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Inside Roosevelt Island's Abandoned Hospital, Pre-Demolition

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Trained as an architect in his native France, Charles Giraudet wanted to enter Roosevelt Island's massive Goldwater Hospital ever since he laid eyes on it about two decades ago. Giraudet, now a full-time photographer, got the chance he'd been waiting for in late December. That was when the last few patients had already been relocated to a new facility in East Harlem—and when the planners of the Cornell NYC Tech campus, for which Goldwater was to be razed, gave him permission to document the sprawling, now-abandoned structure, inside and out. Built in 1939 as the Welfare Hospital for Chronic Disease and later renamed for the city's hospitals chief under Mayor La Guardia, the 2,106-bed institution captivated Giraudet because of the way the architecture of health facilities, the handiwork of the detail-obsessed builder Isadore Rosenfield, was used as part of the therapeutic treatment (sunlight, terraces, etc.) before antibiotics and other meds became de rigueur.

Giraudet's collection of photos now totals 15,584; he estimates he hit almost every single room, closet, rooftop, et al within the hospital's 900,000 square feet. (And yes, that includes the morgue, where he came across some sheets that looked a bit too recently used.) Urban Omnibus has more on his herculean mission. According to Cornell's construction updates, the hospital is currently in the midst of demolishing the interiors of several of the buildings as well as doing asbestos abatement before, so to speak, all the walls come down. As for Giraudet's photographic arsenal, for now it will remain on his hard drive, with the hope that, with Cornell's support, an extensively researched, captioned, and geographically tagged archive will emerge.

· Charles Giraudet: Goldwater [official]
· Autopsy of a Hospital: A Photographic Record of Coler-Goldwater on Roosevelt Island [Urban Omnibus]
· All Cornell NYC Tech coverage [Curbed]
· Ruin Porn archive [Curbed]