Superscript friend and collaborator Christopher Payne will talk about his latest book with historian Michael Miscione at 6:30pm on Thursday, March 26 at the Museum of the City of New York. Register here!
Trained as an architect, Chris brings a keen awareness of design and context to his remarkable work that documents overlooked treasures in the urban landscape. He’ll discuss the making of his recently released and acclaimed book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City (Fordham University Press, 2014).
Located in the East River between the Bronx and Queens, this small island became home to infectious disease hospitals in the 19th century during a population boom in the city. But in 1963 North Brother and its buildings were abandoned, falling into disrepair as nature reclaimed the island. Still off-limits to the public, Chris Payne’s five-year photographic project reveals a forgotten piece of New York history.
“Christopher Payne was drawn to this place, an island hidden in plain sight, a forgotten place just ten minutes from New York City. He is a former architect, trained to design buildings. North Brother Island, he writes, is a lesson in how they fall apart…And fall apart they do, picturesquely and spectacularly. The images in Payne’s book, North Brother Island, take their place in a visual lineage of ruins: from Giovanni Piranesi’s 18th century engravings of Roman ruins, though photographs of Dresden after the Allied bombing, Hiroshima, and Robert Polidari’s photographs of post Katrina flood ravaged interiors. Although there are no bodies, disease and death haunts these empty and disintegrating buildings.” Adam Harrison Levy, Design Observer.