Peter Flemming: Use LICH’s Extra Floors For Private Upscale Assisted Living

Brooklyn Heights  attorney Peter Flemming has penned a guest letter for the Brooklyn Eagle with his take on the potential sale of SUNY Downstate’s Long Island College Hospital (LICH).

Flemming writes, “It is inexcusable not to maintain this fabulous medical facility serving over 120,000 Brooklynites every year and hundreds of Brooklynites every day (and every night). Not to do so would be a ludicrous waste of millions of dollars spent building and rebuilding, and equipping and re-equipping this facility to be the state-of-the-art hospital it is.”

He proposes that if LICH’s patient population “does not require the number of beds, floors and staff it was built to serve,” an equitable alternative would be to utilize extra upper floors for “an upscale assisted living facility, (which) would work perfectly to take advantage of the hospital downstairs, the network of practitioners in our neighborhoods, the Cobble Hill Health Center down the street and the increasingly affluent residents all across the waterfront and Downtown Brooklyn.”

Update: Peter Flemming writes us regarding a previous version of this post:

Appreciate your sharing my letter to The Eagle re LICH: but I’m embarrassed at The Eagle’s presuming to describe me as a “preservationist” who was instrumental in the ’60s in declaring BkHts a Historic District.  Wish it were so, but that was Otis Peasall, Ben Crane, Martin Schneider, and so many others. Ironically I was co-leader of “Friends of Van Voorhiis Park” which in the ’90s fought the LICH garage on the then City Park at Atlantic & Hicks; these days I am a member of the BklyBrdgPark Community Advisory Council and co-chair of the BklynBrdgPark Community Council; and recently known for my opposition to the velodrome (since abandoned by its sponsors). And a fierce proponent of “Saving LICH”!

This post has been updated for accuracy.


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  • Wiley E.

    Great Idea!

  • William Spier

    Interesting idea. At the sham meeting of the Board when they voted to close our hospital, they noted that the hospital has room and approval from DH for 500 beds. However, it never really had more than 250, which almost always are filled. So there is room to redesign the upper floors of the main pavilion–or even move most of the Amity Street services into the main building and utilize it. The rub is this: As Dan Squadron said: “This is a naked land grab….” . I think Berger’s change of mind after he came to other considerations sometime last year merits investigation. There are other cronies close to the Governor who may very well have their hands in this. I would start looking at one or two others who may be close to the governor and perhaps advise him about medical costs in the State. Find out if someone has some ties to other hospitals nearby like BHC, Maimonides, or Lutheran. Since the management purge at SUNY Downstate and subsequent hatchet job on them, (helped along with atrocious reporting in the NYT), a game is afoot.

  • Remsen Street Dwellser

    There is also a movement to landmark LICH.

  • mlcraryville

    I would add to Fleming’s very compelling thoughts still another timely, appropriate, needed, special care facility for any ‘extra’ space at LICH which would be a Hospice Care unit. I am familiar with such a successful unit in the Hudson, NY hospital of about the same size which was warmly welcomed in Columbia County and smoothly integrated into the hospital.

    Preserving LICH will take a combination of creative and inspiring changes. Such longer term solutions could could help overcome the heavy money pressure confronting LICH today.

  • Culturality

    We also have to be concerned that real estate developers may have been the instigators in convincing Berger the hospital was better dead than alive. It is easy to imagine a Walentas lurking in the background on this and other recently proposed land grabs, e.g., the appalling proposal to convert our beloved library into a condo development. Essentially, the greedy Walentas’s of the world are happy to destroy our essential cultural and medical amenities in the interest of lining their pockets with gold. What’s next, converting the Brooklyn Historical Society into a condo development? Enough is enough.

  • sue

    Daniel Squadron calls this a naked land grab.. How about the land grab he ok’d and instigated at Brooklyn Bridge Park at the Mayors request. He is a phony

  • stuart

    Upscale assisted living buildings look like posh hotels, not homely as heck old hospitals.Everything about this building is wrong for assisted living,

    It would be more suitable for a nursing home or hospice. But assisted living? no way. .

  • Wiley E.

    Bloomberg bought the “park” from the State EDC, and with it the right to change the charter of the BBPC to include as many appointed directors as he wanted to get his way to include condos in the community development project. Even though the BBPC is a private organization, Bloomberg appoints the majority of them to do his bidding.

    That is my understanding of the situation.

  • William Spier

    The business of NYC is Real Estate; any developer(s) could be lurking back there. Unfortunately, by the time they surface, it will be too late. Therefore, the immediate issue is what the closing of this hospital does to a community. I am not sure though that BH is particularly community minded. if it was, more babies would be born there and not Lenox Hill

  • gbkm

    easy to say someone should do this & someone should do that. WHO is “someone”? & is “ANYONE” going to do any of that investigating, pushing, etc?

  • gbkm

    How much is going to be worth to them when they find out the parking garage doesn’t go with any deal. It goes back to the community as parkland.

  • gbkm

    doesn’t have to be upscale. Starting any assisted living & putting the hospice back at LICH are good ideas. In the main building, hospice was on the 6th floor. The 3rd floor is already set up for people who need assistance. That was the rehabilitation and physical therapy unit.

  • Wiley E.

    Good luck with that wish.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    I just got an e-mail from Belinda Cape from Senator Daniel Squadron’s office that states that Judge Baynes announced he will now hear the LICH case on Friday March 8th at 10 AM. Also, NYSNA, 1199, and the Concerned Physicians of LICH have decided to move the press conference and rally to Friday, March 8th at 9AM

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Location of Rally:
    360 Adams Street (the steps on the Cadman Plaza side)

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Concerned Physicians of LICH has an excellent Website to access for Save LICH info:

  • William Spier

    Your BBP beef with Senator Squadron is not useful here. There is a critical community institution under threat, an institution far more important to you and the community than the BPP. I would much rather read your comments on this. Give it a shot.