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Former Parkway Hospital Becomes Eyesore Amid Uncertain Future

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 22, 2014 1:19pm
 The building has been vacant since 2008.
Parkway Hospital
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QUEENS — Since Parkway Hospital closed nearly six years ago, it has fallen into a state of disrepair, with boarded up windows on the ground floor and walls tagged with graffiti.

Last June, it was supposed to be auctioned off through Queens Supreme Court, but the listing was removed shortly before the property was set to go under the gavel.

And there appears to be no end in sight for the woes of the dilapidated building, which has sat vacant since closing in November 2008.

“It’s disgusting,” said local Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz of the structure at 70-35 113th St., near P.S. 196.

Koslowitz said she has been trying to contact the owners for months, but was not able to reach them.

According to the Department of Finance, the 70,000-square-foot property, built in 1963, belongs to Parkway Hospital Associates. It has an outstanding lien of nearly $15 million, according to published reports and filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

After learning that the hospital was to be closed in 2008, the owners sued various state agencies in state and federal court, alleging that it was not given a chance to be heard prior to the revocation of its operating certificate. The status of the lawsuits was not immediately clear.

The last work permits were filed in 2009, data provided by the Department of Buildings indicate.

“It’s just sitting there waiting for something to happen,” said Steve Melnick, a Forest Hills resident, who also noted that he is “extremely concerned with the atrocious condition of the long-shuttered" hospital.

"If the building sits empty, before you know it, people are breaking into it," Melnick said.

The building has several open DOB violations, including one from 2011 for failing to maintain its facade, city records show. That violation indicated that there were cracks in the facade and a bulging brick wall.

Last week, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz sent a letter to the owners urging them to “commence a cleanup as soon as possible to ensure the safety and security of the Forest Hills community.”

Parkway Hospital, along with St. John’s and Mary Immaculate hospitals, was one of several Queens healthcare facilities that were forced to close in recent years.

The hospital’s former chief executive officer, Dr. Robert Aquino, had used various means to keep the facility open, including bribing the former New York state Sen. Carl Kruger, which led Aquino to be sentenced to four months in prison in 2012.

Kruger has been imprisoned since that year for bribery as well.

Koslowitz said she would like the property to eventually become senior housing. “We have none in our community and it would really be great to have senior housing, with maybe medical facilities on the ground floor,” she said.

The owners of the site could not reached for comment.

“We hope that something immediate is done because it’s really an eyesore,” Melnick said.