David Stone
Erica Spencer-EL, second from right, at Motorgate Gallery opening in 2016 with two of her children along for the art.
Erica Spencer-EL, second from right, at Motorgate Gallery opening in 2016 with two of her children along for the art.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Erica Spencer-EL, an 11 year veteran at RIOC, working most recently as Community Relations Manager, has been tapped to expand her role to include overall management of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center. The State agency took control of the Center last month.

“I’m looking forward to providing professional and unique programming to benefit the Island’s evolving community of young adults, families, and our growing population of active and involved youth,” Spencer-EL said in a press release announcing her appointment.

Spencer-EL is well-known to a number of residents, based on her work in the community, including...

  1. The design and drafting of  operating procedures for the renovated Cultural Center
  2. The Bike New York program, a free bicycle workshop and training center
  3. Helping create several Island and Main Street beautification initiatives including seasonal street banners, holiday lamp posts and tree lights
  4. The Motorgate Art Gallery (see above) and...
  5. The soon-to-be unveiled Good Shepherd Garden rotating sculpture display featuring works from local artists


Her other initiatives include RIOC’s internal and external marketing and branding; the planning and implementation of eight annual community events, including Roosevelt Island Day, the Fall for Arts Festival and July 4th event; as well as creating and managing RIOC’s first community-wide emergency alert notification system and the recent redesign and launch of the new RIOC website.

According to RIOC's press release...

Spencer-EL is a Philadelphia native and a 2000 graduate of Temple University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Sports Science. She formerly founded an inner-city Fencing program in Houston, Texas and previously served in programs such as Nike P.L.A.Y. Corps and the National Youth Sports Program providing coaching, clinics and activities of non-traditional sports to children in underserved communities.

She was a collegiate varsity team fencer, is a New York Yankees and Rangers fan and spends her free time engaged in activities with her four children. She is also a member of A Better New York (ABNY), Black Women in Sports Foundation and the New York State Policy and Networking Group.

Before making a decision to promote Spencer-EL, RIOC President Susan Rosenthal and Vice President Shelton Haynes had numerous informal discussions with residents and youth group leaders.

Spencer-EL, along with Haynes, scheduled a parents meeting at the Youth Center, 506 Main Street, on Saturday, April 14th, at 5:00, where they will discuss recent personnel and policy moves and the creation of a Parents Advisory Committee.