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Living In Island House, Urban, Historic and Modern

Updated 14 weeks ago David Stone
Roosevelt Island View Along the East River Waterfront
Roosevelt Island View Along the East River Waterfront
© Deborah Julian Art

Love history with a classy slant toward modern? Vibrant city access with a quick and easy escape built in? Prize integrated communities with a tradition of good neighbors? You might find your perfect home on Roosevelt Island, specifically in one of a kind Island House at 575 Main Street. Here's why.

Island House in the City of Tomorrow: Roosevelt Island

Island House, along with the other history making WIRE Buildings - Westview, Rivercross and Eastwood (now Roosevelt Landings) - was an urban love child emerging from possibly the worst of New York City's history.

In terrible financial shape, its subways unreliable and graffiti smeared, crime ridden, many neighborhoods in shambles, New York City still managed to pull the trigger on a utopian dream from the 1960s. Planners envisioned a new kind of neighborhood, built from the ground up that would banish urban ills present everywhere else and aim high for an integrated, affordable community unlike any other.

Out of hope for a better city, Island House was born, and over 35 years welcomed residents from around the world to living space in the center of what's always felt like a small town.

Then, tenant spirit and commitment, coupled with public support, Island House reinvented itself, emerging in the 21st Century as a community guaranteeing affordable housing costs while at the same time featuring modern amenities and conditions.

Island House grew into an ideal community within a larger one. 

Exiting Mitchell Lama

Like its pioneering cousins along the Main Street canyon, Island House was enabled by Mitchell-Lama, a State program establishing stable middle class housing through a complexity of financial arrangements that benefited both tenants and building owners or "sponsors."

In 2009, Roosevelt Islanders then living in Island House voted to exit Mitchell-Lama in a deal that would allow coop apartment ownership for the first time but under uniquely affordable conditions.

In line with longtime community spirit, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the State agency assigned the task of local development, agreed to below market lease terms for the sponsor, which in turn allowed the savings to be passed on in resident friendly purchase options.

The goal was to preserve the original values that infused Roosevelt Island, and it was a big win, cementing a core community asset for years to come.

Today at Island House

At the center of Roosevelt Island, a community still something of mystery to most New Yorkers, in spite of Cornell Tech and FDR Four Freedoms Park, Island House residents enjoy easier access to services most only dream of having.

Set along the East River waterfront with rich views of the city skyline, Island House is adjacent to the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, an historic landmark, and steps away from Blackwell House, a rehabilitated Eighteenth Century farmhouse that was home to Roosevelt Island's first settled family.

Nearby are a grocery story, an urgent care facility, an active cultural center and Nisi, the popular local eatery.

Although both subway and aerial tram to Second Avenue in Manhattan are only a block or two away, regularly scheduled shuttle buses pick up riders out front for free trips to anywhere on the Island.

A 24-hour doorman welcomes visitors to spacious apartments with modern appliances and scenic views.

There really is nothing quite like it - in New York or even in the world.

(Take a look at the Island House Photo Gallery.)

Interested? Contact Alyssa Brody: alyssa.brody@compass.com or (347) 821-6220‬.

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