North Brother Island is a small island in the East River situated between the Bronx and Riker’s Island, New York City. Once the site of a hospital, it is now uninhabited and designated as a bird sanctuary. It measures approximately 400 m by 250 m. Continue reading for videos, more pictures, and additional information.
The island was uninhabited until 1885, when Riverside Hospital moved there from Blackwell’s Island (now known as Roosevelt Island). Riverside Hospital was founded in the 1850s as the Smallpox Hospital to treat and isolate victims of that disease. Its mission eventually expanded to other quarantinable diseases.
The island was the site of the wreck of the General Slocum, a steamship which burned on June 15, 1904. Over 1,000 people died either from the fire on board the ship or from drowning before the ship was beached on the island’s shores.Typhoid Mary was confined to the island for over two decades until she died there in 1938. The hospital closed shortly thereafter. After World War II, the island housed war veterans who were students at local colleges, along with their families. After the nationwide housing shortage abated, the island was once again abandoned.