Building the Roosevelt Island Tech Campus Requires Relocating a Lot of Sick People

Long-term residents seem none too confident about the future.

(Cornell University)

It’s easy to get the impression that literally everyone in New York City is thrilled by the prospect of the Roosevelt Island tech campus. But one population is less than thrilled, and for good reason. That’s the long-term residents of Goldwater Hospital, which is due for demolition to make way for construction. DNAInfo spoke to several and found them less than reassured about their futures.

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The city first announced that the hospital would close in 2010, long before Cornell-Technion won the tech campus competition. But the proposed location has provided a hard deadline for the relocation, and it’s not yet entirely clear where some 400 patients are headed. And this isn’t the kind of effort that necessarily goes better with a firm deadline. Advocacy group director Judy Wessler told DNAInfo that there are “a lot of moving pieces, if not worked out well, could be tragic for people.” She added, “If the spaces are not available, if they’re not done right — if they’re overcrowded, not adequate or not appropriate— there could be havoc.”

All this is exacerbated by the fact some patients have legal situations that could fairly be described as complicated. For example, Armand Xama was paralyzed almost immediately after immigrating to the United States. Because he only has Medicaid, not Social Security, he qualifies for a nursing home, not a less-intense solution like supportive housing. But that’s not appealing to the 30-year-old, who doesn’t suffer from any mental impairments.

Nor are Goldwater residents the only ones harboring doubts about these ambitious building projcts. Just last week, the Transport Workers Union raised hew and cry over the plan to sell 370 Jay Street for a second proposed applied sciences campus.


Building the Roosevelt Island Tech Campus Requires Relocating a Lot of Sick People