The Roosevelt Island tram, which runs between the island and 2nd Avenue and East 60th Street, is easily the best 4-minute ride in town. New York City’s only tramway was constructed in 1976 as a temporary means to shuttle residents of the then-new Roosevelt Island housing developments to and from Manhattan, and even when a subway stop at Roosevelt Island was opened in 1989, the tram was so popular it remained in operation.
The Tramway is unique as the only aerial commuter tram in the United States. It was designed by Vonroll of Switzerland and travels a distance of 3,100 feet. Since it actually rises above the slightly off-parallel Queensboro Bridge, it provides excellent views of that structure, as well as panoramic views of the surrounding area for miles, but the trip takes only about four minutes. It was also the last NYC transport to accept tokens, doing so into the early 2000s.
On October 11, 2013, The Daily News printed an article about an idea by an entity known as the Forum for Urban Design to extend the tram west to Central Park and east to Queens Plaza, integrating it even further into NYC’s transportation network.
I like this idea — it would greatly speed up travel between the boroughs — but in the end, cost considerations and the wishes of NIMBYs on both sides of the river will decide if this is a practicable idea, or mere fantasy.