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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/reivax

This creepy abandoned island in the East River may soon open to the public

Will Gleason

The New York City Council is exploring a plan to open up the 20-acre North Brother Island to the public. The island, which opened as a quarantine site in the 1880s, housed many of the city’s seriously ill at the turn of the last century (including Typhoid Mary). It was then used to house veterans and was then transformed into a rehab center for heroin-addicted teens in the 1950s. 

The island has been empty since 1963 when the rehab program was shuttered for corruption, and the buildings on the island slowly transformed into crumbling ruins. Since 2001, the Parks Department has controlled the island which it designated a bird sanctuary and barred all but a few official visitors.

Crumbling bricks and unsafe structures aren't the only creepy thing about the island, it's also covered in poison ivy. A plan by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design to make the island more accessible will be unveiled to the City Council’s Bronx delegation in November. 

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