Did you know? In 1975, the city of New York sold a private island in the East River for $10.

South Brother Island was sold for $10 in 1975. South Brother, situated between the Bronx and Queens and within sight of the Rikers Island guard towers, will most likely be left as it is, officials said, preserved as a nature sanctuary and administered by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.


South Brother Island, seven acres of dense forest, bittersweet vines, flocks of wild birds and little else, is a speck in the East River — and a glimpse of what the rest of the city might have looked like thousands of years ago. Historically overlooked and unwanted, it changed hands for $10 in 1975, despite being located in the middle of New York City.

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