Since 2008, photographer Christopher Payne has been documenting North Brother Island, an uninhabited island in New York City’s East River.
Located 10 minutes away by boat from Barretto Point Park in the Bronx, it used to house the Riverside Hospital between the 1880s and 1930s.
The hospital served hundreds of patients who suffered from highly contagious diseases, such as smallpox, typhus and scarlet fever. It was also where “Typhoid Mary” was quarantined and later died.
It was used as a temporary home for World War II veterans and later became a drug treatment center for adolescents in the 1950s, before staff corruption and patient recidivism led to its closure in 1963.
Now a bird sanctuary, the forgotten island has receded into the distant memory of the city’s past, until Payne’s project brought it back into consciousness.
With permission from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, he captured its dilapidated buildings and other remnants of its previous lives over a period of five years.
His photographs are now compiled in a book titled North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place In New York City which was released this spring, and can be purchased here.
Check out some pictures of the island below and view more at Payne’s website.
[via This Is Colossal, Animal NY and Slate, images via Christopher Payne]