Board 1 Hears Of Sinatra H.S., Mt. Sinai Queens
In Astoria, the Sinatra School is now housed in a new building. Mt. Sinai Queens, although renovated and modernized, is housed in a 1950s-era building. A new nine-story tower expansion has been proposed.
Donna Finn, principal at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, and Caryn A. Schwab, executive director of Mount Sinai Queens, were guest speakers at the March meeting of Community Board 1.
After eight years in a temporary location, the Sinatra School moved into its permanent site at 35-12 35th Ave. last September. “It was a much anticipated opening,” said Finn.
Admission to the school is by audition and evaluation of academic record for one of six programs in the arts: drama, dance, instrumental music, vocal music, fine arts and film. “This year we had 3,000 students audition for 200 seats to the incoming class for 2010,” said Finn. “Admission is very competitive.”
The school’s 800-seat Tony Bennett Concert Hall will host a multitude of cultural events open to the community, including film and music festivals, dance performances and workshops and seminars conducted by the New York City Department of Film.
This spring, said Finn, each arts program at Sinatra will put on major productions. The musical theatre program, a joint concentration of the vocal and dance studios, will present the first full musical at Sinatra, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I”, on March 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $8 for students. For information, call 718-361-9920.
“The extremely talented and bright youngsters [at Sinatra] bring much to Astoria,” said Finn. “We’re really happy to be in the community.”
Schwab said, “In the last four years, Queens lost four hospitals, three closing in the last year.” That has meant a loss of 1,000 beds in Queens. In the Western Queens area served by Mount Sinai, approximately 700,000 people have access to one bed for every 1,000 residents. That compares with three beds per 1,000 for New York state and more than seven beds per 1,000 for residents in Manhattan.
Activity at Mount Sinai Queens’ emergency room, admissions, outpatients and surgeries are all up because of the recent closings.
“Growth is up, but we want to make sure our facilities are expanding, too,” Schwab said.
Schwab said the hospital has invested $40 million over the last decade to modernize and renovate facilities. However, she said the hospital has no more space to expand. “At this point, the only real alternative is to put up a new hospital building.”
The proposal for a new nine-story tower on space behind the current hospital would add 100 beds and increase capacity to a total 262 beds, bring 10,600 new additional square feet to the ER, and five new operating rooms.
The problem, said Schwab, is a gap of $75 million between the cost of a new building and the expected revenue it would generate. Among the options being considered is a new building with fewer floors, she said.
“It’s great that Western Queens is growing, but we want to make sure that we have hospitals and healthcare facilities ready to take care of that population,” said Schwab.