Atrium and Surrounding Spaces Were Planned for Public Enjoyment

We can do better than this: RIOC's Disgraceful Neglect of Motorgate Public Space

Updated 9 weeks ago David Stone
You'd have to search far and wide to find a transportation hub entrance as filthy and disgusting at this one, across from a public school and luxury apartments yet.
You'd have to search far and wide to find a transportation hub entrance as filthy and disgusting at this one, across from a public school and luxury apartments yet.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

As RIOC invests resources into neglected infrastructure, upgrading, fixing, creating anew, Roosevelt Island's most glaring example of civic neglect, the Motorgate Atrium and surrounding public spaces, offer many visitors as well as residents a blemish, on Main Street's only significant intersection, no community should be forced to live with.

We've Got the Money: Fix This Mess

The area's so filthy and forbidding, my guess is that many Roosevelt Islanders, maybe most, have never seen much beyond its dreary exterior, but when you take a longer look, as I did yesterday, you see potential so monumentally neglected, it stands out as gross unsightliness that outranks even our hopelessly dilapidated subway station.

The worst of it is that, objectively, the Motorgate Atrium and public spaces built around it were clearly designed to be places of enjoyment. It couldn't have been easy to turn it all into the revolting mess it is today.

I'll spare you the need to look for yourself by telling you this story graphically, in pictures that show the area as it is in contrast to what it could be.

Keep in mind that RIOC's committed $14 million for a Palace of Versailles Bike Ramp few Islanders will use when a fraction of that could easily rescue the Atrium and everything around it.

 

Only steps from what RIOC calls the "Motorgate Gallery," an underwhelming effort to make the Atrium better, stark unwelcoming.
Only steps from what RIOC calls the "Motorgate Gallery," an underwhelming effort to make the Atrium better, stark unwelcoming.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Gristedes struggles to get RIOC to spruce up the main passage between street, river and abandoned public space beyond.
Gristedes struggles to get RIOC to spruce up the main passage between street, river and abandoned public space beyond.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

A plywood shed, painted Roosevelt Island red, murals added, fails to hide a once useful escalator RIOC refuses to repair.
A plywood shed, painted Roosevelt Island red, murals added, fails to hide a once useful escalator RIOC refuses to repair.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

An escalator that once carried riders to the bridge to catch buses and cabs without adding to Main Street congestion is relegated to dust catcher.
An escalator that once carried riders to the bridge to catch buses and cabs without adding to Main Street congestion is relegated to dust catcher.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

A memory of what once was, legacy tram cabins rot behind filthy windows, doors and poured concrete.
A memory of what once was, legacy tram cabins rot behind filthy windows, doors and poured concrete.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

In the spirit of the Meditation Steps, these along the East Promenade were designed for leisure, but who'd hang out here now?
In the spirit of the Meditation Steps, these along the East Promenade were designed for leisure, but who'd hang out here now?
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Neglect continues outside in open spaces never much used. Here, a bike parking area is reduced to an abandoned bike junkyard.
Neglect continues outside in open spaces never much used. Here, a bike parking area is reduced to an abandoned bike junkyard.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

A sweeping ramp down from Main Street and the helix could easily be fixed up for bike, wheelchair and stroller access to the Promenade.
A sweeping ramp down from Main Street and the helix could easily be fixed up for bike, wheelchair and stroller access to the Promenade.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Motorgate Atrium elevator lobby, a study in filth and poor taste. Mustard yellow halfway up the wall? Why? Imagine this as a visitor's first impression.
Motorgate Atrium elevator lobby, a study in filth and poor taste. Mustard yellow halfway up the wall? Why? Imagine this as a visitor's first impression.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Locked doors intended for Promenade access, windows so filthy the sun barely gets through.
Locked doors intended for Promenade access, windows so filthy the sun barely gets through.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

If there's one thing that makes leaving historic Tram cabins to rot outdoors worse, it's paying for eight years of rental fencing to do the trick.
If there's one thing that makes leaving historic Tram cabins to rot outdoors worse, it's paying for eight years of rental fencing to do the trick.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

The single source of adequate lighting helps guide traffic on and off the Island. Why not light up the inside too?
The single source of adequate lighting helps guide traffic on and off the Island. Why not light up the inside too?
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

It's impossible to ignore smart design details that never get carried through to the rest of the Atrium.
It's impossible to ignore smart design details that never get carried through to the rest of the Atrium.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Outside looking in, RIOC adds to the dreariness by replacing broken glass with plywood.
Outside looking in, RIOC adds to the dreariness by replacing broken glass with plywood.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Inside the Atrium, benches with no purpose. Why would anyone come here?
Inside the Atrium, benches with no purpose. Why would anyone come here?
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

RIVAA launched a muscular effort to get RIOC to move the old Tram pulleys indoors as installations to improve the Atrium but got nowhere.
RIVAA launched a muscular effort to get RIOC to move the old Tram pulleys indoors as installations to improve the Atrium but got nowhere.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Neglect continues outside in open spaces never much used. Here, a bike parking area is reduced to an abandoned bike junkyard.
Neglect continues outside in open spaces never much used. Here, a bike parking area is reduced to an abandoned bike junkyard.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

What ideas do you have for making this valuable space one we can be proud of?

 

Comments powered by Disqus