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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 5428 times)
Trina Demario
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2011, 03:51:47 pm »

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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2011, 03:52:41 pm »

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« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2011, 03:54:24 pm »

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« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2011, 03:55:45 pm »

The Kingston Lounge

Guerrilla preservation and urban archaeology. Brooklyn and beyond.




overgrown main road running north-south through the island; to the right are the nurses' residence and doctors' cottage, and to the left, the maintenance building and tennis courts.


A Brief Introduction

Of all the forgotten and mysterious places in the Five Boroughs of New York City, few have histories as rich and interesting as that of North Brother Island. Situated in the Hell Gate, a particularly treacherous stretch of the East River, North Brother was home to the quarantine hospital that housed Typhoid Mary, was the final destination of the General Slocum during its tragic final voyage, and was the site of an experimental drug treatment program which failed due to corruption. Riverside Hospital, the name of the facility on the island throughout its various incarnations, treated everything from smallpox and leprosy to venereal disease and heroin addiction; after the Second World War, it housed soldiers who were studying under the GI bill. The entirety of the island has been abandoned since 1963; over a dozen buildings remain, in various states of disrepair.


http://kingstonlounge.blogspot.com/
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2011, 03:57:04 pm »



gantry crane at the ferry slip which would transport patients and staff to its sister slip in Port Morris.


North Brother Island remains off-limits to the public due to its designation as a protected nesting area, and it is home to a rare colony of black-crowned night herons. As such, it remains an inscrutable mystery to most New Yorkers, even though it is closer to the Empire State Building than most of Brooklyn. Derelict for nearly half a century, it provides fascinating glimpses into demolition by neglect, into the architecture of quarantine, and into the collective history of the islands of the outer boroughs; like Hart Island to the northeast, and Blackwell’s Island to the southwest, North Brother was used as a dumping ground for indigent New Yorkers stricken with social disease. Here is a look at the island in its present condition, as well as a brief overview of its history.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2011, 03:57:45 pm »

The Western Buildings



An access road leads between the morgue to the right, and the physical plant and coal house to the left.


The situation of the building which housed the morgue and pathology labs right beside the ferry dock at first seems a little strange – why would the island’s planners put a building symbolic of death near the entry point of a place where the hope was recovery and convalescence? The answer lies in the fact that this building was originally the island’s chapel – explaining the gothic-arched windows inlaid with stained glass, as well as its odd location. When the island’s population expanded, a new wooden chapel was built to the south; the old chapel was repurposed. This proved convenient during outbreaks as well; bodies could be removed to the potter's field on Hart Island or to other cemeteries with relative haste after autopsy.


The refrigeration room in the morgue. Individual cabinets for corpses were not used in this morgue. Mary Mallon - widely known as Typhoid Mary - worked in the pathology lab in the same building during her second confinement on the island.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2011, 03:58:24 pm »



The exam table in the morgue. Note that this was not the autopsy table, which would have been a single-piece lipped table with sluices for the blood to drain. Sadly, this artifact was removed from the island in late 2008.
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2011, 03:58:59 pm »



Lightning struck the larger smokestack in the 1990s, obliterating several feet of heavy bricks. Here, a number of these bricks have destroyed the roof of the morgue/pathology building.



A view of the physical plant (left) and coal house (right) from the roof of the morgue. In the distance, the maintenance building and the top of the nurses' residence are visible.


North Brother Island was remarkably self-sufficient; while it required that food and water be brought in, the former by ferry and the latter by pipeline, it was able to provide steam, electricity, and eventually, an internal telephone system and electrical fire alarm system. The physical plant contained all of the necessary machinery to power the island via coal, which was stored in a large building to the south of the plant. A separate ferry dock was built specifically for the quick importation of coal to the island.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2011, 03:59:47 pm »



The interior of the coal house, facing east.
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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2011, 04:00:38 pm »



A 1,000 lb scale in between the coal house and physical plant, presumably used to weigh coal.
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« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2011, 04:01:11 pm »



The main building of the physical plant in winter.
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« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2011, 04:01:52 pm »



A west-facing view of the interior of the physical plant; at the end are the southernmost boilers.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2011, 04:03:23 pm »



The northernmost boilers, two stories tall.
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« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2011, 04:03:55 pm »

For Quarantine Alone

Island quarantine hospitals were a fairly common phenomenon in the 19th century through the middle of the 20th, and on the tip of Long Island, the US Government’s only quarantine facility for animal disease is still in operation on Plum Island. This usage makes sense – access to and from the island could be controlled, escape would be difficult, and it was correctly thought that the sources of contagion would not naturally pass over a body of water. Blackwell’s Island, later Welfare Island and now Roosevelt Island, housed a quarantine hospital known as Riverside, as well as the municipal insane asylum and other city facilities. Riverside Hospital, a smallpox hospital still partially extant and known as the Renwick Ruins after its architect, was overcrowded by the 1870s, and so a plan was put in place to build a new island hospital specifically for the quarantine of contagious disease.

Contrary to a persistent urban legend involving a Catholic orphanage or nunnery, North Brother Island was almost completely undeveloped when work began on it in the 1880s. The only structure present on the island when work began was a small shack. In 1885, the first patients were received at the second incarnation of Riverside Hospital. Various pavilions and tents were hastily constructed to segregate different diseases; smallpox, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, typhoid, diptheria, and even leprosy were demarcated on the island. The architecture was bland and utilitarian, and the treatment methodologies were primitive, but for the time being, the overcrowding on Blackwell’s Island was no longer an issue.

Other issues soon arose, however. It was difficult to find physicians willing to work shifts on the island, and at various times, the island might have been entirely without a true doctor – nurses would have to make do with what knowledge they had. Conditions on the island were rather dreadful. The early incarnation of the physical plant was not powerful enough to counter a bad winter, and thus the heat was rationed out; consequentially, death rates rose dramatically in the colder months. At various times, when weather did not permit the ferries to run, there were food shortages.

These issues, of course, were nonissues for the well-to-do, who could afford private care and thus would never set foot on the island. The indigent and immigrant populations, however, developed a healthy – but counterproductive – fear of the island. Because few came back from North Brother, and those that did told of deplorable conditions, many hid the fact that they were ill, and thus continued to act as vectors (infecting agents) for various contagions. Robert Martin, a merchant treated on the island, remarked that “the experience while there can be compared to the Black Hole of Calcutta” – this only 16 years after the facility opened. Thus, in 1902, the city began a campaign to change both the operation and the image of North Brother. Visitations were allowed, within reason, whereas previously they had been forbidden. Concrete and masonry pavilions replaced shoddy wooden buildings and tents. Doctors were available now at all times, and the nursing staff was bolstered. A telephone system was put into place, and connected with the City telephone system, allowing patients to have contact with relatives. Although the fear of the island was not eradicated, it was somewhat abated by these measures.

By 1914, the island primarily functioned to treat tuberculosis and venereal diseases. Smallpox had been eradicated in the United States by the late 1890s, and most other contagious diseases were treatable to the point that they could be handled by hospitals within the Boroughs. Tuberculosis, however, was still not well understood, and a great deal of stigma was attached to the illness. Thus, Riverside would be one of several island facilities in New York to treat the disease from the safe position of quarantine. Seaview Hospital on Staten Island, and buildings on Swinburne and Hoffman islands, would also provide quarantine facilities for the City. Treatment of tuberculosis would be the primary goal of North Brother Island between 1915 and its first closure in 1942.

Doctors' Cottage & Nurses' Residence


The western facade of the doctors' cottage, the interior of which is largely collapsed. The utilitarian municipal architecture has some nice flourishes, such as the third-floor dormers and romanesque entryway.



Second floor of the doctors' cottage, looking south into the collapsed western wing of the building.


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« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2011, 04:04:49 pm »

A remarkably undisturbed room on the third floor of the southern wing of the building.



Although the wall of this bathroom floor has fallen away, the tub is still securely in place.



The pathway in between the doctors' cottage to the left, and the nurses' residence to the right

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