The concrete jungle of New York is known for its bustling crowds, the five boroughs, and a landscape of skyscrapers, but what often gets overlooked are the many islands near the city. The largely populated Staten Island is typically what comes to mind, but smaller uninhabited islands also exist.
Hidden away between the shores of Rikers Island and the Bronx is a tiny island known as North Brother Island. Though it is currently uninhabited, the island first came into use in 1885, when Riverside Hospital was constructed. The purpose of having a hospital on the island was primarily to provide care for those that were living in quarantine with smallpox and, eventually, other highly infectious and deadly diseases.
In the years since then, the island has gone through several transitions. After the end of WWII, the island was used to house students at local colleges who were war veterans. As time passed, the facilities eventually transitioned into becoming a center to treat drug addicts during the 1950s. The facilities focused on treating teen drug addiction, providing an isolated location for their patients to go through rehabilitation and detox. Sadly, staff corruption and high relapse rates forced the hospital to close its doors, and since the ‘80s, the island has simply served as an off-limits bird sanctuary.