A surprising relic inside Bellevue Hospital’s lobby

In 2000, Bellevue Hospital Center—the city’s oldest hospital, established in 1794 in the hinterlands of the city along First Avenue and 28th Street—decided to build a new Ambulatory Care Pavilion.


The I.M. Pei-designed pavilion has been open since 2005. It’s a gleaming modern glass atrium, the kind seen on office buildings and institutions all over the city.

NYT2010060216222163CBut inside this atrium remains a curious piece of the hospital’s past.

The far wall of the atrium is actually the facade of an older Bellevue building.

It’s the granite and brick front of the 1930s administrative building built by McKim, Mead & White.

It’s nicely preserved and pretty impressive. Above what was the main hospital entrance facing First Avenue is a version of the official city seal.


Smaller entryways marked “waiting room” and “employes” also remain, as well as a gas lantern from the 1880s.

BellevuewaitingroomsignIt’s always inspiring to see an old facade spared the wrecking ball and incorporated into a new structure.

Check out a few recent examples: a church-turned-NYU-dorm and a condo springing up from inside the shell of an old elementary school.

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8 Responses to “A surprising relic inside Bellevue Hospital’s lobby”

  1. Spanky Mcgruder Says:

    I spent an amusing summer holiday in the wing on the left of the photo . The wards were grim , not redone since the 50’s or earlier
    As a city hospital I expect they’d preserve all the space they could ..

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Luckily I’ve never had a medical reason to visit, but the grounds of Bellevue are fascinating to explore.

  3. manhattan resident Says:

    Prior to the glass facade, the entire front of the building was hidden by an ugly parking garage right in front. It actually looked like stacked egg crates. Was truly horrible. Glad they finally fixed up the entrance.

  4. Linkage: ND Town Boasts Rents Higher Than NY; The Neverending Desk – insiderater.com Says:

    […] · This 1,100-foot-long desk is longer than the Chrysler building is high [National] · A look inside Bellevue, the city’s oldest hospital [ENY] · You can fight gentrification, but you can’t stop it [Atlantic Cities] · […]

  5. When the circus came to Bellevue Hospital | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Bellevue discontinued the tradition in 1967, when the balconies were demolished for the construction of a modernized hospital building. […]

  6. The first ambulance hits the streets of Manhattan | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] It’s the first ambulance in the city (and reportedly the nation), launched in 1869 to ferry the sick and injured to Bellevue Hospital. […]

  7. Florence Says:

    I don’t know if this is the same ambulance that stood in one of the corridors on the ground floor of NYU hospital on 1st Ave. It was there for many, many years.

  8. A hidden magical garden behind the FDR Drive | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] But few of these green spaces are as hard to get to as the quarter-acre oasis between the FDR Drive and First Avenue, behind the cluster of buildings that make up Bellevue Hospital Center. […]

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