Thursday, January 31, 2008
The event is co-sponsored by the Eastwood Residents Association and Eviction Intervention Services.
We need greater security around this site now and through the upcoming stabilization project. If we don't someone is going to get hurt. I have heard no say "no one has been hurt yet" as I know our officials are good caring people but can we really wait until a tragedy happens. I know other than adding razor wire or posting a PSD officer at the site 24 hours / day there is not really much we can do but someone must be smarter than me in this regard.
It is unclear still what percentage of apartments voted in this process or how many apartments could not vote due to the fact that their owners were out of town and not allowed to vote due to the DHCR rule that “first” votes are not allowed to include votes by proxy. I am guessing the official results will be posted by tomorrow and slipped under each tenant’s door.
UPDATE from the Main Street WIRE:
From: Dick Lutz / The Main Street WIRE
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 9:41 PM
Subject: Rivercross Votes to Pursue Privatization
"Rivercross shareholders voted today to move ahead on privatization in the first of three required votes. With about 80% of the apartments in the building voting, there were 229 yes votes, and 58 no votes. This first vote in the series of three is a restart of the process, implemented after DHCR disqualified, as the first vote, a vote taken in 1996. The second vote is now expected within a couple of months -- probably in March, according to building Treasurer Steve Kaufman. "
I’ll let you see yourself how Andy got to Roosevelt Island by inviting you to view Episode 4 below. Unfortunately the method used was a one way experience and Andy had to walk back to Manhattan as he did not have a Metrocard or money for one. I am also not sure why neither he nor his traveling companion thought of taking the Tram back. I will say that if I had the power to travel to Roosevelt Island in this manner at night I’d take it. Beats taking the subway that's for sure.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
If NYC secedes from NYS, as proposed by Queens legislator Peter Vallone Jr. and reported in today’s NY Sun, Roosevelt Island would be an island leased by NYS sitting within another State’s boundaries.
If NYC secedes would Island residents rise up and overtake RIOC and the PSD declaring our loyalty to NYC? Could we count on the NYPD to storm the Island supporting our cause, to be freed from the British, I mean NYS, and reunite us with our City brethren?
If we are left as a colony of NYS sitting alone in the East River would Island residents need to pay interstate tolls upon leaving the Island? Would our children be able to attend NYC schools? Would NYS have to send in NYS Police, replacing the PSD, to patrol our Island if the NYPD would not have any jurisdiction on our shores?
NYS would probably try to create toll booths in the middle of the Queensboro Bridge trying to charge NYC residents a toll for crossing over NYS land.
I guess any chance of getting a second NYC subway station would out of the question.
There are tenants on both sides of the issue whether privatization is the right course for the building at this time. I will admit, as a Rivercross resident shareholder, I can see arguments on both sides and I will also admit but for the Mitchell-Lama status of the building I could not afford to buy into the building at FMV prices.
If the vote is positive the Board will begin the process to put together a business plan (the "black book") with all financial data as to how the conversion would be effected and how the building would be supported once it leaves Mitchell-Lama. A second vote is then required on this plan and this is what the Board states is the "real vote" as that vote would be to officially privatize or not. Tenants are fully aware that this process of even getting to the second vote is not a cheap one and the Board will incur substantial fees before such vote takes place. These costs are another issue of contention between the resident factions in the building.
Major issues to be addressed by the "Black Book" include coverage of the FMV tax equivalency bills which would now be imposed fully by the ESDC as well as the negotiation to extend the ground lease on the building which currently only extends out only 20 years.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
I must apologize as my memory card ran out about 30 seconds or so before Mr. Katz concluded his presentation. As noted above the full text can be found at the Roosevelt Islander blog.
I have seen little or no campaigning on Roosevelt Island for the national race for the U.S. Presidency. I saw two Hillary bumper stickers attached to a poster kiosk on Main Street but saw that they were quickly removed by the next morning.
Today while home sick and playing on the Internet I found a letter posted on the John Edwards Blog and also to The Daily Kos from a woman who is descended from a man who came to America as an indentured servant back in 1641 and worked the farm land on what is now Roosevelt Island. Interesting article on why she supports John Edwards but I was more interested in her reference to her long dead ancestor.
Obviously that family has kept alive their family history. Perhaps we can track her down and learn if she knows anything more about her ancestor’s time here on this Island.
The first video is of the Red Bus from the outside. The second is from the inside looking out from the rear seat. The third is from the rear interior exit door looking forward through the bus. Each video is about a minute or less.
So far as noted in an earlier post Mr. Kalkin is the only candidate to visibly advertise on Main Street with his "WHY" posters. So for the average resident they will know nothing more of the candidate’s other than their Main Street WIRE published statements.
This is a shame as I thought the three PressHD videos did a lot for each candidate. Greater visibility would do all of the candidates a lot of good. Where Ms. Strong-Shinozaki tried to find a public venue to sit and perhaps meet with voters but perhaps this attempt did not go far enough.
Granted residents, who are interested, can show up on Saturday night, February 2nd for the second candidate’s night, but perhaps RIOC should make available space each evening in their offices, through Feb. 5th, where Candidates could sit and be available for those residents who want a one on one experience?
As reported in weekend's Main Street WIRE, construction on the newest Riverwalk buildings is expected to "top out" this week. Pretty wild as it seems like yesterday that these two buildings were even began.
Now I get to see if they start the next buildings (#s 7, 8, and 9)up by Firefighter's Field or down by the Playground and if the playground will survive. If the playgrounds does survive perhaps they can fence off the constuction area with enough space as they did between 425 and the current construction site.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
In both cases the posts lead to some interesting discussions regarding track capacity and some very interesting subway line reconfigurations among the various Queensbound subway lines by all the transit buffs and TA employees who frequent the SubChat site.
Today I found a new discussion thread where the posting party indicated that the Third Phase of the Second Avenue Subway (SAS) project will include a connection to the Second Avenue Subway at 55th Street and Second Avenue which will allow for a new “U” Train that would link up to the existing 63rd Street Tunnel that the F Train runs through connecting Roosevelt Island.
There is nothing stated on the SAS Project pages about this and the posting party’s basis is a small Easterly track turnoff circled on the above SAS map. The idea being that this new U Train would have its Queens terminus at 179th Street along with the F Train. One response doubting this all mocked up a station sign for 179th Street that would make the MTA rethink alphabetic line listings see below.
This is all just fun / conjecture posted for discussion purposes like many of the posts on SubChat but it does beg the question what the 55th Street turnoff is for.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Apparently on the dates noted in the above posters, during late night hours, the elevator to Roosevelt Island's Manhattan subway platform will be out of service. The MTA expects us to take the elevator down to the Queens platform and walk back to the lower mezzanine stairs, go up walk over and then walk down to the Manhattan platform.
I guess wheelchair bound riders and those pushing strollers must take the Queens bound train to 21st Street / Queensbridge and use their elevators to get to the Manhattan platform.
What a mess.
The New York Daily News ran today a pretty standard real estate article, today, January 25, 2008, regarding Roosevelt Island hitting all of the basics: buildings, transit, retail, schools, history.
The article, as noted in the image above, is titled "Roosevelt Island: Is this the start of a new look?" This stems from their review of the newer developments of the Octagon and the Riverwalk complex in Southtown.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
NOTE: Follow Up Visit and Improvements Updated Below
This evening while perusing the EveryBlock web page for Zip Code 10044 I immediately saw that the site had info for one single NYC restaurant inspection on the Island: China One on Dec 27, 2007. Unfortunately for China One and for us is that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found nine violations (see above image) for a total of 72 violation points.
Following the link provided by EveryBlock to the NYC Health Department web page for China One we learn that the average violation points total is 14 and above 28 requires a follow up visit.Serendipity III, located on East 60th Street, when it was recently closed down by the DOHMH on November 14th had only 33 violation points but then again they had a mice problem and China One amazingly did not have that.
Kind of makes you think about your food a bit more. When I see their next inspection listed I will post the links here.
UPDATE: Midnight 1/25/08
As noted by the Anonymous commenter the violations and violation points IMPROVED GREATLY upon China One's followup visit by the DOHMH on January 18th. Link HERE. I missed the follow up when I viewed the DOHMH site earlier this evening. The violations dropped down to 2 with a total of 14 violation points. As of today China One is actually doing better than all of the other food establishments on the Island. The link for all Roosevelt Island eateries is HERE.
The full text of the letter can be linked to HERE. The letter is signed by United States Representative Carolyn Maloney, NYS Senator Jose M. Serrano, NYS Assembly Member Micah Kellner, and NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin. The letter is a follow-up to Council Member Lappin's July 2006 letter to the MTA.
The letter opens with the following paragraph:
"As elected officials representing the thousands of New Yorkers who live and work on Roosevelt Island, we urge you to address the developing crisis in the island’s mass transit link to Manhattan and the rest of New York City. Already, Roosevelt Islanders are faced with overcrowding on the island’s sole subway connection, the F line. With thousands more residents projected to join the island’s population in the near future, as well as a prolonged period of downtime planned for the Roosevelt Island tram, immediate action is required to prevent a transportation overload of critical proportions."
The letter closes with the following two paragraphs:
"In your response to Councilmember Lappin you stated that “our recent data continues to show that, on average, the F line operates within passenger loading guidelines.” While this may be true – though it conflicts with the daily experience of Roosevelt Island residents who ride the F line – it strikes us as a somewhat shortsighted view of the problem, in light of the island’s rapid population growth and the impending overhaul of the tram.
Given these realities, it is imperative that NYC Transit seriously consider ways to augment subway service to Roosevelt Island as soon as possible. We urge you to consider extending service on the Q line to 21st St./Queensbridge. If you believe this would not be practicable, we ask that you investigate alternate possibilities for increasing service to the rapidly growing population of Roosevelt Island."
ESDC's decision puts a greater burden now on the Rivercross Privatization Committee as that buildings anti-privatization tenants will claim that the state no longer has a loaded gun to their heads and other avenues might be worthy of exploration regarding securing financing for capital projects and other issues. Pro-privatization tenants will still argue that the building has a right to leave the Mitchell-Lama program and that they expect that their plan is worthy of exploration which is all the upcoming vote is really for next week. But even such exploration has a price and it is expected to cost a few hundred thousand dollars to go through such a process.
A few excerpts of the Assembly Member's press release are as follows:
"ESDC has decided to rescind the tax bills sent last September to Westview, Island House, and Rivercross and to continue to allow the buildings to receive their tax exemptions as long as they remain in the Mitchell-Lama program. I’m glad to see, after six months of playing keystones cops, that the administration has finally come to its senses and rescinded this unfair tax bill."
“I could never understand how the administration could argue that threatening to raise taxes was an appropriate tactic to bullying struggling tenants and shareholders into remaining in the Mitchell-Lama program. This was a dangerous game of chicken that could have gone horribly wrong, costing thousands of families their homes."
“Let’s not kid ourselves, this issue is far from settled and the devil is always in the details. As we go forward I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the ground lease amendments are negotiated in such a way such that retroactive, unfair taxes are never again a possibility that looms over the heads of Islanders.”
What a news aggregator does is pull together content from various sources and present it in one location which can be manipulated based on the parameters set by the tags set up by the original content providers and any additional tags assigned by the aggregator.
Both Outside.in and EveryBlock provide links by zip code to 10044 (OI, EB) for Roosevelt Island. So far the Roosevelt Island neighborhood name is good only on Outside.In but EveryBlock is working on it (EB, OI).
Apparently our friend over at the Roosevelt Island "My Space" page and "Adventures of a GoodMan" has gotten himself into the retail business opening up a new website and CafePress store. Now why did I not think about this idea? D'oh!
Watch out I hear Judy Berdy over at the Historical Society has some enforcers if sales of RIHS stuff at the Visitor's Kiosk drop one penny in sales.
Direct YouTube Link
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
According to Steve Shane, President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, before he can legally declare the recent North wall collapse an emergency he must first be notified by a second State department / authority to notify him that an emergency exists. In this case it is a fact he already knows that without immediate stabilization the entire landmarked ruin could be in danger of collapse.
The agency RIOC is waiting for is the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (SHIPO). A quick check of their website offers no indication or even a news release that this agency is evaluating the current collapse.
Meanwhile plenty of other preservation websites have already sounded the alarm including Preservation Nation the online blog of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Yesterday this blog ran a story regarding the status of the collapse. Within that very article President Shane is quoted as stating ““We can’t do anything without getting a lot of admin approvals because it’s on the [state and National] historic registers.” Now I realize that the National Trust and the National Register of Historic Places are two different organizations but one would think they are one and the same. More red tape.
If the National Register declares an emergency will that trump SHIPO and speed things up? Would a barrage of phone calls to SHIPO help things along?
The meeting chaired by Patrick Stewart, included a presentation by Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, who is spearheading the fundraising project on behalf of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. I expect to post a video of his presentation shortly. He indicated at this time only $10 million of the $40 million needed has been raised or pledged and that if the project does not happen these funds woud not be available to another design or park project. They were raised based on the Kahn design and for no other.
Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel was President of the Four Freedoms Foundation from 1984–87 and President of its successor, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, from 1987 to 2000. He has served as Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as U.S. Representative to the European Office of the United Nations.
The Ambassador indicated upon questioning that no part of the $40 million is for an endowment to upkeep the Memorial after it is built. RIOC President Steve Shane when discussing this issue after the event indicated that an agreement (circa 1970's) exists between NYS and NYC which indicated that the State Parks Department agreed to be responsible for the maintenance but he wondered if this could be upheld as no funding is evident in any state budgets issued to date.
As noted above the design appeared central to many statements and the members of the CB8 committee were disppointed that the Ambassador and the representatives from FERI had not brought any drawings or materials which would better demonstrate the first person feel of the memorial other than the aerial views which all parties agreed were impersonal and give off a very hard image of the planned memorial. It is expected that before any future planned Town Hall meetings or presentations to CB8 that newly drawn rendering and drawing would be presented.
When given the opportunity the audience members which spoke seemed to be in favor of the memorial by a margin of two to one. My own view given at the event was that I fear the sweeping 360 degree views will be lost to the trees despite my being told and hearing that the foliage would only begiin at above 7 feet in height and as such the views would remain despite my argument that some loss must be acknowledged as 20 foot trees are not invisible and must block views in some manner compared to today. the model photographed above seems to support my concerns.
The photos presented throughout this post were taken from a web site devoted and created in support to a Cooper Union exhibition regarding the memorial I believe in 1998.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I know it was just a simple mistake but I am sure the writer would not be thrilled by their grade in geography if their NYU professor saw the caption to the picture that accompanied the linked article. Contrary to that caption Roosevelt Island sits in the East River. I guess the Hudson River is more upscale and would help sell faculty apartments.
The photo caption was eventually corrected to the "East River". I guess my comments posted to the article were noticed. My apologies but I tend to get touchy about where our Island is placed.
I was glad to help out and happier that Billie Cohen, the reporter got to speak with Judy Berdy of the RIHS and Greg Paravati one of the Tram operators. So far the article has gotten positive responses and to be honest jumped this blog's hit count on a daily basis.
DHCR claimed the Dec. 12th vote, which included votes by proxy, to be invalid. The Rivercross Board of Directors claimed that the proxy vote was valid as this was the second vote in a series that began in October 1996. DHCR invalidated the 2007 vote as reliance on the 1996 initial vote was stale.
The Privatization Committee has indicated that this vote is not the final vote but only one to authorize the committee to begin the paperwork to move forward towards privatization which does as part of the process notify DHCR of the building's intent. Once a "black book" is created which would be the final "plan" the residents would then post an actual vote on that plan. A percentage of Rivercross residents don't want to even begin this process based on their belief that all avenues have not been exhausted to solve the buildings financial needs without going the privatization route. The Main Street WIRE has covered the issues much more in depth than I can here and I encourage any reader to go the WIRE website to read the indepth coverage provided.
What I find interesting is the timing of the vote in light of DHCR Commissioner Van Amerongen's January 17th promise to get back to the Board within the week with information regarding the FMV ESDC tax bill which is in part pushing the Rivercross privatization process along. If the DHCR wants to be taken seriously the Commissioner better get back to Rivercross before the January 30th vote if the news is to have any impact on this rescheduled initial vote.
The agenda for this Community Board 8 meeting includes the following:
1. Coler-Goldwater Hospital
2. Transportation: Tramway-F Train
3. Discussion regarding future development of South Point Park with participation by Roosevelt Island Residents Association Members, Trust for Public Land Representatives, RIOC, and interested citizens. (Joint item with the Parks Committee) Deirdre Breslin and H. Patrick Stewart, Co-Chairs
Good Shepherd Church Community Center, 543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island
Meeting Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
This meeting appears to be another opportunity for residents to express their views regarding the Kahn / FDR Memorial as well as concerns regarding transportation issues in light of the planned Tram rehabilitation in 2009.