Neponsit Home Faces the Wrecking Ball

 Neponsit Home Faces the Wrecking Ball

By Katie McFadden

After 25 years of sitting empty, the old Neponsit Home is coming down.  The former tuberculosis hospital turned care home near Beach 149th was closed in 1998, and last week, it started facing the wrecking ball. Cranes were spotted demolishing one of the buildings, piece by piece, as the physical demolition process begins.

The decision to demolish the old hospital came in 2021, after the city realized it was beyond saving and was becoming a hazard. And in September 2022, the process to demolish the property began with preliminary work before the physical demolition. “NYC Health + Hospitals (HHC) is committed to making the demolition of the former Neponsit hospital as unobtrusive as possible for local residents and beachgoers,” a spokesperson for HHC, which currently oversees the property said.

According to HHC, over the last few months, they took several steps to make sure the demolition is done safely. They surveyed homeowners’ property and installed vibration monitors to ensure that no property damage occurs, or in the event that it does, they can rectify it. They removed asbestos in a controlled and contained manner, with the proper environmental controls and monitors to ensure public safety.  They ensured proper dust control measures were in place to minimize any dust from any of the activities. This included watering of materials, equipment, and monitors to measure parts per million requirements or better. HHC says to date, they have had no high-level readings or complaints. They ensured rodent control measures were in place in the event there were issues, which they say they didn’t encounter. They conducted noise mitigation, including sound absorption treatment on the east construction fencing adjacent to neighboring houses. They conducted extensive community outreach to inform stakeholders, homeowners, beach goers, and elected officials about the project, including sending out a monthly newsletter. And, after fish were found living in the building’s flooded basement, they worked with NYC Fish Rescue to save the fish before the demolition.

 This all readied the building for demolition, which began on March 13. So far, HHC says it’s made good progress, with the easternmost building almost completely demolished down to the base level. Demolition will continue during weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., while noise-generating activities are conducted on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. HHC hopes to complete major demolition before the 2023 beach season begins.

A covenant in the deed for the property says it must be used as a healthcare facility or be returned to parkland. Once demolished, the property will be turned over to NYC Parks. The current plan is to make it a passive park, while a northwest corner of the property will be used for a lifeguard facility and parking lot for the lifeguard staff. Other plans for what will be included in the park will be up for discussion at future meetings.

Photos by James Supple.

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