David Stone
RI Welcome Monument Shrinks, Earns Promotion Anyway
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation failed to produce a finished poster, get its own name right, or release a list of events for Saturday's Fall for Arts Festival but was still able to muscle up to promote a Come Welcome the Welcome Sign event to help good buddy Hudson with the crowning piece of its controversial signage project.

In a glowing press release, RIOC said, "residents and visitors get a chance to ask officials questions and share their opinions about the new 10-foot-monument of red letters which rests on the lawn in front of the Roosevelt Island Tram Station."

Known previously as the RI Welcome Monument, the installation's now reduced to a "sign," although "monument" still gets worked into the puff piece.

The monument/sign amounts to a pair of 10 foot Helvetica fonts that look ridiculous unless viewed from the angle of a rider exiting the tram. Helvetica is officially classified as "Neo-grotesque sans-serif," that is plain, realist and functional. 

Take a gander at it in black and white and see that there's no design involved, and if the fonts weren't large and red, nobody'd have any reason to look at them at all...

RI Welcome Monument Shrinks, Earns Promotion Anyway
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

But RIOC's pulling out all the stops in a hard sell to help BDF (best developer friend) Hudson avoid the expense of taking it down in three months, as promised, if residents don't like it. Hudson never gets a mention in the news release.

Of course, there's plenty not to like, apart from its appalling lack of creativity. There's the way it grossly blocks the once singularly graceful view of the Historical Society's Visitor Kiosk, for example.

RIOC invites everyone to "Stop by the new RI Welcome Sign next Tuesday October 9, say hi, enjoy some jazz and get a free gif."

No, they did not misspell "gift." It's a little joke.

"New York City cultural photographer Angie Vasquez," RIOC continues, "will capture the moments in photos and will be sharing gifs (animated files of the compressed images) to post on social media."

Are you laughing yet?

For the record, "cultural photographer Angie Vasquez" produces 0 returns in a Google search, although there's a street photographer by that name who's posted some interesting photos on Google+. Whether that's the same artist RIOC recruited or not, it begs the question of why the State chose to bypass an accomplished collection of local photographers in favor of a relative unknown.

But that's just RIOC being RIOC, right?

Well, there's a little extra twist with this one.

RIOC failed to finalize a poster for Saturday's Fall for Arts Festival but, this afternoon, less than 24 hours before the kickoff, managed to push out a RIOC Advisory that says the "Festival Transforms Roosevelt Island into Life-Size Coloring Book." 

Who gets the Golden Bozo award for that one? 

Momentum is maintained as they boast: "13th Annual Fall For Arts Festival hosted by the Roosevelt Island Operation Corporation.

It does not specify the operation or on whom it's being performed.

It's an all-thumbs gaff that contrasts sharply with the care and attention shown for Hudson's Welcome Sign/Monument.

"The R.I. Jazz Collective will perform some tunes as residents and visitors get a chance to ask officials questions and share their opinions," RIOC promises.

This treat takes place on Tuesday, October 9th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.