CBS2's Elle McLogan Soars Above The City On The Tramway To An Island Unlike Any OtherBy Elle McLogan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Although part of the borough of Manhattan, Roosevelt Island has a spirit of its own.

“It’s our own little utopia in the middle of New York City,” said Shelton Haynes, Chief Operating Officer of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

The island offers views of Manhattan and Queens skylines, as well as historic landmarks such as the Blackwell House and the Smallpox Hospital ruins.

WEB EXTRA: Best Historic Landmarks In New York City

Why do roughly 14,000 residents choose to live on Roosevelt Island?

“Peace and quiet,” said Alonza Robertson, Public Information Officer for Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

“[There are] very few cars, very limited parking. That was done on purpose,” he said.

“When the island was first developed, there was a lot of concern and thought put into having a place that would be easily accessible to people with disabilities, that would be easily accessible for seniors, people with children, people with different incomes, and people of different cultural and racial backgrounds. That was one of the unique features of the island that a lot of people don’t know [about]. And the people that live here are very proud of that.”

There are several ways to get to Roosevelt Island. The F train stops there, as does the Q102 Bus. But the most distinctive option is the Roosevelt Island Tramway.

“It’s a beautiful icon,” said Haynes.

The tramway was finalized in 1976 as a temporary alternative during subway construction. It became North America’s first aerial commuter tramway.

The temporary solution has since become a permanent attraction.

“People completely fell in love with it,” Haynes said.

And at the same price as a subway ride, a tramway trip is widely accessible. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation estimates that up to 2.7 million people ride the tram each year.

According to Robertson, the riders have much to explore upon arrival.

“There are a lot of hidden gems here. There are lot of things to do and to discover if you’re a history buff, if you’re a sports buff, if you like art, if you like landscape architecture. Just the scenic views, the island itself could be considered a piece of art.”

What’s something few people know about but everybody should? Whatever it is, Elle McLogan is tracking it down on The Dig. Join her hunt for treasures hidden across our area. Follow Elle on Twitter and Instagram.