Confusion surrounding the official New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area multiplied when RIOC tried evading accountability… er, clearing up some details. We decided we’d better take a look.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

The New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area RIOC Advisory

What brought this to our attention was a late in the day “RIOC Advisory.” Here it is, verbatim, and yes, there are bonus points if you figure out what their saying:

It has come to our attention that there is a narrative circulating through the community that the parking spots on Main Street, which have been designated for use by vehicles pertinent to the operations of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), were reserved for our President and CEO, and his guests. This narrative is false. To be clear and in an effort to maintain transparency, RIOC is reiterating that these four parking spots are designated for use by contracted vendors, visitors, and RIOC vehicles germane to efficient operations of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. These parking spots are reserved only during RIOC business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

RIOC Advisories, Thursday, April 29th, 2021, 4:50 p.m.
New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area.
New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area as seen by approaching drivers.

The problem with this semi-literate information spill isn’t immediately apparent. But once you discover that the author of this false “narrative” is none other than RIOC’s own public safety chief Kevin Brown, your jaw may drop a little…


Yes, Chief Brown told a RIRA committee, earlier this month, that the New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area was, in fact, set aside for Haynes and his guests. That made sense, of course, what with his annexing a major part of historic Blackwell House for his office.

Blackwell House is across the street, and he shouldn’t have to walk too far.

Close up: Smack dab in the middle of reserved parking area, Roosevelt Island meets the Third World.

So, who is lying here? Is it RIOC or… mmm, RIOC?

We confirmed Chief Brown’s statement with two people present at the meeting. Yes, both agreed, that was his clear answer to a question. Chief Brown said the four reserved spots were for RIOC’s president/CEO and his guests. Period.

Let’s be clear. This news site repeatedly criticized Brown’s management of RIOC’s Public Safety Department. But Kevin Brown is not dishonest. In fact, the legendary Jack McManus stood up for him and his character, and that should be good enough for anyone.

Moreover, Chief Brown has reported directly to Haynes for year, before he became CEO and after. If anyone was aware of the situation, he was.

No, Kevin Brown was not lying about the New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area.

So, who was? RIOC’s alleged Communications Team?

Maybe, neither.

Off the rails when RIOC confuses information with marketing and branding

Blame a limp board already sued for failing to do its job. Or, blame unqualified leadership for setting up a Communications Team where the leader’s main prior qualification was handing out volleyballs.

Driving by slowly – stopping is not allowed – drivers are expected to wrench information out of this artlessly posted wrap around.

Quickly, last June, with his promotion following the disgraceful Susan Rosenthal ambush, Shelton Haynes wedged out the last professional public information officer RIOC may ever have. Terrence McCauley took an exit when he saw the writing — more like scribbling — on the wall, protecting his reputation.

And probably his sanity.

By fall, after buttoning up the bunker around Haynes, the alleged Communications Team presented RIOC’s board of enablers directors with their operational structure. External communications, according to director Erica Spencer-EL was limited to “Branding” and “Marketing.”

Talking with local media or sharing accurate information was not part of the plan.

In this scenario, understanding the advisory and all the misinformation is easy.

After Chief Brown’s blunder, saying out loud the silent part, marketing raced in and made it look better. Except it really isn’t any better.

Once past the New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area, the single readable sign is posted. With plenty of company.

The alleged Communications Team, just last week, renamed this area the “Meditation Lawn.” So, we’re not 100% sure where they mean.

But really, it’s the “ADJ TO 501 MAIN STREET” that takes the cake.

Where exactly is 501 Main Street?

Rivercross Lawn? Meditation Lawn? RIOC can’t decide.

501 Main Street is way over there, the lighted doorway sunk beneath Rivercross. Maybe “ADJ To” means something other than “adjacent to.”

We’ll await the alleged Communication Team’s next advisory.


Enough as the New York State Shelton Haynes Parking Area is a problem for Roosevelt Island, the long term issues are greater.

If a state agency, a company or even an individual can’t simply acknowledge a mistake, the kind all of us make, and instead opts for shirking accountability, it, he or she will never get better.

So often, dealing with RIOC is like dealing with high school juveniles still uncertain about the virtues they’re willing to adopt and the shrinking entitlements that must go with it.

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