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News April 2011

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What’s up with the O’Toole Building

April 26, 2011

Last month St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers joined with the North Shore-LI Jewish Health System and the Rudin Family to announce plans for the redevelopment of the O’Toole Building as a comprehensive care health center. With the bankruptcy and closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital leaving the future of the O’Toole Building up in the air, this is welcome news.

The Edward & Theresa O’Toole Medical Services Building, originally the Joseph Curran Building of the National Maritime Union (Albert Ledner, 1961-1964), has been on the radar of our chapter for the past four years. The building is an important example of 1960s Modern architecture that contributes to and earns its protections from the Greenwich Village Historic District. The building was one of the first in New York to break with the mainstream and expand Modern architecture’s boundaries with more expressive forms. Along with its contemporaries—Lincoln Center, GWB Bus Terminal, 2 Columbus Circle, TWA Terminal and others—it contributes greatly to the historical record of 1960s New York, and more specifically Greenwich Village. For these reason, DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State has always advocated for its reuse.

While detailed plans have not been made public, the project has the potential to preserve key elements of the O’Toole Building and keep it contributing to the neighborhood in a vital way. DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State looks forward to further involvement with the project as it moves through the many channels of governmental and public approval both to assure that the reuse plans respect the elements of the O’Toole Building that make it a Modern landmark and because we would like to see the reuse of this one-of-a-kind building come to fruition. We will keep you updated on the plans and approval processes via this email newsletter and our website.