Wednesday, February 22, 2017

RIOC Board Approves $100 Thousand For Roosevelt Island Youth Program To Continue Operating Youth Center For Six Months - Withdrawn RIOC Youth Center RFP Scoresheet Results Revealed

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors approved an expenditure of $100 Thousand to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) during the February 16 RIOC Board meeting. According to this RIOC staff memo in support of the RIYP funding:

TO: Board of Directors / Susan G. Rosenthal

FROM: Sean Singh, Grant Writer

DATE: February 13, 2017

RE: Authorization to Extend Grant Funds to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Inc.

RIOC seeks authorization to extend grant funds for the first six (6) months of FY 2018 to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, Inc. (“RIYP”), the current operator of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center. RIOC intends to release a competitive Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for a Youth Center Operator before the expiration of this period.

This period will also be used to schedule and commence general rehabilitation of the Youth Center, to address leaks on the roof and terrace, ADA-compliant restrooms, remodel the kitchen facilities, mechanical/electrical/plumbing upgrades, and finishes — resulting in a more safe and attractive space for the Island’s youth.

The grant will require detailed information regarding programing, attendance, staffing as well as a six month budget of all funds necessary to operate the Center.

Based on the foregoing, RIOC requests the Board’s approval to disburse $100,000 in grant funds and enter into a six month grant agreement with the RIYP in order to ensure the continued operations of the Youth Center.
As previously reported, RIOC issued a September 21, 2016 Roosevelt Islands Youth Center Operator RFP (RFP)

which attracted three bidders - the current operator RIYP,  Island Kids and the Roosevelt Island Center of Community Developemt (RICCD). RIOC's RFP scoring of the applicants resulted in a tie between 2 bidders. RIOC did not reveal the names of the tied bidders to the public or the bidders themselves.

On January 23, RIOC announced that the two tied applicants would be further evaluated to determine the winning RFP bid but subsequently withdrew the RFP on January 27.  On February 1, RIOC President Susan Rosenthal reported the reason for withdrawing the Youth Center RFP was:
... members of the Roosevelt Island community have submitted numerous communications to RIOC generally questioning the legitimacy of the review that resulted in a tie. Some communications included disparaging remarks about bidders. All such communications, attempting to influence the RIOC review committee while the RFP is pending, are inappropriate and are prohibited by State Finance Law. These communications, among other things, caused RIOC to withdraw the RFP on January 27, 2017.....
Also, the terms of the RFP (page 17) state that RIOC may withdraw the RFP at any time at it's sole discretion.

To date, the Youth Center RFP applicants did not know who the tied bidders were or the RFP scoring results.

Until now.

The RIYP and Island Kids were tied for first place with 241 points. RICCD scored 230 points.

Scoring criteria was based upon  4 separate categories:
  • Experience (up to 30 Points),
  • Management & Operation Plan (up to 30 Points),
  • Financial Capability (up to 20 Points) and
  • Interview (up to 20 Points)

for a total of 100 possible points.

The scoring was done separately by the 3 RIOC staff members listed below and added together for total results.

Reviewer Shelton Haynes (Vice President Operations)

Roosevelt Island Youth Program
  • Experience - 29 Points
  • Management & Operation Plan - 26 points
  • Financial Capability - 14 Points
  • Interview - 13 Points
  • Sub Total Total - 82 Points
Roosevelt Island Center Of Community Development (RICCD)
  • Experience - 28 points
  • Management & Operation Plan -  28 points
  • Financial Capability - 6 points
  • Interview -  14 points
  • Sub Total - 76 points
Island Kids
  • Experience - 29 points
  • Management & Operations Plan - 29 points
  • Financial Capability - 15 Points
  • Interview - 16 Points
  • Sub Total - 89 Points
Kevin Brown (Deputy Director Public Safety Department)

Roosevelt Island Youth Program
  • Experience - 26 Points
  • Management & Operations Plan - 24 Points
  • Financial Capability - 14 Points
  • Interview - 16 Points
  • Sub Total - 80 Points
Roosevelt Island Center For Community Development (RICCD)
  • Experience - 24 Points
  • Management & Operations Plan - 26 Points
  • Financial Capability - 6 Points
  • Interview - 17 Points
  • Sub Total - 73 Points
Island Kids
  • Experience - 22 Points
  • Management & Operations Plan - 22 Points
  • Financial Capability - 15 Points
  • Interview - 15 - Points
  • Sub Total - 74 Points
Lada Stasko (Assistant General Counsel)

Roosevelt Island Youth Program
  • Experience - 28 Points
  • Management & Operations Plan -  26 Points
  • Financial Capability - 14 Points
  • Interview - 11 Points
  • Sub Total - 79 Points
Roosevelt Island Center For Community Development
  • Experience - 26 Points
  • Management & Operations Plan - 29 Points
  • Financial Capability - 6 Points
  • Interview - 20 Points
  • Sub Total - 81 Points
Island Kids
  • Experience - 27 Points
  • Management & Operations Plan - 20 - Points
  • Financial Capability - 15
  • Interview - 16
  • Sub Total - 78 Points
Here is the RIOC Youth Center RFP Scoresheet.

and February 16 RIOC Board meeting discussion

approving $100 Thousand 6 month expenditure to RIYP. RIOC Director Michael Shinozak was the sole vote not to approve the RIYP funding.

Application Deadline For NYC Free Universal Pre Kindergarten Seats Is February 24 - Still Time To Apply To Roosevelt Island's PS 217

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA representative Erin Olavesen reminds
... parents of children born in 2013 have until February 24th to apply for free Universal Pre Kindergarten (UPK). Click here for more information.

I had a pretty large group of parents tour our Roosevelt Island PS 217 Pre-kindergarten last week, but because of winter break this week we won't have any other tours before the application deadline. We anticipate having 2 UPK classes this fall with 18 seats each. If parents have any questions about the UPK program at 217 they are more than welcome to email me at

PS 217 will host a few more tours in the spring once Gifted & Talented Class (G&T) scores have been released. These tours are geared towards families of prospective Kindergarten G&T students but all are welcome to attend.

We'll host an orientation for new pre-k and kindergarten families in June. Families will get more information when registering. Dates will also be posted to our PTA's website:

I don't want anyone to miss out on FREE prekindergarten right here in our neighborhood. I feel very lucky to have had my son in the UPK program at 217 last year. It was a great introduction to school for him.
Roosevelt Island UPK seats are also available at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery. More info on Roosevelt Island UPK at this previous post and tips for selecting a kindergarten here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Roosevelt Island Jobs Available At FDR Four Freedoms Park - Resource Manager For Fundraising/ Revenue Generating & Part Time Seasonal Park Rangers

Are you looking for a Roosevelt Island job?

If yes, consider these.

The FDR Four Freedoms Park

Image From Google Maps

is seeking a Resource Development Manager for its fundraising and revenue generating efforts:
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy seeks a creative and energetic Manager, Resource Development to strategically contribute to its fundraising and revenue generating efforts.

By working independently and in partnership with the CEO and Board of Directors, the Manager, Resource Development will support the achievement of revenue goals of over $2.5 million annually. The Manager will collaborate with the CEO to engage donors from all sectors (individuals, corporations, and foundations), build fundraising capacity and drive increased revenue...
Click here for more information and to apply.

There are also positions available for part time seasonal Park Rangers at the FDR Park:
Under the supervision of the Director of Park Operations and Facilities, Four Freedoms Park Rangers are responsible for welcoming, and engaging with, visitors to the FDR Four Freedoms Park; maintaining the Park; providing information about all aspects of the Park to the public; assuring the safety and well-being of the public; enforcing all Park rules and regulations; and opening and closing Park facilities. This job description will be periodically updated to reflect the Park’s needs....
Click here for more information and to apply.

Good luck

Monday, February 20, 2017

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Seniors Association Black History Month Celebration Tuesday, February 21 - Music, Dance, Art, Poems, Speakers, History Trivia & Refreshments Too

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA) President Barbara Parker reports:

RISA's 14th Annual Black History Month

Join us as RISA celebrates their annual Black History Month Event on Tuesday, February 21st from 6:30pm to 8:30pm Senior Center 546 Main Street

"A Century of African American Life, History, Culture and Diversity"

Spoken Word, Presentations, Dance Performance, African Drumming, Songs, Art, Poems, Guest Speakers, History Trivia and more....

Refreshments will be served. For more information and to confirm your attendance contact Barbara Parker at 917-951-4137 or email

We all look forward to seeing everyone enjoy the various Island organization Black History Month celebrations and the colorful diversity of all the cultures, history and heritage that represent Roosevelt Island.

Deadline For Roosevelt Island Non Profits To Apply For NYC 2018 Expense Funding Grants From Council Member Ben Kallos Is February 21- Capital Infrastructure Grant Deadline March 24

If you know of a Roosevelt Island non profit corporation seeking additional funds, let them know that the deadline to apply for NYC 2018 Expense Funding grants from Council Member Ben Kallos is Tuesday February 21.

According to the February 2017 newsletter from Council Member Kallos:
... City Council Funding for Local Non-Profits Due February 21

Each year private non-profit corporations that serve thousands of residents of Council District 5 can apply for grants of $5,000 to $20,000 from my City Council office to supplement essential services in the neighborhood. You can review past budget results, resources funded through this process and learn more about the application at

The deadline this year for application is February 21. Learn more by contacting our Budget Director Sushant Harite at 212-860-1950 or, or visit
Mr. Kallos adds:
This money is here for the community and I want as many local non-profits taking advantage of the opportunity. My main concern is that we are maximizing the return on services for every dollar my office spends.

My office holds a very open application process, anyone interested in seeing where past allocations have gone can see them at We encourage any non-profit to apply.
The deadline for non profits to apply for Capital Funds that support infrastructure needs is Friday March 24.

Click here for application info.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island Celebration Of Black History Month Monday February 20 - Music, Poetry, Dance, Tribute To Martin Luther King & President Obama Plus Much More

Roosevelt Island Senior Center Carter Burden Program Outreach Director Hallie Shapiro reports:

We are CLOSED for all regular programming this Monday (2/20) for President’s Day, but be sure to come to the Black History Month Celebration between 1-4pm here at the Senior Center. Open to the community! There will be music, poetry readings, African dance performance, special tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama, and more! The party will be MCed by Public Safety’s Deputy Director, Kevin Brown.

Please join us! Light refreshments will be served.
Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Child, Youth & Education Ad Hoc Committee Co-Chairs Adib Mansour and Anne Heskel add about same event:
It is with pleasure that RIRA’s Children, Youth and Education Ed Hoc Committee invites you to attend RIRA’s Black History Month Celebration with Anyah, Tia, and our young ambassador Lola De Luka.

The two leadership participants will read a private essay, a poem by Maya Angelou, and will perform an African Dance. Guest speakers include Deputy Director Kevin Brown (Public Safety Department), Dolores Green, and Mary Coleman.

The event will take place on Monday February 20th, between 1 and 4PM and the Seniors Center (546 Main Street). Snacks and beverages will be served as well as goody bags presented by Lola.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Students Gather Together To Form Valentine's Day Heart In Schoolyard - Cool Rooftop Photo

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA representative Erin Olavesen shares this great photo and reports:

Students at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 were all in red for Valentine's Day and went to the schoolyard

for a very quick photo at the end of the day while I stood on the rooftop.
Here's a larger version of the picture from the PS 217 PTA web site.

You're Invited To Opening Reception For Gallery RIVAA's An African Winter Exhibit By Owen 'Miracle' Maseli Sunday February 19 At Octagon Building Gallery

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA invites you to the opening reception of their new exhibit at the Octagon Gallery tomorrow. According to Gallery RIVAA:

Octagon Gallery
Hosted by RIVAA
Special Reception
Solo show by Owen "Miracle" Maseli "African Winter"
Sunday, February 19th, 2017 from 4-6 pm

Exhibition continues through February 26th, 2017
888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

Friday, February 17, 2017

RuthAnne Visnauskas Replaces Jamie Rubin As Commissioner Of Homes & Community Renewal And Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Board Of Directors Chairperson

Reported last Friday that NY State Commissioner of Homes & Community Renewal & Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Chair Jamie Rubin was appointed Director of NY State Operations by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

At last evening's RIOC Board of Directors meeting, Acting RIOC Board Chair Alex Valella announced that Mr. Rubin's resignation was effective today and he would be replaced by RuthAnne Visnauskas as DHCR Commissioner and RIOC Board Chair.

 Image of Mr Rubin And Ms Visnauskas From The Real Deal

Here's Mr. Valella's reporting to the RIOC Board on new Chair.

According to Ms.Visnauskas DHCR biography:
RuthAnne Visnauskas, Executive Deputy Commissioner for Housing Development, is responsible for strategic leadership and oversight of all housing and finance programs for NY State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

Prior to joining HCR, RuthAnne was Managing Director of the Housing Advisory Board for the Robin Hood Foundation. Robin Hood is New York's largest poverty-fighting organization. The Housing Advisory Board was established to fund initiatives to advance the quantity and quality of affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers.

Previously RuthAnne held several key positions at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), including the role of Commissioner from September 2014 to February 2015. HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing agency, in charge of the development and preservation of affordable housing and the enforcement of the City’s Housing Maintenance Code....