A guerrilla historian in Gotham


New York City Farm Colony, Staten Island


Above: A fallen chair and bedpan lying in the rusty mud of the New York Farm Colony ruins.

The New York Farm Colony was created around 1905 to be a self-sustaining commune for "able-bodied paupers." Essentially, the idea was to remove desperately poor people from Manhattan and ship them out to Staten Island, where they would be out of sight and out of mind. The Colony was intended to grow the majority of the food needed by the residents. (It is unclear from the materials I've found whether or not the "paupers" were volunteers or were forcibly sent to the Colony.)

Each man was issued a suit of work-clothes and was assigned to a small cubicle in the dormitory, such as the one shown above. Barely visible at the top of the picture is a horizontal metal rod; each cubicle had a curtian in front, suspended from this rod, rather than a door.

The Farm Colony was closed down in the 1940s and was designated an Historic District, in conjunction with Seaview Hospital, in 1985.

An entrance room in a dormitory building at the New York Farm Colony on Staten Island, with the forest slowly creeping in.