What happened to “Roosevelt Island Tree City USA?” In 2020?

What happened to “Roosevelt Island Tree City USA?” In 2020?

“Roosevelt Island Tree City USA.” There was a sign, back in the 90s, posted on Main Street near the helix. The community was proud of its trees, and there were plenty around. But in recent years, a lot of trees were lost along with the pride that was part of it.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

One of my favorite Roosevelt Island places was a grove of weeping willows aligning the walking path on the east side of Lighthouse Park. Running through on summer mornings, then, I swept away the graceful branches as I jogged through.

An ironically titled Care of Trees truck facilitating the destruction of Rivercross’s old growth trees. RIOC picked the higher bidder over another that said the trees could be saved.

The willows are gone, as are so many others, fallen to one ill-advised RIOC project after another. Like the brutal removal of old growth trees on the Rivercross lawn, mainly things giving a bloated staff something to do.

And even in the pandemic year, RIOC further erased the memory of Roosevelt Island Tree City.

Roosevelt Island Tree City or “Chopped City?”

“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.”

Here’s what prompted her concern:

Without community discussion, of course, RIOC sent a crew out in July, hacking down a grove of inkberry trees providing a rare stretch of shade along the West Promenade.

A notice appeared on Twitter.

Roosevelt Island Tree City USA Contrast…

Before…

And after…

In its wisdom, RIOC released a statement from then acting president/CEO Shelton Haynes.

With unintended hilarity, he said, ““After speaking to our Director of Landscaping and Horticulture, our Grounds Department was in the process of rejuvenating overgrown Ilex glabra (inkberry) plants.”

But Haynes never mentioned that the “rejuvenating” took place months later than experts recommend. Did he even know?

As you will see, the results were predictable.

“The overgrowth threatened to infringe on the walkway of the promenade, shade out other plantings and inhibit visibility in the area,” he added.

And, in fact, the inkberry trees did nothing of the kind or anything else that a little judicious pruning couldn’t resolve without all the destruction.

Flash forward one year…

RIOC’s 2020 attack on the legacy of Roosevelt Island Tree City yields the results we feared.

Because spring awakening would reveal the results, we took a walk through, last week, and it was devastating.

But pictures tell more than words. So, here is what we saw.

The hacked down grove of inkberry trees has not rejuvenated, but a closer look reveals worse.

Dead, chopped tree stumps litter the area. RIOC promised they’d sprout new, fresh branches, springing back to life, but that didn’t happen. A majority have just died.

And even some of the new, ground level growth is dying already. The grounds crew, so eager to hack away in 2020, couldn’t be bothered to prune the browned out stems, even as visitors arrived to celebrate the cherry blossoms.

The sad end of Roosevelt Island Tree City?

The demise of our community environmental standard seems irreversible. A new administration has not changed RIOC. In recent days, in fact, locals expressed concerns that the state agency is now “worse than ever.”

Exposure may yield some accountability, prying RIOC out of its bunker mode, but that will take new leadership. The shambles left over after last year’s assault on decency is like a machine with its gears jammed, unoiled, and no handyman around for fixing it.

Latest from the Roosevelt Island Daily News desk…

Island House Floor Plans

UPDATED: Parking Craziness, Roosevelt Island Is Overloaded with Cars

About the parking craziness, she said, “I had never seen that plaza’s surface completely covered by parked cars.” Roosevelt Island went from restricting cars to fertilizing them. By David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily Never underestimate RIOC’s ability for doing even worse. Just a few days later, they jammed the No Parking area at 591…

Keep reading

The secret behind the highest taxed community in America, the hidden Roosevelt Island RIOC Tax

The Roosevelt Island RIOC Tax…? No surprise if you’ve never heard of it, but it’s real. And effectively hidden. All residents cough it up, every year. That’s on top of federal, state and city taxes. Estimated reading time: 6 minutes By David Stone Roosevelt Island Daily News Introduction To the Hidden RIOC Tax In the end, Roosevelt Island…

Keep reading

RIOC folds, finally inviting residents to the FDR Hope Memorial opening, but you must sit on the grass

After days of public shaming, RIOC folds, telling residents a little about the event, but demanding that they sit on the grass. By David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News RIOC Folds After Days of Public Shaming “As always, a failure to understand & articulate how folks with disabilities and other special needs should be…

Keep reading
black woman in uniform on street

Coronavirus Cases Rise in New York, But Roosevelt Island Bucks the Trend, So Far

Across New York City, coronavirus cases doubled since June, but Roosevelt Island has, so far, bucked that trend. Department of Health statistics look positive for the future, too, although some weakness remains. By David Stone Roosevelt Island Daily News According to reported tests for the week ending July 11th, not a single positive result came…

Keep reading
FDR Hope Memorial Ready To Open

RIOC will open FDR Hope Memorial, but you’re not invited

You paid for it, but you’re not invited to the ribbon-cutting for the FDR Hope Memorial on Saturday. A press release excluded all local news sources. And no RIOC Advisory extended an invitation to the event, just three days away. By David Stone Roosevelt Island Daily News You’re not invited “Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC)…

Keep reading
RIOC HQ

Is RIOC’s main office move good or bad?

RIOC makes its move, this week. “RIOC main offices will be relocating from 591 Main St. to 524 Main St.,” it said. But like most things RIOC, important details went unsaid. By David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News RIOC’s main office move comes after 45 years, rent free, in Westview. With few details known…

Keep reading

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Share

Written by:

455 Posts

View All Posts
Follow Me :

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: