August 2021 on Roosevelt Island in Pictures

August 2021 on Roosevelt Island in Pictures

August 2021 on Roosevelt Island felt long and strained as multiple stressors and failing leadership met steaming heat and rain. September’s gotta be better, but here’s a look back, for the record.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Roosevelt Island, August 2021

Westview Sales Gallery

On the bright side, though, Westview’s management finally got through enough hoops to open its Sales Gallery, ready to attract permanent, community-stabilizing residents.

New Home Office: Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

In August 2021, RIOC completed its move into prime Main Street space, dashing hopes for expanding retail and creating havoc. The space is too small, and it enriches Hudson-Related’s Shops On Main at the expense of residents.

Compensating, RIOC seized large spaces in the Cultural Center for bulk storage. And whisking aside millions in residents’ investment, the state agency converted historic Blackwell House into office space.

Outside RIOC president Shelton J. Haynes’s door, sidewalk reconstruction ordered pedestrians, wheelchairs and strollers into the street.

But the mindless disregard didn’t stop there because President/CEO Haynes complimented his ADA non-compliant office space with this:

At a location the Big Cheese must stroll by every day, RIOC directed wheelchairs into a grassy area of bushes, low-hanging branches and construction. There are no additional directions, in fact, after entering the uneven surfaces of the lawn.

Moving on…

Unable to manage its own maskless drivers as the Delta virus took hold, it’s no wonder passengers ignored the rules too. But by month’s end, both problems finally cleared out.

For now.

New seating landed in Southpoint Park, but was it any better?

Criticized in July for installing ugly seating, unusable for many, in Southpoint Park under reconstruction, RIOC brought in esthetically less offensive furniture. But none of it is usable for the physically challenged, evidencing an ongoing crisis in cluelessness.

The Roosevelt Island Subway Station

Say what you will, the MTA is consistent. The level of grime and leaking water in the station continues while the state fantasizes bringing back riders by holding fares steady. In fact, the fares are too low and the patronage too high for the system we need.

August 2021 on Roosevelt Island continued with an historic insult…

The original Tram cabins smeared with graffiti.

In August 2021, after years of ignoring resident appeals, RIOC tore away fences protecting the historic Tram cabins, once Roosevelt Island’s claim to fame, the only full time commuter Tram cabins in the world.

Empty ferries are a rarity, but Tropical Storm Henri created the conditions.

When Tropical Storm Henri drenched Roosevelt Island, an empty ferry leaving Roosevelt Island resulted. More followed through the day as folks stayed home.

We can dream, can’t we?

RIOC’s other reserved parking spot for is Executive Director was filled up by CFO John O’Reilly’s car.

In fact, RIOC does not have an executive director, and this was another oddity from an agency unable to manage signs. But it was hopeful.

Don’t worry, though, the New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area still gobbles up four coveted parking spaces on Main Street.

Although there was no truth to the rumor, some wondered whether incoming Governor Kathy Hochul dispatched The Cesspool Man to Blackwell House to clean up the swamp.
After a couple of months of breakdown, RIOC finally got around to explaining the buildup of trash all through Southtown.

The state agency that never makes a mistake let weeks pass before explaining why the AVAC system in many buildings wasn’t working.

But their explanation lacked details and credibility. The absence of any plan for a fix, though, rounded out the unresolved mess.

The RIOC worker’s broom and dustpan fail to ever touch the ground.

And last but not least, a reader wondered why nobody cleans the Island anymore…

Ask RIOC, its new boss, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and the elected officials consistently allowing conditions to deteriorate on Roosevelt Island.

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