The Octagon Week 1

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Eight sides to every story

It just so happened that Tuesday’s tram-jam took place during opening week at the Octagon on Roosevelt Island. That wouldn’t seem like good news for a real estate proposition–converting a former insane asylum into market-rate rentals–that was a little crazy to begin with. Not so, says architect and developer Bruce Becker.

The number of unique visitors to the website rose to 1,769 on Wednesday, the day after the tram delay, almost six times the typical traffic. Rubberneckers? Perhaps, though yesterday, he said, two out of the seven real visitors at the rental office filled out applications, which fell in the normal range. Of the 500 apartments, 244 have been rented and 30 households moved in this week, as scheduled.

“I think certainly the fact that there was a special section in the newspaper about the tram, people were just more aware of it,” he said. “For the longest time, Roosevelt Island has been this secret. A lot of people didn’t know it was part of Manhattan. A lot of people didn’t know the F train went to the island.”

Good thing it does, too.

-Matthew Schuerman