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Updated: Your July 4th, 2022, Guide for Roosevelt Island


Here at The Daily, we’re posting a 4th of July, 2022, Guide for Roosevelt Island because what’s tumbling out of RIOC is either garbled or baffling, depending on your point of view. We’ve sifted through the stream of confusing “advisories” so far, distilling the following.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

July 4th Guide, Step One

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The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) allows fireworks viewing and other traditional activities, like picnicking, in two locations:

  • FDR Four Freedoms State Park: Ticketed Only. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. Online ticket access was sold out so quickly, this page could not be updated on time.
  • The Cornell Tech Campus: The rolling meadows south of the campus open at Noon. No tickets needed. Although RIOC promises food trucks along the loop roads bordering the campus, there are no facilities of any kind in the undeveloped campus lots. Warning: There is also no shade. Temperatures are expected in the 80s during the afternoon.

Again, without explanation, RIOC is banning access to Southpoint Park, except for strolling by the Shelton J. Haynes/Langan Rock Farm on your way to the more community-friendly Four Freedoms. On the way, you can use the toilets immediately past the gate.

RIOC Misinformation Alert: The state agency that always gets it right says, “(all locations have ADA accessible restrooms).” That’s untrue. The most sought-after viewing site at Four Freedoms does not have restrooms at all. Portable toilets will be distributed in most other locations, but calling them ADA accessible may be stretching a point.

Alternative Viewing Areas:

In past years, Roosevelt Islanders rejected by RIOC found decent viewing at…

  • The Roosevelt Island Bridge
  • The Rooftop on Motorgate
  • The East Promenade south of the Queensboro Bridge

Also consider prime viewing at the Graduate Hotel on the Cornell Tech campus where they charge $250 per ticket.

Getting There

Most visitors will arrive by F Train. Expect crowds and long waits before and especially after the Macy’s Fireworks.

Paperback or Kindle here.

The Roosevelt Island Tram will run on a “rush hour schedule from 7:00AM to 8:00PM,” according to RIOC. By this, they mean running continuously. As soon as passengers get off, the next group boards, and the cabin leaves the station as quickly as possible. Expect crowding, especially after noon. It’s sorta cockamamie because there’s no apparent reason for the early start or the premature end.

While shutting down the Tram at 8:00 p.m. is a first-ever shock, cutting off an important transportation link when it’s most needed is also unlikely. Don’t count on RIOC’s being accurate here, but you can’t be sure. Have an alternate plan in mind.

RIOC also ominously adds: “The Tramway may be temporarily shut down if the viewing areas/island reach capacity.” What does that mean? It’s RIOCspeak at its worst.

By car? Don’t even think about it. You won’t find any parking, and in previous years, traffic heading for the Roosevelt Island Bridge has backed up for miles. Not a charming way to enjoy the 4th. Traffic entering the Island will be banned from 3:00 p.m. until Midnight.

MTA Q102 buses will also be in short supply and shut down before evening. NYC Ferry will also end all East River routes at or before 5:00 p.m.

As for parking…

The state agency that never makes a mistake tweeted “this guidelines…”

Yes, the fonts are far too small, no it’s not your imagination. The whole thing is goofy. You get some kind of prize if you can figure that baby out.

What it says…

Beginning Saturday, July 2nd at 11 PM through Tuesday July 5th at 8 AM, there will be no street parking south of the R.I. Tram station. Additionally, parking restrictions will be implemented in the following areas:

  • From the Meditation Lawn to 250 Main Street on the West side.
  • Around the entire Cornell Tech Campus (East /West Loop Roads and North/South Loop Roads) 
  • In the vicinity of 250 – 281 Main Street

What it means…probably

Start with this: There is no such location as the “Meditation Lawn.” But we think they mean the Rivercross Lawn adjacent to the Meditation Steps along the river nearby.

So, where is 250 Main Street? That’s Sportspark, and your guess is as good as any as to why they didn’t just say that. Because RIOC frequently uses bizarre capitalization, we don’t know why “West side” is partly capitalized. It may mean something, but it may not.

Since they’ve already said, “July 2nd at 11 PM through Tuesday July 5th at 8 AM, there will be no street parking south of the R.I. Tram station,” the last two bullet points are redundant. Both are south of the Roosevelt Island Tram Station.

Bonus points if you can explain where 281 Main Street is.

The Roosevelt Island Daily appreciates your chipping in for our expenses.

Thank you.

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