The RIRA Column
November 7, 2015
With the passing of Halloween and the coming of Thanksgiving and the Holidays, your RIRA Common Council continues to be hard at work. The following are just some of what’s going on with your Common Council.
Public Purpose Funds
Ferry Service coming
During Wednesday’s RIRA Common Council meeting, the New York City Economic Department Corporation (EDC) also gave its presentation to the Island community, in a joint meeting to the Common Council and the Manhattan Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee, its plans for Citywide Ferry Service – specifically as it services and effects Roosevelt Island. As announced by Mayor de Blasio earlier this year as part of his proposed expansion of the city’s ferry system, the NYC EDC has proposed five planned ferry routes which will connect 21 locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, including Roosevelt Island, which will be rolled out in two phases beginning in 2017. The contemplated ferry route servicing Roosevelt Island would originate from the Hallets Point development in Astoria, stop at Roosevelt Island and the planned dock in Long Island City, and then continue on to East 34th Street and Wall Street/Pier 11 in Manhattan.
The EDC confirmed that the Citywide Ferry System will be a reality, and that the planned route which would include the Roosevelt Island stop (the Astoria-Roosevelt Island-Long Island City-Manhattan Route) would be one of the first routes rolled out with the new Citywide Ferry Service in 2017. The EDC also announced that the planned ferry landing will be located on the Queens side of the Island, near the Tramway and subway stations, across East Road from Firefighter’s Field and the old Steam Plant. Although currently not contemplated to be part of the MTA Metrocard system, a ride on the ferry is anticipated to cost the same as a single subway ride ($2.75), and will permit free transfers between differing ferry routes (but not between the subway or Tram).
When asked whether there currently were any impediments to the planned rolling out of the ferry system in 2017, the EDC confirmed that no impediments currently exist – including for service to Roosevelt Island – and that the project is fully funded. Exciting times, indeed! For more information regarding the Citywide Ferry Service, timing of the program’s launch, and expected routes, go to www.nycedc.com/project/citywide-ferry-service, and keep your eye out for our next meeting with the EDC in early spring of 2016, as we check-in on the status of the construction of our ferry dock and status of the rolling out of the system. (Also see story, page 1.)
The RIRA Social, Culture and Education (SC&E) Committee will be offering CPR training at the end of each monthly RIRA Common Council meeting for both RIRA members and anyone in the community. To date, nearly 500 of our neighbors have received the training, making our community one of the best-prepared in the City. The SC&E Committee will also hold one public class each month (the time, date and location will be announced in The WIRE and on the Roosevelt Islander blog) and will be asking your RIRA representatives to host a class in your building. Sessions can be scheduled as a two-hour block, and neighbors can drop by during that period for a 15-minute lesson. Leaders of community organizations, such as the RI Parents Network, congregations of the local religious groups, family garden groups, and others are also invited to participate.
RIRA Youth Initiative
Blue Dragon Sculpture
In March of this year, the Common Council voted to support the acceptance of an offer by Swedish sculptor Gustav Kraitz to donate his original Blue Dragon sculpture to the children, families, and residents of the Roosevelt Island community. To be placed just outside Southpoint Park, the unique sculpture will invite children to climb, play and interact with the sculpture and its surroundings. First brought to the Common Council by former Octagon representative Elisabeth Stapen and Gallery RIVAA through the SC&E Committee last year, the acceptance of the gift by RIOC has been a hard-fought battle which culminated in a letter of agreement signed between RIOC and the sculptor last week. Many thanks to Stapen and her incredible vision and dedication to bringing the sculpture to Roosevelt Island, as well as the support of Gallery RIVAA and RIRA through its SC&E Committee. Without their dedication, this project would never have come together. We look forward to the planned installation and unveiling of the Blue Dragon in April of next year, during the sculptor’s 90th year and just in time for the spring of 2016!
SC&E Committee Happenings
Food for Seniors
On October 22nd, the Fresh Food for Seniors program, in its effort to expand its services to more senior citizen centers in Northern Manhattan, made its first delivery to the Senior Center on Roosevelt Island. Started in 2012 in conjunction with GrowNYC and the Department for the Aging, the Fresh Food for Seniors program provides senior citizens throughout Manhattan with locally-grown fruit and vegetables for just $8 a bag, delivered to their senior center. Through the efforts of the board members of the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association and the Borough President’s Office, our Roosevelt Island Senior Center is now one of the centers participating in the program. To continue the service, the program will need more Island residents to sign up. If you are a Senior interested in participating in the program and for more information, go to manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/issues/seniorfoodprogram.shtml. The next pickup is scheduled for Wednesday, November 18, 3:00- 6:00 p.m., with orders to be placed November 9-10, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Sign up, and let’s make this program a permanent one for our Island Seniors.