All that remains of a now-defunct Bronx hospital

With their many rooms and spacious lobbies, many hospitals from early 20th century New York City have been repurposed into co-ops and condos.

Think St. Vincent’s in Greenwich Village, the former French Hospital on West 30th Street, and a turn of the century hospital devoted to cancer on Central Park West.

But Union Hospital (above in 1970), founded in 1911 in the Bronx “for the treatment of all ailments,” continued its mission as a health facility even after closing in 1997.

The 1920s-era building the hospital once occupied still sits on East 188th Street and Valentine Avenue. Stripped of prewar details, Union was remade into Union Community Health Center, part of nearby St. Barnabas Hospital.

A few remnants of the old hospital remain. First, there’s the entrance sign, in a typeface that feels more Victorian than Roaring 20s.

Then there’s a cornerstone with the hospital name engraved on it, as well as the year the building opened: 1922.

That’s just a decade after Bronx County was formed, and in the middle of a time of enormous urbanization and expansion in what was once a rural part of the city.

[Top photo: Union Community Health Center]

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11 Responses to “All that remains of a now-defunct Bronx hospital”

  1. Ty Says:

    I was born in the former Polyclinic on West 50. It’s now an apartment building. I wonder who’s living in my room.

    Bet there’s ghosts in long white smocks drifting through the walls.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I’d never heard of Polyclinic, but here it is:
    https://dlc.library.columbia.edu/durst/cul:3ffbg79ctb

    • Ty Says:

      It was our family hospital as well. I still have my card stock birth certificate written in fountain pen cursive. It was known it’s day for celebrity stays which my grandstanding mother milked for all she could get. Rudolf Valentino and O’Henry died there. Marylyn Monroe was a frequent guest.

      • Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk Says:

        I was visiting someone at Polyclinic with my excitable sister in the ’50s when Marilyn Monroe was escorted out; I had no idea who she was. It still took me a few years before I became aware of what she was doing there, it was’t nervous exhaustion, that’s for sure.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        Marilyn Monroe lived on Sutton Place at the time, just a crosstown bus away from Polyclinic.

  3. Ty Says:

    My mother was born in 1917 at the former Fordham Hospital in the Bronx. My grandmother approved of it because it was “up in the country where the air is better.”

    I learned recently from the Internet another reason grandma may have liked it. Her first child, my Aunt Lydia, was conceived out of wedlock so they fudged the marriage date on their records to make it all good.

  4. petey Says:

    i was born in st clare’s, on west 51st street, and my mother worked in doctors’ hospital, east end ave, two more gone.

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Ah, St Clare’s. I think up until recently some subway signage at 50th Street pointed the way to that now-closed hospital.

  6. David H Lippman Says:

    My father was born in the Episcopalian Home for Wayward Girls, which by 1928 was the Bronx Jewish Memorial Hospital, but they never got rid of the stonework. I always wondered what happened to that building.

  7. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I’m wondering too. I’ll see what I can find.

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