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Hudson’s Lousy Holiday Spectacle


Hudson’s Lousy Holiday Spectacle

Things that make you ask, “$75,000 for that…”

Hudson’s lousy holiday spectacle for 2017 exceeds expectations in reverse. In 2019, we asked, “$75,000 for that?” Two years later, it’s WTF? That’s as clear as we can make it, suitable for all ages.

Hudson's Lousy Holiday Spectacle
In Riverwalk Commons, a few bare trees got these colored lights and bulbs, that’s it.

The Big Picture: Roosevelt Island News

In October, 2017, RIOC president Susan Rosenthal teamed with Hudson’s David Kramer to force their Winter Wonderland down her Board’s throat on short notice.

Related: Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting 2019

There were protests, especially from Fay Christian, who objected to voting “at the last minute,” without time to review. Again.

And Margie Smith thought local artists ought to get a shot at decorating Main Street, rather than give all the money to outsiders.

She was right, but it was to no avail.

Now, with both Christian and Smith gone, RIOC’s rubber stamp Board of Directors, isn’t likely to awaken from its months long slumber.

On the plus side, Hudson’s lousy holiday spectacle for 2019 marks the last of a three year deal. But there is no guarantee it won’t be renewed.

What’s Winter Wonderland all about anyway?

Her first holiday season as RIOC President, Rosenthal struck a deal with Hudson to make Main Street more festive. RIOC gives the real estate giant a $50,000 lease concession, and Hudson agrees to kick in $25,000.

Even given concerns that Hudson slanted the money toward its own businesses, snubbing everyone else, the first year was a head-scratcher of imperfection.

Gray snowflakes may not be completely out of place in New York City, but for the holidays, we usually fake it with vivid whites. We imagine better before the cold and dark of winter sets in.

But that’s not Hudson’s thing.

Their lousy holiday spectacle sullied the first year with gray snowflakes in Riverwalk Commons and Good Shepherd Plaza. Big ones. And off-color snowmen too.

They joined skimpy trees that tipped over if a passerby sneezed at them.

 “It all looks like stuff you could buy at Target,” said one resident.

Hudson's Lousy Holiday Spectacle
Riverwalk Commons: Need we say more?

Hudson’s Lousy Holiday Spectacle gets worse…

What Hudson’s done, with RIOC’s blessing, comes off as worse because the real estate giant has money, teams with fellow giant The Related Companies, making $25,000 little more than a rounding error in the Accounting Departments.

The insult to Roosevelt Islanders — strangely from a company that could use improved PR — seems inexplicable, but there it is.

Hudson’s lousy holiday spectacle for 2019, after an uptick in 2018, is much worse, even than the first year because….

  • There’s even less. The gray snowflakes and flimsy trees are gone but replaced by nothing other than a smattering of globes lit on trees.
  • The cliched Santa’s Sleigh in Good Shepherd Plaza is reindeer and elf shy. Plain as can be.
  • Street side decorations wrapped around lampposts and strung along the Roosevelt Landings arcade are reduced. They no longer extend to Westview… where Hudson no longer collects rents.
  • With two-thirds of the investment coming from public money, Hudson decorates only its own investments, leaving every other location bare.

There’s a cheapness and even resentfulness about all this that’s unfitting for the season of generosity and community. Hudson with this lousy holiday spectacle, protected by RIOC standing silent, does Roosevelt Island a disservice.

The other side of Hudson’s lousy holiday spectacle…

Manhattan Park always outshines Hudson Related for the holidays, and this year is no exception. They share bright lights all through the park bordered by River Road.

With a year of reconstruction finished, The Octagon also comes on strong with a glittering, contemporary lobby display. Visitors are welcome. And you can stop and see Laura Hussey’s Portraits of Friends in RIVAA’s lobby gallery while you’re there.

And Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance will welcome subway riders with carols on Friday and introduce songs from their upcoming A Christmas Carol before the traditional tree lighting.

Even the combined forces of RIOC and Hudson-Related can’t mess up the season for everyone.

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