Canadian Geese, Southpoint Park

Contrasts: October 2021 on Roosevelt Island in Pictures


October 2021 was a month of contrasts for Roosevelt Island. Beautiful merged with painful and frustrating, suggesting a rudderless passage with little vision and less direction.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

October 2021, the Contrasts

Ravaged Cherry Trees, West Promenade
Healthy cherry trees just before being hacked by a RIOC crew.

Brutal Mishandling of Historic Cherry Trees

The damages so historic and monumental they force themselves to the top of the page. In the last week of October 2021, RIOC sent a crew with a chainsaw out butchering Roosevelt Island’s historic row of Cherry Trees on the West Promenade.

“Pruning,” the crew called it, when challenged, but fruit tree pruning is not about hacking off branches wholesale from the bottom.

Pruning involves judicious shaping, allowing maximum sunlight for photosynthesis and esthetics.

And it should never be done in autumn because this leaves the tree vulnerable in winter and curtails energy storage for spring.

Exposed, RIOC made no effort to explain the blunder.

Beauty among the beasts…

But it wasn’t all ugly and painful. Sometimes, the state stayed out of the way long enough to allow Roosevelt Island’s special beauty in.

An early autumn evening along the West Promenade.

RIOC Board Controveries

A report showed that the RIOC board fell short of a legislated minimum of five resident members.

Two former residents moved, but when our report called for both resigning, only one complied. Jeffrey Escobar stepped down. David Kapell, though, never a full time resident to begin with, refused.

By month’s end, RIOC chief counsel Gretchen Robinson overruled community protests, cobbling together a misdirection excuse.

Cuomo crony David Kapell refused calls for his resignation but remained silent when asked why.

October 2021 on Roosevelt Island, more views

Alongside the FDR Hope Memorial, Canadian geese graze in a sunny autumn sunset.

RIOC’s strangely secret bank open house gave the state agency a shot at doing the right thing, pushing a viable alternative for bringing direct banking back to Main Street. They failed miserably, leaving us wondering what elected officials Rebecca Seawright and Ben Kallos were doing there, participating in this scheme.

As you can see, RIOC’s brain trust pushed a ridiculous Sportspark Bank idea that’ll never happen while discounting, even lying about the single viable option available. Yet, both state assembly member Rebecca Seawright and city council member Ben Kallos boasted, on their websites, about their involvement. Seawright declined a request for comment, especially about the inappropriate secrecy and media blackout.
Things did not start well.but following weeks of pressure, the state finally actively enforced face mask rules on the Tram.

Memorial for A Dog Killed by an Illegal Car on the West Promenade

Lax enforcement of West Promenade vehicles rules lead to Luigi’s death. A memorial recognized the loss of this beloved family pet.

RIOC overreacts, creating new conflicts…

Following the third incident of a pedestrian in a Main Street crosswalk hit by a car, RIOC woke up. Acting quickly, the state’s deep thinkers drastically restricted vehicle access to…. the promenades?

So, how does RIOC really feel about Roosevelt Island…?

Away from the view of visiting bankers and compromised politicians, this seating area, set aside for residents along the East River, is as piled deep with months of bird excrement as it was six months ago when we first documented it.

Speaking of seating….

What RIOC promised for Southpoint Park, the east shoreline…

What we have as of October 2021… all rocks and hard surfaces, trees and grass banished.

As super secret RIOC refuses to explain…

Manhattan-like piles of smelly trash grow in the sixth month of a mysterious AVAC breakdown. After falsely blaming a stuck bed frame, deflecting responsibility away from themselves, the state agency that never gets it wrong declared the breakdown solved. It wasn’t, and in two months since, RIOC has rejected all requests for explanations.

Progress in Lighthouse Park, October 2021

Amanda Matthews’s Girl Puzzle takes shape as the Nellie Bly Memorial.
At the same time, work continues on the temporarily headless lighthouse.

Thank you, Hudson Related: Ending October 2021 on a High Note

A treat for all, Hudson-Related cultivated a small, but refreshing wild garden along the East Promenade behind 460 Main Street.

More from the Roosevelt Island Daily


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