They Said It Couldn’t Be Done. Nobody Could Do It. RIOC Did.

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done. Nobody Could Do It. RIOC Did.

RIOC did it, defying nature. Experience, we’re told, is the best teacher. That’s because we learn from it. We adjust and we change because we learn. You almost can’t do otherwise. But RIOC did, screwing up the 4th of July for Roosevelt Island for the second year in a row in an identical fashion.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

How RIOC Did It

The announcement hit email inboxes precisely at noon:

It’s time to reserve your tickets! Registration for the Roosevelt Island Fourth of July Family Fireworks Celebration is officially open! We encourage you not to share this code as there are limited tickets available.

Register for your tickets here with your Roosevelt Island Access Code: starsandstripes

But it was already too late.

Once again the incompetent idiots at RIOC and company FUCKED UP big time!,” was the first message, shortly after noon.

“I logged in and 11:59 am to be early online when ticket sales for the July 4th fireworks began. As soon as I finished typing my name it logged me out and wouldn’t let me add the kids names, so instead of the 4 tickets I am allowed I only got one…for me! I could not get back in.”

She added, “Shelton…go to hell!”

The Daily added, “Take Gretchen, Altheria and Kathy Hochul with you.”


“We were trying since right at 12 and it keeps saying ‘no tickets available.’ As if 1500 tickets were booked right the first second the booking opened. So sadly nothing for our family of four.”


“So, this is what it’s come to today… Island long timer / Senior needs tix. Closed out seconds after site opened.”

“We Won’t Get Fooled Again…” But RIOC Did It.

The results were nearly identical to last year, the only difference being, we can’t blame the Communications Team because Shelton J. Haynes, RIOC’s troubled president, fired all of them. This year it’s on him, even in hiding, and his assigned managers, Altheria Jackson and Mary Cunneen.

People routinely defeat online capacity limits by refreshing their screens, which usually works after a few tries. But RIOC’s 4th of July page locked out many who tried last year and again this afternoon, some never to return.

RIOC has not issued an apology or taken any responsibility for the problem as of this writing. It’s unlikely that they will. Accountability is not in their toolkit.

On the Positive Side: An Easy Fix

Keep in mind that Eventbrite and safety limits for FDR Four Freedoms State Park are not the problems. The problem boils down to thickheadedness at the top of the state agency along with a generous dose of lazy.

Before the Haynes-Robinson-Jackson regime took over RIOC following an internal coup, then-President Susan Rosenthal’s team managed 4th of July events seamlessly. That included ticketing and limits on how many people could get into Four Freedoms Park.

The difference… Rosenthal kept Southpoint Park open. Food trucks tucked into corners of the open space, and families picnicked under the old trees. People sat munching fast food on the stone walls.

Haynes, without explanation, shut all that down. Multiple people pleaded with him not to do it, but Haynes wouldn’t budge. The reason: laziness. No one is willing to make the effort to set up the park or pick up afterward.

Instead, RIOC is shunting everyone into the open meadows south of Cornell Tech’s Phase One buildings. There is no shade, and the food trucks will be down the hill on the loop roads.

Under different circumstances, a flood of calls and emails to RIOC might change their minds. But this is the Shelton J. Haynes era. They don’t care what you think and are impervious to protest.

So, like our friend above, take a moment to thank Haynes, his do-nothing Board of Enablers Directors and especially his protector, Governor Kathy Hochul, who shows nothing but disdain for Roosevelt Islanders.

Hochul is at the top of the letterhead and ultimately responsible for the escalating debacle on Roosevelt Island.

Please chip in to help with our expenses.

Thank you.

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