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May

9

Welfare Island in the Time of Edward Hopper – Free event – May 14, 2013

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Welfare Island in the Time of Edward Hopper

“Blackwell’s Island " Edward Hopper, 1928

“Blackwell’s Island ” Edward Hopper, 1928

EDWARD HOPPER’S VIEW OF BLACKWELL ISLAND

The announcement that Edward Hopper’s 1928 painting Blackwell Island would be auctioned at Christie’s on May 23rd has sparked a revival of interest in this work.

The painting is the subject of a lecture by Judith Berdy, President, Roosevelt Island Historical Society, in a program sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island, on Tuesday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m.

The painting features the north end of what is now Roosevelt Island and its dark silhouetted buildings includes the Metropolitan Hospital dome and other hospital buildings.  The lecture will incorporate period photographs to explore the context of Hopper’s 1928 work.

Blackwell Island, owned by a private American collector, has frequently been exhibited at leading museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The work has never been auctioned before.  The painting is being auctioned by Christie’s on May 23rd and will be on view at Christie’s, 20 Rockefeller Plaza from May 19 to 22, 2013.

The event is FREE and open to the public.

Dec

3

Sandy’s Impact on Roosevelt Island Landmark

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Hurricane Sandy devastated our Lighthouse Park on October 29, 2012.  The seawalls were breached; the park was flooded. The two wooden walkways leading to the lighthouse were destroyed. There was extensive damage to the park including loss of power to the lamp posts,  loss of many older trees and new sink holes. Lighthouse Park is closed for the immediate future due to the extensive damage.

Light House Park Flooded after Sandy 2012

Photo by Judith Berdy 2012

Sep

25

Plattsburgh State University School Nurse Training Class of 1965 returned to Welfare Island

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On Friday, September 21st, over 50 members of Plattsburgh State University School Nurse Training Class of 1965 returned to Welfare Island, now Roosevelt Island. This group of students studied not only to be registered nurses but school nurse teachers. They were at Plattsburgh for an intensive four year program that ran all year. They received the equivalent of an RN and teaching degree in what would now take five years to complete.

The students spent their first and last year at Plattsburgh and came to NYC to do practical nursing at Metropolitan Hospital (The Met). By the time the Class of ’65 arrived, The Met had moved to Manhattan.  Each day the students were driven from  the Central Nurses Residence  to The Met, which is located at 97th Street and First Avenue.  The second year the students relocated to a residence, Draper Hall, which had been newly built in Manhattan.

The alumni had a tour of The Met on Thursday (9/20/12) and a full day of visiting the hospital and remembering their time there. On Friday (9/21/12), they came to Roosevelt Island where Judith Berdy, RIHS Board President, guided them on a full day tour of the island including Lighthouse Park, Octagon, Main Street, Southpoint Park as well as passing by many of our island landmark structures. Everyone was most impressed with the great views of The Met from Lighthouse Park; where a group photo was taken.

Though little is left of the sites some remembered, the island was most impressive to them and interesting memories were shared among the group. The nurses recollected how they became big city sophisticates and recalled that returning to campus was boring. It seemed that many of the students were busy swallowing goldfish.

Feb

14

WINDOWS ON WELFARE ISLAND – Opening Reception Sunday, February 19, 2012

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The Roosevelt Island Historical Society

presents

WINDOWS ON WELFARE ISLAND – Photographs by Dannielle Hayes

Octagon Gallery – 888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
February 18 – March 18, 2012
10:00  a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily

Opening Reception

Sunday, Feb. 19th

1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Sponsor:
The Roosevelt Island Historical Society
Thanks to:
Becker+Becker, PRC Management, RIVAA
for information: 212-688-4836

Jan

26

EXHIBIT OPENING FEBRUARY 18TH!

By admin

THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND

HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESENTS

WINDOWS ON WELFARE ISLAND

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANNIELLE HAYES

Octagon Gallery

888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY

Gallery Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

February 18 to March 18, 2012

Aug

6

A WALK THROUGH SOUTHPOINT PARK

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A WALK THROUGH SOUTHPOINT PARK

Commentary by Judith Berdy

Photos by Brian Blazak

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares her thoughts and some pictures from opening day at the new Southpoint Park.

Southpoint Park opened today (August 2, 2011) after years in the works. I stopped by briefly to see what has materialized from mounds of debris and acres of weeds.  The approximately 7 acre park weaves south from the gate just south of Goldwater Hospital to the southern end of the Smallpox Hospital. The FDR Four Freedoms Park site is south and will open late in 2012.

Just outside the east gates and inside the west gates are cast iron columns salvaged from the City Hospital, which was on the site.

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

The stone walls (Fordham Gneiss) quarried on the Island and salvaged from the City Hospital form a serpentine low winding bench and/or fence through most of the park area.

Image From Brian Blazak of RIHS

Thanks to Alyce Russo, former RIOC Director of Planning, who stored the stones for future use.

Unfortunately the first structure you see is the comfort station, in blue and gray, two colors that have no relation to anything on Roosevelt Island.  It is super size and great for school and camp groups.

Image by Brian Blazak of RIHS

Wide asphalt paved roads and paths make it easy for vehicles to use the roads. They seem a little wide and overwhelming in some areas.

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

The hills, which cover tons of rocks now, are gently sloping downwards and kids and teens seemed to love to run up and down them. The plantings are mostly wild flowers and black eyed Susan’s.  No fancy lawns or gardens here.

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

Inter-spaced in the hills are remnants from the old hospital entrance including an orb that once signified the entrance to the Maternity Hospital on the site.

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

The cul-de-sac that will eventually include the FDR Hope Memorial has a lovely grove of trees surrounding it and overlooking the Smallpox Hospital.

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

The landmark Smallpox Hospital (not Renwick Ruin) is surrounded by a high fence and unfortunately the weeds and debris have not been removed from around it.  This is a pity, since the building should be the showpiece of the park.  Hopefully this will be remedied soon.

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

The landmark Strecker Memorial Laboratory just northeast shines with its wonderful restoration and it is pleasantly placed in a setting befitting this lovely structure.

Image from Brian Blazak of RIHS

It is not a cafe, but a power conversion station for the F and M subway lines. Perhaps it is the perfect site for a few tables and a Cappuccino Cart.  Modern steel benches dot the area. They look out of place and a bit too modern for the classic site.

It is wonderful to watch the river from paths that were blocked by debris and overgrown vegetation for years.  This may not be the High Line, but it is our new connection to the river and our southern tip. Considering all the convolutions the park went through, I am glad it is finally here!

For information on the landmark Smallpox Hospital and Strecker Laboratory go to www.rihs.us.

May

23

“Readings from Our Island” to begin tomorrow, May 24

By admin

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society
In Conjunction with
The New York Public Library-Roosevelt Island Branch
Present
“Readings from Our Island”

Through the years the RIHS has collected all manner of writings that were created by residents of our prisons and hospitals as well as hospital staff, physicians, administrators and others.

Join us for four evenings of readings from these works, most of which have never been seen before.

Tuesday, May 24          Readings from the Hospitals & the Penitentiary

Letters and recollections from physicians, nurses and other staff who worked and sometimes lived on the Island. Penitentiary news with readings from the prison published newspaper,

Story of Emma Goldman, who while incarcerated on the Island, was taught to become a nurse.

All programs will take place at the New York Public Library-Roosevelt Island branch, 524 Main Street from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Mar

29

Spring Waking Tour – May 1, 2011

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The Roosevelt Island Historical Society

4th Annual Cherry Blossom Walk

Sunday, May 1, 2011

11 a.m.

Tour leaves from the Visitor Center Tram Plaza, Roosevelt Island

Suggested Donation: $5.00

Reservations requested: 212-688-4836 or rooseveltislandhistory@usa.com

Nov

8

Island Photos Circa 1968

By admin

A friend on the island discovered these 6 photos circa 1968. They show the lsland before any development started in 1970.

Photo 1 The Welfare Island Bridge went directly to the West Road. There was no Main Street. To the south are the Cancer and Neurological Hospitals.

Photo 1

Photo 2 South view of area that now includes PS/IS 217 and Westview

Photo 2

Photo 3 A forlorn and empty Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Next to it is the Good Samaritan German Lutheran Church. The buildings surrounding them were part of the City Home, a home for elderly, sickly and impoverished.

Photo 3

Photo 4 Entwined in the weeds are the three wings of Blackwell House. The north wing was demolished during its 1975 restoration.  To the south is the driveway and entrance to the Central Nurses Residence.

Photo 4

Photo 5 Goldwater Memorial Hospital from the east with the now demolished City Hospital to the south.  The City Hospital was built from east to west across the island.  The walls of the hospital were quarried from the stone on the island.

Photo 5

Photo 6 From the south looking to the island is the Smallpox Hospital. The building to the east of the center of the hospital “H” is Brennan Hall, part of the complex. This building was demolished very soon after this photo was taken.  The buildings just north were part of the complex of nursing school and staff housing.

Photo 6