The Roosevelt Island Tramway

The Roosevelt Island Tramway is an aerial tramway in New York City that spans the East River and connects Roosevelt Island to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was once the only commuter aerial tramway in North America.



Over 26 million passengers have used the tram since it began operation in 1976. Each cabin has a capacity of up to 110 people and makes approximately 115 trips per day. The tram moves at about 17mph and takes 3 minutes to complete the journey. At its peak, the tramway climbs to 250 feet above the East River as it follows its route on the north side of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, providing views of the East Side of Midtown Manhattan. Two cabins make the run at fifteen-minute intervals from 6am to 2am throughout the week.


In Manhattan, the entrance to the system is at Tram Plaza at 60th Street and Second Avenue. The closest New York Subway station is at Lexington Avenue / 59th Street. Lexington Avenue – 53rd Street (E M trains) on the IND Queens Boulevard Line and Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street (F train) on the IND/BMT 63rd Street Lines are also nearby. Entrance to all New York City Subway stations is less than $3, which isn’t too bad.

Inside the cable car carriage
Inside the cable car carriage

I was always looking forward to my journey on the Aerial Tramway. I wanted to experience 3 different kinds of transportation when I stayed in NYC: the subway, a yellow taxi, and the Roosevelt Island tram. I can say that the tramway was much better than even I had anticipated. The views were amazing, and we got a total panoramic view around the area. One drawback was that you are never going to be alone on this cable car, as it is simply too busy with tourists, so you’ll have to share the photo-ops with other people!


On Roosevelt Island, there is plenty to do and see, but I’ll leave that for another blog.ย There are red buses on the island that offer complimentary transportation. During the tramway reconstruction, the Red Bus was extended to Queens Plaza and the Manhattan side of the Queensboro Bridge. The publicly operated Q102 bus also provides transportation on the island and to Queens and Manhattan at the standard New York City Bus fare of $2.75. The Roosevelt Island (F train) subway station is located north of the tramway entrance.


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