Lost in Time: 10 Abandoned Places in NYC You Can Actually Visit!

Dive headfirst into the heart of New York City, an electrifying labyrinth where history and mystery intertwine!

Imagine wandering the pulsating streets of NYC, where every corner whispers legends of forgotten realms.

From the ghostly echoes of ancient subway tunnels to the eerie stillness of deserted islands, these forsaken spaces beckon the bold and the brave.

Cast aside the well-trodden paths of tourist havens and embark on a thrilling odyssey into the enigmatic! Each step into these forlorn havens is a plunge into the very soul of New York, a journey through time itself.

1. North Brother Island

North Brother Island, located in New York City’s East River was once a quarantine facility and is now an eerie reminder of the past.

North Brother Island
North Brother Island pier (H.L.I.T. pic) – Flickr” by H.L.I.T. is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

In the early 20th century, North Brother Island was a sprawling quarantine compound that housed the infamous Typhoid Mary.

Abandoned in 1963, the island has since been overtaken by nature, with its 25 decaying buildings left to the elements.

North Brother Island was the site of a tragedy in 1904 when the General Slocum steamship caught fire and sank, killing over a thousand people. A memorial for the lives lost can be found in Tompkins Square Park.

2. City Hall Subway Station

City Hall Subway Station, this architectural treasure first opened on October 27, 1904, as the southern terminus of the Interborough Rapid Transit system (IRT).

The station boasts incredible features like intricate Guastavino tiles and arched ceilings.

The station closed in 1945, but you can still catch a glimpse of its beauty by following these unconventional steps.

To visit the abandoned City Hall Subway Station, take the 6 train heading downtown. Stay on the train even when it reaches its last stop at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station.

The New York Transit Museum occasionally offers guided tours of the station, but tickets sell out quickly, so keep an eye out for those opportunities.

3. The Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island

Smallpox Hospital, nestled at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, the Smallpox Hospital was designed in a Gothic Revival style by renowned architect James Renwick Jr.

The Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island
Smallpox Hospital” by Doug Letterman is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Having served its purpose between 1856 and 1875, today it lies in ruins and stands as New York City’s only landmarked ruin.

RIOC (Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation) and an organization called Friends of the Ruin are working together to maintain the historical significance of the Smallpox Hospital.

4. The New York Farm Colony

New York Farm Colony, located on Staten Island, is a fascinating site for urban explorers and history enthusiasts.

The New York Farm Colony
New York Farm Colony 2” by H.L.I.T. is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Established in 1903, it served as a place for the impoverished, a nursing home, and a poorhouse.

Once a thriving complex with a mission to provide housing for the city’s less fortunate, the Farm Colony has now evolved into a haunting yet captivating destination for adventure-seeking souls.

Seaview Hospital, which is a part of the historic compound, can also be found within this forested area on Staten Island.

The colony was eventually closed down in 1975, leaving behind a decaying legacy that spans over 46 acres.

5. Fort Tilden Military Bases

Fort Tilden is located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, this former US Army base not only offers stunning views and open space, but it also carries a rich history.

Fort Tilden Military Bases
16′ gun Casemate” by LunchboxLarry is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

During the Cold War, Fort Tilden was once home to nuclear missiles, and today, you can still find remnants of wartime structures scattered throughout the area.

As you wander around, you’ll come across towering gun batteries and crumbling artillery pieces, giving you a glimpse into the tense times in American history.

You can also find the abandoned battery installations which have now become popular spots for urban explorers and graffiti artists.

6. Bannerman Castle

Bannerman Castle is located on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River, was once a fortress for weapons, but now it’s a fascinating destination that’s open to the public for tours and events.

Bannerman Castle
Bannerman Castle. Beacon, NY” by Carl Mikoy is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Built by eccentric arms dealer Francis Bannerman, the castle exhibits a stunning Scottish-influenced design.

To get there, you’ll need to make a reservation with the Bannerman Castle Trust, as the island is only accessible by private boat.

7. The Freedom Tunnel

Freedom Tunnel, located underneath Riverside Park on the Upper West Side, this once-abandoned tunnel is now a haven for street art and urban exploration.

The Freedom Tunnel
Freedom Tunnel” by stuart mcalpine. is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

When you step into the Freedom Tunnel, you’re presented with an array of eye-catching graffiti.

Large-scale murals and creative tags cover the walls, giving the space an undeniable character.

This unique tunnel is named after a noteworthy graffiti artist, Chris “Freedom” Pape, who left his mark in the form of iconic artwork.

The urban environment and artistic community that frequents the area make this a special place worth visiting.

8. Coney Island Ship Graveyard

Coney Island Ship Graveyard tucked away behind the tall grass and trees of Calvert Vaux Park in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, this nautical graveyard is home to abandoned boats and a mysterious yellow submarine.

One of the most famous shipwrecks is the Quester I, also known as the “Yellow Submarine” of Coney Island Creek.

This 45-foot-long enigma has captured the imagination of urban explorers and locals alike.

9. Floyd Bennett Field

Floyd Bennett Field is a historic airfield located in southeastern Brooklyn, New York City.  Named in honor of the aviator Floyd Bennett, who was the first person to fly over the North Pole.

Floyd Bennett Field
Airport tower Floyd Bennett Field 03” by Ad Meskens is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Originally opened in 1931 as New York City’s first municipal airport, Floyd Bennett Field played a significant role in the early history of aviation.

It served as a base for significant aviation figures like Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and Wiley Post, who used it as a starting point for their pioneering flights.

The historic airfield and its remaining hangars have been preserved, serves as a unique recreational area, offering a wide range of activities including camping, hiking, bird watching, and kayaking.

10. The Blockhouse

The Blockhouse is a notable historical site located in Central Park, New York City. This stone structure, situated near the park’s 109th Street entrance, holds the distinction of being the second oldest item in Central Park, after Cleopatra’s Needle.

The Blockhouse
Central Park Blockhouse” by Arbron is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Built-in 1814 during the War of 1812, The Blockhouse was originally constructed as part of a series of fortifications to defend New York from British forces.

It is a small fort made of stone, featuring a sunken wooden roof and loopholes for muskets.

Interestingly, this fortification was never used in battle, as the British attack it was designed to defend against never materialized.

The area around The Blockhouse is also a favored spot for picnics and leisurely walks, making it a peaceful retreat within the bustling city.

My Thoughts on 10 Abandoned Places in NYC

Visiting abandoned places can be a thrilling experience, offering you glimpses into the past and igniting your curiosity.

As you explore these forgotten havens in New York City, take some time to reflect on their histories and the stories they hold within their decaying walls.

From old hospitals to forgotten islands, each place holds a part of New York’s history waiting to be discovered.

Remember that it’s not just about the places themselves, but also the events and people that once occupied these spaces that make them unique.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *