In the Lower New York Bay, east of South Beach on Staten Island, sit two artificial islands, Hoffman and Swinburne islands. Untapped Cities has the history of these two small islands?Hoffman is eleven acres; Swinburne four?which have been closed to the public since 1947. Even when they were open, not many people visited: the islands were created from landfill in the 1870s for use as quarantine stations for immigrants with contagious diseases. Untapped Cities describes Hoffman Island's disinfecting chamber as of 1892: "a series of narrow passageways held overhead tracks where baskets containing contaminated clothes were pushed. The place was kept as airtight as possible, and everything in it was made of iron."
The quarantine stations were closed in 1923, and both islands remained empty until 1938. Then Hoffman Island spent several years as a U.S. Maritime training school. That school closed in 1947, and another empty period followed, until the Parks Department purchased both islands in 1966 for $10,000. All kinds of plans for the land were thrown around, including a massive theme park across both islands and a homeless shelter, but today, both Hoffman and Swinburne sit empty.
· The Abandoned Man-Made Islands in NYC: Hoffman and Swinburne Islands [Untapped Cities]
· What Should NYC Do With Its Empty Islands? [Curbed]