This Holiday, Reach Out to a Neighbor in Need

December 5, 2017

Although it was only last week that we were polishing off the Thanksgiving turkey and watching the last leaves of our trees turn a golden hue, the holiday season is now upon us in full force. Regardless of which holiday of light you may celebrate during this joyous time, there’s a special feeling we share as a community when twinkling lights illuminate our nights. It’s as if each light sends a new spirit of love, hope, joy, and renewal through the heart of our community. The holiday season is a cherished and magical time on Roosevelt Island, and we cannot think of a more wonderful way to kick off the season than being surrounded by all of you, our neighbors, family, and friends, while we exchange a bit of holiday cheer.


Speaking of spreading some holiday cheer, we look forward to joining you at our little Island’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony happening next Friday, December 8, at 7:00 p.m. on the lawn south of Rivercross (501 Main Street), across from Blackwell House. Be sure to come and join the rest of our community as we join in some holiday songs and help keep our Island kiddos warm as they await the arrival of … a certain jolly man in red with a twinkle in his eye and a penchant for making children’s dreams come true. 


Special thanks to RIOC, the Hudson Companies, Urban American, Wholesome Factory, Piccolo Trattoria, the Roosevelt Island Starbucks, and Bread & Butter Market who are this year’s sponsors and are making this event possible. For those of you who are able to attend, we truly hope that Santa’s visit will be a magical one for you and your family.


The holiday season is also a time for giving, and as we use the next few weeks to reach out to family and friends, we hope each of you will take the time to also open your hearts and arms to those members of our community who are lonely and in need, who are less fortunate than ourselves, or who are merely looking to be touched by the holiday spirit. Whether it be through the spread of holiday cheer to a Roosevelt Island neighbor, visiting with the members of our aged or disabled, the purchase of a tree from, and in support of, our PS/IS 217 PTA, or a donation of toys to the numerous charities on the Island, please take the time to reach out to a member of our community and ensure that they, too, have a happy holiday. Because even though it is easy to focus on receiving at this time of the year, it is often in the simple act of giving that we find the greatest happiness.


For the third year in a ​row, RIRA will sponsor Pay It Forward, a program that looks to help meet the food and other needs of our less fortunate neighbors during the winter holidays. 


Last year, these efforts assisted over 100 Roosevelt Island families and individuals for whom we assembled and delivered boxes of food staples and other goods. We ask all of you to please join us again in our efforts to address hunger in our community and donate some of your resources, talent, and time to the program. Donations are being sought and volunteers are needed to help sort food packages, decorate boxes, and deliver presents to our Island family, friends, and neighbors in need. Not only is this a great opportunity for young and old, students to professionals, to engage in some community service, but also an opportunity to touch the lives of, and get to know, some of your Island neighbors. 


For more information on how you can donate to this year’s efforts, or any other questions you might have, reach out to either Sara Metzidakis, chair of this year’s Pay It Forward program, at, or Lynn Shinozaki, Chair of the Social, Cultural & Education Committee, at


This holiday season, whether you celebrate the story of a child born far from home to parents guided only by faith, light candles in celebration and commemoration of the miracle of a light that would not extinguish, gather family and friends to celebrate the seven principles of community, or ring in the New Year with the singing of The Auld Lang Syne, may you and your family celebrate a message that has endured the ages – that no matter who we are or where we came from, we as friends and neighbors are called to love and respect one another as brother and sister, and as fellow citizens of our community. Happy Holidays!



Jeff Escobar, 

President, RI Residents Association


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