Saturday, May 22, 2021

US Marine Osprey Aircraft Spotted Flying Over East River And Roosevelt Island Today

The Twitterverse reported this afternoon:

The two Marine Osprey aircraft were spotted flying over the East River this afternoon from Roosevelt Island too.

A Roosevelt Island resident adds:

I'm so glad you got this picture. I was really wondering about these planes as they flew by our place. What was particularly striking was that they were clearly flying in close formation as your photo clearly shows
According to the US Marine Corps:

V-22 Osprey 

Primary function: Amphibious assault transport of troops, equipment and supplies from assault ships and land bases.

Manufacturer: Bell Boeing

Description: The V-22 Osprey is a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, medium lift, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tilt-rotor aircraft designed for combat, combat support, combat service support, and Special Operations missions worldwide. It will replace the Corps' aged fleet of CH-46E and CH-53D medium lift helicopters.

Unit Replacement Cost: Unit Cost (FY05 $ TY Unit Recurring Flyaway Costs): $71.3M 

Mission: Marine Corps Assault Support... 

Here's a closer look at the V 22 Osprey

and flying over the East River by downtown Manhattan during 2011 Fleet Week.

UPDATE 1/6/22 - Spotted today too.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Take A Virtual Tour Of Big Reuse Queensbridge Compost Processing Site Where Roosevelt Island, Queens & B'klyn Food Scraps Are Turned Into Compost - But For How Long, NYC Parks Plans To Evict Big Reuse Compost Site By End Of June

The locally based volunteer group Haki Compost Collective (Haki) organized and manages the Roosevelt Island Food Scrap Drop Off Site located every Saturday in front of the Rivercross buiiding next to the Farmers Market. 

Last Sunday, Haki brought a group of Roosevelt Island residents to the Big Reuse Queensbridge Compost Processing Center on Vernon B'lvd under the Queensboro Bridge for a tour to see how the food scraps 

collected on Roosevelt Island 

are turned into compost.

Haki volunteer Danika Lam reports:

During our most recent field trip to the Queensbridge Compost Processing Site, Lou from @BigReuse and his trusty sidekick Rocky, @AstoriaPug, took Roosevelt Island residents along the journey their food scraps take from fully formed corn cob and pineapple crown to nutrient-rich compost. Top of mind in the discussion was, of course, the looming eviction at the hands of @NYCParks.

I arrived late for the tour but Big Reuse Compost Manager Lou and Rocky gave me a tour of the Compost Facility too.


After the tour, Lou reported that NYC Parks Department plans to evict Big Reuse from the site at the end of June.

Ms Lam adds:

The Queensbridge Compost Processing Site is absolutely vital to composting on Roosevelt Island. 

It is only thanks to our partnership with Big Reuse that Haki Compost Collective was able to bring back our community's food scrap drop-off site in September 2020 and collect the high volume of food scraps that residents contribute every Saturday--over 1,000 pounds and growing. 

Local community composting sites make the most sense in terms of logistics, sustainability, and community education and engagement. The City should be expanding community composting, not evicting our world-class processing sites.

According to Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors (GRIN) founder Anthony Longo:

BIG Reuse makes, by far, the best use of that small space under the bridge. They built something of value for the neighborhood, for the city and for the earth. The compost site should be used as the blueprint for how to compost in an urban setting. It is self-serving and short sighted for the Parks department to continue eviction threats. They have blatantly disrespected the people who do this important work as they try to push for their parking lot with hypocritical justifications. There is nothing they, or anyone else, can put in that spot that is more valuable then the BIG reuse Compost site.

and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico supports composting efforts by Big Reuse: 

Making the conscious action of collecting your food scraps each week and dropping them for the compost program could eliminate 1/3 of NYC’s waste stream. Of every sustainable action available to individuals this is one where the outcome is known because that valuable compost returns to our neighborhood landscapes, gardens and houseplants, but you need a place to process it like Big Reuse,

The Big Reuse Queensbridge Compost Processing Facility serves Queens and Brooklyn neighborhood food scrap programs in addition to Roosevelt Island.

I asked the NYC Parks Department:

According to Big Reuse, NYC Parks intends to evict Big Reuse from the facility at the end of June so the Parks Department can use the space for vehicle parking. At the end of last December, Big Reuse was given a 6 month extension to stay until June 2021 but since that time there has been no discussion or negotiations between Big Reuse and the Parks Department about the Queensbridge Compost facility. 

Does the Parks department intend to evict Big Reuse from Queensbridge compost facility?

Why does Parks department want to evict Big Reuse from the facility?

Has there been any discussion or negotiation between Parks and Big Reuse to extend their agreement for Compost facility beyond June 2021. 

Or find a suitable alternative site?

If not, why no discussion on subject?
A NYC Parks Department spokesperson replied:
We are ardent supporters of composting to support the sustainable management of parks across our system. In accordance with the 2014 decision in Raritan Baykeeper v. City of New York, we are working to bring composting in our parks up to date by ensuring only park waste is processed on parkland, rather than including consumer and regional waste.
Here is link to the December 20, 2013 Raritan decision cited by the NYC Parks Department and December 18,2020  Parks Department press release on subject.
Manhattan Community Board 8, which represents Roosevelt Island, passed this April 21 resolution supporting the Parks Department extending license agreement with Big Reuse for the Queensbridge Compost Processing Center.
Yesterday, Big Reuse reported:
Exciting news!  Legislation was just introduced, at the state level, to clarify that community composting is an acceptable use of Parks land.  Makes sense right?  Our site makes compost with Parks' leaves to use in Parks utilizing public support and volunteers. 
  • If you are part of an organization that supports community composting - please sign on this support letter ASAP!!
Also - NYC Bar Association issued a statement supporting our community compost sites and our ability to stay on Parks land! 

There has been a lot of other composting news over the last month - Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the gradual return of curbside composting through a brand new opt in curbside compost program and the expansion of the current Food Scrap Drop Offs program to 200 sites.  Big Reuse currently collects from 40 of the drop offs.         

Unfortunately - Parks still has not renewed our license for our Queenboro Bridge community composting site, which expires June 30 - in 40 days!  And our sites provide a large % of the composting utilized by the Food Scrap Drop Offs.  Look for more ways you can help us stay shortly!

Also, Parks is still pushing out Lower East Side Ecology Center from their community composting site.  Big Reuse continues to work with an amazing coalition of organizations - NYPLI, NRDC, NYC EJA, Save Our Compost Coalition to fight to save NYC community composting sites. 

The main rationale Parks legal counsel has offered for evicting composting sites from parkland is that community composting of residential food waste was not allowed under state "alienation" public trust doctrine, which states parkland can not be used for non park purposes.  Our sites compost Park's leaves provides; compost to Parks, street trees, and community gardens; and activate hundreds of volunteers annually - we feel our sites were not alienation of Park land.  

The NYC Bar Association letter and action at State Legislature seek to correct Parks erroneous interpretation of alienation.
 Stay tuned for more.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket May 21- May 27 Memorial Day Savings, Product Offerings & Grill Like A Pro Special Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Option, Digital Coupons & 30 Day Health Challenge Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket      


invites you to check out their May 21 - May 27 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, May 20, 2021

Sad News, Pioneering Female NYPD Detective, Rivercross Resident And Long Time Roosevelt Islander Mary Eileen Fitzgerald Passed Away May 19 At 98 Year Of Age - A Woman Of Distinction, Condolences To Her Family, NYPD Colleagues, Friends & Neighbors

Sad news to report. Long time Roosevelt Island resident and pioneering member of the New York Police Department Mary Eileen Fitzgerald passed away yesterday. According to her obituary provided by the John Krtil Funeral Home: 

Mary Eileen Fitzgerald (January 17, 1923 - May 19, 2021)

On May 19, 2021 Mary Eileen Fitzgerald, pioneer resident of Rivercross, passed on to her reward at 98 years of age. After signing a lease in 1976, she eventually moved into Rivercross. At that time Mary was still working for the New York Police Department (N.Y.P.D.). In 1952 she was sworn into the Department and was considered a pioneer in the field of police work for women. In 1952 there were not many female officers serving the City of New York. She and the other policewomen were called trail-blazers. She herself had never seen or heard of women police prior to her entrance into the Police Department. A friend, referred to by Mary as her “angel friend”, encouraged her to take the entrance examinations which she met with success. Until approximately 1969 policewomen were not permitted to take promotional exams just because they were women. The only way women were given recognition for dedicated and professional police work was by appointment to the grade of Detective as a promotion, which Mary achieved. 

Mary was a life-time resident of New York City, having been born in the Bronx to parents who immigrated from Ireland. She was the only survivor of four children, and unfortunately her father died suddenly in 1938 in the heart of the Great Depression. With the values instilled by their father and with their wonderful mother at the helm, they survived the Depression. They had learned from both parents the values, the confidence, and the will to prepare them for life. They were taught by example always to “give back” to friends, their community and to great causes. 

After Mary retired from the N.Y.P.D. in 1983, she remained active in volunteer work on Roosevelt Island and also in Manhattan. She volunteered for the Cabrini Thrift Shop, the Homeless Shelter at Good Shepherd, the R.I. Historical Society, St. Frances Cabrini Parish and Byrd Coler Hospital Auxiliary. She also volunteered for Catholic Charities preparing layettes for needy mothers-to-be, at memorial Sloane-Kettering Hospital, the Mary Manning Walsh Home and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

 In 2018, Mary was recognized as a New York State Woman of Distinction by the New York State Senate. She is survived by her nephews, Peter, Mark, and Vincent; a niece, Jeanne; two grand-nieces, Lauren and Marissa Fitzgerald; and a grand-nephew, John Fitzgerald. The Quality of Mary’s Life was extended by her loving caregivers: Maritza, Blanca, Kamo, Shalini. 

Visitation will be at John Krtil Funeral Home on Sunday May 23, 2021 from 2pm-5pm & 7pm-9pm. Mass of Christian Burial 10AM on May 24, 2021 at St. John Nepomucene Roman Catholic Church (66th St & 1st Ave). Interment to follow at St. Raymond’s Cemetery Bronx, NY at 11:45AM 

*En lieu of flowers donations to the St. Francis of Assisi Breadline, which has been distributing food to the Homeless on a daily basis since 1930, may be sent to St. Francis of Assisi, 135 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001 #212-736-8500.

In 2018 Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano honored Ms Fitzgerald 

as a Woman Of Distinction.

Here's the June 27, 2018 Woman Of Distinction award ceremony for Ms Fitzgerald.

Ms Fitzgerald was truly an inspiring pioneer in so many ways. Condolences to her family, NYPD colleagues, friends and neighbors.
UPDATE 5/21: UPDATE 5/22:

Roosevelt Island Day Celebration Returns Saturday June 12 - Community Beautification Projects, Plantings, Art Installations Bike Repair, Free Giveaways & More Fun And Educational Activities For All

A welcome sign we're emerging from the Coronavirus Pandemic is the return of Roosevelt Island Day on Saturday June 12. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

It’s that time of year again, Roosevelt Island Day! Come out and join us for a day of beautification and celebration of Roosevelt Island on Saturday, June 12th, from 10 AM – 2 PM. 

Bring your family and friends to our fun, educational activities, located at Blackwell Plaza, the Meditation Lawn, and other areas throughout Main St. and learn more info from our local community organizations. Activities to include are:

  • Free giveaways
  • Island Beautification 
  • Plantings 
  • Art installations 
  • Bike Repair 
  • Free book swap 
  • Battery recycling drop-off and more!

If you are unable to attend, check out our live updates on Instagram (@rooseveltislandrioc). 

Kindly note that this is a socially distanced event and we encourage everyone to wear your face coverings, keep six feet in distance, and continue adhering to the NY Forward COVID-19 guidelines.

Roosevelt Island Day festivities were cancelled last year due to Coronavirus. 

Here are some scenes from the 2018 Roosevelt Island Day Celebration.

Have a great Roosevelt Island Day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts Distribute Food At RIDA Food Pantry And Deliver To Neighbors Who Can't Leave Their Apartments - RIDA Food Pantry Will Soon Need A New Roosevelt Island Home

Last Friday May 14, Roosevelt Island Troop 3001 Girl Scouts volunteered at the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) Food Panty 

currently located in the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center (546 Main Street).

According to Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3001 Co-Leader Aiesha Eleusizov:

The Girl Scout cookies we donated on Friday to the RIDA Food Panty is through the Girl Scouts of Greater New York’s Gift of Caring program, which enables Girl Scout Cookies to be purchased for donation to service organizations – a great way for people to support Girl Scouts’ entrepreneurial efforts while spreading joy to those in need. This year, all donated cookies—about 250,000 boxes—will be distributed to food pantries in NYC, recognizing the rising food insecurity caused by the economic effects of the pandemic. 9 Million Reasons - the organization that provides the food for Roosevelt Island's pantry - received 30 palettes of Gift of Caring donated Girl Scout cookies - who then distributed them to pantries all over NYC, including the ones we received here on Roosevelt Island.

On Saturday, May 8, girls from Troop 3001 also volunteered handing out Girl Scout cookies 

at the 9 Million Reasons pantry in Queens. 

The Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts distributed food in the Roosevelt Island Food Pantry

 and made deliveries for those unable to leave their homes. 
I spoke with RIDA Food Pantry organizer Wendy Hersh, Girl Scout Troop 3001 Co-Leader Yitza Martinez and Girl Scout Emily Eleusizov last Friday. Here's what they had to say.


Ms Hersh reported that the Senior Center will soon be re-opening so the Food Pantry will have to vacate the Senior Center space it has been using since the Coronavirus Pandemic began. 

Will the Roosevelt Island Food Pantry be able to continue operating and serving the community? According to Ms. Hersh:

... We're looking for some spot that we can move into to keep the Pantry going...

Ms Hersh added that they are also looking for some strong volunteers to help with loading and unloading boxes of food. If you're interested in volunteering at the Roosevelt Island Food Pantry, please contact Ms Hersh.

Yitza Martinez shares more photos of the Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts volunteering at the Evangel 9 Million Reasons Food Pantry and RIDA Food Pantry.

Ms Hersh adds: 

Great Pantry Day ...having the girl scouts assist us this evening was such a blessing.


Thanks to Maria Carrante for her generous donations today of bread and pastry from Martha's Country Bakery on Ditmars Blvd in Astoria. 

What a treat!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp President Susan Rosenthal Wins Discovery Motion In Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Ordering RIOC To Hand Over Info About Her Firing And Safety Hazards Of RI Steam Tunnels, Files 2nd Lawsuit Too - RIOC Board Meeting In Executive Session Today To Discuss Pending Litigation

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced yesterday:

Please take notice that an emergency meeting of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 at 5:30 P.M., via videoconference.

According to the May 18 RIOC Emergency Board Meeting Agenda, the sole item to be discussed is pending litigation. This discussion will be conducted in Executive Session, closed to the public.

Although not confirmed, it is likely that the pending litigation to be discussed at today's emergency RIOC Board meeting is the wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former RIOC President Susan  Rosenthal

against RIOC, members of NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive staff and individual members of the RIOC Board of Directors.

As reported October 23, 2020:

According to this June 20 statement from Rich Azzopardi, Senior advisor to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo:

A complaint was made to the Governor’s office and others on June 12th by an employee of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation that alleged that the President of the organization had u‎sed inappropriate language and engaged in inappropriate conduct in the workplace.

This complaint was immediately referred to the New York State Governor’s Office of Employee Relations for investigation. This investigation substantiated that the President had used racially and sexually offensive language, in clear violation of State policy and the strict standards set by this Administration. The President was Immediately terminated.

The specific allegations made by the employee are contained in an email shown at this prior post)

Ms Rosenthal has remained silent until now.  On October 19 Ms.Rosenthal filed a lawsuit in NY State Supreme Court alleging wrongful termination. According to the lawsuit (Page 1-2):

... Rosenthal, until her abrupt and improper termination on June 19, 2020, was the President of the Roosevelt  Island Operating Corporation ("RIOC", or "Respondent"). A long time, fierce advocate for civil rights and, more recently, a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement Rosenthal, a white female, brought an increased level of racial diversity to RIOC over her more than five year tenure as President. It is thus both ironic and tragic that Respondents blindly accepted the malicious, false and baseless allegations of racism and using sexist language from a known malcontent employee (the "Employee"). 

Rushing to announce their decision to terminate Petitioner on Juneteenth, Respondents conducted a brief, sham investigation which ignored irrefutable evidence that the allegations were nonsense. Had the Respondents conducted a good faith investigation, they would have quickly come to that conclusion. Instead, not only did Respondents terminate Rosenthal in violation of their own internal policies, but they did so with a public announcement which had the anticipated effect of besmirching a more than 45 year long exemplary career. 

In short, in order to obtain some cheap publicity on Juneteenth, they arbitrarily, maliciously and in violation of law threw Rosenthal under the proverbial bus. By this special proceeding, Rosenthal seeks reinstatement, back pay, attorneys' fees and damages. 

Also (Page 9):

... When she was hired in 2015, Rosenthal was warned by RIOC management of a 'cabal,' which included Employee, which targeted management and sought to oust them from RIOC. Roosenthal was told to be careful because of their propensity. Again further proving the axiom that no good deed goes unpunished, Rosenthal even supported the promotion and increased pay Employee enjoyed....

On May 14, 2021 Ms Rosenthal won a significant victory when her discovery motion seeking information which RIOC objected to providing was granted by the NY State Supreme Court. According to the Court decision, RIOC is ordered to produce to Ms Rosenthal (the Petitioner):

... 1. Copies of all recordings of Petitioner; 

2. Notes of any interviews with persons complaining about Petitioner; 

3. Drafts of the June 19, 2020 press release, and any communications relating to such press release; 

4. Communications concerning the decision to terminate Petitioner; 

5. Communications, including but not limited to emails, memos and status reports, from Petitioner or other RIOC employees, to government officials, concerning or referring to the steam tunnel on Roosevelt Island, and any documents reflecting the government’s reaction to those communications; and 

6. Communications, including but not limited to emails, memos and status reports, from Petitioner or other RIOC employees, to government officials, concerning or referring to the public health and safety hazards regarding the steam tunnel on Roosevelt Island, including but not limited to the reports from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc., and any documents reflecting the government’s reaction to those communications....

Below is copy of the May 14 decision.

Will RIOC, the Governor's staff and RIOC Directors decide to settle with Ms Rosenthal rather than produce what could be damaging information about the reasons for her firing last June 19?

Also, on April 27, 2021 Ms Rosenthal filed another lawsuit in NY State Supreme Court against RIOC, members of the Governor's Staff and members of the RIOC Board of Directors.

According to excerpts for the lawsuit:

... 2. Rosenthal, until her abrupt and improper termination on June 19, 2020, was the President and Chief Executive Officer of RIOC. Despite her exemplary record as a promoter of a diverse and equitable workplace over her more than five year tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer, Rosenthal was the subject of a malicious, false and baseless complaint of racism and use of sexist language on June 12, 2020 from a known malcontent employee (the “Employee”). The Albany Defendants immediately commenced an investigation which quickly showed that the allegations against Rosenthal were unfounded. 

3. That did not deter the Albany Defendants. The Governor’s Office was already motivated to “get” Rosenthal because she had repeatedly complained about a potentially catastrophic safety situation on Roosevelt Island. Rosenthal refused to accept the Governor’s Office’s determination to just sweep the problem under the rug and wrote and had delivered a detailed memo highlighting the issue. As a result of Rosenthal’s repeated demands upon the Governor’s Office to take action on this issue, it was only then that the Albany Defendants decided to make the complaints against Rosenthal a basis for her termination. During the investigation of the unfounded complaint, the Albany Defendants purported to learn of audio tapes which supposedly contained the voice of Plaintiff making racist and sexually harassing statements. The Albany Defendants told Rosenthal of the supposed existence of the tapes but refused to allow her the opportunity to listen to them, a refusal which continues to this day. 

4. It now appears that none of the Defendants ever actually had possession of the tapes. They refuse to disclose who created the tapes, how and when they were prepared, on what type of device, all of the voices which were on the tapes, or any other identifying information. None of the Defendants made any effort to authenticate the tapes. Moreover, given the restrictions in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is likely that whatever it was that certain of Defendants claimed to have listened to was heard over a telephone or internet connection. 

5. Rosenthal denied that she had ever used the language as attributed to her. Instead of taking the time to conduct a fair and thorough investigation, or to even allow Rosenthal to listen to the audio tapes, the Albany Defendants rushed to announce their decision to terminate Rosenthal on “Juneteenth,” a date celebrating the end of slavery in America. Not only did Defendants terminate Rosenthal in violation of their own internal policies, but they did so with a public announcement which had the anticipated and intended effect of besmirching a more than 45 yearlong exemplary career.

6. Rosenthal’s termination violated federal, city and state law, including: 

a. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, New York State Human Rights Law and New York City Human Rights Law in that Rosenthal was treated differently because she is a Caucasian female; and

b. New York State Labor Law §740 in that Rosenthal’s termination was retaliation for complaining about a safety hazard on Roosevelt Island that an engineering report stated could have a “catastrophic” consequence. 

Below is copy of Ms Rosenthal's April 27, 2021 complaint filed in the NY Supreme Court.

RIOC has declined offers to comment on this matter.

Here's Ms Rosenthal speaking during the the February 8 2020 Roosevelt Island Black History Month Celebration at Gallery RIVAA.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Swimmers Ask Why Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool Unexpectedly Closed This Morning - FDNY Reports Drowning/Cardiac Arrest Incident At Pool Yesterday, Person Taken To Hospital, Condition Unknown At This Time - UPDATE, Sad News, Sportspark Swimmer Died

Roosevelt Island swimmers arrived at the Sportspark Pool this morning to find it closed. A tipster reported this morning:

I arrived at the pool this morning to find it closed. There was a line of people waiting to get in and only the sign below.

Rumors were spreading today of a drowning yesterday afternoon at the Sportspark Pool as the reason for its closing this morning.

According to a second Tipster:

Have you heard anything about a drowning in the pool yesterday? The pool was closed earlier and we have heard a mention of an incident (no details though).
And a third Tipster:
The rumor I heard about the pool is that someone drowned, a man in his 30s And that they need to do an investigation He was in one of the swim lanes when it occurred, another swimmer pulled him out.

In response to my inquiry, a NYC Fire Department spokesperson answered:

Units responded to 250 W. Main st at 17:21 hrs on 05/16 for a report of a drowning /cardiac arrest. Patient transported to Mt Sinai queens. No condition/pedigree

Hopefully, the person is getting better.

Earlier this morning, I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) why the Sportspark pool was closed this morning and if there was a drowning yesterday. No response yet. 

UPDATE 4 PM - Very sad news. According to RIOC President Shelton Haynes:

It is with great sadness that we confirm on Sunday, May 16th at approximately 5:25 p.m., a 21-year-old individual, who was utilizing Sportspark Pool, was rushed to Mount Sinai Queens where they were pronounced dead. 

 Chief Kevin Brown of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Public Safety Department responded to the incident, along with EMT, FDNY, and NYPD. RIOC is working in full support of an investigation being conducted by the NYPD and the Medical Examiner's office. Additionally, an internal review is being conducted by RIOC to learn and understand the facts surrounding this devastating incident. 

During this time, the thoughts, prayers, and condolences of everyone at RIOC are with the family, friends, and loved ones of this young person.

UPDATE 8:30 PM - RIOC adds: 

Please be advised that the Sportspark pool is currently closed until further notice. An update will be sent when the pool re-opens.

UPDATE 5/21 - The Sportspark Pool has been closed since the day after the drowning incident. 

Asked why the Sportspark Pool remains closed, RIOC responded with this Advisory:

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) is committed to the well-being of our community and is mindful of the role Sportspark Pool plays within it. We are also in support of our staff taking time and space to process Sunday’s traumatic event. In the interim, Sportspark Pool will remain closed pending RIOC’s effort to fully restaff the pool area.

In response to repeated inquires beginning June 2021, on March 16, 2022, a NYC Medical Examiners Office spokesperson reported:

Here is the determination made by the medical examiner for the May death.

Cause of death: Drowning due to cardiac arrhythmia possibly due to variants of undetermined significance in TRPM4 and ANK2 genes

Manner of death: Accident

RIOC refused to answer any questions. 

Roosevelt Island Community Health & Resources Fair Tuesday May 18 At Good Shepherd Plaza - Over 20 Agencies On Hand With Info On Services And Programs Available, Live Fitness Demos Too

According to the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) and Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center:

Please join us for Community Health and Resource Fair on Tuesday, May 18th! We will over 20 resource organizations at Good Shepherd Plaza to discuss their resources from 11 am-3 pm and live fitness demos every half hour.   

Sunday, May 16, 2021

RIOC Gives Very Short Notice Blacklist TV Program Filming On Roosevelt Island Tomorrow Removing Public Parking Spots For 2 Days Saying Filming Shines Light On Our Beautiful Island And Drives Commerce - Grandmother Says Children Put In Danger By Losing Parking For School Drop Offs And Pick Ups

Last Friday evening, May 14, at about 5:30 PM, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced that The Blacklist NBC TV show 

will be filming scenes Monday, May 17 on Roosevelt Island removing public parking areas used by Roosevelt Island residents, workers and parents of students attending PS/IS 217. According to RIOC: 

On Monday, May 17th, Sony Pictures Television will be filming portions of The Blacklist, NBC’s hit criminal mastermind drama starring James Spader and Megan Boone, from approximately 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM in various locations throughout Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) is proud to work with the film and television industry to not only shine a light on our beautiful island, but drive commerce as well. 

On Sunday, May 16th, production will be clearing and holding parking in advance of the shoot for equipment trucks and production vehicles in the following areas:

  • In front of and across the street from Foodtown between 10 River Road and 40 River Road
  • The west side of Main Street between 405 and 475, as filming will be taking place in and around Riverwalk Commons, Granny Annies, Duane Reade, and Piccolo Trattoria


In a letter addressed to Roosevelt Island residents, Woodridge Productions Inc. has emphasized that they “will make every effort to minimize [their] impact on the neighborhood and accommodate residents and businesses while filming.” You may view the full letter, attached.

Today, traffic cones were set up next to Riverwalk buildings reserving the public parking spots for The Blacklist filming.

Upon learning Friday evening of The Blacklist filming the following Monday, Roosevelt Island grandmother Raye Schwartz wrote to RIOC President Shelton Haynes:

Hello Shelton,

Once again, RIOC has not only dropped the ball but has endangered many children in the way this filming was announced to our community. There are two schools which bring children in to the island, either by school bus or parents driving them here in the morning and picking them up when the school day ends.

The area opposite Foodtown, starting at 10 River Road is adjacent to our public school 217, and because of social distancing requirements caused by the pandemic, parents cannot just drop the kids off at the front of the school, but must proceed to the west promenade behind the school. Thus the parents must park the car temporarily and escort the younger children to the back of the school yard. Same is true with the school busses. And I’m sure that you must have seen the trucks used by filming crews in many locations in our city…and they often will not pay attention to parking barriers. Further, there’s a string of school busses bringing kids from all over the city to the Child School next to the current 591 Main Street offices. These busses pull alongside 580 Main Street and next to the helix. We’ve had Sony Pictures here on the island many times, but we’ve also had enough notification to make necessary arrangements: remember Spiderman? And we often have had many other film and TV crews.

The fact that this notice was sent Friday night, suggests that the directors at either PS 217 and The Child School did not receive it early enough to make needed arrangements for modifications for ensuring safe arrival and dismissal of the students and faculty. Did your RIOC staff make any needed safety provisions? Will your Public Safety staff take time off from issuing parking tickets for the city and assist the schools? Based on this enclosed notice I would think probably not!

... And even if you aren’t the one who did this, you are the CEO of RIOC and the buck stops with you!

As of Sunday evening, there's been no response from Mr Haynes or anyone from RIOC to Ms Schwartz's concerns. 

UPDATE 5/17 - Roosevelt Island playing a stand in for Russia 

during Blacklist TV program filming today at Motorgate Plaza.

UPDATE 5/18 - There were no problems with the PS/IS 217 student drop offs and pick ups yesterday due to The Blacklist TV filming nearby and no reports of any significant disruptions caused either.