Once “Tree City USA,” the local New York neighborhood is now “Roosevelt Island Chopped City.” Devastation of local greenery, a years long process, accelerates and adds rudeness and intimidation to the mix.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
By David Stone
“I am convinced that Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is on a mission, depriving us of ALL of our island bushes and trees,” wrote a concerned 20-year resident. “Our streets used to be lined with blooming rose bushes and beautiful trees. Now all of them are getting cut down.”
She preferred remaining unnamed for fear of reprisals.
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It’s more like a drive to reinvent Roosevelt Island as a piece of suburbia. Only nonresidents dream of such things.
Rich greenery disappears, and yesterday, state landscapers added rudeness and intimidation to the scheme.
Roosevelt Island, Chopped City
A reader contacted us about RIOC’s “butchering” shrubs above the West Promenade on Tuesday, July 7th, but that was just a start.
The next day, RIOC’s crew added rudeness, then intimidation to the ugly mix.
A burly groundskeeper, improperly wearing a face mask below his nose, ordered a resident to “stop recording us.” When the resident resisted, he called in Public Safety.
PSD officers showed up, demanding identification. eBike riders on promenades, running stop signs and crosswalks, don’t get the same attention.
We shared the video with acting president/CEO Shelton Haynes and told him about PSD’s response.
“After speaking to our Director of Landscaping and Horticulture, our Grounds Department was in the process of rejuvenating overgrown Ilex glabra (inkberry) plants. The overgrowth threatened to infringe on the walkway of the promenade, shade out other plantings and inhibit visibility in the area.”
“Where is the accountability for these egregious acts of ignorant destruction of our beautiful used to be green island?” our reader asks.
“Is there a guarantee that tomorrow we will not wake up to the entire island asphalted over to save the cost of maintenance for RIOC?”
“Hooray, that unsightly and inexplicable fire hydrant barricade has been removed from in front of the deli,” our reader wrote. “However, it is commonplace for trucks to be double parked in front of the hydrant outside Rivercross. They are United Parcel, FedEx, deliveries to Wholesome Factory, etc. That situation Never seems to bother Public Safety
Roosevelt Island’s Main Street is drearier than it should be or was originally envisioned. It discourages strollers, and people casually meeting people. Free Red Buses usher potential friends and customers past. Car-free weekends can help by relaxing car and truck congestion and inviting customers to local businesses. It’s safer too. And that’s just the start.
Doing the right thing is not a sure thing with RIOC. More than a few WTF moments have sparkled through Roosevelt Island during the Haynes regime. And as a rule, they neither admit nor fix any mistake. But suddenly, something has changed. Or maybe more… But some things are getting better, at least for now.