RIRA: Community Pays It Forward

Written by Jeffrey Escobar. Posted in Volume 37, Issue 8 - January 7, 2017

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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A happy and healthy New Year from the RIRA Common Council to all of our Island neighbors, family, and friends! We truly hope this past holiday season was a memorable one, filled with light, joy, and goodwill to all – and that, despite the hubbub of the season, you were afforded a small opportunity to reflect on the season. As the cold winter sun begins to settle over the City and we begin the long march toward spring, your newly elected 2017-2019 Common Council has been hard at work reconstituting its committees, forming its legislative and policy agendas, and formulating its plans for the upcoming term. Here’s a quick glimpse of what your Council has been up to this holiday season.

Keep Paying It Forward

Islanders deliver food as part of the Pay‑It‑Forward program.

As part of this season of giving and community, RIRA conducted its second annual holiday Pay-It-Forward program. Spearheaded by Sara Metzidakis in conjunction with the RIRA Social, Cultural and Education Services Committee, which is chaired by Lynne Shinozaki, the goal of the RIRA Pay-It-Forward Committee is to provide Islanders in need with food and other basic items, especially during the holiday season.

This past December, with the help of various community and religious groups on the Island – including the Carter Burden Senior Center, Wengerd Family Farms, the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, cash donations from various building managements and individual donors – our Island Daisies, Brownies, and Girl Scouts, as well as countless other volunteers, we were able to collect, assemble, decorate, and deliver food boxes to a number of our Island families and individuals.

We thank each and every individual who helped make this annual holiday Pay-It-Forward program a success, and we look forward to partnering with each of you again throughout this coming year to give comfort to some of our most challenged Island families, friends, and neighbors. We hope that more Island neighbors will come out to help.

Interested in volunteering or making a donation to the RIRA Pay-It-Forward program? Reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to either Sara Metzidakis (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Lynne Shinozaki (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information on how you can help this worthy cause.

Spotlight on Island Services

The RIRA Island Services Committee, chaired this term by Aaron Hamburger, reports that it expects to continue to work on major issues carried over from last term. These include: the future of Sportspark, once the renovations are completed; the new Tram elevators, which the committee now estimates will begin operation in the fall of 2017, two years behind the initial schedule; the monitoring of the commercial trash yard in Southtown; review of the ongoing design and construction of the new public library; monitoring of the operation and performance of the Urgent Care center; review of the current condition of Motorgate and the helix ramp; review of the public use of the Good Shepherd Church and Community Center; and preparation of recommendations for directional signs and wayfinding for Main Street stores at transit stations.

Interested in discussing how Island services can better meet the needs of the Roosevelt Island community? Join the Island Services Committee. Contact Chair Aaron Hamburger (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and attend the committee’s next meeting on Tuesday, January 17 at 8:00 pm in the Party Room located at 455 Main Street.

Reconstituted Committees

Recently, the Common Council elected the following members as the chairs of the following committees. Remember, RIRA committees are the lifeblood of the organization, where much of the work that affects your daily life here is completed, and on which you, as a RIRA member (each and every resident is automatically a member by virtue of your residency on the Island) are eligible to serve. The Common Council congratulates each of the committee chairs, and looks forward to working closely with them this term. If you are interested in joining a committee or have an idea that you believe a committee should pursue, please be sure to either drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or reach out to the appropriate committee chair (as well as the other elected officers of RIRA):

Children, Youth and Education: Committee Co-Chairs, Anne Heskel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Adib Monsour (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Island Services: Aaron Hamburger (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Planning: David Lawson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Public Safety Committee: Erin Feely-Nahem (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Social, Cultural and Education Services: Lynne Shinozaki (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Government Relations: Joyce Short (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Communications: Noah Keating (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Legal Action: Jeffrey Escobar (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Constitution and By-Laws: Dave Evans (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Ethics: Mickey Rindler (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

We are here to serve you! And if you are interested in serving on any of the above committees or their subcommittees, do not hesitate in reaching out to each committee’s respective chair.

Call for RIRA Treasurer

Do you or someone you know have an accounting degree and/or CPA certification? Do you or that someone have experience supporting nonprofit organizations? Looking to get more involved in your community or join the RIRA Common Council? Now is your chance.

Become RIRA’s treasurer. Not only will you have an opportunity to support RIRA, but you will automatically become a voting member of the Common Council, a member of the Executive Board, and an advocate for your community.

Interested? Drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions or concerns. This year’s programming promises to be an exciting one, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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