North Brother Island

A Close-up Look At Hidden New York: No People, But Lots Of Abandoned Buildings, Neglected Structures And A Safe Haven To Birds.

Having lived in New York City my whole life, there are places that I have never visited by choice and others that I have never been to because they are off-limits.  One of those off-limits places is North Brother Island, which is a small island just off the southern coast of the Bronx near the entrance to Long Island sound.

North Brother Island, if known by the general public at all, is famous for two reasons:

1-   In 1904 the excursion boat General Slocum caught fire and was beached near the island. The fire took the lives of over 1,000 people, mostly women and children going on a church outing to Long Island. Heroic rescuers who worked on North Brother brought many of the victims to the shores of the island.

2-   Mary Mallon a.k.a. Typhoid Mary who was a carrier of typhoid and spread disease and death in turn of the century New York. She was quarantined there until she died in 1938.

I am fascinated by abandoned structures. North Brother Island is chock full of history. Presented here is the link to the fabulous web site The Kingston Lounge which has done a phenomenal history and photo essay of the decaying remains on this forgotten section of New York City.

The 19.3 acre island is now controlled by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and since its human abandonment in the 1970’s has become a bird sanctuary.

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One thought on “North Brother Island

  1. Anna

    They’re great subjects for photos…it’s unfortunate that the government is going to sell the Naval Warehouse on Brooklyn’s waterfront..and the tens of thousands of other federal property..even though it is for our economy…


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