Hidden in the backwoods of New York’s forgotten borough sits the Staten Island Farm Colony, an aging set of antiquated buildings that have been used for everything from their intended purposes to satanic sacrifice and the burial of local children.
Built in 1898 as a self-preserving housing community for the impoverished or otherwise socially outcast, its beginnings were utopic in essence; 2,000 residents would produce over 3,000 vegetables, more than enough to sustain themselves. Due to the advent of Social Security and drugs like Thorazine in the 1950s, however, the community was stripped of most of its able-bodied workers and essentially became a geriatric center. And so, like many other farm colonies, the colony could no longer sustain itself and was sealed and abandoned in 1975. But this only marked the beginning of a far more sinister period of its existence.
The ’70s saw the disappearance of many local children; one minute they’d be walking with their parents, the next they’d be gone, only to be discovered days later in shallow graves on Farm Colony property. Past patients were often spotted haunting the grounds, walking the quickly decaying tunnels and hallways under the buildings they once worked to maintain. And teenagers, too, wanted their fair share of the decaying hulks; layers upon layers of graffiti coat the walls, beer cans litter the paths, and paintball is a common recent pastime in the area.
One of few abandonments in New York City that are not only accessible, but genuinely haunted, and known extensively by what seems to be any- and everyone who grew up on Staten Island, the Farm Colony is an excellent place to relive dead history’s insanity, go on an extremely paranoid walk, or find a body or two.
In January 2016, the New York City Economic Development Corporation sold 45 acres to a developer, who plans to build condos that will open in 2017. The redevelopment plan includes “arrested ruins,” described as “stabilized landmarked buildings,” as one public amenity.The Colony is fenced off, but if you keep walking up Walcott Avenue, there’s a gap in the fence and it’s possible to access the abandoned buildings from there. Just keep heading forward and you’ll come to a path.
Visit New York State with Atlas Obscura Trips
Only in Queens: Tasting Our Way Through New York’s Most Diverse Borough
Manhattan may have name-brand recognition and Brooklyn a certain cache, but Queens is the city’s largest and most diverse borough. Join us, October 4-7, to dig into Queens’ rich neighborhood life.