Lighthouse Park and Roosevelt Island’s North End, April 2022


Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City is one of the most unique and beautiful parks in the city. The park is home to a variety of plant life, including several species of trees. With a new art installation and its namesake feature under construction, this spring, it’s very much a work in progress.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

At Work in Lighthouse Park

Working on Lighthouse Park's namesake feature...
Up close, work on restoring the historic lighthouse drags far behind schedule due to unexpected issues with the design.

The park also features a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline, making it a perfect spot for a romantic picnic or a leisurely stroll.

Visitors to the park can also take a short walk to the nearby Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, which offers stunning views of the East and Harlem Rivers and the New York City skyline. But much of that will wait until the work is completed.

In a longer view, work on the Lighthouse appears even farther from completion.

Next Door Neighbor The Girl Puzzle

In December, Amanda Matthews’s The Girl Puzzle, a tribute to Nellie Bly opened to widespread praise. But the incomplete landscaping around it gives it an unfinished look.

The Girl Puzzle is done, but the landscaping that’s a vital part of it is not.

The best time to plant grass seeds in the northeastern United States is from late spring to early summer when the weather is warm and the days are long. The ideal time for planting is in May or June. RIOC has not announced a plan or plans for sprucing things up with fresh grass..

Moving on from Lighthouse Park

Although both projects are behind schedule, one or both may make it for summer, opening the north end up where the seawall dips into the choppy waters of Hell Gate. But traveling south, the picture is not as promising. Long neglected problems are… well, still neglected.

While motor vehicle traffic gouging the lawn may seem minor, it isn’t after several years without repair. Especially considering that this is where visitors pass on their way to Lighthouse Park and its promising special attractions.

But then, you wouldn’t know for sure you were on Roosevelt Island until you saw bicycles whizzing past Public Safety’s laughable and never enforced orders to get off and walk.

After countless complaints about safety for pedestrians, Public Safety posted these ridiculous signs in 2018. But it was really just a gesture meant to shut people up. The sidewalks narrow, making walking perilous with unyielding bikes racing through.

Further on down, the deterioration of several installations along the East Promenade show visible signs of neglect. This is a potentially knockout area with stunning perspectives. Many visitors walk this way to Lighthouse Park.

These decorative moorings have been allowed to deteriorate for years. Now, they’re crumbling and rusting, and RIOC decorates with a hideously inappropriate trash barrel.

But the Worst Was Yet to Come

The satirical sculpture, The Marriage of Money and Real Estate, by Tom Otterness is a decades old artwork, recognized nationally, but not locally. At least not when you consider the graffiti the state’s ignored for at least five years.

The Marriage of Money and Real Estate, the southernmost feature in the East River, just north of Manhattan Park.

Tom Otterness’s sculpture The Marriage of Money and Real Estate is a whimsical and satirical take on the relationship between money and real estate. The sculpture, located in the East River along the east seawall of Roosevelt Island, features two large bronze figures, one representing money and the other real estate, who are joined together in matrimony.

The sculpture is a humorous way of commenting on the close relationship between money and real estate, and how they often work together to drive economic activity.

While RIOC’s been noticeably rudderless recently, there’s hope that at least the most significant issues will be pulled together in time for summer. Some, which have waited for years, are likely to wait for a few more.

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