In honor of the Roosevelt Island Tramway’s 40th anniversary today, we’ve pulled this wonderful piece on the history of the high-flying gondola system from our archives.
Commuting in New York City, whether for work or pleasure, is rarely an enjoyable experience. However, for some tourists and lucky city dwellers, the Roosevelt Island Tramway provides a delightful, high-flying travel alternative to the standard, and sometimes miserable, modes of NYC public transport. Running across the East River, this aerial tramway brings commuters to and from Roosevelt Island and Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and has carried over 26 million passengers since opening in 1976. It is one of the few forms of mass transit in New York City not operated by the MTA, but it still costs the same as the bus or subway and can be paid for with your NYC metro card. Like most things in our historic port town, both the tramway and the commute between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island has a history, and this one includes bridge elevators, high-rise rescue missions and French ski lifts.