Monday, May 12, 2014

Report From RIRA President Jeff Escobar - Calls For Renewal Of Roosevelt Island Community Fabric, Invites You To Join A Committee, Common Council Elections Approaching In Fall, July 4th Fireworks, Blood Drive & More

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar

 RIRA President Jeff Escobar Presiding At April 2014 Meeting

sends the following Report To The Community:
Flowers are blooming, the sun is rising earlier and setting later, kids abound in our playgrounds and all other available outdoor spaces, neighbors whom we have not seen for months without layers of jackets and scarves are now leisurely strolling around, and a general buzz of excitement and happiness is in the air. It’s finally springtime on our little ship in the East River, and Roosevelt Island is coming alive again.

As we throw off the doldrums of winter and recharge ourselves with the warmth of spring and, eventually, summer, each and every one of us should use this time also to renew the fabric of our community and the ties that bind us to one another and to this Island. Many of you have heeded my call to be more active in RIRA, to lend your talents, passions, and expertise, and to join one or more of RIRA’s many committees. Still interested in joining a committee or otherwise becoming more involved? I invite you to contact me at for information on how best to maximize your talents and involvement in RIRA and its many works. Moreover, this fall, the election for seats to the RIRA Common Council will be held, and the spring and summer are a perfect opportunity for reaching out to past and present Common Council members and officers to explore whether representing your district, your community, is for you. Feel free to contact me or your present RIRA representatives for more information.

Another way to participate in renewing the fabric of our community is to be a donor in the 13th annual RIRA Blood Drive, which benefits the New York Blood Center. RIRA volunteers will be manning a donor sign-up table at the Farmer’s Market for four consecutive Saturdays beginning May 31, to sign up any and all who wish to participate. The Blood Drive will culminate with the actual donations on June 21, during the annual Roosevelt Island Day festivities. If you are able, please sign up to donate. You could save a life. And, as an incentive to those who may need a little persuasion to give, Scott Bobo of our own Main Street Sweets Shop has very kindly offered, with the presentation of your donor pledge card, a “two-scoops for the price of one” offer.

The renewal of our community continues on June 21 when the RIRA Common Council, through its Social, Cultural and Educational Services Committee chaired by Julie Palermo, will be hosting RIRA’s annual breakfast on Roosevelt Island Day. In addition to attending and visiting the many booths and activities of Roosevelt Island Day, be sure to come by the RIRA table, say hello to your neighbors, and have a bagel, juice, and coffee on us!

Speaking of renewal, and investing in our community, many thanks must be given to those in the TV and film industry who come to our Island and, understanding the inconvenience to Island residents that their presence sometimes causes, continue to donate time, services, and funds to the Island and its community organizations, including RIRA.

Lastly, as the bright days of spring will turn to the dog days of summer, we were delighted to hear that the City’s annual Fourth of July celebration will be returning to the East River. For many, many years, watching the fireworks was a tradition here on Roosevelt Island, with the area south of the Queensboro Bridge as prime space for our community to come together and celebrate as one. The news of the return of the show to the East River brings hope that this Roosevelt Island tradition will also return. But the Island south of the Queensboro Bridge is now a much, much different place than it once was when the fireworks were last over the East River, when there were grassy knolls where families and friends could come together on blankets to view the show. RIRA and I can only hope that both RIOC and the foundation that operates the FDR Four Freedoms Park will recognize the significance of the return of the fireworks to the East River, and capitalize on providing an opportunity for this little Island to come together once again during the summer and create the memories for our children that so many on the Island have enjoyed.

Happy Spring!

P.S. To all those who are mothers in our little community, whether a mother, grandmother, aunt, or sister to someone, whether that someone be a pet or son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, niece or nephew, or brother or sister, a heartfelt and much deserved Happy Mother’s Day from the Common Council to each of you. May this day be one of rest, gentle reflection, and appreciation.