Alex Schibli, 71, tells the New York Post that he always wanted to own the small island he has spent years visiting. Rat Island is a small piece of land that lies just off the coast of Schibli’s home on City Island (pictured above, from City Island).
“It’s right off my property. It’s so close I can go swimming back andforth. I can see it from my window. My wife and I kayak around it all the time. I feel like it has always belonged to me. It’s so lovely out here. You wouldn’t even believe you were in New York. And there are no rats at all!” says Alex.
Schibli, a retired Port Authority worker, purchased the 2 1/2 acre parcel of land for $160,000 and says he thinks he’ll rename it – “Perhaps ‘Malina Island,’ after my 4-year-old granddaughter.”
The island was part of the purchase by Thomas Pell in 1654 and is therefore part of the Pelham Islands in the Long Island Sound. Legend has it that Rat Island got its unusual name because it housed typhoid victims in the 19th century and presumably attracted vermin. Crumbling remains of walls and foundation can still be found on the island.
Schibli is a fitting new owner – he says he’s been taking care of the small island for years. “I noticed people were having parties and get-togethers out there. They would leave beer bottles and other garbage. I took it upon myself to clean up after them.”