Not Our Sign!

I really hope the large RI letters are not installed on Roosevelt Island. They look ghastly. The money could be used for something – anything – better. And aesthetically, the thing – can’t bring myself to call it a sculpture – is a ripoff, out of scale, and with the effect of a driver never turning off his brights at night. Please spare us.

Why not solicit submissions from Island professional artists for a greeting monument? The Cornell students? Or a call to lesser known, but good and cheaper, artists off-Island? Or kids on the Island? I used to run a cat-rescue group called Island Cats, which solicited artwork for a competition from Island children. Breathtakingly original and eloquent entries came from young Child School students and their extraordinary art teacher, Camille Mouquinho ( Some of them could have been made to work on a large scale and would certainly be more an evocation of the Island’s vital spirit than the clunky knockoff sculpture proposed, looking for all the world as if it had just been dropped down onto the ground, un-organically.

Why not break loose and do something original and eye-catching for this project? The Island is unique and certainly worth taking a little extra time and effort for. And I am positive there would be great, stimulating interest in serving on a resident panel to weigh in on the project, including residents from the entire Island, not just Rivercross. There are certainly sane and sensible residents (we still have a few of them on the Island!) who love the Island and would join for the work – and not for another line in their Island activist resume.

Be brave. Be imaginative. Make Roosevelt Island be paid attention to as this unique place should.

Jennifer Dunning

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