5. Staten Island Marine Hospital
Image from New York Public Library.
In 1858, before Staten Island consolidated with the rest of New York City, the New York Marine Hospital housed around 1,500 persons suffering from infectious diseases. Opened in 1799, the hospital which became known solely as the “Quarantine,” was located in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island.
The Quarantine was accessible primarily by steamboat, and was fortified by six-foot-tall brick walls on all sides. Many of those sent here originally arrived on boats entering New York Harbor which were, according to the Public Health Chronicles, “vigorously inspected. All it took was a single passenger or crew member with an infectious disease for an arriving ship to be redirected from the docks of Brooklyn or Manhattan to the piers of the Quarantine.” The hospital was paid for by taxes on vessels coming into the New York, in the same funding structure that financed the Seaman’s Retreat and Sailors’ Snug Harbor also on Staten Island.
On September 1, 1858 the site was burned down in a mob protest that stemmed from community outrage about the hazards of housing a quarantine hospital of this scale in their area. You can read more about what happened in this riot here.