Advocates hoping to swing the election by urging voters to elect “Anybody but Quinn” gathered across the street from the closed St. Vincent’s Hospital this evening for a get-out-the-vote rally they billed as an early “retirement party” for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The event–which included the presentation of a series of mock parting gifts in honor of Ms. Quinn’s desired departure, including a “term limit-less watch from Rolex, so that Quinn will be reminded that her time is up”–came just hours after the release of the latest mayoral poll, which cast Bill de Blasio as the clear front-runner in the mayor’s race, with 36 percent of the vote, versus just 21 percent for Ms. Quinn. Attendees greeted the news with glee.
“I got tears in my eyes,” said Brian Gari, 61, who was one of the more than 100 supporters who turned up for the event and cheered as the results were announced. “I’m thrilled beyond belief.”
How We Live Now
New Yorkers hate it when hospitals close, especially Manhattan and Brooklyn residents, who have suffered through a spate of closures and threatened closures, in recent years.
The shuttering of St. Vincent’s in the Village led one publisher to slap a state senator (“He’s a vacuous idiot,” slapper George Capsis said. “He never supported saving the hospital,” later admitting that he was upset because his wife died at a hospital in the Bronx, far from his home) and a Christine Quinn intern, who left in tears.
Given that every day seems to bring news of more luxury condos coming to Chelsea (even the development sites are getting gussied up), we’re not surprised to hear that the likelihood of yet another local institution making way for high-end housing has riled the locals. What is unusual, however, is that the institution locals are so sad to see go is a medium-security prison.
“I consider it a tragedy that the prison is lost,” community board member Pamela Wolff told The New York Times, which reported on the state’s plan to lease or sell Bayview Correctional Facility, a medium security women’s prison at 550 West 20th Street. “The amount of recidivism was minimal. For those women, for this community, which for 35 years has been in perfect harmony with the use of that facility, the repercussions will never be measured.”
Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s press conference this morning devolved into violence, as State Senator Brad Hoylman was slapped in the face and another Quinn supporter was attacked during a heated showdown over hospital closings.
The campaign event was initially supposed to give former State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Mr. Hoylman the opportunity to rail against rival mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio for his alleged inaction regarding the controversial closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital. But a group of anti-Quinn protesters were the only ones to make real noise.
“Shame, shame, shame on you,” the group chanted as the press conference was set to begin, drowning out Ms. Quinn’s supporters.
It seems like just yesterday that Rosie O’Donnell was buying a duplex in one of the old St. Vincent’s hospital buildings. Indeed, it was a mere nine months ago that the comedian closed on the four-bedroom, three-bath penthouse, paying $8.09 million for the newly-converted condo.
But sometimes real estate, despite the best efforts of all parties involved, simply doesn’t take. Which appears to be the case with Ms. O’Donnell and her perfectly lovely-looking apartment at 130 West 12th Street. After less than a year of ownership, the funny girl has plunked the unit back on the market, asking $10.95 million.
It Takes a Village
Bill Rudin must be wondering if it was worth it in the end.
Given the price of prime Manhattan real estate, the answer is almost definitely yes, but that does not change the fact that the redevelopment of the St. Vincent’s hospital into condos in the heart of Greenwich Village has been a long and expensive enterprise. Lawsuits, landmarks reviews, a recession, demands for a new school: the Rudins have overcome them all. Now, it appears, the city wants more.
It’s official—well, almost—the West Village will be getting an AIDS memorial. After opening the design competition in November, the AIDS Memorial Park received 475 entries from architects, designers and gardeners the world over. The winner will be announced next Monday, and will receive a $5,000 prize.
The timing is appropriate, given that yesterday Bill Rudin’s development at St. Vincent’s received unanimous approval by the City Planning Commission. Several of the commissioners made mention of the AIDS memorial, including Chair Amande Burden, and stressed their desire to see a memorial included.
It Takes a Village
The City Planning Commission is set to vote on the Rudin’s plan for condos on the St. Vincent’s site on Monday, and even though a single vote has not been cast, Greenwich Village superman Andrew Berman has already divined a favorable outcome for the developer. His response, as always, is damning.
Is a tiny triangle in Greenwich Village the next 9/11 Memorial? That’s what a pair of local activists are hoping, with their plan to turn a patch of land across from the old St. Vincent’s hospital into the city’s first AIDS memorial. They have even signed up Michael Arad, designer of the ground zero mecca, to lead a design competition for the project.
“The design process that happened after the events of 9/11… catalyzed this citywide discussion about an important historic event, and we think this design competition can do something similar,” Paul Kelterborn said in a video posted by the competition sponsors, Architizer and Architectural Record.
While it looked for awhile like the Rudin family might never get its coveted condos in the West Village, it engineered a plan to bring in another hospital operator to turn the old O’Toole Building into a new critical care center. Now, the Rudins have passed an even bigger hurdle—not the City Council, which still has to vote on the project, but an even tougher bunch, bankers.