Saturday, May 31, 2008

To Be or Not to Be: "Much Ado" about the Rain ?

Cast Photo Courtesy the Main Street WIRE

As I write this post it appears that Saturday afternoon's rain shower may have blown through allowing the RIOC / Flanagan production of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" to be presented on the Rivercross Lawn. Even though the sun looks pretty strong, at this moment, I'd suggest that those attending to bring picnic blankets that are water proof as I bet the ground will be plenty wet.

Update 3:30 pm

Much Ado - PS 217 - Sat Perf

I had to go into work so I missed being able to catch this performance but when I got back to Roosevelt Island and I walked along Main Street back from the Tram I saw that the rain had indeed kept the planned outdoor performance from happening but luckily PS 217 was available and open enabling the show to go on.

June 1st: Tram on Rush Hour Schedule

To accomodate passengers during a film shoot the Tram will be on a rush hour schedule between 6am and Noon.

No word on what the film is or who is starring. If you have any info please let us know.

It is also unclear how the filming is affecting tram service. The assumption is one cabin is being used for filming while the other will be solely for passengers.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Does Anyone Commute via Bicycle from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan?

What I am curious about is does anyone bicycle from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan via LIC, Queens to the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan? I know a few bikes travel via the Tram into Manhattan but they are few in number and I have not heard any complaints due to the low number.

StreetFilms today, ran a story today with accompanying video, about Transportation Alternative’s 7th Annual Commuter Challenge from Fort Greene Brooklyn to Union Square, Manhattan. To give away the ending the bike won at 16 minutes, second place went to the car at 22 minutes and the transit rider (bus/subway) came in last at 29 minutes. The biggest surprise was the last place finish of the transit rider but that may be do in part to her combined bus / subway trip as opposed to a single subway ride.

I would have to expect that if a similar challenge took place from Roosevelt Island that the cyclist would be starting from a disadvantage having to ride first in Queens and then across to the Queensboro Bridge.

Please participate in the below poll question re bicycles and commuting into Manhattan:

No Subway Disruptions This Weekend – A Milestone !

This weekend marks the third time this year that Roosevelt Island (and each of the other stations sharing the 63rd Street Tunnel) have had no subway service disruptions for two weekends in a row. This weekend is the 22nd weekend of the 2008 calendar year and we have had to date 13 weekends of disrupted service. ]

Another four disruption free weekends and we actually may be batting .500. It’s pretty sad that we have had undisrupted service less than 50% of the time.

A Theatrical Weekend

As anyone can see by this blog's sidebar it is a busy weekend for theatre on Roosevelt Island. So check out both productions indoors at the Main Street Theatre for "Once Upon a Mattress" as well as "Much Ado About Nothing" over at the Rivercross Lawn opposite Blackwell House.

Both promise to be a lot of fun.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Bike Lane for Vernon Blvd at Expense of On-Street Parking

StreetsBlog is reporting today, May 29, 2008, that as part of NYC’s goal of expanding cycling infrastructure that the DOT may be removing parking spaces along Vernon Boulevard (located just over the Roosevelt Island Bridge) in Long Island City in favor of adding bike lanes and pedestrian islands.

The plan, according to StreetsBlog, calls for the removal of the majority of the parking spaces on the East River side of Vernon Blvd from 45th Avenue all the way across to Main Street (down by Costco and Socrates Park). The parking spaces would be replaced by a painted dedicated bike lane.

What is amusing about the DOT PDF presentation regarding this plan is that it indicates that currently the Roosevelt Island Bridge includes an “existing off-street path” which indicates to me they are considering the pedestrian walkway that path. In an earlier post I reported on a possible plan to add a dedicated bike path to the Roosevelt Island Bridge. No mention of that possibility was evident in the DOT presentation or StreetsBlog posts.

WNBC News: Neighborhoods - Roosevelt Island

Sometime within the next week local television news station WNBC will be running a neighborhood segment on Roosevelt Island.

Veteran correspondent Gabe Pressman visited Roosevelt Island, yesterday May 28, 2008, and interviewed Matthew Katz, the President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association as well as Judy Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. And while I am not a President of anything but in my own mind, Mr. Pressman also interviewed my wife and I about our experiences on Roosevelt Island and how we came to be part of this community. According to Mr. Pressman the segment is expected to air during the 11:00 pm newscast.

It was an enjoyable experience and one that thankfully my children were in a good mood for and they did not destroy the nice and expensive camera that was brought to the island for the interviews. We covered the basics as to what drew us here, what we enjoy and the differences between living here and the rest of the City. As an aside I will say Mr. Pressman and his team were great guests and it is very easy to see why this man is still doing what he obviously loves doing. A real pro.

On camera at least I did not bore Mr. Pressman with my views and concerns regarding our ongoing transportation issues. Although my wife and I, on camera, did state how beautiful Southpoint Park is in its current natural state.

Between the interviews of Mr. Katz, Ms. Berdy and my wife and I, we (my wife and I) figure our part of the segment will be about 1 minute of an expected (our guess) 3 minute segment. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

June 24th CB8M Mtg re Roosevelt Island Transportation Issues

CB8 Logo

Manhattan Community Board 8 has formally announced June 24th as the date for their combined Transportation / Roosevelt Island committee meeting that will focus on RI transportation issues. The agenda per the CB8 website is as follows:

1. A discussion and schedule of work through completion on the F Line.
2. A discussion of the major renovation of the Tram
3. Follow up discussion on the April 18, 2007 resolution regarding a discussion of the development of direct access from Roosevelt Island to the Queensboro Bridge
4. An update on the proposed East River Ferry Service.
5. Old Business
6. New Business

The meeting will take place at the NY Blood Center located 310 East 67th Street, (between First-Second)in the Auditorium.

As reported earlier representatives from both the MTA and the DOT have nbeen invited to attend. I would expect that RIOC President Stephen Shane would be in attendance as well as a number of our local elected officials and our elected RIOC Board Nominees.

I have been trading e-mails today with CB8 regarding the response I had understood, from Transportation Co-Chair Horn, that DOT had issued to CB8 regarding the April 2007 resolution but it appears that perhaps no formal written response was ever issued by the DOT to CB8. I was sent a copy of the actual April 2007 letter sent to DOT by CB8 regarding the resolution and will post it here later today.

Help Wanted: RIOC PSD School Crossing Guard

Keith Guerra, RIOC's Director of Public Safety is looking to hire an individual as a school crossing guard for Roosevelt Island. In his own words the particulars are as follows:
"I am looking to fill the part-time position of School Crossing Guard. I would prefer an island resident with the time to put in 3 hours a day, during the school year. The hours are 7:45 AM to 8:45 AM, 11:45 AM to12:45 PM & 2:45 PM to 3:45 PM. The job pays $15 per hour (or $45 a day). The School Crossing Guard will be issued a uniform and trained to cross children at the appropriate crosswalk. Those with interest in this position should fill out a RIOC application and submit it to theDirector of Public Safety. Thank You."
Based on the spread of the hours it woudl appear the individual would need to be local in order to hang out at home between duty hours. I will admit I was surprised this is a PSD position as I expected that the NYC DOE would be the direct employer but I guess the guards are usually controlled by the local NYPD precinct and here that translates to the PSD.

Semi-Mystery Photo: When The Garden Club Ran the Island

Today's mystery photo is shrouded in mystery as there was a time when Roosevelt Island was governed not by RIOC by the RIGC, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club and this was their emblem which once was emblazoned on every structure and obelisk until Moses was cast out of Egypt. Sorry wrong story.

The question today is not so much which structure this is although positive identification would be nice but rather is this emblem still there and if not where is it?

The above photo was taken by Dan Dickinson and was found on Flickr via this link.

Update: May 31st:

The below photo is also on Flickr and was taken by me last weekend:


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

GTA IV: Images from Colony Island nee Roosevelt Island

A week or so ago I ran a post regarding the fact that the new Grand Theft Auto IV game including sequences that take place on Roosevelt Island (nee Colony Island) and my desire to see what the virtual representation of our island looked like.

Well with a little digging I found on a site called Gamespy several screen-shots of “Colony Island” (images 37-41 if you visit the source website). I have created a slide show (see above) of the more recognizable Colony Island sites. It is not hard to see that these shots are indeed modeled after Roosevelt Island but as with all GTA locations the images take on a much darker and foreboding feel to them. It also appears that President Avenue is the Main Street equivalent in the game and as in reality Colony island is part of Manhattan Isle's counterpart Algonquin Island.

Thanks again to the “blah-blah-blahg” for pointing out what I was curious about in the first place.

Tram Outage Starting Early 6/9 with Ending Later 6/19

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation issued an advisory this morning that the planned tram outage scheduled for June 10th through June 17th will commence with an early shutdown of the tram on June 9th at 10:00pm.

The advisory also states that the tram will not resume on June 17th but at 6:00 am on Thursday, June 19th.

According to the advisory the schedule change is necessary in order to perform the track ropes relocation maintenance.

According to the two most recent RIOC columns published in the Main Street WIRE and earlier service advisories the shutdown was only to extend through June 17th.

Transportation Study to Come to Roosevelt Isle via RIOC Board Nominee Kalkin

As a result of publicizing my own Roosevelt Island “transportation survey” I was contacted by RIOC Board Nominee Jonathan Kalkin who has been working behind the scenes even though he has not yet been appointed by the Governor nor confirmed by the State Senate to the Board. The below text are Mr. Kalkin’s comments regarding a transportation study he has been instrumental in bringing to the island.

I am not sure what weight the study will have outside its presentation to RIOC but I would expect since it will be of a high caliber from a prestigious program such as Columbia’s the suggestions that it will include can be presented to the MTA and DOT and we could expect serious discussions at that point.

I am hoping the Columbia folks will attend the late June meeting planned by Manhattan Community Board 8 where they will be focusing on island transportation issues. It would be interesting to hear their take on that night’s proceedings.

The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation will be conducting a large scale transportation study on the island. This will be conducted by one-fifth of their graduate student body and will include formal presentations to the community coupled with press exposure both on and off the island. This is an award winning group overseen by Columbia and led by a Professor [Floyd Lapp] who was the former Director of the New York City Department of City Planning. Over the weekend, we toured the island and the Professor saw all the good things we have on the island. He saw some of the transportation problems we have and was positive about improving them. I will be writing an article in the WIRE for May 31st issue.

I feel it's important to continue improving the quality of life for all residents on the island. When I was campaigning for a seat on the RIOC Board, I promised that even if I wasn't elected, I would continue to do positive work for the island. This study will have great weight because after meeting with both board members and the President of RIOC, they have agreed to allow RIOC to be the client and promised full cooperation. To top it all off, this world class study, by an award winning Professor, will be free of charge.


Jonathan Kalkin”

Roosevelt Island as Science Fiction: Film Update

“A ‘Necessary Music’ is a science fiction film about modernist social housing. A musically conceived piece, referencing the video operas of Robert Ashley, the film explores the social imaginary of a utopian landscape through directed attention to the voices that inhabit it.”

I have to admit reading through the above text taken directly from the film’s website I am a little concerned. But having met the artist Beatrice Gibson, who developed the film in collaboration with composer Alex Waterman I am not as worried as I might be otherwise. Both seemed genuinely interested in presenting a film that would not paint the island as another “Dark Waters” which many individuals think of when they hear the name Roosevelt Island, film and science fiction in one sentence.

Apparently I missed the film's opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art but as per the below image it is currently running at the 548 West 22nd Street location through June 1st. Acording to an email I received from Ms. Gibson the times are 11am - 6pm every day through June 1st. I plan on getting there this week to check it out.

More from the film’s site:
“Treating the medium of film as both a musical proposition and a proposal for collective production, A Necessary Music employs the resident of New York's Roosevelt Island as its authors and actors, gathering together texts written by them and using them to construct a script for the film. Casting seventeen residents to enact these lines accompanied by a fictional narration take from Adolfo Bioy Casares' 1941 science fiction novel 'The invention of Morel', the film deploys fiction as a tool to frame and activate its site. Self-consciously dissolving from attempted realism to imagined narrative, what begins as a process concerned with sociality becomes instead a ethnographic fiction about place and community, and an investigation into representation itself.”

Monday, May 26, 2008

Freecycle Roosevelt Island?

Over the last few years the terms “green” and “recycle” have taken on new meaning especially in light of the rising costs of fuel and energy overall. I read an article recently about a room being set aside in a New York University dorm where students would discard possessions they no longer want but which could be donated to charity. In today’s NY Times there is an article about a new family of sites known as “Freecycle” which are basically community swap boards set up as Yahoo discussion group where individuals “offer” the stuff they no longer want or post messages regarding items they are looking for as “wanted”. Link here for the NYC FreeCycle site.

This post’s title ponders whether a separate group should or could be set up for Roosevelt Island? The group would require a moderator and perhaps a bit of advertising so Roosevelt Island residents would learn about it. The idea came up as I see plenty of kiosk signs where individuals are offering items for sale and I am betting many of these when they go un-bought end up as garbage as residents no longer have room for them.

Certainly worthy recipients might include the Cabrini Thrift Shop or Orphans International (currently for computers, desks, chairs etc) but then the party would need to bring them to each location and I am betting many individuals just toss things out as they can’t be bothered to make the minimal effort of bringing these items to the OI or Thrift Shop locations.

One of the other issues with offering or selling items from Roosevelt Island is getting the stuff off-island or enticing individuals here to pick anything up. Anyone who has tried to get service persons to visit the island alone knows it is near to impossible much less trying to get individuals not being paid to come here.

So perhaps an on-island on-line Freecycle group would allow us to recycle and re-use goods already on the island? Good idea?

Two Parks - Two Great Destinations This Memorial Day Weekend

This morning, on Flickr, I found each of these great images of Roosevelt Island. Each highlights the differences between the two parks, Lighthouse Park and Southpoint Park. So far the past two days have been picture perfect and today more of the same is expected.

Pictures on Flickr (top, bottom) by Alexandy Augustin

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Near Bus Accident at Tram Circle Turnaround

Video For Location Only

This afternoon we had a bit of a scare riding on the Roosevelt Island Red Bus home from the Tram. I am a bit sketchy on what actually happened as I was sitting way in the back with my 4 year old daughter. Apparently while the bus was about to start his turn into the traffic circle a car heading South along the Riverwalk side of Main Street just cut off the bus causing the driver to abruptly stop short. No contact was made, to my knowledge, with the car but my daughter went flying into the aisle (she was sitting on the back bench seat) landing face down scaring the heck out of her leaving her crying hysterically. A number of other passengers also got tossed about including one other child who was sitting in the rear of the bus.

The driver stopped the bus and I believe tried to approach the grey sedan before it sped off heading South towards Goldwater along the Eastern side of the island. The driver got back on the bus and checked that we were all OK and that nobody was seriously injured. When the bus stopped across from Trellis and the PSD office he stopped to talk to some of the officers. At the same time my family entered the PSD office and gave a verbal report of the incident to the officers that were inside and giving the officers the license plate number of the car. We figured at that point the car was still on the Island as he had not yet come back North passing the bus.

By the time we got home my daughter had calmed down and was fine but it was quite scary for that initial moment or two seeing your child thrown down like that. Tomorrow I will follow up at the PSD office to see if anything else happened regarding this but I am assuming there was not much that PSD could do as no physical accident occurred. I am guessing at most PSD can issue a moving violation ticket or something. Either way everyone agreed that the sedan was reckless trying to get by a Red Bus. Perhaps PSD can install signs at the traffic circle that Red Buses have the right of way before cars to put cars on notice and to perhaps slow down.

Before the Batmobile

Bike Rack - 0507082156a

It is a little known fact that when Batman was a little boy he grew up on Roosevelt Island and it was quite clear then which vehicle was his even if he did not yet own the Batmobile.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Doggy Daycare Concerns During Tram Outages

With the upcoming planned tram outage scheduled for June 10th through 17th a few of the island's dog owners are concerned what to do regarding their anmals. Like many of the children on the island that go to day care when their parents go off to work so to go a few of the lucky dogs that commute each day via the tram with their owners. Where residents can just switch from commuting via tram to subway the issue is not so easy when the traveling companion has four legs and a tail.

For a small dog that fits into a hand held carrier the issue is less cumbersome as the dog can be carried down into the subway with minimal extra hassles. But for a larger dog the decision of what to do becomes harder.

Take for example if an owner travels with a stroller carrier (see the above picture) and the destination is the dog care / grooming establishment on 60th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. The owner could try to take the subway but will have to deal with the posibility that either the subway elevator on Roosevelt Island or the one at Lex / 63rd Street is out of service not to mention rush hour crowds. Parents who use strollers during rush hour know what a hassle this is.

If either elevator is out of service the owner will have to risk to taking their animal out of the stroller in violation of Section 1050.9(h)(2) and walking up or down the stairs and then putting their animal back into the stroller without being told by a cop that they are in violation of the rules etc. I see no defined fine for breaking the rules other than being asked to leave the subway.
Overall it appears that commuting with a large dog into Manhattan poses a number of logistical issues and added time that will affect each affected owner's decision to leave their dog home or attempt to bring them in not just this coming June but for a good part of 2009 when the Tram is offline for reconstruction.

Roosevelt Island Bridge, Subway & Tram Serice Normal for Holiday Weekend

According to all reports and notices Roosevelt Island residents will enjoy a weekend without any service disruptions to the Roosevelt Island Bridge, F Train subway service, or the Tram.

Video: 2008 Health & Fitness Day - May 17, 2008

Last weekend's Second Roosevelt Island Annual Health & Fitness Day sponsored by RIOC was a lot of fun. The weather was perfect and all the kids had a blast.

The blowup jumper / slide, see the video, was the perfect size for younger children as was the swings on the merry-go-round. My only hang up for the day was the idea that Zog Sports, I believe it was them, was giving away bottle openers and lollypops which seemed contradictory to the day's theme. The free smoothies were great and quite refreshing.

I missed Scott Stringer's official remarks but it was nice to see his appearance on Roosevelt Island. I think he saw the opportunity to meet a number of his constituents and we certainly hope to see more of him in the future. Earlier in the day former Mayor Dinkins was on hand and we certainly appreciate his participation suporting the junior tennis outreach segment of the day's actvivities. That's two years in a row for Mayor Dinkins. Thank you Mr. Mayor.

The large stage seemed underused and perhaps next year some of our local performers shoudl be pressed into service for a large scale "Simon Says" and other healthy exercise programs. Maybe this happened after lunch and before 4pm so if it did fantastic.

I don't know if Dora was at a Health & Fitness day event but we did run into her on the street which was cool for the kids.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

GTA IV Includes Renwick Ruin / Smallpox Hospital

Apparently Grand Theft Auto IV in addition to representing Roosevelt Island as Colony Island includes a recreation of the former Smallpox Hospital / Renwick Ruin. According to the "blah-blah-blahg" it is that recreation that is:

"officially my favorite location in the new GTA. they've even replicated ther planks supporting the window bays."

If anyone is able to snag an image of the recreated smallpox hospital or any other locations on "Colony island" I would love to post them here.

The State of the Playgrounds - 2008

Over the last two weeks we have visited each of the four main Roosevelt Island playgrounds (Riverwalk, Al Lewis, Manhattan Park and Octagon) and they all head into the Spring and Summer months looking pretty good. No word yet on the construction schedule or design of the former Castle playground just South of the Eastwood apartments and behind 504 Main Street.

Be aware that none of these playgrounds has a restroom although there are plans to install a prefab unit close to Capobianco Field which is next to Al Lewis and reasonably / somewhat close to Manhattan Park. For the Octagon and Riverwalk I'd suggest carrying a potette for real little ones who are potty training.

Starting from the North these are my comments and observations as a dad of two kids six years old and under:

The Octagon Playground

A gate has finally been installed that appears more rugged which will keep the kids from falling down the stairs that lead down to the daycare facillity. I don't last year's version being as nice. Similarly they have installed fencing which at least deters older children from climbing into the plants again leading down to the daycare center level. There is still one interior fence lock / latch that needs repair and each of the exterior latches is working well.

For those unfamiliar with this playground it is essentially two fenced playgrounds sharing a common "demilitarized zone" which includes the only bench seating and sandbox at the playground. One half is geared to 2 to 5 year olds and the other half towards 5 to 8 year olds.

This playground set in a wooded area behind the Octagon apartment complex enjoys great views of the East River facing Manhattan and has plenty of shade. It is probably the most relaxed of the playgrounds due to the setting.


"Grandpa" Al Lewis Playground

Nothing new here to report. It is still the most open of the four main parks and probably the most used. It is the closest of any of the playgrounds to Main Street but is still far enough away that a watchful parent can catch a child before they get to close to traffic. It has two open entrances with no gates so with real little ones you need to pay attention. Older kids tend to get into games of tag here and need to reminded when little ones are around. But tobe truthful this playground is for the 5 - 10 set and not toddlers or younger.

At this playground you are at the center of the handball courts, basketball courts, and Capobianco Field as well as close to PS217 and the Farmer's Market on Saturdays.


Manhattan Park Playground

This park was a wholly different park about 2 1/2 years ago and the reconstruction using the GameTime structure made the park a lot more enjoyable and safe. The old roller slides were not suited to young children and were dangerous to kids trying to walk up the slides.

I like this park due to the fact that in theory in has only one entrance / exit. I say in theory as there are two areas where the gating allows kids to scoot under or through to the outside which I wish could be sealed up. As compared to many City playgrounds this issue is not as great a concern as the exterior of the park does not affront a road or high traffic area.

This park has the best water views of Manhattan and of the Queensboro Bridge to the South. This park has no shade but for the shade of the buildings in the morning hours. So bring sunscreen for the kids as well as water for everyone.


Riverwalk Toddler

This playground is like the Octagon playground the only other spot geared to toddlers and young children. The playground has the island's only swing set and includes two infant swings among the four provided. There are plenty of benches for parents and caregivers to sit on while the kids are playing. The only real drawback to the park is that when it gets hot the park has only a small section that enjoys any shade. If your kid likes digging the shady area is the section for it.


The Spray-Grounds

There are actually two separate areas that fall under this description. The first is the stand alone cement sprayiground which sits between the Riverwalk playground and the Blackwell House basketball courts. This is one of the most popular areas most kids come to when the heat starts. It has plenty of shade and when the drain is "stopped" up it turns into a wading pool. The grounds crew officially frowns on this practice but it doesn't stop the kids from creating the wading pool several times a day.

The second spray-grounds are those directly adjacent to the former Castle playground location. This area is built as a wading pool but as with the earlier site the composition is all cement and kids of all ages should be watched and take care not to get rowdy or else the damage if an errant fall takes place could be painful.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MTA Turns Off Roosevelt Island Subway Escalators / Elevators to Improve Residents Health as Part of DOH Health Initiative

It appears what we thought was a conspiracy is actually a centralized effort by the MTA and the DOH (see the semi-unrelated NYT story linked) to improve the health and stamina of Roosevelt Island residents while promoting energy conservation.

So far, during the first day of the initiative, only 1000 residents had to be carried off the stairs and the non-electrified escalators complaining of exhaustion.

The DOH believes that number can be reduced by 100 / day with the MTA’s goal of in 100 days being able to disconnect the six working escalators permanently in addition to the 4 escalators “supposedly” under construction.

[This post is obviously a bit of satire but if the MTA and DOH do enact such a plan don't blame me.]

Young Advocacy Pays - Sidwalk Protrusion Fixed

Photo courtesy The Main Street WIRE

About a week ago I ran a post in response to a Curbed post where it was stated by Joey that it must be depressing for kids to grow up on Roosevelt Island. the whole thing started you may recall when the Roosevelt Islander ran a post that two local kids wrote to RIOC President Stephen Shane informing him of a piece of metal sidewalk molding that was sticking out which they were concerned would hurt somebody.

Well as expected the photo above is now available where Steve Shane posed with the kids demonstrating that advocacy works and the kid's letter did not go unanswered. Just like their dad they are learning that speaking up for the public's benefit pays off. But the real question is now whether the kids got child size versions of the snazzy RIOC fleece that Mr. Shane is sporting.

In all seriousness thank you to Mr. Shane for showing these kids and all of the local kids that civic pride is worth it and being a member of the community is looking out for one another.

NYDN: Ferry Advocates Say Service Possible Within Year But Unlikely

Today's New York Daily News, May 20, 2008, online local Queens section is running an article reporting that local ferry advocates believe ferry service could start on Roosevelt Island within a year if dock construction would be started earlier than 2010 as projected by NYC.
The article does not elicit any new information that island residents did not know already but it helps keep the issues in the press that we have serious transportation concerns especially with the Tram going off line in 2009 in front of us. If anything the article shows that our elected representatives are still pushing for us.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Roosevelt Island Transportation Survey

Please answer each of the below poll questions regarding transportation issues affecting Roosevelt Island:

Subway Escalators Failing the System: Tell Us Something New

As residents of Roosevelt Island where we have 10 escalators and 2 elevators in constant use the news that the MTA is having trouble maintaining these systems across the entire subway system is not a surprise. Just by looking at the maintenance of our systems we would guessed the issues were the same everywhere. The New York Times today, May 19, 2008, is running a multi page story on the state of the system. The piece starts with the following facts of which I am sure Roosevelt Island is a major contributor:

• "One of every six elevators and escalators in the subway system was out of service for more than a month last year, according to the transit agency’s data.

• The 169 escalators in the subway averaged 68 breakdowns or repair calls each last year, with the worst machines logging more than double that number. And some of the least reliable escalators in the system are also some of the newest, accumulating thousands of hours out of service for what officials described as a litany of mechanical flaws.

• Two-thirds of the subway elevators — many of which travel all of 15 feet — had at least one breakdown last year in which passengers were trapped inside."

As posted by the Roosevelt Islander we had a situation just over a week ago where an elevator was stuck trapping riders inside needing the FDNY to extricate them from the stick cabin.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Transportation Alerts : May 17-19 : Subway Disruption, Bridge Construction

As reported earlier this week subway service will be disrupted this weekend May 17 - 19 resulting in NO QUEENS BOUND service at the Roosevelt Island subway station. In addition starting this weekend throughout the Summer the NYC DOT will be working on the Roosevelt Island Bridge every weekend resulting in lane reversals and possible delays. A copy of the full DOT notice is below.

Unconfirmed Report: Jumper from 36th Ave / Vernon Blvd

I received this morning a report that an individual MAY HAVE either (1) jumped into the East River from the Roosevelt Island Bridge or (2) jumped from a building at the intersection of Vernon Blvd and 36th Ave in Long Island City. The source of the inquiry was the above Gothamist Newsmap posted on line this morning.

Keith Guerra, Director of Roosevelt Island's Public Safety Division, indicated he received no reports this morning of a jumper from the bridge. [as of 10:48 am]. A call into ION's Cafe (at the intersection named) was met with surprise and a reply that they knew of no such incident.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our Kids Are Empowered Not Depressed

Apparently Joey over at Curbed found the Roosevelt Islander post depressing regarding the children's letter to RIOC President Shane asking that metal stripping be removed.

On the contrary like the Roosevelt Islander I found it quite empowering to know these kids thought of this on their own and took it upon themselves to write Steve Shane about what they felt was dangerous.

Tram Racing : It's a Photo Finish

I saw the above image on Flickr (by danbox) and it immediately made me realize that once the Roosevelt Island Tram cabins are each on their own cable system (after the 2009 rehab / reconstruction) it will forever change the dynamics of how we see the tram operate. Yes we all knew this and it will be amazing.

Can you imagine the first trips when the cabins could travel side by side for the entire length of the bridge. Today we see hundreds of videos put up on YouTube of an individual cabins crossing. I am already picturing tourists waiting for the rare event of tandem tram crossings where a pair friends can videotape each other as their respective cabins "race" from Manhattan towards Roosevelt Island together. Granted RIOC will not purposefully run too many of these tandem trips but if the cables and towers can handle the stress and weight of a tandem crossing I am sure it will happen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Renwick Ruin Profiled in NYT Geometries Series

Today's NY Times, Wednesday, May 14, 2008, included a photo and brief intro regarding the former smallpox hospital designed by James Renwick.

The photo is part of the NY Times photo series titled "Geometries".

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tram Offline at 10pm Tonight - To Reopen Normally at 6am Tomorrow

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation's advisory page the Tram will shut down early tonight at 10:00 pm for scheduled maintenance.

On a standard weekday schedule the Tram would shut down at 2:00 am and open again at 6:00 am.

There are no reported late night subway disruptions planned for tonight so the F Train is available for individuals looking to go to or from Roosevelt Island after 10:00 pm this evening.

No Queens Bound F Train May 17-19 for Roosevelt Island

This weekend's subway disruption brings the tally for Roosevelt Island and the entire 63rd Street Subway Tunnel up to 13 weekends with disrupted service out of 20 weekends during 2008 so far.

Does anyone know what the record is for subway service disruptions in a single calendar year for a single station? I am just curious what we are working against and if we will ever have to claim such title if we hit it? I am assuming stations along the 7 line with all the construction they have had over the years will beat us easily but I am curious.

The complete tally includes: (1) 1/5-7; (2) 1/12-14; (3) 1/19-21; (4) 1/26-28; (5) 2/2-4; (6) 2/16-18; (7) 3/1-3; (8) 3/8-10; (9) 3/15-17; (10) 3/29-31; (11) 4/5-7 (12) 4/26-27 and; (13) 5/17-19

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers Day Message from Iraq for Roosevelt Island Mom

Roosevelt Island resident Adrienne Grist was treated to a rare event seeing her daughter wish her a Happy Mother's Day via larger than life video screens in Times Square. It was an extra special occasion as Ms. Grist's daughter, Major Lisa Webb, 41, is serving in Iraq. For the full story link HERE to the NY Daily News story about the event.

PBS “City of Water” Screening at RIVAA – May 14th

Thanks to Bonnie Goodman at the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association for the following program information:

"The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and the Municipal Art Society invite you to the premiere screening on Roosevelt Island of City of Water, a thirty-minute documentary about the future of New York’s waterfront.

Recently featured on PBS, City of Water explores the aspirations of public officials, activists, academics and everyday New Yorkers for a diverse, vibrant waterfront – at a time when our shoreline is changing faster than ever before.

The film includes interviews with Dan Doctoroff, Nydia Velazquez, Joy Garland, Majora Carter, Philip Lopate, Cathy Drew and many others. But, what’s makes this documentary extraordinary are images of the New York waterfront itself. The film skillfully weaves vintage footage from the years when New York was a working seaport with a discussion of future development.

Carter Craft, Director of Programs and Policy for the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, will introduce the film and inspire us with the MWA’s vision for a New York waterfront that is both productive and accessible for all New Yorkers.

Please join us for this special event.

Wednesday, May 14, 7:30 Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

Please note: because of the conflict with the Rivercross election meeting, the film will be shown continuously – on a smaller screen - from 7 PM on. Rivercross residents are welcome to drop in before your meeting. (Paper plates will be available for you to take dessert with you!)

Popcorn during the screening, dessert after.

Information: (212) 371-9084"