Friday, June 9, 2023

June 10 Roosevelt Island Day Rescheduled To Saturday June 17 Due To Air Quality Issues From Canadian Wildfires Smoke Over NYC Says RIOC

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

Dear Roosevelt Island Community:

Due to the on-going air quality issue that is affecting our region, we have decided to move Roosevelt Island Day back one week from this Saturday, June 10th to Saturday, June 17th.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Though we are disappointed in having to move the event back, it is our responsibility to always prioritize the health and well being of the Roosevelt Island community.

We hope you will still be able to join us for all the fun on June 17th!

And for now, we are encouraging everyone to please limit outdoor activities.

If you must go outside, wear an N95 mask if possible.

Thank you and stay safe!

-Team RIOC

Thursday, June 8, 2023

New RIOC Board Director Ben Fhala Hopes To Bring Change And Fresh Perspective To Roosevelt Island - Goals Include Safeguarding Quality Of Life For All Residents, Managing Impact Of Tourism And Revitalizing Northern Side Of RI Among Others

Until yesterday, 3 seats on the 9 member Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors were vacant. 

As reported yesterday, Roosevelt Island residents Ben Fhala, Michal Melamed and Lydia Tang were appointed to the RIOC Board of Directors filling the 3 vacant seats.

Yesterday, I asked Mr Fhala:

... Please let me know if you would like to make a written statement to the Roosevelt Island community on your nomination/appointment to the RIOC Board to include in Roosevelt islander story.

Why do you wish to be on the RIOC Board and how do you see your role as a RIOC Director? Are there particular issues you would like to see addressed?

What was the process by which you were asked to become a RIOC Director? Who initially approached you about the appointment?...

Mr Fhala replied today:

When I moved to Roosevelt Island several years ago, I knew it was a unique and special place and wanted to be involved in preserving and enhancing this beautiful island that was now my home. Quite soon, I had the privilege of joining the Board of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association as its Executive Vice President. 

I have served since 2022 under the guidance and support of President Wendy Hersh and Mary Colman. Working closely with Vice President Nancy Brown, we have coordinated various activities for the disabled community throughout the island. Collaborating with Lisa Fernandez, the Program Director of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, we have jointly created activities to benefit our disabled and senior communities, including off island cultural and recreational bus trips including two scheduled for later this summer and October. Additionally, I was closely involved with the Food Pantry that serves almost two hundred local families with food insecurities. Here, too, I worked under the guidance of Ms. Hersh and Ms. Colman.

Initially, I had no intentions or aspirations to join the RIOC board, primarily due to concerns over the negative feedback the board has received over the years. Nonetheless, I believe that our island is an extraordinary place, and despite the "scandals" that have plagued RIOC, it remains the best place to live in New York City. I would like to contribute to maintaining this status for years to come.

Leaders within the community made me realize that the people were prepared and eager to revitalize the current board. Although individuals had reached out to me, the pivotal moment came when Lisa Fernandez strongly recommended passing my information to State Senator Liz Krueger's office. I agreed, and as a result, I engaged in numerous conversations with other island leaders who guided and encouraged me to pursue the opportunity.

A few weeks after my agreement, Audrey Tannen of Senator Krueger's office reached out to me. She had an awareness of the work I had done at RIDA. Senator Krueger's office endorsed my name to the Governor's office, with the aim of injecting new perspectives and revitalizing the board. There were many further discussions with other island leaders who shared the same sentiment, emphasizing the need for change and offering their support as I embarked on this path.

As for my envisioned role as a RIOC Director, I am inspired by the conversations I had with each person. It became evident that the board has required a fresh perspective for quite some time. Governor Hochul's and State Senator Liz Krueger's vision of our island as a thriving place for both older and younger generations resonates with me. I would work to ensure our island remains an enviable place, while also striking a balance between the quality of life we enjoy and the affordability necessary to include our existing communities.

I hope to find a way to fulfill these two needs: preparing our island for the next generation so that my husband and I can build our future family here, while simultaneously safeguarding the quality of life for our seniors, disabled individuals, and lower-income families who call this island home.

Are there specific issues that I would like to see addressed? Absolutely. Among the many pressing matters, the two areas that currently hold the most interest for me include:

1. Revitalizing the northern side of the island: At present, the heartbeat of our island resides predominantly in the south-central area. I would be delighted to collaborate with RIOC in expanding and transforming the northern side (the parking lot area) into a central hub for our residents. With the RIOC office relocating to the new building currently under construction in the center/south side, this presents a significant opportunity to reinvent the existing area and create a new community focal point.

2. Managing tourism impact: While we attract a substantial number of tourists to the island, the current situation has inadvertently diminished our quality of life due to subway/tram disruptions and street congestion. It is important that we find ways to benefit from these visitors, both by increasing island revenue and improving our quality of life. I aspire to lead a team in exploring viable options, such as introducing food carts on the south side where many visitors congregate or implementing different payment schemes for public transportation for residents versus visitors. I have several ideas, but I would like to gain a better understanding of viable options before sharing them.

These two points, among many others, are areas where I would work to initiate conversations and find effective solutions.

More on the new RIOC Board Directors here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Roosevelt Island Residents Ben Fhala, Michal Melamed And Lydia Tang Appointed To Fill 3 Vacant Seats On The RIOC Board Of Directors - Approved Today By The NY State Senate Finance Committee

Reported May 31:

There were rumors last week that at least one, and possibly more, resident(s) were nominated to fill up to three currently vacant Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors seats....

... On May 25, prior to a RIOC Board of Directors meeting, Roosevelt Island resident Lydia Tang told me that she was a Mayoral nominee to the RIOC Board of Directors....

It was confirmed today that the other 2 nominees to the vacant RIOC Board Director seats are Roosevelt Island residents Michal Melamed M.D, and Ben Fhala.

All 3 RIOC nominees were approved by the NY State Senate Finance Committee today.

Ben Fhala is a technology professional and author. He was the Executive Vice President of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA). According to the RIDA website:

Mr Fhala had to resign from RIDA to avoid any conflict of interest as a RIOC Board member.

Michal Melamed is a doctor at Albert Einstein College Of Medicine. She grew up on Roosevelt Island and returned as an adult to raise her family. 

Image From Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Doctor Melamed has been active in local Roosevelt Island organizations including the Food Pantry, Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance and PS/IS 217 PTA.

Info on Ms Tang at the May 31 article.

(Ms Tang is pictured above at the May 25 RIOC Board meeting standing next to RIOC Board member Howard Polivy).

Will have more info in the coming days on the new RIOC Board Directors.

It Sure Looked Like The Roosevelt Island Zombie Apocalypse Today, But Wasn't - Smoke From Canadian Wildfires Covered Sky Over All Of NYC

The Sky over Roosevelt Island NYC East River waterfront was covered today with smoke from Canadian wildfires. It’s crazy out there. Wear a mask.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams provided this 6 PM update on the smoke conditions.

More from CBS News.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Young Roosevelt Island Reporters From The Child Center Of NY At PS/IS 217 After School Program Interview Island Om Yoga Studio Owner And Local Resident Jax Schott - Reporters Learn Techniques To Relax, Expand Energy And Find Balance

Adib Mansour, Director of The Citizen Project's Children, Youth & Education Initiative reports:


I am pleased to report, that the students I have been working with have learned so much about Roosevelt Island, the people around us, and our local store owners. 

It brings me joy to see our young people flourish. The Children, Youth, and Education Initiative's aim is to connect the Island's youngsters with their communities while preserving the environment. As part of our initiative to introduce our youth to the Island's businesses, they are learning about the vendors’ childhoods, their educations, and their families, as well as recognizing and appreciating their dedication to the Island's residents. They are grasping the complexities of how each business operates and then providing eco-friendly solutions that benefit our community. In the process, they are also learning to be journalists.

A big shoutout to the team at the Child Center of New York, and Foujia Abida - Outreach Specialist- for her assistance in this initiative. As I coach soccer to the students, I take 20 minutes to discuss with them varied subjects ranging from the Roosevelt Island community as a whole to world events and solutions to global warming on a local level. Aristotle once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. 

Over the past few weeks, we've identified all the Island vendors and we’re in the process of interviewing them. We've already interviewed Roosevelt Pups, then Fusion Salon, and ME Mediterranean Eatery.  

Our fourth interview was with Jax Schott, a Roosevelt Island resident and owner of the Island OM Yoga Studio. The interviewers were fourth-grade students from the Child Center of New York’s after-school program at PS/IS 217. They are: 

  • Sadie, 
  • Klaudia, 
  • Constanza, 
  • Aiden, and 
  • Phuc Anh. 

The student journalists experienced the physical aspect of yoga through exercise and stretching, as well as meditating and relieving themselves from daily stress. 

They asked Jax many questions about her family, her business,


and improvised follow-up questions for additional details.  

Upon entering the Island Om Barre Studio, the students became very intrigued about the definition of Barre Yoga. Jax explained and they all participated in a few moves. Barre class is a workout technique inspired by ballet, yoga, and Pilates. Each class is a full-body, muscle endurance workout. It targets smaller muscle groups using light weights, body weight, resistance bands, and high repetition.

Students reporters learned about Island Om merchandising with Jax. She showed them t-shirts, sweatshirts, oils, and other health products. Jax brings joy and happiness even in the merchandise using amusing slogans. Even the bathrooms are rigged with comical phrases (mostly for adults).

Jax showed the students reporters how to find ‘your balance” and get ready to use the Blue Blocks. They enjoyed the hands-on experience.

The students reporters learn firsthand how to relax and expand their energy all over Roosevelt Island and beyond. One student described it as a “Pearl of Happiness”. 

Watch the full interview. 


Here the interview transcript with Jax Schott owner of Roosevelt Island's yoga studio Island Om.

Sadie: Hello Jax, we are very excited to interview you and find out about your childhood, your family, and how you came about opening a Yoga Studio on Roosevelt Island.

Here are some of the questions that would help us in our Interview:

Klaudia: Please tell us about your childhood and where did you grow up?

Jax: Long Island. Has anyone been to Long Island or have family there?

Jayden: I think I did before.

Jax: So on the South Shore of Long Island -maybe about 10 minutes away from Jones Beach- and it's called Merrick, Long Island. I could give you a little tidbit of information: Lindsay Lohan is from Merrick; she's one of the only celebrities I really know that are from Merrick. I grew up there; my whole life in a Suburban house and I moved to the city when I was about 21 years old. I loved living in the suburbs as a kid.

Constanza: How long have you been on Roosevelt Island and where were you before you moved here?

Jax: I lived on Rosevelt Island for 14 years -almost 14 and a half years- and before that, I lived in Chelsea in the City -downtown- for about 12 years or 13 years.

Jayden: What did you study and did you ever think you’d be a Yoga Teacher?

Jax: I did not think I would be a yoga teacher; it wasn't something on my radar but I loved to dance as a kid. I was always doing dance classes. I was on the dance team. I did ballet Jazz and modern dance and so when I found yoga in my early 20s it seemed very natural to me. A lot of the poses seemed familiar. But the mindfulness part of it, the spiritual and the mental part of it was something I really absorbed. I remember actually doing a yoga class in the gym in high school through social studies and I remember the teacher putting me into a relaxation pose -what we call a Yoga Nidra- they kind of talk you through meditation and relaxation in your body from one part to the next and I remember loving it in high school. I think that answers your questions.

Phuc Anh: Are you married and do you have children? Does your family practice Yoga?

Jax: I'm married. My husband’s name is Martin. We're almost at our 16-year anniversary and we have two girls some of you might know them: Sienna is 14. I came here when I was very pregnant with her and I haven't left. And then Niana -or Naya- is 11 and a half; she's a sixth grade at Middle School. Oh, and when my children were younger they loved to practice yoga with me, and during the pandemic, it was actually very helpful to them; they really wanted to sit down and do meditations and do some stretching; and they helped me do some videos for people, for YouTube and for my students. Now they're a little older, they're very into dance. I try to encourage them to do yoga for flexibility, you know, and balance. Sometimes they'll do it and sometimes they won't. My husband takes classes between yoga and he likes bar; so he'll take bar classes.

Klaudia: What’s your YouTube Channel?

Jax: My YouTube channel name is Jax Schott so you can look me up on YouTube if you want. I have some videos; I put lots of videos there during the pandemic to inspire people to stay fit and to keep moving.

Sadie: What made you want to start a Yoga school?

Jax: I was teaching on Roosevelt Island for about 13 years or at the time, it was probably about 11 years. I taught at Four Freedoms Park, I taught at Island Kids, I taught at Manhattan Park, I taught at Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance. I really wanted to grow my teaching. 

Also I was what we call a birth Doula. Does anyone ever hear that word? I was assisting women having babies and it was getting a little tiring and I was worried about missing events with my family like my children's concerts or plays. 

I thought how can I help people through all phases of their life? Find wellness and balance and be their own Advocate and take care of their bodies the proper way. Then, Hudson Related heard I was a teacher and they called me up and said “are you interested in seeing a space?” I just did it for fun thinking that I'm not gonna do this! I can't do this! What are they crazy? I spoke with the president there, who's David Kramer, and he was very passionate about wanting a yoga studio on Roosevelt Island to bring the community all together; not just one side of the community, but the North which is the Octagon and Manhattan Park, and then all the way to the South, which is Cornell campus and the South Town buildings. 

So we talked and I found some people to help me and here I am today. And the most important thing, which I think I forgot to answer your question, is I originally studied fashion in College and I worked in fashion for 10 years. It drove me crazy. So fashion was really stressful; it was a stressful type of business or work and I couldn't do it anymore. I was feeling a little burned out and my husband -who was my boyfriend at the time- said “you always talked about going on a yoga retreat and getting certified as a teacher. Why don't we do that now, take a break and I did. When I came back I didn't want to stop so I kept taking courses and finding places to teach and and that's it. I wrote in my journal on my last business trip that I'm going to go to the ashram. 

An ashram is a place where you study yoga and it's almost like a camp or sleepaway Camp. I said who knows maybe one day I will open up my own yoga studio and help others and when Mr Kramer came up to me, or after we met, I found that old Journal insert just randomly. I was cleaning something out and I found it and I kind of felt, well the universe is trying to tell me something. So at that moment right there, I said I think this is meant to be. Here we are a year and a half later, yeah.

Sadie: Why was fashion really stressful?

Jax: My position was what I like to call a thankless position. I tried to make everybody happy. I was called the Merchandise Manager. I had to take care of three different departments: Sales, Production and Design and make all of them really happy about their projections, and getting the goods out and getting it sold into stores, delivering everything on time. I was young, I was I guess when I stopped I was 30 and I just realized that this is something… I was traveling a lot. I was being asked to go back and forth to California like at least three times a month. I just said, you know I don't want to do this when I have kids; I don't want to do this as a lifestyle. This is not a healthy lifestyle; I was doing very unhealthy things to get through the stress and I decided I needed a more holistic way of helping my body.

Sadie: That does sound very stressful!

Klaudia: What is Yoga? Is it exercise, breathing, or meditation?

Jax: Yoga is all of it and for some people they come here for exercise or they come here to be more flexible or to learn how to breathe better or to de-stress and. Sometimes they wind up finding different parts about yoga that they had no idea would resonate with them in a really lovely and organic healthy way. Then they want to get to learn more. They want to take more workshops or, what we call yoga becomes their way of life. 

I say everything is about yoga. When you lose your temper, you can scream and have a temper tantrum. And maybe run into a wall like I did when I was six. Or you can learn to sit there and take three deep breaths and after those three big breaths… is it a big deal? is it a medium deal? Is it a little deal? And you look at it in a more calmer way. 

A lot of times yoga is about removing your ego. Does everyone know what an ego is? It's like your higher self but not really higher self. It's actually your lower self. So when you show your ego or when you let your ego make decisions, meaning I need that shirt because it's a popular shirt and if I don't have that shirt no one's gonna like me. That's ego-ish. Or I'm getting big muscles so I'm gonna be big and strong and I'm so cool I've got these great muscles. I'm gonna play basketball and I'm gonna do all these things. That's the ego. When you have great big muscles but I don't. I'm good with that! That is removing the ego. That's being happy with your true self and not letting your conscience… I'm sure you've seen this in cartoons, you have an angel and a devil. The ego is devilish; the ego can help you make really bad decisions, like the temper tantrums. Or saying something mean to somebody because you're upset. When you're upset is it your fault or the other person's fault?

Klaudia: Your fault.

Jax: Wonderful but have you ever admitted that it's your fault?

Sadie: Probably no. Sometimes.

Jax: Exactly. Sometimes you need to step back and say wow, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. I did not eat well today and I'm in a bad mood and I am sorry. Apologizing sometimes is the biggest form of removing ego. Does that help? But, yes it is exercise. You get strong, you get flexible and you learn to use your breath in order to handle things in a different way. Also breathing -which we're gonna do- is.. everyone thinks they know how to breathe, but the yoga breath is much more powerful and when you learn how to use it it's like your super breath. It's like your superpower!

Constanza: If you're very upset how are you gonna tell people to calm down?

Jax: Absolutely. 

Jax proceeded to get the students running in place, get crazy , shake it up, shake it out. Then asked them to sit in a large circle format. She counted to ten then at zero she asked the students to get into a “child’s pose” also known as “the wisdom pose” -because children are the smartest teachers. She then asked them to bring what we call “our inner eye”, the truth seeker, bring their hands down and take a deep breath. 

Pop up your back, let that breath come all the way from your belly towards your back and then let it out. I'm gonna watch you do it two more times… in through the nose out through the mouth, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Now stay there, let your arms relax by your sides or behind you whatever feels better. Stay there and just focus on your breath. Let the breath go back to its natural rhythm or natural speed. Did that help you calm down? Did that help you slow down? That's how you balance and calm your mind.

Jayden: I feel like I slept for three hours.

Jax: I love that. That’s exactly what we’re aiming for. To take you from the “ughhhhh”. That's what New York City life’s like sometimes. Or school can sometimes be like that. I know I used to pick my daughter up after school and I have to go into the school to pick her up and it was chaotic. I used to get like “this” when I had to pick her up. And then the minute we walk outside it'd be like – Jax takes a deep breath. You're gonna try to let that go. So that's what breathing and exercise can do. We get our heart rate up and we start moving and then we slow it down and we come down to our place, find a relaxation pose where we can really just let go. 

Do you know that 15 minutes of meditation is equivalent to one hour of sleep? So when you're having a hard time sleeping, like my daughter was a bad sleeper sometimes and I tell her to just lay in bed and to trace her body with her breath. That usually 1) makes her fall asleep, but 2) laying there and being mindful of what your body's feeling. Are you holding tension in your shoulders? Let It Go. Are you holding tension in your feet? Let it go. That whole idea of relaxing your body fully without sleeping is equivalent to sleep.

Klaudia: Wait. So if you like if you like meditate for like a long time you can survive the day without sleeping?

Jax: Yes. Yes. I'm an I am a proven example of that. My whole life I was a bad sleeper, and when I went to the ashram I had to cut out a lot of bad things out of my diet because the ashram was vegetarian. There was no “mommy juice”, no wine, no caffeine - only tea, only green tea was the only caffeine we could have and no sugar. Yeah, and I was in a very uncomfortable cot, you know to sleep in, and because it was like a camp I could not sleep. I would just lay there all night doing what we call the Yoga Nidra, tracing my body and making sure I'm not holding tension anywhere. I would wake up at 5:30 in the morning to meditate and then take two classes that day and go to an evening meditation I still couldn't sleep but I was surviving for a month. So, yes.

Adib: My father used to do yoga also and before going to bed he would sit to meditate and guess what? after half an hour we would pass by and he's deep asleep sitting up. Relaxed.

Jax: I do that every night. I do a sleeping meditation. I lay in bed and I listen to music. Most of the time not really talking but just music and usually, I fall asleep before the music is done and that's how it’s been the best way for me to find sleep. Who sleeps with the sound machine here? Anyone? It's okay you can admit it. I mean we all like… even the air conditioners sound. It's okay. My kids need something. My daughter has a sound machine and my other one was using her fan, and now she found a meditation app. She uses that. Uses ocean sounds because they grew up on ocean sounds.

Klaudia: I listen to my sister screaming and crying and the cars going by.

Jax: That's why you need to find your yoga, right? That noise… you need to just remember that's just OM and you just need to send good energy towards her and just hope she falls asleep.

Constanza: Sometimes I listen to the sirens go by. My brother thinks I am crazy.

Jax: When you hear a siren what do you want to do? It's okay, be honest.

Klaudia: Like if someone might be dying.

Jax: Someone might be dying right? So maybe just put out some good thoughts for that person because I used “ooooh” until I realized “Wow, that's an emergency; someone could be hurting.” Let's just send good thoughts out and then all of a sudden the sound doesn't bother you much Anymore.

Jayden: Are you satisfied with how your business is going?

Jax: We could always do better; I'm not gonna lie. We're a new business, a new yoga studio, especially with yoga studios, but any new business, it really takes them a few years to grow and to really prosper. But what I've created here so far, I am super happy! If you talk to any student of ours, and I not just mine because we have seven other teachers, everyone has been so grateful for the Studio for everyone on the island. What I've created and seeing relationships form within the studio, people who didn't know each other, people of different ages. And now they're becoming very good friends really just warms my heart. So I feel like what I set out to do is happening and it can only get better from here.

Adib: And now that you guys are doing this interview part of it is so that you can learn what the business is, then go outside and talk to your friends about it, talk to your parents, talk about the business that you learned, talk about the meditation, talk about the exercises and everything that we’ve learned today. This will help.

Phuc Anh: What’s your favorite part about being a Yoga teacher?

Jax: Honestly, the best part of it, actually there is a two-part thing: 1) the connections I make, the people I connect with them sometimes I feel like we were destined to meet. I've made some of my best friends as they were my students and now we're super close and we're like a family and, 2) it's inspiring to watch people who have come with injuries or with ailments and they literally start getting younger as they keep coming. Watching them make progress, being able to touch their toes, being able to balance without using the wall right. That for me, that's the reward. Seeing that I'm improving other people's lives in a healthy holistic way.

Sadie: How much does it cost to take Yoga classes? Do you charge by class or in a subscription?

Jax: We do a lot of different ways; we have a drop-in-class for $24. Then we have new student specials, so if you're a new student you can get three classes for $50, meaning you're basically getting one class for free. Or you can get a month of unlimited classes, meaning you can take as many classes as you want whichever classes in the studio, and it's $150. And then after the new student specials, we have class packs and we have unlimited memberships so the more you buy the less price. The more you come the less it will be so, it's a way to give people an incentive to show up. I always say if you can come once a week great but if you can make it three times a week you're going to feel a difference; and if you make it four to five times a week you're gonna see a difference.

Klaudia: Where do you see your business in the future?

Jax: It's a big question because I'm starting to dabble in some things. We are a Wellness Community or, we are our Wellness Center, and I really want to bring some Wellness, therapeutic Wellness practices into the studio meaning “Reiki”, meaning a massage therapist, or a few massage therapists. I’m looking at some red light therapy which is a very new thing but it's been proven to be very healing for achy joints and inflammation. Because our student base is so different, we have people who are in their 20s up to people who are in their 70s, there's a need for it for every age. Also we, as humans as adults or kids, both through different phases in our lives. I'm going through a different phase in my life and I really want to start talking about it with the community. Having people do a woman's Circle, and then eventually inviting men too, but this one specific subject is just really more for women. There will be things at times when we might have a speaker for men about things that are going to help in your life and your lifestyle and phase. Work for you and educate you in a more holistic way. When I say holistic I mean without medicine. Sometimes you need medicine; I do I take medicine but finding that balance between medicine and therapy.

Constanza: What do you love the most about Roosevelt Island?

Jax: I love the community. I love how I feel I know almost everybody and now that I've met all of you I hope you say “hi” to me when you see me on the street. My kids think I'm a celebrity because when I taught at the Youth Center everyone passed by and said “hi Miss Jax”. I love making those connections with different people and I love being on the water. Water for me is very healing. I have a puppy now -she's one and 1.5 years old- and I love taking her for walks around the island.

Jayden: How does Yoga help your personal life?

Jax: It's a good question. Sometimes I'm not so Yogi, I'm not such a yogic scene. We have our our dark and light sides and that's okay. It's me honoring that dark side of me seeing; when that side comes out and being aware of it, and saying oh okay; you know it's kind of like seeing that ego and saying “oh okay” you know what? You might have gone a little too far. Or you might not want to go to this thing because you're not in the mood today. It makes you very aware of my mind and my mindfulness and what's going on in my body.

Phuc Anh: What are your hobbies, besides Yoga?

Jax: I love to dance; I still love to dance. I love to do karaoke. I'm terrible at it but it's just even more fun because I sing my heart out and I don't care. That's the yoga in me. Years ago I would have never sung in front of everybody and sounded terrible. I would have been completely mortified. Now, you can ask my friends, I sing with pride, and I sing it loud, and I scream it loud and it brings me joy. It really brings me happiness when I can just let myself be who I want to be.

Sadie: Do you and your family care about the environment? Do you teach your Yoga students about Yoga and the environment?

Jax: Sure we always talk about how we can do better for the environment; how we are human beings, not human doings. Sometimes we have to be and we have to be conscious of what we use. I got a water cooler for the studio because I was trying to reduce the use of bottles; plastic bottles. I'm probably going to add reusable water bottles to the retail space; Island OM water bottles so people who don't have it can buy the water bottle and then fill it up with water here. I participated in Earth Day even before the studio was open. I would always team up with RIOC and participate and do a class for Earth Day and talk about how important our Earth is right now. In fact, yoga also is connected to Seasons and the weather right and the moon, the moon cycles. All of that really; like I said, life is Yoga. All of that affects our moods, affects our energy, affects how we feel and I bring it to class and I talk about it with the students so they can have set their intentions, and they can be aware of what they're doing when they get off the mat.

Adib: Thank you so much! I have a request from you, now that we learned about what yoga is, and meditation and how it helps her -Jax- 

I want you to challenge yourselves and start doing meditation as many times as you can during the week. Then I want you to come back next week and tell me if you saw a difference. 

I used to do yoga a long time ago. But today after I did the running and the relaxation with you guys, I nearly fell asleep. It relaxed me so much. During the interview, I looked at you and were smiling because it relaxed you. So, when we're playing soccer and sometimes you get in a mood, I want you to think about yoga, take a deep breath and be nice to your teammates. 

After the interview, Jax conducted a quick mindfulness exercise, and the students got more relaxed and their smiles overtook the studio!


Island Om is located at 521 Main Street. Email address is or call 917-675-7583.

More info at Island Om website and Instagram Page.

Monday, June 5, 2023

MTA Revised Plan For Upcoming 63rd Street Line Rehab Project - Beginning In August, Roosevelt Island F Train Service Will Be Replaced By Weekday And Weekend Subway Shuttle Service Between 63rd/Lex, Roosevelt Island and Queensbridge/21 Street

Roosevelt Island residents have been worried about a possible F Train subway service disruption transportation nightmare with the upcoming MTA 63rd Street Line Direct Fixation Track Rehabilitation Project scheduled to begin soon. As reported last March 24:

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

July is approaching soon, but it appears that a revised MTA plan may avoid many of the problems caused by the F Train not running to Roosevelt Island in one direction or the other during work on the 63rd Street Track Rehab Project.

According to the revised MTA plan, the project will begin in August 2023. The plan is for no Roosevelt Island F Train service in either direction during the project. 

Instead, the Roosevelt Island F Train will be replaced by a Shuttle Train service operating between 21st Street/Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island and 63rd/Lexington on weekdays and weekends running every 20 minutes. The Shuttle service is suspended during late night when Shuttle busses run between Roosevelt Island, 21st Street/Queensbridge and Queens Plaza subway station. It's not known at this time how long the project will take or what are Late Night hours.

Image From MTA Community Board 8 Presentation

The MTA will be presenting this revised plan to the Manhattan Community Board 8 Transportation and Roosevelt Island committees on Wednesday June 7 conducted via Zoom.

 Click here to access the Zoom log in for the meeting.

Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee Chair Paul Krikler adds:

The MTA deserves a lot of credit. They saw that the original plan was too confusing and onerous for people. They took this on board and came back with a significantly cleaner plan that will be more straightforward to live with.
Here's the revised MTA plan presentation for the 63rd Street Line Direct Fixation Track Rehabilitation Project.

If you have any questions or comments, tune into the Community Board 8 joint Transportation/Roosevelt Island Committees meeting for the MTA presentation.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Roosevelt Island AVAC Underground Garbage Removal System Out Of Service For A Few Days Earlier This Week - Watch Video Of Fascinating AVAC Tour, Learn About Crazy Items Thrown Down Chutes, How AVAC Gets Fixed And Lightning Strike That Shut It Down Too

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced May 29 that the AVAC (Automatic Vacuum Collection) underground garbage removal system was out of service until further notice and followed up on May 30 with: 

This is an update to the notice sent out yesterday concerning the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s (RIOC) east side line of the AVAC System.

The east side line of the AVAC System is out of service until further notice. RIOC continues to work with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to address the issue. Until the service is restored, RIOC has provided property managers an alternate area to dispose of the garbage. RIOC has an agreement with DSNY to have garbage pickup services available to mitigate buildup during the AVAC service disruption.

RIOC will continue to send updates via email, text, and social media as information is received.

Thank you for your continued cooperation as we work to restore the service.


East Side Buildings Impacted on Main Street:

405, 415, 425, 455, 460, 465, 475, 480, 510, 516, 536, 540, 548, 556, 560, 576 & 580

The Roosevelt Island AVAC service interruption was fixed May 31:

Dear Roosevelt Island Community,

The RIOC AVAC East side system is now operational.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

During an October 23, 2022 tour of the Roosevelt Island AVAC facility I asked Sanitation Department worker TJ about crazy items that were placed in the AVAC chutes. 

TJ answered that bed frames and TV sets have been thrown down the AVAC chute and also confirmed that the AVAC was shut down a few weeks before the Tour by a lightning strike.

Watch full video of the fascinating tour of the Roosevelt Island AVAC facility.