Monday, February 24, 2014

Report From New Roosevelt Island Resident Association President Jeff Escobar - RIRA Can Do Better, District Attorney Town Hall Meeting Tonight And Amalgamated Bank Mortgage Seminar Wednesday

 Image Of Jeff Escobar (standing) at 10/12/22 Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Meeting

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar sends the following Report To The Community:
As many may or may not know, at the February 5, 2014 Common Council Session, RIRA President Ellen Polivy had announced that she would step down from her role as president of RIRA due to personal reasons. As an organization whose heart, soul and success lies in those who choose what little time they have outside of their own personal and professional lives to represent and advocate for the interests of those who live on this tiny island we all share as our home, every respect and appreciation must be given to Ms. Polivy not only for her past service and her continued work on behalf of this community, but also her foresight to recognize her need to step down.

Thusly, inasmuch as I was elected by all of you in a contested race in November 2012 as RIRA Vice-President, I am tasked to not only carry on the duties and office of the RIRA Presidency, but also right this ship. I have no equivocations of the place RIRA has put itself since the inception of this term: once a home where a sense of community lived with a sense of purpose and relevance, it is now rudderless and a place where personal politics and past conflicts are carried under the delusional flag that it is saving RIRA from its members. Some would rather have such strife pervade over the work that it should be doing. I, as its new President, am not one of them.

“We Can Do Better”

Each Common Council member has had a hand in the state that RIRA is currently in. Each Common Council member, however, also has the choice of either rebuilding what was lost or continuing the path that has led RIRA to its dismal state. For the sake of this Island and for those who call it home, we can and must do better.

Respect. Civility. Relevance. Community. These four pillars are what should and shall be the bedrock of RIRA. As the direct conduit not to only RIOC but the City at large, it is time that the Common Council members come together and work for the community and be its voice, to do its work, and to meet as a community to tackle and address Island issues in a setting where all is invited. Because, isn’t that what this little ship in the middle of the East River always been about?

Eight months remain in the terms of the current Common Council members, with five Common Council Meetings to be convened. As I have indicated before and reiterate now, it will be up to those Common Council members who choose to remain how much, or how little, will be done during this time. To those who wish to continue their past “work” which has veered RIRA off of its course this past year-and-a-half, such past is past and should either be checked at the door or be tabled to be undertaken in November when the newly elected RIRA board take its seat. Until then, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, respect your neighbors, treat each other with the civility that each person deserves and make RIRA relevant again. If RIRA finally leads, then the community will follow.

Community Events

As life continues on, so do many community events. Of note, I strongly urge to attend the two following events occurring in the next week or so:

Roosevelt Island Town Hall Meeting with New York State Senator Serrano and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office --Monday, February 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the Good Shepherd Community Center. Voice your concerns and questions directly to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano and New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner as they relate to life on Roosevelt Island and the City at large. This is a unique opportunity to ask questions and advocate for solutions to problems that affect us all.

Mortgage Seminar at Amalgamated Bank– Wednesday, February 25 at 7:00 PM at Amalgamated Bank. For those who have questions and concerns about buying a home, obtaining a mortgage and how to finance a purchase, Amalgamated Bank on Main Street is offering an opportunity to directly ask such questions and a comfortable setting. Please contact Al Salas, Manager at Amalgamated Bank, if you are interested in attending: or 212 413 8775.

Do you have a community concern, question or initiative that you wish to undertake or need help? Have an upcoming community event? Please do not hesitate in emailing me directly at
More on the new RIRA President at this previous post which includes video of Mr. Escobar speaking to the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) in October 2012 on issues regarding the Cornell NYC Tech project.