Rediscovering New York

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

2020/04/14 - New York's Hospitals, Past & Present

[EPISODE New York's Hospitals, Past & Present

Join me this week as we take a look at the hospitals of New York City, past and present. We’ll visit the earliest clinics that were created two centuries ago to treat New Yorkers. We'll explore the different kinds of hospitals that were developed around the turn of the 20th Century. Finally, we look at the hospitals of New York City today, including the large system run by the government of the City of New York. My guests will be Bert Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History at Baruch College, and archivist and heritage specialist Deidre Dinnigan, Principal of For-keeps Inc., a company that works with institutions and individuals to create and execute plans for projects that use historical content and materials.

Segment 1

Jeff introduces the first guest of the show, Bert Hansen, originally a Chicagoan, Bert currently lives in Chelsea. Bert walks through his educational leap from Science to Medical history, the functions of hospitals and doctors before the twentieth century, the first established hospitals in New York City and their founders, the function of early medical centers labeled as ‘dispensaries’, and the architecture of the buildings that are still standing today.  

Segment 2

The conversation continues with the talk of French biologist Louis Pasteur, the boom of hospitals and innovations in healthcare at the end of the nineteenth century due to medical advancements, maternity hospitals, the importance of architecture in these early hospitals, an overview of the first major hospital complexes constructed in the early twentieth century, the commission of artists by the New York government to create murals, some withstanding today, and the shift in hospital construction in recent history.

Segment 3

Jeff introduces the second guest of the show, Deidre Dinnigan, who talks about her history transitioning from the Caribbean to New York as a young girl and about her education, and how she gained passion for her current line of work as well as how she came to hold the current title of ‘heritagist’. Deidre discusses the nature of her work with the organization ‘New York City Health + Hospitals’ which transitions into the conversation in the next segment.

Segment 4

Deidre outlines the functions of ‘For Keeps’ and current projects she’s working on right now, giving out where listeners can find out more information. She then talks about when New York City got into the business of medical centers and healthcare, starting back with Bellevue in the eighteenth century passing through the nineteenth century, leaving a footnote with charities and organizations laying down the foundations for hospitals and other public facilities like prisons and mental institutions, all the way into the twentieth century, the start of New York investing into medicine. She also speaks on the first hospital established in Brooklyn, covering other boroughs as well, and also the many specialty hospitals in New York City.