New York City Guide

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Roosevelt Tramway

Tram Plaza is located at 59th Street and Second Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Each cabin can carry up to 125 people. There are only a few seats so most passengers will have to stand. The tram moves at a rate of approximately 16 miles per hour, and takes 4 to 5 minutes to complete the journey. On the island a red minibus meets the tram and transports passengers throughout the island.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway is an aerial tramway that spans the East River and connects the two mile long Roosevelt Island that sits between Manhattan and Queens, to Manhattan. It is the only commuter aerial tramway in North America.

The tramway was created 1976 as a means to shuttle residents to and from Manhattan. Initially the tramway was supposed to be a temporary measure until the opening of the subway station, but by the time the subway was completed in 1989,  the tramway was so popular, that it was decided to continue its use.

The tram was designed by Prentice & Chan and Ohlhausen and built by the Swiss company Vonroll. It is operated by Interfac on behalf of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York, which is a state public benefit corporation created in 1984 to run services on the island.

When New York bought this island in 1828, it became the location of a number of institutions. including a prison, and a lunatic asylum. On the southern tip of the island there remains the ruins of a smallpox hospital that was built in 1856. Due to the condition of the castle-like ruins, the public are not allowed access, except by specially arranged tours.

Roosevelt Island Tramway 1 Roosevelt Island Tramway 2 Roosevelt Island Tramway 3 Roosevelt Island Tramway 4