Asbestos cleanup underway at future home to Beth Israel

future beth israel

Eye & Ear Infirmary as seen from Second Avenue (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

During a day of picketing by unionized nurses and other employees of Beth Israel last month, one longtime employee told us that demolition of the site that is to become the future, smaller hospital has been delayed thanks to asbestos. In response, she said, employees who are awaiting the renewal of their contracts in September, have been told they may need to stick around longer than planned at the First Avenue flagship building, which is slowly being emptied of different departments.

Asked about this, a spokesperson for Mount Sinai confirmed the presence of asbestos at the future hospital, which will be located where there is currently another of the network’s hospitals, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary’s residential building, on East 13th Street and Second Avenue. However, she indicated the project is moving on schedule.

“The scheduled demolition and abatement of this building continues as planned and is projected to be completed this fall,” said Lucia Lee. “Our architects, designers and construction firms have been hired and working diligently on the planning. Once the demo is completed we will begin the first construction phase of the new building, pending approvals, including the Certificate of Need (CON). In the meantime, the current Beth Israel hospital remains open and fully accessible to the community and will remain so until the new hospital is opened.”

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MSBI nurses protest to keep pensions intact

July19 Beth Israel nurses First Ave2

Nurses and other 1199SEIU employees outside Mount Sinai Beth Israel on First Avenue (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

As Mount Sinai continues its downsizing of Beth Israel’s facilities in preparation for a new hospital to eventually open on Second Avenue, nurses and other employees within the union 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East have been bracing for possible cuts to their benefits.

On Thursday, July 12, union members picketed outside hospitals throughout the city that have employees from 1199SEIU, including Beth Israel on First Avenue and 16th Street and Mount Sinai Downtown in Union Square, formerly Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center.

At each facility, over a dozen nurses and other union employees marched or stood outside while chanting and holding signs starting shortly before noon.

“Up with the union, down with the bosses!” and “union busting is disgusting” were a couple of the chants shouted from behind a barricade on First Avenue.

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Police Watch: Teens arrested for slashing on Lexington Avenue

TEENS ARRESTED FOR SLASHING ON LEX
Police arrested a 13-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy for an alleged robbery and assault that took place at East 24th Street and Lexington Avenue on June 30 around 1 a.m. The victim told police that he and a friend got into an argument with the two suspects after leaving a bar near the intersection.
The argument escalated into a physical fight but the victim said that he and a friend tried to leave by getting into a taxi. Police said that the girl then jumped in front of the taxi to get the driver to stop, then leaned in through an open window and slashed one of the men with a razor, causing an injury. No further information was available about the victim’s condition.
The boy was arrested at the 13th Precinct on July 5 and the girl was arrested last Thursday, July 12, the latter charged with assault. Both teens were also arrested for robbery although nothing was taken from the victims during the incident.

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Police Watch: Man wanted for Dunkin Donuts robbery, Man arrested for CVS robbery

MAN WANTED FOR DUNKIN DONUTS ROBBERY
Police are looking for a man involved in a robbery at a Chelsea Dunkin Donuts at the end of May. The suspect reportedly threatened a 20-year-old employee inside the 225 Seventh Avenue location on Monday, May 28 at 3:45 p.m. and demanded the contents of the register. Police said that he got away with approximately $500 and fled east on West 23rd Street. No injuries were reported.
The suspect is described as a black man in his 40s-50s who was last seen wearing all dark clothing. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls are strictly confidential.

MAN NABBED FOR CVS ROBBERY
Police arrested 58-year-old Joseph Green for robbery on June 9 at 3:30 p.m. inside the 13th precinct. Green was allegedly shoplifting in the CVS at 300 Park Avenue South on May 27 at 4:25 p.m. when he got into a fight with an employee while leaving the store. Police said that Green was attempting to steal deodorant.

FOOD VENDORS ACCUSED OF ASSAULT
Police arrested 49-year-old Reda Badawy and 20-year-old Karim Badawy for assault at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 21st Street on Saturday, June 9 at 8:08 p.m. Police said that the two suspects, food vendors, intentionally pushed a food cart into her body, causing pain to her back and neck.

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Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association celebrating 50th anniversary

Stuyvesant Square Park these days is sitting pretty, in no small part due to the work of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

When the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association was formed half a century ago, it began as many civic organizations do — as a response to a perceived threat to the community that the residents were willing to fight. In this case, the interloper was Beth Israel, which was expanding its footprint at the time, buying up brownstones in the Stuyvesant Square neighborhood to raze and turn into larger buildings.

Rosalee Isaly, the president of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, who’s been involved in the group’s efforts since 1970, said neighbors were concerned about the expansion impacting their quality of life, especially when the hospital received a federal grant to turn an empty lot at the corner of Second Avenue and 17th Street to build a 40-story building to house its staff. The group, initially just three couples (including husbands who worked as attorneys), fought this tooth and nail.

Eventually that street corner became home to the significantly smaller Hospital for Joint Diseases, and Beth Israel built the 24-story Gilman Hall on First Avenue across from Stuyvesant Town to house its residents. (Gilman has since been emptied and sold to a California-based developer as part of the hospital’s downsizing plan.)

As for the three couples from Stuyvesant Square who made up the founding members of the SPNA, they were John and Mary Tommaney, Adrian and Marisa Zorgniotti and James and Carvel Moore. Isaly, who now owns and manages a couple of local properties and is also an artist, joined the SPNA upon moving to the neighborhood when she was a newlywed. She’s lived there since then with the exception of a few years in the 1970s when she and her family lived in Paris.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for First Ave. assault, Officer assault at Beth Israel

MAN ARRESTED FOR FIRST AVENUE ASSAULT
Police arrested 42-year-old Wesley Walker for an alleged assault in front of 390 First Avenue on Saturday, May 19 at 8:26 a.m. Police said that the 43-year-old victim was walking down the street when Walker, who he didn’t know, approached him and started punching him in the face. Police said that the victim complained of pain to his face and was also bleeding from the back of his head.

OFFICER ASSAULTED AT MOUNT SINAI BETH ISRAEL
Police arrested 39-year-old Jason Marshall for the alleged assault of a peace officer in front of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital on Monday, May 14 at 3:58 a.m. Police said that an EMS worker was transporting Marshall to the hospital and when they arrived, Marshall requested a wheelchair but one was not available. Police said that Marshall became irate and allegedly punched the EMS worker in the chest.

BOY BUSTED FOR ASSAULT AT WASHINGTON IRVING
Police arrested a teenager for assault and possession of marijuana inside the Washington Irving Campus at 40 Irving Place on Monday, May 14 at 1:24 p.m. The victim told police that she and the suspect got into an argument over the phone the day before, which later led to the suspect posting on social media that the victim was a hoe. The victim said that she and a friend also posted about the suspect and said that she and a friend were going to get beat up. She told police that on Monday, May 14, she didn’t talk to the suspect but later in the day, he walked up to her and punched her in the face, causing a cut on her forehead. The victim was brought to Bellevue Hospital and when the suspect was searched, police found that he was in possession of marijuana. The teen’s name is being withheld due to his young age.

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When a Stuyvesant Square hospital was run entirely by women doctors

The Infirmary for Women and Children prior to a move to a nearby building in Stuyvesant Square (Photo from hospital archives, courtesy of New York Presbyterian)

By Sabina Mollot

Nearly seven decades before Mount Sinai Beth Israel began the process of transitioning to a new, smaller hospital facility, another neighborhood hospital was also planning a move — but this place was unique in that it was staffed entirely by women doctors.

That hospital was the New York Infirmary, which had first opened its doors on May 12, 1857 as the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children. It was founded by the English-born Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to become a doctor in the United States. Its mission, along with healing the city’s sick and poor, was also to educate women to become medical professionals. Its first location was in a house in Greenwich Village, though it moved to Stuyvesant Square in 1858 when it outgrew that space.

There it remained for 90 years, but not long after the nearby apartment complexes of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were built, the hospital once again needed more space. It had been operating out of several antiquated buildings with an address of 321 East 15th Street.

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Former Beth Israel doctor charged with sexually assaulting patients

Former Mount Sinai Beth Israel Chief of Palliative Care Division Ricardo Cruciani

By Sabina Mollot

A former high-ranking doctor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, who recently pleaded guilty to committing numerous sexual assaults of female patients at another hospital he worked at, is now facing charges of assaulting six other patients at Beth Israel.

The allegations include rape, forceful kissing and groping during the time Ricardo Cruciani, now 63, served as Beth Israel’s Chief of the Palliative Care Division. He was employed at the hospital from 2002-2014.

At that time, he was responsible for administering treatment to patients afflicted with chronic and debilitating pain disorders that are hard to find treatment for.

After leaving Beth Israel, Cruciani worked at Capital Health Medical Center in New Jersey and later Pennsylvania’s Drexel University neurology department.

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Former Beth Israel Karpas Center will be demolished

311 First Avenue was included in last year’s sale of Gilman Hall to the CIM Group. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The building that used to house Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Karpas Health Information Center has been sold and will soon be demolished.

The new owner filed an application to demolish the four-story property at 311 First Avenue and 18th Street, last October, and scaffolding now surrounds the property. There is not yet an application for new development although the razing of the building, which also has nine residential units, was said to be in preparation for an unspecified “plan.”

CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment group and private equity firm, through an LLC called 305 First Avenue (NY), bought the property last March for $27.5 million from Mount Sinai, according to Acris records.

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East 17th Street shelter will open in April

Bowery Residents Committee CEO Muzzy Rosenblatt speaks at a meeting on Tuesday about a Safe Haven shelter that’s now being renovated. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new Safe Haven shelter the city is opening on East 17th Street in a former Beth Israel AIDS hospice is expected to be operational by early April, according to its operator, the Bowery Residents Committee.

Members of Community Board 6’s housing, homeless and human rights committee held a meeting about the shelter on Tuesday night, with BRC CEO Muzzy Rosenblatt providing updates. This was the first meeting on the subject since another one for neighborhood organizations was held last July.

At that time, Rosenblatt predicted that the shelter would be operational by Labor Day of last year after minor repairs but on Tuesday, he said renovations at the building, which is owned by Mount Sinai, were more extensive than anticipated.

“At that point, we hadn’t actually seen the elevator in the building but we were making projections based on previous city dealings with elevators,” he said. “Once we saw the elevator, we realized that it actually needed to be replaced, which takes longer because the elevator has to be site-specific, but that work is now underway and we don’t anticipate any further delays.”

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

When there’s no time for getting lost

When I wrote a letter last week recommending that persons living alone should have a medical alert button (“A real life safer,” T&V, Jan. 25), I mentioned in passing that there is a problem with confusing addresses in Stuy Town.

Actually, that problem can have serious effects.

The first time I had to use the button EMS arrived very quickly. But on another occasion, the street address prompted them to come to the side of the building that is less frequently used. Of course, it took longer for them to get to my apartment and longer to take me to their ambulance, which was parked farther away.

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Police Watch: Teen arrested for shoplifting at ST Associated after getting hit by car

Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

SHOPLIFTING TEEN HIT BY CAR AFTER GETTING BUSTED AT STUY TOWN ASSOCIATED
A teenager was hit by a car after he was caught stealing beer from the Stuyvesant Town Associated on Friday.
A store employee said she saw him attempting to conceal the beer and leave the store and when she confronted him, he began cursing at her and punched the glass door, smashing it. When a customer attempted to intervene, the teen ran into the street and police said that he was hit by a car, suffering minor injuries. The district attorney’s office said that the 18-year-old was issued a desk appearance ticket for petit larceny and criminal mischief. A store employee declined to comment on the incident.

WOMAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING OFFICER AT BETH ISRAEL
Police arrested 45-year-old Lavina Nolley for alleged assault and criminal trespass inside Mount Sinai Beth Israel 281 First Avenue last Monday at 12:05 a.m. Police said that Nolley was discharged from the hospital after getting treatment but allegedly refused to leave. When an officer attempted to escort her out of the building, she allegedly kicked the officer in the knee, causing pain and swelling. Additional officers arrived and attempted to escort her out of the building but she allegedly struck the same officer in the face with her bag.

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Prescription meds are absolutely worsening opioid crisis: MSBI doc

Mount Sinai Beth Israel has the world’s oldest and largest opioid treatment program. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, the mayor announced a lawsuit targeting major pharmaceutical companies, who he said have contributed to the city’s opioid explosion by getting people hooked on prescription drugs.

In 2016, more than 1,000 people in New York City died in a drug overdose that involved an opioid, the highest year on record. Additionally, according to city data, more New Yorkers died from opioid overdoses last year than from car accidents and homicides combined.

The suit is asking for a half million dollars to cover current and future costs to combat the crisis at hospitals not to mention costs relating to courtrooms and the morgue.

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Stuyvesant Town Mount Sinai Practice now open

(Pictured) David Leeds, aide to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Margaret Pastuszko, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Integration Officer, Mount Sinai Health System; Kelly Cassano, Chief of Ambulatory Care, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Jeremy Boal, MD, President, Mount Sinai Downtown and Chief Medical Officer, Mount Sinai Health System; State Senator Brad Hoylman; Council Member Keith Powers; Susan Steinberg, President of the Stuyvesant Town / Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association; Claude Winfield, Vice-Chair, Local Community Advisory Board, Chair, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Community Advisory Council; Rick Hayduk, CEO, General Manager, StuyTown Property Services; Abigail Chen, Senior Medical Director, Mount Sinai Doctors Downtown Faculty Practice; Elvis DeLeon, Vice President, Ambulatory Operations, Mount Sinai Doctors Downtown (Photo courtesy of The Mount Sinai Health System)

Mount Sinai Doctors Stuyvesant Town, a new multi-specialty practice at 518 East 20th Street, was officially opened last Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Featuring state-of-the-art exam rooms and imaging services, the practice will offer extended weekday and weekend hours for both walk-in and scheduled appointments.

“Serving the downtown community is our top priority and our vast ambulatory network, one of the largest in lower Manhattan, makes this possible,” said Jeremy Boal, MD, the president of the MountSinai Downtown Network, who is also a resident of Peter Cooper Village.

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New Beth Israel building may be built higher

June16 BI meeting

Brad Beckstrom, senior director for community and government for Mount Sinai pictured at a public meeting in June 2016 (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Mount Sinai Beth Israel is planning to build additional floors at the new East 13th Street facility to accommodate more beds if necessary, representatives announced. This is a change from the previously-announced plan since the hospital system had said that a smaller building would be constructed initially but with the ability to build additional floors if demand increased.

Representatives from the hospital system announced the adjustments to members of the Budget, Education and City Services committee for Community Board 5 on Tuesday and noted that this does not change the reduction in beds.

“We still believe we’ll have enough beds but we’ll be building up and adding the extra floors,” said Brad Korn, corporate director of community affairs for Mount Sinai Beth Israel. “(The space) might not end up being beds but it will cut down on the process if we do need it for that.”

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