Community Celebrates a Community Advocate

May 16, 2018

Next Saturday, May 19, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, 543 Main Street, our Roosevelt Island community will be coming together to celebrate the life of an Island stalwart, community advocate, and the past editor-in-chief of The Main Street WIRE, Dick Lutz, who recently passed away.  


For many of us, Dick and his work on The WIRE were the epitome of what it means to provide fact-based, unbiased, in-depth community reporting grounded in true journalism – an asset to our Island community and a rarity in today’s electronic media world of second-hand recycled reporting. 


For an Island generation, residents relied on Dick, and his upfront, truthful, and inquisitive reporting and editing of The WIRE, to provide an unparalleled view of Island life, news, and goings-on – a view that is sorely missed.


Whether you agreed with Dick’s views or not, knew of Dick personally, or just wish to  support your Island family, all are welcome to attend, recognize, reflect, and acknowledge – even for just a brief minute or two – those who had preceded us and made the Island the wonderful community we know and love today


Music is All Inclusive


Immediately following the community celebration for Dick Lutz, the children and youth of our community will be coming together on Saturday, May 19, starting at 5:00 p.m. to share their musical talents with us at the Music Is All Inclusive Concert, sponsored by the RIRA Children, Youth & Education Committee and its partner, the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association. 


Dedicated to Dick Lutz, the concert will cap off a series of programs and events held with the Island’s youth, seniors and disabled, and will emphasize equality in our community and the sentiment, “I do not have a disability, I have a gift.” 


The performing youth will also be joined by a professional chamber orchestra and will be conducted by Ms. Shuang Yu, an Island resident and musical instructor.  


All are welcome to attend, free of charge, and to join in our celebration of our Island’s youth, seniors, and disabled through an evening of music and goodwill. 


Call for RIRA Treasurer


Do you or someone you know have either an accounting degree and/or is a certified CPA? Do you or that someone have experience supporting nonprofit organizations? Looking to get more involved in your community or join the RIRA Common Council? Now is your chance.  


By becoming the organization’s treasurer, not only will you have an opportunity to support RIRA, but you will automatically become a voting member of the Common Council, a member of the Executive Board, and an advocate for your community. 


Interested? Contact me directly at with any questions or concerns.  


Community Board 8 Manhattan


Lynne Shinozaki, the Chair of the Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee, reports the following: 


“On Thursday, May 3, Diana Allegretti, director of design and construction for Cornell University, appeared before the [Roosevelt Island] Committee. The presentation is part of the public review process for Cornell’s application with the Public Design Commission. This presentation specifically concerned the signage of the Verizon Executive Education Center and Graduate Hotel [at the Cornell Tech campus]. This is the second presentation to this committee concerning these buildings. Their last presentation was on October 26, 2016, and [was] unanimously approved with the following caveats: (a) that a design change be made to the loading and unloading docks to lessen impacts on traffic and traffic flow; (b) that waste management be reviewed for these buildings and their overall site; and (c) that Cornell Tech be required to appear before Community Board 8 and its Land Use and Roosevelt Island Committees with any proposed changes.


“Samuel Brissette, an architect from Snohetta, made a presentation of the placement and style of signage to be used on both buildings. After the presentation, the attendees at the meeting commented on how the planned signage incorporated and responded to previously stated concerns and no one had an issue with the proposed presentation for signage.


“The attendees did comment on the issues that were not addressed from the prior meeting and unanimously decided not to make a resolution until there is a clear understanding from Cornell on the traffic, waste management, and environmental impact issues. 


“[Also], Southtown Building 8 is moving forward with Riverwalk 8 LLC (Related Management Co.) and a presentation has been made to CB8M Housing committee on April 25, 2018, where the [Related Companies] presented their application for a larger footprint [at Southtown]. They also agreed that the larger building would be all affordable housing. An additional presentation will be before the Land Use Committee on May 9.”


Interested in learning more about Community Board 8 Manhattan, its Roosevelt Island Committee and their work on the Island? Attend the next Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee Meeting June 21, 6:30 p.m., at Good Shepherd community center, located at 543 Main Street, and let your voice be heard.


Help Out a Neighbor


Lastly, as many of our Island neighbors are aware, a tragic fire broke out at Manhattan Park on the evening of April 27, where a newly arrived and just-moved-in neighbor, single mother of three, and army veteran, lost all of her family’s possessions and the tiniest member of their family, their beloved cat. 


Roosevelt Island family, friends, and neighbors are coming together to help our newest of neighbors recover from this horrific tragedy. If you are interested or can help, point your web browser to where a fundraising campaign has been started. We truly hope that our neighbor knows that our Roosevelt Island community is there for them.




Jeff Escobar, President

RI Residents Association

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