A Tram Plaza Clean Up, But What About the Elevator?


Eagle-eyed historian Judith Berdy spotted the Tram Plaza clean up and took some pictures. After more than five years blocked off for construction, it looked ready for the fences coming down. All the equipment, the stacks of supplies… But wait a minute! What about the elevator?

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

A Tram Plaza Clean Up, But Something Is Missing

Tram plaza clean up
Roosevelt Island Tram Plaza on Second Avenue/Photo Courtesy of Judith Berdy-RIHS

Over five years ago, the Roosevelt Island Tram Plaza on Second Avenue disappeared behind construction fencing. New elevators were coming. They would replace the frequently out of service originals. But it wasn’t to be, not yet.

The operator RIOC to which awarded the contract went bankrupt on the eve of groundbreaking. RIOC reopened the bid process, which took a long while because they now had trouble finding viable bidders. But they persevered.

Finally, a new company was signed on, but then, unexpected obstructions were discovered below the surface where the equipment would be placed. Then, once they tackled that, the Coronavirus Pandemic hit.

All the while, the plaza remained closed. Equipment rolled in. Supplies were stacked. You almost forgot there was a park underneath all that. So, it was no surprise that the change caught Berdy’s attention, right away.


Keeping in mind that the whole shebang resulted from elevator construction – the last few months involving a second elevator – shouldn’t the elevator be operating before the equipment leaves and the paving blocks get rinsed?

Safe to assume that the second elevator is ready to go, but RIOC isn’t. So, now, we wait again to hear officially what we already know. The elevator is done, the fences will come down, and by sometime in the spring, we will enjoy those benches again.

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