Islet Off Long Island Sound Up For Auction

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Rat Island - the 2-1/2-acre rocky islet in Long Island Sound - is once again up for sale.

This time, owner Edmund (Red) Brennen plans to auction off the property, which sits about half a mile east of City Island.

Brennen tried selling it outright for $300,000 two years ago, without success.

"I had a few people kicking the tires, but they never really got into it because of the economy," he said last week from his Jupiter, Florida, home.

Now, the 73-year old retired marine contractor is asking for $250,000, and he's quick to note all of its "amenities."

"You've got privacy, the view of the Long Island Sound, the tranquility, the sunsets, all that romantic stuff," he said. "You can set your lobster traps right outside your front door."

The islet, which the city has appraised at $265,000, is zoned residential.

Some of its history is a little murky. But as real estate broker Orazio Crisalli tells it, Rat Island has a storied past.

"It's got history dating back to the 1800s when the city used it to quarantine typhoid patients," he said.

The island got its name from convicts, nicknamed rats, who attempted to escaped from the nearby Hart Island prison by swimming and were caught there.

"It might be a giant rock in the middle of the Long Island Sound, but it's interesting."

He added that the islet could support a solar-powered house or become a public fishing area, even a summer picnic spot for families.

Rat Island changed hands between public and private groups over the years. Brennen bought it from a Brooklyn lawyer in 1972 and used it to store marine construction equipment and to break up salvaged barges.

Brennen sold his business and moved to Florida in 2004. He said he's selling simply because he no longer has any use for it.

Though the economy is still rocky, Brennen remained optimistic about selling Rat Island.

"I think it's pretty unique," he said. "Besides, how often does an island in New York City become available for sale?"

Auction Details:  The Rat Island auction will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 2 at 718 City Island Ave. Bidders must bring a certified check for $10,000 made payable to Syracuse Realty Group.

For information, call broker Orazio Crisalli at (315) 410-0373.

Source: NY Daily News

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