455 Central Park West
455 Central Park West was built between 1884 and 1890 as the New York Cancer Hospital. The French Renaissance design by Charles C. Haight most notably included circular wards to facilitate better observation from a central desk and more space at the head of beds. The design also eliminated sharp corners (which were viewed as breeding grounds for disease) and provided central vertical airshafts to prevent air from stagnating and remove odors.
The hospital remained at the forefront of cancer treatment until moving to a East Side facility in 1955, later becoming the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The old building then became a nursing home until being closed in 1974 under a cloud of of negligent care and allegations of Medicaid and Tax fraud. The facility was designated a landmark in 1976, saving it from the wrecking ball, but limiting options for site reuse and condemning the structure to dereliction for the next quarter century. The facility was purchased by a Chicago-based developer in 2000 and, after numerous fits and starts, was renovated into a luxury condominium complex that also included a contemporary 26-story tower adjacent to the landmark building. (developer's site)
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