6. Hoffman and Swinburne Islands
Two islands off the coast of Staten Island originally hosted quarantine stations during the height of immigration into the United States. Constructed from landfill in the 1870s, they 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 with structures made of iron to keep them 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. Years later, the islands were also used as military training centers. Under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks and Recreation since 1966, the islands were preserved in order to maintain the “natural” topography of the New York Bay.