Friday, October 22, 2021

NYC Ballet Site Specific Dance Pieces Performed Inside Cornell Tech Buildings On Roosevelt Island Campus Showing Magnificent Manhattan Skyline Views - Watch And Enjoy

According to Cornell Tech: 

This summer Cornell Tech worked on a new collaboration with the New York Choreographic Institute, in which dancers from New York City Ballet performed site-specific ballet pieces all over campus, including along the majestic Manhattan skyline views on the top floors of several of academic buildings....

The NYC Ballet adds:

In keeping with its more than two decade-long history of fostering and celebrating the work of international dancemakers, the New York Choreographic Institute held a partially-virtual summer session this past May. Though this marks the third session to be capped by the production of dance films, it was a “first” in many ways: The choreographers, Sophie Laplane and Alysa Pires, quarantined in Glasgow, Scotland, and Toronto, Canada, respectively, collaborated over Zoom with NYCB dancers who were finally able to gather in a shared studio space; and the films were produced on the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, NY, through a unique alliance with Digital Life Initiative Research Fellow Michael Byrne. 

The resulting films represent the Institute’s ongoing commitment to the creation of new works as well as to the support of new ideas and new creative partnerships at the forefront of contemporary choreography....

Watch NYC Ballet performing at Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech campus.


Learn more from the artists making these films.

Watch Video Of Roosevelt Island Rocky Raccoon Admiring Fall For Arts Festival Murals On Rivercross Lawn Last Night

Roosevelt Island resident Kaja Mead out for an evening stroll last night spotted Rocky Raccoon admiring the Fall For Arts Festival Murals on the Rivercross Lawn last night and shares this video.

There have been several raccoon spottings on Roosevelt Island recently. Don't know if they all are of the same raccoon or others.

The Roosevelt Island based Wildlife Freedom Foundation offered this advice  to a raccoon spotting last June.

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.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Roosevelt Island PSD Deputy Chief Says We're Constantly Offering Homeless People Services And Medical Assistance But They Have Right Not To Accept, Compared To Everywhere Else RI Homeless Situation Is Very Small - Can Coler Help Suggests RIOC CFO

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOCPublic Safety Department (PSD) incident report for earlier this week:

10/18/21 – 0750 – 686 Main St – Homeless Removal – PSD responded – Condition corrected.
10/18/21 – 2120 – 688 Main St - Homeless Removal – PSD/NYPD/EMS responded – Aided transported to the hospital

During the October 19 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee meeting, Roosevelt Island PSD Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso addressed the issue of homeless people on Roosevelt Island. According to Deputy Chief Amoroso, PSD officers:

...are always, constantly offering them homeless services, medical services. It's their right to deny it. ... We are constantly going to them and asking them if we can bring them to a shelter or give them medical attention. Some do accept and some don't. Compared to everywhere else, our homeless situation is very small. We're trying to accommodate those people the best we can.

Of Roosevelt Island public bathrooms for homeless people to wash up, Deputy Chief Amoroso said:

... we do have 2 bathrooms, one on each end....

 ...  It's an unfortunate situation to be homeless and we don't want to treat them like criminals.

The issue of growing homeless problem on Roosevelt Island was also raised during the September 23 Community Board 8 (CB8) Roosevelt Island committee meeting hosted by resident and Committee Chair Lynn Strong-Shinozaki. 

According to Ms Shinozaki:

What I personally have noticed ... is that we are having a growing population of homeless people on the Island. 

I've heard reports about a couple of ladies who live in our subway station. I've heard reports about some gentlemen that live around the Island and one of the reasons why I wanted to bring this up as a discussion point was I love the fact that Roosevelt Island is definitely a community of what I call warm-hearted and empathetic people, but unfortunately I don't know that feeding, clothing and washing clothes and things like that are necessarily the best solution for the people who are living in the community who are homeless... 

... once it gets out that this is a really safe place for homeless people,  I'm concerned that the issue will grow and that we will start finding more and more people who are homeless here... 

RIOC CFO John O'Reilly participated in the CB 8 Roosevelt Island committee meeting and suggested:

... Coler is only half full. They have the ability to handle 800 residents. There may be an option that we can offer Coler as a place of assistance to these people. It's a hospital. They have health care there...  I know they have a different structure but if Coler would open up a couple of spaces or a wing, we may be able to use that facility as an option too.
Ms Shinozaki replied:

I think that's a great idea... 

 ...So many people who are homeless have mental health issues and I know that they have some really strong programs in Coler. ...

Coler Hospital has one of the strongest mental health programs of any rehabilitation facility so that may be something that we can start some some discussions on in terms of keeping these people who have come to our community safe in our community but be in a safer environment and more supportive environment...

Here's the full CB 8 Roosevelt Island Committee discussion on Roosevelt Island homelessness issue.

In February 2020, a long time member of the Roosevelt Island community puts forward this idea for discussion about the issue of homeless people on Roosevelt Island. 

... Recently I have been thinking about the growing transient and indigent population on the Roosevelt Island, both from the perspective of humane relief and from the perspective of the new issues imposed on the community -- community outreach and community response. I was entering the subway when the odor was overwhelming. I covered my nose and was reprimanded by a young woman for a lack of compassion. The cause of the odor this particular day was someone, a gentleman, I have often helped. I understand both concerns: the social justice concern, that every human is entitled to adequate shelter, and the pragmatic concern, that people fear the health/hygiene issues and related costs.

In response, I have tried to find a middle path that might address both the humanitarian concerns and the added cost imposed on a community, when there is a growing homeless population (I will refer to the latter in economic terms, as externalities, as such costs are shifted to the public budget, which is already stretched thin).

Recently a suggestion was floated that unused space in the hospital at the north end of the Island could be repurposed for beds. The community responded that this could create greater crime and health/hygiene issues. Too often public shelter facilities do not adequately address the longer term impact on the surrounding community. There are meaningful rights on both sides, and both need to be discussed and respected.

However, this proposal offers the opportunity to craft a modest solution: the unused hospital space could be repurposed to provide two showers, lavs, laundry and lockers. The facility could be open initially two days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm, and supervised with two personnel (a cleaning employee and a manager). Public Safety could be present to prevent potential victimization of the guests. Individually packaged toiletries could conceivably be solicited as "charitables" from corporate manufacturers. Towels would have to be worked out (as these present a hygiene issue). Los Angeles has pioneered a successful shower on wheels program through the work of private individuals. This could offer a model for humane relief throughout the city.

According to NYC Department of Homeless Services:

... What should I do if I see an individual or a group of individuals that appear to be street homeless?
For the most immediate response, New Yorkers who see individuals they believe to be homeless and in need should contact 3-1-1 via phone or mobile app and request outreach assistance. You should call 911 if the individual appears to pose an immediate risk to themselves or others or there is criminal activity.

What happens when I call 311 to report a homeless New Yorker in need of assistance?

  • Individual calls 311 and a Service Request (SR) is created
  • SR is evaluated and assigned to a service provider or a partner Agency, like NYPD, as needed
  • If assigned to a service provider, outreach team is dispatched within an hour of receiving the request
  • Service provider outreach teams attempt to locate that individual and if found directly engage the individual, assess for safety and encourage them to accept services and transition off the streets.
How do outreach teams engage a homeless New Yorker in need of assistance?
Experienced outreach teams from not-for-profit service providers canvass the five boroughs 24/7/365 as part of our citywide effort to identify and engage individuals who may be homeless, encourage them to accept services, and ultimately help them transition off the streets. Additionally, DHS performs joint outreach operations with community stakeholders and Agency partners, including the NYPD, the Parks Department, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Transportation to utilize each Agency's expertise, engage more New Yorkers, and offer more supports. Outreach teams have helped approximately 2,000 homeless New Yorkers off the streets citywide, thanks to new investments and a doubling of the size of those teams.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Roosevelt Island Lost A Bit More Democratic Representation Yesterday - Former Resident David Kapell Chooses To Remain On RIOC Board With Approval Or Indifference Of New Governor Kathy Hochul - NY State Senator Jose Serrano Says Bring Better Democracy To The Island

During the September 30 Four Freedoms Democratic Club Roosevelt Island meeting at The Sanctuary Event Space and Cafe, Roosevelt Island NY State Senator Jose Serrano was asked:

... There is alot of concern about the way the RIOC Board is appointed by the Governor...

... do you think there is an opportunity  for better Roosevelt Island representation on RIOC now that it is no longer Governor Cuomo but Governor Hochul?...

Senator Serrano replied:

 ...  I've been trying to find ways to get to get more representation from Island residents on that board.

I even carry the bill that the the head of RIOC should be an Island resident....

... As elected officials, we live in our districts and we can get to see what is going on and know what's important so I do believe that we have a great opportunity to fix a lot of these issues. We have no shortage of amazing opinions from Island residents as to how we can move forward and bring better democracy to the island. 

...  it's my intention to have some really important and meaningful conversations with the Governor to make sure that she understands that we need to really focus on Roosevelt Island. 

It shouldn't be an afterthought...

Roosevelt Island democratic representation suffered another setback yesterday when 1 of two Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Directors who are no longer Roosevelt Island residents, David Kapell, chose to remain on the Board with the apparent approval, or indifference, of Governor Hochul and RIOC.

RIOC announced yesterday:

Jeffrey Escobar is tendering his resignation from the Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation due to his change in residency. Confirmed by the Senate on June 20, 2019, Mr. Escobar held one of five public member board seats designated for Roosevelt Island residents. RIOC truly appreciates Mr. Escobar’s service and contributions to the RIOC Board of Directors and the Roosevelt Island community. His presence and input will be greatly missed. 

David Kapell remains a duly appointed member of the Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. Confirmed by the Senate on June 20, 2019, Mr. Kapell holds one of the two public member board seats that do not carry a residency requirement. RIOC’s board and the community as a whole benefit from Mr. Kapell’s dedication to Roosevelt Island and we thank him for his continued service.

Both Mr Kapell and Mr Escobar moved from Roosevelt Island about a year ago yet remained on the RIOC Board until Mr Escobar's resignation yesterday.

As reported September 30:

... I submitted a written question to the September 29 RIOC Board of Directors meeting Public Session held before the start of the meeting asking:

How many members of the RIOC Board of Directors, excluding NY State Officials, are required by statute to be residents of Roosevelt Island?

Are any of the RIOC Board Directors, excluding the NY State Officials, not residents of Roosevelt Island and if so, why are they members of the RIOC Board?

Do all members of the RIOC Board of Directors, excluding the NY State Officials, list Roosevelt Island as their primary residence on personal tax forms? If no, who does not?...

RIOC General Counsel replied to my question during the Public Session:

I can briefly answer that question. 

We have two Board Members that currently do not reside on Roosevelt Island. 

I will say that Mr Kappel proactively on his own, when he determined that he was no longer going to reside on the Island, reached out to the Appointments Office to inquire as to whether his service would terminate or be in jeopardy because of that decision. 

After consultation with the Appointments Department, he was told that based on the law as it reads, he is not in violation of any rule or regulation or law and his appointment may continue until such time of his replacement.

Mr. Escobar who also recently moved off the Island has also begun that same process so based on those findings the RIOC Board Members are permitted to serve until such time that they are replaced. 

As the law reads, continued residency is silent to that. So, they were both appointed as residents when they became members of the Board and as far as Appointments is concerned, their continued services is all right

Yesterday, I asked Ms Robinson and RIOC Public Information Officer Amy Smith:

RIOC claims that Mr Kappel holds 1 of two public Board seats that does not require Roosevelt Island residency. 

Please show where in Mr Kappel’s appointment, he was designated in a Rioc Board seat that does not require Roosevelt Island residency. 

Also, please show where Mr Escobar was designated as an appointment which required Roosevelt Island residency. 

No answer received yet.

I asked Mr Kappel yesterday:

Do you have any comment on why you wish to remain on the RIOC Board of Directors when you no longer live on Roosevelt Island?

No answer yet.

Earlier this month, I asked Roosevelt Island NY State Senator Jose Serrano and NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright for comment on RIOC Directors remaining on the Board after moving away from Roosevelt Island.

Senator Serrano replied:

Roosevelt Island is a diverse and tight-knit community, and local representation on the RIOC board is critical to meeting the needs of its residents. We are reviewing RIOC's enacting statute and examining potential options to strengthen this representation.

Assembly Member Seawright replied:

Residents of Roosevelt Island are entitled to have their voices heard. It's time to take a look at legislation that strengthens the residency requirement so that diversity of opinion includes the viewpoints of the inhabitants of the island.

Roosevelt Island resident Matt Katz shares this message he sent to RIOC President Shelton Haynes explaining the importance of RIOC Directors living on Roosevelt Island and being members of the community:

 ... Some of us still think that RIOC decision-making should be performed by people with skin in the game, i.e. Roosevelt Island residents and we intend to meet with Gov. Hochul and win her support.. Your efforts to include former or part-time residents is an affront ... to a community that demands to be part of the decision-making process. It's called democracy and we'd like some.

Here's the current statute (effective 2019) regarding RIOC Board of Directors:

2. The board of directors of the corporation shall be composed of nine members. One member shall be the commissioner, who shall serve as the chair; one member shall be the director of the budget; and seven public members shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. Of the seven public members, two members, one of whom shall be a resident of Roosevelt Island, shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the mayor of the city; and four additional members shall be residents of Roosevelt Island. Each member shall serve for a term of four years and until his or her successor shall have been appointed and shall have qualified, except that the commissioner and the director of the budget shall serve so long as they continue to hold their respective offices. Any action taken by the directors of the corporation shall be taken by majority vote of the directors then in office. The elected public officials who represent Roosevelt Island shall be representatives to the board of directors of the corporation entitled to receive notice of and attend all meetings of such board but shall not be entitled to vote. Failure to give such notice shall not affect the validity of any action taken at a meeting of such board....
UPDATE 10/21 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Vice President Erin Feely-Nahem adds:

Jeffrey Escobar did the right thing by resigning. 

Exacerbated by the pandemic,many issues have arisen on the Island which need to be addressed, increasing the importance of Resident input. As we are unable to vote for who manages and controls the ongoing development within our community, it is imperative to have active community members on the RIOC Board to provide insight on, and vote for what residents' feel is important for their community. 

An individual who is living within a community offers a more educated opinion than either an individual who spends 40 hours a week here, or worse, pops in for an hour Zoom meeting quarterly. .At the least, residents should be voting on who we want to represent us on the five "public member" board seats. 

David Kapell is unknown to the community and does not necessarily represent the resident's desires. Presently, although one can submit questions or concerns to the RIOC Board via email, there is no system in place for real dialogue between the RIOC Board members and the community, nor any means of accountability for decisions made.

UPDATE 11/1 - As reported 10/29, during the October 28 RIOC Board of Directors meeting Public Sessioin, I asked:

RIOC claims that current Board Member David Kapell holds 1 of two public Board seats that does not require Roosevelt Island residency. 

Please show where in Mr Kappel’s appointment by former Governor Cuomo, Mr Kapell was designated in a Rioc Board seat that does not require Roosevelt Island residency. 

Also, please show where former RIOC Board member Jeff Escobar, who resigned because he no longer lived on Roosevelt Island was designated as an appointment which required Roosevelt Island residency. 

Why does Mr Kappel wish to remain on RIOC Board since he no longer lives here and is not effected by decisions made by the RIOC Board. 

RIOC General Counsel Gretchen Robinson replied that Governor Hochul's Appointments Office:

... has confirmed and double confirmed and triple confirmed that Mr Kapell is serving in a legitimate seat and is not violating any regulation or rules or laws. We appreciate his service to the Board.


Mr Kapell was appointed to the RIOC Board with Jeff Escobar and Conway Ekpo in June 2019 by Governor Cuomo at which time all 3 were Roosevelt Island residents. Mr Escobar moved away from Roosevelt Island and resigned from the RIOC Board after the issue of his remaining was raised.

Mr Kapell refuses to resign and declined to say why he wished to remain on the RIOC Board after moving away from Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island resident Matt Katz also asked during the Public Session about Mr Kapell remaining on the RIOC Board after moving away from Roosevelt Island. According to Mr Katz:

I wrote you on October 4 regarding the illegal appointments of Jeffrey Escobar and David Kappel, non-residents of Roosevelt Island, to fill seats on the RIOC Board of Directors designated by statute for Island residents. There has been comment regarding the meaning of the term resident and I said at the time that a resident is not a past resident, not a future resident or a wanna-be resident. The reason we, Island activists persuaded Gov. Pataki to require by amendment of Ch. 899 to appoint a majority of Island RESIDENTS to the Board was to ensure that people with skin in the game would determine this Island community's future. You write back, saying that you would respond to me shortly. Three weeks later, there has been no response. 

Since then, Jeffrey Escobar, a long-time advocate for and participant in the life of this community, resigned from the Board, understanding the clear (clear even to State lawyers) mandate to do so. David Kappel, never an Island activist or participant in the life of this community,and unknown to me after my many years of service to my fellow residents, has not resigned, perhaps counting on former Governor Cuomo's endorsement as sufficient bona fides for the post. We intend to bring the matter up with Gov. Hochul and to seek redress for this violation of the statute. Regards,...

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Roosevelt Island Roosevelt Landings Resident Says Rat Problem Getting Worse From Wholesome Market Overcrowded And Uncovered Garbage Dumpsters, I'm Afraid Rats Will Come Into My Apartment If I Open Patio Door Says Resident

A Roosevelt Island Roosevelt Landings resident reports: 

The rat problem is getting worse . There are so many rats going into out patios and just running on the sides of 540 Main Street. They are now in groups a lot of the time. Wholesome Factory puts dumpsters out in the evenings and many of the dumpsters don’t have covers. There is also loose garbage falling from overcrowded dumpsters. They also have garbage stored at the back of the building until it’s put out at night. They have rat bait traps out but that does nothing to take care of the rat problem.

The rat problem is so bad on my side that they roam from the steps that I think used to be an outdoor theater to Wholesome dumpsters all the way down from the beginning of the 540 walkway to the end near the water. Everyone on this side with a patio apartment has a rat problem. Some can be seen during the day but it’s much worse at night. I’m afraid to open my patio door at night because it’s so dark and I’m afraid of them coming into the apartment. 

Is there anything that can be done to make Wholesome more responsible for the problems they are causing. ?  

I asked Roosevelt Landings building management, C+C Apartment Management, about the resident's rat complaint

A spokesperson replied:

The safety and health of our Roosevelt Landings community is our top priority. While we have not received any complaints from residents, we are monitoring the situation closely and continue to conduct weekly exterminations.

Monday, October 18, 2021

NYC Democratic Mayoral Nominee Eric Adams Asked About Roosevelt Island Lease Expiration With NY State During Community & Ethnic Media Town Hall Today - Also Discussed Affordable Housing, Police Reform, Self Driving Cars, Cannabis Growing, Mandatory Child Covid Vaccination & More

NYC Democratic Party Mayoral nominee Eric Adams hosted a community and ethnic media Town Hall this morning.

I asked Mr Adams about the expiration of NYC's lease for Roosevelt Island with NY State in 2069. Mr Adams replied that he was not familiar with the issue but would have his team look into it and get back to me.


Among the other issues discussed by Mr Adams during the Town Hall were:

  • low and moderate income affordable housing,
  • balancing public safety with police reform.

Mr Adams described ideas for improving the economy by becoming a leader in innovation areas including:

  • self driving cars, 
  • blockchain, 
  • drone development, 
  • cannabis growth and sales
  • and other emerging markets.

Mr Adams also discussed Covid 19 vaccination mandate for children.

Here's the full community and ethnic media Town Hall with Democratic Party Mayoral nominee Eric Adams

More info on the Eric Adams mayoral campaign at his website.

Mr Adams opponent in the NYC Mayoral election is the Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa. The General Election in Tuesday November 2. Early voting is from October 23-31. The Roosevelt Island early voting location is at the Sportspark gymnasium (250 Main Street).

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Scenes From Today's Roosevelt Island Project Main Street Tim Sheehy Softball Classic To Benefit Families With ALS Lou Gehrig's Disease

The 6th annual Project Main Street Tim Sheehy Softball Classic to benefit individuals and families battling ALS Lou Gehrig's disease was held today at Roosevelt Island's Capobianco Field.

Between games today, Founding Project Main Street Board Member Michael Rosen welcomed everybody coming out to support Project Main Street and spoke about his Roosevelt Island friend Tim Sheehy. Here's a little bit of what Mr Rosen said and a few plays from the softball game. (Will have more video tomorrow).

Project Main Street's Special Honoree this year was Drew "Grandmaster Dee" Carter from the legendary Hip Hop group Whodini who grew up on Roosevelt Island and his mom still lives here. (Will have video from him too).

This evening, there was a fundraising auction and celebration at The Sanctuary too.
More info at post yesterday. If you would like to make a donation or seek more information, please visit the Project Main Street website.

UPDATE 10/18 - More from Mike Rosen's welcoming yesterday:

I want to thank everybody for coming out to the Tim Sheehy Classic to benefit Project Main Street.

Project Main Street as most of you know is an ALS charity. We support people living with ALS.

We were founded by Tim Sheehy, a childhood friend of most of ours, a long time Roosevelt Island resident who cared about helping other people at a time when nobody would have felt bad if he was just thinking about himself.

But when Tim was diagnosed with ALS he was concerned with helping other people with ALS even after he was gone. He put together Project Main Street.

The connection to Roosevelt Island is obvious. Most of the founders and the people that have worked on Project Main Street are from Roosevelt Island. The name itself is dedicated to Roosevelt Island. This is a Roosevelt Island-born charity that has helped people since 2006 across the country.

Together this small volunteer organization that Tim Sheehy conceived in his mind has raised over 1.5 million dollars for people.  So today we're talking about Project Main Street. We're talking about ALS. 

We're also talking about Roosevelt Island because this is what makes this event so special to us. To come out here on the field that we used to play on when we were kids. To see all of our old friends together not just getting together but getting together to do something good for society is so meaningful to us and to have all the new friends that come here that are not from Roosevelt  Island but have joined this family and become part of the Roosevelt Island Project Main Street family. 

We thank you....

Here's the full video from yesterday's Project Main Street ceremony 

and some plays from the softball game.

Wow, Gorgeous Rainbow Over NYC And Roosevelt Island Today - Take A Look

Wow, take a look at rainbow over Roosevelt Island seen from Southtown

and Roosevelt Landings.
Image From Joyce Short