Barretto Point Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, November 29, 2007

South Brother Island Goes To The Birds

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

South Brother Island is an approximately six-acre island situated in the East River near Rikers Island and the Hunts Point and Port Morris communities. Home to a large nesting colony of herons and egrets, South Brother Island is one of the most important natural areas in the Bronx. On November 20, its deed was transferred to Parks, ensuring that it remains a unique natural preserve. South Brother Island now joins its “twin,” North Brother Island, in creating a family of wildlife refuges in and around the South Bronx.

In 2001, the City assigned Parks jurisdiction over the publicly-owned lands extending outward from the shores of South Brother Island. The island itself was owned by Hampton Scows, Inc. The recent acquisition of South Brother Island was directly negotiated and completed with approximately $2 million in funds allocated by Congressman Jose Serrano through NOAA’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program.

The acquisition was executed by The Trust for Public Land on behalf of the recipients of the NOAA funding, The Wildlife Conservation Society and The Point Community Development Corporation. The Trust for Public Land then donated South Brother Island to Parks for public ownership, management, and natural resource protection.

South Brother Island has been a long-standing acquisition priority for many years. The preservation of the island for its bird habitat value is recommended in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan of November 2006, approved by the New York State Department of State, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Department of Environmental Conservation. The island is a part of the Harbor Herons Wildlife Complex, a group of natural areas in New York City consisting of four islands in the New York Harbor and tidal and freshwater marshes, ponds, creeks located along the shores of Staten Island. The Wildlife Complex supports the largest breeding population of colonial water birds in the northeastern United States. South Brother Island is also part of the East River/Long Island Sound Special Natural Waterfront Area, designated through the City’s coastal management policy called the New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program.

Parks & Recreation is the steward of almost 29,000 acres of land, or 14 percent of New York City, and has acquired 300 acres of parkland under the Bloomberg Administration. South Brother Island is the 13th island in New York City to come under the Parks Department’s jurisdiction. In the Bronx, Parks oversees Goose, Hog, Cat Briar, North Brother, South Brother, and the two Chimney Sweep Islands.


From correspondence written to the Commissioner’s office…

To whom it may concern:
I wanted to express my gratitude for the NYC rec centers. I joined over a year ago and started using the Red Hook, Chelsea and Sunset Park centers consistently for about 6 months. I’ve lost 20 pounds, gained some muscle and at age 37 my health is better than it’s ever been. The centers are clean and well staffed. Occasionally a machine is out of service for a few weeks, but other than that I feel the equipment provided is plentiful. I’m astounded that it only costs $75 a year. I wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of a gym in NYC if it wasn’t for this service. It’s changed my life for the better in so many ways. Thank you for continuing this wonderful service for the residents of New York.
Martin Quinn

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed
to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”
Will Rogers
(1879 – 1935)

Park Information

Directions to Barretto Point Park

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