I must always remember that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
At first, all I knew from the bad news about the old Staten Island Hospital was from a Facebook post. Now they have an article up at none other but Staten Island Live.
Now I’m kind of on the fence with this. Should I get my hopes up to believe that the castle can be saved? Or should I expect the worse?
Speakers taking the mike at the community board meeting protested the planned demolition, arguing that better use of public money would be shoring up the structure until an economic turnaround brings opportunities for private-public partnerships for its adaptive re-use.
Ah, the public money argument.
The old infirmary “is an important part of Staten Island history,” said architectural historian Barnett Shepherd, founder and first president of the Preservation League of Staten Island. “We have a chance to make something unique and distinguished — our architectural history cannot be priced.”
And if we lose the fight, I blame you, for making me feel even worse about losing, what I now am assured by an expert a priceless piece of our architectural history.
Art conservator and Stapleton resident Halina McCormack told the audience the old building “has been on my mind for the past 30 years. I lived in Europe, and saw buildings destroyed by war and bombs that were restored” and put to new uses. “This is a beautiful copy of a European castle, and a beautiful history lesson in our backyard,” she added, making a “plea for mercy” to save it.
Don’t let history repeat itself.
John Kilcullen, current president of Preservation League, called the castle-like edifice “one of the Island’s few iconic buildings,” and suggested that as a last resort perhaps the four distinctive towers could be spared.
Compromising: If you can’t win it all, at least try to win some.
“We want to identify creative ways to save as much as possible, and maintain the bones of the building” rather than totally demolishing it. “And we will definitely talk about [saving] the four turrets,” she said.
Some more compromising. Makes me feel a bit more assured, as the four turrets don’t seem to be affected as bad as the main building and stick out the most in the castle’s seen-from-afar silhouette.
“ ‘The Castle’ is a critical piece of the economic development puzzle to revitalize Jersey Street and Castleton Avenue,” [Counsilwoman] Ms. [Debi] Rose also noted.
Seems that there are plans to revive one of the poor, not-quite-decaying-but-not-great parts of the north shore of the island. It’s nice to see Ms. Rose show some concern.
So they don’t have much time but they’re given a chance to act now. Hopefully they can at least preserve the towers if nothing else.