Elmhurst, Queens, New York
Recent available testing for COVID-19 has revealed that over 10,000 people were infected with the disease in just the past week. It also brought upon a general moment of clarity and surely an everlasting fury regarding New York City’s stunning low amount of hospitals to house and care for everyone that will test positive for the disease and certainly for the amount of people that are going through the worst of it.
As the NY Post reported last week when Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio were apoplectic about the low amount of beds that will take for the dramatic rise of cases that have just unfolded over the weekend.
Now everyone pretty much knows that the reason why New York City
is was grossly, criminally unprepared for this outbreak; because a lot of them went broke and the state and the city not only didn’t adequately fund them but actually enabled their closings with budget cuts and chummy pay to play land deals which led to crucial health care services getting terminated and replaced with high-end condo towers and housing. Even the rats that burrow in the lots during the nascent stages of development even know this.
A grand example of this devastation and deprivation resulting in this harried urgency to save thousands of lives is the notorious closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, Manhattan which was the biggest MASH unit on 9/11/2001- the previous greatest attack on the U.S.A. this century. What remains of St. Vincent’s now is ultra-luxury condominiums, even though it still looks like a hospital.
But what this post is going to focus on is the former St. Johns Hospital on Queens Boulevard, the boulevard of zombie development.
St. Johns was unceremoniously shut down back in 2009 and left hundreds of people out of work and a vast community without to go for urgent health services in case of sudden illness or injury. In 2011, Fun Size Mayor Bloomberg’s Department Of Buildings zoned the property for a mixed-used building to include a mall and a parking lot (even though there the Queens Center Mall is across the street and another mall is two blocks away west).
And like St. Vincents, it still looks like a fucking hospital. For some reason the new owners decided to let the building remain as is.
It took 11 years and as our city does not have the beds to put the sick and chronically ill on and nurses and doctors are frighteningly lacking medical supplies like face masks and respirators, it should be absolutely not heartening to know that dwellings are now available.
Yes, they are NOW LEASING apartments at the fucking hospital, even while scaffolding is still surrounding the building. Oh, but don’t dare call them apartments, the appropriate nomenclature for the building known as “QB” are “lofts”. I find it curious why they are advertising them as such, even with the kitschy faux bespoke label up their on the banner on that filthy garage.
Now these “lofts” could have been on the market already even as the mayor’s big dumb mouth was talking about instituting a “shelter-in-place” rule and as Cuomo already declared shutting down the schools and was mulling shutting down New York State with the exception of essential services, but these photos were taken on Thursday 3/21. And the owners decided to put a cute little Open House stand by the curb cut going into ramp where the ambulances used to go.
What’s darkly humorous is that this is that this isn’t a heavy pedestrian area, made worse with the barren streets right now. And those rusty scaffolds don’t make the building look hospitable at all (pun intended)
Now with the whole damn state of New York officially shut down at sun down and with military vehicles roaming the streets and more aggressive orders to commit to social distancing, it’s fucking pointless to be even looking for a new place right now with views of the boulevard viaduct, shopping malls, the Grand Central Parkway and barely used bike lanes and even including the eviction moratorium bestowed upon the citizenry by our benevolent friends at REBNY.
Although there would be a moment when this would warrant derisive laughter, that is dead and gone. Just like this building which would have been an immense help for the victims of COVID-19 and government officials careless stupidity and their obeisance to their developer overlords and their never ending unsatiated greed for to monetize every crack on the sidewalk.