Stories We Should Have Told, and More Change

September 2, 2019

Happy Labor Day, Roosevelt Island! It’s been another summer of change on Roosevelt Island, and at The WIRE


You didn’t hear much from us this summer because it’s been a tumultuous summer for me personally, culiminating with my family’s very Roosevelt Island international move off Roosevelt Island. My husband, three children and I are moving to London for a few years.


The WIRE will still be around and we are in the process of building our new team. 


Stories we were following this summer:


The new members of the RIOC board. Who are they? (Besides Jeff Escobar, we know him pretty well.) What are their views and goals for Roosevelt Island? How did they get on the board in the first place? If you recall, we were told at the May Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) meeting and at a Town Hall in June that future new board members would be chosen from the list of people Islanders voted for. Yet none were from that list. Does this mean the new board members don’t believe board members should be chosen by Islanders?


 Roosevelt Landings on the left, north; and Ravenswood Generating Station, right


Roosevelt Landings was sold by Urban American to L+M Development Partners and Invesco Real Estate and will be converted back to affordable housing. More affordable housing here is always good news, but how will that impact current tenants and the Island at large? What does affordable even mean in this case? Will the students be forced out? What about current market rate tenants? 


Carter Burden Network received a two-year $55,000 grant from The New York Community Trust for the Island's homebound seniors and people with disabilities for a pilot program to be operated in partnership with Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA). Carter Burden also received funds from Ravenswood Generating Station in 2018, known as Big Allis, to create a new state-of-the-art sewing studio fully outfitted with eight sewing machines and that funding was re-upped this summer.


How should these grants impact their requests for Public Purpose Funds, acknowledging that, on the one hand, access to and application for other funding is part of the metric for deciding which groups get funded, and how much. But on the other hand, if they are getting all of this grant money, are public purpose funds even necessary? This has gotten heated in the past, and a couple of years ago, RIOC overruled RIRA's public purpose recommendation for this group, giving them more money.


The state test scores were released. How did last year’s third graders do compared to their predessecors? How did our school do compared to the City and the State at large? The last time we provided this update was in 2017.


PS/IS 217, at 645 Main Street 


And I would have also published the seasonal Island retail round-up.


I am going to miss both The WIRE, and Roosevelt Island tremendously. This has been the most rewarding job I have ever had, with the best people I have ever worked with. 


I’ve been amazed at how much news there has been, how many stories I’ve been able to tell and how fullfilling it’s been. I’ve gotten to know so many interesting Islanders, so many of whom I didn't get a chance to say good-bye to, and it’s been a fantastic education about government, politics, community, and neighborhoods. 


I have lived on Roosevelt Island since 2012 with my family – and prior to that, my parents moved here when I was an infant in the winter of 1977. I left the Island for the first time for college in 1994 and have been leaving and coming back to live ever since. As bittersweet as this specific move off the Island is for me, I am sure time away and the perspective it will offer is for the best. That being said, I already miss you all!




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