3. Roosevelt Island Smallpox Castle

Abandoned NYC-Renwick Smallpox Hospital-Roosevelt Island-South Point Park-FDR Four Freedoms Park-Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_Abandoned Hospitals-4Photo by Abandoned NYC

The smallpox hospital, completed in 1856 in a Gothic-revival style, was designed by James Renwick Jr., who also designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Madison Avenue. For the 19 years the hospital operated (until 1875), approximately 7,000 patients were treated here. In 1875, the hospital relocated to North Brother Island because Blackwell’s Island had become too populated and the building was converted into a nurses dormitory. By the 1950s, the original smallpox hospital was abandoned.

In 1975, the Landmarks Preservation Committee declared the structure a city landmark, and the only landmarked ruin in New York City. Today, you can visit the ruin (not inside, but along the sides) through a walk in South Point Park, just before the entrance to FDR Four Freedoms Park.