5. North Brother Island

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One of the most curious of the other islands is abandoned North Brother Island. Luckily on this boat trip, we were standing next to photographer Christopher Payne, author of North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York (along with Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals and New York’s Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway). North Brother Island was the site of the General Slocum steamship tragedy where over 1,000 people perished, mostly immigrants. The island was also home to Typhoid Mary, where she was quarantined for the last two decades of her life.
Although there are no current plans for North Brother Island and it functions as a wildlife sanctuary, a study is underway to evaluate future public accessibility to the island. The structures on the island still remain, albeit in a state of decline, including a coal and boiler plant, and nurses quarters.