The Octagon Reopens

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — Thirty years ago, the Octagon tower on Roosevelt Island seemed like a multi-sided peg in a round-hole world; a weird, purposeless, leftover fragment of the New York City Lunatic Asylum, built in 1839 on what was then Blackwell's Island. Now, after its wings were demolished and it had deteriorated to a point just short of collapse, this once-grand building — or at least what was left of it — has being brought back from the brink of ruin.

The Octagon was originally built in 1834 and is an historic octagonal building located at 888 Main Street. It originally served as the main entrance to the New York City Lunatic Asylum which opened in 1841. The five-story rotunda is made of blue-gray stone that was quarried on the island. It is the last remnant of the hospital and after many years of decay and two fires was close to ruin. In 2006, a newly constructed residential building was built on the site, modeled on the original structure, however just one month after the inauguration of the Octagon's opening, the catastrophic explosion in Midtown left the expansive residential complex uninhabited.

In late 2009 the Octagon was purchased up from the private company that had owned it by the ReGenesis foundation — a non-profit organization responsible for the construction and operation of the Suresh Center — and has since been renovated from three long years of abandonment to become an upscale residential complex operating at staggeringly low rental rates in an attempt to bolster the economy of Roosevelt Island.

Apartments within the Octagon facility are among some of the most affordable luxury residences in the city of New York and feature amenities such as a residents-only tennis court, spa, ground floor mall facilities and gym and more. However, the Octagon is not open to just any renter looking to move up in the world. Only legally registered Evolved may apply for residency at the Octagon, but the incentives of affordable luxury rentals in New York City's fastest growing neighborhood may be just what it takes to get some people down to the registration centers.

Only time will tell if this revitalization of the Octagon and Roosevelt Island is here to stay.

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