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Make way for Methodist: Hospital’s expansion death knell for brownstones • Brooklyn Paper

Make way for Methodist: Hospital’s expansion death knell for brownstones

New York Methodist Hospital plans to tear down a slew of old buildings — some from the 19th century — that it owns on Fifth Street and replace them with out-patient facilities.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

New York Methodist Hospital plans to demolish at least 15 buildings near the Sixth Street medical center to make way for new ambulatory centers, sources familiar with the project said.

The hospital plans to tear down a slew of old buildings — some from the 19th century — that it owns on Fifth Street, Eighth Avenue, and Sixth Street and replace them with out-patient facilities that could be as much as seven stories high, said Tom Miskel, the chair of Community Board 6’s transportation committee and a longtime Park Slope resident who said he’s sad to see the buildings, which are not landmarked or a part of Park Slope’s enormous historic district, get knocked down.

“It’s a shame that all of these brownstones have to come down,” said Miskel. “But they have the right to do it.”

The plans were previewed at a special June 19 meeting at the medical center between Seventh and Eighth avenues to a handful of community members, including Miskel. At the meeting, representatives from the hospital and the architecture firm handling the project went over the plan.

Most of the hospital-owned buildings on Eighth Avenue have been vacant for at least a year, according to neighbors. The hospital owns four 19th-century row houses on Fifth Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, said hospital spokeswoman Lyn Hill, adding that the hospital does not plan to demolish all of the buildings on the block. Renters currently occupy some of the Fifth Street buildings.

Hill wouldn’t provide details on what she called “very preliminary” plans, but verified that there will be demolition involved, and some residents will be forced to move.

“The people who need to move have already been informed,” she said, adding that the hospital will provide all displaced residents with “equal or better housing for the same amount of money.”

Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Neighbors received a letter from the hospital last week notifying them of the construction project, adding that it won’t begin for at least a year. The letter invited them to a meeting at the hospital this past Thursday to discuss the construction project and “to exchange ideas about how any disruption to your block can be kept to a minimum.”

But some neighbors who would be impacted by construction said they are concerned about the ambiguous plans.

“We are worried about building dust and noise pollution,” said Fifth Street resident Philippa Garson, who lives in a condo directly across the street from the hospital-owned buildings.

Longtime Fifth Street resident David Goodman, who lives in the same building as Garson, said that although he views Methodist Hospital as an important part of the neighborhood, he is ready to put up a fight to stop it from tearing down the historic buildings.

“To tear down these buildings is criminal,” said Goodman. “We will fight them on this. I won’t allow these buildings to be knocked down if we have a chance.”

Hill said that in order to get community input on the plans hospital representatives plan to make a presentation at a July 11 public meeting with Community Board 6 and the Park Slope Civic Council.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

New York Methodist Hospital plans to demolish at least 15 buildings near the Sixth Street medical center to make way for new ambulatory centers.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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