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While You Were Away, Roosevelt Island April Review


While You Were Away, our Roosevelt Island April review, is for our friends and neighbors. Some confined, some isolated and some away. What did you miss?

By David Stone

During the coronavirus crisis, the community’s stayed together. Pots are banged every night at 8:00, and we pass safely along the promenades. But many missed out.

Some are confined, and some are just cautious. Others were ill or recovering. A number fled the city as it became the Covid-19 epicenter.

This is for them.

Roosevelt Island April Review

The most immediate evidence of spring — without a cherry blossom festival — were early bursts of white and pink along the promenades…

Doctor Resnick Online Help

But what caught our attention and probably did the most good was Dr. Jack Resnick’s making himself available online. Residents Association rep Adib Mansour helped with a poster and spreading the word.

Roosevelt Islanders sticking together, beating this thing.

Get local: Roosevelt Island News

You can’t cancel spring. Early flowers glowed in afternoon sun.

Blossoms, Roosevelt Island April 2020 Review

But Who’s Pitching In To Feed Our Neediest Neighbors…?

In the spirit, led by Roosevelt Island Disabled Association director Wendy Hersh, volunteers stepped up, delivering free food to needy, homebound neighbors.

April 2020, Free Food Delivered to Roosevelt Island
Food arrived from multiple sources, and locals delivered more than 100 meals every day..

But a need for art arose…

Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance defied Covid-19, exiting the closed Cultural Center, then dancing back with classes online.

MST&DA Dance
“This keeps students moving, having fun and staying connected,” said MST&DA’s Kimbirdlee Fadner.

Ad: A Million Different Things: Meditations of the World’s Happiest Man by David Stone

Rebecca Seawright Election Shocker

Mid-month, we followed a stunning story. Critical errors in filing for the primary in June left State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright off the ballot. Only Republican Lou Puliafito remains as a major party candidate.

State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

But Seawright says she’s not out yet. She’s fighting in court while planning an independent campaign, just in case.

Newcomer Foodtown Stood Tall for Roosevelt Island in April

Foodtown Delivers Free Meals for First Responders

Already giving first responders priority in-store treatment, Foodtown took it a step farther. Here, they delivered free food at Coler Hospital.

RIOC Proves Its Mettle for Roosevelt Island

A unique resource for Roosevelt Island, RIOC showed it can be even more in a crisis.

PSD Officers Wayne Jones and Corey Fischer died from Covid-19, but the department stood tall. Stretched thin by the coronavirus, at great risk, they stuck with their responsibilities.

RIOC Red Bus in the Rain
Throughout April on Roosevelt Island, Red Bus drivers maintained 15 minute schedules, lending a touch of normal.

RIOC VP Shelton Haynes says that about 80 state employees continue serving on the Island while others work online. Buses, tram cabins and grounds are maintained. Conditions are less than ideal, but RIOC’s been steady, top to bottom.

First Annual Roosevelt Island Film Festival

In a display of tenacity and faith in the future, Toni Vitale and Daniel Jordano announced the First Annual Roosevelt Island Film Festival. It’s set to open August 21st in the Howe Theatre.

Even if the shutdown continues through summer, they vow to stick with it.

Good Neighbors, Cornell Tech Creates Face Shields

Roosevelt Island April Review -- Cornell Tech/3D Printed Face Mask
Face Shield designed and made with Cornell’s 3D printers.

A crisis arose in April, and Cornell rushed to the challenge on its Roosevelt Island campus and Ithaca. 3D printers push out more than 400 per day.

In April, Roosevelt Island Lost A Legend

Jack McManus
Jack McManus was my friend, but I’m far from alone in mourning his death in April.

After serving seven years and influencing far more, PSD Chief Jack McManus succumbed to cancer brought on by his service with NYPD after 9/11.

Political Maneuvers: Coler Hospital Caught in a Crossfire

Coler Specialty Hospital, Roosevelt Island April Review
While Coler Hospital battled, saving lives to Covid-19, losing some, some saw a chance to score political points.

A small group of residents stirred conflict with uncorroborated accusation, but we looked for and reported the facts.

Protected by Hudson-Related, Some Construction Continued As If It Was Normal

Roosevelt Island April 2020, the Sanctuary
No visible permits, no face masks, no social distancing and no interference from RIOC/PSD: “The Sanctuary” builds an outdoor beer garden in our park.
460 Main Street Construction
As Hudson-Related builds out 460 Main Street, no masks, no social distancing and no enforcement.

Main Street Businesses Need Help

Roosevelt Island Main Street April 2020
Against all odds, some Main Street businesses stuck to their guns, providing services and very likely losing money while helping residents endure. We proposed a survival plan.

Closing the Roosevelt Island Review with an Appeal

Before closing our Roosevelt Island April 2020 Review, we’d be remiss if we neglected asking help for our Main Street business community… as both RIOC and Hudson Related fail the test.

We proposed a plan to help them survive, but as things now stand, even businesses forced closed by the state will also be forced to cough up full rent. No matter how long the shutdown lasts, at best, they’ll get a few months deferral.

That’s right. Landlord RIOC, an agency of the state with deep pockets, demands full rent from businesses the state itself closed for how long nobody knows.

An super wealthy real estate giants, Hudson and the Related Companies rake in piece of the pie.

Hudson-Related, visibly absent on Roosevelt Island during the crisis, offering no aid to anyone as far as we know, and RIOC, the ultimate landlord, will not help Main Street businesses with a dime.

So, we end with a sour note. We hope it prompts some thoughts about relief.


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