Friday, January 21, 2022

Roosevelt Island Youth Success Story - Emily Engstler Top US College Basketball Player At Louisville, Says Toughness Comes From Playing At Roosevelt Island Blackwell Park Hoop And Shows It With Tattoo

In 2018, Roosevelt Island resident Emily Engstler was one of the top High School Basketball players in the county. Ms Engstler is now one of the top College Basketball players in the country 

playing at the University of Louisville and attributes much of her success to Roosevelt Island NY toughness. She even has a tattoo on her leg showing Blackwell Park where she started playing hoops on Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Child, Youth & Education Ad Hoc Committee Chair Adib Mansour reports:

Promoting Youth and Young Adults Success Stories:  

RIRA’s Children, Youth & Education Committee, in its commitment to improve the lives of our youth, is starting an initiative to promote our island’s youth and young adults' success stories. A group of students will research candidates and interview them with depth and detail. Their stories will be published in the Roosevelt Islander Blog Post. For this interview, Dylan Marfey researched the successes of Emily Engstler who was born in Queens and then moved to Roosevelt Island when she was 7 years old. She was active on the island with many of its youth programs, including baseball and then found her passion in Basketball with the support of her family, peers, and the community.

I always take to heart Gibran Khalil Gibran’s quote: Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

If you have any success stories you would like us to include in this initiative, please email Adib Mansour at

Here's Emily Engster playing at Roosevelt Island Blackwell Park basketball court.

Well done Ms Engstler.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Mayor Eric Adams Feels Unsafe In NYC Subways, Do You? Roosevelt Island Parent Says Mentally Disturbed Person Threatened To Kill 4 Year Old Daughter Outside Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Station This Morning, Is Anybody Listening?

During a January 18 press briefing, NYC Mayor Eric Adams said:

... Day one, January 1, when I took the train, I saw the homelessness, the yelling, the screaming early in the morning, crimes right outside of the platform, we know we have a job to do, we're going to do both, we're going to drive down crime and we're going to make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system. And they don't feel that way now, I don't feel that way when I take the train every day, or when I'm moving throughout our transportation system. That is our battle and that is what I'm going to do as the Mayor of the City of New York....


How do Roosevelt Island residents feel about safety at our F Train subway station? 

According to this Roosevelt Island parent the answer is very worried:

I'm concerned about the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department's (PSD) misaligned safety and security priorities.

This morning a mentally ill person threatened to kill my four-year-old daughter openly and directly. PSD was unable to help me identify or deal with the aggressor.

It happened at 8:30 am, under the subway station's archway while waiting for the red bus. As we arrived to wait there, the person was talking to themselves inside the station. Still, soon after, he walked outside and started speaking directly to my daughter and me screaming about racial injustice and saying, "I'll kill your kids, I'll kill your daughter," and "Yes, I am talking to you." 

I took my daughter into the subway station, and the aggressor left, walking north towards the pier. I did not have my phone with me, so I could not take images or videos of the person, so after dropping off my kid, I went to the PSD offices to identify them on camera.

I learned there that while there are cameras on that location, the PSD has no access to them. The PSD officer took a description, pointed me to the subway station, and ask for the NYPD officer there who should have access to the feeds.

Following up, I went to the subway station but was told that there are no officers stationed there, and they didn't know how to access the footage I was referring to.

This island has 4 points of ingress/egress. Not having video coverage of them seems like a more pressing safety and security concern than placing an officer on the promenade in case an electric scooter passes by.

Following last week's random murder in the Times Square subway station by an aggressor of a similar profile, I suggest this issue be taken seriously.

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes and PSD Chief Kevin Brown today if they had any comment about this frightening incident at the Roosevelt Island subway station. 

No response yet from RIOC but will update if any comment is received.

RIOC Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown and Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso did engage in a dialogue with Roosevelt Island residents during the January 18 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (PSC) monthly meeting chaired by Erin Feeley Nahem.

Chief Brown reported during the RIRA PSC meeting: 

I've  said this a number of times that Roosevelt  Island is one of the safest communities in New York City. However, we have to keep our eye on the quality of life  issues out there that Public Safety will not let get out of control...  

Among the topics discussed during the meeting via Zoom were:

  • PSD Staffing Levels - 95% of PSD received Covid Vaccinations. 21 of 40 Officers were stricken with Covid in December,
  • 2021 Crime Statistic - 11 assaults majority of which are domestic violence incidents,
  • Homeless,
  • Parking (issuing of tickets),
  • Traffic safety,
  • Recent fire at Roosevelt Landings,
  • Use of force and pepper spray on food delivery moped driver,
  • Barrier gates on Main Street next to Main Street fire hydrant in front of Bread & Butter Deli,
  • Main Street Unloading Zones and breezways,
  • Manhattan Park cars parking on sidewalk plaza and
  • Installation of Street Bumps/Humps

Here's video of the full meeting with discussion of these and other Roosevelt Island Public Safety issues.

Chief Brown, don't let safety issues around the Roosevelt Island F Train subway station get out of control.

UPDATE 1/21 - RIOC Public Information Officer Amy Smith replies:

PSD has and will always take incidents like this very seriously as safeguarding our community is a top priority. The island's low crime statistics show proof of these efforts.

When the resident offered a brief description to our sergeant's desk, two vehicles were sent to search for the individual. Unable to locate anyone fitting the description, PSD was unable to follow up with the resident as they chose not to leave their name or contact information.

We'd like to take this opportunity to remind residents and visitors of Roosevelt Island that the subway station, as well as the immediate surrounding area and surveillance equipment associated with it, is within the jurisdiction of the MTA and NYPD. With that said, PSD will continue to diligently patrol and swiftly respond to island incidents within our jurisdiction and work in conjunction with the 114th precinct when deemed necessary.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Second Phase Of Roosevelt Island Tram Testing & Maintenance Program Begins Sunday January 23 - Only One Cabin Operating Through Early February Says RIOC

 According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

As a reminder, beginning on Sunday, January 23rd, Tram operator, Leitner-POMA, will begin a second phase of standard testing and maintenance on Tram cabins to ensure long-term reliability and safety. 


During this maintenance period, which is expected to last through early February, one cabin will be operational. Please plan your travel accordingly as longer than normal wait times and lines can be expected during rush hour. 


To supplement Tram service during this planned work period, the RIOC Red Bus will be providing free shuttle service, to and from Manhattan, Monday – Fridays, from 3 PM – 8:30 PM. 


Schedules for Red Bus Shuttle and regular service, below: 


Roosevelt Island to Manhattan Shuttle 

  • Departs hourly from the R.I. Tram Station (300 Main St.), making all northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (opposite P.S./I.S. 217), before heading into Manhattan. 
  • First trip will depart from the R.I. Tram Station at 3 PM. 
  • Last trip will depart from the R.I. Tram Station at 8 PM.  

Manhattan to Roosevelt Island Shuttle 

  • Departs on the half-hour from the southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th and 59th Streets, and will make all southbound local stops (starting with 591 Main St.) to the R.I. Tram Station. 
  • Last trip will depart Manhattan at 8:30 PM.  

Regular Red Bus Service 

  • Will continue normal morning rush hour schedule from 7 AM – 10 AM, with pick-up at the R.I. Tram Station approximately every 7 ½ minutes. 
  • Will continue to operate from 10 AM – 3 PM, with pick-up at the R.I. Tram Station approximately every 15 minutes. 
  • No changes to regular evening rush hour schedule. 
  • No changes to regular weekend service. 

Alternative Transportation Options 

  • For real-time service alerts and updates on MTA service, visit,, or call 511 
  • For alerts and updates on NYC Ferry service, visit ferry.ny
The first phase of the Tram Testing and Maintenance program began last November 15 and was completed by December 20 with few reports of very long lines waiting for the single Tram cabin in operation.

There is currently a 55 passenger Tram cabin limit due to Covid social distancing practices.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

6 Days Remain To Submit Roosevelt Island Infrastructure Projects To NYC Council Member Julie Menin For Participatory Budget Funding - Check Out The Roosevelt Island Skateboard Park Project Proposal

Newly elected Roosevelt Island, Upper East Side and East Harlem  NYC Council Member Julie Menin is continuing the practice of former Council Member Ben Kallos in allocating capital funds for District 5 infrastructure projects thru the participatory budget process. 

Ms Menin reports:

I’m very excited as we begin this Participatory Budgeting cycle. Participatory budgeting is a great way to get the pulse of the community and formulate the best use of city dollars. Participatory Budgeting shows the power and importance of this grassroots fueled process and I look forward to engaging the community.
According to this press release from Ms Menin's office:

Council Member Julie Menin is proud to announce an allocation of one million dollars to continue participatory budgeting for Council District 5 (Yorkville, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Roosevelt Island, Midtown East, Sutton Place, and El Barrio in East Harlem).  Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Since her time serving on the Board of Citizens Union, Council Member Julie Menin has championed the importance of civic participation in our budgeting process.

A total of one million dollars of the Council Member's discretionary budget allocation can be used for physical infrastructure projects that benefit the public, cost at least $50,000, and have a lifespan of at least 5 years. For example, projects such as local improvements to schools, parks, libraries, housing, and other public spaces can be funded. 


... residents are invited to share project ideas that could be implemented within her Council District by visiting this website and sharing proposals by January 23rd, 2022. Interested parties that wish to volunteer and assist with the process should create an account with (or sign into) NYC.ID. This platform allows residents to comment on and vote for their favorite ideas.

Ideas are then submitted to the respective City agency for evaluation and cost and Council Member Menin’s Office works with community partners to formulate a ballot for voting. Ballots will be distributed throughout the East Side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island as well as through an online portal for voting from April 2nd through April 10th. Winners will be announced in late April and included in the City’s budget at adoption in June of 2022. 

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 green roof was built with Participatory Budget funds.

So far, one Roosevelt Island project has been submitted for participatory budget funding. Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Children, Youth & Education  (CY&E) Ad Hoc Committee Chair Adib Mansour is proposing a Roosevelt Island Skateboard Park underneath the Motorgate Helix/Ramp.


Click here to learn more about the Participatory Budget funding process and to submit your proposal for a Roosevelt Island project.

More on the Roosevelt Island Skateboard project Participatory Budget submission here and at this prior post.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day Today, Take A Moment To Remember, Reflect And Honor His True Legacy

The third Monday in January has been designated as a Federal holiday in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was born January 15, 1929


and assassinated April 4, 1968.

Dr. King is remembered and honored for many civil rights activities including his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".

An excerpt:
... A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in it's application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest....

The full text of Letter From A Birmingham Jail is here and a short excerpt of audio below.

Here's an excerpt of Dr. King's last speech on the night before his asassination - I've Been To The Mountain Top.

Politcio has an excellent article on the last years of Dr. King's life.

... Almost 50 years after his death, we remember MLK as the transcendent figure who helped lift the South out of Jim Crow. We also remember him as almost preternaturally calm in the face of great pressure and danger. He was indeed all of these things. But the passage of time has obscured his dimensionality. In the last years of his life, King expanded his vision beyond the former Confederacy and took on a broader struggle to dismantle America’s jigsaw edifice of racial and economic discrimination—a struggle that took him deep into northern states and cities, where onetime allies became bitter enemies. He did so even as he strained to keep a fractious civil rights movement unified, and in the face of unremitting sabotage from federal authorities.

He was a young man, still in his 30s—foisted onto the national stage with actors many years or decades his senior, suspect in the eyes of both younger and older civil rights leaders—and the burdens of leadership took their toll on him....
Take a look at this ery interesting thread below - click through to read in it's entirety.

Take a moment today to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the good work he accomplished to make our country a better place.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Kitchen Fire This Evening At Roosevelt Island 560 Main Street- Large Response By FDNY Firefighters Puts It Out

A tipster reports FDNY responding to a fire at Roosevelt Landings this evening:

Lots of Firefighters on Main Street

Images From Julia Chang

All traffic on Main Street was stopped. 

Citizen App reported a kitchen fire at 560 Main Street.

Building residents reported on Roosevelt Island Instagram post:

  • Fire at 576/560 main st, 4th floor. Looks like it has been contained.
  • No one hurt! Firemen are gone don’t know where he tenants were taken, but thank God not as bad as fire 22 years ago!
  • There was a kitchen fire. It was contained quickly.  

Apartment Fire @CitizenApp

560 Main St 7:16:28 PM EST

UPDATE 10:20 PM - More info from Roosevelt Islander Instagram comments:

  • There was heavy smoke throughout the halls as well as seeping into apartments. Glad everyone is safe! 
  • It was a stove fire in 560 on the 4th floor. We live next door to the apartment that caught fire and everything is ok here - just some water leaking into our apartment but nothing damaged. The building staff has done a great job cleaning it up and repairing our front door that’s the firefighters had to break to get in to make sure our apartment was ok.
UPDATE 1/17: