Seniors Explore Roosevelt Island


On one of my recent tours as a guide at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ, I met a couple who said that they lived on Roosevelt Island in New York City. I was acquainted with Long Island, but Roosevelt Island was a new one for this senior.

So I just had to check it out. Roosevelt Island is a narrow island in New York City’s East River. It lies between Manhattan Island to its west and the borough of Queens on Long Island to its east, and is part of the borough of Manhattan. It is around 2 miles long and has a maximum width of only 800 feet.

Lonely Planet notes that it was once Blackwell’s Island, then Welfare Island, has been home to insane asylums and prisons, and later hospital out-patients and UN workers. A boxy-red tram and later the subway only reached the island in the mid ’70s. The population runs just under 10,000.

Seniors Enjoy The Octagon


Though small, Roosevelt Island has a distinguished architectural history. It has several architecturally significant buildings, and has been the site of numerous important unbuilt architectural competitions and proposals.

One particular structure sticks out for senior visitors. Called The Octagon, now a high-end apartment community, it is one of the island’s six landmarks. This national landmark building was restored in 2006.

Several well-known folks call(ed) Roosevelt Island home. Do you remember the comedian Buddy Hackett and “Grandpa” Al Lewis from the Munsters show?  They, along with Sarah Jessica Parker, settled in this community.

Known for its wealth of promenades, green space, and incredible views of the New York skyline, Roosevelt Island’s natural beauty makes it a truly remarkable place to call home as my visitor friends discovered.


 ‘An Affordable Island In The Sun’

It you have no fear of heights, the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram above the East River is an exciting means to get to the Island and is accessible at 60th Street and Second Avenue. A 4-mile esplanade encircles the Island and is a favorite path for joggers and hikers.

The Roosevelt Island Visitor Center, adjacent to the tram station, is housed inside a restored kiosk that was once the entrance to the tracks for the trolley car service that ran to the island from 1912 to 1955. The NY Times calls Roosevelt Island an “Affordable Island In the Sun.”


So what are you going to do once you arrive via the red tram?  Plenty to keep you busy for more than a full day. For you gourmet seniors, check out the 4-Star Trellis restaurant. The Roosevelt Island Historical Society promotes awareness of the Island’s unique story and pursues preservation of its landmarks and artifacts.

The F. D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the south tip of the Island is dedicated to the former president. Going the other direction, senior visitors will find the The Blackwell Lighthouse, another historic landmark.

Enjoy the Island.  -jeb

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