11 Creepy Abandoned Places in NYC

From abandoned hospitals and asylums to old nuclear forts and oceanside dumping grounds, here are NYC's eeriest and most atmospheric abandoned attractions.

Looking to do some urban exploration? Look no further than these eerie, dilapidated gems, located in our very own NYC.

As the weather warms, you may find yourself longing for some adventures. And what's more thrilling, nostalgic, and atmospheric than a journey through an abandoned building in the midst of being worn down to the soil from which it came?

In that spirit, here are 11 gorgeous abandoned places in or near New York City.

1. Fort Totten

You'll find this park—complete with an abandoned Civil War fortress—right on the waterfront in the Bay Terrace neighborhood of Queens. Packed with history and offering an array of natural and manmade wonders, the park is ideal for exploration all year round. In the summer, you can take a tour through the fortress with Urban Park Rangers and cool off with a dip in the pool. A visit will also give you the chance to see the park's many other relics, including a repurposed Neo-Gothic castle and an abandoned laboratory, movie theatre, and hospital.



2. World's Fair Grounds

Located in Flushing Meadows in Queens are two towering and unusual structures. Originally built for the two World's Fairs, they were intended to symbolize the future—but the future came and went in a blurry, violent instant, and for half a century, the relics of the fair have existed in stages of decay, at the mercy of time and the elements.

The two most prominent structures are the New York State Pavilion and the Unisphere, which were the focal points of the World's Fair Grounds. A visit will also allow you to see columns and statues from the event's heyday, along with the remnants of the skate rink that opened and closed in the late 20th century.



3. Renwick Smallpox Hospital

If you're looking for an excuse to visit Roosevelt Island, the Renwick Smallpox Hospital is a perfect choice for fans of urban exploration or haunted houses. Today's Roosevelt Island is a lovely place for biking and picnicking on summer days, but actually it used to be a home for criminals, the mentally ill, and other people who had been shut out of NYC society. It still bears the memories of those days.

Out of all its ruins, the crown jewel is its smallpox hospital, which is now in a state of mossy shambles. Though you can't go into the hospital (or so they say...), you can walk around the grounds and observe its gloomy, Gothic majesty from afar.



4. The Rockaway Beach Branch Rail Line

The LIRR railway line to the Rockaways was replaced by subways in the 60s, and it's been languishing in decay ever since. Now, this three-mile stretch of abandoned railways is the perfect adventure for hikers.

For a winding trek through the past, start at Rego Park and make your way to Ozone Park. If you're looking for ruins specifically, you might want to head over sometime soon as residents are looking turn the railway into an attraction similar to the High Line. (If you make it, just be careful not to slip through the portal to a parallel universe that probably exists somewhere on this railway—unless that's what you're aiming for).

trn.trains.com Joseph M. Calisi


5. Glass Bottle Beach and Dead Horse Bay

For 80 years, NYC sent its trash to this place in Jamaica Bay, which served as a landfill for the entire city. Today, you can walk along the beach at Dead Horse Bay and discover broken glass from a century ago as well as many other relics of bygone times. Some will be more macabre than others, for Dead Horse Bay was also a place where horses would be dismembered and converted to glues, oils, and other things, so you might find some horse bones scattered among other fragments of yesterday's trash.



6. Old City Hall Subway Station

If you take the 6 train past the Brooklyn Bridge, you can catch a glimpse of this abandoned station, which was actually NYC's first ever subway station. The only way to actually enter the station is via a tour provided by the New York Transit Museum (which is worth a visit in itself).


7. New York Farm Colony and Seaview Hospital

If you ever find yourself in Staten Island, there's no shortage of abandoned places to visit. The Seaview Hospital may be its crown jewel, but you'll need to take some serious urban exploration risks to access many of its most beautiful ruins. This sprawling abandoned village is largely closed off to the public, and it's also currently under construction, but if you've got a car you might be able to catch a glimpse of some of the many remaining derelict hospitals and mansions.

One of the most accessible parts of Seaview is called the New York Farm Colony, a place that—like so many ruins—had intriguing utopian beginnings. Designed as a housing community for the poor and socially outcast, it opened in 1898 and was supposed to be a sustainable community where inhabitants could farm and grow their own food. As social programs born in the '50s made it easier for people to rejoin society, the colony became unsustainable and was closed in 1975. Since it closed, the colony has been the location of several child murders, Satanic rituals, and paranormal sightings—so visit if you dare.



8. Floyd Bennett Field

Floyd Bennett Field in Jamaica was New York's first airport. Today, the historical site is mostly abandoned, and you can wander through and see scattered airplane parts. Old abandoned hangars and warehouses offer glimpses of trash and junk, and the nearby Marine Park—a Forever Wild preserve—provides plenty of birdwatching opportunities and natural wonders.



9. Fort Tilden

Located in the Rockaways, Fort Tilden used to be a fort that held nuclear weapons during the second world war, but now it's quietly being worn away by wind from the nearby ocean. Buildings are covered in graffiti and some have been repurposed by local artists, but the highlight is probably Battery Harris East, which is now crowned by a viewing pattern that allows for 360 views of the Atlantic Ocean and the city. The ruins also offer impressive birdwatching and host a thriving marine life ecosystem, proving that nature has the capacity to reclaim symbols of manmade destruction.


Jay Gormanwaterfrontalliance.org

10. The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital

Millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island, but about ten percent of them were sent to this towering hospital complex to be treated for an illness. Many would die here or be sent home, making this a place of tragedy on an island of hope. Now abandoned, the remains of the hospital's psychiatric ward, operating wards, pediatric facilities and general hospital boast peeling dirt, decaying floors, and encroaching vines. Save Ellis Island offers 90-minute tours through this remarkable ruin, or a ferry ride over to Ellis Island will allow you to see the outskirts for yourself.


11. North Brother Island

North Brother Island, located on the East River between the Bronx and Riker's Island, used to be home to a psychiatric hospital, meaning it's certified haunted (according to every horror movie ever), among other mansions that have since been left to the ghosts. This post-apocalyptic place is totally ruined, and it's an eerie image of what the world might look like once everything collapses because of climate change or a nuclear war.



Read More from Journiest

Subscribe now

Related Posts

If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.

Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.


5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany


Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland


The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy


Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru


Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico


It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.


Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.


McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.


Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.


Every Hell House in America


In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…