The Octagon, Roosevelt Island – 2002 – Abandoned Remains

Published on: April 24th, 2015 | Last updated: September 27, 2015 Written by:

The octagon was NYC’s first mental health hospital. It was closed in the 1970s and was set on fire multiple times. The wings of the building were knocked down, leaving only ‘the octagon’ shaped building that was previously the main entrance.

Growing up not far away, I got to see the octagon before the interior was completely destroyed. It looked very much like the photo in this wonderful article that Mr. Smith scanned for our archive. In 2002 I was curious what fate had befallen my old neighbor, so me and M went over to the island to see what the current status was.


The exterior was severely overgrown, and surrounded by a fence that of course had plenty of large holes. The previously open main door was sealed up, though a ladder around back showed promise to entering via the second floor.



That plan of course came to a quick end when we saw that there was no second floor anymore. In fact the entire interior was burned to oblivion with wood shards and debris covering the floor.





We walked away that evening not knowing what would become of this structure. Would the historic significance of it save it from complete demolition? What would the restored Octagon look like, and who would take up such a project?

Next week we’ll take a look at what came next.

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  • About The Author

    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe
    Bad Guy Joe knows more about the NYC underground than anyone else on or below the surface of this planet. He has spent nearly 30 years sneaking into NYC's more forbidden locations. When not underground, he's probably bitching about politicians or building something digital. 
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