Roosevelt Hospital.

Mt. Sinai has decided to rename two longstanding Upper West Side hospitals, stripping their historic names from the buildings, according to several sources.

Mt. Sinai Roosevelt on 10th Avenue between 58th and 59th street and Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s on 114th street and Amsterdam will become Mt. Sinai West and Mt. Sinai North respectively, said Dr. Oscar Garfein, a cardiologist who learned the news from the president of Roosevelt at a medical board meeting at St. Luke’s on Wednesday. Dr. Garfein has an office across the street from Roosevelt and works on his patients at the hospital.

“There was a real shock,” said Dr. Garfein. “It is an attempt I think to completely obliterate the memory of Roosevelt Hospital.”

“We were blindsided,” wrote Dr. Norma Braun, president of the St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Alumni Association, in an email.

At least one member of the Roosevelt family was also taken aback. Helen Roosevelt, who formerly sat on the board at Roosevelt Hospital, said she learned the news from the hospital on Monday and was told it was a fait accompli.

“It’s a shame,” she said in a phone interview. “The name is part of history. It’s part of New York City.”

Mount_Sinai_St._Luke's-RooseveltA Mt. Sinai press rep initially said name changes had been announced on the website, but there was no indication of any news release or change on the Mt. Sinai website as of Thursday afternoon — the Roosevelt and St. Luke’s names are still there. The rep had no comment on Helen Roosevelt’s criticism about the building’s history. Mt. Sinai did not respond to a follow-up request for comment.

Roosevelt Hospital opened in 1871; it was funded by a donation from the estate of James Henry Roosevelt, the uncle of future president Teddy Roosevelt. James had become very ill as a young man — possibly from polio — and had dedicated himself to raising money for a hospital for the poor. He was actually buried at the site of the future hospital, until it was rebuilt in the 1990’s and his body was moved to Marble Cemetery.

St Luke’s opened on 54th street and 5th avenue in 1858. Rev. William Augustus Muhlenberg of the Church of Holy Communion had raised the funds for the hospital, with the goal of giving care to the poor. In 1861, the hospital devoted nearly half its capacity to wounded Civil War veterans. It moved to 113th street in 1896.

Roosevelt and St. Luke’s merged in 1979 in the largest merger of two nonprofit teaching hospitals in the country, according to Dan Prizer, who runs the doctors’ alumni group for the hospitals. St. Luke’s-Roosevelt merged with Beth Israel in 1997, and merged with Sinai in 2013 — although doctors and staff members we talked to considered it more of a full takeover by Mt. Sinai.

“It was a veritable earthquake to the actual people at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt,” wrote Prizer in an email. “No one had indicated this was even a consideration until the last few days.” The change ignores “more than a century of service to the West Side.”

Images via Wikipedia.

HISTORY, NEWS | 64 comments | permalink
    1. jezbel says:

      I think the name change is a slap in the faces of New York City history. So what else is new. Under this administration, there seems to be little regard for New Yorkers in specific and the City’s legacy in general.

      • ELJ says:

        I would say that it has been going on during this and the two administrations before it. BdB maybe a big disappointment to many including me, but he is not responsible for every negative thing that has been happening in NYC.

      • Kevin says:

        Hilarious. Continuum Health Partners is a non-profit completely independent of the city that owns all Mt Sinai, St Lukes-Roosevelt, and Beth Israel. They decide that Mt Sinai is the best brand of those and somehow it’s De Blasio’s fault?

        I’m not a fan of this mayor either but just because something happens during a politicians term doesn’t mean it was related to their actions at all.

      • Woody says:

        Priceless. I need to remember to ignore your comments.

    2. Ryan says:

      My mother worked at Roosevelt helping thousands heal, I was born there along with my brother, I chose to have my first child there this year out of sentimentality and am so glad that we did as she needed and received wonderful care.
      Changing a name of a hospital that has existed for that long is the height of arrogance and insults so many memories of this city. Siani do not make this mistake, there’s no discernible reason for it other than poor taste

    3. AC says:

      Sad to hear. I still call it Roosevelt.

      I remember as kid, attending their old ER on NW corner of 9th Ave and 58th street.

    4. caitlin says:

      IMO it is confusing.
      People are still confused about the names/references for Columbia-Presbyterian/Cornell even though that merger took place years ago.

      More recently, Lenox Hilll took over a former St. Vincent’s space in the Village – and news reports about several recent accidents and emergencies have referenced patients (accidents in lower Manhattan) being taken to Lenox Hill (Upper East Side) when actually the patients were taken to the village location.

      Why not Mt. Sinai/roosevelt and Mt. Sinai/St. Luke’s?

    5. nancy Stoer says:

      I think it’s a big mistake, especially for the neighborhood -why not leave well enough alone.

    6. Damedacia says:

      Honestly, is the name the “legacy”? I recently spent time with a loved one in 3 hospitals. The second was Roosevelt, where we received sub-par almost indifferent care from arrogant doctors (not the nurses who were wonderful) who botched one or two procedures. Thankfully they transferred us to Big Mama Mount Sinai where the difference in care was palpable even upon entering the building. My loved one was soon home and is now continuing recovery thru the unbelievable cadre of professionals at Mount Sinai on ALL levels. Future appointments with a specialist at Roosevelt months later in a completely different area only confirmed the same behavior.
      Shouldn’t the focus and intention be for Mount Sinai to make the medical care as amazing at all their hospitals? They can call it Mudd for all I care.

    7. David Svahn says:

      Very sad. Combine with Mt Sinai if you will but keep the names. Many MDs learned their craft at these sites; the names are part of NY history. Keep them.

    8. Steve says:

      you people are weird. Getting so worked up about a name. And blaming DeBlasio? the city has nothign to do with renaming a private insititution.

      I dont particulary care what they call it but it does make it more simple in terms of not getting confusing for people who havent been here for 40 years.

      Funny enough there are a lot of newcomers here that just want to get to a hospital easily when needed.

    9. Mary Jones says:

      They should also rename Beth Israel. Call it Mt.Sinai South. I like all this. They are moving the rock star doctors around, making all the hospitals stronger. We now go to Beth Israel for urology. Another of our doctors will be at the large facility E 85 st between 2nd-3rd aves. These are faculty practice doctors.

    10. Jack Bush says:

      But why? Do the new names really make anything clearer?

    11. Anthony Smith says:

      This accomplishes nothing except it scratches the itch of institutional ego! Not a very attractive syndrome for an adult–person or organization. (See Joan Weil withdrawing a $20 million grant to Paul Smith’s College because it would not change its name to Joan Weil. She simply withdrew her gift. Welcome to the same Church, Mt. Sinai!

      • Cato says:

        Paul Smith’s College wanted to rename itself, but needed court approval because the original bequest creating the college required that it be called Paul Smith’s College. The court refused the college’s request for permission to change the name.

        But you’re right — once the monument to the Weill name was not possible, she and Sandy withdrew their $20 million gift.

        Clearly what they were interested in was the adoration of the Weill name, not helping the institution.

        Ain’t wealth and “philanthropy” just grand?

        • Dave S says:

          The behavior on the part of the Weils is shameful, but is it really any worse than that of the original benefactor who specified that the name of the institution could not be changed?

      • Stuart says:

        It’s funny that you are welcoming Mt Sinai – the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments – to a church…

    12. Ellen says:

      Sorry to read of name changes, confusing for those who once lived in NYC and return several times a year but not with specifics of all hospital names. Sounds like Mt Sinai hospital is an octupus now. Roosevelt hospital and St-Luke’s-Roosevelt deserve to be remembered by name, certainly.

      • Woody says:

        I think you make a lot of sense. For the sake of a few people who visit less than occasionally, we should be mortified at the name change. Don’t they have any regard for those who need to stay mired in the past?

        • geoff says:

          don’t take it personally folks.

          as Juliet said, “what’s in a name? …”

          call the hospitals whatever you like. i use former names all the time because in many cases it helps. have you never referred to the west side IRT, the BMT and other lines for clarity?

          keep doing that. you’re world will remain unchanged. you don’t always have to do what you are told. witness the battle between pedestrians and everybody else!

    13. Joe Rappaport says:

      Kaitlin writes: “Why not Mt. Sinai/roosevelt and Mt. Sinai/St. Luke’s?”

      Because it would make too much sense. Good suggestion from you and others, though. Let’s hope Mt. Sinai gets the message.

    14. Martha says:

      I am concerned because almost all my doctors are affiliated with Roosevelt — or what was Continuum. I’ve already heard that Mt. Sinai has shut down several group practices. Because I have recently had trouble navigating, all my doctors are on the UWS. Am I going to have to switch all my doctors because of Mt. Sinai’s hubris?

    15. DSI says:

      If it means better medical care, I am all for it. We all need good attention when we are sick, and sooner or later we need good doctors to take care of us. Historical names are nice when applied to buildings, hospital care applies to patients.

    16. Pedestrian says:

      Hospitals have become just one more species of corporate gorilla. Neighborhoods don’t matter, patient care doesn’t matter only high profile and profits matter ever for those that claim “non-profit” status.

      • Carol says:

        Agreed. It’s been that way for a while. Concert halls change their name every time they bag a new donor… it’s all the same game. And we probably all remember basic Econ – “the goal of a corporation is to return profit to the shareholders”. Period. THAT’s the goal. I think it ought to be combined with good products/services, but alas.

      • birkbott says:

        Not even close to true.

    17. Cal says:

      Try not to get so worked up about a name change. I would think that by now people in NY would be used to the many changes and mergers NY hospitals have experienced. North Shore/LIJ is about to change their name too.

    18. Roschel Stearns says:

      My bet is that the main reason that Mount Sinai is considering changing the names of these two hospitals is that it doesn’t consider it appropriate to have a hospital in their system that is called St. Luke’s. After all, Mount Sinai is what is called a Jewish hospital. Since no-one seems to be fussing about losing the name St. Luke’s, why not just change that one?

    19. Lynn says:

      Running a major institution like Mt Sinai is amazingly complex. Change is not always bad, the only way a hospital really survives today is to merge. With that said, Mt Sinai has high standards and if that makes Roosevelt and ST Lukes work smarter and harder to have good outcomes so be it. I think it’s best to acknowledge how lucky we are in NYC to have the best Dr’s and hospitals.

    20. Norma says:

      When Mt. Sinai took over in December 2013 each hospital was renamed: Mt. Sinai-Roosevelt and Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s. It is NOW that it was decreed to change it to Mr. Sinai West & Mt. Sinai-North for “better branding”. This decision essentially erases the very rich history & legacy of the hospitals in innovation, education & empahsis on excellence in care while also pursuing research to enhance what can be done. The history dates from the mid 19th Century. ALL NEED EXCELLENCE IN CARE & THE BEST WAY TO PROVIDE IT IS FOR THE STAFF & COMMUNITY HAVE HIGH STANDARDS, CONFIDENCE & PRIDE IN THE INSTITUTIONS THAT PROVIDE THAT CARE.History is where we came from & what made us; it is vital.

    21. Kenneth says:

      OMG – who cares what they choose to call themselves?

      • Eva says:

        Like so many of you, I don’t care what they call the hospital as long as the care is good. When I worked in the electronics department of Montefiore hospital in the Bronx we had a contract to care for the equipment of the Catholic hospital then known as Misericordia. A few years later they changed their name to the English Our Lady of Mercy. The same hospital has been taken over by Montefiore and renamed Montefiore East. And so it goes…

    22. Ricarda Baum, M.D., F.A.C.P. says:

      Indeed a sad event, so untrue to Roosevelt’s and St. Luke’s long history of commitment and service. These hospitals have had an honored place in the City’s past. There is no justification for obliterating their names. As a pediatrician at five NYC hospitals, I witnessed (and experienced) both wonderful care and its opposite at all of them. There’s no perfection in medicine, just knowledge, honesty, caring and constant vigilance.

    23. denton says:

      Kinda stupid cuz what if the end up buying Presby or something? Then they call it Mt Sinai Far North?

    24. naro says:

      Mt. Sinai wanted to take the christian names off its hospitals. Its Orthodox Jews didn’t feel comfortable. This is what you get when you sell. But this change will not stand you’ll see.

    25. MaryJo says:

      Damedacia, I’m with you….forget the name…the legacy I will remember is the botched procedure that led to a super specialist at Columbia repairing the damage…..

    26. jane says:

      Obliterating the Roosevelt name will make no difference in making this place a better hospital. Having had a horrible experience at this hospital with my Mom, I have left strict instructions to my health proxy to take me across town to Weill Cornell – NOT to Roosevelt. I take responsibility if I die on the way!!!

    27. Barbara says:

      Sorry to see the renaming of St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals. They have histories which many West Siders are grateful for.

    28. Woody says:

      No matter what the hospitals will be called, I’m confident that the waiting rooms will continue to be full of Upper Westsiders waiting to be offended by something.

    29. ScooterStan says:

      Re: “At least one member of the Roosevelt family was also taken aback.”

      Well, that member could not have been Teddy Roosevelt, for he was heard to exclaim, “Bully!”

      And FDR was quick to add, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself !”

      Perhaps it was Irving Roosevelt, the seldom-acknowledged Black Sheep of the family.

    30. Judy Kass says:

      Outrageous! A slap in the face to the community, the patients, the doctors and staff. What next? A Trader Joes after they’ve torn down the brick building at the Corner of 59 St and Columbus?

    31. Lois Binetsky says:

      Just another way to sterilize our cultural history. Soon we will be just a blank sheet in history’s book.

    32. betty says:

      I worked at the Roosevelt site for 10 years until I had to move to California. Loved my job there, the people I worked with. We were a family and supported each other. I can’t believe that Sinai would be so callous and cavalier about the name changes.

    33. RK says:

      Ouch! I just hurt myself wringing my hands over this change. But I’m not going to Roosevelt’s ER even though it’s the closest…

    34. Ronnie Tuft says:

      I totally agree that the names should remain: Mount Sinai St Lukes and Mount Sinai Roosevelt to honor its anticedents and to stabelize the historical context of each hospital and finally to take away the horrible corporate feeling of “north”, ‘west” — so typical of what is happening to our revered institutions today. Corporate, cold, money-hiungry institutions like Mount Sinai should at least attempt to seem humane, to attempt to stay on the human scale of caring for and about the people it serves.

    35. jd says:

      I say we keep calling it St. Lukes and Roosevelt, regarless of what name is on the building.

    36. Eric says:

      New Yorkers will continue to call it whatever we want … I still take the Triboro (instead of the RFK) to go to Lawrence St. (instead of College Point Blvd.) which gets me to a great Dim Sum place right where Marchal’s Diner used to be. The best part is that no one in my family has any trouble following these directions for the meet up.

      Still … it’s good to be able to know which hospital the ambulance is taking you to.

      • Paul on 67th says:

        Good point, Eric. Hopefully, it will be many years before I’m rushed to any hospital, but that will mean that the EMT may not have even been born yet, and will have no knowledge of the Roosevelt name.

        I was just in Roosevelt’s ER yesterday for what turned out to be a kidney stone. While lying there waiting for the CT scan, one of the nurses checked up on me. Me: ‘I’m fine, just lying here hoping Ethel Merman’s ghost will pay me a visit. Nurse: Blank stare. Me: ‘You do know that Broadway star Ethel Merman used to volunteer here as a candy-striper years ago’. Nurse: blank stare. Me: ‘Never mind. I’m fine’.

    37. Iiari says:

      I’m in healthcare, and if we’re going to be honest here, within the healthcare field St. Luke’s and Roosevelt never had particularly good reputations as institutions. Also, it’s not as if Mt. Sinai’s branding hasn’t moved in exactly this fashion before. Witness Mt. Sinai Queens.

      Also, to the person who said that hospitals are “just one more species of corporate gorilla. Neighborhoods don’t matter, patient care doesn’t matter only high profile and profits matter ever for those that claim “non-profit” status” you are spot on… We’re solidly in the era of full-on, unabashedly corporate healthcare at this point. People blame Obama care, but that’s inaccurate. This has been a response to the power of insurance companies. Obamacare just distracted everyone from the accelerating consolidation, so now everyone’s waking up going, “Whoa! Since when did my doctor’s office and local hospital become part of MegaCare Inc? We live in interesting times folks…

    38. arlene says:

      Apart from obliteration of neighborhood, historical, & donor recognitions, this plan threatens immense taxi arriving pts & medical record mix-ups, etc.

      As now patients must carefully clarify to which mt snai outpost they refer. One of their neighbood urgent care centers? the east west silly name?

      To further narrow this to one word suffix’
      is to ignore how easily typo’s, pt or pt family confusion will muddle potentially crucial info.

      A weak but better idea is 59 st, 113 st.

      Why not sponsor a contest to find a smarter, more easily understood set of names?

      Surely there is a smarter solution

      • Woody says:

        How difficult is it to differentiate between Mt. Sinai North and Mt. Sinai West? There are numerous businesses and institutions with the same name that are situated in multiple locations. Yet people manage to get to the right place.

    39. John says:

      Although the name change is some way sad knowing the import of the names yet the real shame is the quality of care of these two hospitals particularly infection rates and re-admittance numbers this is more of a slap in the face to the history of namesakes and has been an issue for decades.

    40. Jade says:

      I have lived here in the city for over 30 years. St Lukes ROOSEVELT has been my health care provider. Why take away what the ROOSEVELT family has contributed to this great city! Keep the name for History’s sake, and not forsake the good will of its founders.

    41. Jane Guy says:

      Just business as usual.

    42. Dr Nicholas & Donna Vero says:

      It is appalling that the history of more than a 150 years of health care in NYC is eradicated as Mount Sinai eliminates the names of St Lukes/ Roosevelt. Presbyterian Medical did not stoop this low when affiliated with these two great institutions. Shame on Mount Sinai for not standing tall in this merger! This covert act of cold callousness will not be forgotten by those who hold firm to the memory & historical contributions of St Lukes/Roosevelt. Mount Sinai’s greed has ironically tarnished their name in the City.

    43. Liz says:

      This is disgraceful. St. Luke’s-Roosevelt has been associated with the West Side for such an incredibly long time.

      Also, the Roosevelt family and all you have contributed to build and sustain these hospitals have been given a colossal kick in the head. It’s as if their contributions mean nothing.

      Shame on Mount Sinai and the fools who have no respect for history. When you go to St. Luke’s Roosevelt you feel the sea change. The people are really tense and unhappy about these changes.

    44. Hershey Miller says:

      The day after Christmas I tripped and fell on 9th Ave, dislocated & fractured my elbow. Ouch. Being only a few blocks away, I went up to City MD. After many x rays, the Dr suggested I go to the hospital. He asked me which one I wanted to go to, so he could call ahead. I said, “Roosevelt”. Broken arm & all, I walked. As I arrived to the front of the hospital, I looked up, & to my surprise saw the name, Mt SINAI blazing down. Mt Sinai? I looked around wondering for a split second, where am I? I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. I walked in, went to the information desk. Somewhat befuddled i asked, “This is Roosevelt, right?” To which she replied, “Ya, but we don’t know what to call it anymore.” 🙁 Soon there will be no “old neighborhood”. Sad.

    45. V says:

      I can see why they would want to change the name of St. Luke’s on 114th street. The hospital has a terrible reputation because it is an absolute hell hole. Most of the staff barely speak English and nobody seems to ever be able to answer a question. The emergency room is a psych ward. I hope that Mt. Sinai can turn it into a respectable hospital.