The Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital first opened its doors in 1876 as a 675,000 square foot facility in Morris Plains, New Jersey. At its peak, it served 7,764 patients at one time. The hospital had been completely unoccupied since 2008, when it was ordered to be closed due to poor conditions and overcrowding. The hospital had been marred in the past by extremely overcrowded conditions, reports of sexual abuse of patients by employees, violence, and patient suicides. Demolition began on the deteriorated building in May of 2015 and finished in November of 2015.
The demolition of the historic building was not without its critics, however. A preservation group, called Preserve Greystone, fought for years to stop the demolition of the building and hoped that it could be converted to housing and office space. After receiving several proposals, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his staff determined that none of the proposals were money makers and approved the demolition. It was estimated that repairs to the building would cost roughly $110 million and the demolition contract was reportedly awarded at around $34 million.
Drone footage of the 7 month long demolition was captured by Jody Johnson, known on Youtube as GlideBy JJ. After the demolition was completed, she had a vision to play the footage in reverse, which was edited by Lisa Marie Blohm. The end result is heartbreaking for architectural lovers, especially since the music and sound clips may remind you of a Sarah McLachlan sung ASPCA commercial. The film has also been selected to be shown at the NYC Drone Film Festival in March of 2016.
What do you think? Would you have approved the building to be demolished or restored?
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
Construction Junkie has shared a lot of demolition videos. Typically, people line up waiting for the moment when the building explodes with their eyes peeled and cameras ready, just waiting for the perfect video. This video, however, is much different.
Early this year, a landslide caused catastrophic failure to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along California’s famous Highway 1. California Transit officials closed the bridge on February 21st and announced it would be demolished and replaced. Time is of the essence as US News reports that over 400 residents are stranded on one side of the bridge and helicopters have had to bring in food for them. The residents are still able to use the footpaths in the area to cross the canyon.
There’s no doubt that bridge demolitions by implosion are extremely fun to watch, but the fireworks show and big splash into the water below can sometimes overshadow other demolition projects that don’t allow implosion. Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) recently won two 2016 World Demolition Awards for one of those projects where implosion was not an option and they have also produced an incredibly detailed video of how they did it.
Since Construction Junkie was conceived in 2015, we’ve seen a lot of construction equipment flip for some really stupid reasons. Like this crane, this other crane, and this third crane dropping a bulldozer. Those are just some of the ones caught on video and they should be enough to convince you not to go out of your way to do dangerous things with a crane.
Rowlett, Texas was hit hard by a tornado in 2015 and the city is still dealing with the effects of it. In the horrible storm, 13 people were killed and over 400 buildings were damaged or destroyed, according to CBS DFW. In a story we covered last year, one Rowlett woman also had her house mistakenly knocked down by a demolition company when addresses got mixed up after the tornado.
We saw some pretty awesome demolition videos in 2016, like this super slow motion bridge demolition and this video of 116 excavators working side by side to demolish an overpass overnight, but this new video is already on top of the leaderboard for best demolitions of 2017.
No matter how fun demolitions and demolition videos might be, there’s an inherent danger to performing them that cannot be overlooked. Just last year, a different parking garage collapsed during a demolition in Houston, Texas, which landed on one of the excavators performing the work. Thankfully, no one was injured in that collapse, but it could have been much worse.
We here at Construction Junkie headquarters enjoy a good demolition video. We’ve shared implosion videos, timelapse videos, and even demolition fails, but since our inception, we have yet to share a wrecking ball demolition video. Growing up, I thought my adult life was going to be littered with wrecking balls (and anvils, for that matter), because of all the cartoons I watched, but as our industry’s heavy machinery and explosives have become more precise, the need for wrecking balls has slowly diminished.
Not all demolition videos can be implosions and that’s OK, because each type of demolition is its own art form. Sometimes contractors are bound by the constraints of the job, especially when located in an area with a large concentration of pedestrians and other public areas. That was the case for the construction site of the future One Vanderbilt Tower in New York City, which just completed the demolition of five different buildings covering an entire city block.