Friday, June 24, 2011

Roosevelt Island, Manhattan, New York

Roosevelt Island was known as Welfare Island from 1921 - 1973 and lies in the East River between the island of Manhattan and Queens. Although the Queensboro Bridge (1909) massively traverses the island, there is no longer any access for cars to enter the island. Until 1955, there existed an Elevator Storehouse attached to the bridge. Since construction of the Roosevelt Island Bridge (1955), traffic can only enter from Astoria, Queens. Alternately, the Roosevelt Island Tramway (photo), built in 1976, runs continuously. The subway (F train) finally arrived in 1989, the deepest in NYC subway system (photo shows huge escalators).

There exist fascinating architectural treasures, including the restored Octagon (designed by Alexander Jackson Davis in 1839 as part of the Lunatic Asylum). The ruins of the 1856 Smallpox Hospital (designed by James Renwick) are at the southern tip of the island. The Blackwell Island Light (1872) Gothic-style lighthouse was built by convict labor. Interesting and run down Coler-Goldwater Hospital (1939)exhibits some oddball international style architecture, with chevron-shaped wings, canted back to face the river, like the conning towers on Arizona-type battleships (Christopher Gray, NYT, Feb 12, 2012).

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