Friday, May 12, 2023

Roosevelt Island Pickleball Grand Opening Today, RIOC President Thanks Residents For Their Advocacy And They Return The Thanks For Listening And Opening The 2 Outdoor Pickleball Courts - Watch Video Of The Ribbon Cutting And Play

Today was a good day for Roosevelt Island residents with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony marking the Grand Opening of 2 new Pickleball Courts next to the Sportspark recreational facility followed by the inaugural games being played. 

Vicki Feinmel and Lorraine Altman first advocated to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes last October to bring Pickleball to Roosevelt Island. I spoke to Ms Feinmel, Ms Altman, Joyce Short and Gloria Herman after their first Roosevelt Island Pickleball game today.

The Pickleball courts are free and open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset. Ms Short notes that the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA) will have a beginners Pickleball program Tuesday and Thursday mornings for its members.

RIOC President Shelton Haynes reported during the Grand Opening Ceremony:

... So many things happen in the community because of advocacy from the residents. We appreciate that. We're listening. We're trying to make sure that we accommodate the best we can. This is one of the many accommodations you can see that we're actually moving forward, so thank you.
Ms Feinmel noted:

I'd like to thank Shelton and the RIOC board for our two new beautiful Pickleball courts 

Every time I saw Shelton either on the street or at a meeting I would bring up Pickleball. I nagged and nagged and nagged until it was a final go. We are thrilled the courts are open and ready to play even though it took a while, it was well worth the wait. again. I want to thank RIOC and of course I hope that we will be able to get courts for the Winter indoors.

And Ms Short added:

... Everybody knows I think that exercise is really crucial it's the Fountain of Youth and we particularly thank Shelton and the Board for standing behind the fitness and the health of all of our population...

Here's the full Roosevelt Island Pickleball Grand Opening Ceremony.

and the Roosevelt Island Pickleball Court rules.

The Sportspark recreational facility Grand Opening in next Friday May 19.

RIOC And NYC Community Trust Announce Recipients Of 2023 Public Purpose Funds Today - $301Thousand In 2 Year Grants Awarded To 12 Roosevelt Island Non Profit Organizations

Emails and text messages arrived yesterday from local Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations reporting that they were informed about allocation of Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund grant awards to their organizations. 

Image From NYC Community Trust
As one Roosevelt Island non profit organization leader reported: 

I will be very curious what other groups received!

In reality, New York City Community Trust (NYCT) does nothing in the award process. Yes, they interview the applicants and facilitate the distribution of award $$$.

It is a group of selected people who review the applications and NYCT accepts their decisions. As you know, the names of this committee remain anonymous until after the process...

Another Roosevelt Island non profit leader added:

We don't know who the judges were so who knows how fair it was?

After receiving these comments, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes:

I understand that the Roosevelt Island Public purpose fund awards were announced to the recipients today.

Please send me a copy of the groups awarded funds and the amounts.

Please send me the names of the judges who selected the recipients and their qualifications for making the awards.

In the interest of transparency, please send any evaluations used by the judges as reasons for their selections as the RIRA Public Purpose Funds committee did for many years.

Today, RIOC issued a press release on the Public Purpose Funds:

The Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund (the Fund) has announced $301,000 in two-year grants to 12 nonprofits working to benefit Roosevelt Island residents and enhance their quality of life.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York to plan, design, develop, and maintain Roosevelt Island. RIOC asked The New York Community Trust (The Trust) to administer its public purpose grants and created the Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund in The Trust in 2022.

“RIOC is always proud to support our incredible community groups with these Public Purpose Fund grants,” said Shelton J. Haynes, president and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. “This grant money will go a long way toward ensuring our nonprofits can continue to maintain programming that enhances the quality of life on the Island. Our thanks to New York Community Trust for once again helping to manage this process, from the grant application phase through the award disbursements.”

“As the community foundation for New York City, The Trust is proud to help bring these needed services to Roosevelt Island residents and to strengthen the nonprofits serving the Island,” said Julia Chang, philanthropic initiatives officer at The Trust.

The awards program, which began in 1989, supports projects to make life on Roosevelt Island more enjoyable and equitable for all. The $301,000 in two-year grants will go to 12 nonprofit organizations for a variety of services to Island residents: from arts education for young students to food pantry services to classes for older adults.

The Trust convened an independent, five-person advisory committee of members of the Roosevelt Island community to review applications and make grant recommendations. The committee members live or work on the island; have nonprofit and/or public service experience; and reflect race, age, and gender diversity. Members were anonymous during the review period to keep the process fair and confidential. Their names and affiliations are:

  • Carlos Chavez, manager of the Roosevelt Island Library
  • Skip Hartman, owner of Roosevelt Island Racquet Club and founder of New York Junior Tennis and Learning Network
  • Jessica Klein, associate design director at Change.Org
  • Sharon Pope-Marshall, executive director of CIVITAS and Manhattan Community Board 8 member
  • Jax Schott, owner of Island Om

In April, the committee met to discuss each application and to collectively make decisions about grantees and grant amounts. Based on formal criteria laid out in the Request for Proposals, they prioritized projects that enhanced the well-being of Roosevelt Island residents; organizations with a history of commitment and a proven track record of serving Roosevelt Island; that filled a critical gap in services to historically under-resourced communities (such as low-income populations, communities of color, older adults, and people with disabilities); that clearly articulated project outcomes and activities; and that aimed for long-term engagement with beneficiaries.

The grant recipients are:

 In addition, the Fund provided a grant of $15,000 to Community Resource Exchange to offer a series of free management and network-building workshops to grantees and other Roosevelt Island nonprofits. The workshops will help strengthen nonprofits in areas such as marketing, fundraising, and creating strategic partnerships.

About The New York Community Trust

The New York Community Trust is a public charity and New York City’s largest community foundation. It connects generous people and institutions with high-impact nonprofits making the city and its suburbs a better place for all. It builds stronger communities, influences public policy, fosters innovation, improves lives, and protects our environment.

About the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Roosevelt Island Retail Update - Hudson Related Announces A New Discount/Hardware Store Coming To Main Street From Same Ownership As Wholesome Market

The long empty Roosevelt Island store at 563 Main Street, formerly occupied by the old newstand, will soon have a brand new retail tenant.

Residents have been asking for a hardware store since one was evicted in 2014 but that wait is almost over.

According to a  Hudson Related Spokesperson today:

I am happy to announce that the same ownership team as Wholesome Market, is now opening a Discount/Hardware store similar to a Lot-Less location.

They are currently fixturing the space and I will share an opening date as soon as I have one.

The new Discount/Hardware store makes the 4th Roosevelt Island store for the Wholesome ownership including the Market, Wine Store and Mexican Restaurant.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Update On Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 9 Construction Progress From Hudson Related Developer David Kramer - It's Going Up Fast, New Floor Of Concrete Poured Every 3 Days, Watch The Interview

Developer Hudson Related began construction on the 28 story Roosevelt Island Southtown Riverwalk Building 9 in November of 2022. 

I spoke with Hudson Related developer David Kramer last Monday at the building site about the construction progress. According to Mr Kramer, 

... We're now at the exciting stage of concrete where we pour a new floor every three days, so a three-day cycle. We're pouring the fifth floor tomorrow, which is Tuesday May 9th and we're pouring the sixth floor Friday and so basically, if you think about every three business days, we're pouring a different floor. We're getting to the top floor at the end of August. We're assuming we're going to top out this project at the end summer, end of August. 

Now this is sort of an exciting part of the construction where the concrete guys are really running the show and pouring a new floor every three days and they're followed behind by the plumbers, electricians, mechanicals and other subcontractors who will always be a few floors below where the concrete is poured....

.... Most important when we top out, we have a party and a Topping Out T Shirt... 

Mr Kramer anticipates Riverwalk Building 9 being completed by the end of 2024, beginning of 2025.

Here's the full interview with Mr Kramer.

and a photo montage showing the progress of construction at the site.

 As previously reported:

... 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....

... 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....

More information on Hudson Related $187 million Riverwalk Building 9 project from this RIOC Memo

 and this November 17, 2022 post.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Community Invited To Grand Opening Of Two New Roosevelt Island Pickleball Courts Next To The Sportspark Recreational Facility Friday May 12

The two new Roosevelt Island Pickleball Courts located outside of the Sportspark recreational facility 

will open this Friday May 12.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Roosevelt Island Community:

We are pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the new Pickleball Courts here on Roosevelt Island!

Please join us on Friday, May 12th at 11 am for announcements, a ribbon cutting, and pickleball fun! The location will be behind the Sportspark facility at 250 Main Street New York, NY 10044.

We look forward to seeing you then! 

The Pickleball Courts are free, available on a first come, first serve basis and if there are players waiting, games are limited to 11 points.

Good job by Roosevelt Island residents and Pickleball players Vicki Feinmel and Lorraine Altman in advocating for the courts and RIOC for listening to and implementing this welcome community benefit. 

Here's more on Pickleball.

Also, RIOC communications about the Pickleball Courts Grand Opening was among the topics of conversation at a meeting last night with Congressman Jerry Nadler. He looked a bit bewildered by the discussion. 

The Sportspark recreational facility is scheduled to open Friday May 19.

Roosevelt Island Adults And Kids Invited To Big Reuse Biodynamic Gardening & Composting Workshop With LIC's Smiling Hogshead Ranch Founder Gil Lopez May 10 At The Roosevelt Island Public Library

Gil Lopez from Big Reuse and the Smiling Hogshead Ranch in Long Island City is presenting a free Intro to Biodynamic Gardening & Composting on May 10 at the NYPL Roosevelt Island branch.

The workshop is in partnership with RI Garden Club, iDig2Learn, Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors (GRIN) and Big Reuse. Funding is from City Council Member Julie Menin’s office. 

According to this February 15, 2023 Washington Post article:

... “It’s part methodology, part philosophy,” says Maggie Hyde, co-owner of Wisconsin’s Petal Back Farm, which incorporates biodynamic practices in growing its floral crops. “The biodynamic garden should be thought of as an organism. The idea is to create a diverse ecosystem, which creates resilience, and to give back more to the ecosystem than you take out.”

Proponents of the practice also highlight the benefits for the gardener. “The nutrient density of the food is increased, the flavors are typically enhanced and the shelf life of the crops will be longer,” says Joseph Brinkley, director of regenerative farming at the Bonterra Organic Estates vineyard in Hopland, Calif., which incorporates biodynamic practices....

Click here for the full article.

Here's a 2014 story on LIC's Smiling Hogshead Ranch.

In 2021, Gil Lopez led a Big Reuse Compost Bike Tour which included a stop at the Roosevelt Island Haki Compost Collective Food Scrap Drop Off site. Here's some of what happened.

Monday, May 8, 2023

NY 1 Reporter Roger Clark Interviews Roosevelt Island Resident And Wildlife Freedom Foundation President Rossana Ceruzzi At The Southpoint Park Cat Sanctuary, Watch The Video

NY 1 reporter Roger Clark recently spoke with Roosevelt Island resident and Wildlife Freedom Foundation President Rossana Ceruzzi at the Southpoint Park Cat Sanctuary. According to NY 1:

Rossana Ceruzzi has loved animals ever since she was a child growing up in Rome, Italy. So it's no surprise that every day, she pays a visit to the cat sanctuary she founded on Roosevelt Island. It's the largest of three cat sanctuaries run by the Wildlife Freedom Foundation. It all started when Ceruzzi moved to the island 23 years ago and found a population of abandoned cats living there....
Click for the full NY 1 article.

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

Ms Ceruzzi is a NY State Wildlife Animal Rehabilitator who has rescued many injured animals on Roosevelt Island including this hawk who flew into the side of Roosevelt Landings while chasing a pigeon for lunch in December 2021.


And here's an injured Kestrel bird Ms Ceruzzi rescued, brought back to health

and released. 

You can learn more about cat adoption, volunteering and donating to the Roosevelt Island Wildlife Freedom Foundation.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

A Beautiful Day To Enjoy A Walk In The Roosevelt Island Community Garden, Did You Know It Has A Bamboo Forest With Goldfish Pond? Garden Is Open To The Public On Weekends

It was a beautiful Sunday to take a walk thru the Roosevelt Island Community Garden which is now open to the public on weekends.

Let's take a virtual walk.

There's even a Bamboo Forest to walk thru with a Goldfish Pond - it's quite a site and you'll almost forget you're in NYC.