Guide to NYC's Randall's Island

Calm waters of East River, NY overlooking Randall's Island

Barry Winiker/Getty Images

Randall's Island is located just off the shoreline of Manhattan between the East River and Harlem River and is officially a part of the borough of Manhattan. Since the 1930s, Randall's Island has served as a popular recreation destination and is home to Icahn Stadium, a major venue for sporting events in New York City. Randall's Island Park also features waterfront pathways for biking and hiking, a golf center, a tennis center, and sports fields; it also occasionally plays host to summer concerts and Cirque du Soleil shows.

Facilities

Randall's Island boasts 480 acres of green space and event facilities for New Yorkers. Some of the current recreational facilities at Randall's Island include:

  • Icahn Stadium, a world-class track & field facility
  • 60+ athletic fields, including soccer, softball, and baseball fields
  • Sportime Tennis Center
  • Golf Center
  • 8 miles of biking and walking trails

Events

Randall's Island hosts sporting events, special activities, concerts, and performances throughout the year. Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island hosts numerous outdoor events during the summer months.

History

The Dutch governor of Manhattan bought Randall's Island from Native Americans in 1637. Over the next 200 years, Randall's Island was used for farming, as a station for British soldiers, as a quarantine area for smallpox victim, a poorhouse, an "idiot asylum," a hospital, and a rest home for Civil War veterans. The island was purchased by Jonathan Randel (for whom it was named with a slightly different spelling) in 1784 and his heirs sold it to the city for $60,000 in 1835.

In 1933, New York State transferred ownership to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. After the opening of the Triborough Bridge in 1936, access to Randall's Island was much easier and the island became a popular recreational destination for New Yorkers.

How to Get There

Randall's Island is part of the borough of Manhattan and is easily accessible from Manhattan:

  • Regular subway/bus service from Manhattan: Take the 4, 5, or 6 subway to 125th Street and transfer at the northeast corner of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue to the M35 bus to Randall's Island.
  • Driving directions from Manhattan: In Manhattan, get on the RFK Triborough Bridge at East 125th Street. Stay left for the exit to Randall's Island, immediately after the toll plaza (there is a toll to access the island, but there is no toll upon exiting).

Updated by Elissa Garay