While it is illegal for the public to set foot on this island, it is quite real. It is one of two abandoned ‘islands’ less than a mile from Manhattan and chances are you’ve never even heard of it.
These are North and South Brother Islands. That being said, we are going to be primarily talking about North Brother Island in this article. North Brother Island was uninhabited until about 1885 when it was purchased by the city in order for a hospital to be built. This was Riverside Hospital, a hospital specifically for people suffering from contagious diseases and so forth.
While the Hospital is no longer open and the island is basically shut down at this point it does serve as a sanctuary for one of the largest nesting colonies of Black-Crowned Night Herons. This island in itself holds a lot of mystery but is quite interesting in the things we do know about it.
AtlasObscura wrote as follows in regards to one of the stories of the island and a lady who once was held there:
The island’s most famous resident was “Typhoid Mary” Mallon, who bore the unfortunate distinction of being the United States’ first documented asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. Mallon was initially quarantined at Riverside Hospital in 1907 after investigations by medical authorities revealed that seven of eight families for whom Mallon had worked as a cook had experienced typhoid fever outbreaks. Tests later revealed that Mallon did indeed carry the bacteria, though she appeared to be in perfect health. Mallon was released from quarantine in 1910 with explicit instructions not to return to her former occupation as a cook. Refusing to believe she was infected, Mallon quickly resumed her work as a cook, and a series of short-lived positions invariably left typhoid fever outbreaks in her wake. She was forcibly returned to quarantine on North Brother Island in 1915 after sickening 25 people at Sloan Hospital for Women. Mallon remained quarantined until her death from pneumonia in 1938, believing all the while that she had been unfairly detained.
North Brother Island in itself looks something like a post-apocalyptic playground. It is a mere 22-acres and the only way to get to it is by boat. The boat ramp itself is quite slippery as visitors are quite rare. In order to visit the island, you must have permission from the NY City Department of Parks and Recreation. They provide you with an escort if you are approved for the visit.
This is a very well preserved decaying island as while everything is wasting away, there is no vandalism and everything is eerily beautiful. Please feel free to take a look at some of the mesmerizing photos of North Brother Island below and check out the video at the end of this article. Would you ever visit if given the chance?
Image via Youtube