The City of New York would be purchasing South Brother Island, the last privately-owned island in East River, and preserving it as a wildlife sanctuary, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The price is reported to have been in the neighborhood of 2 million U.S. dollars and was brought about by a consolidated effort of conservation and redevelopment organizations working with the federal government.
South Brother Island is one of a pair of small islands in the East River situated between the Bronx and Riker's Island. The other island, larger and better known, is North Brother Island. It is uninhabited.
It has long been privately owned. Jacob Ruppert, a brewery magnate and early owner of the New York Yankees, had a summer house on the island early in the 20th century. No one has lived on the island since then.
Through November 2007, it had been owned by Hampton Scows, Inc.,a Long Island company that dutifully paid property taxes every year but brought forth no plans to develop the seven-acre island. It purchased the island in 1975 for the sum of 10 dollars.
The island's dense brush supports a major nesting colony of several species of birds, notably Black-crowned Night Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and Double-crested Cormorant.