Saturday, April 22, 2023

Dolphin Spotted In East River Today Between Roosevelt Island And Long Island City Near The Queensboro Bridge, 2nd Time In 2 Weeks

For the second time in 2 weeks, a dolphin was spotted swimming in the East River near Roosevelt Island today. 

During today’s Roosevelt Island Little League game, George Estreich spotted a dolphin in the East River swimming past Roosevelt Island and Long Island City near the Queensboro Bridge and shares these photos.

 As previously reported about the earlier dolphin sighting:

Bob Babcock, an original Roosevelt Island resident, adds:

When I worked on the launch of NYWaterTaxi in 97 (my cover letter, describing life on the East river, and seeing the changes over time, secured the job) we saw dolphins in the lower harbor by Governors Island. The Gowanus was still a toxic stew, but the waterways around NYC had greatly improved since we moved to the Island in 1975 when the joke on Barney Miller was the you don’t drown in the East River, you dissolve.

Much of the credit for this transformation should go to a Roosevelt Island pioneer and her cadre of environmentalists: Sally Leifer, the first teacher assigned to PS/IS217, was part of the protest to GE’s pollution at Storm King, that led in part to the passing of the EPA. She went on to help establish the first Environmentally-focused public school in NYC. Her friend, Tom Fox, a Ranger at Gateway National Park (who taught us about horseshoe crabs and mollusk beds), went on to found the Greenway Project, to restore the New York City waterfront, which ultimately became Hudson River Park. 

So dolphins out your window are courtesy of a long history of concerned citizens working to protect the environment, getting regulation passed, and then continued vigilance. Be a part of it.

Here's a 2022 story from WPIX News about researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society and NY Aquarium studying dolphins in the NY waters.

 

Keep a look out for East River dolphins. Snap a photo or take video and share.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Welcome Astoria Grown To The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market - A Solar Powered Home Based Urban Farm Selling Nutritious Microgreen Vegetables

Astoria Grown is a new vendor at the Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market. Astoria Grown is a home based urban farm located in a private home located a few minutes from the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

I spoke with the Astoria Grown owner last Saturday. Meet the newest Roosevelt Island Farmers Market vendor, Astoria Grown .

According to Astoria Grown 

The farm is an indoor facility on the top floor of our house in Astoria.

The house, including the farm are powered by a solar installation on the roof. 

We use and reuse stainless steel mesh as our growing medium, We use only organic nutrients and no pesticides. We disinfect our materials with hydrogen peroxide vinegar and the sun . 

Our seeds supporters are True Leaf and Johnny’s Seeds. Our nutrients come from Farmers Pride and Ocean Solution.

All of our containers are recyclable and compostable.

Nutrition. 

Microgreens are high in several key vitamins, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K They are also rich in many essential minerals, such as Brassica micro greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc.) and are rich in the precursors necessary to protect against cancer. Microgreens have far higher nutrient levels than the same mature vegetable.

Our products.

 Micro greens are very young vegetables harvested at 2 to 3 weeks old. We grow:

  • Arugula, 
  • Broccoli,
  • Cabbage, 
  • Kale, 
  • Kohlrabi,
  • Peas, 
  • Daikon Radish and
  • Purple Radish

Stop by the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market every Saturday and learn more about Astoria Grown and try their microgreens.

More info on Astoria Grown at their web site and Instagram Page.

Earth Love Day Saturday April 22 On Roosevelt Island At Meditation Lawn, Blackwell Plaza And Riverwalk Commons - You're Invited To Beautification Planting, Yoga Meditation, Recycling Art Station, Book Swap, Seed Giveaway, Educational Booths, Plogging, Composting & More

Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico reports:

Saturday, April 22nd / 11am- 3pm - Earth Love Day event at Meditation Lawn, Blackwell House Plaza and planting with the garden club at the Riverwalk Commons near Granny Annie’s on Roosevelt Island. 

Free resources include the book drop n’ swap & a used battery drop. Activities include the Youth Center art station, Island Kids seed giveaway, Girl Scout Recycle and Crafting station, RIHS children's book giveaway and iDig2Learn & GRIN tree urban forest planting news and Tree Survey plus Haki Compost collective will be on hand to talk about food scraps for the compost program. 

Also, stop by to learn more about the new teen-run Island Plogging Club with Louise. Plus Main Street Theater and Dance performances and OM yoga too. Rain date: Sunday, April 23rd.

The Roosevelt Island Garden Club invites you to help plant flowers in the Riverwalk Commons tomorrow too.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Local Activists And Political Leaders Successfully Stopped The Nonsense - Roosevelt Island Not Moving To Queens, Staying In Manhattan Assembly District 76 Represented By Rebecca Seawright Says Redistricting Commission Today

Reported last February 6: 

Roosevelt Island NY State Assembly District Moving To Queens In Proposed Redistricting Map - "You Can Make This Nonsense Stop" Says Local Activist Supported By Political Leaders, Join Your Neighbors At Public Hearing February 7

Today, it was announced that Roosevelt Island will not be moving to a Queens Assembly District but will remain in the Manhattan 76 Assembly District represented by Rebecca Seawright.

I asked Assembly Member Seawright:

Any comment on the good news that Roosevelt Island staying in your Assembly District?

Ms Seawright replied:

The redistricting commission today voted to advance the new and final Assembly maps to the state Legislature including Roosevelt Island in the 76th Assembly District. We submitted robust testimony along the way in opposition to shifting representation of the island to a Queens District. Ultimately it was the unified and strong support of indelible Roosevelt Island resident activists that made the important first-hand arguments to help the commission put forth a favorable district map.

Congrats to Joyce Short and all the other Roosevelt Island activists 

who led the effort to keep Roosevelt Island in the Manhattan Assembly District.


UPDATE 4/21:


See the full map at https://newyork.redistrictingandyou.org

Roosevelt Island Residents Of 1003 Unit Roosevelt Landings Complex Without Regular Hot Water Service Since Early March, Residents Say "We Have To Shower In Cold Water, It Hurts" - Building Management Says Cause Is Malfunction With Cogeneration Plant That They Are Working To Fix

Roosevelt Island residents living in the 1003 unit Roosevelt Landings building complex are angry and frustrated at living without regular hot water service since last March.

According to building residents

  • "Hot water has been out off and on for the past month or two. It has now been nearly 5 whole days without hot water",
  • "No hot water & the laundry rooms were out of service for a couple of weeks- all while residents were getting lease renewals with $1000 increases in some cases. Quality of life in these buildings (546 especially) is pretty terrible with noise and smoking and drinking in the hallways all night long (even on weekdays)",
  • "I’m sick of dealing with the water issue. This has been going on for way too long and they’ve known about it for weeks now. Give us hot water!!!,"
  • "It’s been 2 months with this hot water situation. Then we also had the laundry room closed on and off for a month. They are increasing rent, soon to be charging for electricity and the refuse rooms are filthy with bugs and dog πŸ’© it’s gross and insane",
  • "No hot water for a week straight now and elevator in 560 has audible scraping noises. The other day it shook violently as it approached the 10th floor",
  • "No hot water, laundry rooms closed consistently for weeks at a time, elevators broken in 560 after being reported and we’re told that management is waiting for HVAC assistance which is a partial truth"
  • "We have to shower in cold water and it hurts".

Some are talking about a rent strike over the lack of hot water.

On April 12, I asked Roosevelt Landings C+C Apartment Management Regional Manager Doryne Isely

I've received almost a dozen complaints this week about lack of hot water over an extended period of time in the Roosevelt Landings buildings.

For example

  • Roosevelt Landings apartments have NOT had consistent hot water since the beginning of MARCH. We are taking ice showers….. a lot of people I’m in contact with (including myself) are “scared” to speak up to call 311 out of fear of retaliation.
  • Are you aware that for quite some time building 510 has had - at best - lukewarm water, but generally no hot water at all? Management gives no timetable for when things will return to normal. It’s been off and on this way for well over a month.
  • Roosevelt Landings has no Hot Water and Mgmt office do not know when the problem will be fixed. There's been no hot water or warm water for the last 5 weeks from 4-6am till 11am-12pm and then at night after 11pm (no hot only warm). So all residents that were not able to shower in freezing cold water today must be very stinky and in need of extra deodorant

I've seen the April 12 notice management is distributing explaining the problem. 

I recall Urban American's Josh Eisenberg reporting in 2014 (correct year is 2013) on a state of the art Combined Heat and Power Plant systems being connected to the buildings electrical and hot water systems. Are they still working?

Does Roosevelt Landings management have any comment on the matter? 

Yesterday, a C+C Apartment Management spokesperson replied:

We apologize to our residents for the hot water interruptions and understand the inconvenience this has caused. Our team has been working diligently to address service interruptions and to permanently fix the hot water heaters. We thank residents for their patience and will continue to provide updates as we work to resolve this issue.

The C+C Apartment Management spokesperson added today:

The interruptions in hot water service are linked to a malfunction within the cogeneration plant that services the property. - We are working closely with engineers and specialists to resolve it as soon as possible. 

And on April 17, C+C Apartment Management sent this notice to Roosevelt Landings residents:

On April 19, a Roosevelt Landings resident wrote to me:

There has been no hot water for over a month. The laundry room situation has been crazy. Why isn't this being discussed? The buildings are dirty. Main street looks the worse it has ever been. This publication has to address island life. Its getting worse.

Roosevelt Island elected officials, including State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and City Council Member Julie Menin have intervened with Roosevelt Landings building management on behalf of residents.

Council Member Menin reported on April 19:

It is unacceptable that any New Yorker would be without hot water for weeks at a time. My office has been in contact with HPD many times about Roosevelt Landing and today the agency issued two C-class violations for no hot water and another for no access to the boiler, which the landlord needs to correct immediately. We will continue to advocates for the tenants of this building until all issues are resolved.

The Roosevelt Landings co-generation power system currently out of service was installed in 2013 by former owner Urban American. According to Josh Eisenberg who spearheaded the installation:

... When activated, our onsite power plant and heating system will be capable of generating 15% of the building's electricity on site and all of the hot water for more than 1000 apartments 30% more efficiently than before....
Mr Eisenberg spoke about the system during an interview on a 2013 episode of the Michael Stoller real estate TV program.

 

Stay tuned. Will update when more info available.

UPDATE 4/21 - A spokesperson for Assemblymember Seawright reports at 5:20 PM
We are hearing an update from HPD as of 5:06pm- they sent the emergency repair unit to conduct a final inspection on 2 of the water heaters that have been repaired. The equipment is going to be monitored to ensure it doesn't fail. We have been in touch with the Mayor's Office, HPD and the management company and asked to receive updates as they are available.
and adds at 7 PM:
HPD update- The Emergency Repair Program (ERP) unit indicated the HW temp is 100 degrees Fahrenheit at the furthest point from the heating equipment, and 116 at a closer point. They’ve assessed this is inadequate and technicians are on site working on the equipment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Steel Pillars Holding Up The Roosevelt Island East River Boat Prow Completely Eroded Away, Seen In Picture Only Visible At Low Tide - Is It Still Safe For Photo Ops And Weddings?

On April 12, Sven Claus reported to the Roosevelt Island Friends Facebook page:

I've noticed this morning that the steel pillars holding up the 'ship' on the west side of the island have completely eroded away.. which is only visible during low tide. It's inevitable this thing will come crashing down sooner or later.

On Monday, April 17, I asked Mr Claus if he received any response from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) about the eroding Boat Prow pillars and he replied that he had not.

Later on Monday I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes and Communications VP Akeem Jamal

Does RIOC have any comment on the apparently unsafe conditions at the Roosevelt Island Boat Prow sticking out into the East River near The Sanctuary Events space?

No answer from RIOC to my press inquiry but Mr Claus reports yesterday that RIOC answered him with:

I did receive a message from RIOC stating they are exploring options on how to alternatively stabilize the structure since the original support has eroded away.

As reported in 2012:

... RIOC will begin a Boat Prow Restoration project to remove the graffiti from the prow and to repair eroded Corten Steel damage to the base of the Prow caused by the East River salt washing up against the prow. Mr. Martinez added that RIOC has not found any type of material that can be used to prevent graffiti from being placed on the prow so RIOC will have to be vigilant and remove the tags as soon as they are placed on the prow....

This NY Times FYI column from 2000 provides more information on Roosevelt Island's Boat Prow

which has recently become a popular wedding destination site offered by The Sanctuary events space.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Congratulations To Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Tech Hoppers - Meet Our Local NYC First Lego League Robot Builders April 19 At Roosevelt Island Library For Awards Presentation And Demo Of Their Robot Project

The Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts Tech Hoppers competed in and won awards in the recent NYC First Lego League (FLL) Challenge robot building program. 

The Tech Hoppers were introduced by Girl Scout Troop 3233 Leader Susy del Campo Perea during the April 3 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors meeting public session and received the congratulations of Board members.

Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3233 Leader Suzy del Campo Perea reports:

The Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Tech Hoppers invites our community, adults and youth, to the presentation of their NYC First Lego League Challenge Bronze Award Project this Wednesday April 19 from 6:15-7pm at the New York Public Library Roosevelt Island Branch (504 Main Street) .  

The Tech Hoppers will have a presentation about the renewable energy innovation project they researched, follow by Q&A and close with a showcase of the robot they built for the FLL.

When you talk or hear the word robotics in elementary or middle school, you certainly think of something very basic. maybe something like a car moving back and forth, or just a square box with a movable part up and down; and then you add competition, it sounds like faster, bigger and brighter. Then you add Legos and it sounds more exciting for kids and confusing for adults.

The Tech Hoppers is so much more than having a robot made out of Legos. It is about researching a topic given, based on the research, creating an innovation, talking to experts in the field, building a prototype based on your innovation and research, and presenting their findings to 3-5 judges during the competition. The cherry on the cake, is that they also get to build, with special Legos, a robot with 6 motors, one brain and different moving arms and parts, and then programming it to go through a map with several movable Lego structures in 2.5 min

First, the Roosevelt Island Tech Hoppers worked in the Core Values of FIRST (innovation, fun, )

Then they got the topic of Renewable Energy and started working on that Research.

At the same time they started assembling their robot and dived in programming it, testing and run it every single weekend @ Cornell Tech CafΓ©.

Not long after, they came with an innovation for renewable energy, moved from sun based solar energy to soil based microbial fuel cells.

Week after week they made progress in all 3 areas: core values, innovation and robot programming.

They wet their feet on their first competition, a scrimmage at Chapin School where they won 1st Place Core Values. They learned the rules of the game and saw their competition.

Qualifiers were held in February where they won 2nd place in Robot design and the Silver Ticket to pass to Semifinals!

By March 5th @ Semifinals the Tech Hoppers won their Golden ticket to Finals and another Core Values Trophy! They only had 7 days to polish and correct anything that will put them closer to score higher at Finals.

Finally the moment they were waiting for: compete at the Finals of FLL on March 12th, which is the equivalent of the FLL State finals.

Our very own Tech Hoppers compete against teams between 4th-8th grade, winning 2nd place Core Values!

It was indeed a sweet victory as they were the only team of Girl Scouts, and the only team with High School Coaches, instead of professional adults that have years of experience and/or professional instructors.

The Tech Hoppers wouldn’t have made it this far with out the support and partnership of GSGNY, Cornell Tech, Cornell Tech CafΓ©, their Girl Scout family members and troop sisters, and of course our Roosevelt Island Community.

The Tech Hoppers are:

  • Alexa Baldwin
  • Alyse MacGonagle 
  • Ava Gordon 
  • Chelsea Chang 
  • Duygu Gurdal 
  • Itziar Borja del Campo 
  • Kai Putnam 
  • Leire Borja del Campo 
  • Madison Chang 
  • Mina Kim 

Tech Hoppers Coaches: 

  • Alua Zhanuzakova 
  • Charlotte Peterson 

Mentors and Hosts: 

  • Cornell Tech, specially Sophie Lanchez 
  • Heather Smith (GSGNY Troop 3001) 
  • Fay Christian (GSGNY Troop 3233) 
  • Mor Naaman (Cornell Tech, GSGNY Dad) 
  • Roberto Borja (NYCHA, GSGNY Dad) 

Volunteers: 

  • Conall MacGonagle 
  • Ender Gurdal 
  • Eddie Chang 
  • Jenn Chang

The Tech Hoppers name was chosen because the Girl Scouts meet and have support from Cornell Tech and in honor of Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer programming.

Learn more about NYC First Lego League Challenge robotic competition.

The Roosevelt Island Wildlife Kingdom Has New Member, A Turkey Vulture Spotted Visiting Southpoint Park Yesterday - What's For Dinner?

Roosevelt Island has a new member to its wildlife kingdom. A Turkey Vulture was spotted yesterday visiting Southpoint Park near the Cat Sanctuary by Wildlife Freedom Foundation President Rossana Ceruzzi.

Image From Rossana Ceruzzi

Ms Ceruzzi adds that the Turkey Vulture soon flew away. Perhaps the Turkey Vulture will return to Roosevelt Island but don't get too close.

According to the Cornell Lab All About Birds:

... your heart has probably leaped at the sight of a large, soaring bird in the distance– perhaps an eagle or osprey. But if it's soaring with its wings raised in a V and making wobbly circles, it's likely a Turkey Vulture. These birds ride thermals in the sky and use their keen sense of smell to find fresh carcasses. They are a consummate scavenger, cleaning up the countryside one bite of their sharply hooked bill at a time, and never mussing a feather on their bald heads....

... Turkey Vultures are accustomed to living near humans and snacking off of our leavings. You will often see them in farm fields or hanging out next to the road. However, they are not likely to be in your backyard unless something has died or else you have a very large backyard.

The Turkey Vulture uses its sense of smell to locate carrion. The part of its brain responsible for processing smells is particularly large, compared to other birds. Its heightened ability to detect odors—it can detect just a few parts per trillion—allows it to find dead animals below a forest canopy. The Turkey Vulture maintains stability and lift at low altitudes by holding its wings up in a slight dihedral (V-shape) and teetering from side to side while flying. It flies low to the ground to pick up the scent of dead animals....

... As a defense mechanism, Turkey Vultures may vomit on a bird, animal, or human that gets too close. Considering what they eat, this can be a powerful weapon...

Here's more on the Turkey Vulture.

 

Learn more about the Wildlife Freedom Foundation at its website and Instagram Page.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Do You Like Donuts And Want To Help Roosevelt Island Youth? Here's A Twofer, Buy A Dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts And Help PS/IS 217 Middle School Students Raise Funds For End Of Year Activities And Celebrations

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 parent Yitza Martinez reports: 

3 days left to place your orders. Roosevelt Island!! P.S/I.S 217 Middle School is doing it again, raising money to help fund those end of year activities. Parties, trips, outings, anything involving fun.

Do You Like Donuts And Would Like To Help Roosevelt Island Youth? Here's A Twofer,

Buy A Dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts And Help PS/IS 217 Middle School Students Raise Funds For End Of Year Activities And Celebrations Pre Order now through April 20th. Donuts will be handed out on the 28th outside the school. Please use the link to place your pre orders now. We will do our best to have extras but can't guarantee there will be enough for everyone. Don't Miss Out!

 Click here to order.

The Food Network shows us how Krispy Kreme donuts are made.

 

Yummy!!!!! 

More info on PS/IS 217 from NYC Department of Education and the school's website.

Roosevelt Island Red Bus Making Weekend Manhattan Shuttle Trips During April To Alleviate RI Tram Crowds - Did You Take The Red Bus Shuttle This Past Weekend?

As reported April 10:

... During the last several days, Roosevelt Island residents have shown their anger and frustration with the failure of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes to address their decrease in quality of life brought about by the constant overcrowding of the Roosevelt Island Tram with tourists....

In response to residents complaints about the Overcrowded Tram such as:

... It's 4:45 pm and the Tram is packed with tourists. 

We can't get to our homes. Do you think we residents can start a petition or something to have priority at the Tram....

RIOC announced  a weekend Roosevelt Island Red Bus Shuttle to and from Manhattan will be provided during the month of April. According to RIOC:

RIOC’s Transportation Department will run a Tram Shuttle Bus from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan on weekends during the month of April. Shuttles will run hourly (traffic permitting) from 11AM to 7:30PM from the Roosevelt Island Tramway, making all northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (opposite PS/IS 217). The shuttle will depart on the half hour from the Manhattan Tram station, from the Southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th and 59th Street, and will make all southbound local bus stops (starting with 591 Main St.) to the Tram. The last shuttle trips will depart from the Roosevelt Island Tram at 7 PM and Manhattan at 7:30 PM. Please note that regular Red Bus service may run on an adjusted schedule to accommodate the additional Tram shuttle service.

Yesterday afternoon at about 1:30, I noticed a Roosevelt Island Red Bus coming down 2nd avenue stopping at 58th street.

 

4 people got off the Red Bus Manhattan Shuttle. At that time, the line for the Roosevelt Island Tram was not very long and did not extend down the staircase to 2nd avenue. 7 people took the Red Bus Shuttle back to Roosevelt Island. It took about 15 minutes.

The Roosevelt Island Tram line was reportedly much longer at other times yesterday.

RIOC announced via Twitter:

Sunday, April 16, 2023

National Institute Of Health Seeking Participants To Share Info With All Of Us Research Program - Roosevelt Island Residents Invited To Learn More In April 17 Virtual Information Session Presented By Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell Tech and RI Senior Association

According to the National Institute Of Health's All Of Us Research program:

At the moment, health care is often one-size-fits-all. But imagine a future where your health care is tailored to you. We want to make that future possible. How? By creating a resource that allows researchers to conduct thousands of studies on health and disease.

We expect the program to last at least 10 years, and we hope you’ll stick with us throughout the study....

Roosevelt Island Residents are invited to learn more about the All Of Us Research Program.

According to Cornell Tech:

Join Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell Tech & the Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA) for a virtual session to learn how All of Us plans to advance precision medicine to uncover paths toward delivering targeted medicine solutions – individualized prevention, treatment, and care – while keeping diversity as a core goal of the program.

The session will detail the enrollment process including enrollment progress to-date, the potential return of genetic results, how scientists can access the information, and how the program is insuring privacy. There is no obligation to join the program - simply attend to learn more about a research program happening in your community! Attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions during the dedicated Q&A session. To learn more before the session, visit joinallofus.org

This event is FREE and open to the public 

We hope you will join us virtually! 

Monday, April 17 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Click here to register for the All Of Us Research Program Information Session.