Monday, November 25, 2013

Farewell To Roosevelt Island's Goldwater Hospital - Last Remaining Patients Transferred Today Before Demolition And Building Of Cornell NYC Tech Campus On Site

Reported last Saturday:

... The NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), has announced a planned relocation of patients from Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island to the new Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility at Park Avenue and East 122nd Street in Manhattan.The transfer will take place on Sunday, November 24, 2013 from 4:00am to 6:00pm, and on Monday, November 25, 2013 from 8:00 am to 7:00pm. During these times, residents can expect increased ambulance traffic on the Island....
Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) President Judy Berdy was at Goldwater Hospital Sunday during the transfer of the last remaining patients and shares this report. According to Ms. Berdy:
Farewell to Goldwater Hospital

It is almost the end. Today is Sunday, November 24, 2013; tomorrow, the last patients will leave Goldwater Hospital forever. The grand bronze doors will close for a final time. (There is no key to the front door, since it has never been locked since 1939.)

I walk over early in the morning to see ambulances coming and going. Today more than 120 patients will be transferred to the new Henry J. Carter Hospital in Manhattan. Today’s patients are medically fragile and must be handled with extreme TLC. Tomorrow, another 100+ nursing home patients will be transferred to Henry J. Carter.

A tent is set up in the rear of the hospital.

Image From Judy Berdy

It looks like a tent used for VIP’s. It is breaking the freezing windy weather and heaters are on to make the transfer easier. The patients being transferred are from units are in the north end of the building, so it is a quick ride for them to enter the ambulance.

I pass the plinths where the six grand torchieres lit the ramp. They are being preserved and hopefully will be re-installed on the island.

I walk in the main entrance and down the hall.

Image From Judy Berdy

The staff is scanning ID bracelets, bundling up patients on stretchers, checking ID’s again. The patients also wear bright red tags.

Ambulance EMT’s and Paramedics are going to units and staff are accompanying the residents.

All is calm and running in order.

Every need and step in the plan has been worked out to the minute. All possible city, state agencies are here. OEM, NYPS, NYS Health Department. Representatives from every hospital department are present, wearing bright vests labeled with their job assignments. No detail is too small. This transfer has been planned for two years and in hundreds of meetings.

I venture down the hall and meet Rabbi Haim Alcabes, the Jewish Chaplain at Goldwater. We wander down the long hall

Image From Judy Berdy

toward the Chapel area where he has been chaplain for 11 years. The former Jewish Chapel is locked and vacant. All religious articles, décor and commemorative objects have been moved north to the Coler Jewish Chapel. The Catholic and Protestant Chapels are open, and vast in their emptiness.

Image From Judy Berdy

The new hospital will have new chapels and new décor.

We remember the Jewish events and holidays we celebrated at Goldwater. The rabbi tells

Image From Judy Berdy

of the Succah erected each year outside the greenhouse. We remember the high school kids he would bring to meet the residents and learn to do a mitzvah, (good deed).

All the units on the main floor are closed and locked.

 Image From Judy Berdy

 I walk by A-11, where my mom was a resident for two months in 2011. The residents there have been dispersed to Coler or other nursing homes and all that remains is the A11 sign.

Image From Judy Berdy

Staff has been redeployed to other HHC facilities such as Bellevue, Harlem and Metropolitan Hospitals.

A picture has been removed in the hall

Image From Judy Berdy

and a bright green tile stands out through the beige paint. Apparently, the walls were that certain hospital green tile originally. The terrace outside the Subway Sandwich shop is locked and the wind whips leaves around the picnic furniture.

We return to the lobby. A group of nurses is leaving.

Image From Judy Berdy

They are the overnight shift that sent their patients off this morning. Some have worked at Goldwater for more than 20 years; one nurse has been here 31 years. Tonight they will report to work at Henry J. Carter.

I look around the lobby and notice the alarm.

Image From Judy Berdy

My mom had an ID bracelet because she was a wanderer. We would take her out of the hospital on a pass. The alarm would sound and the hospital policeman would silence it, so she could exit. Small memories.

Next to the alarm is a plaque to a pathologist

Image From Judy Berdy

who worked at Goldwater from 1967 to 1996. Will someone take down the plaque or will he be lost to history?

The tropical fish are gone from the giant fish tank.

Image From Judy Berdy

Were they redeployed to another facility?

We walk out the bronze doors

Image From Judy Berdy

and wave goodbye to the shuttle bus.

Image From Judy Berdy

Soon there will be no shuttle bus from Goldwater to Coler.

Goldwater will be a part of Welfare Island and Roosevelt Island history.

The patients are being transferred in anticipation of Goldwater Hospital being demolished for the coming of the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech campus.

The NY Times has more on the Goldwater Hospital patients being transferred and here is video from last July of Goldwater patients and workers testifying about their fears and concerns on the hospital's closing.

Also, remember the deal to build Cornell NYC Tech on Roosevelt Island is still not done. Cornell and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) are still in negotiations over the section of proposed Goldwater site that RIOC and not NYC controls.

UPDATE 11/16/18 - Below is from July 2013 post:
...  Here's what happened at tonight's NYC HHC Public Hearing on the transfer of Goldwater Hospital land for the new Cornell NYC Tech campus. Goldwater Hospital residents and supporters testified about their fears and concerns at the closing of the hospital. Needless to say that Mayor Bloomberg was not very popular among the Goldwater patients and workers.

Make sure to watch very moving testimony of a Goldwater resident at 7 minute mark and a worker at 22 minute 45 second mark.


Bill Blass said...

Its a sad the plan is right on time get rid of the sick the poor and give me the people who make100k and.more.yes fdr is turning over in his grave.and just keep building market rent apartments so we can keep the people with less off the island.

Paul said...

It was the most motion I had felt since the tram had been renovated, but was still nothing compared to what a stiff breeze would do to the old tram with its single pivot point.

Bill Blass said...

I will be serving food at the soup kitchen on thanksgiving I hope oldrossie will be doing the same

CheshireKitty said...

I very much doubt that Bill. I can just imagine Rossie's exclusive Thanksgiving spread, with his swell friends jabbering about the "disaster" of the Deblasio win for folks of their tax bracket etc.

CheshireKitty said...

That was Bloomberg's kiss-off to the not only poor, but the disabled, including those that cannot fend for themselves.

Bloomberg's message to the poor: "Get out! You are kicked to the curb in favor of luxury development. You are kicked to the curb in favor of bringing in an academic/business partnership... Oh, affordable housing? Oh, a new hospital for the chronically ill? Hey, I don't speak English when it comes to the words "affordable" "chronic care facility" or "homeless". Oh, no - those words aren't in vocabulary."

OldRossie said...

That's correct! it's going to be an amazing spread... home cooked from a variety of kitchens (and some fakers who'll no doubt order from their local delis), a group of family and friends kicking back, having drinks, stuffing on stuffing... a jolly old time. Maybe we'll have some snowy weather to watch from the window! it makes a sip of scotch that much more enjoyable... On Monday, cyber shopping, next weekend, a christmas tree... I love this time of year!!!

And if we feel guilty for any of it, I'll tell stories of our neighbors - a "character" names cheshireKitty and a guy named Bill who like to describe people like us as the enemy. How they would prefer to throw anyone with what they consider a high income off of the island, how they rant and rave that they shouldn't have to work, and we should have to pay their rent. How the exorbitant tax we pay will never be enough for these people until they get it all. Then wonder, should we feel guilty for enjoying what we earn? Nah. Despite kitty's best efforts, I'll sleep comfortably on Thursday night, and go off to work proudly on Friday morning.

With the new apartments being constructed on the island, the recent influx of what kitty calls yuppies, and the school on the way, we have every reason to be happy. Each year brings better things!

Bill Blass said...

I hate people from the mid west and other parts of America who come to new York for the high paying jobs.then think that they are true new Yorkers .really.I guess you are flying out to the mid west to spend thanksgiving with you family and your hick friends in the mid west

OldRossie said...

Bill, your voluntary ignorance is second to none. Whatever maintains your misery works for me.

CheshireKitty said...

Oh, and I have just one word for you, Rossie: Scrooge!

CheshireKitty said...

LOL. Hey, look - all of us are "newcomers" to some extent! All of us, that is, except for the indigenous peoples.

And look at what the colonists did to them: Sit down at a Turkey dinner with them, pray with them, learn how to survive on N. America from them, and then turn around and chase them all off the good land. To me, that sounds a lot like what Bloomberg and his developer friends want to do to the native New Yorkers -- or any New Yorkers -- who aren't of the 1%...

Elizabeth Durkin said...

I totally agree, Chesire!! I cried over the weekend about the shuttering of Goldwater Hospital. It has stood on this Island since the 1930's. Everything this island once stood for and was developed for has been thrown out the window in the chase for the almighty dollar. The proud history of this Island, once known as "Welfare Island", i.e. being for the greater good of serving people has disappeared. Gov. Cuomo and RIOC did nothing to stop it. I know the land belongs to the City of NY and is leased to NYS through 2068. An engineering school is all well and good, but not on such a tiny island. The Hospital could have been modernized and it the remaining spaces, truly affordable housing could have been built to replace all that Roosevelt Island has lost. I am a native New Yorker and this is the most special place I have had the pleasure of living for over 30 years.. This Island used to stand together and fight together.
Now, it is all divided and mostly due to class distinction and it is a total shame.

I have nothing against newcomers or more affluent residents, but not at the expense of the people who came to this island and settled it when the Upper East siders and Upper West siders scoffed and ridiculed this island as being not with anything 'over there', They would laugh and say " who would live there?"

The rent mess in the city has now made this Island attractive to them and it is a gorgeous special place to call home.

I will be displaced most likely in the near future and there is no other place like this in the city, safe, once semi- affordable, albeit I am in the highest Mitchell Lama development in the State and it has never been 'cheap' or 'subsidized'.

Why should we have to keep moving and giving up our our homes in the name of greed, over development, no common sense when it comes to building too much on a tiny island and no major impact studies on the community, the infrastructure.

The GDP and lease between the City of NY and NYS has been throw out of the window.

It greatly, greatly saddens me to see this Island ruined and destroyed.

I am not against improvements and some of the newer things are nice, but, again not at the expense of patients, residents.

This is affecting people's lives and their homes of decades..

Bill Blass said...

Elizabeth Durbin where have you been.finally someone who agrees with me and kitty. As you see what me and kitty see .as the island is being destroyed with people like oldrossie.

franceonisland said...