Sunday, March 1, 2009

'Guerilla Preservation & Urban Archaeology'

'I endeavor to capture the structures presented in this blog as best I can in order to create a permanent record of their existence, and their grandeur.' (Richard Nickel, Jr.)

I just stumbled upon an amazing blog by Richard Nickel, Jr. called, The Kingston Lounge which is dedicated to showcasing historical structures around NYC (with a special emphasis on Brooklyn). I discovered it via Scouting New York (one of my favorite blogs) when the author posted an entry about Hart Island.

I'd never heard of Hart Island before but it's a really fascinating and mysterious place which is located at the Western end of Long Island Sound. There are no living inhabitants, though, there are 750,000 graves on site making it the largest, tax-funded cemetery. The island isn't open to the public and the only way that one can go to the island is if they have a relative buried there (though, they must prove this somehow). The island has been home to a workhouse for delinquent boys, a POW camp, hospital, prison and the most intriguing to me, an insane asylum for women.

While the Phoenix House was in operation on the island, as occupational therapy, some of the patients made leather shoes which can be found scattered about. Here is a picture showing where many of them ended up:

I am intrigued by the mystery of the island and wish there were organized tours for people to take. I imagine it would be a photographer's dream. For now, I will admire the pictures and stories I read on the web. (Thanks to Scout of Scouting NY and Richard Nickel, Jr. of The Kingston Lounge for sharing).

I'll leave you with my favorite picture (for obvious reasons) from The Kingston Lounge:

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