Between Rikers Island and the Bronx lies a is a small island in the East River known as North Brother Island. The island is small, about 400 meters by 250 meters and covered in overgrown trees, bushes and weeds. However, underneath those weeds are a group of buildings that have long been forgotten….
North Brother Island was uninhabited until 1885 when Riverside Hospital moved there from Roosevelt Island, according to Wikipedia:
Riverside Hospital was founded in the 1850s as the Smallpox Hospital to treat and isolate victims of that disease. Its mission eventually expanded to other quarantinable diseases. Typhoid Mary (the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier) was confined to the island for over two decades until she died there in 1938.
The hospital closed shortly thereafter. After World War II, the island housed war veterans who were students at local colleges, along with their families. After the nationwide housing shortage abated, the island was once again abandoned.
In the 1950s a center opened to treat adolescent drug addicts. The facility claimed to be the first to offer treatment, rehabilitation, and education facilities to young drug offenders. Heroin addicts were confined to this island and locked in a room until they were clean. By the early 1960s widespread staff corruption and patient recidivism forced the facility to close.
Now a bird sanctuary, the island is currently abandoned and off-limits to the public. Most of the original hospitals’ buildings still stand, but are heavily deteriorated and in danger of collapse. A dense forest conceals the ruined hospital buildings, and from the 1980s through the early 2000s it supported one of the area’s largest nesting colonies of Black-crowned Night Heron. However as of 2011 this species has abandoned the island for unknown reasons.
However, while it may be off limits, that rarely stops urban explorers! These photos were taken by Reddit user Victav who explored the abandoned island with his friend by using kayak’s to get across the water. They then spent 3 hours exploring the island and taking these great photos.
According to Victav you have to be very sneaky to get across as the area is strongly monitored by NYPD due to the proximity of the airport, power plant, prison and water treatment facility.
The Abandoned Island In The Middle Of New York