Middletown Psychiatric: Kleiner Center
The first building we explored on the Middletown Psychiatric campus was the Solomon Kleiner Center. The modern brick building was used for occupational and recreational activities, but closed in 2006 along with the rest of the Middletown Psych Center.
Middletown opened in 1874 but The Kleiner Center came later, dedicated in 1968. The building was named for Solomon Kleiner, clinical director at the psychiatric center for 30 years. In 2015, a building on the Middletown campus caught fire—arson or a lightning strike, the cause was never determined—and when the flames threatened the nearby Kleiner Center firefighters doused the building to keep it safe.
Used for recreational activities—as opposed to patient housing or medical treatments—the Kleiner Center has a gym, bowling alley and art rooms. Signs still posted listed directions to various areas and when I saw “bowling alley” I thought it was too good to be true. A psychiatric hospital bowling alley has been on my exploring wish-list forever—at least since I saw one in Girl Interrupted. I was most surprised to find so many shoes in relatively good condition in the shelves and a few bowling pins, balls and bags laying around.
The gym has wild, undulating, massively buckled wooden floors that I’ve seen in photos of other abandoned schools but never experienced in person before Middletown. We were surprised at just how much stuff was left in the Kleiner Center—especially when compared to the relatively empty Tuckerman Hall. I’m sure the well-meaning efforts to save the building from fire inadvertently did more damage with a few fire hoses than 12 years of abandonment ever would have.
The Kleiner Center is one of the buildings (along with Tuckerman Hall) that is slated for redevelopment by the city of Middletown. In addition to all of the abandoned buildings, the campus currently includes a small mental health facility and homeless shelter. But the city of Middletown has encountered some complications, including the fact that 100 of the acres that the city wants to redevelop are actually owned by the town of Wallkill—with the dividing property line running right through the middle of the Kleiner Center.