2013-03-06 / Front Page

Historian To Discuss Goldwater Hospital

The only restored Works Progress Administration mural at Goldwater Hospital. Abstraction by Ilya Bolotowsky.The only restored Works Progress Administration mural at Goldwater Hospital. Abstraction by Ilya Bolotowsky.Seemingly a fortress, Goldwater Hospital’s fierce exterior belies its history as a center of innovation. Historian Judith Berdy will recount little-known aspects of Goldwater Hospital’s past, such as several notable experiments in medical care and the integration of the disabled in a residential setting, in a lecture sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, of which she is president, at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island, on Tuesday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. Even in its architectural design, Goldwater is notable for its open and airy layout, incorporating community space with individual patient rooms for its longterm residents. In the 1930s, several recreational rooms were painted by artists through a program sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Sadly, three of the four murals were painted over and it is hoped that Cornell University will remove and restore them. The fourth mural has been restored and is visible today. In addition to serving as a home to more than 1,000 residents, Goldwater has also gained cinematic fame as the setting for numerous films. The Exorcist, Cold Souls and the remake of Arthur were all set at the hospital. The lecture is both a celebration of Goldwater Hospital, which has led the way in treatment of patients with tuberculosis, polio, AIDS, and other longterm chronic diseases, and a farewell. The hospital is scheduled to close in December, 2013. The event is free and open to the public. It is the second in a series of spring lectures sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society. The library is easily reached via the F train to Roosevelt Island. Take the red bus for 25 cents or walk eight minutes north to 524 Main Street. The Roosevelt Island Historical Society promotes awareness of the island’s unique story and pursues preservation of its landmarks and artifacts. For more information, visit www.rihs.us.

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