Friday, August 31, 2007

Starting Oct. 1st - Abrasive Blasting Paint Removal on Roosevelt Island Bridge

Bridge Lead Paint Blasting Notice

Starting on October 1, 2007 or soon thereafter contractors will begin abrasive blasting procedures to remove the paint on the RI Bridge. The blasting per the 30 day notice posted today on the RIOC advisory webpage indicates that the blasting will be fully contained to protect the public. Per the Reconstruction Project brochure (which was stuffed in the plastic containing a recent Main Street Wire) vehicle and pedestrian access across the bridge will be maintained at all times.


The blasting process is scheduled to be completed by August 2009 (not 2008 but 2009) and could conceivably be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This statement is not stated in the brochure which indicates that general work will be between 7am and 7pm. So for the folks living on Main Street facing the bridge be prepared for noise along the lines of the abrasive blasting noise one hears by the 59th Street Bridge.

Another 360 View from Southpoint Park

This video was shot from Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island. The video clearly shows the fantastic views this park offers of Manhattan and Queens. While I can support the goal of creating a memorial here to Franklin Delano Roosevelt the prospect of destroying this 360 degree view would be a travesty. I usually am one to always want more trees but to add them here and block these views would be criminal. Can we honor Teddy instead and leave it like this?

Direct YouTube link . Video by Federicofabrizio

Can an F Train Report Card Get Us More Trains?

The NY Times is reporting that based on the report card given by riders of the 7 Train that the number of trains running, before and after rush hour, will be increased as train overcrowding was the number one complaint reported. I am not sure how this helps as the complaints probably refer to rush hour but at least it is a step forward for 7 Train riders. Second Ave Sagas has the complete 7 Train report card.

I would have to guess the F Train would do no better in the overcrowding department as rated by Roosevelt Island rush hour riders.

f train report card - partial item list

I have not heard anywhere on any front how and when the MTA will report on the status of the on-line rider report cards the MTA has set up for all lines (discussed previously here). All I have heard about via the blogs are reports regarding the paper report cards distributed and collected for a few select lines.

Roosevelt Island commuters let’s not wait for paper surveys to be distributed. Make your voice heard and go to the MTA’s on-line survey for the F Train and start making some noise. Starting Tuesday the truth that Summer is over will be evident once you hit that platform and you know it will not be pretty.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

amNew York Story: Retail finds Roosevelt Island

Today's amNew York features a story in their Real Estate section.. The photos featured are of the new Duane Reade and a shot of the Riverwalk buildings under construction taken from the Tram. The articles focuses on the dichotomy of living here without substantial retail operations relative to the population and location. Apparently the reporter consulted our own Roosevelt Islander on his experiences of living here.

Roosevelt Island and “Just Ask the Locals” Tourism Campaign


NYC Mayor Bloomberg yesterday kicked off a new marketing plan to boost tourism here in NYC. The plan referred to as “Just Ask the Locals” features local celebrities who live here in NYC and gives tourists carte blanche to use the site and to physically ask New Yorkers questions during their visits here.

Like many tourism sites it includes a photo of our Roosevelt Island Tram. The above photo is their choice to honor and highlight the Tram. Such photos on such sites are not unusual but they always make me think why doesn’t the City Tourism bureau highlight our island and its history more.

Well we don’t have the high power celeb locals that the NYC Visit site has tapped but we do have the Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Center which is staffed by our locals to answer any questions visitors might have. So stop on by.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Steps from the Roosevelt Island Bridge: Noguchi, Socrates & Costco

While Roosevelt Island may be part of Manhattan for schools and voting issues we are physically connected to Queens via the Roosevelt Island Bridge. So three of my favorite places to walk to in Long Island City Queens via that bridge are the Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, and of course Costco.

P8180122_Hike Sign

LIC Map Costco-Noguchi-Socrates

The Noguchi Museum has a great set of programs for families including Art for Families for families with children ages 5 -11 and Art for Tots for families with children ages 2-4. Space is limited and reservations are required. The price for each session can not be beat. $5 per family for up to six family members which includes the cost of the supplies for the artwork you’ll go home with each week. And for grown up just looking to enjoy the museum and its outdoor sculpture garden the museum is located at 9-01 33rd Road at Vernon Boulevard.

To call Socrates Sculpture Park just a park does it a disservice. “It is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and artist residency program that also serves as a vital New York City park offering a wide variety of public services.” And I say that not just because that is what the website says. It is just a really cool place and always has something going on. It has a great view of Lighthouse Park from the Hallets Cove side of the Park. I just love the windmill chimes and would love to have a set up at Lighthouse Park.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pedestrian Safety Fencing Planned for Roosevelt Island Bridge

When I first read the pamphlets and DOT webpage about the Roosevelt Island Bridge reconstruction I took the phrase new “pedestrian safety fencing” to refer to the railing of the bridge. I have always been concerned about my kids walking alongside the rail and either dropping toys down to the water or falling through themselves.

It was only after reading the phrase again that I realized it refers to a fence separating pedestrians from passing cars and trucks. OK, I should have realized that from the get go. It never made sense how the original designers (Knappen Tippetts Abbott Engineering Company of NYC) of a bridge projected to expect 640 vehicle crossings a day felt that a pedestrian safety fence was not necessary in the first place. One of the central goals for NYC was that the new bridge would replace the upside-down building and relieve some of the congestion caused by cars and trucks exiting onto and from the bridge to that structure.

This morning I spoke briefly with the community liaison for the reconstruction project and explained I was interested in learning more about the pedestrian fence and the exterior railing. I hope to learn more.

Proposal to House 70,000 on [Roosevelt] Island

title at 75p

segment 1

segment 3

segment 4

segment 5

OK, so it was a 1961 proposal. I thought it would be fun to bring back excerpts from various historical articles detailing plans considered by New York City or simply proposed to New York City regarding the use and planning for Roosevelt Island prior to NYS leasing this place for 99 years and embarking on the current “utopia” we now live in.

I especially like the segments about the number of amenities and proposed transportation on and off the island for 70,000 people. I can’t imagine the lines for the elevators up to the 59th Street Bridge.

As a graduate of SUNY-Albany the concept of building the structures atop a two level concourse which would house retail and services is not so far fetched as this is what was done on that university campus and part of NYS’s capital complex. The number of schools and libraries sounds great as well. Perhaps this can be tried during the island’s next iteration.

Monday, August 27, 2007

MTA Proposed Fare Increase Fair to Roosevelt Island Tram Riders?

Expect in the next few days to see the news media discussing the MTA’s proposed 6.5% fare increase as the NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is expected to issue a report today blasting the MTA. According to report by NY1 “DiNapoli says the MTA should wait to see how much money it will get from the mayor's congestion pricing plan and Governor Eliot Spitzer's upcoming budget.”

The March 2004 inclusion of the Roosevelt Island Tram in the NYCTA Metrocard system was a great event in recent island transportation history and it certainly makes my life as a commuter bearable. But you wonder whether each time the fare increases whether the island is getting a fare / fair shake. I need to go back into past issues of the Main Street Wire to see if there were ever any stories about the fee sharing agreement that exists between the MTA and RIOC.

Do fare increases mean RIOC automatically gets more money for each turn of the tram turnstile? Certainly RIOC’s tram operating costs increase as time goes on but you wonder who wins and who loses on these increases. All I know is we’ll be paying more.

Update: 10:00am

According to the March 6, 2004 issue of the Main Street Wire it appears that the deal brokered by then Speaker Gifford Miller ensured that "RIOC [would] receive full income from every swipe" of the Metrocards at the Tram turmnstile. So my question is now will RIOC see the funds that woud come in from a fare increase as "general income" or do these funds have to be pegged for tram upkeep or improvements? At least it means the monies we pay come back to the island. But there are always questions.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Lurie Art Remnant at Southpoint Park

What now looks like a multi-colored tarp that washed ashore on Roosevelt Island's Southern tip is actually the last remnant of a large scale art event by Ranan Lurie that began within the halls of the United Nations. Think "The Gates" but with flowing banners working their way across the steps and lawns of the UN gardens and then stretching across the waters of the East River culminating on Roosevelt Island.

Unconfirmed rumors have it that the City wants this remnant now removed. Perhaps with "The Encampment" scheduled to be pitched at Southpoint this October it is time to remove the last vestage of the "Uniting Painting".

The following excerpts are from UN Press Release 5978 issued Oct. 28, 2005:

“Connecting the world by art and goodwill is one of the missions of the “Uniting Painting”, a fine art creation by Ranan Lurie, which will open in the United Nations Headquarters Visitors' lobby on 1 November at 6 p.m.

Conceived by Mr Lurie in 1968, it unites an expanding group of countries in one large international exhibit spanning continents. “Mr. Lurie’s epic painting is a glorious attempt to illustrate the human desire for, and our need for, mutual understanding and togetherness, using the common language of art to -- quite literally -- connect people around the globe”, says United Nations Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, Chairman of the United Nations Exhibits Committee.

At the United Nations, where it can be viewed until the beginning of 2007, the art starts as a motif painted on canvas panels, descending from the ceiling in the Headquarters main Visitors’ Lobby. The same motif glides onto a carpet specially designed by the artist for the large ceremonial stairs. It then reaches the outdoors, via the Canadian doors, continues across the public plaza down the stairs to the promenade, and "flows" into the East River. The “Uniting Painting” then resurfaces at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, before commencing its journey to connect with the rest of the world.”

To see pictures of the Uniting Painting's creator Ranan Lurie and the project as it unfurled follow this LINK.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Assemblymember Kellner Announces Roosevelt Island Offices Hours


At RIOC’s last movie night, Saturday 8/25th, both I and the Roosevelt Islander were greeted by New York State Assemblymember Micah Z. Kellner (D) who stopped by to announce to his Roosevelt Island constituents that starting Thursday September 13th he will begin offering weekly office hours here on Roosevelt Island. The hours will run between 3pm and 7pm weekly at RIOC’s offices at 591 Main Street. In addition to discussing his new hours we took the opportunity to also discuss the possibility of Roosevelt Island qualifying for one of the twenty DOT stand alone public restrooms that are planned to be built across New York City.

The above video was shot off the cuff and I offer my apologies to the Assemblyman for the lousy lighting and sound not to mention his last words being slightly clipped in the editing of this video.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Renderings of Roosevelt Island - Possibilities

Roosevelt Islander today informed us that a new YouTube video of a three dimensional graphic of a three tower skyscraper which the designer places South of the 59th Street Bridge. Over the course of the island's history it has been reinvented and re-imagined numerous times. Curbed is calling this “the finest architectural vision for New York City, and Roosevelt Island in particular, we've ever seen”.

The attached montage is a compilation of renderings historical, past and present. As additional renderings are found this montage will be updated.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Can Facebook Help my Morning Commute off Roosevelt Island?

Facebook F Train Graphic

The Subway Blogger reported yesterday Wed. 8/23 (and New York Magazine Intel blog picked up the story today Thursday 8/24) on a new feature on Facebook that is tracks the status of subway lines. The feature is totally user driven and dependent on members constantly feeding updates into the system.

Using the F train to get off the island on rainy days will probably based on recent history get only worse. We are at the mercy of track conditions in Queens and Manhattan (and to a much lesser degree Brooklyn). If it floods we risk losing service or at least being horribly delayed. So I am always looking for ways to better monitor subway for morning and evening commutes to and from Roosevelt Island. Perhaps this is another tool that will help.

All I know about Facebook is that it is the current "in thing" on the Internet especially among the young and single crowd. So if something exists I will try it. My only guess is that if it is something you have to always be at your PC to use it will be no help when commuting. If the updates can be sent to my Blackberry that would be helpful but who needs 30 emails from a bunch of kids using the feature as another way to hook up with each other. I will post again if this is helpful or at least interesting.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Christmas [Vacation Movie] Finally Arrives This Saturday 8/25; “Funny Girl” Review

RI - RIOC Movie Image ES

If you don’t already know RIOC is showing National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” this Saturday 8/25 at Southpoint. The movie was rescheduled for this date after being postponed due to fear of rain earlier this summer. RIOC has plastered the island and Manhattan Tram station letting us know of the rescheduled date. So come on down to Southpoint this Saturday.

RI - Christmas Vacation Poster - July 28 2007

If the weather is anything like last Saturday night wear layers and bring a blanket. The showing of “Funny Girl” last Saturday was tempered by how cold it got. Moviegoers toughed it out but were all quite happy that a Red Bus was waiting to take them up island after the two and one half hour feature concluded. The movie was great and for those unfamiliar with the flick it included many of the songs that became Streisand standards.

The Encampment "Tabletop" Tents

Encampment Tent

Encampment Tent - Interior

Today Encampment tabletop “tents” showed up in the Wire distribution wall box at the Tram station on the Manhattan side. They are take-aways further describing The Encampment


As the Roosevelt Islander and The Gothamist each pointed out in the last few days it appears that "The Encampment" may be getting the media blitz that The Gates got two years (?) ago.

Here is a partial list of on-line articles posted about the project:

More Than 100 White Tents To Go Up On Roosevelt Island - Created: Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007, 6:00 AM EDT -

Tent art pitched for Roosevelt Isle (Tuesday, August 21st 2007, 4:00 AM ) – Daily News

The Encampment: Roosevelt Island's Past, Illuminated (August 16, 2007) – The Gothamist

The Encampment Update - Call for Creative Collaborators (Wednesday August 15, 2007) – Roosevelt Islander

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Decreasing Open Spaces

For those islanders who have been here since the 1970's probably the greatest change has been watching more and more open space disappear to construction. From apartment buildings to the construction of P.S. / I.S. 217 the percentage of open space or undeveloped space has dramatically dropped.

When Southtown is completed the remaining large scale open spaces will include only 6 major areas with only 4 currently open to the public. These six include Lighthouse Park, Octagon Park, Capobianco Field, Blackwell's Park (opposite Blackwell House and adjacent to Riveercross), the lands between and around the Renwick Ruin and Strecker Lab and finally Southpoint Park.

We have yet to see the realization of Southpoint Park as envisoned by the Trust for Public Lands or that of the FDR memorial but each promises vistas and experiences of parkland that offer quiet spaces as well as venues where we all will gather for events and ceremonies. We look forward to the dreams each envision even if we might disagree with perhaps the design of these spaces (I.e. The FDR Memorial).

For now I offer the above video of the open field just East of the current Southtown buildings as within the next year it will be another construction site and another space lost to public and quiet enjoyment.

MTA: 8/21 F Train Elevators Out at Lex & 63rd

As of 9:10 am this morning the MTA website is reporting that the elevator is out of service, again, at the Lexington & 63rd Street stop on the F train. I can't say how much this new MTA web page helps in planning travel plans when traveling with children and strollers. Thanks MTA.
As of 2:30 pm the website no longer reports that elevator as out of service.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Off Island Schools: We'll Only Pay for Half Your Commute

As indicated in one of the side panel polls there are a number of Roosevelt Island children that go to public schools located in Manhattan. For most of these children they rely on school provided metrocards to allow them to travel to school whether it be via subway or tram. For the youngest of these commuters their parents commute with them taking them door to door.

Optimally you would think that if enough children from one school were provided with bus service direct from Main Street that would fill a need making the children's commutes more efficient. The question then becomes would the added time on the bus waiting through any Queensborough Bridge related traffic be worth it. An alternative apparently suggested by one group of parents last year was that they would bring their kids over via the tram but asked for a defined bus stop where a bus would pick the children up and take them the rest of the way.

It was unfortunately at this point that the City schools said we can do that but that they would no longer issue these children Metrocards forcing the parents to layout the fares for the tram rides to and from school.

Putting aside the reasons why families enroll their kids in public school off the island you would think the schools would see the value in providing the tram fare as opposed to having a bus sit in bridge traffic.

It is my understanding that the inclusion of the tram under the Metrocard system (brokered by our former City Council Speaker Gifford Miller) does not turn over our fares fully to the MTA but results in a percentage of those funds returning to RIOC to be applied against tram operation costs. If that is the case could RIOC waive the tram fares for these children upon presentment of a RIOC school fare card to the tram operators. In this manner the City schools would also be assured that our kids are not abusing the school issued fare cards that we have been reading about.

In all likelihood these parents will continue to commute directly to these off-island schools with their children but it is an issue that confronts many of our neighbors when they decide to send their children to public school in Manhattan.

Related Linkage:

Public Schools Update (Roosevelt Islander)

A Video Post Card of Roosevelt Island Retailers

I don’t pretend to understand the legalities and all of the issues involved in bringing more retail / store front operations onto the island specifically into Northtown. The reasons, suggestions, and arguments have all been discussed at length in The Wire.

I do know that while many residents want Main Street to retain its charm many are looking for the ability to shop on our island for many of the conveniences most neighborhoods take for granted. The opening in Southtown of the Italian restaurant and Duane Reade for many will be a welcome addition to their daily lives.

The attached video is not so much an advertisement for the businesses that currently are here but a video snapshot or postcard for what we have today. For a complete phone and address listing please go to the NYC10044 website.

By my tally we currently have:

3 markets/convenience (Gristedes, M&D, The Octagon Deli), 1 restaurant (Trellis), 1 take out / sit in Chinese (China 1), 2 cleaners, 3 salon / nails, 1 coffee place (Starbucks), 2 pharmacies (Gristedes and the expected Duane Reade), 1 stationery card store / newsstand, 1 thrift shop, 1 general store (hardware/videos/housewares/toys), 1 florist (Cymelia), 1 liquor store (The Grog Shop), 1 boutique (We Are One), 3 financial services (NYNB, Accountable, Montauk Credit Union), 1 pro shop, 1 souvenir / historical center, several professional service providers (doctors, dentist, chiropractor), and 1 art gallery (RIVAA).

If I have left out any specific businesses my apologies. As I walked today to my office I was talking with a friend who lives in Southtown and we both agreed the developments at Southtown are encouraging and we can’t wait for the Duane Reade to open (between the ATM and the shear convenience) as it will be a major addition to the island.

Friday, August 17, 2007

MTA: You Can Grade the F Subway Line

f train report card - partial item list

The MTA has a series of 3 web pages where subway riders can complete a 21 item report card on the subway line of their choice. The “grader” first picks the line they want to grade and then station they commence their rush hour commute from. After grading the subway line on 21 separate areas the grader gets to pick the three areas (out of the 21 listed areas) they want most to see improved in order. There appears to be nothing to keep riders from voting / grading a single line more than one time.

The starting page to grade the F subway line can be linked to HERE.

If enough residents of Roosevelt Island submit this report card indicating the areas they see as problems we can at least make our voice heard that we have issues with the quality of our morning rush hour from the Roosevelt Island Station.

The problem with the Report Card is that it does not give automatic cumulative results and there is no indication when, if at all, the results would be made public. I will follow up with the Straphangers Campaign to see what they know about whether the results can be made known under the freedom of information laws.

For your benefit I encourage readers to complete the Report Card and let me know in the comments section to this post which areas you rated as the most in need of improvement. My own top three picks were # 3, # 2, and # 6 in that order (see the graphic above).

Friday Evening - Local Linkage

The idea is to highlight local stories concerning this Island that I have not perhaps touched on today and also events or happenings here on the Island or on either shore of the East River that may be of interest to readers.

Duane Reade to Open Post Labor Day (Roosevelt Islander)

RIOC to study public bathroom situation (Roosevelt Islander)

Free Music at LIC Bar Sunday 4-7:30pm (Joey in Astoria)
(accessible via Q103 on Vernon Blvd)

Pan Arts Festival at Socrates Park - Sat & Sun 12-7pm (Joey in Astoria)
(next to CostCo up Vernon Blvd)

Capobianco Field, Roosevelt Island - A Single Purpose Map

I have noticed for some that many of our visitors show up on Roosevelt Island looking for Capobianco Field but have no idea where it is. For those that travel over via the Tram that are smart enough to pick up the new Roosevelt Island Visitor's Guide they will have the Main Street Wire map and not look so befuddled when the Tram touches down on the island.

But what do the visitors do that arrive by subway? Well until The Wire convinces the MTA to allow them to put up a distribution board or a large version of the map (on the subway info board - replicating the standard "you are here" signs most stations have) I am providing this single purpose image of the map detailing where Capobianco Field is in reference to the subway.

So Play Ball (after you find your way to your game that is). And afterwards perhaps have a drink or bite to eat here on the island. I am sure your company would cover the expenses.

Routine Air Force F-15 Flight Up East River Today

My office’s facilities manager has sent an email out stating that at approximately 1:30 pm EST two Air Force F-15 jets will be conducting a routine fly over up the East River.

Like many office managers he is hooked into all these e-mail alerts including one from the FAA. We were notified so no one would think an emergency was in effect. So if you are going to be outside look for the jets as it is always a great sight to see.

NY Times City Room Blog Roll Lists Roosevelt Island 360

To say I am surprised that the City Room blogroll listed both Roosevelt Island blogs is an understatement. I figured the Roosevelt Islander made sense. But hey they had what like 20 about Brooklyn what's two little blogs about Roosevelt Island. Cool. Very cool.

Technorati Profile

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Roosevelt Islander Blog Linked on NY Times City Room Blog Roll

Kudos to the Roosevelt Islander for being linked under the neighborhood blog section. I am extremely jealous but excited that NY Times readers will see a link to issues affecting Roosevelt Island. Very very cool.

A Taste of Jazz at The Trellis….

I will admit that part of this blog’s purpose is to promote this island and portray it positively as it is our home and is a great place to live. As part of that goal I present videos spotlighting the facets of living here that makes the place fun and enjoyable.

On that note I present a short video focusing on the return of weekend music to the Trellis Restaurant. The sound could be a bit better but it gives you the feel of what it is to sit on the plaza outside the restaurant and to enjoy the music being presented along with any food or refreshments patrons of the Trellis are enjoying.

So if you like what you hear or see come on down to The Trellis.

Riverwalk Playground: Believed Safe for Now


southtowngruzen - riverwalk - 10044 timeline

According to Donna Masly, of RIOC’s Program Services group, the “Riverwalk” toddler playground appears to not be slated for Related’s wrecking ball when the last three Southtown buildings begin to be built on the Eastern side of Main Street. Ms. Masley’s belief is based on her conferring with RIOC’s resident engineering staff. The engineer stressed to Ms. Masley that it is his belief the playground is safe for the immediate future but that could change.

Once construction begins we will see what happens but for now our swing loving babies and toddlers can rest easy for perhaps nine months before the two current buildings are completed. My bet is Related starts any new buildings closest to the toddler playground based on their track record on the Western side of Main Street but this is purely a guess. If we are lucky and the site is close to the playground perhaps all the heavy work, causing the playground to be blocked off, would be in the Winter months. Again this is all conjecture.

Thank you Donna for the update.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

East River Tidal Energy: Videos Regarding Turbine Removals

Each of these videos relate to the story from Tuesday where it was reported that Verdant Power has removed its turbines from the East River’s East Channel as the tides are stressing the bolts holding the propeller blades and the blades themselves. Earlier this year the tides destroyed several blades causing Verdant Power to upgrade the blades to those now being removed.

It is also reported that a second entity, Oceana, has been granted the necessary license and/or permits to begin tidal energy tests just North of Roosevelt Island within the Hell’s Gate section of the East River.

NY1 Video Story

For the NY1 video once connected you will need to link through the connection speed icon on the NY1 webpage to get a quicker connection.

New York Times Video

This is another link to the NY Times video I mentioned the other day. I thought it appropriate to post these together.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Roosevelt Island Branch - NY Public Library - 8/15-8/20



The one of the greatest resources any community can provide its citizenry is a library. As residents of NYC we are lucky enough to have access to one of the greatest library systems in the world. When we moved to island one of the selling points to us was the existence of the Roosevelt Island Branch Library located at 524 Main Street.

The ability to take out books literally from a branch right on our own street was something that was a big deal to us. Now with the branch hours open six days a week the library is even more accessible to everyone.


Over the next several days the library is hosting every day a different program for children ranging from “Reading Aloud” to “Summer Crafts” to “Book Bingo”. The hours and age ranges are noted in the graphic provided here and on the Branch website.


Our branch is quite active and it is rare I have not seen many individuals inside taking advantage of this great gift we are given by NYC.

The only downsides we have are that for a library to adequately serve a community the library needs to grow and ours is bound by the four walls that limits its growth. One factor that mitigates this is the ability to reserve books not kept in our branch’s permanent collection from other branches citywide. Perhaps one day another space would become available that would allow the library to expand not only its current facility but the community as a whole (perhaps the former Lillies School building).

Another downside is that if nature calls one must leave the library as the staff does not make the lavatory available to the public due to either concerns of safety (they store their cleaning agents in the bathroom) or fear that the library would be used simply as a lavatory and create a stream of guests who would not be there otherwise disrupting the library’s primary function.

Overall we have a great resource in our neighborhood branch library and we should all take advantage of it. For it to be granted greater resources I am sure it’s continued and expanded use play major factors. So do better by yourself and stop by and make your voice heard that this is a place that matters to you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Roosevelt Island Visitor's Survival Kit

On my way home through the Manhattan tram station I found something new. RIOC, RIRA, and the WIRE together have published a Roosevelt Island Survival Guide which is essentially the map published in the Wire's last issue presented in a tri-fold laminated brochure style. It is a great idea long overdue.

The question is who named the island "the little apple"?All parties should be commended on this great brochure.

Can we take it a step further and create a similiar brochure in conjunction with the RIHS and send packets of them to Citywide tourist kiosks to promote the island?

Free Movie Sat 8/18 "Funny Girl" at Southpoint

Start planning your weekend now and hire a babysitter as this weekend’s free RIOC sponsored movie, on Saturday August 18, 2007, at Southpoint is Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand and Omar Shariff.

Per Wikipedia (with links intact):

“Funny Girl is a film based on the stage musical of the same name. The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway and film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein. Its original title was My Man.

The 1968 screen adaptation, directed by William Wyler, paired Streisand with Omar Sharif in the role of Arnstein. Medford repeated her stage role, and Walter Pidgeon was cast as Flo Ziegfeld, with Anne Francis in the added role of showgirl Georgia James, although most of her performance was left on the cutting room floor allegedly at Streisand's insistance. The role played by Stapleton on stage went to Mae Questel. Fans of the original Broadway score were dismayed to discover most of its songs were eliminated. The most notable addition was "My Man," a Fanny Brice tune used as the film's finale.

Streisand received a Golden Globe as Best Actress; nominations also went to the film, the title song, and Wyler. Lennart's screenplay won her recognition from the Writers Guild of America.

The film was a huge hit in theaters, and became the top grossing film of 1968.”

The Tempest Storms into Roosevelt Island

On Saturday evening, August 11, 2007, I was able to attend about the first half hour of The Tempest staged at the Eastwood Amphitheatre at home on Roosevelt Island. I should be upfront that I have never been a big fan of Shakespeare and probably last read and attended a play by him back in college.

I am in no way qualified to critique the performance and I will not try to do so here. But as a fan of home grown productions I can say I enjoyed each minute I attended this production.

I had been told by island residents with far more years than I that any production given at the Amphitheatre especially without amplification is doing so at their own peril. I can say that the players did very well in this regard despite what my inadequate camera picked up for sound. My short video provided above showcases a few of the players and I only wish I could have taped more and showcased their talents here for those not able to attend.

Julie White as producer should be congratulated as well should be Michael Flanagan the director of this production as they battled the possibility of being rained out on Friday, August 10th but they hung on and gave their all by all reports despite the drop in temperature that evening. They had a much better evening on Saturday night and I am sure the players were thankful for it. The crowd appeared very much into the performance.

I can say that almost any production or cultural event I have attended here on Roosevelt Island has been well supported by the community and that is a credit to RIRA and the organizations putting on these events. As this play was an experiment I can say from an outsiders point of view it was a success and I expect we will be seeing future productions from this group.

Waters off Roosevelt Island Ripping Tidal Energy Propellers to Shreds

Verdant Power has learned what Roosevelt Islanders have known for some time the tides flowing up and down the East River are more powerful than anything man can build and place into their path. The New York Times reports today just that in an article written by Anthony DePalma.

A link to the related story on NY Times video can be accessed HERE.

Related On-Line Articles

Roosevelt Islander




Alternative Energy

Saturday, August 11, 2007

F Train Running Normally to/from Roosevelt Island on Sat 8/11 & Sun 8/12

My brain does not believe it but we have no subway disruptions this weekend. I learned tat every Friday the MTA posts in addition to on-line service advisories one overall summary of that weekend's subway advisories. It is usually posted by the maps etc and will bear a color pattern and title such as that in the following picture.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rain Update - The Tempest (8/10 Perf)

According to Julie White, the producer (and also a RIRA Common Council member from the Octagon) of The Tempest, the RIRA sponsored play is still scheduled to be run this evening at 7:30 pm here on Roosevelt Island at the Eastwood Amphitheatre. According to Ms. White the weather reports are stating that the rain is supposed to taper off and since the play is being produced with little staging the rain should not affect their being able to stage it.

The question remains who will know it is being staged or think to attend? So if you are thinking about attending, give it a shot as the players will appreciate the effort and I am sure pay you back with a fine performance. Just remember to bring a waterproof blanket or seat cushion to sit on and your umbrella.

If it’s Not Rain It’s Trackwork – Either Way Roosevelt Island Subway Riders Suffer

The NY Times reported today the following regarding F Train service:

"Earlier today, as of 5:59 a.m., because of track work at the 21st Street-Queensbridge station in Long Island City, Queens, Brooklyn-bound F trains are running on the V line from the 36th Street station in Queens to the 47th-50th Streets-Rockefeller Center station in Midtown Manhattan. The F line was bypassing these stations: 21st Street-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Avenue-63rd Street and 57th Street. "

As I took the Tram today at about 8:30 am I noticed no mob exodus from the Subway station walking to the Tram or lines at the Tram so I am assuming the track work concluded prior to rush hour. Later NY Times updates and the
MTA website show no indications as to what time the track work was cleared. With our luck the continuing rains will flood out the F Train somewhere causing delays and disruptions for the evening rush.

Anybody have a shovel where we can start a new tunnel down to the N, R or E trains under the island. The
Roosevelt Islander continues his posts regarding Ferry service. We need alternatives. I think this is the last weekend of three in a row that track work disruptions cause no Queens bound service stops on the island.

I have not heard anything in a while about the idea of rebuilding a staircase up the 59th Street Bridge. Does anybody have info on that? Back on April 8, 2007 the NY Times ran a piece titled “
A Bridge Not Quite Far Enough for Some” where the reporter, Emily Brady, discussed the direct access proposition. I need to go back to the last Main Street Wire (Issue 2722 - July 28, 2007) and check the RIRA column by Matthew Katz. The graphics, provided above, were amusing but the article title always seemed to me like it was saying we wanted the bridge to be “further” away as opposed to being more accessible.

Rainy days in New York City no longer will just be messy but rather for some time to come bring fears of being stranded with few too options. Thank heaven for the Tram.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Roosevelt Island Bridge Test Opening Switched to Friday Aug. 10

Per RIOC’s advisory page the NYC DOT has [re]scheduled the test openings for this Friday. So either the DOT recognized the risk of a stuck bridge with subway issues affecting access to Roosevelt Island or their EMS unit never got to the island.

It did not make sense to me that they had to wait for a specific EMS unit when we have the FDNY Special Operations Command (“SOC”) on the Island. If anything you’d think the SOC would move some of its trucks off island in case of an emergency somewhere else in the City that they’d need to get to if the bridge became stuck open.

DOT fact page about the bridge includes a section on past openings (test and vessel) but this section stopped being updated after 1998. I guess no one was finding the info useful or interesting enough so they stopped updating it.