Fundraising Softball Game For ALS Families At Capobianco Field In Memory Of His Roosevelt Island Friend Tim Sheehy

Congrats to local Roosevelt Island kid Jon "Boog" Sciambi being named the Chicago Cubs play by play TV announcer

According to Marquee Sports Network press release:
Marquee Sports Network today announced the hiring of Jon “Boog” Sciambi as the Chicago Cubs television play-by-play announcer. Sciambi has served in numerous roles with ESPN since joining the network fulltime in 2010, most prominently as the voice of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball for MLB on ESPN Radio, and as the regular play-by-play voice on Wednesday Night Baseball telecasts for ESPN since 2014. ...

Boog Sciambi returns every year to Roosevelt Island for the annual Project Main Street ALS fundraising softball game at Capobianco Field in memory of his friend, Roosevelt Islander Tim Sheehy.

                    ESPN's Jessica Mendoza With Boog In Background At 2017 Roosevelt Island Project Main Street Softball Game

Sports Illustrated has more from 2018 on Jon Sciambi's work with Project Main St:

For those who grew up on Roosevelt Island, it was just like being back in Little League. 

They were playing ball with their friends at Tony Capobianco Field, the park they grew up playing at. They still talked to friends and family through the fence as they waited for their turn to bat. If they shanked a foul ball down the first base line, with some luck they could see the ball splash into the East River. The only difference was why they were there. 

The Fourth Annual Tim Sheehy Softball Classic was this past Saturday, and was the second half of a week of fundraising efforts by Project Main St. and Team Gleason. The two organizations seek to improve the quality of life for individuals living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease....

and learn about Project Main Street's Roosevelt Island origins from this podcast interview with Jon Sciambi.

Congrats again to Roosevelt Islander Jon "Boog" Sciambi,  the new Chicago Cubs play by play TV announcer.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - Subway, Tram, Ferry And Citibike - Temporary Red Bus Manhattan Shuttle Daily Until Further Notice Due To Tram Elevator Outage Says RIOC

According to the MTA, Roosevelt Island F Train service to and from Manhattan will be replaced by the E Train this weekend between 21st Queensbridge and Delancey Street.


According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

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.
Due to an elevator service outage at the Manhattan Tram Station, the RIOC Red Bus will provide special shuttle service to and from Manhattan for those with limited mobility. Schedule information is below:


Departs hourly from the Tramway, making all Northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (opposite PS/IS 217). The first trip will depart at 11 AM. Last trip will be at 7 PM.


Departs on the half hour from the Southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th & 59th Street and will make all Southbound local bus stops (starting with 591 Main Street) to the Tramway. The last trip will depart Manhattan at 7:30 PM. Please note, that there is no shuttle bus service from 3 PM – 4 PM daily. 

The Tram Shuttle will run seven days a week until further notice.

Thank you for your patience.

Here's the NYC Ferry Roosevelt Island Astoria Route Schedule which extends to East 90th street on the Upper East Side.
Also, Roosevelt Island Citbike docking stations.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket January 8 - January 14 Product Offerings, Specials & Sales Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Options, Digital Coupons, Social Media & Breakfast Nutrition Info Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket    


invites you to check out their January 8 - January 14 Weekly Flyer  for Product Offerings, Specials and 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, January 7, 2021

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Farmers Market At Motorgate Plaza Reopens This Saturday January 9 After 2 week Hiatus. Get Your Fresh Fruits, Vegetables And Much More

The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

at Motorgate Plaza 

reopens this Saturday January 9 after 2 week hiatus. Get your fresh fruits, vegetables and much more.

Eat Fresh, Eat Local and Eat Healthy at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

It Can't Happen Here, But It Did - Coup Attempt Today As Trump Rioters Storm US Capital Trying To Overturn Election Of Joe Biden As President

UPDATE 4:35 PM - From Roosevelt Island Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: UPDATE 7:05 PM:

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

December 2020 RIOC President's Report - Upcoming Plans To Engage With Roosevelt Island Community Groups On Bike Safety And Other Issues, Free Covid 19 Testing Site Coming This Month, Agreement With WFF On Cat Sanctuary & More

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Shelton Haynes presented his President's Report to the community during the December 29 Board of Directors Meeting, Mr Haynes announced RIOC plans to engage in public conversations this month on Bike lane/safety/signage issues and will reach out to local community groups on a monthly basis for feedback on a variety of RIOC initiatives.

Mr Haynes also reported:

  • RIOC reached an agreement with Wildlife Freedom Foundation on the Cat Sanctuaries.
  • Tram Elevator will be out of service for another couple of weeks, a Red Bus Shuttle will be in service to and from Manhattan
  • A free, rapid Covid 19 Test Site at the former NY Public Library site will be open this month
  • Tram elevator out of service for another couple of weeks, red bus shuttle will be in service to and from Manhattan
  • New Youth Center failed FDNY elevator inspection, should be completed by end of January
  • A month or two delay in Manhattan Tram Elevator project due to Covid 19 and obtaining parts from Europe
  • FDR Hope Memorial unveiling soon weather and social distancing permitting
  • McManus Comfort Station should be done this sprin
Here's the full President's Report from Mr Haynes.

Full video of December 29, 2020 RIOC Board meeting here.

Weill Cornell Medicine Research Project Seeking Volunteers For Study On Effects Of Extreme Heat And Covid 19 On Older Adults In NYC - Contribute To Knowledge About Unique Physiological and Psychological Stresses Of Older Adults

Philip Martinez is a senior at Cornell University. Mr Martinez writes:

I am currently working on a research project pertaining to the effects of extreme heat and COVID-19 on older adults in New York City with Dr. So-Min Cheong from Kansas University, and Dr. Cary Reid and Dr. Jo Anne Sirey from Weill Cornell Medicine. 

I was wondering if you would be able to share the study recruitment flyer, which I have attached below, in the Roosevelt Islander Blog? This is a fantastic opportunity to help contribute to the growing body of science about the unique physiological and psychological stresses of older adults.

According to the flyer: 

We are looking for individuals (aged 65 and over) whose lives have been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or extreme heat 

Eligible participants will complete a ​15-minute survey​ of demographic information, social connectedness, and depression, a ​30-minute interview,​ and an ​optional smartphone-based​ ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to be done 5 times a day for a total of ​5 minutes​ for up to 3 weeks to assess your mood and stress. 

We are interested in understanding ​the physiological and psychological stresses of extreme events on older adults in New York City​. By participating, you can help us to improve mental health and disease prevention programs. 

If you would like to help us by participating in our research, please contact

Monday, January 4, 2021

A Feel Good Roosevelt Island Story To Begin New Year - Local Residents Organize Christmas Toy Drive To Bring Some Joy To Children Of Patients At Dialysis Treatment Center

Doctor Michal Melamed is a Roosevelt Island resident who works with kidney patients at a dialysis center in the Bronx. Dr Melamed, together with her son Ethan and his friends Chloe and Danielle, organized a Christmas Toy Drive for the children of patients receiving treatment at the dialysis center where she works. Dr Melamed, Ethan, Chloe and Danielle wish to thank the Roosevelt Island community for their generous donations bringing some joy to these children. They report:

Chloe Fargo, 15, Ethan Wagreich, 15, and Danielle Burrowes, 17, wanted to do something this holiday season to give back. They each know a nephrologist, a kidney doctor, who works with patients requiring dialysis treatment in the Bronx, NY. So they came up with a plan. The social worker at one of the dialysis units asked her patients who had children to write letters to Santa. Chloe, Ethan and Danielle then took those letters, created a spreadsheet and, with the help of the Roosevelt Island Parents Network and the Einstein/Montefiore nephrology community found some generous Santas.

“When we first got the letters, we were crying,” said Chloe. Some of the letters were very sad. One teen girl only asked Santa for a new kidney for her father (a kidney transplant can help a dialysis patient return to a more normal life where they don’t need to get dialysis any more). Patients who require dialysis generally need to go to the dialysis center for treatment thrice weekly for 4-5 hours. Many of the children also asked for their parents to feel better so that they can spend more time with them. “I was humbled by the selflessness demonstrated in some of the children’s letters and being able to give gifts to the children was the highlight of my holiday”, said Danielle.

The requests ranged from legos and lol surprise dolls to a skateboard. The kids ranged in age from 2-15. Thanks to some wonderfully generous neighbors, friends and parents, all the gifts were obtained. Ethan, Chloe and Danielle wrapped all the presents.  Ethan wrote positive, personalized messages to the children from Santa, “I wanted the kids to know that Santa cared about them and encouraged them to keep trying hard to do well in school and be a good person.”

​Ethan’s mother, Michal Melamed, who works at the dialysis center, delivered the gifts on Christmas Eve.

The social worker at the dialysis center, Ms. Joan Gooden, MSW, became tearful at the sight of the gifts. “It has been a tough year for everyone. The patients and the kids are going to be so happy to see all these presents. I hope we can continue doing this every year.”

Ethan, Chloe and Danielle want to thank the generous Santas in the Roosevelt Island community and beyond who helped spread the Christmas spirit. 

We've got plenty of Roosevelt Island good people and it's great to recognize them.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Haki Compost Collective Will Help Recycle Your Roosevelt Island Christmas Holiday Tree - Bring To RI Garden Club Or Saturday Food Scrap Drop Off Site By January 9

For those among us who celebrate the winter holidays with a festive tree, think twice before sending it to landfill! There's a recycling option, and this year, Haki Compost Collective is partnering with the Roosevelt Island Garden Club to help all our car-less community members sustainably say goodbye to their tree.

Through Friday, January 8, leave your tree outside the Roosevelt Island Garden Club's southern gate at any time OR on Saturday, January 9, leave your tree at the food scrap drop-off site by 10am. 

RIGC and Haki volunteers will cart your tree to the nearest @nycparks Mulchfest location to be turned into wood chips. Please remember to remove all lights, ornaments, and netting before bringing us your tree.

Questions? DM us or email us at If you require assistance transporting your tree to one of the above drop-off locations, contact us to request a possible pick-up. Please note that pick-ups are limited and intended for those physically unable to transport their tree. 

If you happen to have a car, you can take your own tree (and perhaps your neighbor's!) to the closest Mulchfest drop-off location at Queensbridge Park by Saturday, January 9.