HIGH ISLAND, Long Island Sound

by Kevin Walsh

A clear view of High Island is seen from Orchard Beach. This is a small, uninhabited island northeast of City Island that is owned by CBS Radio; its most prominent features are a pair of radio transmission towers for CBS’ primary NYC properties, WCBS-AM 880 and SportsRadio 66 WFAN. Prior to 1961 it was home to a group of summer rental cottages. A private plane crashed into WCBS’ tower on 8/27/67, the day before WCBS’ new all-news format was set to debut, which was delayed for a week until a temporary tower could be erected.

Though it’s connected to City Island via a footbridge, High Island is currently uninhabited since the transmitters are unmanned. WFAN’s and WCBS’s engineers monitor the towers from remote locations. Mike Bierman was the island’s caretaker between 1997 and 2007, and the farmhouse where he and his family lived is still standing.



KG2V August 15, 2014 - 11:58 am

Not really a foot bridge, It is a one lane bridge capable of handling mid sized trucks so they can get equipment on and off the island. In fact, though no one lives there, there is crew on the island regularly. Lots more info here

Steve October 13, 2018 - 4:30 am

Prior to the island being sold to CBS there were seasonal bungalows on the island. People rented them in the summer.

chris August 18, 2014 - 12:37 pm

But I wonder why it was called “High” island?
Was it given that name by the local teenagers?

John November 10, 2015 - 9:38 pm

Yeah, you can really get “HIGH” off that combined 100,000 watts of power !

Steve October 13, 2018 - 4:32 am

It was named that because it sat high on the water and the shape of a gum drop. Prior to that it was called Shark Island.

John November 10, 2015 - 9:35 pm

High Island is in the Bronx. I was near the footbridge around 2003 or 04 or both. The bridge is by King Ave. & Terrace St. The transmission antennas for WCBS & WFAN are on the same red & white large tower. If you go to the WCBS (AM) Wikipedia page, you can click on the Transmitter coordinates, and then go to Bing Maps & click on “Birds Eye View” & zoom right in ! There is also an auxiliary back-up tower for both these stations. These two stations are official FCC “Clear Channels”. They have “nighttime protection” from other stations on the same frequency from interfering. They both run 50,000 watts day & night. Here in Toledo, Ohio, I am near the edge of their nighttime antenna pattern; barley getting the signal. Other stations, say the many Chicago clears come in at “local station strength”. While living in Brooklyn, one time the two stations were off the air for maintenance late at night. I received a high powered station on 880kHz, KRVN, Lexington,NE at 50,000 watts & CKLQ, Brandon, Manitoba at 10,000 watts ! While the WCBS & WFAN antennas are in the Bronx, WFME 1560’s antenna is in Maspeth, Queens. The remainder of the medium wave (MW) stations licensed to NYC have their antennas physically located in New Jersey; stations like WABC 770 & WOR 710, etc.

johnnie G September 20, 2018 - 4:15 pm

i have a old vhs that i assume was a 8mm tape before it was converted to vhs tape of my family way before i was born vacationing on high island i’m not sure if it was before or after WW2 quite interesting

Steve October 13, 2018 - 4:36 am

High Island was purchased by CBS in 1961. Prior to that there were about 40 summer bungalows rented for vacations. Check out High Island(Bronx) on Wikipedia.

Elaine tatarewitz November 27, 2018 - 9:47 pm

In 1950’s I remember two families that lived on high island in the summers. I was on the island with my mother and also walked in the water from our house on terrace street.To under the high Island bridge at low tide looking for steamer clams. We were allowed on the bridge.The island was beautiful.

Anonymous January 13, 2019 - 4:32 pm

One of my cousins owned High Island and built the footbridge. Another cousin lived in a large log cabin year-round on the island. My mother told me, before the bridge was built, you either rowed across or waited for the tide to go out to walk across. I have fotos of the family picnics and the visits to the main house on King St., City Island. You re-awakened nice memories of my very young years.

vera ialenti January 13, 2019 - 4:46 pm

My cousin (deceased) owned High Island and sold it to CBS. .She built the bridge which starts next to her house on King St. Her sister lived year-round on the island in a large, unique log cabin. My mother told us before the bridge was built you either waited for the tide to go out or rowed across from City Island. I have many fotos of picnics, etc. on the island and at the house on King St. Thanks, you brought back lots of memories from when I was a child. PLEASE WITHOLD MY LAST NAME

Tom Callahan November 15, 2019 - 2:08 pm

On landing on the island by our boat from City Island during the summer of 1960, maybe it was 61, the caretaker pulled out his pistol and detained us for a while. There were 4 of us I think and we all thought that he was crazy. He was an older man. We told him to put the gun away before he hurt one of us. Eventually he did after he made sure that we left the island. We never tried to explore High Island again. At least the navy guards for the Nike installation on Hart Island who had a rifle motioned us not to try to land there. We scuba dove between City and Hart Islands. There is a formation of rocks down there that look like chimneys. When the tide was running you had all you could do to to swim against it.


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