St. Vincent’s Hospital, NYC Epicenter Of AIDS Epidemic, To Become… Condos

A compromise on the future of St. Vincent’s Hospital has been reached between angry residents of NYC’s West Village neighborhood and the City Council—the building will be turned into 350 condos, reports the New York Post.

St. Vincent’s was shuttered in April 2010 after unsuccessful efforts to stop the hospital from hemorrhaging money, but it remains tragically iconic to AIDS activists as the epicenter of the HIV epidemic in the late 80s and early 90s.

It’s a quote you can almost attribute to any gay man living the city at the height of the plague: “I saw lots of my friends die there.” (For an insightful look at AIDS activism of the time, see our coverage of David France’s documentary How To Survive A Plague.)

The compromise involved converting the hospital into 350 condos instead of 450, and making room for 95 parking spaces instead of 152.

Said Christine Quinn, out NYC Council rep for the neighborhood: “The loss of St. Vincent’s was a terrible tragedy in our neighborhood. The ultimate agreement we have reached is a major step forward.”

The city will also buy a state-owned building nearby to build a school; Quinn says she is still pushing for a new hospital to serve the neighborhood. A design competition to commemorate the AIDS epidemic in a park across from the hospital was decided 2 months ago; it features an “infinite forest” of mirrors.

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  • 1equalityUSA

    G-9 studios….mmm, no.

  • CBRad

    It’s a good location to zip down to the office at Wall Street quickly. The dulling down of Manhattan continues.

  • QJ201

    Are we talking about the main building on the west side of 7th Ave? The white building shown housed offices.

    Anyway. Just what the West Village needs, more 500K condos.

  • Riker

    Another part of the compromise that hasn’t been mentioned is that North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System is building a 24-hour emergency room in the area, and is in negotiations to open up a full hospital.

  • CBRad

    @Riker: I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info.

  • andrew

    I bet that place has a lot of sad memories

  • CBRad

    @andrew: Yes, but……also some good ones. I had a long history with that hospital (my mother and two grandparents were born there), and had surgery there, dental work : the staff, the doctors, nurses…some of the nicest people you’d ever hope to meet.

  • Okama

    I live near the (former) hospital. My mother did her residency there, and I used to see a doctor there regularly. As lesbians of ages in the late 50s range, my parents witnessed the AIDS epidemic first-hand (indeed, my biological mother’s brother died of the disease, about a year before I was born). When it was clear the hospital would close, we in the neighborhood were devastated, for many reasons. Of course, the hospital was a symbol both for my mother personally, and for the entire LGBT community as a whole. It also was one of many places where many doctors, including my mother, assembled on 9/11 to wait for victims, though it turned out of course that virtually no-one survived the attacks in such a condition as to be brought there. Of course, it also means the loss of the closest hospital for most people in the area, which has heavy practical costs. Although I, like most in Greenwich Village, oppose the construction of the condos, it is far better than the original plan. At first, the contractors claimed that because the hospital had been granted an exemption from the height limit in the Village (the hospital never actually exploited this), they could build condos as high as they wanted. Now they are just gutting the buildings, not nearly as bad as before.
    By the way, the building shown is not part of the new condos; it is currently a 24/7 emergency services centre which is run by a separate hospital (though I’m not sure which one). It used to be an office building for St. Vincents.

  • Wilmer

    I lived in the neighborhood at that time. I remember it well and all the sadness that attended the place. I would not be surprised to learn the place is haunted

  • 1equalityUSA

    It’s in our memory so, we are haunted.

  • Erik

    When I lived in NYC I used to walk by that hospital frequently. I never knew it was once the epicenter of the AIDS crisis.

  • Tim

    New York is becoming so difficult to to live in. I’m sure a one bedroom condo will be 600K and rent at least $3500/month. As a young person trying to make it in the city, it’s hard to imagine that young gays actually lived in the village 20 years ago. All the creative, artist types are getting pushed further and further out.

  • lysa

    everyone who live with Herpes, HIV / AIDS, HPV wanting to have a date can join herpesmate com.

  • Unlikely

    “CENTER of the AIDS Epidemic,” not “EPICENTER of the AIDS Epidemic.” The epicenter is the projection of the center on a surface. The center of an earthquake is deep in the earth, with the epicenter above the center on the surface.

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