Abandoned for over 40 years, the Staten Island Farm Colony today is a creepy memento of its dark and troubled past. Situated in the center of Greenbelt’s lush forest, the Farm Colony’s decrepit structures are enveloped in trees and vines, and are only visible from November-May.
Throughout its history, the grounds of the Farm Colony were often associated with society’s ‘unwanted’. The colonial farm era in the 19th century witnessed a bout of construction developments catered to housing the poor, infirm, mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Initially, the Farm Colony housed a collective of farmhouses that rehabilitated New York City’s ageing poor, until they were replaced by the dormitory structures we see today. Not only where these facilities overcrowded, the employees and staff that worked on the Farm Colony were habitually intoxicated; which means not much work was getting done. Defamatory graffiti scrawled on walls, collapsed ceilings and strewn rubble.
A 1920s abduction and murder of a seven-year-old boy occurred on the Farm Colony’s grounds. The Farm Colony community claimed they saw an old man and young boy walking in the woods on the day the child went missing, and fingers pointed to legendary serial killer Cropsey as the one to blame. Another incident at the nearby Willowbrook State School fueled the area’s murderous tendencies. Andre Rand, a man who allegedly lived in the tunnels underneath the abandoned site, was responsible for a string of child murders during the 70’s and 80’s. In 1987 the body of Jennifer Shwweiger was found not far from where he set up camp.