Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms

Stung by Criticism, RIOC Reacts, Announcing a Weekend Safety Plan


RIOC posted a Weekend Safety Plan, late Friday afternoon, that may serve as a map for handling future events. After seeming unprepared for last weekend’s cherry blossom crowds and stung by critics over an upcoming repeat, RIOC mapped a plan.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

Cherry blossom crowd, North Loop Road, Roosevelt Island

Last weekend, cherry blossoms peaking brought thousands of visitors to Roosevelt Island. Although late to the game, RIOC on Friday set out a plan countering multiple challenges.

RIOC’s Weekend Safety Plan

In anticipation of an increase in visitor and pedestrian traffic to the island this weekend to view the Cherry Blossoms, alongside the disruption in F train service to the R.I. station, the following safety controls will be activated, effective Saturday, April 17th at 7 AM through Monday, April 19th:
Overcrowding Safety Controls:

  • NYPD and PSD will enforce social distancing throughout the island as well as at highly frequented locations on the island 
  • Large crowds will be managed by PSD officers with the assistance of the 114th Precinct 
  • Parks will be monitored by PSD throughout the day. Please note that parks will close in the occurrence of overcrowding on the island. 
  • Cornell security have been alerted and will monitor and discourage large gatherings on the Cornell Tech campus 
  • Face coverings will be distributed to anyone in need of a mask by PSD. 

Transportation & Island Services:

There will be NO F Train service at Roosevelt Island, 21 St.-Queensbridge, Lexington Av/63 St., and 57 St. this weekend. Free MTA shuttle buses will run between Roosevelt Island and Queens Plaza, stopping at 21 St-Queensbridge and Queensboro Plaza. Free MTA shuttle buses will run between Roosevelt Island and Queens Plaza, stopping at 21 St-Queensbridge and Queensboro Plaza. For details, visit

Red Bus- Shuttle service will be provided hourly from the R.I. Tramway, and on the half hour from the Manhattan Tram station. A separate transportation advisory will be sent momentarily detailing transportation options. 

Tram- PSD officers will be present at each station and will enforce social distancing. Passengers should plan accordingly as they may experience long lines.  

Ferry Service- Ferry service will run on normal weekend service hours, however, in the event of large crowds, service will be limited to essential workers only.  For schedule info, visit: 

Vehicular Traffic:In the event of overcrowding, vehicular access to the island will be restricted to island residents and workers only. PSD and NYPD will be stationed at the entryway of the bridge (Vernon and 36th Ave.) to monitor and redirect, if needed. 

Bicycles:Citations will be issued to any cyclist/motorized scooters who do not adhere to NYC bike laws.

Garbage Removal:There will be an increase in waste management this weekend to address any littering caused by overcrowding. 

Thank you for your cooperation during this time. Please remember to enjoy your weekend in a safe and mindful manner. For more information, please call PSD at 212-832-4545. 

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