David Stone
Orange construction fencing steers pedestrians one last time around Island House's dreaded entrance steps.
Orange construction fencing steers pedestrians one last time around Island House's dreaded entrance steps.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"The initial idea for removing the steps,"according to Island House  Board President Amrah Cardoso, "came from RIOC, who offered financial support and a contribution of the z-bricks needed to restore the sidewalk after the removal of the steps." Many will be grateful to RIOC for lighting the spark that upgrades Main Street.

Former RIOC President/CEO Charlene Indelicato hated the concrete steps jutting out across the sidewalk, just south of the deli. They left only enough room for a single pedestrian or wheelchair to pass and were probably thought of as quaintly atmospheric in an island environment when there was far less traffic here. Indelicato, who tried to walk the Island every workday, saw them as an annoying obstacle.

With a little help from their friends at RIOC, Island House Removes Unloved Steps
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Now the administration of her successor, Susan Rosenthal, has made Indelicato's dream and that of many others a reality.

The steps are already gone.

Removal of the steps and restoration of the sidewalk is expected to take approximately 2 weeks, according to a statement from Island House's Board of Directors.

It's all part of an Island House lobby expansion and reconfiguration program.

A single remaining chunk of steps that stubbed many toes is all that's left of them.
A single remaining chunk of steps that stubbed many toes is all that's left of them.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"The project will include relocating the main entrance through the historic Good Shepherd Plaza and will include enclosing the existing outdoor entry area with new energy efficient glass curtain wall, enhanced security, as well as a new door station and energy efficient entry door system. An all redesigned interior lobby will provide residents with an efficient, comfortable and lovely lobby experience."

Everything's expected to be completed in April.

Z-bricks, donated by RIOC, will soon fill in the gap created.
Z-bricks, donated by RIOC, will soon fill in the gap created.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Island House, one of Roosevelt Island's groundbreaking WIRE buildings, is a landmark on multiple fronts, from anchoring the community here to becoming the first complex to exit Mitchell-Lama sponsorship into genuine affordability, matching an originating ideal for Island development.