As it was: North Brother Island circa 1937
Just 350 yards from the crowded tenements of the Bronx, North Brother Island was first employed as a quarantine centre in 1885.
It was soon a home to six lepers. Its most notorious resident was ‘Typhoid Mary’ – the first healthy carrier of any disease ever to be identified – who spent years confined in its bleak woods.
North Brother Island was also witness to America’s worst disaster until the 9/11 attacks – the 1904 fire onboard the passenger ship, General Slocum which killed 1,021 people, mainly women and children on a church outing.
Closed in 1963, it is now a haunting labyrinth of crumbling ruins.Protected birds are its only inhabitants and the waters around the island are patrolled by armed coastguards who ensure the sanctity of the former quarantine zone is never violated
Meanwhile, the hospital, staff and patient quarters and forced drug rehabilitation centres are slowly reverting to nature.
These pictures were taken by local historian and photographer Ian Ference who was given unprecedented access to the site. He has slowly pieced together the forgotten story of this unique landscape.
CHECK OUT SOME MORE SCARY URBAN RUINS: HELLINGLY: THE CREEPIEST PLACE ON EARTH