Saturday, June 11, 2022

One Of Two Roosevelt Island Tram Cabins Out Of Service Starting Tomorrow June 12 Thru June 26 For Tram Haul Rope Replacement Says RIOC - Observers Express Hope That Giant RI Sign On Tram Plaza Being Temporarily Removed Not Return

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced yesterday, June 10, that the Roosevelt Island Tram South Cabin will be out of service starting Sunday June 12 thru approximately June 26 due to:

... critical and necessary tram work...
Workers were seen yesterday preparing the site. Among the site preparations is the temporary removal of the Giant RI Rhode Island or Roosevelt Island sign on the Tram Plaza. Several observers were heard expressing the hope that the Giant Sign used by tourists for Instagram moments would somehow be dropped during its removal and not return.

According to RIOC:
Upcoming Tram Haul Rope Replacement

Please be advised that due to critical and necessary tram work beginning Sunday, June 12th, 2022, until approximately Sunday, June 26th, 2022, the South Tram Cabin will be out of service.  The North Cabin will remain in service.

To accommodate this disruption, RIOC will be running a shuttle bus Mondays through Fridays from 3PM to 8PM, between the Roosevelt Island Tramway and the Tram Station at 60th St and 2nd Ave in Manhattan. 

Boarding Locations/Routes: 

  • Roosevelt Island to Manhattan: board at the R.I. Tram Station. Shuttle will make all northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (Opposite PS/IS 217)
  • Manhattan to R.I.: board at the southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th & 59th Street. Shuttle will make all southbound local stops (beginning at 591 Main Street) to the Tram station.
  • Frequency: departing on the half hour, traffic depending.
  • Last Trip- Manhattan to R.I.: 8:30 PM Roosevelt Island to Manhattan: 8:00 PM

We encourage riders to plan accordingly and anticipate increased wait times for both the Tram and Red Bus shuttle. Please also consider alternate transportation options such as the F-train subway, ferry or Q102 bus.

We appreciate your patience.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Sponsored Post - Stop By The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market Tomorrow For Delicious Tasting Local Homegrown Summertime Strawberries, Sweet Juicy Peaches Plus Many Other Local Fruits And Vegetables In Season - Nice Selection Of Potted Herbs Too

Stop by the Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market tomorrow for delicious local homegrown summertime strawberries, 

sweet juicy peaches 

a nice selection of potted herbs

plus many other local fruits and vegetables coming in season. 

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market is a beloved member of our community - a place to purchase locally grown, healthy and deliciously tasting fresh fruits, vegetables and much more. It's also a gathering spot to meet with our neighbors and learn about the latest neighborhood news and gossip.

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market at Good Shepherd Plaza is open early morning to mid afternoon on Saturdays in good weather and bad. 
Support your Local Farmers, Eat Healthy! 

See you Saturday at Good Shepherd Plaza for the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

It's Roosevelt Island Day Tomorrow June 11 - Community Beautification, Planting Activities, Yoga, Bike Adjustments/Fine Tuning, 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 beautification and celebration of Roosevelt Island on Saturday, June 11th, from 11 AM – 2 PM.

Bring your family and friends to our fun, educational activities, located at Blackwell Plaza, the Meditation Lawn, and the Motorgate atrium area and learn more info from our local community organizations. Activities to include are: 

  • Island Beautification Plantings
  • Bike Repair
  • Clothing Drop-off
  • Yoga Hour
  • Main Street Theatre Sing Along
  • Free Book Swap
  • Food trucks
  • Shred truck (beginning at 10:00am)
  • Battery Recycling Drop-off and More!

Also, the Roosevelt Island Dog Parents Association is hosting Scoop-A-Poop Day as part of Roosevelt Island Day to encourage responsible dog ownership and to clean up the mess made by their dogs.

Meet The New President Of Roosevelt Island Gallery RIVAA Sandra Gavelyte Saturday June 11 - New Chapter Beginning For Gallery RIVAA Following Close Election Defeat Of Founder And Long Time President Tad Sudol

 Roosevelt Island Gallery RIVAA reports:

The Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA) is excited to announce that as of June 1, 2022, we have a new President, SANDRA GAVELYTE. All are welcome to come by the gallery at 527 Main Street to meet Sandra on Roosevelt Island Day, June 11th from 11AM -2PM. 

We look forward to seeing you.

Ms Gavelyte recently defeated Gallery RIVAA long time President Tad Sudol in a close election among the Gallery RIVAA members. 

Mr Sudol was a co-founder of Gallery RIVAA which opened in 2002.

I asked the new Gallery RIVAA President:

Do you have a picture of yourself on Roosevelt Island or at Gallery RIVAA?

How long have you been a member of RIVAA and a resident of Roosevelt Island?

Do you have a comment or statement about your future plans for Gallery RIVAA and any changes you wish to undertake from past years?

Ms Gavelyte replied:

I have lived on Roosevelt Island Island for the past 3 years and have been living in New York the same amount of years. Roosevelt Island was the first place of residence. My first day at the gallery as a member was October 5th 2021.  

This picture was taken at the gallery during one of our exhibitions by Peter Olszewski, our member and photographer who exhibits his work at RIVAA gallery. 

For the organization future plans, here are some brief ideas.

Gallery RIVAA provided this bio for Ms :

Sandra Gavelyte is a well seasoned architect, born in Lithuania, with over 10 years of working experience in architectural design and construction. 

She developed community projects in SE Asia in remote areas, and volunteered with City Farm in London, England. Her experience encompasses her work on the London Underground to improve the design of train stations and modernize the subway, as she collaborated closely with engineers on this project. Her international background has informed her design and aesthetic. 

Sandra has developed discipline, a work ethic and an impeccable eye for details through the years of her work and travel. Art has always been an integral part of her life and she exhibited her work internationally, as well as here in NYC. 

Educated in England at East London Westminster University of London, Sandra obtained her Bachelors and Masters degrees in architecture, with an additional degree from NewHam College in multimedia and graphic design. Sandra is inspired by the vibrant and multicultural entrepreneurial spirit that colors various neighborhoods - with distinct products and tastes, unique fashions and arts, and much more. 

Sandra is a passionate artist, architect, visionary and leader with a diverse background and an avid need to help others.

Today, I asked former RIVAA President Tad Sudol:

Do you have any comment on your role as a founder of RIVAA, being it's long time President, the Island Of Art Initiative as well as the recent RIVAA election and transition to a new President?

What initiatives are you most proud of and what are your major disappointments?...

... Thank you for your contributions to the Roosevelt Island community.

A new chapter is beginning for Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA. Stop by tomorrow and meet the new RIVAA President Sandra Gavelyte. 

UPDATE 6/13 - Ms Gavelyte 

greeting visitors to Gallery RIVAA during Roosevelt Island Day last Saturday.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Sponsored Post - Free To Be You Family Friendly Festival For Kids Of All Ages At FDR Four Freedoms Park Saturday June 18 - Featuring Latin Dance Class Taught By Ballet Hispánico, Drag Story Hour, Composting And Herb Class, Face Painting And More

Family-friendly festival for kids of all ages at FDR Four Freedoms State Park. This event is hosted by Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.

Join us for a fun filled FREE mini festival featuring activities including a Latin dance class taught by Ballet Hispánico, Drag Story Hour, Composting and Herb Class, Face Painting, and more!

Saturday, June 18th 11am-2:30pm. The event is free to the public. Registration is required on Eventbrite.

Click here to register.

Sign Up For Scoop-A-Poop Day On Roosevelt Island Saturday June 11 - Dog Owners Want The Community To Be Nice And Poopie Free Too

According to the Roosevelt Island Dog Parents Association group:

There is a sign up sheet for dog people to sign up for Pooper Scooper duties on Roosevelt Island Day - June 11th. Dog owners here are trying to taken responsibility and not ignore the mess our dogs create. While there are always irresponsible owners, most of dog owners on RI want the community to be nice and Poopie free. Scoop-a-poop day on RI!

We will go around the Island picking up any dog poop that we find on the streets and grass.

Everyone will be divided in groups so we can clean more effectively! (i.e. 1 group will clean the Cornell area, another group will clean the Southtown area, etc...)

Areas to be cleaned 

• 11am-12pm: West Esplanade (from promenade to Main Street)

• 12pm-1pm: East Esplanade (from promenade to Main Street)

• 1pm-2pm: Lighthouse Park, South-point Park, Cornell

We will have poop bags and garbage bags available at our RIDPA table on the meditation lawn, but I also encourage everyone to bring water bottles to throw on poop that cannot be picked up because it’s not solid. 

When you sign up please indicate what time frame you will be available. We ask that you volunteer 1 hour, but it can be more if you want.

If you would like to participate in Scoop-A-Poop On Roosevelt Island, please email the Roosevelt Island Dog Parents Association.

Here's more activities going on for June 11 Roosevelt Island Day.

New York Junior Tennis & Learning Program At Roosevelt Island Is A Great Place To Learn The Game And Life Lessons Too - NYJT&L Staff And Kids Thank NYC Council Member Julie Menin For Support And Funding At The Octagon Tennis Court

According to New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJT&L): 

The mission of New York Junior Tennis & Learning is to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court. For 50 years, NYJTL has changed lives through tennis and education. Today, it's the largest nonprofit youth tennis and education program in the nation, serving 85,000 K-12 NYC youth.

Arthur Ashe founded the National Junior Tennis League in 1969 with Charlie Pasarell, Ashe’s teammate at UCLA who devoted his life to building the game of tennis, and with Sheridan Snyder, a biotech entrepreneur with a passion for tennis. Ashe, to this day the only African American male player to have won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, was committed not only to tennis but also to ensuring education and equity for all.

New York Junior Tennis League was founded in 1971 by Ashe and by Founder and Chairman Emeritus Lewis “Skip” Hartman with the help of Gene Scott, Bill Shelton, and Erich Werner. In 2013, the U.S. Tennis Association honored Skip with its National Junior Tennis and Learning Founders’ Service Award for 40 years of tireless efforts to grow junior tennis programs in NYC and around the country.

NYJT&L has managed free tennis programs on Roosevelt Island tennis courts for many years. Roosevelt Island resident Joyce Short is the long time Site Director for the Roosevelt Island program and several others in Manhattan and Queens.

Last May 23, Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side New York City Council Member Julie Menin visited the NYJT&L program at the Octagon Tennis Courts. She played some tennis displaying a strong forehand and backhand stroke as well as an approach to the net.

Council Member Menin was thanked by the kids and staff of NYJT&L at the Octagon Tennis Courts for her support and funding of the program.

Scott Daly, Senior Director of NYJT&L Community Tennis Programs explains the importance of NYC Council Funding for the program and Ms Short presented Council Member Menin with a certificate of appreciation.

Udai Tambar, Chief Executive Officer of NYJT&L joined with Ms Menin, Mr Daly and Ms Short to tell us more about the NYJT&L programs.

 Ms Short adds:

The NYJTL staff, administration, participants and parents are extremely grateful to Council Member Menin for supporting our community program. Anyone wishing to enroll children between the ages of 5 and 18 can do so online. We provide completely free support for the athletic, health, character, and educational development of our participants, reaching over 85,000 NYC kids each year. The only things you'll need to register are sneakers and a smile! 

You can register here for the NYJT&L Roosevelt Island Summer Program at the Octagon Tennis Courts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Visits Roosevelt Island Last Night To Attend Cornell Tech 10th Anniversary Celebration, Mayor Says He Loves Roosevelt Island, Comes Often And It's His Sneak Away - Cornell Excludes Press From The Event Ignoring Request From Local Elected Officials To Allow Local Press Offering No Real Explanation Or Reason

NYC Mayor Eric Adams made his first known visit to Roosevelt Island last evening to attend the Cornell Tech 10 year anniversary celebration 

with former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Cornell University President Martha Pollack, Cornell Tech Dean Greg Morrisett as well as many others involved in the building and continued development of the school.

I learned Mayor Adams would be visiting Roosevelt Island for the event the night before and asked the Mayor's Office to cover the event because:

His first visit is big news to Roosevelt Island community. 

Will he be taking the Tram to Roosevelt Island?

The Mayor's Office replied it was a closed press event, meaning no press is allowed to attend.

I persisted by asking Cornell Tech Dean Greg Morrisett and Assistant Director of Government/Community Affairs Jane Swanson in an email message if I could cover this important event of the NYC Mayor visiting Roosevelt Island and:

... What reason could Cornell Tech have for not allowing local press to cover the NYC Mayor attending this Roosevelt Island event?

Whenever Cornell Tech asks me to promote an event for you, I am always happy to oblige as part of the obligation to inform the Roosevelt Island community.

I think Cornell Tech has a similar obligation to the Roosevelt Island community to allow local press to cover an event that Mayor Adams attends at Cornell Tech.

Cornell Director Of Communications Adam Conor-Simmons responded that it was Cornell's decision to make this a closed press event and they would not allow me to cover the event for the Roosevelt Island community. Local elected officials NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and NYC Council Member Julie Menin were attending the event and intervened with Cornell asking that I be allowed to cover the event but Cornell refused their requests as well. 

Assembly Member Seawright and Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg At Cornell Tech 10th Anniversary Celebration
 According to Assembly Member Seawright:

The 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Cornell Campus is unquestionably a news event of Island-wide interest, especially with Mayor Adams and former Mayor Bloomberg in attendance. I intervened and expressed my strong support for coverage when I learned Roosevelt Islander Online was excluded from an event of great interest to the public.

Cornell Tech has a great story to tell. It is in everbody's interest for the media to be informed and involved.

Despite being excluded from covering the event, I did manage to get a few words from Mayor Adams as he was getting out of his car walking towards the event entrance and as he was leaving.

Mayor Adams said that he loves Roosevelt Island, loves Cornell Tech, comes here often and Roosevelt Island is his Sneakaway.

I followed up asking the Mayor's Press Office today: 

I am preparing a story for publication today on Roosevelt Islander Online about the Mayor's visit last night.

What does the Mayor mean that Roosevelt Island is his "sneakaway"?

What does the Mayor like about Roosevelt Island that makes it his sneakaway?

How often does the Mayor come to Roosevelt Island?

What does he do?

When was the last time before last night that the Mayor visited Roosevelt Island?

Does he take the Tram, Ferry or drive?

May I have an interview with the Mayor on his next Roosevelt Island sneakaway?

Have not received a reply from the Mayor's office yet.

This was an important Roosevelt Island public event. It was very disappointing that Cornell chose to exclude local press from reporting on this event to the Roosevelt Island community. 

UPDATE 6/9 - Roosevelt Island resident Stephen Quandt shares a message he sent to Cornell Tech Assistant Director Community/Government Relations Jane Swanson this morning: 

I don't understand why Cornell excluded the press from the Mayor's event yesterday and the terse non-explanations seemed as capricious and anti-democratic as the decision itself. While Cornell may be allowed to ignore the constitution, assuming you get no public funds, you are also an institution of higher learning and inasmuch connected to the free expression of ideas, hardly expressed yesterday. The fact that Cornell's written declaration not allowing the press was without an actual explanation suggests that Cornell had no explanation or at least their unwillingness to provide one seems as secretive and condescending as the decision itself.

By being "secretive" you advance the narrative of institutional elitism, distrust, and the idea that so much of what transpires on this island (RIOC as an example) is non-transparent. What I wonder did you gain from excluding the press? Is it worth the ill will you foster in the community? Imagine though the alternative? You let the press in. They cover the event, and then everyone goes home. Instead, 14,000+ people get to read how Cornell is tone deaf to the expression of freedom enshrined in our constitution. Lucky us.

Cornell University and Cornell Tech receive millions of dollars in public funds. Although a private institution, Cornell University is also a NY State Land Grant university which should have greater public service obligations. 

I am not aware of any Roosevelt Island residents invited to the Cornell Tech 10th Anniversary Celebration nor did I spot any going into the event on Tuesday other than one who was working the event and another invited not in the capacity as a member of the Roosevelt Island community.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Roosevelt Island Residents, Are You Interested In Job With NYC Sanitation Department? Filing Period For Sanitation Worker Exam June 8 To 28, Civil Service Job Can Change Your Life Says NYC Mayor Eric Adams

The NYC Sanitation Department announced today:

Today, Mayor Eric Adams, the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), and the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) announced that the filing period for the next Sanitation Worker exam will run from June 8 to June 28 and encouraged all interested in the opportunity to register.

“The lifetime of service to our City that has taken me to where I am today began when I took a civil service exam. It was one of the best decisions I ever made – it changed my life forever, and in these difficult times, it can do the same for so many of the women and men of our neighborhoods. Show your strength by stepping up to be one of New York's Strongest,” said Mayor Eric Adams....

Click here for more info.

Learn more about the NYC Sanitation Department from this post including interview with Commissioner Jessica Tisch.

Update 6/9 - According to a Sanitation Department spokesperson: 

... The current starting salary of a Sanitation Worker is $40,622 per year, and the current labor agreement provides for periodic increases to $83,465 following the completion of 5 1/2 years of service. In addition to the basic annual wages, Sanitation Workers may also earn differential payments based on their specific assignment, as well as overtime pay.

While many Sanitation Workers pick up trash and recycling, there are other functions carried out by the position, including operating mechanical brooms, cleaning open lots, removing CFC from appliances, as well as other functions around the Department. Additionally, all Workers help operate salt spreaders and plows during snow operations....

Learn more about A Day In The Life of a NYC Sanitation worker from this video series.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Update On Last Friday's Early Morning Roosevelt Island Fire at 460 Main Street - Resident Arrested For Arson, Admits To Setting Fire To Her Own Apartment Says NYPD

According to a NYPD spokesperson today, a 38 year old female Roosevelt Island resident admitted to intentionally setting the fire to her own studio apartment on the sixth floor at 460 Main Street (Riverwalk Park).

The woman was arrested Friday Morning, June 3, a few hours after the fire was put out by the FDNY.

She was charged with arson and reckless endangerment.

More on the fire at this prior post.

Stay tuned for more info on problems at the Roosevelt Island Hudson Related Riverwalk Park affordable housing building at 460 Main Street.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Mysteries Of Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital Featured On The Bowery Boys NYC History Podcast - Take A Listen, You'll Enjoy It

The always informative and interesting Bowery Boys NYC History Podcast explores the mystery of Roosevelt Island's Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital.

According to the The Bowery Boys: 

The Renwick Ruin, resembling an ancient castle lost to time, appears along the East River as a crumbling, medieval-like apparition, something not quite believable....

... In 1856 the island added a Smallpox Hospital to its notorious roster, designed by acclaimed architect James Renwick Jr (of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral fame) in a Gothic Revival style that captivates visitors to this day — even if the building is in an advanced state of dilapidation....

... What makes the Renwick Ruin so entrancing? How did this marvelous bit of architecture manage to survive in any form into present day?

PLUS: The grand story of the island — from a hideous execution in 1829 to the modern delights of one of New York City’s most interesting neighborhoods...

 Listen to this fascinating history of Roosevelt Island from The Bowery Boys.

Also, as reported June 20,2021

According to Untapped Cities:

... Recently released is the new short film Unforgotten: Renwick Ruin by artist Aaron Asis, Untapped New York’s Artist in Residence. Asis and his team at Green Ghost Studios were given special access inside the abandoned structure and the film showcases perspectives of the Renwick ruin that are rarely seen by the public. We’ll be hosting a premiere of the film in our upcoming event, Unforgotten: The Renwick Ruin on July 15th, featuring Asis and Stephen Martin, Founder of Friends of the Ruin and the former Director of Design & Planning for FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy....

As reported last March:

Stephen Martin, who once worked as the director of design & planning for Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, recently began Friends of the Ruin, a non profit whose mission is to stabilize the Smallpox Hospital ruin and return the building, which has been fenced off for over seventy years, to Roosevelt Island in the form of public park space. The organization envisions a stabilized ruin, beautifully landscaped and open to the public, free of charge, year round.

According to Mr. Martin: 

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have been wonderfully supportive. Friends of the Ruin considers them partners in its mission. 

As part of an ongoing educational component to the organization's mission, Friends of the Ruin has been working with the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design (WHSAD), a Brooklyn blue ribbon public high school focused on architectural drafting, design principles, and historic preservation. WHSAD students, under the instruction of historic preservation firm Walter B. Melvin Architects, have spent the past five years studying Roosevelt Island, James Renwick, Jr. (architect of the Smallpox Hospital), and the ruin. After months of design charettes, critiques, and mood-boarding, students will often envision a renewed ruin as public housing, a high end retail experience, or a weekend party space.

Friends of the Ruin welcomes the students' enthusiasm but hopes the building could be permanently stabilized and opened to the public as a wild, landscaped (and safe) gothic ruin. The building (our City's only landmark ruin) was once a hospital to fight a devastating epidemic and also served as a nursing school training New York's frontline health care workers. 

It is the nonprofit's goal that the Ruin will serve, in the form of public park space, to memorialize the science, medical advances, and frontline workers fighting viral and infectious disease, including COVID-19, SARS, HIV/AIDS and many other diseases. We believe it is hard to imagine a more fitting site for this than in our country's first hospital dedicated to the smallpox epidemic, and on the historically rich Roosevelt Island.

Click to visit website and more info from Friends Of The Ruin here.

Here's the March 16, 2021 presentation made by Friends of the Ruin Founder Stephen Martin to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors about proposed Public Health Memorial to be built at a renovated Smallpox Hospital.

RIOC Board Meeting - March 16, 2021 from Diva Communications on Vimeo.

More info here about Friends Of The Ruin and Untapped Cities.

Here's a close up fly over view at the Renwick Ruins.

And visits from others over the past few years exploring the Renwick Ruins.