The RIRA Column

November 5, 2016

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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Community. Our community. What does it mean to you? To some, community means knowing your neighbors as you walk down the street with the ability to have a more than a passing conversation with them.

To others, it means a sense of permanency and place with others who call the Island home. For many of us, it means a place where we live and play, where we feel comfortable knocking on a neighbor’s door for help or to lend a helping hand.

For our children, it is the place where they cannot wait to get to after school lets out so they play with their friends.

For many of us, our community is what we leave in the mornings only to return to sometimes late at night, able to enjoy only on weekends or when we have the privilege of returning at an appreciable hour. For some of us who are more lucky than others, our community is one they never have to leave except maybe for that errand or two off Island.

The nearly 40 Islanders who are running for a spot on the 2016-2108 RIRA Common Council will spend the next two years grappling with the question: What does our Roosevelt Island community mean? Their answer will inform their vision of Roosevelt Island’s present and future, and the policies and strategies they support. With the opening of the Cornell Tech campus and the start of the campus’s inaugural academic year, the arrival of the long-awaited ferry service connecting us to Western Queens and beyond, the planning and implementation of numerous infrastructure renewals and improvements including a dedicated bike bridge to Roosevelt Island, the opening of a number of storefronts on Main Street, the privatization and exit of the core WIRE buildings from Mitchell Lama, and so much more, life on our Island is on the cusp of change.

These nearly 40 Island neighbors, family and friends will be charged with the arduous and challenging task of planning and safeguarding our Island’s future and way of life in the face of such change. Each and every one of them should be commended for not only their willingness to throw their hat in the ring and undertake this task, but also their dedication to our Island and our community’s present and future.

To the nearly 40 neighbors, family and friends who are running for a spot on the 2016-2018 RIRA Common Council, I challenge each and every one of you to not only stay the course when sitting on the Common Council gets tough, but to also ensure that every one of the voices in each of your respective districts and buildings are heard. From the homebound and infirm, the fortunate and less fortunate, the families with and those without, the new neighbors and old-timers, the young and the old – it is all of us who make Roosevelt Island what it is today, and these 40 candidates who will shape the future.

Without community, there would be no Roosevelt Island. So, from the first day you serve on the Common Council until your last, do not forget who you represent, and ensure that all of our voices are heard.

To our Roosevelt Island family, friends, neighbors and community, I urge each of you to show your support to the 40 candidates who are running for a spot on the Common Council. Make sure you vote on Tuesday, November 8th at PS/IS 217 when you go and cast a vote during the General Election (and if you live at the Octagon, be sure to stop at your building’s lobby to vote).

Just as this year’s national election will ultimately decide what direction our nation shall take, so is this year’s election of the Common Council – your vote, your support for each of these candidates will shape the direction our Island, as a community, will take.

What does community mean to you, to us, to Roosevelt Island? Voting on November 8th will be our first step together in answering that question. Please make sure your voice is heard and show your support to these 40 Island neighbors and vote on election day.

Jeff Escobar, President

RI Residents Association

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