Members of South Brooklyn Health, NYC Health + Hospitals and elected officials cut the ribbon on Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital in South Brooklyn on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
Photo by Paul Frangipane
Officials on Tuesday cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital, the city’s first new public hospital since 1982.
The hospital — part of what is now known as NYC Health + Hospital/South Brooklyn Health, but was formerly known as Coney Island Hospital — was built with sustainability in mind and includes a storm-resistant design, a flood-resistant Emergency Department, private patient rooms and state-of-the-art equipment.
Hospital leaders and Big Apple bigwigs hope the new hospital, funded with $923 million by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will provide “Excellence for All” while serving South Brooklyn and its neighboring communities.
“Growing up, my family used what was then Coney Island Hospital,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “To see it now restored as this amazing place is such a wonderful thing. I feel a tremendous sense of pride that Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital is ready to open and welcome patients as part of NYC Health + Hospitals.”
The FEMA funding used to build the new hospital also includes upgrades to the rest of the health campus, including a four-foot wall to withstand a 500-year storm and flood-resistant power, heating, cooling and water systems . Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital, meanwhile, has a new emergency department, double the size of its current space and located on the second floor, to support flooding and ensure continuity of care during natural disasters.
The new hospital is a major component of an extensive process to repair and protect the health care campus, officials said, after it suffered significant damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“Today marks an important moment in New York with the opening of NYC Health + Hospital’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “Named after an icon that embodies the values of our public hospital system—providing equitable health care to all with dignity and respect—nearly 875,000 New Yorkers will now have access to world-class health care in a modern, state-of-the-art facility.”
Front and center at the ribbon cutting was Clara Spera, granddaughter of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg. Spera said her family is happy to see the new hospital named after the beloved “daughter of Brooklyn.”
“Our family is delighted that the new hospital in South Brooklyn is named after my grandmother, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and we are thrilled that this world-class hospital will soon open its doors to the public,” Spera said in a statement.
Spera also spoke about the importance of community institutions, such as schools and local libraries, in her grandmother’s upbringing.
“I feel it is only fitting that an important public institution like this should bear her name,” she told the crowd. “Furthermore, my grandmother deeply believed that rights were meaningless unless they could be enjoyed by all, not just a privileged few. This could not be more true than in the context of healthcare.
Patients, staff and visitors to the new hospital will be greeted by an impressive bronze statue of Ginsburg that stands above the building’s lobby. Designed by Gillie and Marc Schattner and donated to the hospital by City Point, the sculpture stands 7 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 650 pounds.
NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health CEO Svetlana Lipyanskaya said Tuesday’s ribbon cutting marked the end of one chapter and the beginning of an exciting new one.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital is not just a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology, it is a fundamental place of hope, a place of healing and progress for our community,” she said at the official opening. “This is a recognition of the vibrancy of the people who live in South Brooklyn and our firm commitment to their health care for the next 100 years.”
Other amenities of the new hospital include: a surgical suite consisting of eight state-of-the-art operating theatres
Robotic surgery, endoscopy suite, inpatient dialysis, 80 private medical-surgical beds, 60 behavioral health beds with panoramic views of Brooklyn and the New York City skyline, diagnostic and interventional radiology, clinical labs, and more.
The site is also well-prepared for any other potential pandemics, officials said, as design of the new hospital continues through the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic — giving hospital officials a chance to move forward.
“NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health’s New Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital is giving our Coney Island, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay and so many other neighborhoods of South Brooklyn what they deserve in terms of high-quality, state-of-the-art healthcare,” said the president of Brooklyn Boro Antonio Reynoso. “Our public health system has long been a champion of quality, affordable health care for people who have historically lacked access. I am honored to be a partner of a system that truly understands what it means for healthcare to be a basic human right.”
Reynoso added Tuesday that the hospital — and the funding it received — show that in another crisis like Sandy, there will always be a home of hope in Brooklyn’s South End.
“The people of Coney Island in South Brooklyn will always have a home, no matter the circumstances, no matter the disaster, no matter the emergency,” he said. “And that’s what Brooklyn is all about, coming together as one, showing love and making sure these types of circumstances never happen again.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital will begin accepting patients on Sunday, May 7.
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane