Roosevelt Island

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Roosevelt Island

A gem of New York City. Roosevelt Island is a narrow island located in the East River. The Island is considered to be  apart of the borough of Manhattan. Manhattan sits to the west of the island and the borough of Queens sits to the east. Once known as Blackwells island, and also welfare island. The island was home to prisons, hospitals and asylums. The island was renamed in 1971 after Franklin D Roosevelt.

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What to see and do

Roosevelt Island tram

Take the aerial tram at least one when visiting Roosevelt Island. The views are amazing, providing a unique skyline view of the city. The tram runs from 59th street and second avenue in Manhattan to Tramway plaza on Roosevelt plaza. The tram ride definitely offers an exciting aerial view of the city. A must see for anyone visiting New York City.

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Four Freedom Park

This beautiful four acre park is a memorial, dedicated to President Franklin D Roosevelt. The park celebrates the Four Freedoms he articulated in his 1941 state of the union address. The park is located at the southern tip of the island, and I would recommend this to be the number one sight that you must see on Roosevelt Island. The landscape is stunning and the views of Manhattan and Queens are gorgeous.  If you love sunsets, I would suggest viewing one during the winter the months, they are absolutely breathtaking.

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The smallpox hospital

A very unique sight to see in New York City. The hospital is a historic landmark structure. The hospital was built in 1854 and was the first major hospital in the United States dedicated to treat the victims of smallpox. It is an interesting sight to see and represents an era of old New York life. It is great to see at different times of the year. The fall foliage is gorgeous, the winter adds more of an eerie vibe and it is  very pretty during the warmer months, with the greenery covering the hospital.

Small pox in the fall

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Cornell tech

An impressive engineering campus, with  an innovative design and beautiful grounds. Exploring this area is a change of scenery from the rest of the island, as it represents modern growth.

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Blackwell Island light house

The majority of the sights to see on the island, are located in the southern region. However, a visit to the northeast tip is well worth the walk (or bus ride) to view the pretty stone lighthouse, which was built in 1872.

RI lighthouse

From stunning aerial views, escaping the chaos of midtown,  relaxing with  the breeze of the east river and exploring historic sights Roosevelt Island is a top place to visit when exploring New York City.

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Brooklyn bike tour

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Get up and ride

Explore New York City by bike, with your guide as a local New Yorker. Get up and ride is rated as New York’s number 1 biking tour company! So I was honored to be asked to join and review one of their tours. The company did not disappoint. I love the concept of get up and ride – allowing visitors (or locals) to bike around the city in small groups and learn about the area from a New Yorker. Not only do you get to bike around, your guide will also highlight interesting facts about the area, and take you to their favorite coffee and food places! You definitely learn a lot, experience the real New York and have fun while doing it!

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Bike tours

Get up and ride offer three tours:

1. The central park and more bike tour

On this tour, your guide will take you around central park and through the upper west and upper east side of Manhattan.

2. The lower Manhattan bike tour

This bike tour will take you around the charming greenwich village, the trendy lower east side and Chinatown.

3. The Brooklyn water front tour

Ride through the hipster neighbor of Williamsburg, then onto the stunning Brooklyn water front.

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The Brooklyn waterfront bike tour

It was hard to decide which bike tour I would like to attend, in the end I decided to go on the bike tour in my neighborhood-  I live in Williamsburg. I thought this would be a nice way to explore my surroundings via bike and as I have already biked around Central park and the west side of Manhattan numerous times I thought the Brooklyn tour would be best.

And it was amazing! Even though I live here, I still learnt a lot from our friendly and engaging tour guide. We met at the get up and ride bike store in Williamsburg, here we were fitted with our bikes and set up our walkie talkies – this would be the way our tour guide could communicate with us during the ride. It was a nice small group, with four people from Germany, a lady from California, the tour guide and the two of us. A small group allowed for a more intimate and fulfilling tour.

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Williamsburg

So the start of our tour began in my neighborhood of Williamsburg, a hip neighborhood which has a great nightlife scene, with plenty of rooftop bars and live music venues, trendy cafes, chic boutiques, the cutest coffee shops and vibrant street art. We rode through the streets and the gorgeous McCarren park, stopping to see some of the oldest street art in the area, then at one of my favorite coffee shops “Devocion” here we stopped to rest, enjoy each others company and drink a delicious coffee in a beautiful setting.

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Brooklyn navy yard

After our coffee, we continued on our bike tour. From Williamsburg we headed to the Brooklyn navy yard. The navy yard was once a ship yard and is now an industrial park with a mission to “demonstrate how modern manufacturing can thrive in urban America”. A highlight of our visit to the navy yard was our tour of the Brooklyn Grange – a world leading rooftop farm with a sustainability center. Here, they design, build and offer landscape services for gardens, farms and green spaces in NYC. As I work within the sustainability and conservation field, I was so excited that this stop was on our tour. The rooftop farm is very impressive, and the views of Brooklyn and Manhattan make it even more impressive! Our guide also pointed out that the navy yard also has a rooftop vineyard, which is now on my list to visit.

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DUMBO – Down under the Manhattan bridge

After the Navy yard we continued on, riding through the gorgeous Vinegar hill with cobble stone streets before stopping in the trendy neighborhood of DUMBO. The neighborhood of DUMBO is now one of the most expensive areas in NYC – once an old industrial area, the warehouses have been transformed into high end boutiques and pricey restaurants. Plus the area is now known as the tech hub of Brooklyn, with many tech companies moving in. DUMBO is also one of my favorite neighborhoods because of the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and it’s access to the Brooklyn bridge park.  After learning about DUMBO we rode through the Brooklyn bridge park absorbing the cool breeze from the east river and taking in the iconic Manhattan skyline.

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DUMBO

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Brooklyn Heights

We continued riding through the stunning Brooklyn bridge park to the charming neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn heights is an affluent residential neighborhood with the most gorgeous brownstones. The Brooklyn heights promenade is also amazing, with great views of Manhattan and the statue of Liberty. We stopped for a slice of coal oven pizza at table 87 – so delicious. Next it was time to ride back to Williamsburg, we rode through the Brooklyn bridge park and continued on the greenway trail to return to the store.

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Overall I was extremely satisfying with this tour. Biking is a great way to explore an area, and I loved how Get up and ride go above and beyond, their guides are very knowledgeable and friendly and I love how they  added in coffee shops, food places, and interesting places to stop at. I would  recommend them to anyone visiting (or living) in New York City.  Check out there website here for more information.