First of all, there are no rats on New York City's Rat Island, the 2.5-acre rock (pictured above) that retired Port Authority worker Alex Schibli just bought for $160,000 in auction.
The 71-year-old Bronx man, who likes to kayak, can see the private island from his City Island backyard and for a decade has dreamed of owning it. Having just outbid about a half dozen others, his dream just came true.
"It's so close I can go swimming back and forth," Schibli told The New York Post. "I can see it from my window. My wife and I kayak around it all the time."
Don't expect to see a high-rise going up on the rock anytime soon. Besides the fact that the island in Long Island Sound becomes totally submerged in high tides, Schibli said he plans to keep it just as it is. He's already been its self-appointed guardian, cleaning up the beer bottles and garbage that others have left behind.
The island once housed a 40-bed hospital for those quarantined with typhoid in the 1800s. The remnants of the hospital's cobblestone walls and foundations are still there, but mostly what's there now are mussel shells, bird poop and the ubiquitous broken glass bottles left by fishermen.
As for Rat Island's name, well, you can expect it to change -- most likely to be rechristened after Schibli's granddaughter, Malina. The rock was dubbed Rat Island by prison workers who said prisoners escaping from nearby Hart Island would swim there trying to escape. At least it's not Alcatraz.
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