Save the East Village’s Historic and Endangered New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Second Avenue and 13th Street

The East Village’s New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Second Avenue and 13th Street is endangered! The hospital has begun emptying the structure as part of a planned move to the old Beth Israel campus several blocks north, and the fate of this historic building is in doubt. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary is the oldest specialized hospital in the Western Hemisphere and one of the oldest hospitals in New York, where great advances in treatment for the visually and hearing impaired took place, and generations of New Yorkers (often among the neediest) received care. The building, constructed in stages between 1856 and 1903, is also an architectural tour-de-force, embodying the hopes and aspirations of this institution over a century and a half.  None other than Helen Keller spoke at the expanded building’s dedication in 1903.

Village Preservation is joined by the Historic Districts Council, the East Village Community Coalition, and the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative in calling upon the city to landmark the building to ensure it is saved — read our submission with photos and documentation here.

We are also working closely with staff and alumni of the hospital on this effort, who don’t want to see this incredibly rich and important history destroyed. IT’S CRITICAL WE GET THE CITY TO ACT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!


May 2, 2022