Much of the island is in the shadow of the East Borough Bridge which connects the three boroughs. They have toll booths ($5) that the player must go through, in order to go north to Bohan, or west to Algonquin. Driving through the toll booth without stopping will automatically result with one star added to the players wanted level (assuming they are not wanted prior to).
Charge Island is almost entirely dedicated to industrial activity, the enormous East Borough Bridge and water treatment facility make it decidedly unappealing for residential development; in addition to the aforementioned bridge foundations and sewage works, the island features a boathouse, cargo dock and fuel repository, with an oil tanker docked there at the time of Grand Theft Auto IV.
The island is featured twice in the game's story, in the missions Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend and Catch the Wave. A little forest with a creek is also present in the west part of the island. The small creek is based on the Little Hell Gate in the middle of the island. The unnamed channel to the east is based on Hell Gate in Astoria. The shorter channel on the northern tip of the island is based on Bronx Kill, though that the Bronx Kill is much smaller in person. Charge Island is based on Randall's Island.
The Charge Island Desalination plant is the main location of the Climax mission (Salt in the Wound) in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, where Huang Lee pursues his uncle Wu Lee through the plant aided by Wade Heston. There is also a baseball field in the northern part, which is identical to the one in Meadows Park.
- The name of the island is a reference to the fact that there are toll booths on the island, therefore charging people a toll to get through.