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Gov. Hochul takes time to throw shade at Roosevelt Islanders

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Why did Governor Kathy Hochul throw shade at Roosevelt Islanders? She jumped in bed with RIOC in falsehood embracing praise for the devastating destruction of Southpoint Park.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Embrace the Party: Throw Shade at Roosevelt Islanders

Did this protest march inspire the messy letters
Save Our Shoreline (SOS) Protest, July 2020.

It started with a falsehood…

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of two newly expanded and improved waterfront promenades within Roosevelt Island’s Southpoint Park. The $11 million revitalization project expands the island’s lookout points with pathways and native vegetation, and strengthens the shoreline against future storm damage.

Governor Kathy Hochul press release, December 6, 2021.

In reality – the one in which we live, not politicians – the opening actually occurred a week earlier, but otherwise, the polished act of throwing shade south was well coordinated. Elected officials all joined in with comments coordinated with key words they repeated. Subverting the will of residents was a party game. For example…

Hochul: “This project includes measures to protect 1,600 linear feet of shoreline from events like Sandy and incorporated nearly 34,000 square feet of new, indigenous landscaping ..”

RIOC, November 26th: “The project, while providing enhanced scenic views in and around the park, included measures to protect 1,600 linear feet of shoreline and incorporated nearly 34,000 square feet of new, indigenous landscaping.”

It’s not even what it seems. “1,600 linear feet” is an inflated way of saying “a little over a quarter mile.” It makes the price tag easier to digest.

Credit for Everyone, Except Those Really Responsible

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: “I applaud Governor Hochul and the Roosevelt Island Operation Corporation for prioritizing Southpoint Park’s waterfront promenades by expanding the lookout points with pathways and native vegetation.”

The biggest gaff was applauding Hochul since she had no hand in the project at all. During her tenure, RIOC president Susan Rosenthal got it started. Andrew Cuomo was governor until the final, disappointing result. But more embarrassing really was that no one corrected her “Operation” with “Operating” before releasing it.

But if you want to throw shade at residents, many of whom detest what RIOC did to the treasured public space, you can’t top state assembly member Rebecca Seawright.

“I commend Governor Kathy Hochul and Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation CEO Shelton Haynes for prioritizing Southpoint Park with $11 Million in funding for resiliency and waterfront promenades,” she said.

Hochul, we repeat, played no role in the project, and Haynes’s only affect came in churning out a result far worse than anything Rosenthal signed off on. In contrast, it’s like a depressing before and after.

Langan Rendering Approved by Rosenthal…

East Promenade looking North.

Same viewpoint as Haynes Oversaw Completion

Throw Shade at Roosevelt Islanders: Make like it’s something it’s not

Hochul says, the project “expands the island’s lookout points with pathways and native vegetation.”

And Haynes chimes in with “…quiet strolls through winding pathways lined with lush vegetation…”

But here you go with reality, which insists on interfering.

Lookout points with pathways and native vegetation…? Really? But where?

So, how about this for “winding pathways lined with lush vegetation?”

East Promenade in Southpoint…

Here’s the windingest pathway along either shoreline. And look at all that lush vegetation.

But the echoing political party throws shade like one of the many trees RIOC plowed over in making the new Southpoint Rock Garden…

Putting talking points to good use, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer praises “an oasis for wildlife.” But state Senator José Serrano tops her, embracing “maintaining existing wildlife habitats.”

And RIOC Project Manager Prince Shah raves about “maintaining and encouraging wildlife in their natural habitat.” Kidding? Really?

Here’s what RIOC tore out:

On the left is the shoreline protesters fought unsuccessfully to save… But a close up explains it better.

Wild grasses, Southpoint shoreline before RIOC sent in the bulldozers.

Once, we hoped Hochu’s emergence would bring a new day and the kind of change Cuomo fought for a full decade. But to throw shade at Roosevelt Islanders, Governor Hochul chose party loyalty over telling the truth… Just like…. what was his name again…?

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