Checks Stolen From Harlem Mail Boxes

The New York Times reported (in 1910) that theft, forgery, and misrepresentation was uncovered in Harlem

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Former Sydenham Hospital (now Mannie Wilson Towers) to be renovated

YIMBY NY is reporting that:

Affordable housing development Mannie Wilson Towers in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood just received $18.2 million for capital improvements and system upgrades from Merchants Capital New York, a mortgage banking company. Located at 565 Manhattan Avenue, the structure originally debuted in 1892 as Sydenham Hospital, which closed in 1980. Owned by West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc., Mannie Wilson Towers currently provides restricted-income housing to senior residents.

There are 102 one- and two-bedroom units of restricted-income housing for seniors 62 years of age and older that earn 50 percent or less of the area median income in Harlem. Residents have access to supportive services including cleaning, cooking, transportation, and more.

Sydenham began as a private hospital in a Harlem brownstone in 1892, serving mostly African American patients. In 1944 the staff doctors were all white despite serving a mostly African American community. Soon after, it was the first hospital to have a full desegregated interracial policy with six African American Trustees and twenty African Americans on staff. It was New York City’s first full-service hospital to hire African-American doctors and later became known for hiring African American doctors and nurses when other nearby hospitals would not.

Because of its relatively small size, Sydenham continually faced more financial problems than most private hospitals, and on March 3, 1949, control of it was taken by New York City and it became part of the municipal hospital system. However, in a new practice for the municipal hospital system, the city continued to allow Sydenham’s private physicians to hospitalize their patients there. In 1971 Florence Gaynor became the first African American woman to head a major teaching hospital, taking over as Executive Director of Sydenham Hospital during a financial crisis. She also developed a Family Care Center that included a sickle cell anemia clinic.

Sydenham Hospital received many of the residents of Harlem who were injured in the 1943 Harlem Riot – many of them beaten (or shot) by police officers brought in to stop the disturbance.

Soon after Mayor Ed Koch took office in 1977, during severe economic troubles for New York City, he announced an additional 10% reduction in funding for municipal hospitals, and Metropolitan Hospital (in East Harlem), and Sydenham were slated for closure. There was community support of both hospitals. In January 1979, the Committee for Interns and Residents staged a one-day walkout of doctors at municipal hospitals to protest the cuts, and were often supported on picket lines by hospital workers from District Council 37 of AFSCME. A “Coalition to Save Sydenham” supported legal efforts to stop the closing, organized public rallies and lobbying of elected officials, and helped publicize research to demonstrate the need for the hospital. (In 1977 the federal government designated Harlem a “medically underserved area, with the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano calling it a “health disaster area.”) While a diminished Metropolitan Hospital was saved as an “Outpatient Demonstration:” project, the city insisted that Sydenham had to be closed. In the spring of 1980, as Sydenham was about to be shut down, angry demonstrators stormed the hospital, and initiated an occupation that lasted 10 days under a so-called “People’s Administration.”

Despite the added publicity, this brought, in 1980 Sydenham’s doors were closed for good and eventually, the Mannie Wilson Towers were built within the hospital’s shell.

Harlem Women Strong: City Council 9 Candidates

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