Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
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.