Exploring Nassau County Sanitorium, abandoned Tuberculosis hospital

Exploring Nassau County Sanitorium, abandoned Tuberculosis hospital

Built in 1930, the long vacant Nassau County Sanitorium is set on 140 acres in Plainview, tucked behind the New York Islanders offices and an active sports field. Though there is not much information about the old hospital, which was a Tuberculosis ward, on the world wide web, it is pretty open for easy exploration. It’s accessible right off Old Country Road a few blocks from Rt. 135, it’s got a wide open parking lot that is not creepy at all, and it has plenty of wide open doors to walk through… if you’re feeling brave. It is private property but is not littered with threatening signs of trespassing and prosecution, except by a group of garages off the main hospital building. The grounds are pretty expansive, but, unlike the decaying State-run “farm colony” hospitals (Pilgrim State, Kings Park, and Central Islip) there are no guides available, no old campus maps.

No answers to many questions: Why was it still here? Why isn’t the property more ravaged? Why were the cluster of homes on its property (doctor’s quarters?) still with electricity and a hose still damp with use? And… how is it that the location was never tagged in Instagram?

Many questions, but all I have is pictures. We walked the entire property; here’s what we saw.
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The bright blue sky was a glorious backdrop, but it also emboldened us to explore more. I can enter a hallway, a room, staircase that is streaming with bright sunlight. I can walk towards the light, the blue hue framed by decrepit moulding. IMG_2298

It was the crevasses, the dead ends that were harder. Like in the women’s room.

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Sunny squalor.IMG_2325

The stairs were pretty sturdy.
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We walked up to the check in desk. So did many others, I guess.IMG_2429

There were board game remnants strewn about.
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We admired the built-ins, the glass-paned cabinetry. IMG_2424

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So many windows intact! Teenagers must be losing their gusto.IMG_2355

We presumed these to be employee’s quarters. They were a short walk down a dead end on the property, across from a building that seemed to be some sort of recreation space. Why was the light on?PicMonkey Collage

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Nature had adopted the property. The grounds were ripe with mushrooms and teaming with birds, insects, and critters in the bushes confused by our presence. IMG_2420

This was a pretty blind exploration, a lead from my friend who is a nurse at an area hospital. But now I am intrigued about its history, which is quite mysterious. The property used to be the Taliaferro Estate, on the land that became Old Bethpage. Though the hospital closed in the 1960’s, it was used for various purposes, like a rehabilitation center. It’s unclear when it became completely abandoned, though the Young people’s edition Trivia Pursuit cards point towards it being in the 1980s? In 1999, Charles Wang, owner of the New York Islanders, purchased the property.

In the center of the map, an aerial look at the buildings we explored. (source)

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Previous Comments posted on earlier web address:

George I lived in the neighborhood across the street from 1961 up until 1968 when I left for college at Stony Brook, one street just north of Lenmore Dr, labeled on the map. The property was in use then. When we missed the bus, we kids would ride our bikes through the property to get to the Jr High and later JFK High next door. The sewage disposal area on the map is now a vacant field in pictures, but back then there was an array of abandoned old wooden sluices and holding pens. Just north of that the empty area on the map was a potato farm. I think it was farmed by county inmates – or at least we thought so at the time. We always referred to it as the “prison farm.” On the south side of the property across the street from Lenmore was a working apple orchard. They were just starting to build the Old Bethpage village restoration the last two years I lived there, but it was not yet open to the public. Before that the area was an open field where the neighborhood kids would play. Before we moved to the area I think it was farm land, and also used by hunters. We were 10-15 at the time, and would trek off back there on our own, with no adult supervision. Today our parents would all be talking to child protective services, not doubt, for allowing that! Before the Jr. High, we all went to the Old Bethpage School. If we missed the bus, we just walked. CPS would probably not be happy about that either, today. The north side of the school property was wild at the time with a large wild berry patch. Kids back them pretty much ran wild far and wide, in a way that is looked askance today. At 14 or 15 my friends and I would ride our bikes alone 10-15 miles from home on day trips, to places like Sagamore Hill, or Cold Spring Harbor. No cell phones then either, of course, if something went wrong (but never did).
Sami Hi everyone! I am filming a documentary on some of the places in New York that have so much history but have been left abandoned. I am looking for some people to speak to about living there, working there or having some personal account of what the area was like during its time of operation. PLEASE email me if you have ANY interest in speaking to me. Thank you so much! samirose23@gmail.com
Ashley My husband just did work at the building.sadly it’s being torn down and I believe condos are bwing put up. I angers me there is enough houses and no history left on long island.

Joe G. In the 70s I delivered newspapers to the houses by the basketball court, so they were occupied. Also, the main house from the Taliaferro Estate is still standing as of 9/24/16 but will be demolished like every other building on the site. I could not find pictures or information about the main house, or the estate before the property became a TB hospital.
Julia H. I was a patient there at the age of 16 for abt 1 1/4 years, beginning 1953. My father and brother were there at the same time. It was jail, for a teenager especially, but we were well and kindly cared for.
Who knew I would end up living only 10 minutes away for the past 40 years! Who knew, also, that I would be among the first of many to benefit from “miracle” drugs.
Our poor mother visited almost daily, after work, for more than 2 years. Wonder what happened to my first Siamese cat, my 16th birthday gift from my parents.
Life is, indeed wonderous, mysterious and unpredictable. Only a very small handful of people know my story. You see, it was almost like leprosy, a disease to be kept secret because of the fear of contagion, understandably.
I am still here and have had a very interesting life – wondering what happened to my companions in illness! When one left the “san” one kept one’s previous whereabouts under a shroud of secrecy.
Betty My brother and I were born at the Nassau County Sanitarium because our mother had tuberculosis. I am anxious to find out where the employee and patient records from the facility are stored.
V.V. In reply to Andy L.Wow! I walked around that cul de sac and wondered who had lived in those houses. Eerily, they seemed to be still occupied. One of the houses had lights on and the landscaping seemed maintained. I am glad that you were able to find it. It was waiting for you.
Andy L I lived ON that property in 1970-71. Your pics show a home with an abandoned basketball court out front. I lived in that house. I was 3-4 years old and it is one my oldest memories by far, but I remember the long winding road we took to get there past the “hospital” which is the sanitarium building. There were three houses on a tiny wooded cul de sac and that old basketball court across the street. For YEARS, I have tried to find that place whil driving down OC Road but finally I figured out where to look