North Brother Island is in the East River between the Bronx and Rikers Island. It was used until the '40s as a quarantine hospital, but has been abandoned and closed to the public since then. Now it's a spectacular ruin.

Photographer Richard Nickel Jr. has dozens of gorgeous photos of the island and its various buildings up on his blog. He also has a fascinating history of the place and its most famous resident, Typhoid Mary, who died there in 1938.

The most arresting things are these images which show something beautiful that's gone to ruin and how nature can reclaim its space once humans leave it alone.


This building was once used as a nurses' residence.

The walkway between the doctors' and nurses' residence.


Rusted keys found scattered in the maintenance shed.

The altar from the island's chapel was disassembled and stored in the maintenance shed.

An old auditorium, with a view from the stage.

This staircase is in what used to be a screened in porch of the main hospital.

The island generated all its own electricity at a coal plant, pictured here with the wires coming out of it.

The outside of the doctor's residence.

A ruined bathroom.

The main stairwell of the nurses' residence.

This used to be the refrigeration room in the hospital's morgue.

A hospital room with everything left in its place.