Friday, March 24, 2023

Roosevelt Island Escapes Transportation Nightmare, For Now - MTA Announces Proposed F Train Subway Service Disruptions For 63rd Street Tunnel Rehab Project Pushed Back To At Least July And Maybe Longer

Roosevelt Island residents were preparing themselves for a transportation nightmare disrupting F Train subway service 

from May 1 through October

with accompanying long lines resulting at the Roosevelt Island Tram 

due to the MTA's upcoming 63rd Street Line Direct Fixation Track Rehabilitation Project.


The Manhattan Community Board 8 Transportation Committee hosted a March 1 presentation by the MTA about the project and shortly thereafter the MTA sent out this chart trying to explain the changes coming to Roosevelt Island subway service during the project.

Roosevelt Island elected officials, NYC Council Member Julie Menin, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, State Senator Liz Kruger and Congressman Jerry Nadler wrote to MTA Chair Janno Lieber and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes urging them to find solutions for the planned F Train Subway service disruptions.

During a March 23 press briefing with NYC First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, I asked about the planned Roosevelt Island F Train subway service disruptions.

Deputy Mayor Wright replied:

... The Deputy Mayor for Operations for the Department of Transportation reports up to me so I will definitely share this with her and get your information so we can make sure that they understand not only what the concern is but what the recommended solution is. We love people who come to us with ideas to fix the thing right so that is very helpful...

Good news today. The MTA announced this afternoon:

This is to inform you that the MTA is revising its schedule for the replacement of its direct fixation track along the 63rd Street corridor, which is used by the F line to travel between Manhattan and Queens via Roosevelt Island and the 63rd Street Tunnel.

Last month we informed you that our critical state of good repair track work would begin May 1, 2023 and proceed in three consecutive phases through October 2023.

In order to provide the most robust alternative service possible while this work takes place, we are coordinating closely with a concurrent project to upgrade the signal system along the Queens Boulevard Line to Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) and are reevaluating the start date and overall schedule of the direct fixation track work. As we revise the track work schedule, we must also coordinate with several other projects along the Queens Boulevard Line and other subway lines.

Therefore, at this time we do not have a final revised schedule for the 63rd Street line track work. However, we can share that it will not start before July 1, 2023, and due to other scheduling factors, the start may be pushed to 2024.

We will have more information in the coming weeks with details on the final revised schedule and corresponding service plan with planned start date.

We will continue to work with all your offices and with the community stakeholders on Roosevelt Island as we proceed with this project.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience. Please feel free to reach out to us for more information.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market At Motorgate Plaza Featuring Healthy Fruits & Vegetables,Cage Free Amish Farms Brown Eggs,Homemade Yogurt & More - Returns To Good Shepherd Plaza Warm Weather Home Next Satuday April 1

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market located at Motorgate Plaza under the Helix 

during the cold weather months is open early morning to mid afternoon in good weather and bad offering a wide variety of locally grown healthy and delicious tasting fresh fruits, vegetables and much more.

Farmers Market vendor Israel Wengerd adds:

This Saturday March 25, we are featuring Cage Free Amish Farms Brown Eggs at $4.99 a dozen, Homemade Yogurt and a Full Line of Healthy Fruit and Vegetables. 

We will be under the Motorgate Helix for the last time this week and returning to our warm weather home at Good Shepherd Plaza next Saturday April 1. 

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market is also a gathering spot to meet with our neighbors and learn about the latest neighborhood news and gossip.

I'm looking forward to the Farmers Market move back to Good Shepherd Plaza on April 1.

See you at the Saturday Roosevelt Island Farmers Market.

NYC Council Member Julie Menin Announces Participatory Budgeting Vote Week Starts March 25 For All District 5 Residents 11 Years And Older - $300 Thousand Upgrade Of Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Bathrooms On The Ballot

 Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Julie Menin reports:

Participatory Budgeting Vote Week will kick off on Saturday, March 25th, and run until Sunday, April 2nd. This year, residents age 11 and older of Council District 5 (Yorkville, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Roosevelt Island, Midtown East, Sutton Place, and El Barrio in East Harlem) will be able to vote online at

Roosevelt Island residents can vote in person at the Roosevelt Island Library (504 Main Street).

Ms Menin adds:

In September 2022, my office was allocated one million dollars of capital funding to continue participatory budgeting for the residents of New York City Council District 5. Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget on capital projects. About 50 project proposals were submitted and vetted by City agencies to ensure compliance and feasibility. Ballot items must be a physical infrastructure project that benefits the public, has an estimated cost of at least $50,000 but not more than $550,000, and has a lifespan of at least 5 years.

 I am  pleased to announce a list of 10 items—each ranging in cost from $100,000 to $500,000—that will be put for a vote between March 25th through April 2nd. The projects with the most votes up until $1 million has been accounted for will be funded. 

Among the District 5 Participatory Budgeting projects on the ballot to be voted on is a $300 Thousand upgrading of local school PS/IS 217 bathrooms. 

Roosevelt Island projects not approved for Participatory Budget funding were:

The full NYC Council District 5 Participatory Budgeting Ballot is below.

According to a press release from Ms Menin's office:

Winning projects will be announced in May and included in the City’s budget at adoption in June 2023.

In last year’s cycle, Council Member Julie Menin announced the results of her first annual participatory budgeting process within New York City Council District 5, which garnered a total of 1,838 votes and a tie for first place between the top two projects. Council Member Menin had previously announced that projects with the most votes up until $1 million has been accounted for will be funded. As a result of last year's success, Council Member Menin allocated additional capital funding in order to fully fund the top six voted projects totaling $1,380,000.

“Since I served on the Board of Citizens Union, I have been a longtime proponent of Participatory Budgeting and am thrilled with last year's success. Government must ensure that New Yorkers have civic engagement opportunities and have a voice in the budgetary process. As we approach voting week, filling out a ballot is a great way to be involved with the pulse of the community and determine the best use of city dollars,” said Council Member Julie Menin.

Confirmed voting locations are:

Council Member Julie Menin’s District Office (444 E 75th St, Unit 1B, New York, NY 10021)

Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center (415 E 93rd St, New York, NY 10128)

Webster Library (1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075)

Roosevelt Island Library (504 Main St, New York, NY 10044)

67th Street Library (328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065)

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House (331 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021)

Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright’s District Office (1485 York Ave, New York, NY 10075)

Asphalt Green - Upper East Side Campus (555 E 90th St, New York, NY 10128)

Check the Council Member’s website Participatory Budgeting 2023 - Julie Menin ( for scheduling and all voting sites. For more details or to request a paper ballot, please contact the Office of Council Member Julie Menin at 212-860-1950 or email

Last year, the Roosevelt Island Public Library was among the District 5 libraries to share a portion of $250 thousand in Participatory Budget funding for technology upgrades. In 2016, Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 received $500,000 in Participatory Budget Funding for a Green Roof from former Council Member Ben Kallos which was completed in 2021.

Participatory budgeting does have critics.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Racquet Club Advantage Summer Camps, Sign Up By March 31 And Save 10% On 3 Great Camps For Tennis, Swimming, Learning & More

 The Advantage Day Camp at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club Summer Fun 2023


Your camper will get a fantastic summer camp experience right here in NYC! On the West Side at Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club or East Side at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club.

LEARN & GROW Take enrichment classes and discover new levels of creativity and more with STEAM projects

TRY SOMETHING NEW Learn or improve your tennis game, take up rock wall climbing, express yourself with an art project

Visit our website for more info.

COME VISIT ANYTIME! Call us anytime to schedule a family tour: East side, 212.935.0250 or West side, 646.884.9649. We’d love to see you!

Do You Know How To Pack Your Stay Box For Shelter In Place And Go Bag To Evacuate in Event Of Emergency? You're Invited To Learn Tips For Adults And Kids At RIRA Community Emergency Committee Zoom Webinar Thursday March 23

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

The RIRA CEC has a monthly Zoom presentation on emergency preparedness, each month is different, it's tailored to the season and circumstance, and it's for Roosevelt Islanders, so ask your Roosevelt Island specific questions. 

The monthly presentations are typically the 4th Thursday of the month at 8-9 PM so the WHOLE FAMILY can participate. This month will cover techniques for packing your Stay Box - which is used for Shelter-In-Place response), your Go Bags (home, school, work, pets), and the differences between adult and youth preparedness. 

This presentation includes the latest tips from emergency managers locally and around the country.

AGENDA: - Why do we pack a Go Bag?

Different responses: Evacuate or Shelter-In-Place?

Shelter-In-Place: The Stay Box

Planning an Extended Shelter-In-Place - Evacuation: The Go Box

When: How Quickly Do I Need to Respond to the Emergency?

Where: Go Bags at Home, Work, School, etc.

Practical Drills and Exercises

Keeping Supplies Fresh 

 Social: Connecting with Family, Friends, Neighbors, and Community

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2023

Time: 8-9 PM, the WHOLE FAMILY is welcome

Zoom info:

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Weird Roosevelt Island Illustrates Absurdities Of RIOC Communications Spin With Story On Not Yet Open Sportspark Pickleball Courts And Storage Of Removed Basketball Hoops From Site

Reported last December: 

Roosevelt Island is joining the Pickleball Craze with 2 new outdoor courts installed by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) in the area behind Sportspark that used to be a basketball court....

But since then, there has been no word from RIOC when Roosevelt Island residents will be able to play Pickleball at the outdoor Sportspark courts, nor any word from RIOC when the Sportspark indoor recreational facility will re-open. 

The Weird Roosevelt Island Instagram Page has their own unique, humorous perspective illustrating the absurdities of RIOC communications spin with a story on the not yet open Sportspark Pickleball Courts and the storage of the removed basketball court hoops:

RIOC President and CEO Shelton J. Haynes is proud to announce the completion of Phase 6a of Mission: Pickleball, RIOC’s celebrated plan to bring pickleball to the people of Roosevelt Island. “We Found a Place To Ditch The old Basketball Hoops,” Haynes said in a RIOC press release. “This Historic Day Marks Another Leap Forward in Our Continued Efforts to Provide This Great Community the Popular Leisure Sports it Demands.”

Forgoing the typical multi-year waiting period for spots in Motorgate, the hoops will be stored near the outdoor space heaters in the Northtown Stuff Repository until they can be stripped of their paint and smelted down to raw ore at the RIOC Large Metalworks Forge.

Humor reveals much that is true.

More on Weird Roosevelt Island, our version of the Onion, at prior post.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Second In Series Of Local Roosevelt Island Merchant Interviews Conducted By Young Reporters From The Child Center Of NY At PS/IS 217 After School Program - Meet Fusion Salon Owner Boris

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Children, Youth & Education Ad Hoc Committee Chair Adib Mansour reports:  

RIRA’s Children, Youth & Education Committee’s mission is to connect the youth of the island with its community while holding us all accountable for the betterment of our environment. As part of our initiative to connect our youth to island vendors, the students learn about their past, and their aspirations, while acknowledging and appreciating their dedication to the island’s residents. 

The main reason for the Roosevelt Island Vendors Appreciation and Environmental Awareness project is for the students to understand the intricacies of how each of the businesses is conducted, then contribute eco-friendly suggestions that help our community. We will go beyond knowing what each store sells, what to eat at our restaurants, or how a hairdresser cuts hair. Through this project, students will learn how to become reporters, interview our vendors, and help fight global warming on a local level. 

Our first interview was with Nema, the owner of Roosevelt Pups.

I am proud to present the second interview, with Fusion Salon’s owner, Boris. 

The interviewers are 4th graders

  at the Child Center of New York’s after-schoolprogram located at PS/IS 217.

They are Ayden, Klaudia, Constanza, Le Minh, and Orion. The students paid attention to all the details and fixtures that make up a hair salon. They also learned about Boris's origins, family, and aspirations for a successful business on beautiful Roosevelt Island.

Interview with Boris, Owner of FUSION SALON

Ayden: Hello Boris we're very happy to be here and to find out a little more about your family, your background, your education, and your business at Fusion Salon. Here are some of the questions that would help us in our interview:

Constanza: Where did you grow up? Please tell us about your childhood.

Boris: I grew up in Russia. I had a really fun childhood. It was really fun. I have two little sisters. I took care of them. I liked to play soccer. When I came to the United States while I was studying I enjoyed sports, I also played basketball. When I came from Russia I was 11.

Constanza: Do you still like soccer and do you have a favorite team?

Boris: Yes I do… but I don't have time to play. I don’t have a favorite team really… except of course the US Soccer team. I watch the World Cup every four years. On a daily basis, I do not follow soccer.

Le Minh: Where do you live now and how do you commute?

Boris: I live in Brooklyn and I drive here.

Le Minh: So you park at Motorgate?

Boris: yeah.

Orion: What did you study in College and how does it relate to your business at Fusion Salon?

Boris: I studied at Queens College for Accounting and that's a little bit I guess related to my business but well… it does actually. I do my own taxes, inventory, accounting, and balance sheets. You know I do everything myself and I guess that's related.

Klaudia: Are you married and do you have children?

Boris: Yes I'm married and I have one son whose name is Lucas and actually he likes soccer too.

Klaudia: Does he have a favorite team?

Boris: I’m not sure but I do know he likes soccer.

Ayden: Did you go to a haircutting school?

Boris: Actually, at the same time I was going to Queens College I was going to a Beauty School which took about a year so I finished that first. While I was still continuing college for Accounting I was working as a hairdresser and then I used to manage the place. When I finished college I was working for this Accounting firm. In 2007 I got laid off. I couldn’t find anything and that’s how I ended up on the island and I thought let me open my own business. I’ve been here since then, and I’m glad that I just went to the beauty school just in case. I had my second job because you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. You always have to have plan B. This is what my plan B was and I'm happy.

Constanza: What year did you open Fusion Salon?

Boris: 2008

Le Minh: Did any members of your family help you open Fusion Salon and did you feel nervous when you first opened the salon?

Boris: My family would give me a little support but, you know, I actually did everything myself. I took a loan from the bank. I was not nervous because I was 26 at the time I opened this place. I feel that at this age you just go ahead. Now if I want to change and try to open something else, I'll be more nervous; I guess I'm older; I would think 10 times before I do something. But at that time I guess I just had the feeling that this is what I had to do, right here. I guess it's good to be young. At that time I just did it, took a loan from the bank and I just did it and thank God because I'm very happy here. It’s been already 15 years, March 8th 2008.

Orion: Which haircuts are the most expensive? 

Boris: We don’t charge by the haircut, we charge a flat rate, $40 per haircut. Of course, we do color, and blow-dry. Anything involved with the hair, we do it.

Klaudia: How do you decide on a haircut?

Boris: Well, first I look at the client; I look at the face, the structure and then I would offer what's good for her/him. Some people have an oval shape of the face, some people have round shapes; so we offer what works best but in the end whatever the client wants, we do.

Ayden: What do you do if somebody asks you for a craaazy haircut?

Boris: Oooh I love crazy haircuts. I do love crazy haircuts. If that’s what they want, I do it. I'll actually do more crazy and they will be happy.

Ayden: I am going to follow up on that question. What is the craziest haircut you’ve done?

Boris: You could do like a mohawk, you could shave one side; you could leave the other side. You could color one side 1 color and do the other side a different color, you could do red. There are so many different people that want different things and we do it.

Hey, hair grows. If you don’t like that color, we can return you to the original color. If you don’t like the haircut, the hair grows back the next month. Right?

Constanza: Did you ever do a mistake while cutting someone’s hair that couldn’t be fixed?

Boris: Yes once. Once by accident! Well I was young; I was shaving … I think I was doing the shape of the hairline and the young boy sneezed while I was cutting here. And by accident, I shaved his eyebrow. Half of it that's it. There was nothing to be done! Yes, he was nine years old and he was just sitting in my chair; I was cutting here and then he just sneezed and zooot, just like that, it was gone. Since that time I take caution.

Ayden: Did you get in trouble? Did you apologize?

Boris: No I didn’t. He knew that he sneezed. What can we do?

Ayden: Did his parents say “HEY, what are you doing?!”

Boris: No. I apologized of course. I should’ve been more careful probably and held his head more… but things happen. That was 20 years ago when I started.

Le Minh: Do you sell products without giving a haircut? Why did you choose these products?

Boris: Sure I sell products without doing a service. You know, you have people walking in. And, why I like Moroccan Oil products? Because it's based on natural ingredients; they don't have sodium, they have Keratin which is good for the scull, for the hair. They don’t have chemicals that irritate the scull, like the products you buy at the stores or pharmacies. In other words, these are professional products you only could buy here. Plus, we will recommend which shampoo or conditioner products would suit you. We see your hair, if it's oily or dry or if your hair has dandruff or very fine; so you have all those different types of shampoos for individual people’s hairs.

Orion: How many people work here and do they do different things?

Boris: I have five people working here. I have three hairdressers, three stylists, one barber, and one for facials.. skincare specialist in other words. The stylist does color as well.

Constanza: Can you tell us briefly what are all the services that you do here?

Boris: Well skincare, waxing, eyebrows, what else… men's stylists, haircut for boys.. regular or crazy haircuts if they want. Women’s stylists they do whatever the clients need: color, keratin, highlight, and body weight. Anything involved in the hair, we do it.

Klaudia: What do you do with the leftover hair?

Boris: We throw it away unless it's more than 10 inches in length we donate it. If it's more than 10 inches we pack it and we donate it.

Klaudia: Do you have a ruler that measures the hair?

Boris: Yes we have a ruler, but we already know how long it is; but yes, we have. If it is 10 inches or more you donate it to the Cancer Center. You just call them up; they send you a label and a box, you put it there, and you send it back. The rest of the hair we throw it away.

Orion: Do you ever bring your family to Roosevelt Island and what are your favorite parts of the island?

Boris: Yes I do bring them here; but not so often because since I live in Brooklyn, it's kind of far to travel here; it's about an hour to get here. But a couple of times a year they come. I like everything on the island, but my favorite part is Four Freedoms Park. I like the view. But I think I like everything on the island. I wish I could live here but I can’t. I love the island overall; it's quiet, people are nicer and it’s just safer.

Orion: Where do you live now?

Boris: I live in Sheepshead Bay. It is a long commute. Well with traffic it's about an hour… an hour and 10 minutes each way. On the weekends, when there’s no traffic it takes me 40, to 45 minutes.

We have 85 % by appointment, and 15% of people just walk in. But we do a lot of appointments these days -especially after Covid started, we have more appointments so we regulate so we don't have a lot of people waiting on top of each other. We offer people to make appointments. It's better for everyone.

Klaudia sat at the chair and Boris studied her hair, undid the hair tie, and gave a few suggestions.

The students thanked Boris for taking the time to tell them all about himself and his business.

Fusion Salon is at: 523 Main Street, Roosevelt Island.

Fusion business hours are: Mondays we are closed Tuesday through Saturday: 9 AM till 7 PM Sundays: 10 AM till 7 PM 

The full video can be seen on You Tube

Our next interview is with Alon, chef & owner of ME Mediterranean Eatery. We encourage all residents to be mindful of their environment in their daily life, their business, and their commute. Remember the four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse."