Top 10 Scary Abandoned Places In New York

Updated : Sep 06, 2019 in Articles

Top 10 Scary Abandoned Places In New York


New York is home to some of the world’s
busiest attractions – Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, TIMES SQUARE – But
amidst all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New York is home to some pretty scary
and beautiful isolated locations. The Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Kicking off this list with some good ol’
fashioned Gothic architecture and eerie vibes is the Roosevelt Island Small Pox Hospital,
located in Roosevelt Island. Constructed in the 1850’s by James Renwick
Jr., the Renwick hospital was initially used as a place to quarantine and treat smallpox
patients. The hospital treated around 7000 patients
a year from 1856 to 1875 and eventually was converted into a nurses’ dormitory. The city smallpox hospital was forced to move
to North Brothers Island because Blackwell’s Island had become more densely populated. The building was abandoned when the city decided
to move its schools and headquarters to Queens and quickly fell into disrepair. However, in 1975, the Landmarks Preservation
Commission decided to declare the unsettling location as a landmark in an attempt to preserve
its architecture. They reinforced the walls to prevent the structure
from crumbling entirely. The hospital has not been renovated and is
not open for tours. The ruins are a part of Roosevelt Island’s
Southpoint Park and are included on the National Register of Historic Places as well. The interiors of the abandoned hospital remain
inaccessible to the general public but regardless, they still remain as a somber reminder of
a painful and gut-wrenching past. Floyd Bennett Field Built in the 1930’s, the Floyd Bennett Field
was New York’s first municipal airport. The airstrip has witnessed some record-breaking
flights over the years which helped in advancing the “Golden Age of Aviation”, including
Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan’s flight wherein he flew to California but ended up
in Ireland because he got lost. It was also witness to a few take offs from
the legendary Amelia Earhart and the ‘round-the-world’ solo flights by Wiley Post and Howard Hughes. In 1941, Floyd Bennett Field was sold to the
United States Navy and became the Naval Air Station for New York. During World War II, Floyd Bennett Field was
the busiest naval air station in the United States. The field was used for training and anti-submarine
patrol flights. The field was eventually listed in the National
Register of Historic Places. The airstrip isn’t completely abandoned. Various parts of the grounds have been converted
into recreational spaces where it now houses a museum and a campground. However, a large part of the grounds are still
left in a state of ruin which serves hikers. So if you and your friends are looking for
a quick getaway with some hiking, camping, and sports, then the Floyd Bennett Field sounds
like the perfect destination! Loew’s 46th Street Theater Lowe’s 46th Street Theater was built in
1927 and it is said that on its first night, 25,000 people showed up to experience New
York’s first atmospheric theater. Normally, this would be good news, but the
theater could only house 3,000 people at a time. As one can imagine, that night went down as
one of the most disorderly nights to be experienced by an establishment in US history. Designed by John Eberson, the theater was
designed to replicate an Italian garden under the night sky. The design featured plastic trees, shrubberies
and a blue suspended dome that acted as a roof. It also had “atmospheric effects” such
as clouds that drifted overhead. The theater had to be shut down eventually
due to the rise of multiplexes. It evolved into a concert hall which hosted
the likes of The Grateful Bird, Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds and many more. Eventually, the place took on an alternate
name and for a short while it was known as “The Brooklyn Rock Palace”. It eventually shut down in 1973, when the
neighboring residents complained about the noise and the less-than-pleasant concert goers. Now a former shell of itself, the relatively
intact theater functions as a warehouse for a furniture store and instead of imitating
an Italian garden under the night sky, it provides the atmosphere of a Tim Burton horror
movie. Red Hook Grain Terminal The Red Hook Grain Terminal was meant to be
a key part of Brooklyn’s waterfront. The intimidating structure sits tall and mighty
at the Gowanus Canal, basking in its infamy and reminding the citizens of New York of
how useless it is now. But then again, the structure was already
fairly useless when it was first constructed. Built in 1922, the Terminal was referred to
as an “expensive luxury” and continued to underperform. It remained profitless for 22 years before
it was finally shut down in 1965. The building is about 12 stories high and
430 feet long. It contains 54 cement silos, each 120 feet
tall and has eight inch thick walls. To add to its infamous history, this grain
terminal is not just larger than the average grain terminals that existed at the time,
but it was also constructed 7 years after the last grain terminal in Brooklyn became
non-functional, which eventually led to its nickname – “The Magnificent Mistake”. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the unsettling
building is covered with black mold infestations, making the place look somewhat similar to
a zombie-infested cutscene from The Last of Us. If no one else, New Zealand singer and pop
star, Lorde, clearly saw some amount of potential in the building as it made an appearance in
her song, “Team”. One can see why she chose The Red Hook Grain
Terminal to be the backdrop of her music video as she sings “livin’ in ruins of a palace
within my dreams.” Appropriate, isn’t it? North Brother Island Ruins This morbid island was originally uninhabited
until 1885 when the city of New York purchased the island to build the Riverside Hospital
for sick people suffering from contagious diseases such as typhus, tuberculosis, yellow
fever, and smallpox. The North Brother Island was the first facility
in New York that was used for the treatment of people with contagious diseases. It also housed ‘Typhoid Mary’, the first
documented carrier of typhoid fever. Typhoid Mary also ended up dying on this island
after she was forced to return to the location thanks to her condition. She died after she was forced into isolation
for 26 years on the island, claiming that she had been unfairly detained. Now if that doesn’t scream “GHOST”,
we don’t know what else will. In 1905, the island witnessed the deaths of
over 1000 people when the General Slocum ship caught fire and sank. It was a gruesome and horrifying incident
that resulted in hundreds of bodies washing up on the shores of the island and had only
321 survivors. It was recorded as the worst loss of life
in New York’s history until 9/11. In Tompkins Square, at the East Village in
the island, there is a memorial fountain for the one thousand people who lost their lives
in the unfortunate incident, giving the whole island a more-or-less haunted feel as the
memorial serves as a constant reminder of the hundreds of people who lost their lives
on a now abandoned island. The island has been home to WWII veterans
and could’ve potentially become an extension of Rikers Island. It is now off-limits to the public which is
probably for the best. We’re sure meeting the ghost of Typhoid
Mary in this day and age won’t be pleasant. New York State Pavilion Designed by Richard Foster and Philip Johnson,
the New York State Pavilion was created as a part of the World’s Fair which took place
in Queens in 1964. The World’s Fair was an expo which utilized
“themes of the future” and introduced New Yorkers to the marvels of technology. The pavilion’s shape was similar to that
of a flying saucer and quickly became one of the most iconic attractions of the World’s
Fair. The structure consisted of an open-air space
called the “Tent of Tomorrow” and a set of three observation towers. However, its glory days were short-lived. Eventually, the pavilion decayed and had to
be shut down completely. However, the structure was never demolished
because according to The Landmark Preservation Commission in 1995, the structure was too
expensive to tear down. There have been attempts at restoring the
structure to its former glory over the years but none of them worked out. Recently, one of the more successful attempts
included a $3 million paint job that took 8,000 hours and over 1,600 gallons of paint. The structure proved to be more useful than
it ever has in recent years when it made an appearance at the end of ‘Men in Black’. Fort Tilden Built in 1917, during WWI, Fort Tilden was
designed to be New York’s first line of defense against German U-boats. The fort protected the New York Harbor though
the use of a pair of concrete batteries, each of which had a pair of cannons which had the
ability to fire 30 miles out to sea. The batteries were called Harris Batteries
East and West and eventually, both batteries had their backs reinforced and filled in for
security reasons during WWII. The fort eventually became New York’s main
line of defense during WWII as it was modified with anti-aircraft guns. When the Cold War rolled around, Fort Tilden
was fitted out with Nike Ajax missiles, which could deliver a destructive power almost twice
the size of the Hiroshima bomb. The fort was eventually decommissioned in
1974 and became part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Fort Tilden has now been reclaimed by nature,
with dunes and plants covering most of the place. The railway tracks which were used to transport
shells from the silos to the batteries became rusted and overgrown. The missile launch pads were eventually covered
in weeds and sand. But the occasional glimpse of the fort’s
concrete exterior still serves as a hair-raising and unnerving reminder of harsh and terrifying
times. Harlem Valley State Hospital Constructed in 1924, the Harlem Valley State
Hospital was built “for the care and treatment of the insane”. Before the establishment was used as a hospital,
it used to function as a prison, called Wingdale Prison. Wingdale prison had to be repurposed eventually
due to complaints from residents in the area. This 900 acre hospital has over 80 buildings,
its own golf course, a bowling alley, baseball field and a colossal dairy farm with its own
ice cream parlor. The hospital stayed operational for 70 years
and at its height, it saw 5000 patients AND 5000 employees. It was eventually renamed to “the Harlem
Valley Psychiatric Center”. The hospital was famous for adopting and pioneering
multiple experimental methods for treatment of the mentally ill, which sounds a lot more
cheerful than it actually is. During the 1930s, the hospital started practicing
new insulin shock therapy for patients with schizophrenia and various other compulsive
disorders. In 1941, the hospital pioneered the science
of electric shock therapy. Neuropsychiatrist, Walter Freeman, invented
the frontal lobotomy and performed the operation for the first time at the Harlem Valley Psychiatric
Center. Thanks to the introduction of psychotropic
drugs such as Thorazine, the hospital saw its numbers dwindling and eventually shut
its doors in 1994. As if its history wasn’t enough, there have
been rumors and stories over the years about this “haunted” hospital. Witnesses have reported seeing lights on in
the place, with no electricity. Some have heard a pack of dogs barking in
the basement and some witnesses have left the scene with unexplained bruises and markings
– all of which seem to point to the fact that Harley Valley Psychiatric Center has
seen some spooky occurrences over the years. Currently, a part of the establishment is
under renovation thanks to a company named Olivet Management. L.L.C. Olivet Management represents Olivet University
and the organization plans on converting the asylum into a proper university. Which is a great idea; because we all know
– renovating or rebuilding a place that has seen severe trauma through ages always
ends well. We give it about 3 months before the students
start seeing ghosts. The Freedom Tunnel Located beneath the Riverside Park, the Freedom
Tunnel was designed by Robert Moses to increase mobility for residents of Upper Westside. The Freedom Tunnel operated freight trains
until the 1980’s when regular operations stopped, partly due to the fact that automobiles
were becoming all the rage. This resulted in the tunnel becoming a residential
area for hundreds of homeless people. In 1993, Jennifer Toth wrote a book called
The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City which spoke about dozens of
homeless people forming their own makeshift society in the tunnel with their own set of
rules, which gave the location a post-apocalyptic feel of lawlessness and despair. The site also became a regular
tagging ground for graffiti artists who used the walls of the tunnel as their own personal
canvases. The tunnel gets its name from Freedom, a highly
respected graffiti artist whose work remains untouched by other taggers. His
rendition of Goya’s “The Third of May” mural is a highly respected piece of street
art and is on display within the tunnel. In 1991, Amtrak reopened the tunnel which
led to the mass eviction of the homeless people residing over there. Amtrak also started repainting the walls and
covering up the graffiti that once adorned every corner of the location. The Freedom tunnel still attracts the occasional
graffiti artist but it is nowhere near as busy as it once was. However, we should warn our viewers that you
would be trespassing on Amtrak property if you choose to visit these tracks! New York Farm Colony This is easily the scariest location on this
list. Constructed in 1898, the New York Farm Colony
was built as a charity home and housed over 200 residents who were too poor to fend for
themselves. The Colony provided these people with room
and board in exchange of services. The residents were made to work on the Colony’s
vegetable gardens and could produce up to $22,000 worth of goods. However, with the introduction of Social Security,
the Colony transformed into an old age facility before shutting down permanently in 1975. In 1999, James S. Oddoman, a city councilman,
managed to convince the City Hall to demolish the historically significant sight as a safety
measure without consulting the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The New York Farm Colony is one of the creepiest
and most accessible places on the list as the location has been the subject of several
blood-curdling rumors involving Satanists and serial killers. In the 70’s, multiple children in the area
were reported missing, only to turn up later in a barely concealed graves at the Farm Colony. The colony also became a frequent visiting
spot for graffiti artists and paintball enthusiasts. If you and your friends are looking for a
solid dose of spookiness, the New York Farm Colony seems like a perfect place to take
a walk. We, however, wouldn’t recommend it. If these abandoned places in NYC scared you,
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