Nearly a decade ago, I took the tunnel system at Rockland State Hospital to the gymnasium/theatre building. After photographing the gym, I noticed a panel removed, leading under the stage. Crawling under the stage, I reached a point where there was a hole in the floor - and directly beneath the hole, a bank of lockers. I dropped down onto the lockers, and found myself in a room disconnected from the staircases inside the gym building - which turned out to be the machine room for the pin setters for a completely untouched bowling alley. Unused in decades based on the used scoresheets still sitting on the alley’s tables, this was a place time had forgotten - bowling shoes still on the rack in a dark back corner; a billiards table that looked like it was just waiting for some players. But the real attraction were the four dilapidated wooden lanes themselves; a testament to a time when recreational therapy was considered an important part of the healing process. Today’s psychiatric facilities - designed with the notion of hurrying a patient through as quickly as possible and discharging them - rarely have such appointments.
Prints available here.