Most visitors to New York City have only three islands on their itinerary: Manhattan, of course, plus Ellis Island and Liberty Island (for the statue). But although it may not rival Venice or Hong Kong in this respect, New York is something of an island metropolis. Its harbour and waterways have more than two dozen islands, including suburban Staten and notorious Rikers (with 10 prisons and 14,000 inmates).
Now, three of the lesser-known islands are emerging as destinations for New Yorkers: Governors Island, just off Manhattansouthern tip; RandallIsland, beneath the Triborough Bridge; and Roosevelt Island, in the East River across from the United Nations building. With the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, each one has seen tens of millions of dollars spent on transportation, parks, monuments and play areas over the past decade.
Located in the East River just north of Spanish Harlem, this tiny island became the international art world s most unlikely destination in late spring when it hosted New Yorkoffshoot of the London Frieze Art Fair. Less than a square mile of land, it was a location for orphanages, poor houses and insane asylums in the 19th century; at the end of the 20th century it was transformed into a major sports facility and exhibition space, and the New York home of Cirque du Soleil performances. In 2008, Usain Bolt set a new world record for the 100-metre sprint at its three-year-old Icahn Stadium; and John McEnroe holds court at his academy in the island s Tennis Center. And now there s Frieze New York, set to become an annual event, which brought in an estimated 7,000 daily visitors on a dedicated ferry service. Frieze co-director Amanda Sharp concedes that the island was an unlikely location choice, it still has this undiscovered urban grit, along with the exhibition scale we needed .
Getting there You don t need a boat to get to Randall s Island: there are bridges. Head for Spanish Harlem to catch the M35 bus from the corner of East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. The ride onto the island takes about 10 minutes. Alternatively, cross by foot via the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge.
A summer day out Frieze New York may have departed but the island still has contemporary art, with environmental pieces dotted along the shore; and the restored freshwater wetlands and salt marsh have brought a wide range of birdlife back to the 256-acre Island Park. Hungry? Head back across the footbridge to Manhattan and a few blocks north to Patsy s Pizzeria for New Yorkbest slice.
This narrow, two-mile-long island, wedged between the Upper East Side and Long Island City in Queens, is already a tourist attraction thanks to the tramway (cable car), which takes passengers to and from Manhattan. Once named Island for its myriad social-service institutions, Roosevelt Island is now being redeveloped into New York Cityhi-tech district. Last year, Mayor Bloomberg announced a $2-billion project for an 11-acre campus, which will welcome its first graduate students in five years. More immediately, the 4.5-acre Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park will open this autumn. Designed by architect Louis Kahn, with a granite-lined plaza ringed by 120 linden trees, this memorial has been 40 years in the making: it was derailed by New Yorkmid-1970s financial crisis. But with $50 million of private and public financing it is now being completed, 38 years after Kahn s death and 39 since the island was given FDRname. now, the park is a short walk from Roosevelt Islandsubway or tram,’says executive director Gina Pollara, we hope to run a ferry from the United Nations, which Roosevelt helped to establish.’Getting there Take the Roosevelt Island Tramway from the station at 59th Street and Second Avenue on Manhattan s Upper East Side. The journey takes five minutes. A summer day out Until the Four Freedoms Park opens, a walk through the ruins of the islandSmallpox Hospital, closed in 1950, is the best way to evoke the past. Designed by James Renwick Jr, the mid-19th-century building is now a designated landmark.
Nearby is Gallery Rivaa (www.rivaa.com), which showcases lesser-known artists and hosts a Jazz Salon on the first Sunday of every month. Trellis (00 1 212 752 1517), at 549 Main Street, is a classic diner and an island institution. See www.fdrfourfreedoms park.org for more information
This 172-acre island, half a mile out into Upper Bay from Manhattan, is undergoing the most dramatic transformation. Used by Britain to house its colonial-era royal governors, the island then served as a US military and Coast Guard base from 1783 to 1996. In 2003, most of it was sold to the people of New York for $1; and since then it has been converted into a warm-weather playground, with five miles of bike paths, and restored early-19th-century forts and Victorian-era mansions, and has been hosting dozens of cultural events every weekend from May to September. Crucially, the Trust for Governors Island helped to launch a free ferry service, which links the island with Manhattan and Brooklyn throughout the weekend. Visitor numbers have grown from 26,000 in 2006 to 450,000 last year. This summer sees the start of the 87-acre Park and Public Space Master Plan, which will include new plazas, sports fields, an upgraded Historic District and a six-acre courtyard.
Getting there The ferry runs until the end of September from Manhattan s Battery Maritime Building in Battery Park and Brooklyn s Pier 6 near the Brooklyn Bridge.
A summer day out Rent a bike to cycle past forts, former officers housing and rambling green spaces, and enjoy great views of the Statue of Liberty. At weekends, Veronica s Kitchen (00 1 917 848 2465), a West Indian food cart, is stationed at Picnic Point on the western shore.
Spend time in a quiet situation for online flash games free. You also won’t notice as time will fly by! You have a lot of time – we have many games!