On Saturday afternoon, Islanders will be treated to an encore viewing of the large, red R and I letters proposed for permanent installation at the Tramway Plaza.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) is staging the repeat performance in hopes of gauging community support for the sculpture, which was designed at the urging of real estate developer Hudson Related, as part of an effort to encourage tourism – and thus foot traffic – on the Island.
From 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., RIOC staff will be on hand to collect comment cards from the public. Residents not able to attend can submit their opinions on the RI welcome monument to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The prototype received mixed reviews after a brief viewing in mid-September. One vocal critic has been Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy, who says the monument interferes with views of the Tram, the historic Visitor Center Kiosk, and the City. Others have criticized the simplistic nature of the design itself. During that first trial run, the prototype was also tested by the subway station, close to where the bicycle rack is located. Hudson Related, however, has stated they will not support any location other than by the Tram.
Arguing that the public – as well as RIOC Board members – had not had sufficient time to effectively evaluate the mockup at its first viewing, the RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee decided to postpone its decision regarding the design and placement of the sculpture until a second date could be arranged.
The installation is part of a larger effort by RIOC and Hudson Related to improve wayfinding on the Island, and ultimately improve commercial retail. The other steps include kiosks with maps, and directional signs placed around the Island. Hudson Related partnered with design consulting group Calori & Vanden-Eynden to create the design.
Photo by Janet Falk