History unsmashed: Gorgeous Greystone hospital’s demolition, in reverse
It's not every day you see history smashed to bits. It's even rarer to see the damage undone.
But Jody Johnson, founder of the Glide by JJ project, wondered what it might look like if you could.
Last year, she captured stunning views of the demolition of the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital from her drone — gorgeous footage of an architectural marvel in its last months and days.
State officials citing a 2012 report found it would cost at least $110 million to save Greystone — the site that first opened in 1877 as the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morris Plains. The rejected proposals to redevelop it into housing and possibly office space as money-losers.
Meanwhile, right until the end, advocacy group Preserve Greystone rejected those analyses and argued it was key to hold onto a facility with a storied history — which included caring for Woody Guthrie and countless others, but also a host of latter-year scandals involving suicides, rapes and mistreatment.
What was never in question: Greystone itself was a decaying beauty, anchored by its main Kirkbride building.
A few days ago, Johnson released yet another video — taking her time-lapsed footage of Greystone's demolition and playing it in reverse. The segment has won entry into the NYC Drone Film Festival, which will be held in March.
Wo what's so great about Greystone's architecture? Below, see images of Greystone, in decay, from the 2013 report. Even under the mold and deterioration, its former grandeur comes through:
Greystone first opened in 1877 as the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morris Plains. The overcrowded site with a troubled history famously treated Woody Guthrie for his degenerative Huntington’s disease.
But over the years, reports of patient suicides, sexual assaults and various forms of mistreatment — combined with the decaying state of its buildings — prompted New Jersey officials to move patients and resources out of the facility. Gov. Christine Todd Whitman ordered it closed by 2003, and while several buildings were demolished, the hospital staff didn't leave the Kirkbride building until it moved to another facility in 2008.
Authorities have chased photographers and videographers off the Greystone site in recent years, and some have been charged — being there was considered tresspassing. But in March, AbandonedNJ posted what it said was "probably the last footage you will ever see" inside the hospital:"