Roosevelt Island’s Over-the-Hill Gang Thinks They Now Run the Show


It’s tiresome, but an Over-the-Hill Gang that thinks they speak for all of Roosevelt Island is setting up private meetings with elected officials in Rivercross in which other legitimate, vital voices are kept out. Last week, they brought in Congressman Jerry Nadler. The side-by-side comparison – or merger – with RIOC is revealing.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Over-the-Hill Gang Roots

It was like another era, only fifteen years or so ago. On one of my first assignments with the local newspaper on Roosevelt Island, I met with Steve Shane in his 591 Main Street office. Steve was RIOC’s President/CEO then, and in those days, the state agency was engaged with the community.

His big concern? Where would the community find its next generation of leaders? The old-timers who stood tall for the community – Patrick Stewart, Ron Vass, David Kraut – were aging out. And no one was lining up to replace them.

Whatever happened, the boat sailed a decade ago, and it sailed empty. Now, though, another generation struggles to forge a unified voice. A major obstacle in that movement is the refusal of a geriatric generation, a sort of rump parliament in miniature, that won’t invite them in, even after losing all impact as a voice for residents.

The Big, Bad Picture

Take a good, long look at the picture. Is this “Roosevelt Island” in anyone else’s eyes?

After someone noted that the Over-the-Hill Gang was not inclusive, the Roosevelt Islander conceded that there didn’t appear to be anyone under 50. But 60 or even 70 looks more like it. Twitter screen grab.

But it’s not just the average age.

  • According to 2020 Census, Caucasians make up about 50% of the Island’s population. With this group, it’s more like 90.
  • Asians are Roosevelt Island’s largest minority population. Try locating just one in this photo.
  • Gender? We count 13 women with only six men. Among the men are Nadler and a blogger invited for softball coverage.

But the Over-the-Hill Gang has a bigger problem. Among its crew are two RIOC board members. That’s like sleeping with the enemy and liking it so much you invited friends.

Why Jerry Nadler?

A curious blunder by both RIOC last week and the Over-the-Hill Gang now: Jerry Nadler is a federal elected official. He has no political role in RIOC. Zero.

True, his predecessor, Carolyn Maloney, loved Roosevelt Island and brought the community money for seawall work and the beautiful linden rows in FDR Four Freedoms State Park.

But infrastructure money – much needed – found no place here. Instead, the broken record known as Matthew Katz regaled him with tales of how Roosevelt Island lacks democracy.

He pulled off the same stunt in 2021 when Chuck Schumer met with constituents in a Rebecca Seawright event. With roughly the same impact. That is, Schumer listened politely before letting Katz skitter back to the 1990s.

And a few days later, Nadler himself appeared just as comfortable with that other exclusive local club…

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC).

Here, he helps President/CEO cut the Sportspark ribbon. Nadler met exclusively with Haynes and his team earlier in May.

Politicians play for both sides when they can. Photo courtesy of Ian Oncioiu

As with the Over-the-Hill Gang, the Roosevelt Island rainbow ran short on colors.


There’s a joke about elitism. A comedian notes that Major League Baseball has a “World Series” during which it invites only one other country.

The difference here is that we have competing sets of elites, and neither stands up for the the real community of Roosevelt Islanders.

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  1. Ok David since my “older” sister has been living on Roosevelt Island since the late 1970s and graduated 7th in her Lafayette high school class (out of 1400 graduating students) I think her discussions with Congressman Nadler would only help her (and your) Roosevelt Island community. If you are feeling “left out” like the last one picked in a choose-up basketball game start your own game. I really don’t understand why you would be upset about not going to this get together. President Biden & Speaker McCarthy didn’t invite me to their debt limit talks and I don’t feel bad 😂 That’s my beautiful intelligent sister standing next to Jerry.

    • Harry, there’s no issue with your sister chatting with Jerry Nadler. That’s not the point. The leaders of this group – not your sister – exclude a large swath of Roosevelt Islanders while monopolizing our elected representatives, claiming to represent the community. They ignore a much younger, vastly more diverse population. That should be obvious to you just from the photo as it is to them.

      So, at 6’2″, I always got picked at basketball, baseball etc. Not to worry about me feeling left out. But as an honest reporter, no matter who likes it, I have an obligation to report what I see. It’s not a popularity contest, although if you do a Google Search for “Roosevelt Island News,” you’ll see that my online newspaper ranks first, ahead of ABC. That’s from being thorough and balanced and not holding back punches.

      Please don’t mistake reporting as being “upset about not going to this get together.” I wasn’t invited. The leaders only reach out when they need help with something they’re doing and can’t get the same coverage anywhere else. Usually, I help them out because they try hard to accomplish things, but this meeting was just wrong on many levels and needed reporting.

      Thanks for your comment.

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