Since being abandoned by the US Coast Guard because of budget cuts a decade ago, the 175-acre island has been occupied by a handful of National Parks workers and a larger colony of Canada Geese. But if Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, it will be transformed into New York's newest must-see destination - an offshore oasis of culture, calm and greenery.
The city has invited private developers to submit proposals for its future. Already a hundred groups have responded. The ideas range from building an arts college there to the remaking of one of its forts to create the New Globe Theater, modelled on the Globe Theatre in London. Another idea is to link the island to Manhattan with a cable car.