New Stuff Coming to Main Street in June, Ready or Not


New and revised retail options are coming to Main Street this month. Mixed blessings or good news? It’s all in your point of view.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

“I am happy to announce that the same ownership team as Wholesome Market, is now opening a Discount/Hardware store similar to a Lot Less location.” That’s the word from Didier Ruiz who handles Shops On Main for Hudson-Related.

The same owners also operate the Mexican restaurant and the liquor store.

Here’s how it looks today:

But that look changes next week when the new, as yet unnamed store opens next week.

For many Roosevelt Islanders, filling the gap of another long vacant store is a blessing. A stationery store operated here before closing about ten years ago. Stationery stores in the internet age are largely things of the past, but the new store answers another long held wish.

After Hudson-Related shut down the old hardware store shortly after contracting with RIOC for managing Main Street retail, pleas for a replacement persisted.

Taking a peak inside, though, the store being stocked looks a lot more “discount” than “hardware.”

In all likelihood, this answers a greater need.

Rounding out the changes is a whole new look for Bread & Butter Market. Roosevelt Island’s long-serving deli is being transformed. According to the owners, it will be the best spot in the community, and that includes prices.

The finished redo is expected for late June, a week or so after the new discount/hardware store.

The jury’s still out on whether our small community can support all the current and new businesses or fulfill their promises, but the owners of the new stuff coming to Main Street are as experienced as they are confident.

But All Is Not So Rosy From Every Angle

“Just what we need in Island House, another crappy store to go with the head shop,” one local reacted.

The head shop, originally dubbed a “stationary” store but now nameless, gave Main Street a down and out shot in the behind.

Merchandize in the window, critics say, belies that stores real purpose as a drug dispensary on the street below Island House.

Several unsuccessful efforts at eviction have left this unsightly mess holding its ground on Main Street.

Concerns about the new Lot Less-style shop are genuine. On a much smaller scale, the store will count on shoppers pouring in to claim goods discounted after closeouts.

Think Dollar Store or Big Lots Discount, and you get the idea. Successful or not, it does not add anything in the way of class to a strip that includes both the head shop and a dry cleaner that doesn’t dry clean anything.

Existing concerns

“Its hell for residents,” said one insider.

He added a growing and unaddressed problem of stink for residents in Island House. Nisi, next door to the nameless head shop, has repeatedly been cited for releasing fumes into the newly redesigned Island House courtyard.

Vents directly below Island House windows. Although aware, RIOC has ignored appeals for reconstruction away from residences.

And that adds to the unrelieved stink of marijuana wafting into the building’s lobby, homes and corridors from the head shop.

” RIOC and HCR couldn’t care less.”

HCR, Homes and Community Renewal, allegedly oversees RIOC operations. Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas – in theory – chairs RIOC’s board but rarely shows up and is an embarrassment when she does.

In her most recent appearance, she oversaw the openly illegal firing of President/CEO Susan Rosenthal without hearing any defensive appeal against Andrew Cuomo’s fact-free character assassination.

Speaking of RIOC

With a third nameless store coming to Main Street, let’s not forget where the trend started.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s anonymous offices on Main Street features frosted windows and no identity whatsoever.

Dropping in blindfolded, a visitor would never guess this dreary Main Street view, with e-bikes and cars whipping through crosswalks while uniformed officers chat nearby, is anywhere in Manhattan.

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