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Out of the Blue – or Purple – RIOC Announces a Pride Flag Raising


With what amounts to only a single day’s notice, RIOC announced a Pride Flag raising for the curious time of 11:00 a.m. on Friday, a weekday making it impossible for many to attend. Why such short notice? Late blooming good intentions? Orders from Albany?

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

“To mark Pride Month, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation will be hosting a special flag raising ceremony this Friday June 16th at 11AM in front of Blackwell House (500 Main Street),” an advisory announced.

Why not on Saturday during Roosevelt Island Day when lots of people can attend? one astute observer asked.

“Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation President Shelton Haynes will be joined by members of the Roosevelt Island LGBTQIA+ community to raise the Pride flag in celebration of island inclusivity and tolerance.”

“Every year we proudly raise Pride flags across the island during the month of June,” Haynes lied, “but this year we wanted to do something more to show our collective support for the LGBTQIA+ community on the island.”

RIOC Advisory, June 14th, 2023

Funny thing, though. We checked in with Roosevelt Island’s most well-known gay community member Jim Luce. Luce is a philanthropist with an international reputation for improving the lives of orphans.

“Don’t know a thing about it,” he said, adding “Lol.”

Not only was Luce the first Roosevelt Island gay man to adopt a child he raised on Main Street, he was also one of the first married. He and Bix are local stars with their commitment to finding homes for dogs and walking them in bunches along the East Promenade.

But he never heard anything about the pride flag raising until we texted him.

Thanks for the Pride Flag Raising

While we applaud RIOC’s actions here, we wonder about the inspiration. Haynes’s RIOC simply does not initiate community events. In fact, it’s been hellbent on reducing and outright eliminating whatever it can.

We’re thankful and hope that whoever lit a fire under the bunkered chief executive will do it again. Soon. Communities need this kind of support.

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