If You Liked the Ugly Mess at the Tram Today, Be Happy. Now Is Just the Beginning


In case you missed the ugly mess at the Tram today, have a look:

At 2:00, the MetroCard line ran past the plaza and made a right turn down 59th Street. Photo: Deborah Julian

It’s just the beginning.

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

It’s easy enough blaming the daily influx of tourists. Most of them are okay, but some are rude, pushy and entitled. So, though, is the rest of the world. Always a mix.

And you can’t blame RIOC’s Public Safety Department (PSD). As you can see, they were out, helping when they could. If you already had a MetroCard, they’d escort you through the nightmare jam at the platform entrance. And they were remarkably polite and patient.

A PSO was at the corner where the MetroCard line turned the corner down 59th Street. Photo: Deborah Julian

Responsible for the Ugly Mess? The Narcissist In Chief

Early in his tenure after helping oust his boss and mentor Susan Rosenthal, RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes began reshaping the state agency. He had the backing of Governor Andrew Cuomo and a hapless board of directors trained to take orders without questioning their validity or even legality.

One of his first moves involved a “branding and marketing campaign” led by Erica Spencer-EL, the Communications Director later fired for reasons being debated in State Supreme Court.

While “branding and marketing” Roosevelt Island comes off as… searching for the right word… yeah, stupid, it fits Haynes’s vision for the community. It’s cold and impersonal, disconnected from community values and made in secrecy.

And it meant a big push to bring visitors gliding across the East River in huge numbers – and taking the Tram away from residents.

So, What’s Wrong Here?

You don’t need to look far. Complaints about Tram crowding and the effects of increased tourism on a small community are all over the internet.

But worse is what’s not seen: Seniors and physically challenged residents. Many, maybe most gave up on the Tram. It’s too crowded with too much pushing and shoving. And if you used a wheelchair to get around, imagine finding your way past the crowds encountered in the plaza.

It’s hard to see where the dimwitted begins and the uncaring ends. Maybe they run in parallel.

In the latest narcissism-flavored RIOC News, released on Friday, someone ghosting for Haynes wrote, “Following feedback from some of our Constituent Service meetings we have also reiterated to Tram operator POMA the need to ensure seating priority for the disabled, elderly, and pregnant women is adhered to…”

That never happened and doesn’t now. It’s just designed to make Haynes seem on top of things and empathetic. In the end, it just makes him look disconnected from reality.

There’s one more thing residents should keep in mind. Roosevelt Islanders and local businesses subsidize all the Tram losses every year while providing for unappreciative tourists.

What do you think will happen when the subway shuts down next weekend, in both directions, not just one?

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