Although you might not be aware of it because RIOC’s Public Safety Department reports so little, but Saturday was calamitous on Roosevelt Island.
Pressed by elected officials and Albany handlers to do something – anything – in the way of community outreach, RIOC staged a series of PSD “community engagements.” Strictly controlled and stuffed with RIOC employees, they have never attracted more than 50 of 11,770 residents.
Mostly, they’ve given the few on hand a shot at sharing their concerns, but in reality, these are forums for reinforcing the status quo and letting bottled up frustrations wither. Not a single change can be attributed to the meetings so far.
Worse yet, they give PSD and their 114th Precinct pals a platform for repeating the myth of Roosevelt Island as the safest community in New York. Once, that may have been true, but it’s not, espeically if crimes are reported accurately, not now.
On Saturday, Roosevelt Island Shattered That Myth
Let’s take them in order.
I’m watching a public safety officer on bicycle patrol handling traffic near Bread & Butter Market. A delivery truck double parks in front, but he moves the vehicle out of traffic. He’s efficient, cool and professional, a marked improvement over last year’s never addressed brutality.
But moments after he cleaned things up, a man comes down the sidewalk, yelling, “My wallet! My wallet!”
He soon runs, panicked, past the deli, still shouting. When the alleged thief fails to stop and disappears under the Westview arcade, the victim dashes into the busy street, his arms flailing to get PSD’s attention.
The bicycle cop responds immediately and, after getting a brief story from the victim, glides quickly down Main Street in pursuit. Soon a marked PSD vehicle joins in the chase with the victim keeping up as best he can on the sidewalk.
All three disappear on the west side of Main Street near PS/IS 217…
But that’s all we know because PSD never issued any report. You’d expect at least a call for witnesses. This was midday, after all, in the busiest section of Main Street….
But, no, not a mention, and that’s not how they operate and why their claims about crime are dubious. What else are they not telling the community, keeping up what appears to be a false front?
Just off the a Ferry, walking past Firefighters Field, I see two PSD cars, lights flashing, sirens blaring, racing south on East Main, going at high speed through Southtown and the Tram area filled with tourists.
They make the turn left toward the East Channel, then navigate the risky turn under the abandoned power plant. In seconds, they vanish out of sight past the bridge.
“They’ll never tell us anything,” I say to my wife. “We’ll never know what that was about.”
Of course, PSD did not prove me wrong.
A Crash on the Bridge
Both of the above were events I witnessed while spending less than an hour on Main Street, but common sense tells us there was more that others saw. We will never know because super-secret RIOC will not tell us the truth.
Crime is sharply on the rise on Roosevelt Island, and RIOC is looking away, fearful of disclosing more mismanagement, as if ignoring it means it will go away.
But on Saturday night around 9:30, RIOC sent out an advisory that the Roosevelt Island Bridge was closed. No explanation accompanied the advisory. After midnight, it reopened, but again, there was no explanation.
A car and motorcycle crash was reported, though, on three local newscasts, and eye witnesses provided more details on Reddit.
Police Presence Around the Roosevelt Island Bridge
“Anyone know why the cops are blocking traffic along the bridge?” one user asked.
“Roads within a 1 block radius of the bridge entrance were also taped off on the Queens side. Saw a crashed bike at the foot of the bridge when coming off but it seems unusual to block off this much space for an accident.”
Three hours later, another answered:
“I didn’t see it happen, but it must have been just a minute before, since NYPD and FDNY hadn’t arrived yet, and every single pedestrian along the entire bridge was stopped, some of them were standing in the street, and they were all staring in that direction.
“Probably it involved a car. The guy was on the ground, not moving, right next to where his bike had fallen, while someone (his buddy? the motorist who hit him?) kept asking him to stay with us. Someone not involved in the crash, a pedestrian, was making the sign of the cross.
“I stayed a few minutes because it didn’t look like there was a way to exit without blocking the ambulance, as a crowd started gathering due to the blocked intersection.”
And from RIOC, we got this: “………….nothing…………” not even on this or any of the other events.