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UPDATED: RIOC’s 4th of July notice finally arrives. With a sad thud.

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RIOC’s 4th of July notice landed landed Monday at 1:00, and although the event promises rare thrills, RIOC sadly disappoints. Careless website advice for the non-vaccinated to “kindly where a mask” isn’t that bad, of course, but it reflects a tone. And failing at opening up Southpoint Park or giving residents any preference, however, is painful.*

But, late Tuesday, without acknowledging any mistake or giving credit, RIOC, the state agency that never gets it wrong, made a significant adjustment. See “Editor’s note” below.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

RIOC’s 4th of July Notice: What you need to know and what’s missing…

Editors note: Just before 6:00, this evening, RIOC changed it’s tune and will now give Roosevelt Islanders three hours of ticket access before opening up to the public.

Here is what they emailed through their advisory system: “Registration for the Roosevelt Island Fourth of July Family Fireworks Celebration will be opening tomorrow, Wednesday, June 30th, at 1 PM. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to register for advanced tickets. Tickets will open to the general public the same day at 4 PM. For details on tickets, go to: rioc.ny.gov/587

Although RIOC now offers a three-hour window for local residents, they didn’t explain how that might work. And given recent history, there is no certainty they will pull it off.

Moreover, RIOC still refuses to open Southpoint Park to anyone other than the 1,500 with tickets for FDR Four Freedoms State Park. In other words, Southpoint is no more than a pass through, and prime view will be eliminated for the vast majority of residents and visitors.

End of Editor’s note.

1,500 tickets for viewing the fireworks spectacular from inside FDR Four Freedoms State Park are available, starting at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. A link will be posted at the time; so, expect a scramble for this precious commodity.

A limit of four tickets per family will mean thousands disappointed.

Cornell Tech opens its campus, without ticketing, at noon on the 4th. There will be checkpoints for entering and airport style security checks, but locations are not known as yet. With Southpoint closed to any but the 1,500 passing through on their way to Four Freedoms, crowding is expected on the campuses rolling meadows.

All well and good, but what’s missing?

For one thing, as noted earlier: Southpoint Park. RIOC mentions the popular community park only as an access point for ticketed Four Freedoms fireworks watchers. Nothing about capacity, security, passes or tickets.

And not a word about food or beverages.

Southpoint Park Aerial View
Southpoint Park, from the crossroad south to the V-shaped meadow in Four Freedoms, ideal for watching the fireworks.

While that omission is as huge as it is disappointing, the absence of any preference for residents in RIOC’s 4th of July notice is downright painful.

Roosevelt Islanders, via the RIOC tax, cover all the expenses for maintaining Southpoint, and on previous 4ths of July, RIOC honored that with a “residents first” policy for Southpoint. A system was established where locals had exclusive registration privileges before the rest of the world rushed in.

But not with the current, detached administration, no so far, this year. Southpoint’s only a pass through on the way to Four Freedoms.

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