Briefly... The Main Street WIRE Urinetown at Teen Theatre Island`s

H. Patrick Stewart III
April 25, 1933 – April 28, 2015
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Community Board 8
President, RIRA
RIOC Board Member
Obituary, page 11
Memorial event
Saturday, May 16, 2:00 p.m.
Chapel of the Good Shepherd
Tryouts Next Weekend
Youth Soccer Takes Off
With a New Direction
by Laura Russo
Soccer enthusiasts have a new
reason to cheer, thanks to Islander
John Palladino. Soccer is soon to
go from a team sport to a community sport.
Tryouts are next weekend.
Palladino is the founder and
head of Palladino Academy, and
head coach of the Roosevelt Island
United Football Club (RIUFC),
new ventures that are the only outlets for competitive youth soccer on
Roosevelt Island.
Soccer is Palladino’s life. Raised
in Spokane, Washington, he has
been coaching soccer since age
15. He played on a full scholarship throughout his student years
at Gonzaga University, then later
returned to coach there. On moving to Roosevelt Island two years
ago, he immediately noticed the
lack of opportunity for Island kids
who wanted to train at a competitive level. “I was walking outside
one day and I saw kids playing, so
I investigated. I realized there was
just a recreational team, but there
was no opportunity for kids to really train,” he said.
In the spring of 2013, Palladino
took it upon himself to fill the void
by starting the Palladino Academy.
“I started with one kid, then I had
See Soccer, page 6
As a fundraiser, The WIRE is offering a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of the picture above (without the overprint),
along with four other Roosevelt Island scenes. The offer appears on page 8.
Westview Tenants Get a Red Herring.
What Does Their Task Force Get? Mad.
by Briana Warsing
Last Friday, Westview residents
found red herrings outside their
By Tuesday night, the Westview
Task Force was saying that the red
herring had a foul odor about it.
Red herring is common parlance
worked could vote in the participatory budget [they are under 16],
but through their persistence and
determination, they were able to
raise half a million dollars toward
a Green Roof in our community.
the Westview House Affordability
Plan, titled A Plan for Preservation
of Affordable Housing and Withdrawal From the Mitchell-Lama
Program. The Affordability Plan
regulates pricing, and seeks to preserve Westview as affordable for
both current and future tenants; it
has yet to receive the requisite governmental approvals.
Though long-awaited, and
though anticipated by a notice from
the Westview Task Force two days
earlier, the red herring was a bit
of a surprise for tenants, some of
whom have bemoaned a lack of
prior communication about the nature of the plan.
And the Westview Task Force
distributed a letter to tenants Tuesday night saying that the red herring
See Green Roof, page 6
See Westview, page 7
for the thick book containing a proposed cooperative offering plan – in
this case, the structural outline that
is intended to take the building out
of New York State’s Mitchell-Lama
program and into private ownership by both tenants and landlord.
Relied upon in the red herring is
Success! Green Roof for PS/IS 217 Is
Big Winner; Celebration Wednesday
by Briana Warsing
John Palladino
The Main Street WIRE
Islanders turned out to vote, and
PS/IS 217 will get a green roof.
And there will be a communitywide celebration of that success in
the schoolyard on Wednesday (May
13) from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.
Over the course of 10 days, 2,140
residents of City Council District
5, including 362 Islanders, turned
out to vote for projects proposed
in Council Member Ben Kallos’
Participatory Budgeting (PB) competition. The top vote-getter in the
million-dollar contest was the green
roof for PS/IS 217, getting the nod
from over a third of all voters. PS
151 came in second for its green
roof. Each won $500,000.
Christina Delfico, founder of IDig2Learn, said, “Council Member
Ben Kallos told me we got more
Fighting for Better Funding,
Library Seeks Vote of Confidence
votes with our 845 than the total
who showed up last year, which
was around 500.”
How did that number more than
quadruple this year? In a joint
email, here’s how Girl Scout Troop
Leaders Aiesha Eleusizov and Janine Schaefer answer that question.
“Girl Scout Troops 3001 and
3244 dedicated countless hours at
the subway, in front of the school,
at the Earth Day event, and simply
walking down the street passing
out bookmarks about the community projects. They met with constituents at our local Expo, [where
they] drew pictures about the Green
Roof. They made and posted a
YouTube video on social media to
encourage voting [for the project],
and spread the word to Island residents. None of the Girl Scouts who
Island’s Elected Reps to
Hold Town Meeting May 21
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and City Council Member Ben Kallos
plan to hold a town meeting Thursday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m., in the Good
Shepherd Center.
Appearing at a meeting of the Residents Association’s Common Council
on Wednesday night, Kallos said the meeting would be a general Q&A –
an opportunity for residents to take their questions and concerns directly
to the officials who are positioned to provide answers or act on concerns.
Urinetown at Teen Theatre
The Roosevelt Island Library is asking for your help.
Our local branch of the New York Public Library is joining in a letters
campaign to persuade the political powers-that-be to
provide more funding for New York City’s libraries.
The goal is 1,000 letters from Roosevelt Island. It’s
important here so that, in three years, our library will
have the funding it needs to open the doors in its new
location. That should be an easy goal, considering the
fact that the Green Roof for PS/IS 217 easily won the competition in recent
Participatory Budgeting award with 362 votes from Islanders who had to
go to a specific location to cast a vote. (See story, this page.)
You can sign a letter at the local branch, or go to to sign it there. At the branch, you can also buy a $5 t-shirt
(S, M, L, XXL) with the Invest in Libraries logo.
• The free tennis learning program sponsored by the New York Junior
Tennis League is again active for children five years and older. Details
in ComingUp’s Continuing Events & Activities on page 10.
• Don Lewis is no longer RIOC’s General Counsel.
• David Kinderas is being replaced as head of the Authorities Budget
Office, the agency that has made Island non-profits nervous with a ruling
that RIOC can no longer award Public Purpose Funds. (An exception to
that ruling is being sought.)
The Main Street Teen Theatre
is staging the popular satire next weekend,
lampooning politics, the legal system,
corporate mismanagement, capitalism,
and populism. It’s in the newly refurbished
production space in the Cultural Center.
(ComingUp, page 3; ad, page 5.)
Urinetown won the Tony for Best Musical
in 2002.
2 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
The Editorial Page
The great majority of us have a time of it muddling
through daily life. When things go right, we take the
leisure we feel we’ve earned.
But there is that amazing super-class of people who
extend themselves into making the world – or the neighborhood – a better place.
You know who you are.
You are like Patrick Stewart.
You know why you do it.
As Patrick Stewart knew.
Just in his contributions to our community, you can
count up 32 service years on his part (see page 1).
The WIRE didn’t always agree with Stewart, but he
positioned us for some of our proudest moments. Present WIRE editorial management started at just about
the time that Patrick became President of the Roosevelt
Island Residents Association and set a goal of sending
an incompetent RIOC president packing. We joined in,
and his courage and determination gave steel to our efforts and our will.
Success and celebration followed, though the fight
for the right of Roosevelt Islanders to have democratic
control of our local level of government has not ended.
It was Patrick who famously asked Mayor Rudy Giuliani to take us back, evoking Giuliani’s response, “I’d
love to help you liberate Roosevelt Island.”
He was a fighter, Patrick was, and the goal that he
purused remains a community effort today.
Thank you, sir. Rest in peace.
Letters Policy
The WIRE welcomes letters of interest to the Roosevelt Island community, and to/from officials. Recommended maximum length, 350 words; longer letters will be considered if their content, in the judgment
of the editors, merits the required space. All letters are subject to acceptance and editing for length and
clarity. Letters submitted anonymously will not be published; requests for a Name Withheld signature will
be considered, but the writer’s name, address, and phone number must be provided for verification and
for our records.
Submit by email to [email protected] Expect a confirming response and, if you receive none,
resend and call 212-826-9056 to alert us. Alternatives: Typed copy left at 531 Main Street, and clearly
handwritten letters will be considered, if brief (allow extra time for typesetting). We regret that we are not
able to take telephone dictation of letters.
Letters deadline
for May 23 issue: Tuesday, May 19, 5:00 p.m.
The Main Street WIRE
Published by Unisource2000TM, Inc.
©2015 Unisource2000TM Inc.
531 Main St. #413, NYC10044
e-mail [email protected]
News 212-826-9056
Urgent news 917-617-0449
Advertising 917-587-3278
Circulation 212-935-7534
Editor & Publisher – Dick Lutz
Managing Editor – Briana Warsing
Copy Editor – Ashton Barfield
Chief Proofreader – Linda Heimer
Proofreaders – Vicki Feinmel, Helke Taeger
Reporters – Jim Baehler, Andrew Gordon, Francine Lange,
Sara Maher, Alex Marshall, Laura Russo, David Stone
Photographers – Maria Casotti, Mircea Nicolescu,
Olya Turcihin, Kurt Wittman
Aerial Photography – Ken Decker; Jeff Prekopa
Editorial Cartoonists – Autumn Ashley, Anna Eppel
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Circulation Managers – Sherie Helstien, Matthew Katz
Circulation Assistants – Jim Bates, Brandon Cruz
Human Resources – David Bauer
Legal Counsel – A. Ross Wollen
Technical Advisor – John Dougherty
Island History Consultant – Judy Berdy
Website NYC10044 – Jeff Prekopa, Laurence Vaughan
Peter Alpert, Bubu Arya, Marty Atkins, Steve Bessenoff, Barbara Brooks, Shelly Brooks, Carol Chen,
Gloria Cherif-Jamal, Billy Cuozzi, Caroline Cuozzi, Joan Davis, Joan Digilio, John Dougherty, Arlise Ellis,
Justin Evans, Jan Fund, Gloria Gonsalves, Matthew Gonsalves, Tiffany Gonsalves, Aaron Hamburger,
Ellen Jacoby, Todd Jagerson, Michael Kolba, Gad Levanon, Mary Mangle, Vincent McClean, Hezi Mena,
Bakul Mitro, Brett Morrow, Clinton Narine, Kiran Narine, Sandra Narine, Kumar Nathan, Halima Nooradeen,
Essie Owens, Joan Pape, Christina Park, Sue Pirard, Lucas Plaut, Judy Quintana, Brian Reccardi,
Ronnie Rigos, Ilonka Salisbury, Mondira Sarkar, Rick Seefried, Bob Specker, Betty Spensley,
Camilla Stacchetti; and...
Allison Pearlman and students of Legacy High School;
Kim Massey and students from the PS/IS 217 Beacon Program,
Juniors and Cadettes of Girl Scout Troop 3324
To the Editor:
If the options are to “join ’em
or fight ’em,” perhaps in the case
of the State of New York vs The
Citizens of Roosevelt Island (The
WIRE, April 25), we should join
Apparently, the Garden Club is
being classed (like the Main Street
Theatre) as users of space that is
being avidly sought by other potential community users, and therefore
being required to pay RIOC for
being there.
Here’s another brilliant idea –
perhaps the next step: As a way of
raising money for NYS purposes, I
am working on perfecting a meter
that every Island resident will be
required to wear.
The meter will record the number
of times the heel of each resident
strikes the public paths and walks
here on the Island. The rate to be
charged for each heel strike will
take some imagination to determine, but we could have our best
Albany public minds working on
Given the Albany reasoning, this
is only fair. Anyone walking on the
public walks is taking the place of
someone else who might want to
walk there.
Or could the State of New York
go back to the original idea of having a self-governing community on
Roosevelt Island?
David Bauer
To the Editor:
It is with great pride and joy that
we announce the results of City
Council Member Ben Kallos’ 2015
Participatory Budget vote. It is a
real testament to the strong Roosevelt Island community voice and
their friends living in the Upper
East Side and Midtown East, that
the PS/IS 217 Green Roof project garnered the highest number of
votes across District 5. We wish
every project could win, and are
thrilled by this special honor.
PS/IS 217 continues to build a
strong academic track, including
gifted and talented programs, and
offer hands-on opportunities for
our students. Our efforts to continue that with a green roof are
only possible due to our deep and
growing ties with the Island community, and the many groups that
make up our neighborhood. We
appreciate deeply our community
relationships, and welcome your
ongoing support as we embark on
this multi-year project that will enhance our community for generations to come.
The 217 PTA has a talented designer in Nathalie Chetrit, who
worked to create eye-catching flyers and bookmarks for the green
roof, and even lent her talent to
the other Island project, for hearing
technology at the Roosevelt Island
NYPL branch.
We are deeply moved by so
many who actively campaigned,
with a special nod to the Brownies
Girl Scout Troop 3001 supported
by Manhattan Park led by Aiesha
Eleusizov, and the Beacon, Youth
Program Girl Scout Troop 3244
led by Janine Schaefer. Their fullon social media campaign, which
included video interviews and
YouTube videos, as well as traditional on-the-street campaigning at the subway and Farmer’s
Market, fueled the win. Sharon
Bermon and Lydia Tang helped
bring awareness of hearing technology while supporting the Green
Roof project. The Garden Club,
RIRA, NYPL, Historical Society,
Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, our local press The WIRE
To the Editor:
Within the last three weeks, the
planters in Good Shepherd Plaza
have been filled with flowering
shrubs and perennial plantings.
Last fall, there was a major overhall of the grassless area under
the trees in the plaza, with additional diverse plantings. Seating
areas were arranged, as well, for
Islanders’ comfort. A committee
of neighbors worked hard to help
design the plaza and select suitable
We are now ready, with the
change in weather, to begin to enjoy
the fruits of this labor. I, happily,
have an apartment that looks directly down on the plaza, and I
receive great enjoyment checking
the daily changes in plant growth.
However, it is very discouraging
for me to see the number of Islanders who think that the new grass
area is a perfect place to allow their
dogs to urinate, and then trample
through the fragile plantings on
their way back to the pavement.
The grass is already showing yellow patches, and with the coming
warm days, I expect the odor of
feces – yes, they are being left, as
well – will begin to make this area
unattractive, as well as unsafe, to
enter. Signs and short border fences
are being considered, to discourage
these interlopers.
I would hope, however, that if
you are among those who are taking
a “short route” through our plantings areas, you would rethink the
damage that you are doing, and
instead stick to the paths provided.
This will protect our special places
so that we can all enjoy them.
Willa Klein
and the Rooseveltislander, RIOC,
the Parents’ Network, and countless
parents, businesses, buildings, and
residents joined in.
This win could not be possible
without Roosevelt Island support,
so a big congratulations to all, and
thank you to Ben Kallos and his
team for this Participatory Budget
We will hear the results of Borough President Gale A. Brewer’s
capital funding for the Green Roof
project in June 2015, so stay tuned
as we continue our dream to offer
a 21st century learning hub atop
our roof.
Please come join us at 6:30-7:30
p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, in
the PS/IS 217 schoolyard at 645
Main Street for a Green Roof Vote
Celebration with Council Member
Ben Kallos.
Mandana Beckman
Principal, PS/IS 217
Olga Shchuchinov
Natalia Starkova
217 PTA Co-Presidents
To the Editor:
Regarding the rat problem (The
WIRE, April 25): The Southtown
businesses are hosted by buildings
that are connected to the pneumatic
garbage transportation system. Can
the stores be hooked up? Or would
that violate some rule of separation of residential and commercial
trash? Can they get a waiver?
Sheldon Brooks
Offered an opportunity to respond, RIOC President Charlene
Indelicato wrote:
Thank you for offering RIOC the
opportunity to respond to this resident’s concern through your publication. In keeping with our normal
operating practices, our preference
is to communicate directly with the
individual resident and/or business
on particular matters about which
they are concerned.
So... Everybody concerned about
rats, ask individually. Indelicato’s
email address is [email protected] Let The WIRE know if
you get an answer.
To The Editor:
I have been an Island resident
for 18 years, and for 12 of them,
I have had to walk through Island
House’s 12th floor corridor involuntarily inhaling the pungent odor
of marijuana, and unwillingly accepting the bulk of that odor as I
enter my apartment.
We live in Island House (575).
Without fail, rush hour as well as
9:00 to 11:00 p.m., the stench of
marijuana from residents of the
apartment across the corridor fills
the hallway, seeping its way into
the surrounding apartments. Not
everyone enjoys the smell of marijuana. I know neither my family
nor I care to inhale it, and I certainly
do not want my four-year-old child
doing that.
When I pay rent for my apartment, I am not agreeing in any way,
shape, or form for my family, especially my child, to take in the smell
of cannabis.
Every time we smell it, we immediately alert Public Safety. Other
residents on my floor have done
the same, and we have passionately
pleaded with Public Safety to do
Public Safety has been unsuccessful. A knock on the door usually results in (a) no one answering
and so the matter is dropped, or (b)
a millionth warning – so there’s no
follow-up leading to punishment.
As far as I am aware, New York
Sate has not legalized marijuana,
so why this has been allowed to
become uncontrollable is beyond
I welcome any assistance in finding a solution to this matter ASAP.
C. Ramcharan
To the Editor:
We’d like to invite all Islanders to join the National Bike Challenge,
which runs annually from May 1 through September 30. The Challenge
is a friendly competition to get us to ride more often, ride more miles, and
burn more calories. It is free, and open to anyone. You don’t need to be an
expert cyclist to join and log miles. The National Bike Challenge awards
prizes monthly to randomly selected participants at all point levels. We
hope that once you join, it will create an automatic incentive for you to
ride more often, and to compete for points with yourself and other riders.
How do you join The National Bike Challenge? Go to and create a profile for yourself. Using our local zip code (10044)
automatically puts you into the NYS/NYC challenge. Once you’ve created your own account, you can join a team. Go to “My Account” on the
National Bike Challenge Home page, and in your personal profile, under
“Groups,” you can search for an existing team to join, or create a new one.
A team for our Island, The Roosevelt Islanders, has already been created and we’d like you to join us, but you can create your own workplace,
school, or neighborhood team by going to your account, under “Groups,”
and selecting “Create.”
How do you log miles? It’s easy. With a smartphone, you can use one
of four apps to track your miles: Strava, MapMyRide, Endomondo, or
See Letters, page 14
The WIRE, May 9, 2015 • 3
– This Weekend –
Subway Diversion – No direct F train service from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island, Fri May 8 9:45pm to Mon May 11 5am.
Family Folk Band performance featuring NikosKids, Sat May 9 11am,
Four Freedoms Park. Free.
Uni Project Pop-Up Reading Room, Sat-Sun May 9-10 12noon-5pm,
Four Freedoms Park. Free.
Mothers’ Day, Sun May 10.
– Regularly Scheduled Meetings and Events –
See separate listing, page 10.
– The Next Two Weeks –
Movie Night at the Library, Dracula Untold, Tue May 12 6pm (93
CPR Training, Tue May 12, 8pm, 546 Main St., 12th floor conference
PS/IS 217 Green Roof Vote Celebration with
City Council Member Ben Kallos, Wed
May 13 6:15-7:30pm, PS/IS schoolyard,
645 Main St. Refreshments. Open to all.
(Story, page 1.)
Main Street Teen Theatre presents Urinetown, Fri May 15-Sun May
17. (Ad, page 5.)
Soccer tryouts for Roosevelt Island United Football Club, Sat May
16 10am-12noon & Sun May 17 9am-12noon, Octagon Field. (Story,
page 1.)
Poster Screen Printing, Sat May 16 1pm, with book talk about WPA,
2:30pm, Four Freedoms Park. Registration encouraged (
Memorial Celebration for Patrick Stewart, former president of RIRA
and former RIOC Board member, Sat May 16 2pm, Chapel of the Good
Shepherd. (Story, page 11.)
Bike New York presents Bicycling Basics for Kids (age 8-up), Sun May
17 10am-1pm, Capobianco basketball court. Meet at the container
under the helix ramp.
Bicycling Art Tour of the Island, Sun May 17, 12:45 pm, meet at the
Bike New York container under the helix ramp. Register by email to
[email protected] or call 212-870-2075. Sponsored by the Historical
Society, the Visual Art Association, and Bike New York. Free.
Bike New York presents Family Cycling 101, Sun May 17 4-5pm,
Sportspark Lounge. Free. Equipment, safety, carriers, trailers, kidfriendly routes, what to pack, more. Free.
Child School/Legacy High School annual Founder’s Dinner, Thu May
21, 6pm, Terrace on the Park, 52-11 111th St., Flushing Meadows Corona Park 11368. $150. For tickets,
Book Discussion, Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting
Self by Rebecca Walker, Thu May 21 6:30pm, Library.
Town Meeting with Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, State Senator
Jose Serrano, and City Councilmember Ben Kallos, Thu May 21 7pm,
Good Shepherd Center.
The Main Street WIRE – Sat May 23. Advertising deadlines: Display,
Wed May 13 (ads accepted after deadline on a space-available basis);
decision date for circulars/inserts, Tue May 19; 6,000 copies due Thu
May 21. Future issues: Jun 6, 20; July issue
date to be announced; Aug 1, 29; Sep 12, 26;
Oct 10, 24; Nov 7, 21; Dec 12. News phone
212-826-9056; urgent matters, 917-617-0449.
Email press releases and feature-story suggestions to [email protected] Advertising (display & classified) 917-587-3278 or [email protected]
Opening Reception for Black & Gold, an exhibition of the works of
Michi Toki, Sat May 23 6-9pm, Gallery RIVAA. Gallery hours Sat-Sun
11am-5pm, Wed & Fri 1-5pm & 6-9pm. Through Jun 7.
CPR Training, Sun May 24, 5:45pm, Good Shepherd Center.
– Future Weeks –
Memorial Day, Mon May 25.
Women’s Health Organization presents Stroke Awareness and Healthy
Brain Aging with Dr. Mathew Fink, chief of neurology at Weill Cornell
Medical Center, Wed May 27 6:30pm, 546 Main St., 12th floor conference room. Free. Info: 646-895-3618.
Main Street Children’s Theatre presents Little Shop of Horrors, Fri
May 29-Mon June 1. (Ad, page 5.)
Bike New York’s Second Annual Spring Kickoff Party, Sat May 30
11am-4pm, Capobianco Field basketball court. Free bike raffle, popup bike shop, bike registration, helmet & bike fitting, kids learn-to-ride
(1-3pm), bike decorating contest. Free.
PS/IS 217 International Dinner, Sat May 30 4-7pm, Manhattan Park
Community Center, 8 River Rd. International food, music, entertainment, kids’ crafts. $20 (kids $10), $60 for groups up to five; advance
ticket sale, go to Questions: [email protected] Reservations not required.
Kidz Theater presents an afternoon showcase of musical theater, Sun
May 31 1pm, The Child School. Fundraiser for a performance trip to
Disney/Florida to present the showcase there. Adults $15, children
$10. Info: 212-371-2434.
Sunset Garden Party, Wed Jun 3 5-8pm, Four Freedoms Park. Info:
RIRA Common Council meets, Wed Jun 3 8pm, Good Shepherd Center,
lower level. Meeting begins with public session, in which residents and
others may address the Council
R&R Concerts presents Music on the Cutting Edge, piano performance
by Islander Roy Eaton, featuring Hajime Sakita, Japanese musical saw
virtuoso, Sat Jun 6 7pm, Good Shepherd Center.
MST&DA Dance Concert, Sun Jun 7 (Ad, page 5.)
Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee and Youth and
See ComingUp, page 7
On Saturday, April 25, our little ship in the East River
welcomed nearly 4,000 Island neighbors, friends, family members, and visitors to the annual RIRA Cherry
Blossom Festival. Some came for the Family Picnic
at Southpoint Park, and many more came for the afternoon of performances at Four Freedoms Park, and
calligraphy and arts classes at Gallery RIVAA. Many
thanks to our Island partners – Four Freedoms Park,
Roosevelt Landings Management Co., the Roosevelt
Island Visual Art Association, the Roosevelt Island
Historical Society, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program
at Beacon, RY Management, Shops on Main, Hudson/
Related Company, the Child’s School and Legacy
High School, Manhattan Park, and RIOC – for helping
RIRA sponsor the event, and to the RIRA Social, Cultural & Educational
Services Committee, led by Chair
Lynne Strong Shinozaki and assisted
by members Lydia
Tang and Julia Palermo, for putting
together another
memorable occasion, and for keeping alive the Festival
and the vision of
its founder, Junko
Hasegawa. Since
Japanese tradition
holds that coming
upon a cherry blosJeffrey Escobar, President
som at the peak of
Island Residents Association
its bloom brings its Roosevelt
[email protected]
finder the greatest of
luck, the perfect timing of this year’s festival with the
peak of the blooming of our cherry blossom trees is an
auspicious omen indeed. If you missed the Festival,
or haven’t had the chance to see the splendor of our
trees, please make sure to visit them throughout the
Island, particularly in the southern part – they are truly
a sight to see.
Participatory Budgeting
Some of that luck may have touched PS/IS 217 and
their bid for an educational Green Roof for our Island’s
543 public school children. Over the course of 10 days
last month, more than 2,140 Island residents and Upper
East Side neighbors voted in this year’s Participatory
Budgeting. We were lucky enough to have two of our
Island’s community initiatives on this year’s ballot,
and our Green Roof at PS/IS 217 received 845 votes,
the most district-wide. The other Island initiative (an
audio induction loop system for our branch of the New
York Public Library) came in a very close third with
741 votes – barely beaten out by the rooftop outdoor
play space and greenhouse at PS 151 on East
86th Street (754 votes).
Congratulations to PS/
IS 217 and its supporters – including the
PTA, Brownie and Girl
Scout troops 3001 and
3244, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club, and the Roosevelt Island Parents’
Network – for their efforts in getting out the vote. The
success of the Green Roof initiative for the school and
the audio induction looping for the library in securing
the largest and third-largest numbers of votes in the
district is a testament to the dedication and pride that
our community takes in bettering the lives of all who
live here, young and old, able and challenged. Moreover, the success of the two initiatives should remind
us of the power that each of us has when we choose
to exercise our rights to participate and vote. We look
forward to re-supporting both programs should they
See RIRA Column, page 14
The WIRE publishes these columns, exclusively, as a service to the community and to the
entities invited to provide them, and does not control or censor their content.
Roosevelt Island Explorers (RIEx) is one of many
homegrown initiatives driven by appreciation of the
Island’s unique community and exceptional beauty.
Our work aligns with two unifying threads that shape
the Island’s identity today and our vision for its future:
the Island as a hub of innovation, and the legacy of the
Roosevelts. Inspired by the Roosevelts’ selfless quest
to improve lives of the American people, we believe
that high-quality education belongs to all children. In
a place like Roosevelt Island, no child should have to
look for a better school elsewhere. By developing a
program that challenges the standardized, test-driven
education, we aim to sustain the Island’s legendary
ingenuity by breaking new ground in early childhood
My husband and I discovered the Island in 2007
through the auditorium-renovation project at PS/IS
217, and were quickly seduced by its breathtaking
views and the strong community. We were not alone.
Many young families recognized the Island’s nurturing qualities
and made it
Soon, people
of childbearing
age and children
0-5 became the
Island’s fastestgrowing population groups.
Around that time, while immersed in studies about child
development, I discovered the Reggio Emilia approach
known worldwide as the model of excellence in early
childhood education. Developed in Italy after World
War II, the Reggio approach represents the most comprehensive summary of progressive education theories
and practices from all over the world.
The main tenet of the Reggio approach is the belief
that children are born ready to learn and are perfectly
capable of figuring out the world around them. They
construct their own knowledge through interaction
with everything and everybody in their environment.
This process cannot be rushed, as children’s exploration sees no boundaries. The role of adults is to guide
them gently without imposing what they think children
should do. Most importantly, the Reggio Emilia community believes children are its most precious resource
and the responsibility of all. This means that all Reggio
Emilia children ages 0-6 have access to affordable,
high-quality infant-toddler centers and preschools.
When surrounded by the Roosevelt Island community, I could not help connecting the two: in the midst
of intense debates about the quality of the American
test-driven education, our Island seems to offer a
solution. The possibility of engaging children and
the community in an unrestricted exploration of life
around them shaped the vision of the Roosevelt Island
We introduced RIEx to the community in 2012
through the Children’s Garden, located between 455
and 465 Main Street. With help from parents and from
455 Main Street management and staff, this garden
became an outdoor classroom where children explored
freely, building relationships with the environment and
each other. Engaged in activities meaningful to them,
they constructed, created, shared, and laughed, taking
exploration to new
levels in a joyful
process of LEARNING. The garden is
also a place where
working alongside their
children, remember
their childhood experiences and create
new ones. We are
becoming a learning community for
children and adults.
While the Reggio Emilia schools
demonstrate a community embracing
Leila Vujosevic, Founder
children as capable,
Roosevelt Island Explorers
thinking beings, our
[email protected]
task is the reverse:
by demonstrating children’s vast capacities, we hope
to change the prevailing public perception that children
are weak and in need of protection to become capable,
strong, and powerful. After building a supportive community, opening a school would follow as a natural next
step. This is not an easy task.
Seeing children in action is the best way to demonstrate not only their capabilities but also the endless
learning possibilities that exist on Roosevelt Island.
During the 2013 and 2014 Fall for Arts Festivals, we
created a large Island map and a cardboard Renaissance
City. On Roosevelt Island Day in 2014, children and
parents created art by weaving recycled materials into a
chicken fence, and made music with instruments made
from found materials. The area around the fountain
became a yarn cobweb, stretched around the trees. The
RIOC community outreach group proved essential for
the site organization. Materials came from the nearby
construction site, and parents helped with art- and
music-making. It was a community coming together.
While these one-day events serve as beautiful examples of the educational and social possibilities that exist
See Explorers, page 14
The Community Column features a broadly chosen rotating series of columnists and topics.
4 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
Join us for these upcoming events at the Park in May!
Performance by Brooklyn’s favorite family folk band. FREE
The Park will host the Uni Project, a pop-up reading room
that creates community in public spaces. FREE
Screen-print your own poster and join a discussion on the
WPA and its lasting legacy with Posters for the People
author, Ennis Carter. Registration encouraged. FREE
Workshop, 1pm; Book talk, 2:30pm
ONGOING: YOGA • May 6 - August 29
Free for members, suggested donation $5 for non-members
WEDNESDAYS • 10:15am: Vinyasa class appropriate for all levels
THURSDAYS • 4:15pm: Kids & family yoga, with caregivers ages 4-7
FRIDAYS • 6:00pm: Hatha class appropriate for all levels
SATURDAYS • 10:00am: Class focusing on core, appropriate for all
Bring your own mat!
For details and the full events calendar, please visit
The Park is free and open to the public 6 days a week, 9am - 7pm. Closed Tuesdays.
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The WIRE, May 9, 2015 • 5
May 29–June 1
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Seniors &
Students $10
Sterling Nyx
Ty Scanlan
Izzy Tokornoo
Illiana Wong
Wilson Wong
Mat Seating
(ages 4-10) $5
Box Office is
open 90 min.
before each
Buy tickets
online at
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6 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
Takashi Ikezawa (middle) was honored at this year’s Cherry Blossom
Festival. Left to right: Jim Luce, City Council Member Ben Kallos,
Ikezawa, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, and Lynne Shinozaki,
who leads the Social, Cultural, and Educational Committee of the
Roosevelt Island Residents Association.
Cherry Blossom Festival 2015
Howard Polivy
The festival attracted
a crowd estimated at
4,000-5,000. Energetic
entertainment included the
Taiko Drummers.
Green Roof, from page 1
This has been an excellent opportunity for our youth to learn,
first-hand, the power of the vote, the community, and working
hard to achieve your dreams.”
A Group Effort
PTA co-presidents Olga Shchuchinov and Natalia Starkova
mobilized the PTA Green Roof social media campaign and
kept churning out fresh news. Green Roof press links and
benefits of educational Green Roofs were on the school’s
Facebook page and the PTA’s blog. These constant notifications also explained the PB vote process and gave vote locations and times. They even went old-school and sent flyers
home to parents.
The Green Roof Project was showcased at the school’s Silent
Auction, and there were posters about it all over the school.
PTA member and designer Nathalie Chetrit created flyers
and the green bookmarks that the Girl Scouts passed out. She
even made a version for the Upper East Side and Midtown
East to remember their Island neighbor.
Delfico also credits RIRA President Jeff Escobar for featuring the project in all of his RIRA Columns, sending email
blasts to RIRA members, and hosting Delfico at a RIRA
meeting where she educated Common Council members on
the project.
She says the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation also
got into the mix, and mentioned the PB voting process repeatedly via Facebook.
The Roosevelt Island Garden Club was active in promoting the project. President Ali Schwayri explains, “Roosevelt
Island Garden Club’s mission includes serving as a resource
and educator of all things green and sustainable on the Island.
It was an absolute pleasure to support PS/IS 217’s Green
Roof project, and to invite our membership to understand the
Participatory Budgeting process and to mobilize. We believe
in the benefits of the Green Roof for our community, and I
speak for Secretary Julia Ferguson and the entire membership
when I say we all look forward to sharing our expertise and
passion for this important project.”
Delfico lists the Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network and the
Main Street Theatre as other organizations whose memberships were mobilized.
It didn’t hurt that City Council Member Ben Kallos and his
team were often on-Island during the PB process. Delfico
says, “They were always on hand to explain the process and
answer questions.”
Earth Day was a wonderful coincidence. The Island’s
Earth Day event took place on the final vote day under
hospitable skies, and 217 votes were captured at the Visitor
Kiosk in Tramway Plaza.
Delfico distributed flyers to RIRA, the Girl Scouts, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club, and Island residence buildings.
Soccer, from page 1
five, now we have almost 40 kids in the
“Coaching is my passion. I’ve coached
at all levels, but I really enjoy working with
the kids,” Palladino said. His training methodology comes straight from his own experience training, and later coaching, at the
Seely Soccer Academy in Spokane. “There
is definitely a philosophy behind the way [the
academy] runs – hard work, fairness, dedication, honesty, and enjoyment.”
For Palladino, the training is not limited to
the field. “I want the kids to conduct themselves the same everywhere, with fairness.
This is about earning what you get, believing in yourself, and knowing what you can
Parents on Roosevelt Island are just as
excited as the kids to be working with Palladino. Aiesha Eleusizov’s son, Zamir, is 11
years old. He’s been playing competitive
soccer since age eight. “For three years,
we’ve had to travel to Pier 40 on the Hudson, three times a week, so Zamir can train,”
Eleusizov said. “It was really frustrating,
Deep Roots
Traditionally, a full design in partnership with the school
According to PS 217 Sustainability Coordinator Ursula takes 4-5 months, then bidding and awarding a contract takes
Fokine, “The [idea for the] green roof came partially out of 2-3 months. Building the green roof takes about a year. That
Christina’s [Delfico’s] iDig2Learn, but also in her conversa- means that 2018 is the earliest that all this effort could come
tions with the school about how we can engage students more to fruition.
in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning.
It developed from there.”
PTA co-Presidents Natalia Starkova and Olga Shchuchinov
Delfico’s version is, “My memory is that Ursula Fokine said, “PS/IS 217 has a strong academic track and a Gifted
and I were standing in the hallway outside the school office, and Talented program, and we are growing our STEM protalking about children’s responses to plants and iDig2Learn, gramming, so this win brings us one step closer to creating
and she motioned her eyes upward and smiled as she said to a 21st-century teaching hub.”
me – What about the roof? And I said, Really? That would
Sustainability Coordinator Fokine was moved by the combe great. We can do that.” The project grew from that small munity collaboration. She said, “The mobilization of this
community to make that happen speaks to the positive and
forceful impact we can all have for change.” Delfico seconds
In 2013, Principal Mandana Beckman, with support from that, saying, “The story is the strength of the Island voice.
the PTA, applied to the Manhattan Borough President’s office Roosevelt Islanders have a choice to use their voice with a
for a $35,000 Green Roof feasibility study, and won.
Next, the School Construction Authority (SCA) met with
Fokine explained, “We need to prepare our students to
school leadership to discuss what could be built on the roof live in a sustainable world. Our Green Roof will not only
to further 21st century learning. SCA toured the roof, and provide an outdoor classroom for students and a haven for
did a thorough safety analysis and project-cost report with wildlife, it will be a model for the city, so it can be a thriving,
input from engineers, architects, designers, 217 educators, healthful, efficient and welcoming place to live and learn for
and the school’s custodial team.
generations to come. A green roof will involve students in
The SCA deemed the project feasible, and it moved to the the hands-on learning that will shape their attitudes about the
funding stage – a huge win.
importance of sustaining the
As for PB, Delfico says,
environment. We are thrilled
“We never tried getting on
Green Roof Success Celebration about this investment in our
the Participatory Budget balfuture.”
Wednesday (May 13), 6:15-7:30
lot before this one in 2015. I
Diane Levitt, the Director
had never heard of it.”
K-12 Education at CorPS/IS 217 Schoolyard
This year, Delfico was a
nell Tech, is excited, too.
PB delegate and proposed
She acknowledged that she
Open to All
the Green Roof project for
hasn’t had a conversation
consideration on the PB balwith the steering committee
lot. She said, “Kallos is super-impressed with our rally, and yet, and that it’s early, but she has a lot of ideas. “There
we are sharing the news with all the politicians, who are is a real opportunity for physical computing with senequally excited and taking note of our Island voice.”
sors,” says Levitt, explaining, “A sensor is a thing that
might detect moisture or sunlight. It is a physical thing
In February 2015, Beckman applied to Borough President that collects data and speaks through a wireless conBrewer’s office for $1.5 million in capital funding, and will nection or small computer. The physical sensors bring
hear the results next month. Green roofs are typically funded information into the computer and enable us to make
by the Borough President’s office and the City Council, decisions about watering, for example. There is a lot of
working together.
opportunity there.”
Levitt and Cornell Tech have connected PS 217 to a conThe SCA will not start the bidding process until all the sultant. Together they are building a project-based learning
funds are committed. The faster the commitment, the sooner unit. Levitt says, “What’s interesting about this it that the
the bid process starts. Winning funds in 2015 means access question they’ve asked, that they’re building this unit around,
to them in 2016; likewise, winning funds in 2016, means is Can we make Roosevelt Island energy-independent? And
availability in 2017.
I think that really ties to the Green Roof.”
because we have such great facilities [on the
Island], but no proper programs.”
Rhonda Pringle echoed Eleusizov’s sentiments, saying “Traveling to practices after
school is exhausting for kids. Now we have
something right on our doorstep.”
Having a competitive training program
on Roosevelt Island is not just about the
convenience, but also about the community,
Eleusizov said. “Now, kids have the opportunity to receive high-quality training, but
also to be a part of the community and foster
relationships. A big piece of this is being
able to play here. We have a lot of pride on
Roosevelt Island.”
Pringle not only has two sons in Palladino’s
program, but is also the Marketing and Fundraising Manager for Palladino Academy. She
said that watching the children develop in an
Island-based program is fantastic, and she’s
working to get them involved in fundraising
as well. In the coming weeks, residents can
look forward to a bake sale manned by the
kids in the program. Pringle said, “It will
be an opportunity for the kids to talk about
what they are doing, and get people excited.”
Another reason for players and parents to
get excited is RIUFC’s recent partnership
with the New York Red Bulls. Palladino said
that John Massey, Interim Club President,
was the main conduit for making the partnership happen. A major coup for RIUFC, the
partnership will allow players direct access
to the Red Bulls players, and training with
the coaches.
While still a startup, the Red Bulls organization has been incredibly accommodating
and easy to work with, Massey said. In addition to providing a high level of training
for the kids, Massey hopes that bringing in a
name brand will attract more revenue for the
club and thus the Island.
Money is a concern, especially with the
cost of equipment, field fees, and insurance,
said Massey, but “It’s very important that
the opportunity is offered to all kids on the
Island.” He added, “The bottom line is having a plan for the kids to be involved in soccer
on any level on Roosevelt Island.”
A scholarship fund is in the works, and the
parents are very involved, said Massey. In
addition, he is working on obtaining sponsorships with local businesses to raise capital.
He said that the opportunities for branding
on the web and on team uniforms would be
a boon for local businesses. Massey said
it’s a challenge, but he hopes the timing is
right with the imminent Cornell Tech campus
and the management of storefronts on Main
Street by Hudson/Related.
Cultivating a symbiotic relationship between the club and local businesses is the
ideal situation, said Massey. “We’ll really
get the most traction if we come together as
a group. This is literally Main Street, USA.”
In the end, Massey said, “It’s simple, it’s
about the kids and the ball.” He noted that
one of Palladino’s great strengths as a coach
is his involvement on the field. “John gets in
there and the kids get to see the speed of play
and control. It’s fluidity in motion.”
For those interested, RIUFC will have
open tryouts on Saturday, May 16, from 10
a.m. to 12 p.m., and on Sunday, May 17, from
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Octagon Field.
The WIRE, May 9, 2015 • 7
Island Retail
Hudson/Related Gives
A Progress Report
Hudson/Related (H/R) is replacing the commercial real estate firm that’s
been attempting to fill Main Street retail locations. There’s no announcement yet on what firm will replace Winick.
In a meeting last week, an H/R representative summarized the status
of efforts to put the empty storefronts on Main Street to work serving
residents. Here’s what Pedram Mahdavi told the Residents Association’s
Retail Real Estate Subcommittee:
● The new library branch is apparently three years away, following a
one-year design phase, another year for approvals, and another year for
● The planned urgent care location – to operate in the former Thrift
Shop location – will start interior construction within a few weeks. It’s
expected to open by fall.
● A child-care operation at 568 Main Street (next to Cynthia Ahn’s
Roosevelt Nails) is expected to open in two to three months.
● Work has resumed at Trellis after a snafu over a load-bearing wall.
There’s no target date yet, but owner Kaie Razaghi recently issued a hopeful prediction of late June.
● The stationery-and-card shop plans to remain, but is here on a monthto-month basis at present, and there’s not yet any agreement on terms.
● While Mahdavi was either cagey or uninformed, residents attending
the meeting concluded that the Catholic Parish is the likely entity negotiating to take over the second floor at 504 Main Street, for a variety of
activities – possibly including the return of the much-missed Thrift Shop.
Asked about whether there were others in negotiation for what will be
the new library’s upstairs neighbor, Mahdavi said, “I can’t disclose our
negotiations with potential tenants.”
Mahdavi did say that the new residential tower at 480 Main Street, now
under construction, will open this summer, with a leasing office opening
sooner. Apart from four floors taken by Sloan-Kettering, the building will
be 100% market-rate, with the overall affordability requirement for the
Riverwalk buildings being dealt with on a “rolling basis.”
480 Main Street will have 266 apartments, and will be known as
Riverwalk Point. (The original “Southtown” moniker for the Riverwalk
buildings is something that H/R would prefer to lose, as sounding too
Westview, from page 1
should not have been distributed
– charging the owners with bypassing negotiations in sending the red
herring to the New York State Department of Law, which passes on
the legality and correctness of such
offering plans.
In a Friday, May 1 letter to David
Hirschorn, the owners’ representative, the Task Force asked that he
return to negotiations to resolve
differences. At The WIRE’s press
deadline, that’s where things stood.
Westview is still in the MitchellLama system. Residents of Island
House, where privatization has
passed to the last stage (after the final-plan “black book”), received its
red herring in a different sequence
– after first having secured acceptance of its Affordability Plan, and
then having left the Mitchell-Lama
The Numbers
If the terms described in the red
herring survive through the entire
process, current tenants will be able
to buy their apartments at about
$226 per square foot. Westview
one-bedroom apartments range
from 803 square feet to 872 square
feet. Selling prices are based on
share count (at $204.60 per share)
rather than square footage. This
means that smaller apartments will
be somewhat under the $226/sqft
cost, while larger apartments will be
above that baseline number. (In the
red herring, Westview’s per-squarefoot prices are 25% higher than the
Island House cost of $180/sqft.)
The average number of shares
for a Westview one-bedroom (using
595 Main Street, apartment 312,
currently vacant) is 825. The insider-offering price for apartment
312 is $177,041. If apartment 312
were sold, pursuant to the Affordability Plan, to a non-tenant (an
outsider buying in), the asking
price would be $588 per share, or
$485,119, almost three times the
insider cost. Monthly maintenance
on that unit is listed as $883.42.
If the black book follows this
red herring, tenants will have 90
days to decide whether to buy or
stay as rental tenants. After that,
the opportunity will go away. (At
Island House, there was a short lastminute extension of the offering
period, but Westview tenants can’t
count on that happening in their
For the plan to become effective,
15% of tenants (55 apartments of
the total 361) must accept the offer
and buy in.
Not All Affordable
The plan provides for the owners
to have 127 apartments (35%) to sell
or rent to outsiders at market-rate
prices. At present, 38 apartments
are vacant and likely to be included
in the market-rate offerings, but the
plan empowers the owners to choose
the apartments to be added to create the total of 127. The red herring explains that it is “unlikely the
Sponsor will elect to sell occupied
apartments until they are vacated,”
but does not specify which apartments those will be or how they will
be selected. (The owners of Island
House offered a buy-out to secure
additional apartments.)
Insiders who buy will be able
to sell their units after one year of
ownership at double the purchase
price – $409 per share (about $452
per square foot). Each succeeding
year, the permissible sale price will
increase 7.5% (in the second year,
to $440 per share).
This means that a two-bedroom,
two-bathroom, 1,376-square-foot,
1,665-share unit purchased at
$357,404 can be sold for $714,808
after one year, or for $768,418.60
after two years.
But a flip tax will be imposed on
sales. For the first two years, it will
be 60% of gross profit. For the next
six years, the flip tax will go down
5% each year to 30%. Then it will
drop 2% each year until it reaches
a final 20% in year 13.
Residents will be allowed to stay
on as rental tenants, with controls
on rent increases. The Affordability Plan imposes limitations on
the rents that can be charged. The
Grad Students Consider: What Will
Become of RI’s Sense of Community?
by Laura Russo
The question: How can Roosevelt Island sustain its sense of
community despite current issues
facing the Island?
Those asking: Four graduate students at NYU-Polytechnic.
Forty years ago, the first apartments became available on Roosevelt Island. Their residents, urban
pioneers, took a chance on a unique
locale, and together cultivated a
neighborhood where the concept
of “community” was paramount.
While it is true that Roosevelt Island’s geography isolates it from
Manhattan, the concept of community was illustrated just as strongly
by the residents coming together to
create thriving arts organizations
and to transform rubble into beautiful green space.
Today, these organizations are
still in existence, run by residents,
for residents – the Garden Club,
the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA), and the Main
Street Theatre & Dance Alliance
(MST&DA). The Roosevelt Island
Historical Society stands as an example of Islanders working proudly
to preserve history.
But, for all this, there is an undercurrent of change on Roosevelt
Island. The once thriving arts organizations and nonprofits are at risk
because of the recent discontinuation of Public Purpose Funding.
rent calculation starts with a 2009
DHCR Rent Order and is based on
income, following guidelines published by the New York City Rent
Guidelines Board. Lease succession of those apartments will not be
permitted. They may go to the market-rate pool once the leaseholder is
no longer in residence if the owners
have not yet accumulated their 127
apartments; otherwise, it will be
sold at the affordable price.
Market-Rate Units
Market-rate apartments won’t be
subject to affordability restrictions,
and owners who purchase at market
prices will pay no flip taxes.
Thus far, some residents say they
feel that the red herring contains a
good offer. They understand that
comparable Manhattan apartment
prices in buildings with doorkeeper,
indoor pool, health club, and playroom cost far more than the most
expensive Westview apartment.
(Incidentally, 595 Main Street’s
apartment 1204 is that most expensive Westview apartment. It
is a 1,595-square foot three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with a
269-square foot terrace. The listed
insider price is $481,547.)
Other residents appear to agree
with the Task Force that something
better should be possible. A small
sampling of residents polled by The
WIRE agree that it will be difficult
to go from paying $1,800 a month in
rent, to (for example) a $3,400 maintenance-plus-mortgage bill, with the
X factor being likely submetering of
electricity in a drafty building. Additionally, the red herring requires
a minimum of 10% down, which is
$48,154.70 for apartment 1204, plus
a two-month-maintenance contribution to the apartment corporation’s
capital fund. These apartments are
being sold as-is, so there is some
intra-building grumbling about the
owners ignoring current maintenance requests, and instead waiting
for conversion so that maintenance
and repairs will be at shareholder
expense instead of the owners’s responsibility.
Empty storefronts still line Main
Street. The building of the Cornell
Tech campus moves forward, and
residential construction on the Island is increasing.
This leads to that initial question:
How can Roosevelt Island sustain
its sense of community despite these
issues? It’s a tough question that’s
been explored by the four graduate students at NYU-Polytechnic
School of Engineering.
What the group concluded may
surprise some residents.
Monica Raffaelli, Ryan Thibeault,
Ziyu Meng, and Carlos Augusto
Bautista Isaza have spent the last
three months exploring the Island
and talking to residents, as part of
a project inspired by the question,
“How might we restore vibrancy in
cities and regions facing economic
decline?” But instead of looking to
fix a community, the group decided
to concentrate on what they could
learn from a community. They
chose Roosevelt Island.
Thibeault had played rugby on
the Island and immediately suggested it as a location to study,
whereas “Everyone else [in the
class] wanted to go to typical
New York City communities like
Greenpoint and Bushwick,” said
Isaza said that the group arrived
without expectations and thought,
Let’s see what happens. He notes
that his first impression was that the
Island was a really happy neighborhood, and that it would be great to
try and replicate the model in other
areas. But, he said, “I realized it
wasn’t as perfect as I thought it was,
there is a lot of expectation here,
something big is happening, and I
think it’s Cornell.”
Raffaelli thinks, “There are a lot
of factors that will effect change.
Cornell may be the easiest to blame,
but it’s not necessarily a [fair]
The group spent many Saturdays
at the Farmers’ Market in order to
speak with residents. They also
attended the RIOC Board of Directors meeting on March 26, 2015,
in order to get a sense of the community governance.
Raffaelli thinks that the Island
has a strange appeal to outsiders.
One afternoon at the Farmer’s
Market, she spoke at length with
a vendor whose grandmother was
one of the original Island residents.
“He had great memories, absolutely
nothing negative to say [about the
Island]. But he lived in Hoboken,”
she said.
Often, visitors were more likely
than residents to speak to the group.
In trying to engage with residents,
the group said they met with a lot
of resistance. Thibeault said he
wanted residents to know, “It’s
okay to speak your mind about your
community.” Raffaelli continued
by saying, “If you don’t have a
voice, you don’t have an outlet.”
Isaza was concerned that there
was a lot of talk about “community,” but wondered, “Where is
it?” Meng followed his point by
saying that of the residents the
group did speak with, many talked
about Roosevelt Island as an international community, but that she
didn’t see it in action. She said,
“People comment that [Roosevelt
Island] is very multicultural, but I
didn’t see that at the Board Meeting.” She wondered, is “living
here just a business transaction for
some people?”
The group said the most important thing they learned from their
investigation is that “no one has
all the answers,” said Thibeault,
but that “we need to keep up the
conversation,” said Raffaelli.
ComingUp, from page 3
Education Committee meet, Mon Jun 8 7pm, PS/IS 217 auditorium.
Cornell Tech update on partnership with the school.
Bike New York’s Summer Ride Series starts, Thu Jun 11 5:45pm. Meet
at the container under the helix ramp. No registration required. Bikes
& helmets provided for those who need them.
Roosevelt Island Day, Sat Jun 13.
RIRA Blood Drive, Sat Jun 13.
Imagination Playground, play with oversize architectural blocks, SatSun Jun 13-14, Four Freedoms Park, on the lawn.
Flag Day, Sun Jun 14.
Book Discussion, Half a Life by V.S. Naipaul, Thu Jun 18 6:30pm, Library.
Third Annual Relay for Life, in support of the American Cancer Society,
Sat Jun 20, 10am-10pm, Octagon Soccer Field. Family-friendly event
with activities and entertainment for all ages.
Opening Reception for Gardenscape, solo exhibition of the works of
Toshiko Kitano Groner, Sat Jun 20 5-8pm, Octagon Gallery, 888 Main
St. Gallery hours 9am-8pm daily. Through July 19.
Women’s Health Organization presents Sleep Health with Dr. Dianne
Augelli of Weill Cornell Medical Center, Wed Jun 24 6:30pm, 546
Main St., 12th floor conference room. Free. Info: 646-895-3618.
Outdoor Movie, Sat Jun 27.
Independence Day, Sat Jul 4.
Outdoor Movie, Sun Jul 11.
Outdoor Movie, Sun July 25.
Cornell Construction & Community Task Force quarterly meeting,
Mon Jul 27 6-8pm, Gallery RIVAA. Open to the public.
Outdoor Movie, Fri Aug 7.
Outdoor Movie, Sat Aug 8.
Outdoor Movie, Sat Aug 22.
Outdoor Movie, Sat Aug 29.
RIRA Common Council meeting, Wed Sep 9 8pm, Good Shepherd
Fall for Arts Festival, Sat Oct 3.
Columbus Day, Mon Oct 12.
Halloween Parade, Sat Oct 24.
Cornell Construction & Community Task Force quarterly meeting,
Mon Oct 26 6-8pm, 546 Main St. 12th floor.
Open to the public.
Daylight Saving Time ends, Sun Nov 1.
List ’em! [email protected]
List early, so that other organizations can avoid conflicts.
8 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
1000-Piece Puzzles!
and Fun!
Supporting The WIRE
Pre-Order Now
Choose from 5
or buy all 5
$20 each
□ Tramway
□ Lighthouse
□ Blackwell Fall
□ Blackwell Winter
□ Good Shepherd
$20 each. At left, please check the puzzle(s) you’d like, and indicate the quantity of each. On-Island, we will deliver to buildings with doorstations. If no
doorstation, provide phone number or email address and we’ll call you when
your order is ready for pickup. If your order is to be mailed to an off-Island
address, add $3 for each puzzle to be mailed and be sure to provide address(es).
Check payable to The WIRE. Your purchase supports publication of The Main
Street WIRE. Allow 3-5 weeks for delivery of orders placed before May 20.
Send order to The WIRE, 531 Main Street #413, NYC 10044. Please print
clearly. Questions? Call 212-826-9055. If leaving a message; please give
your phone number twice, slowly and clearly, at beginning and end of message.
Name _____________________________
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The WIRE, May 9, 2015 • 9
10 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
Adventures O
curated by Sara Maher
Sunshine and daffodils. Clear skies and bike rides. Parks
and picnics. Pigeons and picnics. Things in spring go better
together. Here are a few pairings that will perk you up after
a long (and wet... and windy...) winter.
Quiz + Showbiz
The beloved NPR show Ask Me Another is recorded live in
Brooklyn! Join host Ophira Eisenberg at The Bell House as
she questions puzzle gurus, audience members, and mystery
guests. Upcoming guests include the Grammy-nominated
duo The Milk Carton Kids, and Tony-winner Sutton Foster.
F downtown to 4th Av. and walk northeast to 149
7th St. The Milk Carton Kids guest on Mon, May 11, and
Sutton Foster guests on Mon, May 18; doors at 6:30, show
at 7:30. $20 in advance or $25 at the door. For ages 21 and
Masks + Martinis
Every Friday night from now through August, the Rubin
Museum presents Cabaret Cinema, screenings of classic
films that reflect themes present in the museum’s current
exhibitions. This year’s theme is Movie Masks, kicking
off with The Seventh Seal and running through a myriad of
other masterpieces, such as Dumbo, The Princess Bride, and
Casanova, before wrapping it up with To Catch a Thief. The
corresponding exhibit is Becoming Another: The Power of
Masks, showcasing different mask-making styles and traditions from Northern India, Mongolia, Siberia, and beyond.
Come early to enjoy K2 Friday Night, with a DJ, special tapas
menu, and happy hour specials, before the show.
F downtown to 14th St. and walk northwest to 150
West 17th St. Movie Masks every Friday at 9:30pm, May 15
through August 28; The Power of Masks runs through February
8, 2016. K2 Friday Night is included in free museum admission
on Friday nights from 6:00 to 10:00; movies are free for members, and $10 for non-members.
Games + Graphics
Before John and Yoko, there was the artist known as Yoko
Ono. MoMA presents Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 19601971, with 125 of her “objects,” including works on paper,
film, and audio recordings. Visitors will also have the chance
to play White Chess, a living chess match designed by Ono to
force competitors to work in harmony in order for the game
to progress.
F downtown to 57th and walk southeast to 11 West
53rd St. Yoko Ono runs May 17-September 7. MoMA is
open Saturday through Thursday 10:30-5:30 and Friday
10:30-8:00. White Chess is open Tue, Wed, Friday, and
Saturday, 1:00-4:00 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden. Adults
$25, seniors $18, students $14, under 16 free. Admission is
free every Friday night, 4:00-8:00.
Dance + Dance + Dance + Dance
The 9th Annual Dance Parade & Festival invites over
10,000 dancers to shimmy and shake their way through the
streets. Dancers will show off 75 styles of dance, making the
Parade “the world’s largest display of cultural diversity.” The
parade will be led by Grand Marshal Mary Verdi-Fletcher,
working it in her wheelchair. Those who look less-thanenthusiastic will be ticketed by the NYDP (New York Dance
Police), but the post-parade Dancefest – with aerial performers, free dance lessons, and, of course, a dance party – should
keep the cops at bay.
F downtown to 23rd St. and walk southeast to the
parade start-point at 21st and Broadway; or 14th St. and walk
east to University Place; or West 4th St. and walk northeast
to University Place and East 8th St. Continue east on 8th St./
St. Mark’s Place to join Dancefest at Thompkins Square Park.
Saturday, May 16; parade runs 1:00-3:00 p.m. and Dancefest
runs from 3:00 to 7:00. Free.
Continuing Events & Activities
A listing of repeating or regularly held meetings & events (a listing of other events scheduled for this weekend and in coming weeks appears on page 3).
Art Exhibits
Color Outside the Line, exhibit of the works of Arline Jacoby, Gallery RIVAA, Wed & Fri
1-5pm & 6-9pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm. Through May 17.
Black and Gold, an exhibition of the works of Mishi Toki, Gallery RIVAA, Sat May 23
through June 7.
Vernissage XIV continues, Octagon Gallery, daily 9am-8pm. Through June 14.
Southpoint Park open daily 6am-10pm.
Lighthouse Park open daily 7am-9pm.
Four Freedoms Park daily 9am-7pm. Closed Tue. Free guided tours Sat 11am, 3pm;
Sun 11am.
Art, taught by members of the RI Visual Art Association, Sat 11am-2pm, Sportspark. Free.
Hands-Only CPR Training, 1st Wed 10:45am, Senior Center, 546 Main St.; 2nd Tue 8pm,
546 Main St 12th-floor conference room; 3rd Thu 5pm, Child School, 587 Main St.; 4th
Sun 5:45pm, Good Shepherd Center, 543 Main.
We Are New York English conversation groups, Fri 10:30am-12:30pm, through June 26, Library.
First Sunday Jazz Salon, 1st Sun (resumes May 4) 5-7pm, Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main St.
$10 donation.
Exercise & Sports
Basketball (all ages), Sat 2-5pm, Sportspark. Free.
Basketball (adults), Mon-Thu 7:30-9:30pm, PS/IS 217. Free.
Bike New York Summer Ride Series, alt Thu Jun 11-Oct 1, 5:45pm, container under helix
ramp. Info: 212-870-2080.
Pilates with Karen, Wed 8:30am. Info 212-750-6223. (Ad, page 15.)
Ping Pong (all ages), Tue Wed Fri 6-9pm, Sportspark. Free.
RI Moms on the Move walk and exercise program, Fri 11am, Visitor Kiosk in Tramway
Plaza. Free. To confirm time: [email protected]
Sportspark extended hours (ages 16-25), Fri-Sat 9pm-midnight. Weight-lifting and basketball. Free. Note: ID and proof of Island residency required.
Swimming* (all ages; no instructor) – Sat-Sun 12-3pm, Mon-Fri 6-10am, Mon Wed Thu
Fri 7:30-10:30pm, Sportspark.
Swimming* (18 yrs+) – Sat-Sun 4-7pm, Tue 7:30-10:30pm, Sportspark.
Swimming* – Water Aerobics, Sun 12-1pm, Wed & Fri 9-10am, Sportspark.
Swimming* – Master class, Mon Wed Fri 7:30-8:30pm, Sportspark.
(*$5; free for disabled, seniors 60+, and ages 0-3.)
Tai Chi (all ages & levels), Mon 10:15am. Members, free; others, donation suggested, Four
Freedoms Park, Apr 6-May 11 & Aug 31-Sep 28.
Tennis for Kids, see Older Kids entries, below.
Yoga (open-level), Mon & Thu 6:15-7:15pm, Sat 11:15am-12:15pm, Sportspark. $5. Mats available.
Yoga (Vinyassa-flow) with Keren Messer, Mon 7:45pm, Fri 10am, Good Shepherd Center.
Info: [email protected]
Yoga (Hatha) with Keren Messer, Tue 6:30pm, Good Shepherd Center.
Yoga with Jax Schott, Wed 7:30-8:40pm, Island Kids, 536 Main St. $15.
Yoga (open-level) with Lauren Blankstein, Thu 7:30-8:30pm, PS/IS 217 Beacon. Free.
Yoga at Four Freedoms Park, 1-hour classes, May 6-Aug 29. Info:
Adult Vinyassa (all levels), Wed 10:15am; Kids & family, Thu 4:15pm, Hatha (all
levels), Fri 6pm; Adult core (all levels), Sat 10am. Members free; others, $5 donation
suggested. Bring your mat.
Zumba, Mon 6:30-7:30pm, Thu 6:30-7:30pm, Sat 10-11am, Sportspark. $5.
Birth through Toddler
Baby Story Time (0-18 mo), Mon 10:30am, Library. Advance registration required.
Baby Playtime (0-18 mo), Mon 11am, Library.
Mommy & Me Swim Classes for children 6 mo. to 3 yrs. Spots available for drop-ins Wed
10:30 and Sun 1:30 or 2:00. Info at
Toddler Story Time (18-36 mo), Wed 11am, Library. Registration required. Free.
Toddler Play Time (18-36 mo), Wed 11:30am, Library.
Island Kids Baby Group (0-14 mo.), Thu 10:30-11:30am, 536 Main St. Info: [email protected]
Older Kids
(listed Sat-Fri)
Swimming classes (age 3-up), Sat 3-4pm, Sportspark. $15 or $100/10 weeks. Questions/
registration, [email protected] or 917-261-2771.
Tennis – New York Junior Tennis League learning program, Mon-Fri 3-6pm (ages 8-18);
Tue 5-6pm & Thu 3-4pm for ages 5-7 (with parent/guardian), Octagon Park Courts. No
pre-registration, sneakers required. Info: [email protected] or 718-786-7110.
Little Dragon Tang Soo Do (Korean martial art), ages 12 & under & caregiver, Mon 4:15pm
(Jun 8-Jul 13, Aug 10-31), Four Freedoms Park. Members free; others, donation suggested.
Tennis – Junior Tennis, Sat & Mon-Fri after school, Racquet Club. Info 212-935-0250.
Teen Time (ages 13-18), Mon-Fri 3pm, Library.
Beacon After-School Program for grades 1-8, Mon-Fri 3-6pm, PS/IS 217. Free. Info: 212527-2505.
Open Gym for high school students, Mon & Wed 6-8pm, PS/IS 217.
Board Games (5-12 yrs), Tue 4pm, Library. Free.
Teen Game Night, Wed 6pm, Main Street Sweets, 559 Main St.
Anime Club (teens), Thu 4-5pm, Library.
Kids & Family Yoga (ages 4-7 & caregivers), see Exercise & Sports.
Reading Aloud (children), Fri 3:30pm, Library.
Girl Scouts (6-13 yrs), Fri 6-8pm, PS/IS 217. Info: 212-527-2505.
Lunch, Mon-Fri noon, Senior Center, 546 Main St. $1.50. Menus outside social worker’s
office. Also see additional listings, this page.
Regular Meetings
(listed Sat-Fri)
Toastmasters (public speaking), 2nd & 4th Mon 7:30pm. Info: 212-751-9577.
Sci-Fi Discussion Group, 1st Tue 6:30pm, Library.
114th Precinct Community Meeting, 4th Tue 7pm, Riccardo’s, 2101 24th Av., Astoria.
RIRA Common Council meeting 1st Wed (except Jul-Aug) 8pm, Good Shepherd Center.
Women’s Health Organization, last Wed 6:30pm, 546 Main St, 12th floor conference room.
Book Discussion, 3rd Thu 6:30-8pm, Library.
Office Hours
RIOC’s Community Office Hours, Mon 3-5pm, 591 Main St. Info: 212-832-4540.
Conversations with Cornell Tech Staff at Gallery RIVAA, Wed & Fri 10am-12noon &
1-4pm, 527 Main St.
Constituent Service Hours:
Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, 1st Wed 4-7pm, Library.
City Councilmember Ben Kallos, 4th Wed 2-5pm, Senior Center, 546 Main St.
State Senator Jose Serrano, Wed 4-7pm, Senior Center or 3-6pm, Library. Info: 212828-5829.
Clinic on Housing Law, 1st & 3rd Mon 3-6pm, district office of City Councilmember Ben
Kallos, 244 E. 93rd St. Reservations and questions: 212-860-1950 or [email protected]
Free Legal Clinic, 1st Mon, sponsored by Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright. For appointment call 212-288-4607.
Policy Night, 2nd Tue 6:30pm, Kallos office (see above), 244 E. 93rd St.; help formulate policy.
Knitting & Crocheting Circle (adults), Thu 11:30am, Library. Info:
First Fridays with Kallos, 8-10am, district office (see above); questions and issues.
Food Box Orders from Helping Families Help Themselves, ordering 1st-11th of month.
Senior Center
Monday (Closed May 25)
10:00 Zumba
11:00 Computers
5:00 Brain & Body Stretch
10:20 Shoppers’ Bus
10:30 Building Strength
11:00 Blood Pressure
1:00 Paint & Sculpt
Special Events
MetroCard Bus, Mon May 11, 11am12:30pm
Closed for Memorial Day, Mon May 25
RISA Membership Drive continues every
Wed 10am-12noon. $15.
Outdoor Flea Market, Sat Jun 6, 10am4pm. Details to come. (Vendors needed
at $20/table, first-come, first-served.)
9:30 Yoga Stretch
10:20 Shoppers’ Bus
10:30 Salsa with Luis
10:45 Spanish
11:00 Social Media for Seniors
1:00 Bridge
1:30 Scrabble
9:25 Chair Pilates
10:30 Zumba
10:45 Ping Pong (May 14 only)
12:30 Movie
1:00-2:30 Theatre tickets at discount
prices; see Rema or Annie
9:00 Building Strength
10:30 Computers
10:30 Tai Chi
12:00 Korean Exercise
2:00 Art with John
2:00 Pokeno
The WIRE, May 9, 2015 • 11
H. Patrick Stewart III
H. Patrick Stewart III died of a
heart attack April 28, 2015, at his
Roosevelt Island home, three days
after his 82nd birthday.
His life will be celebrated at
a memorial service on Saturday,
May 16, at 2:00 p.m. at the Chapel
of the Good Shepherd.
Stewart was born in Grosse
Pointe, Michigan, on April 25,
1933, and grew up in Detroit and
Kansas City, summering at Nahant,
His maternal grandfather, Peter
F. Minnock, headed General Motors for more than 20 years. His
paternal grandfather, Henry P.
Stewart, was Police Commissioner
of Kansas City.
His father, H. Patrick Stewart
Jr., along with 20 of his Yale classmates, left for England to fight in
World War I before the United States
entered the war. He flew for the
nascent Royal Air Force, and went
on to become the youngest member
ever of the British military to reach
the rank of major, a record only
broken 25 years later, during World
War II, by his son, and Patrick’s
brother, Peter F. Minnock-Stewart,
as a member of Military Intelligence
in the British Indian Army in Burma.
Inspired by his dreams of military
glory, young Patrick prepared for a
career as a professional soldier first
at Rockhurst Preparatory School
and Kemper Military School, then
went on to Virginia Military Institute
and Hampden-Sydney College. He
joined the U.S. Army in 1955 as a
2nd Lieutenant and rose to the rank
of Captain in Special Forces. He
served in Lebanon and Germany.
Disappointed with the peacetime
military, Stewart left the Army in
1960 and became an advertising
executive, first with Batten, Barton,
Durstine and Osborne and then with
Young and Rubicam in New York
and Los Angeles, then a senior marketing executive at Nabisco, Inc.
Stewart left marketing in 1979 to
become a limited partner at Intellectics SMB, the management consulting firm founded by his brother,
Peter, serving clients as diverse
as DuPont, General Electric, WJ
Grace, United Airlines, AT&T, and
the US Department of the Interior.
Representing Intellectics SMB,
he served on President Reagan’s
Grace Commission Study of Cost
Control in Federal Government.
Stewart was active for many years
as an Arbitrator and Tribunal Member of the American Arbitration Association, and an Associate Member
of the American Bar Association,
Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Stewart moved to Roosevelt
Island in 1982, married Karen in
1989, and by the 90’s had become
an impassioned community activist. He was appointed to Community Board 8 by Ruth Messinger in
1995, and served until 2013. He
was for many years the Chair of its
Roosevelt Island Committee, and in
2006 became Co-Chair of the Second Avenue Subway Task Force.
Stewart served as President of the
Roosevelt Island Residents Association from 1996 to 2000. He was
appointed by Governor George Pataki as a Director of the Roosevelt
Island Operating Corporation, and
served from 1999 through 2009.
He chaired the RIOC Board’s Governance Oversight Committee.
Stewart once said in a CB8 Speaks
television interview, “Community
organizing takes persistence and resolve. Movement is an emotional
thing of marches and demonstrations, but organization is different,
especially to aim for something bigger. Many movement people are not
good organizers. It takes a special
cold, rational type of anger.”
It also took patience and the
help of his exquisite, old-fashioned
courtesy. Always a thoughtful listener, he was a dedicated champion
of the residents of Roosevelt Island.
He will be sorely missed by the
community he served.
Stewart is survived by his wife,
the former Karen Jellison Sanford;
his daughter, Canby French Stewart
of Phoenix, Arizona; his stepson,
Adam Sanford of New York City;
his niece, Brooke Stewart Disbrow
(Mrs. Jack Disbrow) of Wilton,
Connecticut; her daughter, Eirinn
Stewart Disbrow of Los Angeles;
his nephew, Peter F. M. Stewart
Jr of Ridgefield, Connecticut; and
his surrogate granddaughter, Zoe
Schreiber of Cleveland, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, the family
suggests contributions to Wounded
Warrior Project, Inc.
In Patrick Stewart’s Columns as RIRA President, the Measure of a Man
by Jennifer Dunning and Dick Lutz
Patrick Stewart was The Main Street
WIRE’s first contributor of The RIRA Column. Through it, he often revealed himself
as much as he revealed his concerns about a
difficult time for Roosevelt Island, during the
RIOC presidency of Dr. Jerome Blue.
In his first column, published January 31,
1997, Stewart was frank about the troubles
the community faced. “Our Island is in
peril, besieged by both an incompetent Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and the
complete disregard of our State officials in
Albany... One might surmise that if you are
unable to fix an exit gate at a parking garage,
or a two-story elevator at the Manhattan
Tram plaza, you might have some difficulty
responsibly executing a $350 million residential project [development of Southtown].”
Stewart went on to pledge, “I promise you,
as president of RIRA, that we will finally
prevail, no matter what effort it takes. We
are a united community and know better
than anyone else what is best for us, what
is rightfully ours, and how we can achieve
our goals.”
A year and a half later, Island self-governance was still on his mind. “If we lived in
any other neighborhood in the City, and were
disturbed over the issues that plague us here
on the Island, we would have recourse and
access to both our Community Board and
the City Council... City Council members
would pay attention... But the City Council
has no direct power in governing Roosevelt
Island. Authority here is in the sole hands of
RIOC, the State agency which does govern
the Island.
“It only goes to show that Thomas Jefferson
and his friends were right. No government, no
matter how seemingly benign, should be left
with absolute power... [but] we cannot vote
RIOC management out of office.”
Another year later, in 1999, Stewart was
still focused on RIOC’s abuse of power when
Islander Ron Vass resigned from the RIOC
Board of Directors. “This [RIRA presidency]
is no job for an idealist, and I have to work
very hard to ‘keep the faith.’ I came to this
job with the sincere belief that with unstinting
effort – effort on the part of many people – we
could accomplish a greater good for all of the
residents of Roosevelt Island. I knew that the
task we were taking on, of holding the current
administration of RIOC to its obligations to
residents, was going to be a very difficult job
Form and
We build websites that are easy to use and easy to look at
indeed. It never once occurred to me that it with inertia, with the desire to let myself
might be downright impossible... Although gently off whatever hook I’m regretting at
I did not underestimate the degree of incom- the moment, with the desire to get by with
petence at RIOC, I did underestimate the good enough. I hold no illusions that I will
complete contempt they have for the good reach what I believe to be Al’s standards,
of the Island, or, for that matter, the good of but the challenge of his passing speaks to
anyone other than themselves and their very me imperatively enough that I can renew
my personal commitment to try to improve.
narrow political self-interest.”
“I know I will be asking myself, “What
Stewart attributed his involvement in Roosevelt Island’s civic affairs to his beloved would Al have done?,” both in my public
neighbor, Kitty Berman. They had their capacity and in my personal sphere. I know
differences, but she had challenged him to that if I ask, I will have an answer. And I
attend a tenants’ meeting in Island House. pledge to each of you, as your servant, that
Later, “As for joining RIRA, the reason was I will do my best to act upon the answer.”
But Stewart’s columns were not always
because Kitty shamed me into it...
“I like to think that we were largely re- heavy with Island business. Here’s how he
sponsible for having [Blue] leave. I came on celebrated Christmas in 1997.
“I believe in magic. I always have. Of
RIRA because we’ve got this guy Jerry Blue
course, for 11 months
and we’ve got to get
of the year, I keep it
him out of here. And
pretty much under
RIRA did an extraorA memorial service will celebrate
wraps, and rely on
dinary job of that. As
Patrick Stewart’s life
a belief in all those
head of RIRA, that
next Saturday, May 16, at 2:00 p.m.,
other, more mundane
was my main accomChapel of the Good Shepherd
virtues to inspire me
to get things done.
Some 12 years past
his RIRA Presidency,
and after a departure from the RIOC Board though, out it pops, as if it were brand new.
of Directors, Stewart was still thinking about I owe it to my mother, of course, as we all do.
Island governance. In a 2012 interview with I say, “We all do,” because I firmly believe
The WIRE, Stewart said, “I liked my time on that somewhere, each of us still has that core
the RIOC Board. I learned a lot... I got the belief in magic, and that we all got it the same
idea quickly – day one, really – this is BS. way, on the morning of some other December
Roosevelt Island should not be under the 25th. Oh, admittedly it gets dented and tarState of New York. It’s the only municipality nished, and some of us undoubtedly believe
in the United States of America in this situ- we’ve routed it out for good, but it’s still
ation. We are part of the City. That’s where there. It’s almost indestructible, thank goodwe should be. We’ve been encumbered by ness. It’s what saves us each time we think
that forever. Now that I’ve looked at it, this we’ve finally come to the ‘last straw,’ and
organization is wrong financially... From a we’ve all seen a few last straws in our lives...
“Happily for me, I get to spend a lot of
corporate point of view, this is the craziest
time with a two-year-old these days, and
damn thing ever.”
In 1998, Stewart wrote of his high regard recently I watched Zoe encounter her first
for the recently deceased defender of the Christmas tree. Houdini himself had nothTramway, Al Weinstein, in words that others ing to touch it. Someone had to give, to
give of themselves in time and effort and
might apply to Stewart himself.
“His legacy is, of course, his power of love for that Christmas tree to be there at
example. It is, at the same time, the chal- all. I sincerely wish each of you the joy of
lenge he leaves us, for there is much left the magic of Christmas, and hope that, for at
to do. In this all too imperfect life, in any least one moment, you are touched with the
community, there will always remain much memory of your own most magical personal
Christmas. May each of us know love in our
left to be done.
“For me, the challenge is both public and own hearts, and may each of us be inspired
private. Like many of us, I often struggle to give of that love to others.”
12 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
Gilda Hannah Looks Back at a Groundbreaking Career
by Jennifer Dunning
Gilda Hannah came to her award-winning career in book design almost by accident.
The long-time Roosevelt Islander had graduated from Vassar College with a degree in
mathematics. But a boyfriend had talked her into that major, and she knew she was no
mathematician. Her heart was with the fine-arts training that she had received at New
York’s High School of Music and Art.
However, employment was generally limited to secretarial work for young women
in the late 1950’s, when Hannah graduated. And so a succession of low-level jobs followed, until one day she had a revelation about the bosses to whom she was reporting.
“A guy came in and said, I’m a book designer,” Hannah recalls. “The minute he said
that, I thought Bingo!” A friend suggested she take
a secretarial job with “a terrible boss” at a major
publishing house. No one lasted more than a year,
but in that year Hannah could – and did – learn
the rudiments of book design as others had before
her. She landed a design job at the flourishing New
Directions house. And there, in the early 1960’s,
she became a noted designer of innovative book
jackets, celebrated in the winter issue of Aperture,
the quarterly journal of photography.
A resident of the Island since 1976, Hannah
looked back on her ground-breaking career in a
recent conversation in her light- and plant-filled
apartment in Rivercross, a home filled with functional work equipment and the vivid portraits she
has painted over the years. Anecdotes tumbled out
about the yeasty artistic era in which her career
blossomed, and the celebrated writers with whom
she came into contact. Book jackets covered the
dining room table, each with its own story, all with
a distinctive clarity and style that helped to brand
New Directions as a major publisher of experimental writing and that helped, over the years, to
sell books at a number of other houses.
New Directions, founded by the visionary James Laughlin in 1936, had a stable of
noted authors who included Henry Miller, Ezra Pound, Yukio Mishima, and Djuna
Barnes. Hannah’s first assignment there was to design a jacket for a reprint of Nightwood, a prominent early lesbian novel by Barnes. The modernist short-story writer
and poet, long the center of the thriving Greenwich Village artistic community, was a
formidable character. Hannah, then Gilda Rosenblum, was essentially a sacrificial lamb,
sent in after other, much more experienced designers had failed to satisfy the writer.
“She was rejecting every cover,” Hannah recalled. “I had done only book interiors,
and only for less than a year. She was such a star for them, and they were anxious to find
someone to please her, so they put the two of us together. She was very tall. Imperious.
Regal. She was in her 70’s and walked with a cane. She wore a big black cape with a
high wing collar, like Superman.” Barnes was very happy with the now iconic cover,
and even flirted a bit with the young Miss Rosenblum. “Heh, heh, and how is my little
Miss Rosebud today?” she asked impishly at their final meeting.
That success solidified Hannah’s relationship with New Directions. She became the
in-house designer and made her mark at the company, developing and expanding the
trend-setting work of Alvin Lustig, whom she succeeded after his death. The covers
were unmistakable. Black and white, they were “stark, contemplative, inky, and dreamlike,” Carmen Winant writes in Aperture. “They often feature cropped images – usually
taken by the designers themselves and rarely credited – printed full bleed, appearing to
strain against the margins that hold them.”
Under Hannah’s direction, the covers became almost entirely photographic. “It was
an all-in-one, streamlined job,” Winant writes. “Hannah took the majority of the photographs, occasionally commissioning an image or buying from stock, made the design
and type decisions, and chose the book’s paper.” She used a starburst image from a
malfunctioning Leica, for example, for the cover of The Selected Poems of Federico
Garcia Lorca, and split her photograph of the Statue of Liberty for the shardlike collage
on the cover of Franz Kafka’s Amerika.
The covers tended to be distinctively evocative,” Hannah said, rather than the more
familiar literal representations of texts. The mood that the publisher wanted to evoke
“was experimentalism, I think, avant-gardism. Out of the ordinary.
“James Laughlin was breaking new ground both in literature and in packaging. So
he wanted to hire the most evocative, untrendy people.”
Along the way, Hannah gained some fame. The novelist Philip Roth suddenly noticed
the young wife and mother living across the hall from him on East 10th Street when
he realized that Hannah, then married to Roy Kuhlman, the designer, had created an
admired book jacket.
But the goal was always to sell books. “Does this advertise the book well?” Hannah said. “Is it a good representation? Does it make the book attractive to a potential
buyer? That should be the one strength. And I’m not so sure there’s any guideline for
that. Each assignment was different, somehow. Each required a different approach
and a different kind of solution.” The one constant was that designers seldom did more
than skim the texts.
“Nobody read the books,” Hannah exclaimed. “You’d never have time to do the
work. Of course, you’d need to know the weapon if it was a mystery.”
Hannah left New Directions in the early 1960’s and went on to design for other
publishing houses, including The Feminist Press, Penguin, Meridian, and Harper &
Row. “There were a lot of good people around,” she recalled. “It was really a golden
age of books.”
But change was coming. By the early 1980’s, she had gone on to become an art
director at several companies, then focused on designing the layout, typography, and
concepts of book interiors. “Part of the problem was that publishers had become very
political. I could see it starting. It used to be that the art director and the editor or maybe
the publisher would work on a jacket cover together. But they also hired freelancers
and then six people would have to approve the covers. And then they got so watered
down, they stopped having value. They were more trouble than they were worth.”
Today, Hannah does occasional book-design jobs, mainly for psychology texts. “Now,
looking back, I really regret not having the opportunity to use the new techniques that
became available to graphic designers with software like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator,
and InDesign. They opened the door to great visual effects for cover designers that were
never possible before, though of course the politics would still be there.”
But now there is more time for bridge-playing, another passion, and gallery-going.
Says Hannah, “I’m pretty sure I’m retired.”
The WIRE, May 9, 2015 • 13
IV ing
DEr yth
E ve
FRon e
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Happy Mother’s Day!
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Thursday, May 14th, 5:00 to 7:00 PM
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off-Island, I’m adding $3 shipping charge for the first tote going to a single address,
and $2 for each additional tote going to that same address. Check payable to The
The WIRE will deliver to Island addresses with doorkeepers. If your building has
no doorkeeper, we’ll notify you when ready for pickup (provide phone number and
email address for notification). Proceeds support The Main Street WIRE.
Send order to The WIRE, 531 Main Street #413, NYC10044, or drop it off at the
front desk at 531 Main (Rivercross) addressed to The WIRE. Front-desk personnel do
not have stock to show or sell. They will accept an order, but cannot accept cash.
14 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
455 Main Street
7 days, 11am-11pm
Free delivery
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cards accepted ($15
609 Main Street
11am-11pm Sun-Thur
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Advantage All-City Camps
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Junior Tennis for kids 6-17
• 3 to 6 hours of tennis a day
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Explorers, from page 3
on the Island, only a sustainable Island-wide
program can truly support children’s holistic
development. RIEx was first envisioned as a
preschool, and continues to evolve by following our non-negotiable goals: The program
has to be affordable and accessible to all Island children; just as children’s participation
cannot be limited by the family’s income, it
also cannot be limited by age. The image of
children needs to change to embrace their
extraordinary capacities. Complete freedom
is necessary to create programs that educate
the whole child. And children’s active community participation is essential for their
civic development.
In order to integrate these goals with
the families’ needs, we are now searching
for alternative ways to offer innovative
programs, advocate for children’s right to
quality education, and facilitate community
building through collaboration with other
Island groups that share the same values and
goals. Our ideas include a Children’s Learning Center, a story-telling festival, a creative
recycling center, sending holiday wishes to
the world, and others in development. These
Island-wide initiatives can materialize only
with community participation and support.
We believe in the capacity of our resourceful
community to guide its own affairs and invite
you to join us on this exciting journey.
This is a continuing evolution of a vision with the potential to maximize our Island’s unique qualities for the benefits of not
only children but also the entire community.
Imagine the Roosevelt Island approach: deciding together how we want to care for our
To join or share comments and suggestions, please contact us at [email protected]
To learn more about our work, please visit
our FB page at
Ordered your
puzzles yet?
See page 8.
Letters, from page 2
Moves. Whichever app you choose, make
sure it’s enabled in your National Bike Challenge account. Each time you ride, start the
app, and when your ride is done, make sure
you stop it. If you don’t have a smartphone
and/or prefer to do so, you can log in to your
National Bike Challenge account and log
your miles manually. The Challenge awards
20 points each day you ride, and 1 point for
each mile.
There is a lot more information available
on the National Bike Challenge website.
Thanks, and keep riding for a greener
Kent Kurkiewicz
RIRA Column, from page 3
make it onto next year’s ballot. (The funding awarded to the Green Roof is only part
of what’s needed.)
Shooting Incident
Despite the community’s striving to work
together, and its successes, we still face many
challenges in keeping a peaceful oasis of
families and caring in a city that can be
cold and uncompassionate. This was never
more evident than in the recent shooting on
the afternoon of April 25 in our Roosevelt
Landings complex. While many on the Island were coming together that afternoon
to celebrate the community at the Cherry
Blossom Festival, a few chose to use violence against others, and disrupt that sense
of community. Illegal activities, violence,
and firearms should never be factors in our
tiny space, especially in a population with so
many families, children, and infirm individuals. The events of the 25th were disturbing
– and disrespectful – to not only the residents
of Roosevelt Landings, but to all of us who
call this Island home. On a personal note,
unlike others who have classified the incident
on the 25th an isolated event, I would argue
that no incident involving a firearm and its
use on our Island is an isolated event – when
such a thing happens here, it affects each
of us.
Do I, or the RIRA Common Council, have
answers to the troubling incident? No, not
any more than anyone else. But we, like you,
are searching for both answers and solutions
to the security of our neighbors in Roosevelt
Landings and to everyone everywhere on
the Island. This begins with my calling on
our Public Safety Committee to hold a community meeting of residents and all the other
stakeholders directly involved – including
RIOC, Public Safety, NYPD, Urban American, Brookfield Properties, Council Member
Ben Kallos, State Senator Jose Serrano, and
Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright – to
voice our concerns and frustrations about
not only the recent shootings, but also the
recent increase in disturbances and incidents
here. The hope is that such a gathering and
airing of issues can result in a thoughtful,
coordinated plan of action. A community
cannot heal itself through the efforts of one
or a few, but through the indivisible efforts of
many. As we organize the event, please keep
your eye out for more details – and continue
the debate and public cry for action. As our
Island has seen time and time again, change
can best be addressed by the efforts of each
and every one of us, as past, present, and
future stewards and inhabitants of our little
ship floating in the East River.
Patrick Stewart
On behalf of the members of the RIRA
Common Council, I send our gratitude and
heartfelt condolences to the family of Patrick
Stewart. As a former RIRA President and
one of the RIRA inaugural members, he was
a beloved and passionate leader and advocate
for the Island and its residents. I had the
pleasure of serving with him on Community
Board 8 for his last couple of years as a
member, and we worked together on various
Island issues. His dedication to the Island,
love of its residents, and mission to preserve
our way of life will be missed, and will not
be forgotten.
& arts
NEW Sports & Arts for kids 5-14
• 1 hour of tennis a day
• Basketball, soccer & swimming
• Daily art program with artist Bonnie Lane
Roosevelt Island Racquet Club - 281 Main St.
For more information contact Paul Fontana –
646.884.9644 or [email protected]
50¢ a word • 212‑751‑8214
Deadline for May 23 issue: Tuesday, May 19
Deadline for June 6 issue: Tuesday, June 2
Please see ComingUp, page 3, for other advertising deadlines
ARROJO trained stylist for at-home
cuts, blowouts, event/prom styling, and
color services. www.carolinekessler.
com/style [email protected]
CHESS INSTRUCTOR – Island resident,
10 years experience. Children &
adults, beginners & intermediate. Free
consultation. Moderate rates: 2-hour
session $30. 212-750-9087.
CLASSICAL PIANO with Irene. Read
music. It’s logical fun! 917-655-0028. – Successful
test-taking – $425 includes MP3.
Mention ad for $50 off. Call 917-923-6772.
FREECYCLE.ORG/RooseveltIsland –
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through Freecycle. It’s free to give/
receive; just post needs & wants. Get
everything for free.
Experienced in pain management,
chronic conditions, depression. Please
call Anne Kanninen L.Ac. 917-282-7328.
NOTARY – 212-317-0736 Tami.
Certified Reflexologist – Island resident
Diana Brill. Gift certificates available.
212-751-8214. RI resident. Will also
check mail, etc.
NOTARY PUBLIC – 212-935-7534.
TENNIS LESSONS and play. Private,
semi-private, and small groups for adults.
Get back in the swing with morning and
lunchtime sessions. Highly qualified
instructor, Joyce Short – 917-517-8572.
SCAN PHOTOS – Will teach a student
how to scan & retouch properly. $10 per
hour. Flexible hours. Contact John at
212-593-7610 or [email protected]
CATCH YOUR CAT – Efficient help
with your feline escape artist. Vetrecommended, Island references.
917-355-1867 / [email protected]
ALLIANCE – Ongoing registration
for dance and theatre classes.
212-371-4449. Unique or period clothing
& furniture gladly accepted.
ERRANDS: Organizing, special
projects, personal assistance. You run
your life, I’ll run your errands. Call Vicki
Feinmel, 212-223-1108.
WOMEN’S BIKE – 21.5-in. giant option
brand hybrid features: 21 speeds, vigor
brand padded seat, Gro-Moly seat tube
adjusts from 31-40”. Blue, advent lock &
key included. Originally $595 years ago
but has only been used 2x & in excellent
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WIRE classifieds work. 212-751-8214.
The WIRE, May 9, 2015 • 15
Dental Love LLC
501 Main Street, Suite A
Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-6:00pm
Friday-Saturday, 9:00am-3:00pm
Eco-Friendly Drycleaning
Exceptional Quality Dry Cleaning
• Expert
European Tailoring
Shirts Laundered
Convenient Monthly Billing
Cleaners & Tailors
Come experience the Convenience, Comfort,
and Confidence our dental office has to offer.
Your entire Family is welcome!
Established 1969
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Services offered:
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Precision Footcare: Dr. JoHN JUrCISIN
133 East 58th • Suite 506 • NY, NY 10022
David Lloyd Marcus, Ph.D.
Psychotherapy and Counseling
strength, balance, flexibility
Certified Instructor
Private/Group classes on Roosevelt Island
Jack Resnick, MD
Specialist in Adult Medicine
501 Main Street – 212-832-2310
office practice and housecalls for the homebound
Visit our Website
check lab results
make appointments
take a survey
internet health resources
get help finding insurance
read opinions
Disabled Association
Support for the Homebound
• Help with shopping
• Medications to be picked up
• Someone to talk to
Call DASH and one of our volunteers will come to your apartment.
Associate Professor
NYU School of Medicine
501 Main Street
Roosevelt Island
E-mail [email protected]
Board-Certified Psychiatrist
Call to schedule an appointment
Or email [email protected]
Complete confidentiality is assured.
16 • The WIRE, May 9, 2015
roosEVELt isLaNd
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Your Choice of 1 lb. of Potato, Macaroni or Cole Slaw Salad
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