clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

OHNY Report #1: Ghosts at The Octagon

This past weekend, numerous landmarks and architectural oddities around New York opened their doors to the public as part of Open House New York. Here's one reader report from the front lines; if you saw something special (or especially bizarre) you'd like to see in this space, drop us an email. Bonus points for digital pix.

We've long had a fascination with The Octagon, the asylum-cum-development, which is why this Curbed reader report catches our eye: "This weekend, I went to The Octagon on Roosevelt Island, and was hoping it would be super interesting and maybe a little eerie. When we got there, though, it was a bit underwhelming. They've rehabbed the outside structure, which is impressive, considering how it was nearing collapse a few years ago. The interior though, is a fairly anonymous design. There are the warm woods, frosted glass, and lots of white drywall--looks like any recently constructed lobby in any condo building. They had pictures of the former stairwell, which was gorgeous with doric (ionic? corinthian? I never know...) columns and elaborate wrought iron work on the stairwell. It looks like they just thickly plastered over the historic interior with lots of drywall.

Nonetheless, I took a picture of the stairwell. in the attached photograph (above), you can see that it's still a delightfully maddening spiral, but also i do believe that is a ghost in the upper left corner of the picture. it's the grayish blur near the banister. it's not sunlight from the windows, as you can see that stops in the lower half of the picture. it's not a reflection from my camera's flash, because the surrounding wood would show a gradation of light.

I wish they'd opened the abandoned smallpox hospital on the southern end of Roosevelt. That would have been amazing. How do we petition for something like that?"
· Ask Curbed: Which Way Out of the Octagon? [Curbed]
· Octagon Won't Fess Up to Crazy Past [Curbed]
· The Octagon: Cut-Rate Asylum Living [Curbed]