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Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel
Photograph: Steve Freihon Photography

See inside Roosevelt Island's first-ever hotel opening this summer

It'll have sweeping views of the NYC skyline.

By
Shaye Weaver
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A gorgeous new hotel with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline is opening this summer—and it's smack dab in the middle of the East River.

The Graduate Roosevelt Island, opening June 1 on the Cornell Tech Campus, is an academically-inspired 18-story, 224-room hotel with nearly 360-degree sweeping views of the city, its skyline, waterfronts and the East River.

When it opens, visitors will be greeted by a 13-foot-tall sculpture of a boy in aviator goggles holding a lightbulb by artist Hebru Brantley called "Flyboy." He's situated in front of the check-in desk made up of antique wooden drawers and a floor-to-ceiling wall of books.

Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel
Photograph: Steve Freihon Photography

The building itself was designed by Snøhetta and Stonehill Taylor while its interior was designed by Graduate Hotels’ in-house team. The team wanted to blend an old-school feel with a more new-age vibe, taking cues from Roosevelt Island's history and the future of technology that the Cornell Tech campus embodies.

"To be able to have a hotel in New York City still rooted to a campus, still rooted to a major university like Cornell ... and really what is supposed to be the gateway to the tech industry for New York City, was a really unique opportunity for us," David Rochefort, president at Graduate Hotels and a Cornell alum, told CNN. "We love this idea that our lobby would kind of be rooted in the past as much as possible. So one of the things we did is install 5,000 linear feet of textbooks across the entire lobby backdrop."

Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel
Photograph: Steve Freihon Photography

Managed by Highgate, its modern spaces will have breathtaking views of Manhattan, Queens and the river as well as and Malin + Goetz amenities, a spacious suites and king and queen-sized rooms.

Most excitingly, the hotel will not only have an all-day restaurant but a rooftop bar. All we know about these so far is that they'll be run by Los Angeles-based hospitality team and New York City natives, Med Abrous and Marc Rose. Based on its location, the rooftop space is likely to be the hotel's crown jewel. 

Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel
Photograph: Steve Freihon Photography
Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel
Photograph: Steve Freihon Photography

Lodging is open to the public, but its primary purpose is to serve visitors from out of town attending business and academic conferences, students and professors from around the world.

The campus' courtyards and coffee shop are fully open to the public, but we think the hotel might be a fun way for locals to discover another side of NYC. Roosevelt Island has quite the history—its smallpox hospital from the 1800s still stands in ruins. Formerly Blackwell's Island, and later, Welfare Island, many of the city's public institutions were placed here. including the smallpox hospital, the New York City Lunatic Asylum and other hospitals. The asylum is the hospital journalist Nellie Bly exposed for horrible treatment of its patients in 1887. There's also a lighthouse on the island's northernmost point and a home from 1796, the Blackwell House, which is the sixth oldest farmhouse in NYC. Those who visit the island are usually headed to FDR Four Freedoms Park—a beautiful space, with sweeping views, honoring that president.

Renwick Small pox hospital roosevelt island
Photograph: Shutterstock

Graduate Roosevelt Island is opening June 1 at 22 North Loop Road on Roosevelt Island.

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