Off on another day trip, this time to Staten Island, NY. The Seaview Hospital, now literally crumbling from the bottom up, was once this country’s largest and most costly tuberculosis sanatorium. Built between 1905 and 1938 in Willowbrook, Staten Island the structure consisted of 37 buildings. Having everything from a children’s unit to a kitchen and dining hall.
This adventure specifically was one of our stranger experiences to date. Generally, observing and photographing these structures are somewhat of a difficult task. Often having to climb through windows or finding holes in fences to gain access to the premises. The Seaview Hospital is a breed of its own. We parked the car, and found a hole in the fence, but once we got onto the premises, we realized it hadn’t been all that secluded. There were joggers, and people walking their dogs, and even a group of people filming a graffiti session. Later, we realized that the site had even been used for paintball games.
We entered as many buildings as we possibly could. Some were easy to access, others we had to climb staircases that were falling to pieces and climb over other obstacles. In one building, we were able to gain access to the roof, where you are able to walk out onto and see that it overlooks most of the premises. In other buildings, there were still walls and doors inside upper floors, along with bed frames, and bathroom fixtures, but everything that was left was slowly decomposing. Other buildings had stairwells or elevator shafts that were just empty, missing stairs or the elevator needed to gain access to other floors. Looking down into them, you can only see darkness and you feel your stomach drop and it feels like you’re looking into a chamber of an endless pit that leads to who knows where, with who knows what, waiting at the bottom for you to lose your balance. It felt as though every structure we entered left us with a different feeling or vision of what the building once was.