urban exploration pt 1: north brother island

24 01 2011

it’s no secret that eric & i love urban exploration, and treasure every time we stumble upon some relic of the past hidden from view or fallen into disrepair (see our ft tilden post, for instance!). it is an adventure and a feeling like no other to experience an era gone by still clinging to life – somehow resisting the march of time or modernity’s wrecking ball.

i’d love to kick off an ongoing series highlighting the brave souls that share this passion – some risking more than others to pursue their passion for exploration right here in NYC. i truly enjoy discovering the work of amazing photographers and videographers blogging and documenting their findings, and i’d love to share them with you – the avid internet explorers stumbling upon SNT!

first up:


my friend and fellow photographer liz (who does fantastic work, by the way!) tipped me off on a great photo piece gawker.com did recently featuring photographs of north brother island by ian ference/richard nickel jr. (of the kingston lounge).

much to my delight, the gorgeous photos gawker pulled were just a taste of what you could find on nickel’s actual post on north brother island.

from his blog:

Of all the forgotten and mysterious places in the Five Boroughs of New York City, few have histories as rich and interesting as that of North Brother Island. Situated in the Hell Gate, a particularly treacherous stretch of the East River, North Brother was home to the quarantine hospital that housed Typhoid Mary, was the final destination of the General Slocum during its tragic final voyage, and was the site of an experimental drug treatment program which failed due to corruption. Riverside Hospital, the name of the facility on the island throughout its various incarnations, treated everything from smallpox and leprosy to venereal disease and heroin addiction; after the Second World War, it housed soldiers who were studying under the GI bill. The entirety of the island has been abandoned since 1963; over a dozen buildings remain, in various states of disrepair…

please do visit the kingston lounge and it’s facebook page. i can’t wait to pore over his other posts – cheers to you, mr. ference, for your amazing photography and well-documented adventures! thank you for your dedication to the past, your love of preservation and remembrance, and for sharing it all with the world.

stay tuned to SNT for more urban exploration photos and sites…!

– da leopard




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