Stories

Roosevelt Island, New York

New York is probably the most recognizable city in the world. You know this city already before coming here for the first time: thanks to Hollywood movies and TV series. You know how the Wall St looks like, you’ve been to the busy Times Square, you know how Central Park looks in winter, spring, summer and fall and you have even been to apartments of locals in Greenwich Village (thanks to “Friends” and “How I met your mother”).

To me, New York City is far beyond Wall St, Central Park, Times Square or Empire State building. New York is an amazing kaleidoscope of both very famous and almost unknown very authentic areas where you can see the spirit of the city as nowhere else. Exploring the true New York another time, I decided to settle on the Roosevelt Island, a thin landline between Manhattan and Queens at the level of Upper Midtown.

Roosevelt Island riverside
Roosevelt Island riverside
Roosevelt Island Bridge
Roosevelt Island Bridge

If you’ve never heard about Roosevelt Island while visiting New York, it’s time to admit that you have a great opportunity to experience an authentic part of the Big Apple.

Roosevelt Island is famous due to it’s 3 main landmarks. First, it is Roosevelt Island Tramway, which is in fact a wagon moving on the rope over the East River connecting Roosevelt Island and Manhattan. You can enjoy beautiful views of Manhattan skyline and Queensboro bridge from the bird eye height.

Manhattan view from the Roosevelt Island Tramway
Manhattan view from the Roosevelt Island Tramway
Roosevelt Island Tram
Roosevelt Island Tram

Second attraction is an ancient lighthouse located on the Northern end of the island. It doesn’t work anymore but still stands for a great past of the busy East river. Just enjoy walking in the lighthouse park, calm, even lonely place just in front of the Manhattan skyline.

Historic Lighthouse
Historic Lighthouse

Last, on the Southern end there are ruins of the Smallpox hospital, famous for its cruel conditions to its mental & psychiatric patients few centuries ago. Close to the ruins, there is a hill with a great observation point on top. Take a coffee with sandwiches, few nuts for dozens of squirrels circling around and stay here to enjoy the best view on Eastern Manhattan.

Manhattan view from Roosevelt Island
Manhattan view from Roosevelt Island

East River view from Roosevelt Island

Drink of the day:

Starbucks Coffee ($2-4) is the best drink to have there, the coffee shop is located directly at the subway station. First, because Roosevelt Island is a truly morning location. Second, because there is no pub or other drinking spot identified on the island, and last but not least, alcohol is prohibited to consume on the streets in the US. We missed it a lot, but believe me or not, the trip to Roosevelt Island is worth even with such conditions.

Map Location

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