Halloween Fundraisers: Don a Costume for a Cause

Local Parents Band Together to Protest New Dog Park Site

Main Street Block Party a Fall Hit

Octagon Field Renamed McManus, Tensions Remain

Islanders Enjoy Fall for the Arts Festival

RIOC and RIRA Meet on Back to Back Evenings Last Week

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March 3, 2019

Islanders taking the Tram in recent weeks land on the south side in Manhattan with a birds eye view of a big hole in the ground where our new elevator is supposed to go – that project’s delay is an added frustration at a time of Tram maintenance necessitating a closed center platform, a soon to be out-of-commission existing elevator (when they switch work to the north cabin), and awkward boarding protocol on both sides. Residents want to hear that thi...

October 13, 2018

 In her remarks, Lorraine Lasker, Island resident and former RICLA board member discussed the vision for the original Roosevelt Library, "a library manned by volunteers, stocked by donated books, and with a membership fee suited to a diverse community." Photo from NYPL.

New York Public Library (NYPL) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) officials joined a group Island residents including Lorraine Lasker, a former Roosevelt Island Commun...

October 4, 2018

Roosevelt Island's distinguished history in medicine, healthcare, and treatment of communicative diseases, is on display as part of the fascinating exhibit “Germ City” at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). 

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) contributed historic objects from its collections to this exhibit, including a sign from Goldwater Hospital. Coler Hospital loaned an iron lung, a nearly-obsolete mechanical respirator fitt...

July 2, 2018

It was a special occasion for a special woman. Island resident, Mary Eileen Fitzgerald, age 95, clad in a salmon-colored suit, was honored by New York State Senator Jose Serrano with a 2018 Woman of Distinction Award on Wednesday, June 27. One woman in each senatorial district is annually selected for this honor by each of the 63 members of the senate. A Rivercross resident since 1977, Fitzgerald exemplifies the Protect and Serve motto of police...

January 6, 2018

For years, a small corner in the back of our local library branch has held a little-known treasury of our Island’s history: a painstakingly preserved collection of original documents and early newspapers – some the only known copy. These documents, archived by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society and Roosevelt Island Community Library, and trustingly donated to the New York Public Library (along with 30,000 books), tell the story of our Island’s sh...

January 6, 2018

On December 16, standing in front of a bust of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, members of the Roosevelt Island Community Literary Associates (RICLA) handed a check for the remainder of the organization’s treasury – $3,700 – to Carlos Chavez, the new manager of the Roosevelt Island branch of the New York Public Library. The funds will help establish a new special collection dedicated to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt to be housed permanently at the li...

December 16, 2017

Last summer, it struck 16-year-old Mark Shinozaki just how quickly the Island around him was changing. 

For example, the high school junior says he remembers when the Octagon soccer field was just dirt and Four Freedoms Park didn’t exist. “And I never thought the Island would have a chain store like Subway. I thought it would always just be local shops.

“I started to think, what with the election, and all these different things happening on the Island w...

November 12, 2017

[Editor’s note: The following is a reprint of an article published in 2007, at the time of RIRA’s 30th anniversary, with some minor edits. We feel the perspective it offers of RIRA’s history, and the issues the organization has faced, is important for new – as well as long-term – Islanders.]

Though Roosevelt Island now boasts a Starbucks and a Duane Reade, some aspects of life on the “Little Apple” have remained remarkably the same since my family move...

October 13, 2017

Long before Cornell Tech’s campus stood at the southern end of Roosevelt Island, serving as a beacon for innovation and emerging technology, the site was a source for cutting-edge research of another type. Goldwater Memorial Hospital, the ten-acre facility that was torn down to make way for Cornell Tech, once housed a permanent research division that led pioneering studies in chronic diseases and, later, provided important resources for the U.S. gover...

August 27, 2017

The ferry will never attract commuters so long as they have to pay twice to get to their destinations. The Tram proved that. Matthew Katz offer a lesson in Island transit history.

July 31, 2017

It’s a scene that plays out over and over again: A Tram lands on the Island and, slowly, small groups of riders separate from the flow of residents and workers to look around, consult a map, and then wander over to the small white building with a lit Open sign. They come in for directions, or advice, or a bit of history. Some come in asking where to grab a bite to eat and then  stay to peruse shelves stocked with Island-themed toys, accessories, and h...

May 28, 2017

Island residents come from near and far, but few can claim to have come from quite so near as Islander Alec Dana. The 85-year-old Islander was born May 1, 1932, at City Hospital, a facility that once stood where Southpoint Park is today.

Dana’s parents, immigrants from Athens, Greece, had settled among other Greeks in Astoria, Queens. Able to manage in the neighborhood with their native language, the couple spoke little English and were welfare-poor. 


April 9, 2017

Today, the role of antiseptics and good hygiene in preventing the spread of disease and infection is considered a cornerstone of medicine. And it’s often taken for granted that patients with severe or chronic injuries should receive physical rehabilitation. What’s less known is that both these practices, and several other medical advancements, originated on Roosevelt Island. 

In a March 22 lecture at the Carter Burden Network Senior Center, Roosevelt I...

February 19, 2017

Between the asylum, penitentiary, multiple hospitals, sprawling apartment complexes, and the soon-to-be-completed Cornell Tech campus, Roosevelt Island has a history of unique architecture. And one of the Island’s more storied structures also happens to be its smallest: the Lighthouse.

Situated at the northernmost tip of the Island, the Blackwell Island Light, as it’s officially known, was built in 1872 and kept in use until 1940. Although the landmark...

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