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Haunting, Abandoned Island In New York City (PHOTOS)

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Author Topic: Haunting, Abandoned Island In New York City (PHOTOS)  (Read 5467 times)
Trina Demario
Superhero Member
Posts: 3854

« Reply #60 on: January 22, 2011, 04:24:29 pm »


Riverside Hospital, in each of its incarnations and with its shifting goals, was always an optimistic undertaking with underwhelming results. The cost of running a quarantine hospital on an island, along with advances in medicine and poor living conditions, outmoded the facility to the point that it closed. In its later life, it was a valiant attempt by some high-minded individuals to treat another societal ill, that of drug abuse. But once again, poor conditions and institutionalized corruption led to its closure. In both cases, the patients were generally poor, and generally confined to the island against their will, though in both cases their confinement was supposed to be for the greater good of society. This sentiment seems fitting:

Found on the wall in one of the seclusion rooms in the TB pavilion, it was certainly the writing of one of the youthful drug offenders in the last months of Riverside’s functioning. But it could just as easily have been written 78 years earlier, by an immigrant confined for displaying signs of diptheria just as the hospital opened, or perhaps in the 1930s by Mary Mallon. The one thing uniting almost all patients in the various versions of Riverside that existed is that they did not wish to be there; they were being treated for socially stigmatized diseases and disorders, by a society that kept them against their will. Whether the end result was positive or negative is a question for history to decide.

Today, North Brother Island looks more or less as seen in the photographs shown here, and in some cases, worse. There are no plans to rehabilitate the buildings or reuse the island; it will remain under the jurisdiction of the New York City Parks Department, and will remain a bird sanctuary. In another year or two, the fourth floor of the nurses’ residence will be inaccessible. It won’t be long before the doctors’ cottage finishes falling in upon itself, much as the lighthouse and chapel have already done. The TB pavilion, constructed with more modern techniques and materials, will be around a good while longer. Meanwhile, the pundits can debate whether or not the island has accomplished more good or ill for society; one thing that is beyond debate is the fact that the island has a unique and fascinating history, and one that should not be forgotten.
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