On Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island Swings Into Fall, Weekend of Kites, Art & Jazz

Peter McCarthy
Kite Flight For Peace
Kite Flight For Peace
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, ©Sean Cheah | Quixxle Photography

Fresh air sweeps into autumn, sailing kites, inspiring art and dance and jazz. Here's how we celebrate fall's first full weekend on Roosevelt Island.

The Best First Fall Weekend In New York City

Kites will lift skyward all weekend in FDR Four Freedoms Park, but first, lively jazz notes will kick things off on Thursday at Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street. Follow the music to a weekend of art at RIOC's Fall for Arts Festival.

Mark your calendars. With the tone set by International Peace Day on Wednesday, September 21st, Gallery RIVAA kicks off the opening performance of the First Annual R. I. Jazz and World Music Festival on the following day.

Within walls filled with artwork from Tad Sudol's 1989-2016 Retrospective, beginning at 7:00 on the 22nd, "...guitarist and award winning composer Bruce Edwards and his Uptown Groove band (Dan Walsh on Saxophone, Essiet Okon Essiet on Bass, and Reggie Nicholson on Drums) will lay down classic jazz/funk grooves, in addition to selections from the Great American Songbook."

On Friday, September 23rd at 7:00, according to the announcement from RIOC, the art-filled entertainment continues: 

"Argentina's Latin Grammy nominated saxophonist and composer Julio Botti has taken his love of South American rhythms and modern jazz and created an electrifying new quartet that fuses the ethnic rhythms of the Southern Cone with Tango. Joined by the South American Jazz Ensemble, the quartet features three other young forces in the New York City Jazz scene; Andrew Baird (Guitar), Eduardo Withrington (Keys), and Tiago Michelin (Drums)."

Fall for Arts and Rise Up With Kites

Three fresh acts take the music outdoors to accompany RIOC's 11th Annual Fall for Arts Festival on September 24th. While artists create murals under shady trees on the lawn south of Rivercross, visitors and artists alike will enjoy songs performed for audiences on the Meditation Steps.

Also at 11:00 on the 24th, Kite Flight for Peace launches with "...a special kite-flying demonstration featuring kites of all shapes and sizes by American kiteflier and educator Archie Stewart. Archie will fly a variety of different sport kites with multiple control lines and will be available to assist and educate visitors on how to safely fly kites," in FDR Four Freedoms Park." (Rain Date: Sunday, September 25th.)

This years Fall for Arts theme is “Mosaic Vignettes: Scenes of New York City,” planned to celebrate Roosevelt Island's cultural diversity. Blank murals are already set up and ready to go. RIOC also supplies the paint and other supplies for artists who spend the day, from 11:00 to 4:00, bringing their visions to reality in open air with the public invited to observe.

Setting the international accent, the music festival migrates to the plaza along the river in front of the Meditation Steps, also at 11:00.

The third and final day of performances starts with "Gallery RIVAA Jazz Salonists, who have entertained Roosevelt Island residents for over three years at Gallery RIVAA’s First Sunday Jazz Salon events. The band, which features electric violin, tenor sax, guitar, upright bass, and drums, shares their love of the classics with its repertoire of great jazz standards and straight ahead jazz."

While kits fly and visual artists carry on, "...award winning vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia, perform(s) her unique hybrid of Indian grooves and Saharan desert blues, mixed with elements of Jazz, starting at 12:30. On stage she is accompanied by the beautiful harmonies and addictive guitar riffs of partner Rez Abbasi, the trancelike rhythms of the Sahara masterfully played by Nitin Mitta on tabla, and the melodic accordion player Will Holshouser."

Finishing off the day's musical adventures is "...internationally acclaimed guitarist Roni Ben-Hur performing his Sounds of Brazil, with the Roni Ben-Hur Quintet, taking the stage at 2:30. Renowned for his golden tone, improvisational brilliance, and compositional lyricism, Ben-Hur is a master of Brazilian Bossa Nova and Samba jazz. The quintet features internationally established Mexican vocalist Magos Herrera, drummer Helio Schiavo, and Itaiguara Brandão on bass."

Set aside some time if you can. Autumn won't get a better welcome anywhere. Join your neighbors in celebration at Gallery RIVAA, Fall For Arts and FDR Four Freedoms Park. 

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