3. Bellevue Hospital is the oldest public hospital in the country

Bellevue Hospital Center

Bellevue Hospital, located on First Avenue in Kips Bay, is the oldest public hospital in the country. The hospital’s origins date back all the way to a two-story almshouse built in 1736 by current-day City Hall Park. The name Bellevue comes from a farm called Belle Vue, which was acquired by the city in 1798 and was used to quarantine yellow fever patients. Columbia University sent faculty and medical students to care for the sick at the farm as early as 1787, and as operations shifted to become broader, New York University began clinical instruction at the hospital in 1819. Bellevue Hospital Medical College opened in 1861, and in 1873, the country’s first nursing school based on Florence Nightingale’s teachings opened at the hospital.

That decade, Bellevue opened the nation’s first children’s clinic and emergency pavilion. Bellevue also hosts some other “oldest” accomplishments: the nation’s first maternity ward, the first sanitary code, the first pathology lab, the first men’s nursing school, and the first comprehensive surgical residency training program. It was the second hospital-based emergency ambulance service in the country, as well as one of the first outpatient departments. It also paved the way for female and Black physicians in the early 1900s, some of whom worked at pioneering metabolic disorder and cardiac wards. After introducing some of the world’s first specialized units and departments, Bellevue continues to be one of the largest in the country, appearing frequently in popular culture, from serving as the place of treatment for people like Mark David Chapman and Norman Mailer, to appearing as a film location in series such as NBC’s “New Amsterdam.”

Kips Bay is home to a number of other medical buildings, many associated with New York University: Tisch Hospital, Kimmel Pavilion, Rusk Rehabilitation, Grossman School of Medicine, and NYU College of Dentistry. As with researchers at Bellevue Hospital, NYU Langone Health has contributed to major scientific and medical breakthroughs since its founding in 1841. Researchers at Grossman were among the first to notice a sharp rise in Kaposi’s sarcoma and immune system failure in young gay men, which ultimately became the HIV/AIDS crisis. This research contributed to treatments for those affected and widespread awareness across the country, saving potentially thousands of lives. Grossman faculty and alumni have also contributed to treatments for tuberculosis and yellow fever, as well as polio and hepatitis B vaccines. Some of the first minimally invasive surgical techniques were developed at NYU. Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, also in Kips Bay, has been a leader in pediatric care for decades, opening a new facility in 2018 and performing a double lung surgery just last year.