Letters

To the Editor:

What, exactly, is happening to our Roosevelt Island Caring Community?

We miss the friendly Trellis Restaurant while they endeavor to update!

The building owner, the building rental agent, and the folks on the second floor in Albany had Kaie jump through a whole series of hoops to get the plans approved.

Then, after finally giving the project a green light, they have found that the plans they approved were faulty.

And now, overbearing people that they are, the Big Boys tell Kaie he has to pay for plans to correct problems that they had missed in their review.

Four decades ago, this Island started off as a Caring Community. With accelerating speed, the powers-that-be have tilted in favor of the folks at the top of the food chain.

How much further will this overbearing attitude go?

David J. Bauer

 

To the Editor:

Just a short note to congratulate you on perhaps the most informative issue of The WIRE we’ve had the privilege of perusing in years – answering many questions that many of us have had as to the status of the tragically delayed Trellis reconstruction; the dismal, now almost completely defunct stationery entrepôt; and whether the now-finally-somewhat-cleaned-up delicatessen should give its bedraggled cat a bath, etc.

And a forte bravissimo to sprightly Judith Berdy for her brave, revelatory comment on WIRE stories confronting the mysterious, vastly overpaid Hudson/Related corporation with her analysis and report on its shockingly minuscule accomplishments. After two years, we’re still burdened with two more large empty spaces on busy Main Street – forcing us to trek to Manhattan for little hardware items and slivers of stationery. How many years must we wait for their replacement? As long as it took to restore the liquor store?

Why no replacements for that savory fresh-fish store with its odd fish-related Korean imports, or the delightful little bakery across the street from Trellis (whose former operator, I understand, lives here on the Island)?

One unrelated question to RIOC, RIRA, MST&DA, and the rest of the Island’s abacadabra of agencies: When is that beautiful 18th-century structure in the very center of the Island ever going to be turned into the museum it should house? So far, its only distinction has been a sparkling annual giant Christmas tree!

And kudos to the ever-stalwart Matthew Katz for his pungent guest editorial.

Maurice Edwards

 

To RIOC:

I wiped out while running three weeks ago, and severely sprained my wrist and bruised my ribs and knees. It was on the section of sidewalk between Manhattan Park and Octagon. My foot got caught in the uneven pavement, and I went flying forward. (There was no ice in the vicinity.) The sidewalks and perimeter of the Island seem to have taken a beating this winter. I don’t think repairs for them were mentioned in the $37 million capital spending recently discussed, though perhaps this sort of repair would be covered in the maintenance budget.

Also, though less urgent in my opinion, there are sections of the perimeter that are in bad shape. There’s a section near the fire station where I’ve seen several runners fall. There are sections of the pavement above the steam-tunnel path that are quite uneven and bumpy. Heading south from the fire station toward Southtown, there are also some bad sections. A woman who uses a wheelchair told me that she can no longer travel on that part of the perimeter. I would also think these irregularities could pose problems for the runners in the many races held on Roosevelt Island.

I hope that the sidewalk repairs will be made as soon as possible, and that the perimeter will also be repaired soon!

The RIRA Island Services Committee is currently looking into this issue.

Roberta Kleiman

 

To the Editor:

This morning, I arrived at the southbound Motorgate stop at 9:43, to catch the Red Bus that was supposed to have left Octagon at 9:45. I was lured out of the comparative warmth of the lobby of 10 River Road into the 20-degree cold by a bus stopping at 40 River Road – only to see it turn into Motorgate.

There were eight snowplows and three northbound buses – but not a single southbound bus showed up until just after 10:00, arriving at the Tram seconds too late for the next departure.

On my return trip from Manhattan, I took the 11:37 Tram, which arrived at 11:42. The bus finally showed up at 11:58.

Why does RIOC bother posting a Red Bus schedule if it has no intention of sticking to it?

Anita Bonita

 

To the Editor:

Roosevelt Island is such a lovely place for families, seniors, and the disabled, because getting around is easy and all places are accessible. However, it is almost impossible to get here without the use of mobility help like a car or an elevator. It would be very useful to have a footbridge to Manhattan or pedestrian access to the Queensboro bridge. Or a ramp on the Manhattan side of the Tram, even if it takes years of negotiations with the City to get all permits needed to use the parkland, as such ramps have to follow strict requirements and cannot be too steep.

As long as there is no ramp on the other side of the Tram, our goal is to have at least one operating elevator on the Manhattan side at all times when the Tram is running. It is too bad that the elevators were not replaced during the recent major renovation of the Tram cabins and stations. They have broken frequently in the past three winters, often both at the same time. In the past, families and other residents with mobility issues like seniors or the disabled could use the subway and the elevator at the 63rd/Lex station as an alternative. Unfortunately, the F-Train is still not servicing Roosevelt Island on many weekends, and the street-level elevator at 63rd/Lex will be out of service until May 31, at least.

On behalf of both the RI Parents Network and the RIRA Island Services Committee, with the help of many parents and after many interactions with RIOC and POMA/Leitner, we have been successful in reaching the following sub-goals:

• The need for a complete replacement of the elevators finally got on RIOC’s agenda and was approved for the 2014/2015 budget. Last summer, the elevator door was replaced and the red lift repaired; since then, both have functioned more reliably.

• Signs have been produced to inform residents when one or both units are out of service, and are mostly being placed on the RI side of the Tram.

• RIOC accepted our suggestion that, when both the Tram elevator and the red lift are out of service, an immediate Red Bus shuttle to and from Manhattan will be provided until at least one unit is repaired.

Thank you, RIOC!

With the recent breakdown of both elevators starting Friday, February 13, shortly after 9:00 a.m., we appreciate that RIOC provided Red Bus shuttle service from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. that day, and starting again on Tuesday for the weekdays. But many residents with mobility issues could not get on and off the Island easily during the long weekend, as there was no Red Bus shuttle service on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (and again no service this past weekend), despite RIOC promising that the shuttle would run whenever both units were out of service.

Another problem arose on the Manhattan side of the Tram whenever a resident with mobility issues would get off the Tram and need assistance to get down the stairs. This assistance was not available.

There were also problems with the Red Bus shuttle itself. It should have run every 30 minutes, but parents reported that it was running less frequently, with one frustrated mom waiting with her baby getting cold in the stroller for over 45 minutes. This could have happened on the coldest day of the year, with a lot of snow accumulated at the shuttle stop, so that strollers and wheelchairs had to be carried over it in order to board the bus. No sign was posted on the Manhattan side at the bus stop location (until Tuesday). Another parent reported that the bus on the Island side did not even stop for her to get on at the Tram stop, which we later learned was due to unclear instructions to the drivers as to what the Red Bus shuttle stops should be.

Finally, the repairs of the elevators take a very long time. Both units are still out of service as of today [Tuesday], 11 (!) days later. This is a scandal for a community of well over 10,000 residents. It makes the daily commute for those who rely on elevators very difficult. We understood that there was a new service contract between RIOC and a maintenance company that would make repairs fast and hold the maintenance company financially responsible for any delays. But the service seems to be worse now, not better. And the replacement of the elevators is now predicted to be completed in 2016 at the earliest. We are thankful to RIOCs’ Cyril Opperman and Jack McManus for working with us and adjusting the service whenever possible.

We sincerely hope that this experience will finally categorize the overall elevator-replacement project as an emergency, and allow for an expedited process.

Eva Bosbach

RI Parents’ Network

RIRA Island Services Committee

Contact Info

The Main Street WIRE
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New York, NY 10044
Tel: 212-826-9056
Email: MainStreetWIRE@usa.net