3. The Lost Neponsit Health Care Center in the Rockaways
On Rockaway Beach Boulevard, there once sat an abandoned nursing home and hospital called the Neponsit Health Care Center. With the rallying support of Jacob Riis, it was built in 1918 as a home for tubercular children, partly based on the belief that salt water and ocean air could be a cure for the disease. It later became a facility for the elderly and Alzheimers’ patients.
Things took a bad turn on September 7th, 1998, when a storm hit the Rockaway coast and severely damaged the Neponsit Health Care Center. Following orders from Mayor Giuliani, the hospital was evacuated…in the middle of the night! Patients were told to leave without warning and were brought to different hospitals and nursing homes. Two patients ended up dying during the transition. The hospital buildings stood with its hulking mass facing the beach until recently. Although it underwent a major restoration in 2008, the buildings were demolished by the summer season of 2022.