North Brother Island in the East River

Today, Margaret and I drove up to Madison, Wisconsin with some of her students for a conference, so I did not get around to finishing my daily post (besides the driving, I was distracted by too much good beer and cheese in this city!). But I did want to share this New York Times article on the history and possible future of North Brother Island. Anyone who has transited the East River will remember North Brother, just east of Rikers. As you are heading downriver, North Brother appears just before you start slipping down into Hell Gate. Its trees and tangled vines, barely hiding the remains of a few buildings, really captured my imagination as we passed by. The guidebooks, as well as the Times article, detail how Typhoid Mary was quarantined on the island in the early twentieth century. But the article also goes into some other aspects of North Brother’s interesting history and details the potential, and difficulties, of building a park on the island. It is a short piece, but well worth the read for anyone who has slipped passed North Brother on an ebbing current.

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