Reinventing a Troubled Department

PSD Director Jack McManus Nears 5th Anniversary on Roosevelt Island

Updated 47 weeks ago David Stone
Jack McManus, second from right, with the CERT Team, last summer
Jack McManus, second from right, with the CERT Team, last summer
File photo, courtesy of Frank Farance

Whenever I run into Jack McManus, the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department's Director since 2013, as we circulate along Main Street, he reminds me of our first meeting and an article I wrote for the Main Street WIRE to introduce him to the community. It was a critical time here and not just for PSD, which went from hated and distrusted in much of the community to a jeweled asset on McManus's watch.

My feature appeared in the WIRE (Be patient with the download. Clunky PDFs in the WIRE archive move at the pace of a slug on the ocean floor.) on June 29th, 2013.

"There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is McManus..." I wrote.

Jack's the antithesis of the tough guy image that suggests, a soft-spoken leader steeped in the NYPD's community policing model. He'd worked it and trusted it.

He was exactly what RIOC President Charlene Indelicato had in mind. One of the first things he did after hearing about the job was to rush from a vacation in the Adirondacks to a walk through of Roosevelt Island Day. He wanted to get a feel for the place.

Also, in that issue, Frank Farance contributed an article about Island House finally winning approval of its affordability exit from Mitchell-Lama, an achievement that still resonates success; a column by Cornell Tech's Cathy Dove, since departed to lead Paul Smith's College as President, breathed a sigh of relief that the year long ULURP was over and the school could start building; and Briana Warsing wrote about Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance's struggle with space to work in after Hurricane Sandy battered the Cultural Center.

All of that, we know now, led to favorable outcomes.

Island House serves as a template for Westview's pending exit, MST&DA thrives with creative new shows and partnerships, and Cornell Tech emerges with every promise of world-changing technology still in place.

What inspires this article, the first in what we hope becomes an informal series, is something else of which Jack McManus reminds me: I've never followed up with an article about his subsequent experiences, a lacuna I plan to fill soon.

Other near history perspectives will follow.

The last five years has been dynamic for Roosevelt Island, from Cornell Tech to finally landing ferry service. We're going to try to slide sometimes from the immediate to the longer term perspectives. Keep your eye out and contact us with any suggestions.


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