When you enter the Ridgewood Asylum a bloody hand-painted sign at the entrance is your first cue that there’s an elaborate story involved. So it goes (roughly): the “Ridgewood Asylum” was reconstructed from the “Ridgewood Slaughterhouse” as a psychiatric rehabilitation center.
As you can imagine, doctors used unconventional and inhumane treatments against patients with mental illnesses and unthinkable horror ensued; five years ago, a group of kids entered the building, also never to be seen again. Trapped here you will find the demonic nurse, twisted little girl, and other likewise sights.
Directed and produced by Jorge Mdahuar and Jon Gneezy, owners of Ridgewood standby The Deep End, they also have a history of putting on haunted house-themed escape rooms in gallery space neighboring the bar. This year, they say they’ve outgrown the original space and have moved the “Ridgewood Asylum” to 94 Bogart Street in neighboring Bushwick.
The new space includes additional rooms to the haunted house, a pumpkin patch, and a Jack-o’-lantern-themed disco lounge. Growing up in Northern Virginia, Mdahuar told me the pumpkin patches were a nod to staples of the halloweens of his youth there.
“This way, people can escape New York without having to escape New York, and it’s the perfect seasonal activity for friends or a date,” he said.
Inside the house, the haunted house is a community effort. From the actors, to the murals on the wall, every corner of the house feels put together by locals. Even the demonic nurse and others seem to truly embody their characters rather than rely on jumpscares.
“One of them was a cook, they always cook at the Deep End. One of them does drag shows. They’re all part of the community,” said Mdahuar while a shrill scream erupted behind him.
This year, Mdahuar and Gneezy are promising that 10% of the proceeds from the Ridgewood Asylum will also be given to Callen-Lorde, a non-profit LGBTQ+ healthcare clinic that focuses on mental health.
“Sometimes with haunted houses, people think you’re making fun of mental health, but it’s really not. This asylum is just a classic horror background. What we want to do is actually make a change and give back to mental health,” Mdahuar told me.
The “Ridgewood Asylum” is happening at 94 Bogart Street. Tickets are available here and readers can buy tickets now with the discount code: “BushwickDaily10” to get $10 off.
Top photo taken by Rachel Lu for Bushwick Daily.
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