Thursday, July 31, 2008
The following response was received in regard to my recent inquiry about the former Roosevelt Island playground:
Date: Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Former "Castle" Playground
For the past 8 months or so RIOC was working with Island Kids and KaBoom on developing a new playground for the site. KaBoom is anational non-profit organization whose mission is to identify potential playground sites and marry localities with corporate sponsors for the construction of playgrounds. The Blackwell Playground was selected as asite.
The site was prepped for a new playground by RIOC maintenance and grounds staff, and the installation for a new playground was scheduled for early June. However, at the eleventh hour the corporate sponsor backed out. We do not know who the sponsor was or their reason for backing out. KaBoom has made attempts to identify a new corporate sponsor, but RIOC has decided to proceed with the installation of a new playground without the assistance of any third party sponsorship.
A retaining wall was recently installed, and we hope to start work on a new playground by early Fall 2008.
Vice President for Operations
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. -----
Prior to the old "Castle" playground a wooden playground configuration sat at the same site:
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Just to be sure I am going to contact the Post reporter and the Assemblymember's office. I have a feeling they meant Roosevelt Avenue in Queens.
UPDATE 6:00 pm
According to a legislative aid working at the Assemblymember's office the Roosevelt Island station bathroom was inspected by a representative from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office and the information was passed along to the Assemlymember.
According to the token clerk on duty this evening the "Station Toilet" pictured below is not available to the public and no pubic facility exists at this station so it is unclear why Scott Stringer's office reported that a restroom was available at this station.
Can you tell what playground on Roosevelt Island this photo was taken in? The photo is by Catherine Grieco and be can be found on Flickr HERE.
Hint: Per Ms. Grieco, the photographer, the photo was taken in the mid 1990's.
I found this time lapse video shot from the Manhattan Roosevelt Island Tram station facing the Queensboro Bridge.
I am not allowed to show the video here but you can link over to the Getty Images Library video HERE.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
According to a PR Newswire press release Verizon is again listing neighborhoods where their FIOS service is available including RI.
Gothamist reports that Celia Rowlson-Hall, a writer-director-choreographer would love to perform at the Renwick Ruin, the former smallpox hospital if it were available.
Among a listing of top ten criminals is Dutch Schultz who at one time did time at the former Blackwells Island Penitentiary.
Friday, July 25, 2008
"Richard C. Wade, who helped put cities on the map as an academic subject and who advised Democratic candidates including Adlai Stevenson, Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern, died last Friday at his home on Roosevelt Island in New York City. He was 87."
Thursday, July 24, 2008
If the tram straps are ever replaced I would hope RIOC would allow them to be auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting a local charity. In truth I'd rather see them rehung into whatever new tram cabin is built to add a bit of continuity from old to new.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The possibility of having 2 sets of 3 off line at once is quite scary. Even though ES 411/414 will be in an up position at all times the morning rush will messy with more individuals looking to use the elevators.
Double click the below image to enlarge it.
----- Original Message -----
From: RIOC Advisories
Sent: Wed Jul 23 14:38:32 2008
Subject: Subway Transit Advisory
Escalator work at Roosevelt Island
Beginning August 25th, two sets of escalators (four in total) will be taken out of service for a month as part of the escalator replacement project.
The escalators are located between the street and lower mezzanine. During this time, the remaining set of escalators will be running in the up direction.
The MTA Elevators and Escalators group will be on call should anything happen to the working escalators during the shutdown.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
It is unknown if this location is making a profit or not but either way it is not being closed.
A full list of the NYC locations being closed is provided below and the entire list of nationwide closings can be found in PDF format HERE. Thanks to reader Daniel Chen for sending me a link regarding the announcement.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
ESDC BOARD APPROVES $17.6 MILLION IN DOWNSTATE GRANTS
Empire State Development Corporation's Board of Directors met today in Manhattan and approved downstate grants totaling $17.6 million. Among the grants approved was $15 million to help modernize the Roosevelt Islandtram. The tram will contribute to the economic impact of Roosevelt Islandby ensuring a reliable form of transportation for residents to travel backand forth to the city.
The Roosevelt Island tram began operating in 1976. There are 20 other trams operating in the U.S. and Canada but the Roosevelt Island tram is the only aerial commuter tram in the country. Originally built as a temporary means of transportation for island residents by New York State's Urban Development Corporation, it has become a permanent part of the lifeof the island and a treasure for New Yorkers and visitors throughout the world.
OK, I have to admit this is a pretty cool picture of the June 21, 2008 showing of the movie The NeverEnding Story, presented FREE by RIOC, at Roosevelt Island's Firefighters Field. I still wish this year's Summer movie series was again being held at Southpoint Park as the 360 degree views of Manhattan and Queens are unmatched but this is not so bad either. Even I have to admit it is a cool way to spend an evening.
The above photo was provided to me by Erica Wilder, the Community Liaison from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. I do not know who the actual photographer was but I am asuming it was Erica.
For those of you interested this week's movie, playing this Saturday night, July 19th, is Jerry Seinfield's "The Bee Movie" which again is presented FREE to all residents and visitors with a show time scheduled for 8:45pm.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
So the next time your Uncle Phil is coming around to pick you up and drive you to the airport expect he will finally be on time as he can now clearly see which building addresses are to the right and which are to the left.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Each of the island's landmarks are covered as well as a few familiar faces including Steve Shane of RIOC and Judy Berdy of the local Historical Society.
Some nice camera work highlighting the natural beauty of the island including our still existing 360 degree view from Southpoint Park.
Can I ask for confirmation what the allowed traffic pattern is around the traffic circle by the Tram Plaza? On a few mornings when walking to theTram along the sidewalk adjoining the Soccer Field at Firefighters Field I have seen cars looking to make left turns ignore the posted sign and proceed to drive to the left of the curbed circle. One morning a car almost hit my son as we were trying to cross the street to the Tram when the car failed to bear right around the traffic circle. One afternoon this past May a car cut off a Red Bus apparently thinking this sort of left turn was allowed. It is possible though at that time the existing sign was not there. I posted a report of that incident on my blog as I was in the affected bus.
As opposed to the traffic circle / triangle by Blackwell House where street markings make it clear that forking left is allowed and the street markings also prevent cars who are making "U Turns" from making such turns without stopping the traffic circle by the Tram has no such on-street markings or additional signage. The existing circle is apparently being interpreted as only being applicable to cars looking to make U-turns. Certainly if even a moving bus is not making it clear to oncoming drivers we need better signage and on street markings.
Have I misinterpreted the intended traffic pattern? I believe we cannot wait for Riverwalk construction to conclude and even if we need to paint the street several times before the two existing buildings under constructionare complete I feel the added paint and signage would be worth preventingany injuries or worse. Your feedback is appreciated?
From: "Keith Guerra"
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 12:05:33
Subject: Re: Traffic Circles, Traffic Patterns and Onstreet Markings
Thanks for your e-mail. We posted the sign currently on the traffic circle by the tram after we received complaints similar to the one you describe. Traffic is supposed to flow counter clockwise around the circle. Our officers are issuing moving violation summonses to those seen in violation. Unfortunately, in the case of the car in your scenario, if the violation is not actually observed by an officer, a summons cannot be issued. We will continue to pay special attention to that traffic circle.
Director of Public Safety
This evening, at approximately 9:00 pm, a number of individuals walking past Trellis noticed that the lights were out which could only mean bad news. According to the posted DOH notice Trellis has again been closed, as of 5:42 pm this evening, for accumulating 48 violation points. The restaurant was last closed on June 18, 2008 for having a violation score of 49 and was closed temporarily for two days reopening after after a June 20th inspection where the violations observed dropped down to 4. It is unknown how long this closure will last.
But since those halcyon days it had to deal with comments in recent years that it was simply the "Pink Bridge" by many of Roosevelt Island's children so I guess when it finally was given a canvas it was bound to show its true feelings, and even though it is finally undergoing a new paint job and will be given new decking among other upgrades, it simply was one perturbed bridge.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Organizers and participating organizations were very often left with a multitude of excess flyers and freebies which were available to the public. As differing groups packed up for the day it bordered on amusing as each tried to give away last minute bags to individuals sitting / working at tables who had themselves not yet packed up.
The setting could not have been nicer for the event as the humidity was low and a nice easy breeze crossed the park. I cannot say how successful the day was overall as I only showed up at 2pm to work at the local Historical Society table and we packed up at 3pm as very few individuals stopped by and those that did were hoping we were giving away for free the lanyards, books and bags that we were selling to benefit the Historical Society.p>
Hopefully Roosevelt Island gets the chance to host this event again in the future and all parties learn to keep the advertising in the public's mind and face.
Direct YouTube link by EastStirlingShire
The second involves a Brit who apparently was the lost love of Carole Getzoff, a writer recalling her first trip overseas and subsequent reconnection with the Brit who for a time lived on Roosevelt Island. Three weeks after their final meeting at restaurant near the Tram the Brit past away due to cancer. For the full story link to “Her Alpine Lover”.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
For a long time I have thought Roosevelt Island a great place for bicyclists to visit. I am wondering whether residents and / or NYC DOT would think Roosevelt Island a good place to establish a bulkhead for the NYC bike sharing program? I figured the bike racks could be set up near the Tram station (close to the walkway that wraps around the North end of the Racquet Club) under the Queensboro Bridge.
Tourists and visitors could take the tram or subway onto the island and then pick up a shared bike and then use the bike to ride around the island or into LIC to go to the Noguchi Museum or Socrates Park or wherever. They could then return the bikes at the end of their visit and exit off the island via the tram or subway. Residents could use the bikes to travel into Queens. Having the bikes on the island would increase tourism onto the island and into the section of LIC closest to Roosevelt Island. With the new bike paths along Vernon Boulevard it would make for a natural fit.
Thank you to Senator Serrano's office for getting the word out!
"Firefighters at the scene said they could not recall a time in the last 15 years when they were called out to the zoo to respond to an emergency on the Skyfari. They added that they do not regularly train to make high-angle rescues on the ride. Firefighters do, however, train to do rescues on another tramlike cable car ride in the zoo that crosses the Bronx River because it hovers over water. "
Monday, July 7, 2008
My goal was to watch what worked and what might have worked better with an eye towards a possible evacuation of Roosevelt Island if an emergency or weather condition force such an evacuation. There are only three ways off this island and only the subway has the capacity to transport large numbers of residents far enough off the island which would be needed. Sure the Roosevelt Island Bridge could accommodate a large number of residents to tranverse it by foot (few residents have cars overall) but that leaves those residents in the middle of nowhere with out a mass transit answer on the other side.
Overall I believe the MTA and NYPD did a good job of ensuring that the flow of riders did not result in one continuous burst of individuals trying to access the escalators, elevators, stairs and platforms all at once which could have lead to accidents at any of those points. The flow of individuals was staggered to allow for easy access down to the platforms and also to ensure the platforms were never overly crowded.
The first thing I noticed was that the MTA set up three defined entrance points (1) Metrocard holders (2) individuals with strollers, and (3) Roosevelt Island residents. The Metrocard holders entry point snaked a bit off towards the East / right away from the entrance and then back to the entrance to prevent the line from simply being a straight line back from the door to ensure no straight rush could be made for the doors. The RI residents line allowed residents immediate access no matter what with no delays which was a great feature.
The man in charge was Mr. Clayton W. Conaway Sr. who holds the position of New York City Transit General Superintendent for District #4 – Parsons Archer Stations Operations. In addition to about a 8 to 12 uniformed officers at the station I counted about another dozen MTA personnel directing traffic flow in and outside the station all apparently deferring to this man’s direction. He and his staff constantly were viewing the monitors gauging the flow of individuals once they passed through the turnstiles to determine when and how many more individuals to let enter the station.
As Mr. Conaway states in the video the MTA’s primary focus was safety and not speed and upon watching this applied in action from the many vantage points afforded me that evening I belief it worked well. Sure there were many individuals that would have like to get through faster but in most cases I believe the MTA staffers handled themselves and the crowd well. Sure at the initial choke point there were a few instances of riders that climbed over the wall that tested the MTA staffers patience but the woman I saw at the forefront of the line appeared forceful but never disrespectful despite everyone dealing with the rain which thankfully was never truly a downpour.
At one point there were in effect two Metrocard holder lines one which snaked towards Duane Reade and a second which bordered Main Street. Entrance from these lines alternated and neither line seemed favored. The MTA staffers were quick to let families with strollers and elderly through and in most cases the Superintendent with an eye towards keeping traffic flowing directed these individuals through the gate entrance rather than through the turnstiles. I also noted that for the few minutes I wandered down to the track level that MTA reps did indeed hold trains in response to rider needs and traffic flow.
The only suggestion I heard from both MTA staffers and NYPD officers that perhaps two distinct lines should have been created for Manhattan/Brooklyn bound riders versus that of Queens bound riders to better control line movement with that of platform levels and train arrivals. It seemed the logical step and an idea for next year.
From the many people I spoke to and observed most seemed in reasonable spirits and no one seemed truly put out. I do believe many had no clue what they were going to encounter when they left but to those individuals I say what else could you have expected as you either came in with the crowds or watched the fireworks with them next to you unless they though the event’s attendance was mostly residents.
Overall I believe the MTA met its goal of processing everyone through but with the overriding goal of safety first. I can’t think of anything else that could have been done to make it less painful that it had to be. Processing 2000 to 3000 persons through between 9:30/9:45 pm though 11:00 pm did not seem overly burdensome or unfair to anyone that passed through that station.
As for whether these same tactics could be applied to an evacuation it is unclear as then one would expect a lot more irritation and underlying fears on the part of the residents trying to enter the station and the MTA personnel and in addition to individuals evacuating would be carrying a mountain of belongings etc which always clogs up the works. Given enough time though if residents heed warnings to leave early if proper staffing was present at the station a good chunk of residents could get out this way. If an emergency came out of nowhere timewise and that is main option open to us we may have a big problem.