Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Midnight Bingo Tonight at the Renwick Ruin

Ok, I lied we will not be bringing in the New Year playing bingo at the Renwick Ruin. I am trying to sell the idea to OpenHouse New York though. But don't the stones from the former smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island, which is currently undergoing a restoration and stabilization effort look like giant bingo tiles? The stones are being removed and numbered in order to put it back together again at a later date.

The above picture is on Flickr by Trixiebedlam. The below pic is also on Flickr by embeedub. For a full size version which is readable link through the picture.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Roosevelt Island: Independence at Home: Obama Health Care Forum

Change.Gov - Obama Transition Team Video

Dec. 29, 2008
Contact Jonathan Posen
(917) 834-7918

"Independence at Home: Obama Health Care Forum
TODAY on Roosevelt Island

Independence at Home will be the topic of an Obama Transition Team Health Care Forum on Monday, Dec. 29th, at the Good Shepherd Community Center on Roosevelt Island at 7:30 PM. The event, hosted by Dr. Jack Resnick and organized in response to the Obama Transition Team's request for Community Health Care Forums, will focus on the benefits of health care at home.

"Our health care system is broken. It costs too much and provides low quality care," said Dr. Resnick. "It's not enough to fix the financing of the system. We need to make it better, safer, and more cost-effective, and this forum will give voice to the growing movement to move health care into the home."

By moving care out of hospitals and nursing facilities and into the home, our system can improve the quality of care by reducing infections and human errors, and by providing personalized, informed care from one doctor – not by a faceless rotation.

The forum will open with a video entitled "The Roosevelt Doctor: Independence at Home." The film features several elderly or disabled Roosevelt Island residents who attest to the unquestioned advantages – medical, physical, and psychological – of health care in the home.

Attendees will be invited to share their stories of success or difficulty with the health care system, and Dr. Resnick will be available to answer questions about the financial and medical benefits of care at home. "

Saturday, December 27, 2008

East Side Panorama

The above panoramas each include Roosevelt Island and are from the blog "New York Panorama". Go to theblog to see full size versions of each. The top half of the above image features the Queensboro Bridge with Roosevelt Island in the background and is the blog's header image and the lower half of the image features Roosevelt Island in the foreground with Manhattan in the background.

Additionally look for the night panorama in a future Main Street WIRE as Dick Lutz, the editor, appears interested from the comment and inquiry he left on the blog.

Coat Drive : Dec 27-28 & Jan 3-4

This weekend and next drop off your gently used winter coats at the Roosevelt Island Visitors Center from Noon to 5pm.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Double Decker Tram Design Unveiled (spoof)

As opposed to the service cuts proposed by the 2009 MTA austerity budget the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation unveiled its new design for the tram. The double decker design took most residents by surprise as it was not expected that RIOC would be so forward thinking to take into account the island's growth and transportation needs.

There are still several right of way concerns that must be worked out as the tram is not allowed to drop below a certain height as it crosses Second Avenue. City Hall has stated through an unnamed spokesman that it is exactly this sort of innovation that the MTA needs to get us through the coming years. According to the unnamed spokesman "If they could build a double decker LIRR train and now the tram why not double decker subway cars" .

Roosevelt Island residents are fearful that the new design will be followed by a decoupling of the tram from the MTA metrocard system as it is rumored that the fare for the double decker tram will double to $4.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

3pm Music Bach ; 5pm Menorah Lighting

YouTube: Timelapse, Snow, and Tram

YouTube videos posted regarding Roosevelt Island in the last 24 hours:

(1) Timelapse by conorfuhduh; (2) Snow by rebknell; (3) tram by paxymax

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Church Takes Flight after First Snow

Floating Church

Within the imagination of artist Tony Vita, the Church of the Good Shepherd takes flight and seems to float above Roosevelt Island's main plaza while a child plays by the church bell now a fixture on the plaza itself.

The painting is one of several whimsical paintings by Vita that are being shown and rotated through the Rivercross Window Gallery. Link here for a Slide show for earlier and current paintings being shown.

Tony Vita - Window Gallery Card

The Day After the Tree Lighting

I shot the above picture of Blackwell House, here on Roosevelt Island, a day after the annual tree lighting and arrival of Santa Claus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Snow of This December

Lilian C. Moreira has posted on YouTube a short one minute video of the first snow from earlier today here on Roosevelt Island. Lilian has a number of Roosevelt Island videos posted on YouTube that are worth checking out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Roosevelt Island Dominoes

Ritwik over at Deydreamers Weblog took the above picture of the Riverwalk buildings on Roosevelt Island and has been waiting for that exact moment for two years. Ritwick is apparently a resident of the island up at the Octagon based on another shot of the Dayspring Church and the Octagon playground titled "From My Window". Cool shots and we'll be looking for future posts about RI.

CBS News Video re Verdant Tidal Power

CBS News on line posted the above video and a related article about the Verdant Power Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy RITE project on Sunday December 14 , 2008.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lower Escalator Update: 2 Up & Now 2 Down

Ok, this may be good news for morning rush hour Roosevelt Island commuters but some commuters at night may not be happy with me.

Based on my November 25th post of last month, Paul Curtis, the Community Liason / Legislative Aide to Assembly member Micah Z. Kellner, asked the MTA why all four of the lower escalators are continuously running UP from the subway platforms to the lower mezzanine and not an even split of two up and two down.

Well, according to Mr. Curtis, the MTA finally got back to him and they expect, with the exception of rush hours, to now split the four escalators up with each platform having one escaltor running up and the other down. we'll see how well the station personnel do at switching the directions before and after each rush hour.

I can now see a number of evening commuters being unhappy with me as their sbway car empties by the escalator, not yet switched, going the wrong way as they see it.

Rescheduled Main St Tree LIghting Monday Night

RIOC rescheduled the Roosevelt Island yearly tree lighting to this Monday (Dec. 15th) night at 7:00 pm due to last Thursday's rains. Santa, however, has already been spotted on Roosevelt Island's Main Street, singing and dancing in the beauty parlor.

Extended Holiday Shopping on Roosevelt Island - Today, This Thursday Night

The Roosevelt Island Historiocal Society Visitors Center offers some great holiday shopping options right here without leaving the island. In addition to being open today, Sunday December 14th from Noon through 5:00 pm the Kiosk will be open this coming Thursday, December 18th from 5:00 pm through 9:00 pm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Tram Sleigh Cards 2008 ?

Over the last two years I recall that one enterprising resident was selling great holiday cards featuring the Tram as Santa's sleigh. I have not heard or seen the gentlemen yet this year but I have placed a call to the number he placed in last year's Main Street WIRE ad. We can only hope these cards are back as they were great.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The "Kings" of Roosevelt Island

Parking is a bit messed up today on Roosevelt Island's Main Street due to filming associated with the new NBC show "Kings" expected to air in March 2009.

The show is "a modern-day reimagining of the historical story of King David featuring a young heroic soldier who winds up dethroning a corrupt monarch to become king of a great and powerful city." according to Yahoo TV and stars Ian McShane and Chris Egan. Deadwood this aint.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mystery Photo - Where is This ?

It has been a while since I have found a reasonable, much less, a good Roosevelt Island mystery photo to post so we got lucky finding this little gem (presented here in a cropped version of the original). Most residents are familiar with the 4 "moorings" that face Manhattan by the Octagon Soccer Fields but where was this photo taken?

To skip to the answer you can view the whole picture taken by WayneWHuang on Flickr.

Mid Day Fire at 560 Main Street

A fire has been reported at Roosevelt Island's 560 Main Street, Apt 422, called in at 12:24pm on Wednesday 12/3, was "knocked down" according to FDNY reports by 12:40 pm and classified as under control by 12:50 pm.

Initially the incident was reported as a smoke condition from the flower shop and then as a fire at the shop. Fire Box 1942 sits across from the flower shop and as the closest fire box the fire is classified as reported through the box even if the report was not made through the box itself.

No indication that any residents or FDNY personnel being injured.

Due to the nature of the structure and the fact that many elderly and handicapped live within the building, the report indicated that the FDNY at one point had up to ten trucks on scene.

Roosevelt Island Attorney Indicted

According to the website North County a Roosevelt Island attorney has been indicted for grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Per the article linked the attorney James John Armenakis, 65, of Roosevelt Island, and his law firm were "indicted for stealing a $735,000 deposit in a real estate transaction as well as a separate felony complaint for the lawyer’s failure to pay withholding taxes and filing his own false tax returns." The indictment was also reported in the website

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

DEP Delays Water Main Repair

-----Original Message-----

From: Stephen Shane
Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2008 18:55:07
To: Rooseveltisland360
Cc: Fernando Martinez; Thomas Turcic

Subject: Re: Water Main repair

DEP has notified us this afternoon that nothing is likely to happen until next week. We are all at their mercy. Will advise as soon as we hear anything.

Stephen H. Shane
President & CEO
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.

Access RI to Host Open House This Saturday

Access RI will be hosting an open house this Saturday at Good Shepherd starting at 10:00 am. See their post below or link directly to their blog HERE or via the above image.

Roosevelt Island Mumbai Memorial Observance

Link to Chabad RI site through Image

From: "Zalman and Nechama Duchman"
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 11:21:31 -0500
Subject: Mumbai Memorial Observance

Please can you put a post on your blog:

Communal Memorial Observance in memory of the victims of the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

Hosted by Rabbi Zalman and Nechama Duchman in memory of our dear friends and colleagues Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg

Thursday, December 4th 2008, 7:30pm
Community Room of 425 Main Street

For more information:

Thank you,
Zalman and Nechama Duchman

The New Octagon Playroom

Courtesy of Roosevelt Island blogger Populuxe Books and reported on by New York Magazine I learned that the Octagon has a new playroom for the kids. There is a second smaller playroom that I remember that still exists (for now?) that my son once played in while visiting friends.

As noted in NY Mag, buildings are now offering such amenities to help attract potential tenants. I will say as a parent with young kids that in the Winter and on a rainy day such spaces are godsends. Based on the pics on the Populuxe Books blog this is a great playroom.

Holiday Shopping Dec 4 at the Roosevelt Island Visitors Ctr

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitors Center located at the old trolley kiosk is offering holiday shopping on the evenings of December 4th and December 18th from 5pm to 9 pm each evening.

So as you come off the Tram or out of the subway stop on by. A variety of gifts are offered from jewelry, cards, books, calendars and toys. Refreshments will be served..

Monday, December 1, 2008

Court Upholds DHCR 30% Max Maint. Surcharge Against Rivercross

In an Article 78 proceeding brought by Roosevelt Island's Rivercross Tenants Corporation against the Department of Housing and Community Renewal the trial court ruled that the DHCR order to increase the maximum maintenance surcharge from 20% to 30% be upheld.

In an internal memo, dated November 26, 2008, circulated among the tenant shareholders, the Rivercross Board announced it intends to appeal the decision to the Appellate Division. The memo indicated that it would be about 6 months before any decision could be expected in their appeal.

The Rivercross Board asserts as one component to their case that in 2001 the DHCR argued that Mitchell Lama Coops be allowed to set their own surcharge schedule and that now DHCR is claiming that the Coop Board now not be allowed that to do just that.

The Roosevelt Islander discussed this case with a good amount of background info this past August linked HERE.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

River Rd Water Main Repair Delayed 'til Tuesday

Water main repair delayed. Apparently Thanksgiving weekend was spared but residents of Roosevelt Island's Manhattan Park could have a rough time of it over the next few days. Not sure how this affects Gristedes but it must as far as some departments. According to the below email PS 217 is also to be affected so it is also unclear whether school will be interupted by the water main shut off.

------Original Message------
From: Steve Shane
Sent: Nov 25, 2008
3:13 PM
Subject: Water Main repair


See revised e mail below changing scheduled water shut off. Note shut off will now be either Tuesday or Wednesday night, depending on what is found as a result of the excavation to begin Monday. Apologies to all for inconvenience, but weather is a problem.

"Preparations for the water main shutdown, affecting: Manhattan Park, Gristedes, Motorgate, RIOC Transportation Garage, the US Post Office and PS/IS 217, have been delayed by the inclement weather. DEP and RIOC are forced to postpone the shutdown and repair until next week.

Excavation for the repair will resume Monday morning Dec. 1st.

Depending on the conditions encountered, DEP is tentatively scheduling an evening shutdown for either Tuesday 12/2 or Wednesday 12/3.

The shutdown would occur between 6 :00 PM and 6:30 PM, with an estimated duration of 8 hours. Because of possible repair complications, DEP urges residents to be prepared for a duration of up to 24 hours.

You will be contacted via e-mail as soon as the actual shutdown date is confirmed by DEP. If you have any questions, please contact Santo Verta at RIOC, 347-297-0367."


Thomas Turcic
Director of Engineering
Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

1975 - The First Roosevelt Island 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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

River Road Water Main Shut Down This Friday 11/28

Picture Courtesy the Roosevelt Islander.

According to an e-mail circulated by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, this coming Friday Nov 28th, residents of Manhattan Park will find their water turned off due to a scheduled repair of the water main outside 40 River Road.

In addition to Manhattan Park, water will be turned off at PS / IS 217, Gristedes and the Motorgate Garage Complex. Residents are being warned that the shut off could last from 8 hours to 24 hours.

The above picture courtesy the Roosevelt Islander was from a Nov 17th post where construction related to AVAC repairs blocked off River Road.

Do all the lower escalators have to go "up"?

A reader commenting on our last post questioned why all four of Roosevelt Island's subway station escalators that run between the platforms and the station's lower mezzanine are running solely in the "up" direction:

"Why do both escalators from the platform to the mezzanine go in the up direction 24/7? Before the replacement we had one escalator going down and the other one up. Can we have this back?"
It is a good question. My kids have also been asking me why they can't take any of these escalators down to the platforms as well. Granted the stairs work fine to walk down to the platforms but they keep asking.

For them it's fun but for an individual that can't walk down stairs easily and for whom the escalators are a necessity having all four running in the "up" direction must be very annoying. Perhaps someone at the NYCTA figured walking up was harder so they arbitrarily set them all to "up"?

Note: The escalators in question here are not the six escalators that run between the street level down to the lower mezzanine.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Subway Stairwell Glass Panel Replacement?

Now that the escalators at the Roosevelt Island subway station have been replaced and for the most part are working normally it is time to submit our requests for general maintenance of this subway station.

For the past few weeks the stairwell down to the Manhattan bound platform has needed the glass / plexi panel at the base of the stair to be replaced. It has seen its caution tape slip and tear and as such tape disappears I worry that my kids and others will not notice the missing panel and perhaps fall through.

Ms. Deirdre Parker, spokewoman for NYC Transit, upon my request has notified the Station Department of the need to speed up this panel's replacement. If there are other requests I suggest calls be made into 311 or ket me know and I will pass the issues along accordingly.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Red Bus: 13 Years at 25 Cents & Counting….

The last time Roosevelt Island residents saw a fare increase for the Red Bus was in June 1995 from a dime to a quarter. Before that it had been in May 1991 when the first fare of a dime was imposed ending years of free shuttle service.

According to Stephen Shane, President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, there are no current plans to increase the existing 25 cent fare but the possibility has been discussed. In today’s economy and the announcements regarding the proposed MTA service cuts and fare hikes one wonders how long RIOC can manage to keep the current 25 cent fare.

Some New Yorkers have stated the MTA should change the fare system to be distance based like Washington D.C. I can only imagine residents in Northtown arguing that their Red Bus fares should be capped at a quarter with Octagon residents being charged 50 cents.

Except for the Staten Island Ferry the fare for our Red Bus is probably the cheapest mass transit fare in the Five Boroughs. Let’s hope it stays that way for a long time to come.


Image pre formatting via Flickr by WireHead2501.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Roosevelt Island Project - The Beginnning

A new video posted on YouTube speaks of Roosevelt Island as part of a neighborhod study and the video is titled "Bridging Boundaries - Roosevelt Island" and concludes wit the phrase "The Beginning".

Not sure where the study is but the video is quite a cool video post card of our island. Thanks to "idntlikeuattitude".

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Blackwell Park Playground Design

For several months now the former location of the Roosevelt Island "Castle Playground" just South of Eastwood / Roosevelt Landings and just Northeast of Blackwell House has been sitting empty behind steel fencing. Sometime in the last few weeks RIOC posted consruction info regarding the new park to be built there with images of the newly designed park.

The design is standard playground design with nothing truly new as compared to either of the other four larger island playgrounds but if it is buit by Spring who are we to complain. We will miss the distinctiveness of the former Castle Playground but not the cement hazards.

My understanding is that Nikki Leopold of Island Kids was involved in the design process, at least an earlier point in the process. No confirmation who the final design team included. No word yet from RIOC, in response to my emails, as to how physically the equipment pictured will be laid out on the ground.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

$3 Fare Card = $204 Break Even Monthly Card for Roosevelt Island Parents

Image per amNew York

One local paper ran its cover page today projecting a possible $3 fare card for the MTA, so I had to again determine what the break even for a Roosevelt Island couple that incurs 6 fares per day on the MTA would be. My wife and I incur approximately 136 fares /month which with a $81 montly card averages out to $1.19/fare.

Based on the below analysis my break even goes from $136/month at $2/fare to now a whopping $204 per monthly fare card if the full fare is raised to $3/ride. I have heard nothing about what the monthly fare cards might raise to but as long as it less than $204/month we'd be ahead. Yikes.

Future NY Times July 4, 2009 Edition Published: IRAQ WAR ENDS

Anyone know who printed this obviously fake but prospective New York Times paper dated Jluy 4, 2009? The headline reads "IRAQ WAR ENDS". The slogan is printed as "All the News We Hope to Print".

I was handed a copy at 23rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. There is nothing inside to indicate that this is a satire or what the group is that published this edition. In place of the masthead on the opinion page is a listing of abot 20 reporters and researchers. I have not googled any of those listed to see if their names are real persons.
The issue includes an opinion pieces attributed to Thomas Friedman with his pic. Very cool. If anyone knows where this came from let me know. My colleagues at work want their own issues.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TV Alert: 11/13 Showing of Life on Mars at Goldwater

We all saw the "Life on Mars" signs all around Roosevelt Island and now you can see the episode they filmed this Thursday night November 13th. For a somewhat shaky video of the filming see the below YouTube clip posted by hughcree.

50 Cent "The Money and The Power" Filmed at Southpoint Park

In the premier episode of the new 50 Cent reality show "The Money and The Power" the opening scenes all took place at Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park. No way this would have the same effect at an FDR Memorial Park. Looking like the man in charge 50 Cent started his show off letting his potential protege's know what he expected.

The episode titled "Choose your Crew Wisely" involved two teams being chosen and as their first task being chained together "chain gang" style and racing from Southpoint to a location in Brooklyn. How did most residents miss this as the two "crews" had to either run right up Main Street or else they ran on the Promanade facing Queens. The video episode cuts from Southpoint to the "crews" on the RI Bridge so itis unclear which way they went. I am assuming PSD and RIOC know for sure. Very amusing. Now we know what Southpoint was rented out for a few weeks back.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Community Board 8 Mtg Tonight re Tram Overhaul

Manhattan Community Board 8's Transportation Committee is sponsoring a public hearing this evening, starting at 7:00 pm, regarding the Roosevelt Island Tram. The discussion per the flyer abovce is to focus on the contract and construction plans for the Tram.

As opposed to many past CB8 meetings this hearing is NOT at the NY Blood Center but will be held at the Hunter College School of Social Work located at 129 East 79th Street in their auditorium.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New On Line Group Forum Dedicated to Roosevelt Island

I created this evening a new forum, a Google Discussion Group titled Roosevelt Island 360, to allow ongoing discussions without the discussion being tagged to a specific blog post. If you are interested in starting a discussion feel free to join the group to do so.

I am going to see if this feature is worthwhile keeping and after a month if it it is being used I will keep it active. If not I will shut it down. So check it out and join the discussion. Keep reading the blog but feel free to check out what your neighbors or interested parties are saying about Roosevelt Island.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Main Street Showcase: Fantasy Paintings

The above photos, taken via cell phone today Nov. 5, 2008, don't do justice to the paintings currently on display in the showcase along Main Street just South of the hair salon at 523 Main Street. I am not sure who the artist is but I would love to see a giant apple up at Lighthouse Park.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Will Dem. St. Senate Give RI an Elected RIOC Board

For years a bill introduced by State Assembly Member Micah Kellner and before him Pete Grannis that would provide for a democratically elected RIOC Board would pass in the Assembly but die without a vote in the then Republican controllled State Senate. Can it be possible that now with that same State Senate no longer under Republican control that the bill will reach a vote and maybe even pass?

With all vigor Island residents and our new RIRA elected officers and Common Council should support such a measure letting Micah Kellner and State Senator Jose Serrano know that which they already know that the RIOC Board should be elected directly and no longer subject to the appointments of a sitting Governor and Mayor.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WIRE: Local Roosevelt Island Election Results

The Main Street WIRE has published the election results on line as noted above.