By Arthur Z. Schwartz
The fight to keep Beth Israel open took a major step forward on September 24th. Over 100 neighbors gathered outside the hospital to demand that it cease shutting down, that services be restored, and that nothing more be done without a thorough government review of the potential consequences of a shut down of the last major hospital south of 30th Street in Manhattan.
The rally, called by the Community Coalition to Save Beth Israel, which was organized by the Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan (PALM), heard from Lower Manhattan City Council Member Margaret Chin, and from the two winners of the East Side City Council primaries, who are set to take office in January—Carlina Rivera and Keith Powers.
The rally takes place as the process heads into what feels like a secretive period, in the wake of a lawsuit filed by community leaders to force the governor and the New York State Department of Health to stop the closure and assess the proposals under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
The next public meeting to discuss the road forward will be on October 16th, at 6:30 p.m., at the Seafarers Hall, located at 123 East 15th Street (corner of Irving Place).
Arthur Z. Schwartz is Co-Chair of the Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan (PALM).