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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

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MAY 2021 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

54. (The East River)

Shortly before dawn after plying themselves with copious amounts of rum an artist and a friend set out from Long Island City for Belmont Island, a 100-by-200 foot rocky outcropping in the East River near the United Nations Headquarters. Because the Republican National Convention is underway in midtown Manhattan, this part of the East River is under 24-hour surveillance, so it’s vital that their small rowboat reaches its destination before sunrise. Once ashore, the artist scales the 74-foot-high beacon tower dominating the tiny island. There he quickly unfurls a long, glow-in-the-dark pennant featuring two electric eels and declares Belmont Island to be a sovereign nation. Almost as soon as they cast off from the island they are intercepted by a Coast Guard patrol boat. Expecting to be arrested, the two trespassing sailors are relieved when the Coast Guard helpfully ferries them and their boat to the Brooklyn side of the river.

(Duke Riley)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

All Issues