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The Best of NYC

A trip to New York City can be as exhausting as it is exciting. The throng of frantic people, the never-ending canopy of skyscrapers and the constant buzz of car horns and sirens are unavoidable and inevitable. 

You can easily forget Manhattan is an island surrounded by active waterways where tugs push barges laden with our Amazon purchases to busy ports. Sailboats, ferries, yachts and even kayaks fill the East, Hudson and Harlem Rivers that circle the island, home to 1.7 million people.

What if you could still catch a Broadway show, eat at your favorite spot in Little Italy, shop ’til you drop, AND get a full night’s sleep without a lullaby of blasting sirens and annoying traffic noise? 

Book a stay at The Graduate on Roosevelt Island, where fewer than 20,000 residents live quietly with nary a horn nor siren. There’s a tram that zips across the East River to Manhattan and the subway stop a block away connects you to the city or to Greenpoint and Brooklyn. My daughter biked 15 minutes from Astoria, Queens to have lunch at Anything At All, the bright all-day lobby restaurant. The location couldn’t have been better. We’d stayed at two other Graduate Hotels (Ann Arbor, Mich. and State College, Penn.) so we knew the decor would be on point, saluting creativity and learning with an Ivy League vibe.

We watched the sunset from the Panorama Room, the hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge with a 360-degree view from the southern end of Roosevelt Island. Get your fix of the Manhattan skyline while tucking into tasty small plates and sipping craft cocktails, posing against a backdrop of the East River, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, MetLife Building and UN.  

One morning, we explored Southpoint Park, with seven acres of native flowers and lovely landscaping, historic landmarks (Strecker Lab and Smallpox Hospital), a cat sanctuary, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. Designed by architect Louis I. Kahn, its name derives from a January 6, 1941 speech delivered by President Roosevelt, in which he described his vision for a world founded on four essential human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  

Fresh air, clean streets, room to stretch and a stone’s throw from everything you love about New York City, Roosevelt Island is a hidden gem. I'll never stay anywhere else when I visit The Big Apple.


  • The patio at The Graduate Hotel, Roosevelt Island, on the campus with Cornell Tech.
  • Snacks at The Panorama Room. Tuna with a view.