3 votes

Willowbrook State School

2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY, New York 10314 USA

  • Independent
Add to Trip
Remove Ads

“abandoned since 1987!”

This place is on private property. Listing for informational purposes only. Please do not visit without express permission from the land owner. Willowbrook State School was a state-supported institution for children with intellectual disabilities located in the Willowbrook neighborhood on Staten Island in New York City from 1947 until 1987. The school was designed for 4,000, but by 1965 it had a population of 6,000. At the time it was the biggest state-run institution for people with mental disabilities in the United States. Conditions and questionable medical practices and experiments prompted Sen. Robert Kennedy to call it a "snake pit." Public outcry led to its closure in 1987, and to federal civil rights legislation protecting the disabled. A portion of the grounds and some of the buildings were incorporated into the campus of the College of Staten Island, which moved to Willowbrook in the early 1990s. The rest of the buildings sit abandoned and dilapidated in the Staten Island Greenbelt. Willowbrook State Hospital is mentioned in the documentary movie Cropsey (2009), as having reportedly housed convicted child kidnapper Andre Rand, who had previously worked there as an orderly. One of Rand's supposed victims, Jennifer Schweiger, was found buried in a shallow grave behind the grounds of the abandoned Willowbrook State School, which was built under the same design as Pilgrim State Hospital. In 2011, a former resident of Willowbrook State School, a savant named Anthony Torrone, wrote a Christian prayer book titled Anthony's Prayers that was inspired by his time and the abuse he experienced at the school.[14][15] A depiction eerily similar to Geraldo Rivera's documentary, Willowbrook: The Last Disgrace (1972) is briefly portrayed in Season 2, episode 13 of American Horror Story: Asylum, entitled "Madness Ends", in which the fictional journalist Lana Winters brings a camera crew into the Briarcliff Insane Asylum capturing deplorable and inhumane treatment of patients, which Winters later names Briarcliff: An Exposé and thus launches her career and brings her the fame she had worked for.

Read More >
Add Review
Your Rating

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
March 30, 2017

I know some of the buildings are now repurposed, but can you walk the grounds and take photos of the exteriors?

Was this helpful?
  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
May 18, 2016

No there aren't tours. It's now a college and a nursing home. Some of the buildings lye abandoned but most are in use. It's not the freak show you're expecting.

Was this helpful?

Reviewed by
Cary Underwood

  • 20 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
January 28, 2015

Is the school even still standing?

Was this helpful?

Be the first to add a review to the Willowbrook State School.

Willowbrook State School

2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY
New York
10314 USA

Hours not available

Problem with this listing? Let us know.

  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
See More Details (1)
Remove Ads

Nearby Hotels

New York, New York

Click to discover a
great deal!

New York, New York
New York, New York
New York, New York
Ridgewood, New York

Related Trip Guides

  • Trip Guide

The top things to do on an I-95 road trip

  • 50 Places
  • 41:46
  • 1,983 mi
  • Trip Guide

The top things to do on a U.S. Route 20 road trip

  • 23 Places
  • 60:25
  • 3,576 mi
  • Trip Guide

The top things to do on an East Coast road trip

  • 32 Places
  • 48:54
  • 2,584 mi
  • Trip Guide

The top things to do on an I-80 road trip

  • 35 Places
  • 53:41
  • 3,194 mi
Remove Ads