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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19 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:

    • 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.

  8. Nancy T Campion byrne Says:

    I worked at union hospital as a new born nurse from 1968. To 1976.

    • David H Lippman Says:

      I grew up two blocks from St. Vinny’s. They took up the bulk of the block of 7th Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets. I was astonished that they went out of business.

  9. Deb Says:

    Hi Nancy T, I was born in union hospital October 1968. Wonder if you cared for me?

  10. David C Says:


    I was born in Union Hospital in November of 1968. Two days later, I was operated on and suffered cardiac arrest during the operation. Quickly stitched up, I was placed in an incubator. Here I am, 51 years later and living in Europe.

    My father was given $1000 from the City to pay for the operation.

    I owe a debt to people like you Nancy and the City of New York.

  11. Marlene Solis Says:

    I was born in that hospital 🏥 and shocked it closed down in 1997. Hmm where was I in 1997. Oh I remember graduating from JHS 166 that year. Wow how time flies.

  12. Bruce D. Campbell Says:

    I was one of two pharmacists employed at Union Hospital from 1989 until 1991. I remember setting up a new pharmacy in the basement level to replace the existing one room pharmacy sometime in late 1989. I also had the unusual experience of working at a second now defunct Bronx hospital–the Florence D’Urso Pavilion of Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, located on Pelham Parkway South, from 2001 until 2004.

  13. John Convery Says:

    I was born in Union Hospital in 1953. I returned a few years later with a girl who lived next door for both of us to have our tonsils removed. During our overnight stay, we were placed in the same room. I was able to climb out of my crib and the girl, who was the same age as me asked me to get her a doughnut. We both knew that there was a room down the hall where the nurses were sitting around talking and having coffee and doughnuts. I tried sneaking down the hall, but got corralled before I could reach the room, although I was on the loose for quite some time before I was spotted.

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