If you found out that the building you lived or worked in was once an asylum, would you move out? Or would you stay, and risk going crazy yourself at the hands of the ghosts of former patients? Today, we’re rounding up some of New York City’s former asylums. Some are extremely creepy; others you would never expect to have once housed the clinically insane.
5. The Octagon (888 Main Street, Roosevelt Island)
This high end apartment complex on Roosevelt Island was so beautifully restored that it’s hard to believe it was once the decrepit New York City Lunatic Asylum, which opened in 1841. In fact, this was the very asylum that journalist Nellie Bly notoriously checked herself into and then slammed in her exposé Ten Days in a Mad-House. This iconic building, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed at this site because its pleasant island location was thought to be soothing to the mentally ill patients. Ironically, as explained by Bly, the hospital’s poor conditions probably nullified any environmental healing that occurred.
The staircase inside the building’s lobby. Source: The Octagon