Saturday, December 9, 2023

Chabad Of Roosevelt Island Celebrates Chanukah With Public Menorah Lighting Tonight At Rivercross Lawn - With Latkes, Dreidels And More Treats Too

The Chabad Of Roosevelt Island hosted their 18th annual Public Menorah Lighting ceremony this evening celebrating the third night of Chanukah at the Rivercross Lawn

After the Menorah Lighting, those attending enjoyed hot latkes,


received dreidels


and other treats.

Happy Chanukah.

Friday, December 8, 2023

5.. 4.. 3.. 2..1, Santa Claus And Mrs Claus Count Down The Lighting Of The Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Tonight

Wonderful evening tonight at the Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting. The very large crowd of residents enjoyed musical and dance performances by the Main Street Theatre, Beacon Kids, Roosevelt Island Youth Center and local Girl Scouts.

And then, Santa Claus with a first time appearance by Mrs Claus counted down the lighting of the Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree.

5.. 4.. 3.. 2... 1 and then:

A big thank you to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for organizing this fantastic event.

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Affordable Art Sale At Roosevelt Island RIVAA Gallery Today Thru Sunday December 10 - Perfect Opportunity To Start Your Art Collection Or Find A Holiday Gift, $5 Raffle Ticket Give Away Too

According to the Roosevelt Island RIVAA Gallery:

RIVAA Gallery is holding an Affordable Art Sale on December 7,8,9 and 10. This Family Friendly event is a perfect opportunity to start your art collection or find a holiday gift at an affordable price. 

This year we are holding a raffle. Tickets are $5.00 each, on sale at RIVAA during the Affordable Art Sale. A few pieces of art by our members will be given away at the 4PM drawing on Sunday, December 10. 

The 5 pieces of art below, all by RIVAA artists, will be raffled away. Purchase a raffle ticket for $5 at the sale. The raffle winners will be announced this Sunday at 4pm. 

Please support RIVAA, the gallery artists and art on Roosevelt Island and buy a raffle ticket or a piece of art by a RIVAA member. 

I spoke with RIVVA Gallery artists Laura Hussey and Tony Vita about the Affordable Art Fair.

More information about RIVAA Gallery 

available at their website and Instagram Page.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Happy Chanukah From Roosevelt Island - Join The Chabad Of Roosevelt Island For Family Public Menorah Lighting Saturday December 9 At Rivercross Lawn - Pass The Latkes Please & A New Chanukah Song From The Maccabeats

Tonight is the first of eight Chanukah nights.

The Chabad of Roosevelt Island invite you to the Annual Family Public Menorah Lighting for the 3rd Chanukah Light on December 9 at 6:30 PM at the Rivercross Lawn.

 Come together to celebrate Jewish pride!

Enjoy hot latkes, hot drinks, music, dreidels and other treats.

For more information contact

CBS New York reports on how Chanukah is being celebrated this year

and the Maccabeats have a new Chanukah song.

Happy Chanukah Roosevelt Island. 


Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony Friday December 8, Santa's Coming To Town, Tree Lighting Countdown, Music, Festive Treats & More - But No Reindeer Sled For Kids At Plaza Again This Year

The annual Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony takes place tomorrow at the Rivercross Lawn.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):

Dear Roosevelt Island Community:

'Tis the season to gather and ignite the holiday spirit! RIOC invites you to the 2023 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony this Friday, December 8th at 6PM on Meditation Lawn. There will be music, performances, festive treats, and more!

We can't wait too see you there!

📅 Date: Friday, December 8th

🕒 Time: 6:00 PM

📍 Location: Meditation Lawn 

Here's Santa Claus arriving for last year's Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting 


Missing for the second consecutive year from RIOC's Holiday Decorations in Good Shepherd Plaza 

is the popular, family photo friendly Reindeer Sled  

that was enjoyed by kids of all ages.

RIOC replaced the Reindeer Sled with this.

 As reported December 1, 2022:

... I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes and RIOC Vice President of Communications Akeem Jamal:

Why was the Reindeer Sled that had been at Good Shepherd Plaza in previous years not used this year?

My understanding is that Neave Decor was paid $75 thousand dollars for the Holiday lights this year? Is that correct?

Residents have commented that this year's Roosevelt Island Holiday Lights are much less festive looking than in previous years.

Does RIOC have any comment on this year's Roosevelt Island Holiday Lights installation.

No answer from RIOC.

According to a September 24, 2021 RIOC memo, RIOC is paying Neave Decor $75 Thousand annually for  3 years totaling $225 thousand to:

... install commercial grade LED lighting, wreaths, decorative structures and garland for selected trees, hedges, building columns, lampposts, and other areas on Roosevelt Island as outlined below: Decoration locations: 

  1. Good Shepherd Plaza 
  2. Meditation Lawn across from Blackwell House (the Main Tree location) 
  3. Tram Plaza and Tram Fountain area 
  4. Main Street Corridor including Lamppost along Main street 
  5. Ferry Plaza...  

Bundle up in warm clothes and I'll see you tomorrow for a good time at the Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Gala Fundraiser Tuesday December 12 At The Sanctuary Featuring Performances Spanning Generations, Founders Award Presentation, New Dance Company & More - You're Invited

According to the Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA):

At 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance is set to hold their fundraiser gala at The Sanctuary, 851 Main Street in celebration of the theater’s 40th Anniversary and to raise money for their upcoming season. 

Photo From Irina Island Images

Being one of the oldest organizations on Roosevelt Island, having persevered through significant destruction from hurricane Sandy and economic issues due to Covid-19, it is a true testament to its generational impact and significance to its community. MSTDA has impacted the lives of their students whether they further pursue theater or not. 

Photo From Irina Island Images
This hidden treasure is a place for everyone, not limited to age, ability, or economics. Diana Baffa Brill, MSTDA founder, shared her excitement with members of the theater.

“Forty years! Who would have imagined that the idea of a theatre on Roosevelt Island would evolve into this long running success? Just think how many children

and adults in our community have enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of the creative arts right here in their own neighborhood? It is so fulfilling to see the MST&DA flourishing after all these years. I am pleased to have been there at the beginning.” She says. For a theatre that is normally overshadowed by New York City’s Broadway lights that glow from across the river, forty years is a massive achievement, and will put MSTDA on the map for developing performers and artists of all ages in our local broader community. 

Photo From Irina Island Images
There will be a Founders Award Ceremony, honoring founder Diana Baffa Brill. The cast of original musical “The Ghosts All Around You” written by Jonathan Fadner will perform the original song “Grateful for You” as a tribute to Ms. Brill. The full program will be packed with performances by past, present and future MSTDA performers. Highlights include solos by MSTDA Alums including Jed Resnick, and performances from recent and current casts from the productions of “Anastasia”, “Ghosts All Around You”, “Book About Life”, “The Prom” and a “Show People” Medley. Also see the MSTDA Dance Company perform a medley of their 2023-24 repertoire. 

Click here for tickets to the MST&DA 40th Anniversary Gala at The Sanctuary on Tuesday December 12

and here for more info on MST&DA.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association Annual Holiday Market This Saturday And Sunday At The Older Adult Center, Join Us For Gifts And Good Vibes

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Wendy Hersh invites you to RIDA's annual Holiday Market at the Carter Burden Network Older Adult Program Center (546 Main Street) this weekend.

Hours are Saturday 10 Am to 5 PM and Sunday 11 AM to 4 PM.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Today Is World Soil Day, Haki Compost Collective Asks You To Take Local Action To Keep Roosevelt Island And Other NYC Food Scrap Drop Off Sites Operating And Save It From NYC Budget Cuts Elimination

Haki Compost Collective volunteer Julia Ferguson reports:

Due to proposed NYC budget cuts, the last Haki Compost Collective Roosevelt Island Food Scrap Drop Off collection

will be  Saturday December 16, 2023.

We received the letter below from the Big Reuse Manager of Community Partnerships. The situation is serious and this is the week when we need community participation
1. Sign the petition at Grow NYC

2. Submit testimony online, on zoom, or in person for Dec. 11th Finance Hearing
3. Attend Rally and Press Conference on Wednesday Dec 6th 12-1pm City Hall Park
 4. Call or write Council Members (ie Julie Menin for our district.) 
  • ask our CM's to urge DSNY Commissioner Tisch to reinstate Community Composting
  • ask CM's  to discuss and vote to restore these programs in the budget line because these programs are part of the health and safety infrastructure in our city "Please do all that you can to change the city budget plan that eliminates Community Composting (Green Bin) programs. The community compost programs like the NYC Compost Project (Big Reuse, Lower East Side Ecology, Earth Matter, Snug Harbor) and GrowNYC play a vital role in our city. "
  • Reasons: These 115 essential green jobs mean that NYC 

    • diverts over 8 million pounds of organic waste from landfills;
    • gives finished compost to over 335 community groups and thousands of individuals 
    • creates storm resilient soils across the city that mitigate flooding 
    • provides compost education to over 600,000 New Yorkers 
    • educates widely about prevention of rats in NYC
    • This essential service supports New York's climate goals - a keystone service in this regard.

Ms Ferguson shares shares the letter from Big Reuse:

Dear Community Compost Partners,

Due to the City’s financial crisis and elimination of funds for community compost programs, we regret to inform you that we can no longer offer food scrap hauling service. Saturday, December 16th, will be the last food scrap pick up date. On this date, we will collect all the green Toters and any extra bins you may have received. 

Please have toters with food scrap or emptied out ready for collection, if you are not receiving weekly hauling we will still be coming by for any remaining toters that may be used for compost or browns distribution. We also will be hanging signage at your site in the next week or two to help spread awareness of this closure to all your neighbors and participants. Attached is the signage that we will have laminated and hanging (if applicable).


We want to thank you for being a part of our community composting family and providing a valuable service for your community. On a personal note, it has been incredibly joyous and fulfilling to partner with so many incredible community groups and gardens across our city to support sustainable practices and direct climate action. 


To help keep the community strong, we recommend joining the NYC Community Composting Google Group. If you’re interested in learning about updates to our community composting program, please check our website and the petition page

From our team at Big Reuse, we thank you for this collaboration and hope our paths cross again

As previously reported:

... 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....

Monday, December 4, 2023

"These Are The Faces Of Coler", Photo Mural By Artist Rachel Fawn Alban Unveiled At Roosevelt Island NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler Nursing Facility Last Week - One Of Nine New Murals Created By NYC HHC Community Mural Project

The NYC Health + Hospitals Corp reported on December 1:

NYC Health + Hospitals today unveiled a new mural as part of the Community Mural Project, run by the health system’s Arts in Medicine department.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler CEO Stephen Catullo, Artist Rachel Fawn Alban, NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Program Director Monica Mariño, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund Executive Director Rick Luftglass, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler Community Advisory Board Chairperson Judy Berdy celebrate the new mural at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler.

The mural, Healing in Community at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler, was developed by artist Rachel Fawn Alban through a series of photography workshops with community members, staff and patients. Healing in Community is one of nine new murals that have been created this year, building on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the Community Mural Project, which are featured in a new book, Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project 2019-2021. This program is made possible through the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

Healing in Community is a tribute to the invaluable contributions of each person within the Coler community. Artist Rachel Fawn Alban conducted a series of visits at the facility engaging residents, volunteers, and staff in hands-on photography workshops. The culmination is a photomural featuring portraits of 34 members of the Coler community.

“Coler is an important long-term care and rehab facility in New York City’s public health system,” said Rick Luftglass, executive director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “This beautiful mural will provide joy and solace to everyone who lives at Coler and to all who visit. This is the first photo mural in the growing array of community murals throughout NYC Health + Hospitals, and we are proud to have supported its creation.”

“Artists play a critical role in public health,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine Larissa Trinder. “Our community mural artist, Rachel Fawn Alban, worked collaboratively with staff and residents to create a beautiful and lasting experience for their home, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler. Her medium of using photos to layer in a narrative about life’s journey has left a meaningful and lasting impact on our staff and residents.” 

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler Resident Ramon Medina looks at his portrait in the new mural
“These are the faces of Coler! This mural represents our diversity among professional staff and residents who embody strength, kindness, resilience and hope; essential elements in making our shared home the most unique place in the city,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler Chief Executive Officer Stephen Catullo, LNHA. “With this creative piece, community artist, Rachel Fawn Alban, has captured the essence of Coler’s spirit. These portraits of residents, clinicians, and many others, including our in-resident therapy dog, Momo, are all reminders that it takes a village to create a reliable support system built on trust, empathy and respect.”

“It has been an honor to work on this mural,” said muralist Rachel Fawn Alban. “I really enjoyed spending time on Roosevelt Island and getting to know everyone here during our photography workshops. It was important to me that the participants have their own meaningful, hands-on creative experiences with photography. The workshops also helped us develop familiarity and trust by the time I did the portraits. I think that resulted in stronger images and deeper engagement with the mural process and with each other. I am filled with gratitude to be a part of the Community Mural Project. I hope Healing in Community inspires warm feelings, pride, and connection for the people who live and work here every day.” 

Healing in Community, the new mural at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler by artist Rachel Fawn Alban, features portraits of 34 members of the Coler community.

Rachel Fawn Alban (@fawn_photos), based in Newark, NJ, is a photographer, writer, and educator whose photography is informed by her background in Art Therapy. Her portrait-making approach is characterized by collaboration, a focus on healing, and sensitivity to trauma. She is primarily known for documenting public art and collaborating with visual artists.

The Community Mural Project is believed to be the country’s largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s, when the depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) commissioned murals in public buildings, including virtually every hospital in New York City’s public healthcare system. The WPA murals were the start of NYC Health + Hospitals art collection, which now is the city’s largest public art collection and includes more than 7,000 pieces of art of multiple disciplines. The art collection is used to enhance the healthcare environment, inspire creativity, promote wellness, increase access to the arts, and engage staff.

The Community Mural Project creates opportunities for hospital staff to collaborate with each other and with neighbors, relieve stress, and enhance the physical environment of the facilities. Healthcare worker burnout is a national health crisis, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has created mental health challenges across New York City, especially in low-income, immigrant and historically excluded communities, which are significant patient populations for NYC Health + Hospitals. 

The PBS News Hour reported on the NYC Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project in August 2022.


Also, NYC Media presents That's So New York Arts In Medicine report from June 2023.