2005_08_27_roosaerial-koot.jpg

Roosevelt Island, pop. 10,000, is in the news again. The small town in the middle of the big city, one of the great urban planning "eh-steps" (not quite a misstep, but close), was last seen in the news scaring Jennifer Connely in "Dark Water." But now its got a political scandal, or the makings of one, to call its very own.

Let's see if you remember all of this: The 147-acre island was leased to the city from the state for 99 years in 1969. In 1997 George Pataki decided that it was inappropriate for the island to be operating at a deficit and cut most state funding. In 1999 Pataki's first campaign manager Robert H. Ryan was made the president of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. In February 2003 he was abruptly escorted out of his office by a state public-safety worker ("I'm shocked; I'm appaled, I'm amazed. I feel like I'm in Russia during the time of Joe Stalin." Ryan told Newsday at the time). No charges were ever brought up, but Ryan was still removed from the job (he was quickly rehired, curiously because it was during a hiring freeze, as assistant secretary of state under Randy Daniels). And then... nothing.

Until now. Apparently Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Dem from Elmsford, and his staff have spent nearly a year studying Mr. Ryan's departure and other Roosevelt Island issues. That year has led to an interim report (26 pages, available in pdf here) focusing on unanswered questions regarding real estate development, budget policies, and other financial matters. Public hearings on the matter in September and then who knows.

And what article about Roosevelt Island would be complete without a mention of the ever awesome Tram?

Aerial photo of RI by Geoffrey Koot from nyc10044.com