Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island is a contradiction.  It is Manhattan but not on Manhattan.  It is part of the city but looks nothing like the city.   The Island, named for Franklin D. Roosevelt, has a sordid history of housing mental patients, prisoners, and the destitute.  Today, it is better known for its new luxury condos and rentals, many with sought-after views of the Manhattan skyline.   Not a surprise in such a city like New York, where neighborhoods reinvent themselves again and again to suit the needs of its citizens.   Why should you visit Roosevelt Island?  Well, the sweeping views of Manhattan also come with trees overhead and grass underfoot.   It’s a beautiful place to have a picnic or BBQ.

Views of the skyline
Roosevelt island

Roosevelt Island BBQ

In the middle of the island is a communal garden that the residents tend.

Roosevelt island

Here are some views from the BBQ area on the northern end of the island, called Lighthouse Park.  This is your view to the west.

Roosevelt Island BBQ

This is the view to the east.  There is a lot of grass for people to put down picnic blankets.  This immediate area has benches and grilling stations.

Roosevelt Island BBQ

And this is the view to the north.  Interestingly, this lighthouse was built by a mental patient.

Roosevelt Island BBQ

The easiest way to get to Roosevelt Island is by taking the F to the Roosevelt Island station.   For a more scenic view, you should take the air tram, which takes Metrocards.   However, the tram is currently being upgraded and will be out of service until September 2010.   You can also drive to Roosevelt Island.  Click here for directions.

For those interested in BBQ’ing, grills are located at Lighthouse Park, West Seawall near the Octagon, Octagon Soccer Field, and the East Seawall South of Queensboro Bridge.   During weekends when the weather is good, those grills go fast, so get there early to claim a spot!


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