Archive for December, 2011

North Brother Island- ceramics

Sometimes artifacts are left in buildings, sometimes they’re found scattered on the grounds, and in the case of islands, rummaging through the sediment and buildup at low tide can reveal treasures. North Brother Island has unfortunately been heavily scrapped, and very little in the way of artifacts actually remains.

Which is why it was amazing to discover that the facility, known as Riverside Hospital, actually had branded dishware. Two broken pieces of a plate, stamped “Riverside” with laurel leaves and a DH, which I can only assume stands for Department of Health. The back of the plate was inscribed with a very faint “Greenwood China, Trenton NJ” which, after a bit of research, turned out to be from the pottery company Messrs. Stephens, Tanis & Co. established in 1861. The particular mark on the plate was first used in 1886. While it seems difficult to further narrow down the date this plate was created beyond the stamp, knowing Riverside Hospital was founded in the 1850s as a smallpox hospital makes me wonder if these plate remnants really are well over 100 years old, and existed before the General Slocum crash on the island’s shores.

Either way, a fascinating find, giving a little more insight into the daily life of the quarantine patients in the early years of the hospital.

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The Tent of Tomorrow

Living in New York City, I’ve been fascinated by the remnants of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens. While the Unisphere is obviously the main attraction, I’d always been more interested in the decaying New York State Pavilion, which I only recently learned was also called the Tent of Tomorrow. The entire retro, yet futuristic feel of the World’s Fairs have always appealed to me.  As one friend so aptly put it, they were filled with a naive optimism, in a time where countries were racing to be the first into space, and where structures almost looked more like a mix between 1930s art deco mixed with some vague science fiction ideas of what the future may be. In fact I’ve found reference to the style of the structure being Futurist.

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Mouldering State Hospital

Originally built to be a prison, this sprawling campus was repurposed after community complaints into a state hospital. Operating from 1924 until the mid 90’s, It is currently being demolished.

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