Island Hopping in New York City
In this heaving metropolis, the smaller islands that cluster around New York City offer a chance to slow down the pace, meet colorful locals, discover historic areas and get reacquainted with nature. Easily accessible by ferry or subway, each island is endowed with its own unique identity. Together, they make for an idyllic weekend escape and a perfect respite from the urban sprawl.
New England tranquility and lobster lunches on City Island
Measuring just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from top to bottom, City Island is a small but proud community with strong ties to its boat-building and maritime heritage. Here, amateur fishermen cast lines while taking in city views on a morning or sunset fishing tour. Cyclists pedal past restored clapboard-and-shingle Victorian houses with manicured gardens. And few resist the allure of the many waterside seafood restaurants serving up fresh oysters, lobsters and crab along with delicious views of the marina.
Family fun, arts and relaxing on Governors Island
Governors Island has become a vibrant summer retreat featuring art, culture and performances set against the backdrop of two centuries of military heritage. Beyond the usual appeal of leisurely bike rides, pleasant picnics, beach concerts, jazz lawn parties and theatre events, the island has also recently added the FIGMENT Interactive Sculpture Park, Treehouse and Minigolf, and the Liggett Terrace and Hammock Grove, a dreamy 10-acre section of trees strewn with hammocks.
“New York City’s smaller islands are our secret treasures.” – Michael Bloomberg
The not-so-New-York neighborhood of Roosevelt Island
Home to around 12,000 residents, Roosevelt Island offers a quaint refuge from the big city with some lovely green spaces and oddly grim history. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Four Freedoms Park offers a lush expanse for picnicking and relaxing in front of spectacular Manhattan views. And then there are sites offering a glimpse of a more somber past, such as the Octagon, a former insane asylum, and the supposedly haunted Renwick Smallpox Hospital Neo-Gothic ruins.