A high-line gondola brings visitors from Manhattan’s East Side to Roosevelt Island, a quaint community dotted with coffee shops, playgrounds, parks, ball fields, and a three-mile-long waterfront trail. The mulit-use path is open to both hikers and cyclists, though it’s unlikely visitors will encounter more than a handful of other guests as they walk around the island. Roosevelt is remarkably quiet and, especially considering its proximity to the city, barely draws a crowd. Let the masses miss out. With every step along this skinny island there are unmatched views of the East River and the New York landscape. Start from the subway station or the tram on the island’s west side, near the Queensborough Bridge. The bench-lined pathway heads south where visitors watch passing boats or gaze at the serenity of the East River. South Point is closed to pedestrians; follow the route to the east side of Roosevelt and walk north. A narrow inlet slices between the island and neighboring Queens. Baseball fields, basketball courts, and playgrounds offer prime recreational opportunities here. Walk north to Lighthouse Park: a quiet lawn with picnic areas and a stone tower showcases north-facing views of Mill Rock Park, Ward’s Island, Uptown and the surrounding waters. Loop back to the start at the subway station or the tram.
-mapped by MacKenzie Ryan
Mass transit: Take the F train to the Roosevelt Island Station.
From NYC: Take I-495 East. At 1.4 miles, get off at exit 14 for 21st Street/NY-25A/I-495 East toward Long Island City. Keep left at the fork and follow signs for I-495. Take exit 14 for 21st Street/NY-25A. Merge onto 21st Street/NY-25A. Turn left at Queens Plaza South. Turn right at Vernon Boulevard. Turn left at Roosevelt Bridge. Park in the garage to the right.
- Distance: 6.1
Location: 40.759198, -73.953291
From the Roosevelt Island Station, walk southwest along Main Street.
Location: 40.75793, -73.954654
Cross the street, passing the Visitor Center and Tram entrance on the left. If visitors are taking the tram to Roosevelt Island, the hike can begin here. Stay R @ Y with sidewalk.
Location: 40.756908, -73.955417
Cross back over street and turn L onto walkway.
Location: 40.753606, -73.958721
Turn L @ South Point. Follow the sidewalk east to the other side of the island. Continuing to South Point is trespassing on private property.
Location: 40.752802, -73.957333
Turn L @ end of fence and walk north.
Location: 40.756785, -73.953055
Bear R @ Y-junction.
Location: 40.757852, -73.952195
Bear R @ Y-junction, staying along the water.
Location: 40.759599, -73.950664
Turn R @ three-way.
Location: 40.764019, -73.946589
Pass the parking garage on the left. This allows car, bike and pedestrian access to the island. If visitors aren't taking the subway or the tram, the hike can start from here.
Location: 40.770957, -73.940275
Enter Lighthouse Park. Walk around the perimeter of the park for north-facing views of the river. A lighthouse sits at the end of the park.
Location: 40.769546, -73.94493
Pass Octagon Park on the left.
Location: 40.759418, -73.953325
Cross street and turn R. Continue to the subway station to close the loop.