5 abandoned spots in NYC to put you in the Halloween spirit

Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island. (Alex Mitchell)

From a smallpox hospital to an old farm colony with a dark past.

Ah, the spookiest eve of the year is upon us once again. If scary movies and pumpkin spice lattes just aren’t enough to summon your Halloween spirit, then perhaps a look at some of New York City’s abandoned and creepy places will. 

North Brother Island

This now abandoned island off The Bronx’s shores was once home to Riverside Hospital, a place where smallpox and other quarantinable diseases were treated in isolation, from the late 1800s until its closure in the 1960s. The notorious Typhoid Mary was also confined to the island for the last 20 years of her contagious life as well. Now, all that’s publicly visible of North Brother Island is its dilapidated and overgrown shoreline—a place where tons of bodies washed up after the grave General Slocum steamboat fire in 1904. Yeah, it’s THAT creepy.

The Smallpox Hospital

While Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island is constantly building and developing, there is one property there that remains in ruin. Sticking with the theme of citywide contagions and quarantine, the Smallpox Hospital operated on the island from 1856 up until it was phased out in the 1950s. The gothic style, 100-bed facility is where many New Yorkers died from the flesh morphing disease and has remained on Roosevelt Island, becoming a city landmark in 1976. It can still be seen from behind a protective fence.

New York City Farm Colony

Staten Island was once home to an acres-long poorhouse during much of the 20th Century, which raised enough harrowing tales on its grounds throughout the time. Though, the worst of those occurrences were around colony’s now abandoned buildings and grounds. In the 1970s, police reportedly discovered the shallow graves of many missing children.

We’re certainly not holding back on this list.   

Rockaway Train Line

This train line in the heart of central Queens, between O-Zone Park and Rego Park, was abandoned over 50 years ago but still displays many of its railway elements — they’re just very overgrown and not open to the public.

Calvert Vaux Cove

This lesser-known cove in Gravesend, Brooklyn could have been in the “five years later” sequence from “Avengers: Endgame.” The desolate spot is decorated with an abandoned, capsized boat along with other nautical debris looking out towards Staten Island.

A word to the wise, these places are abandoned for a reason — don’t risk your safety for a good Instagram shot. Risk it for a GREAT one.

Alex Mitchell