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North Brother Island


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Table of Contents

Foreword Robert Sullivan Wildness, Disease, and the Changing Civic Landscape: The History of North Brother Island Randall Mason The Photographs Christopher Payne Afterword Christopher Payne Acknowledgments

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From a quarantine hospital to a juvenile drug treatment center to an uninhabited island of ruins-this magnificent photographic survey that brings North Brother Island to life.

About the Author

Christopher Payne, a photographer based in New York City, specializes in the documentation of America's vanishing architecture and industrial landscape. Trained as an architect, he has a natural interest in how things are purposefully designed and constructed, and how they work. His first book, New York's Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway, offered dramatic, rare views of the behemoth machines that are hidden behind modest facades in New York City. His second book, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals, which includes an essay by the renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks, is the result of a seven-year exploration of America's vast and largely abandoned state mental institutions. Asylum was winner of the Ken Book Award of the National Alliance on Mental Illness/NYC and was named one of the "10 Best Art Books" by New York Times critic Holland Cotter. Randall Mason is Associate Professor and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design. He worked previously at the Getty Conservation Institute, University of Maryland, and Rhode Island School of Design. His books include The Once and Future New York, on the origins of historic preservation in New York City (winner of the Antoinette Forester Downing Award), and Giving Preservation a History (with Max Page). In 2012-13, Mason held the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome. Robert Sullivan is the author of numerous books, including The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures at the Edge of a City; Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants; The Thoreau You Don't Know: The Father of Nature Writers on the Importance of Cities, Finance, and Fooling Around; A Whale Hunt, and, most recently, My American Revolution. His stories and essays have been published in magazines such as New York, The New Yorker, and A Public Space. He is a contributing editor to Vogue.


"This stunning book captures a nearly forgotten corner of the city. Seemingly held apart from the urban rush of change, North Brother Island nonetheless reveals its layered history. In its latest incarnation, native and nonnative species vie for precious island space. Amid the ruins, we find an essential New York story."-David Stradling, University of Cincinnati

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