On June 13, Hillary Clinton will deliver a speech laying out the themes of her presidential campaign on New York's Roosevelt Island, the narrow, two-mile-long sliver of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens that was re-named after liberal icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1971. Before that, it was known as “Welfare Island,” owing to the hospitals located there throughout much of the 20th century.
Running underneath the Queensboro Bridge, with staggering views of Manhattan’s midtown skyline, Roosevelt Island is an odd gem often overlooked by tourists. Home to less than 15,000 residents, the island did not accommodate automobile traffic until the early 1970s, and cars still remain scarce there. The Roosevelt Island Tramway, a red gondola that seems better suited for a ski resort, connects the island to Manhattan, as does a single subway stop on the F line, and buses to Queens use the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
Though Roosevelt Island has been home to several famous residents—including Mae West, Billie Holiday, Boss Tweed, and Emma Goldman—for years, its unofficial mayor was actor Al Lewis, who played Grandpa on the television show The Munsters. For Clinton, however, the setting for her speech will capitalize on the dramatic views as well as the symbolism of its namesake. “Throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has been inspired by FDR’s belief that America is stronger when we summon the work and talents of all Americans and has long admired Eleanor Roosevelt as a role model,” her campaign said in a press release about the venue.