A couple of dilapidated buildings can be seen when driving down Brielle Ave in Staten Island. These are the remains of Sea View Hospital, an abandon asylum, that was home to some of the sickest patiences in New York. Shutdown in the early 50′s Sea View’s 350 acres now sits largely empty, across the street from the new (and much improved) Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center. Although it is surrounded by a giant, metal fence, the hospital grounds are easily excess-able through a couple of well placed people sized holes in the fence.
Brandon and I learned about Sea View hospital a few years ago while watching a very interesting documentary called Cropsey. We knew we wanted to explore the grounds, but we never got around to actually going. Then last weekend, on a drive to New Jersey for a hockey game, I suggested we make a pitstop since we were going through Staten Island anyway. Luckily, I brought my camera and we both were thrilled we decided to make the stop.
We parked our car on a little neighborhood side street, and climbed through the fence into a heavily wooded and thorny area. Neither of us were wearing “nature appropriate” attire, so we both got a bit scraped up and even considered turning back, but since the walk was short we just kept at it.
I was really nervous about going into the buildings, as I’ve heard not only the haunting stories (which don’t really scare me) but I’ve also heard that homeless people tend to hide out here and getting murdered with a baseball bat was not something I really wanted. However within 5 minutes of our exploring we ran into another couple (with flashlights!) and ended up joining them. The girl had been there before and knew quite a bit about the buildings. And actually gave us a bit of a tour.
We walked through the buildings basement, which was so dark we couldn’t see our hands infront of our faces, I was able to snap a few photos, which were our only real view of what was down there and all in all it was quite creepy. Beds, toilets and other small pieces of history litter the floors, walls are torn up, doors cracked in half. It looks like a movie set.
Although I’ve been having trouble finding any official history, what I have been able to glean is Sea View was a tuberculosis hospital in the 1940′s, which was more like a hospice due to poor funding and lack of cure, the buildings were mostly shut down by the late 50′s where they stand to this day. Nearby is the Willowbrook State School, which is often confused with Sea View, and that was a mental hospital which was shut down (and mostly destroyed) in the 70/80′s do to horrid conditions and patient cruelty. Sea View however has become the more famous location due to it’s extraordinary presentation.
Despite spending over an hour exploring, we barely saw a fourth of the whole complex. We are definately planning on returning some point in the spring.
Anyway, next time your looking for a fun and exciting adventure, I highly recommend the Sea View Hospital. It’s a crazy story and a remarkable piece of history.Did you enjoy this post? If so, please consider sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or via Email.
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