Friday, January 25, 2008

Roosevelt Island - The Next Catalina Island or Return to 1970's South Bronx

Image is from Destination Catalina

Image is from NY Times

Today's Daily News has a profile of Roosevelt Island. Here are some highlights.
With the luxury of more parkland than apartment buildings, the island should be an idyllic Manhattan location with magnificent skyline views of three boroughs. For residents, however, it can also mean living with complex community politics.
A resident's opinion:
"For the most part we have lived off the good graces of New York State for the better part of the past 30 years," says Judith Berdy, president of the island's Historical Society.
"There are some who think we have suffered. Politics is a disease out here," adds Berdy, who has lived in three residences on the island in that time.
Another resident:
it's an urban ecological center with a small- town feel minutes from midtown. There is no other place in the world like it."
An opinion from RIOC management:
"You cannot do everything at once," says Shane, who according to some has made more progress in six months than several of his predecessors did in several years. "People may have got spoiled out here. Sometimes I think the residents forget what it is to live in Manhattan, the Bronx or Queens."
Nevertheless, renting retail space on Main St. is still a problem that needs fixing. Because of legislation enacted to prevent state-operated groups from committing fraud, it takes nine months to a year to go through the approval process to rent an 800-square-foot store on Roosevelt Island.
The reporter's verdict:
It's clear Roosevelt Island residents don't know how good they have it. Yes, they've worked hard to build a small-town feel and they deserve to maintain it, but they might want to try working with each other as opposed to against each other.
This is a fantastic and peaceful place to live. Without the complaints, lawsuits, constant jockeying for political representation and state problems with the retail, the island has a chance to become an outdoor wonderland with a front-view view to the finest skyline in the world. What could look like Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angles or the South Street Seaport instead resembles abandoned retail stretches of the South Bronx circa 1976. It's depressing, and the state needs to take a look.
As for the politics, I just hope the personal-interest groups don't turn a beautiful neighborhood into a hard place to live, or worse place to visit.
Fact check - Roosevelt Island's local Red Bus costs 25 cents not $1 unless the reporter is breaking some news that we don't know about.

29 comments :

Anonymous said...

That article was definitely sponsored by one of the developers here on RI. So much Bull in so few words. Everybody the reporter talked to had something positive to say about PS 217? How come I am not able to meet those people?

Anonymous said...

Actually he said all the parents said good things about PS 287. And an interesting "verdict" that the residents' "personal-interest groups", not RIOC or the developers, may mess things up. And as bad as some things are.....it's a long way from the South Bronx circa 1976...which, from the looks of his photo, is about when the reporter was born.

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