Geography: The Islands: Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island

Originally known as Blackwell's Island, Roosevelt Island is the largest of the East River islands. It is located between Queens and Manhattan.

In the 19th century, it became home to most of New York City's medical and penal institutions, including the penitentiary, workhouse, smallpox hospital, City Hospital, Metropolitan Hospital and the New York City Lunatic Asylum. It was renamed Welfare Island and then Roosevelt Island.

By the middle of the 20th century, most of the institutions had been moved or were obsolete, and the island was mostly abandoned except for Bird S. Coler Hospital and Goldwater Memorial Hospital.

The 1970's saw a renaissance of the island when major housing developments were built, and the island took on a residential tone instead of the historical institutional tone. Today, the island is home to almost 10,000 people.

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