Friday, May 6, 2011

Roosevelt Island Tram: NYC's Most Scenic 3 Minutes

Taking a spin on the Roosevelt Island Tramway was one of those things I'd always meant to do ever since moving here 3 1/2 years ago.

The views were supposedly amazing, but the Manhattan entrance to the tram is hidden in a part of 59th Street I simply never frequent, and besides -- what do you do on Roosevelt Island once you get there, anyway? (Side note: that's never stopped me from taking the Staten Island Ferry.)

But when my parents visited a few weekends back, one of the items on my dad's to-do list was a ride on the Roosevelt Island Tramway. I was happy to check it off both his list and mine.

After one ride, I'm kicking myself that I haven't been riding it all these years.

The three-minute trip resulted in some of the most spectacular views I've ever seen in the city. The gondola glides parallel to the Queensboro Bridge, crossing to and from Manhattan and a tiny sliver of land in the middle of the East River called - duh - Roosevelt Island.

Manhattan proper on the left, Roosevelt Island on the right

An F train also makes a stop in Roosevelt Island, but about 5,000 people a day take the tram, according to the New York Times.

It's true that there's not much to do in Roosevelt Island. Visitors can hop on a red shuttle bus the circles most of the island for a single quarter. Dad and I also strolled along the pathways that line much of the circumference of the two-mile long island. I'll post photos from that walk on Monday.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway accepts the same MTA MetroCards that are used on the New York subway and bus system. Since I have an unlimited-ride MetroCard, my ride is effectively free. Even if it weren't, a $2.50 ride is more than worth it when it results in so many terrific views and great photos.

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