News came out earlier this month that a deal had been made, between the Rudin development organization and the remnants of St. Vincent’s Medical Center, for Rudin to purchase the old St. Vincent’s hospital for use as a condominium site, with a section to be set aside for an urgent care center.
The Coalition for a New Village Hospital stays principled in our fight for a hospital and unwavering in our position that the community needs nothing less than a full service level 1 trauma care hospital. But we see this proposal as an opportunity in that fight, and here’s why.
As New Yorkers we know that, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The defeat of the Westside Stadium, the success of Grand Central Station, and Central Park are monuments to our will as New Yorkers. There are others.
Yesterday evening, The Wall Street Journal reported that a potential buyer is seeking to block the Rudin sale in bankruptcy so it can build a full service hospital at the St. Vincent’s site.
Here on the Lower West Side, we have known since the wrongful closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital that there is a strong will among the residents of our community to have a new hospital to replace the one that was taken away from us. All of these recent developments are an acknowledgment of that will. There will be a medical facility at Seventh Avenue and 12th Street. This is the start of what can be a victory for all of us in our fight.
There remains however the critical question of what kind of a medical facility it will be.
We have been working on the political front to make clear to the Rudins, and to our elected officials, that if the Rudins and LIJ can get the building for free, and raise an additional $125 million, as they acknowledge, to build a brand new urgent care center, they can, for the same or similar cost, renovate the Coleman building to create a hospital.
We have been fighting on the legal front to force St. Vincent’s to be more transparent in their dealings, including their financials, for the New York State Department of Health to honor its responsibility to provide adequate healthcare for our community, for the Bankruptcy Court to recognize our right as members of the public for health care, and for our public officials to hold those responsible for this health crisis accountable and restore the vital resources our community needs.
To that end, I want to invite you to come on April 1st at 2pm in U.S. Southern District Court which is located at 500 Pearl Street, Room 14B (MAP) to watch oral arguments in our fight to allow the Coalition access to public records regarding the closure of St. Vincent’s hospital.
Also on April 7th at 11:00am the bankruptcy court at 1 Bowling Green, Room 701 (MAP) will hold a hearing on the request to approve the sale of the property to the Rudins. It is the Coalition’s position that such a sale would be a violation of New York State Non-Profit Corporation laws and U.S. Internal Revenue Code, both of which the bankruptcy court must recognize. In specific, a public asset, including the not for profit St. Vincent’s, cannot transfer assets to a private entity, like the Rudins, and a transfer like that proposed must continue the charitable mission of St. Vincent’s Hospital, which clearly luxury condominium units do not. You can read the letter we sent to the bankruptcy court regarding this here.
It has been and it remains the will of our people that this facility be a hospital, a real hospital -- with an emergency room, fully equipped to handle the cases that will come through its doors, with the inpatient rooms that will continue the care once the crisis has been met, and with the special services and departments that a community such as ours would require.
Built into the Rudin/St.Vincent’s/Long Island Jewish deal is the wherewithal to bring into being a New Village Hospital. If an “urgent care center” can be built, then a hospital can be built on the old site. Given the amount of money available from Federal and State funds to operate a hospital, over and above what would be available to operate an “urgent care center,” the economics of going the hospital route make more sense. Again, as always, it is a question of the will to do it.
It is now up to us as a community to transfer our will into a reality by making clear, to all the actors in this process, that we will not go away until we get what we need and deserve, a hospital.
To that end, please mark your calendars. April 30th. That’s the date when we will commemorate the one year anniversary of the wrongful closing of St. Vincent’s and redouble our efforts and resolve to demand a hospital for our community. Please download this flyer to put in your building, community center or school to let folks know. There will be a planning meeting for the rally on Wednesday March 30th at 6pm at the Church of the Village located on the corner of 7th Avenue and 13th Street (7th Ave entrance - MAP) and a fundraiser on Monday March 28th (see below or buy tickets here) at Fiddlesticks on Greenwich between 7th Avenue and 6th Avenue (MAP).
Be there. Look for me. I’ll be looking for you.
In solidarity and towards a new village hospital,
Coalition for a New Village Hospital: One Year Rally Poster
3-22 letter in re St. Vincent's