Despite its close proximity to both Manhattan and Queens, getting to and from Roosevelt Island has always been something of a challenge.
Before the trolley that once ran across the Queensboro Bridge starting in 1909, the only access was by boat.When that trolley stopped running in 1957, the little community was once again all but cut off from the city. With all of the new development and the designation of several historic structures on the island in the 1970s, it was descided that something needed to be done, and quickly.
Enter the aerial tramway: flying in 250 feet above the East River, the tram began operation in 1976 and connects Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. For a decade, it was the only commuter service aerial tramway in the country (a second was built in Portland, Oregon in 2006).
The aging system was overhauled in 2010, and now runs new cars on a regular daily schedule.