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City Islands Offer Soothing Settings in Urban Environments

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Plenty of people love the job prospects and cultural enrichment of urban environments, but all that hustle-and-bustle can blot out any healthy connection to nature. So what's better than an island with easy access to the city? Well, we'd contend, not much. Some of these urban escapes are cheaper than you might imagine, and some, um, are not. Just take a look at this $20M offering on Miami's Palm Island. Dubbed "Villa Rockstar," the estate packs nine bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, and untold square footage onto a 0.69 acre lot, taking advantage of its 100 feet of waterfront with a dock capable of handling large motoryachts. Inside, 25-foot ceilings grace the gaudy entryway, while an eight-car garage stands ready to house a bevy of commuting options.

? In a similar southerly location, Coronado lies on the outer edge of San Diego Bay, providing homeowners with gripping views of the Pacific, or, in this case, of the San Diego skyline. Turns out the pressures of urbanism look much different from a distance, particularly when one is ensconced in this $17.5M relaxation-ready retreat. Equipped with expansive patios, a swimming pool, and glass railings, this 9,200-square-foot sprawl might even satisfy those who find sunny San Diego too stressful.

? The listing photos for this Mercer Island, Wash. waterfront abode have been subjected to some excessive photoshopping, but there's no denying that the 6,000-square-foot, six-bedroom spread—located just outside Seattle—has something going for it. The next owner will have some shoddy art to clear out, but $6.45M doesn't sound like too much to share this bucolic isle with a slew of tech billionaires.

? Though technically part of the borough of Manhattan, NYC's Roosevelt Island is actually located in the middle of the East River, and is connected to the Big Apple by subway and the recently-modernized Roosevelt Island Tram, a quaint gondola that whisks residents over the river. This three-bedroom penthouse condo with the down home address of 455 Main Street serves up stellar views of the (ok, not very attractive) 59th Street Bridge and the Manhattan skyline for $1.45M.

? For those looking to test the waters before buying, San Francisco's Treasure Island has recently been converted from a military installation into rentals. With regular bus service to downtown S.F. and relatively level topography, this makes a decent option for hill-hating Bay Area residents. No word on pricing, but from the looks of it, this is no super-luxe outpost, at least not until someone finds that treasure.
· 70 Palm Avenue [Realtor.com]
· 701 1st Street [Realtor.com]
· 1630 72nd Avenue [Realtor.com]
· 455 Main Street #PH2D [Street Easy]
· To the Delight of Foursquare Mayor, Roosevelt Island Tram Returns! [Curbed NY]
· The Village at Treasure Island [official site]