Saturday, March 2, 2024

RIVAA Gallery Invites You To A Roosevelt Island Afternoon Of Enchanting Poetry Reading Sunday March 3 - Share The Magic, Bring A Friend

According to the Roosevelt Island RIVAA Gallery:

Join us for an enchanting Poetry Reading at RIVAA Gallery!,

Sunday, March 3rd at 3 PM.

Immerse yourself in the poetic world of Carmen Firan, Adrian Sangeorzan, Andrei Codrescu, and Adela Sinclair.

Where: RIVAA Gallery (527 Main Street) 

Free and open to the public!

Produced by Adela Sinclair of Bucharest Inside the Beltway and RIVAA Gallery.

Don't miss this extraordinary gathering of literary talent! Share the magic, bring a friend!

Friday, March 1, 2024

Watch Very Interesting Video Introducing The Programs Of Cornell Tech Creating Lasting Economic And Social Prosperity - Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg Recently Visited Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Campus To Celebrate Launch Of Over 100 Companies

Watch this very interesting video introducing the programs and mission of Cornell Tech.


In the video, Cornell Tech Dean Greg Morrisett reports:

... The next era of tech is here and it's led by breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and Cornell Tech is ready for it. In fact, every day we're leveraging exciting new developments and digital technologies as an opportunity for our students to become the leader society needs. Cornell Tech has created a unique educational environment filled with exactly the expertise and the wisdom needed to navigate through the age of AI. Whether students are pursuing engineering, business design, or law, technology will play a role in their future career. Cornell Tech is uniquely poised to put students well on the path to be the real drivers of ai. 

Our dual degree programs focus on urban tech, health tech, and media tech. And truly, there's no better place in the world to study those industries than here in New York City. We're empowering students to not only understand human and computer interaction, but the role modern media plays in our daily lives.

We're creating solutions for globally recognized healthcare facilities and tackling infrastructure challenges that naturally develop in one of the world's most densely populated metro areas. We are committed to giving you as much as we get from New York City. 

Technology is often recognized as a high revenue industry and it certainly can be, but what we see here at Cornell Tech is students wanting to put tech to work for the betterment of humanity. One of our primary visions as an institution is to create lasting economic and social prosperity, whether that's through the startups we launched, the jobs created in the process, or the people served by our technologies....

Cornell Tech Electrical/Computer Engineering Masters Degree student Erin Murphy adds about the Roosevelt Island campus:

... Living in New York and specifically Roosevelt Island has been an incredible experience. Roosevelt Island itself has so much on it. There's so many green spaces. It's just a really peaceful place to live and work, but yet you're also one stop away from being in Midtown Manhattan or going into Queens or a few ferry stops away from Brooklyn. So it's a really cool central area to explore all that New York has to offer....

According to Cornell Tech:

In 2010, the City of New York issued a challenge to top institutions from around the world to propose a new or expanded applied sciences and engineering campus in New York City. Cornell University and the Technion­–Israel Institute of Technology— two of the world’s leading institutions in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and research—were selected from among 18 proposals to make this vision a reality. Shortly thereafter, the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute was founded based on a $133 million gift from Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife, Joan Klein Jacobs.

Cornell Tech first launched in 2012 in Google’s New York City building. In 2017, it migrated to its permanent location on Roosevelt Island—one of the most technically and environmentally advanced campuses in the world. Today, it is home to close to 50 tenure track and nontenured faculty members, approximately 500 master’s students across eight programs, and more than 100 doctoral students in five fields. We are committed to developing principled and innovative leaders who are practiced in interdisciplinary collaboration and entrepreneurship.

As part of a land-grant institution, Cornell Tech is focused on giving back to New York City. We apply our technologies in industries or sectors where New York City is leading the country and the world, including health, urban systems, media and democracy, cryptocurrencies and contracts, and public interest technology. Many of our graduates also stay in New York, supporting the continued growth of a vibrant tech ecosystem.

On February 15, 2024 former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg visited the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech campus. It was a private event so there was no media present to cover Mr Bloomberg's visit to Roosevelt Island.

But info was available on social media posts.

According to Mr Bloomberg's Instagram page:

I always enjoy talking to founders — especially @Cornell_Tech grads and entrepreneurs who are driving innovation and growing businesses in New York City. I had a great conversation with these leaders, who represent just a few of the 100+ businesses that have emerged from the school since it started. Thank you to Cornell Tech for hosting us this morning, and for continuing to create opportunities for our city.

According to the Cornell Tech Instagram Page:

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg visited Cornell Tech today to celebrate the launch of over 100 companies since the campus was founded and to have breakfast with some of our amazing startup founders.

He and Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO Patti Harris met with Cornell Tech Dean Greg Morrisett, Cornell University President Martha Pollack, Runway Director Fernando Gomez-Baquero, Startup Studio Co-head Jenny Fielding, and startup founders Vince Hartman, CEO and co-founder of Abstractive Health, Samantha Lee, CEO and co-founder of Meili Technologies, Niamh O’Hara, CEO and co-founder of Biotia, Charles Rodenkirch, CEO and founder of Sharper Sense, J’Vanay Santos, CEO and co-founder of MyLÚA Health, and David Stein, CEO and co-founder, Ash Wellness.

Cornell Tech is grateful to Mike Bloomberg, Patti Harris, and Bloomberg Philanthropies for their ongoing support!

According to the Instagram Page of Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO Patty Harris :

During the Bloomberg administration, we knew that building a new applied sciences university could create tens of thousands of jobs right here in NYC. We set out to launch a global competition where @cornell_tech was selected to be the first-ever school built for the digital age. Since then, Cornell Tech grads have built more than 100 companies, which play an important role in strengthening our city’s future. Today @MikeBloomberg and I met with faculty and graduates of the program who are now entrepreneurs putting creativity, innovation, and leadership at the heart of their work.

On June 16, 2015, Mayor Bloomberg took the Roosevelt Island Tram

on his way to speak at the Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island campus groundbreaking ceremony.

Here's more on the Cornell Tech programs. 

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Roosevelt Island Motorgate Garage Parking Rate Fees Going Up Beginning May 1- Can More Parking At Motorgate Be Built? Watch RIOC Board Committee Discussion Of The Issue

In February 2023, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced a Motorgate Parking Garage

rate fee increase for customers. In April 2023, after much community opposition to the Motorgate parking rate increases, RIOC revised it's plan stating:

... After careful consideration, RIOC has adjusted the monthly permit rates at the Motorgate Garage – aiming to be fair and equitable to all Island permit holders.

General Update:

Monthly permit holder rates will experience an annual 2% increase to accommodate rising operating expenses and allow for further upgrades to the facility, effective May 1, 2024.

Disabled Monthly Parking Permit Holders:

Beginning May 1, 2023, the Disabled monthly parking permit rate will be reduced from the proposed $125 rate to $62.50 only for existing enrolled customers before April 6, 2023, at 11:59 PM for a period of one year through May 1, 2024. On May 1, 2024, the Disabled monthly rate will be aligned with the Senior Citizen parking rate. All new customers applying for the Disabled monthly parking permit rate will be subject to the proposed $125 rate....

During the February 15, 2024 RIOC Board of Directors Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting, the new interim RIOC leadership of Deputy General Counsel Gerrald Ellis and Chief Financial Officer Dhru Amin discussed the upcoming May 1 parking rate increases for Motorgate customers.

The new Motorgate Parking rates (including tax) are proposed as follows.

The current Motorgate parking rates (excluding tax for monthly rates) are:

According to Mr Ellis the Motorgate garage ownership is a partnership between RIOC (60% owner) and Manhattant Park (40% owner) and that:
Manhattan Park is going to tell you that these rates are subsidized. They are all below market....
RIOC Director Howard Polivy said the Motorgate rates are much lower that similar facilities in Queens.

RIOC Director Ben Fhala added:

... This is a public Enterprise so it doesn't really matter what the market rate is as long as we're not losing money and we have enough money set aside to make renovations....

According to RIOC CFO Dhru Amin 

... currently our monthly revenue is about $180-190,000 so annually it's about 2.3... the management fees are around a million so we are in a surplus although there are some maintenance items that do come up at times either with the elevator or other things but I think at the end of the day we're still at a surplus....

... Resident monthly revenue is about $120,000, resident reserve monthly is about $38,000, diplomat is about $6,000 non-resident monthly is $13,000 and non-resident reserve monthly is $1,000...

Based upon the revenue amounts, the vast majority of Motorgate customers are Roosevelt Island residents.

I asked:

Because of the huge backlog of people looking for parking, is there any opportunity to build more parking at Motorgate? Supposedly there's  a fourth quadrant that there's was a plan to build eventually is that something that RIOC has looked into at all?

Mr Ellis replied:

Actively, not to my knowledge. I've seen the actual physical brackets where you could mount I beams to build out the rest of the quadrant. It's obviously built with that in mind that the fourth quadrant to be filled in. I'll say that we're going to continue this discussion talking about capital projects...

Here's the full discussion February 15 REDAC discussion of Motorgate parking fees.

In February 2022, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Committee Chairs toured the Motorgate Garage exploring ideas for increasing parking spots and RIRA's Frank Farance proposed expanding the garage by building an addition in the currently vacant quadrant of the area.

Sponsored Post - Get On The Courts And In The Game! Advantage QuickStart Tennis Program Customized For Your Kids At The Roosevelt Island Racquet Club - Summer Camp Starting Soon Too, Sign Up Now

Enroll Today with the Advantage Quick Start Tennis For Kids Customized Tennis programs
at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club.

Advantage QuickStart - Tennis Customized For Your Child's Age and Ability

Being in the right class is key to having a successful tennis experience! To ensure this, we offer free 15-minute on court evaluations and virtual consultations for new players. Site tours are also available during program hours. These introductions are essential to our enrollment process and are conducted personally by Joel Richmond and Site Directors.

For more info email or call 212-935- 0250 Ext 819

2024 Summer Camp at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club will soon be starting.

Sign up Now.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Sponsored Post - Join IDig2Learn's Bellies, Bins & Beauty Food Series For Delicious Saturday Afternoon West African Meals Featuring Roosevelt Island Resident And Chef Beatrice Ajaero Of Nneji Restaurant - RSVP Now For Limited Spots March 2, 9 & 16

Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn Founder Christina Delfico reports:

Join iDig2Learn’s Bellies, Bins and Beauty food series for delicious Saturday afternoon meals featuring expert guidance from local Roosevelt Island resident and chef Beatrice Ajaero, the owner of Nneji eatery in Astoria. 

Come inside and warm up with the company of neighbors new and old as we learn more about food as fuel to keep us healthy and strong. 

Space is limited to 45. RSVP the event keyword(s) to save your spot(s) and mention how many you wish to attend. The Roosevelt Island location will be confirmed once reservation is confirmed. Thanks to your generous donations and grants from NYState Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, NYCommunity Trust (NYCT)/Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and Citizens Committee for NYC for making these events possible.

FREE / Space is limited / RSVP A MUST

SAT. MARCH 2nd / 1-3PM

Email the keyword FONIO and how many to

SAT. MARCH 9th / 1-3PM

Email the keyword RED STEW and how many to

SAT. MARCH 16th / 1-3PM

Email the keyword TAGINE and how many to

Ms Delfico and iDig2Learn were recently featured in a Citizens Committee for NYC Partner Spotlight. According to the Citizens Committee for NYC:

Amid the towering skyscrapers of NYC lies an oasis of green activism: iDig2Learn. This grassroots organization, spearheaded by the dedicated leadership of Christina Delfico, is more than just a nature education program; it's a vibrant community hub fostering connection, environmental awareness, and sustainable practices.

Founded in 2012, iDig2Learn has blossomed into a force for good, transforming Roosevelt Island and beyond. Their impact is multifaceted:

  • Connecting with Nature: They bridge the gap between urban residents and the natural world, offering hands-on experiences like community gardens, tree walks, and food waste reduction workshops.
  • Building Community: By fostering shared experiences and collaborative projects, iDig2Learn fosters a strong sense of community, bringing neighbors together to care for their environment.
  • Promoting Sustainability: Their "smart waste reduction" initiatives educate residents on composting, recycling, and responsible consumption, empowering them to make eco-conscious choices....

Click here for the full Partner Spotlight article.

Also, Beatrice Ajaero and her Nneji restaurant

 were profiled in a January 16, 2024 Grub Street article:

... Many in the restaurant industry have stepped in to help feed these people, some continuing or building on work and networks developed during the pandemic. One of these restaurateurs is Beatrice Ajaero, who runs the West African takeout shop Nneji in Astoria. We spoke with her about her work feeding asylum seekers and other migrants, how she thinks about food access, and making meals that can speak to multiple cultures...

Here's more on the Bellies, Bins & Beauty initiative from iDig2Learn

and from a 2021 interview with Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors (GRIN) Anthony Longo

and Ms Delfico.

Remember to RSVP to attend one or more of the iDig2Learn Belles, Bins & Beauty food events.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

New RIOC Interim Leadership Team Inspects Condition Of Roosevelt Island Sidewalks And Roadways On Walk With Residents, Maintenance Team Takes Immediate Action To Implement Fixes - Residents Happy With Positive Outcome And Look Forward To Continued Community Partnership

Image From Rioc

According to a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) (X) Tweet

In February, RIOC Deputy Counsel Gerrald Ellis & Acting-COO Mary Cunneen went on an island walking tour with Audrey Tannen, island resident & District Office Director for State Senator @LizKrueger , & longtime island resident Joan Brooks, to assess different areas of maintenance..

Ms Tannen adds:

Senator Krueger has heard from many residents concerned about the condition of the sidewalks and roadways on RI. Deferred maintenance is not good for the infrastructure and, more importantly, for safety when navigating the Island. Gerald and Mary were very responsive to our request to hike the Island. We strolled from Copabianco Field to Cornell Tech-Mary was taking pictures and putting in tickets all along the way! Of course—it’s just a beginning—we must continue to report and to maintain. Please submit those repair tickets to RIOC Tikkit.

While Joan and I were happy not only by the positive response but also by the ACTIONS taken-we did express disillusionment that , although this work should have been done; it wasn’t. We’re encouraged by the positive outcome and look forward to continued partnership between RIOC, the community and our office.

Ms Tannen is correct. So far, the new interim RIOC leadership of Deputy General Counsel Gerrald Ellis and Chief Financial Officer Dhru Amin have brought a needed dose of transparency, communications and engagement to the Roosevelt Island community.

The February 15 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Development Advisory Committee discussed the issue of repaving the street and sidewalk Z-Bricks as well as repairing the dangerous street crossings and potholes.

Here's the discussion.

Also, here's more on the RIOC Tikkit system for residents and RIOC staff to report problems.

During the January 17, 2024 RIOC Board Of Directors Operations Advisory Committee meeting, Acting Chief Operating Officer Mary Cunneen provided this presentation on the Tikkit system.

Get Your Tickets Now For Roosevelt Island Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance Presentation Of Witness For The Prosecution March 8 Thru 10 - It Would Be A Crime To Miss It

Roosevelt Island's Main Stret Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) invites you to their presentation of Witness For The Prosecution the weekend of March 8 - 10.

According to MST&DA:


Court is officially in session! On Friday, March 8th at 7:00 pm, the curtain will rise at Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance’s Howe Theatre at 548 Main St. “Witness for the Prosecution” by Agatha Christie, presented by MSTDA’S Adult Theatre Workshop, will run 

  • March 8th 7PM, 
  • March 9th 2PM & 7PM and 
  • March 10th 2PM & 7PM. 

Tickets are on sale now and going fast!

Audience members will take part in the trial of the century as they enter London’s “Old Bailey” Central Criminal Court of London for an interactive performance of an iconic Agatha Christie murder mystery! Ticket purchasers may even decide to serve as Jurors, sit in the jury box and deliver their verdict after hearing shocking and passionate evidence from the witnesses! The 50s Film Noir aesthetic will further envelope you in this thrilling world. Be prepared to have all your senses swirling as you untangle the murderous web of the mysterious death of Miss Emily French. Will Leonard Vole be charged guilty or not guilty?

According to Director Mark Waite:

“Agatha Christie’s work is as popular now as it was when it was first published and with good reason. Great story-telling, fabulous characters and sparkling dialogue that is a joy not only to read but also to listen to and to direct. Witness for the Prosecution is regarded as one of Agatha Christie’s finest pieces of work and was adapted into a movie in 1957...” 

As an established and innovative theatre, MSTDA strives to bring fresh and fun perspectives to its audience, which in this case means breaking some traditional barriers. Mark Waite acquired permission from the Agatha Christie estate to change the gender, and thereby the dynamics and character relationships, of certain roles in the play, “allowing us to explore not only the xenophobia portrayed but also the stereotyping of female roles in an era where women struggled in a male dominated world.” says Mr. Waite. 

This shift is in alignment with past MSTDA productions. Recall “1776”, directed by Jacqueline Lucid, which featured non-traditional casting of females in many roles, including the lead role of John Adams! Also worth mentioning is “The Monkey King, A Kung Fu Musical” which flipped the gender of the legendary character of Monkey King to a girl. We believe our audience deserves quality entertainment that is thoughtfully customized to today’s cultural climate! 

Meet the entire cast 

and creative team.

More info about MST&DA at their website and Instagram page.

Click here to get your tickets for the MST&DA presentation of Witness For The Prosecution.

Monday, February 26, 2024

RIOC Installs New Swing Dampeners On Roosevelt Island Tram To Reduce Cabins Rocking Back And Forth During Sudden Mid Air Stops And To Make The Passenger Experience A More Pleasant One

As previously reported, the north Roosevelt Island Tram cabin was taken out of service last week for maintenance repairs. From Tuesday, February 20 through Friday, February 23 only one Tram cabin was working. The repairs were completed on Friday. Following an inspection and approval by the NY State Department of Labor, both cabins were back in service by Saturday afternoon.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Communications Director Bryant Daniels shares these photos and reports:
During this past weekend, in addition to the hydraulic cylinder replacement work performed on the Manhattan side station, POMA also installed the new swing dampeners on both the North and South Cabins. You can see the new blue dampeners on the outside of both ends of the cabin (pictured below).

Safety is always our first priority, and these sway dampeners are a necessary and important safety feature. They should also make the passenger experience a more pleasant one.

This work was the result of the New York State Department of Labor’s inquiry into the tram swaying incidents at the request of Assembly Member Seawright. As we continue to work with POMA to understand the root cause of the swaying incidents, these new dampeners should help reduce the actual cabin swaying in the event of another mid-air stop.

Here's some examples of the swinging Roosevelt Island Tram.

November 2023 

October 2023

September 2023. 

and from April 2019.

During the November 14, 2023 RIOC Board of Directors meeting, POMA's Roosevelt Island Tram Head Of Operations Armando Cordova addressed safety concerns caused by the Tram's sudden stops and swinging back and forth. 

According to Mr Cordova the problem is caused by a wi-fi issue that is being investigated. He assured everybody that the Tram is very safe and is not under any pressure or influence to operate the Tram if he thought there was any safety issue.