"Uglier Than Ugly" Big Red Icon is

Hey, Roosevelt Island, RIOC Just Flipped You the Bird

Updated 1 year ago Peter McCarthy

"It is a done deal," RIOC President and CEO Susan Rosenthal abruptly informed a startled Board and the handful of community members in attendance, last night. The "deal" is the big, red RI/IЯ icon that debuted in a whirlwind race between a limited few locations in September. The pretext was to get public feedback, but that was baloney. Response was universally negative, except for masterminds Rosenthal and David Kramer, whose company, Hudson, is footing the bill. Now, Rosenthal says we're getting it, like it or not. Cue the bird.

A Roosevelt Island shout out to the Soviet Union
A Roosevelt Island shout out to the Soviet Union
Photo courtesy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society

The time period immediately before the Board agenda, set aside for public comments, started reasonably enough.

Historian Judy Berdy was the only speaker, this month.

"There are so much better ways to represent the island," than the ugly icon that's both a set of 8-foot tall Helvetica fonts and a salute to Russia, depending on where you're standing, Berdy said. "We really need good directional signs."

That's when Rosenthal flipped the bird.

"It's already being made," she shrugged.

So, why was it dragged around the Island for viewing, if comments were irrelevant? Apparently, for appearances, a pretense of caring about feedback from residents.

All that's left is for the Board to decide where it goes. (How about in the river?)

If we're stuck with this thing, it fits best with the shabby subway station blocking the ridiculous rear view.
If we're stuck with this thing, it fits best with the shabby subway station blocking the ridiculous rear view.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

Berdy was livid.

"Sorry to hear you are going ahead no matter what we say," she fumed. "It’s being rammed down our throats. This is an obstacle they're building. I am very, very upset that your executives can do whatever they want and the board has nothing to say about it."

The Board?

Margie Smith said her impression, one held by everyone else on Roosevelt Island except Rosenthal and her staff, was that what was paraded, ever so briefly, along Main Street was a mock up that had to be reviewed.

Rosenthal insisted the Board voted approval, earlier this year, giving Hudson carte blanche to install whatever they came up with.

Roosevelt Island Prayer: Dear God, don't stick this thing on the Rivercross lawn, viewable as IЯ from Manhattan and the Meditation Steps.
Roosevelt Island Prayer: Dear God, don't stick this thing on the Rivercross lawn, viewable as IЯ from Manhattan and the Meditation Steps.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

At that point, Board Chair Alex Valella stepped in, suggesting a review of the Board conversation during which Rosenthal insists that they voted for this pig in a poke icon.

Disgruntled Islanders might be better off talking to David Kramer. Rosenthal isn't listening. Maybe he will.

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