Vintage Aerial Photograph Shows When Wards / Randalls Island Was Three Smaller Islands in 1948

Randalls, Wards, and Sunken Meadow Island in 1948
Randalls, Wards, and Sunken Meadow Island in 1948

Since the early 1960s, the large East River island we know today as Randalls Island used to be three completely separate islands.

In this vintage photograph from 1948, take a peek at Randalls Island (bottom), Wards Island (top), and Sunken Meadow Island (smallest) from above, clearly showing their once-separated borders.

In the 1948 aerial above, Randalls, Wards and Sunken Meadow islands retain their separate forms with Little Hell Gate flowing between the islands to on the extreme top of the photo, the Bronx Kill connecting the Harlem River and the upper East River. Not seen here is Mill Brook, the only stream that drained into the Bronx Kill.

Randalls and Wards Islands
Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Editor in Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's with his partner and son. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time eating, running, and working on cool stuff.

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