Great Views of NYC City
The Roosevelt Island Tram is a great way to see Manhattan’s beautiful skyline on the return trip and it’s a little bit like an amusement park ride, especially with kids. The 4 minute ride, which offers spectacular views to its passengers, has been praised in the New York Times as “the most exciting view in New York City!” and costs the same as a NYC Subway ride.
Riding the Roosevelt Island Tram
On the Manhattan side, you can board the Roosevelt Island Tram at 59th St & 2nd Ave, right near the Queensboro Bridge. The fare is equivalent to subway and bus fares and only Metrocards are accepted on the tram. You must exit the tram at each stop (either Manhattan bound or Roosevelt Island bound) and pay the metrocard fare to return to the other side. The tram station has vending machines at which to purchase metrocards, but there are no manned booths.
The tram runs every 7-15 minutes, depending on the time of day and glides at a maximum speed of 16 mph, at a height of 250 feet above the East River. The tram runs the majority of all days, but it is not 24/7, so please check the schedule if you plan on traveling to Roosevelt Island in the middle of the night.
It is best to avoid rush hour times if you are looking for a leisurely ride. The Roosevelt Island Tram is not a tourist attraction, it is a commuter rail meant for people heading to and from work. Just like the subway, rush hour is filled with commuters during work commute times. Ideal times to enjoy your tram ride are usually 10am to 4pm. If you want to see a sunset over the Manhattan skyline and it’s nice outside, try and take the tram on a weekend.
The closest subways to the Roosevelt Island Tram in Manhattan are the 4/5/6 (Green) trains @ 59th & Lex and the N/Q/R, also at 59th Street.
Subway to Roosevelt Island
If you prefer to head to Roosevelt Island by subway, the F line links Roosevelt Island with stations at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan and 21st Street/Queensbridge in Queens.
Roosevelt Island Website: rioc.ny.gov
Reader Question: Roosevelt Island Tram
My Mother and I are visiting NYC in October for 3 nights and want to ride the Roosevelt Island Tram, can you tell me if it has reopened yet? Thank you, Ysanne Bonner (Hampshire, England)
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