The Smallpox Hospital is the ivy-covered, medieval-type ruin that faces the FDR expressway, lit from below at night so as to look both regal and sinister. It was built in 1856 from designs by James Renwick, Jr. who also designed the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and the former facade of the New York Stock Exchange.
Smallpox Hospital was the first hospital in the country to receive patients with smallpox. New York residents afflicted with the disease were quarantined by law at the "Blackwell's Island" (the island's name at the time) hospital. Once a successful vaccine was implemented in the late 1800s, the hospital was closed. Over the 1900s, vandals ravaged the metal detailing and the roof collapsed, leaving only the facade remaining.
It has now been stabilized and the gothic hospital will be surrounded by a new park called "Wild Gardens, Green Rooms" which is now under construction.