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Roosevelt Island is a small island, barely 2 miles in length, located in the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. The tramway was established as a temporary solution to the city’s commuter needs while the subway connections were constructed. Luckily, it remained in operation – New Yorkers had grown too fond of it.
In this article, we will share our tips about Roosevelt Island, how to get there with the Roosevelt Island Tramway and most importantly, what is there to do on Roosevelt Island?
Spectacular view from Roosevelt Island Tramway across the East River
The Roosevelt Island Tramway is an aerial tramway that spans the East River. At a height of 80 meters, you can enjoy fantastic views of the East River towards Downtown and Uptown Manhattan.
Make sure to stand close to the door for the best views of the New York City skyline. Roosevelt Island Tram will offer views of the Manhattan skyline including the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.
How much does it cost to go on the Roosevelt Island tram?
When the subway opened in 1989, the exorbitant charge of USD 0.10 (USD 2.00 today) was introduced. Today, you can pay with your MetroCard.One trip costs you just as much as a subway ride ($3). You can also use your unlimited metro card passes for the Roosevelt Island Tramway.
Attractions on Roosevelt Island: What is there to do on Roosevelt Island?
In case you’re wondering what is there to do on Roosevelt Island, the Roosevelt Island tram isn’t the only attraction you should have on your list for sure. There’s actually a lot to explore on Roosevelt Island itself. Such as a number of parks and landmarks. At the island’s southern end you will find the Louis Kahn–designed Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.
Inside the park don’t miss the historical vein: the Renwick Ruin, a former smallpox hospital. Another highlight is the Octagon tower, the remnants of an insane asylum. On the northern tip, there is a beautiful 19th-century lighthouse anchoring a park from where visitors can get wide-angle views of NYC.
Overall Roosevelt Island is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s great for families and beautiful during any season of the year.
History of the Roosevelt Island Tramway: What is Roosevelt Island known for?
Roosevelt Island Bridge opened in 1955 and connected Queens with Long Island City. People reached the island via the elevator. In order to make the trip more comfortable, the City of New York decided to include Roosevelt Island in the subway network.
The tramway was to handle passenger traffic until completion of the subway connection. In 1976, the Roosevelt Island Tramway opened its doors, offering rides at no cost. Roosevelt Island was known as Welfare Island when it was used principally for hospitals, from 1921 to 1973. They renamed it to Roosevelt Island (after Franklin D. Roosevelt) in 1973.
Where do you get on the Roosevelt Island tram?
The tramway station is located on 59th Street, near 2nd Avenue. When you get off the subway, you are only 1 block away. Take the N and Rto “Lexington Av / 59 St” or the 4 5 and 6 to “59th Street station”.
If you are afraid of heights, but you don’t want to miss out on Roosevelt Island take the subway to Roosevelt Island. The F Train takes your right to the island if you get off at the Roosevelt Island stop.
I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!