The RIRA Column

April 9, 2016

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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Our little ship in the East River has been humming with activity as the doldrums of winter are shaken off and spring begins in earnest.

Tramway Elevator

Come to the Theatre Club at Manhattan Park (8 River Road) for a presentation regarding the replacement and modernization of the Roosevelt Island Tramway elevators. This is a joint effort of the Roosevelt Island Committee of Community Board 8 and RIOC staff, their consultants, and engineers selected to work on the project. They will answer any questions or concerns that you have about the project.

As we are all painfully aware, for more than two years the Tramway Elevators at the Manhattan Station have been plagued with frequent breakdowns and shutdowns making Tram travel nearly impossible for residents who are mobility-impaired and rely on the continuous operation of the elevator.

For over a year, RIOC has promised that the elevators would be replaced, only to be beset by setbacks. As of the last RIOC Real Estate Committee’s meeting, however, it appears that the replacement of the elevators is to take place in earnest with new engineers and consultants selected for the modernization project.

It is imperative that those whose lives are affected by the Tramway elevators attend the meeting (April 12 at 6:30 pm at the Theater Club of Manhattan Park). The April 12 presentation will be an opportunity to learn the timeline for completion, the design of the new elevators, as well as to ask questions and pose concerns to those in charge.

Based on the community’s response, the Roosevelt Island Committee of Community Board 8 may propose an approval of the project or request that further actions be taken. If you cannot attend the meeting but would like your concerns heard and/or questions raised, reach out to me as co-chair of the Roosevelt Island Committee of Community Board 8 at .

RIRA Annual Egg Hunt

Blessed with beautiful weather and a visit by the Easter Bunny, this year’s annual RIRA Egg Hunt drew over 1,500 children, neighbors, families and friends to celebrate the arrival of Spring. From bonnet making to visits with the Easter Bunny, a performance from the upcoming show “Annie” by the children’s cast of the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance and coffee and bagels with neighbors, this year’s Egg Hunt had something for everyone.

Heartfelt thanks and recognition go to the RIRA Social, Education and Culture (SC&E) Committee and its Chairwoman, Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, for the weeks of planning, hard work, and the coordination it took to make this year’s event a success, as well as to all of you for your consistent and continued support of our community events.

Thank you for your patience in utilizing our new registration and payment system. We learn more every year on how to make this cherished event more successful. We are proud to host one of the few Egg Hunts in the city which provides an opportunity for children, as young as less than a year old to as old as eight years of age, to hunt for eggs and surprises, and even more proud that such a far-reaching event can be held on Roosevelt Island and offered to all members of our Island community.

This year’s event would not have happened if not for over 25 partners and sponsors who donated countless hours of service and the stuffing of over 12,000 eggs as well as monetary support, books, and prizes.

A very big thank you goes to Island Kids – a 20-year-old not-for-profit organization dedicated to child group programs, after-school enrichment and summer camps for children as young as toddlers to grade school.

We thank the Roosevelt Island Parents Network – a network of parents and families dedicated to providing activities for families and advocacy for children.

Thanks go to Creche Du Monde Kids – Roosevelt Island’s newest child care and learning center.

Manhattan Park and Grenadier Management graciously agreed to allow us to host the event on their grounds.

The Roosevelt Island chapters of Daisies, Brownies and Girl Scouts – including the G.S. Troops 3001, 3244 and 3245 who stuffed over 2500 eggs and volunteered throughout the event – deserve thanks.

The Children’s Theatre of the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance gave a rousing sample from their upcoming show “Annie” and helped organize and man this year’s event as partners.

Additionally, we thank this year’s sponsors at New Yorker Bagels, Hope Church NYC, Riverwalk Crossing, the Octagon, Starbucks, RY Management, Roosevelt Landings, Fuji East, Bike New York, Riverwalk Bar & Grill, Piccolo Trattoria, Wholesome Factory, the PTA of PS/IS 217, RIVAA Gallery, Roosevelt Island Senior Association, Main Street Sweets, Amalgamated Bank, the Wildlife Freedom Foundation, New York Junior Tennis and Learning, Costco Wholesale, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program & RIOC. Without such support, events like the Egg Hunt would not happen.

RIRA Cherry Blossom Festival

Spring festivities on the RIRA calendar continue with the RIRA Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 30 at Manhattan Park. The Festival began in 2011 as a response to a tragic earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. It has grown to be a cherished Island event celebrating the arrival of Spring as well as the blooming of cherry blossoms that are so prevalent on our tiny island. This year’s event promises to be another beautiful day of community and world-class performances. Stay tuned for more information and plan on attending this event on April 30!

“On Roosevelt Island WE…”

The year-long “On Roosevelt Island WE…” public service campaign, started by the RIRA SC&E Committee, continues in earnest as we aim at engaging Island children in an ongoing conversation about what makes our Island home so special; for example, how it enriches our lives, and how WE, as a community, can contribute to preserving its special character, strong community, and unique beauty. Counting on the piercing minds, creativity, and compassion of our children to see what we, as adults, take for granted, the initiative looks to paint a rich picture of our beloved Island and to propose ways in which to sustain it as a nurturing place for all.

We are putting a call out to all Island groups that work with children to join us in this public service campaign. Our first round of public service posters with our children’s observations and ideas will soon be found on Main Street and the Red Bus.

We need your help in developing more ways on how we, as a community, can better serve each other. Interested in joining the campaign? Please drop us a line at , and be on the lookout for more announcements about how you and your children can become part of this creative and engaging campaign.

More community events intended to inspire us all to become active citizens and develop a sense of ownership and responsibility that will reinforce our commitment, are coming – and we are excited for all of you to be part of it!

The RIRA Survey

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association Survey continues to grow with residents from all parts of the Island contributing and shedding light on diverse issues. Many issues highlighted in completed ballots for The Survey thus far are problematic and common to all parts of the Island, including persistent problems with Tram elevator malfunctions and concerns over Main Street’s empty stores and lack of merchant diversity. Other issues that have been raised have been more building specific, such as low maintenance, lack of heat during the cold season, dirt and vandalism in hallways, roaches in the AVAC rooms, or brown/yellowish water in taps and bathrooms. All responses are being carefully assessed and tabulated to be included in a master report to be delivered and used by not only the present and incoming RIRA Common Council and its committees, but also RIOC, the City and our elected representatives.

It is important that we hear from everyone to address the pertinent issues and make progress in resolving them. We have extended the deadline in order to get as many respondents as possible, and if you have not done so yet, please take a few minutes to complete The Survey, and ask your family members and friends to do it as well! The Survey takes less than three minutes to complete, and all adult and young-adult residents are eligible. Point your browser to www.RIRAonline.com/survey to complete The Survey online. Printed ballots are available at the Public Safety Office (550 Main Street) and the Public Library (524 Main Street). Please deposit completed surveys in the ballot box at the Public Safety Office. For those who have or will be completing The Survey: three Islanders who complete a ballot will be selected at random to receive a $10 gift card for one of the following Island establishments: Main Street Sweets, Piccolo Trattoria or Starbucks.

It is important to remind everyone that the Roosevelt Island Residents Association is comprised of residents, and members of the Common Council were elected by you. Each building on the Island has proportional representation and, as a group, we represent all Island residents. Be directly heard by the Common Council, take The Survey, and let’s make Roosevelt Island the best it can be!

MST&DA’s Annie

On the weekend of May 6 to May 9, our Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance’s Children’s Theatre will be presenting their performance of “Annie” at the Main Street Theatre located at 548 Main Street. With a cast comprised of Island children, this promises to be an evening filled with laughter, tears, and inspiration for those young and old alike. Come see what our talented children and directors have been working hard for this Fall and Winter. Point your browser to for more information, and reach out to the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance at with questions.

Tags: RIRA Column

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New York, NY 10044
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