Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nighthawks Trailer Featuring The Tram

One of my earliest memories of Roosevelt Island is of The Tram as featured in the Sylvester Stallone movie "Nighthawks". I have nevr been able to find any movie still photographs fetauring the Tram in this feature of movie posters etc. I finally found a trailer that does show The Tram. I only wished it showed it with the doors open or the lift bucket open.

Unfortunately I cannot embed the clip on this blog but you can link to it HERE. This clip was found on a web page about Lyndsay Wagner who co-starred in the film as Stallones's girl friend.

When the trailer begins after the commercial (sorry) pay attention to how it is swinging. The bridge in the background looks real enough. I have to think the swinging Tram is a model or computer assisted in its swing and overlayed on the bridge video.

Per Wikipedia:

"Wulfgar and Shakka's next act is to hijack the Roosevelt Island Tram carrying U.N. representatives. Because he now knows DaSilva as a result of the nightclub chase he executes the wife of the French ambassador while DaSilva is watching from a hovering police helicopter. Wulfgar decides to let a baby onboard go and demands that DaSilva personally boards the tramway to rescue it. DaSilva is winched up to the aerial tram and confronts Wulfgar face-to-face. DaSilva demands to know why Wulfgar killed the woman. “I wanted to.” the sadist replies. DaSilva and the baby are lowered back down to a waiting barge."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Would an Emergency Text Message System Serve Any Purpose on Roosevelt Island?

The use of their emergency text message system on the campus of St. John’s University proved useful in informing quickly that community to an event that concerned them all, the presence of a gunman, and that all students and faculty should stay where they were and await further instructions. Could such a system serve any benefit to an essentially segregated community as Roosevelt Island?

Certainly the major concern to all residents of the island is our safety as it is for any community. With only three access points to the island an event which cuts one or more of these points is something that many residents if not all I would think want to know about. In the past year the major issue of concern to many islanders is what would happen and what would islanders do if there was a major storm that severely affected our ability to stay safely on the island or our ability to leave it if necessary and how we would be able to leave.

Today’s weather technology seems advanced enough to predict harsh weather with enough time that all residents could be notified or become aware of a pending event but I believe Mother Nature has shown us (Katrina) that even existing system become overwhelmed and despite best efforts warning systems can fail. The past week's events including the bridge being struck open twice is another factor that could fail again at the wrong time.

Currently the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation utilizes five methods of community information disbursal that I know of: (1) flyers, (2) email advisories for those signed up to receive them, (3) electronic messages on bus marquis, (4) posting of advisories on their website and (5) human contact via their offices when they are open or recorded phone messages. If I have missed another method please let me know.

It would appear that several of these methods are only useful if you are either on the island, at your computer (or have a blackberry or equivalent able to receive emails), or have heard or seen something that would prompt you to call RIOC if you are on or off the island.

I am unsure if the current email advisories can be sent to portable phones as text messages. If they can this should be advertised as a greater number of individuals might sign up to receive them. I am sending an inquiry into RIOC now regarding this question. If the e-mail system cannot be used be used as a text system perhaps this option should be investigated. I would bet residents would be appreciative of the investigation.

Remembering Goldwater Hospital’s Construction & Purpose Before The City Acts to Raze Her

2007 June 30 Issue Wire Headline

This Main Street Wire, earlier this Summer, in their June 30, 2007 issue, reported on the proposed plans to consolidate Coler-Goldwater Hospital within its Coler Campus razing the Goldwater campus for potentially residential buildings. Upon finding the below pictures and related articles regarding the initial construction of Goldwater I thought it worthy to bring these images back into the light.

Goldwater is certainly not at the point of being demolished yet and I am sure a big fight will ensue before it happens as the plans reported on were proposals only but you can imagine how various developers will be lining up for that land. For nearly two centuries this island has been used for the “welfare” of the City’s population in times of medical need. To allow the City to raze Goldwater based upon the market value of this property is a shame but unfortunately probably inevitable.

1949 - NYT - Pioneer Work

1949 - NYT - Pioneer para 1


2937 - March 31 - Goldwater Framework

Transportation Advisories - 9/29 Bus - 10/2 Tram

RIOC issued the below transportation advisories for tomorrow, 9/29 and for next Tuesday, 10/2:

Bus Advisory

On Saturday, September 29, the Roosevelt Island Buses will not be operating from 8:30 am - 10:30 am. This is due to a Running Event that will be on a section of the bus route. Normal operation of bus service will commence following the event.

Tram Advisory

On Tuesday, October 2, the Tramway will be shutting down early at 10:00 pm This schedule change is necessary in order to perform maintenance. The Tramway will re-open at 6:00 am on Wednesday October 3.

Run for Congo Women - 9/29 - Tomorrow

Tomorrow starting at 9am at Firefighters Field is the Run for Congo Women. The Run/Walk is a 5K event. Registration starts at 8:30 am and followed by a warm-up organized by the folks from Crunch!

For more information regarding this event please link here to the event web site or to my previous posting regarding the event and the PBS documentary of why the event is necessary.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ever Wonder What Those DEP Ships Were Carrying Back & Forth All Day Long?


Today’s Gothamist reports on a story published in the New York Times regarding the opening of a nature trail alongside the “Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the city’s largest sewage processing unit, currently undergoing a makeover that will cost more than $3 billion.”

For anyone that lives on Roosevelt Island that has with any frequency found themselves looking at the DEP ships that pass up and down the East River’s West Channel you have seen either the Newtown Creek or the North River, either riding high or low depending on how full the tankers are with cargo.

So, if you were not otherwise aware those two ships each literally has a “poop deck” or rather inside is carrying such. Technically the City refers to each vessel as sludge vessels which carry “liquid sludge from waste water treatment plants that do not have dewatering capabilities.”

Let’s just say when I learned what these ships were my view of them each day changed a wee bit. But then again without these ships doing their jobs the City would be a bit worse for the air.

Roosevelt Island Could Have Had Four (4) Bridges

Yes, it’s true at this moment I am obsessed with the concept of bridges. In July 1969, a plan to develop Roosevelt Island with private funding was delivered to then Governor Rockefeller which proposed a “commercial, intellectual, recreational and residential “city of the future” housing 150,0000 people.” To be honest I don’t care about all the promises this plan offered.

All I care about is that it envisioned 4 bridges connecting this island to either Manhattan or Queens. Under the plan there would have been “four broad bridges modeled after the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and containing along their length shops, hotels, banks, theaters and restaurants”.

As we all know the Kahn plan was not to be and the State went with the plan proposed in October 1969 by Ed Logue of the Urban Development Corporation.

But why did they think one bridge was enough. Couldn’t they foresee that having only one means of “natural” egress would not be enough.

We will never have more than we have now bridge-wise but a blogger can dream can’t he? And did I mention that the Northernmost of the planned bridges would have exited into the parking lot of what is now Costco in Long Island City. That would have been sweet.

Map Source:
New York Times “Think Tank Director Proposes $2 Billion Plan to Develop Welfare Island as “City of the Future”” July 10, 1969

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Abandoned New York - The Renwick Ruin

Apparently a cable channel titled New York 2.0 Television launched its show “Abandoned New York” using the Renwick Ruins as its first topic. The episode was filmed prior to June 2007 as the Visitors Center kiosk is seen as still boarded up but in its current location.

The most interesting comment I have about the 7 minute plus segment is that the hosts and camera crew were given access behind the current fencing surrounding the ruin. They did not actually go inside the ruin from what I see but they did secure a number of interior camera shots. It’s reasonably well done, perhaps a tad cutesy, but worth watching if anything for the video they shot.

As an aside at the close they are standing on the last remnant of the Lurie Uniting Painting which was abandoned on the island after that project concluded. Did this inaugural episode of “Abandoned New York” make reference to the multi colored tarp beneath their feet? Nope not a peep.

Shortlived Bridge Outage - How Many More to Come?

Apparently the bridge is now operational and has been returned to a "closed" position allowing vehicles to cross onto and off the island.

RIOC's newest advisory as of 11:00 am - "Special Roosevelt Island Bridge Advisory":

"The NYCDOT has affected repair and operation of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, and the RI Tram has resumed normal operation schedule. "

So the question is with constant opening and closings due to the UN how many more outages can we expect? Probably a few more unless they have figured out what caused these last two.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Out of Service - No Vehicular Access to Island

According to a "Special Roosevelt Island Bridge Advisory" issued this morning at 10:00 am by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation the Roosevelt Island Bridge is currently out of service for the second time in one week.

The notice states:

The Roosevelt Island Bridge is experiencing mechanical difficulties. NYCDOT is aware of the problem and is affecting a remedy to the problem. FDNY Emergency Standby units are in place on the island. The Roosevelt Island Tramway has cancelled scheduled maintenance and will be running at rush hour schedule through the duration of the bridge outage.

Watch for updates as we receive them.

Update: 10:50 am

According to a representative at RIOC, there is pedestrian access across the bridge as the bridge is stuck open, like Friday night, by only 6 to 12 inches. I am surprised that NYC DOT would allow access for fear of the bridge suddenly dropping into its standard position and causing any pedestrians to lose their balance.

Images - Shades of the Tram

This photo was posted this morning by Joe over on the blog Joe.My.God. It's a cool photo and I could not resist posting it here. Great photo Joe!

I believe Joe also lives on Roosevelt Island as he occasionally publishes posts about life on the island.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Roosevelt Island Bridge - Another U.N. Related Late Night Advisory

It appears that per the below advisory, issued by RIOC, the bride will be opening and closing late tonight. I wonder how many openings and closings they have run due to the United Nations at this point. And as a result do we have a full time ambulance sitting on the island side of the bridge in case of an emergency?

"Roosevelt Island Bridge Advisory

For tonight only Tuesday 9/25/07 the hours of operation for the Roosevelt Island Bridge will be extended until 11:00 PM due to US Coast Guard UN Security Zone East River Closures.

For Wednesday 9/26/07 until Friday 10/05/07, hours of operations for the Roosevelt Island Bridge will remain unchanged, from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM.

The bridge will be subject to openings throughout these time periods

A River View of Roosevelt Island

I have long wanted to find or film a video of the complete island from the water ever since I saw the Edison 1903 video which runs from North to South. Yesterday I finally got the chance. THis video runs from South to the North emd of the island. Due to the restrictions related to the current session of the United Nation's General Assembly session my video is of the island from the Eastern channel facing the Island. The side benefit of this was that I was able to include video of the Rooosevelt Island Bridge and its being opened for the boat I was on.

The downside to filming just before a Western sunset is when your subject is between you and the Sun that the video is plaqued by shadows. I will try to figure out how to lighten it but I have a feeling I will need to wait for another filming opportunity. If we were filiming in the West channel the Sun would have lit the island beautifully. Oh well. Hopefully you can enjoy the island silhouette and the music.

The Proposed Fare Hikes & a Roosevelt Island Family of Four

The MTA has offered two fare hike scenarios. Under scenario one, the base fare would increase to $2.25 / fare and the unlimited monthly fare card would increase to $79 from $76. Under the second scenario the MTA is offering the possibility of a dual far system. Rush hour at $2.25 and off peak at $1.50 per fare. The proposal would increase unlimited monthly fare cards to $82.

My first reaction was that this dual fare proposal might save money. But then I decided to run the numbers for a Roosevelt Island family of four where both kids go to school off island. Granted the kids have their own school issued MetroCards so their fares don’t enter the calculations unless you count weekend travel which I am not including for the moment.

In our household each parent takes one child to their respective schools (each a peak fare trip) Generally my wife then picks up child one and then takes mass transit to our other child’s school and then heads home with both kids (generally both off peak fares). I then come home during the rush hour (another peak fare). To be conservative I am not including nights I work late which would be off peak. I figured not including this balances out days when they stay in Manhattan into rush hour.

Based on my calculations, using a 20 school day month, it appears we still do better under each scenario buying two monthly unlimited fare cards. For families whose kids can be walked to school or who go by bus where the parents don’t have to take mass transit these calculations will probably mean nothing but for those Roosevelt Island parents that both work off island (most of us do) and who commute with their kids it appears the unlimited monthly MetroCard card is still the way to go.

Skyscraper View of the Roosevelt Island Tram & 59th St. Bridge

One day I got lucky enough to shoot this video, from a local skyscraper, of the Roosevelt Island Tram and the Queensborough Bridge. I wish I had a better camera as the video might have been a bit less grainy. This is taken from the 15th floor of the skyscraper. Perhaps one day I will try to shoot it again with a better camera.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tram Used as Ambulance while RI Bridge Stuck Open

P9240018_Bridge Open at 13p

According to the Roosevelt Islander during the period the bridge was stuck open there were two incidents requiring emergency transport off the island via the Tram.

When asked for confirmation RIOC President Stephen Shane replied:

"There were two (2) emergency calls, one being a woman in labor who was transported off the Island by the Tram to a waiting ambulance and the other a cardiac incident handled by a NYC FD ambulance which was on the Island already.

We are not in a position to disclose either the names or outcomes of the parties involved.

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

While the fact that a pregnant woman being taken via tram to Manhattan while in labor is not new to have it happen while the bridge is out is unfortunate and worrisome. If the tram had been out of service it could have been an issue.

I have often wondered if there are any trained trauma medical personnel at either of the Coler-Goldwater hospitals. I would expect if anything they could handle a baby being born and a cardiac arrest. You would think?

Nore re Picture: This picture is of the bridge fully open. To my understanding based on the video news footage seen the bridge was only "open" or rather stuck open with only a few left before it was returned to a fully closed position.

Update 9-25-07 1:10pm:

A subsequent e-mail to Mr. Shane asked for confirmation whether the cardiac patient had been climbing the subway steps up to street level. Mr. Shane responded "I have no specific information. I was under the impression that the problem came from one of the hospitals. " Either way obviously we all hope the individual is recovering and getting better. Thanks again Mr. Shane for your replies.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tram Views: Manhatan Dog Run or Roller Coaster

Dog Run Tram Angle

Every day when I come over to Manhattan via the Tram I see a dog run below and just North of the 59th Street Bridge on the Manhattan side of the East River. I have been told that the lower part of the structure was once used as some sort of loading point for garbage being sent off Manhattan via barge. All I know is the upper part of the structure looks like something that escaped from a roller coaster park. The park’s formal name is the “East River Park Dance Oval” per the NYC Parks Department website.

Dog Run River View

Anyhow whenever my kids look down and see this park they want to visit it and play with the dogs. I am guessing you can’t enter the park without a dog and this is what I tell them but I also have always shared their curiosity. This video gives me enough of a feel for the park to quench that interest. It does appear to have some nice views of Roosevelt Island though which is part of what drew me to the video.

Direct YouTube Link by gothamsyren

Aerial View of Roosevelt Island from E44th Street Hotel

The above video of East River views was shot from the Millennium Hotel located at One United Nations Plaza, on 44th Street between First and Second Avenues. The music is not my style but the aerial view of the river and the Southern half of Roosevelt Island is not something we get to see everyday.

Direct YouTube Link by Vincentdear

The Roosevelt Island Escalators - How to Read the MTA Status Page

NYC TA EE Status Bar

One thing that occasionally confused me about the MTA NYCTA Elevator and Escalator Status web page is which escalators were the codes referring to? The page itself is a great resource which I first posted on back on August 1, 2007 as long as you can understand it.

RI Street Level_at12p_wE213

The images presented were prepared so riders would better understand which codes refer to which escalator and where to find each escalator’s code on the equipment itself if you wanted to report an outage. As noted on the above picture the code number sits on the bottom right as you face the escalator. The graphic below details the location of each escalator. The stairs are noted by simple horizontal lines. Equipment closed for construction are in yellow and those in white are supposedly operational.

Historically ES412, ES415, ES418, ES419 are down escalators and ES413, ES416, and ES417 are up escalators. ES411 and ES415 worked as swing escalators and operated as down escalators during the morning rush hour and up during the evening rush.

Escalator Map

The TA asks that outages be reported via phone calls to (718) 243-3222, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. The TA continues to ask that if no one answers the line that a detailed message be left. Presumably reporting the correct escalator code number would be a good thing.

Roosevelt Island: Infrastructure vs Development: The Chicken or the Egg?

In this video three Columbia University students look at two age old questions and use Roosevelt Island as part of the question. The questions asked are (1) Does Landuse define Bboundary, or Does Boundary define Landuse? and (2) Does Infrastructure follow Development, or does Development follow Infrastructure? An interesting video.

Direct You Tube Link by Urbantrigger

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Roosevelt Island Tram Staff - 9/16 Evacuation Drills

Last weekend, Sunday, September 16, 2007 the Tram was offline from 6am through 2pm so that the Tram staff could practive various evacuation drills including the single person bucket and the red basket.

The pictures in the above slide show were provided by Judy Berdy who reported the following regarding the drills:

The first part was to open the bottom hatch and safely lower the passengers to the ground one by one in a bag. It is tricky since the cable and winch are all hand operated and it takes a lot of strength to do this exercise correctly. All the tram staff had to man the pulley, the cable spool and then descend themselves to the ground.

The second rescue was more dramatic, hanging the red rescue cabin and bringing it up to the cabin to evacuate passengers through the window. It took about 90 minutes to set up the rescue cage and come to the tram cabin. The windows are removed and you step up on the bench seat and out the window. With a perfect match there is no "air" space between the cabins and 10 people can ride the cage at a time.

Thanks to Armando Cordova and the tram staff for a great and safe drill. They do this twice a year to stay informed on procedures.

Thanks Judy for the pictures and the info regarding the drills. On September 6th, RIOC honored specific RIOC employees for their dedication and years of service. The Wire on 9/22 provided the full list of awards. I provide here, within the slides show, a listing of the Tram staffers so honored.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Stuck Open - News Footage

Well I was off line for 24 hours due to Yom Kippur and I come back and after checking into the Roosevelt Islander blog I learned that the Roosevelt Island Bridge was stuck open last night. Pretty wild. Apparently the bridge was not returned to normal until 5am Saturday morning.

NY1 Video: Direct Link

WCBS New York Video: Direct Link

Friday, September 21, 2007

Zog Sports Pushes RIOC regarding Conditions RI Soccer Fields

Apparently the folks at Zog Sports were unhappy with the field conditions at one or both of the Roosevelt Island soccer fields (Octagon and/or Firemans) and after discussing it with RIOC is bringing outside experts to assess the field(s) and make recommendations regarding their upgrade. An excerpt from yesterday’s entry on the Zog Blog:

During a phone call with the VP of Operations last week, ZogSports also offered to find an outside, certified field maintenance specialist to assess the field and determine what might be the cause of the condition of the fields. We were able to find a local expert and arranged a meeting and field assessment next Wednesday, September 26. Based on our conversations with the field specialist, he believes that removing the puddles is a possibility. Also, we have been working with Roosevelt Island regarding proposals for returfing the field with synthetic field turf in 2008. We hope to have more news for you shortly.”

More and more it appears local residential use of these fields will be a thing of the past. You have to wonder how much money does RIOC take in from these outside organizations and is it substantial enough to warrant the time these fields are not open to local use. It’s not like these folks hang around at local dining establishments afterwards pumping money into the larger RI economy. Can the new Italian restaurant snag their business? Wait if they do they’ll be no tables for us. Can’t win can we?

In the Paper "The Wire" - September 22, 2007

The September 22, 2007 issue of the Main Street Wire is now available on-line. The headlines presented on page one are:

1) Considering Tramway’s Future, RIOC Sets Community Meetting
2) In Two Weeks, It’s a Saturday to Fall for Arts
3) Speaking of the Arts… It’s Year-Round Enthusiasm at Main Street Theatre

Additional articles include a Punch List for RIOC, a slated Orphans International event at the home of Peter Yarrow, and a listing of RIOC employees honored at an awards ceremony.

Dick Lutz’s editorial and a full page ad focus on island wide elections on February 5th for individuals interested in being appointed to the RIOC Board of Directors.

The advertisements / announcements include many of the usual vendors. There is another version of the Ready New York poster I presented earlier about emergency preparedness, advertising the 9/27 event. The Pastor, the Reverend Lewis C. Johnson, of the Church of the Good Shepherd is also welcomed back to the Church by his congregation after recovering from an extended illness.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Manhattan Park's Park: 360 Degree View

Same Video on YouTube

Just across Main Street from Gristedes and Motorgate lies the Manhattan Park residential complex. These buildings, as well as 2-4 River Road, are actually the only residences that don't have a Main Street address. River Road is more akin to a very large circular driveway that the buildings share, as it is only one way, but it is a legal road on the books of New York City.

In the Spring and Summer the park bounded by River Road and Main Street provides a great green area for individuals to just hang out and enjoy the breeze and abundant shade. The trees at this time also afford for some of the lower apartments a break from the direct views of Motorgate.

The park's center has views of Manhattan between 20 and 30 River Road and is lined up approximately East 74th Street.

Manhattan Park - Resized

LIC Rainey Park - Teach your Child How to Ride a Bike

Teaching kids to ride a bike can be stressful experience for parents and kids alike. The NYC DOT is sponsoring an event this Sunday, 09-23-2007, at Rainey Park that promises a "crash free" method that will be lots of fun.

Per the image above, the event is from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Bring a kid, a bike, and a helmet. Rainey Park, from Roosevelt Island, is just across the RI Bridge and North on Vernon Boulevard (just before Costco).

Owner of 510 Main Street Funded Partially by City / State Pension Funds

Today’s New York Observer reports on an analysis by the Urban Homesteading Association Board, which found that a city and state pension group, are investors in the City Investment Fund. The City Investment Fund along with Urban American purchased a series of old affordable housing complexes including 510 Main Street (per an earlier May 1st article). It was originally thought that the purchase of 510 Main Street and other Harlem properties was entirely private.

The article focuses on the concerns of individuals like Bill Thompson, the city comptroller, who is both an investment adviser and a trustee for the Employees Retirement System, whether the pension groups have invested in a real estate company that might drive rents up and force poor tenants out in formerly public housing units.

An interesting pair of articles to read. Moreso if you are a Roosevelt Island resident that lives at 510 Main Street.

I’m Calling from the Platform. The F Train Platform not the Roosevelt Island Tram. Really I am.

According to today’s NY Times, Thursday, September 20, 2007, the MTA has inked a deal to enable cell phone usage on all 277 NYC subway platforms which presumably includes the depths of Roosevelt Island’s F Train platform.

Per the article several test stations will first be set up but if that is successful the provider will have two years to roll out the service to the rest of the system.

If they can do this it will be pretty darn cool. But I will believe it when I see it and start hearing it.

Now if they can do this why can’t they get an old technology escalator to work?

9/25-26 - Tram Advisory - Hourly Crossings

For those of you that live here and take the Tram daily you probably already know this info as the Tram staff is very good about putting up these notices. So just skip this post.

Per RIOC on Tuesday, September 25, and Wednesday, September 26, the Tramway will be operating on an hourly schedule from 10 AM to 2 PM. As usual, this schedule change is necessary in order to perform maintenance.

Roosevelt Island’s Westview Complex Cited in State Report Regarding Corruption / Mismanagement at Subsidized Housing Complexes

According to today’s New York Times, Thursday, September 20, 2007, the report issued by State Inspector General Kristine Hamann, indicated that:

"The state housing agency’s “deep and systemic failure” to properly oversee the rapidly dwindling supply of subsidized middle-income housing has led to the deterioration of the buildings, an increase in rents and a waste of taxpayer money."

The report apparently also included references to Westview:

"At the highly desirable Westview complex on Roosevelt Island, investigators found a troubling proposal to convert the building to market-rate condominiums. The Division of Housing and Community Renewal granted a proposed buyer a waiver in 2004 to manage the complex. By August 2006, 31 apartments in the complex had been vacant for about a year, despite a waiting list of 1,000 and a policy that “there should be no vacancies in subsidized housing in New York.”

It appears that the operator was warehousing the vacant apartments in anticipation of a windfall from their sale as condominiums. Nevertheless, the report said, an agency inspector “termed the complex’s inflated vacancy rate ‘satisfactory.’ ” The sale fell through in March 2006."

The Last Trolley Kiosk in Manhattan Unveiled

For the last year since the Tram came back on line I have looked each day upon the gated kiosk at the foot of the Queensborough Bridge wondering what this structure was and even after I knew its history I felt it was a shame that it sat not only behind bars but that the bars were blocked not allowing anyone to see it unless you looked at it from above.

So when I came over the Tram today and saw that the bars were now uncovered I knew I had to photograph it and videotape it. I have been commuting into Manhattan with my son since school began this year so this was the first opportunity I took notice of it being unveiled.

I don’t know why the City chose to uncover it and I intend to find out. Knowing Judy Berdy of the Historical Society I am guessing she already knows. Once I learn why I will report it here. So for those of you smart enough to not try running across traffic to see this last kiosk in Manhattan up close enjoy the video.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Two Rose Windows Each Giving Hope and Solace

On September 11, 2007 after the conclusion of the Roosevelt Island 9/11 Memorial Service I walked back through Good Shepherd Plaza and I was struck by the site of the Rose Window and how the silhouette of the Chapel framed it so beautifully.

While I enjoy taking pictures and videos I am in no way a photographer in the true sense. But I do like this photograph. I think having the memorial in this plaza in the shadow of the Church is extremely fitting as this Church has been the spiritual home for so many that have lived and passed through Roosevelt Island.

Two days after the photo was taken I read in the New York Times of the return of another Rose Window to the Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in time for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashona.

Much of my family's history is tied to the Lower East Side so seeing that window being restored and it’s return home made me smile.

For more information regarding the Church of the Good Shepherd you can link to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society webpage for the landmarked Church. For info regarding the Eldridge Street Synagogue you can visit the website for the Eldridge Street Project.

Happy New Year and L’Shona Tovah.

Emergency Preparedness Program – September 27 on Roosevelt Island


On September 27, 2007, the American Red Cross of Greater New York, RIOC, and NYS Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner are sponsoring a emergency preparedness program titled “Ready New York” to be held at the Church of the Good Shepherd from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Designed to teach individuals and families how to design family disaster plans, create and maintain supply kits as well as tips on how to stay informed during times of disaster.

As per the poster for more information contact Gabriela Garcia, of the Red Cross, at 212-875-2424 or via email at

2007 Open House New York Tour: Exterior of Smallpox Hospital Only

It has been reported (or inferred) on at least two websites, NewYorkology (09/04/2007) and on the New Yorker (09/24/2007) that the October 6-7, 2007 Open House New York Weekend Tour would include an interior tour of the Renwick Ruin, the former smallpox hospital located within Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park. I had left comments on NewYorkology expressing my disbelief with this possibility due to the nature of the ruins. Amy resonded quickly and indicated she would confirm this with OHNY.

P8040128-Renwick-bToday I received the following response from Erica Wilder, the Community Liaison, from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation ("RIOC"), in response to my query if such access is allowed or even possible:

"You're absolutely right. Considering that the Renwick ruins is dangerously unstable, all tours of the ruins are strictly views of the exterior structure from the outer perimeters of the gate which surrounds the ruins."

So hopefully all those individuals looking to pay OHNY for such access know before they get to Roosevelt Island you will not be given access other than from outside the gates. Believe me if access was allowed you'd have a line of residents who have been wanting a peek inside for years.

If you do come to the island that weekend I believe OHNY is also marketing the tour to include access to The Encampment which looks like it will be an amazing project to see and witness.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

PBS Tonight: The Why Behind the 9/29 NYC Run for Congo Women

Tonight on most PBS stations the documentary "Lumo" is being televised on Point of View . In NYC, WNET, the local PBS station is broadcasting POV at 10:00 pm EST.

As this blog post title states the atrocities discussed in this program are the reason for the 9/29 NYC Run for Congo Women that will take place on Roosevelt Island. I first posted about his event on September 5, 2007. For links to the official event page and the associated organizations please go to that blog posting.

For a NY Times review of tonight's program link through HERE.

Roosevelt Island Based Orphans International Summer Campaign Surpasses Goal

As reported this past weekend , Orphans International, on 9/15/07, held its Grand Finale at the Manhattan Park Theatre on Roosevelt Island. Jim Luce, founder of OI and Roosevelt Island resident, summarized the event on the Orphans International blog. It starts by noting that they surpassed their $10,000 target. It's a great post to read and I invite readers to do so.

Jim notes on his blog post that City Council member Jessica Lappin presented an Official Proclamation from the New York City Council which read:

“Whereas, the Council of the City of New York is proud and pleased to join family, friends and distinguished community members in celebrating the outstanding efforts of Orphans International, and to honor Mr. Jim Luce, whose tireless efforts commitment to the lives of children around the world has been vital to countless lives, and

Whereas we are truly indebted to Orphans International, shoes contribution to the well-being of children is inestimable, we are truly fortunate to have such a dedicated organization in our City, and it is with the deepest gratitude of this legislative body that we acknowledge and applaud its outstanding efforts.”

Congratulations to Jim and to everybody at Orphans International.

Main Street Wire Looking for Volunteers to Assist in "Stuffing" of Papers

The Main Street WIRE is looking for additional volunteers to "stuff" the paper on Fridays, approximately every two weeks, when the paper is scheduled to come out.

"With more buildings on the Island, we need more help inserting advertising fliers into each copy, then bagging and boxing them for distribution," says WIRE editor Dick Lutz.

The stuffing sessions last from about 9:30 to about 1:30, and lunch is provided. Residents willing to join the genial group can call Teri Sheridan 319-7408 or Sherie Helstien at 212 935-7534 and, if necessary, record a message with name and phone number.

Update re 9/21 Community Board 8 TV Broadcast re Hurricane Preparedness

According to Elizabeth McKee of Community Board 8 the broadcast is a videotape of the July 20, 2006 event that took place at the Church of Good Shepherd which was sponsored by CB8. The above image was of the flyer that advertised that event. for info regarding that event you can check out the Main Street Wire article that covered it and ran in the July 29, 2006 issue. To be honest that article covered a lot of ground ad is worth reading again. It also raised a lot of good questions as many of the residents that attended the 2006 seminar were not altogether satisfied with the OEM plan.
So if you felt attending that seminar was enough watching this broadcast may not be something for your agenda but if you missed attending that event perhaps this broadcast is something to put on your calendar.
If you cannot watch or videotape this re-broadcast you can also listen to an audiotape of the event at the Community Board 8 offices which are located at 505 Park Avenue, Suite 620, (East 59th Street). CB8 asks that those wanting to listen to the tapes call their offices before coming so that they can have the tape ready for you (212-758-4340).

U.N. Related Roosevelt Island Bridge & Southpoint Advisories

Southpoint Advisory

As of Tuesday, September 18th through Tuesday, October 2nd,
Southpoint will be subject to closure due to the U.N. General Assembly.

Bridge Advisory

Due to the U.N. Security Zone closures on the East River,
NYC DOT Bridge Operations Unit will be performing openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
The openings will be starting Tuesday, September 18th through
Tuesday, October 2nd between the hours of 7:00am - 7:00pm.
Please be advised that each opening will take anywhere from
8 to 10 minutes to be completed. Traffic crossing the bridge will be interrupted.

Jodie Foster vs. Roosevelt Island Parking Mogul?

I think I am going to have to see this Jodie Foster movie to understand how Roosevelt Island plays into the script but according to the Brooklyn Skeptic one of the characters is a "Roosevelt Island Parking Mogul". Usually if someone is a mogul they own or control more than one of something. Is Roosevelt Island in this movie covered with parking garages?

The Brooklyn Skeptic was not thrilled with the movie and apparently felt that the plot was too unbelievable. Read the Skeptic's words for yourself:

"I’m just going to put this out there, but no UWS radio host .... no one at all - has ever been nearly beaten to death in Central Park, then witnessed a murder in a bodega, then mugged on the subway, then coerced into prostitution, and then gotten into a crowbar fight with a Roosevelt Island parking mogul. "


Roosevelt Island & The NYC Transit Museum

Transit Museum - F Train - Toy Train

On Sunday, we visited the NYCTA Transit Museum located on Schermerhorm Street in Downtown Brooklyn for a birthday party. It was a lot of fun. It was quite amusing as the birthday boy and half the kids / families were from Roosevelt Island.

The only reference to the Roosevelt Island Tram is within an exhibit of toys dealing with transportation as noted below. The toy tram pictured is obviously not our tram.

Transit Museum - Tram Car in Toy Exhibit

Transit Museum - Tram Card

Overall it is one of my very favorite museums for kids and adults. Kids love it as almost everything in their collection can be touched by kids. The track level has vintage subway cars everybody enjoys walking through, sitting down in, and reading the vintage subway ads and maps. The exhibition level in addition to various permanent historical pictures and objects includes cut away buses and trains that children can play on and in.

To get there we took the F train to Jay Street / Borough Hall and walked for about 10 minutes to the NW corner of Schermerhorm and Boerum Place. For info re hours, directions, phone numbers, etc. click HERE.

The Transit Museum On-Line store includes a section where the visitor can choose their subway line and their station and personalize various gift items including shirts, mugs, etc. This stuff can be great for birthday gifts etc. As party favors for guests it appears a bit pricey. Unfortunately the virtual “Roosevelt Island Station” seems perpetually under construction. So we don’t get a lot of respect in this venue as we don’t get any relief in the real world.

I first notified the on-line store of this problem back in February 2007 and the issue still exists. Back then I was told if anyone is interested in ordering merchandise with the Roosevelt Island station logo etc that they should call 1-866-Buy-NYTM (1-866-289-6986).

To get a feel for the Museum the below YouTube video gives you a great idea of what it is all about.

Monday, September 17, 2007

TV 9/21 – “Hurricane Preparedness Comes to Roosevelt Island”

CB8M Logo

This Friday, September 21, 2007, at 2:30 pm on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network [Channel 34 Time Warner/Channel 82 RCN], Community Board 8 will rebroadcast "Hurricane Preparedness Comes to Roosevelt Island". The program is a mere half hour long so if you plan to be out of the apartment that afternoon set your VCRs or DVRs.

Apparently this is the third showing of this program this month. It previously played on September 7th and on September 12th.

I have not seen the program so I am unsure when it was filmed and who the presenters are. I have sent an email to CB8 looking for information and I plan on calling their office tomorrow in that same regard. Look for updates to this post.

RIOC & OEM Hurricane Info:

hurricane zone b - cropped

The emergency preparedness webpage of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) can be found HERE. A supplement (made for a magnet format) with emergency phone numbers for Roosevelt Island can be found HERE.

New Jodie Foster Movie: Includes a Roosevelt Island Scene?

In it’s review of the movie “The Brave One”, the new Jodie Foster flick, the Reverse Blog indicates that one scene involves a killing on Roosevelt Island:

“The biggest eye-rolls come courtesy of Terrence "baby wipes" Howard's detective ("the only living cop in New York," as my friend chuckled), who literally is on every crime scene of Foster's random killing spree: whether it's on the Upper West Side or Roosevelt Island, they always conveniently seem to be in his jurisdiction.”

Did part of this movie film here on Roosevelt Island? Or did they re-create their version of Roosevelt Island? Has anybody seen it yet to answer these questions?

Tell the Daily News $400 / Garbage Can Is a Bargain

Yesterday’s NY Daily News (9/16/2007) editorial bemoaned the fact that the City is now buying $400 trash receptacles which they feel are quite overpriced. The editorial also discusses how local politicians are using them as politically funded campaign announcements.

I am sure Roosevelt Island residents will feel some sympathy as the overpriced argument rings a bell when a prior RIOC administration switched from the old trash receptacles to the new red ones which I recall were at a reported cost of $800 per unit. Perhaps the Daily News should be informed that the City got a bargain. Don’t get me wrong the new red receptacles are attractive as such cans go and we all like the Tram logo but the cost was apparently substantial.

Trash - montage

The crazy thing is where our state tax dollars paid for the RIOC Reds now our NYC tax dollars are contributing to these new City trash cans. What a waste…again.

Update 3:00 pm
After an extensive search through old on-line issues of the WIRE, I found a reference, within the RIRA column by then President Steve Marcus, in the January 14, 2006 issue regarding the Red trash receptacles. Guess what they were not purchased at $800 per receptacle but at $2,000 per can. And at 40 cans that added up to over $80,000.00.

[Note: The red can pics were taken from Flickr and I have not properly credited the photogs. I will try to do so later today.]