by Neil Tandon for the Roosevelt Island Historical Society©
BOATING TO ROOSEVELT ISLAND
Although this wharf is purely decorative, it allows us a chance to discuss -- well, boats, which, for most of the island's history, were either the only or the primary means of reaching here.
The city established itself on the island in the 1830s. Rowboats were still used here well into the 1880s, even though steam was in wide use by 1810.
This lithograph (immediately below), dated 1862, shows row boats docked at 84th Street from where, every hour, they would depart for the Workhouse on Blackwell's Island.
The 84th St. Dock was structured much like the other docks of the Upper East Side:
They were mostly flimsy wooden constructions, and accessing them involved descending the muddy cliffs of Manhattan's coastline.
Around 1880 the MINNAHANOCK became the first steamer to serve the island.
In December 1894 another steamer, the WILLIAM H. WICKHAM, began service, transporting visiting staff and patients from a reception ward at the East 70th Street
In 1955 with the opening of the Welfare Island Bridge, regular ferry service ended altogether.
|Roosevelt Island Historical Walk 2000 by Neil Tandon & Roosevelt Island Historical Society|