Manhattan’s most underrated neighborhood (yes, it’s actually part of Manhattan) is a two-mile-long stretch in the East River known as Roosevelt Island. It’s similar to Battery Park City in that the land is owned by the City of New York, but leased out to an independent organization. Unlike Battery Park City, inventory is tight in Roosevelt Island, with few homes available to purchase or lease at any given time.
The history of the island dates back to 1637, when it was known as Hog Island and it was purchased by Dutch governor Wouter van Twiller from the Canarsie Indians. Today, it is known as a quiet, residential community and for the Roosevelt Island Tramway, the first aerial tramway in North America. In addition to the tramway, transportation options include the F train, which connects the island to the west side of Manhattan and to Queens; and the Astoria Ferry, which connects the island to East 34th Street in Manhattan and to Long Island City in Queens. Roosevelt Island is also the permanent home of Cornell Tech, an elite graduate school that occupies 2 million square feet of space on the island.
The character of the neighborhood is more similar to Queens than Manhattan. Buyers who might be considering Queens neighborhoods like Long Island City and Astoria will definitely appreciate this mostly-forgotten part of town. But don’t let the similarity to Queens deter you: finding an affordable home in Manhattan is not easy. If you’re struggling to find a home that fits your needs in more traditional Manhattan neighborhoods, then this island might just have what you’re looking for.