Renwick Smallpox Hospital
Opened in: 1856
Abandoned in: 1950s
Find it: On the southern tip of Roosevelt Island
In the mid–19th century, New Yorkers had a lot more to worry about than rising rent prices or long lines for brunch—like, say, smallpox. By 1856 the disease had become such a problem for the city that a secluded hospital was constructed on what is now Roosevelt Island (and was then called Blackwell’s Island). The institution had expanded its mission by the turn of the century and received a pair of new wings that gave it its current shape before closing in the 1950s, when the hospital moved its operations to Queens. In 1972 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it became an official New York City Landmark four years later. These days the place is covered in ivy, and only its skeletal structure remains—which makes it an ideal location for anyone interested in conjuring the spirits of past Gothamites.