Mayoral candidates protest hospital-to-condo conversions

August 20, 2013 01:30PM

As New York City’s mayoral race draws to a close, candidates are vigorously jumping on an 11th hour issue: hospital closings and condominium conversions.

Bill de Blasio took center stage at a “Hospitals not Condos” rally Monday, touting his plan to keep more hospitals from shutting their doors, while fellow Democrat Christine Quinn set up shop in front of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital in the West Village, which closed as a medical facility in 2010. Rudin Management is now converting the campus to condos under the name Greenwich Lane.

“This is a visceral, powerful issue, and it gets to the question of who voters view as a fighter, who voters view as a leader,” Kenneth Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College, told the Journal.

De Blasio jumped on the issue with particular gusto, getting arrested at a demonstration against the closure of the Long Island College Hospital at 339 Hicks Street in Cobble Hill. Quinn was once active on the issue as well — her City Council district covers St. Vincent’s. But the issue’s task force has been out of operation since 2009, and the council hasn’t held hearings on the likely closing of the Interfaith Medical Center at 1545 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

De Blasio has enjoyed an upswing in the polls since latching onto the hospital issue, and Quinn has expressed a renewed entrance as well. A commission to plan an overhaul of the city’s health-care delivery was created Friday at her behest. [WSJ]Julie Strickland