The Top 10 Secrets of NYC’s Randall’s and Wards Islands

Randalls10secrets-RandallsAndWardsAerial-Randalls-Manhattan-Jarrett LyonsRandall’s Island and Wards Island by Roy Googin on Wikimedia Commons

When most people think of Randall’s Island, they immediately think of the popular Governors Ball Music Festival, which has drawn thousands of people to the island every year since its 2011 launch. However, what many do not know is that Randall’s Island is connected to a lesser-known island, Wards Island. Both islands share a rich history filled with many fascinating secrets and facts. Here are our top ten.

1. The Two Islands Were Joined at a Landfill

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Though usually referred to separately, Randall’s and Wards Island are actually conjoined islands. They are surrounded by the Harlem River separating them from Manhattan and the East River and Hell Gate, which separate them from Queens. The Bronx is separated from the islands by Bronx Kill.

A narrow channel called “Little Hell Gate” formerly separated the two islands. However, in 1930, The Metropolitan Conference of Parks recommended turning the two spaces into parks. Robert Moses made plans to connect Randall’s and Ward using landfills. Thus, this narrow channel was filled by the early 1960s under his direction. Because of this, Randall’s and Wards Islands are now connected.

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