Rikers Island in New York City

by NYJ Team

Rikers Island in New York CityRikers Island is located in New York City and is one of the world’s largest and New York’s main confinement facilities otherwise known as jail. It is not considered a prison since it houses offenders of lesser sentences than prison inmates. It is home to more than 14,000 inmates daily and occupies the entire island. There are around 10,000 correctional officers employed by the New York City Department of Corrections.


 History of Rikers Island
The island is named after Dutch settler Abraham Rycken. Rycken made his home on Long Island back in the 1630’s. New York City purchased the island from Rycken in 1884 for close to $180,000 and has been used as a correctional facility ever since.


 During the Civil War the island was used as a training ground for the military with the Ninth New York Infantry as the first regiment to utilize the space in 1861.


The original building was finished in 1935 and was called the House of Detention for Men; it became a maximum safety facility named the Thomas Center and closed due to issues with its structure in 2000.


In the 1950’s a landfill was added on the island enlarging the island by 415 acres. This helped the facilities to expand. The House of Detention for Men otherwise known as HDM was the original building that was completed in 1935 that has become a maximum security building that later closed in 2000 due to structural issues.


Facilities on Rikers Island
There are 10 correctional facilities on the island today that make up the complex with more than 100,000 inmates incarcerated last year. Otis Bantum Correctional Center, Rose M. Singer Center, Anna M. Kross Center, Robert N. Davoren Complex, George Motchan Detention Center, North Infirmary Command, James A. Thomas Center, Eric Taylor Center, West Facility and the George R. Vierno Center are the different housing facilities.


Each of the 10 facilities house different criminals depending on the severity level of the crime committed. Mostly there are local offenders that cannot obtain bail and are waiting for trial and have a one year or fewer sentences.


The Taylor facility houses only male adults and adolescents and Kross, Bantum, Vierno and Motchan detain male adults only. Female adults and adolescents are housed at the Singer facility and the West detain inmates that are contagious who have diseases and other medical needs.


Most of the facilities were built more than 60 years ago with many of them being constructed from the Staten Island ferries.


Schools, Churches and other religious organizations, clinics, barbershops and supermarkets have been implemented on the island to accommodate the needs of visitors and staff.


Visiting Rikers Island
Many visitors are absorbed with the history of Rikers Island and tend to want to visit when visiting New York City. Although it is located on a not so attractive landscape, this is overlooked for the interest in the facilities. You can reach the island by the Q101 bus, privately owned ferries and by car. More than 1,500 tourists visit Rikers Island daily. Visitation hours vary with more information found on the website.Click here to read more on Rikers Island


The High Line Review in New York City

by NYJ Team

The High Line Review in New York  CityThe High Line is a park located in NYC that was transformed from an abandoned railroad to a mile and a half long flora landscape in 2009. The park runs from Gansevoort St to West 34th on the West Side of Manhattan and is the newest way of seeing all of New York City from one view. The High Line was in operation from the 1930’s until 1980 carrying agricultural goods and meat to the meat packing district of the West Side to the Post Office.


It is owned today by the City of New York and is regulated by the Department of Parks and Recreation. You can take a long walk above the busy street of Manhattan admiring the beautiful views or you can sit and relax while experiencing the scenes of the city.


History of the Park
Back in the 1840’s the City of New York agreed to the construction of street level railroad tracks for Manhattan’s West Side. It was named Death Avenue due to the many accidents that took place between traffic and the trains. The tracks were then elevated to decrease the accidents while delivering goods to the industrial district. It was in 1980 when the last train would travel the High Line carrying frozen goods.


The High Line faced demolition a few years later with property owners demanding the deconstruction of the tracks. In 1999 Friends of the High Line, a non-profit organization convinced the government the importance of the High Line to turn it into a park. FHL in 2004 together with the City of New York created a design team holding a 6 month competition to design the layout of the park.The recreation of turning the railway into the urban park has increased real estate development with lining neighborhoods that run along the High Line.


The High Line Today
It doesn’t matter what season it is when you visit the park. The view is spectacular in every way with for tourists and natives to take a long stroll or just sit and admire the scenery of the Hudson River, Empire State Building and the beautifully landscaped flowers. Nature on The High Line is a talking and walking tour you can take with a gardener giving you the chance to get an insider’s view at the design of the park.


Every week in the park you can gaze into the dark skies and take a look at the moon, planets and stars with high tech telescopes and even chat with a few members of the Amateur Astronomers Association. Other weekly events and other happenings are scheduled all year round. Visit the website to access the detailed events calendar.


Visiting the High Line
The park is open daily and can be accessed from 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th and Gansevoort Streets. There are elevators and bike rack access points located on all streets except 14th. The High Line can be reached by subway and bus. You can visit the parks website for upcoming events and to print out a detailed map of the park. Click here to read more on The High Line.

The High Line