Conditions Ideal, Execution Flawless

Perfect: 4th of July, 2018, on Roosevelt Island

Updated 11 weeks ago David Stone
Fireworks frame FDR bust in Four Freedoms Park.
Fireworks frame FDR bust in Four Freedoms Park.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

When an event goes as well as last night's 4th of July Fireworks did, it's easy to forget how difficult it is to coordinate satisfying thousands of people safely for a compact few hours, working with multiple organizations and venues. But RIOC earned a gold star and an enthusiastic thank you for pulling it off so smoothly.

The weather cooperated. The rest was under RIOC's control.

The café at Cornell Tech grilled for hundreds.
The café at Cornell Tech grilled for hundreds.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Logistics stretched more than a mile up Roosevelt Island as traffic and parking had to be managed as hundreds of visitors joined residents to view the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks. There was evidence right away that RIOC's planning clicked.

Uniformed officers stationed along Main Street had little to do but stay alert and answer questions as restrictions kicked in.

Little things mattered as outside security and PSD officers, visible everywhere, kept people flowing smoothly through security checks, cheerfully polite and helpful on a day when they worked so others could enjoy the occasion.

That was consistent throughout with Tram operators ferrying hundreds back and forth across the East River and Red Bus drivers making their way along congesting routes.

Food trucks were busy in Southpoint Park.
Food trucks were busy in Southpoint Park.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

And it was true even with RIOC personnel who volunteered for essential tasks that kept things rolling. Case in point: Vice President Jaci Flug busied herself, when she could as easily have been out on a picnic with friends, wrapping wristbands on visitors to FDR Four Freedoms Park.

RIOC's commitment to the event was impressive.

And weeks of coordination were immediately visible inside the secured area as the terrace at the café at Cornell Tech was busy all afternoon and evening with people enjoying a special grill menu created for the day.

While live music filled the air and a bounce house did exactly what its name suggests, five food trucks arrayed throughout Southpoint Park accommodated groups sitting on blankets as darkness gathered.

With towers in Manhattan and Long Island City bracing the river where its channels converge south of Roosevelt Island, FDR Four Freedoms Park was comfortably populated with 1,100 folks lucky enough to grab tickets limited by safety concerns.

Astute planning showed up again as golf carts provided an easy alternative for anyone for whom the Park's monumental steps were too great a challenge. RIOC set aside prime viewing space for visitors with disabilities, several in wheelchairs.

Picnickers on blankets ate while waiting.
Picnickers on blankets ate while waiting.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Up and down the Island, nary a hitch could be found.

And that's not just my experience. Returning home on foot, we didn't hear anything by praise for the event. Even in our packed elevator a half hour after the finale was mirrored in glass tours on both sides of the river, our neighbors were still smiling.

Of course, the main event, an exciting display lighting up over the East River, must be credited to Macy's, but RIOC, along with its partners at Cornell Tech - where meadows were filled with visitors - and FDR Four Freedoms Park, made it happen with efficiency, convenience and style.

The main event filled the sky with lights and sound over the East River.
The main event filled the sky with lights and sound over the East River.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

First timers had to be impressed and those of us who live here were treated to a generous event where RIOC performed flawlessly with nothing to gain but the satisfaction of pulling it off successfully for the community.

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