Saturday, March 20, 2021

Beautiful Day For A Walk To The Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms Park - Portions Temporarily Closed For Installation Of Disability Enhancements Including Staircase Lift And Pathway Renovations

As reported March 2:

... work will start on a $1 million project to enhance disability access at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park in New York City.

Starting next week and concluding in late spring, work will include a new incline platform lift at the granite Grand Stairway and renovation of two aggregate stone pathways to enhance accessibility.... 

... During construction, access to the park on Roosevelt Island will be limited to the western esplanade at the Manhattan side, the grassy area adjacent to the Room, and the Room at the southern tip of the park... 

Even with the ongoing construction today, it was a beautiful Saturday to take a walk to the Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms Park.

The FDR Four Freedoms Park reported on Instagram today:

As the warm weather approaches, we wanted to give you an update!

NYS Parks is now installing accessibility enhancements to further full access for visitors with mobility disabilities. The enhancements include the installation of a lift at the front steps of the monument and substantial renovation of the park pathways.

Visitors still have access to the Manhattan side of the park, FDR’s bust, and “The Room” at the southern tip.

Thank you for bearing with us during construction, the project will be completed by June 2021.

The accessibility enhancements are the result of the settlement to 2017 lawsuit filed  by Disability Rights Advocates 

 Plaintiff Edith Prentiss at the Four Freedoms Park. Photo by Joe Rappaport.

claiming that the FDR Four Freedoms Park denied freedom of access to people with disabilities.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Watch Video Of RIOC Presentation On Roosevelt Island Motorgate Helix Ramp & East Promenade Bike Lane To Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee Last Night

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee hosted a meeting earlier this week where residents both in favor and opposed to the bike lane 

Images From RIOC CB 8 Presentation On  You Tube
expressed their views. PSC Chair Erin Feeley-Nahem noted today about the CB 8 Roosevelt Island committee meeting:

Neither the RIRA President nor I was aware that Prince Shah was scheduled to present on the Helix project at the Community Board 8 meeting. We certainly would have attended.
Recently, during February and March’s Public Safety Committee meetings this project was discussed, in detail, and a number of valid safety issues were raised. Many Island Residents, especially those living in Roosevelt Landings were unaware of the proposed bike lanes. The few who are now informed, have voiced objections and concerns.
As the RIRA PSC Co-Chair I would welcome the opportunity to ask RIOC to clarify the bike lanes’ purpose for the East Promenade. As RIOC moves forward on this project, we are determined to give Roosevelt Landing residents’ a voice to air their concerns, and insist that adjustments be considered, and made, in response to the safety issue identified.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - E Train Replaces F To And From Manhattan, Tram Social Distancing Increased To 55 Cabin Riders, Ferry Service And 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.

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 Monday, March 8th, from 35 to 55 passengers per cabin, and we will continue to assess and gradually increase ridership 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 March 19- March 25 Product Offerings, Sales & Special Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Option, Digital Coupons, Nutrition Tips & Customer Appreciation Month Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket invites you to check out their March 19 - March 25 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, March 18, 2021

Shelton Haynes Named Roosevelt Island Operating Corp President/CEO During March 16 RIOC Board Meeting, Says He's Eager To Work With Community To Enhance The Quality Of Life On Roosevelt Island

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced the appointment of Shelton Haynes as President and Chief Executive Officer during March 16 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting (video of meeting here).

Mr Haynes has served as the RIOC Interim President/CEO since June 2020 following the abrupt and controversial firing of former RIOC President Susan Rosenthal, which is currently the subject of a wrongful termination lawsuit by Ms Rosenthal.

Mr Haynes was the RIOC Vice President of Operations since 2016.

RIOC Board Chair Linda Manley reported to the Board Members during March 16 meeting:

It is my recommendation and I think the recommendation of the Executive Chamber that Shelton be appointed as President and CEO of the Corporation....

The Executive Chamber is the Office of NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo, also known commonly around RIOC as "The Second Floor".

 RIOC Board member David Kraut added:

I would note that I don't disagree with anything you said about Shelton. Shelton is prepared to do this job. 

This board did not do a search as is recommended in our bylaws. Such a search would ...  be very difficult at this point in time. 

I also note that the Executive Chamber has recommend Shelton to us and I see no reason to disagree with that recommendation but it did come from outside. The Governor does hold a seat on this Board in fact if not in law and we can proceed from there....

Here's video of discussion including remarks from Mr Haynes upon being approved as the new RIOC President.


 Mr Haynes later commented on Instagram

Thank you all for the overwhelming support with calls, emails, text messages, social media posts and etc. I am truly honored and humbled at being appointed as President/CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. We have such a dynamic group of professionals that are committed to excellence. I am eager to continue to build upon our mission while working with the community to enhance the quality of life on Roosevelt Island.

And a press release from RIOC:

The Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) today voted to appoint Shelton J. Haynes as President and Chief Executive Officer, a role in which he has been serving in an acting capacity since June of last year. Having first joined RIOC in April 2016 as Vice President of Operations, Mr. Haynes oversaw the Island’s day-to-day functions as well as management of the Corporation’s various administrative, operational, and planning departments, including the Public Safety Department. 

When Mr. Haynes was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, his vision was to provide strategic planning and create a results driven environment. He placed emphasis on enhancing the Corporation’s overall efficiency and internal subject matter expertise. He invested in critical training, redefining agency positions, recruiting top notch professionals, creating checks and balances, working tirelessly with the public, setting measurable goals with key performance indicators, and lastly, enhancing technology to streamline business processes. More importantly, he is committed to creating a culture where everyone is working toward a common goal.  

Mr. Haynes’ most visible impact on the Roosevelt Island community has been his leadership in dramatically increasing the scope of RIOC’s Capital Program. From 2013 to 2015, before Mr. Haynes arrived, RIOC spent an average of $4.5 million per year on capital projects. From 2017 all the way through 2020, the average amount spent on major capital projects such as the landmark restoration of Blackwell House, a newly renovated youth center, and the seawall railing replacement, has more than doubled to over $14.5 million per year. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, for FY 2020-21, Mr. Haynes was instrumental in working with the RIOC Board of Directors on the approval of $40 million towards the Capital Program.  

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “We are so pleased to see Shelton Haynes take the helm as President and CEO of RIOC after four years of outstanding service as Chief Operating Officer and then Acting President. Shelton’s extensive experience and expertise with strategic planning, corporate operations and management will build upon RIOC’s success and move the organization forward with fresh ideas. We look forward to continuing to work together with Shelton for the benefit of all who call Roosevelt Island home.”  

“I’m honored by the opportunity to serve such a diverse, engaged and passionate community alongside a team of extremely dedicated and talented group of professionals.” said RIOC President & Chief Executive Officer, Shelton J. Haynes. “I thank Governor Cuomo, RIOC Board Chair, RuthAnne Visnauskas, and the RIOC Board of Directors for this humbling opportunity. I look forward to enhancing the quality of life on Roosevelt Island and providing exceptional service to the community that we serve.”  

Mr. Haynes brings to the role more than two decades of experience with 10 years of executive level expertise and 16 years of overall management acumen. Previously, Mr. Haynes served as Chief Operating Officer at the Housing Authority of DeKalb County in Georgia, where he oversaw all agency operations, strategic and operational initiatives, as well as the executive management team. 

Under his leadership, the Housing Authority was able to transform underperforming departments into high performing ones, based on measurable key performance indicators and compliance audits. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Hampton University.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

An Ode To A Roosevelt Island Childhood From Another Time And Place - Fond Memories From A Kid Who Grew Up On The Rock In The 1980's, Not The Same Now But Still His Happy Place

Greg Goodman was born and raised on Roosevelt Island. All grown up, Mr Goodman is a phtographer, traveller and helps:

... entrepreneurs build kickass personal brands...
Mr. Goodman shares his memories of a Roosevelt Island childhood from another time and place. He writes:
I grew up on a small island in the middle of New York City.
Roosevelt Island is like the Oreo filling between Manhattan and Queens.
It’s 2.5 miles long and smack-dab in the middle of the East River.
You can’t miss it.
Yet, if you ask any New Yorker, they’ve probably never heard of it.
You mean Randall‘s Island?
No, that’s where the concerts are.
You mean Governors Island?
No, that’s the Coast Guard Island.
You mean Rikers island?
No, that’s the prison.
🚡The one with the Tram.
It’s also the one with …
Ruins of a smallpox hospital.
The FDR memorial.
Cornell Tech’s futuristic campus.
An old, haunted farmhouse.
The free red bus
Cherry blossoms every April(ish)
Amazing skyline views at every step
I’ve traveled the world — Roosevelt Island is still the place I most want to go back to.
Roosevelt Island is my happy place.
It’s home — even though I haven’t lived there in 13 years.
When you walk the outer rim of the island, it feels like The City is a world away.
I have so many timeless memories from every inch of that walk.
So many conversations and shenanigans with so many amazing friends over the years.
In the 1980s, the island was mostly grass, trees, parks, and nature.
There were only four buildings, one street, a free red bus, and a narrow drawbridge to let cars on and off.
You needed a pass to park on the street. These large, colorful pieces of paper could be obtained from a booth near the bridge when you entered the island … or, from the public safety office.
You couldn’t have dogs because they didn’t want them pooping all over the place.
I got to ride an aerial cable car over the river to get to school every day.
Because of our proximity to the United Nations, we had countless dignitaries (and their kids) living on the Island.
On the southern tip, a tall, green, wooden fence blocked off a collection of dilapidated ruins. It was very easy to climb around the fence and explore the other side.
There was also an abandoned mental hospital called The Octagon. That was another favorite “haunted” place for us kids to sneak into. (Today, it has been converted into high-priced, luxury condos.)
On the northern end of the island, an old lighthouse was surrounded by majestic weeping willow trees. Countless picnics, bbq’s, family events, reunions, and other gatherings have been held there.
Each year, the Island hosted a Halloween parade. Kids of all ages dressed up, marched down the street, and bobbed for apples at the end.
Later that night, the street inevitably hosted an epic egg fight that left it stinking for days.
We also had:
Little league parades
Day camps and after school programs
A public elementary school (I was there from K-3)
An ice cream shop and candy store
An incredibly dirty grocery store
A Chinese restaurant with an ever-changing name
Sketchy pop-up carnivals by the tram
Playgrounds that left splinters in your hand after each visit
An always-evolving selection of trains and schedules (Q, S, N, R, F …)
Grandpa Munster smoking a cigar and scaring kids
The Capri Pizzeria - home to Italian ices and sugar water drinks
A restaurant that got busted for selling drugs. (As a kid, I always thought they put these drugs in the hamburgers so you would get addicted and come back for more)
And, most dear to my heart, the
Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance
For 10 years, I acted in a collection of musicals and dramas.
In my spare time, I served as stage manager and assistant sound booth operator.
More than any other experience in my life, MST&DA gave me self-confidence, self-esteem, courage, and a purpose. I truly made me a better person. Thank you thank you thank you to
and Worth.
The Island is quite different these days.
The mixed-race, mixed-income, nature-filled utopia that I grew up in has been replaced by something that feels similar to the rest of the city.
Open, overgrown fields have been replaced by an ever-increasing number of overpriced condos.
Local drug stores and restaurants have been replaced by Duane Reade, Subway, and Starbucks.
My friends are long gone, though my mom still lives there.
And yet, it’s still my happy place.
Roosevelt Island

Rep the Roc.
More of Greg Goodman's Roosevelt Island photography at Adventures Of A Goodman.

Sponsored Post - Celebrating Roosevelt Island Nature With 3 Fascinating Free Virtual Talks Presented By iDig2Learn March 24,25 & 26 - Native & Urban Trees Of Roosevelt Island, Ants, Super Cool & Making Paella With Coqui The Chef, Plants Behind The Dish

iDig2Learn is Celebrating Roosevelt Island's Nature with an upcoming series of three fascinating free virtual talks next week and you're invited to attend.

Wednesday, March 24th - 7pm - 8pm Reacquainting Yourself with the Native & Urban Trees of Roosevelt Island with Carey Russell 
REGISTER in advance using this link & to receive an email with Zoom meeting details:

Carey Russell is the host of The Dendro Lab, an online course and soon to be podcast focused on dendrology (the study of trees). He holds a masters degree in landscape ecology and is a certified master naturalist and licensed outdoor guide in New York State. As a naturalist, Carey has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Khangai Nuruu National Park of Mongolia. While as a filmmaker, he’s a frequent collaborator with director Terrence Malick, and directed the documentary series Tibetan Stories. Currently, he is at work on a photography series titled Literary Landscapes, which documents the natural histories of real landscapes captured in literary fiction, including: Watership Down and My Side of the Mountain. He lives in New York City where he can often be found botanizing in Central Park.  

Thursday, March 25th - 11am to Noon Ants. Super cool. Guest Speaker Chris Johnson from the American Natural History Museum.
RSVP "Ants" to for GoToMtg link
Christine Johnson is the Curatorial Associate in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History, where her focus is to care for and digitize (database & image) the millions of preserved invertebrate specimens in the collection for use by researchers and the public. Originally arriving in NYC to study ballet, her work on social insects focuses on understanding interactions between ant social parasites and their hosts, specializing on raider ants. Away from NYC she conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Helsinki, the Catholic University of Leuven and Ohio State University; back in NYC she is a member of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and has been active in the community garden scene, especially in East Harlem.

Friday, March 26th 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM Just in time for National Paella Day. A deep dive into Paella with Coqui the Chef - the plants behind the dish. One guest will win a free cooking class.
RSVP "Paella" to for Zoom link
Coqui the Chef is a social enterprise with a mission to teach the importance of food culture and eating smart.  We explore all types of food from all over the world. We enjoy teaching how food can be your passport to an amazing culinary experience.  Tania Lopez, founder of Coqui the Chef is listed in the New York Magazine's "The Strategist" as the Best Online Cooking Classes.  Make Food Your Passport!
Learn more about Roosevelt Island based iDig2Learn at their website, Twitter Feed and Instagram Page.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Candidate To Represent Roosevelt Island And UES In NYC Council District 5 Kim Moscaritolo Meets And Speaks To RI Residents At Farmers Market Last Saturday - Watch Video Interview Of What She Has To Say

Kim Moscaritolo 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 Moscaritolo was at the Farmers Market last Saturday. I spoke with Ms Moscaritolo about her campaign and issues of concern to Roosevelt Island residents. Here's what she had to say.

Learn more about Ms Moscaritolo at her campaign website.

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