Ask Susan

Hey, RIOC! How dumb do you think we are?

Updated 28 weeks ago David Stone
Graphic used in HEY SUSAN to represent Susan Rosenthal, appropriately misleading.
Graphic used in HEY SUSAN to represent Susan Rosenthal, appropriately misleading.

Can you help me? Which demonstrates the worst misjudgment, RIOC's stealing my concept or their lame-brained attempt to sales pitch an illusion of meaningful accessibility? There's also the grossly bad grammar to consider...

In New York, illiteracy went out with the battle between Macy's and Gimbels. If you must pursue this "new weekly feature," go out and get yourself a comma, will you? Like: Hey, Susan! WTF?

And I don't think anyone's interested in your plan "to potential improve the glare into the nearby apartments." They want it to go away, and I'll loan you an ly to fix the adverb for you, if you want.

And what's with the half-assed use of quotation marks? At the start of one out of four paragraphs and closed at the very end? Not simply incorrect, but inconsistent, too.

Look, I make grammatical errors. I have hawk-eyed friends who email corrections. But I work alone. With your bloated staff at RIOC, somebody ought to know something about proofreading the boss's copy.

So, anyway...

For those who missed it, RIOC yesterday launched Hey Susan, a feature they promise to post on Facebook and on their website. It says you can "Ask RIOC President Susan Rosenthal a question, any question about things on Roosevelt Island."

It's more than a little cynical to toss in such an offer after refusing for months to respond to so many critical to the well-being of the community.

Faced with questions about why RIOC danced like a crazed elephant on the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, trashed the legacy of its leader, Charlie DeFino (after apparently rigging bids preceding the disaster); played cuckoo snake in a clownish attempt to evict the cat sanctuary from Southpoint; and did a Butterfly McQueen when asked about contaminated water in playground and park water fountains, just to highlight recent RIOC debacles, Rosenthal retreated into silence or, as it's locally known, RIOC bunker mode.

Now, after rarely if ever consulting with residents about plans for infrastructure work, profligate spending or planned environmental damage, she says, "ask any question," without answering those awaiting her for months.

How dumb do they think we are?

Although this feature just launched, they just happened to have a few questions already lined up.

Lo and behold, two of them are as laudatory as questioning, two others of the "we don't do that category," leaving just one that's useful without any ulterior motive.

Hey, Susan! How dumb do you think we are?
Hey, Susan! How dumb do you think we are?
Photo: RIOC

Sort of.

Rosenthal, assuming she actually composed the responses, fielded the one about lighting near Firefighter Field to boast about youth soccer leagues, a fresh effort at taking over community activity resulting in less than half as many kids getting involved as in previous years.

Except she never mentioned that last part.

And finally...

We know Rosenthal received numerous complaints about the "RI Welcome Sign" (or monument), parked in the Tram Plaza over resident objections. But she manages instead to pull one out the stack that loves tall Helvetica fonts and wants to see several more scattered around the Island.

If you haven't caught on that this is a goofy PR gimmick already, hang on.

Responding to the correspondent's wish that "my 'vote' be included," Rosenthal gratuitously says, "There’s no real 'vote'" before going on to say, "I love it too!"

Rosenthal, of course, knows this is untrue. She, along with her partner, David Kramer at Hudson, declined an offer to contribute to framing the question in our ongoing survey, RI Welcome Sign, Yes or No?  

Yes, it's real, and we'll be closing it up and reporting the results to RIOC and the rest of the community on November 12th. In the meantime, the results will be secret.

So, Hey, Susan! (note the comma), WTF?


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