Not to be too romantic about old buildings—I have mixed feelings about gigantic landmarked historic districts—but tearing down beautiful homes to put up hospital structures seems, aesthetically, like a crime. Over the weekend, Brave New World Repertory Theater staged a 1929 play set on New York stoops on Fifth Street, in front of two homes (utilizing their front steps and apartment windows) up the block from some of those planned to be razed; among other things, the performance functioned as a celebration of local history: by recreating the sort of street life that still animated the city 100 years ago, the production called across time, connecting us to our long-dead predecessors as powerfully as crossing Brooklyn ferry while reading Walt Whitman. Try doing that with an ambulatory center.
Less abstractly, I understand that hospital services are necessary to the city, but it seems like something's wrong when hospitals across the borough are closing and Methodist is planning to raze buildings. As one commenter succinctly explains, "Seems insane to turn [Long Island College Hospital] into condos for the money"—a plan recently scrapped, at least for now—"and then tear down a row of brownstones to expand Methodist Hospital. Is there no one in charge in Albany? Or are lobbyists and consultants calling the shots up there now?"
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