It’s frigid and grey on Main Street, but Coach Scot’s Main Street Sweets is warm and welcoming, as is Coach Scot himself.

“Even before 9/11, I wanted to be a firefighter,” she says. “It was in my mind when I was just a young girl. I just loved the thought of putting out fires and helping people – graduating from the Fire Department Academy is a dream come true.”

State Ruling May Kill Public Purpose Fund

A new interpretation of law by New York State’s Authorities Budget Office (ABO) may spell the end of the Island’s Public Purpose Fund, which have supported non-profit community service endeavors on Roosevelt Island since it was created with the construction of Manhattan Park.

When a New York teenager sets out to write a guide for teen tourists in the Big Apple, you might expect a “New Yawk” approach: sassy, sarcastic, and just plain funny. Lucy Cappello’s debut book also teaches you how to be a New Yorker.

Editorial

Next?

New York State’s sleazy patronage system has never done any favors for Roosevelt Island.

The one non-patronage appointment, made in the early days of a briefly righteous Eliot Spitzer administration, was the best in two decades: Steve Shane as RIOC President. He arrived with the mission of democratizing governance of the Island, delivered on that, saw himself as a servant of the residents of this very special community – and then, unfortunately, was done in by a flawed decision of the democratic structure he had fostered.

Leaving aside any evaluation of the present management team at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, we can observe that the Andrew Cuomo administration has jettisoned democracy as though it carries Ebola. In his political horse-trading, he put a non-resident on the RIOC Board of Directors, only to have that individual – the Child School boss – fail miserably at both jobs, and leave the Island and the school essentially overnight. Since then, Cuomo has allowed that seat to remain vacant and all the other RIOC Board appointments to expire, and has failed to act despite having resident candidates, nominated by election, for the seats.

Apart from Shane (and, again, leaving aside Charlene Indelicato), every RIOC President that the patronage system has given us has been – from the viewpoint of residents – a failure. It’s not that each has produced an unmitigated disaster. It’s just that none has been a creative, top-flight community manager. None has accomplished any major step forward.

Indeed, the best step forward – Cornell Tech – is being imposed by the City. And that has myriad devil-in-the-details twists that, all along, RIOC could have managed far more competently in its new relationship with the university.

Now, Larry Schwartz, the governor’s aide who made promises to the Island that he never kept, has left the Cuomo administration. That raises the likelihood of somebody else’s protégé being appointed to the RIOC presidency. (Who needs continuity, after all?) At $150,000 a year, it’s a plum payoff for somebody’s loyalty or fund-raising prowess. It’s also adequate money for a professional community manager who understands the needs of the community s/he serves. But the governor is likely to send us someone who qualifies better as a Klingon than as a community-oriented administrator.

Last time, the RIOC Board (with one exception) accepted the first name put before them.

That must not happen again.

This time, the RIOC Board must require an executive search and conduct multiple interviews to find a genuinely competent and creative administrator – someone as good as or better than Shane – but, at a minimum, someone with his stature, dedication, community orientation, and capabilities.

 

Alert! (Nonsense)

Typically deficient “alert” from RIOC (Tuesday and Wednesday, for example): Please be advised that the MTA has issued a temporary service disruption advisory for the F train, which may affect travel plans. Please plan your travel accordingly and visit http://mta.info or call 511 for more information.

This “alert” would make more sense if RIOC would simply pass along an exact copy of the MTA’s notice, rather than telling us to “plan accordingly” with reference to absolutely no informational content. Is anybody there (excuse the suggestion) actually thinking?

DL

Recreating the Roaring Gatsby Era

“As we crossed Blackwell’s Island a limousine passed us,” says Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, narrating the route he and his companions traversed from Long Island to Manhattan on a hot summer day.

New year, new you? After the holiday chaos, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are a few ways to get a start on your resolutions.

The Community Column

A little over two years ago, Kim Massey, Director of the Beacon Program, approached me and my friend Jane Muller. She asked if we or anyone we knew would be interested in becoming Girl Scout Troop Leaders.

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