Welcome to Roosevelt Island. A misunderstood place where time slows down, weather patterns change, and 25¢ will still get you a decent bus ride. This week's posts are going to present you with a cross section of Roosevelt Island – from the southern most tip, all the way up to Lighthouse Park.
Opened in 1976, the Roosevelt Island Tramway is perhaps the only real way to get on the island (I mean, let's face it, the F train is hardly an appropriate way to visit a bizarre, non-contiguous part of Manhattan). Unless you encounter high winds, the 4 minute ride is usually without incident and offers some of the best views around. It's just about the best $2.25 you can spend (I'm adjusting for the MTA rate hike going into effect today). For a peek at those views, you can watch the title image for today – it's a movie, just press play.
The two cabins run on a single loop of cable, so they both depart and run at the same speeds, moving in opposite directions. On occasion they will stop mid-run to drop off or pick up a maintenance worker from one of the three support towers. That can be a bit unnerving to some, but in the 30+ years, the Tram has had zero problems involving support and stability of the cables or towers. Now power and reliability - that's another issue. Famously, the tram was stuck for seven hours in 2006 when it's main and backup power sources failed. However, since then much of the backup systems have been replaced or fixed and there's yet to be a problem.
There are plans to modernize the tramway, originally in July of this year – now September. So if you're looking to take a ride on the original, then you best get moving.
On this week's map, the Roosevelt Island Tramway is indicated by a small blue line parallel to the Queensboro Bridge:
As pointed out by Eric from Roosevelt Island 360, the Tram modernization project has been pushed back even further to March 2010. So y'all can take your time.