Randall’s Island


Earlier this month, I really wanted to just get out of NYC and go on a hike somewhere in the mountains- away from the crowded subways, hot garbage and hobo smells. Unfortunately, I woke up at 1:20 in the afternoon. And because I’m in NYC that means a trip to the great fresh air is a no-go. This is due to the fact that while NYC transit likes to give the illusion that you can get away to the mountains or wineries in a snap, the sad reality is that, that is a lie. If by an “easy trip” NYC transit means jump on the subway for 45 minutes, catch a 2-hour train and then get a friend to pick you up and drive you to your ultimate destination, then yes—it is extremely easy!

So I was like, okay… let’s go to an island! After a little research, I read that Roosevelt Island used to be home to a bunch of institutions, including a penitentiary and the New York City Lunatic Asylum and got creeped out. And then I read about Randall’s Island! All about it’s “unique position of hosting freshwater and tidal wetlands, an urban forest, and four and a half miles of coastal upland habitat” and “the Park’s nine acres of restored tidal salt marsh and freshwater wetlands and miles of shoreline” and “the apple orchards.” And “the oyster gardens.” It sounded amazing- exactly what I wanted!

Golf8Don’t get me wrong, Randall’s Island has beautiful views of the city, skyline and the waterfront. Some very scenic, relaxing views. There are some hidden, very pretty, garden-lined pathways, marshy wetland areas and spots to just take in your surroundings. And those parts were great! Now, the bad parts: EVERYWHERE SMELLED LIKE POOP! Seriously. It should be called Poop Island. I mean, I know it’s just a wastewater treatment plant or something. But man, the website said nothing about that. As for everything else on the website- the gardens, oysters and wetlands- they weren’t lying… but I was disappointed. I was expecting some Animal Planet shizz. I definitely felt misled. Whoever wrote up Randall Island’s website is seriously at the top of their PR game!

Honestly, if you’re not going for some sporting event or massive bbq party (every car on the ENTIRE island was blasting music) I wouldn’t go. Now, what was amazing and is something I always wanted to do, was go to the driving range!!! We randomly ended the day at the golfing range while wandering the island in search of wildlife and clean smelling air. And it was an awesome time 🙂

GolfI figured that being a former D1 athlete and nearly pro-tennis player at one point in my life would make hitting a golf ball nbd. All my life, while training 7-8 hours a day right across from golf courses, I just assumed it wouldn’t be that tough. Nooppee. The struggle was real. DO YOU SEE THAT FOCUS (see above pic)??? Guaranteed I whiffed that shot… Turns out a golf swing and a tennis swing are really not the same. But I basically got the hang of it by the end of our bucket of golf balls! Promise!

This is actually more or less my tennis stroke

This is actually more or less my tennis stroke

We walked all the way back to the Upper West Side, which wasn’t bad, aside from the super hood areas that concerned me a little bit, for what I felt were very obvious reasons at the time. Anyways, the views were so pretty during the sunset- especially crossing the bridge! And for that, plus the golf excursion, the trip was worth it.


Chelsea is a San Francisco-based journalist whose passion revolves around exploring the world, immersing herself in foreign cultures, and of course, eating and drinking everything delicious.

Her work can be found in TravelPulse, Forbes, INSIDER, SF Gate and more. She covers all things food, drink and travel and is always up for an adventure, whether that means an adrenaline-pumping excursion or trying a new cuisine.

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