Kings Park Psychiatric Center once was a bustling complex, housing a large spacious community of patients and staff. Visiting family members were a common presence, patients and their attendants gardened the grounds, and buildings were filled to capacity. It even had its own on-site fire station.
We revisited the complex in August 2012, and found the buildings long since abandoned, save for two, which still housed a facility for the mentally ill.
Mother Nature has forced a demolition of sorts on the buildings in the complex, and in late July 2012, New York State joined in, beginning an incremental demolition of 15 of the dilapidated structures.
During our visit, we painstakingly recreated a sampling of historical photos, preserving a look at KPPC as it was in its heyday compared to the way it stood just before demolition. -- By Julie Cappiello
Then: In 1985, Building 15 at Kings Park State Hospital was a contemporary care unit. Behind it loomed the towering Building 93, which was mostly abandoned at the time, with only the first four floors still in use. (April 12, 1985)
Now: The paths that once led to Building 15 are hidden by overgrown vegetation. Trees have now blocked the view of Building 93 and an entire wing of Building 15. (July 27, 2012)
Then: One of the largest buildings and one of the first that is visible as one enters the hospital complex is Building 93. The structure housed thousands of patients over the years and is the most well known of all the buildings on the site. The upper floors once housed patients who were less mobile. Because of that, the day rooms on each floor are smaller than the ones below. The left and right wings of the building were used for patient dormitories. (Oct. 16, 1991)
Now: Building 93 stands marred with graffiti, broken windows and padlocked doors. Its fate remains unknown, with some locals hoping for repurposing and others for demolition. (July 27, 2012)
Then: A swing sat idly in front of Building 93 at Kings Park State Hospital. By 1991, many floors were abandoned, and the building was in need of repairs, but patients continued to occupy the first four floors. (Dec. 5, 1991)
Now: The swing that once sat in front of Building 93 has been removed, and 30 years' of growth has enabled trees to hide much of the infamous building. (July 27, 2012)
Then: Because of its massive size and gothic architecture, Building 93 at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center was one of the most famous buildings in Suffolk County. It housed thousands of patients from1886 until it was shuttered in 1996. (Oct. 12, 1993)
Now: The trees in front of Building 93 have grown over the years, making it impossible to view the entire face of the building from a close proximity. Building 93 is the tallest on the property, just inches taller than the Acute Medical Center, or Building 7. (July 27, 2012)
Then: This straight-on shot of Building 93 shows the entrance to the most famous building in the hospital complex. Benches were available on the walkway for patients and visiting family members. (Dec. 5, 1991)
Now: Building 93 stands abandoned with a boarded entrance. A fence has been erected around its perimeter to discourage trespassers, as thrill seekers, teenagers and paranormal enthusiasts routinely attempt to gain entrance. It is the most trespassed and vandalized building on the complex. (July 27, 2012)
Then: The fate of Building 93 had yet to be determined when the state shuttered the hospital. (April 12, 1985)
Now: Building 93 is the tallest structure in the Kings Park Psychiatric Center's complex, with 11 floors, a two-story attic, a basement and a sub-basement. Standing just inches shorter, Building 7 is the second highest. (July 27, 2012)
Then: Patients in the Buckman Rehabilitation Center, also known as Building 23, had access to recreational activities including a pool, weight room, bowling alley and auditorium. Plays were performed by the patients for families and staff. (April 12, 1985)
Now: The Buckman Rehab Center is hidden by overgrown bushes and fields. (July 27, 2012)
Then: Building 93 appears ominous as it stood at Kings Park Psychiatric Center. The building, the tallest and most famous in the hospital complex, housed thousands of patients during the years of its operation. (Dec 5, 1991)
Now: Building 93, once the tallest building on Long Island, looms abandoned over the trees. One of the most famous structures in Suffolk County, Building 93 is also the most trespassed and vandalized, with graffiti visible on both of the top balconies. (July 27, 2012)
Then: Building 7, the Acute Medical Center, served multiple purposes, housing a morgue, staff offices, hydrotherapy facilities, and surgical and medical units. One of the last structures built on the property, it stands as the second tallest, just inches shorter than Building 93. (April 12, 1985)
Now: The property surrounding Building 7, the second tallest on the property, once included a bridge that was used for transporting patients to the Buckman Rehabilitation Center. This bridge is covered with overgrown vegetation, and the parking lot has become a mass of broken concrete and weeds. (July 27, 2012)
Then: Stephen Goldstein, former executive director of Kings Park State Hospital, stands in front of the Acute Medical Center, also known as Building 7. (April 12, 1985)
Now: Stephen Goldstein, former executive director of Kings Park State Hospital, is long departed from his position in Building 7, the Acute Medical Center. The building, which includes the former morgue, is a point of interest for paranormal investigators, photographers and thrill seekers alike. (July 27, 2012)