Roosevelt Island Tram
The Roosevelt Island Tramway was built in 1976, by the Swiss company Vonroll, as a means to shuttle residents by air from Roosevelt Island to and from Manhattan. For a time the Roosevelt Island Tramway was the only commuter aerial tramway in all of North America.
Since it began operation over 26 million passengers have used the tram, which travels a distance of 3,100 feet at an average speed of 17 mph in 3 to 4 minutes. The tram makes about 115 trips per day and each of the two cabins can hold up to 125 people. When it travels the tram provides breathtaking views on New York City, rising to a peak of 250 feet above the East River and traveling at certain points parallel, slightly above on the north side of the adjacent Queensboro Bridge, linking Long Island City, Queens and 59th Street in Manhattan.
Started thanks to residents on Roosevelt Island frustrated with constant delays of a planned subway connection, the tramway was only supposed to be temporary until the subway station opened. But by the time a subway connection to Roosevelt Island was completed in 1989, the tram was deemed too popular to discontinue.
In 2010, the tram reopened after nine months of major renovation and refurbishment. Among the improvements, the new tram cables and cars can operate independently of each other in what is referred to as a "dual-haul" system.
Although the tram is not run by the city’s Metropolitan Transit Association (which runs the subways and buses), it uses the MTA’s MetroCard. The tram is wheelchair accessible and bicycles are also permitted on board.