Sometimes you find an unexpected treat right in your own backyard. This image was made earlier this week at the Kings Park Psychiatric facility in the town of the same name. Not exactly my backyard, but a reasonable drive nonetheless.
Kings Park, now known as the Nissequogue River State Park, is a long-abandoned psychiatric hospital that has become a favorite destination for urban explorers. I’d seen pictures of the buildings on the web for several years but always assumed the place was behind a giant barbed wire fence. A few weeks ago, someone showed me pictures from inside some of the buildings and mentioned that the buildings are on park land. To be clear, entering the buildings is considered trespassing and I did not venture inside. The last thing I want is to fall through a rotten floor! It seems several years ago, the State of NY took over the grounds and converted the entire area into a park, complete with boat launch and cycle path. The buildings-most of them-are indeed secured behind fences or thick sheets of plywood. The building pictured above is one of the several that you can walk, or pedal, up to for a closer look. Some people are creeped out by old mental hospitals and such, but I just enjoyed being able to pedal around the property and wonder what it must of been like to work here back in the 50s and 60s.
The property is also home to some cyclocross events in the fall. I can see why, since there are plenty of paved roads and grassy fields to ride across. I’ve been thinking about doing some ‘cross this fall as a means to stay in shape, and this park looks like a perfect place to practice. And practice I did, trying my first dismount and sustaining my first fall. I neglected to “step through” and unclip my left foot, causing me to tip right over onto the plush grass. Thankfully no one was watching unless you count the spirits reputed to be occupying the buildings.