New York City's Most Accessible Abandoned Ruins

New York City's Most Accessible Abandoned Ruins

Photo of David Folender
An Architecture map by

With space at a premium and construction at a fever pitch, ruins in New York City usually don’t last long. But sometimes an abandoned property falls through the cracks and and some are surprisingly easy to get access.

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    If you look at the MTA subway map, in the top right hand corner is a legend explaining what the different symbols on the map mean. But hidden underneath this legend is the location of an abandoned Civil War fort, now an obscure underfunded city park — Fort Totten.
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    If you look at the MTA subway map, in the top right hand corner is a legend explaining what the different symbols on the map mean. But hidden underneath this legend is the location of an abandoned Civil War fort, now an obscure underfunded city park — Fort Totten.
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    The Romanesque red brick structure of the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal on the Hudson River conceals one of the most accessible urban ruins in the New York City area.
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    Governors Island has quite a lot of history to it, considering its tiny 172 acre size- — and it started even smaller than that.
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    At the farthest reaches of Queens, lies a small strip of overgrown land jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. Running parallel to Coney Island and Brighton Beach, it is home to the ruins of what was once America’s Atlantic sea wall defense system, Fort Tilden.
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    After a long ride from Manhattan, most get off the 7 train to go to Shea Stadium, but you could just as well walk in the other direction. Shea Stadium, former home of the New York Mets, is only one part of Flushing Meadows, a large park built for the 1939 World’s Fair.
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    Before closing in 1994, Fort Wadsworth held the record for the longest continually-occupied military base in the United States.  Sitting on the shore of New York’s Staten Island, perfectly placed to guard New York harbor and the rest of the city, its location does make a lot of strategic sense, yet despite its advantages, its actual military career was a bit spotty.
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