Interesting cultural reference to the Babylon Green Party

(excerpt from) Stony Brook Independent

Pilgrim State: In an Abandoned Building, Traces of Life
By Michelle Trauring / Thu, 02/12/2009

They pace – distress eating away at their faces. Their brown eyes lock on one another and they look away.

“I’m not going in there,” Nick Panebianco says. The uneasiness in his voice contradicts his nearly six-foot, muscular frame.

“We’re about to go into an abandoned insane asylum and you’re afraid of Daryl?” Pat Fallon retorts. It’s almost midnight and he’s ready for an adventure…

A world away from Stony Brook University, the two 19-year-olds pull up to the looming brick building that was once a part of the Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center. Nick’s Hyundai Tucson slowly crunches over the dirt road. Symmetrical trees line the path, black underneath the hazy, purple sky. The stars twinkle overhead.

Pilgrim State is a shadow of what it once was: the largest hospital of any kind in the world. Before the brink of World War II, it reached into four Suffolk towns and had two major roads cutting through its bounds. After the war, capacity topped out at 13,875 patients and more than 4,000 employees.

Change – and abandoned buildings – came in the 1950s with psychotropic drugs and reports of harsh patient treatment, the source of many ghost stories surrounding the tabooed bricks and a magnet for nighttime mischief…

The remainder of the lobby is far from a fairytale. Garbage is strewn everywhere, intermingled with glass and paint chips. An old television and stereo lay on the ground, cracked and mangled. A gynecological chair sits awkwardly at the foot of one of the staircases, its stirrups ripped off.

Down the next hall, work logs, guest sign-in sheets and other papers dating back to 2002 cover the floor. A white sign with green lettering blocks one of the doors: “Ian Wilder, Supervisor, Vote Row G.” Inside, there’s a reception booth. An intrusion alarm system board hangs on the wall and a beige phone sits on the counter. The receiver is off the hook laying face up, its cord hanging over the ledge.

Pat wanders off while Nick takes a call from his childhood friend Darren, who’s lovesick in Washington, D.C. He shakes the dirt off a sleeve of the New York Daily News from 2002. Bored, he drops it and walks into a nearby room where he finds two metal bed frames and jumps on them. There is a whiteboard against the wall, reading, “Good evening, welcome. Let’s have fun!” The exclamation point is cartoonish and ends in a smiley face. A tranquil painting of a harbor scene hangs on the wall…

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