Creedmoor Psychiatric Center

Coordinates: 40°44′29″N 73°43′54″W / 40.74139°N 73.73167°W / 40.74139; -73.73167
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Creedmoor Psychiatric Center
Winchester Boulevard entrance
LocationQueens Village, Queens, New York, United States
Coordinates40°44′29″N 73°43′54″W / 40.74139°N 73.73167°W / 40.74139; -73.73167
Care systemMedicaid, private
NetworkNew York State Office of Mental Health
ListsHospitals in New York State
Other linksHospitals in Queens

Creedmoor Psychiatric Center is a psychiatric hospital at 79-26 Winchester Boulevard in Queens Village, Queens, New York, United States. It provides inpatient, outpatient and residential services for severely mentally ill patients. The hospital occupies more than 300 acres (121 ha) and includes more than 50 buildings.[1]

The site was named after the Creed family, which farmed on the site. It later was used as a firing range from the 1870s until 1892. The Farm Colony of Brooklyn State Hospital was opened on the site in 1912, with 32 patients. By 1959, the hospital housed 7,000 inpatients. The hospital's census declined by the early 1960s, and unused portions were sold off and developed into the Queens County Farm Museum, a school campus, and a children's psychiatric center.



Creedmoor station in 1891

The hospital's name derives from the Creeds, a family that previously farmed the site. The local railroad station on a line that ran from Long Island City to Bethpage took the name Creedmoor, apparently from the phrase "Creed's Moor," describing the local geography which reminded visiting British of their “moorlands” back home when the land was being used as a rifle range. Hence the name creedmoor. [2] In the early 1870s, New York State paid easement for the railway for the land from the Creeds later used by the National Guard and by the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) as a firing range. The Creedmoor Rifle Range hosted prestigious international shooting competitions, which became the forerunner of the Palma Trophy competition.[3] In 1892, as a result of declining public interest and mounting noise complaints from the growing neighborhood, the NRA deeded its land back to the state.[3]


In 1912, the Farm Colony of Brooklyn State Hospital was opened, with 32 patients, at Creedmoor by the Lunacy Commission of New York State, reflecting a trend towards sending the swelling population of urban psychiatric patients to the fresh air of outlying areas. By 1918, Creedmoor's own census had swollen to 150, housed in the abandoned National Guard barracks. By 1959, the hospital housed 7,000 inpatients.[2] Creedmoor is described as a crowded, understaffed institution in Susan Sheehan's Is There No Place On Earth For Me? (1982), a biography of a patient pseudonymously called Sylvia Frumkin. Dr. Lauretta Bender, child neuropsychiatrist, has been reported as practicing there in the 1950s and 1960s. In the late 1970s, one of its more notorious patients was former NYPD officer Robert Torsney, who was committed there in December 1977 after being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1976 murder of then 15-year-old Randolph Evans in Brooklyn and was kept there until July 1979 when reviewers declared him no longer a threat.

The hospital's census had declined by the early 1960s, as the introduction of new psychiatric medications, along with the deinstitutionalization movement for many psychiatric patients, led to declining patient populations. In 1975, the land in Glen Oaks formerly used to raise food for the hospital was opened to the public as the Queens County Farm Museum.[4] Another part of the campus in Glen Oaks was developed into the Queens Children's Psychiatric Center.[5] In 2004, the remaining part of Creedmoor land in Glen Oaks was developed into the Glen Oaks public school campus, including The Queens High School of Teaching. By 2006, other parts of the Creedmoor campus had been sold and the inpatient census was down to 470.[2] A more recent portrayal of life in Creedmoor appears in Katherine Olson's Something More Wrong (2013).[6]

There are several unused buildings on the property, including the long-abandoned Building 25. Many parts of the building are covered in bird guano, the largest pile being several feet high.[7] In August 2023, a shelter for migrants opened at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, amid a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers traveling to the city.[8][9]


The hospital's notable ventures include The Living Museum, which showcases artistic works by patients and is the first museum of its kind in the U.S.[10]

Notable people[edit]


  • Paul Abraham (1892–1960), composer; committed after a mental breakdown
  • Joseph Baldi (1941–2009), serial killer; treated for mental illness[11]
  • "Simone D.", pseudonym; patient who won a court ruling which set aside a 2-year-old court order to give her involuntary electroshock treatment[12][13]
  • Peter Grudzien (1941–2013), country musician; committed with his sister for schizophrenic treatment
  • Woody Guthrie (1912–1967), folks musician; was hospitalized at Creedmoor until his death[14][15]
  • George Metesky (1903–1994), serial bomber; committed to Creedmoor in 1973 and released the same year[16]
  • Mary Ellen O'Brien (1888–1964), mother of painter Elaine de Kooning; committed for a year after being reported for neglecting her children[17]
  • Bud Powell (1924–1966), jazz musician; committed for 11 months after a bar fight[18]
  • Robert Tornsey (1945–2009), police officer responsible for the Shooting of Randolph Evans; released in 1978


  • Peter Orlovsky (1933–2010), actor; worked as an orderly
  • Arthur M. Sackler (1913–1987), psychiatrist; completed his residency in psychiatry at Creedmoor and was director of research; was a co-founder along with his brothers Raymond and Mortimer


  • Joshua Bloch (1890–1957), rabbi; died of a heart attack at Creedmoor while delivering a Rosh Hashanah sermon as a chaplain of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene that operated the hospital[19]
  • Grace Marilynn James (1923–1989), pediatrician; studied child psychology at Creedmoor[20]


  1. ^ Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. Retrieved April 15, 2015
  2. ^ a b c Queens Children's Psychiatric Center-History Archived January 28, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 15, 2015
  3. ^ a b Creedmoor Shooting Range History Archived April 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 15, 2015
  4. ^ "Queens County Farm Museum". Queens County Farm Museum. March 6, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Queens Children's Psychiatric Center. Retrieved April 15, 2015
  6. ^ Creedmoor Archived June 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved June 5, 2016
  7. ^ "Inside Creedmoor State Hospital's Building 25". AbandonedNYC. May 31, 2012. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  8. ^ Balk, Tim (August 15, 2023). "NYC opens huge migrant tent shelter at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 22, 2023.
  9. ^ "Migrant relief center opens at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center". Spectrum News NY1. August 15, 2023. Retrieved August 22, 2023.
  10. ^ "MentalWellness: Online schizophrenia resource and information about mental health issues". September 27, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "Joseph Baldi (1)". Daily News. December 8, 1974. p. 98. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  12. ^ Venter, Cara (July 7, 2007). "Another victory against forced electroshock. Simone D. wins! — MFIPortal". MindFreedom International (MFI). Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  13. ^ "New York's High Court Condones Shocking Injustice" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 12, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  14. ^ Klein, Woody Guthrie, p. 460.
  15. ^ "Woody Guthrie, Folk Singer and Composer, Dies; Rambler and Balladeer of the American Scene Was 55 His 1,000 Songs Told of Dust Bowls and Endless Skyways". The New York Times. October 4, 1967. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  16. ^ "'Mad Bomber' Due For Court Hearing; It Could Free Him". The New York Times. September 26, 1973. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  17. ^ "Elaine de Kooning Paintings, Bio, Ideas". The Art Story. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  18. ^ Gitler, Ira (1966). Jazz Masters of the Forties. MacMillan. pp. 112–136.
  19. ^ "DR. JOSHUA BLOCH, RABBI, AUTHOR, 67; Chief of Jewish Division of Public Library Until 1956 Dies--Taught at N.Y.U." The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  20. ^ [bare URL]

External links[edit]