York Hall pictured circa 1930.

Built 1930
Town of Smithtown, Suffolk County

Grandly situated at the entrance of Nissequogue River State Park, York Hall was constructed as part of a substantial building campaign begun at Kings Park Psychiatric Center in the mid-1920s to accommodate ever-increasing staff and patient populations. Built at a time when over 90% of the Kings Park community was employed at the Psychiatric Center, York Hall represents the deep historical connections between the hospital and its surrounding community. While patients used York Hall for recreational activities, performances, and plays (theatre and drama were viewed as both therapeutic and a means by which to keep patients active and socially engaged), town residents used the building for community meetings, holiday celebrations, dances, receptions and other social activities. York Hall continued to serve as a civic center into the late 1990s, when the New York State Office of Mental Health decommissioned the hospital and transferred the property to the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

In recent years, the condition of York Hall has severely deteriorated due to deferred maintenance and lack of planning for the site’s future reuse. Nevertheless, the building retains its character-defining elements as well as its prominent place in local memory. Recognizing York Hall’s great potential for revitalization as a 21st century arts center and mid-sized performance space, SPLIA and members of the Kings Park community are ready to work with State Parks officials to explore possibilities for restoring the building to public use.

SPLIA advocates for York Hall to be stabilized and securely mothballed as soon as possible while a rehabilitation plan comes together and potential public-private partnerships with arts organizations and other groups are explored to revitalize the facility.