Abandoned buildings on North Brother Island. Source: Christopher Payne
From mass burial grounds to abandoned psychiatric hospitals to haunted townhouses, this is an “architectural” version of a most haunted list.
1. Hart Island
Rikers Island inmates performing adult burials on Hart Island. Photograph by Joel Sternfeld via The Hart Island Project
Located near the Bronx, Hart Island is a 101-acre island burial ground, the city’s last potter’s field, for those who are either 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. There are also some “notable” people buried at Hart Island, discovered after death. Bobby Driscoll, the Disney child actor is buried there. He was the voice of Peter Pan in the animated film and stared in Disney’s Song of the South. He died unknown, thought to be homeless, so was taken here. The grave of the first child to die of AIDS is also on Hart Island.