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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 5255 times)
Trina Demario
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« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2011, 04:05:33 pm »

The nurses' residence after a snowfall. Construction on this building was finished around 1904.



Main stairwell inside the western (middle) wing of the U-shaped nurses' building.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2011, 04:06:14 pm »



A typical two-room dorm inside the nurses' residence. One half provided sleeping quarters for 1 or 2 nurses, and the other half was a lounge area, with a private sink.



A sink and shelving unit which was a standard fixture in each quarters.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2011, 04:06:51 pm »




Each quarters has a knocker with a nameplate and room designation. This is room 212 in the north wing.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2011, 04:07:20 pm »



The courtyard in the middle of the residence, with a wraparound porch.



An iron spiral staircase on the eastern tip of the southern wing. This room was originally a screened-in porch.



A raptor found dessicated in one of the dormitories. North Brother Island has few food sources for land animals, but maintains a diverse population of birds.



The fourth-floor south hallway has suffered significant water damage, and will soon be impassible.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2011, 04:07:54 pm »



A room at the western tip of the southern wing contains an exam table.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2011, 04:08:37 pm »



The fourth floor landing of the southern staircase.



The southern facade of the building is completely covered in climbing vines such as kudzu. This invasive species, not native to the area, is threatening the trees and the heron population, as well as impacting the structural stability of the buildings.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2011, 04:09:26 pm »



A tennis court, across the road from the nurses' residence, dates back at least to the 1920s.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2011, 04:09:43 pm »

The General Slocum

In 1904, in one of the most catastrophic maritime events in US history, the PS General Slocum, a steamer built just over a decade previous, caught fire in the East River, eventually beaching on North Brother Island. Over a thousand people lost their lives in the disaster, which had a number of disparate causes.

The General Slocum was a passenger transport, and on June 14, 1904, it had been chartered by a church group consisting primarily of women and children for a picnic trip to Long Island. Shortly after disembarking, a fire broke out in one of the machine rooms. A young boy attempted to warn the ship’s crew, but he was ignored. It was fully 10 minutes after the fire started that the captain became aware of it. Instead of beaching the ship immediately, the captain continued on course, straight into the headwinds which were fanning the flames. The ship went up like tinder.

Poor maintenance on board the ship left it without any effective firefighting measures, and the manufacturer of the life preservers had cut costs, rendering them effectively useless – there are reports of mothers strapping their children in and tossing them into the water, only to watch in horror as the jackets bore the children under. The captain eventually beached the ship on North Brother Island; by this point, over 80% of the passengers and crew had died by fire or by drowning. The captain himself jumped ship and got on to the first available lifeboat; he was eventually convicted of criminal negligence and spent 3 years in Sing Sing. For hours after the tragedy, bodies continued to wash up on the shore of North Brother Island, and a number of photographs exist of the beach strewn with victims.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2011, 04:10:03 pm »

"Typhoid" Mary Mallon

The notion of a healthy carrier – a person who acts as a vector for a disease whilst remaining entirely or predominantly asymptomatic – is commonplace in the world of modern medicine. This was not the case a century ago, however, and this perhaps explains the strange and tragic case of Mary Mallon, known the world over as Typhoid Mary. An Irish immigrant who was likely a lifelong carrier of typhoid - her mother had suffered from the disease during the pregnancy - Mary herself never exhibited symptoms. And it was only by chance – and by the clever deductions of physician George Soper – that she was identified as a carrier, the first known case in history. Her own refusal to acknowledge this fact led to two involuntary stays on North Brother Island; the first would last from 1907 to 1910, and the second would last from 1915 until her death in 1938.

Mary was a cook by trade; she worked for a number of families in New York and out on Long Island. Several of these families were mysteriously stricken with typhoid fever over the seven year period she was active, between 1900 and 1907. Soper realized that a previously unknown factor could be at work – Mary could be spreading the bacteria without falling ill herself. When she was approached with this possibility, Mary grew defensive and angry; from her point of view, it didn’t make sense that she could spread the contagion yet not be sick herself.

In 1907, Soper published his research nonetheless, and Mary was seized by the city police and exiled to North Brother Island. Still convinced that she could not possibly be transmitting the disease, she fought for three years to be allowed back to the mainland. Finally, in 1910, she agreed to a proposal by the New York City Health Department that she would not work as a cook, and that she would take all possible hygienic measures to ensure no further cases could be attributed to her. She was allowed to depart North Brother in February of that year.

But she remained unconvinced that she was a vector for the bacterium, and continued her generally unhygienic practices. When she found her salary as a laundress to be significantly lower than what she had made as a cook, she took the pseudonym Mary Brown and began working as a cook in a hospital. Due to her generally poor sanitary habits, she quickly caused another outbreak at the hospital, which infected two dozen people, killing one. City health officials quickly tracked her down, and she was returned to North Brother, this time for the remainder of her life – over two decades on 20 acres of land. She had her own cottage, and eventually began socializing in the Nurses’ Residence and working in the pathology lab (both pictured above). In 1938, Mary died of a stroke. Her cottage was bulldozed, being cluttered and unsanitary to the point that people were afraid to enter the structure. Live typhoid cultures were found during her autopsy.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2011, 04:10:52 pm »

Auxiliary Buildings



A former childrens' ward was converted to a library when Riverside became a rehabilitation hospital.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2011, 04:11:30 pm »



The maintenance building contains general odds and ends; here, some keys sit next to a chemical stalagmite.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2011, 04:12:03 pm »



An old phonebook in the maintenance building is still relatively intact.



Before abandonment of the island, the altarpiece from the chapel was removed to the maintenance building, where it still sits on a table.



The second chapel, made of wood, has almost completely collapsed; all that remains standing is the wall and entryway to the west.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2011, 04:12:42 pm »



A great deal of infrastructure remains on the island. Lampposts, telephone poles, manholes, roads with curbs, and so on all exist, although most are buried in bushes or covered in vines. Here, a fire hydrant is relatively undisturbed.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2011, 04:13:03 pm »

Riverside Repurposed

Riverside Hospital stopped functioning as a quarantine hospital in 1942. It was, for a short time, abandoned, before finding a brief use as housing for World War Two veterans studying at New York colleges. It was serviced by two ferries that would regularly stop at the western slip, but this use proved inefficient and expensive, and when cheaper housing was obtained, the island was once again abandoned. In 1952, it would reopen under the final incarnation of Riverside Hospital – as an experimental juvenile drug treatment facility offered as an alternative to incarceration.

It is interesting to note that the tuberculosis pavilion, built in 1941, was never in fact used to treat tubercular patients. The island was abandoned, and all patients suffering from this disease were moved to alternate municipal facilities. The TB hospital found its first use as a dormitory, and then became the main residence and treatment building for Riverside Hospital’s drug treatment program. The doors to many of the rooms were retrofitted into seclusion rooms with sheet metal reinforcement and heavy deadbolts; these rooms are iconic in discussing the failed experiment in drug treatment undertaken on North Brother, as they spoke to the initial withdrawal management.

A patient, newly arrived at Riverside Hospital and addicted to heroin, would be placed in one of these rooms with no conveniences except for a bare mattress and a mess bucket. They would be forced to undergo withdrawal in the seclusion room without any palliatives; medicine was only given in situations deemed to be life-threatening. After several days, when withdrawal was complete, the patient would be introduced into the general population.

It was believed that this harsh return to reality, followed up by a stay of no less than 90 days on the island, and bolstered by athletics and education, would provide the best chance against relapse. To this end, all of the buildings on the island were remade; the services building became the school, the nurses’ residence became the girls’ dormitory, and the tuberculosis pavilion became the admissions hospital and boys’ residence. The building next to the TB pavilion – originally a childrens’ ward – was remade into a library and annex to the school.

The optimism of the founders of this new program was quickly shattered, however. Recidivism rates were extremely high, and even within a militaristic island hospital designed with quarantine in mind, patients were still finding means of obtaining and using drugs within the hospital. There are accounts of boyfriends making the trip across the Hell Gate in order to visit in the middle of the night; accounts of orderlies getting paid in cigarettes to smuggle heroin on the ferries; accounts of physical and sexual abuse on and by patients. Official literature from the last few years of the program reads as more and more desperate; meanwhile, the city prepared to shutter Riverside entirely. In 1963, the island was abandoned for the third and final time.
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Trina Demario
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« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2011, 04:13:51 pm »

Tuberculosis Pavilion & School


The front of the 1941 tuberculosis pavilion.



A reception area in the central administrative portion of the pavilion.
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