Friday, November 15, 2013

Roosevelt Island: Manhattan's smaller sister, confusing little place

Roosevelt Island is a tiny strip of land on the East bank of Manhattan that you can access by Air Tram. Which, if like me you are scared of heights, is great fun...

You could not exactly say this island has a strong identity. It is made up of a sea of concrete blocks of flats, some slightly flashier than others. 

The allure of Roosevelt Island lies in its difference to nearby Manhattan. And when I say nearby I mean quite literally a stones throw from Manhattan. Roosevelt Island feels almost suburban. Safe. Quiet. And yet amid these peaceful 1970s builds, you come across some historical gems. 

But lets start from the very beginning. To reach Roosevelt Island you can take the Air Tram. The great thing about this is that you can use your Metro Card. Super cheap, super accessible. The reason being for this is that a lot of people live on Roosevelt Island and commute into Manhattan on a daily basis.

You arrive at what is essentially a subway, but just not underground. And your board your Air Tram, which, as you have probably guessed, takes you to the island by air. Lovely. Have I mentioned I am scared of heights?

Ok so it really was not all that bad. 

Once off the tram, Roosevelt Island is a little confusing. With block after block of residential apartments, it is not clear which direction you should walk. Right, take a right.

After walking through block after block of almost communist looking apartments we came across a historical building looking awkwardly out of place. The Chapel of the Good Shepard of 1889 is in stark contrast to its surroundings (and the Verizon stand did not help). 

We also came across the The Blackwell House: constructed in 1796 - New York's 6th oldest farmhouse. Here they negotiated and agreed on the selling of the island to New York City in 1823. 

Despite all my complaining, I chose to go on the Air Tram as I had heard that the views are amazing. 

This is so true. 

It was fantastic to see New York from above. I cannot recommend the Air Tram enough. It is far less touristy, so much cheaper and so much more fun than any sight seeing activity I have done in the city so far! 

This was a truly different and memorable day out.


  1. I used to live in Long Island City and would walk across the bridge on that side to the island for some quiet time! Love it there!