On 4-24-21, Roosevelt Island, awash in the last round of cherry blossoms, welcomed a fresh flood of visitors. Hundreds of visitors enjoyed our Island, but something was missing. And it wasn’t anything new.
By David Stone
4-24-21 Roosevelt Island and the White Rabbit
My wife’s first reaction: “If he can get his rabbit out in a harness, why not my cats?”
This reminded me of something she told me earlier. Cats have one of the smallest prefrontal cortices, the thinking, planning part of the brain, of all animals.
“That’s why they need nine lives,” she quoted.
Anyway, remember this sweet little character. He’ll be relevant later on.
Let’s start with the Farmers Market
The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market is one of the best things we have, a weekly place where we gather in good spirits. This was true, even during most of the pandemic.
And election season brings a whole new layer of activity. Diana Florence, candidate for Manhattan DA, who has friends here, introduced herself.
Nearby, city council candidate Kim Moscaritolo handed out fliers.
The market was busy with dozens of shoppers, and the veggies were crisp and fresh.
But something was missing…
“Large crowds will be managed by PSD officers with the assistance of the 114th Precinct,” promised RIOC, but there wasn’t a single one in sight.
They also said, “Face coverings will be distributed to anyone in need of a mask by PSD,” but that wasn’t true either.
It’s hard handing out face masks when you’re nowhere in sight.
But there was some small evidence of PSD’s bloated, 50-member force…
4-24-21 Roosevelt Island, Noon-ish…
Just a little south of the unattended Farmers Market, two PSD officers sit in a double-parked, marked vehicle in front of a crosswalk. While busy as all get out looking at their cellphones, they force cars to work their way around them.
Maybe the drivers are in on the joke because none come to a full stop at the crosswalk, even as people try getting safely across Main Street.
Finally, a frustrated pedestrian yells at the officers about all the cars endangering lives right in front of them. Right in front of them, that is, if they weren’t busy texting and looking up instead.
The officers barely notice. One looks up briefly, and then, it’s back to the cellphones.
4-24-21 Roosevelt Island: An Afternoon for Strolling Through the Cherry Blossoms
“NYPD and PSD will enforce social distancing throughout the island as well as at highly frequented locations on the island,” RIOC promised.
But then, that advisory landed in the late afternoon on Friday, suggesting RIOC was again late to the game. And then, only after being alerted by a better informed resident.
So, maybe they didn’t really mean it.
Throughout the afternoon, maskless people walked among the cherry blossoms, some posing for photos, others just careless.
But no uniformed officers from anywhere interfered with countless opportunities for folks sharing their coronaviruses.
Our infection rates are already going up, and this helps explain why.
Besides PSD officers, something else missing, this year, is goslings. While RIOC brutally and contrary to the wishes of residents paying for it crushes our shorelines, reimagining our natural Southpoint as Brooklyn Bridge Park North, Canadian geese lose vital habitat.
Springs once abounded with goslings trailing their mothers around the parks. We haven’t seen one, so far, and mated parent pairs nest wherever they can find space.
But where were we again….
Oh, yeah. 4-24-21 Roosevelt Island, and we’re enjoying the cherry blossoms with even more maskless visitors along the West Promenade…
4-24-21 Roosevelt Island, a beautiful, sunny, 70 degree day.
Stopping to sit once in a while, enjoying the pleasures of this special place, we walked all the way from the Tram Plaza, where we saw four PSD officer, actually standing, not tucked in cars. They were chatting while people lined up at the turnstiles.
But do you remember that white rabbit? Here’s a reminder…
Why is he relevant?
In all that time, we saw one more white rabbit south of the Tram, where all the crowds were, than PSD officers.
Fact: Roosevelt Islanders fund RIOC’s Public Safety Department to the tune of around $4 million a year, even during the pandemic.
Is this what we’re paying for? More false promises and smug neglect when we need them most?