9. The Smallpox Hospital is NYC’s only landmarked ruin
At the entrance to Four Freedoms Park stand the ruins of the old Smallpox Memorial Hospital. Designed by the architect James Renwick, Jr., the building is also sometimes referred to as the Renwick Ruin. Now crumbling and abandoned, the smallpox hospital provides stark juxtaposition to the sharp lines and tones of gray throughout Four Freedoms Park. The restoration team intends to keep it that way, too.
The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated an official New York City landmark, not as a hospital building, but as the ruin of one. This designation makes the Smallpox Hospital the only landmarked ruin within New York City. The State of New York recently awarded $500,000 dollars to complete further studies and construction documents to entirely stabilize the building. If the hospital is fully restored, it will still bear a resemblance to its current abandoned state, with renovations being made only to reinforce the structure’s stability. The plan is to leave is open to the public, so you can walk through the old hospital still with holes in its walls, its roof unpatched in areas, and ivy growing up the sides.