The images of this Lego project are at the bottom of this page.
I’ve been a huge Ghostbusters fan ever since the first film in 1984. While building my Lego Ecto-1 I got inspired to create my own Lego Ghostbusters models and stories. After I first had the idea to create a Ghost Pet Academy, I did thorough research to find a suitable location for the Ghost Pet Academy building. It had to be somewhere a bit out of the way of the Ghostbusters Headquarters (GB-HQ), with enough space around it for ghosts to roam, yet still close enough to GB-HQ to get there quickly, and to be able to keep in touch with the secretary Janine over there. So, I chose to look somewhere on Staten Island in New York City for an abandoned farm. What I found was something even more wonderful: the abandoned New York City Farm Colony buildings. At least, they were abandoned in 1990, when the story of the Ghost Pet Academy takes place.
I am very thankful to the great writers and photographers who have documented the New York City Farm Colony and the related Seaview Hospital, whom are credited at the end of this page. The Ghost Pet Academy building is based on one of the abandoned dormitories of the NYC Farm Colony. Consider it renovated and rebuilt as the Ghost Pet Academy building that you see in the images. In the next chapter I will give you insight into the inner workings of the Ghost Pet Academy. The following story corresponds with the provided images in this project.
Ghost Pet Academy Where ghost and human needs meet, a second life for ghosts
In June of 1990 the Containment Units were getting way too crowded with all the captured ghosts. Therefore, it was decided by the City of New York to support the start of a Ghost Pet Academy initiated by the Ghostbusters. Any ghost captured by the Ghostbusters would be selected for a four-week training program to become a Ghost Pet. In the beginning of 1990 during The Egyptian Exhibition, Egon got the idea for the Ghost Pet Academy when he captured the ghost of Cleopatra’s cat. He named her Cleo, in honor of her mistress Cleopatra. Cleo was the first ghost to be trained to become a Ghost Pet. After Cleo graduated as Ghost Pet, Ray placed her in the Containment Unit to await adoption. A week later, Elora Channing became the first adoption candidate. She underwent a four-week evaluation period to see if she would be suitable to adopt Cleo. It all went horribly wrong. During her time in the interaction room, she cheated during the game while Egon was checking their progress on the monitors. This way she provoked Cleo into attacking her and fleeing. Meanwhile, Egon was watching on the monitors and rushed to set off the orange alarm to alert all that a ghost was on the loose. He grabbed his gear and went out to hunt and recapture Cleo.
Egon had recently installed a Muon Grid to connect all the hidden ghost traps directly to the Containment Unit. Therefore, when Cleo was captured in the hidden ghost trap outside, she was directly transferred to the Containment Unit. So now all that was left to take care of was the wretched Elora Channing, who was certainly not suitable to adopt any Ghost Pet. Egon and Peter showed her the door and told her never to come back. The mailman was quite relieved that Cleo was captured; now he could safely approach the mailbox and deliver the mysterious letter dating all the way back to 1930, which only said: “To my dear wife, from Ivo with love.” But that is a whole other story, for another time.
I have also added some images of the building model to give you a complete insight into the different features of the building.
The complete history of how the Ghost Pet Academy came to be *spoiler alert* In the following story I use the end of the Ghostbusters 2 movie as the beginning of this story.
In December of 1989 the Ghostbusters were successful in fighting off the spirit of Vigo the Carpathian, a powerful sixteenth-century tyrant and sorcerer trapped in a painting in the Manhattan Museum of Art. Of course, this was done with a little help from all New Yorkers during the New Year celebrations. Due to this great success, the city of New York chose to grant the Ghostbusters continued funding for their operations.
Half a year later, in June of 1990, the city of New York had to cut back the Ghostbusters’ funding. Also, after catching so many ghosts in the last months, the city’s power grid was suffering a lot from all the ghost Containment Units that were getting a bit crowded. To prevent the city power grid from shutting down like it did in 1989, the Ghostbusters had to come up with a new plan.
That same year, Egon had continued his work from 1989, conducting experiments into human emotions and behavior. His studies also proved very useful in better understanding ghosts emotions and behavior. When the Ghostbusters were made official liaisons to the Manhattan Museum of Art for The Egyptian Exhibition, Egon got intrigued when he captured the ghost of the Cleopatra’s cat. He named her Cleo, in honor of her mistress Cleopatra. Together with Ray he started a thorough behavioral study of Cleo and Slimer. They concluded it was possible to train such low-level ghosts to become Ghost Pets that people could adopt, reducing the number of ghosts in the Containment Units (which were getting crowded again). And so the idea to start a Ghost Pet Academy was born.
Luckily for the Ghostbusters, Ray had a cousin on the City council who provided the perfect location to start this new Ghost Pet Academy: one of the abandoned dormitories of the New York City Farm Colony (*) (NYC Farm Colony) on Staten Island. It was a spot Ray had visited quite often during his childhood, and where he got inspired and interested in ghosts.
The neighborhood on Staten Island was very concerned for its safety and protested against the coming of the Ghost Pet Academy. That’s why Egon developed the Muon Grid, which could be integrated into the building of the Ghost Pet Academy. After the renovation, the Muon Grid connected several hidden ghost traps to the Ghost Containment Unit in the building. At any time, any of the orange buttons can be pressed to set off the alarm and open all the hidden ghost traps, capturing ghosts directly into the Ghost Containment Unit. With this new alarm system in place, the neighborhood relented and allowed the new Ghost Pet Academy to be opened.
Due to the fact that the city council fully supported the new initiative, a Haunting Rights Act was passed to protect Ghost Pet rights. A Ghost Pet had to be allowed a minimal of one Haunting per day and a haunting Ghost Pet had to be supervised by an adult person. The city decided that the nearby ruins of other abandoned buildings of the NYC Farm Colony would from then on be protected Haunting Grounds for all Ghost Pets.
*) Historic background on the New York City Farm Colony and Seaview Hospital:
Founded in 1830, the NYC Farm Colony was once a sprawling several-hundred-acre campus. In 1930 architect Charles B. Meyers was tasked with designing four new dormitories for the farm colony, west side of Brielle Avenue. Architect Charles B. Meyers was tasked with the design in 1930. Construction was completed in 1934. In one of these dormitories, the new Ghost Pet Academy now resides.
The sister facility Seaview Hospital was planned and built between 1905 and 1938, and at the time was the largest and most expensive tuberculosis hospital in the United States. Although architect Ivo Shandor was not directly responsible for the design of the Seaview Hospital, he was a consultant for architect Charles B. Meyers on many of the buildings of the NYC Farm Colony. He used his influence well to create "opportunities" to perform some unnecessary surgeries, and to gather followers as a doctor at the pathology lab of the Seaview Hospital, from 1927-1934. This is where he gathered up to thousand followers. It is currently unknown if the current increase in ghost activity at Seaview Hospital might be related to the tragic history there.
Special thanks to: • Brent Waller, 3D designer of the Lego Ghostbusters Ecto-1, and Lego designers Marcos Bessa and Adam Corbally who worked on it at the Lego company. • All the people who worked on the first two Ghostbusters movies. • Augustin Pasquet of Untapped Cities, who provided me with very good and detailed photographs of the ruins of the dormitory in the NYC Farm Colony. • The authors of Sometimes Interesting. They provided me with a thorough historic background on the NYC Farm Colony and the Seaview Hospital.