When you’re New Yorker, you don’t have to fly to the Caribbean to go from island to island. Along with the city’s two big islands, Manhattan and Staten, there are plenty of smaller ones, each with their own unique personality, activities, and ways to get there.

Here’s a look at what’s going on with three of them this summer.

Roosevelt Island

Visitors discover Salvage Swings, an interactive installation by Somewhere Studio as part of the Figment NYC festival.


This 3 km long island in the East River was called Varken Eylandt, or Hog Island, by the Dutch, who bought it from the Native Americans in 1637. Over the years, it has housed a lunatic asylum, a smallpox hospital and prison, and changed its name from Welfare to Roosevelt Island (after FDR) in 1973. Today, about 14,000 residents of the 147 acres between Manhattan and Queens are their home.

This weekend: More than 120 installations will be on display Saturday and Sunday at the free Figment NYC art festival in Lighthouse Park on the northern tip of the island. One work, “Salvage Swings”, has already caught our attention. The project – a dozen rope swings in big box frames – was recycled from discarded wood panels from the University of Arkansas.

“It is designed to encourage new interactions and conversations between people,” explains Charles Sharpless, one of the architects behind the work. Not only that, he says, but “the swings make you appreciate your surroundings.”

Lighthouse park
Lighthouse parkAnnie Wermiel / NY Post

And there are a lot of environments to enjoy on Roosevelt Island.

“You have a wonderful view of Manhattan. . . however, it is not too crowded, ”says Sharpless. “It’s this hidden gem. You feel like you are far from the city, but in fact, you are really in the middle of it.

More: Grab a day pass to the Instagram-worthy Manhattan Park Pool Club ($ 60 weekends for non-residents), which received its annual refreshment from designer Elizabeth Sutton and its 60 gallons of paint in 18 different shades. “I tried to be unique by playing with color,” says Sutton. “We wanted you to feel immersed in the work of art. “

Upcoming attractions: On June 15, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park (at the southern tip of the island) will host a free World Pride event with food trucks, a story hour with drag queens and a transformation from the park stairs in a giant LGBTQ pride flag.

Fill the tank : Discover the stylish Café at Cornell Tech’s new campus (2 W. Loop Road). Open to the public, it offers free Wi-Fi and serves fresh sandwiches, wraps and pastries.

Fun fact: The late Al Lewis, who played the role of grandfather on “The Munsters” TV show, lived on the island.

Getting There : Take the aerial tram from 59th Street and Second Avenue, the F train to the Roosevelt Island stop or the NYC Ferry, on the Astoria line.

Governors Island

Stunning Manhattan skyline views await visitors to Governors Island.

Stunning Manhattan skyline views await visitors to Governors Island.


Island Oyster comes with stellar seafood and views.

Island Oyster comes with stellar seafood and views.


Just half a mile from Manhattan, Governors Island is a former military base originally named for its use by British Governors. Since opening to the public in 2005, the 172-acre island has transformed into a thriving arts hub and relaxing getaway.

“It’s only accessible by ferry, so you really feel like you’re transported,” says Sarah Krautheim, vice president of public affairs for the Trust for Governors Island.

This weekend: Check out the Adventure at Governors Island pop-up theme park, which features a 300-foot-long zipline ($ 14), an 18-hole mini golf course ($ 8), and more.

More: Ongoing highlights this summer include an Art Force 5 comic book exhibit, where kids can create their own superhero figures and capes; Slide Hill, with a 57-foot-long slide; and the Bee Sanctuary, which added a new hive this year, bringing the total number of bees to 80,000.

“We have a number of programs focused on the environment,” Krautheim explains. “The island can truly be this living laboratory for learning about nature and ecology.”

Shellfish and more are available at Island Oyster.
Shellfish and more are available at Island Oyster.Stefano Giovannini

Upcoming attractions: This year’s film series – themed “Escape in New York” – kicks off June 14 with “Men in Black”. And the 14th edition of the Jazz Age Lawn Party will transport you to the past on June 15th and 16th.

Fill the tank : With its fabulous view, fresh oysters and creative cocktails, Island Oyster is the place to visit. We’re looking forward to the Spirit Animal (Light Rum, Aperol, Coconut, Lemon & Strawberry; $ 14.50) and a few Long Island Navy Points ($ 3 each). Also, the Napolitan Express truck, making fresh pizzas, is now stationed on the island.

Fun fact: President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev held a summit on the island in 1988.

Getting There : Take the ferry ($ 3 round trip) from Battery Maritime Building (10 South St.) in Manhattan or Pier 6 in Brooklyn.

Randalls Island

Randalls Island offers a chance to picnic and play.

Randalls Island offers a chance to picnic and play.

Music fans attend the 2013 Governors Ball.

Music fans attend the 2013 Governors Ball.


Urban Farm weekend gives kids a lesson in horticulture.

Urban Farm weekend gives kids a lesson in horticulture.

Jonathan Randel, who gave the island his name, bought it in 1784 and his heirs sold the island to New York City in 1835 for $ 60,000. Over the years it has housed asylums, a children’s hospital, and a juvenile refuge house, but the 480-acre Randalls Island is now known for its recreation.

“A lot of people know us for our sports fields, but we also have beautiful gardens, an urban farm and two salt marshes,” says Ellen McCarthy, public programs manager for Randalls Island Park Alliance. “It really looks like an escape. “

This weekend: The Governors Ball, New York’s great music festival, continues throughout the weekend with headlining performances by Florence + The Machine on Saturdays and The Strokes on Sundays (day tickets start at $ 115.

More: City kids can find out where healthy food comes from at the free City Farm, open every Saturday and Sunday. They will learn how to grow crops, water, plant seeds, do nature-based crafts, and even meet chickens.

Visitors can also sweat for free every Tuesday and Thursday: an outdoor yoga class is open to all levels at 6.30 p.m.

Visitors to Randalls Island take in the views from the ferry.
Visitors to Randalls Island take in the views from the ferry.Tamara Beckwith / New York Post

Upcoming attractions: The island’s new Waterfront Festival is scheduled for June 23 at the Harlem River Picnic Area (near the ferry dock). Young people can enjoy the Arm-of-the-Sea Theater puppet show and Bubbledad bubble shenanigans. Learning science, crafts, games and face painting will complete the event, as well as a live jazz band.

“We have so many miles of coastline so this is a way to celebrate our unique location,” says McCarthy.

Outdoor family movie nights will also continue throughout the summer, with a screening of “Mary Poppins Returns” on June 8. And there is free popcorn.

Fill the tank : Head to the Courtside Café at Sportime Tennis Center, where the Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Brioche with Chipotle Aioli and Fries Side ($ 11.50) is among the most popular offerings.

Fun fact: The New York Black Yankees of the Negro National League played home games on the island in 1938.

Getting There : Take train 4, 5 or 6 to 125th Street and take the M35 bus to the northwest corner of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. It is a 25 minute walk over the East 103rd Street walkway.

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