Roosevelt Island — known as Welfare Island from 1921 to 1973, and before that Blackwell’s Island — is a narrow island in the East River of New York City. It lies between the island of Manhattan to its west and the borough of Queens to its east. Running from Manhattan’s East 46th to East 85th Streets, it is about two miles (3 km) long, with a maximum width of 800 feet (240 m), and a total area of 147 acres (0.59 km2). The island is part of the Borough of Manhattan (New York County). Together with Mill Rock, Roosevelt Island constitutes Manhattan’s Census Tract 238, which has a land area of 0.279 sq mi (0.72 km2) and had a population of 9,520 in 2000 according to the US Census. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation estimated its population was about 12,000 in 2007.
Roosevelt Island is owned by the city, but was leased to the state of New York’s Urban Development Corporation for 99 years in 1969. Most of the residential buildings on Roosevelt Island are rental buildings. There is also a cooperative (Rivercross) and a condominium building (Riverwalk). One rental building (Eastwood) has left New York State’s Mitchell-Lama Housing Program, though current residents are still protected. Three other buildings are now working toward privatization, including the cooperative.