Hospital Plans to Build Over F.D.R. Drive, but Foes Fear Traffic and a Ruined View

The New York Times—August 5, 2008

Hospital for Special Surgery’s planned expansion is stirring up controversy among neighbors of the building on E. 72nd St, but proponents of the expansion maintain that it is necessary.

The proposed River Building’s architecture and design firms recently won a design excellence award in a ceremony presided over by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the 26th Annual Art Commission Awards in Manhattan.

“We are at capacity here, and the need is growing,” said Deborah M. Sale, an executive vice president at the hospital. She said that multiple factors, including aging baby boomers, new surgical techniques and the hospital’s rank as #1 in orthopedics according to U.S. News & World Report were swelling its patient rosters.

Though opponents say that an outpatient building could be constructed somewhere else in the neighborhood, Sale said the hospital had fruitlessly pursued alternative locations nearby. “The real-estate market made it impossible,” she said, adding that building over the F.D.R. Drive “is currently our only option.”

There are also neighbors who welcome the River Building. To M. Barry Schneider, president of the East Sixties Neighborhood Association, which counts some 800 members east of Third Avenue, the hospital “has made a compelling case,” he said. “They need new space.”

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