NYC’s North Brother Island, Abandoned for 50 Years, Might Finally Be Opened to (Legal) Visitors

NewYorkMagazine.jpgBy Jen Kirby

North Brother Island is a 20-acre speck off the Bronx in the East River. It opened, in the 1880s, as a quarantine site, where the city shipped and shut away the sick. The hospital converted to a drug rehab center for heroin-addicted teens in the 1950s. Corruption and high costs ended the program a little more than a decade later, around 1963. The patients, the staff — everyone — left. The island has been abandoned since.

...City Council members are proposing a way for New Yorkers to take legal trips to North Brother Island. “I think the time has come for a plan to open up limited access,” said councilmember Mark Levine, after a rare visit to Norther Brother Island recently. He and fellow councilmembers, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverto, Parks employees, and community members loaded up in motor boats — or, in some cases, a raft with a motor attached — for a tour of the abandoned site.

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