Roosevelt Island Walking Tour

A tour of the island off of the island of Manhattan


A thrilling three minute tram ride over the East River transports you from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. The trip offers spectacular views of New York City. Once on the island there are further picturesque scenes looking back towards Manhattan.

Roosevelt Island is mostly residential and is only two miles long. It is therefore very walkable. Some of the past residents of Roosevelt Island include former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Al Lewis the actor who played “Grandpa” on The Munsters and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The appeal of Roosevelt Island is that it offers a small town feel with lots of open green spaces and parkland while being within moments of midtown Manhattan.

The tour begins at New York City’s 6th oldest house, Blackwell House. This colonial style home was built in 1796 for the Blackwell family who owned the island for generations beginning in 1686. Back then it was known as Blackwell Island.

Other sites visited on this tour include:

  • The 1889 Chapel of the Good Shepherd which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places,
  • The Octagon dating back to 1839 which was the main entrance to the then New York City Municipal Lunatic Asylum. It is now the entrance to modern residential apartments.
  • The 1872 gothic-style lighthouse at the end of the island which was designed by famed architect James Renwick who also designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.
  • Southpoint Park which offers plenty of green space and fantastic photo opportunities looking west towards Manhattan.
  • Strecker Memorial Laboratory was built in 1892 and was the first lab in the country to focus specifically on pathological and bacteriological research.

The tour lasts approximately two hours. Price is $30 per person, but group rates can be discussed.

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