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Thread: Sing Sing Prison as tourist attraction??

  1. #1
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    Sing Sing Prison as tourist attraction??

    So, what are your thoughts of having a functioning prison with a museum? Sing Sing is still a high security prison but the debate exists as to whether it is a major untapped tourist attraction. A study exist on converting a former prison building just outside the walls into a museum...what do you think? I used to live in earshot of the place.

    Little background...Sing Sing is located in Ossining on the Hudson River in Westchester County...one of the most affluent counties in the USA. Housing immediately next to the prison walls...is not affordable...and actually pretty nice. Town houses with river views are not unheard of selling for close to 500k.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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  2. #2
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    [Upstate rant mode]

    Hey - you've got jobs and tourism already! How 'bout saving prison museums for the rural upstate counties that need 'em?

    [/Upstate rant mode]

    I can't help but suspect the neighbors in the expensive housing might be disappointed at such a proposal. Adding a museum at the prison might add an appearance of permanance, shattering their dreams of some day redeveloping Sing Sing into the much needed country club.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    The old Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana is a museum and tourist attraction. It was the state prison up until the 1970s. Still has the gallows, and the holes in the guardtower where the National Guard fired the bazooka to stop the big riot in the '70s. Pretty cool, actually.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    otterpop, I think Alcatraz is also a tourist attraction -- but I think the difference is that these are FORMER prisons, not places that still have prisoners. Making a high security facility a tourist attraction compounds security issues big time. It is potentially dangerous for the tourists and it probably also represents the increased risk of escape because of more folks coming and going. I think there are serious problems with such a proposal.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    Actually, the proposal is to have the museum in a buidling located just outside of the prison.. but it is a real prison building. Despite being a maximum security prison...Sing Sing is located in a residential neighborhood. There are literally houses,,, some very nice... immediately located across the street from the prison walls.

    I actually lived in a town house... so close to the prison I could hear the PA system..pretty clearly. That one bedroom town house sold for about 180k 4 years ago.. and is worth a bit more now. (1/4 mile as the crow flies from the prison) There are some that would like to turn the whole prison into a tourist destination.

    and...the prison is used as the training facility for gaurds at all other prisons in NYS, which is a real burden due to the housing/lodging costs for those going into training.

    Other uses immediately adjacent to the prison is the Ossining Yacht Club (Hudson River) a park, the train station, fire station.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by tsc
    and...the prison is used as the training facility for gaurds at all other prisons in NYS, which is a real burden due to the housing/lodging costs for those going into training.
    I have a friend who trained at Sing Sing. Housing costs in that immediate area lead many of the trainees to over-occupy mobile homes in parks north of there.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Is this NYS attempt to make enough money to cover the deficit?

    I'm sorry, the money will go to fund public education, just like the lottery was suppose to, but in turn ending up funding more prisons.

    You can't have it both ways, or can you. Most of the people in prison in the state are there for drug offences, but the Rockefeller era drug laws will never change because prisons are economic generators for some upstate and up north counties.

    BOT: Make it a museum and let immates run it.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  8. #8
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    There was a study done a few years ago.. and it stated that the prison could be a major tourist destination... over 100,000 people per year and millions of dollars. I think the money would mainly go to the local economy....by tourists using restaurant, hotels, shopping, etc.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    The Governor wants to close Joliet Prison on account of it costing too much to run. I sense a tourist opportunity in the making. Especially since Joliet Pen is right downtown and very close to the Metra/Amtrak station.

    So, who wants to go in with me on a "Joliet Jake" theme restaurant?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Anger Management

    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    Is this NYS attempt to make enough money to cover the deficit?

    I'm sorry, the money will go to fund public education, just like the lottery was suppose to, but in turn ending up funding more prisons.

    You can't have it both ways, or can you. Most of the people in prison in the state are there for drug offences, but the Rockefeller era drug laws will never change because prisons are economic generators for some upstate and up north counties.

    BOT: Make it a museum and let immates run it.
    Rumpy: I like your takes, but do you need anger management? Maybe we can be in the same class with EG
    Skilled Adoxographer

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    Rumpy: I like your takes, but do you need anger management? Maybe we can be in the same class with EG
    Off-topic:
    I think he manages his anger extremely well. There were no personal attacks, etc. Being mad isn't an "anger management issue" if there is good reason to be mad.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Right Again....

    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Off-topic:
    I think he manages his anger extremely well. There were no personal attacks, etc. Being mad isn't an "anger management issue" if there is good reason to be mad.
    Michele Zone: Yes you're right , was my failed attempt to make Rumpy happy and offer support just in case an intervention was needed, since those of you who have known Rumpy far longer than I, did not attempt an intervention...ha ha ha....just kidding Rumpy...you know your still the best out there...right...(The One= ) ....take a look at the new meltdown thread created by Rumpy.....good venting...
    Skilled Adoxographer

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    Isn't there some sort of museum there already? I remember visiting Ossining years ago and being approached by a rather odd fellow who suggested -- no, insisted -- we visit the (out of commission) electric chair, which was on display along with some other Sing Sing memorabilia such as products made by the inmates, old photos and old prison uniforms.

    The whole experience was rather unpleasant. I am not sure I would visit again, even if it were spiffed up and Disney-fied...

  14. #14
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Main Street Maven
    Isn't there some sort of museum there already? I remember visiting Ossining years ago and being approached by a rather odd fellow who suggested -- no, insisted -- we visit the (out of commission) electric chair, which was on display along with some other Sing Sing memorabilia such as products made by the inmates, old photos and old prison uniforms.

    The whole experience was rather unpleasant. I am not sure I would visit again, even if it were spiffed up and Disney-fied...
    Yes, there is a museum located in a nearby community center. This new museum would be at the actual original cell block and old prison power plant... and yes...probably Disney-fied. It is understood that it would be a catered to people who really are interested in the shady past of NY. The original cell block is still within the prison walls.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Cyburbian thinknik's avatar
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    This Florida tourist town has a historic Old Jail and heritage museum. Its one of the top tourist destinations in the city. It doubles as a parking facility for the "transportainment" trolleys that take the tourists around town. The real favorite are the GHOST TOURS they do in it after dark.

    http://www.historictours.com/staugustine/

    But beware, our statewide business journal ate them up for not not presenting the perspective of African Americans in jail history.

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    What does the Ossining non-white community say?

    I too have visited the current Sing Sing Museum and found it quite distasteful. My main impression was that the display depicted the Prison as populated by a bunch of low-lifes, who were proficient in making weapons from cutlery, and who could have been executed in the chair (replica on display) if evil enough.
    I am aware that the majority of the current inmates are non-white, and so asked a few minority Ossining friends about their reaction to the proposed museum. I got the reply that it would be "an insult to Ossining's black community." The proposed museum is in the midst of that black community, which hardly needs reminders of its worst aspects, no matter how "disneyfied." If the history of the prison needs updating (there are already numerous treatments of Warden Law's contributions) let that be tackled by experienced penologists, but a Disney-Land-on-Hudson, with Donald Duck and Goofy in prison garb, is hardly what many Ossining residents, including me, would like to see.

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