Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's Quite Pedestrian--On the LAMM

There’s an abandoned building at Henry and Amity that I feel consistently drawn to—it’s a rather large brick semi-institutional building with bars on the windows, filmy glass, and the strangest items inside: signs that still say “Please present your insurance card at the window,” bulletin boards covered with tinsel wishing no one a Happy Holiday, sinks torn from the walls in placed in the middle of the room. It’s obvious the building has gone unused for years.

The fact that it’s the former home of a child neurology clinic--The Stanley S. Lamm Institute for Developmental Disabilities—makes the items inside even creepier. According to the Long Island College Hospital website:

“The Stanley S. Lamm Institute, a part of Long Island College Hospital, treats cerebral palsy and Cooley's anemia patients. The Lamm Institute was established in the 1950's by Dr. Stanley S. Lamm for the comprehensive care of the developmentally disabled.”

I was very curious about this person, especially since everyone knows the 1950’s were flush with experimental methods for treating disabilities: Ice-pick lobotomies just began to decline in the early 50’s (who can forget Rosemary Kennedy’s sexual disqualification in 1941?), and involuntary electroconvulsive therapy continued until the Surgeon General regulated its administration in 1999.

Research on Lamm’s background and methods is scant. A visit to the Brooklyn’s Historical Society uncovered little background on the building--it was built in 1903 as a nurses’ facility.

However, I did find that the LAMM method of robbing a bank means taking a military approach: acquiring blueprints to the building, assigning a role to each associate of your gang, and doing “drills” of each possible outcome.