Roosevelt Island, New York

On one sunny afternoon we decided to hop on the Roosevelt Island Tramway (included in our monthly unlimited subway card) from 59th Street and 2nd Avenue for the 5 minute or so ride across to where all of New York seems to go to exercise. You can also hop on the F train but it was nice to get above the city. Roosevelt Island is a little sliver of an island on the East River between Manhattan and Queens. There wasn’t much to do or see there really but if you’re keen to get a little bit more space than Manhattan’s streets allow then it’s a nice place to mooch around.

The island has gone through a few name changes, just in case you’re in a pub quiz some evening – Minnehanonck and Hog Island (way back when), Blackwell’s Island, Welfare Island and Roosevelt Island more recently. Blackwell Island for the family that owned and farmed the land until 1828 – can you even imagine what it would be like if that was still a farm? That’d be one awesome weekend farmer’s market. It then became Welfare Island in 1921 (there were a number of hospitals and a prison there) and it was only renamed Roosevelt Island in 1971 after President Roosevelt.

If you wander down from the tramway you’ll eventually stumble upon Blackwell House, the island’s oldest landmark, built between 1796 and 1804. Although it was left to dilapidate, urban preservationist Giorgio Cavaglieri led the charge to renovate it and it looks fantastic now. It has the perfect porch for a rocking chair! The Chapel of the Good Shepherd, built in 1888, is a cute little church on the Main Street which you’re bound to spot too. There’s a Starbucks around here and honestly it was the only place we spotted to get anything. Best bring a picnic…

En route to Roosevelt Island

En route to Roosevelt Island

Crossing over...

Crossing over…

Blackwell House

Blackwell House

and from the other side

and from the other side

Chapel of the Good Shepherd

Chapel of the Good Shepherd

View back towards Manhattan's Upper East Side

View back towards Manhattan’s Upper East Side

Just a little reminder of where you are

Just a little reminder of where you are 😉

Queensboro Bridge Trolley Kiosk

Queensboro Bridge Trolley Kiosk

Flying high

Flying high

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