A haunting distant echo for Roosevelt Island in a Met Spectacular

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A haunting, distant echo stopped me cold while I walked through the the Met’s big post pandemic show. Alice Neel’s art fills a full wing, and it’s in many ways, a story of her life. It twice touches Roosevelt Island.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

As we posted earlier, a friend sent us a photo of Neel’s revealing painting of Roosevelt Island pioneer and literary legend, Alice Childress.

But here was a surprise, this one sad, awaited.

In 1954, just three years before the institution closed, Neel made an ink drawing of her mother in City Hospital during the last year of her life.

With her mother, also named Alice, in a wheelchair in the foreground, you can see the East River and Manhattan skyline, as it was then, out the windows.

Read more about the fate of City Hospital here. Also designed by James Renwick and begun three months earlier than St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it was not saved like the Smallpox Hospital after being abandoned.

The area where it stood is now the north end of Southpoint Park.

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