Friday, February 29, 2008

How Would Roosevelt I. Change if Keyspan Plant Sold to Developers?

There is an article in today's NY Daily News , February 29, 2008, that included the news that the Ravenswood Keyspan Plant is up for sale. As stated in the article if it would be sold to real estate developers it is possible the plant could be taken down.

This is highly unlikely as the plant is one of only a few plants generating power for NYC. But can you imagine if the plant were dismantled and this area of Long Island City developed for residential use how it would impact Roosevelt Island?

The change in views alone would alter the real estate desirability (and affordability) of the island not to mention severly increase the air quality of the island and all of Western Queens.

"A Necessary Music: a film about Roosevelt Island"


Tonight artist Beatrice Gibson and Composer / Musician Alex Waterman will officially kick off their project to film a movie about the music of Roosevelt Island. The project announced within a WIRE article (page 8, Sat. 2/23/08) and an insert where multiple questions were posed to residents sounds interesting enough for anyone looking to participate and to learn more to show up at RIVAA tonight to do just that ... learn more.

P2280310_Meet Bea and Alex

P2280312_WIRE Article

Roosevelt Island's Main Street: A Traffic Minefield

Living on Roosevelt Island as any resident knows has its pluses and minuses regarding traffic. We have less car trafic than many NYC streets but at the same time we know if we get too comfortable with that fact we risk crossing the street without looking and possibly being hit by a car or other vehicle.

Due to the uniqueness of the Island we also have traffic rules set by State law and a multitude of yield and stop signs that very often confuse drivers such that they start and stop and occasionally miss a road sign and not understand how to react to others. At intersections here the pedestrian takes priority such that drivers are supposed to yield. But as residents know they don't always do so.

Later today I will post a poll asking how well do you think drivers on the island pay attention to the road signs.

Library Posts Flyers Re Teen Programs

P2280304_Teen Events Poster

Looking for something for your teen to do on Monday afternoons starting at 4pm? Well the NYPL Roosevelt Island branch has announced a series of programs for teens including video game design, knitting, beading jeans, and making hats.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cold Day, Long Wait, Lines, & Furry Friends

Today was one of those days when the Red Buses must have gotten bunched up so many residents, us included, found themselves standing at the bus stops waiting for buses to wrap around our one road to be picked up. It was a day when the natives were getting restless and testy at the Good Shepherd bus stop.

The fun continued from there as the buses were still bunched up leading to a back log of waiting Tram riders at the island Tram station. One comment posted to my prior Tram line post said the Tram lines are beginning to look like they did before the subway was completed and open for operation.

At least the morning ended with a quick tram ride with a furry friend, Mack Daddy, who was traveling with his owner John.

What is Fast Becoming a Typical Line for the Tram

My fellow blogger, the Roosevelt Islander, ran a post yesterday, Feb. 26th, discussing various reader responses and web commentary about living here on Roosevelt Island. Many of the comments are about issues regarding the lack of retail establishments and local entertainment venues, the quality of the existing businesses, and transportation issues.

In the past weeks I responded to a few web based inquiries, on Wired New York, where I focused again on transportation issues as well as to really get a feeling for a particular building here you need to speak to as many people that you can meet from that building.

I have often repeated my concerns regarding not so much the on-island transportation Red Bus issue but more in regard to getting to and from the island. With five new buildings either under construction or planned I periodically worry about whether the current subway / tram infrastructure we have can handle the growing traffic.

The above video is of what is becoming a pretty typical line to board the Tram during rush hour. Very often you can end up missing one tram and needing to wait for the next one. At only 4 to 6 minutes between arrivals and departures it moves pretty quick but where this video was shot in the Summer waiting in the cold gets old quite fast when the Winter winds are blowing in your face.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Sentinels of Roosevelt Island

Each day I walk outside my building and walk up Main Street I pass the Sentinels. I know in truth these oversize pipes are simply air vents for the building they surround. But as the majority of the pipes stand so tall it is easy to imagine them guarding their ground and structure as they stand the line. Their colors match the respective wings of the three building structure but again it is easy to imagine that each color signifies another company of soldiers.

There are very few nautical accents on what is obviously an island so the funnel shaped air vents stand out due in part to their bright colors but also because very few of the buildings on Roosevelt Island have any accents that distinguish themselves from each other beyond their base architectural differences.

So just for the fun of it as I walk past the vents I will continue to look upon these structures as the Sentinels of Roosevelt Island.

Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 Toy Fair - Solar Powered Tram

Each year I am fortunate enough to be able to attend the International Toy Fair. It is always an interesting event and has lead me to find some cool toys that I have recommended to others or purchased ourselves.

Later this year we hope that the Roosevelt Island Historical Society will be able to bring the above solar powered tram to market at the Visitors' Kiosk. The product is not yet available to the market and the boxes shown were just prototypes. Perhaps the RIHS can sell the toy with additional stickers so that the purchaser can add the Tram logo (old logo or new?) plus the distinctive Roosevelt Island name to the model's body.

This tram is cardboard and has no floor so it is best viewed from above or at eye level. The age range is ten and up based on the mechanical parts needed to be assembled.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

NY Times: "Power to the People"

Sunday's New York Times, February 24, 2008, includes a short article regarding the recent RIOC Board Nominee elections we had here on Roosevelt Island back on Super Tuesday.

The article focuses on the basics and starts off with an interview with resident Paul Sokoloff.

Nothing truly new but for the comments from Governor Spitzer's office which themselves are not truly new but confirm again that the Governor's staff is aware of the election:

"Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for the governor, said that Mr. Spitzer’s office would “give consideration to all the potential appointments in the way that we consider any recommendations from local leaders and community organizations.” "

This week's WIRE had a more indepth article regarding the beginnings of the vetting process the elected board nominees are undergoing.

Red Buses - Say No to Exterior Advertising

I have often wondered why the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) does not sell advertising space on the exteriors of the Red Buses.

I am very glad they don't as we see these buses all day and the lack of advertising allows the buses to fade into the background of Island life (as much as that is possible) without the added "noise" of the ads.

Hopefuly this post does not put the idea into the minds of the number crunchers at RIOC but if it does I will appeal to our newly elected RIOC Board nominees (if confirmed) to vote nay if the issue ever comes up.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Weather Disrupts F Train Service Disruption (This Week Only)

UPDATED 4:33pm

The Main Street WIRE is reporting that the MTA has announced that all scheduled track work, for THIS weekend, FEBRUARY 23-25, 2008, has been CANCELLED due to the weather. I see no announcement on the MTA website and the MTA advisories I have received did not include this statement. However the NY Times City Room blog is reporting the same report but again with no links to official notices.

The WIRE states that the MTA annnouncement makes no specific mention regarding the F Train so the announcement should be questioned until you see specific signage at the subway station.

At the same time the MTA has already announced that service NEXT weekend, March 1-3 is scheduled to be disrupted. If this weekend's service is "restored" then next weekend will represent disruption weekend # 7 out of 9 total weekends this year.

Empire State Devel Corp. Formally Votes to Postpone Roosevelt Island Tax Equiv. Bill Increases

The Empire State Development Corporation formally voted Thursday, February 21, 2008, to authorize postponement of Tax Equivalency Payment increases for North Town Phase II Houses, Inc. and North Town Phase III Houses, Inc. on Roosevelt Island, which currently have Ground Leases with the New York State Urban Development Corporation.

It's always comforting when you finally see this type of information formally voted and passed. Although I am unsure why the vote took so long to occur after the ESDC and the DHCR formally announced this same decision at the end of last month.

Once Again Predictions of ....Snow?

Once again the weather pundits are predicting snow for Friday into Saturday. We have had only two actual days of snow this whole season. We shall see if this storm sticks and if it lasts more than 24 hours. The last snow disappeared due to rains the next day.

The above photo was posted by Catherine to Flickr on January 11, 2008 and is of Roosevelt Island in the mid 1990's.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lamenting Our Culinary Exile….

On Chowhound last week it was asked of each reader to submit the top ten restaurants within 10 blocks of their apartment. As one Roosevelt Island resident replied we don’t even have 5 restaurants on the Island:

I live on Roosevelt Island. There isn't 5 restaurants within a 10 block area. No, Astoria is MORE than 10 blocks!

A Romanian Restuarant opened on 36th Avenue and Vernon Blvd., within the 10 block criteria. We dined there last night. My meal was OK, my wife's was so-so. Not a place I'd highly recommend. The only saving grace was it's BYOB for now. Caveat: They do not accept CCs. A Japanese Restaurant is scheduled to open on RI shortly. Politically incorrect, but I guess that's our great yellow hope.

That resident like my family is awaiting the opening of the Japanese restaurant slated to open perhaps this Spring. Nonno’s was a great addition but we need more choices. We certainly have enough residents to sustain a few more restaurants.

St. Sen. Serrano Celebrates Black History Month

Link HERE to the article posted on Senator Serrano's website regarding the honorees and the event.

Black History Month Photo Collection

The photos in the above slide show were posted by an anonymous person or group, in the former Montauk Credit Union office on Main Street, to honor Black History Month.

When Life is a Bit Askew....

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and everything feels just a bit off center. So when I saw this photo I said that captures it.

This photo was shot and posted by MasterJack.Rogers on Flickr on February 20, 2008.

A 360˚ Video of Roosevelt Island’s Subway Station Plaza

This video shot on January 26, 2008 is of the plaza outside the Roosevelt Island Subway Station and includes the Red Bus, a NYCTA Q102 bus, a view through Riverwalk Plaza allowing the viewer to see the KeySpan Ravenswood Energy Plant, the Duane Reade at 425 Main Street, a view of the Queensboro Bridge and the East River.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

LIC Development: Views from Roosevelt Island

Ok, I admit I have not been down to Southpoint Park in a few months since it started getting cold but did I miss the building pictured here being constructed over in Long Island City? Or is this one of those oddities where an object looks bigger from a distance? The building just appears too close in proximity to the smallpox hospital than I expected.

The original picture by Martine266 can be linked to HERE and was shot and posted to Flickr on Feb. 18th.

East River Power Project Being Studied in 6th-8th Grade Science in Texas

Apparently Mr. Eyler's 6th through 8th grade science students in Tyler, Texas are learning about the Verdant tidal power project which is going on in our own East River.

You can link to the blog post on Mr. Eyler's site HERE to see his case study text.

The full graphic, once you link there, is pretty cool. Better than some run by the news media here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Views from Goldwater Campus …

Last July there were articles , news stories, as well as my own blog posts regarding a long term proposal that would result in the Goldwater Hospital campus being closed and the facilities merged with Coler Hospital at the North end of Roosevelt Island. The above video shot last month shows a brief glimpse of the views of the East River and Manhattan currently enjoyed by the Goldwater Hospital community.

If Goldwater were ever razed this property would be extremely valuable to NYC on the open market. As this is City property, occupied by a City Hospital, the usage of the land is not subject to the GDP that was signed by NYC when the bulk of the Island was rented to NYS.

Residents would be up in arms about infrastructure issues and the fact that the current transportation systems could not handle the added growth and patient advocates would have concerns egarding whether patients at both hospitals would suffer due to a merger.

Monday, February 18, 2008

NY Law Students Help Roosevelt I. Resident

The New York Daily News is reporting, Monday, February 18, 2008, on a story where New York Law students assisted investors who felt wronged by their stock brokers and investment advisors including Roosevelt Island resident, Arline Jacoby.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Columbia Urban Explorer Visits Roosevelt Island and Finishes with an Insult

Two pieces today about Roosevelt Island on the Columbia Spectator website.

The first is a slideshow of their trip to the Island and the second is an article titled "Hanging Out with the Gangs of New York on Roosevelt Island".

I will admit I did not read the complete article as much of it has been stated before. It was pointed out to me, within the comments here, that the last line in the article reads as follows:

"Roosevelt Island will forever be a place of exile, a state of mind far from New York, a barge sunken beside a city it will never be part of, waiting for the tugboat Charon to carry its castaways downriver to Fresh Kills."

The Island has been insulted too many times to count but this writer is trying a bit too hard that the insult just comes out sounding stupid and as the anonymous commenter states the writer is probably writing the piece for a grade. I did try to leave a comment but the Columbia Spectator website is conveniently not accepting comments at this time. Please try to let the writer know your feelings at a later point if you can. I intend to.

Mystery Love Message on Queensboro Bridge?

Can you decypher the message left on the Queensboro Bridge in this mystery Valentines Day greeting? Love something? Love Mania ? Double-click the picture to enlarge it.

This "valentine" appeared mysteriously Thursday morning greeting morning commuters lucky enough to see it from the Tram or FDR Highway.

Apparently the artist snuck behind Bridge construction barriers to get to the bridge anchor. Unless he approached the structure from the River.

If you could paint a valentine message anywhere in NYC where would you leave it and what would you say?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love Tag on Queensboro Bridge

One of the four base supports of the Queensboro bridge has been tagged I believe with the words"I Love Elena" for Valentines Day. I may have gotten the text wrong as the sun was pretty strong this morning. The Valentines message is painted on the anchor sitting on Roosevelt island at the base facing Manhattan. Sorry no picture yet as I forgot the camera today. The size, I am guesssing here, of the artwork painted must be about 10 to 15 feet high by at least 30 feet wide.

It is unknown when the artist came onto the Rocks or how he / they eluded detection as the location faces Manhattan and is in full view of the Trams coming and going as well as the East River.

I doubt the City will let this grafitti valentine stay on the Bridge but at least for today Elena's love has sent his card.

Flat Stan Takes the Roosevelt Island Tram

There are many Flat Stanleys or Flat Stans but to our knowledge this is the first Flat Stan to take the Roosevelt Island Tram. Flat Stan started his journey at Manhattan’s Tramway Plaza and made his way into the Tram and then took the trip over to Roosevelt Island. Pictures of his adventures on Roosevelt Island will have to wait for another day. But for today enjoy the Tram trip with Flat Stan.


This Flat Stan’s trip started as a favor for a colleague whose niece needed Flat Stan to visit several NYC landmarks. Living on Roosevelt Island made me a target to take Flat Stan for a ride. And so we did. Flat Stan has traveled all over the world via numerous class projects (link here or here for two examples). Flat Stand also comes in my many colors and designs. There are currently 440 photos of Flat Stans on Flickr alone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Q102 Accident Damage Cleared From Walkway Outside Hardware Store


Based on the above picture taken this evening I would assume the Hardware / General / Video store will be open for business this Valentine's Day just in time to rent out those romantic comedies for the evening.

Kudos to the crew that cleared the site and to the PSD for helping make this a short disturbance to life on Main Street. All that is left of the former column that was hit by the Q102 is its memory and the temporary cone marking its location.

One-Millionth as Picturesque ?

This Sunday’s New York Times Travel Section, February 17, 2008, is running a story about island hopping right here in New York City. The island’s visited include: City Island, Randall’s Island, Governor’s Island, Broad Channel and our own Roosevelt Island.

Pretty much all basic stuff about each location. I am doubting Roosevelt Island residents are going to up be up in arms about the comparison between our local scenery and that of the other islands featured but who knows I may be underestimating our civic pride. They do compliment the views looking off the island. The statement was:

“It’s only about one one-millionth as picturesque as City Island or Broad Channel, but the views of Manhattan (and the proximity to it) make up for that.”

One-millionth? How are they measuring that? Oh well. We like it here. That’s all that counts.

12 Year Old Girl Missing From Roosevelt Island

The New York Post Police Blotter, today, February 13, 2008, included a report that the NYPD were assisting in a search for 12 year old Jaslyn Gonzales. According to the article, police sources sayMs. Gonzalez was last seen at 4 River Road at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 19.

Bus Accident Shuts Down Hardware Store

Based on how Roosevelt Island's PSD taped off the Q102 bus accident scene it appears that the Hardware Store is closed until further notice. Hopefully the closure is not for too long. Main Street does not need another store going under.

Update: 12:00 pm Noon

It appears that either RIOC or Urban America already are on the job to start addressing the repairs needed to remove the damaged structural facade and column.

The crazy thing is that with the one lane road that is Main Street we can't even create a temporary pedestrian walkway in the road so residents and guests are forced for their own safety need to cross Main Street twice to walk around the taped off area.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Elected Officials "Urge" Gov. Spitzer to Nominate RIOC Elected Candidates

As stated in a joint letter to Governor Spitzer, four elected Federal, State and City representatives urge the Governor to nominate the elected candidates to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors as only he can. The letter refers to the historic nature of the vote, the diversity of those "elected", and the large turnout of residents that voted in the election.

Double click the above image to read the full text of the letter in its original format.

Q102 Bus Crashes into Column Outside Video/Hardware Store

[Updated 12:00 pm - Second Paragraph] Late last night, at approximately 10:00 pm, a NYC Q102 bus crashed into one of the columns outside the hardware / video / general store. The above picture is from where additional pictures can be found.

It is unknown at this time if there were any injuries to the passengers or driver of the Q102. The info that it was a Q102 (and not a RIOC Red Bus] is according to a member of Eastwood Maintenance staff. When Greg Goodman from was taking pictures and asked a PSD officer what happened the officer replied only that "a bus crashed" with no indication which bus type was involved. Upon calling the PSD office this morning I received a similiar response and I have sent an email into RIOC asking for additional information and confirmation.

Based on the view this morning it also looks like a portion of the ceiling above the column collapsed as well. According to the same maintenance staffer via the building super the residents of the Eastwood apartment immediately above did not need to be evacuated.

Update - 11:45 AM

According to Stephen Shane, President of RIOC, (1) the driver and passengers of the Q102 were uninjured, (2) according to MTA policy the driver was "taken away" for mandatory testing, (3) the NYC Department of Buildings examined the damage and determined that the damage was cosmetic as the column was not structural and the ceiling damage was also cosmetic.

The black and white photos are courtesy of RIOC.