The Islands of the Undesirables Across Harlem River

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(Randall’s Island and Ward’s Island as seen from Upper East Side, NY.)

A set of islands, just across the Harlem River, is where New York used to send “the tired, poor, sick and criminal… to be treated (or sometimes just confined).” They came to be known as the Islands of the Undesirables.

Among these islands are Randall’s and Ward’s, which were distinct islands until the 1960’s when New York dumped its rubble to fill the gap.

Talk about a dubious history!

But today the combined island is home to a park and a stadium (where Usain Bolt broke a world record), and hosts the Governor’s Ball Music Festival. It also has the NY Fire Department training academy where various structures are built to simulate all kinds of environments fire fighters might encounter (including a subway tunnel, a helipad, and a ship).

Undesirable no more.


Dubious