New York island for sale -- great views, no dock
Get that real estate offer ready. So-called Rat Island -- a two-and-a-half-acre rocky islet covered in mussels and bird droppings in Long Island Sound -- goes on the market this week.
The island is officially in the Bronx and zoned residential though it has long been uninhabited.
The property is to be sold starting at 1 p.m. Sunday by Alex Lyon & Son, which announced the sale with this pitch: "Build your dream home with 360 degree panoramic view of the water or pursue a zone change and create an opportunity for a sound commercial investment."
Rat Island has been owned since 1972 by Red Brennan, 73, who used to run a marine salvage business in the area but is now retired and living in Florida. He used the island to store construction equipment and for breaking up salvage barges.
He told the Daily News that he cleaned up the island before putting it on the market two years ago for $300,000, but still couldn't find a taker.
"I had a few people kicking the tires, but they never really got into it because of the economy," he said.
This time, he'll take the highest bid though he also reserves the right to turn it down.
How Rat Island got its colorful name when apparently not even four-legged furry animals could survive the regular floods there is unclear.
Legends abound. One goes that the island was used by "rats" who escaped from a nearby island used as a prison as they swam to the mainland. Or the name could somehow be related to the yellow-fever patients who lived there in the mid-1800s when the island apparently held a small hospital for New Yorkers who needed to be quarantined.
In the last century, some artists and writers set up shop in a stone house located on a high point; there are remnants of the foundation.
How anyone would build there now seems perplexing since from photographs it looks like a big pile of rocks that flood easily at high tide. The island also currently has no water, waste or electrical services or even a dock.
“You’d build up on stilts,” Brennan told real estate blogger Malcolm Carter, without a trace of irony. “There’s a lot of novelty to it."
-- Geraldine Baum in New York