We’re doing a bunch of fun events with Will Ellis, the author of Abandoned NYC and Untapped Cities columnist, over the next few months. We hosted the first book talk when Abandoned NYC was released, and we’ll be hosting it again on February 25th at WeWork West Broadway. Tickets are also going fast to his guided tour of Dead Horse Bay in March. He’s curated this list of New York City’s abandoned hospitals for us, a remnant of a darker medical past when the diseased and undesirables were placed far from civilization.
1. North Brother Island
North Brother Island has a mythic status amongst urban explorers because it ranks among the more difficult to access, with its proximity to Rikers Island and the heavy vegetation that canvases the island in the warmer months. Will Ellis and Christopher Payne, who has a wonderful photography book about North Brother Island, visited the island legally through the NYC Parks Department.
Established as a city hospital for quarantinable diseases in 1885, it became a disreputable rehab center for adolescent drug addicts prior to its abandonment in the 1960s. To add to the intrigue, the island was the site of a catastrophic shipwreck and the residence of the notorious Typhoid Mary. Today, it’s kept in its crumbling state because it’s a bird sanctuary.