Greenbelt’s unruly forest surrounds Farm Colony structures. Image via AbandonedNYC
Abandoned for over 40 years, the Staten Island Farm Colony today is a creepy memento of its dark and troubled past. Situated in the center of Greenbelt’s lush forest, the Farm Colony’s decrepit structures are enveloped in trees and vines, and are only visible from November-May according to AbandonedNYC.
Throughout its history, the grounds of the Farm Colony were often associated with society’s ‘unwanted’. The colonial farm era in the 19th century witnessed a bout of construction developments catered to housing the poor, infirm, mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Initially, the Farm Colony housed a collective of farmhouses that rehabilitated New York City’s aging poor, until they were replaced by the dormitory structures we see today. Not only where these facilities overcrowded, the employees and staff that worked on the Farm Colony were habitually intoxicated; which means not much work was getting done. Below, AbandonedNYC’s photographs depict the buildings in their current state: defamatory graffiti scrawled on walls, collapsed ceilings and strewn rubble.
On a rather disturbing note, AbandonedNYC pointed out a 1920s abduction and murder of a seven-year-old boy that had occurred on the Farm Colony’s grounds. The Farm Colony community claimed they saw an old man and young boy walking in the woods on the day the child went missing, and fingers pointed to legendary serial killer Cropsey as the one to blame. Another incident at the nearby Willowbrook State School fueled the area’s murderous tendencies. Andre Rand, a man who allegedly lived in the tunnels underneath the abandoned site, was responsible for a string of child murders during the 70’s and 80’s. In 1987 the body of Jennifer Shwweiger was found not far from where he set up camp. Upon reading this, we are reminded of Greenwich Village’s turbulent past, which also had its fair share of bloodthirsty activity.
Currently, the Farm Colony is a designated historic district, but the city has not done much to look after the building structures in the area, as portrayed by the photos. There have been several appeals to turn the buildings into something of use, but not many people expressed interest. Although it’s technically not open to the public, the space transforms into a popular nighttime hang out for high school students. On the weekends, it serves as the perfect setting for a lively paintball game. It appears that Farm Colony’s grim history doesn’t deter Staten Island teenagers in the slightest; rather, they regard the ruins as their playground. Leave it up to the youth to find the light in all things dark.