Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Invests $3.1M into the Restoration of the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Tower

Roosevelt Island, NY, March 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes today announced the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse received recognition from the highly regarded New York Landmarks Conservancy. The Conservancy selected the Lighthouse to receive the Preservation Project Award for 2022. The Conservancy bestows these awards annually to recognize excellence in historic preservation. They are named for a generous and dedicated New Yorker whose contributions benefitted the City during their lifetime.

“It is only fitting that the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Tower receive this well-deserved distinguished award as it is a testament to our efforts to preserve one of Roosevelt Island’s greatest strengths – its rich history,” said President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes. “The renovations to the Lighthouse have been an item for discussion for many years. Thanks to the support from the RIOC board, we made the vision for the transformation a reality so the many tourists and residents alike can appreciate the beauty and history of the Lighthouse Tower.” 

The restoration of the historic 50-foot tower was a layered project. The scope of work included removal and brick, stone, window, and door restoration. Modifications to the Lighthouse lantern and observation deck include:

  • Removing the deteriorated concrete deck.
  • Installing a new concrete ring beam and fluid-applied waterproofing.
  • Installing a new stainless steel observation deck and railing.
  • Installing a new glass and structural steel lantern.
  • Removal of the wood stairs and installation of a new metal spiral staircase and new electrical and accent lighting. 
  • Site improvements at the Lighthouse include resetting and installing new stone pavers and curb stones, a new concrete beam curb, and new recessed ground lighting and controls. 

"Capital projects has remained a cornerstone for this administration, and this award is yet another example of our focus on preserving the history on the Island and improving the overall landscape, stated Prince Shah, Director of Capital Planning & Projects. "The Lighthouse restoration has been a big-ticket item the community has been asking and discussing for years. I am thrilled we moved forward with the restoration to finally make it a reality."

Mr. Shelton Haynes added, “I sincerely thank the Conservancy’s committee for choosing the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse for this award. The award symbolizes the collective efforts and countless hours spent by our dedicated team at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation – so to my dedicated team, I say thank you.”

In 2021 President Haynes decided to proceed with the restoration of the historic Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, originally built in 1872. The Lighthouse renovation came about as hundreds of thousands of tourists each year come to explore the beauty of the Island and revel in its history. The iconic Lighthouse had seen its best days behind it – in desperate need of repair to restore it back to its former glory. RIOC sought approval from the Board of Directors for a $3.1 million investment to repair the Lighthouse reviving the historic landmark for tourists and residents alike to visit the towering fifty-foot-high building along the majestic East River. The Lighthouse renovation was completed in less than a year, available for the start of Spring so visitors near and far can enjoy its storied history.

About the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Tower: 

Constructed in 1872, the Lighthouse was originally designed by James Renwick Jr., architect of the Smallpox Hospital and the Smithsonian Institute. The East River channel's huge granite boulders made it very treacherous to navigate, so the Lighthouse was commissioned as part of a solution for New York City's shipping ports along with an Army Corps of Engineers project to demolish and implode boulders and widen and deepen the channel. Above the waters of the East River at the northernmost stretch of Roosevelt Island shines the fifty-foot-high Lighthouse. It was built in 1872 by inmates of the penitentiary with stone extracted from the Island.

About Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC): 

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island. With a focus on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, RIOC is committed to providing services that enhance the island's residential community. RIOC manages the two-mile-long island's roads, parks, buildings, a sports facility, and public transportation, including the iconic aerial tramway. Additionally, RIOC operates a Public Safety Department that helps maintain a safe and secure environment for residents, employees, business owners, and visitors.


Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Tower Receives Lucy G. Moses 2022 Preservation Project Award

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