[EPISODE] Roosevelt Island
On this episode we will journey to Roosevelt Island, which is part of Manhattan and probably the borough’s best kept neighborhood secret.
Jeff greets the audience by introducing our first guest, Kevin Draper. Kevin explains his inspiration for going into the touring business. His story stretches back to childhood. The two move to the origins and early history of Roosevelt Island. Kevin explains how the state eventually acquired Roosevelt Island.
Jeff returns to the show asking about Kevin’s tours before coming back to Roosevelt Island. Kevin goes on to explain how the first slums were in New York. Charles Dickens’ was shocked at the sight of New York slums. Nellie Bly was pivotal in the exposing of the mental asylums when she underwent getting arrested and reporting on the inside. Despite the thin channels Roosevelt Island hosts one of the strongest currents in the country. On January 6 1941 an address was given on the island outlining goals of FDR.
Jeff comes back by introducing his second guest Janet Falk as they discuss the reason for moving to Roosevelt Island. Janet’s husband worked for NYU and Roosevelt Island supplied apartments to the university’s faculty. Janet talks about her work on the resident’s association and the multiple issues that she wanted to address. She then goes into the different residential areas on the island and their origins. Janet loves the feeling of the small town of Roosevelt Island within the massive city of New York. There is a lot more light, space and air in this neighborhood in comparison to the rest of the city.
Janet talks about the community movement in the 1980s to create a public library. She says that is what makes Roosevelt Island special; if something needs to be done, the people there roll up their sleeves and do it. Janet also talks about the feral cat population on the island. It is often a destination for people to leave unwanted cats, but the community has put efforts towards rescuing them.
The residents of the island have also participated in a lot of community activism. One example is pushing to keep the local post office on the island and they were successful. Something that surprises Janet is the fact that when she gives people her business card they often have little or no idea about Roosevelt Island.