Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween !

Witch courtesy Martha Stewart.

Happy Halloween from Roosevelt Island 360 !

SkyWheel Residential "Tower" For Southpoint Park

Future Roosevelt Island residents may look at the Tram as archaic if they could take up residence in the Mut-Architecture conceptualy designed SkyWheel residential tower for Southpoint. For the original article go to Frame Magazine.

As planned the tower would almost be a city unto itself. It took me a while when I moved onto the island to get used to the Tram. I woud not move into this even if it was ever built.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fortune Cookies and the F Train from Roosevelt Island

Today's NY Times City Room blog posted a story regarding the Straphangers Campaign delivering Halloween Trick or Treat Fortune Cookies to the MTA board.

One comment as pictured above involved the chances of getting on a Manhattan bound F Train after 7am from Roosevelt Island.
“Try actually getting on a Manhattan-bound F train at the Roosevelt Island station Monday thru Friday after 7am” . - Nina (NYC)
I personally like the the mock fortunes referred to in the story better, from a humor perspective, but it was amusing to see a Roosevelt Island comment on this topic.

Hey Brooklyn ! We Want Our Granite Back ! Keep Roosevelt Island Granite on Roosevelt Island !

According to the linked article about the future Brooklyn Bridge Park they plan on using granite salvaged from the Roosevelt Island Bridge for their park.

While I am not happy about the design of the future FDR Four Freedoms / Louis Kahn Memorial Park shouldn't the granite from Roosevelt Island be first provided to a local park project on Roosevelt Island?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Manhattan Tram Platform Partially Cordoned Off

Subsequent to the incident Friday evening where a piece of sheathing fell from the Manhatan Roosevelt Island Tram Station onto the platform part of that platform continued to be cordoned off as of Monday night, October 27, 2008. It is unclear at this time if the platform is cordoned off due to any additional inspections of the Tram station structure or for an unrelated purpose.

According to one tram operator the metal that fell, contrary to earlier reports, was much larger than the reported 3 to 4 feet in length. This operator heard from others that it was closer to 15 feet in length. Evidence in this operator's mnd that despite opposition to the Tram and station renovations the replacement of the system and stations is necessary for long term safety ad growth.

Tree Splits Next To Rivercross

While Roosevelt Island has many trees it does not have that many that are as tall and old as those around Rivercross and the Church Plaza. Even the partial loss of one of these trees is a loss.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tram Station Sheathing / Coping Falls

A resident of Roosevelt Island informed me yesterday that an object fell onto the Tram platform this past Friday evening, October 24, 2008, at approximately 5:30 p.m. The resident believed that the object blew off the tram before landing per the report on the platform between Tram wells.

No word yet whether the object was seen falling by the Tram staff confirming that no other contact was made with the Tram's mechanical systems.

According to Steve Shane, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation President & CEO, the object:

"...was a section of the metal coping at the edge of the roof parapet which fell, glancing off the front of the cabin and otherwise doing no damage..."
Fernando Martinez, VP of RIOC Operations, reported to Mr. Shane in an internal e-mail shred with me:

"I spoke to Mark Long who was supervisor on duty at the time. It was not a beam but part of the roofing material or sheating at the Manhattan station. The material landed on the Tram pit. No one was injured."
The resident I spoke seemed pretty sure the debris fell onto the platform as opposed to the tram well but either way thank g-d no one was hurt.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obama Vote Boat Off Roosevelt Island

Blogger Hayley in New York sighted the Obama Vote Boat off of Roosevelt Island on Friday while she was exiting the F Subway Station. It appears per the Vote Boat web site that the boat has images of each set of candidates, McCain and Obama, on reverse sides of the sails.

The above picture was by rendamay on Flickr of the boat off Dumbo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Transportation Forum Produces Community Provided "Solutions"

The Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer organized Roosevelt Island transportation forum produced a list of short term and long term solutions as suggested by the attending audience as well as the priority of each solution. In an innovative method of collecting data via RF point and click technology, the organizers with the help of the Hunter College Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, turned what is usually a standard speech dog and pony show with the expected rantings of upset community members into an event where the public provided the content and the elected officials (Micah Kellner and Jessica Lappin) spoke minimally. RIOC President Steve Shane spoke but offered nothing new for the community that he had not already stated at the recent Tram info event.

The only real problem was the transportation experts did not speak at all and the public was not given the opportunity to put these folks on the spot. Also while the solutions offered are nice in theory we heard nothing from the elected officials or the transportation officials as to the reality of any one solution being actually attainable or not.

Scott Stringer closed the event stating that this event was only the beginning of the discussions and tonight was more a gauge of where he and the other politicians should start on our behalf. The only problem is we only have until the Tram goes out to start determing what can be improved in the short term. Lets schedule the next meeting soon to keep the feet of these pols to a deliverable fire date to answer the realities of the solutions offered otherwise what was the point of taking away a particular good opportunity to simply rant.

The short and long term solutions and prioritization are below and each can be linked through to Flickr for larger views.

PA210383_ST Solutions

ST Solution - Vote

PA210388_LT Solutions

PA210394_LT Vote

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Transportation Forum Tonight at Good Shepherd

banner - alert - three pics - no x - at 225 pts

At 7:00 pm tonight, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is hosting a Roosevelt Island transportation forum that is billed to include several elected officials as well as representatives from several NYC and MTA agencies that will update us to the current state of our transportation alternatives and also be available for questions and problem solving.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fire at 546 Main St.; One Death Reported

According to televised news reports, a fire on Roosevelt Island early this morning, at approximately 5:30 am, resulted in one death on an unnamed resident. The fire at 546 Main Street was initially reported to have been in a Ninth Floor apartment but later reported as the Eleventh Floor. A partial sequencing of the FDNY response is as follows:

Phone Box 1940 - Report of fire on the 9th floor @ 540 Main St.

Engs. 260, 262, 258L116, TL115Battalion 45(*Rescue 4, normally assigned on RI structural boxes, unavailable due to Queens 3rd alarm Box 4675)

05:32 hours10-12 (1st due units give preliminary) for Battalion 45.

10-77-1940 - 05:35 hoursE263E14 (High Rise Nozzle Engine Co.)E259 (Lobby Control Unit)E39 w/ High Rise 2TL117, L16L2 is the FAST truckBattalion 8Battalion 10 (Safety Officer)Division 14Rescue 2 S/CSquad 252 S/C(*multiple special units unavailable due to Queens 3rd alarm Box 4675)

CIDs for 540 Main St:.MD 19 story 50x250. Home for senior citizens. Multiple disabled throughout. No duplex apartments, interconnected with 538 and 546 Main Streets. Oxygen throughout.


05:56 hoursEMS reports they are on scene, request location of the Aided.BC45: Aided is in front of the fire building.

06:08 hoursE58 is switching to Queens, relocating to E262

06:10 hours - Duration 43 minutes.Division 14: Box 1940, main body of fire has been knocked down, primary searches are complete and negative, secondaries are in progress. Fire is Probably Will Hold. We need the fire marshals to respond, the 10-45 is a code 1 (Black Tag, Deceased). Mixer-off message.


06:14 hoursMarshals are en route

06:15 hoursDC14: Box 1940, we're going Under Control at this time, secondary searches are complete and negative at this time.

06:23 hoursDC14: We have a correction on the fire apartment, corrected apartment is 11-06, it's the 11th floor.

The details of the fire and the sequencing of the FDNY's response were be found on The top photo of Ladder 116 was not taken this morning. By 8am no fire trucks were remaining on Main Street South of Good Shepherd Church and all that remained were the various news trucks covering the tragedy.

Update: 9:52am
According to local ABC news affiliate Eyewitness News"[t]he victim, a woman in her 70s, was rushed to the hospital where she died. "

Fire Box - Box 1940 - Main Street

Friday, October 17, 2008

Water Polo Anyone? Marlins Tryouts 930am Saturday

Art Boats Anchored in LIC Looking for a Tow

A request has been posted on the blog Antlered Girls for a small boat to tow those Art Boats from LIC, across from Roosevelt Island, up the East River about 10 miles. You may have read about the Art Boats in the NY Times.

Now if we were an actual island with river access maybe one of us could do the neighborly thing and help these poor antlered ladies out. But alas we are nothing but a landlocked rock sitting here in the middle of the river.

Oct 21st Stringer Sponsored Community Forum re Transportation Issues

This coming Tuesday, October 21st, Roosevelt Island residents will have another opportunity to discuss transportation issues affecting the island this time not just with RIOC regarding the Tram but with our elected officials and each of the government agencies that run and maintain our bridges, subways, and buses.

The Community Forum is being lead by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and as this post appears to also include Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Micah Kellner and City Councilmember Jessica Lappin.

According to a representative from Borough President Stringer’s office the agenda is not yet final but one of their goals is to make the forum as interactive as possible including discussions of issues as well as possible solutions.

As opposed to Community Board 8’s Roosevelt Island transportation forum which took place in Manhattan at the Blood Center this forum is scheduled to take place here on the Island and as such can expect a much better turnout than the less than a dozen who attended the CB8 meeting.

All residents are encouraged to attend as this is a great opportunity to ask questions and hear from all parties plans for next year when the Tram is offline for several months. The timing of this meeting is appropriate as at least one of the referendum proposed by RIRA for the November elections includes the Tram.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jets vs Sharks ? Parkour Training Video

No, the video is not of a new tryout for wannabe Jets and Sharks in some sort of a Roosevelt Island production of West Side Story, The above YouTube video, from NYPKTraceurIrish, features a group of individuals practicing various Parkour routines around the island. With the many ramps, fencing and other architectural flourishes that are Roosevelt Island expect to see parkour demos for some time to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Escalator Update: ES 412/415 Almost Open

The barriers are down and Roosevelt Island resident can see the gleaming new escalators installed as ES 412 and ES 415 but residents don't yet have acess as the yellow gates in these photos can attest to. I saw first hand yesterday evening the tease awaiting the morning rush hour commuters.

Except for the pics from the street level taken by myself each of the following pics is provided courtesy of Judy Berdy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. As noted by the Roosevelt Islander the MTA escalator and elevator outage page still lists this escalator set as under construction. Unfortunately that same MTA page lists EL 404, the Queens Bound elevator as out of service which I also noticed tonight from the platform level.

Model for New Roosevelt Island Tram Revealed

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation President Stephen Shane will deny it but I was on a secret mission this past weekend. I was sent to Niagara Falls to view and commission the replacement for our beloved Tram.

I was sent to the Spanish Aero Car which is located above the Niagara River Tidal Whirlpool. The new design is much more open allowing free movement of air and will be accompanied by a new ticketing structure duplicating that of the fare structure at the Niagara Parks attraction.

The Aero Car's design has been used since 1916, link HERE for history. and according to one of the operators has never had an accident in all those years. RIOC was so impressed with this record that they have agreed to commission two cabins based on this design. The new tram will also slow down to match the 8 minute ride provided by Niagara Parks in each direction and while the $11 fare is for a round trip in Niagara, RIOC will charge the new fare for each passage across the East River.


For additional pictures of the Spanis Aero Car you can visit FLICKR to see many tourist pics uploaded for public viewing. The above post is obviously a bit of satire on my part. All fun aside it was quite amusing during my vacation with my wife this past weekend to discover this attraction despite our disappointment that the ride did not allow us to disembark on the "American" terminus of the Aero Car's cable track. For those of you that have never visited the Falls my advice is to visit and see it from the Canadian side as it was truly an amazing site to see.

Roosevelt Landings?

Urban American is in the process of premiering a new "Roosevelt Landings" website and a new advertising campaign to attract new Roosevelt Island tenants based on the two very large banners put up this past week facing Main Street. If there are more I have not yet seen them. At first I thought they read "Riverwalk" but that made no sense.

Obviously taking their cue from Riverwalk where the bigger the sign the bigger the hopes of attracting new families, Urban American decided the time must be right with all the young families coming to the island these past two weekends for the very successful Hudson / Related (i.e. Riverwalk) sponsored Roosevelt Island KidFest events held to date (according to my young children) and scheduled for the remaining two October weekends.

The website the banners direct viewers to is not yet operational and I admit the design of half letters is lost on me. More to come as we all see it. Does this mean Eastwood will no longer be Eastwood? Will Dick Lutz have to change the name of the Main Street WIRE to the Main Street WIRRL?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Regeneration Roadtrip: RI Tidal Energy Project

Todd from Regeneration Roadtrip, in conjunction with Grist TV, talks to Jonathan Colby of Verdant Power about the new Roosevelt Island tidal energy (RITE) project on the East River in New York.

Direct YouTube link posted by Grist TV. Grist can be found also at

Video: Tram Rescue Drills on Flickr

While walking across the Queensboro Bridge, photog DDC95 caught this past weekend's Roosevelt Island Tram rescue drills and posted them onto Flickr.

They are posted in three one minute segments 1, 2, and 3. The below photo is its original size can be found HERE.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Season's First Scarecrows Sighted on Main Street

Every October scarecrows have been sighted along Roosevelt Island's Main Street. A few scarecrows have already popped up outside 510 Main Street. Will ghostly apparitions and ghouls follow? They usually do when these little guys come along. Enjoy a peek at last year's crop of scarecrows.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mystery Video: 1982 Roof Top Music Video

According to the short text that accompanied this YouTube video, posted by earlvisw, it was shot in 1982 on a Roosevelt Island roof top. What building do you think this was shot from?

My assumption at first based on the location of the Queensboro Bridge was that this is Goldwater Hospital. But in 1982 perhaps this is the old laundry building that was on the North side of the bridge where the still under construction 405 Main Street building stands. But that can't be as then we'd see Manhattan in the background which is not the case. My guess is still the roof at Goldwater Hospital. Again what is your best guess?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Escalators Are Alive !!!!

What happens when the MTA subcontracts the restoration of the Roosevelt Island escalators to Dr. Frankenstein and the ghost of Dear Abby? The escalators come alive and have a penchant for giving advice and we are not just talking about holding the hand rail. Who knows perhaps singles from all over will come here wondering if the escalators will make them a match?

The above YouTube video was directed by Jeffery Lee and is quite funny. I think we all have heard those voices but were just afraid to admit it to anyone.

EMS Bases Ambulance on Roosevelt Island

As reported earlier today by the Roosevelt Islander, Emergency Medical Sevices has decided to base an ambulance EMT unit on the island. THe unit will be housed during normal business hours at the RIOC bus depot and at other hours the ambulance will be stationed across the street from the Public Safety office on Main Street. NY1 broke the story earlier today. For more watch the video by linking HERE.

The video includes interviews with both Steve Shane, President of the Roosevelt island operating Corporation and Keith Guerra, Public Safety Director.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

FDR Wanted Only a Simple Monument

As noted in the images below, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted nothing more than a simple marker placed outside the National Archives in Washington.

In these harsh economic times are we really honoring his wishes by raising $20 million in donations for a monument / memorial park when the funds could better spent on social programs geared to putting those out of work and hungry back on their feet? Perhaps duplicating the below monument and placque would be more appropriate and placing it at the Southern most point of the island facing the United Nations.

FDR Placque Text_Flickr_Voteprime

FDR Placque with Memorial

Each photo can be enlarged by double clicking the image. The original photos were shot by VotePrime and can be found on Flickr HERE.


"In September 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called his friend, Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter, to the White House and asked the Justice to remember the wish he then expressed:

"If any memorial is to be erected to me, I know exactly what I should want it to be. I should like it to consist of a block about the size of this (putting his hand on the desk) and placed in the center of that green plot in front of the Archives Building. I don't care what it is made of, whether limestone or granite or whatnot, but I want it to be plain without ornamentation, with the simple carving, 'In Memory of _____'."

A small group of living associates of the President, on April 12, 1965, the twentieth anniversary of his death, fulfilled his wish by providing and dedicating this modest memorial."