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Roosevelt Island Apartments and Neighborhood Info

 

Roosevelt Island is a narrow piece of land that lies in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. The mile-long island sits underneath the Queensboro Bridge and offers spectacular views of Midtown East, the Upper East Side, Astoria and Long Island City.

Originally named Minnahanonck or 'nice island' by the Native Americans of the Hudson Channel, the land was renamed Blackwell's Island and purchased by the city for the construction of a penitentiary, the New York Lunatic Asylum and the Smallpox Hospital. It later become a home for destitute New Yorkers and petty crime offenders and, as such, earned the nickname Welfare Island. In 1973, it was once again renamed, this time for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the same time, the architectural firm of Philip Johnson and John Burgee created an island-wide residential development plan that included several large-scale, uniform apartment complexes.

Today, the planned community has many noted adaptive reuse projects that occupy historic buildings. One of the most popular of these projects is the Octagon Tower, a former insane asylum building that has been converted to a luxury apartment complex. Certified as LEED Silver, it features the largest collection of solar panels in the city. The island also features several notable modern buildings. Built in 2007, Riverwalk Court is an 18-story, glassy apartment tower that offers all of the desirable amenities of a high-end core Manhattan building, but with lower prices.

Families and older residents make up the majority of Roosevelt Island's population. Many members of the latter group have lived on the island since it first became a residential enclave. Newer buildings and increased dining and commercial options along Main Street have also attracted a younger crowd who are eager to live in a luxury building but unable to afford apartments in higher-end Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Roosevelt Island is accessible via the Roosevelt Island Tramway, famous for its red aerial tramcars, situated in Midtown Manhattan, as well as the F train. For travel within the island, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation provides shuttle bus service, connecting major apartment building and landmarks for only 25 cents per ride. When the community was originally planned, it was designed to be completely car-free. While driving is now permitted on the island, much of it is still closed off to vehicular traffic.

A major draw for Roosevelt Island residents is its abundance of outdoor space including Southpoint Park, which provides beautiful views of 19th century building ruins, ample recreation spaces and a bike path spanning the circumference of the island. The Gothic-revival North Point Lighthouse, sitting at the northern-most tip of the island, is also a fun attraction.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is a recent addition to the community. Situated at the southern tip of the island, it occupies 4 acres and is a dedicated New York State Park. The design of the memorial park was the last work of iconic architect Louis I. Kahn, and opened in 2012, some 40 years after his original plan.

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Roosevelt Island Condos and Co-ops

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Free Rent and Other Offers in Roosevelt Island

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