An Island Under a Bridge ~ Roosevelt, Queens, NY

Roosevelt Island has quite the storied history: it was once home to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Sex in the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker; a prison site until 1935 (inmates included Mae West and Billie Holiday); and the chosen location of the soon-to-be opened Louis Kahn-designed  Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park… .

Manhattan to the left, Roosevelt Island to the right

Located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, under the 59th Street Queensborough Bridge, the island is home to about 12,000 people. Over the past few centuries, it has enduredd a bit of an identity crisis. Roosevelt Island was called Hog Island in 1637, then Manning’s, then Blackwell Island in 1686 after its new owner and Manning’s son-in-law, Robert Blackwell.

New York City purchased the island in 1828, where it opened a penitentiary, a lunatic asylum, hospitals, and a chapel. Which meant another name change: Welfare Island.  Finally, it was declared Roosevelt Island in 1973, after Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And today it is home to new condos, older coops, a chronic care facility, Starbucks and Duane Reade, as well as a new riverside restaurant and bar.

Roosevelt Island – left, Queens – right. Welfare Bridge in background.

I first visited Roosevelt Island four years ago to watch, what ended up being, rained-out fireworks. Yesterday marked my second visit. After a walk along the Queensborough Bridge on a glorious day, I spontaneously decided to catch the tram from Manhattan to the island.

Long Island City, Queens, in the background

The tram allows for use of the Metrocard, and costs the same as a subway ride. You can also train it underground, there and back.


Manhattan is on the  left, Roosevelt Island, on the right

Manhattan, beyond 59th Street

On the tram…

On Roosevelt Island, looking at Manhattan below 59th Street…

Back to Manhattan by tram…

And back over the Bridge, to Long Island City, Queens.

Around 59th Street, Manhattan

Smiles from Roosevelt Island, below.


29 thoughts on “An Island Under a Bridge ~ Roosevelt, Queens, NY

  1. Marina, amazing pictures, thank you for sharing. I love the most your featured picture! Next trip to N.Y. I have to do the tram trip, it looks really exciting the way you captured it. Your images make me homesick to my favorite city, but in a good way.

  2. Great shots as usual, Marina, and thank you for the tour.
    Since I love oysters, I have to say that right now, my mouth is watering from looking at your oyster/clam photo. It would go well with a nice glass of wine!

  3. The tram to Roosevelt Island is fun. The photos from this little tour are really cool, giving a feel for the special place it is. I love that you are experimenting with skewed horizons. Also playing with light and shadow gives some very interesting pictures, like the second to last. Thanks for taking us on the tour.

    • Thanks so much! And you know, Roosevelt Island is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much to see in NYC – my previous posts cover quite a bit. Feel free to take a look and ask any questions 🙂 Enjoy planning!

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