Friday, May 27, 2022

Newly Renovated Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Will Be Illuminated Red, White And Blue This Weekend Starting Saturday Evening In Observance Of Memorial Day Says RIOC

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

In observance of Memorial Day, the newly renovated Lighthouse Tower will be illuminated red, white and blue from Saturday May 28th through Monday, May 30th.

Enjoy a happy and safe holiday weekend!

As reported last May 18: 

Linda Doyle shares these beautiful photos taken last night of the restored Roosevelt Island Lighthouse and reports: 

Tonight was the first night for testing with the colored light

The plan is to match the lights of the Empire State Building for holidays. They will change when needed. Memorial Day red, white and blue, etc.

I asked if she got to climb the stairs to the top?

Ms Doyle replied: 

No. I thought about asking but was afraid that it might be dusty and filled with cobwebs. But if they are there tonight, I will ask.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Lighthouse Tower Opens

The Lighthouse Tower, designed by architect James Renwick, has been a prominent historic feature of Roosevelt Island since its construction in 1872. The Lighthouse was partially restored in the 1940s, complete with a low pitch 10 - sided lantern and was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places and designated a New York City Landmark in 1972 and 1976 respectively. In 2019, Thomas A. Fenniman Architects was hired to create construction documents to increase the useful life of the structure, eliminate potentially unsafe conditions, and reduce operating and maintenance expenses.

The exterior and interior restoration of the tower, included masonry restoration, concrete bracket and platform repair, railing restoration, replacement of spiral staircase, door and window restoration, as well as electrical and site work. These repairs remediated the many life and safety issues addressed for long-term use and will additionally decrease the operation and maintenance costs associated with the tower. “It is truly an honor to have rehabilitated this historic landmark for the Roosevelt Island community and visitors alike to enjoy. The Lighthouse Tower is a cornerstone and simply one of Roosevelt Islands treasures. I would like to thank our RIOC team, the architect and contractor for their work on this project.”, said Shelton J. Haynes, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC).

The restoration aspects and new lantern design were approved by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. “I am thrilled for the community to see the colored up-lighting on the tower and enjoy this space again. The conclusion of this project marks the last phase of our renovations to the northern tip of the Lighthouse Park that began with the renovations of the foot bridges in 2019.”, expressed Prince R. Shah, Assistant Director of Capital Planning and Projects at RIOC....

More on the restored Roosevelt Island Lighthouse here.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Roosevelt Island PS 217 Kindergarten Gifted & Talented Program Getting 25 More Seats - Mayor Adams Announces Applications For Expanded NYC Schools Gifted & Talented Program Will Open May 31 - NYC Kids Rise College Savings Program For Kindergartners Info Too

NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced last Tuesday that applications for expanded NYC Department Of Education (DOE) Gifted & Talented program seats will open Tuesday, May 31. According to this May 24 NYC Mayor's Office Press Release

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks today announced that applications for the expanded kindergarten and third grade Gifted & Talented programs will open next Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

“By expanding our Gifted & Talented program to all New York City districts, we are giving every young person an opportunity to grow, to learn, to explore their talents and imagination, and we are making sure no child is left behind,” said Mayor Adams. “Working with families, teachers, and community leaders, we were able to make this expansion happen, and now students from every school district will be able to access a Gifted & Talented program.”

“Family and community engagement is critical to the success of our students and of this program,” said Chancellor Banks. “Thank you to our superintendents, community leaders, and families for working together with us to ensure there is access to the Gifted & Talented program in every community. We are also grateful to our pre-K teachers for undertaking this enormous effort to ensure that each and every student is screened for this opportunity....”

Roosevelt Island's PS 217

will be among the schools with an expanded kindergarten Gifted & Talented program. I asked the NYC Department of Education (DOE):

How many additional seats will be available for the Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Kindergarten Gifted and Talented Program

A DOE spokesperson replied:

25 seats.

CBS New York has more on the Gifted and Talented program 

 and application process.

I asked PS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman and the school's PTA for comment on the expanded Roosevelt Island Kindergarten Gifted & Talented program but have not received a reply yet. Will update with any new info.

More info on NYC Gifted & Talented program here.


Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member Julie Menin adds:

Here's more. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Mark Your Calendar - Roosevelt Island Day Coming Up Saturday June 11 - Community Beautification, Planting Activities, Yoga, Bike Adjustments/Fine Tuning, Yoga, Clothing Drop Offs, Book Swap, Plogging, Scoop-A -Poop, Children's Sing -A -Long & More

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

It’s that time of year again, Roosevelt Island Day! Come out and join us for a day of celebration of Roosevelt Island on Saturday, June 11th, from 11 AM – 2 PM.

Bring your family and friends to our fun and activities, located at Blackwell Plaza, the Meditation Lawn, and other areas throughout Main St. and learn more info from our local community organizations. This rain or shine event will include:


Bike Repair 

Clothing Drop-off 

Free Book Swap 

 Battery Recycling Drop-off and 


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

New Southtown Roosevelt Island Dog Run Coming To Area Next To Ferry Dock Beneath Queensboro Bridge As Proposed By RIOC And RIRA - Will It Bring Solution To Community Divided Over Unleashed Dogs, Poop, And Reality Of Roosevelt Island Dog Population?

As reported May 2:

Unleashed Dogs Running On Roosevelt Island Ball Fields Results In Complaints From Parents, Other Residents And Tickets From RIOC PSD Enforcing Dog Ban On Fields - Owners Say No Safe Place For Their Dogs And Start Petition For Off Leash Hours And New Dog Run

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes reported to the May 19 RIOC Board Of Directors meeting (full video of meeting here) that in the next 3 to 4 weeks the North Dog Run near the Octagon building will be upgraded and that longer term plans include a Dog Run in Lighthouse Park. 

Also, Mr Haynes announced a Southtown "temporary" dog run to be developed in the area next to the Ferry Dock landing under the Queensboro Bridge and appeared to say it would be ready in about a month.

Screenshot From May 19 RIOC Board Meeting

Mr Haynes added that a more permanent solution for a Southtown Dog Run will be located in the area between the Hudson Related Riverwalk Building 8 and Building 9 when construction of Building 9 is completed. It is anticipated that Building 9 construction will begin in the next few months.

However, it is possible that the "Temporary" Dog Run, if successful, will become permanent. 

But, today RIOC Tweeted the Temporary Dog run near the Ferry Dock will open in the Fall:

During Mr Haynes discussion of plans for Roosevelt Island dog runs, RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki urged Roosevelt Island building owners to take more responsibility by providing space for their resident's dogs since the building ownership suggested Roosevelt Island was a 'dog friendly" place as an inducement for new owners and residents.

Here is the dog discussion during Mr Haynes' President's Report.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Rossana Ceruzzi and RIRA Island Services Committee Chair Raul Cavazos-Binder have been working to find a solution and compromise among community members holding a variety of viewpoints on the subject of Dog Runs and off leash running. 

According to Ms Ceruzzi:

It took significant effort of RIRA working closely with RIOC’s President Haynes and finally, the dog park is well on its way to being built. Soon dog parents will enjoy the outdoors with their four-legged friends thanks to a brand-new dog park that will be a great addition to RI.

It has been longer than expected in the making due to the pandemic, but it is now on the way. Amenities will include water fountains for humans and doggies, especially for the summer when dogs can get easily overheated and so everyone will stay hydrated, dog-waste bag dispensers, dedicated trash receptacles and much more.

Also, general park rules/etiquette will be in place including owners picking up after their dogs, dogs being licensed and vaccinated for rabies, bringing no more than two dogs per household into the park, not allowing female dogs in heat inside the park, limiting the small dog area of the park to canines under 30 pounds 

Dr. Jennifer Heinen is a Roosevelt Island resident and dog owner who organized a petition drive for a new Southtown Dog Run and Off Leash hours for dogs on Firefighters Field. Dr. Heinen reports:

During the RIOC Board Meeting on the evening of 5/19, Shelton Haynes (RIOC CEO) announced a plan for the area between the ferry entrance and the bridge to be used as a temporary dog run; this area currently contains debris, concrete slabs, and rocks. 

While this could be a potential solution, I have significant concerns about the ability to make this space safe for our pets (he provided no details on the approach to this). RIOC's lack of transparency and lack of input from the dog community are worrying. 

I propose that a dog-owning representative be present in every meeting regarding these issues, and an exact plan of renovation for that spot be publicly provided for comment. I fear that resources that are not deemed safe and reasonable by dog owners will not be utilized; this could result in continued rising tensions among community members until an approach approved by the dog community is adopted. 

We also require additional information about long-term plans for a new state-of-the-art dog run for South Town, for which funding has already been provided by Related. Transparency is a matter of respect for all Roosevelt Island citizens, and I hope to have more of it from RIOC in the future.

 Dr. Heinen described the hazardous conditions at Southtown Dog Run in a letter read by RIOC General Counsel Gretchen Robinson during the May 19 RIOC Board Meeting Public Session.

Earlier today, RIOC workers were laying new soil and repairing the current Southtown Dog Run

Here's the site for new Southtown "temporary" next to ferry dock beneath the Queensboro Bridge.

The RIRA Isand Services Committee will be meeting tomorrow, May 25 at 6:30 PM via Zoom to discuss this issue more.You're invited to attend. Here's the Zoom link.

UPDATE 9:10 PM - The RIRA Public Safety Committee discussed the issue of unleashed dogs with RIOC Public Safety Department Chief Kevin Brown and Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso during meeting this evening.

Here's the discussion.

UDPATE 5/25:

Tipster spotted NYPD K9 unit running unleashed today on Rivercross Lawn.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine And RIDA Give Out Free Covid Self Testing Kits And Hand Sanitizers At Farmers Market Last Saturday - BP President Levine Urges Roosevelt Island Residents To Protect Yourself From Covid And Get Vaccine Booster

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIOC) handed out free Covid 19 self testing kits and hand sanitizers at the Farmers Market in Good Shepherd Plaza last Saturday.

RIDA President Wendy Hersh reports that over 400 of the Covid home testing kits and hand sanitizers were distributed on Saturday.

Manhattan Borough President Levine also encouraged Roosevelt Island residents to be vaccinated and to get your Covid booster shots.

The NY Times has more information on Covid 19 booster shots.

According to a May 19, 2022 statement from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 

CDC is expanding eligibility of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to everyone 5 years of age and older. CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. Since the pandemic began, more than 4.8 million children ages 5 through 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 15,000 have been hospitalized and, tragically, over 180 have died. As cases increase across the country, a booster dose will safely help restore and enhance protection against severe disease.

In addition, today CDC is strengthening its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after their first. Over the past month we have seen steady increases in cases, with a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans. While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Whether it is your first booster, or your second, if you haven’t had a vaccine dose since the beginning of December 2021 and you are eligible, now is the time to get one.

UPDATE 5/24:

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Three Women Robbed At Gunpoint Of 86 Thousand Dollars Worth Of Jewelry And Other Items In Front Of Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel On Cornell Tech Campus Last Night

Last evening at about 8 PM I started receiving multiple reports from residents that a woman was robbed at gunpoint on Roosevelt Island's Main Street. The residents reporting the armed robbery learned about the incident from their Citizen App shown in screenshot of video below.

I went to see what happened and upon approaching 530 Main Street noticed that everything appeared to be a normal Roosevelt Island springtime Saturday night, people were eating outside at Nisi, hanging out by the bell in Good Shepherd Plaza and otherwise enjoying the evening. Nobody I spoke to knew about or had any information about an armed robbery occurring in the area just a few minutes earlier.

But, there was a NYPD vehicle with several officers in the Breezeway across from Good Shepherd Plaza.

I asked the officers if a woman had been robbed at gunpoint and they confirmed that it happened but had very little additional information other than there were no injuries.

Following up today, I was told by the NYPD that at approximately 7:30 PM last night, two women were inside a vehicle and one woman was outside the car when 3 men approached them with firearms and robbed the women of Eighty Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($80,600) worth of jewelry including a wedding ring, Gucci Slippers, Dior Purse, Cartier Watch and Bracelet, Hermes Kelly Bag and Bracelet as well as other items. The three suspects then drove away in another vehicle.

There was some initial confusion as to where the robbery occurred. 

The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Daily blotter reported the incident happened at 22 North Loop Road which is the Graduate Hotel on the Cornell Tech campus.

05/21/22 – 1950 -22 North Loop Road – Robbery – NYPD, PSD Responded – Report Filed

At first NYPD said the robbery happened at 530 Main Street. But later in the day, the NYPD confirmed the location of the Robbery was in front of 22 North Loop Road, the site of the Graduate Hotel.

The incident is under active investigation.

Will update when more information becomes available.