Roosevelt Islanders Behaving Badly. Again.

Why Can't We Grow Up? Case of the Purloined Pool Table

Peter McCarthy
Cornell Tech donated some really comfortable chairs. CBN/RI Senior Center gave them a home. Shame on them.
Cornell Tech donated some really comfortable chairs. CBN/RI Senior Center gave them a home. Shame on them.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

They said it couldn't be done, but Roosevelt Islanders set a new low when the donation of some chairs, from Cornell Tech to the Senior Center, ignited a campaign of hostilities fueled, once again, by a virulent and widespread allergy that flares up at the first hint of change, especially when it's those dreaded "outsiders."

The weak willed may find it hard to believe that Cornell Tech and the Carter Burden Network, neither of which has been on Roosevelt Island anywhere near forty years, maliciously colluded to add abundant, new and comfortable seating for users of the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

See proof in the photo above.

Where a bulky pool table that provided room for discarded flyers, jackets and whatever else people didn't feel like carrying around once squatted now resides a half-dozen big red chairs. (They're comfy too. Try one of the pieces of evidence. We did.)

"It all comes down to space usage," CBN Director Lisa Fernandez blithely explained, admitting, "One person used the pool table. It also became a dumping ground for unwanted items."

Anyone who's lived on Roosevelt Island for a long time can easily see why the Roosevelt Island Senior Association is up in arms.

"A RISA member was outside the center on Saturday when it (the pool table) was being taken out and accused the person removing it of stealing," a source whose fear of RISA retaliation spurred a request for anonymity told The Daily

We are still investigating the details of this failed weekend ruse.

"We received the donation of chairs from Cornell," Fernandez admits, "and found a youth group in Queens that would take the table."

Put simply, CBN's onsite manager admits that, after receiving a generous donation of very comfortable chairs, she was able to find a place for the pool table where it would actually get a lot of use.

And the chairs? As the photo above shows, the collection already had twice as many users (2) as the pool table did when we visited yesterday.

But seriously folks...

In recent months, we've heard more than a half-dozen complaints from Senior Center users about the behavior of RISA, which the Department for the Aging ousted from managing the facility but has since regrouped to provide their own paid programs, citing specific individuals who, for the time being, shall remain nameless but shouldn't be hard to guess.

CBN personnel, with the exception of Hallie Shapiro, who muttered in private after swearing us to secrecy, have refused to complain, dreamily hoping to find peaceful coexistence with RISA's administration.

Seven people, three of whom summoned us to come to the Center to hear their concerns, cited an ongoing campaign to make life miserable on Roosevelt Island for the Carter Burden Network, which they also note has vastly improved services for seniors.

Improving the lives of our elderly residents seems beside the point.

After all what good are escorted field trips to museums and plays, improved meals and meaningful exercise routines - all for free, mind you - when people who have lived here a very long time are lurking in the doorway?

"In my humble opinion," shared a source who isn't especially humble, "it is more about control and change, and CBN is making changes."

But what on Earth would cause anyone to think an intense group of familiar faces who've lived on Roosevelt Island since before recorded history, otherwise known as "the usual suspects," would resist positive change... and the dreaded "outsiders?"

Oh, yeah, of course. Experience.

Being here, day after day, year in and year out, we've seen it more times than we can count. Or would like to.

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