Saturday, February 27, 2021

Fire Outside Roosevelt Island Duane Reade Store Late Friday Night - Garbage Left In Sidewalk Area Lit On Fire Bursts into Flames, Smoke Scorches Building Facade 7 Stories Up

A Tipster reported last night about 11:30 PM:

Duane Reade is on fire outside

Here's video of the fire.

According to a source, a pile of garbage left outside the Duane Reade was lit on fire. FDNY arrived on the scene and put out the fire. 

The flames scorched the building facade 

as high up as the 7th floor. 

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

According to the RIOC Daily Public Safety Incident Report:
02/26/21 – 2300 – 425 Main St. – Fire – PSD/FDNY responded, no injuries, condition corrected.
I asked FDNY for comment.Will update when more info available.

Friday, February 26, 2021

RIDA Free Friday Food Pantry At Senior Center Continues To Serve Roosevelt Island Community - Watch Interview With Organizer Wendy Hersh, There's Enough Food For Everyone In Need On Roosevelt Island She Says

I stopped by the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) weekly Friday Free Food Pantry at the Senior Center this afternoon to speak with RIDA president and Food Pantry organizer Wendy Hersh. Ms Hersh says up to 200 people visit the Roosevelt Island Friday Food Pantry and she updates us with the current Food Pantry offerings.

According to Ms Hersh:

... We get different things every week like you see today. We have whole chicken, chicken packages, cheese, yogurt,  fresh milk and shelf staple milk. 

We've got juices, we've got whole cereal, hot cereal, pasta, vegetables.

For the bakers we've got cake mix and frosting so there's something for everybody. We have some people that are just vegetarian we always have enough for them. Sometimes we get gluten free sometimes we get a lot of vegan stuff....

As previously reported, Ms Hersh is:

thankful for the assistance offered to the Roosevelt Island Food Pantry by: 

The Food Pantry is open 4pm to 6:30 pm every Friday at the Senior Center (546 Main Street). Everyone is welcome.

Candidate To Represent Roosevelt Island And UES In NYC Council District 5 Tricia Shimamura Is Weekly Volunteer At RIDA Senior Center Food Pantry - Meet Her And Watch Video Interview Of What She Has To Say

Tricia Shimamura is a candidate to represent Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side in NYC Council District 5, seeking to succeed current City Council Member Ben Kallos who is term limited from running again. Mr Kallos is running to succeed Gale Brewer as Manhattan Borough President.

Ms Shimamura volunteers at the weekly Friday Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) Senior Center Food Pantry. I spoke to Ms Shimamura today as she was preparing items that will be distributed to the Roosevelt Island community. Ms Shimamura spoke about reasons why she is running for the NYC Council and issues of concern to Roosevelt Island residents.

Here's what she had to say.

Learn more about Ms Shimamura at her campaign website.

Ms Shimamura's opponents in the June 22 Democratic Party Primary are: 

Interviews with some of the other candidates here. Hope to interview all of the candidates and more in depth conversations too.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - E Train Replaces F To And From Manhattan, Tram Social Distancing, Ferry Service And Electric Citibikes Too

According to the MTA, the E train replaces the F train for Roosevelt Island subway service to and from Manhattan this weekend and upcoming weekends thru March 29: 

TUNNEL REHABILITATION Fri 9:45 PM to Mon 5 AM* until Mar 29. F Trains are replaced by the E between 21 St-Queensbridge and Delancey St-Essex St

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (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.

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

And Roosevelt Island Citbike docking stations

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket February 26- March 4 Product Offerings, Sales & Special Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Option & Digital Coupons Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket invites you to check out their February 26 - March 4 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, February 25, 2021

RIRA Recommends Divvying Up $150 Thousand In Annual RIOC Public Purpose Fund Grants To 12 Roosevelt Island Non Profit Organizations - Check Out Who Got What, Subject To RIOC Final Approval

The annual Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Fund Grants (PPF) review process is underway. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp RIOC:

Public Purpose Grants first became available after the construction of Manhattan Park in 1989, when New York State allowed the fund to be established in lieu of the developers paying sales tax on construction materials.  

The RIOC Board of Directors approves the allocation of these funds each year. Not-for-profit community organizations are welcome to apply for a Public Purpose Grant by following the application process below. 

Public Purpose Grants should be allocated to benefit Roosevelt Island residents, enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health, or a better environment...

RIOC adds:

... As part of a process adopted at the May 22, 2008 RIOC Board meeting, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association ("RIRA") took on the role of reviewing applications and making recommendations for funding to the RIOC Board. RIRA's recommendations were based on the merits of each PPF applicant to the community and available funding...

The RIOC 2021-22 PPF community review process began earlier this month with virtual Zoom applicant presentations to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) PPF Committee. 

 Click on links below for video of the February 8 and 9 presentations.

RIRA PPF recommendations are as follows:

1- New York Foundation for the Arts- Piazzolla-100
● Amount Requested: $12,348.72 (Prior Yr: $11,740.00)
● Recommended: $11,000.00 (Prior Yr: $10,333.00)

2- Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA)
● Amount Requested: $25,000.00 (Prior Yr: $25,000)
● Recommended: $18,000.00 (Prior Yr: $18,667

3. Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA)
● Amount Requested: $30,000.00 (N/A)
● Recommended: $16,000.00 (N/A)

4. Carter Burden Network, Inc. (CBN)
● Amount Requested: $31,000.00 (Prior Yr: $25,000 )
● Recommended: $10,000.00 (Prior Yr: $15,323)

5. Main Street Theater Dance Alliance (MST&DA)
● Amount Requested: $35,000.00 (Prior Yr: $35,000)
● Recommended: $16,000.00 (Prior Yr: $25,667)

6. Open Spaces – iDig2Learn
● Amount Requested: $21,700.00 (Prior Yr: $21,700 )
● Recommended: $12,000.00 (Prior Yr: $11,667)

7. Island Kids (IK)
● Amount Requested: $ 25,000.00 (Prior Yr: $15,000 )
● Recommended: $10,000.00 (Prior Yr: $6,667 )

8. R.I. Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)
● Amount Requested: $ 31,500.00 (Prior Yr: $35,000 )
● Recommended: $12,000.00 (Prior Yr: $13,527)

9. PS/IS 217 Parents Teachers Association (PTA) 

● Amount Requested: $25,000.00 (Prior Yr:$21,200) 

● Recommended: $11,000.00 (Prior Yr: $9,483)

10. Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS)
● Amount Requested: $24,500.00 (Prior Yr: $36,500)
● Recommended: $11,000.00 (Prior Yr: $18,333 )

11. Wildlife Freedom Foundation (WFF)
● Amount Requested: $10,000.00 (Prior Yr:$10,000)
● Recommended: $10,000.00 (Prior Yr: $10,000)

12. Life Frames:
● Amount Requested: $31,850.00 (Prior Yr: $31,850)
● Recommended: $13,000.00 (Prior Yr: $10,333 )

Below is the full RIRA PPF committee recommendation report submitted to RIOC for final approval. A total of $150,000 was allocated to 12 non profit organizations serving a variety of Roosevelt Island constituencies.


Also, suggestions from the Committee for implementing future PPF allocations.

According to RIOC Public Information Officer Amy Smith:

...those receiving funds will be announced at our Board of Directors meeting in April.

Is this a fair process? Last year, several applicants noted:

... We have been pitting groups serving 100 persons a day versus a smaller group that seasonally serves persons, A more fair and open process must be developed....
The RIRA PPF are subject to RIOC Board of Directors final approval.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Watch Cornell Tech Cafe Executive Chef Danny Constantino Cooking Demo Making Brussel Sprout Chips With Basil Yogurt Dressing For National Nutrition Month -Tasty And Healthy, Yum

Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Cafe Executive Chef Danny Constantino shares recipe and demonstrates how to make Brussel Sprout Chips with Basil Yogurt dressing for National Nutrition Month. Yum and healthy too.

Click here for this week's menu from the Cornell Tech Cafe.

Celebrate Queen Esther's Gambit With Fun, Parody, Prayer, Song And Costume Party At Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation's Virtual Zoom Purim Celebration Thursday February 25 - Have Some Hamentachen Too

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) President Nina Lublin reports:

The Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Celebrates Purim!! 

The RIJC is the oldest, longest-serving active egalitarian congregation on RI, engaging the community for more than 40 years. We are multi-generational, welcoming, & responsive to our unique Island population. The Coronavirus Pandemic has not slowed us down, and since last March 20th, we have continued to celebrate Shabbats, the High Holidays, festivals & more holidays, child & family activities, many life-cycle events and more, virtually, via Zoom. 

That spirit of service continues this Thursday, February 25 at 6:00 pm, with our annual, grand celebration of Purim, led by our Rabbi, Joel Shaiman. Via Zoom, we will celebrate the holiday of Queen Esther with fun & parody, prayer and song, a costume parade, making Hamentashen, and a great new Purim play written, produced, directed, & starring our members & friends. 

Last Purim, March 9th, 2020, was the last time 40 of us were together, in person, in our Sanctuary. 

We look forward to the time we will all be together in person again. In the meantime, come celebrate this great holiday with the RIJC, your friends & family. 

All the details are at our website, — please visit us. We hope you will join us for the whole evening of celebration.

PURIM 2021 (5781) is here! 

Please join the RIJC this Thursday evening, February 25 as we celebrate the holiday!  

6 pm — Join World-famous Pastry Chef Harriet Shaiman to complete your hamentaschen! (Prepare the dough earlier, and take it out of the refrigerator by 5:30 pm. Click here for recipe

6:45 pm — Pre-service get-together (as your hamentaschen are baking). 

7:00 pm — Costume parade on Zoom… Kids and grown-ups alike! 

7:10 pm — Evening Services Begin 7:20 pm — Megillah Reading and Purim Shpiel: Presented by the RIJC Purim Players - written, produced and starring the dynamic team of Mickey Rindler and Janet Falk. 

Immediately followed by much singing of songs, schmoozing and noshing… 

ZOOM link information: 

Topic: RIJC Purim Festivities 

Time: Feb 25, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)  

Join Zoom Meeting 

Meeting ID: 898 4951 8690 

Passcode: 055120

Some scenes from 2018 RIJC Purim Celebrations.

And the Maccabeats tell the story of Purim and Queen Esther.

Click here for more info on RIJC.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Watch Interview With Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project Artist Setsuko Winchester During Past Exhibition At FDR Four Freedoms Park - Yellow Bowls Represents Relocation And Imprisonment Of Japanese Americans By Executive Order Of President Franklin Roosevelt

The Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms Park Instagram page reported on February 19:

According to the Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project web site:

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his famous Four Freedoms Speech in which he said that people “everywhere in the world” were entitled to the following four freedoms:
  • Freedom of Speech
  • ​Freedom of Worship
  • Freedom from Want and
  • Freedom from Fear
A little over a year later, on February 19, 1942, FDR would sign Executive Order 9066, following the Japanese Military’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. The order gave the US military authority to round up and imprison any person it deemed necessary from the western half of the western states of the United States, declaring it to be a military zone. This turned out to be anyone with 1/16th “Japanese blood.” Eventually, over 120,000 would be incarcerated in ten US concentration camps. Two thirds were American citizens. A third were children. No one was ever found guilty of treason or espionage.... 

I spoke with the Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project artist Setsuko Winchester during the project's exhibition in April 2019 at the FDR Four Freedoms Park.

Here's what she had to say.

You're Invited To Virtual Covid 19 Mental Health, Equity & Resilience Community Conversation February 24 Presented By NYPL Roosevelt Island Branch And NYC Health Department - Sign Up Now, Space Is Limited

The New York Public Library Roosevelt Island branch is hosting a virtual Covid 19 Mental Health Community Conversation in partnership with the NYC Health Department tomorrow, February 24 beginning at 9;30 AM. Please sign up here to attend.  According to the Roosevelt Island branch library:

COVID-19 Community Conversations: Mental Health, Equity & Resilience 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 9:30 - 11 a.m. End times are approximate. Events may end early or late. 

In partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Roosevelt Island library is proud to present COVID-19 Community Conversations: Mental Health, Equity, & Resilience.  

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global shared traumatic experience that disrupts and affects our families, friends, and communities.  

In NYC and nationally, people of color are disproportionally affected by COVID-19. To address the mental health challenges brought by the pandemic and structural racism in our City, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will provide a free virtual presentation on topics including grief, trauma, coping, and resilience, in addition to mental health tips. Patrons will enter a safe space to discuss the effects of the pandemic and learn about coping skills and relevant resources.  

Please register online at the following link: If you have any difficulty registering, please call (646) 874- 4653. Registration is limited and spots will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. This program will be hosted on Webex and can be accessed using a computer, tablet, or phone. Please contact with any questions regarding the program. 

More info on mental health access during the Covid 19 Pandemic from this Thrive NYC video. 

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island branch library is now open for Grab and Go service and

Monday, February 22, 2021

Watch Friends Of Coler Valentine's Day Walk n Wave Around Coler Rehab Nursing Facility To Show Love And Support For Residents - It's What We Need At This Time Says Coler Therapist

Roosevelt Island Friends Of Coler and their supporters organized a Valentine's Day Walk n Wave around the Coler Rehab Nursing Facility outside perimeter and gave out gift boxes to show support and love for the residents who have been under a lockdown since the beginning of the Covid Pandemic. 

Friends Of Coler volunteer Julia Feguson declared to the Coler residents that: 

... on Roosevelt Island we are here for you and thinking of you today and ongoing...
and presented gift box donations to Coler representative Margaret Lopes who thanked Friends Of Coler saying:
... this will uplift the spirits of residents tremendously, that's what we need at this time...

After dropping off the Valentine's Day gifts, the Friends Of Coler began their Walk n Wave.

Friends Of Coler add:

Supporting Coler residents and staff is quite a long standing tradition on Roosevelt Island going back many decades. This long running tradition started by the local community groups ( our local religious congregations, Coler Auxiliary, Roosevelt Island Disabled Association), has grown during the past decade with Angelica Patient Assistance Program, the 2018 service day funded by iDig2Learn’s grant from CCNYC used for a day of courtyard renovation which brought Google service employees to the Island. The Roosevelt Island Branch of NYPL events and Cornell Tech have also supported various collaborations. Recently through the art, poetry, theater, film making, music making, and activism of Open Doors NYC, we have witnessed a kind of renaissance in our connections to Coler.

As the COVID-19 pandemic brought stress and hardship in different forms, the Friends of Coler network stepped up as is the tradition to show the residents of Coler that Roosevelt Islanders remain united in strength, kindness and camaraderie. During a year that has been very hard and dealt us all immeasurable loss, it has been an honor to get to know Coler residents and other neighbors on Roosevelt Island.

The Valentine's Day gathering to greet and give gifts followed by our “Walk n Wave” around the building was made possible by donations from many Roosevelt Islanders to the Covid-19 fund hosted by Angelica Patient Assistance Program as well as by donations in kind from many others. Special thanks to Coler Recreational Therapy Department and other staff at Coler, to Shelton Haynes at RIOC, to Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, to Haki Compost Collective, to local elected officials who listen, and to so very many more RI neighbors and friends. 

Although sad that many Coler residents of the C building received notice of a lockdown in their units on Saturday before the Walk due to staff testing positive, we know they felt our good cheer even if they were unable to be outside or at the corridor windows. We were heartened to see some residents’ families doing window visits with relatives in the lobby and just so glad to wave at friends. 

Happy Valentines Day 2021 to all.  

From Coler Recreational Therapist:

Thanks it turned out very nice. The residents were so very appreciative!!! They couldn't really hear you guys outside but they were waiting n watching. One of your resident friends said “Thank you so much!” It was very hand deliver with love from you all...through us...Thanks again! 

From Lynne Shinozaki with Coler Task Force:

I'm hoping people are feeling that we are thinking of them and that we care. 

From Julia Ferguson with Friends of Coler:

So glad. In my mind as we walked we encircled all with friendship and love and the magic of both! We needed bagpipes or drums to be heard, but the tambourines loaned by Main Street Theatre were going strong. Thank you for all!
From Trisha Duval with Angelica Patients Assistance Program:

Thank you, Friends of Coler, for organizing and spearheading the Valentines celebration! We have plans in the works to follow up with a meal for residents very soon!  

From Dexter Ciprian with OPEN DOORS:

It’s so important to show our dear friends and neighbors experiencing the brunt of isolation that we see them, care for them and love them. Deep gratitude to the amazing folks of Friends of Coler for their kindness and generosity. 

From Coler Resident:

THANK YOU ❤️for the wonderful Valentine's Day surprise!! Thank you for your thoughtfulness, your kindness, your generosity and all your hard work! You truly made our day and lifted our spirits! And we had so much fun! Above all, thank you for your friendship.  

We look forward to the day that we can stand outside with you!

Danika Lam shares more photos from the Friends Of Coler Valentine's Day Walk n Wave.

If you would like to join Friends of Coler, send them an email.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association And Former Residents Association President Lynn Strong Shinozaki Honored With NY State Senate Proclamation Recognizing Their Service To Community By NY State Senator Jose Serrano

The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) and long time Roosevelt Island activist and former Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Lynn Strong-Shinozaki were honored recently by the issuance of a NY State Senate Proclamation recognizing their service to our community by NY State Senator Jose Serrano.

According to Senator Serrano:

Long before the pandemic, RIDA has been enhancing quality of life for Roosevelt Island residents living with disabilities. During the height of COVID-19, the group immediately jumped into action to ensure Roosevelt Island residents had the resources needed to stay safe and healthy. Wendy Hersh and the volunteers have put in a tremendous amount of hard work, and I was honored to present them with a Senate Proclamation.

Last September, I spoke with RIDA President Wendy Hersh about the Roosevelt Island Food Pantry.

Also honored by a NY State Senate Proclamation from Senator Serrano was Ms Shinozaki. Senator Serrano noted:

Lynne Strong-Shinozaki has been an active member of the Roosevelt Island community for decades, and has been a fervent advocate on a number of issues important to island residents. I was proud to present her with a Senate Proclamation on the occasion of her retirement from RIRA.
Former RIRA Presidents, Common Council members and other residents thanked Ms Strong-Shinozaki for her efforts on behalf of the Roosevelt Island community in video below.

Congrats to RIDA and Ms Shinozaki

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Take A Covid Virtual Trip Off Roosevelt Island And See Central Park Still Rocks On A Beautiful Winter NYC Sunday

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Central Park today.

What a great day.