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Smallpox Hospital Ruins on Roosevelt Island, New York City

Former hospital, the only ruins in New York City Landmark list.

Empty windows look blindly at the dampness of the Roosevelt Island. Mouldy granite walls show spots of naked masonry; so not to shiver they wrap themselves in a moss blanket. Count Dracula himself is about to appear in one of the lancet windows of the top floor...

Back in the 1850s, it was a smallpox hospital. The disease was powerful then, and New York needed a special place to keep and cure the infected patients. The Blackwell’s Island (the old name for Roosevelt Island) with ferry access only turned out to be the perfect choice for a hospital.

The building was designed in Gothic Revival style. From 1856 until 1875, the hospital treated about 7,000 patients. A century later, it became useless and grew lost and forgotten.

Nowadays the former hospital looks as if it has got infected with smallpox itself. To be less poetic, it's pure ruins. Nevertheless, it was designated New York City Landmark in 1975. Currently the building is undergoing a $4.5 million stabilization project. After that, the Smallpox Hospital ruins is going to be open to the public.

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