Pushed, RIOC Finally Sets Up Holiday Tree Lighting for 2022


As time passed and the state agency sputtered, Roosevelt Island’s Holiday Tree Lighting for 2022 fell into doubt. But as with other recent community events, RIOC finally came through after being shamed, just days before the event.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Last week, RIOC dribbled out a post on Instagram that said the holiday tree lighting would be on Friday, December 2nd. But disorganization was evident because the poster was never released elsewhere or in advisory.

That’s changed, but let’s overlook the latest bumbling because, after all, this is for the kids.

In 2018, the Holiday Tree Lighting event was festive with a dozen community groups involved in the community fun.

Just three days in advance of the event, RIOC today officially confirmed the event. The poster itself is ugly – Black theme for Christmas? Really? – and the cult of personality celebrating Shelton J. Haynes hangs over everything.

But if RIOC comes through at all, it will be great for the kids. COVID damped spirits for two years, and now, everyone’s on board with celebrating.

For the Record: Roosevelt Island Holiday Tree Lighting

Where: The Traditional Rivercross Lawn, across Main Street from Blackwell House and alongside the Meditation Steps.

When: Friday, December 2nd at 6:00 p.m. That’s an hour earlier and a little tight for families and people coming home from work.

What’s Happening: Accompanying the Holiday Tree Lighting, RIOC says there will be Shelton J. Haynes, Music, Hot Cocoa, Performances, Festive Treats and Santa. What kind of performances by whom? Who knows?

But one thing is sure. Roosevelt Islanders, kids of all ages, will be there, making the most of whatever RIOC offers. Don’t miss it!


Post-publication, my 40 years long resident with a critical eye commented, “Maybe it’s just me, but their bad arty-attempt at a poster has the base of the “tree” looking a lot like the Monolith from “2001 -A Space Odyssey” in a pile of snow…”

Then, later, she continued, on her computer “the background color for the RIOC ‘poster’ is a deep forest green, the same color as one of my favorite sweaters…”

My eye may not be as sharp as hers, but it still looks black to me. But in any case, it’s so dark that the intended image of a tree rising out of the trunk in snow vanishes.

But we’re here to help, and we can use RIOC as a great example. Back when they had some idea about what they were doing and why, they could produce this:

As you can see, without a personality cult at RIOC in 2017, it was about community an partnership, not Dear Leader Shelton J. Haynes.

Maybe they can learn from their own history.

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