St. Vincent's Protesters Plan to 'Occupy' Street Outside Developer's Office
GREENWICH VILLAGE — A small group of demonstrators gathered near the former St. Vincent's Hospital site Monday morning, marking the group's eighth consecutive day of protests to demand developer Rudin Management bring a full-service hospital back to the Village.
Six members of the group Hands Off St. Vincent's stood behind a single police barricade covered with posters on West 12th Street, held up signs and passed out fliers about the need for a hospital. They said they plan to return to the site each morning until they get their way.
"We are sending a message to [Rudin Management CEO and vice chairman] Bill Rudin and people who are interested in buying luxury condos here that the Rudins need to lead the call to get us a world-class hospital," protester Suzannah B. Troy said.
The group started demonstrating in front of 130 W. 12th St. on Monday, Nov. 7, when Rudin Management's luxury condo sales office opened there. Rudin Management also owns the neighboring former St. Vincent's Hospital site, which is currently undergoing a public review process currently underway.
Hands Off St. Vincent's splintered off from the advocacy group Coalition for a New Village Hospital about a year and a half ago, Troy said. In February, members of the group were arrested for trespass for sitting in the lobby of the O'Toole Building, Protester Evette Stark said.
"We're more aggressive than the Coalition," she said.
The group, which has had between two and 10 people protesting on West 12th Street since Nov. 7, says it will stay until a hospital returns to the neighborhood.
"We see this as a long-term thing," Troy said.
The state Department of Health granted final approval for North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System's new facilities on the site on Nov. 4. The Lenox Hill Hospital Comprehensive Care Center will have a 24-hour emergency department, imaging center, ambulatory surgery facility and 24-hour ambulance services, according to documents filed with the state.
Stark said these facilities are insufficient.
"There's going to be no expertise there. It's urgent care on steroids," she said. "It's unconscionable and criminal to leave the citizens without any type of health care."
Rudin Family spokesman Stefan Friedman said the Lenox Hill Hospital Comprehensive Care Center will restore to the Village health services the area lost when St. Vincent's closed in April 2010.
“The Rudins are proud of their partnership with North Shore-LIJ, which has recently received New York State Department of Health approval to return emergency healthcare and comprehensive medical services to the West Side by the end of 2014, unlike 14 neighborhoods that have lost hospitals in the recent past," he said.