Top 12 Secrets of NYC's Roosevelt Island_aerial view_Untapped Cities_NYCAn aerial view of Roosevelt Island, before demolition of Goldwater Hospital. Photo by Mathew Lloyd/RooseveltIslander

We’ve written a lot of articles on New York City’s islands, both abandoned and in use. While the city itself is interesting and filled with cool history and things to do, its islands, such as North Brother’s Island, Hart Island, Governors Island, and Rikers Island, also have some intriguing sights. Now, it’s time to rediscover New York City’s Roosevelt Island – a residential, 2-mile long island packed with interesting secrets.


Hunts Point Landing-The Bronx-Greenway-NYCHunts Point Landing, image via Urban Engineers

Far from the hordes of people that crowd New York’s more popular beaches are a host of lesser known parks offering waterfront access and panoramic views. The city published a map of all of New York’s public waterfront space, but we’ve picked out some of the most interesting from each of the five boroughs. Check them out before the summer weather disappears for good.


James Renwick-Smallpox Hospital-Castle-Roosevelt Island-Landmarked Ruin-NYC

Did you know that ruins can be landmarked? The Colosseum in Rome and the pyramids of Egypt may be the most well-known ancient relics but they are definitely not the only ones. We did some digging and compiled this list of lesser-known landmarked ruins from around the world. Surprisingly, there is even one in New York City!


It’s summertime which means it’s time to make maximum use of your bike or your Citibike membership. Here, we’ve put together four bike routes for cyclists who are looking to discover some history along with their ride. Included in this article are a leisurely ride from Prospect Park to Brighton Beach, jumping across the East River between Williamsburg, Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, a jam-packed historical route through downtown Manhattan, and a cultural jaunt through Upper Manhattan.

1. The Leisure Lover

Grand Army Plaza-Arch-Prospect Park-Brooklyn-Untapped Cities

Where to: Northern Prospect Park along the Ocean Parkway to Brighton Beach


FDR Four Freedoms Park, bust of FDR

We’ve been honored to go behind-the-scenes at FDR Four Freedoms Park while it was under construction for the last two years, from the time it was just a few pylons in the water  to when “The Room” was completed. Yesterday, we were proud to witness the unveiling ceremony on the tip of Roosevelt Island. With speeches by President Bill Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Tom Brokaw and Ambassador William vanden Heuvel, distinguished guests like Henry Kissinger, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, the Frank Delanor Roosevelt’s family, and performances by the West Point Band and Staten Island PS22 Chorus, it seemed that nothing could mar the beautiful fall day.  (more…)

On a quintessential New York evening on the East River, timed with the landing of President Obama’s helicopters at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, I joined openhousenewyork on their Other Islands Boat Tour. Led by Stuart Miller and Sharon Seitz, authors of the book The Other Islands of New York, the event aboard the packed yacht, the Zephyr, was a cocktail party blended with fun New York facts told by the dynamic hosts.

According to Miller, the islands reflect the story of the city as its priorities have shifted over time. Some were originally purposed as military protection from the British during the War of 1812, named later for the families that owned them, and transformed over time into places of leisure, of isolation, of residence, and often of heterotopia.  (more…)