Photographer ©Christopher Payne explores and captures New York City’s abandoned North Brother Island with a 4x5 camera. The photographer specializes in the documentation of America’s vanishing architecture and industrial landscape.
North Brother Island sits in the East River, nestled in between the Bronx and Riker’s Island.
"Between the 1880s and the 1930s, North Brother Island was the site of Riverside Hospital, where those suffering from infectious disease were treated in isolation, the infamous Typhoid Mary, the cook who carried a deadly disease and infected more than 50 New Yorkers in the early 20th century, spent her final years confined to this mysterious island.
After World War II, it served as a housing community for returning veterans and their families. In the 1950s and early 1960s, it became a juvenile drug treatment center.” The uninhabited island is now designated as a bird sanctuary. The adjacent South Brother Island once occupied by brewery magnate, Jacob Ruppert had a summer house there before it burned down in 1909. No one has lived on the island since then, and now serves as a wildlife sanctuary.
Since 2008, with permission from the NYC Parks Department, Payne has been one of a few photographers allowed on the island. His photographs comprise a comprehensive record of the buildings and its evolving landscape over many seasons. The book ‘North Brother Island - The Last Unknown Place in New York City’, is available for purchase online
h/t slate - all images ©christopher payne