Monday, March 31, 2008
Well it now appears that Mr. Blair if he is indeed living within our little planned utopia will now have to deal in addition with followers of Iraqi Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, at least according to that same news source that had Tony moving ashore. According to the story the plan is that we will be changing from a moderate low-mnddle income community to a totally different type of society.
[Note: Please be aware that each of the above stories referenced are works of fiction and do not represent actual fact.]
Saturday, March 29, 2008
This past Tuesday, I sat along with perhaps a hundred of our neighbors, and watched Gina Pollara, of FERI, and Paul Broches present to the Roosevelt Island community several new renderings of the Louis Kahn designed FDR Memorial. To say they are not impressive would be a lie. I am looking at them now in this week's Main Street WIRE and I again am left with that same impression. My main issues all along regarding this memorial have been the affect on the panoramic views afforded by Southpoint Park as it currently sits.
Video from the event can be found at PressHD.com as well as at the RIOC web page. I suggest the PressHD site as the coverage is provided in digestable chunks as opposed to one huge video.
These concerns have been evidenced by the posters I created which included cartoon trees representing my fear that the views would be obscured. Nothing at this past week's meeting assuaged that fear. I did find it encouraging that Mr. Broches stated that the design can afford utilizing trees which are more transparent allowing visitors to not feel as closed in and that his firm and/or FERI were looking into that possibility. I think they agreed to this not so much due to resident concerns as something eas mentioned that they may believe that the previously designated Linden trees may not be suited for the weather we have here. I won’t argue.
The renderings presented as I mentioned above are impressive and overall if built will be quite a commanding memorial. I spent last weekend near Washington D.C. and we spent part of one day on the Mall so I can appreciate what FERI is trying to accomplish as FDR does deserve to be memorialized and it is crazy that this island does not already have some sort of memorial to FDR after all these years. The question as many folks keep asking is this memorial the right memorial and is it right for this location. My fellow blogger Rick at the Roosevelt Islander has been among one of the most vocal these past months.
The choice of Southpoint overlooking the water and the United Nations does make a lot of sense and I can even understand the design as the V shaped “summit” flanked by the trees will direct the visitor down to the forecourt and sculpture court and then onto the “room”. The trees by blocking or obscuring the panoramic views only heightens the beauty of a full panoramic view once you reach the “room” at the southern tip of the memorial. So to my understanding I do get one aspect of the complexity Mr. Broches described.
Certainly the residents understand that the current state of the park was formed for this memorial but as no memorial has materialized the residents have come to adopt and look upon the space, which was created partially from subway excavation landfill, as the last major green space promised to them under the GDP where many other such spaces has been stolen for other purposes.
The statements made by resident proponents and opponents of the Kahn design were all quite forceful and demonstrated how deeply for those individuals this issue has come to represent life here on the island. I strongly urge everyone to read the article in the WIRE to get a feel for those reactions. My earlier post about transportation issues, which was linked to the by the NY Times City Room blog, was a direct result of my neighbor Joan Markey’s comments and fears regarding the possible number of tourists that may come for the memorial which I share.
RIOC President Stephen Shane commented at the meeting that the views of the residents may be considered as a political issue but ultimately New York State entered into an agreement to allow memorial to be built and that the memorial envisioned was the current one designed by Louis Kahn. The question for many is can FERI raise the money in time and can construction begin before Phase I of the Wild Gardens segment, to be built by the Trust for Public Lands, as part of the larger Southpoint park project, reaches a point where to move FDR Memorial construction materials and equipment through it would cause that park segment harm.
Many comments were made at the meeting regarding the design of the memorial, and many not just about the trees, including issues of safety regarding the “room”. To be honest while the 12 foot high panels do obscure the view into the room it is similar in nature to the current “lower” area down the stairs at the extreme end of the island now where to see what is occurring down there one has to physically go to the stairs to look down as one would have to walk around the walls / panels. Either way public safety should be patrolling the area and monitoring its use.
Overall I don’t expect in this economy that FERI will raise the funds in time before the TPL Phase 1 is complete even if that segment takes two years to complete. This project has been on the books for 30 plus years and the interest has apparently not been there to secure 40 million in funds yet I am bettiung against it happening. The concept of securing public monies is absurd in today’s world as what politician is going to argue for the funds, despite its possible worthiness, in the face of constituents who feel otherwise. True the planned upcoming survey may give us a clearer picture of at least what residents think. Perhaps I am wrong and some big anonymous donor will save FERI’s day or some politician arguing the merit of what FDR represents can squeeze 30million out of the budget as 30 milion is not really that much.
My own views are that I enjoy the park as it stands today immensely as it is one of the truly untamed areas left in NYC that I can take my kids too and they can see the larger world around them at the same exact moment. If the memorial is built we will still be down there as it is envisioned trees or not. Will something be lost. Certainly. Will something be gained. Certainly. Which is greater I can not yet say. But I can say that the loss would be felt even if Mr. Broches feels otherwise.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I admit I knew nothing about the lampposts’s design until yesterday but I had wondered why a station that opened on October 29, 1989 would install a lamppost with a historical design. I found out why when I read an article posted Wednesday, March 26th, on the New York Times City Room blog that discussed the different historical design elements that the MTA still adheres to in building and restoring stations. As a result because Roosevelt Island was built as an extension of the IND Sixth Avenue line it was built with a “KA” design lamppost.
So even though the Roosevelt Island subway station opened well after the June 1940 unification of the three major subway systems we still have this single lamppost as a remnant recognizing the fact that our station is part of the legacy of the old Independent City Owned Rapid Transit Railroad, affectionately known as the IND. I am sure true subway buffs are not happy that a bus sign is attached to this lamppost but what can you do.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
One island, Colony Island, has two subway lines crossing through it. The other, Charge Island, has no such mass transit option, from what I see, but for two bridges connecting it to Algonquin (the game’s Manhattan) and also to Broker (the games Queens / Brooklyn equivalent).
I’d like to think in this virtual world that Roosevelt Island is the one with the subway connection. If we take a step backwards and Charge Island is supposed to be Roosevelt Island I want to protest. It would be terrible if we get even less respect from the subway in the virtual world.
Can anybody answer this question?
It was a very passionate speech pointing out that the current subway outages and pending Tram overhaul severely taxes the system with the current ridership much less the expected increase. It was pointed out that annually the system is simply overrun each July Fourth by visitors to Southpoint who come to view the fireworks. This says nothing of how Main Street, our only street, is overrun by cars.
Many visitors will come by car looking for a space to park. Some will park at Motorgate others may drive to Southpoint simply to park on the street outside its entrance when they realize no facility or lot exists for this purpose.
Those that come by mass transit will look for a Red Bus to take them South. Today the Red Buses stop at the Tram. Certainly we can expect RIOC to extend the routes once the parks are complete. At least we expect this to occur. Residents will of course benefit but also complain as this might delay their trips North to their apartments slightly. That is inevitable but the benefits will for them as well.
Who knows how many people will come for the memorial (and the TPL Wild Gardens park that will sit between Goldwater Hospital and the FDR Memorial) on an average weekend and whether the system will be taxed as it is each July Fourth. Certainly a hundred to two hundred visitors should not create havoc. The transportation infrastructure is an issue we have been dealing with and likely will have to face true collapse before improvements are made. It took the April 2006 tram outage for anyone outside the island to understand the issues. Perhaps movement will depend on disappointed tourists making their voices heard as few are listening to the residents.
If they build it they will come. Don't expect a perfectly smooth ride.
Update 12:30 p.m.
As noted last night, by Stephen Shane, RIOC president and CEO :
"before any project could go forward, a SEQRA [State Environmental Quality Review Act] would presumably have to be completed, requiring an initial assessment of impact and as necessary, a fuller EIS [environmental impact study] which would examine the impacts from the proposed development, including traffic and parking, with such mitigation measures as would be appropriate to be specified."
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The folks at RIRA are I believe sponsoring this Town Hall meeting and I hope to bring down a portable DVD player or that one will be available (thanks to Frank Farance) to play the YouTube videos showing the current 360 degree views I have downloaded.
Many of us see this memorial as more to its architect Louis Kahn and FERI has come to change that notion and to demonstrate that the memorial will enhance the space rather than some (myself included) destroy the inherent beauty of the park as it stands now.
Link HERE to to the Roosevelt Islander blog to read his most recent comments regarding the Kahn - FDR Memorial specifically that the memorial was designed to block the current 360 degree views so as to focus on the views available at the "Memorial Room" which will sit at the Southern most point of the memorial.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Marine 6 added to assignment with 5 minute ETA and outbound tide
Battalion 45 reports we have what may be 2 brush fires at the southern tip, investigating at this time.
7-5-8156 - 15:10 hours
BC45: We are pulling back land units. Marine 6 is going to open up from the water. Using All-Hands, no additional companies required.
15:23 hours - Duration 39 minutes
BC45: All visible fire has been extinguished, fire is under control. Units will go 10-8 as they become available. "
For pictures of many of the other responding units link HERE.
Don't even get me started.
Link through to her site for more info and to her Flickr page of additional photos.
The fire was also covered by the Roosevelt Islander and was picked up on Gothamist. Any pictures from Manhattan?
The sequence of the FDNY's response can be found HERE.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The Queens Bridge to Medicine Dance club was asked to perform for patients and students at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island. These performances each took place on Saturday March 22, 2008. Very cool and congrats to all of the performers.
Each of these three videos was uploaded onto YouTube by CabralChris and can be linked to directly via the caption to each video.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Roosevelt Island, Surrounded by Water, is # 7 on City Water Bill Scofflaw List - Orphan Meters Blamed
According to a New York Post article published this past Sunday, March 16, 2008, various Roosevelt Island accounts owe NYC a total of $418,000 in water bills. The biggest Roosevelt Island offenders according to the Post are the RI Racquet Club and the Sports Complex owing a combined $146,000. The article also claims the Tram restroom facilities owe $20,000 alone. Who knew the bathrooms were open that much to even run up a bill of $20,000.
Somehow the knowledge that we are surrounded by water and that island establishments reportedly owe NYC for back water bills seems a bit nutty. Certainly the idea that a State run facility such as Sports Park owing NYC money seems unlikely much less the bills owed for the tram toilets.
According to Stephen Shane, RIOC President, orphan meters are to blame. "The sports complex had its meter changed many years ago" Shane explained "and the City did not make the change in its records, continuing to accrue charges to a nonexistent meter".
According to the article, NYC plans to sell the tax liens this coming May for these late bills unless the accounts are cleaned up within the next two months. So if a buyer purchases these tax liens the entities will now owe the buyer the base lien plus interest at 18%. Shane stated that RIOC's Engineering Department has been investigating the problem and I presume RIOC and the Racquet Club have been fighting the City's water bills.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
This afternoon I ran across a blog, “Preesh Police”, where the blogger made a subway train mistake that most Roosevelt Island residents have probably made at one time or another. That is you have gotten on a V Train thinking it was an F Train expecting to ride to out from Manhattan to the Roosevelt Island subway station only to find yourself heading underground with no alternative to ride it out and determine how to recover from your mistake.
The blogger recalled something about being able to get to Roosevelt Island from Queens by bus but could not recall what bus or how to get to it. It all started when she mistakenly took a V Train and she found herself above ground outside the 23rd Street / Ely Avenue subway station. As per her blog her goal was to get to Coler – Goldwater Hospital. In the end she apparently took the V back into Manhattan to 53rd and Third Avenue and walked up to the Tram taking it to Roosevelt Island.
As I stated in my comments to her blog, two of the possible mass transit solutions would have been:
(1) She could have gotten back on the Queens bound V and taken it to Roosevelt Ave and then switched back onto a Manhattan bound F train, or
(2) she could have gotten back on the Queens bound V and taken it one more stop to Queens Plaza. From there she could have taken a Roosevelt Island bound Q102 directly to one of the campuses of Coler - Goldwater Hospital.
Do you have other There to Here experiences you would like to share where readers might benefit from your experience? We’d like to hear them.
According to the RIOC survey web page :
"The results are based on 92 mailed responses to a survey that was distributed at the Manhattan Tram Plaza during the months of April and May 2007. The Survey was a two sided post card questionnaire with postage distributed to 1100 Tram riders, yielding a response rate of 8.4%. "
RIOC has posted a number of comments sent in by the participating riders which can be found linked HERE. Other than pure positives, requests for longer hours, and more frequent servce the constructive comments included the following:
- Improve the cooling system in the Tram. It gets extremely hot during peak hours.
- Add ... AC or fans and more hanging straps.
- Operate the Tram with the lights on [at night] so that passengers can read during the ride.
- Renovation of bathrooms in the Tram station is needed.
According to the RIOC webpage "surveys for 2008 will be distributed at the Tram Plaza beginning the second week of April. If you have any additional questions regarding the survey, please call Erica Wilder at 212-832-4540 x349."
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Most streets in New York City that are subject to street cleaning rules have two sides of the street that cars can alternate between during the posted times. Roosevelt Island only allows parking on one side of Main Street which creates a dilemma. What do you do with your car on street cleaning days?
Well according to the numerous signs posted this evening you can park, temporarily, underneath the Motorgate garage ramp. The poster does not state it but I am guessing once 11:30 am passes all cars must vacate the area under the ramp. I am also guessing Main Street will look like a bad game of musical chairs on Mondays and Thursday after 11:30 am.
In the two years I have lived here I must admit I have never seen or noticed street cleaning / alternate street parking before. When I went into PSD this evening the officers indicated that the postering of the event at this level appears moreso than undertaken in the past.
Similarly I have taken a number of videos at RI Youth Program sponmsored soccer and Basketball but again I am hesitant as it includes pictures of our kids. Paranoid perhaps.
Monday, March 17, 2008
As of today the only "memorial", on Roosevelt Island, to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as far as I know, is the simple bust of him sitting within the local NYPL branch as pictured above. Should we have a more substantial memorial? Certainly. Of course.
Do we all agree on what that memorial should be? Should Island residents get a say on a memorial plan that was decided before any residents step foot on the Island? Rick O'Connor, of the Roosevelt Islander, wrote a great article that appeared in this weekend's Main Street WIRE which I encourage interested parties to read.
For anyone who has anything to say on the matter please show up at the Town Hall meeting planned for March 25th. I have put together a new poster which should in the next day or two start appearing around the Island. It again plays with imagery I created for the CB8 meeting of two weeks ago where using MS Paint I added trees to an existing (via Flickr) Southpoint view of Manhattan showing what I fear will be obstructed views of the City. One of my major issues with the planned FDR Memorial.
The folks at FERI and the architects took exception with my artwork labelling it as a cartoon. I am not arguing that point as it was. The top half of the above poster was created by FERI but shows the same old image we have seen and presnts nothing new. Certainly I look forward to the new images they indicate they will be bringing to the March 25th meeting. But I am doubtful they will win me over as even at the CB8 meeting it was stated that images can only go so far as compared to what the real thing will look like. Yes, my image is a cartoon but this is my fear and it is the best way I know to convey that image to others.
Come down to the meeting and see for yourself. There will be a survey distributed at that meeting and supposedly in the next issue of the WIRE. Show you care what happens on this Island and complete the survey and suibmit it accordingly. Your view may differ from mine and I respect that. I will respect it more if you participate in the process.
Update 3/17 at Noon (Cartoon View Source):
The picture immediately below is of the current view looking West towards Manhattan. The picture was found HERE on Flickr. Note that your eye does not only look straight out at a zero degree inclination but also upwards at varying degrees to take in the entire skyline. The picture below that is my version of the picture once the Linden Trees really start bearing their full leaf growth.
Friday, March 14, 2008
As a blogger who takes a lot of videos here on Roosevelt Island I have always been amazed how residents here are able to walk calmly despite what appears to be constant tremors from what must be an earthquake prone zone beneath Roosevelt Island. Is it a skill they teach here? Even my own kids seem unfazed. Watch the residents pictured. Are they screaming or running for cover? Not at all. Amazing.
On a serious note the above video was posted to YouTube by LillianCMoreira and appears to be some sort of travelogue or video tour. I am not sure what language she is speaking or what she is saying but she is obviously enjoying sharing her tour with the viewers.
The Main Street WIRE this week has added something new to its electronic web cover page Video Reports provided by Press HD. In addition the two lead stories forthis issue are reported by Rick O’Conner of the Roosevelt Islander blog and Kim Lengle of PressHD. It’s great to see our on line community supporting and contributing to the Main Street WIRE which for many of us is where we turn for long format news pieces and analysis regarding issues affecting our island.
The main stories reported in this week’s issue are:
> Southpoint – FDR Memorial
> Legality of Island Photography (Print and Video)
> Southpoint Editorial
> PS 217 Scholars
> RI News for Kids (Print and Video)
> Queensboro Bridge Historical Book
Last week after posting my Octagon / DEP article I was amazed how quickly the next morning I received an e-mail from Stephen Shane, our RIOC President, regarding the information and concerns of the Octagon residents I quoted. Mr. Shane as reported in his own WIRE column noted he visited the DEP site after reading about it here and then upon visiting the DEP site he sent me a quick email informing me what was actually going and I passed that info along as an update to that blog post. Again thank you to Mr. Shane for reading my blog and referring to it in his column.
Post # 550
Tickets are still available for the Saturday and Sunday night performances of "Gerry's Bus Stop Cafe" scheduled for shows at the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance located at 548 Main Street. For a second sneak preview watch the YouTube video provided below and link over to the MSTDA website where pictures are available for viewing. If the video here is acting up you can catch it atthe MSTDA website. I provided youo the first sneak peak on March 3rd.
The below video was shot at approximately 2:00 am on Wednesday March 12th. Seven fire trucks responded that morning including Ladder 115, Ladder 116, Engine 260 and Engine 262. I missed the units numbers for the remaining pieces of equipment. We greatly appreciate every time these firefighters come onto the island as younever know when one of the calls could be the real thing. we just hope one of these non emergency response takes the equipment from a real emergency.
As a resident of this island I am not sure I dig the RIPP title...makes me think of resting in peace.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
On Thursday, March 20th, the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation will sponsor a Purim celebration to be held at a local CommunityRoom. For information call 212-753-0237.
From: "Stephen Shane"
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 10:09:19
Subject: MTA track work
See latest info from MTA:
March 29 - 31 (southbound)
April 5 - 7 (southbound)
April 26 - 28 (northbound)
May 17 - 19 (northbound)
Customers will be able to travel in the opposite direction and back-ride to their desired location. We encourage you to check http://www.blogger.com/www.mta.info for the latest updates on service diversions. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Stephen H. Shane
President & CEO
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.
We know little as to what soon to be Governor David Paterson thinks about Roosevelt Island and the issues that concern us most including transportation concerns, privatization, among others. We voted for Paterson as part of a Spitzer / Paterson ticket. To my knowledge Lt. Governor Paterson only has step foot on Roosevelt Island once last May during a photo op with Mayor Bloomberg regarding the Verdant Power water turbine project in the East Channel of the East River behind Gristedes.
It is still way too early to know whether Roosevelt Island will be left alone or whether DHCR Van Amerongen will even be able to submit the elected slate of RIOC Board Nominees or how this new administration will look upon the various privatization efforts of the buildings here on Roosevelt Island. We will simply have to wait and see.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Until sometime in 2009 when the Roosevelt Island Tram is taken off line for several months for a major rehab and upgrade, residents have two choices on how to travel into Manhattan, the aforementioned Tram or the F Train. It then comes down to a decision on which is the better path and what trade-offs do you want to make.
In simplistic terms Island residents will use the Tram if they are traveling as far West as Lexington Avenue and use the F Train if they are headed past Lexington. Obviously the first stop on the F in Manhattan is Lex / 63rd but the transfer to 59th Street is annoying with all the stairs / escalators at that station and the added 4 block walk south despite it being a free above ground transfer.
Last week I was contacted by a stay at home dad, Jonas, who lives up at the Octagon but who needs to temporarily travel daily into Grand Central Terminal. He was curious whether it makes more sense to (1) take the Tram to Manhattan and to then walk over the two avenues to Lexington in order to catch a downtown Lexington Avenue Train into GCT or to (2) take the F Train all the way around to 6th Avenue / 42nd Street and walk back East to GCT. I love this kind of question and to be honest I am a low level subway geek which has spread to my 6 year old son who already has many lines memorized.
In each scenario there are possible variants by working into the equation the NYCTA Bus system but for this exercise we’ll leave that choice out for the moment. FYI, Jonas upon reaching GCT will be hopping onto Metro North so his commute will be a bit earlier than the average Manhattan – bound New Yorker who is looking only to reach their desk by 9:00 am.
Before I discuss my own views I want to ask which route would you choose in the poll provided in the sidebar. If you have specific reasons please post a comment to this post.
My own views on commuting are to generally go with fewer transfers and do not be afraid to use a little foot power even if you end up adding an extra few blocks or an avenue or two. This pseudo-rule obviously has exceptions if the weather is crappy. Then I determine how much time do you need or have to be in the bad weather.
(1) The Tram / 4-5-6 Train combo.
This route is a pretty good one for Jonas as it will put him directly into GCT. Possible hang ups are (a) crowded Lex line trains at 59th Street and / or (b) possible weather issues on the two avenue walk to Lexington from Second Avenue. We took this route for several months when I commuted with one child further downtown. We occasionally had to let crowded 6 Trains and most trains were somewhat crowded but the trip usually moved pretty fast.
(2) F Train to 42nd Street and 6th Avenue
I have found once you get on an F Train at the Roosevelt Island subway station that it moves pretty fast. The earlier you get to the station on the Island the easier it is to get onto a Manhattan-bound train. To get to 42nd Street without any incidents of sick passengers will generally take no more than 20 minutes on the train. The walk from 6th Avenue to GCT is a healthy two to three avenues (Fifth, Madison, and Vanderbilt) and if it’s raining you could be setting yourself to being quite wet when you arrive at GCT. There is the alternative of staying underground transferring from the F train to the 7 Train at 42nd street which can bring you right into GCT. The walk to the 7 Train, underground, is about ¾ of one avenue but in the rain it is worth it. On a beautiful sunny day the walk above ground past Bryant Park is great and I always enjoy passing the Main Library along 42nd Street. You also avoid the crowds coming up from the subways within GCTand you can stroll into GCT via the Vanderbilt entrance.
For me it’s toss up as each is fairly easy. On a sunny day, I’d probably opt for the Tram/Lex combo as the transfer is early and you are brought right into GCT. On a rainy day I like the F Train with the option of being completely underground (but for getting to the subway here on Roosevelt Island via Red Bus). How would you get there from here?
With the addition of the Electric Hybrids on the Island. We have two sets of buses with Bus Numbers 1 through 4.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Anyone on the island have any connections to Lt. Governor David Paterson's office?