Roosevelt Island is a government-orchestrated middle-income enclave that is slowly moving towards privatization. A narrow, 2-mile long island in the East River, Roosevelt Island was leased to the state of New York’s Urban Development Corporation for 99 years in 1969. Since then, the Urban Development Corporation divided Roosevelt Island into car-free, residential communities, including the older Northtown and the still-in-development Southtown. Primarily rental buildings, Roosevelt Island’s real estate is subsidized by the Mitchell-Lama program with prices kept 20-30% cheaper than similar Manhattan apartments. People who earn a certain percentage of the city’s median income are eligible for subsidized housing with requirements varying by building. Some buildings are working to privatization, though, driven by the high demand for real estate on the island; certain building waiting lists are more than three years long. Retail and restaurant options on the island are limited but ample outdoor space counters this deficit. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern point of the island and numerous other recreational areas give Roosevelt Island a suburban feel. The population, mostly renters and United Nations workers, has ballooned in the past decade and is expected to continue growing. As demand for real estate in Roosevelt Island increases, new developments will increase and more buildings will head towards privatization, eager to make a profit.
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