New York City's Rat Island Eco Retreat by Jendretzki Design

A former refuge for escaped inmates may soon become a boutique island of net zero prefab cabins off the coast of The Bronx

New York City's Rat Island Eco Retreat by Jendretzki Design


Field Mag


Jendretzki Design

Courtesy Jendretzki Design
Courtesy of your highly caffeinated and ever thankful editorial team at FM HQ

As we like to remind friends, New York City is a beach town. In fact, Manhattan is just one of 44 islands in the New York Archipelago. But the only truly privately owned island of them all is the humble 2.5 acre Rat Island, located in the Long Island Sound just off the coast of The Bronx. Though the island was once used to house typhoid patients in the 1800s, it (Spoiler Alert) in fact has no rats. But it may soon have a posh eco-retreat, thanks to its forward thinking Swiss-American owner and NYC-based Jendretzki Design.

Though totally submerged during storm surge high tides, the rocky outcropping of Manhattan schist is actually a viable build site. The designers behind the Rat Island Eco Retreat concept envision a series of prefab gabled cabins with large glass facades overlooking the sound, with decks and docks to accommodate small boats and canoes. The zero-energy buildings will run on solar and wind power with rainwater collection systems.


With an average of 4.3 stars on google and a reputation for once offering refuge from escaped inmates (aka "rats," hence the name), Rat Island is already both rather well regarded and holds a history of accommodation. The proposed off-grid carbon-neutral retreat concept aims to build on this foundation of public trust—the lone 1-star review simply offers, “not what I was looking for,” and well, maybe this futuristic vision for the island is in fact what they were looking for.


Though conceptual and still in the planning phase, if turning a barely-there lump of rock named Rat Island into a eco-boutique resort is possible anywhere, it’s New York where it might just work. So, be it a pet project by a few bored designers or a potentially viable business, count us as fans.


Published 06-04-2019