Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, later called Interfaith Medical Center after a 1983 merger, occupied a huge swath in Prospect Heights in buildings facing Classon Avenue, St. Mark’s Avenue and Prospect Place. Its original name is still showing in terra cotta lettering on its Classon Avenue side.
In 1903, the Brooklyn Hebrew Hospital Society purchased property along Classon Avenue belonging to the Memorial Hospital for Women and Children, and spent three years fundraising and acquiring additional properties, opening to patients in December 1906. Even more property was acquired in 1928 that was used to build an additional wing.
After several decades, Jewish Hospital’s fortunes declined along with the neighborhood. In 1983, it merged with St. John’s Episcopal Hospital to form Interfaith Medical Center. Ultimately Interfaith moved out, and the vast property became residential units (much like my old high school, the nearby Cathedral Prep, did in 1985).
I have a personal memory of Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. I went in there just once, in 1975, to visit an ailing classmate in high school, Fred Costanzo. Though Fred was undersized, he was an agile athlete and active in our school’s extracurricular activities. Late in our senior year, Fred contacted leukemia and though he seemed upbeat when I and other friends went to see him, he succumbed during the summer in an era when there were not the life-extending treatments for leukemia available today.
Thus, I always feel the pull of nostalgia when I’m in Prospect Heights and walk past the old place.