To Governor Andrew Cuomo and Housing Commissioner Darryl Towns:

Your agencies are working against Roosevelt Island’s community-based organizations.

This Cultural Center is a site with which I have been associated since 1993. It has been home of The Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance and the Roosevelt Island Historical Society since Day One. The synagogue moved in here in May of 1993.

It has been a wonderful site, operated relatively rules-free. Individuals, groups, and organizations have used the space whenever needed. It was run by good people using common sense, not government-generated rule books.

The expenses were covered by the users themselves, not by RIOC. We hired our own contractors and repair people, and paid our own expenses.

Turning the center into a mini-RIOC is shameful. There is no reason for RIOC to have an office space here. Put out a request for proposals for space management. Let one organization run and maintain the space.

We do not need overseers here to open, close, and watch over the space. This is a community space, not a government annex. Taking one large space for a manager’s office is a loss of a valuable community asset. This is a space that was designated for the community. Now, it is another RIOC office.

The new rules being perpetrated make everything complicated. Throwing up obstacles to organizations returning to the center, and new ones wishing to use the space, is the major complication. The center seems to be turning into one giant Excel spreadsheet.

RIOC should step back. Return control to the organizations who know how to operate the center.

We, who ran the place, were not consulted in the reconstruction. Knowledgable persons were ignored, and left out of the conversation. The flaws will soon be evident.

Having made all the Island religious organizations uncomfortable, and having converted us into “not-for-profits” in the process, has caused unnecessary expense and stress to all involved.

Step back. Go back to your mandate and stay out of the community space. This community has been here exactly 40 years this April 25, and we have done well without interference from the State-appointed officers and agencies.

Judith Berdy


To the Editor:

I watch many cement mixers lined up waiting their turn to dump tons of cement down the breather of the subway tunnel. This happens each week. I assume they are building the lower roadway in the tunnel for the LIRR East Side Access Project.

Assuming that they are also dumping cement in Queens and Manhattan, we probably get one third of the amount.

This is still a mighty number. I wonder how it compares to the cement quantity to be used on the Cornell project. Can the MTA be held accountable for damage to the helix and the roadway?

Sheldon Brooks

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