For all of my time spent in and around New York City, I had never ridden the tramway or visited the island. Roosevelt Island, that is. Yesterday was the day when that all changed.

Like a typical tourist, I strolled down the promenade towards Roosevelt Island’s southern tip and snapped shots of the arching cherry blossoms in bloom–yet saw nothing of the area’s residential neighborhoods to the north.

The main attraction was the Smallpox Hospital that stands today as a shell of the facility it once was. Other than functioning as its namesake, the Gothic Revival building also served as the Charity Hospital before closing in the 1950s.

Enclosed by the edges of an encompassing fence, the remnants of an institute originally intended to combat an infectious, sometimes fatal disease (that was eradicated in 1980) are now buttressed by interior and exterior beams.

The barren window frames frame sky-scraping edifices that tower above the west-facing horizon.

Visitors: do not plan on getting too close to the Smallpox Hospital.

Unless you happen to be a goose (who reads this blog).

I climbed what appeared to be the the tallest hill on the southern end of Roosevelt Island. The pinnacle offers instant visual access into the current skeletal structures recently constructed for Cornell Tech to flesh out.

Nevertheless, like the smallpox medical facility of the past, the grounds of the future Cornell Tech institute are also off limits to the public.

The campus even trained an infantry of miniature panthers to guard the territory from intruders.

Apparently these little guards also defend gardens from pesky canine invaders.

However small and arguably overlooked, Roosevelt Island is surely its own ecosystem where structures develop, thrive, die, decay, and regenerate. Alas, at this location’s southernmost tip, the viewer can compare it to two tiny islands that will in all likelihood never host any such towns, towers, or tourism.

I was satisfied, so it was time to head back into the sky and say bye to Roosevelt Island.

State of New York, City of New York

Recently, I was talking about how I hadn’t updated my travel blog in a while, as I hadn’t been traveling so much. I then discussed how that shouldn’t prevent me from updating my blog with observations from my usual surroundings and everyday existence.

After I expressed this, I did travel somewhere, and while I was away, I kept thinking about how the new scenery differs from what I have grown used to in my regular life.

This thought is probably one of the most common themes in travel, comparing new things you encounter to what you are familiar with — whether it’s convenience stores, pizza, train stations, electrical outlets or squirrels.

When I went on this particular trip, I thought of how things look different in rural New York State as opposed to urban New York City.

For instance:


A dirt road in the country.

IMG_0715[1]A paved road in the city.


Gardening with a lot of space.


Gardening with a little space. IMG_0703[1]Country cat.

IMG_0667[1]City kitty.


Getting fresh strawberries from the farm.


Getting fresh strawberries from the store. IMG_0699[1]Rural basketball hoop.


Urban basketball hoop.

IMG_0712[1]Back view in the country.


Back view in the city.IMG_0710[1]

(Delaware) River in New York State.


(East) River in the New York City.

IMG_0696[1]Sunset over the hills.


Sunset Park at sundown.

Of course these photos are only a visual gloss-over of what they represent, and showing single shots does not account for the complex life that surrounds them in actuality. Nevertheless, from such photos, we can see that different versions of the same species, berries or times of day can look starkly dissimilar depending on their placement in New York State or City.