Kings Park Psychiatric Center

by Kaylah Stroup

Jumping back to August – the very last stop of our New England road trip* was Kings Park Psychiatric Center, an abandoned hospital complex which closed its doors back in 1996. My big stop of the trip was Dead Horse Bay, and this was Jeff’s. I hadn’t done any research on the area, and was generally pretty pessimistic about it. There was no way we’d be able to get in, I thought. With so many huge abandoned buildings in one place it has to be teeming with police, right? It was only fair we went though and no matter what it’s always fun to see the outside of these places.

I did a tiny bit of research right before we got there and gathered that maybe, just maybe, this would actually be possible to explore. I’m obviously not promoting trespassing, because it’s dangerous you guys, seriously, but let’s just say this was probably one of the easiest spots we’ve ever gotten. I couldn’t believe it.

It felt too easy though. We went in one of the largest buildings on the property, a patient ward built in 1939. My legs shook the whole time. I just couldn’t calm down. Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice or maybe it was the spirits that haunt this place. You know I’m joking, right!? We haven’t been doing much of this lately but I just had a bad feeling I couldn’t shake. Jeff could tell I was unnerved and said it was more than okay if we finished up after a few shots.

We made our way back to the car, cooled down in the air, and drove around the rest of the property scoping everything out. Jeff spotted a second building he wanted to explore. After how nervous I was in the first I was thiiiis close to offering to drop him off and just sit in the car while he did his thing. I knew I’d regret it though so I put on a brave face. I was cool as a cucumber inside the second building. This is only my second hospital (see number one here!) so they’re still very very exciting to me, unlike factory buildings.

It was extremely hot when we visited so knowing we had a bit of a trek back to the car Jeff suggested we start to head back before we were both completely drained. This is the part where we got lost in an abandoned hospital, you guys. We made our way down to the level we thought the exit was on and wandered around hoping to find where we came in. You realize you’re lost when you start passing the same graffiti turn after turn. For me it was a tag that just said “Steph Curry” I saw about six times. After about forty-five mins of this, Jeff eventually say “You know what, just go out that window. It doesn’t matter what direction we’re facing, we’ll find our way to the car.” While he was packing up his camera equipment, he encouraged me to go first. It was a bit of a drop and by “a bit” I mean second story window. I rode a skinny tree to the ground like a fire pole. As soon as I got to the bottom and looked up to Jeff for approval like “Did you see how awesome that was?!” I could see something was wrong, his face said it all. He muttered “Don’t freak out but you’re in the courtyard.” which meant I was completely trapped between walls. I went out that window for nothing. I had to climb back in… somehow. I had a brief moment of “I’ll just live here. No biggie.” before the adrenaline started to pump. Back up against the tree, and feet on the bricks, I wiggled my way up to the window where Jeff helped pull me back in. Your body can do some crazy stuff when it needs too!  
Once back inside we wandered around in circles for a bit longer before
peeking out a window where I was able to recognize a structure I spotted
near the entrance when we originally went in. After looking for it a
bit more we realized we were on the wrong floor the whole time. Whoops! Five more minutes and we were outside at last. 
I’ve seen numerous horror movies where people are stuck in abandoned buildings and I think “go out the window, you dummy!” but I guess that might lead you to being stuck in the courtyard. As someone with a pretty great sense of direction, it’s really amusing how confusing hospitals can be. Everything looks the same after a while. Floor after floor is the same, and each of the wings on those floors are normally laid out exactly the same too.

I don’t think there could have been a more perfect way to end this trip. The drive home was extremely boring, I-80 might be the most boring road ever, but we talked about the hospital nearly the whole way back. The amount of history in these places hold is incredible. I’ve spent so much time since our visit there researching KPPC and I just keep finding new things that intrigue me. This hospital, despite clearly being a very well visited spot which would normally knock a spot down a few pegs for me, just might be one of my favorites!
xoxo

*For more posts about my visit to New England check out these posts; On the cutting room floor – road trip edition, Old Bennington Cemetery, Acadia National Park, Pemaquid Point, Giant’s Stairs, Maple Grove Cemetery, Granary Burying Ground + Dead Horse Bay.

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