The hotel's front desk is watched over by a 12-foot-high sculpture of "Flyboy," a Tuskegee Airmen-inspired character created by Chicago-based artist Hebru Brantley

New Hotel at Cornell Tech Boasts Breathtaking Views and Big Red Touches

Collegiate themes include ‘student ID’ key cards and textbook décor

Located on the Cornell Tech campus in New York City, the new Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel sports educational themes, with some specific Big Red homages.

The bright lobby is covered in 5,000 square feet of books—mostly mathematics and medical reference texts, in a nod to Weill Cornell Medicine just across the East River—along its walls and up to the high ceiling.

Keycards to guest rooms are fashioned after student IDs, each featuring the yearbook photo of one of four alums with ties to the city (Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, Howard Milstein ’73, Toni Morrison, MA ’55, and Andrew Tisch ’71).

The hotel room keycards are fashioned after student IDs, each featuring the yearbook photo of one of four alums with ties to the city (clockwise from top left: Howard Milstein ’73, Andrew Tisch ’71, Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, and Toni Morrison, MA ’55)
The Graduate’s room keycards. (Photo: Provided)

The 18-story, 224-room property, which opened last June, is the first-ever hotel on Roosevelt Island. Like the more than two dozen others in the Graduate chain, many of which are located in college towns and cities, it has scholarly-themed décor: the guest rooms are accented with collegiate plaid, and the “do not disturb” door hangers, which are shaped like pennants, are emblazoned with the word “STUDYING” and a cartoon of a grad in cap and gown.

“Our brand is rooted in storytelling and nostalgia,” notes Hotelie Daniel Schor ’04, a partner at AJ Capital Partners, Graduate’s Nashville-based management firm, adding that working on the Roosevelt Island project was a “full-circle moment” that was particularly resonant for him: “It’s an honor to see elements of your own college experience and many of the famous alums and traditions brought to life.”

The Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel (the second-tallest building, left of center) is seen nestled into the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City
The hotel (the second-tallest building, left of center) nestles into the Cornell Tech campus. (Photo: Steve Freihon Photography)

(Another Hotelie, David Rochefort ’10, was Graduate’s president until last summer; he’s now a partner at Castle Peak Holdings.) 

The building offers dramatic views of Manhattan’s East Side, the East River, the 59th Street Bridge, and Queens—most notably in its aptly named 18th-floor Panorama Room, which is an event space and rooftop bar with an outdoor wrap-around terrace. Guest rooms, meeting rooms, and event rooms also offer striking vistas of the city.

The 18th-floor Panorama Room is an event space and rooftop bar with sweeping views of the city
The 18th-floor Panorama Room. (Photo: Steve Freihon Photography)

The Graduate’s other notable design elements include a 12-foot-high sculpture by Chicago-based artist Hebru Brantley. It depicts a character named “Flyboy”—wearing aviator goggles and holding a giant light bulb over the front desk—that was inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen.

The hotel, which has already become something of an extension of the adjacent Tech campus, aims to be a locus for Cornellians in New York City—hosting Big Red groups, alumni events, and more.

Top image: The Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel’s front desk is watched over by “Flyboy.” (Photo by Steve Freihon Photography)

Published: December 20, 2021


  1. Richard Weir III, Class of 1968

    Are rooms available at this awesome new Cornell hotel on Roosevelt for alums to reserve if they’re coming into the City, but are not members of the Cornell Club in NYC?

Leave a Comment

Once your comment is approved, your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other posts You may like