The Roosevelt Island Lighthouse won a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, but error-prone RIOC bungled it immediately… before the puffy egos strolled in and made it worse. In a press release distributed internationally, the state agency that never gets it wrong said: “PRESIDENT & CEO SHELTON J. HAYNES ANNOUNCES NEW YORK LANDMARKS CONSERVANCY LUCY G. MOSES 2022 PRESERVATION PROJECT AWARD FOR ROOSEVELT ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE RESTORATION PROJECT” The actual award is among 12 announced for 2023. Additional errors marred the ego-saturated message.
by David Stone
In the summer and fall of 2019, survey work began on restoring the historic lighthouse at the northern tip of Roosevelt Island. President/CEO Susan Rosenthal got board approval for funding with money deposited as a part of the deal negotiated for building Cornell Tech.
From start to finish, the project was overseen by CFO John O’Reilly along with RIOC’s primary construction partner LiRo. Throughout the project, historian Judith Berdy consulted and advised on authenticity.
But self-promotion prevailed again as an error-prone press release – So, what’s new? – failed to recognize any of them. As part of a ring-kissing policy, the writer splashed Shelton J. Haynes’s name all over it.
A wry insider observed, however, “The only thing Shelton did was show up at the grand opening and read a document pre-prepared for him and rub elbows with the elected officials.”
The Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award
The Moses Awards are the Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation.The New York Landmarks Conservancy
For 2023, the highlight awards honor two individuals for preservation leadership.: Laurie Beckelman and John J. Kerr, Jr. Haynes does not get a nod, and in return, he singles out the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse without mention of anyone or anything else.
But it’s only one of twelve project awards, all worthy. Instead of using the photo Landmarks took to honor Roosevelt Island, RIOC replaces it with an attachment.
But the fun doesn’t stop there.
Errors Large and Small
Setting aside the mindboggling gaff of getting the date wrong in the headline, RIOC finds room for even more.
Take a deep breath for this one explaining why the lighthouse exists…
The East River channel’s huge granite boulders made it very treacherous to navigate, so the Lighthouse was commissioned as part of a solution for New York City’s shipping ports along with an Army Corps of Engineers project to demolish and implode boulders and widen and deepen the channel.RIOC Press Release.
Our first impulse, “No, it wasn’t,” got swept away by the concept of “imploding boulders.” We can’t imagine where that beauty even came from.
Although it may seem like an impossible feat, it is possible to implode a boulder using specialized explosives. By carefully placing the charges in strategic locations within the boulder, the rock can be made to collapse on itself from the inside out.
This technique is used in mining operations and other construction applications where large objects need to be moved without the use of heavy machinery or manual labor. When done correctly it can be quite an impressive sight as the immense force of the blast causes the solid rock to suddenly disintegrate.
But that’s not what happened nor was it any part of building the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse.
In 2021 President Haynes decided to proceed with the restoration of the historic Roosevelt Island Lighthouse…RIOC Press Release
No, he didn’t. There was never any pause in construction.
Mr. Shelton Haynes added, “I sincerely thank the Conservancy’s committee for choosing the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse for this award. The award symbolizes the collective efforts and countless hours spent by our dedicated team at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation – so to my dedicated team, I say thank you.”RIOC Press Release
Oh, brother. Butt-Kissing Amateur Hour strikes again.