Roosevelt Island: A Vacation for the Mind

Duration: 2h
Languages: English
Quality Verified Registered on January 29, 2024

I am a professional wedding celebrant who has officiated weddings all over New York City, and in many other cities. Now, I also do walking tours, as a Licensed NYC Sightseeing Guide. I love meeting new people, walking around and sharing my knowledge of NYC. I've lived in NYC since 1992. I have traveled all over Europe and done walking tours in many cities. I refer to my tours as 'Christerical Tours' because I like to keep them fun. I'm also involved with the Guides Association of NY and with Big Apple Greeter.

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  • No minimum number of attendees
    No minimum number of attendees is required for the tour
  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free
  • Accepts electronic payment
    This tour allows payment by electronic means or credit card

Tour description

Roosevelt Island: Manhattan's Australia.

Yes, years ago, Manhattan sent their psychos and criminals over to Roosevelt Island (aka Blackwell's Island, aka Welfare Island). There was a lunatic asylum, hospitals and incredible views of NYC. 

It's also an incredible escape from the craziness of the city - this is what we call irony. The air is clearer, the sun isn't blocked by high rise apartments, at least, not much. You can get close to the water. Boats pass on either side. It's peaceful. It has parks, it has churches, it has one really awesome diner. A day walking around Roosevelt Island is like a vacation. You'd be nuts not to visit.

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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    Tramway Plaza, 254 E 60th St, New Yor...
    Tramway Plaza, 254 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022, USA
    View on map

    We meet near the entrance of the Tram to Roosevelt Island, on the Manhattan side at East 60th st/2nd Avenue. I will have a colorful hat and a black bag strapped across my chest. 254 East 60th St - on 2nd Ave, Tram Station. We will all board the Tram together! Have $2.90 ready on your Metro or Omni card. (Any debit card.)

  • 1
    Outside visit
    Tramway Plaza

    Tramway Plaza is at 2nd Avenue and 60th street. This is where we will all board the Tram for glorious views of NYC, the East River, and Roosevelt Island.

  • 2
    Outside visit
    West Loop Road

    West Loop road runs down the western side of Roosevelt Island. Here are great views of NYC.

  • 3
    Outside visit
    Southpoint Park

    Not only is this park gorgeous, but it has a restroom! We'll see the FDR Hope Memorial.

  • 4
    Outside visit
    Smallpox Memorial Hospital

    We'll swing by one of the most gruesome, ugly, old, abandoned properties in NYC, the Smallpox Memorial Hospital. What visit to NYC is complete without a walk by a ruined, haunted Smallpox Hospital?

  • 5
    Outside visit
    Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park

    FDR Four Freedoms Park, named for his 4 freedoms speech in 1941, is a stunning bit of art which just happens to have spectacular view of NYC and the lower part of the East River.

  • 6
    Outside visit
    Cornell Tech

    We'll walk back through the park and across the campus of Cornell Tech. You can imagine what it would be like to be a student next to a haunted, miserable and abandoned Smallpox Hospital.

  • 7
    Outside visit
    The Cafe at Cornell Tech

    One Google reviewer says 'Gotta get their ice cream.' And you know the internet is never wrong. They have coffees, sandwiches, bib m bop, poke bowls -- great place for a snack. If you're good, we'll stop here.

  • 8
    Outside visit
    Riverwalk Commons

    We'll walk back up the island, under the Ed Kock Queensboro Bridge, to Main Street and by the beautiful Riverwalk Commons. If anyone needs a Starbucks break, this would be a good time.

  • 9
    Outside visit
    Blackwell House

    Roosevelt Island used to be called Blackwell's Island, but all he has here now is a house. If it's open, we can stop inside. They even have a few souvenirs available for sale.

  • 10
    Outside visit
    Good Shepherd Plaza

    Next to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shephard (let's face it, he was a GREAT Shephard), we'll stop here and peek inside if it's open.

  • 11
    Outside visit
    The Octagon

    You'll go nuts for this Lunatic Asylum. The Octagon is what remains of the old Lunatic Asylum, a building so crazy, it had no front door, per se.

  • 12
    Outside visit
    The Girl Puzzle Monument Honoring Nellie Bly

    Nellie Bly is my favorite Roosevelt Island hero, and she's honored here in amazing sculptures, what one Google reviewer called 'an interesting art installation.'

  • 13
    Outside visit
    Lighthouse Park

    Lighthouse Park is a pretty place to grab some views of NYC, some fresh air, some sunshine...a good place to unwind if you lived in a lunatic asylum nearby, for example.

  • 14
    Outside visit
    Roosevelt Island Lighthouse

    At the island's northernmost point, we'll take in the views from this teeny and photo-worth lighthouse.

  • 15
    Outside visit
    The Sanctuary Roosevelt Island

    I'll walk you back down the western side of the island, past The Sanctuary, a converted church that is now a wedding venue - I've officiated weddings here. From here, I'll swing you back to Main street, where you can go find lunch, or I can walk you back to the Tram, where we can all fly back to Manhattan.

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

(3 ratings)
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Suzanne 15 Jun 2024
Belews Creek

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Travelled in couple - Jun 2024
Great tour!
Arnaud 01 Jun 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Jun 2024
Thanks you for the tour ! We will happy to see you again for an other one !
Bruce and Linda 20 May 2024

We have been to New York City many times. We had taken many tours and had visited most of the most popular tourist sites. Until we took this tour with Christopher, we didn't know that Roosevelt island existed. What a beautiful and relatively quiet area in the middle of the city. It has a very interesting and weird history which Chris conveys with highly humorous and some bizarre anecdotes. He is one of the funniest tour guides that we have ever had. If you want to learn something new and unusual bout NYC, we strongly recommend this tour.
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Who is this tour for?

Non suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Accepts reservations up to 12 people.
Not suitable for pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
There is no minimum number of people required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour requires the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Electronic or credit card payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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