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Getting Roosevelt Island Wrong. It’s Now An Epidemic


Getting Roosevelt Island wrong isn’t easy. We’ve got Cornell Tech, The Tram, Four Freedoms Park, and so on. We’re a short hop out of Midtown. So, how come nobody gets their facts straight?

A Mass Media Mess of Misinformation

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

While it’s true that many residents prefer a lesser known community, that’s not what’s happening. We’re getting better known, just not accurately.

In February, 6sqft published 20 underground and secret NYC locations you should check out. #4.: Roosevelt Island’s Small Pox Hospital and Cat Sanctuary…

The piece contains mostly minor inaccuracies and omissions, but one’s a doozy. And that’s apart from misspelling smallpox in the headline.

The Smallpox Hospital is now a cat sanctuary…?

“While there are rumors of ghosts evading the ruins, the only creatures taking over include a group of stray cats. Indeed, the site has become something of a feline sanctuary.”


The Smallpox Hospital is now a cat sanctuary…?

Not to be outdone, yesterday, the New York Times added to earlier loopiness with yet another real estate section screwup. This time, the victim’s Manhattan Park.

Getting Roosevelt Island Wrong: More Than Real Estate

After The Daily blasted them, last May, over a ridiculous Best Things To Do On Roosevelt Island in New York City, Lonely Planet fixed it up a little.

But only a little.

According to them, we’ve still got a “North Point Lighthouse,” built, they say, 1872 by the city for helping “light a nearby insane asylum.”

What’s that…? You thought lighthouses helped ships navigate waterways…? But, nope, not this one, according to Lonely Planet.

And in case you were thinking about the notorious insane asylum exposed by Nellie Bly, think again. The historic Octagon “was built as an island retreat,” they say.

Some retreat, and yes, it’s a cliche but true: you can’t make this stuff up.

And I’m still looking for the “cobblestone streets” Lonely Planet found.

We Welcome Forbes To Our List

Roosevelt Island Is Getting A New Hotel, the headline read in Forbes on February 19th.

The cringe-worthy intro says we’re an “isolated part of Manhattan, which is only expanding.”

And no wonder. The only way to get to Roosevelt Island is by F Train and “a suspended tram hovering between the Upper East Side and the island itself.”

Sound enticing for travelers looking for a hotel? No bridge for the Ubers, and no ferries cutting the waves between Manhattan and Queens.

Give them credit, though. Unlike Hudson Related and RIOC, they got the population right: “nearly 12,000.”

But then, Forbes didn’t get the location quite right. The University Graduate Hotel opens this summer, but inside, not “adjacent to the Cornell Tech campus.” 

Twenty years after beginning to build on Roosevelt Island, the Related Companies got it wrong too.

After we exposed the inaccuracies, Related fixed up the article. Bless their hearts, but here’s the flavor of what was there: “transportation options available” for getting to Roosevelt Island included a “drive along Queensboro Bridge.”

No reports are available concerning drivers lost searching for that elusive Queensboro Bridge exit. But for sure, some were frustrated trying to find “Four Freedom Parks.”

Conclusion: Getting Roosevelt Island Wrong

Hard to believe the media gets any other community so completely wrong, and Roosevelt Island may take the cake. But, geez, where did the fact checkers go?

Way back in the 90s, I stopped trying to convince people that we have a subway stop. “Do you have to ride ‘the thing?'” they asked, waving their hands at forehead level.

And it took years to get subway conductors to stop calling 63rd & Lex, “the last stop in Manhattan.”

Why do they get Roosevelt Island so wrong, so often? Why no real fixes?

It’s a puzzle. Some, including the media, like it that way.

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