Redistricting Letter

If you are a Roosevelt Island resident, you need to know this information that has been provided by the Main Street Democratic Club. It is vitally important to all residents of the community regardless of political preference and whether they are, or are not, a registered voter:

A current City Council redistricting proposal shifts Roosevelt Island to Queens West to be represented by the City Council Member in Queens, Julie Won, not Julie Menin in Manhattan. We believe this change is problematic for our community for several reasons. The most compelling are the direct conflict with the City Charter which are laid out in the letter which follows. In addition:

  1. Our children’s educational facilities are PS/IS 217 and other Manhattan public and private schools. We fall within Manhattan’s School District 2 for elementary school and middle school children. Our school’s chances of receiving participatory budgeting, such as the funding that built our green roof, will be severely hampered.
  2. The vast majority of our children who do not attend PS/IS 217, attend schools in Manhattan, not Queens. Families are attracted to living on Roosevelt Island because of the safety and ease of commutation to Manhattan schools by our tramway.
  3. The Roosevelt Island tramway, operated and overseen by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC), is firmly rooted in Council District 5. It is imperative that the community maintain the direct relationship with the District 5 Council Member to insure the safe, efficient operation of the tram.
  4. Most of our working population commute each day to Manhattan, not Queens.
  5. In addition to supporting our school, our long established relationships with our Council Member supports quality of life programs for our families such as our Little League, NY Junior Tennis and Learning, our very active Senior Center, and additional projects and services. They are the life-blood of our community.
  6. The cost for policing Roosevelt Island is principally covered by Island residents, through land-leases paid to RIOC. Our first responders are Public Safety Officers who are Peace Officers with the State of NY, NOT police officers from Queens.
  7. Our crime statistics are consistent with neighboring Manhattan locations, not locations in Western Queens. Our NYPD protection could diminish when determined by comparing Roosevelt Island with the statistics of Western Queens.
  8. Roosevelt Island was conceived and built as a “Manhattan Utopian Community” by Mayor John Lindsay. Our area code is 212, not 718. We have a Manhattan zip code of 10044. For approximately 50 years, Roosevelt Islanders have considered themselves Manhatanites.
  9. The MTA considers Roosevelt Island a Manhattan stop.
  10. Our newly built and highly utilized public library is part of the Manhattan library system. 
  11. Roosevelt Islanders frequently call on our City Council Representatives for constituent services, particularly, for help in landlord/tenant matters. Our cases are heard in Manhattan’s landlord/tenant court. A Queens City Council Member will be unable to provide the level of effective aid our residents need in housing matters.  
  12. The character of Roosevelt Island is unlike that of Western Queens. We are highly residential with very few commercial establishments.
  13. Our operating funds are derived in a very different way than in Queens. Even our public services such as grounds keeping and street cleaning are not covered in the same manner as Queens. 
  14. Like the island of Manhattan, we are an Island, and share environmental protection issues.
  15. Our community fought for protections in the development of Cornell Tech which is only one third complete. We need to maintain the same vital City Council oversight for Cornell’s next phase of construction.

Please take a few moments to send this important letter to the Redistricting Commission:

Subject Line: Opposition to Redistricting Roosevelt Island

To Members of the Redistricting Commission:

This comment is being submitted for the redistricting hearing on August 22, 2022.

I strongly oppose the redistricting lines proposed for Queens Council District 26 and Manhattan Council District 5, which includes Roosevelt Island, for the following reason(s):  

The proposed change is a direct violation of City Charter Section 52 (1) (c) (d) and (e) and Section 52 (2), resulting in:

  1. Neighborhoods and communities of interest not being kept intact.
  2. The proposed district is not compact as instructed.
  3. The proposed district results in an extreme crossover district, crossing a borough boundary.
  4. The proposed district is very oddly shaped.

In addition, the Queens member would need to send representatives to 2 Manhattan Community Boards and hold membership in 2 Borough Boards. Queens and Manhattan residents may differ on public policy issues such as congestion pricing. Manhattan residents in the Queens district would be at a disadvantage in participatory budgeting.

Loss of representation in District 5, where the tramway is rooted, puts operation of this vital link in jeopardy.

(Please select no more than 3 specific issues to include from the above stated list.)

Sign your name,

Write your street address.

Please send your letter to PublicTestimony@redistricting.nyc.gov and cc Joyce Short, the Founder of the Main Street Democrats at jm_short@ymail.com.

**********

Hearing Schedule

A hearing will take place on redistricting between August 16-22. If you would like to attend along with a group of Island residents, please contact Joyce Short at jm_short@ymail.com. The list of locations and dates follows.

We need a very vocal outcry from our residents to prevent redistricting of our community and would like to have as many people as possible show up to the hearing scheduled for 8/22.

Bring signs! Bring your voice! Stand up for your community!

  • Tuesday, 8/16 5:30-9 PM, Museum of Moving Image, Summer Redstone Theater 36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria
  • Wednesday, 8/17 5:30-9 PM, Lehman College (CUNY) Gillet Auditorium, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, Bronx
  • Thursday, 8/18 5:30-9 PM, Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Rm 125
  • Sunday 8/21 3:30-7 PM Medger Evers College (CUNY) School of Science, Health & Tech, Dining Hall, 1638 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn
  • Monday, 8/22 @ 6 PM, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture- 515 Malcolm X Blvd

Defining "consent" in our laws will make the world a safer place!

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