South Brother Island, East River
South Brother Island is one of a pair of small islands in the East River situated between the Bronx and Riker's Island, New York City. It is 7 acres (28,000 m2) in size. It is uninhabited and designated as a wildlife sanctuary. The other island, larger and better known, is North Brother Island. Until 1964, South Brother Island was part of Queens County, but it is now part of Bronx County. It had long been privately owned, but was purchased by the city in 2007. Together, the two Brother Islands, North and South, have a land area of 81,423 square meters, or 20.12 acres (81,400 m2).
Jacob Ruppert, a brewery magnate and early owner of the New York Yankees (responsible for bringing Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees from the Boston Red Sox), had a summer house on the island that burned down in 1909. No one has lived on the island since then. There are no structures extant.
Ruppert owned the Island until the late 1930s. In 1944 it was purchased by John Gerosa, president of the Metropolitan Roofing Supply Company, who intended to build a summer retreat for his workers on the island. This did not come to pass.
Hampton Scows paid property taxes every year but did not develop the island. In November 2007, the City of New York purchased the island for $2,000,000 using federal money. The city plans to preserve it as a wildlife sanctuary. It will be managed by the City's Parks Department and the Bronx Zoo.
- Williams, Timothy (November 20, 2007). "City Claims Final Private Island in East River". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-26. "South Brother Island, seven acres of dense forest, bittersweet vines, flocks of wild birds and little else, is a speck in the East River — and a glimpse of what the rest of the city might have looked like thousands of years ago."
- New York. Laws of New York; 1964, 187th Session, Chapter 578, page 1606.
- "New York's South Brother Island to be a sanctuary". New York Newsday. 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-26. "The island, an overgrown, uninhabited 7-acre (28,000 m2) piece of land battered by wind in the East River, was sold to the investment group Hampton Scows Inc. by the city in 1975 for $10. Now the federal government is purchasing it from the group for $2 million, a markup of 20 million percent, and turning it over to the city's Parks Department."
- Block, Dorian (2007-11-27). "City buys South Brother Island on East River for bird refuge". Daily News (New York).
- Berger, Joseph (December 4, 2003). "So, You Were Expecting a Pigeon?; In City Bustle, Herons, Egrets and Ibises Find a Sanctuary". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-21. "By contrast, South Brother and its bigger sibling, North Brother Island, have resisted such an invasion. North Brother's vegetation -- a jungle of thick brush, low trees and tangled bittersweet vines set among the ruins of a dozen quarantine and hospital buildings -- has produced a secure haven for the black-crowned night heron, the city's most populous heron species. More than 230 crude nests of sticks and twigs were counted there last June."
- Seitz, Sharon & Miller, Stuart. (2011) The Other Islands of New York. ISBN 978-0-88150-945-8.
- North Brother and South Brother Islands: Block 9000, Block Group 9, Census Tract 5, Bronx County, New York United States Census Bureau
- "Talk of the Town", The New Yorker, 14 August 1954, p.15.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: South Brother Island, East River|
- Brothers: NYC's worst maritime tragedy Photos of the islands in 2004, and images of the General Slocum from Forgotten New York.
- NYC Audubon Harbor Herons Project
- Harbor Herons Nesting Survey -recent reports on wading bird, cormorant, and gull nesting activity at South Brother Island
- NYC property tax records See Valuation/Assessment for Bronx Block 2605 Lot 35.