Going Rate for an NYC Island: $160K

Rat Island doesn't really have rats, says new owner

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 3, 2011 1:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – It's 2.5 acres of rock that's mostly submerged at times, has no electricity or power, was best known for housing typhoid victims (or so goes the legend), and bears the ungainly moniker of Rat Island—and for $160,000, it could have been your little island just off the Big Apple, reports the New York Times. But Rat Island instead sold at auction yesterday, and is now the cherished property of Bronx resident Alex Schibli, 71, who says he can swim there from his house. “I feel like it has always belonged to me," he tells the New York Post. "It’s so lovely out here. You wouldn’t even believe you were in New York. And there are no rats at all!"

Rat Island was originally listed in 2009 for $300,000 after its owner tired of paying taxes on it. Any sort of development would face a bevy of hurdles, but Schibli appears to have bought for love, not money: "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 says. But there's one change on the horizon, he says. “I really don’t like the name Rat Island. Perhaps Malina Island, after my 4-year-old granddaughter."

Rat Island is located just to the west of Hart Island.
Rat Island is located just to the west of Hart Island.   (Associated Press)
Sailboats ride the waves of Eastchester bay after Hurricane Irene passed over Manhattan August 28, 2011 in the Bronx Borough of New York City.
Sailboats ride the waves of Eastchester bay after Hurricane Irene passed over Manhattan August 28, 2011 in the Bronx Borough of New York City.   (Getty Images)
Ducks swim in the waters of Eastchester Bay as the sun sets January 21, 2010 in New York.
Ducks swim in the waters of Eastchester Bay as the sun sets January 21, 2010 in New York.   (Getty Images)
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