Roosevelt Island Historical Walk
by Neil Tandon for the Roosevelt Island Historical Society©


Page 7 of 18

The Roosevelt Island Subway Station opened on October 29, 1989. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority first considered this station in the 1960s and began construction in 1971. It is part of the 63rd Street Subway Line, which begins in Long Island City, Queens, and merges with other lines at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

This line's construction turned out to be a much more massive project than anticipated. While estimated at $28 million, its final cost amounted to over $800 million.

The station platform, 100 feet down.
Bear in mind that New York City's other subway lines just zoom under the East River without stopping. Subways coming to Roosevelt Island, however, must stop beneath the river, making this station one of the deepest in the city's system (some 100 feet).

Above, digging cavernous subway station, 1981.
Below, the station-in-waiting, 1985.

This means that construction workers not only built a tunnel under the river (an extraordinary engineering task in itself), but also penetrated tons upon tons of stubborn bedrock to accommodate the station's eight escalators, two elevators and cavernous platform area.

The lines that Roosevelt Islanders have grown to love are the "Q" train, which runs on weekdays, and the "B" train, on evenings and weekends. They provide quick access to places like Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Coney Island. Ongoing construction is expected to connect this line to existing lines in Queens.

Roosevelt Island Historical Walk ©2000 by Neil Tandon & Roosevelt Island Historical Society
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