On the southwest corner of Central Park West and 106th Street in New York City, there’s an enormous castle. It takes up the whole east end of the block, with its red brick cylindrical turrets topped with gleaming silver cones. … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible. I'm roman Mars. I am walking down hundred and six street towards Manhattan Avenue. I can see the building distant. That's producer, Jessica, Miller wandering around her old neighborhood. Oh yeah, you can see on the back tower there's like smokestack or at least the remnant of a smokestack just used to live near central Park and she's been walking by this building and wondering about it. For a long time, so she
Jim Rosenberg, whose don't some writing about the building for the new. Are you you're fired at all here and listen to the address of the building is for fifty five central Park West and it looks like a castle, its huge. It takes up the whole east and of the black. It's made up of Fred Break with this intricate stone trim, and it's got five or so large cylindrical turrets, with silver coins on top gigantic gigantic monsieur Jonas They therefore the building, looks like something out of a fairy tale. My group Umsuka could look down her hair through one of the two windows for some night and shining arm. Rude has wandered over from central park that what I found out is that this buildings past is not very fairytale like at all.
You wanna like to say a walk around the building and see what we see coming up around the side. There are these things that look like smoke sacks of offer. This factor in the main the main smokestack has been torn down and it was partly crematorium where they used to burn bodies will help us to conduct, or so the building has been renovated. But when it was built in eighteen, eighty seven it was the country's first hospital devoted solely to the treatment of cancer and they weren't very good at treating cancer. Yet so that crematorium smokestack it was smoking pretty often the old castle like building at four. Fifty four I was Central Park West can actually tell us a lot about the history of cancer and the history of hospital architecture. But let us set the scene Orban, it's the lady team. Hundreds and people seem to know that cancer starts as a tumor
Sometimes the tumor can be removed. Dont know a whole lot behind in a lotta hospitals. In the: U S, don't even want to treat cancer patients. Some people feared the disease. They thought it was contagious. Some doctors thought it was contagious and also there was a lot of stigma about having it is That's a lane. Shatner she's, a clinical associate professor of medicine at while Cornell Medical College and she's writing a book about cancer awareness. On top of misconceptions about cancer being contagious there, is another reason, but hospitals might have hesitated to take cancer patients at the time they had to publish their death rates so laid turn away. Patients who are likely to skew the numbers
This is why you had tuberculosis hospitals and other special, the hospitals for diseases that were particularly deadly in the late eighteen hundred Europe was a bit ahead of the: U S in terms of cancer treatment during and after the civil war on patients in the United States, who had money or could afford to go to Europe would do so for care and doctors from the United States who then in it, for the most part, had minimal education would go to you to study science and pathology and surgical techniques, one such man with J Marian Serbs. Soon, when to Europe and learned a few surgical techniques for removing cancer. He wanted to bring this knowledge back to the. U S where he had worked previously at the New York. Women's hospital Then in eighteen, seventy four, the hospital decided they wouldn't let women with cancer and for all the reasons we just talked about it was too deadly. They thought it might be
pages. So in eighteen. Eighty four, some philanthropists, including Elizabeth Cullum, who had lost her son to cancer and later died from the disease herself ground and what would become the first hospital exclusively devoted to cancer care? It oh Did one thousand eight hundred and eighty seven and was designed by architect of Charles hate about the hospital looking like a castle from a fairy tail, and it turns out that was a pretty common style for hospitals of that time. They look like like assholes, they look like aristocratic mansions and we see in the architecture that they they have their wall. Do they have gatehouses, they have elaborate and trees, sometimes turrets. They have all the trappings of
a very, very wealthy neighborhood they're, very domestic in their architectural. I would look. That's Ann Marie Adams, sorry, I'm Anne Marie Adams, I'm director of the school of architecture at Mcgill, university she's, also written about hospitals from this time. And she says that in the late eighteen hundreds hospitals were charitable institutions run by wealthy philanthropists where poor people went for care Rich people still mostly received care at home, but hospital administrators to change. That architecture is a tool of persuasion to convince wealthier people to come to the hospital. Be healed. So in and eighty seven, the first cancer hospital opened its doors to both pain and non pain. Patients with cancer tried hard to be an inviting place for paying
summers- even the food was good, so they had great shafts. Now part of being competitive was having really good. Food people went to hospital dining room to celebrate special occasions like birthdays like we might today to go to a hotel, dire and even out for not staying at the hotel as though that that's changed a lot hotel comparison is breeze bottle the cancer design, mostly for palliative care, in other words, just making people comfortable relieving pay. So they had champagne parties. They took people want carriage rise in central park. Again, that's Jim Ras Hamburger met up with at the beginning of the story, was a beautiful building and meant to be beautiful, so the people didn't feel like they were going off to a terrible place to die, but rather going off to the french countryside and the big ground turrets with lots of ways.
Now that make the building look like a castle were actually wards that has patients, but the patients were in beds around the perimeter. Then there will be ten or eleven beds, and so the doktor would come in and make his rounds from bed to bed. Bed just make sure you can really picture this. The rooms were perfectly circular about forty feet in diameter and An aerial view of the rooms looked a bit like the face of a clock with beds around the perimeter, but the ram rooms were just about aesthetics. By having these rounded rooms fewer corners, I was thought that you could. You can keep the hospital cleaner. You know dirt accumulates in corners, so just get rid of the corners. It's kind of brilliant another distinguishing feature of this hospital and of others at the time was tons of windows, and the idea was that the open window would allow fresh air to flush the space between the patience and death,
has played into the idea that that sicknesses travelled in bad air. This idea that signal was spread by polluted smelly air was called the miasma theory, but the weird thing is, by the time the cancer hospital was built. The miasma theory had been debunked by the germ theory, which rightly held that diseases spread through germs or microbes the architecture just having caught up. Yet the architectural design of a hospital doesn't always correspond exactly to the medical theories of that time. Almost like society is hesitating to fully endorse the medical theory, late airy route,
champagne parties carriage rights through the park. It all sounds kind of charming until we use the part about how nobody has any idea what they were doing medically speaking beyond palliative care. The main treatment for cancer at the time was surgery, but surgery for cancer was still incredibly primitive. Unit should have massive cutting of people with tumors, with the idea of removing every lymph nodes in their body in as much as possible, as could be done, whilst keeping them alive. Surgery, was also hugely risky business. The time of antibiotics so a lot of, people died from infections after surgery, but desperate patients take desperate measures. You know the doktor said I can take this out of you and causing pain and bleeding people would often agree. The surgeon
is that the cancer Hospital in New York, as in other hospitals at that time, were happening in an amphitheatre so that students could watch and learn insurance and, amongst the rewards cold thickly dramatize as these amphitheatre surgeries from around the same time period on the students to ignore the Dutch Christian Sundays entering on the media line, just above the few. This As you can see, there is significant blood and the cavity vacuum ever. Surgeon from this time we're doing pioneering work impatience were pioneering guinea pigs had, somewhere. But that show makes me so so happy that I live in the twenty first century and greed things were bad and they stayed bad for cancer patients for quite a while. As late as one thousand nine hundred and twenty, only fifteen percent or so of patients survived cancer.
For more than two years, almost everyone died, so the numbers were bleak and nineteen. The numbers were even worse, which must be why they felt they needed a crematorium on site, which must have been a really spooky site. If you were there and you can look at your window and see the slow start, an imagined looking out there and seeing smoke combats smokestack. There would have been pretty awful under that billowing smoke. The New York Cancer Hospital soon earned a nickname the best deal. It was trying to look like a french chateau told, but it ended up feeling, like a French, which is why, despite a huge demand for cancer treatment, the hospital couldn't get p open the door. That is the very few people wanted to go to the New York Cancer Hospital and, what's amazing, is that the place struggled financially cancer care before one thousand nine hundred and four a long time after was not lucrative. The hospital also try to attract patience and funds by
curing a controversial new form of medicine radium for awhile around one thousand nine hundred and twenty, the New York Cancer Hospital boasted the country's single largest repository of radium The jury visited to check out the radium repository in nineteen twenty one and trip that made headlines. Radiation therapy, even more so than surgery was not It was administered by people who didn't know how to administer it because they didn't really understand it and a lot of the radiation workers. Doctors, nurses themselves cancer. It wasn't until the nineteen, thirty or so
Things started to improve surgery became better that radiation treatments were working in an ancient sixties in eighteen. Seventy than you have you no chemotherapy and just much more a much more organised approach to cancer care and one that ultimately became very lucrative in nineteen. Thirty, nine that cancer hospital left for fifty five central park quest for the Upper EAST side, where it became memorial, Son Catering, which is now known as one of the best hospitals cancer treatment in the U S and, of course, hospitals. Don't look like castles me more after one hospital start to look like small civic institutions more like city halls. Are our schools there very square that it's called the block plan. We also see the end of big open words with lots of beds, paying patients could expect single rooms or tips.
Our patients could could be in a double room, are a room for patients, and we said goodbye to good food. Champagne in carriage rides, the money was channel, then things like surgical sweets and in mechanical equipment rather than an decoration, and we see like things like wooden beds and dressers disappear. Everything becomes metal and has a kind of look of efficiency after world war to the office. Building, slash skyscraper becomes the model for hospitals at all changes again in the nineteen eightys, with the onset of what we call patient centred care where the atrium hospital just takes off these our hospitals that look like shopping malls
just one or two floors: big open spaces me that's very kind of capsule history of the twentieth century hospital. We ve done away with completely round rooms, though, but the general idea of round rooms being easier to keep clean has actually persistent so where the wall meets the floor. If you visit a hospital today, Elsie, it's probably curved, so that nothing could get stuck in me in the right angle, between the wall in the floor,
As for the council like building that house, the first cancer ass, but all they would through another really dark period in the mid nineties fifties it becomes tower nurse. You know that becomes one of the most metauoias nursing homes in New York and his is a place where terrible things happen. Roaches crawling around walls and patients being abuse, the nursing home was shut down in the nineteen seventies and the building sat Facon and in a state of disrepair for a long time. Jim Ras Burger used to walk by it. In the eighties said it was a spooky place. He was like a haunted house, you now, but it was even better than that was a haughty castle. It just seemed to be on an inevitable fall into about bread. It was really didn't seem to be any escaped from that date because it got so bad. You someone who's gonna come in here now I mean who would come in and try to make something of this building that was New York emanating eighties into
for a century Manhattan even haunted. Castles can be turned the luxury condominiums in the year two thousand the building was bought by a developer. Now at seventeen condo units, a parking Roger Spa Pool and Fitness Centre be hospital Castle on the park finally became on the inside, what it always pretended to be on the outside a nice place. We're rich people In reality, it is still gotta come and ask. Percent. Invisible was produced this week by Jessica, Miller and Katy mingle with SAM Greenspan, Avery Trufelman men and me roman Mars. We are
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.