In 1971, Welfare Island was renamed Roosevelt Island in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt. An appropriate name, given that he was the first President who dealt with the social welfare of the people as the ‘New Deal Coalition’ arose out of the Great Depression and World War II crisis of hunger and unemployment. He was also the first crippled President and one of the richest born not far away from Roosevelt Island in Hyde Park, New York.
Originally an Island for the less privileged in society and prisoners, Roosevelt Island residents now enjoy the lush greenery, quiet escapes and views of Manhattan across the Hudson River. A marvelous position to view fireworks on the Fourth of July with the new FDR Park opposite to the United Nation on the southern tip.
The island is one of the few with eighteenth century buildings like the Octagon Tower which once housed Lunatics (built by convict labour) have become rental buildings housing some of the over 11,000 residents; the” Smallpox Hospital, Renwick’s City Hospital (renamed Charity Hospital in 1870); the Blackwell Island Light, a 50-foot (15 m) Gothic stylelighthouse later added to the National Register of Historic Places,( built by convict labor on the island’s northern tip under Renwick’s supervision); and the Chapel of the Good Shepherd are a must see.
An Island originally disconnected by lack of vehicle access and no subway has buses, cars and a subway with the ‘F’ train and a highly functional Tram taking you back and forth. So, take a day trip or rent accommodations – enjoy being a part of one of the lucius Parks of the city evidently shared with New Yorkers and their pets, tourist and residents, themed by one of the most considerate Presidents of our time – Franklin D. Roosevelt.