9.1 out of 10

Roosevelt Island

Ranked 2nd best neighborhood in Manhattan
40.7629594602537 -73.9497349071698
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping Options
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"The best place to live in NYC"

You actually know your neighbors - tons of associations and interest groups. Lovely parks, recreation areas. Spectacular views
Pros
  • Sports facilites
  • quiet
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
  • good or families
  • safe
  • Cool haunted stuff
Cons
  • Starting to be overdeveloped
  • Poor retail options
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Roosevelt Island – Commuting Is A Breeeze"

Many people dismiss Roosevelt Island as inaccessible, but this little island off the coast of Manhattan is actually very commutable. Less than 10,000 residents call the island home, so it is quiet, relaxed, and had a great neighborhood feel.

In addition to the iconic aerial tram that serves the community, there is also a subway service (the F train) and two bridges for auto-commuters. The island even has its own bus service – the red bus -- to make getting around even easier. Some considerate it an enviable alternative to ‘city life’ on Manhattan.

Roosevelt Island sits in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. The waterfront community is extremely diverse, both racially and financially. Nearly two-thirds of the residents are between the ages of 18 and 65, with an almost equal number of men and women. Although some of the residents are big earners, the median income on the Island is just under $50,000, and the housing here is affordably priced, with a two-bedroom rental apartment going for up to $1,500-per-month less than across the river in Manhattan.

Roosevelt Island will never be confused with a New York ‘destination location.’ There is really no reason to make the crossing unless you are seeing friends or family. In fact, many tourists take the tram to Roosevelt Island just for the fun of a tram ride, and then turn right around and head back to Manhattan.

Residents, especially those with children, will find an abundance of baseball fields, basketball courts, playgrounds, and even a community swimming pool. There are lots of green spaces and many of the parks have public grills that allow neighbors to come together for spontaneous cookouts when the weather is warm.

Quiet, a little bit sleepy, but a great value for your money...and just a quick tram ride away from the Eastside.
Pros
  • quiet
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
  • good or families
  • safe
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Roosevelt Island: Part of Manhattan But Not"

Roosevelt is one of those places that is a bit quirky. It's technically part of Manhattan but is located on its own little island. To get there you can take a tram. I find this fairly scary so I have never been myself. I believe you can also get their by car but tram is the most popular form of transport. The most popular thing about Roosevelt Island are the concerts that take place there every so often. Big concerts that draw a lot of attention. Other than that though, there is very little going on there. It's middle class, not very exciting and it good for the family that wants access to Manhattan without having to deal with the hustle and bustle.

Roosevelt Island is more affordable than other places in Manhattan because of its lack of convenience. If you don't mind having to commute by tram for instance, well then it might be a good option for you. Not much is going on there, and I've never really heard of a great night life. Being a Native New Yorker I have no real desire to go there and honestly probably never will. From what most people tell me I am not missing much.

Do catch a concert there though if you can. Concerts are always great fun and offer the chance to get a sense of what the island is all about without living there.
Pros
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A Suburban-like Neighborhood With Easy Access to Manhattan"

Roosevelt Island is across from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and accessible via the tram or F train. However, it can be a long walk to get to either but there are bus lines that travel to different parts of the island. Roosevelt Island was known as Welfare Island from 1921 to 1973 and housed the city's poor. The neighborhood runs from Manhattan's east 46th Street to East 85th Street and is about two miles in length.

Today it is primarily a residential area, technically part of Manhattan, and great for families as it offers somewhat reduced rents that does the city. The apartments are also somewhat more spacious apartments than those in Manhattan and are situated in one of the many high-rise apartment buildings. Most of the buildings are rentals rather than coops. A nice feature of the island is that it is relatively free of traffic and parking is less of a headache than in Manhattan.

The neighborhood is middle class, not upscale but pleasant, and has a couple of good schools, a library and even its own community newspaper. The neighborhood offers an escape from Manhattan with easy accessibility to it and you will need to do most of your shopping in Manhattan. There is no nightlife and the sidewalks pretty much role up after dark.

A trip to Roosevelt Island can be a fun day trip as the area does offer fabulous views of Manhattan and the water which you can take in via the nice walking path stretching along the water. There is also a park at the north nice for reading or watching the boats pass by.

If you want to combine the accessibility of Manhattan with suburban living, Roosevelt Island could be a great option.
Pros
  • quiet
  • good or families
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
  • safe
  • good for families
Cons
  • boring
  • no nightlife
  • Poor retail options
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Small, Quaint Island Off The Coast of Manhattan"

Roosevelt Island is one of the city's best kept secrets. Most New Yorkers never really remember it's there and the ones that do don't think twice about it.

Actually, Roosevelt Island is a great place to live if you want to be closer to the city but don't want to deal with living in the city. At the same time, you have to cross the East River to get into the city which makes it more of a small outer borough.

Still, the prices are very reasonable and the area is simply lovely. It's very quiet, good schools, nice apartments, and it is easy to commute into the city. There is no traffic like in Manhattan and it is never crowded.

At the same time, there is nothing to do there. There are few places to shop or get food and certainly nothing to do at night.

For visitors, both locals and tourists would have a great time on a short trip to the island. It is very easy to get to and has some beautiful parks, views, and architecture. It is a good place to get away from everything going on in the city. It is also one of the safest parts of New York and the area is almost exclusively middle class and there is only about 10,000 people living here.
Pros
  • quiet
  • good or families
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
  • safe
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • Poor retail options
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
2yrs+

"Quiet, inexpensive, island off Manhattan, but a bit boring"

Technically, Roosevelt Island is a part of Manhattan, but Manhattanites don't think of it that way. After all, it's a separate island. I used to live within eye-shot of the Roosevelt Island tram which is like a ski lift over the East River by the Queensboro Bridge at East 59th Street. You can also access Roosevelt via the F subway line from Manhattan; there's only one station there.

Roosevelt is a small island; from what I've read, it's about two miles in length. Mostly, it's a bunch of high-rise apartment complexes. One of the nicest things about this island is that part of it is free of traffic. There are bus lines and a few cars, however. There are quite a few families living there, and it's decidedly middle class – not super upscale, but nice. There are at least a couple of schools on the island, and it has its own library and newspaper.

For the people who live on Roosevelt, it's an escape from the speed of Manhattan, much like Broad Channel Island. For those who are accustomed to living in Manhattan proper, the idea of living on Roosevelt is just plain odd. So, it's a matter of what you're looking for. You'll need to do most of your shopping in Manhattan, and there isn't much in the way of nightlife on the island. But the good news is you can find a more spacious apartment for a lower rent without having to go too far out into the outer boroughs.
Pros
  • good for families
  • small town atmosphere
  • quiet
  • safe
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
  • Poor retail options
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
2yrs+

"Desolate and Dull"

Roosevelt Island has three things going for it, and each one appeals to a different group of people. For those who want to live in Manhattan but need more affordable rents and are willing to sacrifice the convenience and liveliness of the city: Roosevelt Island has spacious apartments at low prices. For those who live in New York and are looking for an interesting, one-time day trip: Roosevelt Island has great views of the city and the river, plus tons of history to walk around and take in. For those with a bit of a dark side: Roosevelt Island was home to mental hospitals and other such institutions - most of which have since been knocked down, but you can still sneak around to explore the eerie old smallpox hospital.

Roosevelt Island is almost exclusively residential. There are a few conveniences, like a Duane Reade and Starbuck's, because how ridiculous would it be to get on a subway - especially the unreliable F - or a tram to get a cup of coffee? But that's just what residents have to do if they want to go to dinner, go shopping, go to a bar or do just about anything. The tram is a cool thing to do once as a New Yorker (plus it takes MetroCards) for the sake of the view, but I imagine it gets old for residents who probably wish there were more subway lines than the F so their choices weren't between that and this tram. The pluses of living here would be left at the rents, some parks and the medical facilities that still stand.
Pros
  • quiet
  • Cool haunted stuff
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
  • safe
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
  • Poor retail options
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
2yrs+

"Strange, but worth considering"

When my friends were moving to Roosevelt Island from Brooklyn I had no idea what they were talking to me. I didn't realize anybody actually lived on this thin patch of land floating in the East River. People do. Not only do they live there, but they save a good deal of money by living there.

Look, it's an usual place to live. I mean, it's REALLY an island and there's basically only one street (called Main Street) that goes in a big circle. The novelty of it makes it somewhat interesting, and if you're young and on your own you could do a lot worse than live on Roosevelt Island.

The views are spectacular. You can basically walk right up to the water and you have a perfect view of the UN. Likewise, every time you take the Tram over (this sort of air bubble that shuttles people from Manhattan over to the Island) gives you other rare and amazing views of the city. A drawback is that only the F train stops here, making it really annoying if the F train is in service.

Note: If you're looking for something fun and usual to do in NYC, take the Tram. It's a ten minute arial tour of Manhattan's East Side.

The Island is home to a lot of disabled people, most of whom require the use of wheelchairs. As a result, many of the buildings are built with extra wide doorways and such. There's nothing to due at night, but living here is a good way to have a New York, NY address and pay a little less.
Pros
  • quiet
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
Recommended for
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
2yrs+

"Well worth a visit"

Alright, so living on Roosevelt Island doesn’t seem like a great idea. It’s a dingy place full of ugly, depressed looking buildings. You know in that movie “Dark Water” with Jennifer Connelly, when they live in this haunted building on Roosevelt Island? Well, don’t feel bad, because most people didn’t see it. The point of the story is that the film crew didn’t have to add dark and shabby to give Roosevelt Island ambiance.

So don’t live there. Visit! It’s actually fun to visit if you take a bit of initiative. And by “initiative” I mean trudged down to the southern tip of the island, shimmy through the fence, and explore the old smallpox hospital. It’s really cool! It’s like ruins that are somehow, magically, part of New York City. And yeah, it has all the city charm of candy wrappers and beer bottles, but it’s still amazing and delightfully eerie.

The tram is fun and way more interesting than taking the subway. And it takes MetroCard! It’s also great to see Manhattan from the island. Seeing the city from outside the city is a great experience. But don’t limit yourself to the shores. History has left its mark here in the oddest places imaginable. There are old brick churches nudged between high residential structures. Then there’s the lighthouse, which just seems odd. Explore a little bit and you’ll come up with a million oddities.

Though living there might not be for everyone, it’s absolutely worth a day trip.
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Two Short Miles of People and Buildings"

If you want to visit a small island in the East River, Roosevelt Island is a good place to go. It's formerly known as Welfare Island. Later the name was changed to Blackwell's Island, until finally the island was officially named Roosevelt island.

Roosevelt Island is a narrow strip of land about two miles long and about 800 feet in width. The island stands on a total of 147 acres. The island lies between Manhattan and the borough of queens. If you were to sit the island next to Manhattan it would run from East 46th St to East 85th St.

The city of New York currently owns the island. But they leased it to the state of New York's Urban Development Corporation in 1969 for 99 years. If you go to Roosevelt Island, the most you would see are residential buildings, which are rentals.

The place has no stores. It is strictly a place for people to live. They take the tram to Manhattan. People can also take the IND 63rd Street Line to the island. Roosevelt Island does not have many cars. People get around by use of the Q102 bus.

Basically, Roosevelt Island has nothing much to offer except living conditions if this is what you want. The land itself is quite breath-taking, as many areas are kept clean.
Pros
  • quiet
  • Cool haunted stuff
  • good or families
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
  • Poor retail options
  • Small town atmosphere
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Students
RJL
RJL The reviewer has under-rated Roosevelt Island on far too many counts. Neighborhood spirit, safety, child care, schools are all better than indicated. For better and more complete information, check the Roosevelt Island newspaper on line: http://nyc10044.com.
2yrs+
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3/5
2yrs+

"Can't believe they fit a neighborhood onto this island!"

There is nothing - nothing! - to do here, but in my humble opinion the neighborhood is a sight to see. After all, it's a 0.279 square mile section of New York City - a strange thing if there ever was one. Okay, the area is stocked with dowdy-looking rental buildings which are mostly rentals rather than a place a budding family can purchase for their own, but it is an interesting enclave of the city in that it is a tiny island that almost doesn't seem fit for habitation, and yet it is incredibly stocked with New York City lives.

On the plus side for residents, there is a lack of hustle and bustle in the area - at least compared to neighboring Midtown East.
Pros
  • good or families
  • quiet
  • Cool haunted stuff
  • safe
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
  • Poor retail options
  • Small town atmosphere
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Isolated and strange"

Roosevelt Island is a pretty strange place, even by New York standards of strange. An insane asylum, a penitentiary, and a smallpox hospital were built on the island in the 1800's. Since no one else wanted to buy the real estate, it made sense to use the place to store all the people society didn't especially want to deal with. Although the Queensborough Bridge cuts through the island, you couldn't reach it via normal public transport for many years. Instead, the island was accessible only by a special bus line and an iconic suspended tram line, that operates much like a ski lift, with small cabins that bring passengers across the water via a series of suspension wires. Surprisingly, this tramway is accessible by Metro Card. The island itself is full of boxy and clustered buildings and the streets feel tight and cluttered. This is surprising since you would expect, on an island, to have the expansive feeling of large space that comes from being near the water. The Octagon Apartment complex, built relatively recently, is actually on the premises of what used to be the insane asylum. The island has its own local governing body and in recent years has been the site of several community development projects, intended to create a planned, self-contained community on the island that is separate from Manhattan and its lifestyle. Real estate here is still fairly affordable, and that's probably because the island feels isolated from the rest of the city, with not much by way of entertainment and such. It's hard to imagine a family wanting to buy a unit on the island though, since Brooklyn or New Jersey probably affords a lot more as far as conveniences and a social life for a young family. Thats why I wonder if maybe the island isn't still the home of mostly outcasts and loner types, who don't quite fit anywhere else in the city.
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"A Starbucks and a Duane Reade for entertainment"

People have been fiddling around with Roosevelt Island's architecture for more than a century now. For some reason, it has been the site of several unbuilt architectural competitions and proposals, most of them featuring idyllic or utopic details like banning cars from the island and creating a decentralized campus-style grade school. Many famous architects love to fantasize about the Island's potential, and luminaries like Rem Koolhaas and Robert A.M. Stern have submitted proposals for how to devlelop the place. Actually, Roosevelt Island has a long and dark history as the site of mental asylums and prisons, all of which have now vanished and been converted into rental housing (which is rather eery, if you ask me). Billie Holiday and Boss Tweed both did jail time on Roosevelt Island, and Charles Dickens wrote about the appalling conditions in what was then known as The Octagon, an asylum for the mentally ill.

Since the island is so small, with a bit over 10,000 residents currently, the arrival of a Duane Reade and a Starbucks were big news. There are also quite limited restaurant options here, and getting on and off the island can be a bit slow and annoying. One can drive on Roosevely Island, but large areas are designated off-limits to cars. Of the residential options, most are rentals, with only one co-op extant on the whole island. The prices for apartments are fairly affordable for New York.
Pros
  • quiet
  • safe
  • good or families
Cons
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
  • boring
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
2yrs+

"Good for a day trip if you live in New York"

Roosevelt Island is kind of a quirky bit of land between Manhattan and Queens. It's not incredibly interesting and it's a pain to get there, but if you live in the city and want to see something new, it's worth a few hours.
Roosevelt Island has a couple of interesting landmarks to it. There is an abandoned smallpox hospital (weird, right?), ruins of an insane asylum (even weirder but really cool) and the Blackwell House. The Blackwells used to own the island and the house is vacant.
The coolest fact about Roosevelt Island is that there is an abandoned lighthouse thats purpose was to light up the insane asylum to prevent people from escaping. If you're a history nerd with an penchant for the macabre (which I am) then it's worth taking a look at.
It really is a place to jaunt for a couple of hours and then come back into the city to eat and imbibe because there's honestly nothing else to do there.
Pros
  • Cool haunted stuff
  • good or families
  • quiet
Cons
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Family-friendly enclave far from the madding crowd"

Many New Yorkers say they want their neighborhood to feel like a real "community" - a village in the heart of a metropolis. But few New Yorkers get what they want to quite the same degree as the residents of Roosevelt Island, who are quite literally removed from their neighboring neighborhoods by a rather sizeable amount of water. Previously accessible only through the scenic (and rather terrifying) cable cars, Roosevelt Island is now available via bus and subway, as well as via traffic from Queens. Nevertheless, Roosevelt Island does feel isolated, for better or for worse, than the rest of Manhattan. It's largely car-free, residential, and middle-class: an enclave of suburbia in the heart of the city. Adding to the "planned community" feel is a Roosevelt-Island-only bus, the 25 cent Red Bus, the number of lovely parks and green areas, the bike path circumnavagating the entire island, and of course the charming views. It's certainly a far cry from the Island's previous incarnation - as a prison! While families have everything they need: the island is supplied with a small public school system and there is a Public Library Branch on the island - there's not much in the way of nightlife or restaurants, so those seeking a more exciting existence should probably look elsewhere for accommodation.
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Roosvelt Island- The Big Apple's little Apple"

Roosevelt Island is a two mile long island that lies between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. This island was originally purchased by the Dutch settlers of New York City from the Canarsie Indians. They then went on to change the name of this island from “Minnahononck” to “Varcken”. Over the years it was also known as Blackwell’s Island and Welfare Island as located here was a prison, lunatic asylum and a small pox hospital (the ruins of which still stand on the southern point of the island) on the island. It is believed that the sick and the insane were once sent to Roosevelt Island however today the occupants of the high rises on Roosevelt Island are mainly U.N. staff given its proximity to Midtown Manhattan which is the location of the U.N. The initial development on Roosevelt Island consisted of subsidized living as developers were given tax breaks by the City to build on the island. Today the real estate scenario on Roosevelt Island consists of high rise co-ops and luxury rental buildings which afford gorgeous views of Manhattan and the East River. However the island’s developments surprisingly don’t have much individual character. They are built in a standard, uniform almost soviet-like pattern. Prices of apartments located here are also not much less than Manhattan even though the island is rather insulated.

Roosevelt Island is accessible by tram way from Manhattan's 60th street and 2nd avenue, by car through a bridge on 36th avenue and Vernon Boulevard in Queens and one subway line, the F train. The ride on the tram makes all the sights and sounds of Manhattan easily accessible from Roosevelt Island. New York City’s transit card – the Metrocard can be used on the tram that links Manhattan and Roosevelt Island.
A shuttle bus service called the Octagon express which is operated by the Roosevelt Island Operating Cooperation provides public transport the island for the nominal charge of 25 cents a ride though the island is also connected to Queens via the Q102 bus service.

The atmosphere on the island is reminiscent of a small town as the island has only one main drag appropriately called the Main Street. All shops and businesses are located on this street which is enclosed to protect residents from the elements. Dining options are severely limited as there are few restaurants on Roosevelt Island. A Gristedes mega shop is the only super market that is located on the island. The lack of choice of dining and shopping options makes trips into Manhattan a necessity in fact the atmosphere on the island is rather desolate when compared to either Manhattan or Queens.
Pros
  • Gorgeous views of Manhattan
  • good or families
  • quiet
  • Cool haunted stuff
  • safe
Cons
  • Small town atmosphere
  • Poor retail options
  • boring
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5
2yrs+

"Quiet and Safe May Not Last Forever"

Roosevelt Island is a quiet, safe, and beautiful residential neighborhood that offers great views, many spacious parks, historic landmarks, and limited traffic. The clean and secretive neighborhood is a 150-acre strip of land along the East River that is beginning to really get noticed.

In the past, Roosevelt Island was known as Welfare Island and spent much of its time as a place for prisons and insane asylums. Prisons are now a thing of the past, and Starbucks is a thing of the future.

The neighborhood is still growing and residents are feeling slightly congested and a bit over-crowded, but the neighborhood is still nothing like the rest of Manhattan. Here it is not uncommon to find a nine-building residential town with manicured lawns, sports fields, and some decent retail shopping. Pizza shops are moving in and real estate prices are ever-increasing. A three-bedroom is going for about $1.5 million and a one-bedroom is teetering around $600,000. Still affordable, yes, but not for long!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5
2yrs+

"Don't bother yourself, tourists"

If you’re a tourist, I’d imagine that the only possible scenario in which you’d find yourself here is if you accidentally took the train in the wrong direction (you have to be careful when getting on those trains – make sure you know which borough is where, as they are often used to gauge the trains’ directions. This island is pretty weird because it’s about two miles long, and 800 feet wide at its widest. It’s a residential island that basically sits underneath the Queensboro Bridge, which is interesting to see from the N train, but less interesting to see from the actual island, seeing as how you’d be stuck there with nothing to do.

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