Public Asked to Anonymously Express Their Preferences

Votes are in: RI Welcome Sign, Stay or Go?

Updated 35 weeks ago David Stone
Roosevelt Island Visitor Kiosk, the view local residents say they want returned to the Tram Plaza.
Roosevelt Island Visitor Kiosk, the view local residents say they want returned to the Tram Plaza.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

In the face of stiff resistance, Hudson Partner David Kramer promised RIOC's Real Estate Development Committee that, if allowed to set up the RI Welcome Sign developed by his firm, he'd remove it, should Islanders decided they don't like it. We offered everyone a chance to vote. Here is what they said.

Question: Should the RI Welcome Sign in the Roosevelt Tram Plaza be made permanent? 

Yes: 47%

No: 53%

Those who decided to register an opinion were clear. A majority does not want the 8 foot, red Helvetica fonts to stay. The Residents Association Common Council has already voted unanimously against the sign's placement in the Tram Plaza.

That's significant because RIOC carried out a campaign to win its approval, with separate ceremonies for the placement of its prototype and for its unveiling. The unveiling followed intense promotion and was accompanied by a jazz band, during rush hour, for generating maximum exposure.

But voters were not sold.

The question now is, will Kramer follow through on his promise or force RIOC's Board to make a decision? 

The Board, in a rare show of assertiveness, acquiesced to the trial placement only after Kramer made his promise to remove it. Now that Islanders have spoken, will the Board stand up to Kramer and his partner, RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal? 

If history's any judge, they will not. But that will require thumbing their noses at residents' expressed wishes.

Here's a video taken during RIOC's RI Welcome Sign unveiling event. No one, not even RIOC employees pressed into service to fill out the crowd (unsuccessfully), show much interest in the giant Helvetica fonts that are supposed to bring tourists flocking for photo ops.


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