We’ll start this morning in Lenox Hill with something that’s a bit counter-intuitive… leaving Manhattan to go to Roosevelt Island. But don’t worry, this is a quick trip away you’re sure to enjoy… promise! The journey begins at the Tramway Plaza, home to the Roosevelt Island Tramway. The fifteen-minute tram trip is easily the most unique and affordable thrill the MTA has to offer. The tramway is one of three commuter aerial transit systems in the country — Mississippi Aerial River Transit and Portland Aerial Tram being the other two. And what’s even better is that you can use your monthly MTA card to access this city’s wonder that dates back to 1975. The views of the city are much different from above, so don’t hesitate to take this quick getaway and easy thrill. If you prefer to stay local to start your day, check out the beautiful parks nearby: John Jay Park and St. Catherine’s Park.
At first, it may strike you as odd to visit a hospital on your tour of the neighborhood, but the Lenox Hill Hospital on East 77th Street is an iconic landmark in medicine. The hospital, which consists of 10 buildings, and sits on the Upper East Side border, was originally founded in 1857 as the German Dispensary, moving to its current location in 1905. LHH is note for its numerous contributions to modern medicine, such as the installation of one of the first X-ray machines in the country in 1897 and the establishment of the first physical therapy department in America in 1907. Additionally, in 1973 the building became the nation’s first hospital to include a study in sports medicine. There are still many original parts of the hospital on display, like the sidewalk clocks and the spectacular main entrance facade.
Nothing’s more fun than a shopping trip to the landmark Bloomingdale’s building on 3rd Avenue. The Art deco building has been a fixture in the neighborhood since 1885, and was one the city’s earliest high-end department stores, affording an experience similar to that at Macy’s in Herald Square. This particular Bloomingdale’s, the retailer’s world headquarters, boasts interior décor that is true eye candy. It almost feels like you are shopping in the 1940s as many of the Art deco designs dominate the three levels with checkered black and white linoleum tiles and curved ceilings. The best time to visit, however, is during the Christmas season. Lights dominate the exterior and creative setups throughout the department store bring holiday spirit to old and young alike.
The arts scene of Lenox Hill is encapsulated under one roof – and it’s a pretty big one. The Park Avenue Armory has become one of the leading artistic venues in the city, and as it continues to undergo massive renovations (the costs have surpassed $200 million), the art complex continues to generate interest and fame for displaying unconventional art work with a concentration to performing art events and visual arts. The complex’s programming has partnered with Lincoln Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art in recent years as well.
As you travel the neighborhood, you will come across a number of educational institutions that hold historic significance in the city. There’s Marymount Manhattan College, and then there’s Hunter College, which was established in 1870 as an all-female school. The college has transformed to one of the most decorated under the City University of New York system, most notably in the arts and educational fields. The school has produced a long list of entertainers like director Robert Altman, singer Harry Connick Jr., actor Edward Burns, actor Vin Diesel and singer Bobby Darin. You can tour the college’s most storied building, Thomas Hunter Hall, which was built in 1914 and maintains much of its original design. While there, you may also decide to tour the Roosevelt House, which was original home the Roosevelts (Sara and Franklin) before it was sold to Hunter College in 1943.
There aren’t many craft cocktail or beer places that can stand up to The Jeffrey Craft Beer & Bites. The beer specialist is tucked alongside the entrance to the 59th Street Bridge and features 29 drought beers and another 39 types of canned beers. The most popular choice is the Bell’s Oberon, while pretty much every Singlecut Brewery beer you could savor is also available. The brewery is based in Astoria and has quickly become the city’s next big craft brewer.