You Can Own Your Own Private Island, Right Here In New York City


rat-islandEver dream of owning your own private island? Now you can, right here in town. It lacks many basic amenities and has an off-putting name, but Rat Island can be your very own when it goes up for auction next week.

Without a boat, the closest you’ll get is a beach on City Island. Rat Island doesn’t have a dock, anyway.

From City Island, Rat Island looks like a misshapen mound of rock just sticking out of Long Island Sound.

There is no greenery.

There are no houses either.

But it’s zoned residential, says Red Brennen, who has owned Rat Island for more than sixty years.

“Would someone be able to build on the island?” asked reporter Alex Silverman.

“Oh yeah, but there’s never been an accurate survey,” Brennen answered, adding that the tide does come up quite high.

Why is it called Rat Island?

“There was prison on Hart Island. When they broke out of prison, they would stop there to rest ’cause it’s like halfway between Hart Island and City Island and they called the prisoners ‘rats,'” said Brennen.

He used the island to test equipment for his marine contracting job.

Brennen is retired in Florida now and he’s tired of paying taxes on this rock, which the city says is worth $400,000.

Manhattan Island was acquired from the Lenape for what was about $24. Brennen is certainly hoping to get more than that.

For more information on the auction, contact Ozzie Crisalli at Syracuse Realty Group at 315-410-0373.

{1010 WINS/ Newscenter}


  1. I think it depends on how small the island is. I’m sure it would need an eruv. If they built houses in a block fashion with an inner courtyard – and they were all connected (and the shul was in one of the houses) then the walls would be considered the eruv I think.