Randall's Island
Randall's Island is situated in the East River
East River
The East River is a tidal strait in New York City. It connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. It separates Long Island from the island of Manhattan and the Bronx on the North American mainland...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, part of the borough of Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

. It is separated from Manhattan island on the west by the river's main channel, from Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

 on the east by the Hell Gate
Hell Gate
Hell Gate is a narrow tidal strait in the East River in New York City in the United States. It separates Astoria, Queens from Randall's Island/Wards Island ....

, and from the Bronx on the north by the Bronx Kill
Bronx Kill
The Bronx Kill is a narrow strait in New York City delineating the southernmost extent of the Bronx and separating it from Randall's Island. It connects the Harlem River to the East River.-History:...

. It is joined to Wards Island on the south by a landfill
A landfill site , is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment...

, the site of former Little Hell Gate
Little Hell Gate
Little Hell Gate was a waterway in New York City, New York, USA. It passed between Randall's Island and Wards Island, near the confluence of the Harlem River and East River....

. Together, the two islands form New York County's Census Tract
Census tract
A census tract, census area, or census district is a geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census. Usually these coincide with the limits of cities, towns or other administrative areas and several tracts commonly exist within a county...

 240, which had a total population of 1,386 living on 2.2 km² of land area, according to the United States Census, 2000
United States Census, 2000
The Twenty-second United States Census, known as Census 2000 and conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000, to be 281,421,906, an increase of 13.2% over the 248,709,873 persons enumerated during the 1990 Census...

. Administratively, it is part of the borough of Manhattan.


Native Americans called the island Minnahanonck. It was purchased from the Indians in 1637 by Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 Governor Wouter Van Twiller
Wouter van Twiller
Wouter van Twiller was an employee of the Dutch West India Company and the Director-General of New Netherland from 1633 until 1638...

 and used for farming. John Montresor
John Montresor
Captain John Montresor was a British military engineer in North America.-Early life:Born in Gibraltar 22 April 1736 to British military engineer James Gabriel Montresor and his first wife, Mary Haswell, John Montresor spent his early life there...

, an engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

 with the British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 army, purchased the island in 1772. He lived on it, now renamed Montresor's Island, with his wife until the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 forced him to deploy. The British used his island to launch amphibious attacks on Manhattan, and Montresor's house there was burned in 1777. He resigned his commission and returned to England in 1778, but retained ownership of the island until the British evacuated the city in 1783 and it was confiscated. It was purchased by Jonathan Randel (or Randal) in 1784, at which time it acquired its familiar name, if with different spelling. His heirs sold it to the city in 1835 for $60,000.

In the 19th century, Randall's Island became home to an orphan asylum, poor house, burial ground
Burial Ground
Burial Ground is the ninth studio album by Swedish death metal band Grave, released in June 2010.-Track listing:# "Liberation" - 3:40# "Semblance In Black" - 7:50# "Dismembered Mind" - 6:10# "Ridden With Belief" - 7:57# "Conquerer" - 4:44...

 for the poor, idiot asylum, homeopathic hospital
A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals often, but not always, provide for inpatient care or longer-term patient stays....

 and rest home for Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; " A veteran of ..."...

s. It was also site of the New York House of Refuge
New York House of Refuge
The New York House of Refuge was the first youth detention center in the United States. The building was located in Manhattan, New York City, at Randall's Island.-External links:*...

, a reform school
Reform school
A reform school in the United States was a term used to define, often somewhat euphemistically, what was often essentially a penal institution for boys, generally teenagers.-History:...

 completed in 1854 for juvenile delinquents or juveniles adjudicated as vagrants
Vagrancy (people)
A vagrant is a person in poverty, who wanders from place to place without a home or regular employment or income.-Definition:A vagrant is "a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging;" vagrancy is the condition of such persons.-History:In...


The art deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 Triborough Bridge Authority Building, the former office and base of Robert Moses
Robert Moses
Robert Moses was the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, and Westchester County, New York. As the shaper of a modern city, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of...

 still stands on the island.


Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) was founded in 1992 as a public-private partnership to work on behalf of Randall's Island Park. The Foundation, in conjunction with City leadership, works to develop sports and recreational facilities, restore its natural environment, reclaim and maintain parkland, and sponsor programs for children. RISF's signature facility on Randall's Island, Icahn Stadium
Icahn Stadium
Icahn Stadium is a track and field venue located on Randall's Island, in New York City, and is one of only four Class 1 internationally certified tracks in the United States.-Overview:...

, was opened on April 23, 2005. The Stadium, a world-class track & field facility, is capable of hosting local, regional and national events.

66 fields will be available following redevelopment and will accommodate a greater variety of sports, including football, lacrosse, field hockey, and rugby amongst the sports already played at the Park, soccer, baseball and softball. The project will help satisfy demand for playing fields by the City's youth and adult leagues. The City's total ball field inventory will increase by 5% and Manhattan's inventory will increase by approximately 30%.

RISF also runs its free Randall's Island Kids (RIK) youth programs at the Park. Working with over 120 local public schools and community-based organizations in East Harlem and the South Bronx
South Bronx
The South Bronx is an area of the New York City borough of The Bronx. The neighborhoods of Tremont, University Heights, Highbridge, Morrisania, Soundview, Hunts Point, and Castle Hill are sometimes considered part of the South Bronx....

, RIK brings thousands of children to the Park each year for a range of free sports and environmental education activities year- round. In addition, RISF hosts RIK CAMP, a free six-week long summer camp that also brings thousands children from the neighboring communities to the Park every summer. The increase in field availability will allow more public use of the Island and provide for expansion of RIK program.

As part of the improvements on the Island, two natural environments, a salt marsh and a freshwater wetland, have been established. Through the process of excavating over 20000 cubic yards (15,291.1 m³) of debris, installing clean sand, and planting native marsh grasses, 4 acres (16,187.4 m²) of salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

 has been created surrounding the Little Hell Gate
Little Hell Gate
Little Hell Gate was a waterway in New York City, New York, USA. It passed between Randall's Island and Wards Island, near the confluence of the Harlem River and East River....

 Inlet on the western edge of the Island. Just across from the salt marsh, 4 acres (16,187.4 m²) of freshwater wetlands were also restored. After the removal of almost 15000 cubic yards (11,468.3 m³) of debris and fill, the freshwater wetland site was planted with native herbaceous, shrub, and tree species, such as switchgrass, aster, dogwood, and oak. In addition, the restoration projects play a crucial role in an innovative Park-wide filtration system that collects storm water from the adjacent sports fields, pathways and paved areas and channels it through the Wetlands, where the new plants naturally filter pollutants before reaching the East River and the Long Island Sound.

A newly renovated Randall's Island Golf Center opened in 2008. The new 25 acres (101,171.5 m²) $500,000 renovation will have a two-tier indoor/outdoor, 82-stall driving range, 320 yards (292.6 m) of landing area, a 36-hole mini-golf course, grass tees, a short game area with sand bunker, PGA instructors, and 9 batting cages.

The new SPORTIME Randall's Island Tennis Center opened in July, 2009. It features 20 courts, 10 har-tru and 10 rubberized hard (5 indoor), along with a cafe, pro shop, fitness facilities and locker rooms. From May–October, 10 courts are reserved for NYC Parks Tennis Permit holders during the daylight hours. In the winter, all 15 outdoor courts are bubbled for use by club members. The Tennis Center is also the home to the NYC Sportimes of the World Team Tennis league and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. Programming at Randall's Island includes visits by Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil , is a Canadian entertainment company, self-described as a "dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment." Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, it was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy...

 and summer concert series, as well as wetland, nature and gardening programs conducted by RISF.

In 2008 Randall's Island hosted a variety of events, including the Nike Human+Race on August 31. Over 10,000 runners participated in a 10k race course that circled the Island and concluded in Icahn Stadium. The race was followed by a concert featuring the All-American Rejects on the Harlem River Event site.

On May 31, 2008, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt
The Honourable Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, C.D. , is a Jamaican sprinter and a five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist. He is the world record and Olympic record holder in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and the 4×100 metres relay...

 broke the world record for the men's 100-meter dash at the Fourth Annual Reebok Grand Prix
Reebok Grand Prix
The Adidas Grand Prix, formerly the Reebok Grand Prix, is an annual athletics meeting at the Icahn Stadium in New York City, United States. Previously one of the IAAF Grand Prix events, it is now part of the IAAF Diamond League.-World records:...

 with a "lightning" speed time of 9.72 seconds. Bolt's win brought the packed house of over 6,000 people to their feet.

Future plans include a greenway under the Amtrak Hell Gate Viaduct, with a connection to the South Bronx Greenway, additional waterfront pathway sections, a naturalized "living shoreline," and further environmental restoration.

RISF's Management, Restoration & Development Plan is being carried out through a calibrated balance of individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy and public funding, alongside private investment in facilities planned to generate much-needed revenue toward Park maintenance.
The RFK-Triborough Bridge complex, whose hub is located on the island, provides vehicular and pedestrian access from the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. The railroad viaduct approach to the Hell Gate Bridge
Hell Gate Bridge
The Hell Gate Bridge or Hell's Gate Bridge is a steel through arch railroad bridge between Astoria in the borough of Queens and Randall's and Wards Islands in New York City, over a portion of the East River known...

 passes overhead. The Wards Island Bridge leads to Manhattan. The island is home to the New York City Fire Department
New York City Fire Department
The New York City Fire Department or the Fire Department of the City of New York has the responsibility for protecting the citizens and property of New York City's five boroughs from fires and fire hazards, providing emergency medical services, technical rescue as well as providing first response...

's training academy, an NYC DEP Wastewater Treatment Plant, homeless shelters, the Manhattan Psychiatric Center and other public facilities. The majority of the island, however, is city parkland.

External links

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