Roosevelt Island historically known as Welfare Island is a narrow island located in New York City’s East River. It is bounded by Long Island from the east and Manhattan Island from the west. Roosevelt Island has a few historical names including Blackwell’s Island, Varkens Eylandt and Minnehanonck.
It is one of the least densely populated areas in Manhattan. The island is easily accessible through Q103 bus and the Sky-Tram. Residents of Manhattan can enjoy all the fun and entertainment of Queens and Manhattan – thanks to the Roosevelt Island Bridge which connects the island to the Queens.
Back in 1637, the island was known as Hog Island and at that time it was under control of Dutch Governor Wouter van Twiller. After Dutch’s defeat at the hands of English, Captain John Manning took over the place in 1666. During the 19th century, the island housed many hospitals and that’s why it was also called Welfare Island.
New York City purchased the island for $32,000 in 1828 and a penitentiary was built here four years later. The demographics of the island changed in the 20th century as the Queensboro Bridge’s construction started in 1900. Some notable hospitals of the island include the City Hospital, Goldwater Memorial Hospital, and Bird S. Coler Hospital.
The latter half of the century saw more changes on the island. The Delacorte Fountain opened in Roosevelt Island in 1968. Then in 1969, New York State Urban Development Corporation purchased the island from NYC on lease for 99 years. After this contract, a comprehensive plan to build 20,000 residents was made by that-time architect Philip Johnson.
Rest of the gentrification took place in the 21st century. The Roosevelt Island Tramway re-opened in 2010 after renovation followed by the reopening of Southpoint Park.
According to the stats of 2010, the population of Roosevelt Island was 11,661 with a density of 50,700 /sq mi (19,580 /km2).
Buildings – Flat or Tall?
Most of the buildings on this island are rental so, you can easily find one for your family. Buildings here are tall and 90% of the apartments contain 50 or more units.
Queens, Upper East Side, Midtown East and Astoria.
Roosevelt Island is one of the few places in Manhattan where you can enjoy the serenity of island life. The area is far away from the traffic noise and only a little public transport is running around the island.
Enjoy the views of Manhattan and Queens while riding your bike along the circles of island’s perimeter. Visit the Southpoint Park and enjoy the history of Strecker Memorial Laboratory and Smallpox Hospital. For gym and fitness lovers, the island offers places like the Sportspark. Roosevelt Island has four re-creation fields:
- Pony Field
- Capobianco Field
- Octagon Field
- Firefighters Field
Check it out
Done with exploring the island? Don’t worry, there is more to come. Have a quick trip to the Astoria and then come back to your peaceful island on public transport. So, if you are looking for a serene place away from city noise yet close to the entertainment spots, don’t look beyond Roosevelt Island.