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Things to Do on Roosevelt Island

By Tully Luxury Travel | 06-26-2023 |

Uncategorized Hawaii

From scenic walks along the waterfront to exploring New York City landmarks, Roosevelt Island, between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens in the East River, features many historical sites and great views of the city.

About two miles long and 800 feet wide, Roosevelt Island is linked to Manhattan by an aerial tramway, located at 59th Street and Second Avenue. Just getting there is a thrill unto itself. The island’s 150 acres are filled with activities that make it a fun day trip – an interesting addition to the agenda on your luxury vacation to New York. Because it was never really designed for car traffic, it is an excellent place to wander.

Walk down the streets loaded with history

Roosevelt Island was originally called Minnehanonck by the Lenape Indigenous people, and then Hog Island by the Dutch during the colonial era. It was later known as Blackwell’s Island, named after former owner Robert Blackwell.

Throughout the 1800s, the area housed many hospitals, including the Smallpox Hospital, as well as a prison and a workhouse for petty criminals. The island was nicknamed Welfare Island in the early 1900s, due to its prevailing abundance of hospitals. It was most recently renamed in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1973.

Discover what to do on Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island is filled with attractions, and remains a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple for locals and visitors alike.

• The Blackwell Island Lighthouse at the northern tip is a Gothic Revival emblem of another time, 1872 to be exact. It was built by prisoners.
• The mid-19th century Octagon now houses upscale residences, but it was once the entrance to the New York City Lunatic Asylum.
• Robert Blackwell’s great-grandson Jacob built what is currently the island’s oldest building – Blackwell House – in 1796. It is on the National Register of Historic Places listing with exhibits that relate what the island was like in the late 18th century.
• Along with a number of art museums and studios, the RIVAA contemporary art gallery (affiliated with the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association) displays the work of local and international painters, sculptors, installation artists and ceramicists. The venue plays host to numerous events and concerts.
• Make the trip to the southern tip of the island to Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park for a peaceful break and the absolute best views of the Manhattan skyline, including the United Nations building just across the river.
• Popular places to grab a bite include the sleek Fuji East Japanese Bistro, Irish bar Granny Annie’s, market-style Bread & Butter and the ultra-modern Graduate Roosevelt Island, the island’s only hotel.

Take a step back in time

Once we get you on the Roosevelt Island tram, Tully Luxury Travel can help you determine what to see in Roosevelt Island and indeed any other U.S. travel bucket list destinations that happen to be on your radar. Private travel to the USA is our specialty – and we are more than excited to get you discovering all the little corners of your own back yard.

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