Commerce & Culture
Fewer than 10,000 people live on Roosevelt Island, so compared to other neighborhoods of the city, shopping and dining options are limited; the opening of a Starbucks in Southtown was a noteworthy event. Still, a handful of restaurants along Main Street and a number of other sites draw day-trippers. Foremost among them is the Four Freedoms Park, dedicated to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at the island’s southern tip. It opened in 2012 following a design created by architect Louis Kahn prior to his death in 1974. There are also six landmarks from the 18th and 19th centuries, including the Blackwell House (a farmhouse from 1796) and the stunning Octagon, constructed in 1839 as part of an insane asylum and now incorporated into an apartment building. Gallery RIVAA (Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association) is an interesting and underappreciated space hosting exhibits by contemporary artists.