The Central Islip Psychiatric Center was a psychiatric hospital in Central Islip, New York, USA from 1889 until 1996.

The center was one of the four major hospital “farms” in central Long Island to house the sick from New York City; the others were Kings Park, Pilgrim State Hospital, and Edgewood State Hospital. In 1955 it housed 10,000 patients, making it the USA’s second biggest psychiatric hospital to Pilgrim State Hospital, which was the largest psychiatric institution ever to exist in the United States.


It opened in 1889 to house the sick from Manhattan in what was called at the time the New Colony. Kings County Farm Colony opened in the fall of 1886 to house those from Brooklyn. Pilgrim opened in 1931 and Edgewood in 1946 (which acted as Pilgrim’s Tubercular Division).

The state bought the land for US$25 per acre.

49 male and 40 female patients were admitted in 1889 for “O&O” (Occupation and Oxygen) and “R&R” (Rest and Relaxation) at a working farm. Patients cleared the land, constructed buildings, made the furniture and mattresses, sewed their clothing, grew crops and raised dairy cattle, pigs and chickens.

After New York State bought it, it was renamed the Manhattan State Hospital for the Insane (although the “for the Insane” portion was frequently not included in articles).

The initial buildings grew to be a nearly mile-long interconnected series of buildings called the “string of pearls.”

Until the Great Depression patients would arrive by a special hospital train with bars on the windows on a siding off the Long Island Rail Road.

More modern buildings were arranged closer together in the Sunburst building.

The hospital was renamed the Central Islip State Hospital and finally the Central Islip Psychiatric Center.

It closed in 1996 when the last patients were transferred to the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center.

Current use

Most of the buildings, including the String of Pearls, have been demolished. The 1953 power plant was torn down in 2006, the Corcoran treatment building was torn down in 2008.

As the hospital was being phased out, part of its grounds were used for Suffolk County, New York to locate its offices in the Cohalan County Court Complex in 1992.

The New York Institute of Technology has the biggest collection of buildings in the Sunburst Building. The Town Center at Central Islip shopping center covers much of it. Citibank Park, home of the Long Island Ducks is on it as is the Alfonse M. D’Amato United States Courthouse which is the third largest federal courthouse in the U.S.

Haunted History: Hauntings include claims of seeing full body apparitions and of people walking on the floors above you. Others claim hearing doors opening and closing on their own, people talking to each other when no one else was around and being touched. People have also heard screams coming from the abandoned buildings when no one is around.

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