Saturday, November 25, 2023

Follow Along On A Late Night Adventure With An Urban Explorer Sneaking Inside The Abandoned Roosevelt Island Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital - Future Use Of Ruins Proposed As A Memorial To Health Care Workers Fighting Infectious Disease

In 2021, urban explorer Andrew Wonder made a late night visit to Roosevelt Island and took us inside the Renwick Ruins Smallpox hospital. Follow along.  

NBC New York reporter Ryan Baker visited the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Ruins earlier this year. He reports on the fascinating history of the Smallpox Hospital and a possible future use of the site being proposed by Friends Of The Ruins as a Memorial to:

... those we lost to COVID-19 as well as scientific advances and the frontline workers fighting viral and infectious disease....

Learn more about the mysteries of the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital and Friends Of The Ruins proposed memorial from this prior post.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Roosevelt Island Haki Compost Collective Food Scrap Drop Off Site Moving To Winter Home Under Motorgate Plaza Helix With The Farmers Market Saturday November 25 - More Volunteers Needed To Continue The Haki Compost Food Scrap Drop Off Site Service, How About You?

This Saturday, November 25th the Haki Compost Collective Food Scrap Drop Off site will move to its winter home 

under the Motorgate Plaza Helix 

with the Farmers Market. 

According to the Haki Compost Collective:

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm: Haki Compost Collective is hosting a volunteer orientation during the Saturday food scrap drop-off-for-compost hours. Please swing by anytime from 11 am through 12:30 pm to find out how you can be a part of it.

Today, I spoke with Roosevelt Island resident and Haki Compost Collective volunteer Melissa Wade. Ms Wade describes how the Roosevelt Island Haki compost food scrap site got started and the need for new volunteers to keep it going for the Roosevelt Island community. According to Ms Wade:

Haki was started as an all volunteer effort three summers ago when the City cut the budget the first time during the pandemic. Danica Lam lived here on the island and worked with Big Reuse as a staff member. She thought that we would have enough people who were interested to pick it back up and get it started again as volunteers and she was right, we did.

Since that time we have trained 77 Roosevelt Island members over the years to participate as the volunteer force who keep Haki going from the setup to the maintenance to the tear down working with our Big Reuse Partners.

But as everyone knows New York is a transient place and Roosevelt Island is a pretty transient place too so over the years we've had many people come and go and right now we're a little light on volunteers 3 years in.

So my hope in speaking with you today is that people who have thought about it, who use Haki, who bring us our scraps and who want to see this keep going would come out and participate as volunteers... 

If you wish to help Haki continue the Roosevelt Island compost food scrap drop off site, come to their orientation meeting tomorrow at the Motorgate Plaza and learn more. You can also contact Haki through their Instagram Page.

The Haki Compost Collective adds:

The Haki Compost Collective thanks you for dropping off your food scraps on Saturdays. Since November 2015, we have collectively diverted over 341,017 pounds of food scraps from landfill, or 170 tons, equivalent to 85 SUV's in weight!

Several dump truck loads of nutrient-rich compost have come back to the Island trees, flowers and gardens and been given back to neighbors for their house plants.

Compost boosts storm water absorption in soil to reduce flooding. Compost-amended soils also aid tree growth which increases their CO2 capture and oxygen release amounts.

Even the Great Pumpkin Event is part of the Big Reuse, Haki supported, compost outreach for islanders!


Last week on Thursday, Mayor Adams !!! ELIMINATED !!! Community Composting in NYC as of January 2024.

What does this mean for Roosevelt Island?

Big Reuse, one of the several community composting organizations in NYC and the one that serves Roosevelt Island, will have to CLOSE DOWN its composting plant underneath the Queensboro Bridge and will stop picking up our food scraps on Saturdays.

Please sign this petition to keep City Community Composting going.

So far, over 24,000 people have signed the petition.

We need your signatures, too!

More Bad News:

We heard that the orange sidewalk "Smart" bins which accept plastic and food scraps for methane gas capture at the Newtown Creek wastewater plant will NOT be connected to the grid to heat 1200 homes as was the case during their pilot program. The facility will continue to get energy to operate from the burning of food scraps and other waste.

Haki volunteers hope to see you Saturday as we continue to serve neighbors with this human-led waste reduction program that mirrors nature’s no waste system.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving From Roosevelt Island, Tradition, Family, Food, Football, Local History And Alice's Restaurant - Roosevelt Island Pilgrims First Thanksgiving Too

Happy Thanksgiving Day wishes to everyone out there in Roosevelt Island land and elsewhere. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! 

Since Thanksgiving is a day all about about Tradition, here is my traditional Thanksgiving Day post started in 2007:

In addition to family, great food, the Macy's Parade, Miracle on 34th Street, March of the Wooden Soldiers and football, listening to Arlo Guthrie's rendition of Alice's Restaurant on WNEW-FM was, for me, a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition.

A former station DJ remembers Thanksgiving and Arlo Guthrie this way on the blog All Mixed Up Radio.

Every year a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it starts. It's slow at first, and then turns into a non-stop avalanche of phone calls. And no matter how many times a station runs promo announcements telling people exactly when it will be played, the calls still come.
"What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'"...
Yes, in the olden days people used to listen to music on the radio. Imagine that!...

Here's how Alice's Restaurant became a Thanksgiving tradition:


 and the full song with scenes from the movie.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares a Thanksgiving story from Roosevelt Island's past when it was known as Welfare Island and housed a penitentiary

Also, former blogger Roosevelt Island 360 tells us about the first Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving in 1975 as reported by the NY Times.

According to the 1975 NY Times article:

One of the nation's newest settlements, a small community of pioneers, is about to celebrate its first Thanksgiving Day on its rockbound island home in the East River.

The situation on Roosevelt Island, which separates midtown Manhattan from Queens, is not quite the same as the one that faced the first New England homeowners centuries ago. The 170 rent‐paying families, the first in the ambitious planned development being built on the island, have not been undergoing hardships. Maybe inconveniences here and there, but not questions of life and death.

Heat comes up (with or without banging the radiator to alert the super, New Yorkstyle). There is light and shelter and the natives are rather nonexistent.

Last night, the new islanders fed one another at an ethnic buffet representing the many diverse strains of humanity they stem from. Tonight there will be an ecumenical service at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, the church built in 1889 and now put to work as a community center. Tomorrow will be a family day, when people may talk turkey around their tables.

Click here for the full NY Times article on the Roosevelt Island Pilgrims first Thanksgiving.

Here are some scenes from today's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Also: Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloons from the past. 

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market Temporarily Relocating To Winter Home Under The Motorgate Helix Starting Saturday November 25 - Haki Compost Collective Food Scrap Drop Off Site Moving To Motorgate Helix November 25 And Need More Volunteers Too

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market is relocating from Good Shepherd Plaza to their temporary winter home under the Motorgate Helix starting this Saturday, November 25.

According to Farmers Market vendor Israel Wengerd of Wengerd Farms: 

The annual move is necessary to be out of the inclement winter weather.

The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market at Motorgate Plaza under the Helix is open early morning to mid afternoon on Saturdays in good weather and bad offering a wide variety of healthy and delicious tasting fruits, vegetables and much more. 

Also, relocating to Motorgate Plaza for the winter is the 

Haki Compost Collective Food Drop Off Scrap Bin.

According to the Haki Compost Collective:

We will be moving to it's winter location by the Motorgatw Garage, along with the Roosevelt Island farmers market. 

Join us this Saturday to learn how you too can become a volunteer!

Curious about when we will be collecting food scraps this holiday season? This year, we will collect on Saturdays as we normally do, between 9am -2pm.

See you at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market Saturday under the Motorgate Helix next to Foodtown.

Bang, Bang, Bang, Roosevelt Island Residents Report Hearing Possible Multiple Gunshots Near Manhattan Park And Octagon Buildings Overnight Last Thursday - RIOC PSD And NYPD 114 Precinct Received Reports And Shotspotter Sensor Tech Did Not Detect Any Gunshots At The Time They Say

Last Friday morning November 17, a Roosevelt Island resident asked:

I live in the Octagon and in the middle of last night, I heard what sounded like several gunshots. I went to Citizen this morning and found this post

 Have you heard anyone else report anything? Very unsettling. 

A Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park resident reported:

Gun shots at 30 River Road

At approximately 2:44AM on Friday morning we were awoken by what I thought was a loud banging on our wall. Then we heard nearby gunshots maybe six, fired from below our open window, near the entrance of Manhattan Park, at 30RR. Looking out the window, we saw no one, no police, no cars, nothing.

So we went back to bed only to be awoken about 15-20 minutes later to more distant gun shots. What on earth is going on here? Can you report on this incident?

Other residents heard the commotion and apparently someone called police.

Another Manhattan Park resident reported:

I'm at 30 RR, and my wife and I were awakened around 2am by the very distinct sound of gunshots (our window was open). We heard 6-8 gunshots followed by a pause and then another 6-8 gunshots. 

After about 15 minutes or so, there was another series of gunshots that sounded a little more distant, though I'm not really sure. I don't know where exactly the gunshots were, but definitely in the north side of the island around the Manhattan Park apartments or the soccer field... 

I'd be really interested in an update, to see if shell casings were recovered. 

Just to be clear, my wife and I both know what a handgun sounds like, and this was definitely it. I suspect that the shooter emptied two clips and then emptied a third clip later as he was walking around. We didn't hear any yelling or commotion of any kind. 

At least 3 other residents heard what they thought were gunshots at that time too. 

On November 18, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown:

Several Roosevelt Island residents reported to me hearing gunshots early Friday morning ... about 2 AM in the vicinity of 30 River Road and 888 Main Street....

... Do you have any information on this important matter of concern to Roosevelt Island residents?...

There was no  response from RIOC

I asked NYPD too. A NYPD spokesperson replied they had no information on any Roosevelt Island gunshots at the time reported.

During the November 21 RIOC Public Safety Department Community Engagement meeting, Chief Brown and NYPD 114 Precinct Commander Deputy Inspector Kenneth Gorman said they received no reports and had no knowledge of any gunshots on Roosevelt Island at that time.

Inspector Gorman added that the NYPD Shotspotter accoustic sensor technology deployed on Roosevelt Island did not detect any gunshots at that time.

Here's the discussion.

According to the NYPD 2021 Shotspotter Impact and Use Policy:

ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system. ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensors to quickly detect and alert New York City Police Department (NYPD) personnel of confirmed gunfire incidents. The system reduces gunfire incident response times, provides valuable evidence for investigations and criminal prosecutions, and enhances both public and officer safety.

The NYPD produced this impact and use policy because the gunshot detection system processes acoustic data, and shares acoustic and location data with NYPD personnel...

A 2021 BBC report on the Shotspotter sensor detection technology examining whether it is accurate and reliable?.

and a 2022 Bloomberg article reports on NYPD's use of Shotspotter.

Here's the full November 21 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Community Engagement meeting.

According to RIOC:

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Sponsored Post - Thanksgiving Dinner At The Roosevelt Island Graduate Hotel's Anything At All Restaurant, Join Us This Year For A Special Family And Friends Thanksgiving Feast Thursday November 23

Anything At All Thanksgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Roosevelt Island

The Graduate NY is your home away from home. Join us for a thankful dinner at our family-friendly lobby restaurant AAA. 

22 North Loop Road on the Cornell Tech campus.

Want to host Friendsgiving? Let our culinary team worry about the mess while sipping and spilling all the tea. If food is your love language then join The Graduate family as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Click here to make your Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving Day Dinner reservations.

Monday, November 20, 2023

RIOC PSD Tries To Shut Down "We Need A Functioning & Competent RIOC" Petition Signature Collection Drive At Last Saturday's Roosevelt Island Farmers Market In Good Shepherd Plaza - PSD Says Entire Area Is Permittted Only For Use Of Farmers Market

During the November 18 Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market at Good Shepherd Plaza, local resident Paul Krikler was among a group of three or four residents speaking  to other residents passing by

and collecting signatures for a "We Need A functioning and Competent RIOC" petition to directly elect Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors. 

At about 1 PM, a Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officer instructed the petition gatherers not to approach anyone to collect signatures in the area of the Farmers Market because the PS/IS 217 PTA had a permit for that area and it was only for the use of the Farmers Market

According to the PSD Officers at the scene, someone raised an objection to the residents gathering petition signatures in Good Shepherd Plaza during the Farmers Market. The PSD officer refused to say who raised the objection.

The Co-President of the PTA was at the Farmers Market at the time. She said she did not raise any objection to the petition gatherers and was trying to find out what was going on.

Initially, the PSD officers told the petition seekers they would have to leave the Good Shepherd Plaza area to collect signatures and suggested going across the street or any area other than the Plaza. 

After a discussion, it appeared that PSD agreed the residents could collect signatures outside the Plaza area on the sidewalk. 

Here's what happened.


Asked to comment, Mr Krikler said:

I have total sympathy with the idea that we should not be in the actual market area. People here feel very strongly about this and are keen to engage when they stop. I can see how that would be disruptive to the Farmers Market.

Do not know if the PTA objected or not.

If you wish, clich here to sign the petition. So far, 438 signatures have been collected.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Roosevelt Island Named New York City's Most Peaceful Tourist Spot And Place To Find Some Zen - Uh Oh, Locals Not Feeling The Zen, Heckle A Tourist Or Forget About Riding The Tram Ever Again, Who Squealed They Say

According to Time Out NYC:

Casago, a vacation rental property management company servicing homeowners and guests in Mexico and the U.S., actually did a study to find the most peaceful tourist spots across the U.S., and found that Roosevelt Island is New York City’s top spot to find some zen....

Local Instagram satirist Weird RI humorously reflects the views of many Roosevelt Island residents not happy with publicity encouraging tourists to visit Roosevelt Island by suggesting:

... Heckle a tourist today or forget about riding the tram ever again.

Other residents commented:

  • Find the person who squealed. Make them ride the tram line (from Manhattan) at 12:30 pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon - no elevator,
  • I have zero zen squeezing onto the tram getting home on weekends, 
  • it’s a terrible place to visit please don’t come here…,
  • Are you kidding, going there is horrible! There’s no subway working, the tram is crowded. Just to arrive and see nothing but residential buildings! What a waste of time and money,
  • We all have leprosy, don’t come here,
  • It's awful here. Stay away.
Not to mention the not very Zen like Swinging Tram ride.