At Manhattan Park, RIOC toughens, then lightens up. Roosevelt Islanders were encouraged when the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. shut down an illegal construction project. Manhattan Park did not have permits for work underway at 40 River Road. RIOCs’ resolve did not last.
Conflicting signs, appearing to send pedestrians and wheelchairs straight into unfinished construction, are a perfect metaphor for RIOC’s actions.
Five days after we reported high risk dangers at 40 River Road, RIOC acted. That was inexcusably slow, but better than nothing.
Acting PSD director Kevin Brown met with management. Results were encouraging.
Brown found that Manhattan Park never applied for a permit and immediately shut down the work.
“We were surprised they started work without going through the permitting process with us already.”RIOC spokesperson
The project, we reported, endangered residents and visitors, forcing them to walk in traffic. Wheelchairs were denied passage entirely.
If allowed to continue, the project is bleak for Roosevelt Island. 40 River Road gobbles up the sidewalk. There is no alternative on the other side.
RIOC Softens on Manhattan Park
Late yesterday, RIOC let Manhattan Park get back to work.
“They’ve been allowed to continue work since they made emergency adjustments at Acting Chief Brown’s insistence,” RIOC’s spokesperson explained.
After nearly a week of indifference to residents’ safety, Manhattan Park was rewarded with a break.
“So, they’re being allowed to continue without a permit? Really? And allowed to eliminate the sidewalk?” we asked.
Knuckling under to landlord abuses drives residents crazy, we added.
They broke the rules, forced people to walk in traffic, blocked wheelchairs and are now being coddled by RIOC…?
“No one’s knuckling under and no one is being coddled,” RIOC insisted.
“And RIOC is providing lighting for them?”
“I don’t know where you got the idea we’re providing lighting for them,” RIOC countered.
Well, I saw it.
“It’s to improve light on the sidewalk for the safety of our residents,” RIOC then conceded, but a spokesperson was unable to say if Manhattan Park would pay for the service.
Or penalties for getting deep into the project without a permit.
Given that Manhattan Park’s gotten a green light to resume work, without a permit, any kind of penalty is unlikely. Even a slap on the wrist.
A big question remains: will Main Street be broken? Work underway says it will be.
No one will walk safely or casually past 40 River Road again. Wheelchairs will be banned.
Is this what our community wants? Will RIOC let it happen?
I’m skeptical, and we will keep watching.