Manhattan’s east side as seen from the Roosevelt Island tram
Living on the UES, I often head over to Carl Schurz Park for an evening stroll. Featuring gorgeous gardens in addition to a view of the East River and Roosevelt Island, it’s a bit less crowded than the beloved dirt circle known as Central Park. On Saturday I finally had an opportunity to visit the less-than-popular local landmark known as Roosevelt Island - formerly known [most recently] as Welfare Island.
The place has some interesting history. Purchased by the Dutch from the Canarsie Indians in 1637, acquired by an Englishman in 1666 and then sold to NYC in 1828 (for $32k, a paltry sum even in that era), the island has hosted a penitentiary, lunatic asylum, workhouse and smallpox hospital over the years. In 1939 a system of chronic care hospitals was erected which still stands today. Time has left its impact and maintenance appears to have been minimal, as many of the structures look near-abandoned. It’s quite my cup of tea!
Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought the proper camera for any UE photography and further neglected to take a single shot of the structures. Even more unfortunate was the new park at the southern end of the island, the FDR Four Freedoms Park. This panoramic-view-destroying, security-riddled, over-built monstrosity… Well, I’ll skip the diatribe. I just think it was a waste of $50 million. Really, it’s nice. I’m just a psychopath.
At any rate, the island still has an air of post apocalyptica about it, and the fact that such a massive green space still exists in NYC without the sticky crowds one usually encounters completely enchants me. For the first of three sets, here are a few photos from the tram ride over the East River (did you know NYC has a tram?).
Here we see an off-ramp for the Queensborough Bridge. So many times I’ve sat there in traffic, this was the first opportunity to view it from above.
Next up, we passed over 1st Avenue.
And here are some buildings. This is York Street.
East River seen from the west, viewing the west side of Roosevelt Island (accompanied by the tram’s window reflections).
Some time in the distant near future: Some photos we took upon landing, and proof that at least the island has Yuengling. And a little more history…
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends and spirit - and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends and spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
- Brian Dyson