Saturday, June 5, 2021

Great News Says President Joe Biden, 31 Million People Now Enrolled In Affordable Care Act Have Health Insurance - Calls President Obama To Celebrate Obamacare, Watch The Conversation

More info from NY State and NYC on signing up for the Affordable Care Act health insurance.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Roosevelt Island Residents Gather Together At Meditation Steps For Vigil And Program To Remember May 25, 2020 Murder Of George Floyd - Organized By RIRA Public Safety Committee And Young Generation Of Roosevelt Island March For Justice Activists

A year ago yesterday, June 3, 2020, a group of young Roosevelt Island activists were among the organizers of an inspiring Roosevelt Island March For Justice from the Cornell Tech campus to Good Shepherd Plaza protesting the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

On Tuesday, May 25,2021 the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (PSC) together with two of the young March For Justice activists, Joie St. Hubert and Zoe Lopez, held a vigil and program at the Meditation Steps in memory of George Floyd's murder one year ago.

After the program, I asked the organizers, Joie St. Hubert, Zoe Lopez, Erin Feeley-Nahem, Ike Nahem, Frank Farance and another young resident, Dleanna H. what the Roosevelt Island George Floyd remembrance meant to them.

According to Joie St Hubert:

As a young black person in America, honestly, it gives me hope that these conversations are starting to be had and as much as we have not made as much progress as we wanted, the fact that conversations are slowly starting to happen, it encourages me.

And Zoe Lopez:

We're hopeful, we've made progress since last year. We'll make progress next year.

The only thing about being on the Island is you don't see these things happening. Obviously, being here we're a lot more sheltered which is why we need to have these conversations but it doesn't happen as much here. We're relatively safe in our little two mile radius and as soon as you go across the Tram it changes. 

 Joie St Hubert added:

I think it's beautiful that as a community we were able to come together and recognize that you know these awful things are going on and these injustices. We're able to as a community come together. To me that was really powerful.

Erin Feely-Nahem said:

... We need to keep the pressure on.  For us today, inspired by the actions that they had done last year, which we were unable to attend, we wanted to do something in conjunction together. Almost like handing over to the next activist the way forward. Being part of that and sharing that experience, it meant that our community was not only able to acknowledge that this is a reality but start to work together to fight against it.

It's also RIRA coming back....

And Ike Nahem:

...I've been involved in struggles like this since I was a teenager, since I was the age of some of these young activists so it it certainly gives me great satisfaction to see a new generation of young people becoming conscious and engaging in a struggle. 

The fact that we have a community here, that as these two young sisters just said, the fact that we are on Roosevelt Island have been able to push back because of the past struggles that took place seven years ago, now eight years ago, to win some advances that create more space and constitutional policing but it's a constant struggle...

And Frank Farance:

... Roosevelt Island should be an examplar for all of the things that have happened here, both bad and good. This is a model community for how it's done right....

... As someone who's grown up in the civil rights movement, I'll just say I thought we were making progress for many years. I feel like in the past year, past couple years, I didn't realize how fragile all the progress was that we made in the past 50 years, but I'm glad to be here on Roosevelt Island because this really is a model for elsewhere. ...

Zoe Lopez added:

Absolutely, like what you were saying, public safety works because it wasn't built on racism....

And Dleanna H:

It meant a lot to me because I went to the first protest that happened last year and now I'm at this one today and I just wanted to reflect on this past year. 

It really does mean a lot to see what changes, if there were changes, if there weren't changes, just evaluate and think about what has happened over the past year.

But think about these moments, these people who have died because of what is going on and just keep them in our hearts and in our heads and just think about and pray about them for the rest of our lives. This is a time to remember, especially for people of color, and just people out there, just to think about what has happened

Watch the full interview


and Joie St Hubert ending the program with a beautiful performance of Lift Every Voice, often referred to as the Black National Anthem.

Here's the entire May 25, 2021 Roosevelt Island Vigil and Program in Memory of George Floyd.

Sponsored Post - Get Your Fresh Strawberries Picked Today From The Wengerd Family Farm And More Healthy And Delicious Tasting Locally Grown Fruits And Vegetables Saturday At The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market is a beloved part of our community - a place to purchase locally grown, healthy and deliciously tasting fresh fruits, vegetables and other items at Good Shepherd Plaza. It's also a gathering spot to meet and talk with our neighbors. 

 Farmers Market vendor Israel Wengerd shares these photos of strawberries

picked today
from the Wengerd family farm

that will be available tomorrow at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market. 

Fresh strawberries are perfect for what is expected to be a hot summer day tomorrow. 

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

See you Saturday at Good Shepherd Plaza for the Farmers Market.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket June 4- June 10 Savings, Product Offerings & Dairy Month Special Items - Online Shopping, Delivery Option & Digital Coupons Too

The Roosevelt Island Foodtown Supermarket   

invites you to check out their June 4 - June 10 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, June 3, 2021

Big Reuse Delivers Truckload of Compost Made From Recycled Food Scraps & Wood Chips To Roosevelt Island Living Library Garden Today For Planting Of More Flowers And Vegetables - RIOC President Says Permanent Water Source For Living Library Will Be Installed Following Incident With RIOC Staffer

As previously reported, the Big Reuse Queensbridge Compost Processing facility which recycles food scraps collected from Roosevelt Island and many other neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn is scheduled to be evicted from it's site under the Queensboro Bridge by the NYC Parks Department at the end of this month.  

Today, Big Reuse delivered a truckload containing 9 cubic yards of compost from it's facility in Gowanus Brooklyn to the Roosevelt Island Living Library next to the new Public Library branch at 504 Main Street. 

Living Library Teacher and Gardener China Bushell explains that the Roosevelt Island Living Library is built on compost, no soil at all, and with the added compost, more flowers and vegetables can be planted in the garden.

This was a good day for Ms Bushell and the Roosevelt Island Living Library unlike May 20 which Ms Bushell described as " one of my worst days on Roosevelt Island."

On May 25, I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

I'm told last Saturday, a brutally hot day, the Living Library gardener attempted to use the Youth Center Water Connection for the plants and to save trees that were dying as she has done for several years in the past. According to the Gardener she was stopped from doing so by Erica Spencer-El who claimed the Gardener was trespassing and filed a complaint with Public Safety.
Is this true? Any comment from RIOC on the matter?

Ms Spencer-El is the RIOC Director of Communications and Community Affairs.

RIOC has not responded to my inquiry.

In response to Living Library Director Bonnie Sherk's email about this incident, RIOC President Shelton Haynes replied:

... I was made aware of the incident that occurred last week with regard to the request for water usage near the RIOC Youth Center. Please know it is always RIOC’s intention to have positive professional exchanges with Roosevelt Island community members, stakeholders and the public at large. As an update, we have plans to upgrade the area adjacent to the library which includes having a permanent water source. We anticipate that this project should be completed in the fall 2021. 

I have copied John O’Reilly, CFO on this correspondence as he will work with you and your team on a temporary solution for water access. We would also like to discuss some additional upgrades to the area that your group works in.

Lastly, Rosanna Ceruzzi inquired if there was an NYPD report filed on the matter. Our Public Safety leadership confirmed that there was no NYPD involvement or reports filed. Ms. Bushell, does not have any NYPD record that will need to be expunged. A member of the RIOC Public Safety department, who was assigned to the Youth Center that day was on the scene during the discussion. As part the requirement of the Public Safety department, he made an incident report in which all parties involved have to identify themselves....

More info about this incident at May 27 post.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Watch Today's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrating Opening Of Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Graduate Hotel - Panorama Rooftop Bar/Lounge Opening In July And Anything At All Ground Floor Restaurant Opening This Month

The Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel on the Cornell Tech campus opened for business yesterday

This morning, the Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel welcomed the Roosevelt Island community and guests with a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the hotel.

The Ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted by Graduate Hotel General Manager Bill Cutillo who said: 

It's my pleasure to welcome all of you today to this beautiful property. We gather to celebrate today the opening of the hotel.

It's the first hotel to open on this special Island. In a moment of promise and excitement for the future of New York City as a whole.

It's such a pleasure to gather with all of you to commemorate this incredible project and the future ahead. Today was a long time coming. Some of us have joined for this final stretch to bring the hotel to the market while many of you have perhaps lived here on the island for decades or have been involved with Cornell Tech since it's inception. We appreciate your passion and your dedication and we feel so lucky to be opening our doors here amid such a dynamic community, rich history and tradition 

We have an inspiring future ahead all with indisputably the best backdrop we can imagine. Each Graduate Hotel's property is anchored and celebrating the community within. This hotel is no different. From our decor which nods to all sorts of Island stories, some big and some small to our exciting food and beverage offerings and the activations that will bring the hotel to life. We hope you will continue to stop by and visit and we look forward to getting to know all of you here at Graduate Roosevelt Island and thank you again for joining us today

Additional speakers included:


The question everyone on Roosevelt Island is asking is when will the Rooftop Bar/Restaurant and Ground Floor Restaurant open?

We still don't have an exact opening date yet for either restaurant opening, but I am told that the Ground Floor restaurant is expected to open in the next 2 weeks and the Rooftop Bar/Restaurant sometime in July.

We did learn from Mr. Abrou that the name of the Ground Floor Restaurant is:

Anything At All
and the name of the Rooftop Bar/Restaurant  is:

Believe me, the name Panorama is right on target for the Rooftop Bar/Restaurant. The NYC skyline and East River waterfront views seen from the Panorama's rooftop are magnificent. As reported yesterday:

... Last Friday, I toured the Graduate Hotel and it looks fantastic. The ground floor will have an indoor restaurant with outdoor seating and a lobby area that is welcoming the Roosevelt Island community to sit,relax, eat, drink, chat and read.

The rooftop bar and restaurant is a site to behold. It reminded me of the old Rainbow Room on top of Rockefeller Center. The views are breathtaking....

... Here's a peek today at the lobby area and ground floor restaurant....


... residents will receive a $99 rate from June 1 – August 31, 2021 (plus applicable taxes and fees) and their friends & family can receive 10% off the hotel's Best Available Rate year round and that their apartment management firms will be sharing the booking code...

Long time Roosevelt Island resident Ross Wollen was a "staycation" guest for the first night at the Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel. Mr. Wollen reports:

We were delighted by the whole experience and look forward to when the Graduate has its restaurants and rooftop lounge open.

Our Junior Suite had a very interesting view - eye level to the very close Bridge traffic - not what we see from Rivercross. It must be said the extended Lobby and even the rooms strongly resemble a Museum and Library dedicated to Roosevelt Island and President Roosevelt, and alone are worth a visit. Our room was very commodious and every Graduate staff member we met was extremely gracious and helpful. The linens were wonderful.

I should add that our short trip to Granny Annie's for dinner was excellent too.

It was a wonderful trip wrapping up my Birthday Weekend.

The Twitterverse reported on today's Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel adds:
Graduate Hotels®️ is excited to announce that Graduate Roosevelt Island opens its doors on June 1, 2021. The 224-key, 18-story hotel opens as part of the Graduate Hotels collection at the Cornell Tech campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. Serving as the island’s first hotel, Graduate Roosevelt Island marks the brand’s 29th property and New York City debut. Located at 22 North Loop Road, the hotel offers a scholastic retreat in the middle of the East River with bright, modern spaces and breathtaking views of Manhattan, Queens and beyond.
Created for travelers who seek memory-making journeys, Graduate Hotels is a hand-crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic university-anchored towns across the country and expanding into the U.K. in summer 2021. Each property celebrates and commemorates the optimistic energy of its community, while offering an extended retreat to places that often play host to the best days of our lives.
“We’re thrilled to make our debut in New York with the first ever hotel on Roosevelt Island and proud to join the innovative Cornell Tech campus,” said Ben Weprin, founder and CEO of Graduate Hotels. “Each of our hotels are rooted in the communities they serve, and we took great care in creating a highly customized hotel experience that honors the island’s rich history and has an authentic connection to the Cornell Tech campus. Now more than ever, there is a new appreciation for exploring what’s in your own backyard and we look forward to welcoming locals and visitors looking to experience New York from a fresh and unexpected vantage point.”
Positioned at the entrance of the Cornell Tech campus, the hotel is architecturally designed by internationally renowned design firm, Snøhetta, and New York City-based hospitality-focused architecture firm, Stonehill Taylor, with interior design from Graduate Hotels’ in-house team. The interior design of the hotel blends Old School and New Age, taking inspiration from both the rich history of Roosevelt Island and the future of technology that the Cornell Tech campus embodies. The futuristic and functional meld to create a space that’s bright, open and always interesting.
Upon entering, guests are greeted with a custom 12-foot statement sculpture created by Hebru Brantley that reinterprets his iconic Flyboy character and a neon Graduate sign situated above the reception desk, which is a reimagined vintage apothecary cabinet. Nods to the island’s storied history can be seen through the corridor behind the front desk, which features a gallery of black and white photographs of the Roosevelt family. The spacious lobby is lined with 5,000 linear feet of textbooks and floor-to-ceiling windows to create a bright and airy space warmed up with Persian-inspired rugs, mid-century light fixtures and pops of Cornell Big Red hues throughout. The lobby is also home to the hotel’s full-service, all-day restaurant with a statement wraparound bar anchoring the space and a variety of inviting lounge seating.
Graduate Roosevelt Island boasts 224 spacious guest rooms and suites including a Presidential Suite spanning over 1,100 square feet and ideal for entertaining. Contrasting the modern architecture with warm design details, the guest rooms offer a familiar, residential experience paired with unrivaled views of the East River and Manhattan skyline. The décor plays with technology throughout the ages as seen through lamps with a Morse code of the Cornell fight song on the base, a neon light fixture inspired by a science project from a Cornell alum, floating glass desks and integrated audiovisual devices. Local elements and nods to Roosevelt Island are also incorporated throughout the guest rooms. Design highlights include benches upholstered with oil painting-like tapestry of Dutch colonial life, custom art pieces created by Matt Buchholz and Brooklyn-based artist Ashley Cunningham and a thoughtfully curated gallery wall showcasing unique pieces including portraits of prominent figures in the island’s history such as Nellie Bly and Mae West.
Food & Beverage
Los Angeles-based hospitality team and New York City natives, Med Abrous and Marc Rose of Call Mom are the exclusive food and beverage partners at Graduate Roosevelt Island, marking the duo’s homecoming and their third collaboration with Graduate Hotels, which also includes Graduate Seattle and Graduate Nashville. The hotel includes the full-service restaurant, Anything At All, on the ground level; The Panorama Room, an extraordinary indoor-outdoor rooftop bar and lounge with unobstructed, sweeping views of the city; and, over 3,000 square feet of onsite flexible meeting space all concepted and operated by Abrous and Rose.
Abrous and Rose have tapped a talented, female-led team including Executive Chef Ja’Toria Harper, Pastry Chef Lindsey Verardo and Beverage Director Estelle Bossy to oversee all food and beverage programs. Opening later in June, Anything At All will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Rooted in a vegetable-forward, farm-first approach to contemporary comfort food, the light-drenched indoor-outdoor space features a sustainable synergy between the kitchen and the bar whose playful, creative frozen drinks and seasonal spritzes will take center stage at brunch. In advance of opening, the ground floor restaurant offers a sneak peek of the menu with a selection of grab & go items available for takeout and delivery via ChowNow and DeliverZero, the innovative service which delivers food in reusable containers. Additionally, Rose and Abrous have partnered with Brooklyn’s Variety Coffee which will be served at the hotel in addition to the solar and battery-powered Poindexter Coffee Bike Cart that will be parked out front offering coffee and a curated selection of morning and afternoon grab-and-go items.
Situated atop the hotel, The Panorama Room, is the stunning 168-seat rooftop bar and lounge designed by James Beard Foundation Award-winning design firm, Parts and Labor Design. Opening in July 2021, the crown jewel of the property will evoke a sense of cinematic drama inspired by futurism creating a true destination for fashion-forward elegance in an intimate space all set against unobstructed city views.
"It's an inexplicable feeling to return to our hometown and have a hand in creating a bold, new destination within this great city," said Med Abrous and Marc Rose, founders and owners of Call Mom. "Alongside our longtime partners and collaborators at Graduate Hotels and the Roosevelt Island community, we can't wait to offer a sense of discovery as both locals and visitors experience our restaurant, bar, and spaces in between for world-class cocktails, inventive yet comforting dishes and enveloping hospitality."
The hotel’s third floor features a variety of distinct multi-use meeting and event spaces set against clear skyline views, offering the perfect venue for every occasion from weddings to off-site corporate meetings. This summer, Graduate Hotels has transformed its ballroom into a space for collaboration inspired by the iconic film BIG. Known as “The Loft” at Graduate Roosevelt Island, this pop culture moment creates an opportunity for families, local businesses and private groups to catch up on lost time in a space that sparks creative energy and taps into the power of nostalgia. “The Loft” is available for private bookings online here and families can join the fun at Family Saturdays this summer, a series of kid-friendly activities in partnership with PlayDay.
In 2011, Cornell won a city-sponsored competition to develop a tech and science campus on Roosevelt Island including a hotel that could serve visitors, students and the community. A selection committee of high-profile Cornell alums with ties to the hospitality and real estate industries selected Graduate Hotels for the project in 2016 for its ability to create a highly customized experience that would have a clear and authentic connection to the Cornell campus. Cornell Tech's Roosevelt Island campus opened fall 2017. When fully completed, the campus will include two million square feet of state-of-the-art buildings, over two acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.
Graduate Roosevelt Island proudly joins the cutting edge, eco-friendly Cornell Tech campus. The hotel furthers the campus’ ongoing commitment to sustainability through its LEED-rated architecture and the use of highly efficient materials and energy saving systems throughout the property. Graduate Roosevelt Island’s many sustainability initiatives include the LEED-certified architecture, use of recyclable materials, highly efficient heating, cooling and LED lighting systems, reduced water consumption, waste reclamation programs, healthy indoor air quality and more. The food and beverage operators are equally committed to creating environmentally conscious restaurant operations and culinary programs including: composting food scraps, recycling programs for restaurant waste, no single-use plastic products, minimizing food waste and purchasing sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients and products.

Easily accessible from the F Train, NYC Ferry and the Tramway, Graduate Roosevelt Island invites locals looking for a convenient getaway from the city and visitors curious to experience New York City from a new perspective. Rates start at $219 per night.
More info available at the Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel website.

Roosevelt Island Wildlife, No Bear Or Mountain Lion But Baby Rocky Raccoon Spotted Scampering Across Rivercross Lawn Today - Common Sense Tip From Wildlife Freedom Foundation, Do Not Try To Chase Or Shoo The Raccoon Away

The Roosevelt Island twitterverse reports a raccoon scampering across Rivercross lawn today.

The Wildlife Freedom Foundation (WFF) replied with wise advice.

The Roosevelt Island based WFF is a:
... non-profit 501c(3) organization specializing in the rescue and placement of pets, wildlife rehabilitation of injured birds and mammals and advocating to protect, preserve wildlife in New York City. We are registered with the State Of New York, Dept. Of Agriculture And Markets, Registration No.: RR350.

More info on WFF available at their website.

Roosevelt Island does have our share of NYC wildlife. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about bears roaming our parks and streets.

Or mountain lions. 


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Graduate Hotel On Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Campus Opened Today, Take A Peek Inside At The Welcoming Lobby - Rooftop Bar & Restaurant Will Be Spectacular, But Not Opening Until Later This Summer

The Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel on the Cornell Tech campus opened for business today.

Last Friday, I toured the Graduate Hotel and it looks fantastic. The ground floor will have an indoor restaurant with outdoor seating and a lobby area that is welcoming the Roosevelt Island community to sit,relax, eat, drink, chat and read.

The rooftop bar and restaurant is a site to behold. It reminded me of the old Rainbow Room on top of Rockefeller Center. The views are breathtaking.

Neither restaurant is open yet. The ground floor restaurant is expected to open soon with the rooftop area opening later this summer.

Here's a peek today at the lobby area and ground floor restaurant.

As previously reported, Roosevelt Island:

... ... residents will receive a $99 rate from June 1 – August 31, 2021 (plus applicable taxes and fees) and their friends & family can receive 10% off the hotel's Best Available Rate year round and that their apartment management firms will be sharing the booking codes....

Meal Plan is the operator of the Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel restaurants and lists job opportunities here.

Monday, May 31, 2021

On Memorial Day, We Honor Men And Woman Of US Military Who Died Protecting Our Freedoms And Serving Our Country

Please take some time today on Memorial Day to honor the men and women of the United States Military who died while serving our country as well as their families.

According to

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer...

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves...
Today's Memorial Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.