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

First, they lost their dog and, then, their faith in Public Safety

Last Tuesday, Laura and Giovanni Battistini witnessed a car running over their dog, Luigi, on the *West Promenade. Thursday, following media coverage sparking community outrage, PSD showed up at their door. It went badly, prompting a letter to RIOC president/CEO Shelton J. Haynes. (*Correction, the original version of this article misidentified the location as the…

Keep reading
Shelton Haynes with Erica Spencer-EL, September 11th, 2021

How Shelton Haynes And Friends Took Control of RIOC

Shelton Haynes and friends got control of RIOC in the shadow of Governor Cuomo’s racist stunt, firing President/CEO Susan Rosenthal. How did that happen in June, 2020, timed for Juneteenth? We know more now, although much remains secret. Following are some pieces to the puzzle and what they imply for a fuller picture. By David…

Keep reading
New Tram Elevator Rendering

The New Tram Elevator Opens on Tuesday, But RIOC Thinks It’s About Foot Traffic Patterns

The new Tram elevator is a big deal. RIOC’s sunk millions, probably too many millions into it, but what makes “pedestrian traffic patterns” the state’s biggest concern? While barely making a note about the elevator? By David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News The New Tram Elevator A point of frustration for decades, physically challenged…

Keep reading

Way Too Many Buses Today on Roosevelt Island

Too many buses jam Main Street on Roosevelt Island. Weighty traffic from mostly empty vehicles wrecks the roadway, but it’s also environmentally unsound. No surprise, city and state fail even to notice. By David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News Buses duplicating routes, crowding narrow streets are usually less than half-full. Sometimes, they run in…

Keep reading

The AVAC Is Broken Again, Says RIOC’s Vague Alert

News that the AVAC is broken again stumbled out of RIOC‘s alleged Communications Team’s alert system yesterday afternoon. We think so, that is, because they said, “…under service repair…” instead. We interpret that as meaning “broken.” The Roosevelt Island Daily News The AVAC Is Broken Alert Please be advised that the AVAC system is under…

Keep reading

Roosevelt Island Holiday Decorations A Ripoff? Apologies to Hudson-Related

Holiday Decorations for Roosevelt Island launched as a great idea in 2017. But that idea was a bust and maybe worse, a ripoff leaving Hudson Related holding the bag. By David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News Was the Roosevelt Island Holiday Decoration Deal a Scam from the Start? Watching RIOC’s lazy board blow another…

Keep reading

Loading…

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

Share

Written by:

613 Posts

View All Posts
Follow Me :

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: