St. Vincent’s Hospital
WHY IS THIS SITE IMPORTANT TO THE ONGOING HISTORY OF THE AIDS CRISIS?
St. Vincent’s was the epicenter of New York City’s AIDS epidemic. It housed the first and largest AIDS ward on the east coast and is often referred to as the “ground zero” of the AIDS epidemic. Thousands of people died or were treated at St. Vincent’s for HIV/AIDS; many more passed through to visit sick partners, friends and family members. Although there were other important AIDS wards and treatment centers in New York City, none took on the symbolic and cultural significance of St. Vincent’s.
The site is also adjacent to the LGBT Community Center, where many early AIDS advocacy/support groups first organized, such as ACT UP. Because of this, the park site sits at the nexus of the community’s response to the AIDS Crisis and in that way is the place most closely associated with the AIDS epidemic in New York City.
WHAT’S GOING ON AT ST. VINCENT’S?
The St. Vincent’s Hospital campus, including the buildings that housed the City’s first AIDS ward, is part of a massive redevelopment project. St. Vincent’s Hospital went bankrupt in April 2010 and the former hospital campus was sold to Rudin Management which is converting the complex into luxury condominiums. As part of the same redevelopment, Rudin Management must build new public open space as part of its project, which they are planning to construct on the triangle of land bordered by 7th Avenue, 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue (the “Triangle Site”) that is currently covered with hospital infrastructure and mechanicals.
THE NEW ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL PARK WILL BE CONSTRUCTED
The Triangle Site is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a beautiful and iconic AIDS memorial park that not only delivers the community a green public oasis, but that also acknowledges the unique historic importance of the site. The site is also accessible, highly visible, adjacent to the LGBT Center, across the street from the City’s first AIDS ward, and in the heart of the neighborhood most devastated by the disease in those early years. The new memorial will be an amenity for the surrounding community. Its design conveys emotional significance; it will be integrated into the open space, and as the most prominent feature in the new park, it creates a unique new public place for the City.