Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail 2019
Promises kept or the same old song…?
Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail 2019 — same old song or something better? Has Hudson Related lived up to its promises, finally, this year?
by David Stone
An encore of an encore of an encore…
I’ve covered Hudson Related’s Shops On Main efforts since Hudson president David Kramer met with the community in 2011. His group had just signed a management deal with RIOC to fix Main Street’s failing retail corridor.
“We’re going to shock and awe,” he told the Wall Street Journal in 2011.
We gave up on that silly promise, long ago, but each year we hope that we’ll at least see major improvements. As we reported at the end of 2018, what we’ve consistently got were promises while storefronts remain vacant and existing businesses struggle.
Was 2019 different for Roosevelt Island’s Main Street Retail?
In October, Kramer offered RIOC’s board a state of Main Street retail update. As we reported at the time, it was suspicious, rife with flakey claims and outright falsehoods.
Rule of thumb: When you’re doing well, you don’t have to make shit up.
What did Kramer make up?
The most blatant was a claim made while talking about the space Urgent Care abruptly abandoned, last spring. (Neither Urgent Care nor Hudson Related revealed what happened.)
Telling the board why he believes the space, now partially filled by the practices of Doctors Jack Resnick and Kathy Grimm, should be home to a fuller service medical facility, Kramer said a community of 14,000 ought to have one.
Kramer knows — because I told him — that Roosevelt Island doesn’t have 14,000 residents, never has and never will. That’s a marketing gimmick we debunked, and it was annoying to hear a smart guy who runs a successful corporation pitching it.
It was equally disappointing to see RIOC’s ultra passive board sit there without any objection.
Aren’t they supposed to, you know… govern?
Let’s go to the video…
More folderol about Main Street retail..
Shops On Main, as any casual observer sees every day — and has since 2011 — is as peppered with vacant storefronts as it ever was. Yet, as he does every year, Kramer boasts about Hudson Related’s success in revitalizing Main Street.
Main Street, he claimed, sported only a single venue not spoken for, plus one-half of Urgent Care’s abandoned facility.
So, allow us to offer these in evidence…
Get to know Roosevelt Island in history…
- The Queensboro Bridge / Greater Astoria and Roosevelt Island Historical Societies
- Roosevelt Island (Images of America) / Roosevelt Island Historical Society
- Damnation Island / Stacy Horn
Main Street Retail 2019 Conclusion
2019 saw some successes. PupCulture, with its public window into a doggie playroom, is a welcome addition to Main Street, and Liukoushui Hot Pot, after a badly fumbled launch, runs smoothly.
But promises still outnumber fulfillments, after eight years now. And the new spaces, at best, balance the losses of Urgent Care and Bubble Cool.
2019 was more of the same, including fabulous boasts that seldom produce results.
Nothing about 2020 inspires optimism — except for Foodtown replacing Gristedes — but wouldn’t it be great if Hudson Related really did pull off a little shock and awe?
How about just a lively spark? We’re almost ready to settle for that.