Prisoners of the Lower East Side

Kurt Russell had it easy Despite being in sight of two boroughs and a very large airport, Rikers Island lulls us with psychological assurance of feeling remote and entirely sequestered from our regular world. But never fear, New Yorkers; there are prisons all over the damn city. Take the Bayview Correctional Facility, a former Seaman’s… Read More


PODCAST: Rikers Island

What do Salvador Dali, John Jacob Astor, Peter Stuyvesant, the Civil War, and a big pile of trash have to do with the world’s biggest penal colony? We connect the dots in this history of Rikers Island. Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to… Read More

Wild Boys: New York’s Brother Islands

Above: North Brother island and its lighthouse The Brother Islands, two almost forgotten islands in the channel between Queens and the Bronx, have finally gotten some respect. Over the years North Brother, the big brother, has been used for a host of unusual purpose, home to the wounded, the drug addicted and the diseased. South,… Read More

Mysteries of Roosevelt Island: Jailhouse jitters

We’ve got some more on that wacky, wonderful place called Roosevelt Island. We highlighted some of the spookier stuff last week. Read it all here. I mentioned earlier that Roosevelt Island was named for a Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial that was never built there. Perhaps the reason that doesn’t bother anybody is that’s a far… Read More