Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Arts Festival Oct 4th - Oct 26th

The complete published schedule for the 2008 Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival is listed below. The event is sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association in cooperation with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

The Art Festival kick off on October 4th should make for a very busy October here on Roosevelt Island as the Roosevelt Island KidFest event series is starting that same day and also running through the end of October.

The below image was modified from its original format to fit this medium.

2008 Fall for Arts Festival

Monday, September 29, 2008

Disney to Take Over Tram, Replace RIOC?

A New York Daily News columnist this past weekend, Saturday September 27, 2008, proposed several instances where the City can make up its budget shortfall by selling naming rights to current City landmarks including Roosevelt Island.

Amusing suggestions but I am unsure how RIOC President Steve Shane would feel having RIOC replaced in favor of an amusement park. I am betting some residents would not mind having the exterior of the Red Buses painted with Mickey Mouse and friends.

Just as long as Disney does not buy the right to combine this with that King Kong Tram ride over at Universal I guess we'd be safe enough.

Disney's Roosevelt Island Tram. Hey, they've done a heck of a job on Broadway - why not let them work their magic on that boring sky-high gondola? Feel the wind on your face as you swoop through the East River, dodging drunken trust-funders on their speedboats, foreign tourists on the Circle Line and seagulls hovering over the garbage scows going out to sea! Or let them take it one step further with ...

Disney Roosevelt Island. The centerpiece of Disney's first amusement park in the Northeast would be a fun-filled, 3-D interactive exhibit taking families through the island's fascinating history as the repository for the unfortunate victims of insanity, smallpox and Manhattan rents. Other attractions will include Mr. Cabbie's Wild Ride, The Hall of Mayors (hosted by an automaton David Dinkins, more lifelike than the real thing!) and the heart-stopping thrill ride, the Falling Crane Drop. Don't forget the Goofy-shaped pooper-scooper for the folks back home! “

New York Mag: The New York Questionnaire

The 40th Anniversary issue of New York Magazine included asking several celebrity New Yorkers several questions regarding their connections to New York. Two celebrities referred to Roosevelt Island including Tina Fey and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vietnamese PM Stays on Local Roosevelt Island Couch

According to a local Roosevelt Island residents blog "The Fryer's Club" the Prime Minister of Vietnam was apparently staying in their building for the United Nations General Assembly sessions. The bloggers, Scott & Elly, knew something was up when they noticed the Secret Service hanging out in their lobby and black cars parked all around their building.

Per Scott & Elly: "Haven't met him yet, but I'll let you know if I do. He looks like a nice guy, right?"

Residents have been aware that among the diplomats living on the island were representatives from Vietnam but it is surprising that their Prime Minister decided to bunk on the island during this year's session.

Links to Fryers Club Post: NY Times City Room; New York Observer

Images: Southpoint Park from Queens West


The above image is by SOMAC from Flickr and features a view of the Roosevelt Island not always seen and I am guessing was taken from one of the residential buildings in Long Island City's Queens West development based on the angle.

The structures visible starting from the lower left include the Smallpox Hospital, Strecker Labs, and Goldwater Hospital. According to the Flickr post the shot was taken on September 24, 2008.

Time Out New York : Finds Locally Mae West and Mennonites

Time Out New York apparently dropped by this past weekend and wrote up their tour describing their local excursion as part of their "Own This City" feature series.

NYDN: Local Resident's Loss - Taser Related Death

As reported in the NY Daily News, this past Friday Sept 26th, the case of the man who was tasered by the NYPD and unfortunately fell to his death has a connection to Roosevelt Island. It was resident Olga Negron whose son Inman Morales died in the incident.

According to the story:

"The mother said her son was diagnosed as bipolar and had suffered from paranoid delusions in the past. His anti-depressants recently had been changed. "That day, he had an appointment with his psychiatric doctor. I went to pick him up," said Negron, a former dental assistant who lives on Roosevelt Island. "

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brazilian Dance Perf Held at Coler - Goldwater

Locally the IESS Spiritist Society performed a dance from the Northeast of Brazil for the patients at Goldwater Hospital.

Direct YouTube link posted by SpiritismNYC

Thursday, September 25, 2008

NYT City Room Blog Post re FDR Memorial

Sewell Chan of the New York Times City Room blog has posted an article today regarding the recent movement of the Louis Kahn designed FDR Memorial.

The article makes no mention as to how the design (30 years old +) is regarded by the local community. It makes no mention of what the space has become to the local community and what will be lost.

If you like or dislike the design here is a very public forum to leave your comments. Please do so.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FDR Four Freedoms Park Billboard at Southpoint

As stated yesterday a billboard has been erected at Roosevelt Island's Southpoint which in truth simply provides a web site address regarding the future FDR Memorial Four Freedoms Park. It actually is not as large as my "satirical photo mock up" predicted. It still directs web users to a page soliciting funds towards the construction of the park. It does not specifically state that the location of the billboard to be the parks actual location.

It seems a wierd mix to see a sign discussing the four freedoms and basically a small gunboat in the foreground. The Coast Guard boat was in these waters to prevent any boats getting near the United Nations while the General Assembly is in session this week.

The Roosevelt Islander has a great post this afternoon about the billboard and FERI's use of this short term billboard to solicit funding for the park. I encourage readers to go to that post and read it as I agree with it fully.

Gift Ideas from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Looking for a nice gift for a friend or family members that shows that you visited Roosevelt Island? Well look no further the RI Historical Society Visitors Center offers plenty of great ideas at reasonable prices.

Located in a converted trolley kiosk on the island side of the Tram the Visitors Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 Noon to 5:00 pm. Each of the items in the above video is available as well as numerous other gifts and souvenirs.

Roosevelt Island Match Book - Hot Item on eBay

After last months surprising eBay auction of a vintage Roosevelt Island match book for just under $10 another auction has popped up for another Roosevelt Island unused mint issue match book. Like the last match book this one includes the tag line "400 yards East of Sutton Place" but also includes the phrase "Manhattan's Other Island " on the spine which was rubbed off on the earlier auction. The coloring is also in much better condition.

At the Buy it Now price of $9.99 it is sure to not last the week. So act now !

Monday, September 22, 2008

Big FDR Memorial Sign Marring Views of Southpoint Park?

A report has come in that a large sign has been placed on the grounds of Roosevelt Island’s Southpoint Park advertising it as the site of the dreaded Louis Kahn designed FDR Memorial. I am guessing it is big enough to be seen from the FDR Drive as otherwise what’s the point.

I have not seen it but I hope it is not so tacky to be listing web addresses or phone numbers to donate money. If it is asking for cash this would be evidence that FERI is unable to raise the funds as interest is not there.

The concept of a sign asking for money for an FDR Memorial from a highway named after FDR is a bit strange don’t you think?

Update: Up and Down Escalators !!!

As of this morning Roosevelt Island has two sets of operational escalators, up (ES 413/416) and down (ES 411/414), from the street level to the lower mezzanine. Cool.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Roosevelt Island KidFest - October 2008

Roosevelt Island KidFest 2008. The concept of holding a weekly children's event on the commons at Southtown's Riverwalk complex is pretty cool. I am guessing many island parents will be taking full advantage of the events and lending their families as extras towards enticing new families to move here.

The big question for Hudson / Related is how many families from off island can the event attract. Certainly the exposure in Time Out New York Kids and Big City Moms will help and especially by booking groups each week that many families know and follow.

Seems like a win win to everybody. While I heartily support the events and will be out with my own kids I still have great concerns about over development on this island and the effects on our infrastructure. I also wonder what current tenants at the Riverwalk 3 and 4 will think about giving up their October Saturdays for all the hoopla outside their windows.

Putting aside all this hum bug I invite all readers off island to come and visit as this is a great place to spend the day, and these events look like a lot of fun, and as a "young" family we are enjoying living here very much.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Escalator Update: Construction Pushes Thru 9/19 Morning Rush

Perhaps by the commute home they will have Roosevelt Island escalators ES 413/416 back on line but from this picture it sure was not the case for the morning rush hour despite MTA expectations that this escalator set would be back in service by today.

In my last post I indicated that a 9/19 return of ES 413/416 would be 6 days earlier than originally planned by the MTA. I was incorrect the posters all along indicated 9/19 was the expected return to service date. The ES 413/416 went off line again on 8/25 to be joined up with ES 412/415 and the "25th" just got stuck in my memory when I wrote that post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Escalator Update: Early and Delayed Returns

Escalators ?

Good news and bad news regarding our Roosevelt Island subway escalators. According to the advisory posters the remaining two sets of escalators were slated to both return on September 25th but that is no longer the case.

According to Deirdre Parker, NYC Transit spokeswoman, the ES 413/416 set is scheduled to re-open on September 19th, six days early. The ES 412/415 set however is expected to return to service in mid-October two weeks late. No reason has been reported at this time for the delay.

Weekend Service Disruptions ?

Unrelated to the escalator construction, Ms. Parker indicated that there are no scheduled service disruptions scheduled for any weekend affecting the 63rd Street Tunnel stations, including Roosevelt Island, through the end of October. So we can expect approximately 6 weeks of full weekend subway service to run through Roosevelt Island.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Prayer Before You Take the Tram?


While the Roosevelt Island Tram is scheduled to be replaced next year no one has publicly stated that safety is such an issue that a prayer is required before the Tram begins its trip across the East River but someone apparently did not want to take any chances.

The above pictured prayer booth was permanently affixed and anchored into the ground within Manhattan's Tramway Plaza, a NYC designated public park. The non-denominational prayer booth offers a fold down knealing pad. The instructions, especially the warning, are the best part.


This device exists to facilitate and control prayer in
public space. Improper use may result in penalty or fine.

Please avoid the booth if you are sensitive to or feel
threatened by actions that are religious in nature."

The over/even is the ACLU wil have the City Parks Department remove it by midday tomorrow so get your prayers in now while you can.

prayer booth instructions_closeup

Note: It appears that the prayer booth is actually an art installation created by artist Dylan Mortimer and has traveled across the country according to these 2007 newspaper articles. It would be nice if some sort of "art card' was placed nearby. Amusing. Over the years the Manhattan Tramway Plaza has hosted numerous art installations.

UPDATE 935am - Supposedly a member of Community Board 8 saw the TWO prayer booths at the plaza and is contacting Parks to have them removed. Apparently by bolting the booths to the ground it is a violation etc etc.

UPDATE 9/18 1130am - The story continues as apparently Parks did not notify CB8 that they were installing the booths as "public art".

PS / IS 217 Earns a "C" Grade from DOE

The NYC Deprtament of Education for 2007-2008 has graded the local Roosevelt Island elementary school PS / IS 217 with a "C". Last year the school was awarded an overall grade of a "B". Last year was the first year of the DOE's blunt grade system. This year's evaluation is considered by the DOE "well developed" where last year's evaluation was considered "undeveloped" indicating perhaps that the "B" awarded last year was not conclusive.

Per the report 24% of the City's K-8 schools fall into this grading. As noted above the breakout of this grade is as follows: B for School Environment; C for Student Performance, and a C for Student Progress. The full report for PS 217 can be found HERE.
Enrollment from year to year has been basically consistent from 462 last year to 454 this year per the DOE.

The NY Times has an articles regardin g the overall NYC reports issued of which PS 217 is part of.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Towers of Light from the Octagon

Of the many 9-11 Memorial Lights photos shot from Roosevelt Island I thought this one was most interesting from Zacklur shot from his apartment up at the Octagon. It can be found HERE on Flickr.

Historical Walk - Update

It appears Roosevelt Island is getting closer to seeing new Historical Walk signs being posted around the Island. I have not yet seen what the new signs look like as Judy Berdy, President of the Historical Society, is still working on design issues regarding how the signs are manufactured. I did notice today that the broken sign that has been outside the subway station (picttured above) was finally removed presumably by RIOC.

The below slide show is of all of the signs existing as of this Summer. If anyone can confirm whether these other signs are still around or whether they have been removed that woud be appreciated.

As always the walk can be enjoyed electronically via its website linked HERE or via the photo button at the top right hand side bar of this blog. To see full size photos of any of these photos they can be found on my FLICKR set for the RI Walk.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Live from New York...it's Saturday Night

This video is certainly not about Roosevelt Island but it has had me laughing since last night. Vote Obama !

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Roosevelt Island's 9-11 Memorial Service

Each year Roosevelt Island holds its own 9-11 memorial service behind the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. This year the service, sponsored by RIRA, begins at 7:30 pm. Please bring your own candle. As noted in the picture below the memorial placque memorializes both residents and members of the FDNY Special Operations Command that were stationed here on Roosevelt Island.

"Ballot Marking Devices" Somewhat Discouraged on Roosevelt Island

Yesterday's election turnout by all accounts was light and on Roosevelt Island it was no different than anywhere else. As expected the only primary races (for Democrats) involved the Manhattan Surrogates Couty and Civil Court Judgeship. What was interesting was the presence of a new "Ballot Marking Device" whose use, at least on Roosevelt Island, was somewhat discouraged. With a high population of disabled on the island between the hospitals and residents one would think we might have had even two of such machines and higly trained advocates there to encourage its use.

Upon speaking with the poll workers it was clear that if a voter wanted to use the "ballot marking device" and asked to use it they could not refuse the request but as I was prompted to use it by an interested individual I was softly directed to vote normally via the old traditional lever controlled voting machines. After speaking with a few poll workers it appeared clear that using the new device was not an easy endeavor and I was told when it was tried a few times during the day it did not always work. The instruction card I was shown was not the most clear either.

It was also pointed out to me that the device is not easily tabulated and like regular paper ballots must be counted separately at the end of the day, something the poll workers were not thrilled about. I also got the impression that unless the races were tight counting such ballots would not be a priority. It almost sounds like the counting were to take place there by these workers which I did not believe is how it is done.

I will admit my interest, though prompted by the aforementioned interested party, was one of curiousity. It was only heightened upon learning that the operation of the machine did not appear easy for able bodied voters as opposed to the differently abled voters the machine was created for. My query to the workers was unless they get practice helping voters using the machine how well trained are they to help someone who must use it. I did not get too many replies.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

PSD Youth Summit - Wed. Eve at 6:30pm

The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department is sponsoring a Youth Summit tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm at PS / IS 217. The summit is a "forum for the youth in the community (and their parents) to hear important information about the law".

Topics of discussion will include:

· R.I. Public Safety Department
· How to deal with a Law Enforcement Officer
· How to act during a Car Stop
· Escalation of Force Continuum
· Violations / Misdemeanors / Felonies
· Juveniles -vs- Adults
· Escalation of Charges

According to the flyers posted refreshments will be served. The event is scheduled to take place in the school cafeteria.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Can RIOC Buy a Few Double-Decker Buses?

The MTA started a 30 day trial run of a double decker bus around NYC. Perhaps the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation can buy a few for our morning rush hours or at least to take residents into Manhattan when the Tram is out next year.

How much can they really be? At least those residents that complain about the current quarter fare could no longer argue as everybody would get on and even get a seat!

Tomorrow’s Democratic Primary: Surrogates Court

As far as I can see the only primary race that Roosevelt Island residents can vote on tomorrow, September 9, 2008 is that for the Democratic candidate for New York County Surrogates Court. Of the three candidates I have personally seen two campaigning on Roosevelt Island including John Reddy Jr. and Judge Milton Tingling. It may be that Nora Anderson has campaigned here as well but I have not personally seen her.

NYS Assembly Representative Micah Kelner (D-65) is supporting Mr. Reddy and has campaigned with him at both the local subway station and also at Good Shepherd Plaza where I was introduced to Mr. Reddy. I met Judge Tingling at the Farmer’s market two Saturdays ago. Both seemed competent based on the small talk that I have exchanged with each.

An interesting article about the race can be found HERE on the City Hall blog.

Aid Needed to Send OIWW - Haiti

The Roosevelt Islander posts an impassioned plea for help from Jim Luce of Orphans International for their kids in Haiti where Hurricane Gustav recently wreaked havoc and destruction.

"Please call Jim Luce directly at (212) 755-7285 or at (212) 755-7550 to donate by credit card, the fastest way to get us funds.We must raise $4,000 over the next 48 hours to meet our obligations there."

RIOC Vote on FDR Mem. at 9/11 Board Mtg.

This Thursday, September 11, 2008, at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporations's September Board of Directors meeting the FDR Memorial issue is being raised as a vote "Conditionally Designating the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Development of the FDR Four Freedoms Park". I must admit I am somewhat at a loss as what this actually means.

If it means a positive vote vests full control over the site to FERI without their yet securing the $40 million in funds they estimate as needed I am opposed and would counsel the voting directors to do the same. My recollection has been that RIOC President Stephen Shane has stated in the past that if FERI could not secure the funds (by dates now that have come and past) he would counsel RIOC to veto the project. This may not be his exact statement but it was my understanding of it.

I do recall that at one point the deadline was pegged to the groundbreaking of Phase I of Southpoint's development which would be when the Trust for Public Land formally starts construction of the garden area which is planned for between the Smallpox Hospital and Goldwater Hospital. Such a groundbreaking has not yet occured due to some sort of environmental study. I personally have wondered if this study was pushed back to give FERI more time but I am guessing that is just my being cynical.

Mr. Shane has stated in the past that RIOC is bound to the Kahn design, if the park is memorial is created at all, based on a long ago 1974 agreement entered into by its predesessor the RI Development Corporation as well as other State and City agencies. I just seems to me that if each of these organizations today were to state they have no interest in this design that the agreement would be null and void. The odds are but for RIOC no one at these other State and City agencies even knows this agreement exists.

As I stated above if the vote this Thursday is to formally bind RIOC to the Kahn design I ask that the voting directors vote no for reasons I have stated in prior posts that the design is from another time and no longer serves the community and detracts from the natural beauty of the site.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Will Hana Fears Cancel MTA Service Disruptions?

Roosevelt Island residents as well as many other riders got lucky one weekend this past Winter when snow forecasts prompted the MTA to cancel weekend service disruptions.

Hopefully this weekend that will happen again restoring normal weekend schedules. The possibility of high winds forcing the tram to stop service and no subway service to Queens through the 63rd Street Tunnel is not a thrilling prospect.

Rooftop Film Pushed Back to Sunday Sep 7

------Original Message------
From: Dan Nuxoll
To: Roosevelt Island 360
Sent: Sep 5, 2008 4:55 PM
Subject: RE: [Roosevelt Island 360] This Sat. 9/6 Free Rooftop Film atFirefighter's Field

Hi Eric--
We have decided that, given the forecast of rain and high winds, that we are
moving the event to Sunday, September 7th, same time--8PM, same
location--firefighters field. If you have the chance to let your readers
know we would appreciate it

Dan Nuxoll
Program Director
Rooftop Films

Submit for the 2008 Summer Series
Underground Movies Outdoors

Fun Weekend: Trop. Storm Hanna & No Queens F

They are predicting tropical storm winds of up to 60 miles per hour this weekend which will make life a bit fun on Roosevelt Island. As most island residents know if the winds exceed 30 mph the tram is shut down and with no Queens bound F train service the possibility of no tram service is not a good thing. Granted residents looking to return from Manhattan and/ or Brooklyn to Roosevelt Island can merely take the subway out to Roosevelt Ave in Queens and then switch back to a Manhattan bound F but that is too annoying.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lappin Contacts DOB re Eastwood Window Project

The Office of NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin (District 5 – D) has received a number of calls regarding the current Eastwood window project with respect to safety concerns where no construction sheds have been constructed.

According to Ms. Sarah Resnick Attia, Community Liaison for the Council Member, Ms. Lappin’s office has contacted DOB to look into the issue and has also spoken with Mr. Geofrrey Fishman, the managing g agent at Urban American to let him know that several constituents have filed complaints with the Council Member’s office regarding concerns at the site.

This Sat. 9/6 Free Rooftop Film at Firefighter's Field

Rooftop Films - Sept 6 - Arusi

Rooftop Films is again screening a film here on Roosevelt Island this Saturday, September 6th and once again the show is free to the public. The film "Arusi: Persian Wedding" by Iranian-American filmmaker Marjan Tehrani chronicles her brother's return to Iran as he travels with his American wife to have a Persian wedding ceremony and explore his lost heritage.

Note this film was originally scheduled to be at Southpoint park but has been moved to Firefighter's Field.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Window Replacement Today – Injury Lawsuits Tomorrow?

It appears that Urban American has begun its window replacement program in the Eastwood complex on Roosevelt Island starting with units in 510 Main Street which is a great thing for tenants.

Unfortunately cars and pedestrians passing Eastwood along Main Street may be in possible danger. It appears that no scaffolding or sheds are being erected to prevent falling glass or other objects while the windows are being replaced from inside the units.

It is unclear to this blogger what the law requires as I have been informed that the law may not require scaffolding or sheds when the work is being done from inside the building and not from the outside but it would just seem for the safety of all that such precautions would be warranted. I expect that RIOC would have warned Urban America. I would expect that City law prevails in this regard.

According to a 311 operator contacted this evening if there is construction that individuals feel would be dangerous they can contact 311 and ask for a DOB representative to file a complaint as window replacements would constitute construction in this regard.