View Full Version : Roosevelt Island Tram

January 18th, 2002, 11:28 AM
From January 13, 2002 New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com)

For Want of a Piece of Cable, a Tram Was Lost

The Roosevelt Island tram has been out of commission since the day after Thanksgiving, when it was shut down for routine maintenance. The small cause of the large problem was a cable that was a bit too short.

Islanders are deeply troubled. "It's an essential transportation system for our residents," said Matthew Katz, president of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association. About 900,000 tram tickets are sold each year.

Moreover, the sight of the red cable car sitting on a knoll, its windows bandaged with old newspapers, is an insult. "The tram is Roosevelt Island's Statue of Liberty," said Dick Lutz, the managing editor of The Main Street Wire, the local paper.

About 8,500 people live on Roosevelt Island. They now travel to and from Manhattan on the F train or by bus. Since the tram went down, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation has extended its shuttle bus service to Manhattan.

The trouble started when American Tramways began to replace the haul cable of the tram. The task, performed every three to five years, cost $130,000 and was to be completed by Dec. 20.

But the company cut the cable eight and a half feet short. "Human error took over," said Red Blomer, the company president.

"It's not like going to the fabric store and saying give me three feet of ribbon," he added, explaining that during use the haul cable is stretched by a 76,000-pound counterweight, which complicates the procedure for measuring and cutting the cable.

But by altering the way the cable is attached, American Tramways hopes to recover the missing length. Currently, the cable is wrapped twice around a bollard and secured with steel plate clamps. The plan is to wrap the cable only once but add additional clamps. "It creates the same holding power," Mr. Blomer said.

If its plan is approved by the New York State Department of Labor, perhaps within two weeks, American Tramways said the tram could be running by mid-February. If not, getting a new cable could take several months.

"The overriding concern here is safety," said Robert H. Ryan, president of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, which runs the island.

Meanwhile, the 25 people who operated the tram are without work. On Dec. 21, American Tramways put them on an unpaid "temporary furlough."

"I didn't have a choice," Mr. Blomer said. "When our contract to operate the tram is suspended, I have to suspend the staff."

January 28th, 2002, 10:14 PM


January 29th, 2002, 10:34 AM
Thats a shame. I was hoping to finally take a ride on the tram this weekend. Oh well it will have to wait I guess.

March 1st, 2004, 05:34 AM
March 1, 2004

On the Roosevelt Island Tram, Tokens Finish a Farewell Tour


Yesterday afternoon, as people traveling on the Roosevelt Island Tramway used subway tokens to pass through turnstiles, they were taking the tokens on their last commutes. Starting this morning, riders on the tram will need to use MetroCards for the first time.

Although MetroCards replaced tokens on New York City subways last May, the tokens had remained the only way to ride the tram between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan. Special buses with giant MetroCards emblazoned on the side are scheduled to arrive at the Roosevelt Island station at 7:30 a.m. today, and transit system employees will help commuters exchange their tokens for the cards.

Going back to the days when it was known as Welfare Island and was known mainly for its hospitals, asylums and jails, Roosevelt Island has in many ways existed apart from the rest of the city. But now its tram, built in 1976 and run by a public benefit corporation created by the state - the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation - will be more fully integrated into the city's public transportation system.

Most of the riders yesterday said they welcomed the change to MetroCards.

"I think most people feel it's good," said Lea Redinger, who lives on Roosevelt Island and regularly rides the tram. She explained that transferring from the tram to the subway used to mean an additional expense, but that with the advent of Metrocards, riders now could transfer to a subway without paying more.

Still, she had some nostalgic feelings about the tokens. A moment after handing one to her husband, Tom Redinger, she demanded it back.

Danielle Beverly, a filmmaker from the East Village, was taking the tram for the first time and was not expecting a token. "It feels old school," she said. "It's kind of sweet."

Others had a different reaction. Carl Ericson, 22, an engineering student who lives in Hell's Kitchen, peered out the window of the tram as it hovered over the East River, then dug a token out of his pocket and marveled at it. "This is like the public transportation that time forgot," he said.

But for Karin Greene, a partner in a legal recruiting firm and an Upper East Side resident who travels regularly to Roosevelt Island to play tennis, the tokens were an object not of scorn but of affection.

"I love the tokens," said Ms. Greene, who added that they evoked fond memories from her youth of riding the subways with her cousins. "The token is an icon. We should memorialize the token."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Farewell, Subway Token (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=164)

March 1st, 2004, 10:49 AM
I used a token on Saturday.....




TLOZ Link5
March 1st, 2004, 01:01 PM
I haven't been on the tram for years. I'd love to use it again sometime soon.

Has the tram system ever been renovated since it's opened?

March 1st, 2004, 06:06 PM
tramway photos : Midtown to Roosevelt Island, and back.


(Pictures taken July 2003)

March 2nd, 2004, 01:07 AM
Really excellent pics. Nice job.

Man, I wish they would just paint that damn 59th already. Really...

April 3rd, 2004, 10:11 PM
http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/roosevelt-island/roosevelt_island_tram_queensborough_7apr02.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/roosevelt_island_tram/)

Roosevelt Island Tram, Queensborough Bridge and the Bloomberg Tower (http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/731lexington/). 2 August 2003.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/731lexington/images/bloomberg_roosevelt_queensborough_2aug03.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/roosevelt_island_tram/)

Roosevelt Island Tram and the Bloomberg Tower (http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/731lexington/). 3 April 2004.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/731lexington/images/roosevelt_tram_bloomberg_3apr04.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/roosevelt_island_tram/)

April 30th, 2006, 05:10 AM
April 30, 2006
New York Observed
Riders in the Sky


ALREADY he missed the tram, even though he'd ridden it for only a week, a new young Roosevelt Islander told a companion as the two waited for the F train to take them to the island. It wasn't having to travel by subway to his job just across the river. There was just something about riding "The Tram."

Roosevelt Islanders tend to gaze up almost involuntarily these days as they walk along the island's only street. Almost two weeks after the tram became desperately marooned in space, trapping passengers for as long as 11 hours, there was still no official word about when it would return. Other news quickly overtook the dramatic rescue of 68 people.

Occasionally the tram is visible, moving along nonchalantly on apparent test runs. But there is usually no sign of it, so tiny and foolishly improbable over the years as it made its sturdy way back and forth high in the air, adorned with colored lights on December nights. To look south after 9/11 and not see the twin towers was, as many people commented, to experience a phantom-limb sensation. So it is, in miniature, with the tram.

It has become a graceful ghost, always just about to prick the air with red, its nighttime progress revealed by the blotting out of one light, then another, as it passed along the swag of lights looping the Queensboro Bridge.

The tram's sensible virtues can easily be enumerated. It represents the possibility of an independent life to scores of residents who depend on wheelchairs. It is the equivalent of reassuring city bus travel to the island's elderly and schoolchildren. As the only viable alternative to subway travel, the tram eases overcrowding as new residential buildings multiply like rabbits across the once-green and spacious island.

But most of all, the three-and-a-half-minute trip from one island to another offers a rare chance to live purely in the moment in New York, no small achievement. Step off concrete and onto a slightly lurching floor as the tram waits in dock. The doors slide closed. A moment of anticipatory stillness and then a push into open space, sailing over Second Avenue and on to parts unknown. Or so it seems. "Hold on while the car is in motion," the mostly silent tram operator advises.

During daytime trips, the world is very much present. Cameras flash as tourists capture New York from yet another angle. There is desultory talk as one islander spies another and a murmured travel bulletin or two via cellphone to family on the other side. The passing tram offers unique views of luxe furniture behind the wraparound windows of Upper East Side high-rises. Racing dots chase after one another in the dog run far below at the edge of the East River.

To the south, the United Nations quietly wrests attention from the upstart Trump World Tower. Tugs and barges chug and glide up and down the river, while high overhead an occasional helicopter buzzes by, wasplike. The bridge is a Richard Scarry jam of nervous cars and trucks.

And yet. You can have taken the trip for years and still feel the strangeness of the insubstantial airborne "ground" beneath your feet. The peeling bridge still looms and recedes in high winds like a large, tipsy dowager exasperatingly intent on conversation. For all the details of everyday life that press in from below, nothing is quite real or as it seems. You are alone in space, helpless, really, but riding as high and triumphantly free as the seagulls of Roosevelt Island, though a great deal more slowly.

The mystery of those moments suspended in reality is even more potent at night. "Oh, what a beautiful city!" as the old hymn goes. Conversation on the tram tends to be muted, except at theater-emptying time. The landmarks have largely disappeared, replaced by streams of traffic headlights on the avenues below and by the necklaces of lights lacing the many bridges that are now more visible in the night-sky panorama. The cars crossing the Queensboro Bridge are now intimate, unknowable little worlds in distant motion. The dark river seems almost nonexistent.

The world falls away. The silence becomes immense and enveloping. There is just you and black air and earth, and sometimes not even that. The air is more liquid than the river, a distillation of peace and the sense of old skin falling away. Is fear more manageable here in the dark? "Everybody get out and push," a blithe young tram operator suggested one night years ago as the tram ground to a halt in midair.

THEN Roosevelt Island lies ahead, growing larger slowly. Are men and women staring out from the windows of their new apartments to the north, wondering at the glittering nightscape before them? Have the daytime fishermen been replaced by lovers or drug dealers to the south, at the edge of open land on the island's southern tip that is almost Hebridean in its water-fringed green sprawl? Do mice, or shadow cats, or a lumbering Canada goose up late feast in peace on the remains of a sandwich left for them by a kindly orderly at the nearby hospital? You will never know. Or care, perhaps.

The comparable experience, someone suggested, is riding the Staten Island Ferry. Much closer is leaving the heightened life of the stage and heading into the dim no-man's-land just beyond. Ahead lies a backstage crowded with familiar shadows and the prosaic halls that lead to dressing rooms and the stage door out. But for those few moments in between, a dim blue bulb the only light, you have stepped beyond the fairy-tale mirror, into the tunnel down the rabbit hole. Then, "Hold on as the cabin docks," a gruff, bored voice intones as the tram bobs down to land. And you are back in Kansas.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

April 30th, 2006, 08:30 AM
^ Ode to a Tram.

Nice. Just the way it is.

May 19th, 2006, 04:13 AM
May 19, 2006
Tram to Get an Overhaul, and an 8-Month Break

The Roosevelt Island Tramway, which has been grounded until the fall for repairs, will undergo an overhaul beginning in 2008, with virtually all of its towers, cables, cars, motors and other parts replaced or rebuilt, the agency that operates the tram said yesterday.

The agency, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, said that the work was expected to idle the tram for eight months, beginning in April 2008, and that a target of January 2009 had been set for reopening.

It was unclear how the overhaul would change the appearance or use of the tram, an urban apparatus of creaking cables, towers and gondolas dangling over the East River that is familiar to millions of Manhattan residents and visitors. Officials said that they were not considering moving the tram, but that nearly all of its components would be re-evaluated, and could be replaced.

The cost, estimated at $15 million, is to be covered largely by the state, and Gov. George E. Pataki vigorously supports the project, a spokeswoman said yesterday. "We are going to put up the money for this," said the spokeswoman, Lynn Krogh.

"The governor believes that the Roosevelt Island tram is a unique and vital element, not only to the New York City transportation system, but to the residents of Roosevelt Island," she said.

Details of the plan were presented to the board of the state-controlled operating corporation late yesterday. It authorized spending up to $1.5 million for planning and design work, to be performed by Parametrix Consulting, a Denver engineering company that has designed mountain trams in the West.

The plan would provide an unexpectedly ambitious long-term solution to mechanical problems that have plagued the 30-year-old tram, which broke down on April 18 and stranded 68 passengers in the air, some for 11 hours.

The episode underscored the difficulty of maintaining an aged system of electronics, diesel motor backups and duplicative wiring in an urban tramway unlike any other in the world. It also provoked questions about whether the tram was worth the trouble, since a Roosevelt Island subway station, which opened in 1989, has attracted far more riders.

But Herbert E. Berman, president of the corporation, said it was committed to maintaining the tram.

"Residents deserve it, and the city of New York enjoys it," Mr. Berman said at a news conference outside the island's station.

Despite hundreds of successful test runs in recent weeks on a new electrical system, which has replaced the one that failed in April, the corporation said yesterday that much work remains. Two backup systems, one of them custom made in Switzerland, still need replacing and must be in working order before service resumes.

Ten to 12 weeks of work are still required, Mr. Berman said, at which point the tram will have been out of service for nearly four months. Then, the system must be inspected by the State Department of Labor, he said.

"The overhauling of power and backup systems should allow resumption of the tram for the short term," Mr. Berman said. He said the work now under way had been budgeted at $500,000.

He said the corporation hoped to attract ferry or water taxi service to the island to provide alternatives for traveling to Manhattan, particularly during the planned overhaul of the tram.

Catherine Johnson, a vice president of the operating corporation, said it had considered beginning a complete overhaul of the system immediately after the breakdown. But she said the work would have idled the system for too long, perhaps as much as three years, because of the long lead times required for engineering, design work and procuring parts.

She said the corporation planned to create a tram using components already tested on others around the world, making it easier to maintain and repair.

The operating corporation is a state panel created to manage and develop Roosevelt Island, which is controlled by the state under a 100-year lease from the city. Before the breakdown, it had set aside $3.9 million for work on the tram, which can be used to cover current repairs and pay a portion of the planned overhaul.

Besides being retained to plan that project, Parametrix has long advised the operating corporation, and is directing the current repairs.

Jim Fletcher, a Parametrix consultant who appeared yesterday with Mr. Berman, said it had taken 10 days of testing to track down the culprit in the breakdown, which turned out to be a faulty control mechanism in the wiring.

Although the prospect of another prolonged shutdown of the tram in two years has brought a new source of irritation to Roosevelt Island residents, some said yesterday they were relieved by the state's long-term commitment to keep it running.

The island's 17-year-old subway stop, on the F line, has become so crowded that Manhattan-bound riders find it impossible to squeeze into packed cars during the morning rush, residents of Roosevelt Island said.

"The tram is extremely necessary," said Sherie Helstien, secretary of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association. "It is time to stop any speculation about taking it out of service."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

August 25th, 2006, 08:57 AM
New York Times
August 25, 2006

Roosevelt Island Tram, Version 2.0, Nears Its Rollout


Workers performed a rescue drill on the Roosevelt Island Tram Thursday. Service, halted since a breakdown in April, may be restored Friday.

It wasn’t a frigid spring evening. Exhausted men, women and infants weren’t stranded above the East River and First Avenue. And Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg wasn’t giving a midnight briefing under the glare of television lights.

But yesterday afternoon, the Roosevelt Island Tramway — grounded since April 18 when an equipment malfunction stranded 68 passengers in midair, some for 11 hours — was headed toward a return to service, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

With a refurbished electrical drive for the two-car tram, which resembles a ski lift, and new backup electrical and nonelectrical drives, officials promised a safer and more reliable ride.

In the event of another midair stall, officials also promised a less excruciating wait for passengers: there would be food, water and blankets on board for 125 people, the top capacity of a tram car, as well as a miniature toilet, a bucket with a privacy curtain.

Additional cellphones to back up onboard phones would ensure communications with authorities.

What happened in April “was an unfortunate experience, but it was a learning experience — it taught us what had to be done,” said Herbert E. Berman, president of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the state board that runs the island. “It has been done.”

Technicians put the tram through a series of tasks yesterday, including a mock evacuation with an orange canvas bag and a similar drill with a metal rescue cage, which was successfully used to rescue passengers who were stranded over the East River in April. A crane was used to rescue the passengers over First Avenue.

Two hundred pounds in weights, rather than a person or mannequin, were used to simulate a passenger in the drills. The tasks were all performed successfully, but the New York State Department of Labor must first approve the tram’s return to service.

Catherine Johnson, vice president for operations for the Roosevelt Island Corporation, said that in April an uninsulated wire shorted out the primary drive system that pulls the two tramcars in opposite directions over the East River. Fine-particle debris also knocked out a backup drive.

Roosevelt Island has spent about $500,000 to fix the electrically driven primary drive system and add a second electrical drive system as well as a diesel-driven system. If all this failed, a diesel-driven rescue cage would stop next to the stricken car and take passengers to safety.

For some passengers who were stranded, however, the repairs and the new features were not enough to get them back on the tram.

Wanda Rivera, 37, a nurse who works on Roosevelt Island, is afraid of heights and was not rescued until 4 a.m. the day after the car stalled.

“When I saw the news van,” she said yesterday in a telephone interview, “and they were testing it, running it back and forth, it just brought back flashbacks,” and then she uttered a shivering noise. “I was stuck up there over the water — creepy, kind of — I got an eerie feeling.”

In the months since the accident, Ms. Rivera has been riding the subway on the F line. “I can’t take highs and lows!” she exclaimed. “I can’t take roller coasters, and the tram would be a roller coaster to me.”

Lee Anne Siegel, 31, a former restaurant training manager, was trapped in the same car as Ms. Rivera but with her infant daughter, Riley, in a stroller with no diapers or baby food. It was the first and last time Ms. Siegel ever took the tram.

She said she was glad that more communications had been added to the tram. In April, the onboard phones failed when the cars stalled. Passengers used their own cellphones to talk to family members. Police on bicycles on the 59th Street Bridge used clicks on a flashlight to signal their cellphone numbers to passengers so the authorities could check on the passengers’ conditions.

The most annoying thing, Ms. Siegel said, was the lack of reliable information. “For the first three hours,” she said, “it was another five minutes and we’ll be moving, then only another 10 minutes and we’ll be moving, another half-hour and we’ll be moving.”

Would she return to the tram now that it has been repaired? “No!” she exclaimed. What about the toilet and privacy curtain, now on order and set to be installed inside the car?

“Wow,” Ms. Siegel said, pausing. “It’s one of those things you never want to have to use.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

September 1st, 2006, 12:42 PM
AM New York
September 1, 2006

Roosevelt Island tram back in action

By Chuck Bennett
amNewYork Staff Writer

The iconic Roosevelt Island tram went back into service this morning, four-and-a-half months after multiple equipment failures left nearly 70 riders dangling above the East River.

"It's a wonderful thing," said Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan). "The residents of Roosevelt Island have been suffering without it."

Regular service started at 6 a.m. Friday. Greenlighted by state regulators, the tram was tested for 16 hours Wednesday and Thursday.

The tram, which is loved by Roosevelt Island's 9,000 residents and sightseers alike, had been idled since April 18, when 68 people were trapped for 11 hours. The main power drive and back-up diesel power generator failed.

As a cable car prepared to leave for the city, Andrew Alimonti, 30, said he was relieved that service had resumed.

"For us it was very difficult,"' said Alimonti, who lives on Roosevelt Island but works in the city. "I'm very happy."

Alimonti didn't have any reservations about taking the tram.

"No, I'm not nervous," he said.

About $500,000 was spent refurbishing the tram system, according to Herb Berman, the president of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp., the state agency that operates the tram.

"It is unlikely that what happened last time could happen again," he said.

But, just in case the unlikely happens, the gondolas will now be stocked with an emergency supply of food, water, blankets, lights, and even a temporary makeshift toilet (essentially a bucket and curtain), Berman said.

The tram, which started operation in 1976, is still scheduled for a massive $15 million overhaul in 2008. During that time the tram will be out of service for an estimated six months.

In the mean time, Lappin said, residents are just relieved to get their tram back. Weekends were particularly tough because track work on the F train, which passes through Roosevelt Island, often kept one platform on its sole subway station closed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 AM New York

September 1st, 2006, 02:32 PM
a bit like switzerland :rolleyes::D

June 9th, 2008, 05:38 AM
Roosevelt Islanders May Be Left Hanging

Tram Disruption Coincides With Residential Boom

By CANDACE TAYLOR, Staff Reporter of the Sun
June 5, 2008

Roosevelt Islanders who rely on the aerial tramway connecting the island to Manhattan (http://www.nysun.com/related_results.php?term=Manhattan) will soon have to find an alternative route.

http://www.nysun.com/pics/1473_large.jpg (http://www.nysun.com/pics/1473.jpg)Konrad Fiedler/New York Sun
Roosevelt Island Tram over new construction on the island.

http://www.nysun.com/pics/1451_large.jpg (http://www.nysun.com/pics/1451.jpg) http://www.nysun.com/pics/1460_large.jpg (http://www.nysun.com/pics/1460.jpg)

The tramway is expected to be closed between June 10 and June 18, which will give residents a taste of the transportation woes they will face next year, when it is scheduled to be taken out of service for at least six months. Next year's timing is inconvenient: The tram's closure will come at a time when several hundred new residents are expected to move into two new buildings now under construction.

Some 2,000 new units will be completed in the next few years, part of a construction boom that, when completed, will have nearly doubled the island's population. But transportation links between Roosevelt Island (http://www.nysun.com/related_results.php?term=Roosevelt+Island) and Manhattan have not kept pace with the development. With the tram's scheduled outage, the already overcrowded subway service on the F line, and ferries only a far-off possibility, advocates and elected officials are warning that the island's transportation woes will soon reach crisis proportions if nothing is done.

"Roosevelt Island is literally bursting at the seams," the assemblyman who represents Roosevelt Island, Micah Kellner, said. "The MTA (http://www.nysun.com/related_results.php?term=Metropolitan+Transportati on+Authority) really needs to address this, especially since the other major mode of transportation is going to be down for seven to 12 months."

Roosevelt Island, which had a population of roughly 10,000 people in 2000, may house between 18,000 and 19,000 people by 2010, according to some estimates.

A narrow strip of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, Roosevelt Island is owned by the city but leased to New York State. It was long the site of hospitals and long-term care facilities, and then a number of high-rise apartment buildings were built there in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1997, Hudson Properties and the Related Cos. were awarded the development rights to build nine new residential high-rises there. Four buildings have been built so far, with employees at local hospitals occupying much of the space. New York University also purchased a block of units in one of the buildings, Riverwalk Landing.

The fifth building, Riverwalk Court, will be ready for occupancy by the end of the year, while the sixth building, which is not yet named, will be ready in the first quarter of 2009. One-bedrooms in Riverwalk Court start at $575,000, two-bedrooms at $785,000, and three-bedrooms at $1.225 million, she said.

Plans for the last three projects are being finalized, a vice president at Related, Kimberly Sherman Stamler, said. "What's unique about Roosevelt Island is that, no matter what apartment you're in, you're looking into open space," she said. "You feel like you're on an oasis."

Next year's $25 million overhaul is an effort to make the 30-year-old tram more reliable and easier to repair, the president of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp., Stephen Shane, said. Tram safety has come under scrutiny in the last two years, following a malfunction that left commuters stranded over the East River for nearly 12 hours. "We don't want that to happen again," Mr. Shane said. "There will be inconvenience in the short run, but the long-term benefits will be significant."

While the tram is down, the RIOC-operated "red buses" will take residents between the island and the Long Island City transportation hub Queens Plaza, Mr. Shane said.

Residents say the red buses aren't dependable, even when they're confined to Roosevelt Island. "They're absolutely terrible," a financial analyst who recently moved to the Octagon apartment building on the north of the island, Zack Graney, 21, said. Mr. Graney relies on the red buses for transportation to the subway and the tram.

During rush hour, the average commuter has to wait for to two or three subway trains to pass before finding space to board, Mr. Kellner said, adding that the island had only 6,000 people when the subway station was built.

"The F is always dirty and smelly and crowded," a resident who moved to the island in January, Serife Gokdemir, said. "That's the only thing I hate about this island."

Moreover, like many subway lines in Manhattan, there are frequent service interruptions to the F line on weekends, with trains often not running one way or the other. Because Roosevelt Island has only one subway line, such interruptions severely hamper residents' ability to get on and off the island, the founder of the Web log Roosevelt Island 360, Eric Schwartzman, said. As of mid-May, Mr. Schwartzman reported on his blog that Roosevelt Island had disrupted service for 13 of 20 weekends in 2008.

A spokeswoman for the MTA, Deirdre Parker, said the recent service interruptions were due to security projects in the 53rd Street tunnel and a switch maintenance job.

Acknowledging the need for more transportation options, the developer of the Octagon, Becker + Becker, has secured necessary permits for ferry service leaving from the north end of the island, but the city has said it won't begin constructing a dock until at least 2010.

Ms. Stamler said potential buyers understand the long-term benefit of a new-and-improved tram. "We don't think it's going to impact us as much as people perceive that it will," she said. "The F train is a very popular method of getting to work in the morning."

The tram repair plan "has not been a hindrance to visitors or sales," she added.

Mr. Schwartzman said residents are hoping for a ferry or expanded subway service in the future. But for the time being, he said, "the concern is, how is everything going to work?"


© 2008 The New York Sun,

June 14th, 2008, 05:20 AM
Roosevelt Island Journal

What Is Life Without a Tram? Residents Are Getting a Taste

Published: June 14, 2008

They waited at the island’s single subway stop as jam-packed cars — two, three, four of them — clacked by without a seat to spare. Then the grumbling began. “The tram is always on time,” said Sally Jenkyn Jones as she forced herself aboard an already brimming F train. “This is always too packed.”

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/14/nyregion/14tram02_650.jpgLibrado Romero/The New York Times
Island residents have to use the F train in unusual numbers.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/14/nyregion/14tram03_450.jpgLibrado Romero/The New York Times
About 3,000 people a day use the tram, a part of life on the island since 1976. It has been out of service since Monday to permit cable inspection. Service is to resume on Thursday morning.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/14/nyregion/14tram01_650.jpgLibrado Romero/The New York Times
As part of the brief shutdown, workmen loosened cables in the Roosevelt Island wheelhouse before inspecting them. A six-month shutdown is scheduled next year.

The roughly 14,000 residents of Roosevelt Island, an improbably peaceful sliver of pseudo-suburbia between Queens and Manhattan, are getting a brief taste of what is to come next year: life without their beloved tram. From Monday this week through Wednesday next week, the service is shut down to permit inspection of the cables.

Next spring, the gliding red cars, a part of life on the island since 1976, will be taken out of service for at least six months as the system undergoes a $25 million overhaul.

The sky trolley has become the island’s emblem, and to some, it’s a monument on par with one of the city’s storied bridges. The prospect of months without it has unsettled many residents who worry that its temporary disappearance will overflow the subway station and leave many of the island’s elderly and disabled residents without an easy way to get to Manhattan — much as it did in 2006, when the tram was out of service for more than four months.

In a place where swing sets dot the shore and the buzz of raucous neighborhoods is a safe distance across the river, the underground bustle of subway transportation seemed almost foreign this week.

Janet Shea, a 26-year resident of the island, waited impatiently Wednesday morning for the F train. Like many other passengers, she said, she had budgeted the delays into her commuting schedule.

“I don’t see how the island is going to function next year,” said Ms. Shea, who works in finance. “It’s already a nightmare.”

That is a common complaint heard by Stephen H. Shane, president and chief executive of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the state agency that manages the island and the tram. But the overhaul is crucial to keeping the tram running for the next 30 years, Mr. Shane said, and residents will just have to live with the hassle.

“We know how significant an inconvenience it’s going to be,” he said. “But you have to understand that the prospect of a major complicated system having breakdowns and really putting people in a complete discombobulation is imminent.”

The 2006 service disruption came after an equipment malfunction stranded tram passengers in midair, some for as long as 11 hours. Yet residents still adore the four-minute journey, which carries them as much as 250 feet above the East River.

Transportation officials estimate that about 3,000 people ride it each day, compared with the roughly 5,900 who take the subway from the island on an average weekday. Even for those who prefer the subway, the tram is considered an essential part of the island’s transportation system.

The tram will be out of service so the old system can be replaced with technology that will allow operators to perform maintenance and run a tram car at the same time.

The inconvenience comes at a time when the number of residents is increasing. In 2000, the population of the 147-acre island was 9,520, according to census figures. Mr. Shane said he expected it to reach 16,000 to 18,000 over the next few years.

The tram is not only the “symbol of Roosevelt Island,” but an essential means of transportation in light of the population rise, said Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner, a Democrat whose district includes the island.

“It’s no longer a luxury,” Mr. Kellner said. “It’s a necessity.”

Mr. Kellner said residents live in fear of the “trifecta”— losing the use of the tram, the subway and the Roosevelt Island Bridge at the same time.
“When you’re in an area as isolated as Roosevelt Island, you always want to have another means to get out,” he said.

With an influx of new residents expected, community advocates said they had focused their efforts, with little success, on finding alternative means of transportation.

They have asked the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/m/metropolitan_transportation_authority/index.html?inline=nyt-org) for some help, including extending the Q line, reserving a special car on the F line for Roosevelt Island residents, and adding more bus shuttle service.

“You can’t just walk two blocks and take another subway,” said Matthew Katz, president of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association. “Here, you walk two blocks and you’re in the water.”

Peter G. Cafiero, chief of operations planning for New York City Transit (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/new_york_city_transit/index.html?inline=nyt-org), said the authority had received several complaints from island residents about service at the station.

Mr. Cafiero said the authority could not add more trains, but he said additional staff members would be at platforms next spring to assist riders.

Roosevelt Island has played an important role in New York for centuries. It was once called Welfare Island because it housed the city’s prisons and poor houses, and later was the site of several hospitals.

Today, it is a socioeconomic and ethnic melting pot, home to a mix of low- and middle-income and luxury apartments and a racially mixed population. Thirty-seven percent of residents earned less than $35,000, according to the 2000 census, and 23 percent earned more than $100,000.

Residents say they like the small-town feel, though new high-rises on the south end might seem more at home in a small city.

Restricted transit or not, Roosevelt Island is popular in New York, and on Saturday, visitors are expected to come to help observe the annual Roosevelt Island Day. Residents will be handing out bagels and trowels, and they and the visitors will work to plant hundreds of flowers across the island by day’s end.


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

August 9th, 2008, 07:11 PM
Roosevelt Island Tram to lose city's last leather straps on public transit


http://www.nydailynews.com/img/2008/08/09/amd_simpson.jpg Zalcman for News
Roosevelt Island resident John Simpson holds on to one of the last remaining leather straps in the MTA system.

Straphangers' long attachment to leather will soon be severed.
The last remaining leather straps on city mass transit will be retired next year when the Roosevelt Island Tram (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Roosevelt+Island) closes for upgrades.

The straps, 20 in total, date back to the tram's opening in May 1976.
"We don't plan on selling off our leather straps," said Steve Shane (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Steve+Shane), head of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Roosevelt+Island+Operating+Corp.), which runs the tram. "We tend to give that stuff over to the historical society."

The $25 million rehab project, which includes two new tram cars, will start early next year and likely be completed by November 2009.

Locals said the straps are popular with out-of-towners and kids who like to use them for "gymnastics routines."

"You can always tell a tourist on the tram because they're the ones using the straps," said Judith Berdy (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Judith+Berdy), head of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Roosevelt+Island+Historical+Society). "I think we'll hold on to the straps, and maybe auction a few off for the society."

The Daily News contacted several well-known transit historians but none knew precisely when leather straps fell out of favor on city mass transit.

"The word straphanger probably developed around the turn of the [20th] century," said Gene Russianoff (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Gene+Russianoff), head of the Straphangers Campaign (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Straphangers+Campaign). "I think they removed the straps in my lifetime, maybe in the 1960s."
Russianoff said his group even flirted with changing their name to reflect the times.

"We debated whether to change our name from the Straphangers to the Barhangers," he joked.

Nostalgia buffs looking to hang on to a strap can still ride antique subway cars that are rolled out several times a year by the MTA.

"Some of our cars feature canvas straps, which most closely replicate the original straphangers' experience," said Roxanne Robertson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Roxanne+Robertson), director of special projects at the New York Transit Museum (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/York+Transit+Museum). "The canvas is to die for."

It's unclear what will happen to the two current tram cars when the work begins, but there's likely to be a bidding war for the pieces of Roosevelt Island history.

Said Berdy: "You could turn one of the cars into a lovely studio apartment."


© Copyright 2008 NYDailyNews.com.

August 16th, 2008, 02:58 PM
The Roosevelt Island Tram is run by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation not by the MTA. Like the MTA the RIOC is a New York State public benefit corporation. MetroCards can be used on the tram, but only the pay-per-ride type, much like on the PATH train.

June 13th, 2009, 09:00 AM
New Roosevelt Island Tram Design Renderings For Manhattan and Roosevelt Island Stations - Tram Shutdown in September Reopens Next February

Here are the latest design renderings (http://www.rioc.com/pdf/RIOC_Tram_June_12.pdf) for the Roosevelt Island Tram Manhattan and Roosevelt Island Stations.

(Click on images for larger versions)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/SjKIxNw1NBI/AAAAAAAAD9k/KMOx_x_OjII/s320/tramstationManhattan.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/SjKIxNw1NBI/AAAAAAAAD9k/KMOx_x_OjII/s1600-h/tramstationManhattan.jpg)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/SjKIpsRiSxI/AAAAAAAAD9c/Nm2UxGIprd8/s320/tramstationRoosevelt+view.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/SjKIpsRiSxI/AAAAAAAAD9c/Nm2UxGIprd8/s1600-h/tramstationRoosevelt+view.jpg)

RIOC President Steve Shane reports on the progress of the Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization program:
Tram Overhaul: The schedule for a July 2009 shutdown and December reopening has shifted. The Contractor, POMA, has requested sliding the window of closure to accommodate redesign changes in the structural elements, principally the tower heads and the necessary bracing. Design and fabrication of the various elements is well advanced. A shutdown on September 8 and a reopening in February now being finalized. Better coordination with architectural work at the two stations will result. I met again with Community Board 8 on June 3. Architectural work for Tram stations is proceeding. A preliminary sketch of the Manhattan and Island stations is posted on the RIOC website, but it is an evolving concept.


January 19th, 2010, 09:12 PM
Roosevelt Island Tram and the Queensboro Bridge (http://wirednewyork.com/bridges/queensborough_bridge/)

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3344/3606338522_8ab6a801ee.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sudentas/3606338522/)

February 17th, 2010, 06:16 AM
Roosevelt Island Tram to Be Grounded At Least 6 Months

Vidiot's Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vidiot/2490545991/)

In a curt message to the isolated island natives, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporaton President (RIOC) Steve Shane made the following announcement (http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2010/02/report-from-riocs-president.html) about a major impending pain in the ass: "Tram: All on schedule for March 1 shutdown. Please familiarize yourself with alternate transportation options. See RIOC's website and posted materials. Less than 3 weeks to go. None should be surprised." According to New Yorkology (http://www.newyorkology.com/archives/2010/02/roosevelt_islan_3.php), the oft-delayed project, expected to last until August 31st, is part of "a major modernization project." Does that mean the tram's being turned into a monorail?!

Nah, that's more a Shelbyville idea—but the story goes that when the work is done the tram will be less prone to malfunctions that leave riders dangling in the air for 12 hours (http://gothamist.com/2006/04/19/tramatic_12_hou.php). The project will also allow the tram cabins to "operate independently" and is expected to improve rush hour travel times, energy efficiency, and enable the service to continue during maintenance. In the meantime, there's always usually the F train, and the RIOC (http://rioc.com/)will be operating shuttle buses! Details here [pdf (http://rioc.com/pdf/TransitAdvisory4.pdf)].


February 27th, 2010, 02:14 AM
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/S4bGq9f4N-I/AAAAAAAAFkE/eByUyT-BJ6I/s400/Tram+Party.jpg (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/S4bGq9f4N-I/AAAAAAAAFkE/eByUyT-BJ6I/s1600-h/Tram+Party.jpg)


March 3rd, 2010, 01:44 PM
I've got a bad feeling about this.

March 12th, 2010, 10:04 PM
It would be nice to see these scattered around NYC as something useful.

Roosevelt Island Tram Cabins Off The Cable And On The Ground Never To Soar Over The East River Again - Where Will They Go? (http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2010/03/roosevelt-island-tram-cabins-off-cable.html)


March 13th, 2010, 02:27 PM
It would be nice to see these scattered around NYC as something useful.


Maybe it could be like a tourist information booth, kinda like that RedBird train in Kew Gardens. But these cars are a great and important part of NYC history and skyline, so I think both shall be kept.

August 3rd, 2010, 05:59 AM
Renderings Make Roosevelt Island Tram Look Like the AirTrain

August 2, 2010, by Sara

The interior rendering for the new Manhattan tram station.

Roosevelt Islanders have bigger things to worry about than war: the designs for the new tram stations on Roosevelt Island and Manhattan. With a community meeting on the stations tonight, blog Roosevelt Islander unearths a report full of tram station rendering goodness. The proposed interiors look a little like the tram stations in airport terminals, with sliding glass doors that open when the trains arrive. The exterior designs don't seem to have changed much, if at all, from the ones that provoked hostility from Manhattanites when first announced last year. Have tempers cooled? No matter—even angry commuters will be no match for the new robot overlords.

The interior rendering for the station on the Roosevelt Island side:

And the Roosevelt Island station's exterior:

Review Proposed Design of New Manhattan and Roosevelt Island Tram Stations (http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-proposed-design-of-new-manhattan.html) [Roosevelt Islander]
Tram Station Improvement Presentation (http://www.scribd.com/doc/35026955/Tram-Station-Improvement-Presentation) [Scribd]
Roosevelt Island Tram coverage (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/roosevelt-island-tram)

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/08/02/renderings_make_roosevelt_island_tram_look_like_th e_airtrain.php#more

September 16th, 2010, 06:02 AM
Inside, Outside & All Over the New Roosevelt Island Tram Car!

September 15, 2010, by Joey


Like Gizmodo unboxing an iPhone for the first time, Roosevelt Islander has a detailed and fairly epic unveiling of the new Roosevelt Island tram car, which arrived under the cover of night in a huge wooden crate.

Initial reaction: No robots?! They've got until October 5th, when partial tram service is set to resume, to find us some damn robots. (In all seriousness, the new tram actually looks kind of awesome.)

First New Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin Arrives Boxed And Under Wraps Last Night - Unveiled This Afternoon In All Of It's Shiny, Sleek Glory (http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2010/09/first-new-roosevelt-island-tram-cabin.html) [Roosevelt Islander]
Roosevelt Island Tram coverage (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/roosevelt-island-tram) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/09/15/inside_outside_all_over_the_new_roosevelt_island_t ram_car.php

September 19th, 2010, 05:43 PM
I hope the structure is more competent than the renderings.

October 15th, 2010, 08:35 PM
Embargo Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin Test Run Photos Instructs RIOC Staffer - No Way, Information Wants To Be Free

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/TLiRcQGHnCI/AAAAAAAAH8I/MDsTtr-kHTU/s320/tramtest3.JPG (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/TLiRcQGHnCI/AAAAAAAAH8I/MDsTtr-kHTU/s1600/tramtest3.JPG)
Image Of Roosevelt Island Tram Test From Judity Berdy (http://picasaweb.google.com/jbird134/TramTest1062010?authkey=Gv1sRgCIH0zJmE4fOMswE&feat=email#)
(click to enlarge images)

After months and more months of the Roosevelt Island Tram being out of service, testing of the Tram Cabins (http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2010/10/roosevelt-island-tram-operational-tests.html) finally began last week. At that time a Roosevelt Island resident was standing near the Tram Station, observed the Tram Cabins being placed in the Station, saw the Cabin being attached to the Carriage and Cable, and witnessed one of the early (if not the first) test runs of the Roosevelt Island Tram. The Roosevelt Island resident took some pictures, shown above and below, of this important Roosevelt Island milestone. I included these pictures in this post from October 7 (http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2010/10/roosevelt-island-tram-operational-tests.html).

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/TLiR1m7CT3I/AAAAAAAAH8M/gYaTuaNcRT4/s320/tramtest1.JPG (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/TLiR1m7CT3I/AAAAAAAAH8M/gYaTuaNcRT4/s1600/tramtest1.JPG)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/TLiR2ejVcLI/AAAAAAAAH8Q/RyMPMcGnr7Q/s320/tramtest2.JPG (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_NRsSmc8gBDg/TLiR2ejVcLI/AAAAAAAAH8Q/RyMPMcGnr7Q/s1600/tramtest2.JPG)
Image Of Roosevelt Island Tram Test From Judity Berdy (http://picasaweb.google.com/jbird134/TramTest1062010?authkey=Gv1sRgCIH0zJmE4fOMswE&feat=email#)

What could possibly be wrong with doing so? Who could object? Well, someone did object to the pictures being taken and shown to the public. That person was Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC (http://rioc.com/index.htm)) Vice President Of Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs Rosina Abramson who saw the pictures being taken and instructed the photographer that the pictures were "embargoed".

Upon learning of this, I inquired of Ms. Abramson: (http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2010/10/embargo-roosevelt-island-tram-cabin.html)

December 1st, 2011, 06:58 AM
The exit is very elegant.

Roosevelt Island Tram Celebrates Increased Ridership on Anniversary

By Amy Zimmer

http://assets.dnainfo.com/generated/photo/2010/11/story_masterimage_2010_11_R4319_Roosevelt_Island_T ram_Running_Again/image640x480.jpg

http://assets.dnainfo.com/generated/photo/2010/11/story_masterimage_2010_11_R7320_Roosevelt_Island_T ram_Running_Again/image640x480.jpg

http://assets.dnainfo.com/generated/photo/2010/11/story_masterimage_2010_11_R5639_Roosevelt_Island_T ram_Running_Again/image640x480.jpg

http://assets.dnainfo.com/generated/photo/2010/11/story_masterimage_2010_11_R1874_Roosevelt_Island_T ram_Running_Again/image640x480.jpg

MANHATTAN — The revamped Roosevelt Island Tram celebrated its 1-year anniversary on Wednesday with little fanfare, but with the satisfaction of knowing that since the $25 million renovation, ridership has increased 13 percent.

The tram underwent a nine-month rehab that replaced the cars and cables with a new "dual hall" system allows for the cars to operate on independent tracks rather than like a clothesline as it did before. So far this year, the tram has seen nearly 1.9 million riders, according to Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation data.

"It's been exciting. There's no question more tourists and more locals are using it," said Leslie Torres, president of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. "From the tourism perspective, we've done a lot more marketing. For a swipe of a MetroCard you get one of the most spectacular views of New York City."

The tram's cars were made in France, and Torres has noticed that many of the tourists riding them are French.

"They feel very proud of the tram," she said. "Much like the Statue of Liberty, one can say the French have come forward again and put their stamp on New York City."

The island's roughly 13,000 residents have been riding more often, Torres said, because of the improved service. The island is hoping to get another boost in ridership from a new tech campus, with strong bids submitted to the city for Roosevelt Island from Stanford and Cornell.

The original Roosevelt Island tram needed an overhaul after the 2006 breakdown that stranded 69 passengers 230 feet in the air, RIOC officials had said. That tram was only supposed to last 17 years, but it ended up hauling people daily between the Manhattan's Upper East Side across the East River to the 2-mile-long Island for 33 years.

Armando Cordova, head of tram operations, said that old one was actually "99 in tram years," since the Roosevelt Island tram makes three times as many trips as any other tram, most of which aren't used for commuting.

The new state-of-the-art tram offers bigger windows for a better view on its 3-minute ride every 15 minutes and has its own Wi-Fi system that allows the control workers to know where the cabin is at all times, Cordova said.

"We're really busy," Cordova said, adding that he has spotted several celebs riding it, though he wanted to remain discreet.

The tram may once again be featured in a "Spider-Man" movie. "There's been some talk of Spider-Man 4 to film here."


October 13th, 2013, 03:16 AM
A commute with a view! Visionaries plan a Queens-to-Central Park tramway

Roosevelt Island route would be expanded in both directions. Commuters aren't too impressed.

By Joey Scarborough and Lisa L. Colangelo

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/10/11/what_if_the_roosevelt_island_tram_linked_queens_to _midtown.php#more

The latest visionary idea for Queens includes a two-stop extension of the Roosevelt Island tram to Queens Plaza.

Imagine going from Central Park to Queens Plaza without ever touching the ground.

That’s one of the bold ideas being forwarded to the new mayor after a brainstorming project by some of the city’s top planners and designers.

The best of the bunch is the ultimate pie-in-the-sky: an ambitious two-sided extension of the Roosevelt Island Tramway west to Central Park South and east to Queens Plaza.

“I was always fascinated by the tram,” said Claire Weisz of WXY Architecture + Urban Design, who came up with the concept with partner Mark Yoes and Jacob Dugopolski.
The Queensboro Plaza subway station allows already allows riders direct access to
Central Park South via the N and Q trains, with only one stop in between.
The proposed tram would separate the prospective stations by four stops.

“I always wondered why it stopped,” she added. “You could go from a transportation rich place like Queens Plaza and Long Island City where there are a lot of new, exciting things happening.”

Subway riders waiting for the train at Queens Plaza were intrigued by the idea.

“I love the view,” said 31-year-old Katie Riegel of Sunnyside. “One of my favorite things about living out there is being on the 7 train and having the view of the city as I come in.”

But Riegel and others said they wouldn’t depend on the tram for their daily commute, especially since there is a direct rail link along all the proposed stops already.

Patrons of the tram, seen here at 60th St. and Second Ave., say the cars are crowded already,
and more stops could exacerbate the issue.

"It would be inconvenient, because there would be too much traffic,” said Rashida Selim, 62. “The tram cars are very small, and they are already crowded during rush hour.”

No matter; there’s no money in anyone’s budget to actually build the sky-high link.

Extending the tram was one of 46 proposals included in the Next New York project coordinated by the Forum for Urban Design. Other ideas included merging all the metropolitan area’s disparate rail systems into one organized network, allowing the coastlines of the city to be dictated by the natural flow of water, and building a light rail system along the Queens and Brooklyn waterfront.

“These are ideas for the next mayor to consider,” said Daniel McPhee, deputy director of the organization of architects and urban planners.

McPhee said all the ideas were worthy - even if they were unlikely to ever actually materialize.

“Some of the more speculative proposals sort of ignites the dialogue about how to make our city more sustained, more competitive and more livable,” McPhee said.