Next Month, NYC’s Rat Island Can Be Yours


Rat Island is a 2.5-acre rock sticking out of the water off of City Island in the Bronx. Attractions: the crumbling ruins of a hospital used for yellow-fever patients in the 1800s, a Great Blue Heron who will be your only neighbor, a rich history of housing prisoners on the lam (apparently). And it can all be yours next month when the little island is up for auction on October 2nd.

The island was owned by a Brooklyn lawyer until 1972, when a marine contractor named Red Brennan bought it by foreclosing on a tax lien. Brennan decided to sell the property in 2009. It’s been on the market for $250,000 and the city appraised it at $265,000, but now that it’s up for auction, we don’t know how much it will sell for. We’re waiting to hear back from Lyon Auction on how much they think the uninhabited rock will fetch.

For some depressing reading, check out Wikipedia’s description of the property you’d be getting:

The small irregular island is about 2.5 acres (1.0 ha) in area.[1] It has an odd dual humped appearance and is mostly a lump of Manhattan schist bedrock. There is a small channel that cuts into the bedrock on the southern side of the tiny island that was used for launching small boats. This channel is filled with mussel shells. There is a purple-bluish “beach” made of mussel shells mixed with bird bones on the west side of the island with some reed grass. The entire island is littered with broken glass from beer bottles. The highest point on the island is usually covered in gull bird guano and is underwater during high tide storms. The largest inhabitant of the island is usually a Great Blue Heron that sleeps on the island during daytime.

Lyon Auction’s brochure adds that “This historical island is zoned residential. 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.” The question of how you could possibly commute to work is up to you.