The RIRA Column

May 21, 2016

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It might seem we were celebrating the arrival of spring only yesterday, yet Memorial Day is fast approaching. Along with it comes talk of children’s summer camps and plans in the background of parents’ conversation. And it is only natural that our minds wander to the days of lulling fans and active air-conditioners, family dinners around the outdoor picnic table at Octagon Park, and our Island children playing during the endless evenings outside.

RI Day & Blood Drive

What a better way to give back to our Roosevelt Island community and welcome summer than participating and attending this year’s Roosevelt Island Day on Saturday, June 11, for a day of community service, family fun, games, rides and more.  

Not only does Roosevelt Island Day allow us to come together and strengthen the bonds that make us a community, and have another excuse to be outdoors, but it is also a day to give back to the Island.  

It is often forgotten that Roosevelt Island Day was originally created as a day of Island service and beautification – a day where anyone and everyone is encouraged to arrive early, pick up a shovel and plant new flowers and seedlings throughout the Island, to clean up and tend to Island elements that need attention and care, and to generally come together as a community to make our little ship on the East River a cleaner and more beautiful place to live, work and play.

Interested in being a volunteer or want to help out?  Show up on Roosevelt Island Day, raise your hand, and you’ll be given a T-Shirt and a task that needs attending.  We hope to see all of you there, and make sure you come by the RIRA Hospitality table hosted by the RIRA Social Cultural & Education Committee for some coffee, bagels and juice on us while you fortify for the day ahead of beautifying our already beautiful Island, as well as a chance to catch up with your fellow neighbors.

The Blood Drive

In the run-up to Roosevelt Island Day and in the spirit of service to our community, RIRA will be holding its annual blood drive every Saturday at the Farmer’s Market until Roosevelt Island Day.  If planting and repairing is not your forte, but you still want to give back, consider signing up for the blood drive.  It only takes a little to help so many.

The Blood Drive was first started by RIRA in 2002 in response to the blood shortage stemming from the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.  Now in its 14th year, the Common Council will be signing up and recruiting prospective blood donors for the next four (4) weekends – May 21, May 28, June 04, and June 11 – at our sign-up tables at the Farmers Market between the hours of 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., with the actual blood donation by the pledged donors culminating during the Roosevelt Island Day festivities on Saturday, June 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

New this year, and in the spirit of giving back to what you give to our community, successful blood donors will be offered incentives from Island merchant to say thank you for donating a pint of the liquid red life-saver.

By donating just a pint of blood, blood donors get to enjoy for the day: at Riverwalk Bar and Grill, get 20% off any meal, up to four persons, valid on 6/11 and 6/12; at Fuji East enjoy 10% off any meal, available on 6/11 only; at Coach Scot’s Main Sweet Shop, get $1 off one ice cream cone valid on 6/11 only; swing by Starbucks and enjoy one tall coffee or iced coffee or one Frappuccino Cookie Straw on 6/11 only; at Piccolo Trattoria receive 15% off any menu item, valid on 6/11 only, and from DuaneReade/Walgreens  get one free “squish ball”, on 6/11 only. (Remember to hold on to your Green Sheet after you donate blood to use as proof of having given blood, and if possible, keep your bandage on as further proof of blood donation.  If you should remove your bandage, make sure you have that Green Sheet to show the merchant(s) you choose to visit.  There is no limit to how many of these participating merchants you may “collect” from, but you may only go to each one, one time only.   All information with regard to qualification to donate blood, the incentives, and more will be offered at the sign-up table at the Farmer’s Market. Feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.) 

All prospective donors should expect a reminder phone call or email on the Friday before Roosevelt Island Day, the night before the actual donation, reminding you to eat a good breakfast and/or lunch before donating blood, and to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  On June 11 (the actual blood donation day), free cookies, chips, fruit juice, and water will be served to donors. For further information, please contact the RIRA Blood Drive Captain, Bafodé Dramé, from now until June 11, 2016 at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Survey

The RIRA Survey is entering its fifth and final month. We appreciate your hundreds of entries and suggestions.  Thank you for informing us about issues that matter to all of us, including building maintenance, filth and roaches in hallways, contaminated water, as well as concerns over the lack of stores on Main Street, and other issues.  Most disturbing is the fact that many people are in need of food on a daily basis. 

Please note that The Survey will close by Wednesday, May 25. Thank you to all who have shared their views.  We will write up and publicize the responses.  They will surely prove pivotal in shaping the direction of the new term of the Common Council seated in the fall.

If you have not yet taken The Survey, it is online at RIRAonline.com/survey, or in the Public Safety lobby where you may deposit the completed survey in the large red box.  Only with you and your voice can we make Roosevelt Island the best it can be!  Please contact Adib Mansour, Chair of the Island Community Polling Initiative Committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions

Summer Hiatus and Fall Elections

During the summer months, the Common Council takes a hiatus to reset and make plans for the upcoming year of council sessions, including planning the new term and slate of RIRA Common Council members to be elected in the fall.  

While signing up to donate blood at the Farmer’s Market, take some time to speak to your RIRA Representative manning the table and find out more about how you can get involved and possibly run for a position on the Common Council.  

All seats on the Common Council and its Executive Officer positions (including my own) will be up for grabs in an Island-wide election for the new slate of Common Council Members and officers.  

As with the national and State elections, the Island elections will be a pivotal one.  Incoming council members will spearhead initiatives and direction for the next two years.  Issues such as the explosion of the Island’s population - two more Related towers, the dwindling of affordable housing, the accelerated crumbling of the Island’s infrastructure and lack of community programming, and the completion of Phase I of the Cornell Project and opening of its campus will be just a few issues that the Common Council will be tackling.  

Do you have an interest in collectively solving these, and many other, Island issues?  If so, I truly hope that you will heed the call and seek to run for a seat on the Common Council in the Fall.  

Please take time this summer to reach out to your building representative, voice concerns or goals you wish for him or her to undertake in the upcoming sessions, and to ask any and all questions you might have.  

The success of the Common Council depends very much on each of you, as the community, to let the building representatives know what they can do to better serve you and the community.  If you have any questions about what it means to serve on the Common Council, how to run for a seat, or how to get more involved, and if you are interested in taking a seat at the Common Council table, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to either your current building representative at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or myself at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It might seem we were celebrating the arrival of spring only yesterday, yet Memorial Day is fast approaching. Along with it comes talk of children’s summer camps and plans in the background of parents’ conversation. And it is only natural that our minds wander to the days of lulling fans and active air-conditioners, family dinners around the outdoor picnic table at Octagon Park, and our Island children playing during the endless evenings outside.
RI Day & Blood Drive
What a better way to give back to our Roosevelt Island community and welcome summer than participating and attending this year’s Roosevelt Island Day on Saturday, June 11, for a day of community service, family fun, games, rides and more.  
Not only does Roosevelt Island Day allow us to come together and strengthen the bonds that make us a community, and have another excuse to be outdoors, but it is also a day to give back to the Island.  
It is often forgotten that Roosevelt Island Day was originally created as a day of Island service and beautification – a day where anyone and everyone is encouraged to arrive early, pick up a shovel and plant new flowers and seedlings throughout the Island, to clean up and tend to Island elements that need attention and care, and to generally come together as a community to make our little ship on the East River a cleaner and more beautiful place to live, work and play.
Interested in being a volunteer or want to help out?  Show up on Roosevelt Island Day, raise your hand, and you’ll be given a T-Shirt and a task that needs attending.  We hope to see all of you there, and make sure you come by the RIRA Hospitality table hosted by the RIRA Social Cultural & Education Committee for some coffee, bagels and juice on us while you fortify for the day ahead of beautifying our already beautiful Island, as well as a chance to catch up with your fellow neighbors.
The Blood Drive
In the run-up to Roosevelt Island Day and in the spirit of service to our community, RIRA will be holding its annual blood drive every Saturday at the Farmer’s Market until Roosevelt Island Day.  If planting and repairing is not your forte, but you still want to give back, consider signing up for the blood drive.  It only takes a little to help so many.
The Blood Drive was first started by RIRA in 2002 in response to the blood shortage stemming from the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.  Now in its 14th year, the Common Council will be signing up and recruiting prospective blood donors for the next four (4) weekends – May 21May 28June 04, and June 11 – at our sign-up tables at the Farmers Market between the hours of10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., with the actual blood donation by the pledged donors culminating during the Roosevelt Island Day festivities on Saturday, June 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  
New this year, and in the spirit of giving back to what you give to our community, successful blood donors will be offered incentives from Island merchant to say thank you for donating a pint of the liquid red life-saver.  
By donating just a pint of blood, blood donors get to enjoy for the day: at Riverwalk Bar and Grill, get 20% off any meal, up to four persons, valid on 6/11 and 6/12; at Fuji East enjoy 10% off any meal, available on 6/11 only; at Coach Scot’s Main Sweet Shop, get $1 off one ice cream cone valid on 6/11 only; swing by Starbucks and enjoy one tall coffee or iced coffee or one Frappuccino Cookie Straw on 6/11 only; at Piccolo Trattoria receive 15% off any menu item, valid on 6/11 only, and from DuaneReade/Walgreens  get one free “squish ball”, on 6/11 only. (Remember to hold on to your Green Sheet after you donate blood to use as proof of having given blood, and if possible, keep your bandage on as further proof of blood donation.  If you should remove your bandage, make sure you have that Green Sheet to show the merchant(s) you choose to visit.  There is no limit to how many of these participating merchants you may “collect” from, but you may only go to each one, one time only.   All information with regard to qualification to donate blood, the incentives, and more will be offered at the sign-up table at the Farmer’s Market. Feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.) 
All prospective donors should expect a reminder phone call or email on the Friday before Roosevelt Island Day, the night before the actual donation, reminding you to eat a good breakfast and/or lunch before donating blood, and to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  On June 11 (the actual blood donation day), free cookies, chips, fruit juice, and water will be served to donors. For further information, please contact the RIRA Blood Drive Captain, Bafodé Dramé, from now until June 11, 2016 at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Survey
The RIRA Survey is entering its fifth and final month. We appreciate your hundreds of entries and suggestions.  Thank you for informing us about issues that matter to all of us, including building maintenance, filth and roaches in hallways, contaminated water, as well as concerns over the lack of stores on Main Street, and other issues.  Most disturbing is the fact that many people are in need of food on a daily basis. 
Please note that The Survey will close by Wednesday, May 25. Thank you to all who have shared their views.  We will write up and publicize the responses.  They will surely prove pivotal in shaping the direction of the new term of the Common Council seated in the fall.
If you have not yet taken The Survey, it is online at RIRAonline.com/survey, or in the Public Safety lobby where you may deposit the completed survey in the large red box.  Only with you and your voice can we make Roosevelt Island the best it can be!  Please contact Adib Mansour, Chair of the Island Community Polling Initiative Committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions
Summer Hiatus and Fall Elections
During the summer months, the Common Council takes a hiatus to reset and make plans for the upcoming year of council sessions, including planning the new term and slate of RIRA Common Council members to be elected in the fall.  
While signing up to donate blood at the Farmer’s Market, take some time to speak to your RIRA Representative manning the table and find out more about how you can get involved and possibly run for a position on the Common Council.  
All seats on the Common Council and its Executive Officer positions (including my own) will be up for grabs in an Island-wide election for the new slate of Common Council Members and officers.  
As with the national and State elections, the Island elections will be a pivotal one.  Incoming council members will spearhead initiatives and direction for the next two years.  Issues such as the explosion of the Island’s population - two more Related towers, the dwindling of affordable housing, the accelerated crumbling of the Island’s infrastructure and lack of community programming, and the completion of Phase I of the Cornell Project and opening of its campus will be just a few issues that the Common Council will be tackling.  
Do you have an interest in collectively solving these, and many other, Island issues?  If so, I truly hope that you will heed the call and seek to run for a seat on the Common Council in the Fall.  
Please take time this summer to reach out to your building representative, voice concerns or goals you wish for him or her to undertake in the upcoming sessions, and to ask any and all questions you might have.  
The success of the Common Council depends very much on each of you, as the community, to let the building representatives know what they can do to better serve you and the community.  If you have any questions about what it means to serve on the Common Council, how to run for a seat, or how to get more involved, and if you are interested in taking a seat at the Common Council table, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to either your current building representative at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or myself at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tags: RIRA Column

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