Saturday, July 24, 2021

Roosevelt Island Resident Judy Berdy Honored By NYC Health & Hospitals Corp For Service To Coler Long Term Care Community With Marjorie Mathews Award, Congrats And Well Done

Roosevelt Island resident Judy Berdy was among the recipients yesterday of the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp 2021 Marjorie Mathews Awards for her service to the Coler Long Term Care facility.

According to Ms Berdy:

I had the honor to receive a Marjorie Matthews Award today for service with the Coler Community Advisory Board and the Coler Auxiliary. The ceremony was held at the Queens Hospital Center.

There are over 500 volunteers who work on these committees to make our municipal hospitals better serve all the residents of New York City,

Watch Coler CEO Robert Huges introduce Ms Berdy at the awards ceremony followed by a few remarks by Ms Berdy.

Congrats Judy Berdy and well done.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Roosevelt Island Gallery RIVAA Opening Reception For New Summer Splash Painting Exhibition Saturday July 24 Featuring Large Scale Works By Local Artists - Sunday July 25 Jazz Jam At Gallery RIVAA Too

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA (527 Main Street) is hosting a July 24 opening reception for it's new Summer Splash Painting exhibition Saturday, July 24 from 6-9 PM. You're invited.

Summer Splash Painting features large scale works by artists Laura Hussey, Valeriu Boborelu and Ioan Popoiu.

Also on July 25 from 2:30-5:30 at Gallery RIVAA there will be a jazz jam session with Susheel Kurien and local musicians. It is free and all are welcome

Masks are required for all who are not vaccinated.

Senator Chuck Schumer Meets With Roosevelt Island And Upper East Side Community Leaders Hosted By NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright - Describes January 6 As Best And Worst Of Times, Trump Is Despicable, Vile And Always Appeals To The Dark Side Says Schumer

Roosevelt Island community activists were among those attending the community meeting with Senator Schumer.

According to a press release from Assembly Member Seawright:

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright today held a special district meeting with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for community leaders of the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island. 

The meeting with the New York senior senator at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House was arranged by Seawright to hear from the Senator on federal aid for tenants, small businesses, transportation, health and other vital issues of community concern. Attendees included advocates, activists, non-profit representatives, local school leaders, and local hospital healthcare officials. 

"We owe a debt of gratitude to Majority Leader Schumer who has been tireless in securing direct economic support to enable our communities to rise, unite and fight back from COVID-19," said Seawright.

Seawright thanked Senator Schumer for fighting for economic impact payments, federal pandemic unemployment compensation, enhanced child tax, and earned income tax credits, two of the most potent and effective anti-poverty tools the U.S. government provides.

"As we continue the recovery from the pandemic, we want to ensure that our district is on the pathway to a thriving Upper East Side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island, " she said.

Activists spent more than an hour sharing opinions and posing questions on local concerns.

Before addressing local community issues, Senator Schumer described his experience of January 6, beginning with the election of 2 Democratic Party Senators from Georgia, becoming Senate Majority Leader and ending in the attack and insurrection by supporters of President Trump at the Capital. 

According to Senator Schumer:

 ... As a nation January 6 could be described, at least from my point of view, by the opening line in Charles Dickens novel A Tale Of Two Cities,  the best of times the worst of times.

You may remember that January 5th was our election day in Georgia where we had two Democratic senators if they won, we knew we'd get back to a Democratic majority. Well, I was very nervous, I stayed up all night watched the results  Tuesday night bled into Wednesday morning.

I'm on the computer at 2 a.m. What's the results in Chatham county, how many African-American turnout was there in Dekalb county. Finally at 4 00 a.m in the morning, it's clear that we've won and we would gain the Democratic majority. 

I would replace Mitch McConnell as the majority leader...

... you probably asked yourself the same question I asked myself. How could 74 million people vote for such a despicable human being as Donald Trump and I don't care if you're a liberal or a conservative Democrat or Republican, he is a vile man, he is dishonest, he is divisive. That's what he loves to do, just divide and have people fighting with each other. He's a racist and he always appeals to the dark side of human nature which he's very good at unfortunately. 

How did they vote for him and I realized that for too many Americans they no longer had faith in the American dream. We are a bright sunny optimistic country or have been but in the last 20 years or so a sourness has overtaken our land and people don't have faith in that American dream. If you ask the average American what is the American dream to you  they say it means if I work hard I'll be doing better 10 years from now that I'm doing today and my kids will be doing still better than me.

When people don't believe that, they can turn to a demagogue and that's what they did to some extent in 2020. We didn't give them a bold strong vision. Middle class and the people struggling to get to the middle class don't expect us to snap our fingers and make all their troubles go away but they expect to see progress. Our mission and moral was to restore that progress and hope, so they would never turn to a demigod like they did in 2016 and almost did in 2020. So those were my feelings, joy but awe. 

I can't sleep. I get in the car at 7 30 in the morning, drive down to Washington and get on the floor of the Senate for the first time as the putative majority leader. At 1 pm we're counting the votes as you may remember and within an hour before even giving my first speech a police officer in a bulletproof vest with a submachine gun strapped across his waist grabs me firmly by the collar. I'll never forget that feeling and says Senator you're in danger. You got to get out of here.

He had to explain to me what the danger was. You may have seen this because the video security cameras overhead caught it and they showed it at the impeachment trial. First time I saw. But they show me walking out the Senate chamber door turning to the right. I'm walking briskly with police officer on either side go through the door, you don't see me for 20 seconds and then 20, 25 seconds later we're running out the door at full speed.

I was within 20 feet of these insurrectionists horrible people, these racist insurrections, insurrectionist bigots. Had one of them had a gun, had two of them blocked off the door, lord knows what would have happened. One of them was reputed to point at me and say there's the big Jew let's get him. Worst of times. Now we're getting back to the better of times, they've arrested about half of those who invaded the capital...

Stay tuned for more on the meeting with Senator Schumer and discussion of local community issues.

UPDATE 7/24 - Here's video from the Roosevelt Island & Upper East Side community meeting  with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Part 1 - Introduction and description of best and worst of times from January 6.

Part 2 and 3 are questions from community members and response from Senator Schumer.

UPDATE 7/26 - In response to a question from an Upper East Side restuarant owner (17 minute 14 second mark of Part 3 video), Senator Schumer says he is a strong supporter of small business and describes his experience as a young man trying to collect an overdue bill from a landlord refusing to pay for services provided by his father's small exterimantor's business.

UPDATE 7/26 - Roosevelt Island residents Matt Katz and Joyce Short were among those asking questions of Senator Schumer. The Senator interrupted Mr Katz's question by saying he has ridden his bicycle from Brooklyn thru Queens to Roosevelt Island and will do so again. Mr Katz asked Senator Schumer about Roosevelt Island governance:

... On Roosevelt Island where we live we have been activists. We have had an issue with the voting rights and American democracy. We are denied it. 

We are part of New York City. We vote for our City Councilman, Borough President but they do not make the decisions...

...We are run by a New York State Public Benefit Corporation ... appointed by the Governor.... That's not American democracy as i understand it...

... My question is we would love to sit with your staff to give them a fuller picture of what's going on on Roosevelt Island  because American democracy starts in the local community.

Senator Schumer replied:

Many of these questions will be state and local issues and while I'm not directly involved I have indirect involvement because i helped ...  I got the state 23 billion dollars, I got the City 6 billion and the MTA so they sometimes, not always, but sometimes, listen to me so I'll be happy to listen to you and weigh in.

Joyce Short asked about domestic violence and a federal law defining consent in the context of sexual assault.

Be Part Of A Smart Sustainable Solution, Volunteer With Roosevelt Island Haki Compost Collective Food Scrap Drop Off Site - Greet New Friends, Training Session Saturday July 24

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 building (531 Main Street).

next to the Farmers Market.  

According to the Haki Compost Collective:


All are welcome. Interested in learning more about compost? Want to be part of a smart sustainable solution? Every Saturday from 9am to 2pm neighbors volunteer next to the farmers market at the food scrap drop off bins in short shifts meeting and greeting new friends. If you have never done a shift before, you're cordially invited to this Saturday's 7/24 training session at 10:30am (please RSVP to

If you don't have time for this Saturday's training, let us know and we can schedule a different day for you. All the best, Corinna on behalf of the Haki Compost Collective

Last June 19, the Big Reuse Compost Bike Tour visited Roosevelt Island and learned about Haki Compost Collective's Roosevelt Island Food Scrap drop off site from Haki volunteer Christina Delfico .

Thursday, July 22, 2021

RIDA Hosts Roosevelt Island Disability Fair Yesterday Afternoon Providing Info And Resources For All Ages And Types Of Disabilities From More Than A Dozen Agencies

The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) with help and support from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Carter Burden Network Roosevelt Island Senior Center hosted a Disability Fair for all ages and types of disabilities yesterday afternoon at Good Shepherd Plaza.

Despite some initial rain and thunder, the weather cleared, rain stopped and Roosevelt Island residents came out to the fair to learn about available resources and info.

RIDA President Wendy Hersh tells us about the Roosevelt Island Disability Fair (Photos by Irina Hage):

... During the pandemic a lot of people's disabilities came more to the surface but even before that we have a large population of people with disabilities living here and very few resources so we've been wanting to do this for a while.
We have  all different agencies that service people with disabilities. We have mental health, we have substance abuse, we have hearing loss and visually impaired, we have case management, we have Access VR 
where I work which helps students up to whatever age and adults who want to go back to work. We help them get training at work.
We have YAI which deals with people with developmental disabilities. 
The politicians are here, Senator Serrano's office

and Ben Kallos'. The Fortune Society is here who have an array of services for people with disabilities or without disabilities who have criminal justice involvement. We have an agency that deals with Alzheimer's disease and we  have two visually impaired agencies here....   
It's a good combination of people... 


Organizations attending the Roosevelt Island Disable Fair include:

Access VR

Brooklyn Center For Independence Of The Disabled  

Carter Burden Network Senior Centers

Child School 

Concepts of Independence

Disabled Association Support For Seniors & Homebound  (DASH) 

Fortune Society

Hearing Loss Association on NY 


New York State Commission for the Blind 

NYC Commission on Human Rights 

 National Rehabilitation Association (NRA) 

Office of Emergency Management Services 

NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

 Roosevelt Island Disabled Association 

NY State Senator Jose Serrano 


Visiting Nurse Services of NY- Pears- 


More pictures of the RIDA Disability Fair here from Irina Island Images.

Sponsored Post - Advantage Day Camp Summer 2021 City Fun For City Kids At The Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, Swimming, Sports, Enrichment Classes, Art Activities, STEAM Projects, Lunch & More - Flexible Daily & Weekly Options For Busy Families, Schedule A Tour, We'd Love To See You

The Advantage Day Camp at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club Summer Fun 2021


Your camper will get a fantastic summer camp experience right here in NYC! On the West Side at Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club or East Side at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. 

Take enrichment classes and discover new levels of creativity and more with STEAM projects 

Learn or improve your tennis game, take up rock wall climbing, express yourself with an art project 

COME VISIT ANYTIME! Call us anytime to schedule a family tour: East side, 212.935.0250 or West side, 646.884.9649. We’d love to see you! 

 Flexible options for busy families!

At Advantage Camps, we know you have a lot going on – all summer long! So we make it easy to include our camp in your plans.

  • Sign up for full days with lots of activities
  • Opt for single days with a 10-, 20- or 30 pack
  • Choose a single week
  • Select multiple weeks and save
  • Even share days or weeks among siblings


Swimming, field & gym sports and more! 

Tennis for everyone—beginners to experienced players 

Enrichment classes stimulate young minds!

Art activities make self-expression fun! 

STEAM projects introduce new concepts, spark curiosity 

Build models, explore design 

Always something new to discover, learn & enjoy! 

New friends, new experiences – best summer ever! 

Lunch included for full days!

For More info about Advantage Day Camps at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club (281 Main Street) visit their website or call 212.935.0250  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Democratic Party NYC Council Nominee To Represent Roosevelt Island Julie Menin Hosting Thank You District 5 Celebration Friday Evening July 23 At Good Shepherd Plaza, Refreshments Provided Too - General Election November 2 Versus Republican Candidate Mark Foley

Julie Menin won the Democratic Party Primary to represent Roosevelt Island, the Upper East Side and East Harlem in New York City Council District 5.

Ms Menin is hosting a Thank You District 5 Meet the Candidate celebration 7 PM Friday, July 23 at Good Shepherd Plaza. You're invited.

I interviewed Ms Menin last January as she was campaigning at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

and Ms Menin spoke with Roosevelt Island residents Joyce Short and Ellen Polivy for a Fireside Chat as well.

Ms Menin's general election opponent to succeed the current, term limited, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos to represent Roosevelt Island, the UES and East Harlem in NYC Council Distrct 5 is the Republican Candidate Mark Foley.
The General Election is Tuesday, November 2.

Wildfire Smoke From Western US And Canada Brings Unheathy Air Quality And Covers NYC Skies Yesterday As Seen From Roosevelt Island

According to July 21 NY Times article:

Wildfire smoke from Canada and the Western United States stretched across the continent this week, covering skies in a thick haze and triggering health alerts from Toronto to Philadelphia. Air quality remained in the unhealthy range across much of the East Coast on Wednesday morning as the haze pushed southward....
... As the smoke moved eastward across Toronto, New York and Philadelphia on Tuesday, concentrations of dangerous microscopic air pollution known as PM2.5 (because the particles are less than 2.5 microns in diameter) reached highs in the “unhealthy” range for most of the day....

The Roosevelt Island sky looked like this from the wildfire smoke yesterday.

And rest of New York City.

UDPATE 7/22 - Roosevelt Island resident Tanya Morrisett adds yesterday:

Our bridge, Big Allis, and the sun (With a little smoke from the west)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Feel Good Story About Young Girl's Journey From Roosevelt Island RIYP Ball Fields To Hitting Home Run In Her Last High School Career At Bat During Championship Softball Game And Now On To College

Roosevelt Island resident Frantz Enama reports:

I was speaking to a friend, a fellow Islander, a few weeks ago whose kids were playing in the Roosevelt Island minor baseball youth league held on Saturdays. The conversation brought back memories of past years of Roosevelt Island kids playing baseball on Capobianco field.

I have a Roosevelt Island feel good story about a young girl's journey from the Island's baseball fields to last month's NYC Girls Catholic High School softball championship  game.

The story highlights the old Roosevelt Island Youth Program days as well as the volunteer coaches who inspired this young girl's journey from Capabianco field to hitting a 265 ft home run in her final at-bat in the city championship softball game.

Roosevelt Island resident, Gillian Katoanga, finished off her high school softball career in dramatic style in a heartbreaking loss during the NYC Girls Catholic High School Athletic Association  championship final on June 15.

With the Archbishop Molloy Stanners down by 3 runs in the bottom of the final 7th inning against Staten Island's Moore Catholic Mavericks, Gillian hit a 265-foot home run 

 out of the Roccio Torres sporting complex in what would be her final at bat for the Stanners. 
This sparked a rally that saw the Stanners load the bases with a chance to win the championship. Sadly, for the Stanners, Maverick pitching prevailed and the rally ended with the bases loaded. The 11-9 loss capped off an undefeated (12-0) league and overall 18-5 season for the Stanners.

It was also the end of a wonderful softball journey that started on the baseball fields of Roosevelt Island. Some residents will be familiar with Gillian and her brothers, who grew up playing in various little and youth baseball leagues on Roosevelt Island. 

Early mornings on most weekends, you could catch her hitting softballs at the various fields on the island. Her favorite field is Tony Capobianco, where she first played T-ball on the island twelve years ago. She credits her keen interest in softball to those early years of RI baseball and her coaches, including Coach (T-Ball) Tommy, 

Johan Marfey, and Scott Bobo.

Gillie, as she is better known to her teammates, is grateful for the great friendships that she formed over the years in the various school and travel softball teams. However, those early years playing on the Roosevelt Island fields with her siblings and having the community come out on those summer afternoons are the most memorable. 

The Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) sports leagues and events organized by Charlie Delfino and Andrey Chichagov were the highlight of the island summers. She recalls fondly, "playing summer baseball on Roosevelt Island with the families cheering us on, was so much fun. It brought the community closer together and we got to know our neighbors and make many new friends. It was always loud and some games were competitive and exciting". "I also looked forward to pizza or treats at Main Street Sweets after our games". She hopes that the island's latest generation of little league kids are having as much fun and that sports will have a positive impact on them as well. 

With her high school softball career now over, 

Gillian is headed to St. John's University in the Fall where she has been awarded a four-year academic scholarship in the university's biomedical science honors program. As for softball? With her heavy academic load, she's never seriously considered collegiate sport. But that could change, you never know. 

I have coached or supervised Gillian since she was 5 years old in various RIYP activities. Apart from the RIYP activities, she was part of the RI Pacific Island community that organized the Friday night volleyball games and also the summer rugby clinics. She and her brothers attended PS 217, and the family are also active members of the St. Francis Xavier Cabrini parish on the island. She credits her love of softball, and sports, to those early days of playing on Roosevelt Island.

Have a great summer everyone!

Monday, July 19, 2021

Roosevelt Island Wednesday 1:1 Foods Pop Up Lunch Collaboration With Cornell Tech Cafe - This Week It's A Caribbean Menu And Food Justice Awareness Too

According to 1:1 Foods: 

1:1 Foods is a culinary social enterprise dedicated to community-led food justice in Brooklyn. 

We not only make good food, but we do good — redistributing our profits, culinary resources and energy into grassroots food justice work in Brooklyn. 

Our seasoned food and beverage team provides boutique drop-off and on-site catering services, runs collaborative pop-ups across the borough, and organizes special culinary and community events.

1:1 Foods has partnered with the Cornell Tech Cafe to bring a collaborative Pop Up Lunch menu and food justice awareness to Roosevelt Island every Wednesday starting last week.

I spoke with.1;1 Foods founder Tadesh Inagaki and Culinary Director Kyrelle Leefatt last Wednesday. They spoke about their food justice mission and upcoming Roosevelt Island Pop Up menus with a series of rotating chefs.

Here's the Cornell Tech Cafe

 1:1 Foods Pop Up Lunch menu for this coming Wednesday July 21

Last week's 1:1 Foods menu at Cornell Tech Cafe got very good reviews from Roosevelt Island residents I spoke with.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Roosevelt Island FDR Hope Memorial Ribbon Cutting & Sculpture Unveiling Began With Resident & MST&DA's Kimbirdlee Fadner Singing Imagine - Plenty Of Roosevelt Island Dreamers Got FDR Hope Memorial Built

It was particularly fitting that after the 12 year struggle of starts and stops to build the FDR Hope Memorial depicting President Franklin Roosevelt sitting in his wheelchair greeting a young girl standing on crutches and bring it to Roosevelt Island that the ribbon cutting and sculpture unveiling ceremony

began with the song Imagine. 

Here's Roosevelt Island resident and Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) Assistant Executive Director Kimbirdlee Fadner singing Imagine to begin yesterday's ceremony.

More info on yesterday's FDR Hope Memorial ceremony here.