Touring the Creepy Abandoned Hospital Complex on Ellis Island [PHOTOS]

Posted on: April 17th, 2015 at 10:10 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Creepy. Cold. Intense. Haunted. All apt adjectives to describe the unused section of Ellis Island designated as ruins. It is on the south side of this national park – straddling the state lines of New York and New Jersey – that a maze-like collection of twenty-nine buildings sits. Rotting away from the inside out.

Indeed, you wouldn’t necessarily know it at first glance, but these classic brick structures are in deplorable shape. Once upon a time, this facility housed the 750-bed hospital quarters, which counted a psychiatric ward, psychological ward, and infectious diseases ward among its ranks. The multi-use complex helped filter the sickly from the mass of humanity that passed through to America. Roughly 1.2 million people were processed in the hospital, representing about 10% of all arrivals.

This image has been archived or removed.

The space was gradually phased out by 1924, and later used by the Coast Guard. Also as a military detention center. It officially closed in 1954, alongside the cessation of the ferry.

Capitalizing on the urban decay in its backyard, the Save Ellis Island preservation group began touring the area last October as a means of fundraising to pay for renovations. Cost estimates to upgrade the facility is in the neighborhood of $300 million, thanks in large part to flooding from Hurricane Sandy. The hard-hat jaunt is their most popular program. So successful, in fact, that reservations are booked solid for three months.

This image has been archived or removed.

We decided to take the trip across the harbor to Ellis Island to walk through this history.

The past is very much alive in these dilapidated turn-of-the-century buildings. Downright eerie, sometimes resembling a concentration camp compound. In fact, does this not look like Auschwitz?

This image has been archived or removed.

Street artist JR was commissioned to decorate the ruins with wheat-paste images derived directly from immigrant photos. The whole tour route is littered with these pieces (16 to be precise), a collaboration called “Unframed – Ellis Island,” which is the subject of a new short film in this year’s TriBeCa Film Festival.

Creepiest room on the tour – the “autopsy theater” and its stadium seating.

This gallery has been removed.

Recent Stories

The Bowery Presents Expands with New Boston Venue

The Bowery Presents is extending its venue reach in Boston. The concert promoting behemoth has been on the scene for several years now, competing with local favorite and Boston-bred Crossroads Presents. Last week, the New York based company unveiled its latest live musical endeavor for Brighton – more specifically at New Balance’s new mixed-use complex, […]

Going Balls Deep at the 20th Annual Mr. Lower East Side Pageant [PHOTOS]

Saturday night was of the utmost importance in the fashion world. But maybe you didn’t know it. Bedlam bar on Avenue C served as runway for the always entertaining, and oft-cringeworthy, twentieth annual Mr. Lower East Side Pageant (returned from exile), where contestants squared off in various categories like the one-minute talent competition, a swimsuit […]

GEM Super Value Store on Delancey Street Hits Market for $25K per Month

The GEM Super Value Store might not be long for the Lower East Side. Real estate listings are currently circulating online, pitching the 3,000 square-foot space as “brand new” and “perfect for all general retail uses.” Which is to say, the dollar store is henceforth operating on borrowed time. The space won’t come cheap, either, […]

‘Punk’ Docuseries Attempts to Answer All of Your Punk Questions

Is it punk to create a documentary series about punk? Or is that the antithesis of the spirit itself? While watching the new docu-series Punk on the Epix network, I found myself asking these questions. Was I no longer a happy nonconformist if I actually liked this series? Does punk endure, or are some of […]

Two Bridges Developers Respond to New Lawsuit Against the City

Friday morning, a coalition of concerned neighbors and grassroots organizations under the umbrella Lower East Side Organized Neighbors, filed a lawsuit against the city in State Supreme Court to halt the construction of three new skyscrapers along the Two Bridges waterfront. The ultimate goal is preventing a wall of glass and implementing the decade-old, grassroots Chinatown Working […]