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Check It Out: NYC’s Abandoned Swinburne Island

Four-Acre Manmade Site Once Used As Quarantine Zone
Swinburne Island is seen from Chopper 880 - July 10, 2013 (credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

Swinburne Island is seen from Chopper 880 – July 10, 2013 (credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - New York City is full of little nuggets of history that have long been abandoned. Among them is the small, artificial Swinburne Island, located in New York Bay east of Staten Island.

WCBS 880′s Tom Kaminski had the chance to fly over it Tuesday morning in Chopper 880.

It is only four acres in size and was constructed in the late 1800s, along with the much larger Hoffman Island to the north.

SEE: More Photos Of Swinburne Island From Chopper 880

Both served as quarantine zones for incoming infected passengers.

That continued into the early 20th Century and included the 1910-1911 cholera outbreak.

Eventually, better and more efficient ways of controlling disease were developed and there was no need to use the islands for that purpose.

In World War II, they were used as United States Merchant Marine training sites.

Swinburne Island is seen from Chopper 880 - July 10, 2013 (credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

Swinburne Island is seen from Chopper 880 – July 10, 2013 (credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

They were also used as anchorages for anti-submarine nets.

They are now managed by the National Park Service, but are generally off-limits to the public.

If you ever end up going near the islands, you’re likely to find plenty of waterfowl to squawk at you. The Staten Island Advance reported that seals have been spotted near them as well.

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