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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Photographer Shines a Light on Abandoned Bronx Island

North Brother Island (Photo credit: The Kingston Lounge)

Ian Ference, a photographer who specializes in shooting derelict New York City buildings, has turned his lens on North Brother Island.

Located in the East River just north of Rikers Island, the island has been abandoned since the '60s. It had been home to Riverside Hospital, which among other things treated smallpox and leprosy and other contagious diseases. Its most famous patient: Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, who died there in 1938. Today, several of buildings are still standing, though in various states of disrepair.

The island, currently a bird sanctuary and under the jurisdiction of the city’s Parks Department, is off-limits to the public.

But Ference, who goes by Richard Nickel, Jr. (Richard Nickel was a photographer who shot vacant buildings in Chicago, and argued against their demolition), must have made at least two trips - with or without permission. And to our benefit. His photos, which he published on his blog, The Kingston Lounge, are something to behold. He also gives a fascinating overview of the island's history.


1 comment:

  1. Stunning pictures. Thanks for sharing. I was struck by the photo of the open, and remarkably well-preserved, copy of the Baltimore Catechism -- the text for Catholic religious instruction from the late 1800s through the 1960s. I think the Sisters of Charity of NY (based here in the Bronx) worked on North Brother Island. I believe they built the original hospital. I want to show that photo to their archivist who happens to be a friend. It is possible it was brought to the island by the Sisters. Regardless -- this is wonderful stuff from Mr. Ference. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.


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