Roosevelt Island Tram arrives on 2nd Avenue.
Roosevelt Island Tram arrives on 2nd Avenue.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

With the opening of FDR Four Freedoms Park, followed by Cornell Tech, interest in Roosevelt Island and its unique and thrilling Tram soared. Here's a quick how-to for the Roosevelt Island Tram and little history for visitors and locals alike.

Historically, the Roosevelt Island Tram was built and put into operation in 1976 as the modern community, envisioned as the City of Tomorrow, welcomed its first permanent residents. It was planned as a temporary solution until a subway connection could be built.

But construction lagged, and by the time the Roosevelt Island Subway Station opened in 1989, the Tram was a beloved local fixture. Residents had to put up a fierce fight but finally won the battle to prevent dismantling the treasured system.

Eventually, the entire system, except the towers, was replaced with newer, more reliable technologies.

Tourists have flocked to the Tram as New York City's cheapest thrill in recent years. It doesn't disappoint, although visitors are asked to considered non-peak hours, before or after commuter rush, for the experience. With many locals depending on the cabins for getting to and from work, the joys can be less than optimal for everyone when the cabins are jammed with passengers.

Roosevelt Island Tip: However you find your way to Roosevelt Island, smart visitors stop by the Historical Society's Visitor Kiosk in the Tram Plaza on Main Street. There, you'll find souvenirs, maps and refreshments along with helpful suggestions and answered from a well-prepared staff.