Friday, September 22, 2023

Roosevelt Island Coler Hospital Resident And Open Doors Reality Poet Vince Pierce Receives 2023 Craig H Neilsen Visionary Prize Of $1 Million Live On Good Morning America TV Program - Award Celebrates Influential Voices In The World Of Spinal Cord Injury

Vincent Pierce is a Roosevelt Island resident living at the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp Coler long term care nursing facility. Mr Pierce: a Reality Poet and the Director of the arts-and-justice initiative OPEN DOORS, an artist collective who, prior to the pandemic, traveled around the city sharing their poetry and stories....

According to Open Doors:

Before we officially came together as the Reality Poets, we were a loose group of wheelchair users who would sit outside the massive brick building at the tip of Roosevelt Island, smoke and share stories. Many of us were gun violence survivors and all of us felt there was nothing to do living in the nursing home. In 2016 a local artist started a project for us called OPEN DOORS, and from there the Reality Poets were born. Thanks to our vision and leadership OPEN DOORS is now a dynamic creative collective, educating our youth and producing artistic collaborations, including a poetry anthology, original play and hip-hop album.

During the pandemic we were dehumanized and confined inside our nursing home. Realizing we had the microphone at the center of the storm, we began advocating for all those living and working in long-term care, particularly Black and brown nursing home residents who saw twice the amount of COVID deaths as their white counterparts. In 2020 we launched the Nursing Home Lives Matter movement and are now warriors with a mission to end racism and ableism in long-term care.

Last Tuesday, September 19, in front of his family and friends at the Good Morning America TV studio, Michael Strahan surprised Mr Pierce by announcing that he was a 2023 Craig H Neilsen (CHN) Visionary Prize recipient of $1 million.

The CHN Visionary Prize was:

... launched in 2020 to celebrate influential voices in the world of spinal cord injury. The Prize was created to honor the legacy of Craig H. Neilsen and is awarded to individuals who embody the values that were important to him during his lifetime.

Each prize winner is awarded $1 million, respectively.

Watch what happens.

According to the CHN Foundation:

Vincent Pierce, based in New York, is a music producer, gun violence survivor, and community organizer. He is co-director of the arts-and-justice initiative OPEN DOORS. As an OPEN DOORS Reality Poet, he has traveled around New York City sharing his story, poetry, and wisdom. As a teen, Vincent moved to North Carolina, where he studied music and played on multiple basketball teams. In his twenties, Vincent was shot while being robbed at gunpoint, leaving him paralyzed.

In 2019, Vincent began writing poetry after he was inspired by a writing workshop at Open Doors NYC. He started the music program ZING! which, he says, is “showing kids from neighborhoods like the one I grew up in that they are bigger than what their environments expect them to be.” Vincent’s poetry and writings have been published in Wheeling & Healing: A Poetry Anthology Edited by OPEN DOORS Reality Poets. He’s the recipient of a Center for Cultural Innovation Grant, which enabled him to start a music program aimed at keeping youth off the streets and in the studio.

In July 2020, Vincent launched #NursingHomeLivesMatter working for a healthcare system that protects, respects and cares for all those in long-term care, and for those who care for us.

 I asked Mr Pierce for his thoughts on being a recipient of the David H Neilsen Visionary Prize. He said:

I would just thank the Nielsen foundation and Good Morning America.  I would just say hard work and dedication pays off.

Roosevelt Island residents Thom Heyer and Julia Ferguson were among the family and friends who were with Mr Pierce at the Good Morning America Studio.

Mr Heyer reports:

It was rather a surreal day on Good Morning America!

I found out September 8 about GMA wanting to do a feature story on Vince regarding his work at Open Doors, etc.

Friends and family of Vince were asked to RSVP if we could attend and to keep it a secret from Vince.

A financial amount was never mentioned--we all thought it was going to be a public acknowledgement on national television. I was told about the million dollar check on Monday afternoon when we were asked if we would participate in holding up the numbers to announce the check.

We were asked to show up a half hour earlier than the rest of the people to set up that sequence.

We were also required to keep it a secret.

It truly was a complete surprise!

Julia Ferguson adds:

Vince looked immediately to all his team and friends from the Open Doors Reality Poets in the moment of receiving this award. He is a very well deserving recipient of this honor for leadership and community service.

It was an honor to participate and also a complete surprise. I only knew that he was going to be on a special segment of GMA and that they had asked friends to join if they could in order to cheer and applaud.

Hope everyone can make it to the NYC premier of Fire Through Dry Grass Sept 29th through Oct. 4th. 

Fire Through Dry Grass is a documentary about the experience of residents and workers at Coler during the Covid pandemic. Mr Pierce composed music for the documentary. Here's the trailer for the documentary.

The screening will take place at DCTV Firehouse Cinema at 87 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.

Congrats Vince on receiving 

the Craig H Neilsen Visionary Award.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Watch Video Of Tonight's Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Transportation Stuck On Roosevelt Island Forum - Questions On Subway Shuttle, Tram And Bus Service During MTA's 63rd Street Tunnel Rehab Project

Covid Surging Now In NYC Area, RIOC Strongly Encourages Roosevelt Island Resident To Wear Masks In Crowded Indoor Spaces And Get The New Vaccine

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) today:

Dear Roosevelt Island Community Members,

We hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits. As responsible and caring members of our community, we must come together once again to address a concerning matter - the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in our area.

The safety and well-being of our community have always been our top priority. Over the past year and beyond, we've shown tremendous resilience and unity in the face of the pandemic. Let's continue to work together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors.

The Current Situation:

In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in our area has been on the rise. This is a stark reminder that the virus is still very much a part of our lives. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

Strongly Encouraging Mask Usage:

To safeguard the health of our community, we strongly encourage all residents, visitors, and workers on Roosevelt Island to wear masks when in public indoor spaces, particularly in places where social distancing may be challenging. This simple but effective measure can significantly reduce the risk of transmission.

Let's Protect Ourselves and Our Community:

We understand that we are all fatigued by the prolonged pandemic, but our collective actions make a difference. By wearing masks, we not only protect ourselves but also demonstrate our commitment to the well-being of those around us. Let's set an example for one another and be a community that cares deeply about the health of every member.

Additional Safety Measures:

In addition to mask usage, please continue to follow other recommended safety guidelines, including regular handwashing, practicing social distancing, and getting vaccinated if you are eligible and haven't done so already. These actions, when combined, form a robust defense against the virus.

Stay Informed:

Stay updated on the latest developments regarding COVID-19 in our community by following guidance from reputable health organizations such as the New York State Department of Health. We will also provide regular updates and resources to keep you informed.

Our Roosevelt Island community has shown incredible resilience and support throughout this challenging time. By once again coming together and taking these precautions seriously, we can limit the spread of COVID-19, protect our most vulnerable members, and work towards a safer and healthier future for all.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the well-being of our community. Let's keep Roosevelt Island safe, strong, and united.

In good health,

-Team RIOC

A long time Roosevelt Island resident asks:

How about on Red Buses, AND especially IN THE TRAM CABINS, & ON THE TRAM PLATFORMS — Lots of signage & better crowd control ...

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Church Of The Good Shepherd Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration September 24 - Bilingual Service With Delicious Hispanic Treats

Roosevelt Island resident Verna Fitzpatrick invites you to the Church Of The Good Shepherd Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. According to Ms Fitzpatrick:

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Church of the Good Shepherd is conducting a bilingual Holy Eucharist Service on Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 9:30am. Come one come all to recognized the Hispanic heritage of our friends and neighbors. Fellowship right after the service with delicious hispanic treats!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Watch Video Of September 19 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Community Engagement Meeting - Recent Crime Update, NYPD Smoke Shop Undercover Sting, Parking, Speeding, E Bikes, 460 Main Street, Deli Barrier, Tram Crowds, Bike Patrol & More Officers Being Hired

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department (PSD) hosted a  community engagement meeting last night at the Good Shepherd Chapel.

RIOC PSD Chief Kevin Brown and Deputy Chief Anthony Amoroso engaged in a dialogue with about 35 Roosevelt Island residents attended the hour long meeting.

According to Chief Brown:

I'm glad the we have these meetings. It gives us a chance to talk about the crime issues and upcoming issues. I welcome the conversation and I think it is very, very healthy for the Roosevelt Island community....

Here's what happened.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

It's National Voter Registration Day - In Order To Have A True Voice You Have To Vote, It's Easy And Online Now Says Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Liz Krueger

There are 5109 active registered voters living on Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Liz Krueger reports:

In order to have a true voice you have to vote; in order to vote you have to be registered. New York State has now made this process even easier, by finally implementing an online voter registration process that the Legislature authorized back in 2019. I urge everyone to talk to their friends and family and make sure they are registered. After all, if you don't vote, you can't, as loudly, complain.

You can check your voter registration here. 

Register to vote here.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Community Board 8 Hosting Sept 21 Stuck On Roosevelt Island Forum On The F Train Rehab Work, Come Share Your Thoughts On The Subway Shuttle, Tram And Bus Transportation Problems - Watch Video Of Residents Offering Solutions/Asking Transportation Questions At Sept 14 RIOC Public Session

The Manhattan Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island and Transportation Committees are holding a joint meeting to discuss and share concerns about the MTA's F Train 63rd Street Tunnel Rehab project Thursday September 21 beginning 6:30 PM at Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). According to CB 8:

Please come and share your experiences, suggestions and questions... We have invited the MTA, RIOC, our elected officials and Resident Board members.

For Zoom access to the meeting, sign in by clicking this link. 

During the September 14 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors meeting Public Session, several residents spoke up sharing their concerns, ideas and solutions with the RIOC Board. Unfortunately, every time newly appointed Board Member Ben Fhala tried to respond to a question or concern from a resident, RIOC General Counsel Gretchen Robinson and Board Chair Diana Lopez did their utmost to try and shut him up, but Mr Fhala persisted.

Here's what happened.

Also, as Mr Fhala was trying to respond to the concerns of a late night health care worker describing having to sleep overnight because of no subway or tram service, Ms Robinson said he was speaking: 

... as a resident of the Island and not a member of the board.

Mr Fhala responded he was speaking as a board member.


Near the conclusion of the September 14 Board meeting, Director Howard Polivy asked Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown and Transportation Director Cy Opperman about RIOC's handling of the current Tram and Red Bus transportation situation. 

Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance shared his thoughts on the currrent transportations problems during the RIOC Public Session too.

Roosevelt Island resident Matt Waldman, an organzer of the Stuck On Roosevelt Island WhatsApp chat group adds:

I attended a RIOC board meeting in person for the first time on September 14. I am glad I did and encourage more community members to join future meetings. 

I really got a good sense of the relationship between the RIOC staff and the Board of Directors. It seems the RIOC staff is controlling the Board Directors, not allowing them to ask valid questions. 

There was a nice turnout from the community and some people spoke during the public comment period. While everyone seemed to be in agreement the track work must be done, the community is frustrated with how RIOC is dealing with this issue. 

Multiple times during the meeting, Gretchen Robinson, the General Counsel, noted:

... having addition OMNY at the tram there are no lines for the tram...
RIOC is trying to make a bad situation sound good like there are not really any issues. According to RIOC, one red bus is out of service and with the addition of the shuttle service to Queens Plaza and Manhattan, RIOC is using this as an excuse for unreliable and less frequent regular red bus service on the island. The RIOC buses to Queens Plaza and Manhattan only run a few hours a day. What about the rest of the day when this service is not being provided. RIOC should be using all buses at all times. 

Remember, if you wish to add your voice, concerns, ideas and solutions to the current Roosevelt Island transportation problems, come to the September 21 Community Board 8 meeting at Good Shepherd Community Center or log on via zoom.

Sponsored Post - Are You Interested In Local Politics? 4 Freedoms Democratic Club Hosting Annual Roosevelt Island Meeting Wednesday September 20 At The Sanctuary, You're invited

Are you interested in Democratic Party politics and wish to meet like minded folks? If yes, the Four Freedoms Democratic Club is hosting its annual Roosevelt Island meeting 7 PM Wednesday September 20, at The Sanctuary Events Space/Cafe (851 Main Street). and you're invited.

Four Freedoms Dems member Kim Moscaritolo adds:

On January 6th, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke of the four freedoms inherent to all mankind: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. The Four Freedoms Democratic Club seeks to extend this vision into the 21st Century and is dedicated to providing an active, progressive Democratic organization in the 76th Assembly District, which includes the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island. We meet monthly for our general meetings, and we hold candidate forums and social events throughout the year.

NYC Council Member Julie Menin spoke at the 2022 Four Freedoms Democratic Club Roosevelt Island meeting and State Senator Jose Serrano spoke at the 2021 meeting.

More info on the Four Freedoms Democratic Club at their website and Twitter (X) page.