On October 24, 2012, a small miracle occurred: Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island finally opened. An austerely beautiful tribute to the four-term president, this rectangular park with sculpture at its tip honoring the late president, was designed by star architect Louis Kahn shortly before his death in 1974. It took the intervening 38 years for the project to finally come to fruition (mostly due to the efforts of Kahn’s son, who created a documentary about his father’s vision that helped raise the millions necessary to build the monument). The park offers wonderful views of the Manhattan skyline, as well as a serene break from the bustle of NYC.

But perhaps one its greatest lures is the amusement park–like ride one takes to the island aboard the Roosevelt Island Tram (tel. 212/832-4555; www.rioc.com/transportation.htm). This is the aerial vehicle you have probably seen in countless movies, most recently Spider-Man. It originates at 59th Street and Second Avenue, costs $2.75each way, and takes about 5 minutes to traverse the East River to Roosevelt Island, where there are a series of apartment complexes (part of the fun is peering into the apartments as you swoop by). The tram operates daily from 6am until 2am and until 3:30am on weekends.