Look north up the East River toward the Bronx and Rikers, and you will see a couple of small, overgrown islands. The larger, North Brother, was uninhabited until 1885, when Riverside Hospital moved there from Roosevelt Island to treat smallpox and other quarantined diseases. Its most infamous patient was Typhoid Mary, who lived there for 20 years until she died in 1938. The hospital was closed around that time, then used as a drug treatment center in the 1950s before being abandoned and given over to the birds as a sanctuary. (The History Channel featured North Brother in an episode of Armed and Defenseless as an example of what happens to structures after 45 years without human habitation.) Photographer Christopher Payne has been allowed rare access to North Brother as part of his quest to photograph abandoned structures across the country, and tonight he releases his new book on the subject, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City (Fordham University Press). Payne teams up with Atlas Obscura to present the illustrated lecture “The Vanishing, the Abandoned and the Obsolete.”
Thu., June 26, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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