Monday, July 19, 2010

Roosevelt Island on a Budget

Neighborhood to explore: Roosevelt Island on a Budget

While it’s not exactly revered for arts and culture the way the Village and Soho are to New Yorkers, but Roosevelt Island has a charm all of it’s own. For starters, it can be accessed by sky tram, which we prefer as our chosen mode of transportation (it reminds us Bitches of Disneyworld, but for a fraction of the price). It’s not one of those areas of the city that you would actively seek out for trendy restaurants, food trucks galore, or high-end shopping. A slice of neighborhood far removed from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Manhattan, with just enough comfort to feel somewhat familiar, Roosevelt Isand is the perfect getaway destination for one of those afternoons when you’re up for an adventure.

Word to the wise? Don’t leave begin your ascent to the island without playing Simon and Garfunkels’ 59th Street Bridge on full blast.

*Must listen to the 59th St Bridge song

1. Trellis (549 Main St) is your basic diner, offering up all the typical down-home fare that feels straight out of your hometown establishment. Go for the grilled cheese or the Manhattan Clam Chowder. $5-8 breakfast specials, $8 sandwiches, and $4 bowls of soup make for standard diner prices you can count on. If you’re around on Friday or Saturday between 6p and 10p, don’t miss the Jazz under the Stars program, which is free to diner patrons. Locals recommend taking a box of cookies to go, which sounds like advice we could certainly get behind.
3. Stop by Capri Pizza (532 Main St) if you’re in the mood for a great thin-crust pie in a community institution.
2. Riverwalk Bar and Grill (425 main St) is a straight-up sports bar with buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing. It’s the place that used to be exponentially cooler when you could smoke inside, but is now just as dive-y, plays all the sports games, and offers traditional bar fare- especially if you’re a Bitch who likes fries. Steak fries, French fries, curly fries, waffle fries, sweet potato fries, shoestring fries- you name ‘em, they’ve got ‘em. Best nights for visiting are Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, especially if there’s a game on.

1. Check out the flea market in front of the Chapel of the Good Shepard (543 Main St) for all sorts of deals and steals. Just try not to haggle too hard.
2. Renwick Ruin is part of the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, and is also known as the Renwick Smallpox Hospital. It was abandoned in 1956 but remains in a state of ruin and disrepair, adding an element of creepiness to the surrounding green (i.e.: not the place you want to drop your picnic blanket). The ruins are open to the public, in the chance that you have a desire to visit an old city-funded quarantine wing. The wings of the hospital are slowly collapsing, so get there while you still can!
3. Who ever said there wasn’t art worth seeing outside of Chelsea obviously hasn’t been to Gallery RIVAA (527 Main St). RIVAA is a non-profit comprised of international arists devoted to enhancing the quality of life through art, community events and workshops. It is a fairly new art space, launched in 2002, and has hosted over fifty exhibitions including member and guest shows. Currently on display? Works by guest artist Anne-Marie Dannenberg, a lovely contemporary photographer. The gallery is open Wednesdays and Fridays, 6p-9p and weekends from 11a-5p.

1. Ride the tram. A must to get to the island in the first place, two trams leave every fifteen minutes from 6a to 2:30a at 60th St and Second Ave. The four minute ride costs as much as a MetroCard trip ($2.25) and is actually not run by the MTA, so you can count on speedy service. Note to Bitches planning their visits: the tram is undergoing “modernization” repairs, and will be running as originally scheduled starting in September. If you were planning to take a summer visit, opt for the less-glamorous F train instead.
2. Nothing says summer like a picnic in the park! Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park was given by Nelson Rockefeller in memorial of FDR, and offers granite-paved promenades, a 72-ft open-air square plaza known as “The Room”, and spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. The open side of “The Room’s offers protection from any unexpected summer showers, allowing visiting Bitches to eat their pb&j’s in peace. Take a leisurely stroll and find yourself at Lighthouse Park, the site of Roosevelt Island’s tiny lighthouse safeguard.

1. While Roosevelt Island is no haven for foodies, we’re very far from being culinary snobs. At Nonno’s Focacceria (455 Main St), our hunger for Italian comfort food and heavy tiramisu can be met without a doubt. Only considered a splurge since it’s one of the more expensive dining destinations in the neighborhood, Nonno’s boasts an infamous Grandma’s Pie with meatballs. They even deliver food to the park if you call ahead (212.753.2300).

SPEND: (not including $2.25 metrocard) $8-10

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