Saturday, September 16, 2023

RIOC President And General Counsel File Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Members Of NY Governor Kathy Hochul's Executive Chamber, DHCR Commissioner And Staff - Charge Local Elected Officials Krueger, Seawright & RI Daily With Contributing To Racist Backlash And New RIOC Directors Are Antagonistic

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes has been absent from several recent events he would be expected to attend including the September 14 RIOC Board Of Directors meeting. 

During last Thursday's RIOC Board meeting, RIOC General Counsel Gretchen Robinson read out loud the written President's Report submitted by the missing Mr Haynes. According to Ms Robinson:

... This is from Shelton. A message from him, who is out sick unfortunately on extended leave...

Mr Haynes may be on extended leave for a while. 

On September 12, two days before Ms Robinson read the President's Report, both Mr Haynes and Ms Robinson filed a racial discrimination lawsuit in the Southern District Of NY against members of NY State Governor Kathy Hochul's Executive Chamber as well as the Commissioner, General Counsel and Deputy Counsel of the NY State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

Though not named as defendants in the lawsuit, Mr Haynes and Ms Robinson claim in their lawsuit that NY State Senator Liz Krueger, NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Roosevelt Island Daily publisher David Stone contributed to a "racist backlash" against them.

The lawsuit also claims that Mr Haynes and Ms Robinson were excluded from the appointment process of 3 new RIOC Board Members in an attempt to undermine their authority and "ability to discharge their job functions." Haynes and Robinson claim the 3 new RIOC board members are antagonistic to them.

Read the full lawsuit complaint.

During the September 14 RIOC Board meeting plantiff Gretchen Robinson was sitting next to and interacting with defendant Diana Lopez as shown in the video above. Also following the meeting, Ms Robinson was seen in a several minutes long discussion with defendants Diana Lopez and Allejandro Valella as well as RIOC Board Member Howard Polivy.

On September 15, RIOC released an internal investigation into allegations of improprieties made against Mr Haynes. Here are the findings.

 According to Mr Haynes:

 Apparently the Tweet was deleted. Here's a screenshot.

This story is still developing. Stay tune.

Friday, September 15, 2023

RIOC Closing Southpoint Park, Limiting Car Traffic South Of Tram Tonight For Last Minute Drone Event - Three 10 Minute Drone Shows This Evening At 7:50, 8:50 And 9:50, Shhhh, Don't Tell Anybody Else

At 1:30 this afternoon, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) sent out an email advisory reporting:

Dear Roosevelt Island Community:

Please be advised that South Point Park will be closing early today at 6PM and we will be limiting vehicular traffic south of the Tram from 6PM to 11PM. We apologize for the late notice and any inconvenience this may cause.

-Team RIOC

A short time later, I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes and Assistant VP for Communications Akeem Jamal:

Why is Southpoint Park closing early today Dear Roosevelt Island Community

RIOC did not respond to my question but did send out another email advisory at 6 PM with more info about why Southpoint Park was being closed early tonight. According to RIOC:

We hope this message finds you well. We would like to inform you of a last-minute event scheduled for this evening, September 15th, which will have an impact on the island's activities.

In response to this event, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will be taking the following actions:

  1. Closure of South Point Park: South Point Park will be closed from 6:00 PM onwards to prepare for a drone show over the East River. 
  2. Limited Car Traffic: To ensure safety and minimize disruptions, we will be limiting car traffic south of the Tram starting at 6:00 PM until 11:00 PM 
  3. Extended Tram Service: The Tram service will be operating on extended rush hours until 11:00 PM to accommodate residents' transportation needs during and after the event. The MTA F Train shuttle and Q102 will continue to operate on their normal schedule.

We understand that this advisory is coming on short notice, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please note that there will be three 10-minute drone shows during the evening at 7:50 PM, 8:50 PM, and 9:50 PM, respectively.

To maintain a smooth and safe experience for everyone, this community alert will be our only communication regarding the event, as we aim not to draw additional traffic to the island.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this event. If you have any urgent concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Thank you.

-Team RIOC


UPDATE 10:30 PM:

Sponsored Post - Get Your Local Homegrown Apples And More Delicious Tasting Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Tomorrow At The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

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

for local

homegrown apples

and more.

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, September 14, 2023

Sponsored Post - Roosevelt Island Hairstylists At Fusion Salon Wish You A Happy Rosh Hashanah And Healthy New Year, La Shana Tova

Roosevelt Island hairstylists at hometown Fusion Salon wish you a Happy Rosh Hashanah and Happy New Year.
Our mission has always been to provide exceptional hair care services for men, women and children in a safe, modern, relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. We provide the finest selection of professional hair care products – We are a Certified Concept Salon featuring expert Hair Care, Cuts, Styles, Highlights, Color and Keratin Treatment. Our experienced stylists are dedicated, well trained professionals who provide our clients with a phenomenal salon experience that will allow you to always look your best.

At Fusion Salon We have created a warm and friendly family atmosphere where our aim is to always exceed your expectations and to ensure a safe and superb experience time and time again.  

Our employees regularly take a test for COVID-19. Our employees will wash hands or sanitize after each client, sanitize station and chairs after each client.

All our Employees have completed Covid-19 training rules regarding precautions and safety for everybody.

At Fusion Salon we are always happy to discuss your hair care needs or styling questions. Ask your stylist which products or treatments are most appropriate for your type of hair. We appreciate how important your hair is and how it affects the way you feel.

Please review our services, pricing and special packages.

Fusion Salon hours are:

  • Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 7pm
  • Sunday 10am – 7pm
  • Monday – Closed
Please stop by our shop at 523 Main Street, call 212-688-0055 or email us.

We look forward to working with you on your individual hair needs.

La Shana Tova.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting Thursday September 14, Roosevelt Island Residents Encouraged To Come Speak Up About Transportation Problems With Overcrowded Tram, Red Bus And Subway Shuttle - What Say You?

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet in person tomorrow, September 14 at 5:30 PM in the Cultural Center Theatre (548 Main Street) beginning at 5:30 PM.

You're invited to attend,  ask questions and share concerns about Roosevelt Island during the opening Public Session before the start of the meeting. Sign up to speak here.

Will Roosevelt Island residents show up tomorrow to  speak at the Public Session about the transportation problems being experienced resulting from the MTA's 63rd Street Tunnel Rehab Project?

Residents have been contacting RIOC, elected officials, local press and formed a What's App chat group seeking solutions to overcrowding at the Tram and problems with the Subway Shuttle. For example, long time Roosevelt Island resident Akiko Tamura wrote to the RIOC Directors:

Dear RIOC members,

It has been exactly one week since I last wrote to you, expressing my concern about the safety of the tramway. In my previous email, I recommended that the Public Safety Officers be standing at the boarding area instead of outside the turnstiles to help organize and navigate the crowd. I also suggested that the tram operators make an announcement reminding people to give up their seats for those who need them. Additionally, I recommended that a sign be put up to remind tourists that Roosevelt Island is home to 12000 residents, and to ask them to behave respectfully.

However, I took the tram today and found that nothing had changed. The situation was just as chaotic as before, if not worse. People were pushing each other, tourists were rushing to grab seats, and neither the PSD nor the tram operators seemed to be paying much attention.

Just the other day, a resident reported that someone made a racial remark to her when she refused to allow a tourist to push her aside and take a video on board. She reported the incident to the PSD, but her complaint was dismissed.

As someone who has lived on Roosevelt Island for nearly 40 years, I can't help but feel that this is no longer a safe place to live. Simple crowd management by the PSD, making an announcement by the tram operator, and posting a sign is not difficult or costly task.

I hope to hear a better response from you than the last time.

Thank you in advance for your quick attention to this matter.

RIOC Director Ben Fhala wrote back:

I wanted to follow up with you regarding the points you made earlier. The board has been actively engaged with leadership and PSD, and we acknowledge ongoing efforts to improve the transportation process in recent weeks. Although there's room for further enhancement, significant progress has already been achieved.

Multiple residents have confirmed that when they requested assistance from PSD and staff, it was provided promptly. Additionally, I've received feedback from PSD officers and the public regarding instances where the team facilitated the boarding process for community members with special needs. We remain committed to refining the system and are actively collaborating with the community and stakeholders to make further improvements.

While I can't address specific scenarios here, residents are encouraged to reach out to us or PSD leadership if they wish to delve into particular cases or discuss guideline updates with PSD officers.

As a daily public transportation commuter, I've witnessed continual improvements. I recommend considering the subway shuttle, which is currently underutilized and offers a more pleasant ride. Unfortunately, the Tram's service has been less than ideal due to various temporary issues that we're working to mitigate. Encouraging more community members to utilize all modes of transportation, including the subway, ferry, bus services, and the Tram, is a crucial part of this mitigation effort.

I hope to see and engage with you in our upcoming board meeting scheduled for this Thursday at 5:30 pm at the Cultural Center Theater at 548 Main St.

Let's see if RIOC engages in a constructive manner with the community about solutions for our transportation problems.

Among the items on the agenda for tomorrow's RIOC Board meeting are: 

1. Ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding with the MTA for OMNY Installation (Board Action Required) ...

... VI. Chair’s Motion for Executive Session to Discuss:

a. proposed, pending or current litigation; and

b. the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation....

VII. Update on the Board Committees’ Assignments... 

Following the August 24, 2023 MTA press conference announcing the OMNY installation for the Roosevelt Island Tram, I asked the MTA:

What is the revenue allocation of the Tram fare between Rioc and the MTA?

My understanding is that Rioc currently receives approximately $2.00 of every swipe at the Tram. Has that changed with the installation of OMNY?

What is the new revenue allocation of the Tram fare?

A MTA spokesperson replied:

With OMNY, RIOC will get the benefit of the full value of fare revenue for pay go transactions. Currently, RIOC receives $2 for Full Fare and $1 for Reduced Fare when a customer utilizes MetroCard.

More info about the Roosevelt Island Tram OMNY installation in RIOC memo below.

Chabad Of Roosevelt Island High Holiday Services Begin For Rosh Hashanah Friday September 15 & Yom Kippur Sunday September 24, Inspiring High Holiday Service With Meaning And Melody - Shana Tovah, Have A Happy And Sweet New Year 5784

The Chabad Of Roosevelt Island invite you to Rosh Hashanah services Friday September 15 - Sunday September 17 and Yom Kippur services Sunday September 24 - Monday September 25 at the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center (548 Main Street).

Click here for more info on the Chabad Of Roosevelt Island High Holiday services.

Enjoy the new Rosh Hashanah song from NYC a capella vocal band 613.

Shana Tova, have a happy and sweet New Year - 5784.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Dispose Of Your Sensitive Personal Papers And Empty Your Unwanted Files At Roosevelt Island Community Shred-A-Thon Saturday September 16 And Sunday November 19 Sponsored By Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright is bringing a free Roosevelt Island community Shred-A-Thon to Roosevelt Island on Saturday September 16 and Sunday November 19.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Roosevelt Island Remembers 9/11 Terror Attack On World Trade Center Towers 22 Years Ago Today - RIVAA Gallery Hosts 9/11 Remember The Heroes Exhibit Today

Today, Roosevelt Island's RIVAA Gallery hosted a 9/11 Remember The Heroes exhibit organized by new Roosevelt Island residents Winston and Eileen Bailey, both retired NYPD officers.

I spoke with Mr and Mrs Baily earlier today.

It's been 21 years since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center Towers, Pentagon, and the downing of Flight 93 in Shanksville Pennsylvania. This is how it looked that day seen from the Rivercross building.

Main Street Wire Image of 9/11 Smoke Burning From World Trade Center by Vicki Feinmel/Linda Heimer
Roosevelt Island's Main Street Wire local newspaper reported on the 9/11 attack at the time.

September 12,2001

September 22, 2001

September 7, 2002

Roosevelt Islanders who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center are honored at the Roosevelt Island 9/11 Remembrance Tree 

and Memorial Plaque.

at Good Shepherd Plaza.  The Roosevelt Islanders who died on 9/11 are:
Ed Beyea,
Anthony J. Fallone,
Taimour Khan,
Scott Larsen,
Kevin J. Smith and the firefighters who were based on Roosevelt Island
Deputy Chief Ray Downey,
Deputy Chief Charlie Kasper,
Battalion Chief John Moran, and
Battalion Chief John Paolillo.

Former Roosevelt Island Public Safety Chief and NYPD Assistant Chief Jack McManus died of 9/11 World Trade Center related cancer.

Unknown how many other Roosevelt Islanders may have died from 9/11 related illnesses.  

Two years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Roosevelt Island residents gathered together to remember and honor their neighbors who were killed.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) hosted a 9/11 Remembrance this morning as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Watch Video Report From PIX 11 TV News About Current Roosevelt Island Tram And Subway Problems Resulting From MTA"S 63rd Street Tunnel Rehab Project - Learn About Community Residents Organizing And Advocating For Solutions

The Roosevelt Island transportation problems resulting from the MTA's 63rd Street Tunnel Rehab project was the subject of a PIX Channel 11 TV news story last Friday by reporter Greg Mocker.

Mr Mocker interviewed Roosevelt Island residents Paul Krikler and Rebecca Benvie who are organizing a group of residents to advocate and lobby for solutions to our transportation problems. According to the PIX11 News article:

... “We need more shuttle trains every 15 minutes. We’d like more line management and a resident-only line for the tram during the construction,” said neighbor Rebecca Benvie...

... “A silver lining from this is there is an amazing group of the community getting together. People who live and work here feel they do not have a lot of control,” said Paul Krikler who lives on the island. ... 

Here's the full PIX 11 News story.

Click here for more info if you would like to volunteer to work with Ms Benvie, Mr Krikler and other Roosevelt Island residents to find solutions for our transportation problems.