“The last unknown place in New York City.” This is the subtitle of the book about North Brother Island by Christopher Payne, and also in the land description of the brilliant, virtual North Brother Island which just opened yesterday, June 29.

The sim is the latest in a series by Serene Footman and Jade Koltai based on real life locations. I have enjoyed all the virtual places they’ve created, and don’t want to take them for granted because there really is nothing else quite like these sims that I know of.

In one of the ruined buildings there’s a projector showing slides on the wall of the historical island. For more information on this project and the history of North Brother Island, please refer to the Furillen blog.

When I arrived on the island, the first thing I noticed was the lush nature sounds, especially those of birdsong. The foliage is dense with old growth trees and underbrush, all very well placed. There’s a surprising number of buildings than it seems at first, and I’m not sure that I found every one. Following the broken paving seems like the best way to navigate.

The sky is gorgeous. I’ve lightened the exposure on these photos, and cropped them; otherwise they are just as what I saw on my viewer.  I enjoyed immersing myself in the sim, and snapped lots of photos.

Many of the builds appear to be custom made for this creative project. I was pleased to see a version of Hackberry Hall by Never Totally Dead.

I can’t imagine the scope of research and planning that goes into creating these sims, but in addition to that, the creators surely must be master shoppers. 

Some of the best photographers in Second Life photograph sims such as these, and it’s interesting to see the variety of images that avatars make. Some of them will be collected in the newly created North Brother Island Flickr group.

North Brother Island won’t be around forever. Some of the Furillen sims are around longer than others, and they’ve all deserved multiple visits.

The sim is atmospheric, and the authentic feel of it is maintained even with the hangout places that avatars expect and enjoy. There are some groupings of comfortable chairs, and someone left lit candles.