We are lucky enough to live in Broad Channel, a little fishing village in Queens, New York. Located at the center of a wildlife preserve, Broad Channel is the only inhabited island in Jamaica Bay, and two thirds of our island is part of the sanctuary, as well.
Sometimes referred to as the “Venice of New York,*” most of the homes have private docks, and we get all the benefits (and hazards) of living on the water without the steep NYC prices and property taxes of most waterfront property. During prohibition, Broad Channel and nearby Ruffle Bar were key locations for rum-running and provided much of the illegal alcohol consumed in NYC. Actually, come to think of it, the Channel is still pretty popular with the drinkers. For all those reasons and more, I love it completely and never want to live anywhere else. If you are interested in learning more about Jamaica Bay, blogger NYCEdges has done a rather nice job of summing up and illustrating its history in two parts (Part 1, Part 2).
(*I more often refer to it as the Staten Island of Queens, which is only funny to New Yorkers who are not from Staten Island)
There’s another island in New York City I learned about recently that has wildlife AND ruins, so I guess they win the prize for most photogenic. In the Bronx where New York Harbor meets Long Island Sound, there squats the slightly ominous but hauntingly beautiful North Brother Island, which originally housed Riverside Hospital between the 1880s and 1930s. During its use, it housed hundreds of patients with the most communicable diseases; smallpox, typhus, scarlet fever, even leprosy. It was also where the cook Mary Mallon, better known as the infamous “Typhoid Mary,” was forcibly quarantined for the last 23 years of her life, and where she eventually died. The first known healthy carrier of the disease, although she inadvertently caused at least 47 illnesses and 3 deaths, Mary asserted until her death that she had been unjustly detained. Rumor has it she and other unhappy former residents of the island haunt it still. This place just gets better and better!
“North Brother Island has been used to house things that the city would rather not think about.”
The island is now off limits, so the only way to get there is to sneak on with a kayak or small boat. Hmmm . . .
Epilogue: Nuts. I totally forgot today I was going to try “Wordless Wednesday,” the blog challenge where your entire post is visual rather than textual. Maybe I’ll instead invent “Stick a Sock In It Thursday” or “Shut the Fork Up Friday.”