Spring is here, and the Southpoint Rock Farm is… Rocky


The Shelton J. Haynes/Langan Southpoint Rock Farm promised pathways with “lush vegetation.” Promise fulfilled? You decide.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

But if that’s all there is…?

The Southpoint Rock Farm Today

The secret deal cut between the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) and bestie Langan yielded significant seawall safety improvements. And torturous esthetic sins.

A rock garden is an area where rocks are arranged in a particular way, often including plants growing between them. But Southpoint reinvention brought Roosevelt Island an original:

The World’s First Municipal Rock Farm

Nobody knows where the rock farm idea came from, but no one… well, planted one before. At the start of the project, managers mumbled about replicating Brooklyn Bridge Park where shoreline trails follow the East River past venues like Jane’s Carousel and a small beach.

The idea was trapping tourists on their way to FDR Four Freedoms State Park, dismissing the quaint idea of leaving it a retreat for residents. Shhhh…

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre (34 ha) park on the Brooklyn side of the East River. The park is bounded by the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Cobble Hill to the north, Atlantic Avenue and Brooklyn Bridge Plaza to the south, and Jane’s Carousel and Empire Fulton Ferry Park to the east.

Were it not for the natural curve, you could see the entire east side trail from one end to the other without squinting. Hikers have no chance of breaking a sweat.

But Southpoint, where one end is just a couple of stone throws from the other, is far too small. And totally lacking venues, unless you count MTA tunnel vents inside the historic Streicher Lab. Which you can only admire from the outside. Without a single sign indicating its significance.

But the creation might have just been an impulse like the one leading Jack Kerouac to write On the Road on a roll of toilet paper. Except not as enlightened by imagination.

Rocks can’t grow, although they can attract skins of lichen, living things that do. So, essentially, the garden-like qualities must rely on the promised “lush vegetation” for fulfillment.

Does vegetation have to be alive to qualify as “lush?”

The lush vegetation seems not to have gotten a call from management yet. Some of it’s already dead.

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