Streams

A Rat Island, But Alas, No Rats

Thursday, December 02, 2010 - 02:28 PM

I was heartened to hear that our city has a Rat Island -- near City Island, off the Bronx -- but frankly, a bit disappointed that it was never home to a huge, writhing colony of untameable super-rodents. From Ephemeral New York (via MAS):

Purchased from Native Americans in 1654 by the Pell family, the island’s name supposedly stems from the inmates then jailed on Hart Island. When inmates—who were nicknamed rats—escaped, they swam to Rat Island first before making a go at reaching City Island.

By the 1800s, it was the location of the “Pelham Pesthouse,” a yellow fever hospital that quarantined 40 people.

Last year, the 2.5 acre island was up for sale, for $300,000. Not sure what became of that, although it's never too late to build that rodent colony and amusement park. I actually know the parks commissioner, fyi.

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