The new episode of The City Concealed takes viewers to North Brother Island Bird Sanctuary:
North Brother Island lies in the East River, between The Bronx and
Queens, just west of Rikers Island and directly under the flight path
of departing jets from LaGuardia. It was once the site of Riverside
Hospital, a tuberculosis facility later converted to GI housing after
WWII. Previously, it was home to the infamous “Typhoid” Mary Mallon
during her years of quarantine. Throughout the 1950s, the city operated
a drug rehab center for adolescents there, but the hospital closed in
1963, and North Brother was abandoned. Nature slowly reclaimed the
island. (More here.)
Last year, when I met Judy Berdy, the official historian of Roosevelt Island, one of the things she told me that I’d never before realized is that all of greater New York City’s islands belong, borough-wise, to Manhattan. That would include the North Brother sanctuary, Roosevelt, and several others. Forgotten NY has a great page dedicated to that little factoid.
And, if you’ve not exhausted your appetite for the New York islands, check out Jeremiah’s recent account of a trip to Governors Island, one of my favorite summer spots, which has gone from ghost town to leisure destination in a matter of a few short years.