Tony the Tour Guy's Blog

A not very regular series of posts on New York City history, historic preservation, genealogy and related themes.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Views of Hoffman and Swinburne Islands

Off the coast of Staten Island, roughly parallel to South Beach, lie two man-made islands, now inhabited only by wildlife. Hoffman (the larger) and Swinburne Islands were constructed from landfill and opened in 1872 as a quarantine station for immigrants with contagious diseases. Following the closure of the hospitals the Coast Guard used them for a brief period, and now they are Federal park property.

The hightest view here shows the location of the two islands, between South Beach, Staten Island, and Norton Point, which is the tip of Coney Island.

These pictures came from Google Earth, who allow personal use of them on blogs. Check with Google on copyright restrictions.


At 7:28 PM , Anonymous Doug Estella said...

Hey Tony,
Years ago I read a book called "The Other Islands of New York City." Fascinating--especially Hart Island in the LI Sound just east of the Throggs Neck Bridge. It's the City's Potter's Field. Volunteer crews from Riker's do the grim duty and a group of nuns go weekly from City Island to pray for the unknowns and unclaimed.

At 9:46 PM , Blogger Tony the Tour Guy said...

Yes, I have seen the book. As for Hart Island, I have seen many photos of it. They had an exhibit at the Tenement Museum a few years back.

You can't get to Hart without special permission from the Corrections Department. The inmates made a monument there that says simply "Peace."

There is also a Cold War era missile silo there.

At 9:46 PM , Blogger Tony the Tour Guy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:18 PM , Blogger Beast said...

I swam to both these islands back in September. You can read about it on my blog

At 9:27 PM , Blogger Tony the Tour Guy said...

Thanks for your posting. I really liked your blog, and the additional photos you took. Never before have I seen current photos of these islands.

Did you see any of the remains of the Coast Guard quanset huts?


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