Sunday, November 6

Roosevelt Island's Transformation in Pictures

              As the proposed plans for a New York City tech campus on Roosevelt Island were released to the public, the centerpiece seems to be a community blending, environmentally friendly cluster of facilities. 

Photo courtesy of Stanford University
Stanford’s plans call for building a marsh to filter water, extensive use of solar and geothermal power, and recycling water from storm drains.

Photo courtesy of Cornell University
Cornell’s plans include four acres of solar panels, and will generate more energy than it uses. 

The Coler Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, sitting on the Southern half of Roosevelt Island, is a 2,000 bed hospital which provides medical rehabilitative and long-term care services.  It is the proposed site by both Cornell University and Stanford University to build their new tech campuses.        

The facility is a result of a 1996 merger between Coler Memorial Hospital and Goldwater Memorial Hospital. The hospital is in motion to be completely vacated by 2014, making it ideal in the eyes of both universities vying for the land.

Some of the facilities from the hospital have been around as early as the late 1930s. Roosevelt Island, originally named Welfare Island, has long been home to many who need chronic care. 

South of the hospital sit the ruins of the Renwick Smallpox Hospital, a 100-bed facility that opened in 1856 when the island was known as Blackwell’s Island. Designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., it was built on the Southern tip of the island in order to quarantine patients.

An image of Renwick Smallpox Hospital in the 1930s, courtesy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. By the 1950s, like many of the other facilities on the island, Renwick fell into decay. In 1976, it became the only ruin in New York City to earn the designation of Historical Landmark. 

Today, Renwick sits with no roof, no inner walls, almost no floors. The steel framing stands as part of a $4.5 million dollar project to stabilize the decrepit masonry and open it to the public. It will continue to be fenced off despite the Roosevelt Island Campus plans. 

The Roosevelt Island Tramway connects the island to Manhattan. The tram began operation in 1976, and since than has ferried 26 million passengers across the East River.

Directly across the island, on Manhattan, lies the Weill Cornell Medical College, a graduate biomedical studies school of Cornell University, which hopes to leverage the success of its remote Medical College campus to gain favor from the selection committee. 

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, completed in 1909, connects the neighborhood of Long Island City in the borough of Queens with Manhattan, passing over Roosevelt Island.

An advertisement for Riverwalk Condos, one of the newest high rise condos on Roosevelt Island that has angered many of its residents.

A sign above one of Coler-Goldwater’s lab entrances. Many of these buildings will need serious renovations in order to meet the standards set forth by the school’s proposals.

Children and families play inside the Main Street Plaza. One of the biggest complaints by Roosevelt Island Residents has been the lack of recognizable businesses on the island, such as a McDonalds. Both tech campus proposals include plans for a student plaza for food courts and recreation

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