Saturday, September 1, 2007

Memories of Roosevelt Island


The NY Times Living article on Roosevelt Island evoked these memories from a former resident and blogger As Good As News:

Roosevelt Island was different then. There were only three apartment buildings, a few stores and the old buildings. The Octagon was locked and crumbling. The former asylum at the south end was an abandoned ruin, fenced off but easy to visit anyway. The Island featured tennis courts, public courts, that were actually playable and available. I remember comedian Buddy Hackett strolling down Main Street talking a blue streak, a very blue streak. There was no subway connection and most important, Roosevelt Island was still a mystery to the rest of Manhattan. (That's right, Roosevelt Island was, and is, part of Manhattan despite the fact that the only bridge connects to Queens.) This made for great conversation.

How do you get your food? Every morning the entire Island rises at 6AM and forages communally for roots and berries. If we don't find anything, then we go to the Shopwell near the parking garage.

What do you do if the tram is broken? Training in water and small craft safety is mandatory for all new residents of Roosevelt Island. We maintain a fleet of canoes and kayaks on full alert whenever the tram undergoes maintenance, but because of the treacherous East River currents it is usually easier to just grab the bus to Queens.
The image is of the Blackwell's Island Penitentiary via Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

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