Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Search for North Brother Island

While mapping out the weeks work in the South Bronx I noticed a few islands on Google maps. I decided to take the time to fully investigate these islands and so began the search for North Brother Island.
Southwest of Hunts Point and Northwest of Rikers Island lies North Brother Island, a sprawling abandoned hospital island for quarantining the sick and undesirable from the rest of the city. As I've explained in previous blog posts, I enjoy creepy abandoned places. In a historic and not goth way though, the most I'll do is take pictures and consult Wikipedia, no ghost hunting, emo-cutting or meth smoking here.
Unfortunately there are no good ways to reach the shore across from the Island, the first step is driving South. My travels led me to Hunt's Point, known for its widespread prostitution and one of the largest food distribution centers in the US. I got a view of Rikers Island.. and a variety of other things... But I wasn't hunting for strange, I was searching for North Island.
West of the point was a Coke bottling plant and some sort of refinery, its as close as I could get. All that is visible now is a rusting dock and what is left of the power plant.
It'll be interesting to see how much longer the island remains in its current state. A Discovery Channel special featured the island as an example of what happens when humans leave an area for a extended period of time. In the city with land at a premium this has been sitting for over 40 years. Rikers Island isn't the most desirable neighbor, that may play a factor as well. Google Earth and Wikipedia do a much better job explaining the history, it doesn't appear I'll be getting a chance at a closer look.

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