The RIRA Column

May 21, 2016

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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Happy Summer, Friends and Neighbors! Summer has finally arrived. The Common Council hopes that this summer season will be a safe and healthy one, full of outdoor fun, family, and memories. Our little ship in the East River is abuzz with a never-ending level of excitement and energy that only summer can bring. Kicked off with another successful and well-attended Roosevelt Island Day, the summer activities of the Island, including outdoor movies at Firefighter’s Field, family workshops at the FDR Memorial, informal neighborhood picnics and barbeques at our Island parks, and the Fourth of July fireworks display on the East River, are plentiful.

Roosevelt Island Day

Many special thanks go out to everyone who came out for Roosevelt Island Day. Whether you and your family showed up bright and early and enjoyed some of the free bagels and coffee provided by the Social Cultural and Education (SCE) Committee of the RIRA Common Council, volunteered to help beautify and do some spring cleanup, donated blood at RIRA’s annual blood drive, petted some farm animals and played some games, learned to save a life with RIRA’s “Hands-Free” CPR team, or otherwise enjoyed the sights and sounds of Roosevelt Island Day, it is each and every one of you who make Roosevelt Island Day the wonderful day of community and fun that it is.

A special thank you goes out to all of the RIRA Common Council volunteers, SCE Committee Chair Lynn Shinozaki and SCE member Julia Palermo, as well as New Yorker Bagels, for all of their hard work and contributions to this annual and beloved event.

Speaking of Fourth of July: did you know that as an Island Resident you get priority to register for tickets to view this year’s Fireworks Display on the East River at Southpoint Park? Starting at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, June 27, Roosevelt Island residents will have the opportunity to register for tickets to the event prior to the general public. For more information about the event, visit the RIOC website at , and point your browser to on Sunday for an opportunity to register.


As some of you may be aware, the Island has had, and continues to have, issues with 911 Emergency dispatching emergency services to residents who need help on our Island. As recently as a few months ago, an Island resident died because some believe 911 Emergency failed to dispatch an ambulance on a timely basis – all because dispatchers were not able to recognize that there was no cross street to Main Street that they could provide to ambulance drivers.

On Tuesday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, you will have an opportunity during a Town Hall Meeting to voice your concerns about this issue and demand that our elected representatives get involved and take action to help rectify and fix this literal ‘life-or-death’ problem. As an Island and New York City resident, none of us should live in fear of not receiving 911 emergency care and response when we call and need it. But, our representatives will only understand how important this issue is with your voice. So, please attend!


Speaking of elected officials: for some time now, I have asked that each of you consider giving back to our Island community by running for and serving on a seat on the Common Council. In the fall, the Common Council will be reconvening in earnest, which will include the undertaking of the arduous task of conducting the Island-wide elections for the new slate of Common Council Members and Executive Officers.

As with our national election, the Island election will be a pivotal one. The newly elected Common Council members will be dictating what initiatives and direction RIRA will undertake for the next two years. Issues such as the explosion of the Island’s population when the remaining Related towers and Cornell Tech come online, the accelerated crumbling of the Island’s infrastructure, and the environmental hazards and community well-being at risk as the Cornell project marches towards Phase I completion, 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, please heed my call and run for a seat on the Common Council. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your current building representative at , Adib Mansour, RIRA Nominations Committee Chair, at , and myself at .

Lastly, as the RIRA Common Council winds down for the summer, many thanks go to all who have made this past year a successful one. If what the RIRA Common Council does interests you, or you have an item for when we reconvene in the fall, please take this time to reach out to your building representative, voice concerns or goals you wish for him or her to undertake in the upcoming sessions, to ask any and all questions you might have, and seek out ways you can help and volunteer.

The success of the Common Council depends very much on the active participation of each of you, as members of the community we represent. Many of you have already spoken through the RIRA Survey (see Briefly, page 1), and your voices have been heard about where this and the upcoming next term of Council Members should be focusing their agendas. See the article elsewhere in this edition for the results. Should you see any of us out and about this summer, please stop and say hello. And have a very happy and safe summer!

Tags: RIRA Column

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