Dr Douglas Buxton was one of the few doctors to join advocates at a press conference on Tuesday to save the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.
“If we lose the building, we lose the program,” Buxton said.
Buxton said since Mount Sinai took over the facility in 2013 there has been what he believes is a steady stream of forced changes.
“Step back and look at the evolution of their planning and decisions over three years. It looks like they’re dismantling the infirmary as we know it, spreading services all over New York to sell the property,” Buxton said.
Proponents said the building itself has a long history of service that should be protected.
“This building and the services it provides have captured the attention of everyone from Francis Coppola, director of The Godfather, to Hellen Keller,” said Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
Twelve years ago, Michael Jascz said he received specialized care in the infirmary for retinal detachment. He cannot imagine that the services are not available at the historic location.
“I’m immensely grateful,” Jascz said. “As my mother used to say, the most important thing is to protect your eyes. We need the [New York Eye & Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai].”
In a statement provided by Mount Sinai, a spokesperson told NY1 they were not closing the facility.
“Mount Sinai Health System has embarked on a multimillion-dollar plan to strengthen and modernize all NYEE programs and services by relocating them to new and newly renovated outpatient environments.”
NY1 received renders from various locations where the services would go next. Mount Sinai said the locations were all in the same neighborhood and within walking distance of each other.
For Jascz, the plan is not good enough.
“Doing it piece by piece will be a problem and will affect New Yorkers and people who come from outside of New York,” Jascz said.
Mount Sinai did not say when services at the current location will end and when they will be relocated to various nearby locations, but a spokesperson confirmed to NY1 that no jobs will be lost.