Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Music at Trellis This Friday: "Bill Popp and the Tapes"

Don’t ask me how but somehow I stumbled across on the Internet the website for the group that is performing at Roosevelt Island’s only restaurant / diner Trellis this Friday night at 6:00 pm. For those of you that were not aware music has returned to Trellis on Friday and Saturday nights.

What is bugging me is I can not find the source page of how I found these guys. What is more confusing is that the ad in The Wire for Trellis indicates light jazz for Friday night but these guys per their site and per another on the web indicate their genre is pop rock or harder. And furthermore when I called the Trellis tonight the gentleman answering the phone had no idea and suggested I call again in the morning which I will do.

Anyhow the group supposedly appearing Friday, as noted above, is Bill Popp and the Tapes. Their website offers the opportunity among other features to listen to clips of their songs via downloadable MP3 files. I listened to a number of the songs and I am now planning to be there as they sound great and if the weather holds up it could be fun night on the plaza. I just hope I got the right group.

Video: Red Bus Ride from the Subway to the Tram

The video attached to this post is another in a series of videos I have made of this Island. The inspiration for this blog and many of these videos were two German YouTube video submissions of Southpoint and the Lighthouse that were taken in 360 degree shots. Hence the title of this blog. It certainly was not modeled after Anderson Cooper 360.

The idea is where the RIHS and others are preserving the Island's past I wanted to take pictures of the present so my kids and long distance family coud see where we live now. If others want to use the blog as a video postcard for their family and friends that is great.

After submitting the blog to Outside.in (a blog aggregator) the folks at Outside.in were excited about a Roosevelt Island blog and encouraged me to start adding text about what I am taping. That combined with a past with tinges of school journalism and the fact that I am no stranger to blogging ( I run a totally unrelated blog which just passed 400 plus posts) resulted in what this blog is now becomming. It was a coincidence that I learned about the Roosevelt Islander blog and his goals (as I have seen them) of making life here more transparent to those here and off island as well as bringing out his views about life here.

My blog is not trying to copy the Roosevelt Islander (although once I went beyond pure video compilation and creation I am leaning in the same direction) but I guess my goal is similiar in that I expect to present my own views and observations as a relatively newer resident of this Island.

Come to Roosevelt Island But Make Sure to “Go” Before Leaving Manhattan or Queens

A few of my friends when visiting Roosevelt Island have asked where there is a public bathroom on this Island. My usual reply is there are none. In truth I know of only one but I have never tried it and it’s all the way up by the Octagon Gardens across from the Fire Department Special Operations Command. I actually have no idea if it's even unlocked.

On days that I have been in the playgrounds (Al Lewis, The Castle, or Manhattan Park) with my kids and nature called to them I usually have had them use the porta-potty discreetly. When I have had to go I have either high-tailed it back to our apartment in Northtown or scurried into Trellis. So far Trellis has been good about these trips.

As reported in The Main Street Wire within an article or two or perhaps it was a letter to the editor I know I saw indications that the NY Public Library’s bathroom is off limits to all but their staff and they have been known to tell young mothers with children to go to Trellis. Now again Trellis has been good about this but try rushing down those stairs with a toddler either walking or carrying them and you are looking at a disaster.

With the opening of the Visitor’s Center I began wondering where all our expected guests are supposed to "go". I am not sure what the policy is but the bathrooms at the Tram station are usually locked. The tram staff has taken pity on the occasional parent of a toddler in need but that cannot be counted on and tourists don’t even know where these bathrooms are generally. These bathrooms are clearly marked but when you exit the Tram most folks walk off the platform heading away from the bathrooms.

It appears to me that if we want to be seen as tourist friendly we need to start planning on keeping the Tram bathrooms open to the public or we better buy a stand alone toilet like those currently employed at Greeley and Herald Square Parks in Manhattan.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

MTA to RI: No Queens Bound Service for 3 Weeks

We actually moved onto Roosevelt Island on the day the Tram stopped back on April 18, 2006. So when there were weekend subway service disruptions that Summer we noticed real fast how hard it was to get off this Island for day trips of various sorts. If you missed the special Manhattan bound RIOC Red Bus you were out of luck.

In the 17 months we have noticed that the number of weekends that service disruptions wipe out one direction of subway service is higher here than any other neighborhood we have ever lived in. For a neighborhood that is an island unto itself literally that is disastrous. So when the announcement came that for the next three weekends we would lose Queens bound service eliminating a direct subway stop [without adding a circuitous route] we were not surprised. I have not discussed this with our neighbors but I guess this happens every Summer.

If there was a emergency here lord knows what would happen if service happened to be out. Proposals have been submitted to Community Board 8 about re-constructing foot access to the 59th Street Bridge pedestrian walkway. The logistics of such a walkway are beyond me nor all the ADA considerations and I am not looking to debate them here. The Roosevelt Islander has already published a few blog posts about the possibility of ferry service to this island and that seems to be an option that all parties should be pursuing.

If plans continue to overhaul the Tram in 2008 and its cable system taking it physically off line for up to 8 months I am hoping that RIOC fights like hell on our behalf with the MTA to keep these disruptions to the absolute bare minimum. I would expect that our directly elected officials to be doing so as well.

Besides disruptions the issue of our transit system being overloaded when it is all working is a major issue for this island and as our housing stock increases it will continue to be stretched. In one month I resume my daily commute with a 5 year old in tow but this year we head back underground to the F train and if our first few months here (April – June 2006) were any measure he and I better get used to leaving earlier and earlier as that platform is to all who know crowded and a bed of frustration as trains are too packed to even attempt entrance.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Official Opening of RIHS Visitor Center - July 27, 2007

On Friday, July 27, 2007, the Roosevelt Island Historical Society officially opened the Visitor’s Center. The 98 year old former Trolley Kiosk was welcomed by a host of officials. Despite the heat the crowd enjoyed the speechmaking which was quite fun.

Ms. Berdy began the ceremonies with a history of how the kiosk came to Roosevelt Island. Stephen Shane, the President of RIOC made it clear that Ms. Berdy is a model of persistence. This was a common theme among each of the speakers. Also in attendance and speaking were NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin (D-District 5), Angela Blocker on behalf of Kate Levin the Commissioner for the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and David Burney, the Commisioner of the NYC Department of Design & Construction.

As Council Member Lappin stated visitors, prior to the installation of the kiosk, would simply take the Tram over, get off look around for a moment, and then get back on to return to Manhattan. Now they will stop into the Visitor’s Center, learn a little about the Island and then perhaps stay to shop or tour the Island.

According to the Opening Ceremony program:

The Visitor’s Center is open daily from 12 Noon to 6 p.m. through the Summer. Measuring only 210 square feet this charming structure with a cast iron exterior, decorated with terra cotta motifs on three sides also includes a Guastivino domed tile interior. The kiosk will get a fresh coat of paint this Autumn and will truly reflect her heritage when she has a forest green and beige exterior, along with restoring the original terra cotta tiles.

Invited guests that were not able to attend included State Senator Jose Serrano whose office is providing funds for future cultural events, Micah Kellner, our newly elected State Assemblyperson was in Albany and Scott Stringer the Manhattan Borough President who sent his regards and congratulations.


On a personal note when I returned to work after the event I saw that WNBC-TV on their news website page listed under their “Latest from Local Blogs” a link to this blog for my story post regarding the Opening day festivities. Even though I realize it was an automatic feed from www.Outside.in it was still amusing and surprising.

Friday, July 27, 2007

RIOC Postpones Christmas ..until August??

This afternoon while speaking with Erica Wilder, RIOC’s community relations liason, our RIRA President Matthew Katz stopped by to say hello to Erica and they discussed the plans for tomorrow’s movie night. Ms. Wilder indicated that RIOC was postponing the movie due to the expected rain storms coming our way. I should have expected that RIOC would use the new Red Buses to deliver the news of the postponement to the public as they have been using the Red Buses to advertise the movies from day one this year.

Where else in NYC but in this small community can you see a mass transit system being used to announce local events. Certainly in times of uncertainty the NYC MTA has made public announcements on their buses and subways relating to current events but never to announce what movie is showing (or not) at the local multiplex.

I am constantly amazed at what occurs on this little island. What’s next should we expect to see at some point a resident proposing to his love via the bus signs? Who knows the tram was recently used for a mid-flight proposal where the operator’s stopped the tram momentarily .

Anyhow the 7/28 movie showing of “Christmas in July” has been postponed obviously into August or September. My bet is that they will sandwich Christmas back in (on 8/11) between the 8/4 showing [Family Night] of “Happy Feet” and the 8/18 showing [A Night on Broadway] of “Funny Girl”.

Stay dry tomorrow and if need be feel free to rent your own Christmas movie from the video / hardware store.

Roosevelt Island (In)Direct Elections to RIOC Board on Hold…

In today’s issue, July 27, 2007, of the New York Sun and tomorrows, July 28, 2007 issue of Roosevelt Island’s own The Wire it is being reporting that the plan to hold elections to nominate residents to the RIOC Board are being delayed if not fully put on hold. It appears that a central issue is whether Governor Spitzer’s office was fully aware of the plan and whether they had approved of it.

RIOC President Steve Shane indicates in the WIRE that he had informed Spitzer’s office within his reports of RIOC activities. As reported RIRA representatives were under the impression that Spitzer’s office was directly aware of the plan and supported Shane’s participation.

As a relatively new resident to Roosevelt Island I have read the many WIRE articles on this topic and those by off Island publications. When we moved here we were amazed that the residents had no self determination powers by our own votes. Sure we can vote for our NYC reps and NYS reps in the Senate and Assembly but the day to day operations of the Island are run by RIOC to which we have no say and RIOC answers only to the current Governor. This plan to allow for direct elections was a major step forward for it to be delayed on put on “hold” indicates that either the Governor’s office is reconsidering partial self rule or more likely was never really aware of the plan.

Shane seems like a step in the right direction but it appears his office may not have completely followed through and got Spitzer’s full approval. And now with the growing scandal in Albany it is unlikely Spitzer’s office will care about a little place like Roosevelt Island despite his campaign promises when he stopped here prior to the election.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Store Update: Duane Reade

As I got off the Tram this evening and took the Red Bus around to Northtown I saw that the Riverwalk builders had taken down the fence around the new building (# 445 Main?) by the subway station. And what I saw beyond that curtain was the beginnings of heaven: “Duane Reade”.

Now to anyone living in Manhattan where there’s a Duane Reade, a CVS, a Walgreens, or a Rite Aid every other block this is not a big deal but here on Roosevelt Island having a store by the subway or tram is heaven.

I have no idea when this location is slated to open but it looks imminent as the store appears fully setup but for the lack of merchandise on the shelves. My wife heard by the end of August but this looks earlier than that.

The one thing all Roosevelt Islanders know is to support new businesses.

Kudos to The Roosevelt Islander blog for reporting that a new Italian restaurant / pizza place “Nonno’s Foccaceria” will be opening up at 455 Main Street and the rumor that a Japanese restaurant may be coming as well. No signs for that one yet.

RIHS Visitor's Center to Open Officially - 7/27/07

Tomorrow, Friday, July 27, 2008, is the official opening of the Visitors Center on Roosevelt Island. Judy Berdy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society will get to officially open the former Trolley Kiosk. The RIHS has been manning the center, Noon to 6:00 pm everyday, since its debut just prior to the July 4th weekend.

I expect to take some video of the official event and post it here by Saturday morning.

I just realized while writing this post that I missed their tearing down or removing the old dilapidated booth that RIOC maintained by the Subway station that once acted as the “visitor’s center. Does anyone have a picture of it anymore? I guess it was so ugly and old that its removal went unnoticed by all but a few.

Photos of the Visitor’s Center in action can be seen via the RIHS photo page on Flickr and be linked to


Photo credits – Each of the above photos are copyrighted by the RIHS and an unknown photographer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Movie at Southpoint Park - July 28th

Christmas in July - Showing July 28th, 9:00 PM

This Saturday night, July 28, 2007, the
Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation will be showing at Southpoint Park National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation originally released in 1989 and starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

The film was chosen based on
e-mail voting on RIOC’s website based on the theme “Christmas in July” and was chosen over the following 5 films: “Home Alone”; “Miracle on 34th Street”; “A Christmas Story”; “It's a Wonderful Life”; and “Elf”. Personally I voted for “A Christmas Story”.

The showing is open to the public and RIOC has been advertising the showing on its website, signage at Manhattan’s Tramway Plaza, and even on the Red Buses (after the morning rush hour).

The series is a great way to visit with friends and enjoy a fun evening outside with views of Manhattan, Queens and the East River in general.

I hope to file some video about the showing here next week.

Disclaimer: The image above was “borrowed” from the RIOC main page. I am unsure who the uncredited photographer is.

Monday, July 23, 2007

NYC TV - $9.99 Show on NYC Other Islands

This episode of NYC TV's $9.99 really only shows some recent video of the lighthouse and the Renwick Ruin and a little historical video. Other than a quick shot of the tram it shows nothing else of the island.

Per the $9.99 website the episode included:

"The Other Island of New York: When you talk to people around the country, Manhattan & Long Island pretty much sum up what most people think are the “islands” of New York City. In this fun and exciting episode, "$9.99" will take you to the Big Apple's other islands: Roosevelt Island, City Island, Hart Island, even Governor's Island - which is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Not all of these are open to the public, but we can cruise by and take them in by water."

Click on the above image for the video link. If that link does not work head over to the Next Stop NYC website via HERE and look on the right hand column for the $9.99 Roosevelt Island video download link.

Skyview of Roosevelt Island at 7500 Feet

Direct YouTube Link to video posted by FlyTheBlueSky

This video starts over the Hudson and works way across Manhattan where starting at about 48 seconds you can clearly see Roosevelt Island. By the time the video stops RI is almost at the center of the screen.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

NYC Sunset - Time Lapse - View from Manhattan Park

Note the view of the "Prow" and the dock on the right hand side of the screen.

NYC Sunrise - Time Lapse - View from Riverwalk

Direct YouTube Link to video posted by nodemonsorg

Capobianco Field - Main Street - 360 Degree View

Direct YouTube Link

This video was shot from within Capobianco Field early one Sunday morning and includes views of Al Lewis Playground, the Roosevelt Island Lift Bridge, Eastwood, Westview, PS 217.

Manhattan Park Plaza View of East River

Direct YouTube Link

East River 360 View - Behind PS 217 and Westview

Friday, July 20, 2007

Roosevelt Island Day 2007 - RIOC Link

For links to more RIOC photos and videos click HERE.

Images & Articles - Planned FDR Memorial

Articles from recent weeks about the planned FDR memorial. The above images are from the Architectural Record article linked below.

NY Sun - July 20, 2007

BusinessWeek - July 13, 2007

Architectural Record - July 9, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

07/17/2007 - Music on Good Shepherd Plaza

Monday, July 16, 2007

NYC24: Roosevelt Island - Beyond Manhattan Series

The video and slide show linked here were produced and are copyrighted by NYC24, part of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. After linking through to the Roosevelt Island webpage (linked via the lower image) click on the Multimedia image section duplicated by the lower image. A video titled "The Ruins of Roosevelt Island" and a slide show of the Island can be seen from this site.
The upper image links to the overall NYC24 Beyond Manhattan webpage.

RIOC / DHCR : "An Oasis in the Middle of the East River"

Click HERE to be taken to the RIOC video.

Friday, July 13, 2007

NY1: Roosevelt Island Residents Battle Against Hospital Merger

After linking through to the NY1 webpage (text accompanying video) click on the small video speed choice icon right by the story by-line to start the video faster.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

NY Times May 2006 Video about Roosevelt Island

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Good Shepherd Plaza - 360 Degree View

Direct YouTube Link

This 360 degree video starts by facing East, revolves counter clockwise and provides views of Main Street, Eastwood, the Church of the Good Shepherd, Island House and Rivercross.

360 View - Intersection of West Channel Road and Tramway Plaza

Direct YouTube Link

This 360 view of Roosevelt Island is at the intersection of West Channel Road and Tramway Plaza. Views of Manhatan, the East River, and the 59th St Bridge. The video whites out for 4 seconds at 28 seconds.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Main Street Triangle - 360 Degree View

Direct YouTube Link

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Red Bus Ride - Tram Station to 510 Main Street

Direct YouTube Link

Ligthhouse Park - 360 Degree View

You Tube Direct Video Link for video posted by StrahlemannBE

Video starts looking towards Queens and pans across to Manhattan and up to the Lighthouse itself.

Southpoint Park - 360 Degree View

You Tube Direct Video Link for video posted by StrahlemannBE

View from Southern tip of Roosevelt Island. Video start from Long Island City and moves across to the UN on the Manhattan side of the River.

Macy's July 4th Fireworks - SouthPoint Park - Part 2

Direct You Tube Link for video posted by wudaman2000

View of 2005 fireworks from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park

Macy's July 4th Fireworks - SouthPoint Park - Part 1

Direct You Tube Link for video posted by wudaman2000

View of fireworks from SouthPoint Park on Roosevelt Island

1903 Panorama View of Blackwell's (Roosevelt) Island

Copyright: Thomas A. Edison; 20May1903

This film was photographed from a boat heading south along the eastern shore of Blackwell's Island (known today as Roosevelt Island). The island lies in the East River, between Manhattan (which can be seen in the background) and Long Island City, Queens. It is approximately one and three-quarters of a mile long, extending from 51st Street to 88th, and at the time of the filming was the location for a number of New York City's charitable and penal institutions. The film opens showing the lighthouse at the north end of the island (Hallet's Cove) [Frame: 0186]. As the boat enters the east channel of the river, the stacks of a large brewery on Manhattan are visible in the distance [0542]. The camera pans along the island's granite seawall (built by inmates of the Penitentiary and Workhouse) and the following buildings, in order of appearance, are shown: the New York City Lunatic Asylum [0956]; the Workhouse [1274]; the Almshouse [1524]; piers for the Queensborough (or 59th Street) Bridge, which upon completion in 1908 will span 135 feet above the island [2388]; the Almshouse Keeper's House (originally the home of the Blackwell family, who had once owned the island) [2730]; the Penitentiary [3646]; Charity Hospital [4140]. The film ends before reaching the southern tip of the island.

Exploring the Renwick Ruin

Short 17 second video of the Renwick Ruin

Direct YouTube Link for video posted by uberdionysus

Octagon Park - Second Floor Gameroom

Tenant video of the luxury rental apartment complexes gameroom.

Direct YouTube Link for video posted by bigbirdstyle

Panoramic View of NYC (Midtown) East Side - Below 59th St. Bridge

View of Manhattan from Roosevelt Island somewhere down by SouthPoint Park

Direct YouTube Link for video posted by blurboy007

Smallpox Hospital - Renwick Ruin - Teenagers at Night

Direct YouTube Link for video posted by asihiad

Note: Much of the language of these teenagers should be "beeped" but interesting night shots of the old hospital.

Octagon - Interior View Central Stair - Refurbished

Short 22 second view of the interior of the refurbished Octagon central structure now a luxury rental complex. This central entrance is all that is left of the original lunatic asylum.

Direct YouTube Link for video posted by semarr

Lighthouse Park - Roosevelt Island

Direct YouTube Link for video posted by baystar23

Contrary to what the videographer stated on camera that was Queens to the East of Roosevelt Island.

Queensboro Bridge, Roosevelt Island, and Circle Line Cruise

A thirty second video shot from the Manhattan side of the West Channel of the Circle Line cruise boat under the 59th Street Bridge.

You Tube Direct Link for video posted by jimnxsq

Lost in Elevation - "Chase Video" with Shots of RI

This video includes several scenes shot on RI, the Tram, and within the RI subway station.

You Tube Direct Link for video posted by HugoGenes

Brooklyn Tech Media '06 Music Video - Paul van Dyk

This high school music video appears to have been fully shot on RI, includes scenes outside Rivercross, within the Rivercross pool, at the Toddler Park along the East Channel and at the basketball courts at Blackwell Park.

You Tube Direct Link for video posted by hsep88

Main Street Tour (Taxi Theme Music)

Direct YouTube Link for video posted by kalamuhzo

A car ride starting on the RI Bridge which heads North towards Coler Hospital and then circles around and down to Tramway Plaza and back up to the bridge. All set to the TV theme song for Taxi.

A Tram Ride

Direct YouTube Link to video posted by U2Reiniertje

Manhattan View, Bridge

Putting aside the camera shots of this video's ptographer this video is a pretty stylized quick 3 minutes of the Tram and the island South of the Queensborough Bridge.

You Tube Direct Link for video posted by martinbroda