Roosevelt Island News

A RIOC COVID Testing Site for Roosevelt Island? Far Behind Schedule, Plagued By Mystery

“A new COVID-19 rapid testing location will be opening on Roosevelt Island in mid-December 2020! Testing will be located at 526 Main St., the former R.I. Branch Library location…” That was RIOC on November 30th. But now, it’s December 11th… Mid-December. What’s happening now with RIOC’s COVID testing site?

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island News

Following months of pressure about the absence of COVID-19 testing on Roosevelt Island, RIOC took a bold step. A rapid testing site was on tap, and it would open in just a couple of weeks.

That seemed impossible, and it probably was. But that didn’t stop RIOC from promoting the falsehood, hoping to win over skeptical residents.

So, how’s it going?

RIOC's COVID testing site under construction.
RIOC’s COVID Testing Site on December 10th. The man, who wears apparel with RIOC insignia but no protective gear, answered my question about who would be operating the facility: “Probably RIOC,” he said.

Bring on the usual suspects…

As part of its Shops on Main contract, the 526 Main Street site, recently vacated by the New York Public Library, Hudson-Related is responsible for leasing out this location. So, who are they leasing to?

Prepare for a surprise.

According to a worker onsite, wearing RIOC insignia apparel, the tenant is “Probably RIOC,” lending suspicion that the state’s found a new way of shuffling cash to the real estate giant.

And it has all the markings of a Hudson-Related operation. There’s not a single Dept. of Buildings permit, and the workers are not wearing safety apparel, such as hardhats. In RIOC’s permissive environment, no rules apply.

As of mid-December, RIOC’s done little more that gut what was left of the library. Electrical wires dangle free, and there are no building permits posted.

…And a mysterious new partner, maybe…

A reliably well-informed source tells us that RIOC’s recruited a partner in developing this COVID testing site. But in RIOC’s signature style of extreme secrecy, it’s not public.

Our source says that partner is Swift Emergency Care, P.C., a business so obscure that, five years after start up, they don’t even have a website. Their legal address is 1641 Third Avenue, #19F, but their actual business is unclear.

We can’t confirm this partnership, but it’s so like RIOC, digging up a mystery partner and covering with secrecy.

Conclusion: RIOC’s COVID testing site…

Opening in mid-December, as promised, is obviously out of the question, and it looks like January isn’t really likely either.

What RIOC wants to do is admirable, but what it’s capable of is not.

While they barely lift a finger encouraging face masks and distancing since the Susan Rosenthal ambush, they mislead residents who can easily get free testing a Metropolitan Hospital. It’s easy to get to on mass transit, but why go to the trouble when RIOC’s COVID rapid testing site is just days away?

When will responsibility return to RIOC and Roosevelt Island?

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