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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Roosevelt Island Original Pioneers And Long Time Residents Planning September "The Rock" Reunion 2019 At Lighthouse Park - But Stumbling Block Is $7,500 Permit Fee Sought By RIOC, Planners Requesting Waiver Fee As In Previous Years

Roosevelt Island original pioneers and current long time Roosevelt Island residents are planning a reunion at Lighthouse Park for September 7.

150 - 200 people are expected to attend the event. But a problem has occurred obtaining a permit for the reunion from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC).

I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenthal and RIOC Directors:
I am preparing a story about an upcoming reunion of current and former Roosevelt Island residents planned for this September at Lighthouse Park. 200 to 300 people are expected to attend.

I'm told that RIOC is seeking $7,500 as a permit fee from the group of current and former residents to use Lighthouse Park for their reunion. I'm also told there were previous similar reunions of this group and that no permit fee was required.

is this true?

Any statement from RIOC regarding why a permit fee is being charged and why in the amount of $7,500?
RIOC Community Affairs Supervisor Jessica Murray replied:
RIOC is conducting internal discussions to evaluate and decide upon fee structures for these types of activities. We will communicate with the applicant and the community as soon as possible. RIOC is committed to supporting community activities at all of our island amenities.
Long time Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance shares this message he sent to RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
... We'd like to have the permit fee waived, as RIOC has done in the past, including SPP and FFP (before it was developed), Lighthouse Park, Blackwell Park (a tree was planted Paula Spiaggia, in Memoriam, at that event), and the Meditation Steps.

One of our parks Capobianco Field is named after one of us originals Tony Capobianco, and his children are part of our reunions. Brian Dorfmann, whose chess table is in Al Lewis Park, was one of us "originals". Judy Berdy and David Kraut are of us "originals". The original movie "Fame" featured Island residents, as Performance Arts high school (along with other specialized schools) had many students on the Island (and PS/IS 217 graduates, too) -- and they return for Roosevelt Island reunions. There have been reunions in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017.

We started planning this reunion in 2018, and Larry Slade contacted RIOC, and RIOC suggested Lighthouse Park for this kind of event (as it worked well in the past). Larry applied for the permit the first day it was possible to apply (February 1, 2019) for the event on September 7, 2019. The insurance was already purchased on February 1, we're about 200-300 people looking to have a picnic, as you can see in the following video.

Here's a video of one of the songs that us musicians played, "Born On The Bayou" (Credence Clearwater Revival - CCR, a 1960s band), and if you watch the first 2 minutes you can see the RIOC tents ... this was a pretty pleasant event.

Each reunion, we have a slideshow presentation from our community and history on the Island and, unfortunately-but-inevitably, a longer "Necrology" segment of the presentation. Here was the RI Blog's coverage in 2010:

I ask that you waive the fee so we can commit to planning for this site, and not have to look for another site. Thank you.
Here are some scenes,

courtesy of Mr. Farance,

of the 2010



Lighthouse Park.

And here's some scenes from the 2009 Reunion

and what it was like living on Roosevelt Island

in 1980.