Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Roosevelt Island Historical Society Welcome to our site. The RIHS promotes the history and historic preservation of the Island's historic sites. We offer visitor services, walking tours, public programs, and sponsor events about Roosevelt Island and its surrounding areas.

The RIHS was founded to preserve the history of Roosevelt Island, provide historical information to residents, visitors, and researchers, and offer tours and educational programs to the public.

The RIHS was founded to preserve the history of Roosevelt Island, provide historical information to residents, visitors, and researchers, and offer tours and educational programs to the public.

Operating as usual

Read our daily news at RIHS.USand subscribe to FROM OUR ARCHIVES
07/11/2020

Read our daily news at RIHS.US
and subscribe to FROM OUR ARCHIVES

07/03/2020
Roosevelt Island Historical Society
07/03/2020

Roosevelt Island Historical Society

We are open again on weekends 12 noon to 5 p,m. Social distancing in the kiosk is interesting. Come stop over. Bring you...
06/27/2020

We are open again on weekends 12 noon to 5 p,m. Social distancing in the kiosk is interesting. Come stop over. Bring your dog for a treat.

Great gifts fro friends and family

05/03/2020

Have you checked out our daily FROM THE ARCHIVES ON RIHS.US

GREAT AND FUN HISTORY

Check out the great feature story on the history of the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center Kiosk in Untapped Citieshttps://...
01/30/2020
Inside Adorable Visitors Center on Roosevelt Island, A Hidden Architectural Detail - Untapped New York

Check out the great feature story on the history of the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center Kiosk in Untapped Cities
https://untappedcities.com/2020/01/28/inside-adorable-visitors-center-on-roosevelt-island-a-hidden-architectural-detail/

After getting off the Roosevelt Island tram, you will find astately but tiny welcome center with an illustrious history and great architectural details.

Not too late to add stocking stuffers.  stop by the kiosk for great gifts.....open Monday 12 noon to 5 p.m.
12/23/2019

Not too late to add stocking stuffers. stop by the kiosk for great gifts.....open Monday 12 noon to 5 p.m.

"Island teens Francine Elisaia and Mark Strong Shinozaki recently sat down with Berdy to discuss how she got interested ...
04/03/2019
Judy Berdy on Ensuring We are More than an Asterisk in the History Books | News Roosevelt Island | NY | The Main Street WIRE

"Island teens Francine Elisaia and Mark Strong Shinozaki recently sat down with Berdy to discuss how she got interested in Island history in the first place, why it's so important, and the challenges of running a small business here. And the rest they say is history!

The interview is part of an ongoing Time Capsule project spearheaded by 16-year-old Mark Strong Shinozaki in conjunction with the Children, Youth, and Education Committee of the Roosevelt Island Residents’ Association (RIRA). Throughout the year, the group will be interviewing Islanders about their experiences and their hopes for the next 25 years."

https://www.mainstreetwire.com/single-post/2019/03/24/Judy-Berdy-on-Making-Sure-We-are-More-than-an-Asterisk-in-the-History-Books

In 2007 Judy Berdy, opened the Visitors Center. She used a kiosk that once marked the entrance to the Trolley Station people took to get over the Que

The August Issue of Blackwell's Almanac is now available!Access the full issue here:  http://rihs.us/wp-content/uploads/...
08/04/2018

The August Issue of Blackwell's Almanac is now available!

Access the full issue here:
http://rihs.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-August-Blackwells-Almanac.pdf

"Typhoid Mary & our Colleague Island to the North"

Of course you’ve heard of Typhoid Mary. She was the early 20th century cook who served up typhoid fever along with her tasty cuisine. But are you familiar with North Brother Island? It’s another East River patch of land that, like Blackwell’s Island, served the City to isolate infectious disease.

It is not surprising, then, that the two histories should be entwined.

Stop by the Visitor Center Kiosk and check out our new red, white, and blue merchandise! During the July 4th holiday we ...
07/03/2018

Stop by the Visitor Center Kiosk and check out our new red, white, and blue merchandise! During the July 4th holiday we will have extended hours: 12noon - 9PM!

Roosevelt Island Historical Society's President, Judith Berdy, was recently interviewed about the history of the Rooseve...
03/17/2018
Edmonton AM | Sky-high public transit

Roosevelt Island Historical Society's President, Judith Berdy, was recently interviewed about the history of the Roosevelt Island Tramway this past Wednesday by Mark Connolly of the Edmonton CBC morning radio show. Established as a temporary means of transport in 1976, the RI tramway was made a fixture in the Roosevelt Island community because of its efficiency. To learn more, listen to the clip below. http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/edmonton-am/segment/15527913

Edmonton AM with Mark Connolly: Public transit in the sky... we take notes from New York City's books.

This Saturday, March 10th we are hosting a special event near the heart of Main Street! Experts from CAPO Auctions and C...
03/07/2018

This Saturday, March 10th we are hosting a special event near the heart of Main Street! Experts from CAPO Auctions and Carol Ginsburg Gallery will be available to give valuations for heirlooms, art, collectibles, and other treasures you may bring. Please note that for every three items assessed, RIHS asks for a $25 donation.

01/07/2018

Join us for tea with island personalities of the past, Saturday, Jan. 27th, 3 p.m. at Octagon. E-mail [email protected]

12/27/2017

Stop by the kiosk for gifts and treats for kids and friends. We even have knitted hats for you on these cold winter days!
Open 11:30 to 4:30 p.m. except Tuesdays.

We have the perfect gift for that modernist architecture fanatic or history buff you know! Anthony Robin's New York Art ...
12/20/2017

We have the perfect gift for that modernist architecture fanatic or history buff you know! Anthony Robin's New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham's Jazz Age Architecture is now available for sale at the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center Kiosk in limited quantities. Look for our review of the book and the author's recent lecture about the iconic architectural style that transformed New York City's skyline in the next issue of Blackwell's Almanac (coming February)!

12/08/2017
The Main Street WIRE

Shop the kiosk today until 9 pm! We have many holiday gifts for children, friends, colleagues, and family! RIHS Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases. Shopping online? Choose RIHS on AmazonSmile as your charity and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to our organization.

For all you Roosevelt Island fans, the Roosevelt Island Historical Society has you covered this holiday shopping season. (This is our go-to place for gifts for out-of-town houseguests.)

Roosevelt Island Historical Society
12/02/2017

Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Roosevelt Island Historical Society's cover photo
12/02/2017

Roosevelt Island Historical Society's cover photo

12/01/2017
12/23/2016

Shop the RIHS Kiosk for great stocking stuffers;. Open 4 p.m. tpo 9 p.m. on 12/23 and open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 12/24.

12/23/2016

Shop the RIHS kiosk for great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers
Open to 9 p.m. Friday, 12/23, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 12/24.
Free wall calendar with purchase of $50- merchandise.

07/05/2016

Visit us at the Kiosk this summer. Open daily except Tuesday from 12 Noon to 5 p.m.

It was an exciting and romantic Sunday afternoon near the visitors center on Roosevelt Island today! A surprise engageme...
06/27/2016

It was an exciting and romantic Sunday afternoon near the visitors center on Roosevelt Island today! A surprise engagement took place on the tram! Photos courtesy of Ellen Jacoby of Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

Timeline Photos
11/29/2014

Timeline Photos

While walking through the empty rooms at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island last winter, we discovered a trove of ol...
11/12/2014
Old Medical Advertisements: The World War II Years

While walking through the empty rooms at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island last winter, we discovered a trove of old medical journals.The advertising struck us as so unusual and different from today's, we submitted them to Medscape.
Here is a selection of ads and comments from them. Enjoy them and send your comments to [email protected]
http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/old-medical-advertisements

Based on medical ads published in JAMA in the 1940s, this slideshow explores how medical advertising has changed over the years.

10/30/2014
The Roosevelt Island Tram

In a video produced by documentary filmmaker Allison Pichert Walker, Judith Berdy, president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, discusses the importance of the Tram to the Island. Says Ms. Berdy: "Without the Tram, we'd be a very boring, subway-oriented community." (Visit Ms. Walker's website allisonpichert.com to learn about her work with nonprofits.)

This is "The Roosevelt Island Tram" by ap on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

Twenty five years ago, in October 1989, Roosevelt Island received subway service and improved the transportation prospec...
10/26/2014

Twenty five years ago, in October 1989, Roosevelt Island received subway service and improved the transportation prospects of its residents. Why not celebrate by taking the F train to the Roosevelt Island station and checking out a public art work at the subway entrance. “Convex Disk at Roosevelt Island 1996,” by Robert Hickman, contains a half-million hand-cut glass pieces, and mystically reflects the light and mood of different times of the day, season and even the clothing of passersby. For more information about Mr. Hickman’s work, visit his website hickmanindustries.com (photos by Francine Lange)

One of the more beautiful buildings on Roosevelt Island, Strecker Memorial Laboratory shows off its Romanesque Revival s...
10/24/2014

One of the more beautiful buildings on Roosevelt Island, Strecker Memorial Laboratory shows off its Romanesque Revival style in Southpoint Park on the island. With its gray face, burnt red brick window frames and peacock blue doors, this structure invites admiration and photos.
Built in 1892, the lab was the first in the United States to be used for pathological and bacteriological research.
The lab was abandoned in the 1950s, but New York City eventually designated it a landmark in 1976.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority “adopted” it and renovated the building, and now uses the interior as a power substation.
For more information about Strecker Lab, visit the Roosevelt Island Historical Society website rihs.us.
(photo by Francine Lange)

French photographer and architect Charles Giraudet records the haunting beauty of Goldwater hospital on Roosevelt Island...
10/17/2014
Charles Giraudet Photography

French photographer and architect Charles Giraudet records the haunting beauty of Goldwater hospital on Roosevelt Island. It is being demolished to make way for the new Cornell/Technion applied science and engineering campus.

Charles Giraudet's earliest memory takes place in his father's photo studio in Paris, France. After completing his architecture studies, he moved to New York and worked on projects large and small for over 15 years.

A permanent home for a 1909 lamppost base from the Queensboro Bridge.  After a two-and-a-half-year campaign to move a 6,...
10/14/2014

A permanent home for a 1909 lamppost base from the Queensboro Bridge.
After a two-and-a-half-year campaign to move a 6,000 pound lamppost base to Roosevelt Island, the bronze piece of history finally found a resting spot next to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) Kiosk.
A reunion of sorts, the lamp base at one time stood behind the kiosk when it too was stationed at the Manhattan side of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. (The kiosk served as one of five trolley stations commuters entered to board trolleys traveling over the bridge.)
The entire lamp went missing in the 1970s and RIHS President Judith Berdy said it may have been moved when the Roosevelt Island Tramway was built.
Several years ago, after a passerby spotted the base in a Department of Transportation signal yard in Queens, Ms. Berdy raised the funds to have it moved to Roosevelt Island. As of today, the ornate base may be viewed in its new home to the right of the Kiosk, just across from the Tram on Roosevelt Island. (photos by Francine Lange)

04/20/2014

Cherry Blossom Tour Saturday, 4/26 at 11 a.m. Visitor Center Kiosk donation $10-

Welfare Island in the Time of Edward HopperPhoto: “Blackwell’s Island “  Edward Hopper, 1928EDWARD HOPPER'S VIEW OF BLAC...
04/21/2013

Welfare Island in the Time of Edward Hopper
Photo: “Blackwell’s Island “ Edward Hopper, 1928
EDWARD HOPPER'S VIEW OF BLACKWELL ISLAND

The announcement that Edward Hopper's 1928 painting Blackwell Island would be auctioned at Christie's on May 23rd has sparked a revival of interest in this work.

The painting is the subject of a lecture by Judith Berdy, President, Roosevelt Island Historical Society, in a program sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island, on Tuesday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m.

The painting features the north end of what is now Roosevelt Island and its dark silhouetted buildings includes the Metropolitan Hospital dome and other hospital buildings. The lecture will incorporate period photographs to explore the context of Hopper's 1928 work.
Blackwell Island, owned by a private American collector, has frequently been exhibited at leading museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The work has never been auctioned before. The painting is being auctioned by Christies on May 23rd and will be on view at Christies, 20 Rockefeller Plaza from May 19 to 22, 2013.
The event is FREE and open to the public. DIRECTIONS: Take the Tram at 59th Street and Second Avenue or the F train to Roosevelt Island. Take the red bus for 25 cents or walk eight minutes north to 524 Main Street.

Address

P.O. Box 5, Island Station
New York, NY
10044

Opening Hours

Monday 11:30 - 16:30
Wednesday 11:30 - 16:30
Thursday 11:30 - 16:30
Friday 11:30 - 16:30
Saturday 23:30 - 16:30
Sunday 11:30 - 16:30

Website

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Our Story

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society promotes awareness of the Island’s unique history and pursues preservation of its historic landmarks and artifacts. The purpose of the Society is to recover, maintain and disseminate the record of Roosevelt Island’s heritage from Colonial times to the present. The Society aims to achieve these goals as follows: • Collecting artifacts, documents, publications, photographs, prints and other media recording the history of the Island and its inhabitants. • Maintaining those collections and making them accessible to the public. • Conducting educational programs, including tours, lectures, exhibitions and publications.


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Comments

My grandmother Anne Flanagan in 1931. City hospital at Welfare Island, NYC. She graduated from nursing school there!
I have some original photos of my grandmother in nursing school at City Hospital, Welfare Island, NYC in 1931 your society might be interested in.
Lovely please to be
Chapel in the early 70s?
Great new mosaic at the F train 23 Street Station!!
Great holiday shopping at the RIHS Visitor Center. Open daily 1-6 pm. and special evening hours DEC.19, 20, 21 until 8 p.m.
We Are One Boutique and Gifts Located on Roosevelt Island Have and carry a great variety of Toys including Children's Fun Educational Learning Toys, Games, Books, Marvel Comics, Disney Princesses, Puzzles, and much more. They also deliver on the Island all you have to do is call and order what you want by phone and they will bring it to your Little ones. This is a great service especially for the holidays to top it off they are offering a 10% off discount if you say you saw them on Facebook.
It’s official! The novel about Nelly Bly’s 10-day asylum ordeal on Blackwell’s Island in 1887 is the staff pick and the “strong women in fiction” selection of the month on Inkshares! Follow the author, read a chapter and pre-order a copy today and see why this historical fiction thriller is a must-read!
Hoping this post is allowed...My historical fiction novel about Nellie Bly's famous asylum stay on Roosevelt Island (back when it was called Blackwell's Island circa 1886) is available for pre-order! LOVED the research I did at the Octagon and Bellevue Hospital. See the link below to read the first 2 chapters, comment and please follow me - I so want to see this novel hit bookstores and for people to learn of the woman who arrived at Blackwell's to uncover the secrets of the grim asylum there!