20 Abandoned Places in NYC: Asylums, Hospitals, Power Plants, Islands, Forts

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Our most popular list on Foursquare is our Abandoned NYC list. These are Untapped Cities’ favorite abandoned spots in NYC and the surrounding area. Some are break-in-able, some open to the public, some only for the intrepid. It features some great summer escapes like Fort Totten, Dead Horse Bay and Bannerman’s Island, as well as some great winter expeditions. Some places are harder to access, like Glenwood Power Plant and the Gowanus Batcave (both of which have recently been closed off for gutting/renovation, North Brother Island, and some of the abandoned theaters.

In no particular order, here’s a sampling from our Foursquare Abandoned NYC list:

1. Ellis Island South Side Hospitals

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Hiding in plain sight, the abandoned South Side Hospitals were one of the largest public health undertakings in US history. See more photographs of the amazing buildings and crumbling interiors.

2. North Brother Island

North Brother Island is an island of rich history: a smallpox hospital in the 1850s, where Typhoid Mary died, a home to WWII veterans, and a drug center in the 1950s. It’s now abandoned and off limits to the public. See more.

3. Bannerman’s Island

 Castles? In New York? Why, yes! The ruins of Bannerman’s Island are a must, built by the Bannerman family as warehouse facility for their military surplus business in 1901. Get there by boat or kayak, tours available. See more.

4. Fort Tilden National Park

Formerly, Fort Tilden was a nuclear-armed beach that protected NYC with canons, Nike, Ajax & Hercules missiles. It’s now an explorer’s heaven of crumbling buildings and battlements. See more.

5. Staten Island Boat Graveyard

The city’s only remaining commercial marine salvage yard is located on Staten Island. Wear good shoes and explore are your own risk. Some pictures of the amazing place.

6. Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital

The abandoned smallpox hospital was designed by James Renwick and is a landmarked ruin. The team behind FDR Four Freedoms Park hopes to stabilize it for a visitor’s center. See more.

7. Long Island Railroad Penny Bridge

When you’re visiting the iconic Digester Eggs at the Newtown Creek Wastewater facility (they give tours!), don’t miss this abandoned bridge along the creek next to Calvary CemeterySee more.

8. Abandoned Trolley Cars near the Beard Street Warehouses, Red Hook

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These abandoned trolley cars are actually from Boston and Norway, part of an effort by one man to bring back trolleys to Brooklyn. Read more.

9. Dead Horse Bay

Having served as both land dump and horse rendering plant, Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn is dotted with bottles, horse bones, abandoned boats, and vintage nicknacks including creepy toys and old hand guns. See more.

10. Kullman Diner, West Side Highway

Quite possibly the smallest diner in NYC, its wedged between two buildings. Empty since 2006, the chrome and green diner is now canvased with graffiti. See more.

11. Brooklyn Navy Yard

The fabled Admirals Row saw demolition in Jan ’12 but you can still see the two last townhouses and crumbling manufacturing buildings, along with active work spaces. Read about what’ll happen to the yards.

12. The Queensway

This potential “Queens High Line” would sit on the former tracks of the LIRR Rockaway Branch line . For the intrepid, it’s worth an exploration along the old train tracks. See more.

13. High Line Section Three

Did you know there’s still a section of the High Line that’s still abandoned? We can’t officially tell you how to break in but you can read about it and see photos here. You can also take tours of this section with the High Line this season.

14. City Hall Subway Station

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A beautiful decommissioned subway stop sits below City Hall Park park. See it on a tour with the Transit Museum or stay on the 6 train after Brooklyn Bridge station. See more.

 15. World’s Fair Site in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

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It’s the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair and there’s a documentary in the works, along with public meetings about how to save the Tent of Tomorrow and other structures. See more.

16. Red Hook Grain Terminal

It’s been nearly fifty years since a freighter docked at the Red Hook Grain Terminal; now black mold overspreads its concrete silos like a mourning veil. See more.

17. The Secret Train Platform Under the Waldorf-Astoria

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The idle armored train cart that sits at the station. Photo source: Sam Horine/Gothamist.

The now barren subterranean space once served as a means to transport the Waldorf-Astoria’s more famous guests discreetly, like General Pershing and FDR. It also supposedly served as an underground party space for Andy Warhol in 1965. Read more.

18. The Lowline (Essex Delancey Williamsburg Bridge Rail Terminal)

Observant riders of the JMZ lines are likely to have noticed a curious open space alongside the tracks at the Delancey/Essex station, the location for the proposed Lowline park. This dark and seemingly vacant 60,000 square foot lot is a remnant of NYC’s trolley era and dates back to 1903. Read more.

19. Hart Island

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The skeletal structures of the Hart Island Pavilion Building have gone untouched since 1976. Image via the Kingston Lounge.

The 101-acre Hart Island serves as the city’s last potter’s field, for the dead who are unclaimed or whose families couldn’t afford a funeral. The island is uninhabited today, but more than 800,000 dead has been buried there since 1869, making it the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world. Have a look into the crumbling women’s asylum as well.

20. Glenwood/Yonkers Power Plant

Located seven miles north of the Manhattan stands the ruin of the Glenwood/Yonkers power station associated with the New York Central and Hudson River Railroads. Interior demolition has begun with plans to convert it into a hotel and conference center. See photos from 2012 and 2013.

Bonus: 7 Abandoned Subway Stations and 9 Abandoned and Incomplete Subway Platforms and Levels

See more from our Abandoned NYC Foursquare List.We add new lists and update regularly, so follow us on Foursquare for more tips.

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