A short time wandering some well worn paths through the woods brought us to the rear door of Hudson River State Hospital, a completely abandoned campus of historic brick buildings that have been marred by arson and vandalism. It had been nearly 10 years since I spent any real time visiting this place. Back then I posted about it using an array of false information to keep the reprobates at bay. I’ll always have fond memories of that first spring day. Sadly, this campus eventually became a favorite hangout of ‘UE” people, who photographed it to death in between the occasional arson fire – at least one of which occurred while an ‘explorer’ was inside. Times had changed here. Long gone was the day we spent a half hour prying off boarding to gain access. Now anyone who knows can walk right up and hop right in. On this day, a cool autumn breeze fluttered the loose leaves in the autumn air. The scene is utterly blissful. It’s hard to imagine the horrors that once occurred at this place, yet they did.
Open in the 1800s, this facility went through numerous changes over the decades. In the center was it’s trademark ‘Kirkbride‘ building – a huge structure that eventually landed on the list of national historic landmarks.
In it’s later years, patients were not so much treated as warehoused. In his own words, here is a quote from one such former patient:
Back on the ward, when any of us kids would ask the attendants why we were being treated like animals by being forced to stand in line with a bunch of naked kids and having to take those group showers, they’d simply say “You act like animals, so we’ll treat you like animals.”
This former patient goes on at length about the conditions at the hospital. They definitely seem grim, though not surprising. These state run psychiatric facilities all seemed to be failing and reports of abuse within them are what lead to this and many other hospital’s closures.
Times had indeed changed. The male wing of the kirkbride, already damaged when I saw it last, was now a destroyed shell of a building. There nearly admin building however was still in good shape, so we decided that would be the best use of our time on this trip. Access, as mentioned previously, was easy so long as you know where to go (and a big thanks for BB77 for that). Even without a guide, this area is quiet enough still that you can hang out and make your own entrance.
Once inside, the lower floors seem to have the best stuff. Old furnishings, dusty files, etc. Lead paint chips are of course peeling off all over the place, and there is broken glass throughout the building. The higher floors are well worth the hike though, as you get to view the entire facility from the upper levels.
This place is suppose to have security patrolling it, and rumor is the admin building is the one building they actually venture into on said patrols. Though we saw no sign of that on this day, and no sign of anyone else wandering the campus either for that matter. The whole area was and still is just one big ghost town.I’m not sure I’ll ever come back to this place, as I wouldn’t mind remembering it exactly as it was the first time I ever came here, and this last time. Worn out, used up and falling apart – yet peaceful and beautiful in it’s death.<