Miracle on 34th St – NYU Langone Hospital

New York University is one of the oldest colleges in New York City. The university opened in 1931, established by a group of prominent New Yorkers interested in establishing a non-denominational college for “the mercantile class”. The first classes offered were in architecture, civil engineering, astronomy, chemistry, sculpture, painting, English and modern languages, as well as classical Greek and Latin.

The medical school opened in 1841. The school now offers medical degrees and continuing education courses for those in the medical profession. The school has about 700 students and another 1,100 residents and fellows. Most of them spend their time at Langone Hospital on 34th Street and First avenue in Manhattan.

Langone Hospital consistently ranks as one of the top 50 hospitals in the United States and in the top 10 for many specialties. The Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Pavilion is a new 374 bedded hospital composed of single rooms. It also contains 30 operating rooms and image-guided labs, and 4 procedural rooms. It opened in June 2018.

This is just one branch of the NYU medical system, but it is the one closest to the East River. In October of 2012, New York City was hit by Hurricane Sandy. The waters rose quickly and everything near the water’s edge became flooded. Langone lost power when ConEd turned off power to flooded areas. The backup generators malfunctioned and the staff evacuated the hospital in darkness. The evacuated over 215 patients, many unable to walk, to a nearby hospital.

Emergency personnel including firefighters and medical staff hurried to transfer patients into ambulances for evacuation, often climbing several flights of stairs. The hospital’s basement, lower levels and elevator shafts flooded with 10 to 12 feet of water.

No deaths were caused by the evacuation. A miracle on 34th street. The staff got everyone out and ran a fuel bucket brigade up to the generator on the 13th floor to get the back up generator up and running.

The hospital received $1.5 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency and hospital funds on repairs and fortification after the storm. The hospital had been in the midst of a major building project. One part of the project was a new energy building. After the storm, engineers increased the planned power-generation capacity of the building and raised the height of flood barriers around it and other buildings.

Eighteen months after the hurricane, the emergency room re-opened, 3 times larger and ready for all that New York has to offer. It was the last part of the hospital to re-open.

They feel prepared for the next hurricane.

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Cherie

NYC tour guide -- licensed and starred with Dept of Commerce

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