What goes on with the prominent, and prominently ugly, building at the corner of 76th and Lexington? Number 1080 Lexington, it has been owned by Lenox Hill Hospital since 1937, but that august landlord does not appear to be doing anything with it, and hasn't for some time. It was the hospital's Health Education Center in the 1970s and 1980s. But now it's ground-floor storefront windows are covered over with white paper and a few posters. Nothing seems to be happening in the second floor space, which is reached by an oddly placed, stoop-like staircase on the 76th Street side, either.
Moreover, this set of cream-colored townhouses—which, by the looks of them, date from the 19th century—appear to have been worked over daily with an ugly stick by Lenox Hill. The state of the facade is simply ruinous. Not just stained and cracked, as many old facades become over the years if not maintained, but battered and chipped. The lintels around the windows are in horrendous condition. It's as if Lenox Hill has a whack at tearing the thing down every now and then, but then loses interest.
The whole structure is a terrible eyesore, one everyone has to endure given the highly visible location of the buildings. What is it with hospitals and real estate? I've seen it again and again. Hospitals buy up nice old buildings surrounding their main headquarters, for office space or whatever, and then let them go to pot until they're in such bad shape they must be shut up.