At mid-morning on January 1st, 2023, the sense of then and now broke as clearly as the sun cutting down Main Street. Have things changed that much? Was it a sign of things to come or just a change in the weather?
by David Stone
The weather was milder than usual on New Year’s Eve, with daytime temperatures in the low 50s, but it was gray. A thick cloud cover stretched to the ground, and a wispy alternate stream of fog hung over the East River.
But even for pessimists, the weather always gets better if you wait for it…
Twenty-four hours later, everything changed. Or, did it?
In truth, it was only the weather, but there was something about it, a freshness, maybe a promise…?
Then and Now, From 2022 to 2033
Fog can bring grace and quiet, a muffling, but the New Year’s Eve layer felt different. Roosevelt Islanders made gains as the community emerged out of COVID stagnation. New restaurants opened on Main, adding Mexican and Mediterranean flavors, but none closed.
FDR Four Freedoms State Park staged multiple events that attracted international crowds, and the cherry blossoms delivered over a month of softened beauty leading into summer.
There was bad, too, and Governor Kathy Hochul, who’s responsible for Roosevelt Island, never followed through on her promise of a better New York government. Transparency and accountability went out the window as the shroud around and protecting RIOC thickened.
Underperformance became routine as President/CEO Shelton Haynes shrank community events and tried canceling some. Only public shaming saved the Halloween Parade and a greatly reduced Fall for Arts Festival.
But then and now, the sun finally broke through.
Was It a Sign, a Change in the Weather – Or Both?
Twelve months from now, hindsight will be, as it always is, 20-20. Will 2023 fulfill the optimists’ interpretation of a sunny start?
Taken as a whole, 2022 was a pretty good year for Roosevelt Island. A lot of good things happened while longtime challenges refused to budge. But the community kept pushing for better.
Some fog lifted and some sun burned through.