Is Roosevelt Island in Manhattan? Not exactly -- it’s actually an island in the East River, with Manhattan to the west and the borough of Queens to the east. Roosevelt Island runs from Manhattan's East 46th to East 85th Streets -- a distance of about two miles, and roughly 150 acres. This island packs a lot of history -- and a near-suburban neighborhoodiness unique among the Manhattan neighborhoods on New Construction Manhattan -- onto those 150 acres.
Home to New York City’s Lunatic Asylum in the 19th century, now residents describe Roosevelt Island as quiet, peaceful, safe and clean. The Octagon Tower, originally designed as part of the asylum, is now a national landmark, LEED Silver Green building, and high-end apartment community. Historic buildings share space with post-war apartment buildings -- most of them rental -- and a few new construction condominiums along the island’s modest Main Street, whcih is currently receiving something of a face-lift. Green space is everywhere on Roosevelt Island, with a wealth of parks and ball fields around seemingly every corner.
One thing not often seen on Roosevelt Island, though, are cars -- only Queens is accessible by automobile from Roosevelt Island. Still, residents are just minutes from Manhattan -- the scenic Tramway provides quick access to Midtown, while a stop on the reliable F train provides a more prosaic commuting option. Despite being so close to Manhattan, Roosevelt Island remains a place unto itself -- it has its own small-scale school system, as well as its own community newspaper, The Main Street WIRE, which is delivered by volunteers to every door in the community. Of Manhattan, but not in it, Roosevelt Island is one of the more unique neighborhoods in NYC real estate.