NYC islands: Governors by ferry, Roosevelt by tram

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm •  Published: June 25, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — New York is a city built on water. Four of its five boroughs — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island — are located on islands, and the city's rivers and bays are dotted with many more. Two of New York's lesser-known islands make terrific destinations for a summer day trip, filled with history, green spaces and incredible views. And they're easy and fun to get to: Visit Governors Island by ferry and Roosevelt Island by tram.

ROOSEVELT ISLAND

You can take the subway to Roosevelt Island, but it's more fun to take the tram from 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan (one-way, $2.50 using a subway MetroCard). The six-minute ride offers views of the city, East River and Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

On the Roosevelt Island side, walk 15 minutes south to Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on a tree-lined path along the river with great views of Manhattan across the way. Near the park entrance, you'll pass the Renwick Ruin, a gothic structure that looks like a horror movie set. It's an abandoned smallpox hospital that dates to the 1850s.

The park, in contrast, offers a sleek, pristine landscape, full of symmetry and angled views. It was designed by Louis I. Kahn, an architect renowned for his Modernism. Kahn designed the park before his death in 1974, but its construction was postponed by the city's near-bankruptcy in the 1970s. The park finally opened in 2012.

The park celebrates President Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech, made in 1941. FDR extolled freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear as "essential human freedoms ... attainable in our own time." An excerpt is engraved on a granite monument; a bust of FDR sits at the island's Southern tip. Tree-lined plazas, steps and other structures offer vantage points for seeing the Manhattan skyline; you'll easily pick out the Empire State Building, United Nations, Chrysler Building and 1 World Trade Center.

The park is free, open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every day except Tuesday; http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/. Dining options on Main Street, not far from the tram, include Italian, Japanese and the Riverwalk Bar and Grill's yummy fish tacos and pulled pork sandwiches.

GOVERNORS ISLAND