Day 6

"Glasshole"- a term I learn from my friend Gabriel Willow, naturalist and boat tour guide for the Audubon Society, when he greets me onto the NYC Water Taxi. We are headed towards North Brother Island, located on the East River just south of Riker's between the Bronx and Queens. The site of the infamous Typhoid Sanitariums where Typhoid Mary was quarantined until she died in her 70's- according to Gabrielle, she was the last "patient" on the island along with a hand full of nuns. Gabriel asks, "How did the nuns not get Typhoid? Maybe they prayed a lot."

North Brother Island is a bird sanctuary now; we witnessed a family of Peregrine Falcons, once extinct from the area, get attacked by an Osprey, a larger bird of prey from the Eagle family. The sanitarium buildings are still there, visible beneath the overgrowth that slowly tares down the remnants of its haunted history. It's not symbolic that Rikers sits in the background, New York's contemporary version of systematized disappearance.

I accept being called a glasshole, although not in the same way someone wears Google Glasses. I'm a glasshole because of the history that I see narrated by the landscape, inscribed in the geography of islands that I live in.

Ali Yaycioglu's On The Ground Account in Turkey, Posted on FB by Konstantina Zanou