9. Roosevelt Island’s Tramway Was Initially Temporary
The bright red tramway system carrying commuters from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and back was established in 1976 as a temporary means of transportation for island residents while they awaited the completion of the island’s subway link. By this time, the trolley tracks connecting Roosevelt Island with mainly Manhattan had been slowly deteriorating beyond repair. However, by the time the link was there, the tramway had already become an integral mode of transportation, so it continued to operate and became permanent.
The tram was built by Swiss company Von Roll, though the current tram is the second iteration; the tramway underwent a major renovation in 2010 that added a dual-hall system and new cars. Today it remains a crucial part of New York City’s transit system which has carried well over 26 million passengers, serving as North America’s first aerial tramway used for commuter transit. The tram was notably the last mode of transportation in New York City to adopt the MetroCard, doing so in 2003.