Whether it’s the taste of nostalgia or the unusual sight of seeing structures swallowed up by Mother Nature, there’s something intriguing about visiting abandoned ruins. All around New York urban explorers can visit a variety of neglected locations that have been left to do nothing but crumble away with time. The Empire State is usually quick to demolish decrepit structures, but somehow these 12 places still remain and have been reclaimed by nature.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Abandoned Girl Scout Camp - Beechwood State Park
A spot many of our residents aren't aware of, hiding in the village of Sodus out near Lake Ontario there's an abandoned Girl Scout camp within Beechwood State Park! Abandoned since the mid 1990s, the abandoned amenities of this camp have been left to rot away with time. From an Olympic-size swimming pool that's covered in graffiti to empty cabins, there's much to be explored inside this one state park of Western New York.
2. Abandoned Ghost Town of Tahawus - Newcomb
What originally was located in the village of Tahawus can now technically be found in the town of Newcomb. A town that would be abandoned not once but
twice, the town of Tahawus was moved to Newcomb back in the early 1960's. Today, the old mining town has rapidly withered away with time, with only certain structures and equipment left remaining today.
3. Overlook Mountain - Woodstock
Enjoy a hike down in the Catskills to explore the ruins of an old hotel on Overlook Mountain. Half way through this 5-mile out and back hike you'll discover the abandoned ruins of what was once a popular hotel. After suffering from several fires (talk about bad luck), the hotel has remained abandoned since the early 1920s. While the DEC advises explorers to not actually go inside the unstable ruins, you can still enjoy the incredible view of this historic place from the trail.
4. Muttontown Preserve - Syosset
A small area in Nassau County out on Long Island, Syosset is home to the magical Muttontown Preserve. While many of the abandoned locations on this list have a very creepy and eerie vibe to them, the ruins of this New York preserve are actually quite beautiful and much less haunting. A nearly three mile long hike within the large preserve will take you right to the ruins of King Zog's castle, where you can explore what was once meant to be the home of an Albanian king.
5. Renwick Smallpox Hospital - Roosevelt Island
One of the most popular places to visit when people take the time to explore Roosevelt Island is the ruins of this Smallpox Hospital. The hospital opened back in 1856 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Located on the southern end of the island, most people now simply refer to this location as the Renwick Ruins.
6. Bennett School for Girls - Millbrook
Closing its doors back in 1978, the women's college originally opened up back in 1890. Sitting on over twenty acres of land, the school eventually closed once it could no longer compete with coeducation schools though New York. Today the main building called Halcyon Hall can be found decaying away, covered in greenery.
7. Bannerman Castle - Pollepel Island
On the Hudson River down near New York City, Pollepel Island is home to some of New York's most beautiful ruins. Looking like a place that was once fit to house a Disney princess, the castle use to serve as a military surplus warehouse. Strange, huh? Built in 1901, the island suffered a great deal of damage to its structures after a fire took place in the summer of 1969. Today when the weather's warm enough you can
plan a visit
to the island to see what's still left standing.
8. Rockland Psychiatric Center - Orangeburg
Orange Is The New Black fans, this is the abandoned location in New York where the series originally began filming. Buildings on the property that are from the 1930s have been left abandoned, many of which our residents will tell you are supposedly haunted. Off limits to visitors, Rockland Psychiatric Center is just one of the many abandoned mental hospitals you can find in our state.
9. Fort Tilden - Breezy Point
Fort Tilden is one of our most interesting ruins to explore in New York, mainly because of its unique location. Most of the ruins we find ourselves exploring end up being tucked away within the forest or have quite the opposite scenery and can be found in more urban settings. But Fort Tilden is located out on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula, surrounding you with the ocean and beach scenery where you wouldn't expect to discover ruins like this. What was once a military post now continues to be abandoned and can also be found on the National Register of Historic Places.
10. Abandoned Subway - Rochester
Abandoned since the mid 1950s, the Rochester Subway is a fascinating location within the Downtown area. The city of Rochester has long been conflicted over what exactly should happen to the property now that it is abandoned and with no actual solutions ever coming to a head, the location has continued to rot away. Today, the subway tunnels have become a popular place for urban explorers to check out as well as graffiti artists.
11. The Castle On The Hill - Dansville
Out in Western New York in the small village of Dansville there's an old castle on the hill that we're sad to see abandoned. Having several different names and owners over the course of its history, the building most famously served as a hotel and hospital during the Great Depression. There has long been rumors of the beautiful structure being restored, but so far the beautiful structure that once drew in starlets has been left to decay with time.
12. North Brother Island - New York City
Located on the East River between the Bronx and Riker's Island, North Brother Island is where you can find the ruins of the old Riverside Hospital. A place that once treated quarantinable diseases, the hospital would also go on to serve as a treatment facility of young drugs addicts. The island has an overall dark and eerie history, if you're familiar with the story of Typhoid Mary then you already know that this is the island where she would eventually die in 1938.