Friday, November 18, 2022

Scenes From Last Saturday's Grow NYC Roosevelt Island Stop N Swap - Over 500 Participants, 4600 Pounds Of Quality Items Donated And 82% Diverted Out Of Landfill

Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico reports on last Saturday's Grow NYC Stop N Swap. According to Ms Delfico:

The GrowNYC numbers are in for the Stop N' Swap held last Saturday November 12 at the Older Adult Center on Roosevelt Island

  • 4,600 lbs. of donations. 
  • 3,760 lbs. were cycled back into the community. 
  • Nearly an 82% diversion rate - our best yet. 
  • The 840 unswapped lbs. were donated at the end of the day.

This year items were themed by room and time allotted entries of fifty people at a time helped give everyone access throughout the day.  

 We are so grateful to GrowNYC’s staff and volunteers, as well as local youth and Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, who helped keep things organized and moving slowly at this year’s Stop N’ Swap home - Roosevelt Island Older Adult Center. 

Stop N’ Swaps are hosted by GrowNYC year round in various NYC neighborhoods.

We love going to the swap and finding that kitchen item or outfit that is perfectly good to take home. We have reached a tipping point where the majority of people now realize that the over consumption of items wastes so many resources, from fuel to earth materials, and with just a little extra effort good quality items can be re-gifted to others. 

Year after year, neighbors come out in droves to provide good quality items no longer needed to our annual Stop N' Swap. This is iDig2Learn's fourth team up with GrowNYC, and 2022 hit an all time high with an 82% diversion rate keeping goods out of the landfill and going right back into community hands. Anything left over is donated to those in need - truly a win-win.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Construction Begins On $187 Million, 28 Story Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 9 - Developer Hudson Related Says 357 Units Will Include Market Rate Rentals, Memorial Sloan Kettering Workforce Housing And RIOC Office Space - Also Public Commons Area With Dog Run, Picnic Tables, Grill Stations, Porch Swings, Cherry Grove & More

Developer Hudson Related has begun construction on the Roosevelt Island Southtown Riverwalk Building 9.


 Hudson Related announced on Monday November 14: 


Riverwalk 9 will Complete the Quarter-Century Effort by Related and Hudson to deliver a 9-Building Community with more than 2,000 Residences, Retail, Restaurants, Parks, and more .

Project will Create 357 Much-Needed Apartments, including Workforce Housing for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Employee.... 

During the October 19, 2022 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting, Hudson Related developer David Kramer outlined plans for the new 28 story Riverwalk 9 building 

Credit Handel Architects

which will be located between the Riverwalk 8 affordable housing building and Firefighters Field.

Mr Kramer reported that the lower eight floors of Riverwalk Building 9 will be acquired by Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital for workforce housing and the upper 19 floors will be market rate rental apartments.

Building 9 will have combined 7 thousand square feet of ground floor and below grade office space for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp with a separate entrance and signage.

Mr Kramer added that the RIOC office space is:

... a sweetheart rent, probably not right adjective to use, let's just say a below market rent that was part of the negotiation....

Hudson Related will create a Public Commons space between building 8 and 9 that will include a new dog run. picnic tables, grill stations, amphitheater steps, porch swings, hammocks and cherry grove as shown below.

Also, a portion of Firefighter’s Field will be closed to public access during construction of the Building 9 superstructure. This work will also include erecting scaffolding along the boundary between the south side of the Building 9 site and the north side of Firefighter’s Field, erecting of sidewalk sheds, and adding a temporary curb ramp and crosswalk.

Here's Mr Kramer's Riverwalk Building 9 presentation to the October 19 RIOC REDAC committee

More information on Riverewalk Building 9 from this RIOC Memo

and November 14 press release from Hudson Related.

Related Companies and The Hudson Companies today announced the closing on $185 million in construction financing for the ninth Riverwalk building, a development in the Riverwalk neighborhood of Roosevelt Island. The new facility will include workforce housing for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) employees, market-rate rental apartments, and office space. Wells Fargo provided financing for the housing development. The project was designed by Handel Architects and will be built by Monadnock Construction. Construction will begin in the coming weeks, with an expected completion in mid-2025. The $185 million project includes $111 million of financing from Wells Fargo. In conjunction with the closing, Related and Hudson are executing the ground lease for the site from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC).

“Riverwalk 9 is the realization of decades of hard work and resiliency through multiple challenges, including economic downturns and a global pandemic, to create new housing opportunities and further support the Roosevelt Island community and New York,” said Frank Monterisi, Executive Vice President at Related Companies. “We are proud to finally reach this monumental milestone, along with our partners at Hudson, along with Memorial Sloan Kettering, RIOC and Wells Fargo, for the Riverwalk Park neighborhood.”

“The start of work on Riverwalk 9 marks the culmination of a quarter century of work with our partner to build an entirely new and thriving neighborhood on Roosevelt Island,” said David Kramer, Chief Executive Officer of The Hudson Companies. “From our first planning meetings in 1997, we set out to bring these 19 undeveloped acres to life through mixed-income rental, condominium and institutional housing, dynamic retail, and beautiful new public open space. As we begin construction on the neighborhood’s final building, we’re proud to say we’ve achieved that vision. Thanks to our partners at Related, Memorial Sloan Kettering and RIOC, along with our funder Wells Fargo for their instrumental work in helping us reach this milestone.”

“The development of Riverwalk 9 marks the final phase of years of historical development at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC),” said Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation President and CEO Shelton J. Haynes. “The timely closing of this deal is indicative of the hard work of all parties involved at RIOC and our partners at Related Companies and Hudson. I cannot wait to get shovels in the ground to unveil our latest investment that will continue the tremendous economic boom we are experiencing. Once completed, Riverwalk 9 will spur further job growth, create new housing, and contribute nicely to the beauty of Roosevelt Island.”

“Wells Fargo is excited to be a part of the final phase of the Riverwalk development with Related Companies, The Hudson Companies and Memorial Sloan Kettering, bringing much needed housing to Roosevelt Island,” said Brian Lucey and Anna Belobrovka, managing directors in Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate group.

Located at 430 Main Street, Riverwalk 9 is the fourth development designed with housing for MSK employees as part of the overall Riverwalk neighborhood. The new 28-story building will consist of 104 homes for the MSK community with a range of studios, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom across eight floors, and 253 market-rate studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom residences.

The building will also include ground-floor office space for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) and a commons space between the eighth and ninth buildings with new park lighting, a dog run, grill space, and acres of public open space. Amenities will include a fitness center overlooking the East River, a basketball court, a party room, a multi-sport virtual reality game room, and much more.

The start of work on Riverwalk 9 marks the culmination of a more than quarter century long effort by the Related-Hudson joint venture, which was designated by RIOC in 1997 to build the new community to fulfill the Island’s General Development Plan designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Once complete, the entire Riverwalk complex will include nine buildings with more than 2,000 condominium and rental apartments, 40 percent of which are affordable. The area also includes hundreds of institutional workforce apartments at a range of income levels in each of the nine residential buildings for employees of MSK, Weil Cornell Medicine and others.

At the same time, Related-Hudson has developed parks, daycare facilities and ballfields as part of the undertaking, along with much-needed retail along Main Street, where it owns 90,000 square feet across 33 stores. Since the joint venture was designated to take over the master lease for this half-vacant retail corridor in 2011, it has transformed the stretch through extensive renovations and outdoor seating areas, signage, lighting and benches. Today, it's a vibrant shopping area for Roosevelt Islanders. Riverwalk is a short subway and tram ride away from Manhattan’s Upper East Side and a one-ferry ride from Astoria and Long Island City.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Tree Pruning And Removal Work Happening This Week On Roosevelt Island - Residents Upset Over Tree Cutting But RIOC Says 2 Trees Are Safety Hazards With Risk Of Falling And Striking An Individual - RIOC Needs To Do Better Communicating With Roosevelt Island Community

Last week, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced in an email Advisory: 

To keep up with RIOC’s commitment to providing the best quality of life possible for those who live, work and visit our community, RIOC will be performing tree work to beautify and remove hazardous trees. The work performed will not affect vehicular traffic or the pedestrian walkway. Parking will be unavailable 7 am - 5 pm at the following locations: 

Tuesday, 11/15 & Wednesday, 11/16, at the rear of 475 Main Street 

Thursday, 11/17, at the rear of 405 to 415 Main Street 

Friday, 11/18, rear of 405 Main Street Friday, 11/18, at the rear of 455 and 465 Main Street 

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience.

Last Monday I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes and VP of Communications Akeem Jamal:

I’m preparing a story on the tree pruning scheduled to start tomorrow. 

How many trees are being removed and what criteria is used to determine that they are hazardous?

Will the removed trees be replaced?

Has Rioc consulted with any residents regarding the trees being removed and pruned?

No response from RIOC.

Yesterday, a Roosevelt Island Tipster shared this photo and asked:

Tree pruning or tree cutting?

Also yesterday, I spotted this tree cut down on Riverwalk Lawn behind 465 Main Street

and posted the photo on Roosevelt Islander Instagram page. Comments included:

  • Consult with the community? Are you new here? That never happens!
  • Strange, that was a beautiful tree
  • Trees being cut down for no reason, well done. Last time I checked they cut down 2 70-80y/o trees at octagon backyard for falling leaves in people’s lunchboxes
  • I can’t believe this is happening
  • They removed awesome big tree on the Sportspark and never asked the community
  • They never consult with the community!
  • This Just. Gives the cry babies on Roosevelt Island more to cry about 

This morning, after investigating the reason for the tree pictured above being cut down, a Riverwalk building ownership representative reported:

Although the base of the tree was looking solid, the upper part of the tree had hallowed out and 2 large branches fell to the ground. Cornell was concerned about the safety issue and the Building Resident Manager was aware of the cutting and involved in it. It seemed as though this was a safety issue and addressed as a safety issue.

This evening, RIOC President Shelton Haynes responded to community concerns about the tree cutting:

Dear Roosevelt Island Community Members,

There have been several inquiries concerning the tree work happening on Roosevelt Island – I hope to provide you with a clearer understanding of why the work must be completed as it is to ensure the well-being and safety of all Islanders. In October of this year, RIOC sought the services of an independent Arborist, Bartlett Tree Experts, after RIOC’s Director of Horticulture, a certified Arborist, deemed two trees on the Island to be ‘hazardous” and a “risk” of falling and possibly striking an individual. According to Bartlett Tree Experts, it was subsequently found that the two trees in question would “pose a certain degree of hazard and risk from breakage, failure, or other causes and conditions.” Simply put, the tree and its branches may not withstand mother nature, and there is a high degree of probability it could fall.

Attached you will find images of the jeopardized trees – shown are trees with comprised foundations, gaping holes, and cracked surfaces, all of which question the tree’s integrity and poses a significant risk to the community.

The safety and well-being of all Islanders are and will continue to be the number one priority for RIOC and my administration.

I appreciate your understanding as we work to keep our Island community safe.

P.S. Removing trees is always the last resort for RIOC, which is why we hire an outside firm to conduct a risk assessment. RIOC has planted 135 trees this year and will continue to work with the community to plant more.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) President Judy Berdy adds: 


Thanks for your response to the questions. I know these trees were in bad condition. I have seen branches fall from them frequently and the slit in the side of one trunk seemed to be constantly increasing.

Hopefully some new specimens will be able to fill in the area. These trees were probably planted in about 1939 and have served the island well. I am sure some replacements will be appreciated.

Attached is a photo of what may be the tree or trees 

Photo Credit A Frank
 at the Central Nurses Residence which was on this site.

RIOC needs to be doing a much better job communicating to the Roosevelt Island community before they start cutting down trees as well as on many, many other issues.

RIOC recently hired a new Vice President of Communications. RIOC President Shelton Haynes and Communications VP Akeem Jamal promised improved community communications. So far, not much has changed from prior practices.

Progress At The Roosevelt Island Sportspark Renovation, Water Spotted In The Pool - RIOC Says Work 95% Complete, Waiting For NYC Inspections

The Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool and Gym closed September 1, 2021 for an $11 million renovation that is almost completed by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC). 

Today, progress was spotted by Volker, a Roosevelt Island Tipster, who shares this photo of the Sportspark pool full of water.

During the October 20 RIOC Board of Directors meeting, RIOC President Shelton Haynes reported that the Sportspark renovation is about 95% complete. 

RIOC is waiting for punch lists work to be completed. Also, Department of Buildings and FDNY inspections of the facility. 

RIOC hopes to open Sportspark in a couple of months if not sooner.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Sponsored Post - The Roosevelt Island Cafe @Cornell Tech Invites You To Gather Around And Join In Our Pre-Thanksgiving Lunch Wednesday November 16 - Check Out The Weekly Menu Too And Cafe Holiday Closure Dates

The Cafe @Cornell Tech invites you to Gather Around And Join Us In Our Pre-Thanksgiving Lunch Wednesday November 16

The Pre-Thanksgiving Lunch Menu is Cider Glazed Turkey Breast Mushroom, Marsala Roasted Potatoes and Spiced Butternut Squash.

Check out The Cafe @Cornell Tech Weekly Menu too

The Cafe @Cornell Tech will close 

for the Holidays November 23- November 27 and December 23 - January 2.

We wish you a joyous holiday season and a happy prosperous New Year.

Monday, November 14, 2022

After 11 Years Of Pleading By Cyclists, NYC Department Of Transportation Installs Roosevelt Island Bridge Bike Lane Safety Cover Over Dangerous Metal Grating

As reported in November 2020:

... Roosevelt Island resident Paul Krikler has been working to make the Roosevelt Island Bridge Bike lane safe for cyclists. According to Mr Krikler:

The Roosevelt Island Bridge and bike lane is under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and the metal grating bike lane safety problem has been reported on as far back as 2011...
After at least 11 years of pleading, the NYC DOT has finally installed a safety covering on the Roosevelt Island Bridge bike lane metal grating. 

Here's what it looked like for cyclists riding over the Roosevelt Island Bridge bike lane new safety covering yesterday.


On Instagram and Twitter, I asked cyclists what they though of the new Roosevelt Island Bridge bike lane safety covering. Responses included:

  • And on both sides! LOVING this. This lousy bike lane kept me on the pedestrian path for years. I was polite but it was inconvenient for everybody. This is a HUGE improvement!
  • It's a significant improvement - although I would advise riders to take it slow in the wet.
  • I was on a group ride once where we hit that bridge and two riders got almost immediate blow outs! This has to be better.
  • Haven't tested it yet, but sure didn't like that bridge before, although the destination is wonderful
  • Oh wow. Can't wait to try it. The metal grating freaked me out! I hope the covering is more anti-skid in the rain. That was not safe before!
  • I like it a lot
  • Much improved from a safety standpoint- my tires no longer slip, which used to occur on the metal surface. The WEBike female bike forum is ecstatic about it as well! I haven’t tried it in rain/wet conditions yet however.
  • Beautiful! The old surface was so scary that I avoided riding over it entirely. This change literally helps connect me and my family.
  • It is noticeable (as an aside) how much less noise the cars are making, when the road doesn't reflect the sound back (but rather let it pass through the grate)
  • Curious how traction will be when wet.
  • Tried it once after rain. Was ok. Haven’t tried it during rain. I’m going to be very cautious.
  • It's a significant improvement - although I would advise riders to take it slow in the wet.
  • I don’t understand why they didn’t cover the full length of the bike lanes but I hope it keeps people from riding bikes and scooters on the walkway. It’s hard enough getting my kid to and from school every day without having to dodge those.
  • Still doesn't stop the idiots from riding on the walkway... 

I spoke with Mr Krikler on October 22 as the DOT began to install the Roosevelt Island Bridge bike lane safety covering.

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Julie Menin adds: