While Ellis Island has become one of New York City’s top tourist attractions, drawing over two million visitors per year, the 22-building South Side hospital complex is hidden in plain sight, just to the left of disembarking passengers headed towards the Great Hall. One of the largest public health undertakings in American history, the complex once served as the standard for United States medical care. But that’s difficult to imagine today given its skeletal frame, which has been left to decay for nearly 60 years.
Despite its current state, however, the walls of the hospital continue to reverberate with history, untold stories and amazing facts. That’s why Untapped Cities hosts tours there in partnership with Save Ellis Island, the organization responsible for the preservation of the island. Every week, we bring our readers behind-the-scenes for a truly unique exploration of the abandoned facility, where they have the opportunity to access the hospital’s contagious disease wards, its autopsy rooms and other exclusive places usually closed to the public.
As a teaser for our tour, which you can purchase tickets for below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite secrets about the hospital complex: