Why Does the Tram Plaza Still Look Like Hell?


More than a week after track rope work finished and the north cabin returned to service, the Roosevelt Island Tram Plaza still looks like hell. Are we providing free storage space? Why hasn’t this mess been cleaned up?

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Mess at the Tram Plaza

The ugliness left behind after a reckless, poorly planned project reflects the general negligence standard with RIOC. But this is worse because it’s a little like offering tourists vomit as a main course.

In our house and probably in yours, when the work’s done, we clean up. We pick up the papers and put them back in their folders. We fold our laptop out of service. And before going off to sleep, we clear the dirty dishes and turn out the lights. Why don’t the common rules of behavior pertain when it comes to RIOC?

Roosevelt Islanders endured long weeks of limited Tram service that involved several inconveniences. Moreover, the Tram track rope replacement project was conducted with insufficient attention to safety.

It got so reckless, the Visitor Center closed because of heavy equipment left dangling above it. And Public Safety Deputy Chief Anthony Amorosa came in on a Friday afternoon and set up barriers after pedestrians were forced to walk in the road.

But on Friday, July 22nd, that ended when the north cabin returned to service.

What didn’t end was the mess they left behind, a still torn-up lawn and materials caged in multiple places.

What Happens to Tourism When a Location is a Mess?

This is the height of tourist season when our little island should be welcoming not just New Yorkers but visitors from around the world. Instead, what do they see?

The Tram is an iconic part of New York City. It’s been featured in innumerable YouTube videos, movies and TV shows. For many, it’s the only reason to visit Roosevelt Island.

And what do these potential Roosevelt Island customers see when they step off the Tram? A construction site that’s been abandoned, with materials stacked in caged-off areas. It looks like no one’s in charge.

The once-inviting lawn is torn up and dried out, and the popular RI sign has not returned to its location.

This isn’t just an issue of aesthetics. It’s an issue of economics. Tourists come to New York City to experience the best that we have to offer. They don’t want to see a half-finished construction project. It reflects badly on Roosevelt Island and, by extension, on all of us who live here.

It’s Time for RIOC to Step Up

It’s time for RIOC to step up and take responsibility for the Tram Plaza. They need to clean up the mess and make it presentable again.

This isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s about economics. It’s about Roosevelt Island’s reputation as a destination. We can do better than this. RIOC, it’s time to clean up your act.

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