Willowbrook Mile


“Baby Unit” This complex was built in 1960 specifically for infants and children. Institutionalization was routinely recommended in those years by the medical community. Families agonized over the decision to place their babies in such large facilities where more than 50 children were cared for by one or two attendants in large, impersonal ward settings. […]

#1 • August 18, 2015 • 11:26 am

“Crossover Gate” – Opening “A” Path This gate symbolizes the crossover from institutionalization and isolation to integration into society for people with disabilities. Through this crossover, the property began to transition from acreage that once stifled growth to one that offered an enriched life with hope and opportunities Willowbrook Revisited Episode 2

#2 • August 12, 2015 • 4:37 pm

“The Exposé” This station tracks the journey of the exposure of the Willowbrook experience to public scrutiny. The Robert Kennedy visit in 1965, the Staten Island Advance series of articles depicting the poor conditions, and then finally the ABC News exposé led by journalist Geraldo Rivera, who mounted an explosive and realistic investigation into the […]

#3 • August 12, 2015 • 4:37 pm

“Memorial Garden Consent Decree Plaque” This plaque commemorates the closing of the Willowbrook State School. This closure was brought about by the 1975 Willowbrook Consent Judgment, which mandated the placement of Willowbrook residents in the community. Further, the Judgment required an array of services to be available in the community leading to more normalized, non-segregated […]

#4 • August 12, 2015 • 4:36 pm

“Halloran General Veteran Hospital” During WWII, Halloran was the largest Army hospital in the U.S. At the War’s end, it became a veteran hospital. In 1951, the hospital closed and the property was returned to the State for its original purpose as a “school” for individuals with mental retardation and other disabilities Willowbrook Revisited Episode […]

#5 • August 12, 2015 • 4:35 pm

“Building 19 Plaque” Willowbrook was a large institution covering more than 380 acres. The central plant provided heat and electricity to all of the buildings connected by steam tunnels. The mere scope and size of the facility seriously impaired its ability to provide normal, personalized comfort and care. This plaque honors every person who resided […]

#6 • August 12, 2015 • 4:35 pm

“Willowbrook Archives” A Collection of Historical Documents/Artifacts-which captures the experiences of the residents, their guardians, and Willowbrook staff members. Also included are historical documents related to the construction of the site. Willowbrook Revisited Episode 4 Click image to view the Archives The College of Staten Island, Cuny Archives & Special Collections Library, 1L-216 2800 Victory […]

#7 • August 12, 2015 • 4:34 pm

“Building 29” This building remains in an unimproved state from nearly 40 years ago. Specifically, this building housed people whose families had originally lived on Staten Island. Visual examples of institutional life, as well as an interactive media presentation to denote the strides in the field of developmental disabilities, are proposed to be housed here.

#8 • August 12, 2015 • 4:34 pm

“Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR)” With the opening of its first research laboratories in 1968, The Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) became the first largescale institute in the world with a specific mandate to conduct basic and clinical research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of developmental disabilities. The […]

#9 • August 12, 2015 • 4:33 pm

“Elizabeth Connelly Resource Center” This station commemorates the Assemblywoman’s outstanding advocacy for people with disabilities. It discusses the need for sustained advocacy and constant vigilance to ensure that people with disabilities continue to receive the opportunities needed to lead lives of value and worth. This station addresses the challenge to sustain a person’s value through […]

#10 • August 12, 2015 • 4:33 pm