With the closure of St. Vincent's Hospital, a pall has settled over the abandoned building. The Emergency signs have been ripped from the facade, leaving twisted cords dangling like entrails.
The emergency room's ambulance loading ramp has been covered over with plywood. Candles and flowers set a funereal tone. "Closed" signs flank a saintly goodbye poster memorializing the hospital's birth and death: "1849-2010" with "A boundless thank you..."
And all around it, on the plywood, neighbors have written notes in black Magic Marker.
Some of the notes express gratitude for lives saved, and for lives lost with grace.
Others express rage--pointed at politicians: "Fuck you Bloomberg! May you break a leg on 7th Ave & 10th!"
And aimed at the New New York, the irrationally exuberant city of twisted priorities: "money for stadiums," and the shamefulness of being "sold out for luxury apartments!"
It reminded me of the last time the exterior of St. Vincent's became a community board for memorial notes, in the days after 9/11, when every spot on the hospital's wall was covered in Missing flyers, handwritten notes of despair, portraits of grief.
And through it all, a stricken sense of betrayal, shock, and disbelief.
This time, a 160-year-old hospital has vanished. Make way for the condos.