Friday, November 25, 2022

Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market Temporarily Relocating To Winter Home Under The Motorgate Helix Starting Tomorrow, November 26 - Big Reuse Food Scrap Drop Off Site Moving To Motorgate Helix Tomorrow Too

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market is relocating from Good Shepherd Plaza to their temporary winter home under the Motorgate Helix starting this Saturday, November 26.

According to Farmers Market vendor Israel Wengerd of Wengerd Farms: 

The move is necessary to be out of the inclement winter weather.

The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market at Motorgate Plaza under the Helix is open early morning to mid afternoon on Saturdays in good weather and bad offering a wide variety of healthy and delicious tasting fruits, vegetables and much more. 

Also, relocating to Motorgate Plaza for the winter is the Big Reuse Roosevelt Island compost Food Scrap Drop Off Site 

staffed by Haki Compost Collective volunteers.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving From Roosevelt Island, Tradition, Family, Food, Football, Local History And Alice's Restaurant - Also, Roosevelt Island Pilgrims First Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day wishes to everyone out there in Roosevelt Island land and elsewhere. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Since Thanksgiving is a day all about about Tradition, here is my traditional Thanksgiving Day post started in 2007.
In addition to family, great food, the Macy's Parade, Miracle on 34th Street, March of the Wooden Soldiers and football, listening to Arlo Guthrie's rendition of Alice's Restaurant on WNEW-FM was, for me, a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition.

A former station DJ remembers Thanksgiving and Arlo Guthrie this way on the blog All Mixed Up Radio.
Every year a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it starts. It's slow at first, and then turns into a non-stop avalanche of phone calls. And no matter how many times a station runs promo announcements telling people exactly when it will be played, the calls still come.
"What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'"...
Yes, in the olden days people used to listen to music on the radio. Imagine that!

Here's a snippet of Alice's Restaurant with Arlo Guthrie and Johnny Cash

and the full song with scenes from the movie.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares a Thanksgiving  story from Roosevelt Island's past when it was known as Welfare Island and housed a penitentiary. Also, former blogger Roosevelt Island 360 tells us about the first Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving in 1975 as reported by the NY Times.

 Image From Roosevelt Island 360

According to the 1975 NY Times article:

One of the nation's newest settlements, a small community of pioneers, is about to celebrate its first Thanksgiving Day on its rockbound island home in the East River.

The situation on Roosevelt Island, which separates midtown Manhattan from Queens, is not quite the same as the one that faced the first New England homeowners centuries ago. The 170 rent‐paying families, the first in the ambitious planned development being built on the island, have not been undergoing hardships. Maybe inconveniences here and there, but not questions of life and death.

Heat comes up (with or without banging the radiator to alert the super, New Yorkstyle). There is light and shelter and the natives are rather nonexistent.

Last night, the new islanders fed one another at an ethnic buffet representing the many diverse strains of humanity they stem from. Tonight there will be an ecumenical service at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, the church built in 1889 and now put to work as a community center. Tomorrow will be a family day, when people may talk turkey around their tables.

Click here for the full NY Times article on the Roosevelt Island Pilgrims first Thanksgiving.

Here are some scenes from today's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Also: Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloons from the past.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Roosevelt Island East Side Buildings AVAC Underground Garbage Removal System Out Of Service Until Further Notice Says RIOC - Watch Video Explaining How AVAC Tubes Get Jammed And Fixed During Fascinating Tour Of AVAC System

During an October 23,2022 tour of the Roosevelt Island AVAC (Automatic Vacuum Collection) underground garbage removal system, NYC Sanitation Department worker T.J. explained how the AVAC system is forced to shut down due to a variety of obstructions in the tubes and is eventually fixed.

Watch the video from beginning for a full tour of the Roosevelt Island AVAC system.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced last evening:

Roosevelt Island Community,

Please be advised the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s (RIOC) east side line of the AVAC System has been shut down for emergency work following an obstruction in the main line.

RIOC is working closely with the New York City Department of Sanitation to have the issue fixed as soon as possible. Be assured RIOC is constantly communicating with the property managers providing updates on any and all progress to address the issue. Also, in anticipation of gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday, RIOC has created other arrangements for building managers to discard garbage should the issue be prolonged.

RIOC will keep Islanders aware of all critical updates delivered via email, text, and social media as information is received.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


East Side Buildings Impacted on Main Street :

405, 415, 425, 455, 460, 465, 475, 480, 510, 516, 536, 540, 548, 556, 560, 576 & 580

RIOC added today:

Roosevelt Island Community,

This is an update to the notice sent out yesterday at 6:10 pm concerning the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s (RIOC) east side line of the AVAC System.

The east side line of the AVAC System is out of service until further notice. RIOC continues to work with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to address the issue. Until the service is restored, RIOC has provided property managers an alternate area to dispose of the garbage. RIOC has an agreement with DSNY to have garbage pickup services available to mitigate buildup during the AVAC service disruption.

RIOC will continue to send updates via email, text, and social media as information is received.

Thank you for your continued cooperation as we work to restore the service.


East Side Buildings Impacted on Main Street:

405, 415, 425, 455, 460, 465, 475, 480, 510, 516, 536, 540, 548, 556, 560, 576 & 580

UPDATE 11/26 - According to RIOC today: 

Roosevelt Island Community,

Great news! Working with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), RIOC has restored service to the AVAC system on the east side. A special thank you to DSNY and the RIOC team for working around the clock during the Thanksgiving holiday.

We sincerely appreciate your understanding during the interrupted service.

Thank you,


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

NY Governor Kathy Hochul Vetoes Roosevelt Island Legislation To Require RIOC Board Members Who Move Away To Resign, Fill Vacant Board Seats Within 60 Days And Post All Job Vacancies On RIOC Website

As previously reported:

On January 10, 2022,  Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and State Senator Jose Serrano introduced legislation

... to amend the public authorities law, in relation to requiring certain directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation to be residents of Roosevelt Island and to require the appointment of certain vacant board positions within sixty days...

 ... The provisions of this bill would: 

  • Clarify the residency requirement for certain public appointments to the board of directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and stipulate for their immediate resignation from the board upon termination of such residency; 
  • Provide for the appointment of a successor within 60 days when a board vacancy occurs within an unexpired term; 
  • Require the posting of job vacancies on the corporation's website; and, *Provide that this act shall take effect immediately....

Earlier today, I asked Governor Kathy Hochul's office:

I understand that Governor Hochul vetoed legislation regarding the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors residency requirements and appointments.

Is that true?

Any comment on the reason for the veto of this legislation which was sponsored by Roosevelt Island’s State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and State Senator Jose Serrano?

Also, there are currently several vacant and expired seats on the Rioc Board of Directors. Any comment when nominees will be appointed to these seats?

Governor Hochul's spokesperson replied:

Re: RIOC’s board, the Governor is committed to filling board vacancies. 
and provided the Governor's veto message to the State Senate on the Roosevelt Island legislation:


I am returning herewith, without my approval, the following bill:

Senate Bill Number 7622-A, entitled: "AN ACT to amend the public authorities law, in relation to requiring certain directors of the Roosevelt Island operating corporation to be residents of Roosevelt Island and to require the appointment of certain vacant board positions within sixty days"


This bill would require a director who is appointed to a seat on the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation ("RIOC") board of directors on the basis of residency to resign immediately when no longer a resident of Roosevelt Island. The bill would require the Governor to fill any vacancy among the gubernatorial seats on the RIOC board within sixty days of the vacancy occurring, regardless of the reason for the vacancy. The bill also would require that RIOC post all corporation employment vacancies publicly and to its website.

My administration is committed to good government that is responsive to the needs of communities served by the State's agencies and authorities. This legislation presents significant obstacles towards achieving that goal and presents risks to the effective administration of RIOC.

First, this legislation is unnecessary to ensure local representation on the board. Under current law five of the seven gubernatorial appointees to the board must be residents of Roosevelt Island. The large representation of residents on the board ensures continued local representation. Additionally, if a member appointed on the basis of their residency on Roosevelt Island moves away during their four-year tenure, they cannot be reappointed on that basis and could only be replaced by an island resident (unless the five-member resident requirement has been otherwise met).

Second, this legislation presents operational challenges to RIOC to the detriment of the community and the board. To require that a RIOC resident board member resign immediately upon moving would create vacancies, could compel effective directors to resign prematurely, and may disrupt the board's orderly management of its business affairs. Given the time needed to identify qualified candidates in the event of unanticipated vacancies, mandating a new director be appointed within sixty days in the event of any vacancy, regardless of cause, is impractical and could prevent well-qualified candidates from completing the nomi- nation and confirmation processes.

Finally, the requirement that RIOC post all corporation employment vacancies on its website is impractical as it makes no exceptions for practical or legal reasons, such as urgently needed positions or positions that may be subject to the terms of collective bargaining agreements which are subject to separate hiring processes.

For these reasons, I am constrained to veto this bill.

The bill is disapproved.


Asked to comment on Governor Hochul's veto of her legislation, 

Ms Seawright speaking with Governor Hochul at the November 9,2021 Women In Service Veterans Day Tribute in Central Park)
Roosevelt Island NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright replied:

We will persist in our vigorous efforts, working with longtime residents, on the issue of representation on the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) governing board. We must bring greater accountability and transparency to the board, which serves more than 12,000 residents. While we continue to believe that accomplishing this progress in statute is the appropriate course, we will forge ahead to achieve the best composition of the board and recommend only Roosevelt Island residents for appointments by the governor and mayor.

UPDATE 11/23 - Governor Hochul also vetoed legislation that would have required residents representation on the Battery Park City Authority.

NYC Emergency Management Department Seeking Applicants For 2023 Strengthening Communities Program That Offers Grants Up To $40 Thousand - Any Roosevelt Island Organizations Interested And Qualified?

Are there any Roosevelt Island groups/organizations interested in applying for the NYC Emergency Management Department (NYCEM)  2023 Strengthening Communities Program?

According to NYCEM

We are in the final week of accepting applications for the latest session of our Strengthening Communities program (December 2nd).

Emergencies affect every community differently, but you can help your community be prepared and resilient. Your Community Network can receive funding up to $40K to work on a community emergency plan through NYC Emergency Management's Strengthening Communities Program.

A community network is a group or a coalition consisting of nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations that are organized around an issue important to their community such as climate change, gun violence, housing, disability rights, or other issues etc...*

The training program focuses on five key areas/deliverables to build an emergency plan specific to your community:

  1. Creating a needs assessment 
  2. Designing community maps of the area where you provide services 
  3. Building a resource directory 
  4. Preparing a communication strategy 
  5. Creating donations and volunteer management plans

NYC Emergency Management staff provides training,  coaching sessions and tools that guide participating networks through the program.

Criteria for Community Emergency Network:

  • Must be a network or coalition convening at least four times a year 
  • Have been established for at least two years or more 
  • Have established communication networks among its member organizations 
  • Have connections within the community it serves 
  • Committed to establishing a formal community emergency plan for their community 
  • Able to identify two community organizers who are committed to leading and administering all mandatory deliverables 
  • Participate in mandatory capacity-building training classes, led by NYCEM

 Here’s the link to the application and requirements

To learn more about Roosevelt Island emergency preparedness, check out the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Community Emergency Committee Zoom webinar on Fire Safety and Preparedness Tips For The Holiday Season this evening at 8 PM.

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Shape Of Truth In Words, Images & Sculpture On Display In New Gallery RIVAA Window Exhibition By Roosevelt Island Artists Tony Vita And Victoria Thorson - Ideas From Mark Twain, Plato, Paul Cezanne, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Dalai Lama, Coco Chanel & More

Roosevelt Island residents and artists Tony Vita and Victoria Thorson are collaborators on an exhibition currently displayed at the Gallery RIVAA Rivercross building window  

which examines the nature of Truth, Values and Civics.

I spoke with Mr Vita and Ms Thorson recently about their "The Shape Of Truth" exhibition.


Take a close up look at The Shape Of Truth words and images from Mr Vita

and sculptures by Ms Thorson.

The Shape of Truth exhibition will be displayed until the beginning of December.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

You're Invited To RIRA Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Committee Zoom Talk On Fire Safety And Preparedness Tips For The Holiday Season - Have A Safe Thanksgiving

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

RIRA Community Emergency Committee meeting on Fire Safety and Preparedness

Long time community activist and RIRA member Frank Farance presents his monthly talk on Roosevelt Island Emergency Preparedness.  Since April 2021, RIRA's Community Emergency committee has been providing a monthly presentation on the 4th Thursday each month at 8-9 PM, except November which is the 4th Tuesday.  Each month we address a different topic, including seasonal hazards and preparedness.  This month's topics include Fire Safety and Preparedness tips for the holiday season.

AGENDA: Topics for TUESDAY November 22, 2022  8-9PM webinar

  • Fire Safety
  • What causes fires?
  • Holiday cooking fire hazards
  • Holiday celebration fire hazards
  • Holiday weather fire hazards
  • Closing, Q&A
The following is the Zoom meeting info:

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 912 3049 8521
Passcode: 591680
One tap mobile
*591680# US (New York)
+16469313860,,91230498521#,,,,*591680# US