Saturday, May 6, 2023

You're Invited To An Afternoon Of Music With Adeline Hotel And Quarterly Sunday May 7 Presented By Island House Recordings At RIVAA Gallery

Roosevelt Island RIVAA Gallery reports: 

Please join us at RIVAA gallery on Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 4PM. Island House Recordings will be presenting an afternoon of music with Adeline Hotel and Quarterly performing.

Check out their music 

While you’re here view our current exhibition of art by residents of Coler Hospital. We would love to see you. Bring your family and friends. A $10. contribution is requested for the musical event. Admission to the gallery is always free.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Stabbing Inside The Roosevelt Island Bread & Butter Deli Last Night - Male Victim Slashed In Arm, Thigh And Head, 3 Suspects Fled In Jeep, NYPD Investigating

NYC 911 reported last evening:

In response to my inquiry this morning, a NYPD spokesperson reported:

On Thursday May 4 approximately 9:38 PM at 579 Main Street, a male victim was slashed with a knife on his right arm, right thigh and head. 3 Suspects fled in a jeep. A motive is not known at this time and the incident is currently under investigation.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced via a 10:50 AM Advisory and Twitter:

On Thursday May 4th at approximately 9:40PM a person was assaulted with a knife inside the deli located at 579 Main Street. NYPD and PSD responded quickly to the location where they found a victim who was stabbed multiple times. The victim was taken to Cornell Hospital in stable condition. Subjects were unidentified by the deli workers and fled the scene prior to NYPD/PSD arrival in a dark Jeep Grand Cherokee that was parked in front of the deli. At this time, PSD & NYPD reports indicate this was a targeted incident and not a random act of violence.

Last Tuesday, May 2, during a Roosevelt Island Public Safety Community Engagement meeting, NYPD 114 Precinct Commander Deputy Inspector Kenneth Gorman

and RIOC Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown


described Roosevelt Island as being a very safe neighborhood.  

More very interesting video from the meeting here

Additional details on the incident as they become available.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Sparks Fly At May 2 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Community Engagement Meeting - Residents Tell RIOC PSD And NYPD 114 Precinct About Assaults, School Bullying, Harassment & Fire Setting By A Group Of Teens

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) hosted a Public Safety Department (PSD) Community Engagement Meeting last Tuesday May 2 at the Good Shepherd Community Center. 

In attendance were RIOC President Shelton Haynes, PSD Chief Kevin Brown, PSD Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso, NYPD 114 Precinct Commander Deputy Inspector Kenneth Gorman and about 25 Roosevelt Island residents.

The meeting began with Chief Brown offering his condolences to the friends and family of Mary Cavanaugh who recently passed away. Chief Brown praised her participation in the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee calling Mary Cavanaugh "a champion of the causes of Roosevelt Island" and added "we will miss her".

Chief Brown then spoke about some current Public Safety issues including this Sunday's 5 Boro Bike Tour which may cause some traffic disruptions near the Roosevelt Island Bridge/Vernon B'lvd intersection and the temporary closing of the East River Boat Prow while a structural engineer examines it for safety reasons.  

Chief Brown reported these crimes occurring on Roosevelt Island during March and April:

  • Grand larceny motorcycle theft at the Motorgate Garage,
  • Grand Larceny Cell phone theft,
  • Shoplifting at Duane Reade and to a lesser extent at Foodtown,
  • Assault at Foodtown

According to Chief Brown, the PSD Bike patrol will soon be active. Also, RIOC PSD is looking to hire more officers. PSD currently has 46 officers on staff and a capacity for 51.

Deputy Inspector Gorman reported that the NYPD 114 precinct Youth Coordinating Officer is building relationships with schools on the Island and working with our local youth on sports programs.  He added that Roosevelt Island is a very safe community and the crime rate is very low.

Deputy Inspector Gorman also gave a review of issues facing the 114 precinct as a whole including: 

  • increase in robberies
  • illegal marijuana sales
  • Car Theft
  • financial account fraud (credit card, savings account etc)

What had been a typical Roosevelt Island meeting up to this point was then interrupted by Roosevelt Island father who stood up, said he loves Roosevelt Island and then reported his son had recently been "jumped, beat up, filmed and put on Instagram", and is "scared to death".  The father had met with Chief Brown last Thursday and was told by Chief Brown that he knew the three teenagers who beat up his son and the teenagers were known to be involved in other incidents including an arson.

The father's interruption expressed frustration and outrage that this incident was not mentioned by Chief Brown during his remarks to the community meeting earlier in the evening. Why was this not reported he asked RIOC? 

Chief Brown replied that he did not mention the incident because he thought the father wanted it to remain private.

Other residents spoke out about incidents involving the same 3 teenagers including bullying and threatening students at PS/IS 217, assaulting a couple at Meditation Step and harassment as well as arson at Roosevelt Landings.

Chief Brown and RIOC President Shelton Haynes answered they are aware of the problems caused by the 3 teenagers, the 3 have been arrested 4 times but RIOC and NYPD must work within the constraints of the juvenile legal system. 

Deputy Chief Amoroso added:

... They've been prosecuted in Family Court every single time, not Criminal Court because of their ages. We're enforcing the law but when they go through the system they have certain things set up for juvenile defendants. That's what is being done. That is why they're released again to the parents. This is reoccurring. .. Our office is paying special attention to these individuals that are out there, making sure their in the right building they live in  and not the buildings they don't live in. Keeping an eye out.

We can't go beyond the letter of the law. We're doing everything in our power to follow the letter of the law and keep it safe for the community. That's what community policing is about....

Watch what happened.

After the meeting, RIOC President Shelton Haynes tweeted:

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

RIOC Announces May 19 As Opening Date For Long Delayed $12 Million Renovated Sportpark Recreational Facility - "We Have Won" Says Roosevelt Island Resident After RIOC Forced By Community Protest And Local Politicians To Reduce Monthly Fee From $125 To $30

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced yesterday that the long delayed opening of the $12 million renovated Sportspark recreational facility is finally scheduled to open May 19.

According to RIOC:

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes today announced revised pricing plans for the highly anticipated Sportspark Complex that reflect RIOC’s commitment to ensuring all island residents and visitors can enjoy what this remarkable, newly renovated facility has to offer. The facility’s grand re-opening is now scheduled for May 19, 2023....

The initial Sportspark pricing plan announced by RIOC was not one in which all or even most Roosevelt Island residents could afford.

Roosevelt Island residents protested when RIOC announced last February the new pricing structure for the renovated Sportspark which was unaffordable to many in the community. As reported February 23:

Roosevelt Island residents were outraged that RIOC's new Sportspark pricing structure was more in line with a privately owned Equinox Gym than an affordable community recreational center.... began a petition to protest RIOC's new Sportspark fee structure...

Local politicians including NY State Senator Liz Kreuger, NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and NYC Council Member Julie Menin supported Roosevelt Island residents in calling for RIOC to reduce the Sportspark pricing structure to an affordable level. They exerted pressure on NY State Governor Kathy Hochul and NY State Commissioner of Homes and Community Renewal/RIOC Board Chair RuthAnne Visnauskas to force RIOC staff to reduce their planned fee structure.

These efforts were successful. 

The new Sportspark fee structure announced yesterday reduces the previously announced fee of $125 monthly for an adult Roosevelt Island resident to $30 monthly and Roosevelt Island Senior/Disabled rates have gone down from $99 monthly to $25 monthly.

Here's the new Sportspark pricing structure.

Upon learning of the revised Sportspark pricing structure, Roosevelt Island resident and Sportspark user Volker Hage writes:


I think we can be a bit proud as a community - RIOC changed the Sportspark pricing and lists the monthly fee of $30. Before the pandemic we paid $300 / year, so I would say it’s equivalent. The discount for seniors is minimal though...

Roosevelt Island resident, Sportspark swimmer and organizer of the Sportspark petition drive Roberta Kleiman reports:

The Resident Adult rate is a very reasonable increase, which I’m very pleased about.

However, I am extremely disappointed by the senior/disabled rates. This is insulting to these groups and is a much higher percentage than they pay at Riverbank State park and at the NYC Recreation Centers. The drop in fee is also out of reach for many and way above the Riverbank State Park Fees.

It’s great that the rates for children and teens are relatively low, but I think seniors/disabled are being unfairly treated. This is just plain wrong!

However, even with a “reasonable” increase increase (from $300/year to $360/year) I will likely have to keep swimming at the NYC Recreation Centers. I pay $25/year, have access to all city indoor pools, and all recreation centers which offer a wide variety of programs.

I sincerely hope RIOC be fair to seniors/disabled and lower the monthly fee to half of the adult fee.

According to NY State Senator Liz Krueger

This is great news for many reasons! am very pleased that the Roosevelt Island community spoke out and that RIOC listened to their voices and has proposed Sportspark rates that are affordable ensuring that Sportpark remains widely available for Roosevelt Islanders to enjoy.

And NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright:

The Sportspark is a hub for our community and I look forward to the reopening for all Roosevelt Islanders to benefit from healthy fitness and sports activities. I am pleased to see that the new fee structure we fought for is more affordable and more equitable for residents. 

And NYC Council Member Julie Menin:

Roosevelt Islanders deserve a central hub of wellness and fitness that is affordable and RIOC’s adjusted pricing fees for the newly-renovated Sportspark are much more reasonable. Burdensome fees should not be a deterrent from recreation and I appreciate that RIOC has listened to the advocacy of Roosevelt Islanders and elected officials to make changes to the fee structure. I look forward to the reopening of the facility.

RIOC adds:

... “We heard you loud and clear when it came to pricing our Sportspark memberships, and we’ve come up with a plan that we feel puts affordability and access first for island residents,” said Shelton J. Haynes, President and CEO of RIOC. “While adjusting the prices did require us to rethink some of our programming ideas, ultimately what we at RIOC want most is for everyone to be able to enjoy the incredible $12 million renovation that, when finally open to the public, is going to blow people away. I look at the before and after photos of the pool, the basketball courts, the locker rooms, and I can’t believe it’s the same building. The transformation is truly stunning and I’m excited for people to finally see the finished product starting at our grand re-opening on May 19th. Sportspark is going to quickly reestablish itself as a central hub for island activity, a perfect place to work out and have fun, and a destination for people to explore and enjoy from all corners of the city.”

Resident Adult Memberships (island residents ages 18+) will now be $30-per-month and come with total access to the complex’s full complement of amenities, including the swimming pool, basketball court, fitness center, recreation room, and locker rooms. Non-resident Adult Memberships will be $70-per-month and come with the same access to the Complex’s full amenities.

The Seniors (ages 65+) and Disabled membership rate is now set at $25-per-month and comes with complete access to the complex’s amenities. For Teens (ages 13-17), pricing is set at $15-per-month. Teens ages 15-17 will have complete access to the facility, while teens ages 13 and 14 will have access to everything except the fitness center and studio. To qualify, Teens must sign-up for their memberships in-person accompanied by a parent or guardian, and Seniors must provide proof of identity and age.

Child Memberships (ages 12 and under) for Sportspark will be free of charge and must be added to an existing Adult or Senior Membership plan. While in Sportspark, Child Members must always be accompanied by adults and are restricted from using the fitness center and studio for safety purposes.

For those looking to experience all that Sportspark has to offer sporadically without a membership, daily rates for adults (ages 18+) are set at $15, while the children’s (ages 17 and under) daily rate will be $10. (Parents or guardians must be present to sign a waiver for child drop-in members).

RIOC will begin offering tours of the facility on May 19th every half hour from 2pm to 7pm. RIOC will also offer tours every half hour on Saturday May 20th and Sunday May 21st from 10am to 3pm. After opening weekend, tours will be regularly offered every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7:30am-9:30am, 12pm-2pm, 5pm-7pm. You can schedule your tours now by visiting our link:

Major improvements to the facility include:

  • A state-of-the-art fitness center;
  • A new pool & and elevated amenities;
  • Upgraded HVAC & Lighting;
  • Installation of energy-efficient systems;
  • A reimagined gymnasium;
  • A recreational game room;
  • Brand-new locker rooms;
  • Brand-new single & family restrooms;
  • Brand-new showers;
  • A fitness studio;
  • Event function space;
  • Renovated common areas;
  • A reception check-in system; and
  • Resurfacing of the building’s fa├žade.

Sportspark hours are Monday to Friday 7 AM to 8 PM Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to 5 PM.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Project Main Street 7th Annual Roosevelt Island Tim Sheehy Softball Classic To Support Individuals And Families Battling ALS Lou Gehrig's Disease Taking Place Saturday May 6 At Capobianco Field - Fundraising Gala Thursday May 4 With Live Performance By Roosevelt Islander Grandmaster Dee

This week is the annual Project Main Street Tim Sheehy Fundraising Gala

and Softball Classic at  Roosevelt Island's Capobianco Field  

to support individuals and families battling ALS Lou Gehrig's disease.

According to Project Main Street:  

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those afflicted with ALS by providing direct financial assistance. We are the only non-profit, all-volunteer organization that provides direct financial assistance to people struggling with ALS. We have proudly raised over 2 million dollars since 2006! It is annual fundraising events like these, the Project Main Street Gala and the Tim Sheehy Softball Classic, that help us achieve such goals! 

Gala: Thursday May 4th @ The Prince George Ballroom 6pm-11pm

Tim Sheehy Softball Classic: Saturday May 6th @ Capabianco Field 9am - 5pm.

Here are links to purchase Gala tickets, directions on how to participate & donate to the Tim Sheehy Softball Classic and to become a Sponsor

Between games at the 2021 Softball Classic, founding Project Main Street Board Member Michael Rosen welcomed everybody coming out to support Project Main Street and spoke about his Roosevelt Island friend Tim Sheehy. According to Mr Rosen:

I want to thank everybody for coming out to the Tim Sheehy Classic to benefit Project Main Street.

Project Main Street as most of you know is an ALS charity. We support people living with ALS.

We were founded by Tim Sheehy, a childhood friend of most of ours, a long time Roosevelt Island resident who cared about helping other people at a time when nobody would have felt bad if he was just thinking about himself.

But when Tim was diagnosed with ALS he was concerned with helping other people with ALS even after he was gone. He put together Project Main Street.

The connection to Roosevelt Island is obvious. Most of the founders and the people that have worked on Project Main Street are from Roosevelt Island. The name itself is dedicated to Roosevelt Island. This is a Roosevelt Island-born charity that has helped people since 2006 across the country.

Together this small volunteer organization that Tim Sheehy conceived in his mind has raised over 1.5 million dollars for people.  So today we're talking about Project Main Street. We're talking about ALS. 

We're also talking about Roosevelt Island because this is what makes this event so special to us. To come out here on the field that we used to play on when we were kids. To see all of our old friends together not just getting together but getting together to do something good for society is so meaningful to us and to have all the new friends that come here that are not from Roosevelt  Island but have joined this family and become part of the Roosevelt Island Project Main Street family. 

We thank you....

And some scenes from the game.

Chicago Cubs play by play announcer Jon "Boog" Sciambi grew up with Tim Sheehy on Roosevelt Island. Mr Sciambi talks about his friend Tim Sheehy and Project Main Street in this June 2021 interview.

If you would like to make a donation or seek more information, please visit the Project Main Street website or Instagram Page.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Remote Controlled Trash Barrel Robots Tested At Astor Place Plaza By Cornell Tech Researchers - Do You Find Them Friendly Or Creepy, Will Cornell Tech Trash Barrel Robots Be Coming To Roosevelt Island Next?

According to the Cornell Chronicle

Cornell researchers built and remotely controlled two trash barrel robots – one for landfill waste and one for recycling – at a plaza in Manhattan to see how people would respond to the seemingly autonomous robots. Most people welcomed them and happily gave them trash, though a minority found them to be creepy. The researchers now have plans to see how other communities behave. If you’re a resident of New York City, these trash barrel robots may be coming soon to a borough near you. 

A team led by Wendy Ju, associate professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and the Technion, and a member of the Department of Information Science in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, constructed the robots from a blue or gray barrel mounted on recycled hoverboard parts. They equipped the robots with a 360-degree camera and operated them using a joystick....

Click here for the full Cornell Chronicle article. 

Watch the Cornell Tech Trash Barrel Robots in action at Astor Place Plaza.

Where's the best area to test out the Trash Barrel Robots on Roosevelt Island? How about a test on the weekend at the Riverwalk Commons?

In 2019, Professor Ju gave a talk to the Roosevelt Island community about human interaction with automation, focusing on self driving cars. Here's some of the conversation.

Video of Professor's Ju's full presentation, including a story about a visit with David Letterman and Melinda Gates is here.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Long Time Roosevelt Island Resident Mary Cavanaugh-Lutts Passed Away At 80 Years Of Age, Her Spirit, Quick Wit, Love And Compassion Will Be Missed - Condolences To Her Family, Friends And Neighbors

The family of long time Roosevelt Island resident Mary Cavanaugh-Lutts report:

Mary Cavanaugh-Lutts passed away peacefully at home on April 26th after a long battle with cancer. She was 80 years old.

Mary was born in Philadelphia, PA in October 1942 and attended Chestnut Hill College. She relocated to New York City in the early 60’s where she began a career in the cosmetic industry, working for Revlon and later as a Marketing Director for Love Cosmetics. In the 1980’s, Mary changed course and began a career in professional voiceover and television commercials. Later, she saw a need for home cleaning services to accommodate all the working parents on Roosevelt Island and started the Best Home Services in 1989.

Mary moved to Roosevelt Island in 1977 and has resided there very happily ever since. She was active in the Catholic parish and offered her time to many activities for the community including: Roosevelt Island Little League, Roosevelt Island Soccer League, Roosevelt Island Cub Scouts and worked with other long time RI residents to start the Little Apple Day Camp for families during the Summer recess.

Mary loved to read, excelled at Jeopardy and was always pushing her culinary limits. She was happiest when tending to her plants, singing, listening to music and spending time on the beach with loved ones.

To family and closest friends she was affectionately known as “Dukes” and as “Granny Dukes” to her grandson. Mary was sharp, strong and as folks know; took gruff from no one. Her spirit, quick wit, love, and compassion for others will be missed.

Mary is survived by her son Matthew Lutts and his wife Kimberly Lutts; grandson Gabriel Lutts, Groton, CT.

Mary Cavanaugh-Lutts was a strong advocate for the Roosevelt Island community. She was a frequent participant in the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Pubic Safety Committee meetings. Mary could always be counted on to ask questions and raise Roosevelt Island quality of life issues with  RIOC Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown.

Condolences to the family, friends and neighbors of Mary Cavanaugh-Lutts.