Volume 80, Number 5 | June 30 - July 6, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Webb speaks the truth

To The Editor:
Re “St. Vincent’s postmortem: Why Village hospital
died” (news article, June 23):
Thank you, Arthur Webb, for coming forward.
I was the president of the nurses union at St. Vincent’s.
Arthur Webb treated us with the utmost respect at all
times. Thank you again, Arthur, for your candor and for
explaining the situation. Now everyone knows that I have
been telling the truth and that St. Vincent’s was doomed
by the politicians in Albany for many years. Now when
I speak, maybe the local politicians will listen; I haven’t
been spewing lies and I certainly am not just a disgruntled
employee. My persistence is driven by the injustice done
to my patients on the Lower West Side.

As a union, we complained about the consultants and
the misuse of funds all the time. We were never given
answers, and that was way before January 2010. The
downfall of St. Vincent’s started many years ago and was
a calculated demise perpetrated by many.
Eileen Dunn
Dunn is a board member, New York State Nurses

Thanks, but we’re doomed

To The Editor:
Re “St. Vincent’s: The facts” (editorial, June 23):
The facts... . We will never, ever, ever, ever, ever know
the facts. Thanks for the editorial. It does not change the
fact that New York City is doomed without the charity
of St. Vincent’s Hospital. No more words than that are
Penelope Carter

Postmortem hardly finished

To The Editor:
Re “St. Vincent’s postmortem: Why Village hospital
died” (news article, June 23):
I applaud The Villager’s ongoing coverage of all the
twists and turns that ultimately led to the demise of St.

There are still some questions in need of answers:
Was St. Vincent’s decision to absorb failing Catholic
hospitals the single historical determinant of the hospital’s
sorry financial state?

Was that decision voluntarily reached by the Sisters of
Charity or was the archdiocese calling the shots?
Was the lack of transparency and accountability of
the hospital leadership throughout this period due to the
Catholic Church’s hierarchal and opaque culture?
Why have the hospital’s development efforts been so
feeble for so many years, especially in light of the fact
that implicit in the plans for a new hospital were plans
for a massive fundraising drive?

What did Mayor Bloomberg know that led him to stay
on the sidelines?

In light of the Sisters of Charity’s commendable commitment
to serving the poor, where should any new medical
facility be located in Lower Manhattan to serve the
residents of communities like Chinatown?

There is a need for more multifaceted postmortems
that engage more internal and external stakeholders and
that get experts to ultimately gauge what went wrong
and tell us what lessons can be gleaned to ensure quality
healthcare for New York’s most vulnerable residents.
Hopefully, The Villager’s coverage has seeded a greater
will for such an undertaking.
Michael Seltzer

H.I.V. Center going strong

To The Editor:
Re “St. Vincent’s postmortem: Why Village hospital
died” (news article, June 23):
Regarding the H.I.V. Center, the reality is that the
medical leadership, 13 out of 15 doctors and the vast
majority of staff have chosen to affiliate with Mt. Sinai
— along with 75 percent of the patients, judging by panel
sizes of physicians. We are alive and well, serving our
patients, with no break in care in the exact same space
at 203 W. 12th St.
Barbara Johnston
Johnston is associate director, Mt. Sinai Comprehensive
H.I.V. Center

A casualty of wars

To The Editor:
Re “St. Vincent’s postmortem: Why Village
hospital died” (news article, June 23):
By admission of its own workers, St.
Vincent’s Hospital’s billing department
was in a shambles, outmoded, disorganized
and with lack of proper oversight to
collect the millions the hospital was owed
over the years. Labor and the union took
all the big hits in terms of saving money
and have been given less than they deserve
in return. There was bloating at the top,
and a lot of gasbags did walk away with a
lot of money. Don’t be fooled about that.
Lastly, St. Vincent’s demise should alert
us to the society we live in, particularly
since 9/11. No institution is invulnerable
to the forces of either the marketplace or
the increasingly free-market, dog-eat-dog,
we’re-all-in-this-alone mindset.

Certainly, the Sisters of Charity set a
standard that no one, either at the top or
bottom, can match in our presently shabby
world, where 53 percent of our 2011
$3 trillion budget will be spent on defense
in pointless wars. That is the real reason
hospitals all over America are closing and
healthcare is declining, like everything
else. Perhaps the man for change at the
top could reset his priorities to a more
domestic agenda, rather than continuing
the war of the worlds.

I was born in 1938 at St. Vincent’s
Hospital. My father, Jerry Mazza Sr., was
born in 1912 at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Various members of our family lived and
died in the arms of St. Vincent’s.
Jerry Mazza

N.Y.U.’s Bronx bungle

To The Editor:
Re “Neighbors take chops at N.Y.U.
fourth-tower plan” (news article, June

N.Y.U’.s cries of pressure to continue
to build in the Washington Square “core”
area of Greenwich Village are bogus,
a canard in its campaign to overtake the
community like some feudal lord.

Once upon a time, in a fi efdom far,
far away, N.Y.U. had a traditional-style,
tree-studded campus in the Bronx called
University Heights. It was the jewel in the
university’s crown, supposedly as close to
Ivy League as it gets.
Among other amenities, the Heights featured
the Hall of Fame for Great Americans,
a national shrine designed by Stanford
White — who, ironically, designed
the Washington Square Arch.

The selling point for that school was
that it “represented the best of two worlds”
— the city’s cultural offerings, a subway
ride away, and a countrifi ed, self-contained
academic setting. Students considered
themselves N.Y.U.’s “elite”; holding
a degree from University Heights, versus
“Downtown,” was a mark of prestige.
Recklessly, N.Y.U. sold the campus to
CUNY in 1973.

Does the Bronx location make a
degree from the Heights any less valid
or less N.Y.U.-affiliated? Obviously
not. And, as Greenwich Village Society for
Historical Preservation Director Andrew
Berman demonstrated with superimposed
maps at June 21’s Community Board 2
meeting, most peer institutions’ footprints
are signifi cantly larger than the university’s
present one.

N.Y.U., the university-choked community
is speaking — rather, screaming — its
opposition to further development here.
And opportunities not only knock; they
should be knocking you out. The Bronx
is much more remote from Greenwich
Village than, say, the Financial District. If
in doubt, use MapQuest.
Susan M. Silver

E-mail letters, not longer than 250
words in length, to news@thevillager.com
or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The
Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth
Ave., ground fl oor, NY, NY 10013. Please
include phone number for confi rmation
purposes. The Villager reserves the right
to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity
and libel. The Villager does not publish
anonymous letters.

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