2013, you’ve been too good to me. This has to be my favorite and best year of my 26 years living. Looking back at what I have done this year still amazes me, and with three months left there are still things to come. Not to mention my one dream came true this year. Explore and photograph an abandoned insane asylum. Thanks to the fine folks at Weird N.J., I found out about a place not far from me that will meet a deadly demise next year. I knew I had to adventure out before it was too late.
Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital is a massive and overwhelming structure. Opened in 1876, Greystone was designed to help care for the mentally ill, but like all other Psychiatric hospitals, Greystone faced overcrowding. After many years and bad publicity such as, patient suicides, patients being mistreated, patients being sexually abused, and patients escaping, Greystone officially closed. Select buildings have been closed for years already, even some demolished with a new hospital fully functional down the road. Sadly, the main structure will face death either February or March of 2014.
Once arriving at Greystone I took some outside shots and was approached by two women in a car asking if I knew how to get inside. Being skeptical, since cops do patrol the area very, very frequently, my friend and I acted like we didn’t know what they were talking about. For one, we didn’t know how to get in, and two we didn’t know if it was a trick. Afterwards they got out with tripods and started taking photos. Now knowing that they weren’t cops we shared a few things about the place and my friend and I were off into the unknown.
We walked around the property testing every door, just in case, but couldn’t find an entrance until we went to the loading dock area. Surprisingly there is a huge open area to enter, but it seemed like it leads to nowhere. Realizing I brought my new lens, which I only use for concert photography, it came in handy with these dark areas. To our surprise, the entrance brought us to what seemed like an area that controlled all the power. Oddly enough there were other people here and also electricity still running through certain areas. The new group we found went off looking for an entrance to the hospital. My friend and I stayed behind to look around.
We found an entrance to the hospital, but it wasn’t easy or safe. Climbing on the machinery and then a wooden ceiling beam, we made our way into what seemed like a maintenance/staff living quarters. Following the path down the stairs brought us to the kitchen. Again, some areas still had lights on. Too me this is bizarre, and also who is paying for this? New Jersey tax payers? That’s beside the point. Moving forward we finally made our way to the offices. Every room was the same, scattered supplies, open drawers, papers thrown about. Wanting to see patient rooms, we made our way upstairs.
We were surprised to find the chapel upstairs, which was remarkable. Probably remarkable as the theatre room in the abandoned school in Bloomfield I went to. Walking out of the chapel we followed the signs to the men’s and women’s ward. I must say after awhile, every hallway looks the same in this section. It can easily confuse you. Also, the higher you climb the worst the hallways get. Some areas are not passable due to the roof caving in.
We wanted to get to the basement and then the area where operations were done, but it was getting late and we needed to find a way out. Surprisingly, we ended back in the kitchen. We made a few turns and found our way to the main entrance and managed to get out that way. On the way to my car we noticed an officer pull up to the building and park. We just made it out in time.
As always, if you plan to visit this amazing location, be careful! Also, be on the lookout for police they do patrol everywhere. Now that this structure will be destroyed soon, I am expecting a lot of curious seekers in the coming months. If you do manage to get it, please don’t destroy or take anything. Places like these are graveyards to the past and shouldn’t be disturbed in that sense. I plan to get back in again, but who knows. There is so much more to see, but for now I am satisfied because I did something I always wanted to do and this was a good start to the Halloween season.