New York City NYC

ROOSEVELT ISLAND

Known for
  • Blackwell Island Lighthouse
  • Four Freedom's Park
  • South Point Park
  • The Octagon
  • The Smallpox Hospital ruins

A two-mile island in the East River that runs along Manhattan’s East 46th to 85th Streets 

 

For those who want it all—quick access to the pulse of Manhattan, but a serene escape at day’s end—Roosevelt Island provides the best of both worlds. A convenient, quiet community with a small-town feel, this self-sufficient satellite is ideal for residents with careers on Manhattan’s East Side, thanks to the elevated tram that takes them over the river with the swipe of a MetroCard. But it’s the island’s manicured parks, waterfront promenades and other outdoor delights that are perhaps its biggest draws. In fact, if it weren’t for the sweeping views of the United Nations, the Chrysler Building and the 59th Street Bridge, it would be easy to forget you’re in New York City.

 

Iconic Architecture

On Roosevelt Island’s south side, high-rise doorman buildings feature luxury amenities like roof decks, swimming pools and health clubs. Further north, rental buildings with their own playgrounds and gardens offer a selection of studios to three-bedroom apartments. A local shuttle bus takes residents to and from their island destinations.

 

Historic Highlights

  • There are only a handful of historic buildings that remain on Roosevelt Island today. Among them is the landmark Chapel of the Good Shepherd, designed by Frederick Clarke Withers, also responsible for the Jefferson Market Courthouse in Greenwich Village.
  • Architect Philip Johnson developed the island’s master plan in 1969. One of his most noteworthy ideas was to forbid cars; another of his innovations was a “mini-school system” that would locate classrooms inside each of the residential buildings.
  • Although renowned architect Louis I. Kahn delivered the plans in the 1970’s, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park took several more decades of patience and determination to complete. The four-acre triangular park overlooking the East River opened in 2012, and is now a popular spot for yoga and art classes.