A small patch of land in City Island Harbour is up for auction next month; the island comes with some pitfalls, but there has also been interest from surprising places.
If the auction on October 2nd goes well, the first thing the new owner of Rat Island may want to do is change the name. At least, that is, if the buyer is Ivanka Trump. The hotel maven and daughter of “the Donald” was asked about this unusual piece of real estate by a Wall Street Journal reporter at the annual New Yorkers for Children Gala, and while she was not very familiar with the island, suggested that it could have some potential, and that she would be looking into it. According to Ivanka, however, a name change would be a top priority; “Rat Island doesn’t lend itself to good publicity,” she said.
While not terribly attractive, the island’s name may also be the least of its challenges. A private island in New York City is a very rare commodity, but there are reasons that it has languished on the market for years with an asking price of just US$300,000. The current owner is Edmund Brennen, also known as Red, a 73-year old marine contractor who left the city to live out his golden years in sunny Florida. According to media interviews, he seems to believe that Rat Island will be ideal for the right individual: someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire for something truly different.
Rat Island certainly has its benefits; it captures the best of the Long Island Sound sunsets, lobster can be caught right offshore, and the setting offers a tranquility and peace virtually impossible to find within city limits. Most importantly, despite the name, there are actually no rats on the island. However, one of the biggest pitfalls with the small, 2.5 acre islet is hard to overlook: during high tide in stormy weather, it can be entirely submerged by waves. The island, once home to a 19th century quarantine hospital that had to be abandoned due to flooding, is now zoned residential, but building a dream cottage would be a difficult task.
Suggestions have been made by the current owner that stilts would be an option, and by all accounts, he is optimistic about the prospect of selling his little island, especially at a discounted price of under $270,000. Having bought it from a Brooklyn lawyer in 1972, he himself used it for salvage operations, and for years, cranes and other machines could be seen on the property. He believes the new owners will love it for the lifestyle it can offer; fishing, lobster catching, boating, and endless sea and city views. It’s unlikely to be the site of the next Trump Hotel, but somewhere out there, Rat Island may have a perfect match.
Read more about Rat Island: NY Daily News
The original interview with Ivanka Trump: Metropolis