New York Eye and Ear Infirmary/Beth Israel Closure Moving Ahead; Community Meeting Tuesday, Demand Landmarking TODAY
Village Preservation has been working with doctors, patients, and community leaders to save the historic NY Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEEI) at Second Avenue and East 13th Street — a remarkable institution with an unparalleled history of service to people with hearing and vision disabilities, housed in a striking building for which Hellen Keller cut the ribbon. Owner Mount Sinai began to close down the building and its services over a year ago, and we worked with advocates to demand the building be landmarked to preserve and recognize its critically important history, and help prevent it simply being sold off to the highest bidder for development.
Unfortunately, Mount Sinai is now proposing to close not only NYEEI, but also the entire Beth Israel hospital located just to the infirmary’s north along First Avenue, of which NYEEI had become a part. Advocates are fighting that plan. As a first step toward a closure, Mount Sinai must hold a community meeting, which has been hastily scheduled for this Tuesday evening November 28, 6 pm at Baruch College (Engelman Hall, 55 Lexington Avenue at East 25th Street). All those who are interested are encouraged to attend.
This makes the effort to get the historic (1853-1903) New York Eye and Ear Infirmary building landmarked all the more urgent. If the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) doesn’t act soon and Mount Sinai is successful in its plans, this incredibly significant building, so rich in history, will likely be sold for development and destroyed.