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Happy Shelton J. Haynes Cheapskate Holiday Now from RIOC

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Was a cheapskate holiday for Roosevelt Island exactly what RIOC President/CEO had in mind when RIOC’s contractor spread a much-reduced collection of decorations in early November? Downplaying local traditions is a hallmark of his administration. But is it anything more than laziness and indifference driving the new penny-pincher theme?

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News?

Ironically, it was RIOC under then-President/CEO Susan Rosenthal that raised expectations for holiday decorations. Underwhelmed by the lack of seasonal sparkle on Main Street, she brought the first flourishes in 2017.

Ben Kallos, NYC Council Member, Tree Lighting 2019
Susan Rosenthal (Center in red) made the annual tree-lighting festive, bringing live music to a constructed stage. Community groups – Girl Scouts, The Roosevelt Island Library, Cornell Tech – set up tables along the sides.

But just like Don McClean’s lyric from American Pie, Haynes bumped off Rosenthal on the day the music died.

The Cheapskate Holiday Continues a Shelton Shrinkage Policy

From Roosevelt Island Day, which he reduced by 70%, through the Halloween Parade he tried to cancel through Fall for Arts, which he also wanted to cancel, Haynes has dulled community spirit with persistence.

You can almost hear Haynes asking the vendor, “Don’t you have something smaller?”
Here is where RIOC aims its “Seasons Greetings…” At a construction site and far off Long Island City.

One thing about Shelton J. Haynes that can’t be dismissed is consistency. Activities and expertise shrink and salaries rise. There’s no element of surprise in RIOC’s upper echelon.

But in Good Shepherd Plaza where it might make a cheerful difference, there is no sign of greeting of any kind or size.

This year for the cheapskate holiday, RIOC culled the herd at the Tram Plaza, where the reindeer are gone completely. And the sleigh, the one thing people seemed to enjoy in Good Shepherd Plaza, bit the dust too.

And while Roosevelt Landings gets generous strings of lights all along the portico, RIOC has nothing for the Octagon, Manhattan Park or any of the Southtown buildings. Island House and Westview and virtually ignored.

This decoration, meant for kids posing their faces for photos, is unusable because it slants at a roughly 45-degree angle and has been for weeks.

Strange as all this is, we saved the dumbest for last

Last week, RIOC posted on Instagram about a tree-lighting ceremony. It was sort of a cult of personality thing where Shelton J. Haynes ranks above everything else.

Strangely, this appeared only on limited social media. It’s not on RIOC’s ultra-funky website nor has there been any Advisory. No posters adorn Main Street kiosks although the event is just a few days away.

And it just about demands questions: What music? What performances? Are there any community partners?

Why has RIOC downplayed its cult of personality, cheapskate holiday centerpiece? Is their $150K per year Communications AVP too busy raising campaign funds for Yonkers’s mayor?

After the past year’s backstabbing management staff firings, are there not enough capable people left to tape the posters up?

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