York Hall needs your support! Vacant and largely abandoned since 1996, the building urgently needs to be stabilized and secured from further vandalism and deterioration. As part of Phase Three Demolition-Revitalization work at Nissequogue River State Park (the former Kings Park State Hospital/Psychiatric Center), New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (Parks) plan to redevelop construct a new 26,000 square-foot DEC Marine Resources Headquarters nearby York Hall. More information can be found HERE.
Phase Three Demolition-Revitalization at Nissequogue River State Park includes no plans to secure or preserve York Hall.
A comprehensive feasibility study commissioned by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in 2015 determined that adaptive reuse of existing historic structures at Nissequogue River State Park would be cheaper for taxpayers and offer a shorter construction schedule than constructing a new building; however, the DEC decided to pursue a more costly plan of constructing of a new facility with a total footprint of at least 6 acres, including extensive parking lots, in one of our region’s most scenic public parklands with spectacular views of the Long Island Sound.
Although adaptive reuse was already identified as the most cost-effective option, National Register-eligible hospital buildings suffering from differed maintenance and neglect will be demolished to construct the new facility, including the architecturally distinctive Building 40 near York Hall. Moreover, rehabilitating existing structures has been proven again and again to be the greenest, the most sustainable choice for redevelopment over the long term.
You can help save York Hall from further deterioration while preserving some of the most spectacular public parklands on Long Island! Voice your support for protecting both the environmental AND historical resources at Nissequogue River State Park. Ask the DEC, Parks, and our elected New York State officials to stabilize York Hall and select an alternative site for DEC Headquarters within the 521-acre park that would reuse rather than demolish another historic structure in prime parkland.
Contact Governor Cuomo:
Send a message to Governor Cuomo online HERE, or call his office at (518) 474-8390
Or by mail:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Contact your NYS Senator:
Contact your NYS Assembly Representative:
Contact your DEC officials:
James Gilmore, Director, DEC Division of Marine Resources
Email: email@example.com Phone: (631) 444-0430
Or by mail:
NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources
205 Belle Mead Road, Suite #1
East Setauket, New York 11733
Contact your State Parks officials:
Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
Email: Erik.Kulleseid@parks.ny.gov Phone: (518) 474-0443
Or by mail:
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Albany NY, 12238
York Hall, 2017.
625 Belmont Ave
West Babylon, NY 11704
Phone: (631) 669-1000
Town of Smithtown, Suffolk County
Grandly situated at the entrance of Nissequogue River State Park, York Hall is one of many significant historic structures built between 1890 and 1960 at the former Kings Park State Hospital/Psychiatric Center. York Hall is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Kings Park State Hospital/Psychiatric Center Historic District.
Constructed at a time when over 90% of the Kings Park community lived or worked at the Psychiatric Center, York Hall represents the deep connections between the former hospital and its surrounding community. While patients used York Hall for recreational activities, performances, and plays (theater and drama were viewed as both therapeutic and a means by which to keep patients active and socially engaged), town residents used the building for community meetings, holiday celebrations, dances, receptions, and other social activities. York Hall continued to serve as a civic center into the late 1990s, when the New York State Office of Mental Health decommissioned the hospital and transferred the property to the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
In recent years, the condition of York Hall has severely deteriorated due to deferred maintenance and lack of comprehensive planning for the site’s future reuse. Nevertheless, the building retains its character-defining elements as well as its prominent place in local memory. Recognizing York Hall’s great potential for revitalization as a 21st-century arts center and mid-sized performance space, SPLIA and members of the Kings Park community are ready to work with State officials to explore possibilities for restoring the building to public use.
Preservation Long Island advocates for York Hall to be stabilized and secured as soon as possible while a rehabilitation plan comes together and potential public-private partnerships with arts organizations and other groups are explored to revitalize the facility.