Reverse Nostalgia. AVAC Breaks Down Again After a Single Day


Reverse nostalgia greeted some Roosevelt Islanders for Thanksgiving. Smelly hallways and heaps of black trash bags herald a new AVAC failure, after just one day.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Reverse Nostalgia for Thanksgiving

Black trash bags substitute for AVAC chutes sealed shut…

“Please be advised that maintenance work alongside the east side of the AVAC system is now complete,” the RIOC advisory sang. “Normal operations will resume tomorrow, Tuesday, November 23rd at 7 AM.” By Wednesday though, it broke down again.

Thanksgiving morning found AVAC chutes in Southtown sealed against the traditional stink. Black trash bags, stacked in a row along the curb south of 460 Main balanced by a clueless RIOC without a word of warning or advice.

But what’s worse than reverse nostalgia turning real is the undeniable implication that the state agency doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing. Elbow and Ass Distinction Disorders (EADD) run rampant inside their many equally inaccessible offices.

So, what’s the real story…

To date, RIOC’s pinned the blame on a bed frame, assembled out of nothing, but more often retreated into silence. Silence can be a sign of many things. In this case, it represents ignorance, a lack of knowing or, just maybe, reluctance at telling the truth. Don’t get me wrong. RIOC has no problem lying when it suits them, but here, they’re stretching the point.

On Thanksgiving morning, black trash bags await pick up, south of 460 Main Street. Some are already torn through. As New Yorkers know, that’s a sign of something worse: rats are on their way.

Over six months since the AVAC system first collapsed, more than four since RIOC admitted it, the timing may tell us what the state won’t. That is, the initial breakdown came when we began welcoming new neighbors at 460 Main Street. Is it possible that the vacuum tube system slipped past its capacity? Like a computer with too little working memory, is it jamming up because demand is too high?

RIOC’s hapless bumbling, retreats into silence, leave this open as a real possibility. In fact, it’s the only one making any kind of sense. Will we ever know the truth? Probably not.

Some Reverse Nostalgia We Can Do Without

Buttering up bad news, RIOCs persistent overuse of “Kindly note” and “Please be advised” are things they can fix. These near archaic grace words vanished from common use in the rest of the world when they moved beyond dull to hopelessly insincere.

Kindly note, it would be nice if you just crawled out of the bunker and talked like you really wanted a connection. Please be advised, Roosevelt Islanders pay for all this stuff. They deserve cold, hard facts, not mannered evasions.

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