The Island is approximately two miles long (running along Manhattan from East 46th street to East 85th street) and 800 feet wide. Roosevelt Island provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city living without sacrificing proximity to the action. Long known for its architecture, parks, and tramway, the island is seeing a boom in popularity as new developments emerge and people learn about its charm and beauty.
Roosevelt Island, named in honor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was formerly known as Blackwell Island and, later, Welfare Island. The City of New York purchased the island in 1828 and built many historically significant buildings in the following years.
Many of these buildings are still a part of the island’s architectural landscape today. For example, what was once the New York City Lunatic Asylum’s “Octagon” building has since been converted into a 500-unit luxury apartment building. Similarly, the island’s former Smallpox Hospital is still in use—in this case, as an abandoned historic landmark that served as a location in the film, Spiderman. In addition, the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse still stands tall at the island’s northern tip. Last but not least, the Roosevelt Island Tramway (constructed in 1976 and renovated in 2010) is both a historic and modern-day attraction, as well as a valued transportation methodFind Roosevelt Island apartments
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Roosevelt Island is demographically diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The current population is around 12,000. An increase in luxury housing has resulted in an influx of young, affluent tenants. The vibe is simultaneously historic, laid-back, and up-and-coming. Residents and visitors enjoy peaceful riverside walks and the island’s beautiful, verdant parks (including the new, four-acre, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park). Roosevelt Island’s Main Street is frequented for its restaurants and shops, including Riverwalk Bar & Grill, Wholesome Factory, and Main Street Sweets.
In addition to the Tramway (located at Fifty-Ninth Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan), other transportation options to Roosevelt Island include the F train to the Roosevelt Island stop, and the Q102 Queens Surface Bus, located off the Queensboro Plaza overpass. Drivers en route from Manhattan can access Roosevelt Island via the Triborough Bridge or from the 59th Street Bridge’s Upper Level. Those coming from Brooklyn can take the BQE, and those traveling from Long Island can access the island by way of Grand Central Parkway.
To read more, check out the neighborhood's own blog "Roosevelt Islander."