The island is part of the Bronx, although it's reached by a bridge from Queens. Bought by New York City in 1884 from the Ryker family, which had farmed it from the seventeenth century, the island in 1932 became home to a prison meant to replace one on Blackwell's (now Roosevelt) Island in the East River. Gradually enlarged to over four times its original size, Riker's Island today houses fifteen thousand prisoners in eleven jails, and a hospital. It is still, in small part, farmland: with the assistance of the New York Horticultural Society, inmates have been growing vegetables since the '80s.

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