Friday, January 4, 2008

Wall at Roosevelt Island's Renwick Ruin Smallpox Hospital Crumbles

Via Gothamist, a portion of the Renwick Ruins at Southpoint Park has collapsed:

A well-known ruin is crumbling. According to Roosevelt Island Historical Society president and historian Judith Berdy, part of the north wing of the Smallpox Hospital collapsed about a week ago. She writes, "The rest of the north wing especially the front is in danger of coming down any time... [The Roosevelt Island Operation Corporation] is working with TPL, the Southpoint park developers to find a way to do emergency stabilization of the rest of the building... Please encourage RIOC to do all possible to save the rest of the building."
Image is from Gothamist.

UPDATE: From NY Times City Room Blog:
Preservationists, who have been trying for years to salvage the building, disclosed the damage on Thursday and expressed outrage and heartbreak that what should have been an 11th-hour rescue had turned instead into a last-minute crisis.

“This is a real failure of stewardship,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. “They shouldn’t get by, saying, ‘We don’t have enough money’ or ‘It’s too late.’ They should bring in the cavalry and fix this important landmark.”
Under the current master plan for Southpoint Park by the Trust for Public Land, the ruin would be stabilized, though the building would not be rebuilt. There is $12.9 million available for the entire first phase of park development, which is to begin this year, of which $4.5 million has been set aside for the stabilization project.

And Mr. Shane said that the salvage of the latest collapse would have to come out of that money. “I can’t spend budget dollars I don’t have,” he said.
Architectural Blogger Tropolism writes:
Anyone who has visited the asylum knows that the old building is little more than a ruin, stabilized by luck, some steel, and a lot of ivy. And some theatrical uplighting. Which made the idea of preserving it something short of silly, both from a cost standpoint and a use standpoint. It's frankly more interesting as a ruin...turning it into a building again would make it bland again.
Roosevelt Island 360 has statement from RIOC President Steve Shane and and Andy Stone of the Trust For Public Land.


Anonymous said...

hey, if it falls down, it just makes it easier to build condos over there. win-win for all!! /snark

Anonymous said...

I had a similar thought. That's how it worked out at Octagon.

Anonymous said...

As the building collapses thought should be put into about what will be rebuilt in its place. Leaving a ruin up is an eyesore for many and the cost should be spent elsewhere.