Islands of New York," a documentary based on the 1996 book
by Park Slope authors Sharon Seitz and Stuart Miller, airs Aug.
13 at 8 pm on WNET, channel 13. Four of New York City’s five
boroughs are on islands but there are more than 30 others in
the city’s waters. This new documentary includes interviews with
Seitz and Miller about the islands’ obscure, fascinating and
occasionally infamous histories, residents (Mae West, Boss Tweed
and "Grandpa" Al Lewis, among them) and wildlife.
The hour-long documentary is poorly edited and in dire need of
more footage of the islands as they look today, but it’s guaranteed
to pique your interest - and maybe even inspire you to hit the
waters for a closer look. For instance, Broad Channel (pictured)
in Jamaica Bay was formerly called "Little Cuba" in
its heyday, referring to its speakeasies and summer lifestyle
that mirrored Havana in the 1920s - making it a popular destination
for well-to-do New Yorkers during Prohibition.
Now you can take Cross Bay Boulevard - or the A train - there
to enjoy the picturesque houses on stilts and the scent of bayberries.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010