9 and 10. Hoffman and Swinburne islands

East of Staten Island’s South Beach, the Hoffman and Swinburne Islands were constructed from landfill in the 1870s, and served as designated quarantine stations for arriving immigrants who were found to be suffering from contagious diseases, similar to the Ellis Island Southside Hospitals. To prevent the occurrence of a deadly epidemic, a concrete wall barricades each island. Years later, the islands were also used as military training centers. They’ve been off-limits to the public since 1947. For the benefit of avian species, the National Park Service currently manages the eleven-acre Hoffman Island and four-acre Swinburne Island as part of the Staten Island Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area.

Get a copy of Will Ellis’ book Abandoned NYC and join us for a talk and book signing on February 25th at WeWork West Broadway. This article written collectively by Will Ellis and the Untapped Cities staff.