Monday, June 30, 2008

Riverwalk Signage Simply Unneighborly or Possibly Illegal ?

The folks at Hudson Related have in the last few days erected a new sign advertising the Riverwalk complex on Roosevelt Island. My question is whether the signage is just unneighborly as it is too large for the area and we have to see it each time we take the Tram onto the island or does it cross the line and is actually illegal?

New York City via the Department of Buildings defines that signage that is classified as advertising is illegal if placed upon scaffolding. You may recall the 2006 case , reported by the NY Times, where a six story billboard was placed on scaffolding that was advertising two giant Scotch bottles directly across from the New York Public Library. Approximately one year ago the DOB started a campaign against illegal ads and signage placed upon buildings including scaffolding. Would this sign fall under that campaign?

Per the DOB:

What is an Advertising Sign?
>A sign that directs attention to goods and services at a location other than the premises where the sign is located. These signs are only permitted in certain zoning districts throughout the city.

What is NOT an Advertising Sign?
>A sign that directs attention to a business at the same location as the sign. A non-commercial sign unrelated to any commercial business.

Based on these definitions the oversized Riverwalk signage may not be illegal as it is drawing attention to the availability of apartments at that location and not products or services provided elsewhere. But then again it is pointing to a commercial enterprise?

It may not be illegal but it is certainly an eyesore and at 5 stories high quite unneighborly. Maybe I am being a tad melodramatic as the sign is just that ... a sign.

NYT: Bloomberg’s Next Battle: Revamping Senior Centers

Presumably the local Senior Center here on Roosevelt Island would have no issues as it appears to be quite active but today's New York Times, June 30, 2008, is reporting that under a new Bloomberg plan centers will have to prove they are adding value and increasing attendance or risk losing funding in some manner.

Sportspark Adds Additional Early Morning Swim Hours

SportsPark Adds Early Swim Hours

Sportspark located on Roosevelt Island has apparently added additional hours to its early morning open swim program.

It's not the full open schedule the folks over at the blog "Swimming on Roosevelt Island" have been requesting RIOC, at least via their limited blog posts and comments, to grant but it's a start.

ToddP's 2008 Annual Unamplified Acoustic BBQ - Postponed Due to Rain

ToddP BBQ Cancelled

Coming back to Roosevelt Island early yesterday afternoon I saw that ToddP's Annual Unamplified Acoustic BBQ had been postponed due to the predictions of a "gnarly" thunderstorm. The predictions turned out to be corect and the rains were a mess for a while.


See the linked IMPOSE Magazine web page for pictures of those groups that attended the event.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Single Report of Light Pole Shock

The Roosevelt Islander yesterday evening reported an incident where a resident received a shock from a light pole somewhere on the island.

No serious injury was reported and Operations quickly turned off power to the pole.

If any additional incidents are found please report the to RIOC's main number 212-832-4540 or to Public Safety at 212-832-4545.

The light standard pictured may not be the pole on which the report is based and is shown only for demo purposes.


As per the Gothamist and discussed in earlier posts:
"MUSIC: Todd P brings his annual BBQ back to Roosevelt Island this Sunday. Get there early and enjoy a full day of unamplified sets, picnics and whatever else you can get into over there. There are a ton of bands playing throughout the day, including Aa, Pterodactyl, Stars Like Fleas...and on and on. B.Y.O.Brunch -- the music starts promptly at 11. More details here.

Sunday // 11 a.m. // Roosevelt Island // Free

Fire / Police Call Boxes : Existing and Former

There are many items on the Roosevelt Island landscape that tend to blend into the background as we go about our daily lives. Much of our street furniture such as the FDNY / NYPD Call Boxes fall into that category. They tend to simply exist unless you need them and then they become all important.

Most of these boxes these days tend to be of the grey steel variety that blend exceedingly well into the background on actual streets. Walking home from the Tram last night I noticed what appear to be two "stumps" and I began to wonder what the requirements are for such boxes relative to population growth. I know that building laws require that new construction include fire control centers in each residential building so I am sure the Riverwalk buildings have built in call boxes within their lobbies etc but it still seemed strange that the City would remove existing boxes from the street where there are still plans to build even more structures.

The "stumps" I noticed were along Main Street / East Road across the street from the line of Riverwalk buildings. One is directly across from 465 Main Street and the other is also on the soccer field side of the street across from approximately the 415 / 425 Main Street buildings. These two stumps must have appeared like the Red FDNY box pictured below.

It's strange what you sometimes notice and think about. But as a local blogger I am always intrigued by what I see on our streets.


According to RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra the boxes are taken off line by the City as each box no longer functions. Meaning a box is not replaced once it stops working. Boxes were added to our streets at a time when cell phones were not common and this allowed the public to report a fire or the need for the police in a free and expedient manner.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Roosevelt Island - A Water View - Bottom to Top

I had been wanting to film the island from one end to the other ever since seeing the Edison 1903 video filmed from the East Channel looking West. I have already filmed and posted the Island from that view but from Southpoint to Lighthouse where the Edison video starts at the North end and heads South.

I am now presenting the following video from the West Channel looking East at the Island starting at Southpoint and finishing at Lighthouse Park.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Follow the Green Brick Road....

Follow the Green Brick Road. Follow the Green Brick Road.

Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow the Green Brick Road.

Follow the green-brick, follow the green-brick

Follow the green-brick road

We're off to see the Lighthouse, the Wonderful Lighthouse of RI

We'll find it is the Brightest Lighthouse of all if ever a Lighhouse there was

If ever, oh ever, a Lighthouse there was the Lighthouse of RI is one because

Because, because, because, because, because

Because of the wonderful light it does

We're off the see the Lighthouse, the Wonderful Lighthouse of RI

- - -

OK, I have completely lost it and my wife is disavowing any relation to me.

Original picture posted on Flickr by

DOT Decision in Queens Impacts Manhattan Residents Parking

As I reported about 6 weeks ago the DOT was putting into action a plan to remove parking spaces on Vernon Blvd, LIC for bike lanes. At the time, not owning a car, I did not expect there would be an impact on Roosevelt Island car owners. Boy was I wrong.

As any resident knows Roosevelt Island has only limited on street parking, all meterered, and the only other choice is parking at Motorgate Garage on the island. Well the third choice that I forgot about was many car owners parked for free on Vernon Blvd and underneath the Roosevelt island Bridge.

The above and below images can be found as part of the larger LIC bike path plan.

Well the DOT apparently removed the parking signs this week and a few Roosevelt Island residents who were informed of this at last nights Manhattan Community Board 8 meeting were not thrilled to learn what their fellow residents had already found out when they moved returned with their cars.

The question then, at the CB8M meeting, was what did their fellow Queens CB1 and CB2 know of this and did the Queens CBs even realize that the impact on their Roosevelt Island / Manhattan cousins who are connected to them by the Roosevelt Island Bridge. And lastly should CB8M say anything to the Queesn CBs.

Reactions to CB8 RI Transportation Mtg - Ferry Service

Last night Manhattan Community Board 8 held a special joint Roosevelt Island and Transportation Committee meeting at the New York Blood Center. It was held in the Auditorium in case a large number of individuals attended. It was not needed. The following are my thoughts and reactions as well information provided to us in the order of the agenda.

Part 1 - Ferry Service

The ferry landing planned for the site by the Octagon and the Dayspring Church / Former Boathouse will not be ready any earlier than Fall 2009 and certainly not ready for the planned Tram rehab outage in March / April 2009. The NYC EDC representative, Michael Taylor, a Senior Project Manager for Maritime Transportation Policy, who attended when asked why that site basically stated that those decisions are made a pay grades exceeding his own. He made it clear that the City is only going to build the dock and at this time there are no plans to include a Roosevelt Island ferry stop in the proposed City subsidized pilot ferry program. This was confirmed by Josh Orzeck, Community Coordinator, of the NYC DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner's Office.

It appears that while the City is building the landing that they will be simultaneously undertaking a study to determine the impact and how an Octagon Landing will fit into any larger ferry routes. Mr. Taylor did state that part of the concept was to build the landing at the North end of the island to create a separate transportation link despite the fact, brought up by those in attenance,, that the majority of possible riders are are closer to the existing mid/South transportation hub.

A lot of good points were brought up by committee members and the public. These included (1) the fact that when the UN is in session the West Channel is closed (2) any landing should be designed to handle larger craft for evacuation purposes (3) there exists a former landing on the East Channel underneath the QBBridge that perhaps coud be rehabilitated and it closer to the existing hub. Each was listened to and acknowledged politely. The reaction to the existing landing was that it would take as much money to rehab that one as the Octagon site and the decison has been made already.

It is clear that unless a ferry operator can be profitable they will not provide service. My feeling is at the Octagon location sufficient riders will not materialize to make it profitable and we will be left with a nice dock to look at. I do give Mr. Becker plenty of credit for moving the process along and working with our elected reps to secure funding. I just hope it works and that additional landings can follow but that is highly doubtful. The public officials will never give us money for a second shot at this for years.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Subway Disruptions: Scheduled for July - September

According to a representative of the MTA that attended this evening's Community Board 8 meeting the subway will NOT stop on Roosevelt Island (also Lex/63rd and 21st St. / Queensbridge) in one direction on the following Summer weekends:

July 12-14 Northbound / Queensbound trains
August 9 - 11 Northbound / Queensbound trains
August 23-25 Southbound / Manhattan trains
August 30-Sept 1 Southbound / Manhattan trains
September 6 - 8 Northbound / Queensbound trains

This weekend there are no service disruptions planned for Saturday June 28th through Monday morning June 30th. This weekend is the 26th weekend of the 2008 year and we have had 13 weekends of disruption putting us at 50% which is simply unacceptable.

I understand the need for many of the track projects required to maintain and expand the system but for riders to be displaced this often is bordering on unfair.

George Gurley: Create 20 More Roosevelt Islands

George Gurley loves the concept of Roosevelt Island so much he thinks they should create 20 more of them and believes someone may steal his idea and make a fortune. For the entire 4 page article link HERE.

DR. SELMAN: It seems like moving to Roosevelt Island was a big upgrade.

GEORGE: I come into Manhattan every three days, and it’s such a culture shock. The other day I couldn’t believe all the people, and someone walked by me on his cell phone jabbering away like an idiot, like a savage beast, and it’s like, I can’t believe I used to live there. They should make more islands around Manhattan. Can’t you make islands these days? Don’t they do that in Dubai? They should make another 20 Roosevelt Islands around Manhattan. Watch someone steal this idea and make trillions.

HILLY: One of the things that I love about Roosevelt Island is coming home after a long day of work and to have—

DR. SELMAN: And to have the apartment a mess and George in his pajamas.

GEORGE: I guess one of my biggest problem is, I don’t have a social life there. Really wish I knew a couple people I can say hi to, even the local pot dealer—then I’ve got someone to say hi to.

HILLY: Why don’t you put a notice up, on the message board?

GEORGE: Just say, ‘I’m lonely, need a pal’?

HILLY: Just be like, ‘I work at home, I’m looking for someone who would be willing to play the occasional spur-of-the-moment tennis or pool.’ What’s wrong with that?

Assembly Passes Kellner Bill to Democratize RIOC Board

The New York State Assembly voted today and passed A09321 amending Chapter 899 of the 1984 laws creating RIOC to "Reconstitutes the Roosevelt Island operating corporation board of directors;provides that the corporation shall be governed by an elected rather thanappointed board; makes numerous related provisions, including provisions foradditional duties."

The bill had been previously submitted by Peter Grannis during his terms in office. the bill has now been delivered to the Senate where it will come before the Rules Committee. Unfortunately as yesterday was the last session of this term the outcome of this bill will have to wait.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lorena's Manhattan Park Video

The above video was posted onto YouTube by Lorenasfm and involves several shots taken from her apartment at Manhattan Park here on Roosevelt Island as well as at street level . Catchy tune and a few aerial views you don't see too many videos shot from here on the Island.

NYC DOT Response Re Queensboro Bridge Access

It appears that if a NYC DOT representative does attend tomorrow night's Community Board 8 Meeting regarding Roosevelt Island transportation issues they will have nothing to say other than they received the April 2007 CB8 Resolution, that they undertook no feasibility study regarding access to the QB bridge, and the benefits of such access are not worth the funds needed to create such access. Nothing new here. This is basically what they told CB8 before the resolution was passed.

The below e-mail was sent to me today by the NYC DOT in response to my April 28, 2008 FOIL requests regarding the status of the DOT's response to the April 2007 CB8 resolution.

Pretty much everything in the below letter has been stated to me before including by our own Stephen Shane, President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. I am not disagreeing with the concepts that the benefits may be exceeded by the costs but I still believe any additional access is better than the status quo.

-----Original Message-----
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 15:20:22

Dear Roosevelt Island 360:

We received your email regarding your question about the Community Board 8 resolution to conduct a feasibility study to determine access for the Roosevelt Island community to the 59th Street Bridge. Your request was forwarded to our Freedom of Information Office for review and consideration.

The Department of Transportation had addressed this issue to the Board, prior to them passing the resolution, that the installation of any kind of access was unfeasible for several reasons. The installation of a stairway would require meeting ADA requirements. An elevator installation would require the removal of a lane of traffic from one of the busiest bridges in NYC. Also of major concern are the security, maintenance, access, and Landmark issues. Additionally, the cost would be extraordinary yet the value would be extremely limited, particularly as compared to the existing and significantly greater capacity of existing alternates to the tram such as the subway and, most importantly, the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Thank you for your interest in this matter.


Margaret Forgione,
Borough Commissioner

Man. Log #9159

-----Original Message-----
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 19:36:09
Subject: Re: Access to QB Bridge

Dear Ms. Forgione:
Thank you for your response. I greatly appreciate it. I understand your points although I do respectfully disagree with some of them.
The one point I am continually confused by is the statement that a lane of traffic would be impacted by an elevator. Is the DOT counting as a lane of traffic the outer pedestrian walkway?

I would think an elevator if built would connect to the pedestrian wakway and not an actual lane of traffic. Perhaps this option was not considered.
In closing I wanted to ask if a representative of your office will be attending the Manhattan Community Board 8 meeting tomorrow evening at 6:30 pm where transportation issues affecting Roosevelt Island are being discussed. It is my understanding that a representative of the NYC DOT was to be invited.

Thank you again for your response and time.

Posters, Bus Shelters and Kiosks

I guess I won't be posting any signs for a while in the bus shelters even if they are transportation related. I am guessing this will be a hard one for RIOC to uphold as it will require constant vigilence. Some people might see this as a limitation on freedom of expression but I am sure it was a decision based simply on trying to clean up the place as the shelters were getting a bit messy and there are posters kioks usually within view if not adjacent to every shelter.

I am not sure what put the situation over the edge but I admit I was a regular but had tried to limit my posters to specific meeting or event related news. My most recent posters were advertising the below Community Board 8 event which I felt was more than appropriate to be posted in the shelters.

UPDATE: 11:30 pm
It turns out it was not RIOC that cleaned up the shelters according to Margie Smith but I believe she indicatd it was RIRA as the shelters were beginning to look a bit junky. etc. I will confirm tomorrow what prompted this action.

Let There Be Light - Motorgate Deck Lights

A few weeks ago, on June 4th, I posted a piece about the lights under the Motorgate Garage deck being out between the bus stop and the bridge ramp. In response to that post I received an email from Steve Shane, our RIOC President, and later on from Tom Turcic, RIOC's Director of Engineering.

I am happy to report that RIOC has corrected the issues that were keeping the lights from shining and as the above slide show shows almost of the lights are operational. Thank you to Tom and his team for bringing the lights back on full.

Friday, June 20, 2008

WNBC Video: Gabe Pressman's Roosevelt Island Report

This below video segment on Roosevelt Island aired, this evening June 20, 2008, during the 7pm local WNBC newscast. It was filmed during the last week of May 2008.

It is always interesting to see how news segments are edited down to the final product. As expected the result of the interview Mr. Pressman conducted with us ended up summarized as one or two sentences. Matt Katz, RIRA President, likewise ended up with one sentence on the air. Ms. Judy Berdy is highlighted for a few more sentences as much of the segment focuses on the past history of the island.

I am guessing the aerial shots are courtesy of the News 4 helicopter. All in all not bad. And I said earlier meeting Mr. Pressman was fun and he is definitely a professional cut from the best.
For a cleaner viewing link HERE to the WNBC site itself.

Leasing Agents Posing as Prospective Tenants ?

A YouTube contributor under the name "OctagonNYC" has posted a video (direct link) of a ABC News Nightline segment that focuses on real estate properties being converted into residential properties from past lives as asylums, such as the Octagon, and other non residential uses.

The focus of this presentation is however not the benefits of re-use but the assertion that a current Octagon leasing agent posed as a prospective tenant for purposes of the video shot. It is unclear if "OctagonNYC" is a current Octagon tenant or not or what prompted them to post this video other than the assertion of this act by the leasing agent.

I can't speak to the veracity of the assertion being made but the video shot is representative of individuals looking for what they hope is better value for their rental dollars.

WNBC Local News Story re Roosevelt Island - Tonight 7pm Newscast

Close to a month ago, Gabe Pressman came out to Roosevelt Island and interviewed Matthew Katz, Judy Berdy, and my family for a local neighborhood piece about living on the island. That story is now scheduled to run tonight, Friday June 20th, during the 7:00 pm local newscast.

Fifty Two Years Ago Ferrry Service Discontinued

Fifty two years ago this weekend, June 22nd, ferry service from East 78th Street to Roosevelt Island, then Welfare Island, was discontinued due to in major part to the opening, in 1955, of the lift bridge connecting the island to Long Island City. The end of service marked the end of twenty-one years of service connecting the island to Manhattan by water.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 3 RIOC Elected Board Members + David Kraut

Well it appears that Roosevelt Island is partially stepping foward into a democracy.

It was never promised but it was inferred that the Governor's office (which included then Lt Governor David Paterson) would accept and appoint the nominees elected by popular vote.

Having three out of four possible gubernatorial appointees when previously it was none is nothing to sneeze at.

The question is now will the Mayor select one, two, or none of the remaining three available elected nominees?

------Original Message------
From: Micah Kellner
To: Roosevelt Islander
To: Roosevelt Island 360
Sent: Jun 19, 2008 5:38 PM
Subject: The 3 rioc nominees

The governor's 4 rioc appointments were just confirmed by the Senate. There are already rumors that the Senate will hold a special session in July, where mayoral reccomendations (if any are made) could be confirmed.

WIRE: Rivercross Surcharge & Maintenance Hike

According to an email report by the Main Street WIRE


"DHCR Plans Hike in Rivercross Surcharge

DHCR plans to order an increase in the Rivercross surcharge, levied on residents whose income exceeds the maximum allowed in a building, from 20% to 30%, according to an e-mail from DHCR Commissioner Deborah van Amerongen to Assemblymember Micah Kellner.

Van Amerongen said that DHCR staff called the building's managing agent today with the news. In addition, DHCR has approved an increase in maintenance charges which, if levied in one step, would be $7.45 per room (about 2.5%) per month (or $4.97/room/month if levied in two steps).

With regard to the surcharge increase, van Amerongen wrote, "...the [Rivercross] Board will be informed of our decision sometime today. If they decide to challenge this that is of course their right, we will argue the case in court.""

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Residents: DJs Andrew Andrew

I admit I have no knowledge of current popular music or who DJs Andrew Andrew are but if they are shilling for Roosevelt Island and standing up as residents I support them.

Apparently they let it be known where they live and they spoke about living on Roosevelt island to the folks over Daily Intel / New York Magazine and how they feel empowered by the positive attitudes shown by some of our differently abled residents.

After seeing the above picture I actually recall seeing two guys dressed alike walking around the island not knowing that it was them.

Unconfirmed: Trellis Temporarily Closed

An unconfirmed report has indicated that the Roosevelt Island restaurant Trellis may have been closed by the DOH.

According to the DOH website, Trellis was recently inspected twice at the beginning and end of May each time requiring a follow up inspection. It is unknown what triggered the reported closure or for how long the restaurant will be closed.

Picture courtesy Black & White Cookie Review Blog

Tram to Reopen Early at 5pm Today

According to a RIOC Advisory issued this afternoon the scheduled maintenance work has been completed early and the Roosevelt Island Tram will be put back into service at 5pm this afternoon. The Tram had originally been scheduled to return to service tomorrow morning at 6am.

Free service will be provided to all riders through 2am tonight. Queens/Manhattan express bus service is being terminated. It is assumed this is effective as of 5pm as well.

2007 Videos from The Encampment

Each of the below four Youtube videos discusses the creation and set up of one tent at last years Encampment project on Roosevelt Island:

Direct YouTube links: Tent 2, Tent 4, Tent6, and Tent 7. Each of the four videos was shot by SmartCulture

Todd P Announces 6/29 for 2008 Roosevelt Island Event

Per :

YouTube Video from 2007 Event


:: an afternoon of folks playing songs lackadaisical-like

:: Extra Life ---------------> duo version
:: Aa aka BIG A little a
:: Warmer Milks
:: Pink Reason
:: Pterodactyl -------------> duo plus buds!
:: the Shoe ---------------> feat Jena Malone
:: Stars Like Fleas
:: Ezekiel Healy
:: Dave and Ryan from Tall Firs
:: the So So Glos
:: Wonted Haunts -----> feat Tim Traynor
:: Pure Horsehair
:: Todosantos ----------> duo
:: Vultures
:: lots and lots and lots more lineup tba!!!

enter at corner of Main St & Road 3 Roosevelt Island, NY
F to Roosevelt Island 11am to sundown ALL AGES FREE!! bring bbq stuff
-- MAP -->,+10044
-- LOOK -->
-- LOOK-->
-- LOOK-->

The park is right in the middle of the East River, the city and the river swirl serenely around you - you could throw rocks at the Midtown Skyline. And there's this ruined castle-like 1850's city smallpox hospital [ ] down there too (legendarily haunted). Take the F train all the way there (there's a "Roosevelt Island" stop), and bring your guitars & beach umbrellas & blankets & folding chairs & your beverages (IN A CUP, NO GLASS OR OPEN CONTAINERS) & your hibachis & charcoal & stuff to grill & whatnot. "

Flag Etiquette: Step by Step

P6130146_Flag Triangle_Day

One of the few rules I learned from my days in boy scouts was to respect our flag. As a result since I have moved here to Roosevelt Island I have winced almost every day I pass the flags flown at the Main Street traffic triangle and at Firefighter's Field. I am not a flag waiving lunatic but seeing those flags as tattered at their edges as they are is just wrong.

What has also bugged me is seeing these two flags flown 24 hours a day in every kind of foul weather. I can deal with the bad weather as I don't really expect to see RIOC or the PSD raising and lowering the flags daily but it has always been my understanding that under the US Flag Code (yes it's an actual law 1, 2) that flags flown at night must be lit via a spotlight or other means.

P6130151_Flag Triangle_Night_v2

I finally got to a point where I raised each of these issues to Stephen Shane, RIOC President, who has assured me that each flag will be examined (and I inferred replaced by his emails) and that lighting will be investigated and addressed. Lighting for the Main Street traffic triangle will be worked out once the traffic and pedestrian reconfiguration, currently under way, at that location is completed.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Movie Night 6/21 : Choice of Features

This Saturday evening, June 21st, Roosevelt Island residents will have the choice of seeing two movies or perhaps seeing in effect a double feature.

necessary music - film poster

Starting at 7:30 pm at the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA) residents can vew on the island the film "A Necessary Music" which was filmed on Roosevelt Island as a collaborative work between Beatrice Gibson and Alex Waterman. You can read more about this film by linking HERE to past blog posts about the film or linking HERE to the film's website.

Movie - RIOC Presents NeverEnding story

Starting at 8:45 pm RIOC presents 'The NeverEnding Story" which is being shown on a large inflatable screen over at Firefighters Field. As previously reported the RIOC Summer Film Series has been moved this year from Southpoint to Firefighter's Field to allow for greater access as opposed to residents having to navigate the unpaved paths required to get to Southpoint.

Bottom Escalator Out of Service - Still / Again ?

Starting last week as reported by the Roosevelt Islander, Escalator 416, which is the lower of the two "up" escalators has been sporadically in and out of service. The last two nights have been no exception. And due to the fact that service has been sporadic it appears that the MTA can get away without listing this escalator out of service. If you do see the escaltor out of service please report the outages by calling (718) 243-3222, even if the outage is outside the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. time period the MTA office is open.

The only consolation is that by this lower escalator being out of service riders can choose to go down to the train platforms and attempt to take the elevators up to the street as opposed to being surprised by getting stuck at the upper mezzanine and being forced to walk up the upper escalator ES 413.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Are Roosevelt Island Zip Cars Less Zippy ?

It appears that at least one resident on Roosevelt Island is complaining that fellow island residents are not returning their Zipcars in a timely basis resulting in a less than satisfying service model. Having access to a local and efficient rental car service is something any resident can appreciate. Do you belong to Zipcar and what has been your estimate of how it works here on Roosevelt Island?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Roosevelt Island Day - 2008

The following video is just a short snippet of the sights and sounds of Roosevelt Island Day which is held annually. Due to the rains the evening's concert was cancelled but all in all everyone had a great time. Certainly the kids did.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Straphanger's Advocate Russianoff Regarding Roosevelt Island Ridership Levels - Part 2

Gene Russianoff was kind enough to answer a second question today, June 13, 2008, regarding Roosevelt Island ridership levels in his guest column "About Mass Transit" on the NY Times City Room blog.

Marie Babcock (Resident):

Q. Who is monitoring rider usage and population shifts? I live on Roosevelt Island.The rerouting of the Q and F trains and the huge population increase on Roosevelt Island in recent years has caused a major problem here. At rush hours the F trains are so packed arriving here that we are not able to board. Sometimes three trains will pass through with only a small number at the packed station able to board. Now the RI Tram is in need of some long shutdowns due to overdue repair work. It can only get worse.

Gene Russianoff:

A. I have received a number of e-mail messages about crowded conditions on the F at Roosevelt Island. Clearly, whatever New York City Transit’s operations planning department is doing is not enough. Or worse yet, the Queens Boulevard line is at capacity and no more trains are possible. Maybe your elected officials should ask Transit’s President Howard Roberts, Jr. to come to a morning rush hour.

Are the Street Signs Really Haunted ?

A story that is never discussed on Roosevelt Island is whether there is truth to the rumor that the signs are haunted, that at night they glow to garner attention and that they speak to each other.

Some say that many of the signs have been spotted disembodied from their polls when the moon is full seemingly trying to free themselves of their bond to the island.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Costco Without a Car

Over the two years that we have lived on Roosevelt Island we have managed quite well without a car to patronize the Long Island City Costco location. Generally we walk to Costco and take a car service back with the trunk of the car service loaded down justifying the $6 to $10 fee charged for the short one way trip.

I keep thinking how can we do away with even this added cost? After all we only live across the East River. Walking presents challenges as there is only so much stuff you can stuff into a granny cart or shove into a backpack. Bicycling presents the same challenges along with weight distribution issues on a bicycle being walked back on the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

The answer was provided by Ikea of Copenhagen which apparently offers bicycles with trailers to their customers to carry their purchases home. The trick is now convincing my building to allow me to store a trailer such as those pictured in our bike room. Keeping the trailer in my apartment is not an option. In all seriousness I'd be willing to look into buying such a trailer and sharing the costs with other residents if we could solve the storage and access question.

Perhaps we can convince ZIP Car to get into the bike / trailer rental business opening up the option to all residents?

Ridership Levels of Alternative Roosevelt Island Red Bus

Based on the below statistics it appears that Roosevelt Island residents have not been taking advantage of or see the benefit of taking the Red Bus during the morning rush hour periods, to Queens Plaza or during non-rush periods into Manhattan directly. I would expect that this weekend the numbers will spike higher as I recall weekends being a pretty high usage rate during the Summer of 2006 when the Tram was out and during Subway disruption weekends. But we shall see what happens.

Looking at these stats it would appear that RIOC may decide that the Red Bus option should not be repeated during the planned 2009 outage as they are using this outage as a gauge torwards resident usage for that later period.

My only thoughts are that I wonder if greater use would be made of this option if the Red Bus would to first loop around the Island as the Q102 does before it leaves the Island. Could it be that for many residets the added time to first get themselves to Gristedes is an added impediment to the use of this option?

A good question asked of Mr. Shane by Patrick Stewart, a member of the RIOC Board of Directors, is of the stats provided how many riders were seniors or disabled for whom the subway stairs / escalators / elevators may prove challenging. Mr. Shane has not responded to that question or may not have thta level of detail availabel to him if it was even captured at all.

I will admit for my purposes taking the bus to Queens Plaza puts me further away from my commuting goals distance wise and it makes no sense for me during rush our periods. If the subway goes out though this option will be imperative for all residents wishing to head off the island.

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

From: "Stephen Shane"
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 11:32:23
Subject: Red Bus Ridership during Tram outage - Stats for 6/11/08:

From RI to Queens Plaza (6AM-9:30AM):
16 passengers 8 trips

From QP to RI (returns):
0 passengers 8 trips

From RI to Manhattan (10AM-2PM):
9 Passengers 5 trips

From Manhattan to RI (returns at 10:30 AM-2:30PM);\:
8 Passengers 5 trips

From RI to Manhattan (7PM-11PM)
9 Passengers 5 trips

From Manhattan to RI (returns at 7:30PM-11:30PM):
9 Passengers 5 trips

We shall see as the word spreads and/or sinks in. Hard to justify at this level! An experiment.


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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tram Outage Day 2: Commentary

F Train Update

My Day 2 experience was limited to arriving before 8am and getting on a F Train within a few minutes without issue. My advice which applies any dayu of the work week is get tothe platform before 8am and your issues will be mininmized.

The Main Street WIRE is reporting that approximately 100 individuals were left on the Manhattan bound platform between the period 825am to 845am. Even on a normal operating day during that time period it is expected that a number of riders will not be able to get on crowded trains.

Red Bus Schedules - New Service to Manhattan During Non Rush Hours

RIOC President Steve Shane announced yesterday that RIOC decided to provide off hour service directly to 60th Street in Manhattan in addition to rush hour service to Queens Plaza. Just as the Roosevelt Islander applauded RIOC yesterday for this decision I too thank Mr. Shane for this added service as I am sure it will be an aid to residents who find the stairs at both the Queens Plaza and Lex / 63rd Street subway stations too much too handle.

A copy of the updated Red Bus schedule will be available throughout his outage in the left side bar to this blog. Just doble cvlick to link tothe schedule and then double click to enlarge the image.

RIOC Tram Bus Schedule - 2008 June

Riverwalk Construction Update: Pictures of 405 and 415 Main Street

Gianluca, this post was photographed so you could see, from California, updated pictures of Riverwalk Court (415 Main Street) and I figured while I was out I might as well take pictures of 405 Main Street as well.

I started shooting from right outside the subway station and then proceeded to walk clockwise around the three buildings 425 - 415 - 405 Main Street. 425 Main St. is already complete and occupied.

Is it me or does Riverwalk Court, 415 Main St., contain more glass in it's exterior shell / skin than any of the 6 buildings constructed to date?


Each of the photos in the above slide show can be found on Flickr HERE.