Friday, November 30, 2007

FYI: The Roosevelt Island "Prow"

FYI - 2000 March 5 - NYT By Line re Prow

On March 5, 2000, the F.Y.I. column in the New York Times ran the following Q and A regarding the construction of one of the few Roosevelt Island “points of interest” that point to the island being an island. If anyone has additional information regarding the design and construction let us know.

P9030403_prow close

I have always wondered why at that spot and not somewhere else. I suppose it had to do with the boat landing referred to below. All I know is that every time my kids and I walk up that part of the promenade we have to build in a few minutes, at least, to play on the “boat”.

A Nautical Stage

Q. A strange object that looks very much like a rusty old ship's prow protrudes from Roosevelt Island's west sea wall. It appears to be ''sailing'' across the channel toward 79th Street in Manhattan. What is it?

A. It's a performance stage and observation platform, built over an old boat landing in 1997 and designed to look . . . well, like a ship's prow. It projects about 50 feet out into the West Channel, and consists of a flat, unadorned concrete wedge clad with rusty plates of steel. Two small slots near the tip -- presumably for imaginary anchor chains -- are the only real nautical embellishment, though a few heavy mooring posts have been placed nearby.

The prow is in Octagon Park, in the northern section of the 157-acre island, below Coler Memorial Hospital. Nine acres of the 15-acre park, which was designed by Weintraub & di Domenico, a landscape architecture firm, were completed in 1992, but the prow is in a treeless forgotten area near the vents for the city's unfinished Third Water Tunnel. Set along a tattered section of the promenade, it is, at best, a diamond in the rough, though the view of Manhattan is stunning.

The Prow_Forgotten

View from the South


Nautical Moorings


Octagon Dock

According to a conversation I had with an Octagon resident this past Summer this dock is probably not able to accept Ferry Service as it is wearing structurally such that the "contact" made with repeated moorings would cause it increasing damage. It appears safe for pedestrian traffic but beyond that it would probably not hold up to an official inspection to receive ferry service. At least that was the opinion of that resident.

A Flea Market, a Book & Sock Sale, and a Celebration of Community Activism and Representation (December 1-2, 2007)

The following are three posters advertising events taking place this weekend December 1st and 2nd on Roosevelt Island. On Saturday afternoon Island Kids is hosting its First Flea Market fundraising event from 12pm to 5pm. At 5pm the Roosevelt Island Residents Association will be celebrating 30 years of community service at RIVAA.

PB280482_IslandKids Donation Requests

PB290028_RIRA 30th at RIVAA

On Sunday December 2nd the Roosevelt Island Jewish Center is hosting it annual sock and book sale from 10am to 4pm.

PB240434_RIJC Sock & Book Sale _2007 Dec 2_10-4

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Tree Lighting at Blackwell House

Tonight, November 29, 2007, the Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree was lit in a ceremony that included holiday carols, solo perfomances and a visit from Santa himself to children young and old. The festivities were held on the plaza outside Blackwell House. I expect full coverage from the Main Street WIRE in the next issue. My apologies for no close up shots of Santa and the festivities and I was on daddy duty until after the hoopla subsided.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Videos 40 Years Apart of Roosevelt Island

These two videos of Roosevelt Island show differing views of or from the same island, Roosevelt Island. The first in 2006 from two teenagers and their comments (occasionally off color) and the second from 1966. Two vastly different videos.

2006 Video Tour - Personal Video

This video is for the most part all at Southpoint and a bit at Lighthouse Park as well as various water views facing out from the island.

Direct YouYube Link by CoolLikeMiles

1966 Video Documentary of Welfare Island.

1966 Video Documentary of Welfare Island. “This short documentary, filmed in 1966, shows the island as it was. Much of the southern part of the island remains in this terrible condition.” It appears to be a non-professional video and quite grainy and the sound has not held up. But it is interesting to see video of the old structures at least for those pictures which are in focus.

Direct YouTube Link by VillagePeop

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Can Roosevelt Island Duplicate the Ward’s Island Foot Bridge?

Wards Island Bridge - Open

The answer whether Roosevelt Island can build a footbridge similar in features to the Ward’s Island Bridge is probably not. But the idea in concept would work. A foot bridge that would include a central section that would raise and lower to let passing vessels pass under it as they journey up and down the West Channel of the East River.

The concept is not new but the height required and cost would be prohibitive. There would also be all sorts of safety concerns and fears that if stuck in a closed position that river traffic would be obstructed.

But the idea is an interesting one and certainly one worth day dreaming about. It would be pretty cool to think of a bridge say across to Carl Shurz Park at 86th Street

For additional pictures of the Wards Island Bridge link HERE to the Bridge and Tunnel Club web page for the bridge. For additional pictures on Flickr link HERE.

[The above photo is from Flickr but I cannot find the citation at the moment].

Official Notification - Tram Off Line

Tram Out

It's official.

-----Original Message-----
From: RIOC Advisories
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:25 PM
Subject: Roosevelt Island Tramway Advisory

The Roosevelt Island Tramway is currently not operating. We apologize for the unscheduled outage and will advise when the Tramway has resumed service.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

Could Roosevelt Island Kids Benefit from a “Safe Haven” Program ?


First off, let me say of the many neighborhoods I have ever lived in Roosevelt Island is among the safest I have seen. This post grew out of my reading a story in today's NY Times that the number of stores participating in an Upper West Side Safe Haven program (it's their sticker posted above) has been dwindling as Mom & Pop shops are replaced by larger retailers. I then started wondering whether we are sufficiently teaching our children where to go in an emergency or if an incident were to occur where they would feel threatened. Certainly they could go to the Public Safety office on Main Street but if that is not close enough would they realize where to go?

In most cases they should be able to run into any business on Main Street, the FDNY SOC center, or to any door station of any of the buildings that have door stations (which is pretty much every building except for Eastwood) so with all these locations the kids should have no issue finding a “safe haven” should they need it. But without proper education they may not realize any of this and feel they can only run home to feel safe.

If however the child saw a Safe Haven sticker on each retailer's door or residential building’s entrance perhaps seeing the sticker would let them know safety is right in front of them if they need it. Just an idea. I’ll pitch it to RIOC and the Chamber of Commerce to see what they think.

My only fear would be that visitors to the island seeing numerous Safe Haven stickers might take it as an indicator that the Island needs greater protection or has a crime problem. As a parent I would rather give my kids a tool they can use and deal with visitor misconceptions second.

What is your opinion?

RI Historical Society Holiday Celebration – Thursday Dec. 6th

Holiday Kiosk Painting

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society is hosting a Holiday Celebration & sale this coming Thursday, December 6th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Visitors Center Kiosk located at the Tram Plaza on the Island.

The RIHS will be providing free refreshments and holiday gifts will be for sale including holiday cards featuring the above holiday painting of the kiosk painted by Yvonne Smith and photographed by this blog’s author.

Tram Off Line - Mechanical Problems

Tram Out

I received an email that the the Tram may be off line this evening due to mechanical issues. The RIOC contact number regarding the Tram indicates that the Tram is running normally as does the RIOC website. Probably just a short outage.

Note the tram's alleged outage has not been confirmed with a second party at this time.

If anyone hears otherwise please let me know via e-mail at

UPDATE: 8:42 pm - I just received a second e-mail confirming that the Tram is indeed "disabled".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Roosevelt Island Roots: Giuliani Top Campaign Advisor Tony Carbonetti

According to a November 6, 2007 article published online by the New York Observer, Giuliani Campaign advisor Tony Carbonetti spent some part of his childhood here on Roosevelt Island.

“A year later [in 1977], the Carbonettis moved to the mostly uninhabited Queens neighborhood of Roosevelt Island. When his parents split, the 13-year-old chose to stay with his father…..”

It is unclear how many years Mr. Carbonetti lived on Roosevelt Island. As a relative newcomer to Roosevelt Island I don’t claim to know all the players so I am assuming that the Lou Carbonetti who is accorded a special dedication on the Icla da Silva Foundation Board of Directors webpage is the Louis Carbonetti, Jr. referred to as Tony’s father.

This guess is probably correct as that same webpage credits Lou Carbonetti as the “Former Director of Community Assistance Unit, Mayor's Office, City of New York”. Lou Carbonetti is also credited as the “founder of Love Thy Neighbor, a Roosevelt Island community group established in 1990 in support of the da Silva family.” The New York Observer article had indicated that Tony Carbonetti’s father had received an administration post with the City of New York.

This all begs the question if Rudy is elected President would Tony Carbonetti have the influence to bring Roosevelt Island out from under the direct control of New York State any earlier than 2068?

AP Runs Story re FDR Memorial – Roosevelt Island Gets Nationwide Attention

The Associated Press ran a story today regarding the status of the Louis Kahn FDR Memorial planned for Southpoint Park. Roosevelt Island has not received nationwide attention since the April 2006 Tram stoppage that lasted just under 5 months.

The AP story focuses on the funding issue and includes quotes from a FERI representative, City Council Member Jessica Lappin, and Dick Lutz, manging editor of the Main Street WIRE.

Associated Press; MSNBC; ABC News;;; (Michigan)

UPDATE: The Roosevelt Islander has a great post, linked HERE, regarding the current news coverage and his views regarding the Kahn - FDR Memorial.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Image: Queensborough Bridge from Tram Platform

QB Bridge from Tram Platform

Link here for Original Photo Image by Blueleaf on Flickr

Warmer Times at Southpoint – "Oxford Comma" Vampire Weekend 6/17/07

This video is of “Oxford Comma” and was shot at Southpoint Park, Roosevelt Island on June 17, 2007. This group is one of a dozen or more that performed at Southpoint that weekend.

Direct YouTube Link by Chrisgr34

Friday, November 23, 2007

NYT: “Roosevelt Island” – The First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 1975 - Header

Roosevelt Island residents call them “pioneers” but this 1975 New York Times article refers to these first residents of the newly renamed Roosevelt Island as “pilgrims” on their first Thanksgiving on the Island. To view on the entire article double click the “partial” text provided below.

Thanksgiving 1975 - Partial

The Holiday Season: Roosevelt Island Style

I figured we should start the holiday season with a photo that typified Island holiday spirit. [Doubleclick the image to enlarge]. This tram for those of that don't know is displayed year round in the Thrift Shop. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Subway Escalators Come and Subway Escalators Go


Lower Mezz to Upper Mezz


Uppper Mezz to Street

The ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Roosevelt Island subway escalators appears to be marching on. No sooner have we been given back an operational pair of escalators that run between the street level down to the lower mezzanine, ES 411 and ES 414, that it appears that ES 412 and ES 415 may be boarded up until Fall 2008.

PB200409_Escalator Closed Sign

In the last few weeks the construction crews already boarded up ES 417 and ES420 which operated between the lower mezzanine and the track platforms after opening up ES418 and ES419.

So far the biggest complaints about the rehabbed equipment, as noted in a Letter to the Main Street WIRE, is the ongoing voice announcement heard now on the platforms to watch your step and hold the hand rails. If we get back, at the end of all of this construction, 10 working escalators (before the Tram possibly is taken off line for repairs and replacement) that don’t break down every other week who cares what the announcement says and how annoying it is.

escalators - 2007 nov 20

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Verdant Submits New Turbine Designs for East River Power Project

The Daily News posted an article today, November 20, 2007, indicating that Verdant believes its new turbine design will finally beat the problem of the tidal currents causing damage to the blades and the turbine itself.

Verdant had originally submerged six turbines into the East Channel of the East River behind Gristedes and Motorgate. Verdant "...expects to plant two reinforced turbines for analysis as soon as February. "

Blackwell Unbound – “Making of Video” Presentation

blackwell unbound - large

Dave Gilbert, Head Designer at Wadjet Eye Games, discusses the creative process behind the Blackwell Unbound video game. These three videos were all taped at the IGDA NY Demo Night on 8/21/07.

Blackwell Games Discussion

The below video links are presented here due to their fictional connection to the “Blackwell” family member depicted in each of the video games. The above photo is of Dave with a screen shot of two of his characters on the Roosevelt Island promenade. All three videos were shot and posted to YouTube by IGDANY.

YouTube Video 1 of 3
YouTube Video 2 of 3
YouTube Video 3 of 3

Monday, November 19, 2007

Could the City Reclaim or Threaten to Reclaim Roosevelt Island to Force the ESDC to Withdraw FMV Tax Bills?

This afternoon it was announced that New York City has reclaimed South Brother Island and that it will probably be left untouched as a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife that live there. Could New York City reclaim its title to another island in the East River and remove the fears of its residents that Empire State Developement Corporation FMV tax equivalency bills will destroy their homes?

With the issuance of full value bills for tax equivalency payments issued to three of Roosevelt Island’s four Mitchell-Lama properties could New York City reclaim Roosevelt Island citing the destruction of affordable housing as a reason to break its lease of the Island to New York State?

Certainly there are too many other factors involved which would prevent this from happening including the transition of services currently provided by RIOC to the equivalent City agencies.

But if the Island was no longer under State control than perhaps the 2005 City Council Resolution (#388) extending Mitchell-Lama tax benefits 50 years would apply as then the buildings would owe actual taxes and not “payments in lieu of taxes” which seems to be part of the current controversy whether the state intended to give the City Council the ability to affect taxes other than payments intended to go to City coffers.

Eventually when the current State-City lease runs out the fact is the Island will revert to City control and by that time it is expected each Mitchell-Lama property will have successfully exited the program. In the mean time can the City put a little pressure on Albany and remind them that the landlord does not like it when its tenant, NYS, is scarring its subtenants. Can NYC as landlord remind NYS that ultimately it holds jurisdiction over the Island and that to impose the FMV ESDC tax bills in some form violates that jurisdiction when their issuance is contrary to the well being of those residents?

QueensBorough Bridge Kitty Not From Roosevelt Island


I saw this story on Gothamist last Friday and I could not resist posting about it here. One as the real kitten is adorable, the story heart warming, and it includes a photo of Roosevelt Island in the background. RI is on the left side of the picture.

Bridge_Kitty_Blog Page Photo

Apparently a kitten wandered up (we hope he was not dumped there) onto the pedestrian walkway of the 59th Street Bridge and a women who was walking across saw the kitty and rescued it using an empty paint can from the current bridge reconstruction project. For the whole story link HERE to a blog post written by the rescuer herself. The kitten has been named Jeff Bridges. Fifty years ago it might have been named after Lloyd, Jeff’s dad.

If the old staircase or upside down elevator still connected Roosevelt Island to the Queenborough Bridge the kitten conceivably could have come from one of the wild colony of cats on the Island but even then walking South from Octagon Park seems unlikely.

Direct YouTube Link by LisaCat

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Cool Focus" Exhibition Opens at RIVAA

rivaa - cool focus - Vertical

This weekend RIVAA opened its newest exhibition "Cool Focus". For more information you can visit either of the active RIVAA websites, the current site and the new site.

Double click the above image to see the authorized exhibition card. The above image is an edited version of the official card formatted to fit this space.

Friday, November 16, 2007

YouTube: East River Time Lapse – View from Riverwalk

This time lapse video, shot I believe from either 475 or 465 Main Street, looking West towards Manhattan from Roosevelt Island moves quite fast and is a bit grainy but still quite cool to watch. It was added onto YouTube on August 11, 2006.

Direct YouTube Link by mikesieben

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In The Paper – The Main Street WIRE – 11/17/2007

WIRE 28-6 Cover

> NYS Threatens Huge Tax Hikes for Island’s Mitchell Lamas
> Student, Pushed Hard, and Teacher Find Rapport in Chords on Steel Strings

Saturday’s WIRE is already available on-line and worth downloading immediately. The WIRE article regarding the full value tax bills issued by the Empire State Development Corporation is required reading as Roosevelt Island residents are not going to learn what is going on in any other forum in such depth. Until residents start understanding the issues and know all the facts and making noise the Spitzer administration will do what it wants with us. Read the article even if its length scares you.

Nov. 30, 2007 - Wheelchair Charities Annual Christmas Gospel Show at Goldwater Hospital

Coler-Goldwater Banner

WheelchairCharities Inc. Banner - Full

I know absolutely nothing about Gospel music but when I saw the below poster and saw that the show is sponsored by Wheelchair Charities benefiting Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital here on Roosevelt Island I knew the show must be worth seeing.


Double click the picture to see a larger view of it.

As noted on the poster the scheduled performers include Byron Cage, Jerry White & The Fellowship Choir, Jay Caldwell and the Gospel Ambassadors, and the God Sons of New Jersey. That just sounds like a lot of great music.

We have a lot of great charitable foundations on this island or benefiting island residents and they all deserve our support, physically and monetarily. I have to admit that when I see the back of a wheel chair and it reads donated by Wheelchair Charities or the full size blue school bus with the same message it just makes me smile because there are few charities like this one that you can see the results in your own backyard. Without this organization’s work and that of the staff at Coler-Goldwater many of the residents and patients at Goldwater would never get outside to enjoy this Island and the amenities it has. For a patient to be able to enjoy the outdoors with for example a new chair on their own terms can only help them in their rehab or just getting by dealing with what life has thrown at them.

So if you plan to be around Friday, November 30th, add this concert to your calendar for the music and the chance to help a fellow resident via the cost of your ticket.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Poster Kiosks: Let There Be Equity!

I am sure there are rules maintained by RIOC regarding the poster kiosks we have scattered up and down Main Street. But sometimes I wonder who is enforcing them. Other times I feel I must have lousy luck as I seem to post my flyers the evening before the kiosks are completed stripped clean. Yes this is a bona fide gripe post.

Holiday Wonders Poster Wrap

One thing that really bugs me is demonstrated in the above picture. Kiosk hogs. It’s one thing to place two flyers on a single kiosk so people see the flyer coming and going. I admit I have subscribed to this practice. Hey my posters are only 8 ½” by 5 ½“ and two of them together only equal one full piece of paper so I don’t feel I have been too hoggish. But these posters are not flyers but full size posters and there are generally three of them (in this case four) on each of the kiosks I have seen them on.

And guess what they are not even advertising an event that is taking place on Roosevelt Island. The “Holiday Wonders” event being advertised is at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan. For more info double click the above picture to see a closeup of the entire poster. Now they have got nothing to complain about as I have given them free advertising.

Hey I not saying these oversized posters should be removed entirely or that the kiosks have to be biased towards island based events and organizations but a little equity would be appreciated.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Construction - Lane Reversal Schedule

According to a RIOC advisory issued this morning the below table is a schedule of the upcoming temporary lane reversals for the purpose of installing the "above roadway painting containment system" on the lift span as well as deck repairs.

NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents will be deployed at 36th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard to mitigate vehicular traffic. Pedestrians will continue to access the existing sidewalk without any interruptions.

So far we have had a few of these lane reversals for this containment system but we have only seen installations below the bridge and not above.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Roosevelt Island Residents: Spitzer Administration Screws Mitchell Lama Residents

Updated to remove photograph.

Printed in time for the Rivercross Tenants Association 30th Anniversary Party the Main Street WIRE published a one page special previewing this coming week’s issue (Saturday November 17, 2007) regarding the issuance of full value real estate tax equivalency bills to three of the four original Roosevelt Island Mitchell-Lama buildings. The poster was not an official editorial as the situation is fluid and the WIRE's official editorial will not be set until it is is formally published. See my previous two posts for more background.

The below image is of the poster taken late Sunday night as it dominates the internal Rivercross message board.


Most residents expect the politicians to work this out as the issuance of these bills does seem to run counter to the stated goals of ensuring affordable housing but it certainly does seem that the Spitzer administration does not have control of the state agencies charged with ensuring this goal is kept by sending out FMV tax bills. Not exactly a friendly way to gather support for buildings to stay in the Mitchell-Lama program. Expect this issue to dominate island news for a few weeks at a minimum.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

WIRE: 2005 City Council Resolution Extending Exemption DOES NOT Apply to Roosevelt Island Mitchell-Lama Buildings

WIRE Banner - No 50 Yr Tax Relief

A review of back issues of the Main Street Wire from 2005 yielded the following articles and texts. Ultimatelty it appears that the WIRE concluded that the City Council resolution extending the tax exemptions did not apply to Roosevelt Island.

If this is true the issuance this week of the tax equivalency bills by the Empire State Development Corporation to Westview, Island House and Rivercross could prove disastrous for the residents who expected that the 50 year additional exemption applied to their buildings.

What I don't understand is why then if the WIRE reported the conclusions reached by the State and City officials back in 2005 was the issuance of the bill to Rivercross something so unexpected as indicated in the flyer posted in Rivercross and distributed to their residents.

As reported in the Main Street Wire on February 19, 2004:

“At press time, attorneys for the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the State's Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) had still reached no conclusion about exactly what the action could mean on Roosevelt Island, which is unique in the State's constellation of Mitchell-Lama developments because the Island,while owned by the City, is leased to the State for development (to 2068),and the PILOT payments - which substitute for "real" taxes - go to the State, not the City. A key question: Did the State Legislature, in amending the PHFL, intend to give the City Council the authority to forgive payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) to the State? That issue was raised when a WIRE question was relayed by Lappin to HPD and DHCR. Lappin said HPD and DHCR would have to be consulted. On Thursday, however, a DHCR spokesman said, "That's really a question for the City Council."

While the Island's PILOT payments would normally be passed through to the City, they are not. That's because the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has substantial "credits" with the City by virtue of its original development of the Island. The PILOT income stops in the State's coffers.”

After several issues of the Main Street Wire offering nothing substantive other than resident commentaries, Dick Lutz in the May 14, 2005 Main Street Wire states that the Resolution has no applicability to the Roosevelt Island Mitchell-Lama buildings:

"It may be a technicality of sorts, but Roosevelt Island buildings will not get the 50-year extension of tax abatements the State Legislature authorized the New York City Council to grant to Mitchell-Lama apartment buildings.

"The [Legislature's] bill itself refers to taxes," said Jessica Lappin, an aide to Council Speaker Gifford Miller, "and the buildings on Roosevelt Island don't technically pay taxes. They look and smell and feel like taxes, but they're not technically taxes."

When the City Council granted the tax-abatement extensions earlier this year, materials accompanying the Council resolution specifically listed Westview, Island House, Rivercross, and Eastwood. It held out the possibility of a Mitchell-Lama future with tax costs remaining low. But that was a mistake.

What "look and smell and feel like taxes" for Roosevelt Island are PILOTs - "payments in lieu of taxes" - made to the State. For those who pay them, they are the functional equivalent of taxes, and for the Island's Mitchell-Lama buildings, they are scheduled to rise significantly over the next couple of years - a provision of the ground leases under which the buildings were placed on land owned by the City, but leased from the City by the State.

The WIRE raised questions about the Island's eligibility for the abatement extensions in February in a report on the City Council's action, and again in April in a commentary written by Tim Johns, an Island House resident who has kept close tabs on the laws, leases, and regulations that apply to the Island's Mitchell-Lama buildings. As a result, State and City lawyers looked into the matter and realized that earlier statements affirming applicability to the Roosevelt Island buildings were incorrect."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Roosevelt Island Mitchell-Lama Buildings Receive FMV Tax Equivalency Bills from State Despite City Resolution Extending Exemptions

WIRE Banner - 50 Year Resolution

This week just prior to its 30th anniversary the Rivercross Building on Roosevelt Island received a tax equivalency bill from the Empire State Development Corporation which could potentially increase monthly costs to each tenant by 45%. In addition to the Rivercross building both the Island House and the Westview buildings received similar tax equivalency bills. Such increases would destroy the affordability of these buildings to many of their tenants especially those on fixed incomes.

According to a flyer posted in its lobby, the Rivercross Board of Directors announced that if the tax bill stands it could force maintenance charges to increase by approximately 45% to cover this added cost to their building. Of the four original Mitchell-Lama buildings Rivercross is the only co-op building.

The ground lease issued to the Rivercross building provided that payments in lieu of real estate taxes would extend through 2007 the thirtieth anniversary of the issuance of the building’s certificate of occupancy. The ESDC is the successor in interest to the NYS Urban Development Corporation.

The tax bill received by Rivercross this week stated that the 30 year period had ended and that effective September 15, 2007, the buildings tax equivalency payments were increased to approximately $3.6 million per year.

The New York City Council in 2005 had passed Resolution 388-A granting real property tax exemptions for an additional 50 year period to private housing companies, including Mitchell-Lama buildings. According to the Rivercross flyer the list of applicable housing companies attached to the resolution included Rivercross. The resolution linked to here does not include that list. There had been some concern whether the City resolution applied to the Roosevelt Island buildings but in each building’s case local politician assured the buildings that as long as they stayed in the Mitchell-Lama program the resolution would be applicable to them and protect their tax status.

As reported in the most recent issue of the Main Street Wire, the Rivercross building announced its intent to formally notify the DHCR that it intended to leave the Mitchell-Lama program but no such filings have been made to date. As of today Rivercross still exists as a Mitchell-Lama property.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Transportation Issues Drive Resident Off Roosevelt Island

carnegie hill pic

Not all neighborhoods fit all individuals. Two days ago one former Roosevelt Island resident, Michael Mulvey of the blog Daily Exhaust, expressed his relief in a post titled “Uptown Baby, Uptown Baby” about returning to Manhattan:

Goodbye Roosevelt Island, hi Carnegie Hill.

I have to tell you, my wife and I feel great being back in civilization. We didn't realize how much we missed Manhattan. No more red bus, no more Tram. Do you understand how good it feels to take the 6 train straight to work with no transfers?”

Based on this text it would appear that it was more than transportation issues alone that fueled his gratitude for being off Roosevelt Island. Who knows but certainly in the coming years with the expected growth Mr. Mulvey will not be the only resident or former resident chafing at how to commute on and off Roosevelt Island.

It goes without saying that Main Street Roosevelt Island is not Madison or even Lexington Avenues but we do have our share of civilization. As for taking the 6 train over the Tram at least when I am sardined into the Tram I have a beautiful view.

Manhattan’s Tramway Plaza – Images from Yesterday and Today

Even though Tramway Plaza is not technically part of Roosevelt Island it is as much part of the island psychologically to residents as anyplace else and when a resident reaches the plaza at the end of a long day they know they are almost home.


Tram Plaza - Cuhaj - img_38702 - NYC Subway org

Copyright 2005 George Cuhaj via NYC


Images of the interior Plaza brickwork and the picture of the Tram station itself were taken from the Bridge & Tunnel Club web page for Tramway Plaza.

Park Rededication Links:

< Parks News Release – July 19, 2007
< Photos from the Rededication
< Daily Plant

Past Art Installations:

Entrance to a Garden – Dennis Oppenheim – May 2004

Art - Entrance to a Garden - Oppenheim - 2004 - v2a

NYC Parks Dept. Press Release


Tramway Park Map

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Update: “Roosevelt Island – Land Without Dogs” Movie

Land Without Dogs

Please pardon the poor screen shot from the Land Without Dogs movie. But great news for anybody like me that has never seen the movie. It looks like the movie will soon be digitized and a link made available here for those interested to see this hilarious film. If you can’t wait a few snippets are shown within the YouTube Jeff Powers “reel” we presented HERE a week or so back.

Now granted a lot has changed since this film played at the 2004 Film Festival and there are now plenty of dogs on the island but that privilege may actually be traced back to the dogs in this movie. They were trailblazers fighting for the right to be on this Island. Since I have not seen the movie, all of this is made up in my mind but I am just so excited that if everything works out we may soon see the movie. Hooray! Thank you Jeff Powers! Thank you Mr. / Ms. Director!

Annual PS 217 Alumni Reunion at Lighthouse Park - Yahoo Group

Yahoo Reunion Group

You may have seen the below YouTube video shot at the 2007 reunion for original PS 217 alums but did you know there is a Yahoo group set up for the 2008 reunion and that if you are an alum you can join? Well you can. The above picture is from the Yahoo group’s home page and taken at the 2007 reunion.

Direct YouTube link by onedamani