Once graceful Good Shepherd Plaza is historic, the old church an icon of early Roosevelt Island development. Anchoring the center of town, it should reflect the vibrancy of a united community. Instead, it symbolizes something else: gross neglect.
by David Stone
“You recently devoted a lot of space to the terrible condition of our public spaces,” our reader wrote. “I agree completely and am particularly troubled by the silver paint that was spilled in the Church plaza near the bell well over one month ago.”
She was right, but only partly because this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Another reader had already sounded an alarm.
“Opposite Rivercross, in front of the Island House Sales Office, is the small garden & modern art installation which WAS a lovely little place to read, relax, & reflect. This area has become an eyesore, as it has not had the grass mowed in months, & the bushes and shrubs are totally overgrown and unsightly.”
On a sun-washed day in 2018, with then-City Council Member Ben Kallos and RIVAA President Tad Sudol lending support, then-RIOC President Susan Rosenthal unveiled the newest addition to the Island of Art theme.
Four years later, on a similarly sunny afternoon, the story is different.
All Around Good Shepherd Plaza, Neglect Is Glaring
Two years ago on Roosevelt Island Day, RIOC’s Community Relations Team brought small, local nonprofits together in a competitive paint-off. Recently set up picnic tables at the back of the plaza got the creative treatment.
The point of painting wooden installations – like picnic tables – is protection. Layers of paint turn back weather and usage damage, and adding a little art brightens the pictures.
Until it doesn’t…
Is RIOC Hostility at Fault?
Some suspect the RIOC and Haynes’s open hostility towards the managers of Island House may inspire the gross neglect in Good Shepherd Plaza. As a reader noted, the ugliest of the messes are directly outside the sales offices for Island House and Westview.
In contrast, RIOC takes good care of the grounds outside their Chief Executive’s office in Blackwell House.
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But RIOC can do even better.