Friday, May 19, 2023

3 Juveniles Arrested For Assault And Criminal Possession Of A Weapon Outside Of Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Last Evening - Here's What Happened

Last evening at about 6:15 a Tipster reported:

Arrest right now next to 10 River Road
and shared these photos
of the scene.
The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Blotter today described the incident as follows

05/18/23 – 1810 – 645 Main Street – Assault – NYPD, PSD Responded – Arrested

This morning, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes and Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown:

I was told there was an incident last night 5/18 near PS/IS 217 and 10 River Road involving an assault and weapons were involved. 

The Parents Network has a report that someone may have been shot. 

I heard a gun was involved in the incident. Is that true?...

... Does RIOC have any comment to the Roosevelt Island community on what if anything happened?

RIOC Vice President of Communications Akeem Jamal replied quickly:

We are actively getting details on the incident with the NYPD. I can confirm there was no gun involved in the incident. I will provide a further update as I receive more information.

I asked the NYPD about the incident. They had no info. 

PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman sent this message to the school parents. 

I asked the NYC Department of Education about the incident. A spokesperson replied:

The safety and well being of our students and staff is our number one priority. NYPD’s outstanding School Safety Agents responded to an incident that occurred outside of the school building after dismissal yesterday and no weapons were brandished during the incident.

There were no arrests made on school grounds.

Tonight, RIOC issued this statement on the incident: 

On Thursday, May 18th, 2023, at approximately 6:10 pm, the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department (PSD) was notified of an assault in front of PS/IS 217. Responding PSD units included members of the NYPD School Safety Unit and 114th Precinct. Upon arrival, an immediate investigation was launched. It was determined that three juveniles were threatening members of PS/217 with a knife. Swift action was taken by the NYPD and PSD, which led to the arrest of three juveniles who were charged with misdemeanor offenses with assault and criminal possession of a weapon, among other charges. All three were issued a desk appearance ticket returnable to Family Court and were discharged to the custody of their parents. The victim sustained minor injuries.

The Roosevelt Island Operation Corporation (RIOC), Public Safety Department, New York Police Department, and New York City School District place the highest priority on the safety and protection of our students and school community. RIOC is in constant communication with the Roosevelt Island New York City Public School, PS/IS 217, and will continue to work with the public school to address these issues, as violence of any kind will not be tolerated here on Roosevelt Island.

According to a PS/IS 217 parent:

 A student was being disruptive in class yesterday and told the teacher to "suck his dick" repeatedly. The student was taken out of class but nothing was done. The student came back to school in the evening with 2 older friends, pulled a knife and assaulted the teacher's husband while he was picking her up from school.

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market Tomorrow Featuring Delicious First Of Season Soil Grown Tomatoes From Pennsylvania Amish Country, Homegrown Vegetables And Summer Sweet, Juicy Peaches And Apricots - Support Your Local Farmers And Eat Healthy

 Stop by the Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market tomorrow at Good Shepherd Plaza

for delicious tasting first of the season soil grown tomatoes

from Pennsylvania Amish Country 

 and more homegrown vegetables including sweet spring onions, 

red leaf lettuce, rhubarb and asparagus.

Also summer sweet and juicy peaches and apricots are here.

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market is a beloved member of our community - a place to purchase locally grown, healthy and deliciously tasting fresh fruits, vegetables and much more. It's also a gathering spot to meet with our neighbors and learn about the latest neighborhood news and gossip.

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market at Good Shepherd Plaza is open early morning to mid afternoon on Saturdays in good weather and bad. 

Support your Local Farmers, Eat Healthy! 

See you Saturday at Good Shepherd Plaza for the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Congressman Jerry Nadler Meets With Roosevelt Island Residents - Discusses Local & National Issues Including January 6 Insurrection, RIOC Governance, Constituent Services & More

On Monday May 8, Congressman Jerry Nadler met with a group of Roosevelt Island residents at the apartment of long time resident, former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director and former VP of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Margie Smith.

Due to recent redistricting and defeating former Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in last year's Democratic Party primary election, Jerry Nadler now represents Roosevelt Island in Congress. 

I asked several of the attending residents what they thought of the meeting with Congressman Nadler.

According to Island House Board of Director James Starance:

The hardest thing for Roosevelt Island residents to handle and accept is the lack of communication and partnership from the state of New York. It genuinely feels like taxation without representation and that hits to the core of what drove us to become a sovereign nation in the first place. 

Mr Nadler made the effort to get to know some new constituents and the meeting was a great beginning for Island residents, informing Mr. Nadler of our long history of activism and advocacy for our community. 

Being Federal representation and not State representation he vowed to assist in any way he can on the Federal level and this is important for our newer residents to understand since the State issues are between us and the State of NY. 

All in all it was a great introduction and he seemed genuinely to want to understand what makes our Island unique. 

Also, local activist and former Roosevelt Island Residents Association member Sherie Helstien reported:

Thanks to Congressman Nadler for meeting with us & listening closely to our problems with RIOC & the way our community is governmentally designed. Nadler and his staff were very aware of the governmental likeness & very important economic differences between us and our “sister” community in lower Manhattan, Battery Park City. 

I appreciated the Congressman’s listening to our comments & asking cogent questions, and, finally, offering, though it seems minor in the scope of RI issues, to look into replacing the missing Northtown mid-Main Street postal box.

 Former RIRA President Matt Katz, who helped organize the meeting with Congressman Nadler added:

I thought we accomplished our purpose for proposing the meeting. 

 Our new Congressman, Jerry Nadler, did not have much to say; not surprising given his lack of information regarding the Roosevelt Island community's politics and issues. The Island activists who came together gave him a good deal of history on our efforts to democratize the administration of the Island and he asked good questions on the basis of what we said. 

He noted that most of our issues were on the State level, not federal, which is quite true, but we mentioned some avenues where his input could be essential and where his predecessor made a difference. 

My hope is that we can build on this first get-together and establish the first name relationship we've had with all of our elected representatives. We hope that he and his staff will visit us again to take in the beauty of the Island and the amenities that distinguish us from the rest of the City.

Congressman Nadler noted:

It was my pleasure to join friends old and new on Roosevelt Island last night to hear their concerns and discuss my work in Washington to address them. 

I look forward to my continued partnership with RIOC, community leaders, and residents as we work together to support Roosevelt Islanders.

Here's video of the meeting. It began with an overview of Roosevelt Island issues by Ms Smith and Mr Katz followed by personal introductions


and then a Q&A about a variety of local and national issues including:

  • January 6 insurrection,
  • RIOC Governance and relationship with the community
  • Meeting with RIOC President Shelton Haynes and
  • Constituent services among other issues.

Portions of the meeting with Congressman Nadler were posted earlier this week on the Roosevelt Islander Instagram Page.

Among the Instagram comments were:

  • While I understand that not everyone who attended is present in this video . Roosevelt Island is not just an older community. I'm sad to see no younger folks represented. We bring a lot of passion and life to this community as well!
  • If us Roosevelt islanders want younger people and more variety involved? How do we do that? I would love to be part of the committee!
  • Why is only one age group representing the community and all white. Was there an open invitation or where can we get news of next meeting.

I replied on Instagram:

There were 3 African American women at the meeting including 1 RIOC Board member. 2 were speaking during this video. Good point about the age issue. I don’t think there was anyone under 50. Hopefully, future meetings will have a greater variety of residents.


I wish I had an easy answer for you. There was no “committee” for the Nadler meeting. Those invited were either members of local volunteer organizations or had a history of local political activism. My advice is get involved in a local organization and meet other residents. In the past, some RI organizations were very cliquish. But I think that has changed over the last several years and young people would be welcomed. to their organizations. I was invited to cover the meeting as local press.

Congressman Nadler also met with RIOC staff and toured several Roosevelt Island facilities on May 4.

Congressman Nadler is the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Update On Bike Lane/Ramp Project, Placement Of Donated Drummer Sculpture And Discussion Of Future Projects On Agenda For May 18 RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced today, with only 1 day notice,  that the RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow May 18

According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 5:30 PM at the RIOC Operations Office, 680 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York. AGENDA:

1. Discussion of Placement of the “Drummer” Sculpture from Liu Shiming Art Foundation 

2. Update on the Bike Lanes/Ramp Projects 

3. Discussion of Future Projects 

4. Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee

Back in 2021, residents were asking if Roosevelt Island needs a Motorgate Bike Ramp and if the money to build one could be better spent elsewhere. RIOC has never answered that question.

More info from RIOC on the Motorgate Bike Ramp.

Roosevelt Island Resident Says He Was Victim Of Hate Crime Assault,14 Year Old Male Arrested By NYPD Yesterday For Incident - RIOC Wants To Control The Communications Narrative And Refuses To Tell Community About The Incident

At the end of a very contentious May 2 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department (PSD) Community Engagement meeting:

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

a resident told the assembled group, including Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes, PSD Chief Kevin Brown and NYPD 114 Precinct Commander Kenneth Gorman that he was the victim of a hate crime assault last April. According to the resident, he was targeted and kicked in the head while sitting on the waterfront promenade with his girlfriend by a group of teenagers.

A few days later on May 8, the NYPD Crime Stoppers tweeted:

In response to my inquiry, a NYPD Spokesperson added:

The NYPD is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the three individuals depicted in the attached media in connection with an assault that occurred within the confines of the 114 Precinct. The details are as follows:

It was reported to police that on Friday, April 14, 2023, at approximately 1900 hours, in the rear of 575 Main Street, a 35-year-old male victim was approached by three unknown individuals. One of the individuals kicked the victim in the head and two of the individuals made Anti-White remarks. The individuals fled towards the Roosevelt Avenue MTA 'F' train station. The victim sustained pain to the head but did not require being removed to the hospital.

This incident is under investigation by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force.

 I asked the NYPD for an update yesterday. According to a NYPD spokesperson:

A 14 –year-old male was arrested on May 16, 2023 and charged with Assault as a hate crime.

But RIOC has been silent on this matter, not saying a word about the incident to the Roosevelt Island community.

On May 9, I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes and PSD Chief Kevin Brown:

The NYPD Tips is reporting a Hate Crime Assault on Roosevelt Island occurring on April 14.

Does RIOC have any comment on this matter?

Why is the Assault not listed in the RIOC Public Safety Incident Blotter for April 14 or any other day that I can find?

During a meeting last night with Congressman Jerry Nadler, several Roosevelt island residents claimed that RIOC is deliberately failing to publicly report crimes on Roosevelt Island in order to make Roosevelt Island appear safer than it is. As you are aware, a similar charge was made at the May 2 Public Safety Community Engagement meeting.

Does RIOC have any comment on that charge?

To date, there has been no comment from RIOC on the hate crime assault incident or their failure to disclose any information about it to the community.

As reported December 29, 2022:

... RIOC's relatively new Vice President of Communications, Akeem Jamal, has made it extremely difficult for the local Roosevelt Island media to obtain information about important issues of concern to the Roosevelt Island community. In response to a prior Public Safety incident last October, Mr Jamal replied to my inquiry: 

... In the event of community concern in the case of such an incident, RIOC would work to advise the public should there be a need. In the future, if you would like information regarding any incident or have other inquiries, please submit a FOIL request. 

This email serves as notice that RIOC will no longer respond to these incidents or other matters unless a FOIL request has been submitted.

I've asked Mr Jamal why he refuses to answer press inquiries on issues of concern to Roosevelt Island residents.

Mr Jamal's answer was:

RIOC wants to control the narrative....

During the April 4 RIOC PSD Public Safety Community Engagement Meeting I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes and PSD Chief Kevin Brown why RIOC will not respond to press inquires about Roosevelt Island public safety incidents. Both deferred answering my question to Mr Jamal who said:

Communications on Roosevelt Island is a complex issue. During my 6 months here I've learned we are a very unique Island community but more importantly we have a communications structure that is fractured...

... to ensure that the communication and more importantly, transpire what happened in an instance is correctly reported and making sure that it's seen and heard and making sure that it's articulated in a way that is accurate, the  Roosevelt Island Corporation will be issuing Public Safety department alerts in the immediate future.

Here's the question and answer.


Mr Jamal is right to the extent that RIOC communications is fractured. 

But it has been fractured since Mr Haynes became RIOC President. 

It was not fractured under former RIOC Presidents Charlene Indelicato and Susan Rosenthal who understood the role of local media in providing accurate, timely and independent news to the Roosevelt Island community.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

You're Invited To Weill Cornell Postdoc Neighborhood Pub Talk At Roosevelt Island Nisi Kitchen Wednesday May 17 - Subject Is Challenging Our Fat Prejudice To Fight Heart Disease

In 2019 and 2020, the Postdoctoral Association of Weill Cornell Medicine hosted a series of fun and very interesting Pub Talks at Roosevelt Island's Nisi Restaurant featuring a variety of researchers discussing the work being done in their labs. The Pub Talks were suspended during the Covid Pandemic but re-started last February and will take place again tomorrow at Nisi (549 Main Street).

According to the Postdocs:

The Roosevelt Island community is invited to meet our local neighborhood scientists and learn about some cutting edge medical research at tomorrow's Weill Cornell Post Docs Pub Talk at Nisi Restaurant.

Wonder what to do on a casual Wednesday night? We have the answer. Enjoy lay talks from Weill Cornell Postdoctoral researchers in your neighborhood.

Juan A. Azcona Phd - Challenging Our Fat Prejudice To Fight Heart Disease.

Wednesday May 17, 6:30 PM At Nisi Restaurant 549 Main Street

More on past Roosevelt Island Weill Cornell Pub Talks at prior post.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Call For Queer Roosevelt Island Artists Of All Sorts To Exhibit Their Work For June Pride Festival At RIVAA Gallery - Opportunity To Bring Visibility Of LGBTQ+ Residents On Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island resident and artist Thom Heyer reports:

Greetings Queer Roosevelt Islanders

Are you an Artist, Painter, Sculptor, Photographer, Poet, Dancer, Singer, Musician, Performer, Storyteller or other?

Here is another community event that I'm working on with a fellow community member, Penny Gold. We were given the opportunity to bring visibility to the LGBTQ+ community on Roosevelt Island at RIVAA Gallery during Pride Month. 

RIVAA Gallery had June 26--July 2 available. We are putting out a call for local Queer Artists of all sorts to show their work at the Gallery for that week with an opening night & closing reception to promote visibility of our LGBTQ+ residents on Roosevelt Island. We will also be having events each day of that week at the Gallery with partnering local groups: from music to poetry to a documentary film. We have the support of RIOC and other politicos and local organizations.... 

If interested please contact or

Sunday, May 14, 2023

US Ambassador To The United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield With Women Of The Security Council Ride A Crowded Roosevelt Island Tram On Field Trip To Visit The Nellie Bly Girl Puzzle Monument In Lighthouse Park

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

The women of the UN Security Council took a field trip to Roosevelt Island to see "The Girl Puzzle" – a monument that honors the life and legacy of American journalist Nellie Bly.

What a moving visit (and you couldn't have picked a more perfect spring day for it!)

Accompanying Ambassador Thomas- Greenfield to Roosevelt Island were:

Here' more on the Roosevelt Island Girl Puzzle Monument


and my brief 2021 interview with the Girl Puzzle Memorial sculptor Amanda Mathews

Some scenes from the December 11, 2021 Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Nellie Bly Monument.