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Great News: 4th of July Back on the East River, But…


No official announcement yet, but the 4th of July barges filled with Macy’s fireworks will anchor just south of Roosevelt Island again in 2022. We have some details, but with RIOC shrouded in secrecy, not as many as most readers would like. Especially after last year’s miserable debacle.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Fourth of July, Last Time

Viewers filled the shoreline in The Gantries State Park in Long Island City on the 4th of July.

It’s not easy to forget. Last year, RIOC botched the chance for Roosevelt Islanders getting another closeup view of fireworks exploding overhead at he southern tip of the Island. Only the 1,500 FDR Four Freedoms State Park could safely allow got the chance, RIOC botched even that.

The good news is that Four Freedoms will open their gates again. Safety precautions limit visitors to 1,500, but there’s still Southpoint Park, right? Even though RIOC’s squirreling away tickets for loyal friends kept almost everyone else out of Four Freedoms, their handling of Southpoint was worse.

For reasons never disclosed, RIOC refused to allow anyone to enjoy the 4th of July in Southpoint Park.

Except in the COVID-cancelled year of 2020, families and friends gathered in Southpoint park. There were picnics and food trucks, but in 2021, RIOC banned all of it.

And for 2022, Do We Hear an Echo?

No, we don’t, but that’s not reassuring because just one month out from the event, RIOC has announced nothing. Even confirmation of the East River return came from third parties.

But concerns are high because the Communications Team, responsible for last year’s screwup and praised by President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes, has since dissolved under him. Not a single person with experience in staging public events remains on staff.

Instead, multiple sources tell The Daily, Haynes handed planning over to his longtime, can-do-no-wrong friend, Assistant Vice-President Altheria Jackson, and another intense loyalist, Mary Cunneen. Those names don’t inspire confidence.

During her time with overall responsibility for operations, Jackson has overseen Sportspark, including a mysterious drowning and its coverup, as well as the embarrassing dog runs and more.

Cunneen? She fronted RIOC’s Swift Emergency Medical COVID Testing operations. That cost the community hundreds of thousands while yielding scant results, which were lied about. And piles of questionable spending are now under investigation by the Inspector General.

Neither has any experience of which we or any of our contacts are aware in events of this kind. Suspicions are that Haynes merely picked the pair from a shrinking circle of loyalists without many other options.

That’s all we know for now. Stay tuned.

Toss in a couple of bucks for The Daily’s expenses. Thanks.

The Roosevelt Island Daily is always free to read. But our expenses are not. Publishing has costs beyond the human ones of writing and reporting. We appreciate your generous contribution in support our work. Thank you.

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