Elected officials, community leaders, and medical professionals from across the city were on hand to celebrate the evolution of one of the borough’s iconic health care facilities, as the historic NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 21, marking a milestone moment for the hospital, which had suffered greatly in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
In the offing is a complete transformation for one of Brooklyn’s oldest hospitals, as plans were revealed for the majestic new state-of-the-art complex.
The ceremony took place under a tent set up beside the partially excavated space where the 11-story, 350,000-square-foot hospital tower will rise. The structure will be home to a number of additions to the hospital campus.
It will include a new emergency department that will be easily accessible to ambulances, private patient rooms, including 80 acute care beds, a surgical suite comprised of eight operating rooms, surgical prep and recovery areas, a full suite of diagnostic and imaging services, a labor and delivery suite, and a clinical laboratory equipped with the latest technology.
The campus will also be transformed to make it storm-resilient in light of the damage the hospital endured following Superstorm Sandy.
William Brown, chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, said he was honored to welcome guests and everyone involved in the creation of the new hospital to what he called an exciting, history-making event. “South Brooklyn has evolved throughout the years and Coney Island Hospital has evolved with it to serve our community,” said Brown.
Brown shared the history of Coney Island Hospital, which first opened its doors in 1875 as an emergency first aid station on the beach at West Third Street to serve the influx of beach-goers and vacationers. By 1902, a 20-bed emergency hospital was opened in the summer months, but patients who required surgery or prolonged treatment were transferred to the hospital’s sister facility, Kings County Hospital, via horse-drawn carriage.
The main hospital building was constructed in 1954, and in 2006 the tower building opened. But on Oct. 29, 2012, Coney Island Hospital and South Brooklyn were forever changed when Superstorm Sandy hit the shoreline. The facility was flooded, leaving the community without a fully functioning hospital.
“Today we celebrate the next evolution of Coney Island Hospital as we break ground on the transformation of our new campus that’s slated to open in early 2022,” Brown added.
Speaking at the ceremony were Cynthia Myers, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island director of nursing; Dan Collins, senior associate director of facilities; Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of Health + Hospitals; Cynthia Keyes-Padilla, director of DC 37; and Rosanne DeGennaro, executive director at Marlboro Day Center.
Elected officials attending the ceremony included U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, City Councilmember Mark Treyger and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein.
“It’s good to be home in Brooklyn,” said Jeffries. “And whenever I’m home in Brooklyn there is no better place to be than here in Coney Island. We in Washington, on the Senate side as well as on the House side, are committed to the principle that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world everyone should have access to high quality, first-rate health care. And the wonderful thing about Coney Island Hospital and this new center is that it will help continue to bring first-rate, high-quality health care for the people who live in the neighborhoods along the Coney Island peninsula.”
Weinstein, the longest serving member in the history of the Assembly, represents District 41 which comprises Sheepshead Bay, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie. “There’s an expression that I think capsulizes this new building and transformation of Coney Island Hospital, and that is a phoenix rising from the ashes,” said Weinstein.
Treyger, who represents Coney Island, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Bensonhurst and Seagate, said that this day was a long time coming. He recalled the hospital’s service during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. “This is very, very personal for us in our community. . . I want to thank the hospital for its continued commitment to Coney Island. This is a testament to our commitment to our public hospital system. The fact that you continue to open your doors to all people, to the uninsured, to the underinsured, to the undocumented, to everyone, we need to help you as well and we will always have your back,” he added.