11. Hoffman & Swinburne Islands

Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, a duo of artificial islands rest close enough to Staten Island‘s shore that a proposal once existed to fill the gap between the landmasses to create a park. Such a proposal might not have existed if the planners had known that the islands originally hosted quarantine stations during the height of immigration into the U.S. in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Constructed entirely of iron in order to keep the structures as airtight as possible, the facilities on the islands included a crematory and a mortuary for the less fortunate patients.
Advances in medical treatment of infectious diseases led to the decline of such facilities, with these two closing in 1923. Having been owned by the Department of Parks and Recreation since 1966, the islands were ironically preserved in order to maintain the “natural” topography of the New York Bay.