A Travellerspoint blog

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Day Six

Last full day in New York. Roosevelt Island and Coney Island.

After Boston we just had one more full day in New York, because our last full day in the U.S would be spent visiting Washington D.C. I began this day by discovering the delights of American laundry rooms!! Well, we were travelling in total for more than six weeks without staying in a house so laundry was very high on my list of priorities. The LIC Hotel had some excellent coin operated washing machines and driers and I was able to render all our clothes good as new before we set out for the day.

Most of our holiday was very hot and sunny, but this day was cloudy and wet. We were starting the day with a trip to Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island had become a kind of running joke with us. It was very close to where we lived. I had had it down for our arrival day. We did not do it, so I put it on the plan for the next day. It got missed out again. I moved it to the next day. We could not fit it in. Thus, on the last full day I was absolutely determined we were going. It was placed first on the places to visit list to make sure it finally got done and, guess what, it was probably my favourite place in the whole of New York. I loved it.

To get to Roosevelt Island we walked to the F-line subway line at 21 Street/ Queens Bridge Station. This was the opposite way from our usual walk. I was impressed by the very artistic looking graffiti that decorated the buildings on our way and photographed quite a bit of it.

Graffiti on the way

Graffiti on the way

Graffiti on the way

Graffiti on the way

Graffiti on the way

Graffiti on the way

Roosevelt Island was just one subway stop away from Queens Bridge Station. The subway station on the island is very close to the Roosevelt Island tram stop. This is called the Roosevelt Island Tram but it is actually a cable car. We did not use it, but it looked like a fun way to get to and from the island plus it must have had a pretty good view.

Roosevelt Island Tramway.

Roosevelt Island Tramway.

Roosevelt Island Tramway.

Roosevelt Island Tramway.

Historically Roosevelt Island has always been a place for outcasts and social misfits. In its time it has been home to a smallpox hospital, a lunatic asylum and a prison. Back in colonial times Roosevelt Island was called Blackwell Island and was owned by the Blackwell family. Their home still stands on the island today.

Blackwell House.

Blackwell House.

In 1828 the Blackwells sold their island to the City of New York. Four years later a prison was built here. Then a hospital for prison inmates was constructed. In 1839, the New York City Lunatic Asylum was opened on the island. All that remains of this today is the Octagon Tower, which is now a residential building. We wandered inside this as it also contains a free entry art gallery.

The Octagon Tower.

The Octagon Tower.

Inside Octagon Tower.

Inside Octagon Tower.

A Smallpox Hospital, designed by James Renwick, Jr opened on Roosevelt Island in 1856. This building is now an attractive ivy covered ruin. James Renwick, Jr. also designed Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

The ruins of the smallpox hospital.

The ruins of the smallpox hospital.

The ruins of the smallpox hospital.

The ruins of the smallpox hospital.

In 1872 prisoners on Blackwell Island were made to build the Blackwell Island Light, a 50-foot lighthouse on the island's northern tip. This still stands on the island today.

The lighthouse.

The lighthouse.

The lighthouse.

The lighthouse.

The Queensboro Bridge which was built between 1900 and 1909 passes over the top of Roosevelt Island. At one time there was an elevator from the bridge to the island, but this is no longer used.

The Queensboro Bridge.

The Queensboro Bridge.

The Queensboro Bridge.

The Queensboro Bridge.

Roosevelt Island is connected to Queens by the Roosevelt Island Bridge. This opened in 1955.

Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Roosevelt Island is called this in honour of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The island was given this name in 1971. One of the sights of the island is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park with its statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Statue of Roosevelt.

Statue of Roosevelt.

Other sights worth seeing on the island are the gardens run by the Roosevelt Island Gardening Club which are open to the public at weekends.

The Roosevelt Island Gardening Club.

The Roosevelt Island Gardening Club.

The Roosevelt Island Gardening Club.

The Roosevelt Island Gardening Club.

There are also several quirky statues in the water off the Manhattan side of the island. These are by Tom Otterness. They were installed here in 1996 and are entitled The Marriage of Real Estate and Money.

The Marriage of Real Estate and Money.

The Marriage of Real Estate and Money.

The Marriage of Real Estate and Money.

The Marriage of Real Estate and Money.

The Marriage of Real Estate and Money.

The Marriage of Real Estate and Money.

Roosevelt Island has three churches. We only saw one of them Dayspring Church which we passed on our walk round the island's coast.

Dayspring Church.

Dayspring Church.

Finally Roosevelt Island offers great views of Manhattan and also views of Queens but these are mainly industrial.

Looking towards Manhattan.

Looking towards Manhattan.

Ravenswood Power Plant.

Ravenswood Power Plant.

Looking towards Manhattan.

Looking towards Manhattan.

We left Roosevelt Island by subway and headed to Coney Island. It took well over an hour to get there. Coney Island is in Brooklyn. It is famous for its amusement park and beaches. I am not actually into amusement parks. I just wanted to have a look at it because it is so famous and features in many movies. We had a walk through the amusement park and a stroll along the boardwalk looking across the beach and towards Coney Island Pier. Apparently the amusement park here dates from the late nineteenth century. It was very popular up until the second world war when it went into decline. My last photo of the amusement park shows the Coney Island funny face logo in its top corner.

Coney Island Amusement Park.

Coney Island Amusement Park.

The Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk.

The Beach.

The Beach.

Coney Island.

Coney Island.

After Coney Island we took the subway to the East Village and went to McSorley's Old Ale House. I wanted to go to this pub for two reasons: one, it has an interesting history and two, there's a pub named after it in the area of Hong Kong where I live. This pub was opened in 1854 by John McSorley a poor Irish immigrant who came to New York to escape the Potato Famine. This bar has featured in plays and in poetry. It only serves two drinks dark or light ale. When you order, you get two half pint glasses. We tried McSorley's cheese crackers and onions, their chilli and their corn beef hash. McSorley's is covered in historic memoribilia. It is said to have Houdini's handcuffs attached to the bar and an original wanted poster for the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Wishbones hang over the bar. They were placed there by men going off to fight in World War 1. The unclaimed wishbones belonged to those who were killed. I would have loved to examine this bar thoroughly but it was too busy for that. However, we both really enjoyed our visit here.

McSorley's Old Ale House.

McSorley's Old Ale House.

McSorley's Old Ale House..

McSorley's Old Ale House..

Our final port of call before we called it a night was to walk to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village and see its archway all lit up at night. The park was as busy as you would expect for the middle of the day.

Washington Square Park.

Washington Square Park.

When we got home, we went on our hotel roof for a final view over Manhattan at night.

Night view from our roof.

Night view from our roof.

Posted by irenevt 05:45 Archived in USA Comments (4)

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