Tram: Joke to Icon

Written by Briana Warsing.

“The whole idea of a Tram really started as a joke,” said David Ozerkis.

“The whole idea of a Tram really started as a joke,” said David Ozerkis, Chief Engineer for the Roosevelt Island Development Corporation (RIDC, a subsidiary of the Urban Development Corporation). “I had just read about Palisades Amusement Park closing and that their cable car was for sale, and I jokingly said, ‘Why don’t we buy it and hang it next to the Queensboro Bridge?’”

The Tram opened on May 17, 1976. It wasn’t part of the original design for the Island when plans were made in the late 1960’s. “The Tram was really an afterthought, because we built Roosevelt Island with the understanding there would be a subway,” said the former Urban Development Corporation President, the late Ed Logue. “Finally, we realized we were not going to have a subway by the time the Island was ready for people.”

“The opening of the Tram caused a dramatic increase in the number of people looking to move to the Island,” said Robert Litke, who served under Logue. “It absolutely allowed the Island to be marketed. It really made the place. It showed how farsighted and creative the City of New York could be.”

Tags: Tram Briana Warsing Island Life

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