The Eggheads Have It

Dear RIOC: Here Is What A Sign Looks Like Part 3

Peter McCarthy

We're not taking it personally. RIOC's braintrust hasn't responded to our previous helpful suggestions about signage nor, as far as we know, to Judy Berdy's brilliant idea about putting lamppost banners to good use. Maybe the gang at 591 Main Street's just been busy. Maybe they're mulling a thoughtful, appreciative response. Whatever. But undeterred and standing ready, as faithful Roosevelt Islanders, we're still willing to help.

Cornell Tech Campus Locator Map
Cornell Tech Campus Locator Map

"I know you don't take comments any more," a reader wrote," but yes, the RI logo is ugly."

That was gratuitous, of course. And repetitive, condemning the Big Red Mistake.

But this wasn't: "Have you seen the way finding signs at the entrance to Cornell Tech? Stylish and informative at the same time."

A Trip to College

Complimenting directional banners Cornell Tech hung to help visitors arriving by Tram or subway, they took the trouble, as so many of us have asked of RIOC, to post simple locator signage as well.

It's not that hard.

RIOC has struggled with this for twenty-five or so years as shops closed and visitors stumbled around, looking every which way for directions before surrendering to a return trip by Tram or subway, hanging their heads in despair. 

You could read the bewildered expression on their faces - "But we heard it was so nice. Where is it?"

The Big, Ugly Red Thing
The Big, Ugly Red Thing
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Especially when compared to the Big Red Mistake unveiled by RIOC and Hudson after nine months of nervous anticipation, Cornell Tech's solution is indeed both incredibly helpful, pleasing to look at and, I'll bet a hundred bucks, far cheaper than what what the combined braintrusts of Main Street madness produced.

Of course, that's not fair.

The fact is that, after years of discussion and planning, the best RIOC and Hudson could come up with, after thousands were spent, was a nine foot tall set of Helvetica fonts.

This doesn't begin to resemble the simple signage for which struggling store owners, residents and visitors have begged for as long as there was something worth finding on Roosevelt Island.

And that's a long time to go hungry.

The Big Red Mistake is a sign of one thing, though: cluelessness.

With so many nearby examples from which to learn, there's just is no other explanation for it.