Sprucing Up Main Street Now Needs Some Help From RIOC


With the signless head shop finally tossed out, sprucing up Main Street gained focus in August. Other storefronts need to catch up with ME, Bread & Butter Market and Island OM. Worst offender, RIOC, controls Main Street through a contract with Hudson-Related but shows little interest in improving its appearance.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Before the start of the Haynes/Hochul administration at RIOC, the state agency that always gets it right occupied free space at 591 Main Street for 40 years.

For still unexplained reasons that sparked an Inspector General Investigation, RIOC pulled up roots for new, much smaller space at 524 Main Street where they pay triple the rent the NYPL used to pay for the same space.

It didn’t have a rear emergency exit, as required by law, and sported only a single unisex restroom, the only source of running water.

But the move did more, setting an ugly tone on a struggling Main Street corridor.

Official announcements on paper, Scotch-taped to the single entrance set a cheesy tone. If it can afford to pay President/CEO Shelton Haynes more than any governor in the United States, including New York, maybe it can scrounge up enough cash for a sign out front.

Two years later, this mysteriously secretive space still refuses to reveal any signs of life. Its frosty windows, like a protective shield of advanced invisibility, add an extra touch of charmlessness. It’s like RIOC is saying, “I’ve got secrets, and I’m not sharing!”

Sprucing Up Main Street

RIOC under Haynes and Hochul is not known for leadership as it once was or even community partnership for that matter. But here, it has a shot at making a new start, setting an example for Main Street that includes pride and a welcoming presence.

Like “Get a friggin’ sign up there. It’s been two years of ugly already. And take the frost off for heaven’s sake.”

Island OM, with far fewer resources than RIOC, set an example.

It’s not hard looking nice, professional and open. Come on, RIOC, you can do it.

When the Big Kahuna looks like a bad idea left to waste until the demolition crew arrives, it sets a standard – like this.

…and this…

Even with a traffic cone serving as a door stop, this is a step up from RIOC.

In spite of RIOC’s rundown, cheapskate tone, some have done better.

Sweet, clean and simple.

If not to at least show some pride and respect for itself, maybe RIOC can step up because it owes something to its neighbors who pay rent. Maybe some respect for them and the community…

Is that too much to ask?

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