Late winter is a mixed bag on Roosevelt Island. Great, beautiful things stand out, but there is no escaping a drop off in quality of life issues. Sadly, the worst of it is manmade.
by David Stone
A late winter walk…
The photos here are all south of the bridge. I walked all the way up to the Lighthouse too, but the lack of attention from RIOC, reported here many times, is unmistakable. On the way to The Girl Puzzle and the still unfinished lighthouse, you find lawns wrecked with tire tracks through mud and parking areas strewn with debris. Cross your fingers for summer better than the last.
- See also: Human Hibernation – Is It Even A Thing?
Ever inspiring is the WFF animal sanctuary in Southpoint. Rossana Ceruzzi’s crew shelters Canadian geese with broken wings, opossums and rescued cats. Last year, after RIOC destroyed their habitats, Canadian geese took refuge, giving birth to dozens of goslings.
Denuded now, trees, grasses, bushes and wildlife banished, the shoreline in Southpoint offers limited pleasures and little warmth, even on a sunny day.
The historic Smallpox Hospital, designed by James Renwick, recalls a time when refuge included artful construction.
Last fall, when it was bathed in brilliant colors, we featured the Renewal Tree because it’s a survivor. In late winter, it’s architecture is even more impressive. It’s sturdy base stayed strong after careless “pruning” sawed off mature branches. Nowadays, vibrant sprays of fresh branches promise a vibrant future. It still spells promise.
The ferry landings brought a fresh touch, yet while RIOC invested millions in a failed Southpoint makeover, other shorelines carry on decades of neglect.
Four Freedoms Park remains a destination, even in late winter, and one attraction is Manhattan’s ever changing skyline.
An echo of the ridiculously fenced-off fire hydrant, farther north on Main Street, the state rendered this one completely useless in an emergency.
After a busy week of movie filming, Four Freedoms Park offers refuge for the last vestiges of winter snowstorms but retains its angular grace.
High tech and homeless find a match along the East River, but while nobody likes homelessness, nobody does much of anything about it. The underlying truth, at least in New York, is that we’d rather talk about it than fix it. The money’s there for clothing, feeding and sheltering everyone, if that’s what we want, but year after year, it persists.
Langan’s design for Southpoint was dreadful, but perhaps, the worst features are the dangerous shorelines. Bets are out on how soon a child or careless adult suffers serious injury tumbling over these harsh, too-short barriers and into the rocks and filthy water.
Late winter is not good for the rock garden tumbled into place where wild growth was home to countless species, from nesting squirrels to underground communities of fungus and insects.
Finally, Roosevelt Island’s colony of Canadian geese survive in Southpoint. In a few weeks, they’ll set up nests for the next generation of native residents on the river.
The Roosevelt Island Daily News is committed to covering its community without bias or shrinking from thorny issues. We need your support in our mission. Reading is always free but our expenses are not. Please chip in.
More from the Roosevelt Island Daily
- Rebecca Seawright: Keep Roosevelt Island in Manhattan Assembly DistrictUsing forceful language and logic, 76th District State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright argued in favor of Roosevelt Islanders’ interests. Her message, delivered for a Districting Commission hearing, reasoned against a proposed map that shifts the
- Is there a connection between school bullying and mental health?School bullying is a serious problem that can have lasting consequences for both the victims and the perpetrators. Some experts believe that there may be a link between school bullying and mental health problems. If
- Why did the counterculture start? How it’s reflected todayIn the late 1960s, young people across America were rebelling against the “square” Establishment. They started the counterculture movement with changes in music, fashion, and lifestyle. But why did this counterculture start? Let’s take a
- What Does Free Thinking Mean Now? Lessons From the Counterculture“You’re never too old to learn,” people say. And they’re right – I’m currently learning about the art of free-thinking from the hippie counterculture. It’s been an interesting (and somewhat eye-opening) experience, to say the
- OMNY and the Roosevelt Island Tram Now Edge CloserTestifying before state lawmakers yesterday, MTA chief Janno Lieber answered a question about OMNY and the Roosevelt Island Tram. It wasn’t great, but it was much better than the hardball his agency took last November.