Saturday, September 24, 2022

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Invites Neighbors To Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur High Holiday Services - Welcome The New Year 5783, L'Shana Tovah

According to the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC):

L’Shana Tovah!!

As we welcome 5783, and start our 2022 - 23 year, you are invited to join Rabbi Joel and the RIJC to celebrate, rejoice, and reflect on the New Year with friends, family, and neighbors, long-timers and newcomers alike. We’ve been welcoming the New Year here on Roosevelt Island for over 40 years.

We will celebrate Rosh Hashanah a little differently this year, as we will not be in our usual space in the Cultural Center, but rather in the Rivercross Community Room, 531 Main Street, where we have met many times before, as well as outdoors too.

We appreciate your RSVP to us in advance if possible, so we can plan appropriately for both in-person and remote participation. With regard to up-to-the-minute Covid requirements and guidance, the Honor System will prevail for indoors — if you are vaccinated & boosted, masks/face coverings are optional; if you are not, they are required.

Please visit to access our Rosh Hashanah services via Zoom, as well as links to obtaining our prayer books & readings.

Our Yom Kippur information for October 4 & 5 will be available early next week. We look forward to seeing you in just a few days. Suggestions & Questions are always welcome.


*** FIRST NIGHT: Sunday, September 25th, 6:30 pm - Outdoors, By the Picnic Tables & Benches by Good Shepherd Chapel

Welcoming Meet & Greet 

Opening Evening Services / Evening Prayers with Rabbi Joel 

Kiddush Apples and Honey 

(In case of rain, we will be in the Rivercross Community Room, 531 Main Street, just south of the Chapel & Tables) 

 *** FIRST DAY: Monday, September 26th, Rivercross Community Room / 531 Main

9:30 am — Morning Services, led by Rabbi Joel

11:00 am — Children’s Service, led by Amber Levanon Seligson, 531 Main Street

1:00 pm — Families’ Meet-up, Discussion & Conversation with Rabbi Joel

2:00 pm — Tashlich, outdoors, at the Meditation Steps (Just south of Rivercross, facing west)

Joel Shaiman, Rabbi. Nina Lublin, President.

Click here for more info about the RIJC.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Roosevelt Island Residents Start Petition To Save Firefighters Field From RIOC Proposed Temporary Dog Run - Can Adult And Youth Sports Field Coexist With Dog Run?

Excerpt From Save Firefighters Field Petition
An online petition to "Save Firefghters Field" was started yesterday by Roosevelt Island residents seeking to stop a proposed plan by the Roosevelt Island Operating  Corp (RIOC) to place a temporary Southtown dog run in a portion of Firefighters Field.  

 The current Southtown Dog run

is located next to Firefighters Field but needs a new location because it is scheduled to be removed soon due to construction of Hudson Related Building 9 which is expected to begin in the Fall.

According to the petition:

To RIOC and All those Who Represent Our Island Community:

We are members of the Roosevelt Island community who are concerned with RIOC’s abrupt decision to scrap their plan to put a “temporary” dog park beside the ferry landing. The new plan, only recently announced with intentions to start work immediately, to relocate said temporary dog park in a field allocated for sports and recreation, namely Firefighter Field, leaves the community in the lurch. Firefighters Field is used for organized youth sports such as soccer and baseball, as well as adult sports like volleyball and softball, ultimate frisbee, and informal games of catch, to name a few uses. It is also the sight of the annual community Easter Egg Hunt, and a place where schools and youth groups hold games games and field days.

While we acknowledge and support the need for better dog parks on the island, it is illogical to take away an existing sports field, and the only such one in Southtown, for this purpose. Children’s mental health has suffered enough during the pandemic, when yellow tape went up on the fields and playgrounds and human use of these spaces was prohibited. We are finally getting some normalcy back, and parents are relieved to see the joy return to their children’s lives.

We demand a better solution that dog owners and families can all feel good about. As yet another building goes up, the need to preserve the open space we have left becomes all the more urgent. Please, stick to the plan you announced last May for the ferry location under the bridge, or else find a more viable alternative that the whole community can live with.

Yesterday, I asked if RIOC had any comment on the Save Firefighters Field Petition.

RIOC Vice President of Communications Akeem Jamal replied today:

Currently RIOC is finalizing plans that will be released next week for a full update on the temporary relocation of the dog park and plans to construct the historic new dog park.

I followed up asking RIOC: 

What is the reason for the temporary dog run not to be located in area near the Ferry Dock as originally stated by Shelton?

I’m told it is because the soil in the area was found to be contaminated? Is that true? Were soil tests done? What type of contaminants were found?

Also, has the Roosevelt Island community of parents, kids, dog owners and Firefighters Field users been consulted and provided feedback regarding Rioc plans for the Dog Run? 

Image Of Proposed Temporary Dog Run Next To Ferry Dock From May 19 RIOC Board Meeting
Have not received an answer yet.

Mr Jamal reported last September 15 that the temporary Southtown dog run would be located:

... in Firefighter Park near the ball field. Overall size 85’x30’. Large dog run 60’x30’. Small dog run 25’x30’.

and added later that: 

The remaining available area of the field can be used

for other activities.

Last Spring, RIOC promised to build a new and improved temporary dog run, followed by a permanent dog run, to replace the existing Southtown Dog Run after dog owners started their own petition for Off Leash Hours and a new dog run.

Click here to view the Save Firefighters Field petition. 

Can Roosevelt Island adult and youth recreational sports activities coexist with a dog run at Firefighters Field?

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Free Healthy Recipe Demo And Tasting Hosted By RIDA And Food Bank For NYC Friday September 23 At Weekly Roosevelt Island Food Pantry - SNAP Assistance Too

The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) and Food Bank For New York City are hosting:

A Free Recipe Demo/Tasting And SNAP (EBT) Enrollment Program
on Friday September 23 from 2-5 PM at 546 Main Street. They will discuss benefits of fruits and vegetables as well as balanced meals and Portions.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:

The RIDA Food Pantry continues serving the community each Friday from 4 PM – 6 PM, at the Cultural Center (548A Main St.).

When arriving, kindly follow the below guidelines:

  • Bring identification.
  • If you don’t feel well, stay home.
  • Please practice social distancing while waiting in line.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Bring a shopping cart or bag.
  • Proof of vaccination will be required for entry. If you have not been vaccinated, you will be given bagged items at the door.

Be courteous and considerate to volunteers and each other.

On Friday, 9/23 Food Bank of NYC and RIDA will sponsor Free recipe Demo / Tasting and SNAP (EBT) Enrollment at 546 Main Street.  


 More on the RIDA Food Pantry,

Food Bank For NYC

and some healthy recipes from the Food Bank For NYC.

What Is The Meth? A Live Storytelling Event Founded By Roosevelt Island Resident Teddy Angelus Playing In Nearby Astoria Saturday September 24, Get Your Tickets, It's Going To Be Wild Night Of True, Uncensored And Unscripted Stories

Teddy Angelus is a Roosevelt Island resident and a Storyteller. According to Mr Angelus:

Before Covid, I started a series of live storytelling events called The Meth. When Covid hit, I had to put The Meth on pause and now it's back....The Meth is back!

I've teamed up with 2 industry colleagues, Greg Kritikos and Tara Segda.

Please join me, Greg and Tara on Saturday September 24th, as The Meth comes to Astoria at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center located at 27-09 Crescent Street, Astoria, NY 11102


The Meth is a series of live storytelling events.


All stories are true, uncensored and unscripted. 

Click here for tickets.

You're Invited To Join Roosevelt Island Community Garden Bring Native Plantings For New Habitat Site Under The Cherry Trees By East River Esplanade Saturday September 24 - Learn About Local Ecosystem, Increase Local Biodiversity And Bring Beauty To Roosevelt Island

The Roosevelt Island Garden Club is hosting a community planting and you're invited to come and participate:

Saturday September 24, 10am to 2pm - FREE / Roosevelt Island Community Planting - promenade path across from Starbucks Roosevelt Island.

Community Garden spearheads native species planting to bolster the ecological health of the island

This coming Saturday's community planting is a continuation of efforts begun earlier this summer.

As reported last July:

Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC) member Julia Ferguson reports on a new community planting project taking place at the Cherry Tree Grove on the East River waterfront promenade across from the Rivewalk Commons. 

According to Ms Ferguson: 

RIGC has been working on a collaborative community outreach program. The focus of the outreach series is Roosevelt Island as an Ecosystem in which soil, climate, water, and plants, trees and landscape interact with humans, animals, insects, birds to sustain life on our little urban island. 

RIGC has collaborated with Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), Cornell Tech, iDig2Learn, and NYC Compost hosted by BigReuse for this project. The project has two parts: 

  • Learning about how ecosystems work with specific examples, and planting native plants to provide habitats for beneficial insects and
  • Bring beauty to the island, and increase biodiversity....

I spoke with RIGC members Julia Ferguson and Jack Burkhalter earlier this summer as they were working on the Cherry Tree Grove planting to learn more about the project and their future Roosevelt Island Ecosystem collaborative plans.


Contact if you are interested in volunteering for the fall planting at this site.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

You're Invited To RIRA Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Committee Meeting On Preparedness, Flooding And Climate Change Monthly Webinar Thursday September 22

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Community Emergency Committee Chair Frank Farance reports: 

RIRA Community Emergency Committee meeting on Preparedness, Flooding, and Climate Change webinar Thursday September 22

2012 Hurricane Sandy Flooding Near Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island

Long time community activist and RIRA member Frank Farance presents his monthly talk on Roosevelt Island emergency preparedness.  Since April 2021, I have been providing a monthly presentation on the 4th Thursday each month at 8-9 PM.  Each month address a different topic, including seasonal hazards and preparedness.  This month's topics include

  • Climate Change, how it affects Roosevelt Island
  • How floods affect Roosevelt Island: inundation, riverine, storm surge, wave action
  • Flood Plan estimates through 2100
  • Community Resilience
  • Emergency Management cycle applied to Roosevelt Island: Prepare, Respond, Recover, Mitigate
  • Specific Actions for: Government, Community, Organizations, Housing, Individuals
  • Closing, Q&A

Flooding if a Category 2 storm were to hit Roosevelt Island

Frank Farance is a supervisor in the American Red Cross of Greater New York, Disaster Action Team (DAT), which has responded to fires on Roosevelt Island.  He is also a National Weather Service Weather Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador.  He is a graduate of FEMA's National Emergency Management Advanced Academy (NEMAA) and he is highly trained in many areas of emergency management.

The following is the Zoom meeting info:
Meeting ID: 912 3049 8521
Passcode: 591680

One tap mobile: +19292056099,,91230498521#,,,,

*591680# US (New York)

Dial by your location: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 912 3049 8521, Passcode: 591680

Leaked NYC Council Redistricting Map Shows Roosevelt Island Stays In Manhattan Council District 5, Does Not Move To Queens District - Council Member Julie Menin Thrilled With New Map But Says Wait Until Official Map Released Tomorrow To Confirm

As reported last August 10:

Under a preliminary plan for NYC Council redistricting, Roosevelt Island and a sliver of the Upper East Side will be moved from NYC Council District 5 in Manhattan currently represented by Julie Menin to NYC Council District 26 in Queens currently represented by Julie Won....
During the Four Freedoms Democratic Club September 14 meeting held at the Sanctuary Events/Cafe on Roosevelt Island, NYC Council Member Julie Menin was asked about the status of the NYC Council redistricting plan. Ms Menin said that the new redistricting maps would be released on September 22 and that District 5 would lose some part of the current district. Ms Menin did not know what portion of her district would be lost.


 Yesterday, the the NY Times Twitterverse reported:

Today the Gotham Gazette Twitterverse adds:

This morning, I asked Council Member Julie Menin if she had any new info on the proposed NYC Council redistricting. Ms Menin replied:

I am going to reserve full comment for when the official maps are released Thursday, but I am thrilled that this leaked map restores Roosevelt Island, Sutton Place, and the Upper East Side to Council District 5. 

I testified in front of the Commission strongly advocating that they restore these areas to a Manhattan-based District and keep communities of interest intact. It is so important that community voices and input be heard in this process and my district came out in full force on this issue to make their voices heard.

We are still are waiting for the map to drop tomorrow to confirm the information from the Gotham Gazette, but as of now we believe Roosevelt Island has been restored. The Council Members have not seen the map yet from the Districting Commission.

Latest info on NYC Council redistricting from Gotham Gazette, Gothamist and NY Times.

According to the NYC Districting Commission: 

The New York Districting Commission votes to release revised maps for the 51 City Council districts at a hybrid in-person/Zoom meeting. Meeting will be available for viewing live on Commission website at

WHERE 22 Reade Street, first floor, NY, NY 10007

WHEN Thursday, Sept. 22, 11 a.m.

We shall see tomorrow if the new redistricting map shows Roosevelt Island starying in Manhattan Council District 5 or moving to a Queens Council District. Stay Tuned.

During the September 14 Four Freedoms Democratic Club meeting on Roosevelt Island, Ms Menin also talked about:

  • NYC Council Universal Child care legislation she introduced, 
  • $21 million she brought back into District 5 and 
  • the need for affordable housing which may require approving taller building than previously allowed in the Upper East Side district, among other issues.


UPDATE 9/22 - Roosevelt Island resident and founder of the local Main Street Dems political club Joyce Short organized community efforts to keep Roosevelt Island in a Manhattan City Council District. Ms Short said last evening:

Roosevelt Islanders truly rose to the occasion, producing more comments to the Districting Committee than any other area of NYC. 

A big thanks to Lynne Shinozaki, Ellen Polivy, and everyone else who pitched in on this effort! 

We're not quite out of the woods yet... or should I say "out of Queens yet?" 

City Council will either vote "yay" or "nay" to the new map created by the Districting Commission tomorrow, 9/22. 

But in light of the overwhelming opposition we produced, it's unlikely that the issue will be revisited, even if City Council turns down the new ACCmap. Stay tuned, however. It's not over 'til it's over!

UPDATE 12:15 PM - Back to the drawing board for redistricting maps. UPDATE 9:15 PM: According to the Gotham Gazette:
... The commission will now work on a new map of Council districts, which it must pass to present to the current Council for approval or rejection with notes. If the Council approves the map, it goes into effect for next year’s elections, where all 51 Council seats are on the ballot. If it rejects the maps, the commission must take its feedback into account, hold additional public hearings, and then pass a final map without any outside approval needed. The deadline when the final maps are due is December 7....
Click here for the full Gotham Gazette article.

Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur High Holiday Services Begins Sunday September 25, Traditional Challah Bake September 22 Too - Shanah Tovah, Have A Happy And Sweet New Year 5783

The Chabad Of Roosevelt Island invite you to Rosh Hashanah services Sunday September 25 - Tuesday September 27 and Yom Kippur services Tuesday October 4-5 at the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center (548 Main Street).

Here's the schedule.

 According to the Chabad of Roosevelt Island:

All programs will be held at the Cultural Center. The Small Studio, 548 Main Street unless otherwise noted). For more info: Chabad of Roosevelt Island.
Nechama Duchman adds:

We are having a round Challah Bake for women and girls - traditional Rosh Hashanah foods

Shana Tova, have a happy and sweet New Year - 5783.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Haki Compost Collective Celebrates 2 Year Anniversary Of Roosevelt Island Saturday Food Scrap Drop Off Site - Read The NWF Article, Take The Survey And Learn About Volunteer Opportunities

The Roosevelt Island Haki Compost Collective community food scrap drop off site celebrated it's second birthday on September 12.

According to Haki Compost Collective Instagram post:

September 12, 2022, marks the second anniversary of Haki Compost Collective’s community-driven management of Roosevelt Island’s food scrap drop-off site (FSDO).

Of course, composting has a much longer history on Roosevelt Island. Thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated community members and a partnership with local compost processor @BigReuse, our neighborhood has touted green bins for food scrap collection since 2015. In that time, Roosevelt Islanders have prevented a whopping 251,907 lb of organic waste from going to landfill.

In 2020, however, both the COVID-19 shutdown and the growth of community spirit around composting necessitated a new form for the Roosevelt Island FSDO, and Haki Compost Collective was born. Today, our neighborhood FSDO is a vibrant community hotspot anchored by a team of local volunteers. Not only is our FSDO a place to participate in sustainable practices, it’s also a place to gather, connect with each other, and learn about and engage with the world around us.

Thank you to all who have made Haki the beautiful web of people, action, and memories it has become. Cheers to two years of community in compost!

The Haki Compost Collective adds:

Greetings from Haki Compost Collective!

In the spirit of Climate Week which began yesterday, September 19, we wanted to share The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) article which features the Haki Compost Collective on Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Islander, Dawit Kiflemariam, wrote this article to inspire other neighborhoods to start a compost collective like Haki did.

Dawit was one of the original idea people behind the creation of Haki Compost Collective during the pandemic when budget cuts halted the Food Scrap Drop-Off program citywide. He now works at NWF.

Also, please take this short 1 minute survey created by the Haki Compost Collective so we can better serve our community. The link to the survey is here.

You can bring your food scraps to the Roosevelt Island Haki Compost Food Scrap Drop Off Site every Saturday morning to mid-afternoon next to the Farmers Market behind the Good Shepherd Church.

In June 2021, Haki Compost volunteer and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico described Haki's compost activities to a visiting group of Big Reuse Compost Bike Tour riders.


You can email Haki Compost Collective for more info or to volunteer.

Roosevelt Island began it's Food Scrap Composting drop off program in November 2015.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Lethargic And Non Responsive Roosevelt Island Dog Taken To Emergency Room, Diagnosed Having Ingested Marijuana - Owner Advises To Watch Out For Weed Paper While Walking Your Dog On Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island resident Mary Cavanaugh reports: 

My sweet dog Maggie 

was in bad shape one evening last week. Lethargic and non responsive. I took her to an emergency room in Manhattan where she was diagnosed as having ingested marijuana. The Vet said Maggie was the third dog to present with that syndrome that day.

I have long noted the ugly presence of cigarette butts all over our Roosevelt Island. I have also noted they are mostly filtered. The Vet explained that marijuana paper is quite thin, as opposed to the filters left over from tobacco, and when the butt is stepped on it rips, exposing the remaining weed.

Since Maggie's illness I have spotted what looked like the remnants of weed paper on the Main St. sidewalk and the East Promenade.

I believe this is a very serious problem and will get worse as pot smoking increases. It seems that our canine population is also increasing.

All dog owners must be warned and vigilant.

UPDATE 9/20 - Here's August 16, 2022 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee meeting discussion with Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown on Marijuana smoking.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Here We Go Again, Intermittent Roosevelt Island Bridge Closings This Week During 2022 United Nations General Assembly Session, RIOC Says Some Traffic Delays May Occur - Will Emergency Vehicles Be Delayed To Or From Roosevelt Island For Convenience Of Recreational Boaters?

It's traffic nightmare time of year again for NYC. Mid September is the opening of the annual United Nations General Assembly Session. According to the NYC Department ofTransportation:

The New York City Department of Transportation today released its list of 2022 Gridlock Alert Days, which will include the week of United Nations General Assembly (September 19th to September 23rd). Drivers should expect extensive street closures and delays across Manhattan for the duration of next week, when DOT strongly recommends that drivers use alternative travel modes.

"As the end of the year approaches, we know the exact days when we expect our streets will see the most traffic and unwelcome congestion,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "New York is proud to host the United Nations and welcome delegations from so many nations, and during next week’s UN General Assembly, we are letting New Yorkers know the key to avoiding the congestion next week is to try walking, mass transit, or riding a bicycle to get to their destination.”...

Due to the proximity of Roosevelt Island to the United Nations, security precautions during the UN General Assembly Session means the diversion of all East River boat traffic to the Roosevelt Island East Channel Queens side with heavily armed Coast Guard and NYPD vessels patrolling the East River.

For Roosevelt Island residents, the diversion of all East River Boat traffic to the East Channel means intermittent closings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge 

causing traffic delays 

getting on and off Roosevelt Island so that recreational boats can pass under the Bridge.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued this advisory today:

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will take place from Sunday, September 18th through Saturday, September 24th. During this time, the Roosevelt Island Bridge will open on demand from 6 AM to 8 PM.   Please be advised that each opening should take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to be completed.

As a reminder, during the opening and lowering of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, some delays may occur.

Every year during UN General Assembly week, residents have expressed concern about the intermittent Roosevelt Island Bridge closings potentially preventing emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks from getting on and off Roosevelt Island. In the past, an ambulance was stationed on Roosevelt Island during UN Week but there was no mention by RIOC in their advisory about any emergency precautions being taken this week. 

During a 2021 RIOC Public Safety Department Emergency Preparedness workshop, Chief Kevin Brown and Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso described safety precautions undertaken for the opening and closing of the Roosevelt Island Bridge during UN General Assembly Week.

Are these same safety precautions being implemented this year? 

UPDATE 9/19:

Here's the Roosevelt Island Bridge being lowered today after sailboat passed underneath. It took about 4 1/2 minutes for the Bridge to be lowered into place and traffic to proceed. The video is at double speed taking a little bit more than 2 minutes.