Abandoned North Brother Island: New York City’s Secret History

Updated : Sep 26, 2019 in Articles

Abandoned North Brother Island: New York City’s Secret History


It’s hard to imagine that there could be an
uninhabited place in the densely populated concrete jungle that is New York City, but
there is – a whole island in fact! It is located on New York City’s East River. The forbidden place that we are about to visit is –
North Brother Island. Now only the eerie ruins of more than 12 buildings
remain here, as nature has slowly retaken the island. But what secrets do these crumbling walls
hold, and what horrible event took place on the shore of this mysterious island? Press that subscribe button and join us on
a journey to the haunted past of North Brother Island. These deserted buildings are the ruins of
Riverside Hospital. Less than a century ago it was an institution
where a vast number of people suffering from quarantinable diseases were isolated from
the public. Yet one patient stood out from the crowd. Her name was Mary Mallon, but you might’ve
heard of her as Typhoid Mary. Mallon emigrated from Ireland to New York
City in 1883 at the age of 15, where she started working as a cook for wealthy families. Members of those families often got sick,
and were diagnosed with the infectious disease Typhoid Fever after she started cooking for
them. Several cases were traced to her by the
Health Department. Though she never acknowledged her role in
spreading the disease, she was later known to have infected at least 53 people, resulting
in three deaths. However, to the naked eye, Mary seemed to be in perfect health. Mary was convinced that the law was wrongly
persecuting her, and refused to believe she was the cause of the typhoid outbreak. When she was finally apprehended and moved to the Riverside Hospital, she was pronounced as the first known healthy carrier of the disease. Under questioning, Mallon admitted she rarely
washed her hands when cooking and felt there was no need to do so. Any bacteria in her food would not survive
the high temperatures involved in cooking, but Mary’s life was ruined by a dessert – she
was crazy about preparing ice cream with raw peaches. As the press dubbed her ‘Typhoid Mary.’ She became a minor celebrity against her will
and a mascot for the disease as the press. Locked away from the rest of the world for
more than 20 years, convinced of her innocence for the rest of her life, she would eventually
die of stroke caused by pneumonia on the grounds of North Brother Island. But the name Typhoid Mary lives on to this day. Yet this tragic story falls flat in comparison
to the disaster which took place 3 years before Mary Mallon’s incarceration. It was the biggest loss of life in New York City
before 9/11. On June 14th, 1904, the passenger steamer
General Slocum – one of the best known vessels around the New York Harbor – had been chartered
by a church group consisting mainly of women and children for a picnic trip to Long Island. As it was sailing the East River, a fire broke
out in one of the machine rooms. By the time it was noticed disaster was imminent,
as the fire had quickly spread to other parts of the ship including a cabin filled with
gasoline. By the time General Slocum sank in shallow
water near North Brother Island, more than 1000 people had lost their lives,
either by fire or by drowning. Staff and patients from the Riverside Hospital
participated in rescue efforts, forming human chains and
pulling victims from the water. Captain William H. Van Schaick was held accountable
for failing to maintain proper fire drills and fire extinguishers. A 12-year-old boy had tried to warn him before
the fire spread critically, but was not believed. However the tragedy lost its focus historically,
perhaps due to the shocking Titanic disaster eight years later. The Riverside Hospital would be later repurposed
to become housing for Veterans after WWII, and then to a Drug Rehabilitation Center in
the 50’s. But it was forced to close after widespread
reports of staff corruption and patients’ recidivism in 1964. It has been abandoned ever since and serves
the sole purpose of being a bird sanctuary. Yet in recent years, proposals to reopen North
Brother Island to the public have started to surface. Nothing is clear for now, but do you think
it is a good idea? Or is the island better left untouched? Would you dare to set foot upon this tragic
island? Let us know in the comments below and subscribe to our channel
if you liked the video to get more interesting stories. Have you ever thought what would happen if a nuclear bomb or a flood destroyed our civilization? Even the survivors would eventually probably die of hunger. Luckily, there is a ray of hope in Norway. The most important freezer in the world. Where people are absolutely not allowed. Be sure not to miss this story, about this so called Doomsday Vault.

67 Comments

  • One more interesting fact: Mary Mallon was once released from isolation under one condition – she had to stop working as a cook. She agreed, but some time after her release, she returned to cooking. This time – under the fake name of Mary Brown. The result was another major outbreak of Typhoid Fever. As people started getting sick again, Mary Brown was even nicknamed Typhoid Mary as a joke, by people who had no clue about her true identity. Eventually Mary Brown was arrested and everyone found out that she was the real Typhoid Mary after all.

  • WOOD BE NICE TO SEE IT AS A PARK MUSIUM OF HISTORY BUT ALL THAT TREES MUST BE CUT DOWN SO THAT THEY CUD MAKE A PUBLIC SPACE TO PUT SOME PICNIC TABLES AND AND A BIG SPOT FOR THE PUBLIC TO DO BBQ ++ ITS REALY GOOD PLACE FOR THIS BECAUSE NO MUCH PLACE WHERE THEY HAVE A QUIET PLACE TO RELAX AND DO BBQ IN NYC

  • Donttt tuch it~!FUCK IT TILL ALL THE TREES ARE GONE AND THERES BUILDINGS AS TALL AS THE WORLD TRADE CENTER!!!!!!

  • I thought he was gonna as Bloody Mary welp either way they’re both evil asf and it’s 2am right now dark asf and now I don’t think I can go to sleep

  • Wow if they opened this up to the public I would hope they would leave it as it is (within reason from a safety standpoint)…it would be AWESOME to be able to go there on a tour.

  • Germs linger. Go further up the Hudson River to Bannerman Island. There were no infectious disease facilities there! And it is legal to tour.

  • Can we talk about how this bitch doesn’t wash her hands when cooking. Like bitcj huh? Nasty hoe.

  • Many NYers don't even realize that the area around NYU, beneath Washington Square Park, lie 20,000 bodies of victims of yellow fever and criminals who met their fate at public gallows. And the $24 in trinkets and beads the Lenape Indians supposedly got from the Dutch for the legendary sale of Manhattan? It may have actually been gold treasure still buried in NY. Check out "Somewhere Beyond Manhattan"

  • I clicked this vid because you said a woman was being held on an abandoned NY island against her will when she had done nothing wrong. I’m from NY and Typhoid Mary knew exactly what she was doing and didn’t care or believe she was at fault. And Brother Island is a well known bird sanctuary in the city. People are not allowed as to not disturb the only real wild forest in the city. I thought you were telling me something new…not embellishing the truth.

  • Am I able to go to brothers island on my own with my own boat does anyone know the answer to that I would love to get photography footage of it

  • I honestly want to give bored panda huge props on putting a little piece of another story at the end it pulls me right in and makes me want to hear more gets me everytime! 😎😏

  • Have you seen the Abandoned Eurostar Train left to rot, this is the video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yq14YnFOewQ

  • The entire river system would be amazing if dammed up.millions of people.Ships.boats.drop things.Brothers Island is a perfect place to bury loot.

  • And JESUS.IS MY PROFILE.I TOOK IT MYSELF.LOOK FOR DIADEM AND SPIRIT RAYS.IM UNDER HIM.im a real saint.on twitter I just posted."real"angels.real holy spirits.

  • I photgraphed the Virgin Mary.John the baptist.a friend died.nobel rawls.mat trainor.my hands BUZZZZ.AND I KNOW FAKES.i have never asked money.ever

  • 100,000,000 americans would be dead today.BUT THE SAINT DONATED THE CURE 1989 POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL INTERFERON.FREE.YOUR MODERN NY.KEPT THE SAINTS NAME OFF! NYC.ROBBED MY HOLY VISIONS.MY MEDICAL MIRACLE.SLOCUM WENT TO CHURCH.NY ROBS SAINTS.CURE CAME. I MOVED OUT.SEPT 10TH 2001.I HAVE THOUSANDS OF FULL BODY APPERITION.NO ELECTRONICS NEEDED HERE

  • 200.000.000 alive.60.000.000 americans alive by my medical miracle.NOW YOUR THE CRIMINAL.AND YOUR NYC DOCTORS.ONLY I PHOTOGRAPHED CHRIST.BET GREEDY NYC.HATES THAT.DONT YOU?

  • That island could be turned into a wonder place to live. There should be no homeless in NY when there is a whole island that is habitable.

  • It should be converted to a historical site so the general public can visit. I lived in NYC from 1957 to 1992 before migrating to South Florida. Its strange that I recall seeing several of the islands structures from the East River Drive, and never put two and two together by not knowing the history of those structures. The same applies to Ellis Island. Both of my parents were processed through Ellis Island, which is rich in the history of human migration. Ellis Island piqued my interest after watching
    the movie, Hitch. After that movie, I was fascinated with Ellis Island, and I made an attempt to go see it. I was informed at the
    time that I needed special permission from the City of New York, or if I was a member of the military, I would be authorized to
    visit. One hundred years ago, you needed no permission to visit these islands. They all had public access. Now it just appears
    to be that NYC deliberately ignores these islands. Why? Both of these islands should be converted to historical sites, so children, and adults alike, can have an opportunity to learn from our past, and make our futures brighter.

  • Fascinating! It should be eventually reopened to the public, it's ridiculous that such a chunk of land sits unused in a place where land is such a rare commodity. Do an ecological study on how to deal with the bird population – perhaps it can be helpfully moved elsewhere, or we can find a way to live in harmony with them; but it shouldn't just be given over to birds – there's plenty of land to do something like that elsewhere.

  • The city owns it and my tax dollars go to the city so that means I own it and if I want to go there I will.

  • Most of these old buildings owned by NY State have asbestos in them. It's too expensive to tear them down and safely get rid of it. You would not want to buy this island because you'd have a hard time with the asbestos.

  • Turn it into a free opiate rehab. Biggest one in the world. House 5k people. Funded buy us government. Any u.s. citizen welcome

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