I think it would be easier for me to try and remember what I ate on the first Saturday afternoon of July of '98 than to be able to type all of my thoughts about Greystone into a few small paragraphs for this website. Yet, here we are, so I'll give it a shot.    Much like Marlboro or Overbrook, my friends and I grew up in the "Weird NJ" era of reading the urban legends behind these infamous institutions, to finally being old enough to get in the car and drive ourselves to them and get the facts firsthand. Nothing could have prepared us for how massive Greystone would actually be the first time we laid eyes on it driving up Central Ave. At that time, several of the outbuildings still remained. There were no soccer fields or playgrounds, at least none that I can really recall. Maybe a few recreational spots further down the road, but this end of Central Ave belonged to Greystone, and nothing more. Never in a million years would I have ever expected this to change, even as the landscape slowly shape-shifted over the next half-decade or so. Eventually, Greystone was reduced to nothing more than dust and memories. But that's something I don't care to talk about often, if at all.   

    I prefer to remember Greystone very differently than I'm sure would be acceptable to the average person in New Jersey. It was so much more to me than bricks and stones. Really only one word comes to mind for me to describe it: dualism. Greystone was a powerhouse of history, both of architecture and of medicine. At the same time, it was by far the most incredible place I have ever explored. It's almost contradictory to be in love with a place so much that you want it to be resurrected from the dead and restored back to the life, but at the same time are still trying to discover every single secret the place has to offer. I always felt very selfish not wanting to give up our playground, but ultimately I always stood by the preservation efforts.   Some of my fondest memories I hold dear to me are the various adventures to Greystone. The first times we went there, my general rule of "just casually walk up and I'm sure there's a way in" always panned out. I was somehow arranging meet-ups for a dozen or more people at a time, escorting them inside the building, coming back out, going to QuickChek to grab everyone snacks, shuttling the next group in and so on. At points, I felt like a sort of unofficial tour guide of the Kirkbride. People would message me from different states asking to come pay a visit, and I would happily oblige. It took me a few years before I fully realized how much of a prize Greystone truly was.    

    Although I spent a lot of time there, I still feel like it wasn't enough. During the demolition, we made it a point to be there on an almost daily basis. Each time I watched the machines take another dig at the building, I would think "there's no way this is going to keep going, someone is going to stop this." Ultimately, we all know how that turned out. One of the final times I was in there was when the wings had already been taken down, and demolition of admin had begun. It was risky and exceptionally dangerous. I remember the crisp summer night, the nearly full moon, just enough light between that and the streetlights. There were holes in the side of the building, huge chunks of stone and pipes dangling overhead. It looked like a war zone. We made a run for it, and we were in. We paid our final respects in the chapel, took a few more looks around, and not long after, the fabled asylum was no more.    

    My epitaph for this location will always remain "Greystone: A Victim of Political Greed".

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Greystone [Part 1] (2012)

Greystone [Part 2] (2012)

Greystone Raw Footage (2015 Demolition)

A Tribute to Greystone (2015)

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