This New York City lighthouse is situated at the northeast tip of Roosevelt Island, in the East River. It is also known as Blackwell Island Lighthouse, named for the family that owned and farmed the island more than 200 years ago, and whose farmhouse (1796), recently-restored, can still be found nestling among the towering apartment blocks [a subsequent post on the farmhouse is planned]. The lighthouse is also known as Welfare Island Lighthouse, reflecting the use to which the island has been put in more recent times for hospitals, an asylum, and a penitentiary.


The 50 ft octagonal lighthouse was built of stone in 1872 under the supervision of architect James Renwick Jr, and is a designated ‘New York City Landmark’. It operated until the 1940s, and has subsequently been restored, most recently in 1998. Despite several legends that are attached to the building, its function in a busy tidal shipping channel was prosaically practical. 

new-york-aerial-1NYC Aerial 2Roosevelt Island Lighthouse 1

The area shown above is known as Lighthouse Park. Like many waterside features on this side of the City, it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The green lift bridge visible below is the Wards Island Bridge, also known as the 103rd Street Footbridge.

Roosevelt Island Lighthouse 2Roosevelt Island Lighthouse 3

This photo, mainly of a ring-billed gull, was taken from near the lighthouse during a period of sub-zero temperatures. The freighter in the channel has its entire foredeck thickly covered in ice.Gull, Ship & Lift Bridge, NYC


    1. Yes it’s quite fun – get there using the R. I. cable tramway, see the Blackwell Farmhouse too! Thanks for the follow – it’s not a huge burden, luckily, the so-called Gallery needs a proper curator! It’s for all the stuff that isn’t connected to the main blog, and I don’t maintain it very well… RH


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