Friday, February 25, 2022

Roosevelt Island Friends of Coler Volunteers Formed During Dark Days Of Coronavirus Lockdown Continue To Help And Support Neighbors At Coler Long Term Care Facility - You Can Help Too

The Friends Of Coler are a group of Roosevelt Island residents that came together in 2020 to help the patients and staff of NYC Health & Hospitals Corp (HHC) Coler Long Term Care Facility who had been under a lockdown during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Friends Of Coler are continuing to provide friendship and support to our neighbors at Coler. According to Friends Of Coler, they are:

... a network of neighbors, friends and family who care deeply about the people who live and work in Coler Rehabilitation & Nursing Care Center and who support connections between the Roosevelt Island community and Coler residents/staff.

                                                                        Image From Friends Of Coler You Tube Video Screenshot

 Friends Of Coler volunteers Julia Ferguson and Nicole Izsak report:

Dear friends in support of Coler,  

Happy February 2022! Roosevelt Island children's groups spread lots of kindness this month! Youth of all ages created over 200 beautiful handmade Valentines cards that were given to Coler Recreational Therapy for 2/14 distribution on Sunday afternoon 2/13 while also visiting a few friends.  

Roosevelt Island Youth Center cards were filled with full page drawings as well as wishes for both residents and staff. RI Girl Scout Troops made creative pop-up cards with handwritten messages of hope and the "Daisy" troop made special hearts that became a banner. Island Kids cheered everyone with hand signed and decorated posters, and Roosevelt Island Navigators brought in beautiful cards as well.  

Save the date for March 10th 7:00 p.m. when Angelica Patient Assistance Program will present a zoom to talk about resuming programming and volunteer opportunities at Coler moving forward in 2022.  

Pre-pandemic traditions at Coler included a Sweetheart Ball sponsored by Angelica Patient Assistance Program. With the Omicron variant still present and group gatherings still restricted in January/February this year, Angelica found a work around with Coler Recreational Therapy! They distribute Popeye's meals and Valentine's treats this year on Monday February 14th. One resident mentioned that the combination of the Super Bowl and the Valentine's event made for a very good February weekend! Coler residents and staff have also welcomed a new CEO this month: Stephen Catullo, MBA.  

May more good news continue for all,

Ms Ferguson adds:

The work that RI Youth Center children and staff, Island Kids children and staff, RI Girl Scout troops and leaders, and RI Navigators put in was careful and so heartwarming. It is so in line with the kindness and generosity that does exist in our community. And we even had a small troop of Girl Scouts from Staten Island who heard and sent in greetings!

 I asked Friends of Coler:

How have the Coler folks been doing recently with COVID issues? Any problems?
Coler resident Peter Yearwood says:
We are doing pretty good at Coler. No major issues to report. There was an outbreak of Omnicron but we are over that and all is well.

Meet Mr Yearwood who is a member of the Coler Open Doors Reality Poets.

The Open Doors Poets have teamed with documentary filmmaker Alexis Neophytidis to show what it was like at the Coler facility during the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic. Take a look at the trailer for their upcoming documentary, Fire Through Dry Grass to see for yourself.

Fire Through Dry Grass – Trailer from The Big Chair on Vimeo.

Also, meet Momo, a canine Friend Of Coler. 

Here's Friends of Coler bringing some cheer and helping to celebrate 2021 Valentine's Day outside Coler during the lockdown.


Please contact Friends Of Coler if you wish to join, meet and help our neighbors at Coler.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Roosevelt Island's New NY State Senator Mike Gianaris Talks With Residents During Community Board 8 RI Committee Meeting - He's Learning About Local Issues Including RIOC Governance And Looking Forward To Speaking With You At Saturday Farmers Market Soon

As reported February 1:

... How does the proposed NY State legislative redistricting impact Roosevelt Island representation? 

Roosevelt Island's long time Manhattan/Bronx State Senator Jose Serrano will no longer represent the neighborhood. Instead, Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris, Deputy Majority Leader of the State Senate, will represent Roosevelt Island in the proposed redistricting....

Senator Gianaris participated in the February 17 Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee virtual Zoom meeting chaired by Lynn Strong-Shinozaki and introduced himself to the community members attending.

According to Senator Gianaris: 

... I just wanted to start to get to know you all. As Lynn mentioned, the redistricting lines have changed and the district that I currently represent is taking on Roosevelt Island and parts of the Upper East Side up in the 90s and even though I won't officially be representing the area until January 1, I will be running for office for re-election... 

Roosevelt Island was a place I've been too many times in my life. As you're all very much aware, the only bridge connecting you all to the rest of the city comes right into  the historic Long Island City border so I've ridden my bike through your island many times.

I visited the park, I've been to events there and I will consider it an honor if I get the chance to represent the area and you can count on seeing me there often.

Lynn and I spoke a little bit earlier today and she mentioned the Saturday market is something I have to come to so we're gonna put that on my agenda. I don't think I can come this weekend but I will be there in short order and if any of you are there I will get to say hello in person ...

... I  really look forward to collaborating with all of you on issues of importance to Roosevelt Island. Most people in the City I think when they think of Roosevelt they think of the Tram and the Spider-Man movie and there's a lot more going on there than just that so it's up to the rest of us to educate everybody else...

I asked Senator Gianaris about his views on the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors vacant seats, residents voting for RIOC Board members and the recently introduced legislation introduced by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and current State Senator Jose Serrano about the RIOC Board governance. 

                                                               Screenshot From Feb 17 CB 8 Roosevelt Island Committee You Tube Video

Senator Gianaris replied:

... This is my first introduction to Roosevelt Island activists and community leaders. I know about RIOC. I've heard a lot about it but before I dive into that detailed question I'd love to talk to you and to the Board and Lynn and develop some more background and actually that's something  I'd like to ask Senator Serrano his views on as well.

But I'm just starting to get to learn about a lot of this stuff and I know enough to know that the whole RIOC administration question has been lingering for quite some time so I just want to get kind of educated up on it before I give you a specific answer to that but I'm happy to sit with you and hear you out on how you think it should be handled ... 

About the Seawright/Serrano RIOC legislation, Senator Gianaris said:

... It sounds like if the people who represent the Island want that change then it's likely something I'd be supporting as well but again i just don't want to get ahead of myself on the substance...


...One thing that I would ask you all to avail yourselves of as it relates to my role in the Senate is I happen to be the Deputy Leader. Senator Serrano is the Chairman of the Conference so he's kind of third or fourth in line too so he's no slouch but I do have probably more ability to be effective legislatively than the average Senator. So, if there's something as it relates to RIOC for example, I may have a greater ability to get that done, a new experience in the past so we should definitely put our heads together on that and see what we can do.

Ms Shinozaki adds:

That sounds very exciting. I know that the the community has chafed at different periods because they felt that who was participating in the Board didn't necessarily represent the community and there has been a lot of movement over the years to try to get more people on the Board that live in the community because they feel that they understand the issues intimately because they live here. I'm sure that's something that we can continue to discuss with you in terms of how to move forward on that.

Here's the Agenda

 and video of the February CB 8 Roosevelt Island committee.


Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright will continue to represent Roosevelt Island under the new redistricting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Watch Wonderful Video Presentation Of "In The Footsteps Of Nellie Bly" With Author Rosemary J. Brown And Girl Puzzle Sculptor Amanda Mathews Hosted By Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy And NYPL RI Branch Library

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) and New York Public Library Roosevelt Island branch hosted a free virtual lecture - In The Footsteps of Nellie Blly - via Zoom on Tuesday February 15 with Following Nellie Bly author Rosemary J. Brown and Girl Sculptor sculptor Amanda Mathews.

As previously reported, RIHS President Judy Berdy moderated:

... A celebration of the life and legacy of Nellie Bly – journalist, adventurer and humanitarian – on the centennial of her death (January 27, 1922) with a focus on her record-breaking race around the world declared ‘the most remarkable of all feats of circumnavigation ever performed by a human being,’ by The New York World, 1890.   

Rosemary J Brown is a London-based journalist and author of Following Nellie Bly: Her Record-Breaking Race Around the World (Pen and Sword Books, 2021) where she re-traced Bly’s epic 72-day journey to pay tribute to the pioneering woman now commemorated in the recently inaugurated The Girl Puzzle monument on Roosevelt Island. Brown is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with a quest to get female adventurers ‘back on the map.’

Rosemary will be joined by Amanda Matthews, the sculptor of "The Girl Puzzle'' located on Roosevelt Island.  Amanda is an award-winning sculptor and designer of public art and the space it inhabits.  She is also a public speaker and the CEO of Prometheus Art, a Design/Build Firm owned with her partner/husband, Brad Connell, located in Lexington, KY. Matthews’ work reflects a commitment to women, fairness, civil rights, and lifting muted and marginalized voices.  She designs large-scale monuments and installations with emphasis on accessibility for all people. Her work recognizes and honors the plight of women, those who are marginalized, the LGBTQ+ community, and others who are still seeking equal rights and representation.

Watch the video of this fascinating program.

More info available about Following Nellie Bly book and Girl Puzzle Sculpture.

Also, here are scenes from the Ribbon Cutting Grand Opening 

of the Girl Puzzle Sculpture at Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Springtime Weather In February Enjoyed Today By Kids Of All Ages At Roosevelt Island McManus Soccer Field

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Long Time Resident Sadly Reports No Longer Proud To Call Roosevelt Island Home - It Used To Be Such A Pretty Place But No Longer Tipster Says, Just Look At The Filthy Pigeon Poop Mess On Waterfront Bench - What Will It Take To Get RIOC To Clean This Eyesore?

A Long Time Roosevelt Island sadly reports:

Forty-some years ago when I moved here the Island was a pretty place. I was proud to call it home. But it hasn't been for a while. Leaves cluttered our grounds for months...... except around Blackwell House where leaf blowers were used. Potholes and cracked sidewalks are now the norm, while litter is all over. I drive past housing projects in Queens whose grounds are better kept than ours. 

This bench

is the worst example of management that does not care nor take pride in our environment. It makes me sad and robs me of my long-standing pride in living here.

The bench with the disgusting pigeon poop is located on the Roosevelt Island Waterfront East Promenade behind Roosevelt Landing. The bench next to the one in picture is free of pigeon poop.

What does it take to get the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp to clean this eyesore?