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Mysterious island near New York has been abandoned for over 50 years and nobody is allowed to visit

Britt Jones

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| Last updated 

Mysterious island near New York has been abandoned for over 50 years and nobody is allowed to visit

Featured Image Credit: Wiki Commons/ABC

There's always something amazing found around the world, especially now that we have social media to bring to light forgotten relics.

For instance, this abandoned island has been sitting less than a mile from Manhattan since 1614 but was evacuated in 1963.

The North Brother Island is a mysterious 22-acre plot of land which is situated close to Rikers Island prison complex near the South Bronx’s industrial coats.

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But you’ll never get to visit.

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This is because it was swiftly packed up and abandoned after a short stint as a drug rehabilitation centre that didn’t work out and is now far too hazardous to step foot on.

It's completely illegal for the public to set foot on North Brother Island and South Brother Island without permission from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation because of the dangers, as well as the fact it is a certified bird sanctuary.

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Though you can’t step foot on the island, it doesn’t mean you can get a glimpse of the ruins.

In 2017, the Science Channel was able to get permission from the city to visit the island and the crew invited Business Insider to tag along.

As part of the What on Earth? TV series about satellite images, North Brother Island was featured in season four.

Here's a peak at what they saw.

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The island was abandoned more than 50 years ago. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Roy Smith
The island was abandoned more than 50 years ago. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Roy Smith

As the island is only accessible only by boat, it’s a little tricky to get there and an escort absolutely has to accompany you on your visit.

So, it’s not going to be an easy journey.

When stepping foot on the island, there's rot and rust everywhere due to its abandoned state.

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But the gloomy history of the island runs a lot deeper than just a failed rehab facility.

For example, in 1904, a steamship called the General Slocum burst into flames and sank in the East River, killing 1,021 passengers.

There was also a long period of time where the city had to quarantine sick people that had caught highly contagious diseases, such as the ‘Typhoid Mary’ Mallon.

Littered with post-war houses and crumbling structures, the island looks as though it’s ready to fall at any moment.

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But that moment could come soon.

With sea levels rising to 2.5 metres and hurricanes able to wipe out any occupants, the move to ban people from visiting was a smart idea.

It's unlikely anyone will step foot on the island again. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jessica Sheridan
It's unlikely anyone will step foot on the island again. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jessica Sheridan

This post-apocalyptic wasteland is overrun with rubbish, rubble and the Tuberculosis Pavilion.

This 83,000-square-foot building was designed to house people with tuberculosis, until World War II broke out.

Instead of housing sick people, it had to act as a sanctuary for veterans up until it was abandoned.

Though owners of the island tried to reinvent it as a rehabilitation camp for troubled teens between 1952 and 1963, it just didn’t help enough people to be able to remain useful.

With the only inhabitants leaving in 1963, it was left to the city to deal with and according to climate change predictions, it may be entirely underwater by 2100.

This means it may never see another population living on its land again.

Topics: News, Weird, US News, New York

Britt Jones
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