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.
“No man is an island,” the English poet John Donne once wrote. Tell that to the lucky stiffs with the assets to buy their very own private island home. Whether located in the remotest corners of the world, or smack-dab at the center of civilization, private island properties are more common than you might imagine. The island-cum-domicile pictured left is just a day’s trip from the hustle and bustle of Time Square, but can provide one well-funded homeowner with the perfect escape from the chaos of city life. Thanks to PrivateIslandsOnline.com, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most enchanting island homes in America and beyond. Click through to see the full list.
This 1,250-square-foot home sits on a pine-blanketed mini-island connected to the mainland by an 180-feet steel walkway.
When Alaska descends into its bone-freezing winters, residents can suck in the snowy environs through the glass windows of the home's dining area pictured here.
With lush woodlands all around, you can almost see a gun-toting mama grizzly on the hunt for some critters.
Price:$1,290,000 (Canadian dollars)
Island: 4.1 acres
Location: Île de la Baie Bertrand
Set outside Quebec and in a town whose name we cannot pronounce (Île de la Baie Bertrand), this home nestles into a cocoon of trees on an island in 31-Mile-Lake. It's hunting country and the Gatineau Fish and Game Club boathouse, located just a five minute-boat ride away, awaits your patronage.
Boasting 270-degree views of the water, the main house rests above the water with a lawn sweeping down to an encircling beach. The home is solar-powered but has a backup generator.
With a clapboard exterior and pale-bleached pine interior, the home contains four bedrooms and a granite kitchen. The master bedroom has its own private deck and walk-in closet. There's a "cathedral ceilinged" guest house with two bedrooms too.
Island: 5 acres
Location: Nicatous Lake, Maine
60 Miles north of Bangor, Maine, Brown Island sits serenely on seawater ice-cold the year round. At $699,000, the home is one of the more affordable private-island homes. The house has a master bedroom, bathroom, living room and a porch overlooking the beach.
The faded-gray exterior defers humbly to its majestic surroundings. The compound has a generator, hot water heater, two refrigerators and barbecue grill.
Suck in vistas of the nearby pine-saturated islands while standing on the home's understated dock. The boat comes with the place.
Island: 22 acres
Location: Three Lakes, Wisconsin
Way out in far-flung Wisconsin you get a lot of bang for your buck when you purchase your own island there. Denby Island is 22 acres and encompasses three different islands, with the west island containing two boat houses and the main home.
With oak floors and wood finishes the home has "good bones" but could "benefit from updating," according to the listing's description. That's when you'd decide whether to remove the vines crawling across its exterior or not.
The middle island of the property measures 20 acres while the east island contains wildlife prized by the local community. Gold, skiing and snowmobiling are some of the recreational offerings of the area.
Sick of paying an arm and a leg to stay at rinky-dink resorts when traveling abroad? Then why not save up for this bargain island located in the middle of beautiful Nicaragua.
About 3 miles off of Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast, Pink Pearl Island is a tropical oasis in the truest sense. Just 2 hours away by boat from the nearest airport, your family could be sipping coconut water inside this thatched-roof palapa in no time.
The view from one of three round-hatched cabanas on the island.
Price: $1.2 M (Canadian Dollars)
Size: 3 acres
Location: Ontario, Canada
For the price of a two-bedroom in one of New York's tonier neighborhoods, savvy homebuyers can pick up this picturesque 3-acre island in Ontario, Canada.
As the island's name suggests, this cozy two-bedroom retreat is perfect for warm and fuzzy family getaways.
The property also includes a cabin for guests or children. And when the modern world beckons, guests can jack right back into the matrix with high-speed Internet connection throughout the premises.
Just one of the 1800 islands within the St. Lawrence Seaway, New York’s pristine Watch Island stands out as one of the most stunning.
Price: $1.95 million
Size: 1.3 acres
Location: Watch Island, New York
The 1.3-acre island includes just one private residence – a 6,500 square-foot, 10-bedroom Victorian mansion that hearkens back to the gilded age of New York refinement.
The dining room features 12 windows for panoramic views of your one-of-a-kind front yard. Watch the waves crash against your shore as up to 16 of your closest friends dine in the lap of luxury.