One of the great sights of New York at night is the illuminated specter of the decaying Smallpox Hospital at the foot of Roosevelt Island. You catch a glimpse of it as you pass by on the FDR, and you wonder how a ruin like that could continue to exist in the heart of such a modern, growing metropolis. Of course, the city has actually taken great care to make sure the ruin remains standing (and safe), which we have always thought is very cool. Today the Times’ City Room blog takes a video tour of the interior of the building, which is currently being reinforced by a steel framework that will hopefully keep it together after a 2007 collapse of the northern wall. Andy Stone, the NYC director of the Trust for Public Land, says he even envisions the public using the building once it’s stabilized. “This space here could be a fantastic site for performances and for a seasonal café,” he observes. There’s even a rendering of what it could be like if the whole tip of the island became a usable public park.
Shoring Up a Landmark Ruin on Roosevelt Island [City Room/NYT]