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A new cruise to the abandoned islands around the city has launched in the waters of New York


ForumDaily New York

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A unique new cruise offers a closer look at an almost forgotten part of New York - the abandoned islands along the East River, reports NYPost.


Every Sunday, Classic Harbor Line hosts excursion Classic Harbor Line's Urban Naturalist Tour on a 1920s-style yacht around the islands' highlights. Tours are scheduled for June 24, 30, and July 7, 14 and 21.

Three-hour cruise starting at tiny Belmont, the route will then take you past Roosevelt and Randall Islands (both still inhabited) and head to Mill Rock at the mouth of the Harlem River.

After this, the cruise ship will take passengers through Hell Gate to the North and South Brother islands. These islands have been sanctuaries for shorebirds since the city purchased them nearly 20 years ago. Their territories are steeped in New York's eclectic history.

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The cruise departs at sunset. This allows participants to see the city illuminated at night, contrasting with the natural silence of the river island.

The cruise line recommends that passengers take binoculars with them.

Ticket $124 includes a glass of champagne and a sandwich.


On the cruise, naturalist Gabriel Willow shares stories of the islands and their people, such as Typhoid Mary and former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert.

Rupert bought the Yankees in 1915. He built the stadium of the same name and brought Babe Ruth to the team in 1920. Rupert owned a summer mansion on South Brother Island. Ruth visited him to practice his catch.

The mansion burned down in 1909. The island was practically empty for almost 70 years, and in 1975 it was bought by a gravel company for just $10.

New York finally purchased South Brother Island in 2007 for about $2 million and turned it into a bird sanctuary, which it remains to this day.

It is believed that before Rupert bought the island, it was a base for Union soldiers during the Civil War.


In 1904, the ferry PS General Slocum ran aground on the island after catching fire. It carried almost 1400 passengers along the river. In a matter of minutes, 1021 people died. This death toll made it the deadliest disaster on U.S. soil before the September 11 attacks.

The passengers were mostly women and children. They burned alive on the collapsing deck or drowned in their heavy clothes after jumping into the river.

Typhoid Mary

On North Brother Island there are ruins of a hospital that treated quarantined patients with diseases such as typhus, smallpox and tuberculosis. Typhoid Mary - real name Mary Mallon, a cook - was quarantined in this hospital. She is the first person in the United States to be identified as an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever. During her work as a cook, at least 53 people became infected from her, three of whom died. She inadvertently caused a typhoid outbreak due to her immunity to the symptoms. Mary was quarantined in this hospital twice and, after spending 26 years in isolation there, died.

Both islands have since become sanctuaries for seabirds, which thrive in the absence of humans.

Mill Rock served as a fortified defensive position during the War of 1812. Today it is used as a nature education center for special events, and Belmont Island was built during the construction of the tunnel underneath.

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