Monday, August 19, 2013

Rally at St. Vincent's

Today at noon, join mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio for a "Hospitals Not Condos Rally" at the site of the former St. Vincent's, on the northwest corner of Seventh and Greenwich Avenues.

Supportive celebrities like Susan Sarandon, Rosie Perez, and Harry Belafonte will be there, along with hospital workers and community activists who say, "We are demanding an end to the same bad policies that led to the tragic closing of St. Vincent's Hospital and its conversion into high end condos." (Maybe de Blasio will be arrested again, as he was at last month's hospital-closing protest.)

If you haven't taken a look at the battered, desecrated corpse that was St. Vincent's, now is a good time. The buildings have been demolished, down to a hole in the ground, but some brick shells remain. They will serve as the gutted skins of the luxurious Greenwich Lane.

"Live exactly where you want," says the copy that runs along the plywood of 11th and 12th Streets--and on the website where the development is described:

"The buildings of The Greenwich Lane have each been individually crafted with high-end, state-of-the-art, luxury living in mind. Many of the residences throughout have private outdoor spaces, and they all come together to surround one lush central garden, a quiet oasis in the style of historic village greens. The garden is just one of a staggering array of private amenities, all presented at a level of discretion unheard of in most West Village residences."

St. Vincent's was founded in 1849 as a charity hospital. It served the poor, the homeless, the hopeless. Now its skin is being sold to the super-rich as "Classic mid-century architecture."

Walls around the hospital used to carry different kinds of messages--missing persons flyers from 9/11 and, after its closure, thank-you notes from a city full of survivors.

Today, above each glossy panel of marketing copy, you see boarded-up windows. From the back, gutted rooms where the sick and dying once lay, where bodies swelled and bled, and hearts stopped beating. Soon to be filled with banal cocktail chatter and big-screen TVs.

A house of virulent epidemics, from cholera to AIDS, this site is now "A light-filled, pre-war jewel."

St. Vincent's, wrote David France in New York in 2010, "is a museum, almost, a place haunted by Whitman’s 'carols of Death.' We see the ghosts as we pass there even now, we hear their voices, their last words, we remember their weight in our arms, the way they vanished from those rooms."

Let these spaces be haunted by horrors. May the new residents never get a good night's rest. 

Don't forget, Bloomberg and Quinn let this happen. Keep Quinnberg out of office. Vote for de Blasio.


Anonymous said...

Interestingly, down the street at 6th Ave. where the Food Emporium moved out and Walgreen's was supposed to move in, they have now put up "for lease" signs on the store windows and the below pdf is advertising the space as available:

It's surprising as during the last weeks of the Food Emporium being open, there had already been Walgreen's contractors measuring and planning. I'm not sure what happened.

JAZ said...

Glad to see Sarandon is now on the pro-hospital side after being pretty strongly anti St.Vincents back when it was still up and running.

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah you run a great site,I visit it often. Though many that post including yourself are from a liberal/left slant you still allow opposing views to be heard. Thank you.

That being said I get your anger. However if St Vincents was open what would they do differently to ensure that it did not fail again?

Also the bit about the tenants never getting a good nights rest is mean spirited. Children will live there. You are better than that sir.

Anonymous said...

What's the point. St. Vincent's hospital is gone. Just face it that the new condos will rise.

Maybe if that hospital wasn't so mismanaged by greedy UNION health care workers, putting in unnecessary overtimes and ordering unnecessary tests and procedures to pad up their paychecks.

This is the start of the zombie invasion of NYC. A disease will be carried by someone, not diagnosed or seen by a doctor, and that disease will spread out quickly because of the population density and the lack of medical facilities.

sinestra said...

Nice one, blame the Unions, not the wealthy management who really pad their paychecks with crazy salaries, bonuses and living large. I'd rather pay doctors and nurses who work tirelessly to save lives and give comfort to the sick. They deserve it.
These management and government (Quinnberg) scum LET St.Vincent's die- by mismanagent from on high. They knew they were sitting on a gold mine when all these greedy developers start sniffing around, surely offering big $$ to the ones who let the ax fall.
You are the mean spirited one, sir/madam.

Jenna said...

Great post, Jeremiah, though I agree you don't need to wish bad things for people. I remember St. Vincent's as a friend worked there and would much rather we have hospitals than luxury housing.


Jenna Zark said...

I remember St. Vincent's and it was a great place - and New York needs hospitals more than luxury housing. Thank you for this post.

sinestra said...

What's the point? The point is short sighted Bloomberg rezones 40%of NYC into higher density condos and high rises and then has the nerve to cut services. These people will need hospitals, schools, firehouses etc. Do you know how hard it will be to 1) find the land 2) build the infrastructure for another hospital campus? Completely idiotic mistake to let an already existing hospital structure close.
It was a HUGE mistake to let a major hospital close right when your purposefully upping the population density in the area for your "world class city". A great city doesn't just have great restaurants and boutiques.
A great city is easy to live in, it has great amenities and public services, housing (for all) and transit- The Quinnberg clan don't seem to understand that basic idea. I guess they can just helicopter over to someplace else when the going gets tough.
I support Di Blasio for mayor. End the Quinnberg regime!

Anonymous said...

New York will one day pay for the criminal destruction of the once vital St Vincents Hospital. Thank you for emphasizing that Christine Quinn had a hand in this travesty. She must now be allowed to preside over the continued transformation of this great city into an enclave for the rich and privileged only. Thank you for doing what you do.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Don't worry, guys. No matter how hard I wish bad things to happen to certain people, my wishes never come true. I'm simply not omnipotent. Those super-rich people and their children will sleep soundly.

D. Berrios said...

I agree the real estate company that is redeveloping St. Vincent's perhaps is not demonstrating the best taste in its marketing. But can some one explain how was this hospital supposed to stay open? It was hemorrhaging money. The state could not continue dumping tax dollars into the failed health care system. Where was the money or good management to come from? The city? Taxpayers? We're over taxed as it is.

It always tugs on the heartstrings to lose something that people have strong feelings about. The emotions rise to the surface. But capitalism isn't about emotions. How was this hospital supposed to stay open? You can't run deficits, be poorly managed, have labor and retirement issues, and function unless you are the US government. Mayor Bloomberg and Council President Quinn are not to blame for St. Vincent's closing. Perhaps it had outlived its purpose.

Where was Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio in 2010 when this hospital was spiraling toward closure? Why is he speaking out 3 years too late? Like liberal Scott Stringer who didn't do anything, where is the beef? The only one with a record of going after the rich is the richest person running for anything, Eliot Spitzer. His disgraceful behavior does not seem to be hurting him. The thought of Spitzer in any elected office makes many people sick to their stomach. Too bad John Catsimatidis doesn't have a chance. He is as liberal as Quinn on a lot of issues but is a successful Republican business man. New York always needs that.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes and YES!

Anonymous said...

Ha! I'm so glad you wrote that line. I've been thinking that for a quite a while. I would never want to live in a former hospital. That's just creepy. Let's hope the super-rich feel the same way.

Then again, my wishes never come true either.

Anonymous said...

it was not the greedy unions but it was the catholic church that dump all this debt for its other medical centers onto the hospital and then the directors and executives looted the hospital to the tune of millions

it finally went bankrupt which left the church to sell the prime manhattan real estate for a pretty some.

Grand St. said...

In related news, the final Jefferson Market spot - vacant for years - will soon be home to the sales office of 'Greenwich Lane.' Exciting times in the Village.

Myomon said...

I am a New Yorker by birth and read this blog frequently from 600 miles away. I was in the city during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. My stepmother's father, a WW I medic in the trenches, worked for years at St. Vincent's after the war, and through the Depression. So this makes me very sad...and it horrifies me to read the selling points, esp. because of the history of the institution, but even WITHOUT THAT. It's just horrifying.

I love New York and thanks, Jeremiah, for this blog.

Anonymous said...

To one of the anonymous comments: St. Vincent's was not mismanaged by unions. It was mismanaged by management and its greedy consultants. Union people do not order drugs.

Perhaps you are against unions, fine, but your facts are incorrect. yes, it is eventually more the fault of "Quinnberg", who could have intervened but chose not to to support real estate interests (not caused by internal mismanagement at SVH).

I worked there for many years.

Anonymous said...

"it finally went bankrupt which left the church to sell the prime manhattan real estate for a pretty some [sic]."

What are you talking about? St. Vincent's was part of a separately incorporated hospital corporation. Money from the real estate sale went to creditors when the hospital filed for (its second) chapter 11 bankruptcy. Let go of the Catholic Church conspiracy theories.

The real--and incredibly sad--story about the collapse of St. Vincent's is the unstable system that regulates and finances hospitals in New York. They're all in trouble .

Eileen said...

The unions did not cause St. Vincent's to fail, and I say this as a 16 year, non-union employee. When I started at the hospital there were two hospitals - Manhattan & Westchester (Psych Unit) and 725 beds. There were a total of 10 VPs. When the hospital closed there were 300 beds and 42 VPs; there is no way you can sustain that type of payroll. In addition, the executives were highly paid and had their friends working there as "consultants", many making over $400 per hour. Trust me, I saw many of the invoices being paid! The employees were well aware of the mess, but no one, not the church, nor anyone in management tried to stop the rapid decline.

Also, where was then Attorney General Spitzer? Why didn't he investigate the first bankruptcy of St. V. in 2005? Why did NYS (which has to approve) allow Henry Amorosa to be appointed CEO in 2007 when he had run the Newark Catholic Hospital System into the ground leaving only St. Michael's open? So many questions -- so few answers. Hopefully, one of these days a reporter will decide it's time to expose the graft, greed and immoral behaviors that led to the death of a once revered institution. We had some of the best nurses and doctors in NYC, and the nuns were just saintly in their ministry to the patients. (One sister used to spend her monthly stipend to buy Metro Cards for the poor so they had a way home from the hospital. Also ran a clothing room for people coming in who were inadequately clothed so they could face the elements properly dressed.) I could go on & on, but it only makes me very sad.

Oh, my favorite take-away was Bloomburg's comment when the hospital finally closed, "It's no big deal..." Please relay that message to the many, many small businesses in the area that closed due to lack of business, not to mention the 3,500+ who lost their jobs.

A sad event for NYC.

Anonymous said...

"Glad to see Sarandon is now on the pro-hospital side after being pretty strongly anti St.Vincents back when it was still up and running."

Thank goodness someone said this. It needs to be repeated over and over again. There were a lot of very rich and very powerful people in the neighborhood who whined and complained about St. Vincent's when it was struggling. I guess now they're singing a different tune.

Anonymous said...

I worked at St Vincent s from the 1990's until it closed, when I started the hospital was in the "black". The decline came with the merger and taking on the debts of the other catholic hospitals in NYC. And the Board putting in greedy VPs and Directors who were over paid and useless. The SVMC insurance payor contracts were horrible, the SVMC Administration allowed insurance reimbursements that would never tolerated at other Manhattan hospitals.. Anyone who says St Vincent s outlived its purpose frankly is an idiot and does not know healthcare in this City. SVMC was a 911 trauma center with the hospital closed the next 911 trauma center on the Westside is St Luke's on 113 st, best of luck to a citibiker who gets hit by a car and has a head injury on the Westside. They had an amazing longstanding AIDS HIV care. The Cancer center use to operate 24/7 they treated complex cancers such as multiple meyloma and other serious hematology cancers many WTC first responders went to. Those programs, hematology clinical trials and world renown doctors are gone.
The cancer center currently operates under a new hospital during the day Monday thru Friday.
Quinn came in to do a press conference walked in with the NY1 crew and her NYPD detectives she never spoke to a single worker. Staff were present, those she never bothered to speak to or acknowledge, could have given her an ear full regarding the horrible payor contracts that the VPs that failed to deal with it, the bloated and useless VPs under the incompetent Henry Amoroso. All Quinn cared about was getting her face on NY1 doing her 30 second sound bite and walked right out. Susan Sarandon another shameful character who bashed SVMC She must be proud of herself now. A significant piece of NYC history 1849 is now gone and went out in a despicable manner every New Yorker should be embarrassed

RD Wolff said...

Are they demolishing the student nurses' residence too?
I just started making a model after those nurse portraits over the entrance.