Rat Island Becomes One Man's Private Island

Rat Island Becomes One Man's Private Island

For the last decade, 71-year-old Alex Schibli has gazed out his window at the small island about a quarter of a mile from his home in New York City, dreaming of some day owning it. So when it came up for sale, he jumped at the chance.  

INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd said, "You bought that island."

"That's right," replied Schibli.

The price tag for the two-and-a-half acre island? $172,000.

"That's a bargain in New York for two plus acres," said Boyd.

"Yeah, but it's a lot of money for me," said Schibli.

It's not exactly an island paradise. No sun-kissed beaches here, just a lot of rock.

Then, there's the matter of the name. It's called—get ready for this—Rat Island.

You can't beat the convenience. Schibli gets to Rat Island by hopping into a canoe with his girlfriend for the 10 minute trip. Boyd opted for a quicker ride on a speed boat.

"So this is Rat Island?" said Boyd.

"This is Rat Island. Welcome to my island," Schibli proudly exclaimed.

Schibli gave Boyd a tour of his island. The 2.5 acres size is a little misleading, because when high tide comes in, the island shrinks to just about an acre.

Boyd didn't see any rats on the island, but there was plenty of wildlife. It's a haven for seabirds that use Rat Island as a nesting ground.

Schibli is careful to make sure all seafarers and adventurers know that this is his private island by posting a Private Property sign.

So, how did Rat Island get its name? Well, it's not what you think. There are no oversized rodents roaming the island. The original name is believed to date back to the 1600's before there were lighthouses and it was called Rattle Island because the locals would spin huge barrels of rattles to warn boat traffic of the treacherous rock.

Schibli is a native of Switzerland, but there's no issue of Rat Island seceding from the union, as the proud citizen has raised an American flag.

He has no immediate plans to develop Rat Island—maybe just a pleasant little house on stilts. But for now, he's happy to enjoy the peaceful, island oasis right here in the middle of the largest city in America.