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Haunting photos documenting the North Brother Island


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Photographer Christopher Payne has recently released a book containing haunting photos aimed at documenting the North Brother Island, located in New York City’s East River.

The North Brother Island is only 10 minutes away from the Bronx. This small island stands between the aforementioned borough and the Rikers Island. However, a lot of people are unaware of its existence and even fewer people know that it used to be an inhabited area of New York City.

The island was abandoned decades ago and has been turned into a bird sanctuary. Nevertheless, the remnants of former buildings are still there, so photographer Christoper Payne has decided to document the area through photography and turn the project into a book called “North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place In New York City”.

Haunting photos documenting the North Brother Island by Christopher Payne

One of the most important designations of the North Brother Island consisted of housing the Riverside Hospital, which moved to this area from the Roosevelt Island. It has been used as a hospital to treat and to isolate people suffering from smallpox and scarlet fever among others.

If you have ever heard of “Typhoid Mary”, the first asymptomatic person in the US with typhoid fever, then you should find out that she died at the Riverside Hospital in 1938.

The hospital was closed a few years later, but it has been reopened as a house for World War II veterans. This did not last long and, in the 1950s, it became a treatment facility for drug addicts.

Its final closure occurred in 1963 and the whole island was abandoned months later. As one would imagine, vegetation has reclaimed the area and the wildlife has followed soon after that.

The North Brother Island is now a protected land, as it serves as a nesting place for the Black-crowned Night Heron and many other birds.

Nevertheless, the buildings are still there and, with permission from the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, photographer Christoper Payne has started capturing haunting photos documenting the North Brother Island.

About photographer Christopher Payne

The artist prides himself with documenting America’s industrial architecture and landscape. He has published several photo books, offering unseen views of industrial buildings located in New York City and other places.

His latest book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place In New York City, reveals a landscape that is now in the hands of nature and offers a partial view of a future without humanity.

The book can be purchased right now at Amazon for a price under $30. Meanwhile, you can check out more photos and learn more about the photographer at his personal website.

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