07 August 2008

Memories of the Polhemus Building

Long Island College Hospital is not just throwing away an old piece of real estate when it puts the Polhemus Building on the market. It is throwing away history and some lovely architecture. Conversing with the ever-interesting folks on the South Brooklyn Network, I encountered a gentleman named Turk, who said that for many years he had the responsibility of cabling Polhemus for phone service. Here are some of the things he saw over time:

I'm told back when Brooklyn was a city itself, this building was considered the city morgue. I have seen the photos of horse drawn wagons backing up to deliver a body. There is still an old service elevator shaft that was big enough to handle this and we used this shaft in the '80's to run cables up and down the building. Also on the 8th floor where Patient Accounts used to be housed, when I pushed up on the ceiling tiles to run new phone cables I was amazed to find a whole roof of glass, which turns out aided the Morgue staff back then with sun light to work in, along with gas lighting. On the 3rd and 5th floors there are large Amphitheaters which they used to teach new doctors some of the procedures of that time period. The current Dept. of Anesthesia is on the 3rd floor also, in a beautiful office space that back in the turn of the century was the President's Office. The walls are wood and have been well preserved; even the ceiling has intricate wood patterns that show great craftsmanship. It's a shame if this building can not be saved from going the way other LICH properties have. It has so much history embedded in Brooklyn's as well as New York's medical history.

Hang your head in shame, Continuum.

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