GOSSIP & RUMORS: Roosevelt Island sees a new record home sale
Roosevelt Island — an enclave in New York City’s East River floating between Manhattan and Queens — has just seen its most expensive residential sale in history, The Post has learned.
At the Rivercross co-op, which stands at 531 Main St., unit 321 traded hands last week for $2.09 million — dethroning the previous record held by unit 10M at 455 Main St., which sold for $2 million in 2019. The just-sold Rivercross home had asked $2.49 million when listed.
Beyond the record price paid for a residence on the 2-mile-long, 800-foot-wide island — which is part of the borough of Manhattan — the unit had long been home to the Enock family. This transaction marks the end of nearly five decades of their ownership.
The Enocks — led by the late patriarch David, the late matriarch Wanda, and their sons Christopher and Matthew — were pioneers on Roosevelt Island, being the very first family to call the Rivercross complex their home when they paid $27,000 for their co-op apartment and took up residence in September 1976.
Now, the surviving Enocks have decided to hand their family home off to a new generation of faithful stewards: a couple with two children.
The Enocks not only occupied a unique place in the Rivercross community, but were also among the inaugural residents of Roosevelt Island itself when it was still a vast and undeveloped landscape.
Wanda even gained recognition in a 1976 New York magazine feature, extolling the virtues of this “island paradise” as a haven away from Manhattan.
The pitch back in those days was the promise of safety; “Walk safely at midnight!” was a selling point for many.
“It’s been a big deal for us,” Chris, now 59, told The Post of having to part ways with the apartment. “The home has been a constant in our lives for so long and represents our parents and our past in general.”
But, to a degree, Chris’s past on Roosevelt Island is still very much his present. He remains on the island raising his family, while his brother, Matt, now 54, resides with his own in Forest Hills, Queens.
The recently sold Enock residence — a spacious four-bedroom, three-full bath unit with a sizable terrace — boasts unobstructed south and west Manhattan skyline vistas.
The bedrooms offer views of a courtyard adorned with mature trees — a genuine urban oasis, the previous listing noted.
“I would say my parents at the time were looking for something that would be exciting or special in some way,” Chris added. But that was more than a lovely home. It was the lure of Roosevelt Island itself. “It was new and experimental as a socially diverse, planned community in the middle of [New York City], and I feel my parents were good candidates for this in that they were always good at seeing the potential in things, and when they believed in something were willing to go for it.”
Handling the listing was Kaja Meade of Corcoran, a Roosevelt Island resident herself.
Chris remembers how much of the island has changed over the years. When he was growing up, everything “felt new.”
He recalled how his local school, innovative in its approach, had no walls and boasted an open floor plan. There were also no cars or dogs allowed, which Chris quipped was refreshing since Manhattan had not yet adapted the “pooper scooper laws.”
“As a kid I was always landing in dog poo in Manhattan where we lived,” he said, later adding, “For us I think it felt more new and experimental than futuristic, but my parents at the time were open to new ideas and saw it could work out to be a great place to live and raise a family, and it was.”
At the time of the family’s move-in, Chris recalls having ample outdoor spaces — a mix of new parks and courtyards combined with unused spaces, such as a church and a residence for nurses no longer in use. Those lent themselves to fun places for children to play — all just across the river from Midtown’s towers.
“[Roosevelt Island] did grow over the years, often slowly and with spurts of more rapid building. But the overall pace of development wasn’t too fast, and it felt fine,” Chris added. “A lot of the cohesiveness of the social fabric feels like it went away, but that has a lot to do with the fact that in the beginning everyone was new to the island and just moving in, and that made for an unusually strong shared experience. We can’t expect that to last forever.”
Although the home is now in new hands, Chris and the surviving family members are left with fond memories that have already lasted a lifetime, and will continue to do so.
“So much about the home was really enjoyable, the views, the large rooms, the furniture our parents collected over the years, their artwork and the artwork they collected, the books.” Chris said. “We identify with all these things and have had to disassemble all of this. Happily we are able to keep a bunch of these things, and will continue to enjoy them and remember.”