View of Manhattan’s Upper East Side from Roosevelt Island

There is nothing wrong with seeing your own city through the eyes of a tourist. Most local New Yorkers are so obsessed with seeking out the “underground” and the “obscure,” that they miss some of the amazing parts of the city that have been deemed a little too “obvious.”

I can give you a long list of locals who have never been to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, because they figured that these structures have always been here so they’ll hit them eventually. Not to be morbid, but I know many people that never visited the World Trade Center, owing that to the same mentality. The point is, you can’t predict the future so you might as well soak up every little ounce of your own city. You never know what hidden gems you will find. Carpe diem and all that sh*t.

Taking my own advice, yesterday I decided to explore Roosevelt Island. From 1921 until 1973, Roosevelt Island was known as Welfare Island, and before that Blackwell’s Island. In the 19th century it was home to the New York City Lunatic Asylum, as well. It runs for approximately 40 blocks in the East River.  Truth be told, there still isn’t much on the island today – unless you are into exploring hospitals and apartment buildings. But if you are looking for a bite to eat, a frosty beverage and a killer view, keep reading.

Along the west side of the island, just steps from the F train, is Pier NYC, a small wharf with a wet bar and both a raw bar and BBQ stall. Good to know: The seafood stall, Santos seafood shack, is the brainchild of former Per Se man David Santos. The BBQ joint, John Brown’s Smokehouse, is helmed by Josh Bowen of Long Island City BBQ fame. We sat sipping ice cold beers and indulging in shrimp cocktail while watching the yachts and sailboats cruise against the Manhattan skyline. Not bad for a 90-degree Sunday. Beers are a little pricey ($8), but you are doing something touristy so it’s to be expected. Note: The raw bar accepts credit card but the BBQ joint is cash only.

Roosevelt Island can be accessed from Queens via a bridge at Vernon Boulevard and 36th Avenue. The F train also stops on the island, or you could take the sky tram from Manhattan.