North Brother Island
Granted, this one is a little tougher to get to, and the process requires first getting permission from the Parks Department (they’ll only even give requests consideration during certain seasons, so as not to disturb seasonally nesting herons), then chartering your own boat—Radiolab has a great, extensive guide on how to actually get there. But if you can swing it, a trip out here is well worth the effort. Located between the Bronx and Riker’s Island in the East River, the island served as a hospital for quarantined tuberculosis patients (including Tyhpoid Mary) and later as a rehab center, before being closed down completely in the late 1960’s. It’s remained abandoned ever since, having failed to find a buyer interested in the extensive reconstruction that would be required to make the place usable. As such, it’s filled with dilapidated, grown-over hospitals and living quarters, full of eerie old medical paraphernalia (and presumably, a lot of great photo ops).