Play It Again: RIOC Will Not Let You In on the 4th of July


In 2021, when RIOC, the state agency that always gets it right, prevented anyone from enjoying picnics or fireworks in Southpoint Park, we were quick to blame the Communications Team. But that group was disappeared by President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes. This year, the meanspirited blockade is back, and it’s all on Haynes and his executive protector, Governor Kathy Hochul.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Haynes/Hochul 4th of July Blockade

Although the bunkered executive team inside RIOC posted the bad news – by implication only – on its website, no one has had the backbone to send out an advisory. Nor has anything been posted on Twitter or Facebook.

photo of fireworks
But RIOC will block most residents and visitors from picnicking or enjoying the patriotic even./Photo by Anna-Louise on Pexels.com

Calling it a Roosevelt Island Fourth of July Family Fireworks Celebration, the state agency makes its intentions known by what it’s not saying.

“Non-Ticketed Admission to the Cornell Tech Campus starting at 12 PM. Limited Ticket Event at FDR Four Freedoms State Park, opening at 6 PM,” it reads.

In other words, the same stiff-arm blockade of Southpoint, the public park Roosevelt Islanders pay for, and, before Haynes rolled into town, enjoyed on the 4th of July.

In previous years, Southpoint hosted visitors for picnicking and fireworks. RIOC arranged food trucks strategically around the small, but popular park.

Their decision to low-key the news may limit criticism of Governor Hochul with a primary challenge coming up. Hochul, via factotums in Albany, is as responsible for RIOC as she is any other state agency. They turn highly paid RIOC execs into patronage-protected bobbleheads.

In fairness to FDR Four Freedoms State Park

Four Freedoms unhesitantly allows admission at the maximum allowable level. That limits the crowd to 1,500 because of safety precautions concerning limited access and egress.

And in case you thought RIOC evaded its usual illiteracy, their website cautions, “All attendees who have NOT been vaccinated against COVID-19 are reminded to kindly where a mask throughout the event.” (There has never been a documented case of outdoor COVID transmission.)

And, “Visitors are strongly encouraged to use public transportation,” they advise. “No parking will be available on Roosevelt Island on July 4th.”

The last bit is not truthful, but what the heck? This is RIOC. 

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