Is Roosevelt Island worth a staycation journey?


For New Yorkers, the chances of staycations are limitless. Whether it’s a weekend within the Catskills, a seashore break in Long Island, or an indulgent keep in a Manhattan lodge, a transient but luxurious getaway doesn’t should imply taking a flight and hours of journey.

But one location these dwelling within the Big Apple could not have thought of is a small, historic spot very near dwelling – Roosevelt Island.

The slim strip of land nestled between Manhattan and Queens, and previously recognized by its nickname “Welfare Island” initially housed a penitentiary, then an asylum, and later, a smallpox hospital, which remains to be obtainable to view from a distance.

Now, nevertheless, the island is dwelling to a new lodge, the lots of of scholars who attend Cornell Tech, a expertise, enterprise, legislation, and design campus of Cornell University, and a basic inhabitants of 12,440.

With new growth and constructing over latest years, we went to search out out – do you have to contemplate a staycation in Roosevelt Island?

In regards to practicality, it’s simpler than one would think about to get to the island, because the F prepare from Manhattan or Queens takes you straight there.

If you need a extra out-of-the-ordinary New York expertise, nevertheless, the cable vehicles, departing from Midtown East, are the best way to go.

Although largely utilized by commuters to and from the island, flying over the East River is definitely a distinctive expertise, regardless that the trip lasts simply a jiffy and the views are pretty obscured by the bridges.

When we arrived, we had been greeted by the traditional outsized pink “I Heart” signal, this time in fact with RI, which momentarily fooled us into pondering we had been on a actual trip.

The island boasts a customer centre and a lodge

(Chelsea Ritschel)

At the highest and backside of the island are small – however unusually spotless for New York – parks that boast spectacular views of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

Both by day and night time, the expansive views are completely different to these you see from the boroughs, permitting guests and residents to see most of the metropolis’s landmarks with out having to show their head. When we visited on a sunny Friday afternoon, the Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, situated on the island’s southern level, was comfortably full with others out having fun with the views.

Roosevelt Island is sweet if you’re on the lookout for a peaceable location for a stroll close to the water

(Chelsea Ritschel)

Walking round, there is no such thing as a doubt that Roosevelt Island has been remodeled into a college campus, with the island boasting the sensation of a small quaint school city, however with out the occasion ambiance. It is quiet and peaceable, making it a stark distinction to the bustling metropolis throughout the water.

As for the issues to do throughout a go to to the island, the checklist is restricted, with the primary vacationer attraction being the aforementioned derelict smallpox hospital, which guests can view from a distance attributable to its structural instability.

The smallpox hospital is likely one of the island’s largest vacationer attracts

(Chelsea Ritschel)

You can’t truly enter the previous smallpox hospital, however you possibly can view it from behind a fence

(Chelsea Ritschel)

The hospital, which handled about 7,000 sufferers a 12 months from 1856 till 1875, is an undeniably outstanding work of structure. It’s protecting of snaking inexperienced vines means it now resembles a gothic haunted home greater than anything.

There is just one lodge on Roosevelt Island, the 224-room Graduate Roosevelt Island, which opened in June of this 12 months and sits nestled above the Cornell Tech campus.

The first lodge on Roosevelt Island opened this 12 months

(Chelsea Ritschel)

On our transient journey to the island, we stayed on the new lodge, the place we had been pleasantly stunned by the gorgeous foyer and bar – and the Manhattan-worthy cocktails we had been served whereas we waited for our room to be prepared.

The Graduate Roosevelt Hotel provides a distinctive place to remain should you’re visiting the island

(Chelsea Ritschel)

The Graduate Roosevelt lodge foyer and bar are worth visiting the island for

(Chelsea Ritschel)

We loved all of the cocktails we tried on the lodge’s foyer bar and restaurant Anything At All

(Chelsea Ritschel)

The room itself, a suite, was smaller than you’d anticipate, however outfitted properly, with distinctive furnishings chosen by design agency Snøhetta. The key playing cards for accessing the rooms, which vary from $289 a night time for a normal room to $329 a night time for a suite, are additionally enjoyable as they resemble pupil ID playing cards just like these discovered on any school campus.

The rooms on the Graduate Roosevelt Hotel are good but small

(Chelsea Ritschel)

The lodge key playing cards are made to appear like pupil IDs

(Chelsea Ritschel)

Upon our realisation that, regardless of ingesting within the lodge foyer for greater than an hour, we had two and a half extra hours till dinner, we once more got down to discover the island, heading in the direction of the opposite finish of the two-mile land mass. On our transient stroll in the direction of the northern tip, it was simple to see the enchantment of the island for many who need to be close to New York City however barely distanced from the boroughs.

We returned for dinner on the lodge, once more within the foyer restaurant Anything At All, the place we had a first rate meal consisting of varied appetisers adopted by wagyu burgers and waffle fries.

The bartenders continued to impress, nevertheless, as we inquired about a drink being loved by company at a desk over solely to be served top-of-the-line takes on a piña colada.

After dinner, we made our strategy to the 18th ground of the lodge, which boasts a new bar and lounge referred to as the Panorama Room. Both lodge eateries are spearheaded by Marc Rose and Med Abrous, the co-founders of LA-based hospitality group Call Mom.

The identify is becoming, because the expansive bar does certainly supply panoramic views of the skyline, with an out of doors wrap-around balcony permitting guests to absorb the unimaginable view, or pose for photos in entrance of it.

The Panorama Room, situated on the 18th ground of the lodge, boasts unimaginable views of the skyline

(Chelsea Ritschel)

The wraparound balcony permits company to step exterior to admire the view on the lodge’s Panorama Room

(Chelsea Ritschel)

We discovered the cocktail menu within the Panorama Room simply as spectacular as the primary foyer bar, whereas an order of caviar nachos, which consisted of plantain chips lined with a sprinkling of salty fish eggs and topped with extra salt, accomplished our meals for the night time.

Ultimately, the bar, which provides off a up to date lounge vibe, exceeded our expectations – and gave the impression to be a fashionable nightlife selection regardless of opening simply a few months in the past. The crowd was largely made up of people on dates and huge teams celebrating birthday events, with the Panorama Room managing to be a becoming location for both event.

The Panorama Room was busy after we visited the lodge bar at 8pm

(Chelsea Ritschel)

While having fun with a cocktail on the balcony, we determined that the unbeatable view and the drinks served at both of the lodge bars alone had been completely worth the journey.

Our one-night staycation ended again in our lodge, the place we admired the view from our window, in addition to the dawn at 6am, earlier than testing and heading again to Manhattan by way of tram automotive.

Even from the rooms, the views are unmatched

(Chelsea Ritschel)

Overall, a journey to Roosevelt Island is worth it if you’re on the lookout for a cheap break from town the place you possibly can bask in a cocktail or two, or are on the hunt for distinctive views. But, though we loved the transient respite from the bustling noise of Manhattan, we aren’t certain how rapidly we’d return.

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