The RIRA Column
Apr 11, 2015
Flowers are blooming, the sun is rising earlier and setting later, kids abound outdoors, neighbors have shed many layers of clothing and are strolling around, and a general buzz of excitement and happiness is in the air. It’s finally springtime on Roosevelt Island, and our little ship (toot, toot) in the East River is coming alive again.
Cherry Blossom Festival
If you’re reading this before Saturday afternoon, chances are that you’re planning to spend this day enjoying the performances, food, and fun at the Fourth Cherry Blossom Festival. A nearly annual event, usually produced by RIRA’s Social, Cultural and Educational Services Committee (SC&E), the Festival was started in 2011 to commemorate and celebrate the communities of Japan that were devastated in that March’s tsunami. 2015’s Cherry Blossom Festival honors one of the event’s founders, Junko Hasegawa, with the release of nearly 1,100 origami cranes (hanging in strands from the promenade’s railing on the way to the parks). And the Festival shares many Japanese experiences with the Roosevelt Island community. At Four Freedoms Park, from 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be karate, samurai swordsmanship, classical dance, and a variety of musical performances. At Gallery RIVAA, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., there will be a Japanese ink painting workshop and a Japanese flute concert.
Today’s events begin at 11:00 a.m., with an SC&E-sponsored community picnic in Southpoint Park, and with the Historical Society’s annual Cherry Blossom Walk beginning at their Tram kiosk. Many thanks, as always, to SC&E and to its chair, Lynne Shinozaki, for again putting on this special event. Without Lynne’s leadership and the work of the committee and its volunteers, such extensive planning and execution wouldn’t be possible. [There’s a full schedule on page 6.]
Many thanks are due to another RIRA member, Sharon Williams, for her tireless efforts to train our community in how to provide hands-only CPR. Through close collaboration with New York’s chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 435 Roosevelt Islanders have been trained in the life-saving skill. The efforts of Ms. Williams and the New York AHA chapter have not gone unnoticed – the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department has recommended that CPR training be a graduation requirement in New York State. Interested in joining the movement and getting hands-only CPR training? It will be available on Wednesday, May 6, at 10:45 a.m. in the Senior Center Lounge at 546 Main Street, on Tuesday, May 12, at 8:00 p.m. in the 12th Floor conference room at 546 Main Street, and on Sunday, May 24, at 5:45 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Center at 543 Main Street. Use 30 minutes of your time to learn the technique – you may just save a life later.
Another way to help save a life is to participate in the 14th annual RIRA Blood Drive, which benefits the New York Blood Center. RIRA volunteers will once again be manning a sign-up table at the Farmer’s Market, for four consecutive Saturdays beginning in late May, to register potential donors. The Blood Drive will culminate with the pledged blood being donated during the annual Roosevelt Island Day festivities on June 13. If you’re able to donate, please sign up. (Scot Bobo’s Main Street Sweets is offering an incentive – if you pledge, you can get a second scoop of ice cream for free!)
Also during June 13’s Roosevelt Island Day, the SC&E Committee and the rest of the Common Council will host RIRA’s annual breakfast table for volunteers. Come by, say hello to your neighbors, and have a bagel, juice, and coffee on us! More information about this year’s festivities in future columns.
RIRA Committees & Seats