South Brother Island

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South Brother Island
South Brother Island und die darüber gelegene größere Insel North Brother Island

South Brother Island and the larger North Brother Island above it

Waters East River
Geographical position 40° 48′ 2″ N, 73° 53′ 55″ WCoordinates 40° 48′ 2″ N, 73° 53′ 55″ W
South Brother Island (New York City)
South Brother Island
Length 405 m
Wide 255 m
Area 5.3 ha
Inhabitants uninhabited

South Brother Island is a small uninhabited island in the New York metropolitan area.

Geographical location

The island is located in the East River, between the Bronx and Rikers Island. Immediately north of it is the slightly larger North Brother Island. The two islands have a combined area of 81,423 square meters (8.14 acres). Of this, 2.8 acres are on South Brother Island and about 5.3 acres are on North Brother Island.[1]


Jacob Ruppert, a brewery owner and the later owner of the New York Yankees had his summer residence on the island, but it burned down in 1909.[1] No one has lived on the island since that time; along with neighboring North Brother Island, it is designated as a nature preserve. The Dutch gave them their original name Gezellen (companions).[2]

Ruppert owned the island until the late 1930s. In 1944, it was purchased by John Gerosa, who planned to use it as summer housing for employees of his roofing company, Metropolitan Roofing Supply Company. However, this plan never came to fruition. In 1975, the City of New York City sold the island for $10 to the investment firm Hampton Scows Inc.[3] Hampton Scows paid property taxes but did not use the island.

In order to use it as a nature preserve, the Public Land Trust purchased the island in November 2007 with the support of various organizations and public funds at a cost of $2 million, and then donated it to the City of New York, which placed it under the Municipal Park Service.[4]


Jewel-heron. This species of heron breeds on South Brother Island, among other places.

South Brother Island’s dense forestation attracts several species of herons and cormorants to nest, including the night heron, great egret, jewelled heron and eared cormorant.[5]

See also

  • North Brother Island
  • Rikers Island

Web links

Commons: North and South Brother Islands– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. a b Timothy Williams:City Claims Final Private Island in East River.The New York Times, November 20, 2007, accessed August 21, 2014 (English).
  2. Gerard R. Wolfe: South Brother Island. In Kenneth T. Jackson et al: The Encyclopedia of New York City. 2. Edition. Yale University Press, New Haven 2010, ISBN 978-0-300-18257-6, (retrieved via de Gruyter online).
  3. David Freedlander:New York’s South Brother Island to be a sanctuary.Newsday, 20 November 2007, accessed 21 August 2014 (English).
  4. South Brother Island Goes To The Birds.The Daily Plant, 29 November 2007, accessed 21 August 2014.
  5. 2012 Interim Nesting Survey Report.(PDF; 915 kB) New York Citiy Audubon, 12 November 2012, accessed 21 August 2014 (English).