Hours before West View’s press time the Times ran an article announcing the winner of the design competition for an AIDS memorial for the 1700- square-foot triangle in front of St. Vincent’s 15 stories Coleman building now a garage oxygen tank storage room and a hidden loading platform for deceased patients.
It is a simple an elegant solution – a stand of closely planted birch trees reflected on three sides by mirrored walls.
What I found surprising was that in the very few months this design competition idea was put forward it drew 457 entries from 26 states and 32 countries and attracted as judges some boldfaced names like Whoopi Goldberg yet in the more than a year since St. Vincent nailed plywood over their Emergency Room door not one politician, not one West Village celebrity has come forward to say converting a 450 bed twenty-year-old hospital into luxury condominiums is nuts.
Why? I ask myself has not one “name” come forward – why has the Times not interviewed Dr. Kaufman who after 30 years at St. Vincent’s has witnessed many instances when the emergency room has meant the difference between life and death.
On black Monday January 23rd when the New York City Planning Commission raced to approve the Rudin plan to convert the 11 hospital buildings into 450 luxury condominiums Commissioner Amanda Burden praised Rudin for working with the community “The Rudin West Village proposal represents a step in incorporating the former St. Vincent’s campus into the fabric of the West Village”
The detachment from the facts was further illustrated by Commissioner Angela Battaglia who in voicing her support asked Rudin to continue to include affordable housing when Rudin’s people at the CB 2 hearing came out flat that there was no affordable housing in their plans.
Next the Rudin plan will go before the City Council in March and the most important voice will be that of Speaker Chris Quinn in whose political domain the Rudin project falls.
But Rudin has anticipated the need for her support and invited her to appear as guest of honor at his father’s business development organization to make a campaign speech for mayor and then got most of his family to send her maximum allowable campaign fund checks (she gave him a kiss before she spoke).
The opposition is – over and over again called “die hards” people who will not accept the inevitable fact that the political power in New York are the dozen or so real estate families that literally own New York.
Our politicians have accepted it and I have not been able to get beyond the non paid intern in my requests that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio speak up for those who may die in traffic to give Bill Rudin his biggest deal- his biggest profit – the project that his name will be attached to for the rest of his life
Bill Rudin and Chris Quinn believe your life is a fair trade.