One summer when Gothamist was younger we worked at the Hospital for Special Surgery on 71st and York (don't worry, we were far away from the patients). Riding our bike to and from HSS we were often struck by the fact that there were so many medical institutions in such a dense area. HSS, Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and the Weill Medical College of Cornell University)! "That's a lot of prestigious lifesavers a long walk from the 6 train" we often thought to ourselves.
How they all got there takes up a good third of the Jim Rasenberger's informative piece on the Hospital Land in the today's Times (the gist of it? they all followed Rockefeller's lead). The rest of the article deals with the just as interesting, if strange, NIMBY problems the hospitals have recently encountered from their neighboring communities.
The Upper East Siders who once loved having such great hospitals so nearby are now terrified that those same institutions are encroaching on their neighborhoods. We hope you'll forgive us if we can't help but be a little amused when reading lines like "our beautiful neighborhood is going to be a nightmare," referring to the construction of a research lab dedicated to fighting cancer. A factory, a prison, a homeless shelter, even a dorm we could feel the community's pain, but a medical research center? Meh.
The Hospital corridor on the UES is one of the biggest and brightest things the city has going for it right now, and that's something we need to continue to cultivate. If the Second Avenue Subway ever gets built it will be at least 90% due to the need to get ever more workers in and out of those ever-expanding hospitals and medical research centers. And, y'know what? We'd be OK with that. You?
Photographs by Ozier Muhammad for the New York Times.