August 11th, 2014

Awash in Red

Greystone's Last Stand

Hello all. It has been ages since I've posted here, or on my own personal journal for that matter. So long in fact that I am just now getting over being flustered by the LJ redesign. I think I dig it, but change scares me...

Anyway, the reason I haven't been posting terribly much is NOT because I lack material to share (I'm sitting on top of so many locations that I'm stoked to post), but because Christina and I have taken on an admittedly daunting cause. We've aligned ourselves with the organization Preserve Gravestone, in an attempt to stall or change the state of New Jersey's plans to demolish the abandoned Greystone Park Psychiatric Center in Parsippany, NJ. We knew of no better way to get the public's attention than through film, so we set out to create a short public-awareness piece. It very quickly snowballed into a full fledged film, forcing us to learn a boatload of stuff about filming, making us purchase some new equipment, and stealing countless hours of our sleep. Christina and I have been looking to grow for a while now, to take our passion for Urban Exploration and do something different, it just wasn't until recently that we saw the opportunity to do so. To say the project and the learning curve involved has been difficult would be a terrible understatement, however it has also been an incredibly rewarding and and often humbling experience. We've just now wrapped up and went live with a 15-minute "extended preview", so I figured it was a good time to announce the film here, in this community.

It seems like a natural progression for us really - In a way its melded my writing, Christina's filming, and our collective editing and style into a singular piece. We truly hope this film will help change the states course, but obviously that's wishful thinking. Still, the video has garnered 1,500 views over just it's first weekend, without really being posted anywhere (looking to get media coverage shortly, which should really help) so we know people are looking and care. That all being said, consider this post my formal return to the AbandonedpLaces community. I've missed you guys.


Below I have embedded the video, but before that I will post the video's description off of the YouTube channel.
*Video narrated by Mark Moran of Weird NJ

The sprawling Greystone Psychiatric Hospital sits on a hilltop in Parsippany, NJ. It was constructed there well over 100 years ago, opening in the summer of 1876. At the time of its completion Greystone was the largest singular building in the entire country, and held that title until the Pentagon was completed in 1943. The enormous facility was constructed following the Kirkbride plan. Named after Thomas Story Kirkbride, it was a model of psychiatric hospital that featured large wings of wards stretching outward from a center point, which was often the main entrance and administrative area of the facility. Though often seen as eerie places, these old asylums were actually built with the best of intentions for the patients. Yes the sprawl of these wings may seem imposing to an outsider, but they were purposely created narrow to allow patients constant window views and plentiful sunlight. Since the wards were indeed slender in design, they had to make them exceedingly long in order to allow adequate room for the thousands of people living here. Today the grand old hospital stands abandoned, as it has been since 2008.

The state of New Jersey now seeks to demolish this majestic building to create open space. This is to be done at an estimated expense of some $50 million in taxpayer funding. Several groups have already come forward and presented plans to the state, all with great interest in preserving and reusing the entirety of the old Greystone Psychiatric Hospital, and the funding to back their projects. However, for reasons that still have yet to be properly explained, the state has chosen to forgo all of the proposed plans for redevelopment, and instead wish to raze the entirety of the building.

If we lose Greystone it will not only be a terrible blow to national history, architectural preservation, and environmental accountability, but it will be a great disservice to future generations who will never be allowed to experience this monument to architectural engineering and psychiatric medicine. "Greystone's Last Stand" will follow the story of Greystone Psychiatric Hospital as it unfolds.

Please, if you like what we're creating here, share it around. We want word to spread about the state's plan to level the old hospital. The demolition of Greystone will be an event universally regretted by future generations. What we have, sitting abandoned in New Jersey, is a historical gem. Something to be celebrated, not destroyed.

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