Friday, November 12, 2021

RIRA Children, Youth & Education Committee Seeks Community Support For Creation Of Roosevelt Island Skateboard Park - Sign Petition If You Agree

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Children, Youth & Education  (CY&E) Ad Hoc Committee is seeking community support to create a local Skatepark. According to the RIRA petition:


There are so many people on Roosevelt Island who love to skateboard and ride on scooters but they lack a dedicated park. RIRA's Children, Youth & Education Committee needs your support in asking RIOC to create a safe place for teens and young adults. The lack of a cohesive and inclusive program for them on Roosevelt Island calls for concrete solutions island-wide that involve them with positive engagement for a flourishing future. Roosevelt Island has seen an increase number of skateboarders ranging from 8 to 25 years old, both males and females. A dedicated Skate Park for the youth will ensure their safety and offer them a physical and mental outlet, a place to meet and be active vs “isolated on screens”.  

The benefits to Skateboarding goes beyond the health and body fitness, it relieves stress, builds self-esteem, and creates an unprecedented Community Building between the young adults and the rest of the island.
Skateboarding can build bridges between generations and different social backgrounds, ultimately bringing people together and offering a great outlet to meet new people.
Skateboarding has become so popular it was featured as a new sport in the 2021 Olympics in Japan.  

Please sign this survey and help us materialize this project!

RIRA CY&E Chair Adib Mansour adds:

The lack of a cohesive and inclusive program for the late teens and young adults on Roosevelt Island requires concrete solutions island-wide with positive engagement for a flourishing future. Roosevelt Island has seen an increase number of skateboarders 

of all ages and genders. 

A dedicated Skate Park will ensure their safety and offer them a physical and mental outlet.

In 2015, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) introduced a skateboarding program at the Youth Center

for middle and high school students. 

The response was overwhelming; students that were always reluctant to participate in activities were flocking by the dozens. In its third week, students showed commitment to the program and previously unseen eagerness. 

The most common injuries in skateboarding occurs outside of skate parks. Due to surface irregularities and collisions with cars. The best way to keep them safe is to provide them a space, a Roosevelt Island Skate Park.When parks are built right –with local skaters input and involvement throughout the process– those youngsters develop a sense of ownership and pride.  

Here are some ideas for the Skatepark and the suggested location. However, none of these are final as we would be working with professionals that would make a design unique to our island, I would suggest using elements from Roosevelt Island such as the old Trams. It would be simple and will include essential elements for a street park. I will also make sure that a team of youth and young adults from the island be part of that process. 

The suggested location would by the bike rack near the glass extension of the MotorGate (street level).

This would be ideal because it is away from apartment buildings, in a safe place. It is covered which would allow the youth and young adults to skate all year long. 

Through the years, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has built more than 20 official skateparks for communities across the five boroughs, including the recently opened park in the Upper West Side by Riverside Drive. There are three main categories of skatepark design: bowl, street plaza and flow parks. We suggest a Street plaza park; it is the favorite of the vast majority of skaters and they are designed to emulate and improve upon the street skating experience. Obstacles in a street plaza are styled to look like natural street terrain such as stairs, railings, planters and benches.

Finally, we would adopt the safety precautions the city dictates in all its skateparks including signing the Skate Park Participants Agreement form.

Here's a review of NYC Skateparks.

RIRA Roosevelt Island Skateboard Petition is here.

Watch Video Of Roosevelt Island Piazzolla 100 Music & Dance Group Wonderful Performance Of El Nuevo Tango At FDR Four Freedoms Park - Do You Have Suggestions For Future Public Programming At FDR Four Freedoms Park?

Leonardo Suarez Paz and Olga Suarez Paz are Roosevelt Island residents and artists. 

Leonardo is the Artistic Director and Olga the Executive Director of PIAZZOLLA 100:

Last October 17, the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy hosted a free sunset performance of Leonardo Suarez Paz's PIAZZOLLA 100: El Nuevo Tango

Here's a brief look at the wonderful Piazzolla 100 El Nuevo Tango performance at the Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park.


Do you have any suggestions for more public programming at the Roosevelt Island FDR 4 Freedoms Park? 

Check the Between 4 Freedoms public art installation at the park this weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day 2021, Thank You To All Members Of The United States Military For Your Service - Roosevelt Island NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright Honors Women In Service At Veterans Day Tribute Ceremony In Central Park Overseas Service League Flagstaff And Grove

Today, November 11 is Veterans Day.

According to

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars...

Last Tuesday, Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright was among the organizers of the Women In Service Veterans Day Tribute Ceremony in Central Park.

According to the the American Red Cross in Greater New York:

Two day days before Veterans Day, New York State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright presents the “Exceptional Women in Service Award” to Governor Kathy Hochul during the third annual women in service Veterans Day Tribute Ceremony at the recently rediscovered Overseas Service League Flagstaff and Grove.

The occasion will pay special homage to a few women, including women veterans and volunteers, who have served our country and our local communities. Honorees include 

  • Brigadier General Loree Sutton, US Army (Retired);
  • Theresa Tobin, Chief of Interagency Operations, New York Police Department
  • Michelle Fitzsimmons, Battalion Chief, Fire Department of New York City;
  • Zeita Merchant, Captain, US Coast Guard; 
  • Yesenia Mata – Executive Director, La Colmena; 
  • Dottie Brier – Disaster Mental Health Volunteer, American Red Cross in Greater NY.

The event is co-organized by the Office of Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, The Howard Teich Network, The American Red Cross in Greater NY and community partners including the Columbus Citizens Foundation and the Eastside WWI Centennial Commemoration.

I spoke with Assembly Member Seawright shortly after the ceremony.

 WCBS New York reported on the ceremony.


Remarks from NY State Governor Kathy Hochul.

NYC Department of Veterans Services Commissioner James Hendon gave a wonderful speech.


Highly recommend listening to what Zeita Merchant, Captain, US Coast Guard said, particularly her poem.

Here's video of the entire November 9 Women In Service Veterans Day Tribute Ceremony at the recently rediscovered  Overseas Service League Flagstaff and Grove. in Central Park at 69th Street & 5th Avenue.

Thank you for your service to the members of United States military.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association Food Pantry Looking For Strong Volunteers To Assist Unloading Boxes From Trucks Into Cultural Center Thursday And Friday Mornings - Can You Help?

 Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) President Wendy Hersh reports

The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association is looking for volunteers to assist with unloading boxes from truck into cultural center on Thursday and Friday mornings. You must be able to lift and carry heavy boxes and due to RIOC guidelines, you must be vaccinated. Please contact Wendy hersh at
                                                                         Image Of Food Pantry Boxes Being Unloaded In 2020

Ms Hersh adds:

The RIDA Food Pantry will continue serving the community each Friday from 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM, at the Cultural Center (548A Main Street). Due to the weather, the new line location for winter: Please line up in front of 546 Main St., with line the going south, and kindly follow the below guidelines: 

  • Bring Identification. 
  • If you do not feel well, stay home. 
  • Please practice social distancing while waiting in line. 
  • Wear a mask. 
  • Bring a shopping cart or bag. 
  • Proof of vaccination will be required for entry each visit.
  • If you have not been vaccinated, you will be given a bag at the door. 
  • Be courteous and considerate to. volunteers and each other!

Ms Hersh showed us the Roosevelt Island Food Pantry when it was located in the Senior Center last February.

Sponsored Post - Grow NYC Third Annual Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap Free Community Reuse Event Saturday November 13 - Bring Items You No Longer Need To Give Away, Take Something New Home With You, Reduce, Reuse And Save Money This Holiday Season

According to Grow NYC:

New Yorkers looking to reduce, reuse, and save money this holiday season are invited to participate in Stop ‘N’ Swap®, a free community reuse event organized by local non-profit GrowNYC, in collaboration with iDig2Learn and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

“GrowNYC is a lifesaver! Our island community doesn’t have a thrift shop so we are thrilled that the 217 PTA provided space for this free, kind-to-our-wallets, and kind-to-the-earth Stop N’ Swap!” said Christina Delfico, iDig2Learn, founder. 

Give the gift of a cleaner future by joining the ever-growing reuse community for the holidays! “Reuse is one of the best ways to conserve natural resources, prevent waste and pollution, and save money,” said Christina Salvi, Risk and Safety Coordinator of GrowNYC’s Zero Waste Programs. 

The public is invited to bring clean, portable, reusable items to share with those who can use them. No one is required to bring something to take something — you can simply show up with a bag and see what’s free for the taking. Books, toys, fashionable clothing, housewares, and electronics are just some of the offerings; furniture and other large items are not accepted at the swap. Anything leftover at the end of the day is donated or recycled. All participants must be wearing a mask regardless of vaccination status. 

WHAT: Free Stop ‘N’ Swap Community Reuse Event 

WHEN: Saturday, November 13, 12pm-3pm 

WHERE: Outdoor Schoolyard at P.S./I.S. 217, 646 Main St., Roosevelt Island *This is an outdoor event. In case of inclement weather, event will be held at The Helix, across Main Street 

Since 2007, GrowNYC Stop ‘N’ Swaps have developed a regular following among thrifty and environmentally conscious New Yorkers. “The average NYC household discards about 2,000 pounds of waste a year. By reusing through events like Stop ‘N’ Swap, NYC residents can take part in diverting some of the 2.5 million tons of refuse disposed of each year, keeping them out of landfills and incinerators,” said Marcel Van Ooyen, GrowNYC President and CEO. “In fact, it’s a triple-win; in addition to economic and environmental benefits, they also build community as New Yorkers come out and meet their neighbors.”

iDig2Learn's Ms Delfico adds:

When GrowNYC called to offer their free Stop N’ Swap goods exchange event to Roosevelt Island we said yes before they even finished their sentence. 

This will be the third time we have partnered and Islanders love the idea of reuse and dropping off their gently used toys, household goods and clothing and picking up a few new-to-you items neighbors no longer need. 

And our 2019 Swap yielded over 6,300 pounds of good quality items during the 3 hour event and more than 80% if those items went back to neighbors with the rest was donated to Goodwill. 

Saturday November 13th is the perfect day for the Swap because it is just before the holidays. This year we needed a new home since the Manhattan Park theater is a staging area for renovation work. And the 217 PTA immediately loved the idea of hosting this community favorite and the 217 administration leadership agreed in record time to using the outdoor schoolyard. 

Here’s how it works, bring portable items in working condition to the 217 schoolyard at 645 Main Street from noon to 3pm Saturday 11/13. GrowNYC will weigh them and set them out on tables. You don’t have to drop to take, so look around the apartment for those nice items you no longer use and give them the gift of a new home or just stop by.

As one young islander said, “It’s like a thrift shop but free.” 

See you at the Swap!

Ms Delfico and Grow NYC's Victoria Dearborn describe the very successful 2018 Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap


and our local Girl Scouts encourage us all

to recycle at the Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap. 

UPDATE 11/12:

If raining the Stop N’ Swap will be directly across the street from PS/IS 217 school (645 Main Street) under the Helix overramp behind the Citibike docking station.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Kids Of All Ages Had Fun At Last Saturday's Roosevelt Island Pumpkin Smash With NYC Compost Hosted By Big Reuse Turning Halloween Waste To Rich Nutrient Soil Compost

The NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse brought the 

                                                                                             Image From Ghila Krajzman Photography

Roosevelt Island Pumpkin Smash 

                                                                                                    Image From Ghila Krajzman

to the Manhattan Park Lower Lawn last Saturday November 6. As previously reported:

... Get your pumpkin therapy on! 

Come smash, chop and throw pumpkins to break ‘em into bits so that our partners from NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse can give ‘em a new life as nutrient-rich compost, which comes right back to amend our island soils....

Roosevelt Island kids of all ages took up the Pumpkin Smash call with great enthusiasm.

I spoke with Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico at the Pumpkin Smash.

According to Ms Delfico:

... We're trying to beat our record of a thousand pounds of pumpkin smashed in 2019 so hopefully we'll collect all the pumpkins today smash them up and Big Reuse will change them into compost and we hope to break our record so thanks to everyone who came out today this is pretty amazing...

... We are piloting a new group called Scan Scraps so if you're grumpy about dropping your food scraps and want to be incentivized come by the Scans Scaps table and you can get a free bin and and App and a way to track your scraps for incentives like in metro cards or local business incentives from our Roosevelt Island community...
Here's more info on Scan Scraps.

Roosevelt Island Garden Club member Julia Ferguson showed residents how to make compost.

NYC Compost hosted by Big Reuse representative Gil Lopez said of the Roosevelt Island Pumpkin Smash:
... This is one of the few happening in New York City this year. We're really excited to get out here and talk to people about the importance of diverting all organic waste including in pumpkins but also talking to people about their everyday kitchen waste which they can bring to the farmers market here on Roosevelt Island every week during farmers market ...
Check out more pictures of the 2021 Roosevelt Island Pumpkin Smash from Ghila Krajzman Photography.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Roosevelt Island Bank Update - RIOC Gives Promotional Tour Offering Sportspark And Former Amalgamated Sites For Location, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright Arranged Tour And Says 5 Banks Showed Interest In Roosevelt Island

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced October 28:

On Monday, October 25th, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), with support of elected officials, the Roosevelt Island Resident Association (RIRA), Community Board 8 and other community representatives, held an open house for financial institutions interested in bringing a full-service branch to the island. Those in attendance toured two locations on the island. They were also offered a Red Bus tour of the island and engaged in a Q&A session to better understand our unique community. We look forward to updating the community as discussions continue. 
The two locations RIOC presented as possible bank locations were space at a renovated Sportspark (250 Main Street) and the former Amalgamated Bank site (619 Main Street) which closed in September 2020.

Here's the promotional brochure RIOC prepared for the bank presentation.

RIOC declined to invite members of the Roosevelt Island media to cover the Bank Open House that included elected officials and several local residents in attendance.

In reply to my question about the Roosevelt Island Bank Open House, NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright reported:

Our aggressive marketing and recruitment campaign garnered five banking institutions with deep roots in New York and a strong affinity for community banking. Senior representatives from Apple Bank, TD Bank, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Ridgewood Savings Bank, and New York Community Bank came to our open house with great interest in learning more about the growing economy and the vibrant residential and educational communities on Roosevelt Island. They asked many good questions and visited several attractive venue opportunities.

At my request, representatives from the state Department of Financial Services attended to explain the state Banking Designation District, or BDD, designation for the island. This program offers an attractive $10 million in subsidized public deposits and other benefits. 

These conversations are continuing with several state agencies. The feedback has been positive, productive, and helpful. I am grateful for the strong cooperation of my partners in government, including Representative Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose Serrano, and Councilman Ben Kallos.

NYC Council Member Ben Kallos adds:

It was a pleasure touring potential sites to bring a bank back to Roosevelt Island, alongside Manhattan Borough President Brewer and Assembly Member Seawright. Several banks joined us, and if we are able to get this going soon, it will be a testament to the community's efforts and the real need for a local bank on the Island.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Plaza Sidewalk Areas Packed With Parked Cars Today On A Sunday Afternoon - Residents Not Happy, What's Going On?

As reported October 25:

Residents at the Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park apartments have been complaining about the use of the Plaza sidewalk areas  adjacent to their buildings being used as a parking lot  by numerous vehicles over the last several months.

During the October 19 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (PSC) meeting, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso advised the PSC that:

... The management offices can park on their property. We have no say whether it's Manhattan Park, Rivercross, they can park their vehicles on their property. It's how they access their property that we have a say....
According to Manhattan Park building management:
The parking on the site is temporary while motor gate garage is under going repairs. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Today, on a Sunday afternoon, the Manhattan Park plaza sidewalk area were packed with cars.

Who is parking here?

Manhattan Park residents reacted on an earlier Roosevelt Islander Instagram post about this subject:

  • I think it sucks. It was a lovely plaza with a lovely view that now looks like shit and creates a dangerous situation with cars driving where there shouldn't be cars. And just because the property is "private" property doesn't mean it is, or should be okay. There are often zoning laws, and there should be here, that could prevent this kind of use of property, private or otherwise. The whole Island is going to hell on a handbasket.
  • No cars are going on the green area. If I understand, this is the paved area in between buildings in Manhattan park. I don’t see hoe anyone can use that for recreation. Or how it has anything to do with the Octagon. As a resident, the only thing that I am concerned about is that these cars are not driving on the promenade.
  • I think it sucks. It was a lovely plaza with a lovely view that now looks like shit and creates a dangerous situation with cars driving where there shouldn't be cars. And just because the property is "private" property doesn't mean it is, or should be okay. There are often zoning laws, and there should be here, that could prevent this kind of use of property, private or otherwise. The whole Island is going to hell on a handbasket. 
  • This shows a total disregard from @manhattanparkapartments to its residents. These areas are not meant for parking. The amount of cars is out of control. Since when is it acceptable to have cars driving on the sidewalks and blocking stairs??