The auction of a bona fide New York City island happened yesterday, and the winner was Alex Schibli, a 71-year-old retired Port Authority worker who lives in the Bronx and has gazed hungrily at that island, or, slab of 2 1/2-acre rock, for more than a decade, wishing he owned it. For $160,000, now he does. Schibli says he and his wife, who live on City Island, have often kayaked around Rat Island, and he’s always felt a sense of ownership (he’s taken it upon himself over the years to clean up after parties, for instance) over the property.
According to the New York Post, seven other people put in bids for the island, which was auctioned off by Alex Lyon & Son, and according to legend, was the 19th-century home to typhoid victims. Schibli told the Post he plans to keep it as is — which includes it being submerged during high tide.
“Rat Island is a flat rock but it’s a very special rock, at least to me. Some developers might build something on top of the island if they got their hands on it, but I believe it should be conserved, kept as is,” he vowed.
There are no rats, which makes the price seem quite a bargain (it was appraised by the city for $265,000!) — plus, it opens Schibli up to the possibility of changing the name without accusations of false branding. He suggests, maybe, “Malina Island” after his granddaughter. And the gentrification begins.