Friday, February 11, 2022

Enjoy Live Friday Night Music At Roosevelt Island Granny Annie's Bar & Kitchen - Hear Some Elvis, Johnny Cash, Meat Loaf & More, Ask For Your Song

Derek Dempsey performs every Friday evening starting at 7 PM at Roosevelt Island's Granny Annie's Bar & Kitchen.

Last Friday, we had some Meat Loaf and Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

More info about Derek Dempsey at his website.  

More on Granny Annie's including menu here.

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Cookie Booth At Farmers Market Saturday February 12 - Order Online Too And Help Support Our Local Girl Scout Troops

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3233 Leaders Suzy del Campo Perea reports

Say it with Girl Scout cookies this Valentines!
Do you have your Super Bowl snacks ready?

Come over to the Farmers Market this Saturday February 12th from 10:30 till the cookies last.

Girl Scouts Troop 3233 of RI, the youngest of all, will have Girl Scout Cookies available for sale at the Farmers Market.

Due to health and safety concerns, Girl Scouts are not going door to door offering our delicious Samoas, Thin Mints and S’mores, but we will have them available for you cause we can’t leave our faithful Islander supporters with out their long awaited cookies.

There are more Cookie Booth sales coming up. So look us up at the Farmers Market!

You can also order online GS Cookies from one of the 4 troops of RI. Each purchase helps the troop accomplish their goals, like going camping, special field trips, and every donated cookie will go directly to Coler Hospital and RIDA Food Pantry.
To order online, here are the links in order from the youngest to the oldest Girl Scout Troops:

Feel free to reach out with any questions and thank you in advance for your help!! 

Brownie & Juniors (3rd and 4th graders)

Juniors & Cadettes (5th and 6th graders)

Cadettes (Middle School) 

Seniors (High School) 

For anyone interested joining the Girl Scouts or for a special order, please email

Thursday, February 10, 2022

NYC Council Member Julie Menin Demands OMNY Fare Collection System Installation For Roosevelt Island Tram - It's Up To RIOC Says MTA, RIOC Says Roosevelt Island OMNY Installation At The Whim Of MTA, Can Mayor Eric Adams Solve This?

When will the Roosevelt Island Tram Stations 

be included in the MTA's One Metro New York (OMNY) 

system is a question often asked by Roosevelt Island residents.

The MTA's OMNY future does not appear to be coming to Roosevelt Island anytime soon.

Responding to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse last month, the MTA reported it is up to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC): 

... to add OMNY to their fare collection systems.

But, during a September 21, 2021 Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee meeting, RIOC CFO John O'Reilly said:

... Roosevelt Island and the Tram was set in a priority listing, not with our input but basically unilaterally by the MTA, that they were going to do the Long Island Railroad first and PATH next and then we were going to be third on the list after they got Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn done.

We were scheduled to have negotiations and discussions with them in the spring of this year to negotiate the new contract. We were given the vendor's name who was supplying the equipment and we made contact with them. The last I heard from them was February 2020 right before the pandemic hit...

... We were scheduled to have everything done by the late fall, early winter of this year or early winter of next year so we will be in position to be in play by January 1st 2023 when that was their deadline to have everything in place. 

I don't know if they've extended that deadline or not...

... We're basically at the whim of the MTA on this one. We did everything we could to try to get them to move us up on the priority list and renegotiate the contract and do everything we can but the pandemic hit and then everything kind of fell off ....

Today, Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Julie Menin, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and State Senator Jose Serrano issued this press release demanding OMNY installation on the Roosevelt Island Tram. According to the February 10, 2022 press release:

Council Member Julie Menin Demands OMNY Installation on Roosevelt Island. Tram Commuters can not access OMNY free transfers or utilize fare-capping pilot program. RIOC Missing Out on Critical Funds By Not Using OMNY 

The Offices of New York City Council Member Julie Menin, New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano and New York State Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright have requested the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) advance the timeline for the installation of the One Metro New York (OMNY) system on the Roosevelt Island Tram. The letter sent by the Office of Council Member Julie Menin addresses RIOC President and CEO Shelton J. Haynes as the Roosevelt Island Tram remains the last MetroCard only station within the MTA system.

RIOC is a New York State run public-benefit corporation that maintains and develops Roosevelt Island, operates a Public Safety Department, and also provides services such as the Roosevelt Island Tramway that enhances the residential island community. It is one of the few forms of mass transit in New York City not run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but uses that system's MetroCard. 

With an annual ridership of over two million people and daily use in the thousands, the Tram currently is one of the most reliable services for traveling into Midtown Manhattan and a way to avoid crowded subways cars on the F train that travels to Manhattan and Queens. Those who forget or are not in possession of a Metrocard, cannot use their smart technology such as smartphones and watches, which could also have their payment readily available. If passengers used OMNY earlier on their trip, a free transfer is not available and passengers cannot take advantage of the weekly fare cap. Starting at the end of the month, New York City transit riders who utilize OMNY will pay no more than $33 per week for unlimited rides on the MTA’s local buses and subways.

In addition to not having OMNY integrated with the tram, RIOC is also currently missing out on collecting full revenues from Metrocard rides due to an outdated agreement with the MTA that did not account for fare hikes, as RIOC only receives $2.00 for a Metrocard swipe. Adopting OMNY technology provides an opportunity to collect full fares and create a fairer agreement. 

“Roosevelt Island residents shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by a fixable transportation issue. The Tram is vital to our residents, and making it affordable and modernizing the technology will be a benefit for tram riders and RIOC alike as they’ll finally get the funds they deserve,” said Council Member Julie Menin.

"New Yorkers across the city currently have the option of paying their fare by tapping their contactless smartphones, cards, and other devices using OMNY, and Roosevelt Island Tram riders should be no exception. With the substantial growth of the island in the last few years, ease of access to transportation options has become more important than ever, and I look forward to seeing RIOC advance their timeline for modernizing the current payment system,” said State Senator José M. Serrano. 

"The clock is ticking. The MTA is moving forward with its plan to fully implement OMNY. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is late to the game. RIOC must come forward with a timetable to deploy the OMNY system while also ensuring that Tram riders continue to benefit from seamless payment and transfers," said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. 

“Very few Roosevelt Islanders remember when Matt Katz spent years advocating for our Tram to accept Metro Cards (it didn’t just happen). For a ridiculously long time we had to use outdated tokens that were no longer used anywhere else at the time. I remember listening to my neighbors, particularly those with families who were financially burdened by the extra expense…here we go again. Why can’t RIOC be proactive and reactive in support of our financially burdened neighbors and prioritize this change making it happen NOW and truly support the people who need it the most,” said Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, resident of Roosevelt Island and Chair of the Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee.

Below is February 10 letter sent by the Roosevelt Island elected officials asking RIOC President Shelton Haynes to implement the OMNY system on Roosevelt Island Tram by the end of this year.

 and the full CB 8 Roosevelt Island Committee (chaired by Ms Shinozaki) OMNY discussion with RIOC CFO John O'Reilly.

During yesterday's NY State Assembly Budget Hearings, NYC Mayor Eric Adams told Ms. Seawright that he is:

... is looking forward to that Tram Ride. It is one of the greatest attractions in the City...

Perhaps Mayor Adams can help facilitate the future of OMNY installation coming to the Roosevelt Island Tram sooner rather than later.

I asked RIOC for any comment on the matter earlier today. No response yet.

UPDATE 2/11 - According to RIOC President Shelton Haynes: 

Simply, we agree with many points our new city councilmember and elected officials have made. RIOC is equally disappointed with the lag in integrating OMNY at the Roosevelt Island Tram stations. We welcome and support the advocacy, although somewhat misplaced, as we have implored the MTA and their integration partners to ensure Tram riders have access to the same benefits enjoyed on other forms of New York City public transportation. Further, and for some time now, we have been aware of the fare disparity and our CFO has been actively working to engage the MTA on renegotiating the fees in an effort to close this gap.
I replied: 

What is the obstacle in getting OMNY for the Roosevelt Island Tram? When was the last time Rioc and the MTA discussed the matter?
UPDATE 2/15: UPDATE 2/17: Below is letter sent today by RIOC President Shelton Haynes in reply to the Menin/Seawright/Serrano OMNY letter.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Roosevelt Island Kid Earl Carr Grows Up To Become Global Geopolitical Expert - Watch Zoom Video Discussion Of His New Book "From Trump to Biden and Beyond: Reimagining US-China Relations" Presented By The Roosevelt Island Library Moderated By Dr Kathy Grimm

Earl Carr grew up on Roosevelt Island as a child in the 1980's until he left for college and still has family living on Roosevelt Island. 

Mr Carr is the editor of "From Trump to Biden and Beyond: Reimagining US-China Relations" published by Palgrave-Macmillan Press in September of 2021. 

Last January 25, Mr Carr discussed his book in a Zoom Conversation presented by the NY Public Library Roosevelt Island branch that was moderated by local pediatrician Doctor Kathy Grimm.

As is the case with many, many Roosevelt Island children over the past 35 years, Mr Carr was a patient of Doctor Grimm's.

Here's Mr Carr's Roosevelt Island NY Public Library presentation of "From Trump to Biden and Beyond: Reimagining US-China Relations".

Mr Carr is: 

Founder and Chief Executive Officer at CJPA Global Advisors. Based in New York he manages a multidisciplinary team of global research analysts, software engineers, marketing specialists, geopolitical analysts, and media professionals to guide the firm’s global thought leadership, client advisory practice, and cross-border venture capital mandate. He can be reached here.

Mr Carr adds:

In 1981, my parents moved our family (me, my younger Lisa, and my two older sisters Carolyn and Linda) to Roosevelt Island when I was three years old. At the time my father Dr. Earl A. Carr Sr. was representing Jamaica at The UN Security Council as one of the rotating members. At the time we lived on the 13th floor in Island House and Kofi Annan and his wife and daughter Nina lived on the 9th floor and my sisters Linda and Carolyn would often hang out with Nina and go to Blackwell park together. Kofi Annan would later become Secretary-General to The United Nations but would remember our conversations together.

In many ways, growing up on Roosevelt Island and the indelible memories I have of playing tennis outdoors with Tennis coach Joyce Mincheff and The New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) or in the tennis bubble, or having BBQ's at the lighthouse was the best one could have as a child. It is truly a privilege to have been raised on "The Island" as we would call it back in the day. In hindsight, I find it fascinating that I learned how to read and write in elementary school at PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island and would later utilize the foundations of those skills to write my first edited book volume, "From Trump to Biden and Beyond: Reimagining US-China Relations" published by Palgrave-Macmillan Press in September of 2021. 

In sum, if you were to ask me why did I write this edited book volume, I would say that The US and China is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. If you look at the history of US-China relations it has always been defined by Cooperation and Competition. However when the US and China cannot forge a constructive relationship then American businesses suffer, US farmers are negatively impacted when there is a trade war, and American and Chinese students are impacted in their ability to study abroad. At the same time, US educational institutions are impacted as well as American employers in educating and retaining the best talent for employees are also critically impacted. Our globalized and interdependent ecosystems should and must require the free flow of goods, services, people, and capital. I hope that this edited book volume can serve to help educate and enable people to have a more informed view on China and US-China relations, as opposed to viewing China as an existential threat which is how it is often depicted in the media. Yes The US and China have different economic and political systems and some would even argue values as well however that should not deter the US and China from continually striving to find ways to cooperate, engage, learn from, and at times disagree with each other. We must recognize that solving differences between the US and China in a peaceful manner is the only solution because any kind of military confrontation would be catastrophic for both nations and the global community. Our generation and future generations are depending on us. 

February 1st was Chinese new year, the most important traditional festival celebrated by millions of Chinese all over the world. As I reflect on growing up on Roosevelt Island, observing how the demographics on the island have evolved- going from a small Asian community to now having a significant Asian and in particular a growing Chinese community, it would behoove The United States and Americans to remember the words of Napoleon, who wrote, "Let China Sleep, For When She Wakes, She Will Shake The World." China (中国)which literally in Chinese translates into the "Middle Kingdom" or the center of the world, has and will continue to rise in global influence and thus the US will need to redefine and reimagine relations with China to better meet the challenges of the future global order. 

Mr Carr also discussed his book, "From Trump to Biden and Beyond: Reimagining US-China Relations, in a presentation to the National Committee On US-China Relations.

 More info on Mr Carr here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Is This True, Did You Know You're Not A Real New Yorker Until You've Taken A Ride On The Roosevelt Island Tram? A Visitor Reports On Tram Ride

Here's a recent visitor's ride and review of the Roosevelt Island Tram.


Monday, February 7, 2022

Rarely, If Ever, Occupied RIOC Public Safety Department Booth Near Entrance To Roosevelt Island Subway Station Removed Today Without Any Explanation

The area in and around the Roosevelt Island subway station has seen several incidents of harassment and violence recently including a stabbing resulting in attempted murder charges and a mentally disturbed person threatening to kill a 4 year old girl.

Today, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) removed

the rarely, if ever, occupied Public Safety Department booth near the entrance to the Roosevelt Island subway station, without any explanation.

The Public Safety Booth near the subway station was installed in June 2011.

A reader commented on Roosevelt Islander Instagram post today:

There was never anyone in there from inception of the booth.

More Instagram comments about safety in the area around the subway from January 21 :

  • Public Safety needs to do more than just stand around the plaza on Main Street. They need to patrol everywhere. What is the point of that police guard station and nobody in it.
  • My dad was threatened by a man inside and outside the subway last Saturday.
  • Noticable increase in homeless and mentally ill on trains and in stations. Police presence is only fruitful if officers and mental health professionals are empowered to act and if there are treatment and relocation options. In the meantime police could patrol, identify and provide public safety support. NOT by standing around or sitting in a booth but by engaging people, talking and when necessary arresting. There's a hell of a lot more to public safety than being a crossing guard or writing parking tickets.
  • I’ve complained about the number of homeless individuals at the station to deaf ears.
  • Maybe someone needs to make a u turn over there to get some attention

Roosevelt Island & Upper East Side NYC Council Member Julie Menin Hosting Anti-Semitism Zoom Town Hall Wednesday February 9 - You're Invited To The Discussion With Simon Wiesenthal Center, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright And Hate Crime Law Enforcement Representatives

Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member Julie Menin is hosting an Anti-Semitism Town Hall via Zoom on Wednesday February 9 at 7 PM. According to Ms Menin:

Council Member Julie Menin invites the New York City community to a discussion on how to prevent and report hate crimes and antisemitism. This virtual town hall is in partnership with the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, Simon Wiesenthal Center, New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the New York State Attorney General. 

When: Wednesday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Why: On January 8th, at a Chase Bank ATM at East 86th Street and York Avenue, a customer withdrew several bills that had Swastikas and Nazi symbols. Several instances of antisemitism have occurred in the neighborhood these past few months.
Last year, New York State had the most antisemitic incidents out of any state in the country. Both Manhattan and Brooklyn each had almost 100 antisemitic incidents. In the light of multiple recent antisemitic incidents in our community and the frightening hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas, a Town Hall on Antisemitism is being held.
· New York City Council Member Julie Menin
· Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright
· Eastern Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Michael Cohen
· Commanding Officer of NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force Inspector Jessica Corey
· Commanding Officer of NYPD 19th Precinct Inspector Melissa Eger
· Special Counsel on Hate Crimes at the Office of New York State Attorney General Rick Sawyer
· Jewish Community Liaison from the NYC Commission on Human Rights Jonah Boyarin
· Deputy Director of ADL New York/New Jersey Region Alexander Rosemberg
· New York City Council Member Eric Dinowitz
Here's Mayor Eric Adams speaking January 21 at the Central Synogogue.

Register here for the February 9 Anti-Semitism Town Hall.